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Dow Jones Industrial Average News, 3/23/2016: With volumes low during this short week of trading, financial news outlets are getting repetitive: falling oil prices, bull market speculation, President Obama's travels. The real problem is they aren't telling you where to put your money and how to play defense against the growing number of forces that threaten it right now.
But Money Morning experts are preparing readers for what comes next week, from the U.S. Federal Reserve's upside-down policy decisions to the coming Super Crash in the financial sector. Use this week of light volumes and low volatility to set yourself up for what we expect to be a very wild April.
Here's what you need to know about the markets on Wednesday, March 23, 2016.
First up, check out the results for the Dow Jones, S&P 500, and Nasdaq:
Dow Jones: 17,502.59; -79.98; -0.46%
S&P 500: 2,036.71; -13.09; -0.64%
Nasdaq: 4,768.86; -52.80; -1.10%
Now, here's the top stock market news today…
DJIA Today: Oil Declines, NKE Misses on Revenue, Fed Falters
Energy and material stocks fell more than 2.3%, dragging the Dow Jones Industrial Average down nearly 80 points on the day. Oil prices slumped after the U.S. Energy Information Administration announced record crude inventory levels. The EIA said domestic crude stocks increased by 9.4 million barrels. Total inventory now sits at a record 532.5 million barrels.
It's important to have a strategy with oil, particularly as Wall Street keeps distorting the markets through short-term trading. Here's Money Morning Global Energy Strategy Dr. Kent Moors and his 15 simple steps that you can use to beat Wall Street at its own game. You won't believe how profitable No. 6 is.
On the economic front, St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank President James Bullard expressed concerns that domestic inflation will zoom past the central bank's target rate of 2%. As Money Morning Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald said, last week's Fed statement was evidence that Fed Chair Janet Yellen is prepared to let inflation run rampant. Here's what you need to know…
But the big talk today was about the housing sector. While the mainstream press is trying to reassure Americans there isn't reason to worry, the housing market is showing some serious cracks – much different than what we saw last decade. Mortgage applications slipped last month, the latest sign that wannabe homeowners are unable to access credit. That figure comes two days after existing home sales slumped by more than 7% in a month. On the positive end, new single-family home sales increased 2% in February, although the bulk of the sales occurred in the western portion of the United States. New home sales fell a staggering 24% in the northeast and nearly 18% in the midwest. The U.S. Commerce Department naturally blamed snow storms instead of the ongoing credit crunch that has made it harder for first-time buyers to purchase.
Now, let's look at the day's biggest stock movers and today's must-own stock…
Top Stock Market News Today
- Shares of Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) fell just 0.4% as oil prices tumbled and the Rockefeller Family Fund announced plans to divest its holdings in the multinational oil giant. The family charity plans to divest its oil, coal, and other carbon-based holdings due to concerns over climate change. Despite the charity's efforts, this will create a buying opportunity for indifferent investors. Multiple academic studies have shown that divesting doesn't impact a company's stock, dating back to efforts in the 1980s when universities and others divested from companies tied to South Africa.
- The biggest weight on the Dow Jones today was Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE). Stock in the global shoe and apparel maker fell 3.8% after the firm beat top-line earnings but fell short on revenue and forward sales expectations.
- Shares of SunEdison Inc. (NYSE: SUNE) plunged 15.6% today as the company remains under significant stress due to its ongoing debt negotiations. Here's why the stock keeps tumbling (it's off 37% since Monday), but – more importantly – why falling stock prices in the solar industry are creating a real buying opportunity.
- On the earnings front, shares of General Mills Inc. (NYSE: GIS) were up 0.4% after the company beat Wall Street estimates but fell short on sales expectations.
- Shares of Yum! Brands Inc. (NYSE: YUM) added 1.9% on news the company is in discussions with private-equity giant KKR & Co. LP (NYSE: KKR) to sell a stake in its China unit. The company is looking to sell about 20% of its Chinese business, which is valued at roughly $10 billion. YUM will spin off its Yum China business by the end of the year and list it on the New York Stock Exchange.
- Shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Nasdaq: VRTX) fell 7.6% after Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) slashed its price target for the biotech stock.
- Finally, here is your stock pick of the day. We're going to introduce you to one of the best dividend plays in the markets right now. "Dividend-paying stocks tend to be more stable than their non-dividend paying brethren – particularly during rocky stock markets," our Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald said during the 2008 financial crisis. And this stock is one of Keith's favorite long-term investments. Read about it, here.
Oil prices have suffered one of the worst crashes in modern history. But despite today's losses, WTI prices have seen a strong rally over the last month, and there's one reason why they'll keep going higher in 2016 and beyond...
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