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For Dec. 21, 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: 17,251.62; +123.07; +0.72%
S&P 500: 2,021.15; +15.60; +0.78%
Nasdaq: 4,968.92; +45.84; +0.93%
The Dow Jones Industrial Average today (Monday) added 123 points, fueled by solid gains in large multinational banking stocks. However, the continued downturn in Brent crude oil prices – which fell 1.4% to hit an 11-year low – weighed down the energy sector for another day. Prices have been slammed 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 fell 0.7% to close at $35.81 per barrel. High-volume stocks Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) and Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) were down 0.03% and 0.6%, respectively.
Top Stock Market News Today
- Stock Market News: Nine out of 10 major S&P sectors were positive today. The banking industry is gaining momentum after the U.S. Federal Reserve raised its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points during its monetary policy meeting last week. Shares of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) gained 1.7% and offered the largest boost to the S&P. Meanwhile, shares of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) added nearly 1.3% and offered the Dow Jones Industrial Average's biggest boost. Analysts expect volumes will be light this week ahead of a short session on Thursday and holiday closure on Friday.
- Martin Shkreli: Out on bond, hedge fund manager Martin Shkreli has been booted as CEO of KaloBios Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Nasdaq: KBIO) and has resigned from the company's board of directors. The FBI arrested Shkreli last week and has issued various charges of securities and wire fraud, with the lead charge carrying up to 20 years. Shkreli played the role of victim in the press, arguing his recent hikes to life-saving drugs and his brash personality were the reason for the charges, which he called baseless. The FBI said Shkreli operated a "shell game" that carried similar traits to a Ponzi scheme. Here's our recap of Shkreli's situation – and how much he's worth now.
- On Tap Tomorrow: On Tuesday, investors will prepare for the third estimate of U.S. GDP during the third quarter. Consensus expectations call for a slight downturn of 0.1% from the previous estimate. Meanwhile, keep an eye out for a monthly update on existing home sales, the FHFA House Price Index, and the Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index. Companies set to report quarterly earnings include Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE), Micron Technology Inc. (Nasdaq: MU), Paychex Inc. (Nasdaq: PAYX), ConAgra Foods Inc. (NYSE: CAG), and CalAmp Corp. (Nasdaq: CAMP).
Stocks to Watch: DIS, MSFT, GE, SHPG, BXLT, FIT, GRMN, AAPL, PBY, IEP, BRDCY
- Stocks to Watch No. 1, DIS: Shares of Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) slipped 1.1% despite news reports that "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" crushed opening weekend records for a feature film. The company experienced a sharp downturn on Friday after the company was downgraded by investment firm BTIG.
- Stocks to Watch No. 2, MSFT: Shares of Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) were up 1.3% after a report by Barron's forecast the possibility that the company's stock could rise 30% by mid-2017. The article suggests growth in its cloud-computing business – a specialty of CEO Satya Nadella – will be a primary growth driver for the stock.
- Stocks to Watch No. 3, GE: Shares of General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) are in focus after the company's board said it plans to announce in January whether it will relocate from Connecticut in order to alleviate its tax burden. Recently, Connecticut's government enacted a series of tax increases that have been deemed unfriendly to the state's business climate.
- Stocks to Watch No. 4, BXLT: British drug maker Shire Plc. (Nasdaq ADR: SHPG) plans to increase its offer price for U.S. drug company Baxalta Inc.(NYSE: BXLT) by another $11.9 billion (8 billion pounds). The deal is a massive boost from the company's previous offer that topped $30 billion over the summer.
- Stocks to Watch No. 5, FIT: Shares of Fitbit Inc. (NYSE: FIT) gained more than 4.7% after the company received an extremely positive research note from an analyst at Pacific Crest Securities. The investment firm said the fitness tech giant has seen "exploding" sales growth in recent weeks. The company has also not had to resort to discounts like its competitors Garmin Ltd. (Nasdaq: GRMN) and Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL). Here's why Fitbit will continue to dominate the wearable tech sector in 2016.
- Stocks to Watch No. 6, PBY: Shares Pep Boys-Manny Moe & Jack (NYSE: PBY) jumped more than 6.9% on news that activist investor Carl Icahn has increased his bid for the auto parts and repair giant. Icahn Enterprises LP (Nasdaq: IEP) has offered $16.50 per share, or roughly $919 million. Pep Boys is also under consideration from Bridgestone Corp. (OTCMKTS ADR: BRDCY), which now has until the close of business on Wednesday to make a counter offer.
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.