Dow Jones News: Index Ticks Lower with Fed Open Market Committee Minutes in Focus

Dow Jones newsToday's Dow Jones news is the index is sliding in pre-market hours as investors weigh another day of key economic data in the housing markets, earnings reports, and an important release of minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve. Meanwhile, companies topping today's busy earnings calendar include Tesla Motors Inc. (Nasdaq: TSLA) and Fitbit Inc. (NYSE: FIT).

On Tuesday, the Dow climbed closer to 21,000 thanks to an uptick in crude oil prices, energy stocks, and retail stocks. Markets also cheered another round of positive earnings results and a key nomination by President Donald Trump to his administration.

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

Dow Jones: 20,743.00; +118.95; +0.58%

S&P 500: 2,365.38; +14.22; +0.60%

Nasdaq: 5,865.95; +27.37; +0.47%

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 12-point decline as we progress deeper into earnings season. The Fed is back in focus as the central bank prepares to release minutes from its most recent meeting on monetary policy. The markets do not expect a rate hike during its March meeting. Investors are hoping that the minutes will provide some clues into the timing of the next interest rate hike.

Meanwhile, Fed Board Governor Jerome Powell will speak on "The Economic Outlook and Monetary Policy" at the Forecasters Club of New York luncheon in Manhattan at 1:00 p.m.

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In other economic news, keep an eye on data and earnings reports in the housing sector. This morning, the January report on existing home sales could provide a boost to construction stocks. Also, investors are cheering the quarterly earnings report from Toll Brothers Inc. (NYSE: TOL). Shares of the homebuilder climbed more than 5% in pre-market hours after the firm easily beat Wall Street earnings expectations. The company offered positive progress on its T-Select program, a new initiative aimed at millennials who are first-time homebuyers.

Crude oil prices were ticking near a seven-week high as OPEC continues to provide evidence that its members and Russia are on pace to curb global production by 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) and reduce a massive global glut.

The WTI crude oil price today added 0.3%. Brent crude gained nearly 0.4%.

The continued uptick in crude prices has created a great opportunity for investors to make some real money in the markets. Since OPEC agreed to cut oil production on Nov. 30, oil prices have soared 17%. And that has helped boost American oil stocks. But this rally is only getting started.

That's why we've made a list of the best oil stocks to buy now.

But the big news is the huge court ruling that has pummeled shares of both Fannie Mae (OTCMKTS: FNMA) and Freddie Mac (OTCMKTS: FMCC). Shares of both companies plunged more than 30% Tuesday after a federal appeals court upheld a previous ruling that disarms investors in court against the federal government.

The ruling sides with the government over the decision to allow the feds to keep the profits of the two mortgage corporations following their massive taxpayer bailout. Hedge funds - including Bill Ackman's Pershing Square Capital - had been leading the charge on behalf of shareholders.

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But there is a stunning possibility that could change the direction of this case. And that had both stocks surging more than 20% in pre-market hours.

It's possible that the Trump administration could reverse this decision by the government to maintain the "net worth sweep" that keeps shareholders from getting any profits. Stay tuned.

Stocks to Watch Today, Feb. 22, 2017

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  • In earnings news, shares of First Solar Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR) were roaring in pre-market hours after the company released its fourth-quarter earnings report Tuesday. FSLR stock gained 5.1% during Tuesday's trading session and added another 1.3% this morning. The company still reported its largest quarterly loss in its history after it reengineered its manufacturing strategy and laid off roughly 25% of its workforce.
  • In deal news, cybersecurity breaches have knocked down the value of Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) by $350 million. According to TechCrunch, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) is prepared to purchase the company for $4.48 billion. YHOO stock was off slightly in pre-market hours.
  • Meanwhile, shares of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen Inc. (Nasdaq: PLKI) are in focus as the firm prepares to report fourth-quarter earnings. The company's stock rallied more than 19% Tuesday after Burger King's parent company, Restaurant Brands International Inc. (NYSE: QSR), announced it would buy the fast-food chicken company.
  • Keep an eye out for earnings reports from Tesla Inc. (Nasdaq: TSLA), Fitbit Inc. (NYSE: FIT), Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ), International Ltd. (Nasdaq: CTRP), Sturm, Ruger & Co. (NYSE: RGR), Transocean Ltd. (NYSE: RIG), Boston Beer Co. (NYSE: SAM), The TJX Companies (NYSE: TJX), Jack in the Box Inc. (Nasdaq: JACK), L Brands Inc. (NYSE: LB), Sina Corp. (Nasdaq: SINA), Cheesecake Factory Inc. (Nasdaq: CAKE), Garmin Ltd. (Nasdaq: GRMN), Square Inc. (NYSE: SQ), Toll Brothers Inc. (NYSE: TOL) and Mobileye NV (Nasdaq: MBLY).

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

  • MBA Mortgage Applications at 7 a.m.
  • Redbook at 8:55 a.m.
  • Existing Home Sales at 10 a.m.
  • Two-Year FRN Note Auction at 11:30 a.m.
  • Federal Reserve Gov. Jerome Powell speaks at 1 p.m.
  • Five-Year Note Auction at 1 p.m.
  • FOMC Minutes at 2 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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