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Stock Futures Today
S&P futures for Wednesday, May 20, forecasted a slight one-point gain this morning ahead of today's release of Fed meeting minutes, all while the U.S. dollar experienced gains.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average eked out a 13-point gain to hit another record closing high at yesterday's Dow close. The S&P 500 was up but subdued, however, as energy stocks slid and retailers reported weak earnings for the March-ending quarter. Yesterday, U.S. housing starts jumped to their highest levels in roughly seven and a half years, while new permits rose. Groundbreaking surged more than 20% in April to hit an annual rate of 1.14 million, a sign the housing sector is rebounding from a difficult winter.
Top News in the Stock Market Today
- The Stock Market Today: Today, investors will digest notes from the April Fed Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting, seeking any change in sentiment from members of the central bank. The markets do not anticipate an increase in interest rates in June, but it has appeared that patience has run out. Even some of the most dovish members of the central bank are calling for gradual increases sooner than later.
- Japan Jolted: This morning, Japan announced first-quarter GDP figures of 2.4%, its fastest growth in a year. The news abroad is positive, and a sign that the island nation has moved beyond last year's recession. Meanwhile, industrial production levels in Russia continue to show the impact of Western sanctions on the nation's manufacturing industry. Output contracted roughly 4.5% last month, compared to April 2014, and its economy remains in a recession.
- IPO on Tap: Mortgage research firm Black Knight Financial Services Inc. is expected to raise roughly $425 million at the top end its the expected price range of $22 to $25 per share. The company will trade on the NYSE under ticker symbol BKFS.
- Earnings Reports: Companies reporting earnings today include American Eagle Outfitters Inc. (NYSE: AEO), Eaton Vance Corp. (NYSE: EV), Hormel Foods Corp. (NYSE: HRL), Lowes Companies Inc. (NYSE: LOW), Movado Group Inc. (NYSE: MOV), Sears Holdings Corp. (Nasdaq: SHLD), Staples Inc. (Nasdaq: SPLS), Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT), and Williams-Sonoma Inc. (NYSE: WSM)
- Oil Prices Today: Oil prices were on the rise this morning, ahead of an inventory report from the Energy Information Administration. WTI crude futures for June gained 0.8% this morning at $58.43 per barrel. Meanwhile, Brent oil gained 1.3% at $64.86 per barrel.
Pre-Market Movers in the Stock Market Today: JNJ, ETSY, HRL
- Pre-Market Movers 1, JNJ: Shares of Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) gained roughly 0.5% on news that the firm said it will have 10 or more new drugs enter its pipeline by 2019. The company projects that each drug will produce sales of $1 billion or more.
- Pre-Market Movers 2, ETSY: Shares of Etsy Inc. (Nadsaq: ETSY) plunged after a dismal earnings report on Tuesday afternoon. After the bell, shares cratered 19% when the craft e-commerce site reported a steep quarterly loss. Wall Street anticipated the company would breakeven in the company's first-ever earnings report.
- Pre-Market Movers 3, HRL: Shares of Hormel Foods Corp. (NYSE: HRL) are in focus after it beat quarterly earnings estimates, but fell short on revenue projections. The firm beat earnings by five cents, reporting $0.67 per share. Just last month, the company announced that a bout of avian influenza could hammer its full-year profit outlook due to the virus' impact on its turkey stocks. The firm recently furloughed 233 employees at its Jennie-O Turkey Store plant, a firm that accounts for roughly 18% of its annual revenues. Shares were flat as it reaffirmed its 2015 outlook.
Stocks to Watch Today: YHOO, BABA, TGT, WMT, CSC
- Stocks to Watch No. 1, YHOO: Shares of Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) are back in focus today, after a dramatic afternoon sell-off of shares on Tuesday. This morning, shares were up 2.1%, after shareholders dumped the stock yesterday over concerns that regulations could affect the company's ability to ensure a tax-free spin-off its of stake in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (NYSE: BABA).
- Stocks to Watch No. 2, TGT: Shares of Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) were up more than 1.4% on news that the company reported a stronger first quarter profit than Wall Street analysts had expected. The company reported adjusted quarterly earnings of $1.10 per share, well ahead of the $0.92 it earned in the same quarter in 2014. The company beat back concerns that a harsh winter or its decision to exit Canada had any impact on its performance. The news is also very positive as its chief rival Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE: WMT) saw shares decline after reporting weak quarterly earnings on Tuesday.
- Stocks to Watch No. 3, CSC: Shares of Computer Sciences Corp. (NYSE: CSC) were up nearly 5% after the company reported plans to split into two publicly traded companies. The firm has been under activist pressure from hedge fund Jana Partners for several months, and will split its government contracting business from its other operations.
Today's U.S. Economic Calendar (all times EST)
- Chicago Federal Reserve Bank President Charles Evans speaks at 3 a.m.
- MBA Mortgage Applications at 7 a.m.
- EIA Petroleum Status Report at 10:30 a.m.
- FOMC Minutes at 2 p.m.