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In Dow Jones news, the markets were flat as investors take a wait-and-see approach to the pivotal French presidential election and President Donald Trump's tax proposal.
Let's look at the numbers from Friday for the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq:
Dow Jones: 20,547.76; -30.95; -0.15%
S&P 500: 2,348.69; -7.15; -0.30%
Nasdaq: 5,910.52; -6.26; -0.11%
Today's market highlights:
- General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) shares slid after the company experienced negative cash flow in its industrial division.
- Centrist Emmanuel Macron is leading the French polls ahead of Sunday's ballot, ahead of Marine Le Pen, the anti-European Union and anti-immigrant National Front leader.
- Earnings season remains strong as most companies continue to top Wall Street expectations by a wider than expected margins.
Now, here's a look at today's most important market events and stocks, plus a preview of Monday's economic calendar.
DJIA Today: Dow Stagnant Ahead of French Election & New Tax Plan
- The Dow was flat as markets weigh earnings results, geopolitical concerns, the French election, another round of economic data, and President Trump's economic policies.
- Since the beginning of earnings season, 75% of companies have topped Wall Street quarterly expectations, according to Reuters.
- France will hold the first round of its presidential election on Sunday. The twists and turns of France's presidential election are creating a great deal of uncertainty around the nation's future. Money Morning Capital Wave Strategist Shah Gilani shares his insights, right here.
- In economic news, U.S. home resales hit their highest level in more than a decade. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), existing home sales increased by 4.4%. That easily topped expectations of 2.5%.
- Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) shares fell 0.1% as the company continues to be engulfed in a series of public relations problems. In addition to blowback over the energy giant's request to restart projects in Russia – despite economic sanctions – the firm is now facing an investigation into whether it violated consumer protection laws when it sold carbon-based fuels. New York and Massachusetts attorney generals are accusing the firm of failing to provide information on the impact of fossil fuels on the global climate. Eleven Republican state attorneys are protesting the probe.
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- Crude oil prices plunged Friday as traders grew more skeptical about OPEC's plans to extend global production cuts. With growing supply and production in the United States, many are convinced that the global energy cartel will be unable to significantly reduce the international supply glut. This afternoon, Baker Hughes Inc. (NYSE: BHI) reported that the U.S. production rig count increased again last week. That uptick represents the eighth consecutive week of gains. Crude oil prices finished the day below $50 per barrel.
- OPEC is poised to meet again on May 25 to discuss a potential extension. However, the Energy Information Administration this week stated that U.S. oil inventories are at near-record highs and U.S. shale production is set to increase by more than 100,000 barrels per day in May. The WTI crude oil price today fell 0.3%, while Brent crude dipped 0.2%.
Stock Market News and Top Stocks to Watch Today: April 21, 2017
- Shares of Tesla Inc. (Nasdaq: TSLA) added nearly 1% despite news of a massive voluntary recall of 53,000 vehicles over a parking brake issue. The stock ticked higher because investors were more interested in CEO Elon Musk's vision to link artificial intelligence to the human brain.
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- Mattel Inc. (NYSE: MAT) shares plummeted over 12% after the firm reported an earnings-per-share loss nearly double what analysts expected. The firm reported a huge problem with inventory levels and a 9% drop in its iconic Fisher-Price products.
- In earnings news, shares of Schlumberger Ltd. (NYSE: SLB) were the biggest drag on the S&P 500 today. The global oil services giant said that it expected significant pressure on its financial margins as it spends more money to bring its production equipment back online.
- Shares of General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) fell nearly 2% despite news that the company topped Wall Street profit and earnings expectations. The stock fell after it announced that cash flow from its industrial division fell to negative $1.6 billion. Cash flow is an important metric of a firm's operating performance.
- Other top stocks to watch Friday included Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) and Ocwen Financial Corp. (NYSE: OCN). Here's why these stocks were on the move.
Monday's U.S. Economic Calendar (all times EDT)
- Chicago Fed National Activity Index at 8:30 a.m.
- Dallas Fed Manufacturing Survey at 10:30 a.m.
- Four-Week Bill Announcement at 11 a.m.
- Three-Month Bill Auction at 11:30 a.m
- Six-Month Bill Auction at 11:30 a.m.
- Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank President Neel Kashkari speaks at 3:15 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.