Dow Jones Industrial Average Today Misses 20,000 Again

Dow Jones Industrial AverageThe Dow Jones Industrial Average today was in a holding pattern and slipped during the afternoon trading session.

The idea of Dow 20,000 will just have to wait another day. The downturn today came after a surprise buildup in domestic crude inventory levels. Meanwhile, existing home sales hit a 10-year high after a surprise bump in November.

Economists had anticipated a 1% decline in home sales. Instead, they grew by 0.7%.

Investors are also looking forward to Thursday, when the Department of Commerce releases the third and final estimate of Q3 U.S. GDP data.

Let's look at the numbers from Wednesday for the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq:

Dow Jones: 19,941.96; -32.66; -0.16%

S&P 500: 2,265.18; -5.58; -0.25%

Nasdaq: 5,471.43; -12.51; -0.23

Now, here's a look at today's most important market events and stocks, plus a preview of Thursday's economic calendar.

DJIA Today: Dow Slips Short of 20,000

The Dow Jones fell 32 points thanks to a dip in healthcare and industrial stocks. Despite a downturn in crude prices, the energy sector was resilient. Shares of Halliburton Co. (NYSE: HAL) added 3.3% and offered the biggest boost to the sector.

On the international front, the European markets remain shaky due to increased concerns about the Italian banking sector. The world's oldest bank - Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena (BMPS) - saw its shares crater 12% as it prepares to receive a bailout from the Italian government.

Crude oil prices were sliding Wednesday after the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) announced a surprise uptick in U.S. crude inventories. The WTI crude oil price today fell 1.4%, while Brent crude dipped 1.5% after the EIA's announcement.

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But the big news in the energy sector is the number of new "midnight regulations" issued by President Barrack Obama as he prepares to leave office in January. Just days after the president issued a record number of commutations to prisoners around the nation, the administration put a national freeze on offshore drilling for U.S. energy companies. In an attempt to cement his legacy on environmental issues, Obama has withdrawn lands of the Outer Continental Shelf - including the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans - from future oil production lease sales.

How did he do it? By extending his authority under a little-known congressional law from 1953. As we explain, the president's action is truly unprecedented.

That decision will also impact drilling of natural gas companies, but not in the way that you think. In 2017, natural gas is likely to be one of the best investments due to a number of huge trends that will fuel massive growth in the U.S. markets. Not only are President-elect Donald Trump's policies likely to spur development, but U.S. export levels are also set to surge. Natural gas prices have been on the rise this year, and our natural gas price prediction for 2017 shows prices could surge by 36% in 2017. Here's the latest insight on natural gas prices from our experts.

Finally, there is one big story that is sliding under the radar of the mainstream media Wednesday. A new report by Money Morning explains that baby boomers simply aren't saving for retirement. Too many baby boomers don't have enough money for retirement, and they are fooled into believing that Social Security will be able to cover all of their expenses as they grow older. This is fast becoming a national problem, but Washington isn't going to bail them out. Here's what you need to know.

Top Stock Market News Today, Dec. 21, 2016

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  • Shares of Twitter Inc. (NYSE: TWTR) fell over 4.5% after its Chief Technology Officer Adam Messinger announced plans to leave the company. The company continues to lose executives as it struggles to find footing and remain financially successful. Money Morning Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald has long advised readers since December 2013 to avoid TWTR stock at all costs. Following the company's inability to find a buyer, next year could be even worse than 2016. The TWTR stock price is down more than 26% so far in 2016.
  • In earnings news, shares of Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE) climbed close to 1% today after the company topped Wall Street estimates. The firm reported earnings per share of $0.50 on top of $8.18 billion in revenue. The company surprised many analysts with a solid quarter that was fueled by double-digit revenue growth in China and Japan.
  • Meanwhile, shares of FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) fell more than 3% after the company didn't meet Wall Street expectations. The company reported an EPS figure of $2.80 on top of $14.9 billion in revenue. Wall Street analysts had expected the shipping giant to report $2.90 on $14.9 billion in revenue. During a conference call after the bell, the firm's executive team raised some concerns about its future outlook due to the incoming Trump administration. The firm's CFO said he was optimistic about tax reform, but the firm's leaders are concerned that Trump's trade policies could impact the firm's bottom line.
  • After the bell, look for additional reports after the bell from Micron Technology Inc. (Nasdaq: MU), Red Hat Inc. (NYSE: RHT), and Bed Bath & Beyond (Nasdaq: BBBY).

Thursday's U.S. Economic Calendar (all times EST)

  • Durable Goods Orders at 8:30 a.m.
  • GDP at 8:30 a.m.
  • Jobless Claims at 8:30 a.m.
  • Chicago Fed National Activity Index at 8:30 a.m.
  • Corporate Profits at 8:30 a.m.
  • FHFA House Price Index at 9 a.m.
  • Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index at 9:45 a.m.
  • Personal Income and Outlays at 10 a.m.
  • Leading Indicators at 10 a.m.
  • EIA Natural Gas Report at 10:30 a.m.
  • Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Index at 11 a.m.
  • Four-Week Bill Announcement at 11 a.m.
  • Three-Month Bill Announcement at 11 a.m.
  • Six-Month Bill Announcement at 11 a.m.
  • Two-Year FRN Note Announcement at 11 a.m.
  • Two-Year Note Announcement at 11 a.m.
  • Five-Year Note Announcement at 11 a.m.
  • Seven-Year Note Announcement at 11 a.m.
  • Five-Year TIPS Auction at 1 p.m.
  • Fed Balance Sheet at 4:30 p.m.
  • Money Supply at 4:30 p.m.

An $80 Billion Cover-Up? Feds use obscure loophole to threaten retirees... Under the watchful eye of Congress, the government will soon be implementing a controversial plan that threatens the retirement of millions of Americans. And they're using an obscure loophole buried in Title 29 of the U.S. Labor Code to do it. If you have a 401(k), IRA, or any type of retirement account, this could cause you to miss out on $68,870 or more. Full Story

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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.

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