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In Dow Jones news today, the Dow was flat as energy stocks slumped and investors looked abroad to a potential huge shakeup in the politics of France.
In France, markets are worried about the nation's potential shift to the left during the national election. Although the nation's far-right, anti-European Union candidate Marine Le Pen is the favorite to win the first round of voting in April, the second vote is far less uncertain.
That's because the socialist Benoit Hamon and far-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon are considering a deal to unite in order to beat Le Pen.
Word of the possible pact sent French bond prices higher.
Let's look at the closing numbers from Friday as of 4:00 p.m. for the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq:
Dow Jones: 20,621.38; +1.61; +0.01%
S&P 500: 2,350.93; +3.71; +0.16%
Nasdaq: 5,838.58; +23.68; +0.41%
On Monday, U.S. markets will be closed in honor of President's Day. Now, here's a look at today's most important market events and stocks, plus a preview of Tuesday's economic calendar.
Dow Jones News: Dow Flat as European Union Fears Accelerate
Political uncertainty and a lackluster day of earnings tempered the Dow Jones Friday. Shares of UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE: UNH) slumped more than 3%. UNH shares fell on news that the firm is facing a lawsuit over Medicare charges from the U.S. Justice Department.
Trending: 5 of the Best Stocks to Buy Now
Geopolitical uncertainty over the future of the European Union weighed on gold prices. The price of gold today fell 0.4%. Despite the downturn, gold prices Money Morning Resource Strategist Peter Krauth has an aggressive forecast for gold prices in 2017. To see his price forecast, click here.
Snap Inc. (NYSE: SNAP), the parent company of Snapchat, has valued its company between $19.5 billion and $22.2 billion. This valuation means that the company will price shares between $14 and $16 each. But with a company that lost more than $500 million last year – and one that could not be profitable ever – is investing in this company a good idea?
To answer this question, Money Morning has put together a free Snapchat stock guide.
In it, you'll learn how Snapchat works and how Snapchat makes money. You can find the guide, right here.
But the big news today was the price of crude oil.
Crude oil prices were flat after Baker Hughes Inc. (NYSE: BHI) reported that U.S. production rigs increased for the fifth week out of the last six weeks. The United States added six new rigs to hit 597 platforms. The WTI crude oil price today was flat.
Brent crude oil prices were mostly flat on the day as well, climbing just 0.09%. However, Brent prices had a better performance due to increased optimism over OPEC's planned deal to join Russia in reducing global production by almost 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) during the first half of 2017. Multiple watchdogs suggest that OPEC and Russia have reached at least 90% compliance in the deal.
Must Read: Essential Guide to Buying Gold & Silver
Oil prices have surged 50% over the last year, and Money Morning Global Energy Strategist Dr. Kent Moors forecasts another 20% rise in oil prices in 2017. For that reason, we're showing you the best crude oil stock to buy in 2017 so you can profit from soaring oil prices.
Stock Market News and Top Stocks to Watch Today: Feb. 17, 2017
- Shares of Deere & Co. (NYSE: DE) gained the most attention Friday after the heavy machine manufacturer reported quarterly earnings. Shares of DE stock were up nearly 1% on the day.
- Shares of Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) are in focus after the auto manufacturer announced that it is not scrapping plans to build a production facility in Mexico. The story has the potential to create a showdown between the iconic American company and the Trump administration, which has promised to establish a cross-border tax on vehicles built outside of the United States.
- In deal news, it looks like Warren Buffett is going to have to tell Kraft Heinz Co. (Nasdaq: KHC) to squeeze more money out of the bottle. Shares of Unilever Plc. (NYSE ADR: UL) rallied more than 8.7% on news that it has rejected a $143 billion takeover bid from Kraft Heinz. The global conglomerate said that the offer provided no financial or strategic benefit. Shares of KHC stock still increased by more than 10% on the day.
- No major companies will report earnings after the bell.
Tuesday's U.S. Economic Calendar (all times EST)
- PMI Manufacturing Index Flash at 9:45 a.m.
- Three-Month Bill Auction at 11:30 a.m.
- Six-Month Bill Auction at 11:30 a.m.
- Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank President Patrick Harker Speaks at 12 p.m.
- Four-Week Bill Auction at 1 p.m.
- Two-Year Note Auction at 1 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.