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For Friday, April 17, 2015, here are your DJIA futures, top market news, earnings reports, pre-market movers, and stocks to watch in the stock market today…
Stock Futures Today
DJIA futures forecasted a 142-point decline from Thursday's close as a sell-off in Europe is rattling markets. Yesterday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gave up mid-afternoon gains to end the session down six points amid mixed earnings reports lackluster economic data. Weekly jobless claims jumped to a six-week high this morning, but the moving average remains near a 15-year low.
For a breakdown of major market events from yesterday, check out Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald's appearance on CNBC's "Street Signs" here.
Top News in the Stock Market Today
- Fed in Focus: Members of the Federal Reserve continue to provide diverging opinions on when the central bank should raise interest rates. On Thursday, Fed members Stanley Fischer, Loretta Mester, and Eric Rosengren all offered different cases on how the central bank should interpret economic data. It's becoming more apparent that Fed Chair Janet Yellen will likely need to be the tiebreaker between the faction that wants to raise rates now, and the one pushing the central bank to wait until 2016.
- Greek Drama: On Wednesday, Standard & Poor's slashed Greece's debt rating to CCC+ over concerns that the nation may be late in paying the International Monetary Fund a payment of $1 billion next month. According to reports, any failure to meet its obligations could loom large in the European bloc. The nation's cost of borrowing is already 27%. Here are four charts that put Greek debt into perspective…
- Oil Prices Today: Oil prices are up more than 12% in six trading sessions, but crude declined yesterday from 2015 highs. Prices continued to decline this morning on news that OPEC production continues to soar. Brent oil, priced in London, dipped 0.1% to hit $63.90 per barrel. Meanwhile, WTI crude, priced in New York City, slid .4% to hover above $56.46 per barrel.
- Earnings Roundup: A busy week of earnings reports continues, featuring a big update from General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) in the wake of the global giant's decision to sell off most of its financial arm, GE Capital. This morning, the firm reported adjusted quarter per-share profits $0.31, beating estimates by a penny. However, revenue remained below forecasts thanks to a stronger U.S. dollar's impact on foreign operations. The company said the currency swing affected revenues by roughly $950 million.
- Today, expect more updates from Honeywell International Inc. (NYSE: HON), Comerica Inc. (NYSE: CMA), First Horizon National Corp. (NYSE: FHN), and Reynolds American Inc. (NYSE: RAI).
Pre-Market Movers in the Stock Market Today: SLB, PM, MAT
- Pre-Market Movers 1, SLB: The decline in crude prices is having a pronounced impact on oil field service companies. Shares of Schlumberger Ltd. (NYSE: SLB) were up 2.3% in pre-market hours despite reporting a 39% decline in first-quarter earnings. The company is cutting costs and has announced 11,000 new layoffs thanks to declining North American drilling activity.
- Pre-Market Movers 2, MAT: Shares of Mattel Inc. (NYSE: MAT) were up more than 7.2% on news that the company reported a narrow $0.08 per-share loss, beating consensus expectations. The company experienced a $0.17 per-share loss in the same quarter last year.
- Pre-Market Movers 3, PM: Shares of Philip Morris International Inc. (NYSE: PM) surged more than 8.7% after the company beat Wall Street first-quarter profit and revenue estimates.
Stocks to Watch Today: ETSY, PRTY, VIRT, AAPL
- Stocks to Watch No. 1, ETSY: Shares of handicrafts retailer Etsy (Nasdaq: ETSY) soared more than 85% on Wednesday in a stunning debut on the Nasdaq. It's clear that Etsy's IPO was underpriced at $16 per share. This afternoon, shares soared as high as $35 as investors scrambled to get a piece of the online marketplace. The deal has become one of the most talked-about tech offerings so far this year. Everything you need to know about this public launch can be found in our full coverage here. The stock is down roughly 3% this morning.
- Stocks to Watch Nos. 2-3, PRTY, VIRT: Two other companies had successful debuts on the market yesterday, despite being overshadowed by Etsy's surge. Shares of Party City Holdco Inc. (Nasdaq: PRTY) jumped more than 21% on its first day, rising well above its IPO price of $17 per share. Meanwhile, Virtu Financial Inc. (Nasdaq: VIRT) jumped more than 16.5% after its public launch.
- Stocks to Watch No. 4, AAPL: Tech giant Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) announced it is boosting its holdings in the environmental sustainability space by investing in a 40 megawatt solar project in China and working to help sustain 36,000 acres of timberland in Maine and North Carolina. The programs are part of a company-wide goal to power its entire U.S. operations with "green" energy and boost its alternative holdings abroad.
Today's U.S. Economic Calendar (all times EST)
- Consumer Price Index at 8:30 a.m.
- Consumer Sentiment at 10 a.m.
- Leading Indicators at 10 a.m.
What Investors Must Know This Week
- Make More Money in the Markets Today with the Single Best Investing Strategy
- Beat the Market by 656% with Tech Stocks
- Why an Iran Nuclear "Deal" Won't Drive Oil Prices Down
About the Author
Garrett Baldwin is a globally recognized research economist, financial writer, and consultant with degrees from Northwestern, Johns Hopkins, Purdue, and Indiana University. He is a seasoned financial and political risk analyst, with a focus on stocks, hedge funds, private equity, blockchain, and housing policy. He has conducted risk assessment projects for clients in 27 countries, and consulted on policy and financial operations for some of the nation's largest financial institutions, including a $1.5 trillion credit fund, a $43 billion credit and auto loan giant, as well as two of the largest Wall Street banks by assets under management.
Garrett joined Money Map Press as an economist and researcher in 2011, specializing in alternative strategies with an emphasis on fundamental and technical analysis.