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Dow Jones Industrial Average News, 8/17/2016: The markets are in store for another heavy day of earnings reports as all three indices attempt to push back toward all-time highs.
Most of the market chatter on the floor of Chicago today has centered on oil prices and what to expect from the U.S. Federal Reserve.
Though two members of the Fed hinted on Tuesday that the central bank could hike rates in September, the odds of such a boost remains low.
Let's get to today's top stock market news, stocks to watch, ways to profit, and economic calendar for Aug. 17, 2016.
What's Moving the Dow Jones Industrial Average Today: The Federal Reserve
Dow Jones futures projected an 11-point decline at the opening bell as traders eye earnings reports and a critical report from the U.S. central bank. The Federal Reserve will release its minutes from the July FOMC meeting. Yesterday, two members of the Federal Reserve suggested that an interest rate hike is on the table in September. Comments from William Dudley and Dennis Lockhart helped push markets down from record highs set on Monday.
Crude oil prices were down slightly after traders digested inventory data from the American Petroleum Institute. The industry trade and advocacy group said that the United States experienced a surprise gain in gasoline inventories last week. Meanwhile, investors are starting to weigh the real odds that OPEC members will agree to a production freeze in order to support crude prices. Money Morning Global Energy Strategist Dr. Kent Moors has told energy traders to not expect a production freeze due to Saudi Arabia's standing as the cartel's largest producer. As Moors explained last week, Saudi Arabia has burned too many bridges with its own cartel members to get a deal done. Here is Kent's full prediction for OPEC's September meeting.
In pre-market hours, WTI crude was down 0.3%, while Brent crude fell 0.2%. Expect some movement in prices later today when the U.S. Energy Information Administration releases the official government report on domestic crude and byproduct inventory levels.
Gold prices were sliding early this morning as chatter about the July FOMC minutes and a possible rate hike this fall rattled gold-bug sentiment. Any hike to the U.S. dollar would strengthen the U.S. greenback against commodities like gold, silver, and oil. Of course, Money Morning Global Credit Strategist Michael Lewitt told readers to start buying gold in November 2015, a month before the last rate hike. Since then, gold prices have climbed over 24%. If you missed out on those gains, don't worry. We see gold prices soaring even higher from here. And if you want to start purchasing gold now, these are the three strategies you need to know.
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, shares of Lowe's Companies Inc. (NYSE: LOW) were absolutely crushed in pre-market hours after the company fell well short of Wall Street earnings expectations. The primary competitor of Home Depot Inc. (NYSE: HD) reported adjusted earnings per share (EPS) of $1.37. That was below average analyst expectations of $1.42. Meanwhile, the company also badly missed revenue expectations. The firm said that it did see a boost in same-store sales, but it was still below Wall Street expectations. Look for more commentary on the home retail industry through Money Morning later today.
- Shares of GoPro Inc. (Nasdaq: GPRO) sit at a seven-month high after gaining more than 1.7% on Tuesday. Despite the recent surge on Monday, we still advise investors to stay away from this company. Here's our latest on GPRO stock.
- Shares of Ekso Bionics Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: EKSO) are up more than 3.5% in pre-market hours. The company closed a $13.7 million common stock offering at $4 a share last week, and Money Morning Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald is very excited to see what's next. Here's Keith's latest insight on this must-own stock.
- Keep an eye on Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL). Shares of the technology giant are in focus after the company unveiled mobile billing in Japan. This means that customers can pay for games, applications, and other features through the Apple iTunes store on their cellphone bill. Mobile billing has been a gradual expansion on the international front for the maker of the iPhone. The company first rolled out carrier billing in Germany and Russia. This is a big opportunity given that Japan is the world's third-largest economy. It's one reason why AAPL stock is poised to take off over the next few years.
- In other earnings news, look out for a sobering quarterly report this afternoon from technology giant Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO). During the company's fourth-quarter earnings report today, the company is reportedly set to lay off 20% of its global workforce, which is roughly 14,000 people.
- Look for additional earnings reports from Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT), NetApp Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP), American Eagle Outfitters (NYSE: AEO), L Brands Inc. (NYSE: LB), Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A), and JA Solar Holdings Co. Ltd. (Nasdaq ADR: JASO).
Today's U.S. Economic Calendar (all times EDT)
- MBA Mortgage Applications at 7 a.m.
- Atlanta Fed Business Inflation Expectations at 10 a.m.
- EIA Petroleum Status Report at 10:30 a.m.
- Louis Federal Reserve Bank President James Bullard speaks at 1 p.m.
- FOMC Minutes at 2 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.