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For Dec. 14, 2015, here are your stock market futures, earnings reports, top stock market news, and stocks to watch…
Stock Futures Today
The Dow Jones Industrial Average for Monday slipped 20 points in its opening hour ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve's big meeting this week. Analysts and media gurus are claiming that this is it – the week that the Fed is finally going to end its zero-interest-rate policy (ZIRP) and hike interest rates for the first time since 2006. Will Chairwoman Janet Yellen pull the football away at the last second as investors prepare to kick off 2016? Check back for coverage on the FOMC meeting all week.
On Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 310 points to close at 17,264.21. The Dow cratered as much as 330 points in trading. Crude oil prices fell to levels not seen since December 2008. Oil broke below $36 per barrel. All 10 S&P sectors fell on Friday by more than 1.1% with energy and materials stocks sinking the most.
Top News in the Stock Market Today
- The Stock Market Today: On Monday, a light economic and earnings calendar will have most investors focusing on the FOMC meeting set for Wednesday. Members of the Federal Reserve will meet for the central bank's final meeting of the year, where it will decide if it will raise interest rates for the first time since 2006.
- Year of the Mega Deal: Activist investors continue to win in a year that has exposed a dearth of organic growth in the global markets. On Friday, chemical giants DuPont Co. (NYSE: DD) and Dow Chemical Co. (NYSE: DOW) announced terms of a $130 billion merger that will separate DowDuPont into three different companies.
- Oil Outlook: Oil prices were down this morning because of concerns over a global glut and expectations that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates next week. January WTI prices were down 0.5% at $35.44 per barrel. Meanwhile, Brent oil crude – priced in London – fell 2.1% to hit $37.10. An oil report by the International Energy Agency bolstered concerns about oversupply. The IEA projects that oil prices will continue to fall, the supply glut will worsen, and that OPEC will not slash production as the oil cartel aims to protect global market share.
Earnings Outlook: PAY, NX
- Earnings Report No. 1, PAY: Payment company VeriFone Systems Inc. (NYSE: PAY) reports earnings today. Wall Street analysts expect the payment hardware company to report an EPS of $0.48 on roughly $513.42 million in revenue. VeriFone is an intriguing opportunity for investors as retail companies scramble to adopt gold-chip technologies to reduce cyber attacks and identity theft.
- Earnings Report No. 2, NX: Quanex Building Products Corp. (NYSE: NX) reported its Q4 2015 earnings before the bell opened today. The company reported EPS of $0.29 on revenue of $195.50 million. Analysts expected that the company would report $0.26 per share on $199.3 million in quarterly revenue.
Stocks to Watch: LLY, AZN
- Stocks to Watch No. 1, LLY: Shares of Eli Lilly and Co. (NYSE: LLY) are under scrutiny this morning after the company announced that its new lung-cancer drug Portrazza, which received marketing approval from the FDA last month, will cost patients $11,430 per month. Doctors who have seen the drug in action argue that this steep price is still fair given the benefits and life extension for patients suffering from a deadly form of non-small-cell cancer.
- Stocks to Watch No. 2, AZN: Healthcare M&A continues to heat up and remains one of the top market stories of 2015. Shares of AstraZeneca Plc. (NYSE ADR: AZN) are off slightly this morning on news the British pharmaceutical giant plans to spend $5 billion on a biotech firm called Acerta Pharma BV. As AZN attempts to reboot its drug pipeline, the firm is eyeing Acerta's cancer drug portfolio.
Today's U.S. Economic Calendar (all times EST)
- 4-Week Bill Announcement at 11 a.m.
- 3-Month Bill Auction at 11:30 a.m.
- 6-Month Bill Auction at 11:30 a.m.
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