Investors will be watching Wednesday when Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen holds a press conference for further indications of whether the economy is improving and the status of the Fed's stimulus program.
Stock Enjoy Second Consecutive Rally
Positive economic news and somewhat assuaged fears that the Ukrainian crisis would escalate gave the stock market another boost Tuesday. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 13.42 points to 1,872.25. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 88.97 points to 16,336.19. The Nasdaq composite climbed 53.36 points, to 4,333.31. The stock market had logged its biggest weekly drop in almost two months, but this week, the S&P 500 has gained 1.7 percent after dropping almost 2 percent last week, CNN reports. Investors seemed calmed after Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday he would not take over other areas of Ukraine. They were also buoyed by a government report showing that applications for building permits reached the highest level in four months as well as a U.S. Labor Department’s report that the consumer price index rose 0.1 percent in February, a sign that inflation remains tame. Investors will be watching Wednesday when Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen holds a press conference to see how this will impact the Fed’s stimulus program.
Wal-Mart Wants to be a Player
Game on, GameStop. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., the world’s largest retailer, plans to expand its current online video game trade-in program by allowing customers to trade their used games at the company’s 3,100 stores in exchange for credit toward the purchase of other items, The Associated Press reports. GameStop Corp. currently dominates the $2 billion used video-game market. Wal-Mart's new program is the most serious challenge to GameStop, which for the last three years has drawn roughly half of its profits from buying and selling used video games, the AP says.
North Dakota to Workers: We Want You
North Dakota, benefiting from its oil bonanza, has launched an $800,000 campaign, “Find the Good Life in North Dakota” to attract workers to fill 25,000 jobs in all industries in the state. North Dakota boasts America’s lowest unemployment rate at less than 3 percent. It is leading the nation in population growth and the number of residents in the state is at an all-time high, at more than 725,000 people, according to the Census Bureau. North Dakota’s surge in economic activity and population growth has come largely from oil. The Peace Garden State has gone from the nation's ninth-biggest oil producer in 2006 to the second, behind only Texas.
JPMorgan Chase to Sell its Physical Commodities Business
JPMorgan Chase announced Wednesday it will sell its physical commodities business to the Swiss trade house Mercuria after a lengthy negotiation with several interested buyers. The transaction will push Mercuria into the top tier of commodities traders. The deal is expected to close at $3.5 billion, and will be completed in the third quarter. The deal will be an all-cash transaction, according to company reports. JPMorgan does not expect the deal to impact earnings in any way. The JPMorgan Chase physical commodities unit is one of the most powerful oil and metals concerns in the world. JPMorgan decided it wanted to sell its physical commodities division because of regulatory and political pressure and so it could concentrate on the business of lending, the core concern of the bank. At the start of 2014, JPMorgan went into talks with several interests in competition with Mercuria before finalizing the deal.
FedEX Posts Lower-Than-Expected Returns
FedEx posted lower-than-expected returns Wednesday, blaming the winter weather for poor profit results. The world’s No. 2 package delivery company reported it expects to earn $6.55 to $6.80 a share for the full year, while analysts were expecting earnings up at $6.89 a share according to Reuters. The release of information from FedEx is the first example of just how the harsh winter will affect the shipping industry in the country, as temperatures ran below average for two full months. FedEx said the weather disrupted operations, decreased shipping volumes and increased costs, impacting year-over-year operation incomes by about $125 million.
Stop Driving Your Porsche
Amid concerns over the possibility the cars could catch fire, Porsche announced it will replace the engines in all of its current model year 911 GT3sports cars and told current owners not to drive the vehicle. Volkswagen AG released the statement Tuesday followed the automaker’s recall last month of all 785 model-year 2014 911 GT3 cars because of concerns over the possibility they could catch fire when in operation. Porsche was investigating two engine fires in which a loosened fastener caused oil to leak and the oil caught fire. The fires took place in Italy and Switzerland without injury to driver or passenger. Porsche is cooperating with U.S. regulators to officiate the engine replacements and has been in touch with every owner to warn them, a company official said.