Stock Market Today: Buffett's Latest Buy and Netflix's Big Payout

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

Expect a flat start to the stock market today, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) is set to rise by just two points at the opening bell. Heading into the final trading day of 2013, the Dow is up 29%, including dividends, which makes this the best year for stocks since the mid-1990s. Meanwhile, news is breaking this morning on a few stocks that could see heavy trading in the session, including, Phillips 66 (NYSE: PSX  ) , Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX  ) , and Hertz Global Holdings (NYSE: HTZ  ) .

Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-A  ) (NYSE: BRK-B  ) is purchasing a division of energy company Phillips 66 that develops the technology behind maximizing the flow throughput of pipelines. The deal is worth about $1.4 billion, according to Reuters, and will be funded entirely using Phillips 66 shares that Berkshire already owns. In announcing the purchase, Berkshire CEO Warren Buffett called the flow improvement division "a high-quality business with consistently strong financial performance." Phillips 66 CEO Greg Garland also sounded pleased with the deal, saying Berkshire's bid was a "strong offer." Phillips 66 shares are up 1% in premarket trading.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings is getting a hefty pay raise this year. According to new financial filings, Hastings is set to earn a $3 million salary in 2014, along with $3 million in stock options, for a 50% boost over his 2013 compensation. Still, that pay raise seems justified given that Hastings has overseen subscriber growth of 10 million paying members -- almost 40% of Netflix's base -- over the last four quarters. Shareholders should have no complaints either, as the stock is the single best performer in the S&P 500 this year. The streaming video and DVD rental company's stock is unchanged in premarket trading.

Finally, shares of Hertz are on the move after the car rental company last night adopted a shareholder rights plan, also known as a "poison pill." The plan is designed to prevent activist investors from accumulating a controlling stake in the company, and is a response to what management called "unusual and substantial activity" in the stock. Still, Hertz said the move as precautionary in nature and wasn't a response to any specific takeover or buyout bid. Nevertheless, some investors appear to be betting that the demand for Hertz's shares could spike, as the stock is up 4.3% in premarket trading.

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