Stocks lost ground to start the week as the Dow suffered the biggest losses, falling more than 0.5%. Markets were still taking stock of headlines out of Greece over the weekend which suggested little progress had been made between Greece and its EU creditors.
First, the scoreboard:
Dow: 17,729.2, -95.1, (-0.5%)
S&P 500: 2,046.7, -8.7, (-0.4%)
Nasdaq: 4,726, -18.4, (-0.4%)
And now, the top stories on Monday:
1. It's been a volatile year for stocks. Year-to-date, each of the major stock averages are slightly in the red, but the real story has been how rocky of a road it's been to this point. In an email, the NYSE's Rich Barry wrote that Monday marked the 26th trading day of the year, and almost served as the 18th time that the Dow moved up or down 100 points or more. Talk about ups and downs.
2. We're still in the heart of fourth quarter earnings season, and while earnings per share have come in a bit better than expected, revenue expectations for the S&P 500 in 2015 are now flat compared to the prior year. In a note to clients, Goldman Sachs' David Kostin wrote that, "Consensus now forecasts 0% S&P 500 sales growth in 2015 following a 5% cut in revenue forecasts since October. Low oil prices along with FX headwinds and pension charges have weighed on 4Q EPS results and expectations for 2015."
3. We're still digesting the fallout from the RadioShack bankruptcy filing last week. Over the weekend, we highlighted the complete list of RadioShack stores set to close by the end of March. And Business Insider's Ashley Lutz noted on a Monday, a report in The Wall Street Journal suggested that the decline in RadioShack could, as much as anything, be tied to the decline in leisure time for the American worker.
4. Oil is still at the top of the market's mind, and in a note to clients on Monday, Citi's Ed Morse said that West Texas Intermediate crude oil prices could fall as low as $20 as the oil market still looks to balance supply and demand. "It's impossible to call a bottom point," Morse wrote. On Monday, WTI continued its recent upswing, adding another 2% to move back towards $53 a barrel.
5. Companies in the oil and gas space continue to deliver bad news to the market, with oil company SandRidge reportedly set to announce a 75% reduction in its oil rigs, according to a report from Reuters. Reuters reported that SandRidge will implement these cuts through early April, and comes after the company's stock has fallen by about 70% over the last year.
(Newser) - Being born pregnant is so rare it has only been documented 200 times, but it does happen. Now researchers are reporting this week in the Hong Kong Medical Journal on the November 2010 case of a newborn girl thought to have two tumors in her abdomen that were found to... More »
(Newser) - Bruce Jenner has released a statement about the fatal car accident he was involved in Saturday, saying he "cannot pretend to imagine" what the family of the victim, 69-year-old Kim Howe of Calabasas, is going through. "My heartfelt and deepest sympathies go out to the family and loved... More »
(Newser) - Australia sees an average of one shark attack death every 12 months—but a brutal attack on a Japanese surfer has brought the total to four fatalities in the past year, the Guardian reports. Tadashi Nakahar, 41, lost both his legs and died at the scene as fellow surfers tried... More »
(Newser) - Debtors prisons vanished from most of the US in the 1830s, but Ferguson, Mo., is still routinely locking up people who can't afford to pay fines, according to a group of civil rights lawyers suing the city. A pair of lawsuits accuses Ferguson and Jennings, another St. Louis suburb,... More »
(Newser) - A former mining tycoon who led a mafia-style crime gang that ran casinos and killed rivals has been executed along with four of the gang's members, a court in central China said today. Liu Han had been chairman of energy conglomerate Sichuan Hanlong Group in the southwestern province of... More »
(Newser) - A man who tried to stop a robbery in a Wisconsin bar has been charged with a felony because he wasn't supposed to be carrying the Taser he allegedly threatened the suspect with. According to WKBT-TV , Jeff Steele was at the King's Korner bar in La Crosse just... More »
Drew Peterson, who is serving a 38-year sentence for killing his third wife and is suspected in his fourth wife's disappearance, is now charged with trying to kill an Illinois prosecutor. Peterson faces two felony counts after allegedly attempting to hire a hit man to take out Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow. The murder-for-hire charge he's facing carries a mandatory sentence of 20 years.
