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This morning, the U.S. Labor Department announced the July unemployment rate held steady at 4.9%. This morning's jobs report indicates that the United States saw an increase in 255,000 jobs last month, easily surpassing the economist expectations of 180,000.
Despite the positive report, the nation is still experiencing lackluster economic growth. CNBC reports that GDP growth over the first half of 2016 sat at roughly 1%.
Now, let's get to today's top stock market news, stocks to watch, ways to profit, and economic calendar for Aug. 5, 2016.
What's Moving the Dow Jones Industrial Average Today: The July Jobs Report
Dow Jones futures projected a 42-point increase after the positive jobs report. Gold prices and silver prices were down slightly but remained steady after the monthly jobs update.
Today's jobs report puts the Federal Reserve in focus this morning. The ongoing downward pressure of central banks has to be a burden on Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen. One has to wonder if she will remain the head of the central bank after the 2016 election. Our Global Credit Strategist Shah Gilani said that he would want former FDIC Chair Sheila Bair in charge of the Federal Reserve given her reform goals and credentials. Though he admits this appointment is very unlikely, Shah explains what must be done and the challenges ahead for the next Fed chairperson.
Crude oil prices were sliding this morning. As our Global Energy Strategist Dr. Kent Moors has explained, prices have faced downward pressure due to ongoing short sellers in the commodities markets. With short selling on the decline, we are about to enter a period of "range-bound" oil prices, which can be very profitable for the savvy investor.
This morning, WTI crude was off 0.6%, while Brent crude prices fell 0.6%. This afternoon, domestic oil production will be in focus after Baker Hughes Inc. (NYSE: BHI) announces its weekly rig count. Expect some sharp upward movement if we see a decline in domestic rigs.
The 2016 Summer Olympic Games kick off today in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The Olympics are already under pressure due to the Zika virus, potential terror plots, and filthy water. Here are the top five crazy incidents that have already happened before the 2016 Summer Olympics even started…
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
- In earnings news, LinkedIn Corp. (NYSE: LNKD) reported one of its last earnings reports before it will merge with Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT). The social media giant topped Wall Street earnings estimates by a steep margin. The firm reported adjusted earnings per share (EPS) of $1.13, topping expectations of $0.78. The company also reported its largest quarterly revenue in company history.
- Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) has announced bounties of up to $200,000 for anyone who can identify possible security vulnerabilities in its products. This is a major change for Apple, which has never relied on external security experts or ethical hackers to identify flaws in the firm's technologies. This has become an increasing trend in the security world. In the last two years, Twitter Inc. (NYSE: TWTR) has paid more than $322,000 in bug bounties after a series of high-profile hacks.
- Shares of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) were up more than 0.5% on news the company is in acquisition mode. The firm is reportedly looking to purchase e-commerce shop Jet.com. Would this be a good buy for owners of WMT stock? It doesn't look like it. Jet.com – which is worth roughly $3 billion – is struggling to keep up with rival Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN). We breakdown why you should avoid WMT stock, right here.
- Meanwhile, shares of Priceline Group Inc. (Nasdaq: PCLN) rallied more than 5.5% in pre-market hours after the company shattered earnings expectations on Thursday afternoon. Despite concerns about terrorism and a recent short-term climb in fuel costs, customers are taking vacations. The company said that gross bookings for travel increased by 19% over the same quarter last year.
- Look for additional earnings reports from Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp. (Nasdaq: CTSH), AES Corp. (NYSE: AES), Buckeye Partners LP (NYSE: BPL), Virgin America Inc. (Nasdaq: VA), and Pattern Energy Group Inc. (Nasdaq: PEGI).
Today's U.S. Economic Calendar (all times EDT)
- Employment Situation at 8:30 a.m.
- International Trade at 8:30 a.m.
- Baker Hughes Inc. Rig Count at 1 p.m.
- Consumer Credit at 3 p.m.
- Treasury STRIPS at 3 p.m.
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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.