The Dow Jones news today features another busy day of earnings as investors await details on President Trump's tax policy.
Let's look at the numbers from Thursday for the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq:
Dow Jones: 20,578.71; +174.22; +0.85%
S&P 500: 2,355.84; +17.67; +0.76%
Nasdaq: 5,916.78; +53.74; +0.92
Today's market highlights:
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- Markets are showing increased optimism about President Trump's campaign promises. But investors are still taking a wait-and-see approach to the U.S. debt ceiling debate, Greek bailout talks, and the upcoming French presidential election.
- On Thursday, the Dow added 174 points on news the White House is getting closer to enacting corporate tax reform. American Express Co. (NYSE: AXP) led a better than expected day of earnings reports. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq closed at an all-time record high. The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) – largely considered the markets' "fear gauge" – dipped by 5.2%.
- The Trump administration signaled it may soon unveil a tax reform plan, news that has reignited optimism about the president's proposed economic policies.
- Oil prices will be under pressure as Baker Hughes Inc. (NYSE: BHI) reports the weekly rig count. Rising U.S. production has offset optimism over OPEC's oil cut deal.
- Shares of General Electric (NYSE: GE) are generating a lot of buzz this morning as the firm reports first-quarter earnings.
- Money Morning Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald offers his insight on Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) after news the online giant could enter a key U.S. retail sector.
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Here's a look at today's most important market events and stocks, plus a look at Friday's economic calendar.
What's Ahead for the Dow Jones Industrial Average Today
- Dow Jones futures are up 13 points ahead of the morning bell.
- Investors are showing renewed optimism in the Trump administration's agenda and corporate earnings reports. Yesterday the markets rallied on news that the administration is "getting close" to making an announcement on tax reform. In addition, President Trump has said he expects another vote on healthcare and a bill to fund the government next week.
- However, markets are likely facing some pressure from the upcoming French election, particularly in the wake of yesterday's terrorist attack in Paris.
- In addition to geopolitical uncertainty in France, markets are keeping a close eye on Greek bailout talks, which are set to begin again next week. According to recent reports, a deal is not as imminent as many once thought. While the European Union's future could hang in the balance, Money Morning has a profit opportunity to capitalize on the increasingly volatile situation. Here's how to profit.
- 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.
- Crude oil prices were flat ahead of Friday's announcement by Baker Hughes Inc. (NYSE: BHI) on the U.S. weekly rig count. Traders are acting cautious about the stability of the global markets due to concerns that the OPEC-led production cuts have not put enough of a dent in the global oil supply that has kept oil prices down since 2015.
- The WTI crude oil price today is down .36%, while Brent crude gained 0.11%.
- But the big story today is the possibility of a game-changing deal on the horizon. Rumors have been circulating that Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) might acquire BJ's Wholesale Club Inc. in the near future. Last week, the wholesale giant announced it planned to put itself up for sale, and it appears Jeff Bezos' firm could consider buying it. The deal could instantly make Amazon a massive player in the grocery space overnight. Money Morning Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald has long been a staunch advocate of Amazon. He recently told Money Morning members what to do with AMZN stock no matter what the company decides to do. Read that insight, right here.
Stocks to Watch Today, April 21, 2017:
- Shares of United States Steel Corp. (NYSE: X) are ticking higher, a day after rallying more than 7.3%. The surge came after news broke that President Donald Trump wanted to launch a probe into the importing of foreign-made steel. AK Steel Holding Corp. (NYSE: AKS), which added 8.6% Thursday, was also pushing higher in pre-market hours.
- In other earnings news, shares of Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) added more than 2.3% in pre-market hours after the credit card giant easily topped first-quarter expectations. Visa reported earnings per share (EPS) of $0.86, beating Wall Street expectations of $0.79. The firm also easily beat revenue expectations (a 23.5% year over year gain) and announced a $5 billion stock buyback program.
- After the bell earnings for Mattel Inc. (NYSE: MAT) were a disaster. Shares fell more than 6.7% 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.
- Look for earnings reports from Schlumberger Ltd. (NYSE: SLB), Honeywell International Inc. (NYSE: HON), SunTrust Banks Inc. (NYSE: STI), Kansas City Southern (NYSE: KSU), Steven Madden Ltd. (Nasdaq: SHOO), and Morningstar Inc. (Nasdaq: MORN).
Today's U.S. Economic Calendar (all times EDT)
- Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank President Neel Kashkari speaks at 9:30 a.m.
- PMI Composite Flash at 9:45 a.m.
- Existing Home Sales at 10 a.m.
- Baker Hughes Rig Count at 1 p.m.