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The Dow Jones Industrial Average today (Wednesday) rallied another 170 points thanks in part to a "breakthrough" deal with Greece and its creditors. The deal addresses the beleaguered nation's ongoing debt challenges. But on the downside, retail stocks continue to struggle in the face of tough earnings reports and underwhelming forecasts.
Here's what else you need to know about the markets on May 25, 2016.
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First up, check out the results for the Dow Jones, S&P 500, and Nasdaq:
Dow Jones: 17,851.51; +145.46; +0.82%
S&P 500: 2,090.54, +14.48, +0.70%
Nasdaq: 4,894.89; +33.83; +0.70%
Now, here's the top stock market news today…
DJIA Today: Federal Reserve's Rate Hike Back in Focus, Oil Nears $50
Financial stocks were pushing higher again as investors anticipate that the Federal Reserve will increase interest rates in either June or July. Shares of Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC), JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM), and Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C) all increased more than 1.5% on the day. According to CME Group's FedWatch, markets see a 38% probability of a June rate hike and a 45% chance of a boost to short-term rates in July.
It's another bad day for retail stocks. Shares of Tiffany & Co. (NYSE: TIF) recovered from an an intraday decline of as much as 4% after the luxury retail firm reported its worst sales decline in six quarters. Meanwhile, apparel retailer Express Inc. (NYSE: EXPR) cratered another 9% after the firm missed quarterly expectations.
Crude oil prices were pushing toward $50 per barrel as supply concerns abated around the globe. Early in the session, traders took some profits off the table after the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that crude stocks in the United States fell by 4.2 million barrels last week. That figure topped analyst expectations but fell short of the figure projected by the American Petroleum Institute. With today's gains, crude oil prices have risen a whopping 84% since February lows.
Brent crude added 2.5%, while WTI prices added another 2.1% as OPEC producers plan to meet next week to discuss a possible production freeze. Today, Qatar's energy and industry minister said that he wants a minimum of "$65 per barrel," a level that is "badly needed at the moment." A potential deal is under pressure after Iran's leaders said they would not participate in a production freeze. So, where do oil prices go from here?
But the big news today was the announcement that the SEC is investigating the accounting practices of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (NYSE: BABA). The Alibaba stock price fell more than 7.2%, while stakeholder Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) slipped nearly 5% on the day.
Now, let's look at the day's biggest stock movers and the must-own stock for today…
Top Stock Market News Today
- On the deal front, Monsanto Co. (NYSE: MON) added another 2.3% after the firm received an upgrade from research firm Jefferies and a price target of $132 per share. That's roughly 20% upside from today's MON stock price. The firm said that it expects German drug and chemical firm Bayer will purchase Monsanto for roughly $130 per share.
- The big experiment is underway…shares of Whole Foods Market Inc. (NYSE: WFM) added 1.6% after the firm opened its first 365 store. The smaller stores – which will increase to two additional locations this year and another 10 next year – are aimed at city dwellers and millennials.
- In deal news, Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. (NYSE: HPE) said it will engage in a tax-free spin-off its technology division and merge it with Computer Sciences Corp. (NYSE: CSC). The deal will move roughly two-thirds of HPE's workforce into the newly created firm. Shares of HPE stock were up 6% and received upgrades from both Mizuho Financial Group Inc. (NYSE ADR: MFG) and FBN Securities. Meanwhile, CSC stock added 40%.
- Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) stock was pushing up another 1.7% on news that the firm is creating a Siri-based assistant similar to the com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) assistant known as Echo. The information reports that the firm is also going to develop a kit for programmers and developers to create applications for the digital assistant.
- Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) plans to let go of 1,850 workers. The decision is part of a broader plan to register a $950 million restructuring charge from its 2014 Nokia purchase. MSFT stock added roughly 1.4%.
- Finally, here is your stock pick of the day. Money Morning Director of Tech & Venture Capital Michael A. Robinson wants to offer you some insight into the explosive growth poised for a $165 billion industry. In just the next few years, we're going to see growth in this technology industry balloon by a stunning 57%. The best part: You can grab your share of this growth with one of the oldest, most stable dividend payers on the market right now…
Your Retirement at Risk: Puerto Rico's debt crisis is not as remote a problem as you might think. In fact, it could have a direct impact on your retirement fund – even if you don't directly own Puerto Rico bonds. Read more…
About the Author
Garrett Baldwin is a globally recognized research economist, financial writer, and consultant with degrees from Northwestern, Johns Hopkins, Purdue, and Indiana University. He is a seasoned financial and political risk analyst, with a focus on stocks, hedge funds, private equity, blockchain, and housing policy. He has conducted risk assessment projects for clients in 27 countries, and consulted on policy and financial operations for some of the nation's largest financial institutions, including a $1.5 trillion credit fund, a $43 billion credit and auto loan giant, as well as two of the largest Wall Street banks by assets under management.
Garrett joined Money Map Press as an economist and researcher in 2011, specializing in alternative strategies with an emphasis on fundamental and technical analysis.