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The Dow Jones Industrial Average today came within less than a point of 20,000 as investors parsed though another round of economic data.
The U.S. Labor Department announced the official unemployment rate in December rose slightly to 4.7% and that the U.S. economy added 156,000 jobs for the month. That latter figure fell short of economists' expectations of 180,000 new jobs. On the positive side, average hourly pay increased by 2.9% year over year. That's the strongest annual uptick in wages since mid-2009.
The Nasdaq and the S&P 500 hit all-time highs thanks to a strong uptick in FANG stocks. Shares of Facebook Inc. (Nasdaq: FB), Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN), Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX), and Google parent Alphabet Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOGL) all gained more than 1%.
Let's look at the numbers from Friday for the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq:
Dow Jones: 19.963.80; +64.51; +0.32%
S&P 500: 2,276.98; +7.98; +0.35%
Nasdaq: 5,521.06; +33.12; +0.60%
Now, here's a look at today's most important market events and stocks, plus a preview of Monday's economic calendar.
DJIA Today: Dow Falls Just Shy of 20,000; Oil Prices Flatten on Friday
The Dow Jones surged to within a point of the 20,000 level. The markets pushed up 75 points after investors parsed through today's employment data and shrugged off news that November factory orders dipped more than economists had expected. The Dow received a strong bump from The Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS).
Investors are still weighing the timing of the next interest rate hike after the Federal Reserve tightened monetary policy for the second time in 10 years during its December FOMC meeting. According to CME Group's FedWatch, the markets have set a 70% probability that the central bank will hike interest rates three times in 2017.
Crude oil prices were flat as traders focus extensively on individual commitments from OPEC nations to cut oil production. On Wednesday, Saudi Arabia announced it would cut 486,000 million barrels per day (BPD). But some are concerned that cuts may not come from Iraq due to Kurdish opposition and desire for autonomy.
The WTI crude oil price today was down roughly 0.1%. Meanwhile, Brent crude was flat.
But the big story today is the price of Bitcoin.
In 2016, the price of Bitcoin surged by 48%, from $775 to $1,150. But Thursday the price plunged as much as 31% before falling to around $950. Today the digital currency slipped further to about $900.
The volatility in bitcoin prices has investors wondering, "Should I sell my Bitcoin at current price levels?" Money Morning breaks down why you shouldn't let fear drive your decisions. Use this strategy, instead.
What are the stocks to watch today? They're in the pharmaceutical, retail, and technology sector.
Stock Market News and Top Stocks to Watch Today: Jan. 6, 2016
- It was a mixed day in the pharmaceutical sector. Shares of Amgen Inc. (Nasdaq: AMGN) jumped nearly 5% after a U.S. district judge blocked rivals Sanofi SA (NYSE ADR: SNY) and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Nasdaq: REGN) from selling a cholesterol drug that infringed on the former's patents. Shares of SNY fell by 3%, while REGN stock dipped 7% on the day.
- In earnings news, shares of Ruby Tuesday Inc. (NYSE: RT) were crushed after the restaurant chain announced weak quarterly earnings. The stock fell more than 15% after the firm reported a quarterly loss of $0.18 per share on revenue of $214.72 million. That was well below expectations of a loss of $0.07 per share on $253.54 million.
- A day after a dismal round of retail reports on the holiday sector, a surprise victor emerged. Shares of Gap Inc. (NYSE: GPS) rallied more than 8% after the company announced a surprise jump in same-store sales. The company also announced that it expects its 2016 profit to fall on the high end of its annual forecast.
- However, retail giant C. Penney Co. Inc. (NYSE: JCP) failed to report similar good news. Shares of JCP stock fell more than 3.6% after the firm announced that same-store sales over the nine-week holiday season (November and December) fell by nearly 1%. The announcement comes a day after shares of both Macy's Inc. (NYSE: M) and Kohl's Corp. (NYSE: KSS) plunged due to weaker-than-expected holiday sales results. The story is part of the broader problem for retail companies. We are seeing increasingly more retail store closures in 2017. Here are the likely candidates on the retail "Death Watch" list for 2017.
- Finally, the cell phone battles are heating up, and it is going to be a big story in 2017. Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) added more than 1% after the company announced plans to open an Apple Store in South Korea, the home of its rival Samsung Electronics (OTCMKTS: SSNLF). At a time when Apple is looking for new sales in a world where iPhone sales have retreated, Samsung remains under pressure due to its disastrous Galaxy Note 7. Despite the encroachment on their home soil, Samsung announced that it expects its profitability to jump by 50% in 2017.
Monday's U.S. Economic Calendar (all times EST)
- TD Ameritrade IMX at 12:30 a.m.
- Boston Federal Reserve Bank President Eric Rosengren speaks at 9 a.m.
- Labor Market Conditions Index at 10 a.m.
- Four-Week Bill Announcement at 11 a.m.
- Three-Month Bill Auction at 11:30 a.m.
- Six-Month Bill Auction at 11:30 a.m.
- Atlanta Federal Reserve President Dennis Lockhart speaks at 12:40 p.m.
- Consumer Credit at 3 p.m.
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About the Author
Garrett Baldwin is a globally recognized research economist, financial writer, and consultant with degrees from Northwestern, Johns Hopkins, Purdue, and Indiana University. He is a seasoned financial and political risk analyst, with a focus on stocks, hedge funds, private equity, blockchain, and housing policy. He has conducted risk assessment projects for clients in 27 countries, and consulted on policy and financial operations for some of the nation's largest financial institutions, including a $1.5 trillion credit fund, a $43 billion credit and auto loan giant, as well as two of the largest Wall Street banks by assets under management.
Garrett joined Money Map Press as an economist and researcher in 2011, specializing in alternative strategies with an emphasis on fundamental and technical analysis.