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The Dow Jones Industrial Average is ticking higher this morning as investors weigh the news that the European Central Bank will extend its quantitative easing (QE) program through December 2017.
The central bank said it would carry on with its trillion-euro bond-buying program to help bolster the European economy. ECB President Mario Draghi is expected to announce that the bank will drop its monthly purchases to 60 million euros in April.
On Wednesday, the Dow gained more than 1.3% – adding 297 points – and hit another record high thanks to a surge in telecom stocks and speculation on the European Central Bank's plans. Let's look at the numbers from Wednesday for the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq:
Dow Jones: 19,549.62; +297.84; 1.55%
S&P 500: 2,241.35; +29.12; 1.32%
Nasdaq: 5,393.76; +60.76; 1.14%
Here's a look at today's most important market events and stocks, plus a look at Thursday's economic calendar.
What's Ahead for the Dow Jones Industrial Average Today
The Dow projected a 19-point gain at the opening bell as investors digest a lengthy statement from ECB President Mario Draghi. With the European bloc under pressure due to recent votes in the United Kingdom and the Italy, the ECB is repeating the insanity of more quantitative easing instead of fixing the roots of its problems.
Investors are keeping an eye on the U.S. Federal Reserve as the central bank plans to meet next week to discuss its first possible interest rate hike since December 2015. According to CME Group's FedWatch Tool, the odds of a rate hike during next week's meeting sits at 94.9%.
The WTI crude oil price today is ticking 0.6% higher this morning, just a notch above $50 per barrel. Meanwhile, Brent crude added 0.7%. Crude oil prices have been falling in recent sessions from increased skepticism regarding OPEC's production deal to cut excessive crude output. Also, the Energy Information Administration reported on Wednesday that U.S. crude stockpiles rose by 3.8 million barrels last week at the Cushing, Okla., delivery point. That's the largest uptick in domestic crude stockpiles for the delivery point since 2009.
Money Morning Global Energy Strategist Dr. Kent Moors explains that there are some factors that investors are missing if they spend too much time focusing on OPEC. Here are Dr. Moors' latest predictions and insights on the road ahead for OPEC and global oil prices.
But the big story today is happening in the U.S. economy. On Wednesday, United States Steel Corp. (NYSE: X) CEO Mario Longhi announced that his company would aim to rehire up to 10,000 workers who have been laid off over the last few years. Longhi appeared optimistic during an interview with CNBC about the proposed regulatory changes under President-elect Donald Trump. Shares of X stock added 4.25 on Wednesday and another 0.4% in pre-market hours.
Shares of United States Steel are up roughly 80% since Trump's election last month. The company expects a revenue boost should the U.S. implement a massive infrastructure program, and the company's profitability would be helped by changes in the corporate tax code.
Stocks to Watch Today, Dec. 8, 2016
- Shares of Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) added 0.8% after the company announced its online streaming business is booming. The company said it added 3 million users to its Apple Music service since September. That puts the company's paid subscriber count at 20 million users. Of course, if you want to make real money on Apple, you need to know the best AAPL supplier stocks to own for the year ahead. Here are our favorites.
- Remember, Apple stock has lagged in recent weeks, but some new trends and developments have made this company one of the top stocks to buy for 2017. [Editor's Note: Want to know what other stocks to buy? Click right here.]
- In earnings news, shares of Lululemon Athletica (Nasdaq: LULU) surged more than 12% in pre-market hours after the company topped Wall Street earnings expectations and reported a big jump in same-store sales. The firm reported an EPS of $0.47 on top of $544 million in revenue. Wall Street analysts expected profits of $0.43 per share and 540 million in revenue.
- Look for earnings reports from Broadcom Ltd. (Nasdaq: AVGO), Restoration Hardware Holdings Inc. (NYSE: RH), CIENA Corp. (Nasdaq: CIEN), Finisar Corp. (Nasdaq: FNSR), The Cooper Companies (NYSE: COO), and Science Applications International Corp. (Nasdaq: SAIC).
- Stock markets might have shattered record highs this month, but these overheated markets could signal a 2017 market crash. Money Morning experts offer several ways to both protect your investments and even make money during a crash. Be sure to read our stock market crash protection plan before it's too late.
Today's U.S. Economic Calendar (all times EST)
- Jobless Claims at 8:30 a.m.
- Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index at 9:45 a.m.
- Quarterly Services Survey at 10 a.m.
- EIA Natural Gas Report at 10:30 a.m.
- Three-Month Bill Announcement at 11 a.m.
- Six-Month Bill Announcement at 11 a.m.
- Three-Year Note Announcement at 11 a.m.
- 10-Year Note Announcement at 11 a.m.
- 30-Year Bond Announcement at 11 a.m.
- Fed Balance Sheet at 4:30 p.m.
- Money Supply at 4:30 p.m.
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