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In Dow Jones news today, the Dow dropped six points as congressional Republicans voted in favor of repealing and replacing parts of the Affordable Care Act.
Here are the numbers from Thursday 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 Friday's economic calendar.
The Five Top Stock Market Stories for Thursday
- Crude oil prices fell to their lowest levels since OPEC members and Russia committed to a deal to cap excessive production. Ongoing concerns about near-record inventory levels in the United States, record shale production, increased Libyan output, and falling demand in places like China are weighing on trader sentiment. In addition, many traders are growing increasingly skeptical that OPEC members will extend their six-month deal to help support prices. Such an action would likely drive down the price of oil as traders cut their exposure. The WTI crude oil price today dipped 4.8%. Brent crude slid 4.7%.
- In Washington, Congress is halfway to replacing and repealing the Affordable Care Act. The House of Representatives voted by a 217-213 margin with all 193 Democrats voting against the bill. The bill will now head to the U.S. Senate where it will likely face significant scrutiny. To start, there is one reason why this bill could be a problem. As we've discovered, the bill fails to address one serious issue that could leave many Americans penniless. Here's what you need to know about the new healthcare bill.
- Elsewhere in Washington, the House Financial Services Committee has approved a new bill that would repeal and roll back several core provisions of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (2010). The bill would effectively gut the signature piece of Obama-era regulations to tackle Wall Street excess in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. Republicans argue that the Dodd-Frank Act has stifled innovation and lending and contributed to the lackluster economic recovery. Democrats warn that such a repeal could set the stage for another financial meltdown in the future.
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- In economic news, the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell to a 17-year low, another sign of a tightening labor market. However, U.S. worker productivity fell by a rate of 0.6% over the first three months of the year, the fastest in a year. Economists had forecast no change in the production rate.
- No single event on the economic calendar this week is more important than tomorrow's announcement of the April unemployment rate and the corresponding figure on U.S. monthly job creation. Economists anticipate that the U.S. labor market added 194,000 new jobs.
Three Stocks to Watch Thursday: XOM, BRK.A, TSLA
- Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) stock fell 1% thanks to a sharp downturn in crude oil prices. The global energy giant has reported positive momentum in its efforts to cut expenses in the wake of falling crude prices since 2015. However, investors should be wary about jumping into the stock with many pressures facing the global energy markets. Money Morning explains that investors should avoid XOM and buy this stock instead.
- Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK.A) is in focus as investors prepare for Warren Buffett's annual "Woodstock of Capitalism." This Saturday, May 6, is the day of the Berkshire shareholder meeting 2017 in Omaha, Neb. The meeting is one of the most watched and studied events of the year, given Buffett's influence over the markets and companies for decades. Money Morning breaks down the biggest questions shareholders could ask Buffett this weekend. Here's what you need to know.
- Shares of Tesla Inc. (Nasdaq: TSLA) fell more than 5% after news emerged that the company has seen a 7% decline in customer deposits in recent months. Elon Musk said during an earnings call that the downturn came due to customer confusion between two models of vehicles, the Model 3 and the Model S. The downturn raised concerns about company orders and fueled the decline in the stock price. Despite the downturn, Money Morning Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald explains that too many investors are getting the same thing wrong about Tesla stock. As Keith explains, it's not really a car company.
- Look for earnings reports after the bell from Activision Blizzard Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI), Zynga Inc. (Nasdaq: ZNGA), Zillow Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ZG), Shake Shack Inc. (NYSE: SHAK), and Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE: HLF).
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Friday's U.S. Economic Calendar (all times EDT)
- Employment Situation at 8:30 a.m.
- Federal Reserve Vice Chair Stanley Fischer speaks at 11:30 a.m.
- San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank President John Williams speaks at 12:45 p.m.
- Baker Hughes Rig Count at 1 p.m.
- Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen speaks at 1:30 p.m.
- Chicago Fed Bank President Charles Evans speak at 1:30 p.m.
- Consumer Credit at 3 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.