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Welcome back, volatility. It was a brutal day on Wall Street, with banking stocks taking a hard shot in the chin. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell more than 133 points, with Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE: WFC) and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) being the two largest drags on the index. Oil prices slumped again as traders are growing more pessimistic about the potential of a deal to freeze global production.
Here's what you need to know about the markets on Tuesday, April 5, 2016.
First up, check out the results for the Dow Jones, S&P 500, and Nasdaq:
Dow Jones: 17,603.32; -133.68; -0.75%
S&P 500: 2,045.17; -20.96; -1.01%
Nasdaq: 4,843.93; -47.86; -0.98%
Now, here's the top stock market news today…
DJIA Today: Oil Prices Choppy as OPEC Meeting Back in Focus
The U.S. Justice Department announced it will sue in order to stop the proposed merger of Halliburton Co. (NYSE: HAL) and Baker Hughes Inc. (NYSE: BHI). Shares of Baker Hughes fell by more than 5% after the government announced the plan to prevent the nation's second- and third-largest oil field services companies from joining together. The deal was announced in November 2014.
WTI crude oil prices were all over the place today as traders lowered expectations about a possible deal among OPEC and non-OPEC producers to freeze their oil output. A number of nations – representing up to 73% of global oil production – are set to meet on April 17 in Qatar to discuss global prices. However, Saudi Arabia – the largest producer in OPEC – said it will not participate unless its political rival Iran agrees to embrace the production freeze. WTI ended 0.5% higher and closed at $35.89.
On the economic front, International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde raised concerns about increasing global economic risks. Her statements come a week after U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen downgraded expectations of interest rate hikes in 2016. Yellen said the Fed is likely to increase interest rates two times this year. However, CME FedWatch projects the central bank will go with just one rate hike, which is set at 50/50 odds for the month of June.
But the big talk today was about global taxes. President Barack Obama denounced American companies that are leaving the country in order to save money on taxes through so-called corporate inversions. The president said new rules set up by the U.S. Treasury Department will reduce the incentive to move abroad. Naturally, the government is attacking a symptom and not the root cause of why so many companies are shifting operations abroad: The U.S. corporate tax rate is the highest of all developed and advanced economies around the globe.
Well done, Washington.
The deal could upend the planned $160 billion merger between Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) and Allergan Plc. (NYSE: AGN). Reuters reported Pfizer may abandon its plan to complete the merger; however, no final decision has been made. AGN stock cratered 14.8% on the news.
Now, let's look at the day's biggest stock movers and today's must-own stock…
Top Stock Market News Today
- Shares of Tesla Motors Inc. (Nasdaq: TSLA) gained 3.4% despite the electric car company failing to meet sales expectations in the first quarter. Tesla said a shortage of parts was to blame.
- On the earnings front, shares of Darden Restaurants Inc. (NYSE: DRI) were up after the company topped earnings expectations in its fiscal third quarter. The firm announced that revenue increased by roughly 7%, bolstered by strong sales at Olive Garden restaurants. The firm also announced its chairman, activist investor Jeffrey Smith, resigned from the board of directors.
- JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) is preparing to hold your money. The company announced it's limiting cash withdrawals from non-customers to $1,000 per day. The firm claims this is to prevent illegal financial activity. However, skeptics argue it's part of a broader plan to prevent a run on the bank in the event of another financial crisis.
- Finally, here is your stock pick of the day. The states of New York and California have now increased the minimum wage to $15 per hour. That's going to have a strong impact on companies with a lot of low-skill labor. As mountains of data prove, higher income levels do not alleviate poverty. If you want to protect yourself from the impact of this misguided economic policy, be sure to buy stocks like this one that can afford the cost of labor and protect its bottom line.
The Shocking Forecast for Oil Prices in 2016: Crude oil prices plunged in 2015, but our forecast points to a turnaround this year that will send the price of oil higher. Don't miss our full-year target and the key developments that will move oil prices in 2016. Read more…