After Market: Dow Breaks Through to First Record High of 2014


The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) rang up its first record high of this year Wednesday. First quarter GDP growth was negligible, but a report on private sector job growth showed strong gains. And the Federal Reserve did what it was expected to do -- continue to incrementally taper its bond-buying economic stimulus program.

The Dow gained 45 points, to end above 16,580 for the first time. The Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) added 5, and the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) rose 11 points.

Twitter (TWTR) and eBay (EBAY) stole the spotlight after both reported disappointing quarterly results.

Twitter tumbled 9 percent as investors focused on user growth numbers that failed to excite. Twitter has lost 14 percent of its value from the closing price on its first day of trading last November. Its shares briefly topped $70, but ended Wednesday below $40.

EBay fell 5 percent. It posted a quarterly loss, but that wasn't the bad news. The company said it will take a $3 billion tax hit in order to repatriate most of the cash it holds overseas.

Also down on earnings news:
  • Panera Bread (PNRA) lost 6 percent on a disappointing outlook;
  • Seagate Technology (STX) fell 2 percent after missing Street estimates;
  • And VistaPrint (VPRT), which provides products to small businesses, tumbled 26 percent.
On the upside:
  • Time Warner (TWX) rose nearly 3 percent led by strong showings for the big screen and the small screen. Its movies and HBO units both did well;
  • And health insurance provider WellPoint (WLP) gained 5½ percent as net topped expectations.
Elsewhere, Energizer (ENR) rallied 14 percent. It plans to split into two publicly traded companies.

The utility Pepco (POM) powered ahead by 17 percent after agreeing to be acquired by Exelon (EXC), which fell 3 percent.

PokerTek (PTEK) drew a full house, jumping 35 percent as it agreed to be acquired.

But a Chinese media firm, Lihua International (LIWA), lost half its value on allegations of securities fraud. It has reportedly ceased most of its operations this year.

What to Watch Thursday:
  • Automakers report April new car sales.
  • The Labor Department releases weekly jobless claims, and the Commerce Department releases personal income and spending for March, both 8:30 a.m. Eastern time.
  • At 10 a.m.: the Institute for Supply Management releases its manufacturing index for April; Freddie Mac releases weekly mortgage rates at 10 a.m.; and Commerce Department releases construction spending for March.
These major companies are scheduled to release quarterly financial results:
  • Beazer Homes (BZH)
  • Bunge (BG)
  • Cigna (CI)
  • ConocoPhillips (COP)
  • Domino's Pizza (DPZ)
  • Expedia (EXPE)
  • Exxon Mobil (XOM)
  • Kellogg (K)
  • Kraft Foods (KRFT)
  • Lazard (LAZ)
  • Legg Mason (LM)
  • LinkedIn (LNKD)
  • Marathon Petroleum (MPC)
  • MasterCard (MA)
  • Mohawk Industries (MHK)
  • T-Mobile US (TMUS)
  • Viacom (VIA)
  • Western Union (WU)
  • Wynn Resorts (WYNN)
-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.

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tim_wilson19 is filling the board with nothing but ignorant right wing rhetoric.

May 01 2014 at 10:35 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

The Rising Cost Of Living

As middle class incomes go down, the cost of almost everything that middle class families buy continues to go up.

The Federal Reserve claims that it has kept inflation "low" for decades, but that is a giant lie.

When you take a look at the long-term picture, it is amazing how much prices have changed.

Back in 1950, the average price of a new car was $1,510.

Today, the average price of a new car is $30,748.

In 1967, yearly tuition at Yale was $1,950.

Today it is $38,300.

And inflation continues to take a great toll on the paychecks of middle class families.

For example, electricity bills in the U.S. have risen faster than the overall rate of inflation for five years in a row.

Also, the price of gas has risen by more than 100 percent since Barack Obama entered the White House and the average U.S. household spent a staggering $4,155 on gasoline during 2011.

The Destruction Of Middle Class Wealth

What is the number one financial asset for most middle class families?

Most middle class families don't have a lot of stocks, bonds or other financial assets.

Instead, normally the family home is the number one financial asset for most middle class families, and in recent years the value of that asset has been absolutely decimated.

When you take inflation into account, housing prices have fallen all the way back to 1998 levels.

What Happens To Americans That Fall Out Of The Middle Class?

As the middle class shrinks, the ranks of the "low income" and "the poor" are absolutely swelling.

Today, approximately 48 percent of all Americans are either considered to be "low income" or are living in poverty.

That is almost half the country.

Each year, millions more fall out of the middle class. In 2010, 2.6 million more Americans fell into poverty. That was the biggest increase that we have seen since the U.S. government began keeping statistics on this back in 1959.

As the middle class shrinks, the number of Americans dependent on the government for survival rises. Right now, government dependence is at an all-time high and things are only going to get worse from here.

In November 2008 (when Barack Obama won the election), 30.8 million Americans were on food stamps. Today, more than 46 million Americans are on food stamps.

Will we eventually see 50 million or 60 million Americans on food stamps?

The U.S. economy desperately needs more middle class jobs.

Unfortunately, the Republicans failed to generate them under George W. Bush and the Democrats failed to generate them under Barack Obama.

Instead, both parties continue to promote the politics of division and they both continue to push for more of the same policies that got us into this mess in the first place.

Nothing is being done to solve our problems and so the middle class in America is going to be even smaller by this time next year.

If you still have a spot in the middle class, hold on to it as tightly as you can. It is not as secure as you might think.

