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The Dow Jones Industrial Average today is already on the move, with futures deep in negative territory. Dow futures were down 225 points ahead of the opening bell. Nasdaq futures were down 61 points, and S&P futures were down 27.75 points.
This morning's DJIA drop was fueled by the release of a weak September jobs report. The U.S. economy created 142,000 jobs in September — a number that badly missed expectations. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected a gain of 200,000 nonfarm jobs. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.1%, but more people have dropped out of the labor force.
On Thursday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average kicked off the fourth quarter with a 12-point slide. A busy day of mixed economic data featured a decline in U.S. manufacturing activity and a strong jobless claims figure.
Meanwhile, the slowdown in China continued to spook investors. And China reported its Caixin Manufacturing PMI, a gauge of nationwide manufacturing activity, fell to a six-and-a-half year low of 47.2 in September. That compares with a reading of 47.3 in August.
Top News in the Stock Market Today
- This morning, all eyes were on the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the agency's release of the disappointing September unemployment figure. In August, the unemployment rate fell to 5.1%, pushing many to anticipate that the U.S. Federal Reserve would raise rates last month. While the central bank seems comfortable with the performance of the U.S. employment sector, inflation levels remain in focus as concerns in global markets weigh on sentiment. Today, six members from the Federal Reserve will give speeches on monetary policy. Keep an ear out to determine whether there is consensus on the timing of a potential rate, which could include the FOMC meeting this month.
- Oil prices are in focus today as Hurricane Joaquin continues to drift up the east coast of the United States, threatening energy infrastructure. Meanwhile, geopolitical concerns about Russia's bombing in Syria is weighing on global sentiment and fueling tensions in the Middle East. This afternoon, the domestic sector could see another decline in production rigs with the release of the Baker Hughes Inc. (NYSE: BHI) weekly rig count.
- No major U.S. companies report earnings on Friday morning.
Stocks to Watch: CAG, TWTR, GLEN
- Stocks to Watch No. 1, CAG: Shares of ConAgra Foods Inc. (NYSE: CAG) are in focus after the company announced plans to slash more than 1,500 jobs and relocate its headquarters from Omaha, Neb., to Chicago, Ill. That figure represents roughly 30% of its global workforce and raises concerns about a downturn for stocks. This is part of a broader trend in layoffs, as last month saw a huge bounce in companies letting go employees. Here's a breakdown of this year's biggest layoffs.
- Stocks to Watch No. 2, TWTR: Shares of Twitter Inc. (NYSE: TWTR) cratered more than 8% yesterday despite expectations that co-founder and interim CEO Jack Dorsey will be named as the firm's permanent CEO. Dorsey was originally the company's CEO for two years until he was ousted in 2008. With share prices falling, investors should be asking if Dorsey should assume the role for the second time. You can find the pros and the cons of Dorsey's potential appointment right here.
- Stocks to Watch No. 3, GLEN: Shares of Glencore Plc. (LON: GLEN) rose more than 8% during the day on Thursday, but quickly retreated over growth concerns in China. As Money Morning explains, "Mounting fears of a serious slowdown in China's economy have pressured metal prices and, in turn, the Glencore stock price." Money Morning Global Credit Strategist Michael E. Lewitt says that the stock price has much more to fall. In fact, this could be an event similar to the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers.
- Stocks to Watch No. 4, JWN: Shares of Nordstrom Inc. (NYSE: JWN) gained more than 4% in post-market hours after the company announced a special dividend and an increase in stock buybacks.
Today's U.S. Economic Calendar (all times EDT)
- Employment Situation at 8:30 a.m.
- Boston Federal Reserve Bank President Eric Rosengren speaks at 8:30 a.m.
- Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank President Patrick Harker speaks at 8:45 a.m.
- Minneapolis Fed President Narayana Kocherlakota speaks at 9 a.m.
- Factory Orders at 10 a.m.
- Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester speaks at 11 a.m.
- Federal Reserve Vice Chair Stanley Fischer speaks at 12 p.m.
- Baker-Hughes Rig Count at 1 p.m.
- St Louis Federal Reserve Bank President James Bullard speaks at 1 p.m.
What Investors Must Know This Week
- The One Stock to Profit from China's Trillion-Dollar Megaproject
- CHARTS: Gold Price Forecast Sees Rise Before 2016
- How to Protect Against the Biggest Threat to Your Money Today
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