Today's Stock Market News: Dow Continues Rally as Janet Yellen Talks Interest Rates

today’s stock market newsToday's stock market news is highlighted by the Dow pushing into record territory as investors prepare for a busy day of earnings reports, another round of economic data, and testimony before the House of Representatives by U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen.

On Tuesday, the Dow Jones jumped another 92 points thanks to a strong performance by banking stocks and Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL), which hit a new all-time intraday record.

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

Dow Jones: 20,504.41; +92.25; +0.45%

S&P 500: 2,337.58; +9.33; +0.40%

Nasdaq: 5,782.57; +18.62; +0.32%

Here's a look at today's most important market events and stocks, plus a look at Wednesday's economic calendar.

What's Ahead for the Dow Jones Industrial Average Today

The Dow Jones Industrial Average projected a 19-point gain and signaled that the markets were on the verge of another record day. A busy day of earnings reports accompanies testimony by Fed Chair Janet Yellen before the House Financial Services Committee.

Yesterday, Yellen appeared before the Senate Finance Committee and offered insight on the central bank's monetary policy positions. During her testimony, Yellen said that the central bank would likely need to increase interest rates at an upcoming meeting of the Fed Open Market Committee.

Prediction: Gold Prices Could Soar to $5,236 an Ounce

According to CME Group's FedWatch Tool, the markets only foresee a 17.7% probability that the central bank will raise interest rates during its meeting on March 15. Given that several members of the Fed are set to speak today (including Yellen), the odds could change.

Shares of Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) are pushing even higher into record territory on news that Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK.A) has boosted its stake by sevenfold in the global technology giant. Warren Buffett's company reported the big position in a regulatory filing for the fourth quarter.

Berkshire also increased its holdings in several airline companies, including American Airlines Group Inc. (Nasdaq: AAL), Delta Air Lines Inc. (NYSE: DAL), Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV), and United Continental Holdings Inc. (NYSE: UAL).

Trending Now: The Top 10 IPOs to Watch in 2017

In recent trading sessions, crude prices have been rising on news that OPEC has established 90% compliance in its deal to reduce global crude output by 1.8 million barrels.

But today investors are eyeing a key inventory report from the Energy Information Administration and expecting a strong uptick in U.S. crude stocks. Yesterday, the American Petroleum Institute announced that domestic inventories increased by 9.9 million barrels, a figure that far outpaced analyst expectations. Consensus expectations call for the EIA to report a rise of 3.5 million barrels. It would be the sixth consecutive week of gains for U.S. inventory levels.

The WTI crude oil price today added 0.2%. Brent crude gained 0.5%.

But the big story today is one of the best money-making opportunities in decades...

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Forward-looking investors are eyeing virtual reality stocks because of the massive profit potential in the industry.

The virtual reality (VR) market is expected to grow from $1.37 billion in 2015 to $33.9 billion by 2022, according to MarketsandMarkets. So, setting your positions now will make you a lot of money if you know the right stocks to buy.

Right now, investors will want to own Facebook Inc. (Nasdaq: FB) and Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) if they are serious about the long-term outlook for the sector.

But we've dug up two of the most intriguing virtual reality stocks to own in 2017.

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Stocks to Watch Today, Feb. 15, 2017

  • In earnings news, shares of Groupon Inc. (Nasdaq: GRPN) gained more than 5.8% after the company topped Wall Street earnings expectations and news that Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (NYSE: BABA) has reported a passive 5.7% stake in the online discount company.
  • Shares of PepsiCo Inc. (NYSE: PEP) are in focus after the global beverage and snack-food manufacturer topped Wall Street earnings expectations. The firm reported earnings per share (EPS) of $1.20 and set a dividend of 7%. PepsiCo also beat Wall Street revenue expectations. However, the stock isn't reacting to the positive news due to a weaker than expected full-year outlook. The company's CEO said in a statement that the firm expects many different economic challenges around the world in 2017. Currency rate fluctuations remain a key risk for the firm's global operations.
  • Keep an eye out for earnings reports from Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), TripAdvisor Inc. (Nasdaq: TRIP), Marriott International Inc. (Nasdaq: MAR), SodaStream International Ltd. (Nasdaq: SODA), Applied Materials Inc. (Nasdaq: AMAT), NetApp Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP), CBS Corp. (NYSE: CBS), Angie's List Inc. (Nasdaq: ANGI), Marathon Oil Corp. (NYSE: MRO), Barrick Gold Corp. (NYSE: ABX), SunPower Corp. (Nasdaq: SPWR), Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. (NYSE: HLT), and Wyndham Worldwide Corp. (NYSE: WYN).

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

  • MBA Mortgage Applications at 7 a.m.
  • Consumer Price Index at 8:30 a.m.
  • Retail Sales at 8:30 a.m.
  • Empire State Manufacturing Survey at 8:30 a.m.
  • Industrial Production at 9:15 a.m.
  • Atlanta Fed Business Inflation Expectations at 10 a.m.
  • Business Inventories at 10 a.m.
  • Housing Market Index at 10 a.m.
  • Janet Yellen speaks at 10 a.m.
  • EIA Petroleum Status Report at 10:30 a.m.
  • Boston Federal Reserve Bank President Eric Rosengren speaks at 12 p.m.
  • Philadelphia Federal Reserve President Patrick Harker speaks at 12:45 p.m.
  • Treasury International Capital at 4 p.m.
  • New York Federal Reserve Bank President William Dudley speaks at 7:15 p.m.

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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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