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The Dow Jones Industrial Average ticked lower today (Wednesday) after two members of the Federal Reserve suggested that the central bank could raise interest rates in September. This is the latest frenzy of speculation on the Fed, which has a history of hinting possible rate hikes and then punting during their monetary policy meeting.
Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank President Esther George suggested the central bank could move on interest rates because the labor market could be at full strength. Meanwhile, Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker argued that the economy is healthy enough for a rate hike.
Despite all the rate hike speculation, the markets aren't expecting an increase this month. According to CME FedWatch, the probability of a rate hike in September sits at 15%.
Let's look at the final numbers on Wednesday for the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq:
Dow Jones: 18,526.14; -11.98; -0.06%
S&P 500: 2,186.15; -0.33; -0.02%
Nasdaq: 5,283.93; 8.02; 0.15%
Here's a look at today's most important market events and stocks, plus a preview of tomorrow's economic calendar.
DJIA Today: Fed Officials Tease Traders with September Rate Hike Talk
The Dow Jones shed 11 points Wednesday as investors weighed the timing of the next interest rate hike by the Fed. Investors were also watching the latest update from the Federal Reserve's Beige Book. The Fed projected modest wage growth for the months ahead. Shares of Home Depot Inc. (NYSE: HD) weighed on the Dow, falling nearly 1% on the day.
Oil prices were ticking higher Wednesday as traders speculated on the possibility of a production freeze by OPEC and other global producers. The WTI crude oil price today gained 1.4%. Meanwhile, the Brent crude oil price added 1.4%.
Crude prices will be in focus after the bell when the American Petroleum Institute releases its weekly crude inventory levels of the United States. Money Morning Global Energy Strategist Dr. Kent Moors argues that the price of oil is set to rise in the coming months even though he doesn't expect a deal will happen in Algeria. Here's Kent's latest insight on crude oil prices and what OPEC will do next.
But the big news today was the latest project launch by tech giant Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL).
Today, Apple CEO Tim Cook unveiled the firm's iPhone 7 and a new swim-resistant Apple Watch. According to Cook, the new iPhone 7 has wireless headphones and has eliminated the traditional headphone jack. It is also waterproof and has a much stronger battery life than previous generations of the phone. Investors are still weighing last week's ruling by the European Commission that the company must pay $14.5 billion in back taxes and penalties to Ireland. Despite the ruling, investors have very little to worry about when it comes to AAPL stock. Apple is one of the best and most profitable companies in the world. [Editor's Note: Here's why we rank AAPL stock a "Buy."
Top Stock Market News Today, Sept. 7, 2016
- Shares of Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) gained more than 1.7% after the construction and mining equipment manufacturer received an upgrade from Deutsche Bank AG (USA) (NYSE: DB). The investment bank issued a price target of $98 to complement its "Buy" rating. The firm says that Wall Street hasn't fully taken into account the success of Caterpillar's cost-cutting efforts over the last year.
- Shares of Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (NYSE: CMG) gained more than 5% on news that activist investor Bill Ackman has taken a 9.9% stake in the company. Ackman says that the casual restaurant's stock is undervalued and that he plans to meet with its board of directors to shake things up. But we're not buying into the hype surrounding the Chipotle stock price today. [Editor's Note: Here's why we recommend that investors sit this company out.
- Meanwhile, Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) is preparing to unveil a new peer-to-peer communications system to compete with Slack. The project is called Skype Teams and it will cater to larger project teams and editorial newsrooms.
- On the earnings front, shares of Francesca's Holdings Corp. (Nasdaq: FRAN) rallied more than 6.4% after the firm shattered Wall Street earnings per share and revenue expectations. After the bell, look for earnings report from Tailored Brands Inc. (Nasdaq: TLRD), Guidewire Software Inc. (NYSE: GWRE), and Verint Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: VRNT).
Thursday's U.S. Economic Calendar (all times EDT)
- Jobless Claims at 8:30 a.m.
- 30-Year Bond Announcement at 9:00 a.m.
- Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index at 9:45 a.m.
- Quarterly Services Survey at 10:00 a.m.
- EIA Natural Gas Report at 10:30 a.m.
- EIA Petroleum Status Report at 11:00 a.m.
- 3-Month Bill Announcement at 11:00 a.m.
- 6-Month Bill Announcement at 11:00 a.m.
- 52-Week Bill Announcement at 11:00 a.m.
- 3-Year Note Announcement at 11:00 a.m.
- 10-Year Note Announcement at 11:00 a.m.
- Consumer Credit at 3:00 p.m.
- Treasury STRIPS at 3:00 p.m.
- Fed Balance Sheet at 4:30 p.m.
- Money Supply at 4:30 p.m.
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.