Stock Market News Today: Dow Pushes Higher with Retail Earnings Under Spotlight

stock market news todayThe stock market news today features the Dow pushing higher as investors weigh earnings results from retailers like Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT), Macy's Inc. (NYSE: M), and Home Depot Inc. (NYSE: HD). Markets will continue to speculate on geopolitical challenges in Europe and the potential impact of President Donald Trump's planned economic policies.

Over the weekend, Accenture Plc. (NYSE: ACN) became the latest company to announce a hiring spree in the United States. The consulting and professional services giant said it would create 15,000 new positions in the country.

On the global front, Greece met with its European creditors Monday to discuss potential economic reforms to prevent a possible bankruptcy. Europe is also considering a possible deal that would see it exit from the euro this summer. Some speculators are suggesting that Greece may peg its currency to the U.S. dollar. This deal is just the latest problem in the failing European Union. As Money Morning Global Credit Strategist Michael Lewitt explains, the European Union likely won't make it another five years.

On Monday, the U.S. markets were closed in observance of Presidents Day. On Friday, the Dow added more than one point as energy stocks slumped and investors looked abroad to a potential massive shakeup in the politics of France.

Let's look at Friday's numbers 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%

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

What's Ahead for the Dow Jones Industrial Average Today

The Dow Jones Industrial Average projected a 61-point gain as investors eye another busy day of earnings reports and statements by members of the U.S. Federal Reserve. In earnings news, pay attention to a report from Home Depot Inc. (NYSE: HD). The home improvement retailer is expected to report earnings per share (EPS) of $1.33 on top of $21.79 billion in revenue.

Just Released: These "Second Salary" Plays Could Make You and Your Grandkids Rich

Gold prices are on the rise as investors eye a busy day of speeches by members of the Federal Reserve. Three presidents of various Fed banks will talk Tuesday and may offer some clues into the timing of the central bank's next interest rate hike. The Fed Open Market Committee will meet again in mid-March. According to CME Group's FedWatch Tool, the markets currently foresee a 17.7% probability of a rate hike next month.

While investors are focusing on the Fed this week, they might be missing a great opportunity to make money by investing in the best gold stock to buy. We've just identified one of the best gold stocks to buy to profit from surging gold prices. And how much is gold poised to rally?

Money Morning Resource Specialist Peter Krauth says two factors will drive the price of gold 13.5% higher this year. Here's what you need to know and how to profit.

Crude oil prices were on the rise despite evidence that U.S. crude production is on the rise. On Friday, Baker Hughes Inc. (NYSE: BHI) announced that the number of domestic rigs in service increased again, while the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) announced last Wednesday that the United States is sitting on record crude stockpiles. News of this uptick has largely offset optimism that OPEC producers could surpass their plans to cut more than 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) out of global production.

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

While everyone is tied up on the big macroeconomic news in the oil sector, they need to know about a major event happening in the natural gas sector. Money Morning Global Energy Strategist Dr. Kent Moors offers his insight to an exclusive meeting in Frankfurt, Germany. As the only American in the room, Dr. Moors explains the real geopolitical challenges in the global energy sector and the truth about relations between Iran and the United States.

Don't Miss: Natural Gas Prices in 2017 Will Soar Double Digits

But the big story is Snap Inc. (NYSE: SNAP).

Here's what to expect with its IPO...

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Last week, the parent company of Snapchat dropped its expected valuation to a range between $19.5 billion and $22.2 billion. This valuation means that the company will price shares between $14 and $16 each. Over the weekend, Snapchat executives visited London to woo investors ahead of its IPO. According to multiple reports, the company is facing a lot of skepticism due to its voting class structure, weak growth expectations, and lofty valuation.

Given that Snapchat lost more than $500 million last year - and may never run a profit ever - is buying into this social media company a good idea for investors like yourself?

To answer this question, Money Morning has put together a free Snapchat stock guide.

Here is everything you need to know about the Snapchat IPO and how to trade it.

Stocks to Watch Today, Feb. 21, 2017

  • Over the weekend, Kraft Heinz Foods Co. (NYSE: KHC) announced that it was backing out of any further offers for rival Unilever Plc. (NYSE ADR: UL). The Warren Buffett-backed food and snack giant made a surprise $143 billion offer for the Anglo-Dutch company. However, investors appeared to have revolted against the proposal, and concerns about geopolitical backlash worried Warren Buffett.
  • In earnings news, it's a big day for investors of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT). The world's largest retailer will report fourth-quarter earnings results and talk about its huge transition into e-commerce. The company will speak about its progress in carving into the market share of rival Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN). Company executives are also expected to offer insight into the potential impact of President Donald Trump's planned cross-border taxes on retailers and manufacturers.
  • Keep an eye out for earnings reports from First Solar Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR), Macy's Inc. (NYSE: M), Papa John's International Inc. (Nasdaq: PZZA), Texas Roadhouse Inc. (Nasdaq: TXRH) Advance Auto Parts Inc. (NYSE: AAP), Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc. (Nasdaq: CBRL), Medtronic Inc. (NYSE: MDT), Inc. (Nasdaq: SOHU), Healthstream Inc. (Nasdaq: HSTM), Lumber Liquidators Holdings Inc. (NYSE: LL), and Whiting Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: WLL).

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

  • Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank President Neel Kashkari speaks at 8:50 a.m.
  • 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.
  • San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank President John Williams speaks at 3:30 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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