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Stock market futures saw their gains double this morning (Friday) after China's central bank surprised markets by cutting rates. It dropped its one-year loan rate by 0.4 percentage points, and its one-year deposit rate by 0.25 percentage points. Dovish words from European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi – that the ECB will likely step up its asset buying – also fueled the stock market futures rally.
Dow futures surged 0.9%, S&P 500 futures rose 0.8%, and Nasdaq 100 futures gained 0.8% after the news.
Yesterday, the Dow and the S&P 500 both closed at record highs following strong performances in the energy sector.
Watch for the market's attention today to shift to an update on the Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Index. Regional indexes provide insight into the expansion of U.S. manufacturing, a lynchpin of economic growth.
Here's what else you should know about the stock market today – including your "Money Morning Tip of the Day" – to make it a profitable Friday:
- Retail Troubles: Shares of The Gap Inc. (NYSE: GPS) slipped more than 3.5% in post-market hours on news that the company slashed its 2014 earnings outlook ahead of the holiday season. The retailer said that it expects weaker performances from its apparel brand store Old Navy, while sales remain flat at its iconic Banana Republic. The bad news came on a relatively strong day from other big retailers. Shares of Best Buy Co. Inc. (NYSE: BBY) jumped nearly 7%, Dollar Tree Inc. (Nasdaq: DLTR) added 5%, and Kirkland's Inc. (Nasdaq: KIRK) soared more than 24% on positive earnings reports. Last week, Money Morning predicted a blockbuster holiday season for retailers this year – just take a look at these numbers and you'll see why…
- Banks Behaving Badly: A day after the company fired two employees on allegations of accessing insider information, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) faced senators' questions over allegations that it rigged the global aluminum markets. The company flatly denied that it exploited cracks in the global commodity market or that it had unfair advantages. But Money Morning Capital Wave Strategist Shah Gilani, who has more than three decades experience in the markets (and has seen every trick in the book), has been covering Goldman's shenanigans – and it's worse than you'd expect…
- Going It Alone: Last night, U.S. President Barack Obama announced executive action to allow 4.7 million people living illegally in the United States to remain without the threat of deportation. The president argued against criticism that his action was unlawful or a form of amnesty, and urged Congress to pass a bipartisan immigration reform bill as soon as possible. His plan allows parents of children born in the U.S. who are legal residents to remain in the country without a threat of deportation. Though these immigrants can remain and apply for jobs legally, they will not be eligible for benefits under the Obamacare, nor be eligible to vote in coming elections.
- Sales Slump: Shares of GameStop Inc. (NYSE: GME) dropped nearly 11% after the company reported weaker-than-expected earnings in the third quarter. The company reported per-share earnings of $2.08, down significantly from consensus forecasts of $2.28. GME also reduced its per-share earnings estimates by $0.15.
- Oil Prices Today: Oil prices will look to end an eight-week slide if they remain positive on Friday. December futures for U.S. crude, priced at the NYMEX in New York City, jumped this morning to $76.14. Meanwhile, Brent crude, priced in London, temporarily rose above $80 before retreating to $76.60. Prices are on the rise ahead of an important OPEC meeting on Nov. 27, where the global oil cartel may slash production by up to 600,000 barrels.
- Economic Calendar: Today's economic calendar features the Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Index and two speeches from members of the Federal Reserve.
- Earnings Reports: Stay tuned for earnings reports from Foot Locker Inc. (Nasdaq: FL), ANN Inc. (NYSE: ANN), and StealthGas Inc. (Nasdaq: GASS).
Full U.S. Economic Calendar November 21, 2014 (NYSE: all times EST)
- Federal Reserve Gov. Daniel Tarullo speaks at 9:30 a.m.
- New York Federal Reserve Bank President William Dudley speaks at 10 a.m.
- Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Index at 11 a.m.