Good morning! For Friday, Aug. 21, here are the top stories moving the Dow Jones Industrial Average today, including stock market futures, earnings reports, top stock market news, and stocks to watch…
Stock Futures Today
U.S. stock futures forecast an 80-point decline. The S&P 500 is currently at a five-month low. Investors are worried that a slowdown in China, the world's second-largest economy, could affect global growth and equities. And yesterday's decline turned the DJIA and the S&P 500 into negative territory for the year…
On Thursday, the Dow Jones cratered 358 points – below the 17,000 mark – despite news that U.S. home resales hit a near eight-and-a-half year high in July and Mid-Atlantic manufacturing activity gained in August. The financial sector declined more than 2% after investors reduced expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve would raise interest rates in September. The Nasdaq fell 2.8%, its worst one-day decline since April 2014.
Media stocks took a huge blow after investment research firm said that the entire sector requires an evaluation of how companies should be traded and evaluated. Shares of Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) – the owner of ESPN – and Time Warner Inc. (NYSE: TWX) dipped more than 5% over concerns about cable-cutting.
Gold prices rallied another 2%, while silver prices added another 2.2%, on news of a delayed Fed rate hike. Gold prices rallied to their highest levels since July 16, rising strongly in the aftermath of China's Yuan devaluation.
Top News in the Stock Market Today
- Stock Market Today: A light economic calendar features the PMI Manufacturing Index Flash, while investors will continue to speculate on the timing of a possible interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve. The markets are keeping a sharp eye on events in China, where an economic slowdown could threaten global growth.
- Greek Drama: Greece's economic and political problems went from bad to worse yesterday after Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras resigned on Thursday. It has been a tumultuous seven months in power for Tsipiras, who recently accepted bailout terms from European creditors after promising during elections to avoid these very same events. Tsipras turned in his resignation to President Prokopis Pavlopoulos and asked for a snap election, with Sept. 20 as the earliest date. Tsipras is attempting to squash a rebellion over the bailout package from his own leftist party Syriza. He may win another term, but it's clear that he might need a new coalition in order to survive his time in office.
- Oil Outlook: Oil prices continue to crater to their lowest levels since the height of the financial crisis in March 2009 on concerns about a major oversupply glut and concerns about global demand. WTI crude futures for September dropped another 0.8% to hit $40.99 per barrel. Meanwhile, Brent oil prices dipped 1.1% to $46.08 per barrel. Oil prices could receive a short-term boost soon, as Hurricane Danny is gathering strength and could threaten offshore rigs in the Gulf of Mexico next week.
- Earnings Reports: Companies reporting earnings include Deere & Co. (NYSE: DE), Foot Locker Inc. (NYSE: FL), and Hibbett Sports Inc. (Nasdaq: HIBB).
Pre-Market Movers in the Stock Market Today: AAPL, HPQ, ACI, BTU
- Pre-Market Movers No. 1, AAPL: Shares of Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) slipped another 1.8% this morning after research firm Gartner announced the tech giant saw smartphone sales decline in China for the first time in company history during the second quarter. Apple stock has declined from an all-time high of February of roughly $133 as the Chinese economy and stock market continue to struggle. AAPL stock was down more than 2% on Thursday.
- Pre-Market Movers No. 2, HPQ: Shares of Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) fell more than 1.3% in pre-market hours after the company reported weaker than expected earnings after the bell on Thursday. It was the fourth consecutive quarter of falling revenue as the company reported a decline in personal computer (PC) sales and falling demand from corporate customers. The company said its PC and printer businesses saw revenue decline 11.5% — the largest quarterly decline in its history.
- Pre-Market Movers No. 3, ACI, BTU: Shares of two U.S coal producers were on the rise yesterday after billionaire activist investor George Soros announced large stakes in both firms. Shares of Arch Coal Inc. (NYSE: ACI) jumped more than 40%, while shares of Peabody Energy Corp. (NYSE: BTU) were up 22% after the announcement. BTU stock is up more than 50% this week.
Stocks to Watch Today: SYY, CRM, GPS
- Stocks to Watch No. 1, SYY: The nation's largest food distributor will have two new members to its board of directors. Activist investor Nelson Peltz's hedge fund Trian Fund will receive two board seats at Sysco Corp. (NYSE: SYY). Peltz will join the board and has previous executive experience at Wendy's Co. (Nasdaq: WEN), Mondelēz International Inc. (Nasdaq: MDLZ), and The Madison Square Garden Co. (NYSE: MSG), among others. Shares were down more than 1% on Thursday.
- Stocks to Watch No. 2, CRM: Shares of Salesforce.com Inc. (NYSE: CRM) gained more than 4.3% after the company beat quarterly earnings estimates and raised its 2015 revenue forecast. Shares declined almost 6% yesterday, putting negative pressure on the Dow Jones Industrial Average. But after hours, it saw some recovery when it reported a little less than $0.01 per share, with sales of nearly $1.63 billion.
- Stocks to Watch No. 3, GPS: U.S. retailer Gap Inc. (NYSE: GPS) is in focus today after the company reported its second consecutive quarter of profit declines. The firm said that a stronger dollar, delays from West Coast shipping ports, and falling sales of its primary brand affected its bottom line. GPS said it continues to face increased competitive pressures from rivals American Eagle Outfitters Inc. (NYSE: AEO), Urban Outfitters Inc. (Nasdaq: URBN), and Forever 21.
Today's U.S. Economic Calendar (all times EDT)
- PMI Manufacturing Index Flash at 9:45 a.m.
What Investors Must Know This Week
- Why We're Still Bullish on Apple Stock (Nasdaq: AAPL)
- The Best Way to Add Gold to Your Portfolio Today
- The 4 Real Reasons Oil Prices Are Slipping – and How to Profit
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