Dow Jones Industrial Average Soars 228 Points as Oil Rallies

The trading week got off to a stellar start today (Monday) after the Dow rallied more than 228 points and the Nasdaq popped nearly 1.5%. The markets rallied thanks to a huge announcement that two of the nation's largest defense companies explored a potential merger.

First up, check out the big gains for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500, and Nasdaq today:

CaptureDow Jones: 16,620.66; +228.67; +1.40%

S&P 500: 1,945.50; +27.72; +1.45%

Nasdaq: 4,570.61; +66.18; +1.47%

Then read today's top stock market news today...

DJIA Today: Oil Swells, BOA Makes a Big Play, and Merger Mania

First up, WTI crude oil prices skyrocketed to a three-week high today thanks to a new oil market report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the declining U.S. rig count. WTI prices were up a whopping 6.2%, while Brent crude jumped nearly 5.5%. The surge was a huge boon to global oil multinational giant Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX), whose shares popped more than 2.7% on the day.

Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC) stock rallied 3.3% after the firm unveiled a new mortgage product that would allow Americans to buy a home with as little as a 3% down payment. In addition, borrowers would be able to avoid private mortgage insurance, a deal that is far more favorable than what is available through the Federal Housing Administration.

But today's biggest story centered on rumors that United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX) and Honeywell International Inc. (NYSE: HON) have been in discussions to merge operations. Shares of UTX jumped 4.8%, while Honeywell slipped 1.9%. According to reports, the two firms discussed a potential $94 billion deal that would face significant regulatory scrutiny. It is unclear if their large airplane clients Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) and Airbus would also oppose the deal due to cost concerns.

Now, let's look at the day's biggest stock movers and Monday's stock pick...

Top Stock Market News Today

  • It was a great day for health insurance stocks. Shares of UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE: UNH), Anthem Inc. (NYSE: ANTM), Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM), and Aetna Inc. (NYSE: AET) were rallying on news the federal government has proposed a payment hike to firms that "offer Medicare Advantage health benefits to elderly and disabled Americans," according to a report by Reuters. UNH shares jumped 3.5% and offered the biggest boost to the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
  • Shares of LinkedIn Corp. (NYSE: LNKD) were up nearly 2% despite news that Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) took the company off its Conviction Buy List. The investment bank also slashed its price target for the stock from $200 to $155. However, investors of LNKD should take the news with a grain of salt. Turns out that the Goldman Sachs Conviction Buy List is a lagging indicator on the markets. Simply put, we don't trust it, and neither should you. Here's why.
  • Shares of Lumber Liquidators Holdings Inc. (NYSE: LL) cratered nearly 20% on news that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that cancer risks associated with the the company's flooring is much higher than previously thought. The CDC said individuals who purchase the flooring are roughly three times more likely to become diagnosed with cancer than their previous estimates due to formaldehyde levels.
  • Finally, here's your stock pick for Monday - Facebook Inc. (Nasdaq: FB). The stock has defied the ongoing downturn in the markets and it continues to blow away investors with record profits and new innovations. Right now, some traders are chattering on the floors of exchanges in Chicago and New York that this stock is stuck in a tech bubble. But the reality is that we're simply in the midst of a broader sell-off in the markets, and Facebook stock is part of a unique circle of tech companies that can withstand the downward pressure in the market. Money Morning Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald just appeared on FOX Business to discuss why this is one stock to own over the long term. Be sure to catch his interview, right here.

Microsoft is another tech stock being written off by Wall Street right now. Many traders in Chicago and New York believe it has no prospects for price growth. But Money Morning Defense & Tech Specialist Michael A. Robinson thinks differently. Here are two big reasons why MSFT stock will soar this year...

What Investors Must Know This Week

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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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