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Stock Market Today: 5 Must-Read Stories

This is a syndicated repost courtesy of Money Morning. To view original, click here. Reposted with permission.

For the fourth straight trading session, U.S. stocks climbed on news that General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) and Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) and other companies beat quarterly expectations.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average today fell 16 points to 16,408.5; the S&P 500 gained 2.5 points to 1,864.8; the Nasdaq rose 9.2 points to 4,095.5.

Here’s your recap of today’s major market events:

  1. Insider Trading at BP: The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has charged a senior BP (NYSE ADR: BP) employee with insider trading, after he dumped shares in the wake of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon. Keith A. Seilhan, who spearheaded the company’s cleanup from the Gulf oil spill, allegedly dumped the shares after he learned of the extent of the spill, before it was officially reported. At the time, it was publicly reported that the spill was expanding at a rate of about 5,000 barrels per day, while BP’s private estimates were closer to 50,000 barrels per day. In dumping his family-owned shares, Seilhan avoided a 48% stock loss, equal to about $100,000.
  2. Another Money Service: Another titan is going to enter the money transfer sector. On Thursday, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) announced plans to create its own domestic money transfer service called “Walmart-2-Walmart.” The strategic partnership with Ria Money Transfer will directly compete against Western Union Co. (NYSE: WU). Wal-Mart will begin its service on April 24. The new service allows consumers to transfer money across the company’s 4,000 retail centers. Western Union is already feeling the impact. Its shares slipped by 4.5% this afternoon.
  3. Manufacturing Rises: The Philadelphia Fed’s manufacturing index in the regional factory sector hit 16.6 in April, reaching its highest point since September 2013. The data is a strong bounce from the 9.0 in March and -6.3 in February. The Philly Fed had previously stated the impact of winter weather on business activity in the region in previous statements.
  1. Go Directly to Jail: Former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) director Rajat Gupta will begin a two-year prison term for insider trading on June 17. A U.S. District Judge in New York City ordered Gupta to surrender by 2:00 p.m. that day. Gupta was convicted in June 2012 of four criminal felony counts of conspiracy and securities fraud. In addition to a two-year sentence, he will have an extra year of supervised release and will pay $5 million in fines.
  2. That’s A Lot of Brew: Bud Light was the best-selling beer in the United States in 2013, and it wasn’t even close in the great beer race. According to Information Resources’ data on cases of beer sold by brand, type, and percent of total sales, one in five beers sold last year was Anheuser-Busch’s (NYSE: BUD) light beer. According to the Vox.com, Bud Light represented 20.07% of total case sales. Second place went to Molson Coors Brewing Co.’s (NYSE: TAP) beer Coors Light at 8.07%. Given Bud Light’s huge surge in sales, the company has rewarded its advertising agency BBDO, a subsidiary of Omnicom Group (NYSE: OMC), with the accounts of every Bud Light extension, including Bud Light Platinum and Bud Light Lime. Shares of Anheuser Busch hit a 52-week high on Thursday.

The markets are closed tomorrow for Good Friday, so we’ll be back on Monday at our regularly scheduled time…

Read the reast of this post at Dow Jones Industrial Average Today: Your 5 Must-Read Stories originally published at Money Morning.

Wall Street Examiner Disclosure: Lee Adler, The Wall Street Examiner reposts third party content with the permission of the publisher. The opinions expressed in these reposts are not those of the Wall Street Examiner or Lee Adler, unless authored by me, under my byline. I curate posts here on the basis of whether they represent an interesting and logical point of view, that may or may not agree with my own views. Some of the content includes the original publisher's promotional messages. No endorsement of such content is either expressed or implied by posting the content. All items published here are matters of information and opinion, and are neither intended as, nor should you construe it as, individual investment advice. Do your own due diligence when considering the offerings of information providers, or considering any investment.

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