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The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost eight points on Monday as investors weighed statements on the timing of the next interest rate hike by the U.S. Federal Reserve. A potential megamerger renewed optimism for deals as companies continue to hunt for market share.
Here's what else you need to know about the markets on May 23, 2016.
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First up, check out the results for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500, and Nasdaq:
Dow Jones: 17,492.93; -8.01; -0.05%
S&P 500: 2,048.04; -4.28; -0.21%
Nasdaq: 4,765.78; -3.78; -0.08%
Now, here's the top stock market news today…
DJIA Today: Traders Looking to Federal Reserve for Interest Rate Guidance
San Francisco Fed President John Williams and St. Louis Fed Chief James Bullard both offered hawkish sentiment during speeches today. Both hinted that the markets can expect more than one interest rate increase in 2016. According to CME FedWatch, markets see a 30% probability of a rate hike in June. The probability increases above 50% in July.
Crude oil prices slipped after Iran's key oil ministers said the nation has no plans to freeze crude production ahead of the upcoming OPEC meeting. Iran is trying to hike its production levels back to its output during the pre-sanction years. OPEC producers are set to meet on June 2 to discuss the cartel's global production target. Iran and Saudi Arabia remain deadlocked in proxy wars in hotspots across the Middle East, raising the stakes of next month's meeting.
WTI crude prices slipped 0.6%, while Brent crude dipped 0.7%.
Biotech stocks are in focus as public health officials warn about a state-side outbreak of the Zika virus. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases announced there are already more than 500 American cases of the disease. Warming summer months could lead to an outbreak, raising expectations for a big run for companies aiming to tackle the disease. The disease is also raising concerns about safety in Brazil, where the 2016 Olympics will be held this summer. Companies that have been working on potential cures and treatments include Zika stocks like Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Nasdaq: INO), Sanofi SA (NYSE ADR: SNY), and Intrexon Corp. (NYSE: XON).
But the big news today was Monsanto Co. (NYSE: MON). Shares of the global agricultural jumped more than 5% on news that German drug and chemical maker Bayer AG has offered $62 billion for the firm. This would be the largest takeover by a German company in the history of the markets. It is also the latest in a string of deals in the agribusiness sector.
Now, let's look at the day's biggest stock movers and the must-own stock for today…
Top Stock Market News Today
- On the deal front, Tribune Publishing (Nasdaq: TPUB) again rejected a $15-per-share offer from newspaper rival Gannett Co. (NYSE: GCI). This was the second offer from Gannett, which recently upped its bid for TPUB from $12.50 per share to $15. Shares of TPUB fell more than 2.2%, although the firm also announced that it has received a $70.5 million investment from billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong.
- Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) saw shares running higher again Monday. AAPL stock increased by nearly 1.5% as its CEO Tim Cook visits India to meet with Prime Minister Modi. Investors expect that Apple's commitment to India could be a potential game changer for the firm. In fact, India is one of several major reasons why Money Morning Director of Tech & Venture Capital Michael A. Robinson sees its $95 share value as one of the biggest bargains in the market. Read why you should own AAPL stock, right here.
- Shares of LendingClub Corp. (NYSE: LC) rallied more than 13% after investment firm Shanda Group announced an 11.7% stake in the peer-to-peer lending company. The firm remains under significant pressure after its CEO Renaud Laplanche resigned earlier this month due to allegations of improper business operations.
- Shares of Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) were up 0.2% after the company agreed to sell 100 737 MAX 200 jets to Vietnamese firm VietJet. The deal comes during President Obama's visit to the country during which the administration lifted a multi-decade ban on U.S. arms sales to Vietnam. The announcement is welcome news for the airline maker after a report from Baron's indicated that BA stock could slide as much as 15% due to ongoing sales weakness in the aviation sector.
- Finally, here is your stock pick of the day. Wall Street has been down on this technological wonder stock for the last few weeks. True, the stock has fallen by more than 9% since its last earnings report. But fortunes are bought and made on contrarian picks when value presents itself. And Money Morning Capital Wave Strategist Shah Gilani says that this software giant has at least 20% upside in the short term, before it breaks into the stratosphere. Check it out, right here.
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