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The Dow Jones Industrial Average today was flat before the closing bell on Thursday thanks to a dip in financial and technology stocks.
The Dow is very unlikely to hit 20,000 in 2016 even though the index came within 20 points of the psychological barrier earlier this week.
With the new year in our crosshairs, Money Morning has compiled a list of our best stocks to buy for January 2017.
Now, here's a look at today's most important market events and stocks, plus a preview of Friday's economic calendar.
DJIA Today: Dow Flat After Banking Stocks Slump
The Dow Jones was flat on Thursday after a lackluster round of economic data by banking and technology stocks. Shares of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) fell roughly 1% as investors took some gains off the table. But since Nov. 1, the GS stock price is up a staggering 33.8% thanks to increased optimism over the incoming Trump administration.
Other banking stocks that dragged down the Dow included Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC), Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C), JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM), and Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS). All five stocks fell more than 1% on the day.
The Federal Reserve's calls for higher interest rates has driven increased speculation over the impact of monetary policy on the U.S. economy and the stock market.
Over the last two weeks, Money Morning has been putting together a guide on how higher interest rates can cause a stock market crash. Money Morning Global Credit Strategist Michael Lewitt and Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald offer their unique perspective on how to protect yourself in the short term and invest for the long term. Read about it, right here.
Crude oil prices were falling again on Thursday after the Energy Information Administration announced a surprise decline in domestic crude inventories. The WTI crude oil price today fell 0.6% after the agency said that inventories increased by 614,000 barrels last week. Analysts had expected a decline ranging from 1.2 million to 2.1 barrels. The uptick was especially high in Cushing, Okla., where the build increased by 172,000 barrels.
Meanwhile, Brent crude fell just 0.3% as traders eye the Jan. 1 deadline for OPEC producers to begin their self-imposed production cuts to cap excessive supply.
Money Morning Global Energy Strategist Dr. Kent Moors has spent the last two weeks of 2016 putting together his 2017 oil price forecast for our readers. Earlier this year, he set predictions for December 2016 for both WTI crude and Brent crude. Sure enough, both types of oil are trading in the range he projected. Now, he's setting his price targets in his 2017 oil forecast.
But the big story today is Bitcoin…
While everyone is caught up in the mania of Dow 20,000, the crypto-currency has quietly surpassed $950 per coin. With $1,000 in sight for Bitcoin prices, investors are growing more optimistic that the alternative investment is about to break into the mainstream. Demand has been fueled by a huge surge in buying in China and India.
Bitcoin prices have rallied more than 120% in 2016, making it one of the top investments of the year. In fact, only two stocks on the S&P 500 – Nvidia Corp. (Nasdaq: NVDA) and Oneok Inc. (NYSE: OKE) – have beaten the returns of bitcoin in 2016.
Top Stock Market News Today, Dec. 29, 2016
- Shares of Lockheed Martin Corp. (NYSE: LMT) were up slightly despite the ongoing barrage of Tweets issued by President-elect Donald Trump over the costs of the company's F-35 program. The stock has been sliding in recent weeks and creating a nice buying opportunity for investors. Lockheed Martin is one of the best defense stocks to own over the long term. To see the rest of the top defense stocks to buy now, go here.
- Shares of wireless carrier Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) generated a lot of buzz today after it announced plans to create 5,000 jobs in the United States. The Sprint jobs are part of a larger deal that President-elect Trump reached with SoftBank Corp. (OTCMKTS: SFTBF) last month.
- Shares of drug maker Cempra Inc. (Nasdaq: CEMP) fell roughly 57% after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration rejected the firm's antibiotic treatment for pneumonia due to inadequate data. The drug had already faced some opposition from the FDA due to concerns on the effectiveness of the treatment and the side effect regarding liver enzymes.
- Finally, Money Morning Executive Editor Bill Patalon will show you the one surprising American car company to buy to cash in big. It's all in his video, right here.
Friday's U.S. Economic Calendar (all times EST)
- Chicago PMI at 9:45 a.m.
- Baker-Hughes Rig Count at 1 p.m.
- Bond Market Close: 2 p.m.
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