Dow Jones Industrial Average Today Jumps 21 Points as Healthcare Stocks Advance

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With 2016 representing the ongoing rise of organic corporate growth, firms are relying more and more on mergers and acquisitions to capture market share. Monday was another one of those days in which the phenomenon ran wild. Despite the continued shift from sector oligarchies to duopolies or worse, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained only 21 points. Shares of both Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) were the biggest laggards on the Dow, while healthcare stocks pushed the market higher.

Here’s what you need to know about the markets on Monday, March 21, 2016.

First, check out the results for the Dow Jones, S&P 500, and Nasdaq:

Dow Jones Industrial Average
Dow Jones:
17,623.87; +21.57; +0.12%

S&P 500: 2,051.60; +2.02; +0.10%

Nasdaq: 4,808.87; +13.23; +0.28%

Now, here’s the top stock market news today…

DJIA Today: Home Sales Slump, Merger Mania Swells, Oil Prices Rise

Richmond Federal Reserve Bank President Jeffrey Lacker and Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank President Dennis Lockhart both offered speeches today on the state of the U.S. economy. Lacker said he was confident that inflation was on pace to hit its 2% target but did not offer insight into whether the U.S. central bank should raise interest rates this year. Meanwhile, Lockhart argued the U.S. economy could justify an interest rate hike as soon as April. Once again, the markets are confused by sentiment of Federal Reserve members. It was chatter like this that had Money Morning Capital Wave Strategist Shah Gilani looking at the recent market rally and sharing with readers why things are starting to resemble the pattern of what happened to the Dow Jones Industrial Average in 2008. Read his warning, right here.

Oil prices rose in a choppy day of commodity trading. WTI futures for April delivery – which expired today – gained 1.2% to $39.91, while Brent futures for May added 0.8% to close at $41.54. Traders are keeping a close eye on the status of an upcoming meeting of global exporters representing 73% of the global oil trade. In the United States, new data suggests an uptick in domestic production, albeit a small one. Baker Hughes Inc. (NYSE: BHI) said the nation added one rig last week following 12 straight weeks of declines. Over the last year, U.S. oil rigs have declined by roughly 66% as falling oil prices fail to justify output.

On the economic front, existing U.S. home sales cratered in February. Economists and analysts suggest this is a possible concern for the American economy after sales fell 7.1% to its lowest level since November. However, it should be noted that a shortage of inventory exists at the same time that rising prices are keeping some buyers out of the housing market. Here’s the issue in a nutshell: There are plenty of low-price, low-quality properties, but high quality is in low quantity, and these properties cost a premium in today’s market.

But the big talk today was another flurry of mergers, headlined by a deal to create a monster of a hotel company.

Following a huge bid by China’s Anbang Insurance for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. (NYSE: HOT), Marriott International Inc. (Nasdaq: MAR) increased its bid and secured a deal to purchase its rival. The newly sweetened cash and stock deal is worth $13.6 billion. HOT stock jumped 4.5% on the news, while MAR shares were off 1.2%.

Next, U.S. paint manufacturer Sherwin-Williams Co. (NYSE: SHW) announced plans to purchase rival The Valspar Corp. (NYSE: VAL) in an all-cash deal worth $8.9 billion.

Finally, business analytics group IHS Inc. (NYSE: IHS) beat Wall Street EPS expectations and announced plans to combine with financial information firm Markit Ltd. (Nasdaq: MRKT) in a merger of equals worth roughly $13 billion.

Now, let’s look at the day’s biggest stock movers and today’s must-own stock…

Top Stock Market News Today

  • Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) kicked off its first big media event on Monday, where the firm unveiled the latest, smaller edition of its iPhone. It also unveiled a newer, smaller version of the iPad Pro and a variety of bands for the Apple Watch. According to RBC, the new iPhone, with a four-inch screen, could generate billions in new sales. AAPL stock was flat on the day.
  • Shares of Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. (NYSE: VRX) surged 7.4% on news its CEO Michael Pearson will step down and activist investor Bill Ackman will join its board of directors. Despite the pop in share prices, Money Morning Global Credit Strategist Michael Lewitt explains why you should ignore this stock entirely in 2016. Here’s the breakdown.
  • Finally, here is your stock pick of the day. You think that wireless communications is a booming industry now, but let us tell you… you haven’t seen anything yet. By 2020, we’ll be using 50 billion connected “things” worldwide. What’s going to be connected? Cars, factory robots, thermostats, vending machines, industrial tractors, warehouse forklifts… you name it, there will be a wireless signal. And Money Morning Defense & Tech Specialist Michael A. Robinson wants to show you a tech stock tapped into this unstoppable trend that combines high yields and market-beating gains. Odds are you haven’t heard of it, and neither have your friends.

Oil prices have suffered one of the worst crashes in modern history. But WTI prices have seen a strong rally over the last month, and there’s one reason why they’ll keep going higher in 2016 and beyond…

What Investors Must Know This Week

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