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The Dow Jones Industrial Average was flat after weekly jobless claims came in higher than analysts had projected. The Department of Commerce also released the third and final estimate of third-quarter U.S. GDP. During the second revision of the GDP figure, the agency said that the U.S. economy grew by 3.2% in the September-ending quarter.
European markets were pushing higher thanks to news Italy has bailed out the world's oldest bank – Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena (BMPS).
On Wednesday, the Dow fell 32 points thanks to a dip in healthcare and industrial stocks. Despite a downturn in crude prices, the energy sector was resilient. The big news of the day was that existing housing sales hit a 10-year high, adding more optimism to the economic outlook of the United States.
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
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 Jones Industrial Average projected a five-point gain ahead of a very busy economic calendar that features Q3 GDP, updates on the health of the labor market, and key indices on manufacturing levels around the United States.
Crude oil prices were falling this morning on a report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration showing a surprise gain in oil inventories last week. Analysts had expected a decline in crude stocks, but the agency reported a 2.3 million barrel build. Consensus expectations called for a 2.5 million barrel decline.
Analysts noted crude stocks in the United States slipped last week. The WTI crude oil price today dipped 0.5%. Meanwhile, Brent crude fell nearly 0.6% on news that Libya plans to hike its production over the next few months.
Over the last few weeks, the U.S. dollar has rallied to a 14-year high. The combination of increased optimism over the incoming Trump administration, expectations for higher interest rates, and the downright terrible performance of other global currencies has the greenback riding high. That, unfortunately, has pummeled commodities. At the same time, it has created a remarkable buying opportunity for long-term investors.
Earlier this week, we laid out our latest forecast for gold prices in 2017.
On Wednesday, we did the same with silver prices. Our ambitious 2017 silver price prediction shows the metal rising more than 30% by the second fiscal quarter of 2017. Money Morning Global Resource Strategist Peter Krauth lays out the thesis for this bold prediction and explains how a number of different trends are shaping up to make this a great investment.
But the big news today is the deregulatory environment expected under President-elect Donald Trump. While President Obama has been passing a string of "midnight regulations" on the U.S. energy sector, Trump is widely expected to reduce bureaucracy and red tape around the financial and energy sectors during his first 100 days in office.
However, there is one financial regulation Trump may not reverse during his first year in office. Though many in his transition team have urged Trump to dump the Department of Labor's new fiduciary rule, the 45th president may not do so. The rule forces financial advisors to have a "fiduciary responsibility to their clients."
So why isn't changing or removing the DOL standard a guarantee for Trump next year?
Stocks to Watch Today, Dec. 22, 2016
- In California, Uber has halted its self-driving car program after the state department of motor vehicles took away the company's registrations for new test vehicles. According to CNN, Uber failed to mark the vehicles as "test" cars, a violation that raised concerns about safety in the city of San Francisco. While self-driving cars are a big deal for Uber, the even bigger story is the $66 billion Uber IPO valuation that the company currently has. The possible 2017 deal is easily the most hyped IPO in years. The question investors need to ask is whether they should take part in this historic event, particularly in the wake of the firm's big profit loss during the third quarter. Read more about the Uber IPO, here.
- In earnings news, shares of Rite Aid Corp. (NYSE: RAD) fell more than 0.3% after the retail drugstore chain fell shore of Wall Street earnings expectations. The company reported an earnings-per-share (EPS) figure of $0.02 on top of $8.09 billion in revenue. Analysts expected an EPS of $0.03 on $8.23 billion in revenue.
- On the earnings side, look for additional quarterly reports from Conagra Brands Inc. (NYSE: CAG), Cal-Maine Foods Inc. (Nasdaq: CALM), and Cintas Corp. (Nasdaq: CTAS).
Today'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.
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