U.S. Markets open in 8 hrs 30 mins

Stocks end the day flat despite overseas markets falling

Hot Stock Minute

Stocks closed the day virtually flat, with the Dow (^DJI) barely in the red, while the Nasdaq (^IXIC) and S&P 500 (^GSPC) eked out slight gains. Relative strength in U.S. markets followed overseas markets sliding due to tensions rising between western countries and Russia.

Apparel chain Express (EXPR) reported lower-than-expected revenue and predicted earnings for the first fiscal quarter and fiscal year won’t meet expectations. Shares of the company closed down 12%. For the fiscal year, the company expects earnings-per-share of $1.03 to $1.23, with analysts predicting $1.58. For the quarter, Express predicts $0.12 to $0.18 per share with analysts expecting $0.41 per share. Revenue in the fourth quarter fell 2.2% to $715.9 million, coming in below analysts’ expectations of $721 million. CEO Michael Weiss said the beginning of 2014 has been, “extremely difficult, with traffic down significantly, negative comparable sales and the promotional environment remaining intense.”

It’s been a roller coaster for Plug Power (PLUG) over the last couple of days. The stock was down 42% on Tuesday, but rebounded more than 16% earlier today, finally closing this afternoon up nearly 13%. Yesterday’s drop in share price came after analysts at Citron Research said Plug Power shares should be valued at $0.50.

Starbucks (SBUX) will soon allow customers to leave tips via mobile app. iPhone users will be able to leave tips at 7,000 of the coffee chains' 11,000 stores beginning March 19. After completing their purchase, users will be able to leave a $0.50, $1.00 or $2.00 tip within two hours of their transaction. One out of ten purchases at Starbucks is made via the mobile app.