Some days are bigger than others when it comes to news impacting stocks. And today is one of those days. Indeed, despite a relatively placid day in the markets overall -- the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI ) is down by a non-noteworthy 37 points roughly halfway through the trading session -- a handful of the most important stocks are making waves.
Today's biggest stories
Fast-food giant McDonald's (NYSE: MCD ) has take a page out of the recent playbooks at Apple and Microsoft. The burger chain announced this morning that it's replacing the president of its U.S. operations after notching the first monthly decline in same-store sales since 2003. A company spokesperson said it was a "decision by senior management." Apple and Microsoft had both made similar moves within the past few weeks following disappointing feedback related to their revamped operating systems. Shares in McDonald's are down by 0.7% in intraday trading.
Also in the fast-food space, Starbucks (Nasdaq: SBUX ) announced plans on Wednesday to acquire Teavana Holdings (NYSE: TEA ) , a principally mall-based retailer of high-end tea products. The acquisition comes on the heels of Starbucks' decision to expand into emerging markets such as India, where tea is preferred over coffee.
In an interview on CNBC, Starbucks' CEO Howard Schultz said that: "We're buying a business that is in its early stages and once it's powered by Starbucks capability we're looking at a huge opportunity domestically and internationally that will serve our shareholders well." Shares in Starbucks are trading marginally lower today while Teavana's shot up by approximately 50% following the announcement yesterday.
According to reports, Bank of America (NYSE: BAC ) , the nation's second-largest lender by assets, said that it's halfway through fulfilling its obligation to provide $7.6 billion in debt relief to underwater home owners. The obligation relates to the National Mortgage Settlement, which settled state and federal investigations "finding that the country's five largest mortgage servicers routinely signed foreclosure related documents outside the presence of a notary public and without really knowing whether the facts they contained were correct."
To date, B of A has provided a total of $15.8 billion in consumer relief to roughly 164,000 homeowners -- the relief isn't dollar for dollar with the credits. On a conference call with reporters, officials at the bank said that 30,000 customers got first-lien modifications, 45,000 got home equity relief, and 62,000 completed short-sales or deeds in lieu of foreclosure. The bank estimates that it will have fulfilled its obligations under the National Mortgage Settlement within the first year of the three-year deadline.
Shares in Bank of America were down significantly yesterday and are trading higher today by just under 1%.
The Foolish bottom line
To make money in the market, investors need a competitive advantage. While many traders on Wall Street rely on algorithms and instinct, the same methods simply aren't as applicable to retail investors. To be a successful investor, in turn, it's imperative to know about the companies you invest in. And there's no better way to advance in this regard than by reading our in-depth reports on the market's favorite stocks.
To learn why our in-house banking analyst and resident Bank of America expert, Anand Chokkavelu, believes that shares in the megabank could "double or triple over the next five years," I urge you to download our in-depth report on the lender. It discusses both the risks and the opportunities associated with holding its stock, and even comes with regular updates. To access a copy of this eye-opening report instantly, simply click here now.