Fresh off yesterday's 91-point win, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI -1.63%) dropped 99 points Wednesday following more war-like words from world leaders in the wake of Russia's Crimea business.
Obama calls out Putin in Brussels speech, rattles markets
Straight out of Brussels, the leaders of the free world are showing their muscles. The artist formerly known as the "Group of 8" (Russia got booted last week), the Group of 7 met in Belgium for three days' worth of emergency geopolitical policy meetings focused on Russia after its recent "merger/acquisition" of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula.
In his big speech to cap off the summit, President Obama made clear that this "isn't the Cold War" and that in the 21st century big nations can't "bully" around little ones. He also directly countered Vladimir Putin's claim that U.S. intervention in Iraq, Afghanistan, and (back in the '90s) Yugoslavia were no different from Russia's Crimea snag, arguing that we didn't annex those countries for our own personal resource gain.
The takeaway is that Obama already instituted a round of trade restrictions last week, which sent the Russian stock market down -- and now investors are worried the growing trade restrictions may escalate further. And since Russia supplies 30% of Europe's natural gas through Ukraine, things could get ugly.
King Digital drops 16% in first day trading as public stock
The Street has spoken, and it thinks that initial investors got ripped-off in Tuesday's initial public offering of King Digital Entertainment (KING.DL). The company raised $500 million Tuesday by selling about 22 million shares to VIP, institutional, and retail investors at $22.50 each. On Wednesday the shares were dumped into the masses at the New York Stock Exchange and they sank big, gradually falling 16% for a horrible first trading day.
Even though Candy Crush is expected to bring in more than $2 billion of revenue alone next year, investors know how quickly consumers quit these smartphone games. Remember when Farmville was a moneymaker for Zynga? Old McDonald doesn't want to lose his farm again.
The Street still believes King Digital will bring in big profits (hence the $6 billion market cap at the end of the first trading day). But Thursday's stock price drop from $22.50 to $19 shows that those IPO investors already got burned 16%.
Citigroup fails 2nd round of Federal Reserve "stress tests"
Nothing's worse than taking a test twice, especially the Federal Reserve's stress test. Last Friday, the nation's central bank reported that 29 of 30 participants of its annual exam got a thumbs-up. But following the second round of the stress test, only 25 banks made it through -- and the losers were RBS, Santander, Zions, HSBC, and Citigroup (C -3.02%).
Keep in mind that this is just a test. Since the financial crisis in 2008, the Fed uses annual stress tests to determine how America's largest financial institutions would hold up given a sudden market collapse. Basically, the Fed uses a bunch of economic disaster scenarios to tell whether the banks could keep on functioning and whether they could still lend if the world fell apart. This second test was about reserves and presents for shareholders.
Citibank wants to hook its shareholders up with more cash (dividends and share buybacks), but all the banks need approval from the Fed on their dividend plans. Since Citigroup failed, it will have to hold off on the early Christmas gifts for investors.
After-hours traders are punishing Citi with big drops in the stock price. The Fed determined that Citi's plans were way too generous, and it needs to resubmit a new application if it wants to release capital. That's worse than having to wait a second time in the line at the DMV.
- U.S. GDP reading
- Weekly Jobless Claims
- Pending Home Sales
MarketSnacks Fact of the Day: Bacon sales climbed 9.5% last year to an all-time high of $4 billion.
As originally published on MarketSnacks.com