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In Dow Jones news today, the Dow climbed 112 points after the U.S. Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the second time in three months. The CBOE Volatility Index – largely considered the markets' fear gauge – fell more than 6% on the day.
It was another big day for the Nasdaq, which hit a fresh record high. Big-name FANG stocks – Facebook Inc. (Nasdaq: FB), Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN), Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX), and Google parent Alphabet Inc. (Nadsaq: GOOGL) – all showed slight gains.
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Let's look at the numbers from Wednesday for the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq:
Dow Jones: 20,950.10; +112.73; +0.54%
S&P 500: 2,385.26; +19.81; +0.84%
Nasdaq: 5,900.05; +43.23; +0.74%
Now, here's a look at today's most important market events and stocks, plus a preview of Thursday's economic calendar.
DJIA Today: Dow Gains 112 Points After Fed Rate Hike
The Dow Jones added more than 100 points after the Federal Reserve raised rates at the conclusion of its March monetary policy meeting. Following the Fed's announcement, central bank chair Janet Yellen said, "The simple message is the economy is doing well."
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Yellen cited improved economic data as justification for the rate hike. "We have confidence in the robustness of the economy and its resilience to shocks," she said. "It's performed well over the past several years. We've created since the trough in employment after the financial crisis around 16 million jobs."
It was also a solid day for home construction stocks. Homebuilder confidence hit a 12-year high thanks to a rollback in environmental regulations by the Trump administration. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market index jumped to 71 in March. That is a very large increase from the reading of 58 in March 2016. A figure above 50 is considered optimistic. Shares of Toll Brothers Inc. (NYSE: TOL), KB Home (NYSE: KBH), Lennar Corp. (NYSE: LEN), and LGI Homes Inc. (Nasdaq: LGIH) all showed positive gains.
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Crude oil prices pushed higher after the Energy Information Administration announced a slight decline in domestic crude inventory levels. Despite the drawdown, the United States is swimming in crude and inventory levels are just below a record set two weeks ago. Concerns about oversupply are expected to remain through the first half of 2017.
Meanwhile, the International Energy Agency released a surprise report hinting that OPEC simply needs more time to reach its goals of cutting production by 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd). The global oil cartel has been working with non-member nations like Russia to reduce excessive output and support crude prices.
But the big story was the Saudi Aramco IPO.
The battle lines have been draw between the Nasdaq and the New York Stock Exchange over the initial public offering planned by Saudi Arabia's state-owned energy company. Many analysts anticipate that the company could raise up to $100 billion and bring a valuation of more than $2 trillion to the energy giant. Both the Nasdaq and the NYSE will be jockeying for position to win the IPO. Nasdaq CEO Adena Friedman said Wednesday that the exchange is hopeful it will be selected by company officials. The Nasdaq was disappointed last month when Snap Inc. (NYSE: SNAP) elected to join the NYSE.
Here's our latest coverage on the Saudi Aramco IPO and where investors can expect to find shares of the stock when it finally goes public.
Stock Market News and Top Stocks to Watch Today: March 15, 2017
- Shares of Snap Inc. (NYSE: SNAP) gained close to 1% today after hitting a new low on the public markets. Shares fell nearly below $20.00 before rebounding. The stock remains under pressure on concerns about the company's valuation.
- Shares of Twitter Inc. (NYSE: TWTR) fell close to 2% after several prominent accounts on the microblogging site were hacked.
- Look for additional earnings reports this afternoon from Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL), Williams-Sonoma Inc. (NYSE: WSM), Guess? Inc. (NYSE: GES), Jabil Circuit Inc. (NYSE: JBL), and Com Holdings (Nasdaq: ALRM).
Thursday's U.S. Economic Calendar (all times EDT)
- Housing Starts at 8:30 a.m.
- Jobless Claims at 8:30 a.m.
- Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey at 8:30 a.m.
- Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index at 9:45 a.m.
- JOLTS at 10 a.m.
- EIA Natural Gas Report at 10:30 a.m.
- Three-Month Bill Announcement at 11 a.m.
- Six-Month Bill Announcement at 11 a.m.
- Ten-Year TIPS Announcement at 11 a.m.
- Fed Balance Sheet at 4:30 p.m.
- Money Supply at 4:30 p.m.
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