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The stock market news today centers around the Dow ticking higher as markets await another busy day of statements by members of the U.S. Federal Reserve. Four Federal Reserve bank presidents will take to the podium today to discuss monetary policy and the health of the U.S. economy.
Markets were keeping an eye on France, which hosted a debate by its presidential candidates last night. Polls indicate that Emmanuel Macron topped the anti-euro candidate Marine Le Pen during the debate. European markets were also reacting to an uptick in inflation in the United Kingdom.
On Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 8.76 points as traders turned their attention to the roster of Fed speakers set to speak later today. The Nasdaq hit an all-time high during the trade session thanks to a strong uptick in Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) stock.
Let's look at the numbers from Monday for the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq:
Dow Jones: 20,905.86; -8.76; -0.04%
S&P 500: 2,373.47; -4.78; -0.20%
Nasdaq: 5,901.53; +0.53; +0.01%
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
Dow Jones futures project an 11-point gain in pre-market hours thanks to an uptick in crude oil prices. Crude oil prices rose on speculation that OPEC members would extend their deal to cap excessive production. The WTI crude oil price today added 0.41%. Brent crude is up 0.33%. Crude prices had been under pressure Monday thanks to rising U.S. crude production and increased uncertainty over OPEC's deal.
A number of central bank officials will speak Tuesday and discuss their feelings about the Fed's recent decision to hike interest rates. Markets will be looking for additional clues into the timing of the next interest rate hike. Yesterday, Chicago Federal Reserve Bank President Charles Evans said that the Fed is on pace to increase interest rates at least two more times in 2017.
The 124-year-old retailer is facing its biggest – and arguably its most drawn-out – financial problems ever. Sears is a victim of the most volatile time in consumer spending history.
We're calling it the "Retail Ice Age."
It has many investors wondering: If Sears goes bankrupt, who could be next?
Stocks to Watch Today, March 21, 2017
- Shares of Facebook Inc. (Nasdaq: FB) added 0.7% after the stock received an upgrade from investment firm BTIG. The upgrade to "Buy" is a reversal of its ratings last summer. It comes after JP Morgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) said that not having a "Buy" rating on Facebook stock in 2017 has been a mistake.
- In earnings news, shares of General Mills Inc. (NYSE: GIS) fell more than 2% after the consumer goods firm fell short of quarterly revenue expectations. Though the company topped earnings per share (EPS) expectations, the firm cited price weakness and an increase in promotional activity. It was the seventh consecutive quarter of falling sales for the firm. General Mills also received a stock downgrade from Bernstein, which lowered expectations for a number of consumer product manufacturers with a reliance on the retail sector. Other firms to receive a downgrade included ConAgra Brands Inc. (NYSE: CAG), J M Smucker Co. (NYSE: SJM), and Campbell Soup Co. (NYSE: CPB).
- Look for additional earnings reports from Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE), FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX), Lennar Corp. (NYSE: LEN), Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc. (NYSE: CCE), Silver Wheaton Corp. (NYSE: SLW), and Steelcase Inc. (NYSE: SCS).
Today's U.S. Economic Calendar (all times EDT)
- New York Federal Reserve Bank President William Dudley speaks at 6:35 a.m.
- Current Account at 8:30 a.m.
- Redbook at 8:55 a.m.
- Four-Week Bill Auction at 11:30 a.m.
- Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank President Esther George speaks at 12 p.m.
- Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland President Loretta Mester speaks at 6 p.m.
- Boston Federal Reserve Bank President Eric Rosengren speaks at 9:45 p.m.
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.