Dow Jones Industrial Average Dips 55 Points on Weak Wage Data

For July 31, 2015, here's a look at the Dow Jones Industrial Average today, earnings reports, the top stock market news, and stocks to watch based on today's market moves...

How Did the Stock Market Do Today?

Dow JonesDow Jones: 17,690.46; -55.52; -0.31%

S&P 500: 2,103.92; -4.71; -0.22%

Nasdaq: 5,128.28; -0.50; -0.01%

The DJIA today fell 55 points as energy commodity prices cratered, dragging down the sector, and investors considered the possibility that the U.S. Federal Reserve might push back its interest rate hike after weak wage data surprised the markets. The announcement that U.S. labor costs for the second quarter saw their smallest increase in 33 years came a day after the U.S. Commerce Department reported a lukewarm second-quarter GDP of 2.3%.

Still, falling oil prices dominated the day, with S&P 500 Energy index falling more than 2.6%. Refinery stocks were the loan bright spot in the sector, as falling oil prices benefit their operations. Shares of Valero Energy Corp. (NYSE: VLO) added 2.8% on the day, while rival Marathon Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: MPC) added 1.3%.

The S&P 500 Volatility Index (VIX), the market's fear gauge, gained 1.3%.

Top Stock Market News Today

  • Stock Market News: While falling oil prices were in focus, investors speculated on the Federal Reserve's pending decision on whether to raise interest rates in September after weak wage data raised concerns about the domestic economy. This morning, according to the Employment Cost Index, second-quarter labor costs increased just 0.2%, its smallest increase in 33 years. The news will place an even greater focus on next Friday's unemployment report for the month of July after the central bank said on Wednesday that it needs to see just "some further improvement" in the labor markets before taking action on monetary policy.
  • Oil Prices: The slump in oil prices accelerated this afternoon as concerns about oversupply battered trader sentiment. WTI crude futures for September slipped 3.4% to hit 46.86 per barrel. Meanwhile, Brent oil prices were down 2.9% to hit $51.79 per barrel. Shares of Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) slipped 4.5% after the company reported lower than expected earnings thanks to falling oil prices. Rival Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) also announced that its second-quarter profits cratered due to falling prices and one-time charges. CVX stock fell 4.9% on the day.
  • On Tap Monday: On Monday, the Chicago Fed National Activity Index will be in focus during a quiet day of economic data. Investors will likely continue to speculate on interest rate timing by the Federal Reserve. Companies reporting earnings on Monday include Allstate Corp. (NYSE: ALL), American International Group Inc. (NYSE: AIG), Chegg Inc. (NYSE: CHGG), Clorox Co. (NYSE: CLX), Icahn Enterprises LP (Nasdaq: IEP), Loews Corp. (NYSE: L), Noble Energy Inc. (NYSE: NBL), and Tyson Foods Inc. (NYSE: TSN).

Stocks to Watch: CCE, LNKD, EXPE, MGI

[epom key="ddec3ef33420ef7c9964a4695c349764" redirect="" sourceid="" imported="false"]

  • Stocks to Watch No. 1, CCE: Shares of Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc. (NYSE: CCE) surged 12.4% on news that the independent Coca-Cola bottling firm is considering a merger with two European bottlers as part of a broader initiative to reduce company costs. The company is in discussions to merge with Coca-Cola Erfrischungsgetränke AG in Germany and Coca-Cola Iberian Partners, which operates in Spain and Portugal. Coca-Cola is currently undergoing a plan to slash costs and consolidate its international operations.
  • Stocks to Watch No. 2, LNKD: Shares of LinkedIn Corp. (NYSE: LNKD) slumped 10.5% after the company reported a larger net loss than Wall Street had expected during its earnings report on Thursday. The company reported a second-quarter loss of $67.7 million, or $0.53 per share, from a loss of $1 million, or $0.01 a share, a year ago. During a conference call, the company said that its advertising sales have cratered 30% and that its expensive premium subscriptions are not selling as much as expected.
  • Stocks to Watch No. 3, EXPE: Shares of Expedia Inc. (Nasdaq: EXPE) soared almost 13% on news that the company beat Wall Street second-quarter profit estimates and hiked its dividend. The company said its revenue increased by 11% to $1.16 billion. Its Chief Financial Officer Mark Okerstrom said Friday that the company plans to complete its deal with Orbitz Worldwide Inc. (NYSE: OWW) by the end of the third quarter.
  • Stocks to Watch No. 4, MGI: Shares of Moneygram International Inc. (Nasdaq: MGI) exploded 29.4% after the company crushed second-quarter Wall Street earnings expectations and announced a change in its executive leadership. The company said CFO Alexander Holmes will take over the role of CEO on Jan. 1, 2016, replacing current CEO Pamela Patsley.

What Investors Must Know This Week

Stay informed on what's going on in the markets by following us on Twitter @moneymorning.

[epom key="af2c76260947049b29e0c934424e4536" redirect="" sourceid="" imported="false"]

About the Author

Garrett Baldwin is a globally recognized research economist, financial writer, consultant, and political risk analyst with decades of trading experience and degrees in economics, cybersecurity, and business from Johns Hopkins, Purdue, Indiana University, and Northwestern.

Read full bio