Dow Jones Industrial Average Slumps 57 Points on Rate Chatter

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended up on the week but mixed on the day... Investors remain focused on the upcoming decision by the FOMC on interest rates.

The optimistic calls from U.S. Federal Reserve members over the health of the U.S. economy received a bit of support today on news the economy expanded by 1% in the fourth quarter, more than the Commerce Department's first estimate last month. However, this isn't completely positive. The boost relied more on a stockpiling of inventories, which could suppress economic activity over the first quarter of 2016. The weekend is here, so celebrate while you can...

Before you hit Happy Hour, here's what happened in the markets today, Feb. 26, 2016.

First up, check out the results for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500, and Nasdaq:

dow jonesDow Jones: 16,639.97; -57.32; -0.34%

S&P 500: 1,948.05; -3.65; -0.19%

Nasdaq: 4,590.47; +8.27; +0.18%

Now, here's the top stock market news today...

DJIA Today: Europe's Banking System Is Under Intense Pressure

The ongoing banking sector downturn in Europe went from bad to worse. This morning, Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc. (NYSE: RBS) announced a multibillion-dollar loss in the fourth quarter and its eighth consecutive year of losses. This company has not posted an annual profit since 2007. If you're not paying attention to what's happening in Europe, you're not only exposing yourself to serious risk, you're also missing out on short-term profit plays. Money Morning Global Credit Strategist Michael Lewitt has outlined a $200 trillion credit collapse that is coming soon, and this one bank is the match that is going to set the entire financial system on fire. Read it, right here.

Oil prices fell slightly lower today despite a decline in the weekly U.S. rig count. Despite today's loss, Brent crude gained more than 6% this week and is on its way to the price target recently set by Money Morning Global Energy Strategist Dr. Kent Moors. Here's why oil prices are moving even higher in 2016.

No megadeal is happening in the defense sector. This afternoon, industrial conglomerate United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX) turned down a $90.7 billion takeover bid from Honeywell International Inc. (NYSE: HON). Executives at UTC said agreeing to the deal would be "irresponsible" due to the regulatory scrutiny and expected divestitures that would be necessary to obtain approval.

But the big talk today was the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' report that GDP increased by 1% in the December-ending quarter. Economists had expected a downward revision to 0.4% from last month's first estimate of 0.7%. The number offers a boost of support to recent statements by members of the Fed about the health of the U.S. economy. However, high inventory levels are raising concerns about the production levels in the first three months of 2016. Increased inventory reduces businesses' incentives to place new orders, which reduces new production demand.

Now, let's look at the day's biggest stock movers and your weekend stock pick...

Top Stock Market News Today

  • The Wall Street Journal reports that Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (NYSE: BABA) is really reaching for global domination in the e-commerce market. The newspaper reports that the Chinese e-commerce giant is aiming to obtain up to $4 billion in financing from a number of U.S. banks. The firm plans to aggressively expand operations, which includes a number of possible acquisitions. BABA stock was up roughly 0.5% on the day, although it still remains down 18% on the year.
  • Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL), said today he is committed to raising his company's dividend to shareholders. While it may be a nice way to appease demands of stockholders, some have suggested it could be a sign that the firm is no longer a growth stock. To quell those fears, you should read why AAPL stock is a must-own and why it's about to blast through that $100 price ceiling again very soon. AAPL stock was up 0.2% on the day.
  • Shares of Weight Watchers International Inc. (NYSE: WTW) crashed nearly 30% after the company reported disappointing Q4 2015 results and provided uninspiring guidance. And while earnings are driving the WTW stock price lower today, there's an even bigger number that will move Weight Watchers stock in 2016. And here's the secret number.
  • Finally, here's your stock pick for Friday. It's a new favorite, and one that you might have seen before. But it turns out this tech firm has a $150 billion catalyst that most pundits are ignoring. And it could be your ticket to huge gains. Check it out.

"Super Tuesday" is only four days away. On Super Tuesday 2016, 12 states and one U.S. territory will hold their primary elections in what amounts to an electoral frenzy. Here's everything you need to know about one of the most important events of the election cycle...

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What Investors Must Know This Week

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About the Author

Garrett Baldwin is a globally recognized research economist, financial writer, consultant, and political risk analyst with decades of trading experience and degrees in economics, cybersecurity, and business from Johns Hopkins, Purdue, Indiana University, and Northwestern.

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