Dow Jones Industrial Average Surges 138 Points After Release of September FOMC Minutes

For Oct. 8, 2015, here is your stock market news and stocks to watch based on today's market moves...

How Did the Stock Market Do Today?

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10-8-15 afternoon reportDow Jones: 17,050.75; +138.46; +0.82%

S&P 500: 2,013.43; +17.60; +0.88%

Nasdaq: 4,810.79; +19.64; +0.41%

The Dow Jones Industrial Average today (Thursday) added 138 points after the U.S. Federal Reserve released minutes from its September FOMC meeting, where the central bank decided to maintain interest rates near record lows. According to text of the meeting, the bank was close to raising rates, but members of the committee were more concerned about finding new evidence that concerns about the global economy would not knock the United States off track. These same concerns are affecting quarterly earnings outlooks, as slowing economic growth abroad and a strong dollar are affecting company profits. This is expected to be the worst earnings season for S&P 500 companies since 2009.

This morning, the U.S. Commerce Department announced U.S. weekly jobless claims have fallen to a 42-year low last week. Unemployment benefits fell to a seasonally adjusted level of 263,000, besting economist expectations.

The S&P 500 Volatility Index (VIX), the market's fear gauge, dipped 3.8% on the day.

Top Stock Market News Today

  • Stock Market News: All 10 S&P sectors were in the green today with energy and materials stocks leading the charge. The Dow surpassed the 17,000 level, and shares of International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM) and Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE) provided the strongest boost to the S&P 500. Meanwhile, Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) offered the largest weight against the S&P 500 and Nasdaq after falling 1.2%.
  • Oil Prices Rise: Oil prices hit their highest levels since July as Chinese equity markets received a boost and geopolitical concerns in Syria raised risk premiums on the global markets. November WTI oil prices added 3.85% to hit $49.65 per barrel, while Brent crude prices gained about 3.5% on the day. A barrel of Brent in London hit $53.17 today. Demand factors overshadowed yesterday's report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) stating the United States added 3.3 million barrels to its inventories last week, a figure that surpassed consensus expectations.
  • On Tap Tomorrow: On Friday, keep an eye out for speeches from Fed members Dennis Lockhart and Charles Evans. In addition, oil traders will anticipate the weekly rig count released by Baker Hughes Inc. (NYSE: BHI). Companies reporting earnings tomorrow include Cogent Communications Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: CCOI) and Information Services Group Inc. (Nasdaq: III).

Stocks to Watch: AA, NFLX, GOOG, GOOGL, AAPL, CC, DD

  • Stocks to Watch No. 1, AA: Aluminum giant Alcoa Inc. (NYSE: AA) unofficially kicks off earnings season after the bell when it reports. Shares were up more than 1.1% before closing bell.
  • Stocks to Watch No. 2, NFLX: Shares of Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) were up 6.3% on news the online-streaming giant plans to hike its most popular subscription plan by $1 per month. The price hike will affect "standard" subscribers in the United States, Canada, and Latin America who use a plan allowing two viewers to use the same account.
  • Stocks to Watch No. 3, GOOG, GOOGL: Mobile devices continue to lead the content revolution. The head of search at Alphabet, the parent company of Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG, GOOGL), announced search on mobile devices surpassed those on personal computers for the first time ever in the summer of 2015. The research excludes tablets and suggests consumers' transition to mobile has benefited the search giant.
  • Stocks to Watch No. 4, AAPL: Shares of Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) were off more than 1.2% today on concerns sales of its iPhone 6S and 6S Plus may be lower than many previously expected. According to research by a J.L. Warren Capital analyst, Chinese demand for iPhones is weaker than previous estimates. The analyst suggests Chinese consumers are unimpressed with its 3D Touch functionality when compared to rival smartphones.
  • Stocks to Watch No. 4, CC: Shares of Chemours Co. (NYSE: CC) added 7.1% on news the former DuPont Co. (NYSE: DD) chemical-manufacturing unit may be on the block. This morning, Bloomberg reported private equity giant Apollo Global Management is considering a deal. However, multiple tax obstacles exist after the company's recent July spin-off.

What Investors Must Know This Week

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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.

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