In the first full interview after it was revealed that Brian Williams misreported his involvement in an Iraq fire fight, the NBC anchor explained that his faulty memories stemmed from being afraid during his "first engagement of the war." "It was like landing on the surface of the moon," he told Stars and Stripes on February 4. "And I'm going to have a far different recollection than the professionals." He added: "All I knew is we had been fired upon." Williams also expressed frustration that the controversy could overshadow the Army unit he was with.
Just hours before same-sex weddings were set to begin in the heart of Dixie, Alabama Chief Justice Roy S. Moore ordered the state's probate judges not to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. In the order, Moore instructed officials not to "issue or recognize a marriage license that is inconsistent" with the state constitution or state law. Bibb County Probate Judge Jerry Pow said he would not issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples because "I don't know whether I want to defy the chief justice of the state supreme court or a federal judge." However, certain judges have refused to follow Moore's orders and have begun issuing marriage licenses. As of 8:30 a.m. local time, marriages began in Jefferson County. (The U.S. Supreme Court also said it would not block gay marriages in Alabama.) This isn't Moore's first national act of defiance. Moore made headlines in the early 2000s with his refusal to remove a Ten Commandments monument from a judicial building, a fight he lost.
The United State may provide Ukraine with lethal arms if the conflict there can't be resolved with diplomacy. President Obama said Monday that he may arm the Ukrainian military to "bolster its defenses," even though such a move could create a rift between the U.S. and European countries like Germany, which strongly opposes sending arms. "It is true that, if in fact diplomacy fails, what I've asked my team to do is to look at all options," Obama said. "And the possibility of lethal defensive weapons is one of those options that is being examined, but I have not made a decision on that yet." Europe has approved more sanctions against Russia that will go into effect next week.
The premiere of Breaking Bad spin-off Better Call Saul was the highest-rated series debut in cable TV history. Some 6.9 million people watched Sunday night, right after the mid-season premiere of The Walking Dead. What's more, Saul scored big with the 4.4 million viewers in the 18-49 age range. The two back-to-back shows may have drawn viewers away from the Grammys, which had its lowest ratings in six years.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he is determined to continue with plans for an upcoming speech to Congress, despite criticism he has received both at home and abroad. Netanyahu is scheduled to address a joint meeting of Congress on March 3, after receiving an invitation from House Speaker John Boehner. Speaking on Monday, he said it is his duty to prevent Iran's nuclear program from moving forward and called it "an existential issue." Israeli officials previously said Netanyahu may speak in a closed-door session or at the annual AIPAC conference as an alternative. The White House has criticized the visit, and Vice President Joe Biden said he would not attend the speech.
The private Swiss banking arm of HSBC helped some of its wealthiest clients hide billions of dollars in assets and evade taxes, according to newly leaked files. HSBC provided bank accounts to international criminals and corrupt businessmen and helped their clients conceal undeclared "black" accounts from their national tax authorities, the files show. HSBC also regularly let its wealthiest clients withdraw bricks of cash in foreign currencies. The files, which were pored over by international news outlets, including the Guardian, BBC, and Le Monde, covered 2005-2007. During that time, HSBC made these questionable services available to some 30,000 clients, affecting $120 billion in assets.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has tracked the current measles outbreak and found that 121 people were afflicted by the disease between January 1 to February 6 of this year. The CDC says it is traced to the outbreak that began at Disneyland and found that the majority of those who got it were unvaccinated. Last year, there were 23 measles outbreaks, with a total of 644 cases, most occurring within the Amish communities in Ohio.
The founder of Groupon now says it was a "stupid, boring idea that just happened to resonate." Andrew Mason was kicked out of Groupon in 2013 after transforming an online company devoted to social services into the discount service site in 2008. Under his watch, Groupon was valued as high as $13 billion in 2011, but the company plummeted in value and its stock fell more than 80 percent below its IPO. Mason says he isn't bitter about how things worked out with Groupon; he just doesn't seem to care. "I Google it from time to time, but I have moved on," he said.
Airbnb seems to be driving down the cost of some hotels in New York City, according to Credit Suisse analysts. The prices of hotel rooms have dropped thanks to bad weather (keeping tourists away), a weaker euro (keeping continental tourists away), and competition between Airbnb and small boutique hotels. "With as many as 10,000 units or more available at a time, we can see that on the margin this excess capacity can place pressure on a number of hotel locations that rely on leisure demand for those with an appetite for value/adventure," Credit Suisse wrote in a report. In January, revenue-per-room in New York hotels declined 18.6 percent over the previous January.
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