Dow Jones Industrial Average Today Slides Because of Volatile Oil Prices

Dow Jones Industrial AverageThe Dow Jones Industrial Average today dipped after flirting with the 20,000 level once again.

The Nasdaq hit another record high, which helped keep volatility low. The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) - which is considered the market's fear gauge - fell 0.6% on the day to 11.49.

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

Dow Jones: 19,855.53; -31.85; -0.16%

S&P 500: 2,268.90; 0.00; 0.00%

Nasdaq: 5,551.82; +20.00; +0.36%

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

DJIA Today: Dow Slides as Crude Prices Slump Again

The Dow Jones slipped Tuesday despite a strong performance by financial and materials stocks. A sharp downturn in crude oil prices rattled energy investors. Shares of America Express Co. (NYSE: AXP) and Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) both gained more than 1% and helped support the index.

Investors are taking a wait-and-see approach as earnings season kicks into full swing with the reports coming from Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC), BlackRock Inc. (NYSE: BLK) and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) this week. Bank of America got off to a good start by gaining nearly 2% on the day.

It was another light day of economic data, but there was just enough action to bolster confidence in the U.S. economy. This morning, the National Federation of Independent Business's index measuring small-business optimism hit its highest level since 1980. Small businesses around the nation are the most hopeful about the direction of the U.S. economy after the election of President-elect Donald Trump in November.

Crude oil prices hit a one-month low as there are more concerns about OPEC's deal to cap excessive crude oil production.

Tomorrow will be a very important day for the oil markets as investors eye a weekly inventory report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Although OPEC countries like Saudi Arabia appear to be making progress toward their production cuts, the global oil cartel received some startling news. Iraq, the cartel's second-largest crude producer, announced that its exports from its southern ports hit an all-time high last month.

The Energy Information Administration has just revised its forecast for 2017 U.S. crude output. The forecast went from an expected decline of 80,000 barrels per day to an increase of 110,000 barrels per day for the year.

The WTI crude oil price today was down over 2.0%. Meanwhile, Brent crude was off 2.1%.

Don't Miss: Our (Bold) 2017 Oil Price Forecast - and Today's Most Profitable Energy Play

But the big story today is the price of gold.

Investors have one major question on their mind with the U.S. Federal Reserve and President-elect Donald Trump on a collision course: Are gold prices going up in 2017?

Gold prices have slumped in recent months thanks to a surging dollar. The greenback has benefited from the presidential election and the Fed's decision to raise interest rates.

Stock Market News and Top Stocks to Watch Today: Jan. 10, 2016

  • Despite the huge surge in small business optimism and increased plans by corporate America to create jobs in the United States, there is one company that isn't having a happy new year. The Wall Street Journal reports that Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) will slash several hundred jobs by the end of the month.
  • General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) stock rallied more than 3% after the company released a new annual forecast that topped Wall Street expectations.
  • Shares of Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. (NYSE: VRX) surged 6% today, but investors shouldn't be too excited by the news. The Canadian drug company, which was one of the worst performers of 2016, ticked higher after it sold its Dendreon cancer business and three skincare brands for roughly $2.12 billion to help ease its $30 billion debt load. The total sale was worth approximately $2.2 billion, which isn't very much of its debt burden. Money Morning Global Credit Strategist Michael Lewitt has long warned readers to avoid VRX stock. In fact, he argues that the company is worthless given its stunning debt levels.
  • The game is over for Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) executive Marissa Mayer after the company has closed its deal to sell its core business to Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ). The company will rename itself Altaba, according to Reuters. Mayer will officially step down from the company's board. Shares of YHOO today climbed 2.3%.
  • On the financial front, shares of Illumina Inc. (Nasdaq: ILMN) climbed more than 16% after the company offered a strong quarterly forecast and launched a new product. It was the company's largest one-day increase since 2012.

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

  • NFIB Small Business Optimism Index at 6 a.m.
  • Redbook at 8:55 a.m.
  • JOLTS at 10 a.m.
  • Wholesale Trade at 10 a.m.
  • Four-Week Bill Auction at 11:30 a.m.
  • Three-Year Note Auction at 1 p.m.

Get on the Path to Greater Wealth: When it comes to making money in the market, "getting in" early - before a stock begins to make its decisive move - is the single biggest factor to your success as an investor. Quickly buying Apple after the June 2013 sell-off, for instance, could have doubled your money. Moving on Valeant the same day we recommended our big "negative bet" against it would've booked you a remarkably fast 700% return. That's why we've introduced Money Morning Profit Alerts. This new, free service lets you choose what investing areas you want to follow - and makes sure you get alerted to news from that sector as soon as we publish it. It means no more waiting. No more searching. No more missing out. It's easy to get started - just go here.

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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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