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The Dow Jones Industrial Average today snapped a seven-day losing streak thanks to a sharp uptick in oil prices and a rise in financial stocks.
Before we get to those stories, check out the results for the Dow Jones, S&P 500, and Nasdaq:
Dow Jones: 18,355.00; +41.23; +0.23%
S&P 500: 2,163.79; +6.76; +0.31%
Nasdaq: 5,159.74; +22.00; +0.43%
Now, here's the top stock market news today… and your best ways to profit.
DJIA Today: Oil Prices Rally, Evans Makes Slight Case for a Rate Hike
The Dow Jones added 41 points on Wednesday, fueled by a surprise rally in oil prices, stronger than expected earnings reports, and increasing optimism for a 2016 rate hike.
Oil prices rallied today on news that the United States experienced a much larger drawdown in gasoline inventories than analysts had anticipated. The uptick follows Tuesday's sharp decline where oil fell below $40 per barrel for the first time since April.
WTI crude prices added 3.7% today, while Brent crude slipped 3.5%. Those gains came despite news that the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported a surprise increase in crude inventories last week. The increase reignites some concerns about a global glut, even with prices hovering near $40 per barrel.
It's been an interesting quarter of earnings reports. So far, 71% of companies beating their earnings forecasts sounds great. But Money Morning Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald explains that earnings expectations are comically low right now. He says there is one reason for cautious optimism next quarter. Here's what Fitz-Gerald told FOX Business this morning, including the impact of economic growth on the markets today.
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The Federal Reserve was back in focus today after Chicago Federal Reserve President Charles Evans said that the central bank could be ready for one rate hike in 2016. Increased chatter and hopes for a rate hike were a boon for insurance and financial stocks. It's important to note, however, that Evans considers inflation levels far below where it needs to be.
Shares of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM), Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C), and Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC) all ticked up more than 1.5%. The biggest boost on the Dow was Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS), which gained more than 1.6% despite news that the Federal Reserve has fined the bank more than $36 million for using confidential data.
Still, the Federal Reserve isn't taking action yet. Up first, the central bank awaits Friday's report on the health of the U.S. jobs markets. Consensus expectations call for an increase of 185,000 jobs created in July. That's down a large amount from the 287,000 created in June.
On the political front, the Republican Party is in complete disarray. With GOP candidate Donald Trump refusing to endorse Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) or Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), the party's leadership is scrambling. The Republican National Committee is reportedly weighing its options in the event that GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump drops out of the election. But is Trump dropping out of the race?
Now, let's look at the day's biggest stock movers and your stock pick of the day.
Top Stock Market News Today
- The second top performer on the S&P 500 today was American International Group Inc. (NYSE: AIG). Shares rallied nearly 7% after the company topped second-quarter Wall Street expectations
- Shares of Tesla Motors Inc. (Nasdaq: TSLA) are in focus as the electric car manufacturer plans to report second-quarter earnings after the bell. Wall Street expects the company to report an adjusted net loss of $0.52 per share. Investors are also curious about the financial impact of the company's decision to purchase solar installation giant SolarCity Corp. (Nasdaq: SCTY). So, should you buy TSLA stock after today's earnings report? We answer that, right here.
- The Fitbit stock price soared 9% after the company beat on earnings and revenue yesterday. Is this the time to buy Fitbit stock, or is this just a one-day pop? You can find our Fitbit Inc. (NYSE: FIT) stock recommendation, right here.
- On the earnings front, keep an eye out for additional earnings reports after the bell from Twenty-First Century Fox (Nasdaq: FOXA), First Solar Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR), and Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE: HLF).
- Finally, here is your insight of the day. It's been an unusual two weeks for the S&P 500. Despite all of the geopolitical hype, falling oil prices, and renewed optimism for a rate hike this year, the S&P 500 has stayed in a range of 1%. Our Technical Trading Specialist D.R. Barton says that there are three major factors that you need to know about that could shift this "go-nowhere market." Here's what you need to know.
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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.