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U.S. Markets open year in red; George Soros warns; General Mills changes Cheerios

U.S. Markets open year in red; George Soros warns; General Mills changes Cheerios

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U.S. Markets open year in red; George Soros warns; General Mills changes Cheerios

U.S. Markets open year in red; George Soros warns; General Mills changes Cheerios
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Markets fell in the U.S. on the first trading day of 2014. The S&P 500 (^GSPC) had its worst day in three weeks, closing down almost a percent. And the Dow (^DJI) had its worst day since November 7, falling 135 points. Meanwhile the U.S. dollar surged yesterday on expectations of a stronger economy.

Facebook (FB) is being sued over alleged monitoring of private messages. Two Facebook users have filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of all Facebook users in the U.S. who use private messaging. The two claim Facebook scans private messages and the links within those messages, then sells what it learns to advertisers. The suit claims that users reveal information they wouldn't want to be known about themselves in these messages because they believe the feature is "free from surveillance." Facebook says the "allegations are without merit."

General Mills (GIS), the maker of Cheerios, said it has started making the cereal without any ingredients containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs). This is one of the biggest brands to make the change, which only affects original Cheerios. It's seen as significant since some major food manufacturers have rebuffed calls to eliminate GMOs or label foods that contain them. Critics of GMOs argue they cause health problems but food companies argue there's no proof. Still, Whole Foods will require GMO labeling by 2018, and Chipotle Mexican Grills (CMG) and Kashi cereals say they are working on taking GMOs out of their food.

And BlackBerry (BBRY) is saying goodbye to songstress Alicia Keys. The phone maker had hired her as global creative director last January. The company is parting ways with the Grammy-winner as it moves away from the consumer market and focuses on corporate and government clients.

Now a look at five hot stocks The Yahoo Finance team will be watching for you today.

First up is FireEye (FEYE), whose stock jumped close to 23% in after-hours trading yesterday. Why the surge? The computer security firm announced it will acquire rival, Mandiant Corp. for $1.05 billion in cash and stock. FireEye says it now expects the combined revenue to grow about 50% this year. FireEye started the year on a down-note, dropping almost 6% in regular trading, but things are already looking up.

Next, we have General Motors (GM) and Ford (F). Both companies could see shares move as the automakers release their U.S. sales data for December today. Analysts are predicting around 1.4 million new cars and trucks were sold last month in the U.S. That would make December the fourth best month of the year. G.M. is expected to see a rise of 0.8% in sales last month according to Edmunds.com. Ford is expected to see a rise of 5.9% in December sales. G.M. shares rose over 40% in 2013, while Ford shares rose close to 17%.

Now, chipmaker Micron Technology (MU), whose slide this morning came after the stock was downgraded by RBC Capital to sector perform from outperform. Micron was one of 2013's top stocks, up more than 228%.

Finally, Martha Stewart Living (MSO) saw its stock rise close to 9% by closing yesterday and could see more action today. The stock jump was in response to an announcement that Martha Stewart and Macy's (M) reached a settlement in a breach-of-contract suit. Macy's sued Martha Stewart and J.C. Penney (JCP) in 2012 after the two companies partnered up. Macy's claimed exclusive rights to many of the products Stewart agreed to design for J.C. Penney. Martha Stewart Living saw share soar over 62% in 2013, and is looking for an even better 2014 after this settlement.

As we mentioned, General Mills is making Cheerios free of genetically modified ingredients. It's one of the highest profile brands to make this change in response to complaints over GMOs. So let us know, is it important to you that more brands move away from GMOs, or is it a non-issue? Let us know and keep in mind that the food companies argue this change is impractical in some cases and costly in general, and they've argued even labeling could mean higher prices. Vote below and leave your thoughts in the comments.

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