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For Friday May 15, 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?
Dow: 18,272.62, +20.42, +0.11%
S&P 500: 2,122.71 +1.61, +0.08%
Nasdaq: 5,048.29, -2.5, -0.05%
The DJIA Index limped across the finish on Friday, adding twenty points, after mixed economic data suggested that the U.S. economy is not growing as quickly as economists had anticipated. Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) was the largest contributor to the S&P 500's decline today by falling 1.3%. However, the S&P 500 finished at another record close at 2,122.71.
The S&P 500 Volatility Index (VIX), the market's fear gauge, slipped 2.4% the day.
Top Stock Market News Today
- Data Doldrums: The markets cooled on news that U.S. industrial production fell for the fifth consecutive month in April. Although falling oil prices have played a significant role – due to the decline of drilling – the news is another harbinger that the U.S. economy may not be growing in the second quarter as quickly as anticipated.
- Activist Statement: Carl Icahn has invested $100 million into San Francisco-based ride-sharing company Lyft. The principal competitor of Uber made a statement, by raising an additional $50 million. Icahn praised the investment due to changing demographics that are boosting urban residential areas and making automobile ownership an financial cost not bearing by some individuals. Get more on the Uber IPO here.
- Oil Prices Continue to Surge: Oil prices rose for the ninth-consecutive week, the longest such streak in 30 years. However, prices were roughly flat today as supply glut concerns and weakness in the dollar affected trader sentiment. WTI crude futures for June were flat at $59.88 per barrel. Meanwhile, Brent oil was up 0.3% to hit $66.91 per barrel.
- On Tap Monday: On Monday, Chicago Federal Reserve Bank President Charles Evans speech at the Swedbank conference in Stockholm. Companies reporting earnings on Monday include JA Solar Holdings Co. Ltd. (Nadsaq: JASO), Urban Outfitters Inc. (Nasdaq: URBN), and Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A).
Stocks to Watch: CLX, AVP, NFLX, YUM, LOCO
- Stocks to Watch No. 1, CLX: Shares of Clorox Co. (NYSE: CLX) were up slightly on Friday despite news that its former CEO and current executive chairman Donald R. Knauss will retire on July 1. He will be replaced by George Harad, a Clorox director since 2006.
- Stocks to Watch No. 2, AVP: The Securities and Exchange Commission announced that it is investigating the phantom bid that drove up share prices of Avon Products (NYSE: AVP) as many as 20 points yesterday. On Thursday, a supposedly non-existent company listed on a remote Indian Ocean island offered to pay three times the market value for the cosmetics giant. Shares of Avon were down more than 1% on the day.
- Stocks to Watch No. 3, NFLX: Shares of Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) surged past the $600 level for the first time today. The stock has jumped more than 100 points in just 22 trading sessions and has put it at a price level where only four S&P 500 components currently surpass. Today, NFLX gained 4.5% on news that the streaming video service was in talks to enter the Chinese market through a partnership with Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (NYSE: BABA). Don't miss our expert analysis on why Alibaba stock is rising -and what you should do to profit now.
- Stocks to Watch No. 4, YUM: Shares of Yum! Brands Inc. (NYSE: YUM) jumped more than 3% this afternoon on news it received an upgrade from JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM). The investment firm boosted its stock grade to "Overweight" and speculated that it is growing more likely that the company might spinoff its Chinese operations.
- Stocks to Watch No. 5, LOCO: Shares of El Pollo Loco Holdings (Nasdaq: LOCO) cratered by more than 15% after the company issued a 2015 profit forecast that was well below analyst estimates. The company did beat Wall Street quarterly earnings expectations and consensus quarterly sales expectations by 1.9%. However, concerns about its outlook rattled investors' confidence this morning.
How to Make Money in the Stock Market Today
About the Author
Garrett Baldwin is a globally recognized research economist, financial writer, and consultant with degrees from Northwestern, Johns Hopkins, Purdue, and Indiana University. He is a seasoned financial and political risk analyst, with a focus on stocks, hedge funds, private equity, blockchain, and housing policy. He has conducted risk assessment projects for clients in 27 countries, and consulted on policy and financial operations for some of the nation's largest financial institutions, including a $1.5 trillion credit fund, a $43 billion credit and auto loan giant, as well as two of the largest Wall Street banks by assets under management.
Garrett joined Money Map Press as an economist and researcher in 2011, specializing in alternative strategies with an emphasis on fundamental and technical analysis.