Stock Market Today: JPMorgan Chase Escapes Criminal Indictment

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

Expect a positive start to the stock market today, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 25 points in premarket trading this morning. The U.S Senate is expected this afternoon to confirm Janet Yellen as the new Federal Reserve chair. Yellen will take over the central bank's top spot from Ben Bernanke, who has held the position for the last eight stormy years. Meanwhile, news is breaking this morning on a few stocks that could see heavy trading in the session, including JPMorgan Chase , Jos. A. Bank , and Ford .

JPMorgan will pay $2 billion to settle a criminal investigation into its role in the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme, according to reports this morning in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. That price tag will bring the total amount that the bank has paid out to settle government investigations this past year to a whopping $20 billion. Notably, JP Morgan will again avoid a criminal indictment this week, but will still be slapped with what's called a "differed prosecution agreement," a first for a U.S. bank. JPMorgan's stock is unchanged in premarket trading.

Men's Warehouse today upped its bid for rival clothing specialist Jos. A. Bank to $57.50 a share. The new offer is just slightly higher than the one Jos. A. Bank's management rejected last month. Still, Men's Warehouse hopes it can convince enough of its rival's shareholders to agree to this new deal by directly offering them "immediate liquidity," or in other words, "quick cash." Men's Warehouse's new offer represents a 38% premium over Jos. A. Bank's closing price on Oct. 8, the day before these two companies began attempting to acquire each other. Jos A. Bank's stock is up 5.5% in premarket trading, while Men's Warehouse stock is up 5.2%.

Finally, Ford has climbed into third place in the critical Chinese market. The automaker boosted sales by 49% in 2013, to reach nearly 1 million units. That strong result was enough to edge out rivals Honda and Toyota in China, but is still far behind General Motors and Volkswagen, which should each book about 3 million unit sales in the country for 2013. Ford's stock is up 0.5% in premarket trading.

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Fool contributor Demitrios Kalogeropoulos has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Ford and General Motors. The Motley Fool owns shares of Ford and JPMorgan Chase. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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