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Thanks a lot China! The markets were forecasting another volatile day for the Dow Jones Industrial Average thanks to weakness in the Asian stock markets. Just when you thought that China might turn a corner due to its never-ending stream of monetary stimulus, a terrible economic report blows those hopes out of the water. This morning's bad news is that the nation's exports declined 25.4% on-year in February. That's the fastest and worst annual decline since May 2009, near the height of a global trade crisis. How will China react? Expect more stimulus from a central bank looking to pull out every bazooka possible to stave off an even worse economic fallout.
Let's tackle your top stock market news, stocks to watch, and economic calendar for March 8, 2016.
What's Moving the Dow Jones Industrial Average Today: Goldman's Oil Call
Dow Jones futures forecast a 109-point decline after weak economic data from China pointed to lackluster global trade. A light economic calendar is pushing traders to focus on Thursday, when the European Central Bank meets to discuss monetary policy. With global growth flatlining, you can get ahead of the next round of multitrillion-dollar stimulus with this exchange-traded fund (ETF) and start profiting immensely. Check it out, right here.
Here's a breakdown of why the Dow was in motion this morning.
- Today, the focus is back on oil prices, which declined slightly this morning. Brent crude remained above $40 per barrel as global traders have called a bottom on energy commodities. But investment firm Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) has warned of a "premature surge" in commodity prices. Kuwait also raised concerns about a possible "production freeze" earlier today. The nation's oil minister said that they will only take part in the planned freeze if all major producers – including Iran – take part in the agreement. Kuwait produces roughly 3.1 million barrels per day.
- Members of the U.S. Federal Reserve are mixed on their views on whether the central bank should increase interest rates. During a speech on Monday, Fed Governor Lael Brainard urged for more patience when it came to boosting rates. Brainard said she wants to see inflation rise toward the 2% level for taking action. Meanwhile, Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer argued that domestic inflation could soon accelerate. The Fed Open Market Committee's next meeting kicks off next Tuesday, March 15.
- More pain for the Asia-Pacific economy is in store. According to new data, Japan's economy slumped at a slower pace than previous estimates during the final quarter of 2015. Despite a GDP gain of 1.4%, the nation is likely headed toward to a recession – even as the country's central bank introduces monetary policy aimed to boost spending and growth.
- In a surprising announcement yesterday, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that he will not run for U.S. president as an independent candidate. Bloomberg raised concerns that his candidacy would likely lead to a split vote and that neither himself, the Republican candidate, or the Democratic candidate would secure enough electoral votes. He explained that he would not want a Republican-led Congress to make the final decision, which would award the position to either Donald Trump or Sen. Ted Cruz.
- Yesterday, the Dow gained 67 points after gains in energy and materials stocks outweighed weakness in the technology sector. The Dow has closed up on five consecutive trading sessions, its best streak since October 2015.
Now here's your list of top stocks to watch in today's market, plus today's economic calendar:
Companies to Watch in the Stock Market Today
- Technology giant Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) is locked in a high-profile battle with the FBI over encryption. Now, the U.S. Justice Department has asked a judge to overturn a recent ruling that allows the company to avoid having to unlock a phone in a New York drug case. This case carries the same "privacy versus security" concerns tied to another case in California, where the FBI is demanding that Apple unlock the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters. You can find out why these cases are about much more than unlocking one iPhone here…
- Yesterday's retirement of future NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning wasn't the only big event that will affect endorsement deals for professional athletes. According to reports, Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE) halted its endorsement deal with women's tennis star Maria Sharapova on news that she failed a drug test for a banned substance called Meldonium.
- On the earnings side, pay attention to earnings reports from Dick's Sporting Goods Inc. (NYSE: DKS), DryShips Inc. (Nasdaq: DRYS), and W&T Offshore Inc. (NYSE: WTI).
- Shares of Urban Outfitters Inc. (Nasdaq: URBN) are up 10% in pre-market activity after the company shattered earnings expectations after the bell on Monday.
- Shares of Shake Shack Inc. (NYSE: SHAK) plunged more than 8.5% after the company reported weaker than expected quarterly earnings. Shake Shack stock handed investors a big profit opportunity after the bell. Here's how to profit on SHAK's coming slump.
Today's U.S. Economic Calendar (all times EST)
- NFIB Small Business Optimism Index at 6 a.m.
- Redbook at 8:55 a.m.
- 4-Week Bill Auction at 11:30 a.m.
- 3-Year Note Auction at 1 p.m.
What Investors Must Know This Week
- These Four Charts Have Every Wall Street Pro Worried
- Grab Double-Digit Gains with This Tech Overachiever
- The One "Investment" You Can't Afford to Be Without