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Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average today show it's going to be a busy day! It looks like the Bank of Japan is throwing in the towel. The central bank kept its monetary policy on hold, but offered a very dismal outlook for the nation's economy.
Even with negative interest rates – like those seen in Europe – the nation has been unable to boost its economic pulse. It's no surprise if you've been paying attention to Japan's economy and its levels of stagnation for two decades.
Here's the top stock market news, stocks to watch, and economic calendar for March 15, 2016.
What's Moving the Dow Jones Industrial Average Today: Central Bank Chatter
Dow futures indicated a 78-point decline as investors prepare for a long day filled with economic data and chatter surrounding the U.S. Federal Reserve's policy meeting.
Here's a breakdown of why the Dow is dipping this morning.
- First up, central banks are in focus today. The Bank of Japan announced plans to hold its monetary policy in place, ahead of the two-day meeting by the Federal Reserve. The markets do not anticipate a possible rate hike until the Fed's June meeting, where there is a 50% chance of an increase, according to CME FedWatch.
- "It's called a logistical move…" Avon Products will slash 2,500 American jobs and relocate the company's headquarters to the United Kingdom from New York. The firm says that it is not a tax inversion, but instead a logistical move after the cosmetics firm sold its U.S. operations to private-equity giant Cerberus. The company has been bogged down by years of stagnating growth and an inability to recruit new sales people.
- Oil prices continued to slide as concerns about a global glut in supply weighed on trader sentiment. The problems continue on the geopolitical front as Iran refuses to freeze production alongside all of its other OPEC partners until it reaches four million barrels per day in output. Meanwhile, the global oil cartel announced late Monday that global demand was much lower than previous estimates.
- On the economic front, look for an update to the Producer Price Index. The U.S. Commerce Department will report retail sales today for February, and stocks like Macy's Inc. (NYSE: M), Nordstrom Inc. (NYSE: JWN), and JC Penney Co. Inc. (NYSE: JCP) will be in focus after the report.
- On Monday, the Dow added 15 points as consumer discretionary stocks rallied and offset a sharp downturn in oil prices. Discretionary stocks climbed after a big deal in the hotel industry rocked markets, and a series of upgrades boosted key movers in the sector. Traders were mostly treading water ahead of today's FOMC meeting.
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
- Merger mania is in focus again with interest rates low and companies desperate to boost market share in an era of limited organic growth. Next on the sales block is Mead Johnson Nutrition (NYSE: MJN). New reports indicate that the supplier of nutritional products has hired investment bankers at Lazard to review potential interest from larger rivals like Nestle SA (OTCMKTS ADR: NSRGY) and Danone SA (OTCMKTS ADR: DANOY).
- Shares of Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. (NYSE: VRX) cratered more than 15% after the company slashed its 2016 financial outlook by roughly 12%. The firm cited weakening growth in North American dermatology, gastrointestinal, and women's health businesses. The company's earnings report had been delayed after its CEO Michael Pearson returned from medical leave. However, as our Global Credit Strategist Michael Lewitt repeatedly warned, Valeant is a company that represents "everything that is wrong with the markets."
- Shares of industrial equipment supplier Dover Corp. (NYSE: DOV) slumped nearly 2.5% after the firm announced it would miss Wall Street expectations in the first quarter.
- On the earnings side, pay attention to quarterly performance reports from DSW Inc. (NYSE: DSW), Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL), FactSet Research Systems Inc. (NYSE: FDS), and JA Solar Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: JASO).
Today's U.S. Economic Calendar (all times EDT)
- PPI-FD at 8:30 a.m.
- Retail Sales at 8:30 a.m.
- Empire State Manufacturing Survey at 8:30 a.m.
- Redbook at 8:55 a.m.
- Business Inventories at 10 a.m.
- Housing Market Index at 10 a.m.
- 4-Week Bill Auction at 11:30 a.m.
- Treasury International Capital at 4 p.m.
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