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January 23, 2015

Yikes, Dow Drops 141 Points Today

By Garrett Baldwin, Money Morning

The Dow Jones fell 141 points Friday as weak earnings and soft economic data offset confidence spurred by another pending global stimulus package.

Dow Jones Today's Scorecard:

Dow: 17,672.60, -141.38, -0.79%

S&P 500: 2,051.82, -11.33, -0.55%

Nasdaq: 4,757.88, +7.48, +0.16%

Crude oil prices continued to fall, pulling down energy and materials stocks in the process. West Texas Intermediate slipped nearly 2% on the day, with the price per barrel settling at $45.59. Materials stocks were the biggest losers on the day led by steep declines in shares of mining and resource companies.

What Moved the Markets Today: Investor optimism about the European Central Bank's plans to inject 60 billion euros a month into the markets was offset by weak economic data and disappointing earnings results from several major multinational firms. In the United States, the Markit manufacturing purchasing managers' index slipped again in January to 53.7 from 53.9 in December. This is the index's lowest level in a year and raises concerns about the American private sector as the year kicks off.

United Parcel Service Inc. (NYSE: UPS), Bank of New York Mellon Corp. (NYSE: BK), Kansas City Southern (NYSE: KSU), and McDonald's Corp. (NYSE: MCD) all reported disappointing earnings today, sending their stocks downward.

Here's a breakdown of today's other top stories and stock performances:

IPO Boom: Shares of online-data-storage firmBox Inc. (NYSE: BOX) surged more than 70% in its first day of trading. Yesterday, the company announced its initial public offering had priced at $14 per share, a figure that valued the firm at roughly $1.67 billion. Today interest surged for the high-tech stock. Box Inc. is an innovator and competitor in the online storage space and is establishing itself as a player against tech giants Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN), and Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG, GOOGL),

Crushed Again: Forex Broker FXCM Inc. (NYSE: FXCM) shares slumped another 30% in afternoon trading when Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C) set a $0.75 price target on the stock. The currency broker was trading above $16 just 10 days ago. FXCM was the third-largest currency brokerage in the world until the Swiss National Bank announced plans last week to remove the cap from its currency against the euro. The brokerage cratered after its customers were unable to come up with $250 million in unhedged positions. The event taught us two critical lessons about the global markets…

An Apple a Day: Shares of Apple stock were up nearly 1% this afternoon. However, new concerns have emerged about Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) due to a surging dollar. Even though the company could report a record-breaking quarter next week, the firm is expected to book some foreign exchange losses as global currencies continue to retreat against the greenback.

Jolting Java: Shares of Starbucks Corp. (Nasdaq: SBUX) hit a new record this afternoon. Shares were up more than 5% after the company reported stronger fourth-quarter earningsthan expected. The company also announced late Thursday that it promoted Kevin Johnson to president and chief operating officer at the beginning of March. Johnson has been a board member since 2009 and was CEO of Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR) from 2008 to 2013.

Dividend Diva: Shares of Valero Energy Corp. (NYSE: VLO) were up 4.5% this afternoon on news the oil refinery will boost its quarterly dividend by 45%. With the European Central Bank poised to begin pumping free money into the global markets, it's a great time for dividend stocks.

Courtesy Money Morning (EconMatters author archive here

The views and opinions expressed herein are the author's own, and do not necessarily reflect those of EconMatters.

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