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Monday's trading session was just another sign that the U.S. Federal Reserve is holding the markets hostage with mixed messages on the timing of its next interest rate hike. Like a dog told to come from across the yard while its leash is tied to a tree, the Dow Jones Industrial Average didn't go anywhere today as traders await a speech from Fed Chair Janet Yellen on Tuesday.
Yellen is expected to offer some insight on the upcoming FOMC meeting in April; however, we predict she will simply confuse everyone like she did during her most recent press conference.
Here's what you need to know about the markets on March 28, 2016.
First up, check out the results for the Dow Jones, S&P 500, and Nasdaq:
Dow Jones: 17,535.39; +19.66; +0.11%
S&P 500: 2,037.05; +1.11; +0.06%
Nasdaq: 4,766.79; -6.72; -0.14%
Now, here's the top stock market news today…
DJIA Today: Easter Break, Bill Ackman's Blues, and Microsoft's Yahoo Rumors
Oil prices slipped on thin volumes as the European markets were closed to observe the Easter holiday weekend. The big news today was that global energy producers have locked in April 17 as the date for a meeting in the Qatari capital Doha to discuss a potential freeze on oil output. Ten nations have confirmed they will attend the meeting. Libya, the country with the highest break-even oil price in the world, will not be present. However, the biggest speculation centers on whether Iran will take part in the meetings. Previously, the country said it will not take part in the plan until it increases its daily shipments to at least four million barrels.
It was another bad day for hedge fund manager Bill Ackman. U.S. legislators have asked Ackman for information about drug price hikes in the pharmaceutical industry. The investigation is tied to his large stake in Canadian drug company Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. (NYSE: VRX), which has been facing more and more problems each day. Shares of VRX stock were off 7.1% after the firm increased the price of one of its drugs by 100%.
On the economic front, "core" personal consumption expenditures (PCE) increased more than economists had anticipated in February. That's good news for the overall economy, and the news boosts the odds that the Federal Reserve will hike rates in April.
But the big talk today was about Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO). Rumors are circulating that Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) is chatting with private equity firms about supporting the financing needed to take over Yahoo. The talks are preliminary as Yahoo considers the sales of its core businesses. YHOO stock added 1.1% on the day, which is rather underwhelming. Following activist hedge fund Starboard Value's call for a complete overhaul of Yahoo's board of directors, investors just aren't jumping on board or anticipating a company offering a significant bid for any of the firm's assets.
Now, let's look at the day's biggest stock movers and today's must-own stock…
Top Stock Market News Today
- Are they really sure they want this guy in charge? Shares of Pandora Media Inc. (NYSE: P) slumped 12.2% after the company announced that founder Tim Westergren will be returning as the CEO.
- Chinese investors simply won't walk away from potential deals in the real estate space. This morning, China's Anbang Insurance Group announced it will hike its offer for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. (NYSE: HOT) to nearly $14 billion. Starwood has long been linked to a deal with Marriott International Inc. (Nasdaq: MAR); however, the bidding war continues to escalate.
- It's good to be Warren Buffett. Shares of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK-A, BRK-B) were up 0.8% and 0.9%, respectively, after international investment bank UBS initiated coverage of the insurance company and issued a "Buy" rating. That could be hard for ordinary investors since one share of Berkshire costs in excess of $210,000.
- Shares of Time Warner Inc. (NYSE: TWX) were up 3.7% after the company saw Warner Brothers enjoy the fourth-largest global opening in box-office history with the release of "Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice." The film grossed an estimated $424.1 million despite receiving an aggregate 29% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes from film critics.
- Shares of GameStop Corp. (NYSE: GME) were down 0.6% despite news the stock received a warning from Sterne Agee analyst Arvind Bhatia. The investment banking analyst said investors should be cautious about the video-game retailer's recent forecast for flat growth. Bhatia argues the forecast might be too rosy and investors should anticipate a decline instead.
- Finally, here is your stock pick of the day. The recent terrorism attacks in Brussels highlight the ongoing challenges the West continues to face on the global security front. War, terrorism, and ugliness will remain problems in the foreseeable future, but investors should be aware there will be significant innovation and opportunities to make money while solving these undeniable challenges. And while the global markets are worried about the impact of these challenges on the global airline industry, we recommend you consider owning shares of this company that will refuse to be held back by these negative forces. Read more about this stock, right here.
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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.