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The Dow Jones jumped 288 points Wednesday on news that the U.S. Federal Reserve plans to be "patient" with its timeline for raising interest rates. Markets were also fueled by a surge in energy stocks, which received a slight bump from rising oil prices and declining capex spending across Canada.
Today, investors will focus on Russia. Thursday morning, the ruble gained after Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered statements on the Russia's economy. Putin said that the nation's central bank and government must work at containing inflation, and that the current economic calamity offers an opportunity to diversify the economy.
On the domestic front, pay attention to weekly jobless claims and notable earnings reports from Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE), Accenture PLC (NYSE: ACN) – and a Wall Street beat just in from Rite Aid Corp. (NYSE: RAD) that has sent shares up more than 13.5% pre-market.
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 Thursday:
- Dividend Day: Shares of animal health giant Zoetis Inc. (NYSE: ZTS) have fallen more than 6% this week on news that the firm plans to increase its quarterly dividend by 15%. The news comes after Bill Ackman's Pershing Square Capital increased its stake in the firm to 8.5%. Zoetis recently adopted a shareholder rights plan to block a hostile takeover from the activist investor. Check out our list of 25 other stocks that just hiked their dividends in the week ending Dec. 12…
- Shipping Slump: Shares of FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) slipped more than 3.5% Wednesday on news that the company reported lower-than-expected quarterly earnings. The company's Q2 revenue increased 23% but fell short of Wall Street expectations. FDX reaffirmed its 2015 earnings forecast of $8.50 to $9 per share, and said it expects stronger margins in the future on improved financial growth and falling oil prices. FDX shares were up 1.86% ahead of market open this morning.
- Reverse Course: In an effort to slash demand for the Swiss franc, the nation's central bank announced plans to introduce negative interest rates on Jan. 22, 2015. The Swiss National Bank (SNB) will charge banks 0.25% to deposit overnight funds with it, with a goal of preventing currency from appreciating beyond the level of 1.2 euro (a level that begins to affect demand for the nation's exports). The recent crash in the Russian and Greek markets, plus falling oil prices, have driven many across Europe to seek a safe haven in Switzerland's currency.
- Boeing Boom: The U.S. Aerospace Industries Association said it expects Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) to deliver a record 754 commercial aircrafts in 2015. The figure is an increase of 5.5% over last year. This news sent shares of the airline manufacturer up 1.3% in premarket hours Thursday. BA also recently announced a stock buyback program and a quarterly dividend hike.
- Energy Rebound: Shares of Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) ticked up 3% yesterday and continued to rise 1.9% in premarket hours Thursday on signs of an oil rebound. Meanwhile, multinational rival Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) gained 4.2% Wednesday and was up 2.1% pre-market, while BP plc (NYSE ADR:BP) added more than 5.4% and 0.64% respectively.
- Oil Prices Today: Oil prices ticked upward this morning on news that energy companies have begun cutting their upstream investments for 2015. Chevron Corp. announced plans to curb a major project in the Arctic. Marathon Oil Corp. (NYSE: MRO) said it expects its cut its capex budget approximately 20% below 2014 levels. As of Thursday morning, Jan. 2015 futures for U.S. crude, priced at the NYMEX in New York City, ticked up nearly 2% to $57.54 per barrel. Brent crude, priced in London, gained 1.7% to reach $62.22 per barrel.
- Earnings Reports: Stay tuned for earnings reports from Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE), NQ Mobile Inc. (NYSE: NQ), Pier 1 Imports Inc. (NYSE: PIR), ConAgra Foods Inc. (NYSE: CAG), Rite Aid Corp. (NYSE: RAD) and Accenture PLC (NYSE: ACN).
Full U.S. Economic Calendar December 18, 2014 (NYSE: all times EST)
- Jobless Claims at 8:30 a.m.
- PMI Services Flash at 9:45 a.m.
- Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index at 9:45 a.m.
- Philadelphia Fed Survey at 10 a.m.
- Leading Indicators at 10 a.m.
- EIA Natural Gas Report at 10:30 a.m.
- 3-Month Bill Announcement at 11 a.m.
- 6-Month Bill Announcement at 11 a.m.
- 2-Year Note Announcement at 11 a.m.
- 2-Year FRN Note Announcement at 11 a.m.
- 5-Year Note Announcement at 11 a.m.
- 7-Year Note Announcement at 11 a.m.
- 5-Year TIPS Auction at 1 p.m.
- Fed Balance Sheet at 4:30 p.m.
- Money Supply at 4:30 p.m.