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For Dec. 17, 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: 17,495.84; -253.25; -1.43%
S&P 500: 2,041.89; -31.18; -1.50%
Nasdaq: 5,002.55; -68.58; -1.35%
The Dow Jones Industrial Average today (Thursday) fell 253 points and snapped a three-day winning streak after energy stocks and materials stocks slid. The U.S. Federal Reserve's decision to boost interest rates for the first time since 2006 took the dollar to a two-week high but put downward pressure on crude oil and other commodity prices. Gold prices fell 2.5% as the dollar pushed higher. Meanwhile, silver prices fell nearly 4%, while copper slid another 1.4%. All major currencies slid against the dollar.
Despite the Dow Jones Industrial Average's sharp downturn, the biggest news of the day was the arrest of pharmaceutical CEO and hedge fund manager Martin Shkreli on charges of securities fraud. Shkreli is accused of running a shell game at one of his former firms that a U.S. attorney compared to a "Ponzi scheme." Prosecutors allege he engaged in widespread fraud between October 2009 and March 2014. Shares of KaloBios Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Nasdaq: KBIO), a former penny stock that had soared in recent weeks after news of Shkreli's investment, fell more than 50% on the news of his arrest. For more news on what has happened to other hedge fund managers in 2015, be sure to read our recap of recent events involving Pershing Square Capital manager Bill Ackman.
Top Stock Market News Today
- Stock Market News: All 10 S&P sectors were lower a day after the Federal Reserve raised its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points. The materials sector was the second-largest decliner of all sectors, fueled by a 7.7% decline in Newmont Mining Corp. (NYSE: NEM) stock. Shares of Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) were the largest drag on the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq, falling more than 2.1%. Meanwhile, shares of investment bank Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) fell 1.9% and was the largest weight on the Dow Jones.
- Daily Data: Last week, the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits slipped by 11,000 to 271,000. That beat economists' expectations of 275,000. However, U.S. debt is on the rise. A third-quarter report on the current account said the U.S. trade deficit expanded by $124.1 billion. That's the largest downturn since the fourth quarter of 2008 at the height of the financial crisis.
- Oil in Focus: Oil prices continued to decline, hit by a double whammy of a growing international glut and a rising U.S. dollar due to the Fed rate hike. January WTI crude oil prices slipped 1.6% to hit $34.95 per barrel. Meanwhile, Brent crude lost 0.9% to hit $37.06. Shares of ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) slipped 4.2%, the largest drag on the energy sector. Meanwhile, high-volume stocks Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) and Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) were down 1.5% and 3%, respectively.
- On Tap Tomorrow: On Friday, it's time for Quadruple Witching, which means a high-volume day is in store for traders. The event – which happens four times a year – occurs during the expiration of many different stock index futures, stock options, stock index options, and single stock futures. Higher volumes are expected during this event since futures and options traders are required to close out their positions. Companies set to report quarterly earnings tomorrow include BlackBerry Ltd. (Nasdaq: BBRY), Carnival Corp. (NYSE: CCL), Darden Restaurants Inc. (NYSE: DRI), and CarMax Inc. (NYSE: KMX).
Stocks to Watch: ORCL, GIS, AVP, SCTY
- Stocks to Watch No. 1, ORCL: Shares of Oracle Corp. (NYSE: ORCL) were down 5.1% after the company reported mixed second-quarter earnings. The stock hit a 52-week low after it offered a soft Q3 and Q4 outlook.
- Stocks to Watch No. 2, GIS: Shares of General Mills Inc. (NYSE: GIS) were down 3.3% after the company missed second-quarter bottom line revenue expectations. The firm was on target with Wall Street projections of $0.82 per share. However, it missed bottom line revenue expectations by roughly $150 million.
- Stocks to Watch No. 3, AVP: Shares of Avon Products Inc. (NYSE: AVP) were down more than 1.3% on news that private equity firm Cerebus Capital has bought an 80% stake in Avon North America for $605 million. This division will be split off from the main company.
- Stocks to Watch No. 4, SCTY: Shares of SolarCity Corp. (Nasdaq: SCTY) gained another 6.7% today on news the House of Representatives passed a new spending bill that includes a five-year extension to tax credits tied to alternative energy investments in sources like wind and solar. The SCTY stock price is now up more than 58% in the last week. So, where is the SCTY stock price headed in 2016? Find out right here.
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
About the Author
Garrett Baldwin is a globally recognized research economist, financial writer, and consultant with degrees from Northwestern, Johns Hopkins, Purdue, and Indiana University. He is a seasoned financial and political risk analyst, with a focus on stocks, hedge funds, private equity, blockchain, and housing policy. He has conducted risk assessment projects for clients in 27 countries, and consulted on policy and financial operations for some of the nation's largest financial institutions, including a $1.5 trillion credit fund, a $43 billion credit and auto loan giant, as well as two of the largest Wall Street banks by assets under management.
Garrett joined Money Map Press as an economist and researcher in 2011, specializing in alternative strategies with an emphasis on fundamental and technical analysis.