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Nothing screams "insanity" more than the ongoing actions of central banks around the world as centralized planners attempt to spur economic growth. Instead of badly needed structural reforms, central bankers are implementing negative interest rates, outlandish stimulus programs, cutting safety regulations on banking requirements, and – of course – arguing that if we just keep doing the same thing, eventually we'll spend our way into prosperity.
This week's "Ostrich with His Head in the Sand Award" goes to European Central Bank President Mario Draghi, who headlines a meeting of the continental bloc's central bank tomorrow. Markets are expecting an array of different and dizzying policy decisions. That list could include a combination of an expansion of its already overzealous quantitative easing program, the introduction of a two-tiered deposit system, cheaper loans to banks, deeper cuts to interest rates, and possibly something as illogical as banning high-denomination currency.
Okay, let's take a breather and tackle your top Dow Jones Industrial Average news, stocks to watch, and economic calendar for Wednesday, March 9, 2016 – a day that marks the seventh anniversary of the current bull market.
What's Moving the Dow Jones Industrial Average Today: Oil Prices
Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average today forecast a 99-point gain as oil prices pushed higher. The uptick comes after the index slipped for the first time in five sessions yesterday.
Here's a breakdown of why the Dow Jones is moving higher this morning.
- It seems like every day crude prices are the headline, but energy commodities offer a key link across all spectrums of the market – from geopolitics to domestic production, from the health of the Chinese economy to overall investor sentiment. This morning, concerns about China's weak export data were outweighed by concerns over rising inventory levels in the United States. WTI prices were up 1.4% ahead of today's inventory report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, which could indicate another record level of domestic crude stocks.
- It was 17 years ago today that former Vice President Al Gore famously said: "During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet." This statement is widely misquoted as Gore stating he "invented the Internet." Who would've predicted we'd be talking about a possible Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump presidency on the very same Internet? Or that Facebook Inc. (Nasdaq: FB) would thrive, let alone exist as a company, while AOL remains a hollow shell of its former self?
- Speaking of politics, primary elections took place in Hawaii, Idaho, Michigan, and Mississippi on Tuesday. Republican candidate Donald Trump won the biggest prize by winning Michigan with a strong margin and taking Mississippi. Rival Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) won Idaho. On the Democrat side, Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) surprised everyone by winning Michigan, but due to delegate rules and Clinton's performance in other states, the Vermont senator still fell behind in the broader race.
- Geopolitical tensions are heating up on news Iran has launched another two rockets in defiance of yesterday's criticism by the United States for a previous launch. Not to be outdone, North Korea raised its hand to announce it had warheads that could be fitted onto missiles.
Now here's your list of top stocks to watch today, plus today's economic calendar:
Companies to Watch in the Stock Market Today
- It's been a brutal year for Canadian drug company Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. (NYSE: VRX). Money Morning Global Credit Strategist Michael Lewitt called on investors months ago to short the stock – and it's declined by 38% so far this year. Accusations of the firm gouging drug prices and accounting concerns fueled the downturn. Now the firm is pulling the emergency rip cord by appointing three new board members as soon as today. One of the board seats will be going to activist investor Bill Ackman's Pershing Square Capital Management.
- On the earnings side, pay attention to quarterly performance reports from Tailored Brands Inc. (NYSE: TLRD), Box Inc. (NYSE: BOX), Express Inc. (NYSE: EXPR), and Square Inc. (NYSE: SQ).
- General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) announced that shareholders now just need a 3% stake in the firm in order to nominate board members. This demand has been a hot issue from shareholders of many different companies ahead of the 2016 proxy season.
- Fido is feeding big profits for shareholders of Blue Buffalo Pet Products Inc. (Nasdaq: BUFF). The stock rallied more than 13% after the pet-food giant easily topped Wall Street earnings expectations after the bell yesterday.
Today's U.S. Economic Calendar (all times EST)
- MBA Mortgage Applications at 7 a.m.
- Wholesale Trade at 10 a.m.
- EIA Petroleum Status Report at 10:30 a.m.
- 10-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