May 01 2014 at 5:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to republicanslostagain's comment

May 01 2014 at 5:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

95 Percent Of The Jobs Lost During The Recession Were Middle Class Jobs

Who is the biggest loser in the ongoing decline of the U.S. economy? Is it the wealthy? No, the stock market has been soaring lately and their incomes are actually going up. Is it the poor? Well, the poor are definitely hurting very badly, but when you don't have much to begin with you don't have much to lose. Unfortunately, it is the middle class that has lost the most during this economic downturn. According to Bloomberg, 95 percent of the jobs lost during the recession were middle class jobs. That is an absolutely astounding figure. Yes, some executives lost their jobs during the last recession as did some minimum-wage workers. But overwhelmingly the jobs that were lost were middle income jobs. Sadly, the limited number of jobs that have been added since the end of the last recession have mostly been low income jobs. A higher percentage of Americans are working low income jobs than ever before, and the cost of living continues to rise at a very brisk pace. This is causing an erosion of the middle class unlike anything we have ever seen in American history.

When I was growing up I was taught that the fact that we had the largest middle class in the history of the world was evidence that our economic system was working incredibly well.

So what does the fact that the middle class is shrinking at a very rapid pace at this point say about how well our economy is working?

Middle Class Incomes Are Going Down

During the last recession, millions of Americans lost their jobs and the percentage of working age Americans that have jobs has not bounced back in the years since the recession ended.

But most middle class Americans still have jobs. The big problem for many middle class families is the fact that their incomes are not going up. In fact, after you account for inflation, middle class incomes are actually way down during the Obama years as a recent Bloomberg article explained....

As a candidate in 2008, Obama blamed the reversals largely on the policies of Bush and other Republicans. He cited census figures showing that median income for working-age households -- those headed by someone younger than 65 -- had dropped more than $2,000 after inflation during the first seven years of Bush’s time in office.

Yet real median household income in March was down $4,300 since Obama took office in January 2009 and down $2,900 since the June 2009 start of the economic recovery, according to an analysis of census data by Sentier Research, an economic- consulting firm in Annapolis, Maryland.

May 01 2014 at 5:39 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

CEO Pay 1,795-to-1 Multiple of Wages Skirts U.S. Law

Former fashion jewelry saleswoman Rebecca Gonzales and former Chief Executive Officer Ron Johnson have one thing in common: J.C. Penney Co. (JCP) no longer employs either.

The similarity ends there. Johnson, 54, got a compensation package worth 1,795 times the average wage and benefits of a U.S. department store worker when he was hired in November 2011, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Gonzales’s hourly wage was $8.30 that year.

Across the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index of companies, the average multiple of CEO compensation to that of rank-and-file workers is 204, up 20 percent since 2009, the data show. The numbers are based on industry-specific estimates for worker compensation.

Almost three years after Congress ordered public companies to reveal actual CEO-to-worker pay ratios under the Dodd-Frank law, the numbers remain unknown. As the Occupy Wall Street movement and 2012 election made income inequality a social flashpoint, mandatory disclosure of the ratios remained bottled up at the Securities and Exchange Commission, which hasn’t yet drawn up the rules to implement it. Some of America’s biggest companies are lobbying against the requirement.

“It’s a simple piece of information shareholders ought to have,” said Phil Angelides, who led the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, which investigated the economic collapse of 2008. “The fact that corporate executives wouldn’t want to display the number speaks volumes.” The lobbying is part of “a street-by-street, block-by-block fight waged by large corporations and their Wall Street colleagues” to obstruct the Dodd-Frank law, he said.

May 01 2014 at 5:21 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Senate Republicans Block Minimum Wage Bill

WASHINGTON -- Senate Democrats could not advance their bill to raise the minimum wage on Wednesday, failing by a vote of 54-42 to clear the filibuster threshold.

The vote was an early hurdle for legislation that Democrats have put at the top of their economic agenda for the year. Even if the measure eventually garners the 60 votes needed to overcome a Republican filibuster in the Senate, it still faces long odds in the GOP-controlled House, where Republicans have shown no interest in bringing it to the floor.

Senate Republicans were expected to block the bill, which would raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour and tie it to inflation so that it rises with the cost of living. Democrats are hoping the issue will play well for them in this midterm election year given the overwhelming support among the general public for hiking the minimum wage.

May 01 2014 at 11:57 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Barthold is still a fool.

May 01 2014 at 7:48 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

I do not understand how anyone can trust the republicans. Hope all you republicans are saving your money for retirement for the GOP wants to get rid of all the entitlement programs. If you are on social security or soon to be, thank a democrat. If you want to end these 2 fine programs vote republican. blackneck, go back to kindergarden and finish your education.

May 01 2014 at 4:11 AM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply

obamit n dummycraps gave themselves a raise, n taxed the hell out of all middle class ,but obamit n dummycraps shot down the minimum wage n raised their middle finger to all the middle class. !! what a disgrace. !!

April 30 2014 at 11:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to blackneck_welfarerecip's comment

The blockhead Republicans blocked the minimum wage bill which only benefits corporate America. Redneck_welfarerecip

May 01 2014 at 3:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


CRUZ/PAUL 2016!!!!!

April 30 2014 at 11:19 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Why this is great news! so while the rich get richer and the misery index goes higher I can still works three jobs and barely put food on the table. all of this casino economy is fraud. the house always wins

April 30 2014 at 9:41 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply