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For Feb. 1, 2016, here's the top stock market news and stocks to watch based on today's market moves…
How Did the Stock Market Do Today?
S&P 500: 1,939.38; -0.86; -0.04%
Nasdaq: 4,620.37; +6.41; +0.14%
The Dow Jones Industrial Average today (Monday) slipped 17 points after another round of weak Chinese economic data renewed concerns about a global cooldown. Meanwhile, oil prices continued to slide on rumors that OPEC may conduct an emergency meeting to address falling demand around the world. Shares of global search and technology giant Alphabet Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOGL) were on the rise ahead of its earnings report after the bell.
The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) – Wall Street's fear gauge – slipped 1%.
On the economic front, the Institute of Supply Management Manufacturing Index remained at 48.2, the fourth consecutive monthly reading under 50. This is the longest streak of manufacturing payroll contractions since the Great Recession in 2009. Meanwhile, Federal Reserve Vice-Chair Stanley Fischer said he doesn't know what the U.S. central bank's next move will be with monetary policy. The second-in-command to Janet Yellen said global turbulence threatens to keep inflation levels very low. According to CME Group FedWatch, there is a 17.4% probability that the central bank will raise its benchmark rate to 0.75 in March.
Top Stock Market News Today
- Stock Market Today: Five of the 10 major S&P sectors were on the decline today, with energy stocks falling more than 2.1% on the day. Utilities stocks were up nearly 0.8%. The sector would have pushed higher if not for deal news. Shares of Dominion Resources Inc. (NYSE: D) fell 2.8% after the company announced plans to purchase Questar Corp. (NYSE: STR) for roughly $4.4 billion.
- Oil Crash: Crude oil prices fell for the first time in five sessions today on concerns about China's economy and fleeting expectations that OPEC will be able to strike a deal to prevent a global supply glut. WTI crude oil – priced in New York – fell 6% to close at $31.62 per barrel. Meanwhile, Brent crude – priced in London – fell 4.9% to settle at $34.24 per barrel. Shares of Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) and Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) both slid more than 1.4%.
- On Tap Tomorrow: On Tuesday, automotive stocks will be in focus when companies report monthly motor vehicle sales. Meanwhile, Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank President Esther George will give a speech on the U.S. economy. Companies set to report quarterly earnings include Gilead Sciences Inc. (Nasdaq: GILD), Michael Kors Holdings Ltd. (NYSE: KORS), Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO), Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (NYSE: CMG), Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM), and Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE).
Stocks to Watch: ALR, AET, YHOO, CMG, TWTR, CBS
- Stocks to Watch No. 1, ALR: Shares of Alere Inc. (NYSE: ALR) surged more than 45% on news the company will be purchased by biotech Abbott Laboratories (NYSE: ABT) for $5.8 billion. Shares of Abbott were up 1.6% on the day.
- Stocks to Watch No. 2, AET:Shares of Aetna Inc. (NYSE: AET) gained 1.4% after the company reported strong earnings. The major health insurance firm reported an adjusted EPS of $1.37, which beat market expectations. The firm also cited strong revenue numbers due to improved membership figures and margins in its Medicare business. Aetna reported $320.8 million in net income. However, the firm did issue a warning about its 2016 outlook and offered weaker than expected forward guidance.
- Stocks to Watch No. 3, YHOO: Shares of Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) were up 0.2% on news the company will soon announce a cost-reduction plan that includes a 15% decline of its workforce. The company will report earnings tomorrow.
- Stocks to Watch No. 4, CMG: Shares of Chipotle Mexican Grill(NYSE: CMG) gained more than 4% on news that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will soon announce the firm's E. coli outbreak is officially over.
- Stocks to Watch No. 5, TWTR:Shares of Twitter Inc. (NYSE: TWTR) were up 6.6% on news that tech investor Marc Andreessen and Silver Lake Partners have considered a deal to purchase the company. A San Francisco-based tech blog called The Information suggested the angel investor was interested in the firm, which has seen its stock decline by more than 75% over the last year. Twitter is set to report earnings next week. A spokesperson at the firm denied comment on the issue, stating the company's policy is not to speak on "rumor or speculation."
- Stocks to Watch No. 6, CBS: Shares of CBS Corp. (NYSE: CBS) gained 0.9% on news that the National Football League plans to split the rights to Thursday Night Football games between the network and its rival NBC. Shares of Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA), which owns NBC, gained nearly 0.2%.
What Investors Must Know This Week
- Where We'll Find Our Biggest Profits This Year
- What a Chinese Stock Market Crash Means for Investors
- Your "Buy List" to Profit from Volatility in 2016
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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.