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Dow Jones Industrial Average News, 4/1/2016: Today (Friday) the markets will be digesting the March jobs report, but the bigger news is that today is the first day of the second quarter.
It's looking pretty dangerous out here: S&P Capital projects Q2-2016 to produce the worst set of quarterly earnings reports since 2009. According to Thomson Reuters, S&P 500 earnings are expected to slump by 6.9% in the first quarter, the worst numbers we've seen since the height of the financial crisis. It gets even worse for the energy sector, where the average energy profit figures are set to fall by 99% across the board. No, this is not an April Fools joke.
But cheer up.
There's plenty of good stock market news, stocks to watch, ways to profit and a busy economic calendar for April 1, 2016.
What's Moving the Dow Jones Industrial Average Today: March Unemployment
Dow Jones futures today projected an 85-point decline this morning after the U.S. Labor Department reported that the March unemployment rate increased to 5% and that the economy added 215,000 jobs for the month. Energy stocks were trailing due to a decline in oil prices.
Here's a breakdown of why the Dow is moving upward this morning.
- First up, Tesla Motors Inc. (Nasdaq: TSLA) unveiled its Model 3 series in Los Angeles last night. The vehicle will not go on sale until late 2017, but it is on sale starting last night. Already, more than 100,000 consumers have put down a reservation to purchase the electric vehicle. It costs less than 50% of its next cheapest vehicle model. The new Model 3 can go 215 miles with a single charge, more than double its competitors from BMW and Nissan. Auto stocks are in focus today with the monthly releases of vehicle sales. Shares of Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) and General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) will react as each reports their March sales.
- The Snapchat IPO hasn't received a launch date, but investors are clamoring about the fact that the firm just received a $16 billion valuation. It's a busy time for the messaging service with the announced release of Chat 2.0. Here's what's in store for SnapChat and what you need to know about its inevitable IPO in the future.
- WTI crude oil prices were off again Friday, but finished one of the strongest one-month rallies we've seen in 11 months. WTI prices ended the month with a 13% gain. This morning, WTI prices slipped 2.5% and Brent crude fell 2.4% as skepticism continues to rise over a possible deal between OPEC and non-OPEC producers to freeze oil output.
- On the economic front, the U.S. jobs report represent the biggest news on the state of the American economy. But last night, China released its monthly PMI readings, and it was surprisingly positive. In March, the nation's official PMI index increased to 50.2, while the Caixin PMI reading increased to 49.7, a rise from the February reading of 48. Any figure under 50 signals a contraction for the sector. Investors remain edgy about ongoing challenges to the world's second-largest economy over rising debt and slowing growth.
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
- Bad news for the retail sector. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) announced that for the first time – or at least since going public roughly 45 years ago – the firm's annual revenues declined from the year prior., according to its annual financial filing. The news is troubling as the company is trying to expand. It spent roughly $11.5 billion to open more than 400 stores over the last year.
- Now this is just confusing. After weeks of speculation and multiple bid raises, China's Anbang Insurance Group Co. is walking away from a $14 billion bid for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. (NYSE: HOT). That means that Marriott International Inc. (NYSE: MAR) has won the bidding war, and will buy the firm for $13.6 billion.
- Shares of Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) were on the move after the technology giant announced new chips targeting cloud computing in addition to several partnerships. The firm's strategy addresses concerns from some analysts that Intel has largely ignored the cloud-computing trend. Money Morning Defense & Tech Specialist Michael A. Robinson keys you in on why Intel has become a must-own stock.
- General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) is working to remove the "Too Big to Fail" tag assigned to GE Capital in the wake of the financial crisis. The announcement comes after a judge ordered that insurance giant Metlife Inc. (NYSE: MET) no longer needs to have that designation, which would have put the firm under the watchful eye of the Federal Reserve. With GE now pushing to remove the label – both Prudential Financial Inc. (NYSE: PRU) and American International Group Inc. (NYSE: AIG) may take similar legal action. AIG and GE Capital both received multibillion-dollar bailouts from taxpayers.
- On the earnings front, BlackBerry Inc. (Nasdaq: BBRY) stock slipped 6.4% after the company lost 3 cents per share for its latest quarter. That decline is still better than what Wall Street expected.
Today's U.S. Economic Calendar (all times EST)
- Employment Situation at 8:30 a.m.
- PMI Manufacturing Index at 9:45 a.m.
- ISM Manufacturing Index at 10 a.m.
- Consumer Sentiment at 10 a.m.
- Construction Spending at 10 a.m.
- Baker-Hughes Rig Count at 1 p.m.
- Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester speaks at 1 p.m.
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