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For Jan. 7, 2016, here's the top stock market news and stocks to watch…
Stock Futures Today
Futures for Dow Jones Industrial Average today (Thursday) forecast a 380-point decline after Chinese regulators halted trading when the Shanghai Composite Index fell 7% in just 15 minutes of trading. Thursday's session was the shortest in the 25-year history of the Chinese stock market. Trading was halted as a weakened yuan raised new concerns about capital flight from the world's second-largest economy. This was the second time that Chinese stock trading was halted this week.
On Wednesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average cratered another 252 points as traders weighed geopolitical concerns around the world, which fueled a sell-off on the back of plunging oil prices. The S&P 500 Volatility Index – the markets' fear measurement – rose 6.7% on the day. Money Morning Capital Wave Strategist Shah Gilani explains why 2016 will be so volatile, right here.
Top News in the Stock Market Today
- The Stock Market Today: On Thursday, the markets are set for a triple-digit route due to China's economic downturn. On the domestic front, pay attention to the weekly jobless claims report in the morning before speeches by U.S. Federal Reserve Bank Presidents Jeffrey Lacker (Richmond) and Charles Evans (Chicago). In addition, retail chain stores will report monthly sales volumes for the all-important month of December.
- Oil Outlook: Oil prices remain weak due to the ongoing Saudi-Iran political conflict and weakening economic data from China's services sector. February WTI prices were down another 2.8% at $33.01 per barrel. Meanwhile, Brent oil crude – priced in London – was off 2.1% at $33.49. Here's why.
Earnings Outlook: BBBY, WBA, STZ, FINL, WDFC, RT
- Earnings Report No. 1, BBBY: After the bell, Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. (Nasdaq: BBBY) will report fiscal third-quarter earnings. The retailer is expected to report an EPS of $1.09 on top of $2.99 billion in revenue.
- Earnings Report No. 2, WBA: Before the bell, Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. (Nasdaq: WBA) reports fiscal first-quarter earnings. The pharmacy manager beat its expected per-share earnings of $0.96 by $0.07 and topped analyst expectations of $29.56 billion in revenue. The firm said that improved cost-control efforts contributed to its bottom-line gains.
- Earnings Report No. 3, FINL: Shares of Finish Line Inc. (Nasdaq: FINL) cratered more than 17.5% after the company announced a massive loss in its fiscal third quarter that fell well below analyst expectations. The company announced plans to replace its CEO after the firm suffered a major downturn in sales and ongoing supply-chain disruptions. The firm reported a quarterly EPS loss of $0.49 per share on $382.1 million in revenue. Wall Street expected a small loss on earnings of -$0.03 per share and revenue of $408.89 million.
- Additional companies set to report earnings today include Constellation Brands Inc. (NYSE: STZ), KB Home (NYSE: KBH), and Ruby Tuesday Inc. (NYSE: RT).
Stocks to Watch: YHOO, AAPL, BABA, M
- Stocks to Watch No. 1, YHOO: Shares of Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) were off 3.3% on news that the company plans to cut 1,000 employees (or 10% of its workforce). The announcement comes a day after it was revealed that activist hedge fund Starboard Value called for a change of leadership in a letter to CEO Marissa Mayer that expressed shareholder disappointment in her tenure. While such cuts typically improve a firm's bottom line, YHOO stock was moving downward due to its stake in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (NYSE: BABA).
- Stocks to Watch No. 2, AAPL: Shares of Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) are down 2.8%, falling below $100. The AAPL stock price fell on news from Japanese daily Nikkei, which reported late yesterday (Tuesday) that iPhone production in Chinese factories would be cut by 30% in the first quarter of 2016 to compensate for slack demand.
- Stocks to Watch No. 3, M: Shares of Macy's Inc. (NYSE: M) gained more than 1.2% this morning after the embattled retailer announced plans to cut $400 million in expenses and layoff thousands of employees. The decision comes after the firm announced a disappointing fourth quarter for both sales and earnings. The company plans to slash 3,000 associate jobs, 600 back-office positions, and 165 senior executive roles. The stock is down more than 40% over the last 12 months.
Today's U.S. Economic Calendar (all times EST)
- Challenger Job-Cut Report at 7:30 a.m.
- Jobless Claims at 8:30 a.m.
- Gallup Good Jobs Rate at 8:30 a.m.
- Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index at 9:45 a.m.
- EIA Natural Gas Report at 10:30 a.m.
- 3-Month Bill Announcement at 11 a.m.
- 6-Month Bill Announcement at 11 a.m.
- 3-Year Note Announcement at 11 a.m.
- 10-Year Note Announcement at 11 a.m.
- 30-Year Bond Announcement at 11 a.m.
- Chicago Fed Bank President Charles Evans Speaks at 2:15 p.m.
- Fed Balance Sheet at 4:30 p.m.
- Money Supply at 4:30 p.m.
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