Boeing Plane Catches Fire; JPMorgan, Wells Fargo Earnings Dazzle: Market Recap

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U.S. stocks rose today, with the S&P 500 making a record close after higher-than-expected bank earnings were reported. JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) and Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE:WFC) both beat analyst estimates. Those earnings were able to overshadow disappointing ones posted by the United Parcel Service (NYSE:UPS).

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Gold: +0.22% to $,282.70;  Oil: +1.18% to $106.15;  U.S. 10-Year: +1.05 to 2.601%

IRS Scandal: This Democratic Report is Escalating the Feud: The Internal Revenue Service is suffering increased scrutiny more than a month after reports broke that it was targeting tea party groups during the 2012 election cycle that were applying for tax-exempt status. News broke earlier this year that the IRS was unfairly targeting groups with names containing the phrases “tea party” or “patriot.” (Read more.)

Market Rates or Bust: Student Loan Negotiations Take a Step Forward: To summarize a long story, the rate on subsidized Stafford loans increased from 3.5 to 6.8 percent on July 1 because Congress — par for the course — failed to act in time. The interest rate is determined by Congress, which voted to keep rates at 3.4 percent last year during the heat of the presidential campaign… (Read more.)

Are Interest Rate Fears Holding Back Consumer Sentiment?: Consumer sentiment ended June near a six-year high, but a Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan reading showed that consumer sentiment waned slightly in early July. Americans showed signs they were slightly more optimistic about current economic conditions than they have been in the past six years, but that was offset by a decline in confidence over the recovery’s prospects… (Read more.)

Here’s your cheat sheet to today’s top stocks stories: 

Boeing Co. (NYSE:BA) is in the news again after an empty 787 Dreamliner, operated by Ethiopian Airlines, caught fire at London’s Heathrow Airport on Friday. Following last weekend’s 777 jet crash in San Francisco and given previous problems that dogged the Dreamliner earlier this year, investors were sensitive to this news… (Read more.)

BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) proves the age-old expression: When it rains, it pours. The Canadian smartphone company hasn’t exactly had a good summer. Not only has it already suffered a disappointing earnings report, the 31 percent shares drop that subsequently followed, and the removal of two of its top executives, BlackBerry is now seeing embarrassing price drops on its products… (Read more.)

Dell Inc. (NASDAQ:DELL) has gotten a sweetened bid. Carl Icahn of Icahn Enterprises (NASDAQ:IEP), who is fighting for control of Dell’s future with the personal computer company’s founder, told Bloomberg on Thursday that the offer he will unveil Friday will be “vastly superior” to the $24.4-billion bid made by Michael Dell… (Read more.)

United Parcel Service Inc. (NYSE:UPS) has cut its 2013 earnings forecast, with the sluggish economy hurting both profit and revenue for the world’s biggest package delivery company. The company’s adjusted earnings fell to $1.13 a share, down from economist estimates of $1.20. That figure is the biggest drop the company has seen in three years, and UPS predicted that profits for this year will only increase 3 percent… (Read more.)

U.S. Airways Group Inc.’s (NYSE:LCC) merger with AMR Corp.’s (AAMRQ.PK) American Airlines is moving closer to completion as U.S. Airways shareholders voted to approve the deal on Friday. The merger still needs antitrust approval from the U.S. Justice Department. Some are worried that the merger, which will create the world’s largest airline, could be detrimental for competition and drive up prices… (Read more.)

Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE:WFC) saw its 14th consecutive quarter of rising profits after posting its earnings for the second quarter on Friday. The results of the past three-month period showed that the bank was able to set aside far less money for soured loans and that its mortgage business had not been hindered by rising interest rates… (Read more.)

Follow Jacqueline on Twitter @Jacqui_WSCS

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