The Dow is back in the high life again. The index will open this morning at a record after ending yesterday's session at 14,253, a level never seen before. The Dow rose .89% during the session yesterday. That erased the prior record of 14,164 set back in October 2007.
The European Union is taking unprecedented action against Microsoft MSFT. Its anti-trust authority is fining the company $731 million. The authority says the software-maker fell back on a promise and failed to offer users a choice of web browser. The EU says Microsoft made a legally binding commitment back in 2009. This is the first time the EU's anti-trust wing has fined a company for failing to meet its obligations. The unit says the penalty is designed to be a deterrent for other companies in similar situations.
J-C Penney's (JCP) CEO may soon be shown the door. The Wall Street Journal reports that if Ron Johnson can't turn things around, either he'll be replaced, or the board will put the company up for sale. Board members include Steve Roth who just unloaded $55 million dollars in Penney stock, and Bill Ackman who helped install Johnson as CEO last year. JCP shares bled an additional 10.5% yesterday to close just under $15.
While we're talking about companies in crisis, Groupon (GRPN) says don't expect any changes to its business model. The company fired its Founder and CEO Andrew Mason last week. The search for a replacement is on.
STOCKS TO WATCH
Staples (SPLS) the office superstore missed estimates when it released earnings this morning. Staples says it earned 12-cents a share. That's down from 41-cents a year earlier. Of course the company may also be bracing for more competition as Office Depot and OfficeMax merge. Staples stock is currently trading closer to its 52-week low than its high which was just shy of $17.
PetSmart (PETM) will be reporting after today's closing bell. Analysts say PetSmart may be one of the few big box stores that's resistant to show-rooming. That's because it not only offers products you can buy online, but also specializes in services like grooming and vet care. PetSmart stock popped last spring, and has been trading relatively flat since then.
Also today, we get to hear whether Speedway Motor Sports TRK is on the right track, when it reports earnings. It's been a bumpy year for the company. But shares were up more than 3% yesterday. Speedway Motor Sports operates a number of race tracks around the country. It just inked a deal with the National Rifle Association to hold a race known as the NRA 500 in Texas next month.
Finally, Acura Pharmaceuticals ACUR rose an astounding 48% yesterday. If you're wondering what's behind the jump, Acura says the Kerr Drug store chain will start carrying its decongestant Nexafed. The medication is specially formulated so that it's difficult to turn into methamphetamine.
ONE LAST ITEM
Boeing BA has been taking a bit of a rap for its grounded 787s. Now a pilot without a Dreamliner to fly is rapping about it. Here's the link, burt be warned it has lots of f-bombs. The performing pilot posted this video on YouTube. He works for Air India. Most airlines have their pilots fly just one model of plane at a time to cut back on the risk of cockpit errors. This guy hasn't been airborne since January 16th.