DJIA Index Soars 208 Points Monday for Biggest Gain in 3 Weeks

For April 20, 2015, here's how the stock market did today, earnings reports, the top stock market news, and stocks to watch based on today's market moves...

How Did the Stock Market Do Today?

DJIA indexDow: 18,034.93, +208.63, +1.17%                         

S&P 500: 2,100.40, +19.22, +0.92%

Nasdaq: 4,994.60. +62.79, +1.27%

The DJIA Index rose 208 points Monday. The rally was fueled by better than expected earnings reports and news that China slashed commercial bank reserve requirements by 1%.

In its second industry-wide cut in two months to this metric, the nation has freed up roughly $200 billion for lending in an effort to stave off slowing economic growth.

The S&P 500 Volatility Index (VIX), the market's fear gauge, fell 4.9% on the day.

Top Stock Market News Today

  • Oil Prices Today: Oil prices were mixed today on news of China's loosening of monetary policy. Brent oil, priced in London, fell 0.2% to $63.26 per barrel. WTI crude, priced in New York City, rose 0.7% on to hit $56.16 per barrel.
  • Raising Rates: This morning, William Dudley, president of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, attempted to reduce investor worries over mixed earnings reports and the potential effects of a pending rate increase in 2015. Dudley said economic performance will be the primary factor in determining when the Federal Reserve will raise rates.
  • He's Back: Four years after the infamous demise of MF Global, reports are emerging that Jon Corzine could be preparing to launch a new hedge fund. The former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) chairman and New Jersey Senator is mulling the creation of a new fund that would have roughly $150 million in assets, funded by his own wealth and several outside investors.

Stocks to Watch: GE, MS, CMCSA, HAS, AAPL

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  • Stocks to Watch No. 1, CMCSA: Cable giant Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA) and Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) will meet with the U.S. Justice Department Wednesday in an effort to save the companies' proposed $45.2 billion merger. Last week, members of the legal agency said they are likely to issue a recommendation against the deal next week, stating that the deal does not favor consumers. Now, the companies are trying to save the deal by offering new concessions.
  • Stocks to Watch No. 2, MS: Shares of Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) jumped more than 1% intraday on news that the company reported a 60% surge in quarterly profits and plans to hike its dividend. The firm said it posted a profit of $2.39 billion on revenue of $9.9 billion thanks to an uptick in M&A activity and increased trading.
  • Stocks to Watch No. 3, GE: Shares of General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) gained this morning on news that the company is exploring a sale of its $74 billion U.S. commercial lending and leasing (CLL) portfolio to Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE: WFC). The conversations are not exclusive, and GE could possibly sell its business off in chunks to the highest bidders. GE shares ultimately ended the day down 0.84%.
  • Stocks to Watch No. 4, HAS: Despite pressures from a surging U.S. dollar, shares of Hasbro Inc. (NYSE: HAS) surged 12.5% today on news that the company reported far stronger earnings than Wall Street expected. The company reported very strong sales in its Transformers toys and preschool division as its primary growth driver. For the quarter ending March 29, the company reported profits of $26.7 million, or $0.21 per share.
  • Stocks to Watch No. 5, AAPL: Shares of Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) were up 2.28% today on news that Wells Fargo predicts the company could sell 56.7 million iPhone units this quarter. In a preview of the company's pending April 27 earnings report, a Wells Fargo analyst maintained a "Market Perform" rating. The current consensus price target for Apple stock sits at $142.50. Of course, it won't stop there - Money Morning Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald believes AAPL stock will hit $200 in two years. Here's why...

What Investors Must Know This Week

About the Author

Garrett Baldwin is a globally recognized research economist, financial writer, consultant, and political risk analyst with decades of trading experience and degrees in economics, cybersecurity, and business from Johns Hopkins, Purdue, Indiana University, and Northwestern.

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