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For Dec. 29, 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: 17,720.98; +92.71; +1.10%
S&P 500: 2,078.36; +21.86; +1.06%
Nasdaq: 5,107.94; +66.95; +1.33%
The Dow Jones Industrial Average today (Tuesday) gained 192 points as oil prices jumped and technology stocks surged. The S&P 500 jumped after two of its most traded stocks hit new records. Shares of Alphabet Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG, GOOGL) added 1.5%, while Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) added 2.8%. Both stocks hit all-time intraday highs. Shares of Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) added 1.8% on the day, while Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) gained 1.1%. All 10 major S&P sectors saw gains today as the index pushed back into the green for 2015.
In economic news, consumer confidence is on the rise in December. According to data released this morning, the Conference Board's index of consumer confidence hit 96.5 in December. That's significantly better than the 93.8 rating expected by economists. Meanwhile, single-family housing prices surged in October. The S&P/Case Shiller composite index that tracks 20 metropolitan areas showed a 5.5% jump in October on a year-over-year basis. That beat consensus expectations of 5.4%.
Top Stock Market News Today
- Oil Outlook: Oil prices moved higher as colder temperatures gripped Europe and North America and traders anticipate a small increase in demand. Still, the uptick may only be temporary as concerns about a long-term supply glut weighs on trader sentiment. February's WTI prices were up 2.9% at $37.87 per barrel. Meanwhile, Brent oil crude – priced in London – gained more than 3.2% to hit $37.79. This marks the second session in a row in which WTI closed at a premium to Brent. The sector's most active traders today were Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) and Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX), which added 0.6% and 1% on the day, respectively. The cold weather was also a rallying factor for natural gas prices, which surged more than 6%.
- What Time Do Markets Close on New Year's Eve? As traders prepare for New Year's Day and the start of 2016, markets will close on Dec. 31 at their regular hour – 4 p.m. ET. The markets will be closed on Friday, Jan. 1, and regular trade will resume on Monday, Jan. 4.
- On Tap Tomorrow: On Wednesday, a very light economic calendar features a weekly report on MBA mortgage applications and the monthly Pending Home Sales Index. Oil prices will again be in focus when the U.S. Energy Information Administration announces its weekly petroleum inventory report in the morning. No major U.S. companies are expected to report quarterly earnings on Wednesday.
Stocks to Watch: DD, DOW, KBIO, PBY, IEP, BRDCY
- Stocks to Watch No. 1, DD: Following news of its recent mega-merger, DuPont Co. (NYSE: DD) announced plans to cut 1,700 jobs from its Delaware-based headquarters. Shares jumped more than 1.6% as the company trims variable costs and boosts its bottom line. The news offset a research note from Zacks Investment Research, which downgraded the chemical giant's stock to a "Sell" rating. Shares of Dow Chemical Co. (NYSE: DOW) – which is set to merge with DuPont should it receive regulatory approval – were up more than 1% on the day.
- Stocks to Watch No. 2, KBIO: Pharmaceutical firm KaloBios Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Nasdaq: KBIO) is formally appealing a decision by the Nasdaq Exchange to delist the company's stock. Last week, the firm received a letter stating its stock would no longer be allowed to trade on the Nasdaq following the arrest of former CEO Martin Shkreli on charges of securities fraud and its failure to submit quarterly filings by deadline – in addition to a few other factors. A hearing has been scheduled for late February to challenge the exchange operator's use of "discretionary" authority to delist the stock.
- Stocks to Watch No. 3, PBY: Shares of Pep Boys-Manny Moe and Jack(NYSE: PBY) gained nearly 9% on news Carl Icahn's latest takeover offer is higher than Bridgestone Corp.'s (OTCMKTS ADR: BRDCY) offer for the auto parts and service company. Icahn Enterprises LP (Nasdaq: IEP) shocked the markets by offering $18.50 per share, beating Bridgestone's offer of $17. The new offer is worth a little more than $1 billion. Bridgestone has until 5 p.m. on Thursday to respond. If Icahn wins, Pep Boys would pay a $39.5 million breakup fee with Bridgestone to terminate a previous deal.
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