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How Did the Stock Market Do Today?
S&P 500: 1,972.18; -16.69; -0.84%
Nasdaq: 4,776.51; -51.82; -1.07%
The Dow Jones Industrial Average today dipped another 114 points on the last trading session of August. Domestic monetary policy speculation, concerns about China's economy, and surging oil prices headlined today's session. Investors remain on edge after Friday's comments by U.S. Federal Reserve Vice Chair Stanley Fischer indicated the central bank is leaving the door open for an interest rate hike in September. Following last week's whirlwind, investors have one question on their minds: Will this market rally stick? Money Morning Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald answers that question for readers right here.
The S&P 500 Volatility Index (VIX), the market's fear gauge, surged nearly 8% on the day.
Top Stock Market News Today
- Stock Market News: Nine of the 10 major S&P 500 sectors were in the red on Monday, with the Utilities Sector (SPLRCU) the largest decliner. Utilities stocks were down 1.7% on the day. The downturn was largely fueled by events in Asia, where Chinese stocks were down again. The Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.8%. China's stock market has now fallen roughly 38% since mid-June. Here's what caused today's downturn in the Chinese stock market.
- Oil Moves: Domestic WTI oil prices surged again today on news that U.S. energy production fell last week and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) raised concerns about a prolonged low oil price environment in a publication released this morning. WTI prices were up more than 7.3% to reach $48.55. Meanwhile, Brent oil prices gained more than 6.6% to $50.12 per barrel. Here's a detailed explanation of today's oil price movements.
- On Tap Tuesday: Tomorrow, investors can anticipate another busy day of economic data. In addition to a speech by Boston Federal Reserve Bank President Eric Rosengren, traders will keep an eye on a report on monthly motor vehicle sales, the PMI Manufacturing Index, the ISM Manufacturing Index, and the July construction spending report. Companies reporting earnings include Ambarella Inc. (Nasdaq: AMBA), Dollar Tree Inc. (Nasdaq: DLTR), H&R Block Inc. (NYSE: HRB), and AeroVironment Inc. (Nasdaq: AVAV).
Stocks to Watch: PSX, BRK.A, AAPL, GOOG, FB, TWTR, PLNT, UTX, BCS
- Stocks to Watch No. 1, PSX: Shares of oil refiner Phillips 66 (NYSE: PSX) were up 2.4% today after Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: A) announced it has built a 10.8% stake in the firm. Buffett's stake is worth roughly $4.48 billion, according to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
- Stocks to Watch No. 2, AAPL: Shares of Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) were down nearly 0.3% as concerns about the Chinese economy continue to weigh on investors' minds. But it's Apple's newest effort to target its rivals that had Wall Street talking today. According to a report today by The Wall Street Journal, Apple's next generation operating system will make it easier for consumers to block mobile advertising on the iPhone or iPad. The decision could impact the $70 billion mobile advertising market and hurt the business models of Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG) and Facebook Inc. (Nasdaq: FB).
- Stocks to Watch No. 3, TWTR: Shares of Twitter Inc. (NYSE: TWTR) were up 3.5% after the stock received an upgrade from SunTrust Robinson. The investment first raised its rating from "Neutral" to "Buy" and offered a price target of $38, nearly 40% higher than Friday's closing price. SunTrust said current valuations for the stock are attractive after a sell-off saw Twitter stock fall more than 25% over the last three months.
- Stocks to Watch No. 4, PLNT: Shares of Planet Fitness Inc. (NYSE: PLNT) were up more than 6% after the company's quiet period ended and several investment firms, including Jeffries, upgraded the stock. Jeffries issued a "Buy" rating for the stock and set a $25 target price for the stock.
- Stocks to Watch No. 5, UTX: Shares of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX) fell 1.8% after the company received a downgrade from investment firm Barclays Plc. (NYSE ADR: BCS). The investment bank slashed its price target from $120 to $100 and lowered its rating to "equal weight." Barclays said that concern about the Chinese economy is a primary reason for its weakened outlook on UTX stock. The firm specifically highlighted United Tech's elevator business, which is facing headwinds in the world's second-largest economy.
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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