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For Jan. 21, 2016, here's the top stock market news and stocks to watch...
Stock Futures Today
Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average today (Thursday) forecast a 3-point decline after the European Central Bank announced plans to keep interest rates unchanged and Asian markets slumped again. The Shanghai Composite Index continued the 2016 China stock market crash by falling another 3.2%.
On Wednesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average cratered another 249 points as crude oil prices slumped to lows not seen in more than 13 years and concerns about global economic growth weighed on investor sentiment. Earlier in the day, the Dow Jones fell as much as 566 points on weakening earnings reports. The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) - Wall Street's fear gauge - jumped 6% on the day.
Top News in the Stock Market Today
- The Stock Market Today: The S&P 500 is off 9% to start the year due to a slump in global oil prices, concerns about corporate profits, and a slump in the Chinese economy. Domestic markets will focus on weekly jobless claims and an update to the Philly Fed Manufacturing Activity Index. Oil prices will again be in focus when the U.S. Energy Information Administration reports weekly crude inventories.
- After Uber: The auto giant purchased Sidecar and offered millions of dollars to car-sharing firm Lyft. Now, General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) announced plans to launch its own car-sharing service called Maven. The firm announced plans to start operations in three U.S. cities - Ann Arbor, Mich., Chicago, and New York - and two cities in Germany: Frankfurt and Berlin.
- Oil Outlook: Oil prices fell to their lowest intraday levels since May 2003 on Wednesday and slipped again this morning. February WTI prices fell 0.6% to reach $28.17 per barrel. Meanwhile, Brent oil crude was down 0.3% at $27.79.
Earnings Outlook: SBUX, ISRG, AXP, SLB, VZ, UNP, LUV, BK
- Earnings Report No. 1, SBUX: After the bell, Starbucks Corp. (Nasdaq: SBUX) will report fiscal first-quarter earnings. Wall Street anticipates that the coffee giant will report per-share earnings of $0.45 on top of $5.4 billion in revenue. SBUX stock was up 0.5% in pre-market hours.
- Earnings Report No. 2, VZ: This morning, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) reported fiscal fourth-quarter earnings and beat analysts expectations on top- and bottom-line expectations. The firm reported an EPS of $0.89, beating estimates by a penny. Shares were up nearly 1% this morning.
- Earnings Report No. 3, AXP: Shares of American Express Co. (NYSE: AXP) are in focus as the credit card company prepares to report earnings after the bell. Wall Street expects that the credit card giant will report an EPS of $1.13 on top of $8.5 billion in revenue.
- Additional companies reporting quarterly earnings include Intuitive Surgical Inc. (Nasdaq: ISRG), Schlumberger Ltd. (NYSE: SLB), Union Pacific Corp. (NYSE: UNP), The Bank of New York Mellon Corp. (NYSE: BK), and Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV).
Stocks to Watch: SPLS, WMT, CMG, ODP, TWTR, NWS
- Stocks to Watch No. 1, SPLS: Office retail giant Staples Inc. (Nasdaq: SPLS) announced it decided to take another three months before it calls off a $6.3 billion proposal to purchase rival Office Depot Inc. (Nasdaq: ODP). The delay is designed to give both firms a chance to challenge the Federal Trade Commission in an antitrust lawsuit.
- Stocks to Watch No. 2, WMT: Shares of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) were up marginally in pre-market hours after the company announced that nearly every one of its more than 1.2 million employees will receive a raise in 2016. The company also announced worker-friendly policies as it attempts to retain workers in a tightening labor market.
- Stocks to Watch No. 3, CMG: Shares of Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (NYSE: CMG) received a positive boost after its largest mutual fund investor expressed confidence in the firm. Fidelity's Contrafund held its entire stake in the casual restaurant chain during the fourth quarter despite the sharp downturn in stock price. The company has been plagued by a number of food-borne illness scandals in recent months. Despite the confidence, shares were still off 0.7% in pre-market hours.
- Stocks to Watch No. 4, TWTR: Shares of Twitter Inc. (NYSE: TWTR) gained another 4.1% in pre-market hours on rumors that News Corp. (Nasdaq: NWS) has bought a stake in the microblogging company. Representatives of News Corp. denied the story, but investors seem hopeful as TWTR bounces off all-time lows.
Today's U.S. Economic Calendar (all times EST)
- Jobless Claims at 8:30 a.m.
- Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey at 8:30 a.m.
- Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index at 9:45 a.m.
- EIA Natural Gas Report at 10:30 a.m.
- EIA Petroleum Status Report at 11 a.m.
- 3-Month Bill Announcement at 11 a.m.
- 6-Month Bill Announcement at 11 a.m.
- 2-Year Note Announcement at 11 a.m.
- 2-Year FRN Note Announcement at 11 a.m.
- 5-Year Note Announcement at 11 a.m.
- 7-Year Note Announcement at 11 a.m.
- 10-Year TIPS Auction at 1 p.m.
- Fed Balance Sheet at 4:30 p.m.
- Money Supply at 4:30 p.m.
What Investors Must Know This Week
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.