Markets Continue to Fall as the Dow Loses 78 Points

Markets continued to fall today, losing about half of a percent across the board. The Dow fell by -77.94 points, or 0.44%, to close at 17,698.18. The S&P 500 was down juyst -8.20 points and closed at 2,059.69. The NASDAQ was hit harder, shedding -20.66 points and closing out the day's trading at 4,880.23. In overseas trading, markets were mostly up. The sole exception was Japan's Nikkei, which lost -170.61 points to close at 19,034.84. Hong Kong's Hang Seng lead the gainers, adding 181.86 points to close the day at 25,082.75.

Oil Breaks $50 And The Energy Sector Rises.  The price of crude oil broke through the self-imposed $50 ceiling again today, for the first time in nearly a week.
The rise in the future price of crude helped a few companies in the energy sector make a profit. Refiner NuStar (NS) gained 1.32 points to close at $62.02. Nabors Industries (NBR) was up 0.43 points to $14.08, and Sanchez Production Partners (SPP), a micro-cap oil and gas producer, rose 10.53% to $2.10 per share.

Apple Shares Expected To Rise On Coming Dividend Announcement.  Device maker Apple (AAPL) has had, by all accounts, an excellent year. Although the stock isn't known for issuing large dividends, this quarter may be difference since Apple is coming off of record-breaking profits. Look for the share price of Apple to continue to rise as a dividend announcement is set to be made in the coming weeks. Apple shares fell slightly today, down just -0.18 points to close at $124.25.

Federal Decision Takes A Toll On Utilities. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a ruling today that puts off a decision on whether or not to allow expansion by PJM, a private regional electricity wholesale supplier. NRG Energy (NRG), which relies in part on electricity from PJM in order to supply household consumers, fell by over 6% on the news. NRG lost -1.59 points to close at $23.60 per share. Calpine Corp (CPN), which is in a similar situation to NRG, also fell today, losing -0.77 points to close the day's trading at $22.10. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is expected to either approve or deny PJM's proposal after more evidence is submitted. 

Monsanto Up 4% Despite Earnings Miss.  Agri-tech giant Monsanto (MON) has had a hard quarter, missing profit forecasts and struggling to expand market share. None of that seemed to matter today, when the stock rose despite an announcement that earnings would miss the mark. Monsanto stock rose by 4.42 points to close at $116.96 per share.

Windstream Struggling Back Despite Dividend Cut.  The bottom fell out on Windstream (WIN) last week when share prices fell by 5%. After an announcement that it would cut its dividends -- down from the highest in the entire S&P 500 -- share prices began to recover. Today, Windstream gained 0.37 points, or 5%, to close at $7.77 per share. It's expected that the company will recover to previous levels by the end of the week.
Published on Apr 1, 2015
By Aaron Phillips
Aaron Phillips is a financial researcher and journalist based out of Michigan. He regularly writes the IG Daily and IG Weekly columns.

Copyrighted 2016. Content published with author's permission.

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