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Stock market today, Friday, Jan. 9: Good morning! Stock market futures Friday morning forecast a 31-point gain from yesterday's close. On Thursday, the Dow Jones rallied 323 points on expectations that the European Central Bank will take more aggressive action to stave off deflation and debt crisis, coupled with swirling optimism for the U.S. economy.
Today will center on jobs, jobs, and more jobs. This morning, the December jobs report indicated that the U.S. economy added 252,000 jobs last month, surpassing consensus expectations of 240,000. As a result, the U.S. unemployment rate slipped to 5.6%.
While that may fuel a short-term surge in the markets, investors remain cautious about the Federal Reserve's desire to raise interest rates this year. In a speech yesterday, Minneapolis Fed President Narayana Kocherlakota said that the central bank should not increase rates in 2015; however, he is not a voting member of the FOMC this year. That sentiment was followed by voting member Charles Evans. The Chicago Fed President told a CNBC audience this morning that the U.S. job markets have shown strong growth. But, he said, he'd like the central bank to wait until 2016 to raise interest rates.
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:
- Merger Mania: Shares of Facebook Inc. (Nasdaq: FB) finished up 2.69% Thursday after the social media king announced the acquisition of QuickFire Networks – a video-compression company – to boost its video services. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed. Shares continued to rise marginally pre-market this morning. The move is in line with Chief Executive Offocer Mark Zuckerberg's aggressive buying strategy – earlier this week on Jan. 6, FB made its first acquisition of 2015…
- Biotech Bust: Shares of Conatus Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Nasdaq: CNAT) plummeted more than 38% in post-market hours yesterday on news that the company has stopped a clinical trial for patients with symptoms of chronic liver failure. The company cited logistical challenges to the trial. Meanwhile, shares of Infinity Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Nasdaq: INFI) slipped more than 12% after the company said it will stop developing its rheumatoid-arthritis treatment, duvelisib. Infinity said the drug showed poor results during clinical trial. Get our list of the best biotech stocks to buy in 2015 here…
- Retailer Rout: Shares of Bed Bath & Beyond (Nasdaq: BBBY) dropped more than 4.4% in pre-market hours after the company posted third-quarter earnings. The company reported per-share earnings of $1.23, beating consensus expectations of $1.20 per share. However, revenue fell short of expectations. Meanwhile, shares of Macy's Inc. (NYSE: M) slipped more than 3.2% on news the retailer will begin a series of restructuring moves to cater to consumer trends in online and retail shopping. Macy's said it is considering an off-price business similar to TJ Maxx (a segment of TJC Companies Inc. (NYSE: TJX)) and said it will be closing 14 department stores.
- Spin-Off Surge: Shares of MeadWestvaco Corp. (NYSE: MWV) soared nearly 6% in post-market hours on news that the company plans to spin-off its specialty chemicals business. The company aims to complete the tax-free spin-off by the end of 2015. Shares continued to rise as much as 0.1% pre-market this morning.
Oil Prices Today: Oil prices are heading for their seventh-straight weekly loss. This morning, February 2015 futures for U.S. crude, priced at the NYMEX in New York City, decreased by nearly 0.5% to hit $48.55 per barrel. Meanwhile, Brent crude, priced in London, dropped more than 1.5% to hit $50.18 per barrel. Oil prices were slipping again this morning as oversupply concerns continue to rattle the markets. Here's why $50 is likely the limit for Brent crude prices…
- Earnings Reports: Stay tuned for an earnings report from Acuity Brands Inc. (NYSE: AYI), AZZ Inc. (NYSE: AZZ), and Synergy Resources Corp. (Nasdaq: SYRG).
Full U.S. Economic Calendar January 9, 2015 (NYSE: all times EST)
- The December 2014 Employment Situation (S. Jobs Report) at 8:30 a.m.
- Wholesale Trade at 10 a.m.
- Richmond Federal Reserve Bank President Jeffrey Lacker speaks at 1:20 p.m.