Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average forecast a 51-point decline ahead of a speech by U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen in New York called "Economic Outlook and Monetary Policy."
Even though the speech is clearly titled, it's possible that Yellen will confuse investors the same way that she did during her FOMC conference. Check back with us later today for coverage of the speech.
And here's the top stock market news, stocks to watch, and economic calendar for March 29, 2016.
What's Moving the Dow Jones Industrial Average Today: Janet Yellen's Speech
Traders will anticipate new insight on the potential timing of the next interest rate hike by the U.S. central bank.
Here's a breakdown of what else is moving the Dow Jones today.
- Earlier this morning, San Francisco Federal Reserve President John Williams said the American economy is on pace for a gradual path of rate hikes. Williams said that concerns over creeping global growth and increased financial volatility are over blown.
- The U.S. Justice Department announced that it is no longer pursuing legal action against Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) over its encryption. The federal agency says that it has been able to unlock an iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino terrorists without the company's assistance.
- Oil prices are sliding again as economists anticipate that domestic crude inventories will hit new record highs. Investors are selling on the recent price rally that has seen crude prices tick up more than 45% since mid-February. Meanwhile, OPEC and a handful of major global suppliers are set to meet in Doha, Qatar, on April 17 to discuss a production freeze in order to offer price support to global energy commodities. WTI prices were down 1.9%, and Brent crude prices fell 2%.
- On the economic front, we're focusing on housing prices and consumer confidence. The Case-Schiller Index is set for release this morning, and we can anticipate a rise in housing prices as supply in the market remains tight. Meanwhile, the Conference Board is expected to announce that consumer confidence rose last month to 94 in March from 92.2 in February.
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
- Would you like to buy an Internet company? If so, Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) announced that any possible suitors who would like to purchase their assets have until April 11 to offer bids. The firm announced plans to shop its core Internet business and its stakes in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (NYSE: BABA) and Yahoo Japan. Last weekend, rumors emerged that Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) was working with private equity firms to discuss a possible purchase.
- Chinese investors simply won't walk away from potential deals in the real estate space. This morning, China's Anbang Insurance Group announced it will hike its offer for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. (NYSE: HOT) to nearly $14 billion. Starwood has long been linked to a deal with Marriott International Inc. (Nasdaq: MAR); however, the bidding war continues to escalate.
- This morning, shares of Lennar Corp. (NYSE: LEN) gained more than 2% after the homebuilder beat earnings expectations. The firm saw a 10% jump in new orders and a 12% increase in deliveries.
- On the earnings front, look for quarterly reports from Sonic Corp. (Nasdaq: SONC), McCormick & Co. (NYSE: MKC), and Restoration Hardware Co. (NYSE: RH).
Today's U.S. Economic Calendar (all times EDT)
- San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank President John Williams speaks at 5:15 a.m.
- Redbook at 8:55 a.m.
- S&P Case-Shiller HPI at 9 a.m.
- Consumer Confidence at 10 a.m.
- State Street Investor Confidence Index at 10 a.m.
- Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen speaks at 11:30 a.m.
- 4-Week Bill Auction at 11:30 a.m.
- 52-Week Bill Auction at 11:30 a.m.
- Dallas Federal Reserve Bank PresidentRob Kaplan speaks at 1 p.m.
- 5-Year Note Auction at 1 p.m.
- Dallas Federal Reserve Bank President Rob Kaplan speaks at 4 p.m.
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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.