Markets are calm while investors wait for the Federal Reserve to release its latest statement at 2 p.m. EDT on what it will do with interest rates. As of 1 p.m. EDT the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) was up just two points, or 0.01%, the S&P 500 was up 0.02%, and the Nasdaq was down 0.07%. While it is difficult to say whether the Fed will continue to decrease its asset purchase amounts (now at $65 billion per month), regardless of the content of the announcement the major indexes are likely to move quite a bit more this afternoon than they have to this point.
Speaking of big moves, shares of real estate website Zillow (NASDAQ:ZG) were up more than 1.6% today. This morning the company announced it was launching an online mortgage pre-approval tool that will allow users to easily obtain a pre-approval letter from a reputable lender online in just a few minutes. Zillow believes this will give its users an edge over the competition, which in turn may give Zillow an edge over its competitors. The new tool comes online just before the imminent spring shopping season.
Another winner is Pandora (NYSE:P) as shares are up 0.2%. The small jump comes following the announcement that Pandora is raising its radio streaming subscription price from $3.99 a month to $4.99 and will no longer offer the $36 annual subscription. The company will still offer the free ad-supported service, which most of the 75 million active listeners use anyways. Only about 3.3 million customers pay the subscription rate at this point, but these are the company's heaviest users. Pandora needs to increase prices to offset rising royalties costs.
FedEx (NYSE:FDX) shares dropped 0.25% after the shipper reported quarterly earnings before the opening bell. The economic bellwether reported profit of $1.23 per share, below the $1.46 analysts were looking for; revenue was $11.3 billion, just slightly off the $11.4 billion Wall Street wanted to see. Management blamed the weather for the weaker than expected results. It has been estimated that winter storms during the quarter costs the company's ground business $40 million. The weak quarter also caused management to lower its full-year forecast, which is certainly not what investors wanted to see.
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