To taper or not to taper, that is the question we're all waiting to hear from the Fed this week. Also Google (GOOG) buys a robot dog. And why Sprint (S) and T-Mobile (TMUS) look to be big movers this week. But first, here are this morning's business headlines.
U.S. futures were up this morning as the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 were coming off of two down weeks in a row, and investors turned their focus to the Fed. The two-day FOMC meeting begins tomorrow. We'll get a policy announcement Wednesday, and traders are waiting to see if the Fed will begin to cut back on its $85 billion monthly bond-buying program. Only about one quarter of economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal expect the Fed to announce it will taper this week. One third expect the Fed to announce a taper in January. And more than one third expect it in March.
Google just bought the Cheetah and the Big Dog. The search giant announced it purchased robot maker Boston Dynamics. The company is the maker of the Cheetah which they claim is the world's fastest running robot. It's also the maker of the BigDog, a robot that can go over uneven terrain and can even remain standing when someone attempts to kick it over. The New York Times reports that Boston Dynamics - which gets most of its business from the military - is the 8th robotics company Google has purchased in the last six months.
The second Hobbit movie was number one at the box office this weekend. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - from Time Warner, Inc's (TWX) Warner Bros.' division - took in $73.7 million. That's not as strong as the first installment's opening weekend, but it pushed Frozen to the number two spot. Disney's (DIS) Frozen took in $22.2 million after two weeks in the number one spot.
Now here are three hot stocks The Yahoo Finance team will be watching today.
First up, we'll start with two stocks, Sprint and T-Mobile. Sprint was up more than 4% in pre-market trading, while T-Mobile was down more than 4% at one point Monday morning, and both stocks look to be movers on news that Sprint may try to takeover T-Mobile. The Wall Street Journal reports that Sprint is thinking of placing a bid on its smaller rival sometime early next year. A merger of the companies would create a formidable opponent for the much larger competitors AT&T and Verizon. But a merger would likely face tough opposition from antitrust authorities, because of worries that consumers could suffer without a fourth national competitor. On Friday, Sprint closed up 3.44% and T-Mobile jumped close to 8.7% on the news - and Sprint especially was the most actively traded stock after hours according MarketWatch. Sprint and T-Mobile have seen strong gains this year, with Sprint up over 34% and T-Mobile up over 42% year-to-date.
Next up, FuelCell Energy (FCEL). The company is expected to report earnings today. It is expected to post a loss of -$0.03 a share, which is up from last year's loss of -$0.05. Revenues though are expected to rise 26.6% to $44.83 million. FuelCell stock is up 89% this year, and revenue has been growing, but the company has still yet to make a profit. This is a heavily shorted stock according to data on Yahoo Finance.
Will the Fed taper this month or won't they? That's the question investors are pondering as the Fed begins its two-day meeting tomorrow. With a quarter of 46 economists surveyed by the Journal expecting a Fed taper this week, what do you think? Should the Fed begin cutting its bond purchases this week? Vote and leave your comments below.