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For Feb. 4, 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?
Dow Jones: 16,416.58; +79.92; +0.49%
S&P 500: 1,915.45; +2.92; +0.15%
Nasdaq: 4,509.56; +5.32; +0.12%
The Dow Jones Industrial Average today (Thursday) gained 79 points ahead of tomorrow's critical January jobs report. Markets received a strong boost from materials stocks, which jumped 3.8% thanks to rising gold and silver prices and ChemChina's $43 billion deal to purchase Syngenta AG (NYSE ADR: SYT).
The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) – Wall Street's fear gauge – was up 0.8%.
On the economic front, the Challenger report indicated layoffs hit their highest levels in six months in January. According to the report, retail and energy companies issued the most pink-slips last month. Meanwhile, the U.S. Labor Department reported that jobless claims jumped to 285,000 last week, far more than economists had anticipated.
Top Stock Market News Today
- Stock Market Today: Five of 10 major S&P sectors were on the rise today. It was a tough day for retail stocks as chain stores reported weaker than expected sales in January. Shares of Macy's Inc. (NYSE: M), Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT), and JC Penney Company Inc. (NYSE: JCP) all slipped more than 2% on the day. Shares of Kohl's Corp. (NYSE: KSS) cratered 18.8% after it slashed its full-year earnings outlook and reported very weak sales during the holiday quarter.
- Obama Budget: The White House today proposed a $10 per barrel fee on oil as part of President Obama's new budget. The tax will be used to pay for investments in clean transportation, including mass transit, high-speed rail, and self-driving cars. The plan is likely to face significant opposition from the Republican-controlled Congress.
- Oil Prices Drop: Crude oil prices slipped lower after the President's proposal hit the airwaves. WTI crude oil – priced in New York – fell 1.7% to hit $31.72 per barrel. Meanwhile, Brent crude – priced in London – dipped 1.7% to hit $34.46 per barrel. Shares of Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) gained 1.7%, while shares of Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) gained 0.2%.
- On Tap Tomorrow: On Friday, the U.S. Labor Department will issue the January unemployment report. With U.S. layoffs hitting a six-month high and concerns about the Fed's December rate decision, tomorrow's jobs report will have a big role in the Dow's daily performance. In addition, keep an eye out for the weekly oil rig count from Baker Hughes Inc. (NYSE: BHI).
- Companies set to report quarterly earnings include Estee Lauder Companies Inc. (NYSE: EL), Tyson Foods Inc. (NYSE: TSN), Moody's Corp. (NYSE: MCO), AMETEK Inc. (NYSE: AME), CME Group Inc. (Nasdaq: CME), USG Corp. (NYSE: USG), and Aon Plc. (NYSE: AON).
Stocks to Watch: GPRO, RDS.A, RL, HAS, MAT
- Stocks to Watch No. 1, GPRO: Shares of GoPro Inc. (Nasdaq: GPRO) slumped 8.7% after the company's quarterly outlook was far below Wall Street expectations. Even though the company claims to hold 85% of the market for action-camera devices, the firm reported a dismal holiday season.
- Stocks to Watch No. 2, RDS.A: Shares of Royal Dutch Shell Plc. (NYSE ADR: A) gained 3.6% today despite reporting its worst annual earnings in 13 years. The company announced that fourth-quarter profits fell by 56% compared to the same period last year. The company announced plans to cut 10,000 jobs as part of a broader cost-cutting program.
- Stocks to Watch No. 3, RL: Shares of Ralph Lauren Corp. (NYSE: RL) plunged more than 22% after the retailer badly missed fiscal third-quarter bottom-line revenue expectations and slashed its annual forecast. Wall Street projected the company would report an EPS of $2.10 on top of $2 billion in revenue. Although Ralph Lauren reported a strong EPS of $2.27, the firm underwhelmed with a revenue figure of $1.9 billion during the third quarter. The firm is currently engaged in a dramatic reorganization effort that includes $110 million in cost cutting.
- Stocks to Watch No. 4, HAS: Shares of Hasbro Inc. (Nasdaq: HAS) gained 1.2% on news the company held merger talks with toy manufacturing rival Mattel Inc. (Nasdaq: MAT).
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
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.