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In Dow Jones news today, the Dow eked out a gain of eight points after the U.S. Federal Reserve held interest rates unchanged but hinted that a rate hike was likely coming in June.
Here are the numbers from Wednesday for the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq:
|Index||Closing||Point Change||Percentage Change|
Now here's a closer look at today's most important market events and stocks, plus Thursday's economic calendar.
The Five Top Stock Market Stories for Friday
- Fed Chair Janet Yellen announced that the central bank would not alter interest rates in May. Yellen's statement came after the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) concluded a two-day meeting on monetary policy. The chair emphasized strength in the labor market and said that inflation has been "running close" to the central bank's target. Such optimism suggests the central bank will take action to tighten policy in June. The probability of a rate hike next month sits at 67.4%, according to CME FedWatch.
- The Nasdaq retreated from an all-time record after Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) disappointed during its earnings report on Tuesday. The company fell short of expected quarterly iPhone sales, fueling a 0.3% decline on the day. Several prominent tech stocks will report earnings reports after the bell today. Investors are wondering what the markets need to break higher. Money Morning Technical Trading Specialist D.R. Barton offers his latest insight on the French election and the factors affecting the markets. Read his projection, right here.
- Gold prices and silver prices took a hit after the Federal Reserve announced plans to leave monetary policy unchanged in May. Silver prices dropped 2.14%, while gold prices dipped 1.35%. After today's decline, the markets' attention will now center on the French election on Sunday. A surprise victory by Marine Le Pen would drive investors back into safe-haven assets due to increased uncertainty over the future of the European Union. A victory for her opponent would bolster equities and bonds thanks to the growing expectation that both Italy and Greece would receive bailouts from the EU and not have to worry about a departure from the French economy.
- Crude oil prices ticked slightly higher after the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported a decline in inventory levels last week and a rise in gasoline stocks. Still, crude prices have remained under pressure on concerns around falling global demand and rising production in the United States and Libya. The WTI crude oil price today added 0.1%. Brent crude added 0.5%.
- Finally, a disturbing story about the state of American drinking water. A new report by the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) indicates that roughly 25% of all Americans are drinking contaminated water. Money Morning dove through this report and found a series of disturbing trends that could impact you and your family. In addition, we found a way that investors can make money and help solve this problem. Go here for more information.
Four Stocks to Watch Monday: TSLA, FB, NYT, SNAP
- New York Times Co. (NYSE: NYT) has a reason to thank President Donald Trump. The media giant's stock jumped more than 12% after it announced that it had the single greatest quarter of subscriber growth in company history. The firm also reported that digital advertising sales continued to climb, while print advertising revenue declined.
- Shares of Tesla Inc. (Nasdaq: TSLA) are down 2.5% as the company reports quarterly earnings this afternoon. Investors are waiting to hear what CEO Elon Musk has planned for his company moving forward and the success of its ongoing production and shipments of Model 3 vehicles. Wall Street anticipates that the company will report an earnings per share (EPS) loss of $0.55 on top of $2.56 billion in revenue. Despite the profit loss, the stock has been on a solid run for the last few months. Tesla has been the most painful stock for short sellers this year as these traders have lost a combined $3.7 billion betting against Musk's company.
- Analysts will also fix their eyes on Facebook Inc. (Nasdaq: FB). The company has already warned about the possibility that its impressive growth over the years will slow as advertising levels hit their limits. Wall Street anticipates EPS of $1.10 on top of $7.84 billion in revenue.
- Shares of Snap Inc. (NYSE: SNAP) fell more than 0.7% today. The company recently received coverage from Wall Street firm Canaccord Genuity, with a price target of $22.00 per share. The markets are now looking forward to the firm's first-ever quarterly earnings call, which will take place on May 10. With earnings in focus, Money Morning has a warning for investors over a key metric that could send shares plummeting. Read our insight, here.
- The other top stocks to watch today (Wednesday) are Weight Watchers International Inc. (NYSE: WTW), Etsy Inc. (Nasdaq: ETSY), and Twilio Inc. (NYSE: TWLO). Here's why those companies are generating headlines.
- Look for earnings reports after the bell from Fitbit Inc. (NYSE: FIT), Tableau Software (Nasdaq: DATA), NXP Semiconductors NV (Nasdaq: NXPI), Transocean Ltd. (NYSE: RIG), Square Inc. (NYSE: SQ), and Cheesecake Factory Inc. (Nasdaq: CAKE).
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Thursday's U.S. Economic Calendar (all times EDT)
- Challenger Job-Cut Report at 7:30 a.m.
- International Trade at 8:30 a.m.
- Jobless Claims at 8:30 a.m.
- Productivity and Costs at 8:30 a.m.
- Gallup Good Jobs Rate at 8:30 a.m.
- Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index at 9:45 a.m.
- Factory Orders 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.
- Treasury STRIPS at 3 p.m.
- Fed Balance Sheet at 4:30 p.m.
- Money Supply at 4:30 p.m.
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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.