Dow Jones Industrial Average Today Rallies as Brexit Polls Show a Divided United Kingdom

dow todayThe Dow Jones Industrial Average surged on Thursday as investors continued to gauge the result of today's vote by British citizens about their future in the European Union.

The markets also showed significant optimism about the U.S. economy after the Labor Department announced that weekly jobless claims fell close a 43-year low last week. The Dow rallied more than 230 points.

While the Brexit absolutely dominated the day, a number of other stories slid beneath the radar, including several profit opportunities for investors.

First up, check out the results for the Dow Jones, S&P 500, and Nasdaq.

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Dow Jones: 18,011.07; +230.24; 1.29%                              

S&P 500: 2,113.32; +27.87; 1.34% 

Nasdaq: 4,910.04; +76.72; 1.59%

Now, here's the top stock market news today...

DJIA Today: Brexit Vote Ahead; Financial and Energy Stocks Surge

First up, it's judgment day for the United Kingdom, as British voters take to the polls and decide whether or not to begin the process of leaving the European Union. Polls suggest that the Remain camp has a steady advantage this week, but expect nail-biting all night long. Brexit voting results won't be disclosed until "breakfast time" tomorrow.

But a number of reports indicate that some hedge funds may have been working overtime to determine exit polls from voters, in a nation where that is not allowed.

That said, the markets continued to rally today as investors seem completely sure that British voters are prepared to stay in the European Union. UK bookies were giving very strong odds that the country would remain. The top performers today could be found in the financial sector, which is hoping that the European banking system will escape this geopolitical turmoil unscathed. In fact, traders seem so certain that the Brexit won't occur that the S&P Volatility Index (VIX) - considered to be the market's fear gauge - slipped by more than 14%. That is the largest one-day decline in roughly five months. However, the reality is that American stocks are not safe from the Brexit. Here's what you need to know right now.

Meanwhile, the price of gold slipped to a two-week low ahead of the highly anticipated Brexit vote today. Where are gold prices going next? Find out, right here.

Once again, the markets were not too happy about the $2.8 billion deal between Tesla Motors Inc. (Nasdaq: TSLA) and SolarCity Corp. (NYSE: SCTY). Yesterday, hedge fund managers called the deal a bailout of SolarCity and criticized Elon Musk. Today, Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) downgraded shares of SolarCity and set a price target of $24.

Crude oil prices rallied yet again as optimism over the British vote pushed the commodity higher. Prices also received support from yesterday's announcement by the Energy Information Administration that U.S. inventories fell less than economists had anticipated. WTI crude added 1.9%, while Brent crude gained 2%.

But the big news today was the news that Volkswagen AG (OTCMKTS: VLKAY) is set to pay roughly $10.3 billion to settle its scandal over cheating on U.S. emissions tests. The company is also going to have to purchase roughly a half-million vehicles from existing customers and give regulators billions of dollars for a number of green projects to offset greenhouse gas emissions.

Shares of Volkswagen were up 4.5% on the day.

Now, let's look at the day's biggest stock movers and your trade of the day...

Top Stock Market News Today

  • Today's biggest winner was Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS), which added more than 2.5% on the day. Gains were fueled by Brexit optimism. But optimism is also high about the release of stress test results after the closing bell by the U.S. Federal Reserve.
  • It was a good day for Home Depot Inc. (NYSE: HD). The stock was up marginally after investment firm Nomura upgraded the stock to a "Buy" and raised its price target from $140 per share to $155. The company has seen strong growth in market share in recent quarters.
  • The big winner today was cloud software maker Twilio Inc. (NYSE: TWLO). The firm's stock almost doubled from its IPO price of $15 per share. The stock added more than 85% on the day.
  • Companies reporting earnings today after the bell include Sonic Corp. (Nasdaq: SONC) and SYNNEX Corp. (NYSE: SNX).
  • On the earnings front, shares of BlackBerry Ltd. (Nasdaq: BBRY) were up more than 3% after the company beat Wall Street top-line expectations but fell short of revenue estimates. The firm reported a small loss over the quarter and said its seeing some stronger growth in its software division
  • Finally, here is your stock of the day. After the Brexit vote comes tomorrow, investors are going to have to move on from the media circus. There are three investments you should know about right now to protect your nest egg, and more important, to profit on the vote no matter what happens tomorrow morning.

The rise of super PACs and "dark money" organizations is undermining the democratic power of you, the average American voter. Watch the video to learn more about how "dark money" has changed the rules of American politics forever.

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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.

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