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The Dow Jones Industrial Average was flat today as traders digested weak jobs figures, retail stocks slumped again, and shares of Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) fell below $90 and finished the day near a two-year low.
On the jobs front, more Americans than expected filed for unemployment benefits last week, raising concerns about the health of the employment market after April's weak report. Claims for state unemployment benefits surged to seasonally adjusted 294,000 last week. According to RBC Capital Markets, the rise is partially tied to a large strike by Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) employees. However, other economists suggested that seasonal affects were having a more pronounced impact on employment.
Here's what else you need to know about the markets on May 12, 2016.
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First up, check out the results for the Dow Jones, S&P 500, and Nasdaq:
Dow Jones: 17,720.50; +9.38; +0.05%
S&P 500: 2,064.11; -0.35; -0.02%
Nasdaq: 4,737.33; -22.35; -0.49%
Now, here's the top stock market news today…
DJIA Today: Fed Expected to Delay Interest Rate Hike Until September
The U.S. Federal Reserve is in focus today as economists now anticipate that the central bank will delay a rate hike until at least September, according to a poll by Reuters. This is the second time that economists have delayed their expectations since the Fed raised rates in December.
Meanwhile, as the Fed has debased the dollar, missed multiple financial crises, and delivered too few benefits to the vast number of Americans, Democrats are arguing there's a more important problem at the central bank: A lack of diversity. The Majority of House Democrats and a handful of U.S. Senators like Elizabeth Warren sent a letter to Janet Yellen encouraging the central bank to "to improve the diversity of its top officials and increase the representation of consumer and labor groups in its ranks."
It's takeover time once again. Shares of Cnova NV (Nasdaq: CNV) rallied more than 47% on news that the company will be receiving a takeover bid from Casino SA. The offer for outstanding shares values the company at roughly $196 million.
Meanwhile, shares of Monsanto Co. (NYSE: MON) rallied more than 8% on news that the seed giant has become a possible takeover target. Reports have named firms like Bayer AG (OTCMKTS ADR: BAYRY) and BASF SE (OTCMKTS ADR: BASFY) as possible buyers. Shares of the respective firms fell more than 1.2% and 4.3% on the day.
Crude oil prices pushed higher this afternoon as investors weighed supply concerns on the global energy markets. A surprise drawdown of oil stocks at Cushing last month – as reported by the U.S. Energy Information Administration – compounded other supply threats in Canada and Western Africa. WTI oil prices added 0.5%, while Brent crude added 0.6%.
Now, let's look at the day's biggest stock movers and the must-own stock for today…
Top Stock Market News Today
- Shares of Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) were off more than 0.5% despite positive comments by activist hedge fund manager Jeffrey Smith about the company's valuation at the 2016 SALT Conference in Las Vegas. Smith said that YHOO stock offers value to investors given that the sum of its parts – which includes its core business, its stake in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (NYSE: BABA), Yahoo Japan, cash, and more – is worth more than the firm's current market capitalization.
- Shares of Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) fell to a 52-week intraday low after the company faced a public relations problem today. The company denied initial reports that the firm is no longer planning on selling music downloads on iTunes. Shares of AAPL stock were off 2% and continue to bleed value as the firm faces increased challenges in sales of its iPhones, particularly in China, where competition has grown increasingly fiercer in recent years.
- Shares of Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (NYSE: CMG) were up 0.6% on news that the firm plans to increase $1.9 billion stock buyback program by another $100 million. The company's shareholders have also taken more power in making decisions of its board members in the future.
- On the earnings front, shares of Kohl's Corp. (NYSE: KSS) slumped nearly 9% after the retailer reported an 87% decline in Q1 profits and a large sale decline. The firm reported per-share earnings of $0.31, missing Wall Street expectations by $0.05. The news follows a massive rout for retail stocks on Wednesday that saw the sector experience its worst single day since 2011. Keep an eye out for an earnings report from Nordstrom Inc. (NYSE: JWN) later this afternoon.
- Finally, here is your stock of the day. As Money Morning Technical Trading Specialist D.R. Barton explains, the markets are ticking higher because investors expect that the U.S. Federal Reserve will continue to be "accommodative" and avoid raising interest rates in the near future. But something big is on the horizon, and investors should take D.R.'s advice and follow this strategy in the months ahead…
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