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For Dec. 4, 2015, here's the top stock market news and stocks to watch based on today's market moves…
How Did the Stock Market Do Today?
Dow Jones: 17,847.63; +369.96; +2.12%
S&P 500: 2,091.69; +42.07; +2.05%
Nasdaq: 5,142.27; +104.74; +2.08%
The Dow Jones Industrial Average today (Friday) surged more than 369 points after a very positive jobs report and news that European Central Bank President Mario Draghi has taken a more dovish approach to monetary policy than his actions indicated yesterday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average pushed back into positive territory for the year on news the U.S. economy added 211,000 jobs in November and the unemployment rate sat at 5%, signifying "full employment." The news paves the way for the U.S. Federal Reserve to hike interest rates later this month during its final FOMC meeting of the year. Here's why a rate hike looks like a done deal.
Mario Draghi offered a statement today on the future of the Eurozone economy. When it comes to stimulating the world's largest economic bloc, Draghi said the central bank's options are unlimited. "There is no particular limit to how we can deploy any of our tools," he said. Traders cheered the "whatever it takes" attitude to maintaining growth on the continent.
Top Stock Market News Today
- Stock Market News: Nine of 10 S&P sectors moved higher on Friday, with the energy sector being the lone decliner. Healthcare stocks and financial stocks led the rally. America's largest banks, Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC), JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM), Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C), and Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE: WFC), all saw gains of more than 2.6% on the day thanks to increased expectations of a rate hike later this month. According to CME Fed Watch, the odds of a rate hike to 0.5 jumped to 79.1%.
- Fed Focus: The U.S. economy added 211,000 jobs in November, beating economist expectations of 200,000. The unemployment rate stayed at 5%. This week, Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen laid out the case for an interest rate hike sooner rather than later. This fresh jobs report didn't fall far short of forecasts, further cementing the prospect of a rate hike in two weeks.
- Energy in Focus: Oil prices slumped again despite news the Baker Hughes Inc. (NYSE: BHI) rig count fell last week and OPEC elected to continue production in order to protect market share. January contracts for WTI crude fell more than 2.3% to hit $40.11 per barrel. Meanwhile, Brent oil crude – priced in London – dipped 1.4% to hit $43.86. Here's how today's OPEC meeting will influence prices over the long term.
- On Tap Next Week: On Monday, investors will hear a speech from St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard as he offers his views on whether or not the Fed should hike rates during the December FOMC meeting. In addition, keep an eye out for the Gallup Consumer Spending Measure and an update on consumer credit. Companies set to report quarterly earnings on Monday include H&R Block Inc. (NYSE: HRB), United Natural Foods Inc. (Nasdaq: UNFI), Vail Resorts Inc. (NYSE: MTN), and Central Garden & Pet Co. (Nasdaq: CENT).
Stocks to Watch: AVP, GPRO, BKS, NSC, CP
- Stocks to Watch No. 1, AVP: Shares of Avon Products Inc. (NYSE: AVP) added 5.8% on news the company may sell its North American business to private equity firm Cerberus. However, activist investor Barington Capital says it wants the company to engage in a turnaround strategy rather than sell to a competitor.
- Stocks to Watch No. 2, GPRO: Shares of GoPro Inc. (Nasdaq: GPRO) slumped nearly 5% on news it received a downgrade from RW Baird. The investment firm slashed its rating on GRPO from "Outperform" to "Neutral" and cut its price target in half to $18 per share from $36. The stock is now off a staggering 70% on the year.
- Stocks to Watch No. 3, BKS: Shares of Barnes & Noble Inc. (NYSE: BKS) cratered more than 16% after the bookstore somehow reported worse earnings than already expected on Wall Street. The firm reported a dismal loss of $0.52, worse than the expected per-share decline of $0.31. The firm also reported weaker than expected revenue numbers.
- Stocks to Watch No. 4, NSC: Shares of Norfolk Southern Corp. (NYSE: NSC) slipped more than 1.1% on news its board of directors has unanimously rejected a takeover bid from Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. (NYSE: CP). The board said the current bid is "grossly inadequate" and that it is highly concerned about regulatory risks. It is likely the firm will receive another bid in the near future.
What Investors Must Know This Week
- The Best Market Crash Insurance You Can Buy
- Grab Triple-Digit Gains from This "Stealth" Tech Star
- The Real Reason for China's Insatiable Gold Lust