The stock market today (Wednesday) rose despite news that the U.S. economy slumped more than expected in the first quarter. Revised GDP figures for Q1 revealed the worst non-recession performance in four decades, with a 2.9% slip. The decline is also the sharpest downturn in five years and is a significant revision from the 1% decline tallied in April.
Here's the scorecard from today's trading session:
DOW: 16,867.51 (+0.29%)
S&P 500: 1,959.53 (+0.49%)
NASDAQ: 4,379.76 (+0.68%)
And here are the top stories that affected the stock market today:
- The Next Split: Struggling book retailer Barnes & Noble Inc. (NYSE: BKS) announced plans to split its bookstore chain and Nook electronic-reader business into separate companies. After the spinoff, both firms will trade publicly, allowing the firms to focus on maximizing profitability. The bookstore business is facing increased competition from online retailers and a greater consumer transition to electronic reading devices. Despite having a robust e-reader platform, the company's Nook business continues to struggle against its dominant competitors Apple Inc.'s (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPad and Amazon.com Inc.'s (Nasdaq: AMZN) Kindle.
- Get in the Grain: Seed giant Monsanto Co. (NYSE: MON) surged nearly 5% on news that the company announced a $10 billion share buyback plan and increased its earnings expectations for the year from $5.10 to $5.20 a share.
- More Sanctions on Tap: The Wall Street Journal reports that German Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned Russian politicians and businessmen that the country could face more sanctions if it doesn't accelerate efforts to end geopolitical problems in Ukraine. Merkel has accused Moscow officials of moving "too slow" to ensure peace in the region.
- Another OPEC Problem: As unrest continues in Iraq and Ukraine, a massive bombing took place in the capital of Nigeria this afternoon that left 21 dead. The bombing is likely the result of insurgency forces known as Boko Haram. Although recent terrorist attacks in the north have done little to impact oil prices, analysts are raising new concerns about separatist movements in the south where the nation's primary oil fields are located.
- The Court Kills Aereo: The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6 to 3 today that Aereo, a service that allows subscribers to watch broadcast stations online, violates the Copyright Act. The service, which will be defunct after this ruling, allowed users to rent TV antennas and beam signals to tablets and computers. The court ruled that Aereo needed to pay a license fee for content. This is a huge deal for U.S. broadcasters, and will make it harder for internet providers to split cable operations and provide a la carte channels. Nearly every major broadcaster released a press release praising the Supreme Court's decision.
Now our experts share some of the most important investment moves to make based on today's market trading - for Money Morning Members only:
- The Wild Card in the Ongoing Global Energy Crisis: The conflict in Iraq is escalating beyond all hope of control - and it's impacting a huge number of investments worldwide. So we reached out to Dr. Kent Moors, one of very few people who has advised both the Kurdish regional and Iraqi federal governments. What he told us was incredible and potentially profitable...
- The Oil "Crisis Spike" Is Just Getting Started: First there was Ukraine. Now, Iraq is in flames. Oil prices are now likely headed higher. In this case, supply and demand only works in the textbooks. These days, geopolitical events can quickly outdistance the "market-only" factors. Here's what you need to know if you're looking to invest in energy this summer...
- Let's Double Our Money... with a Little Help from the Greatest Analyst Who Never Lived: Here's a great new way to make money. Executive Editor Bill Patalon is a big Sherlock Holmes fan. That doesn't surprise us at all; Patalon is a keen analyst himself, and his own sleuthing has led us to some spectacular profits. Take, for example, these plays in the software industry poised to soar...