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How Did the Stock Market Do Today?
Dow: 18,285.40, -26.99, -0.15%
S&P 500: 2,125.85, -1.98, -0.09%
Nasdaq: 5,071.74, +1.71, +0.03%
Federal Reserve Releases April FOMC Meeting Minutes
This afternoon, the Federal Reserve released minutes from the April FOMC meeting, at which the central bank removed all calendar references to when it might increase short-term interest rates. According to the minutes, only a few members of the committee felt that economic data was sound enough to justify a rate hike during their June 16-17 meeting. The minutes indicate that central bank members believe the weak first quarter, in which GDP grew by a paltry 0.2%, was transitory and that the U.S. economy will grow at a moderate pace over the balance of 2015. Sentiment indicates a rate hike is likely at some point in 2015. However, a June hike is currently not in the cards.
Investors will now turn their attention to Friday, when Fed Chair Janet Yellen will give a speech at the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce Economic Outlook Luncheon.
Top Stock Market News Today
- Oil Splurge: U.S. oil futures were on the rise today after the Energy Information Administration reported a third-straight week of falling crude supplies. In addition, geopolitical concerns in Yemen continue to weigh on crude oil prices. WTI crudefutures for July gained more than 1.6% to hit $58.93 per barrel. Meanwhile, Brent oil was up nearly 1.5% to hit $64.96 per barrel.
- Banking Fiasco: This morning, the U.S. Department of Justice fined five banks more than $5.5 billion for manipulating currency rates of the U.S. dollar and euro. The federal agency levied fines against JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM), Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C), Barclay's Plc. (NYSE ADR: BCS), Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc. (NYSE ADR: RBS), and UBS Group (NYSE ADR: UBS). The agency also fined Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC).
- Airlines Slump: Airline stocks were among the worst performers on the S&P 500 today as companies tempered expectations for the June-ending quarter. Shares of Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) fell more than 9% on news that it expects to make less money per passenger this quarter. American Airlines Group Inc. (Nasdaq: AAL) fell than 10%, Delta Air Lines Inc. (NYSE: DAL) slipped 5.6%, and United Continental Holdings Inc. (NYSE: UAL) fell 10.3%.
- Problems in Greece: The melodrama in Greece is heating up… again. This afternoon, the nation's parliamentary speaker said that Athens is unlikely to make its June 5 debt payment unless it is able to reach a deal with international creditors.
- On Tap Thursday: Tomorrow morning, the U.S. will release its PMI Manufacturing Index Flash. Companies reporting earnings include Best Buy Co. Inc. (NYSE: BBY), Dollar Tree Inc. (Nasdaq: DLTR), Gap Inc. (NYSE: GPS), Fresh Market Inc. (NYSE: TFM), and Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ).
Stocks to Watch: TWC, BHP, YHOO, HRL, SPLS
- Stocks to Watch No. 1, TWC: Shares of Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) were up 5.4% today on news that the company is again a potential acquisition target. Yesterday, French telecom giant Altice SA (OTCMKTS: ATCEY) announced plans to enter the U.S. market with its purchase of Suddenlink Communications. The company could consider a deal for Time Warner Cable, according to multiple reports. Last month, a proposed deal between Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA) and Time Warner fell through as regulatory concerns were set to upend the merger.
- Stocks to Watch No. 2, BHP: Shares of mining giant BHP Billiton Ltd. (NYSE ADR: BHP) were up marginally despite news that the company agreed to a case with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The federal agency issued a $25 million fine after the company violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by sponsoring the attendance of foreign government officials during the 2008 Summer Olympics.
- Stocks to Watch No. 3, YHOO: Shares of Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) rose 4.4% today, reversing course from a dramatic Tuesday afternoon sell-off. Shareholders dumped the stock yesterday over concerns that regulations could affect the company's ability to ensure a tax-free spin-off of its stake in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (NYSE: BABA). So, what should investors do with YHOO stock? Here's a breakdown of how to play the stock after its recent wild ride.
- Stocks to Watch No. 4, HRL: Shares of Hormel Foods Corp. (NYSE: HRL) were up 4.2% after the company beat earnings by $0.05, reporting $0.67 per share. Just last month, the company announced that a bout of avian influenza could hammer its full-year profit outlook due to the virus's impact on its turkey stocks. The firm recently furloughed 233 employees at its Jennie-O Turkey Store plant, a firm that accounts for roughly 18% of its annual revenue. The company reaffirmed its 2015 outlook.
- Stocks to Watch No. 5, SPLS: Shares of Staples Inc. (Nasdaq: SPLS) slipped more than 1.5% after the company's quarterly revenue and sales reports fell short of expectations. The company is currently being weighed down with costs associated with its merger with rival Office Depot Inc. (Nasdaq: ODP).
What Investors Must Know This Week