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The Dow Jones news today will focus on the conclusion of the June FOMC meeting as the Fed is expected to announce an interest rate hike. Today's rate hike would be the third in seven months, and Dow Jones futures are up 33 points ahead of the bell.
Here are the numbers from Tuesday for the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq:
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Now here's a closer look at today's most important market events and stocks, plus Wednesday's economic calendar.
The Five Top Stock Market Stories for Wednesday
- The Federal Reserve will finish its two-day meeting on monetary policy this afternoon. Markets have locked in a more than 99% probability that the central bank will raise interest rates. In addition to the Fed's optimism that inflation is on pace to reach the 2% target by the end of the year, central bank Chair Janet Yellen has touted the strength and resilience of the U.S. labor market. A rate hike on Wednesday would be the third in seven months. Some investors like Jim Rogers are already warning that the U.S. central bank could drive the economy over a cliff in the months and years ahead.
- It will be a busy day of economic data. Economists anticipate a small decline in U.S. consumer prices and a decline in May retail sales. The latter figures likely fell due to a downturn in motor vehicle sales.
- On Tuesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions vehemently denied that the Trump campaign worked with Russia to win the U.S. election. In addition, Sessions dodged questions about his private talks with the president. But the real story is what Sessions didn't discuss – his desire to prosecute operators in the medicinal marijuana industry. His recent "pot comments" have investors in the space concerned. But Money Morning Director of Technology & Venture Capital Research Michael Robinson, who is also an expert in the cannabis industry, offers his insight live from the fourth annual Cannabis Business Summit & Expo. Watch it, right here.
- Crude oil prices were sliding on rising concerns about OPEC's increasing export figures and a surprise report indicating a rise in U.S. inventory levels. Although OPEC, Russia, and several other nations have agreed to extend a deal to cap excessive production, a new report indicates that the global oil cartel's production increased by an average of 336,000 barrels per day in May. Meanwhile, the American Petroleum Institute said that U.S. inventory levels increased by 2.8 million barrels last week. Analysts were expecting a drawdown of similar levels. The WTI crude oil price today fell 0.7%. Brent crude dipped 0.5%. Look for the official report later this morning from the Energy Information Administration.
- Things keep going from bad to worse for Uber Technologies Inc. The ride-sharing company and world's most valuable startup announced yesterday that its CEO Travis Kalanick will be taking an indefinite leave of absence on Tuesday as the company continues a massive investigation into sexual harassment at the executive level. Now, the firm has announced that David Bonderman, a member of Uber's board, has resigned after making a comment about women that he later described as "careless, inappropriate, and inexcusable" when apologizing. Now, the markets are wondering if these self-inflicted wounds and rising competition from firms like Lyft could derail the company's IPO plans.
Four Stocks to Watch Today: HRB, YHOO, GS, BA
- In earnings news, shares of H&R Block Inc. (NYSE: HRB) rallied more than 10% after the tax preparation firm reported a huge fiscal fourth-quarter report. The firm reported earnings per share (EPS) of $3.76 on top of $2.32 billion in revenue. Wall Street had expected EPS of $3.51 on $2.316 billion. The firm's profit levels increased by a whopping 11.8% year over year. The report indicates that former CEO Bill Cobb, who retired in May, is leaving the company in sound fiscal health.
- With a rate hike likely, it will be a busy day for banking stocks. Shares of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS), Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C), Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE: WFC), Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC) and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) will all look to extend their gains from Tuesday.
These Are the Banks Stocks to Watch Right Now
- Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) officially completed the sale of its core assets to Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ). But it wasn't the sale that generated headlines on Wednesday. It was the $23 million golden parachute received by former CEO Marissa Mayer, who stepped down Tuesday. Mayer received roughly $260 million during her tenure at the internet giant. The company's non-core assets, which includes a stake in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (NYSE: BABA), Yahoo! Japan, and a variety of patents, will be rolled up into a new corporation called Altaba.
- Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) added more than 0.5% after the company announced plans to layoff roughly 50 executives as the company begins to restructure its defense, space and security business. The company plans to cut the division from seven units to five units. Boeing stock has been on an incredible run this year, and it is now up more than 50% from its 52-week low. It remains a favorite of Money Morning Executive Editor Bill Patalon, and for good reason…
- Look for earnings report from Jabil Inc. (NYSE: JBL) after the bell Wednesday. Wall Street expects EPS of $0.29 on top of $4.04 billion in revenue. Other companies reporting earnings include Progressive Corp. (NYSE: PGR) and Motorcar Parts of America Inc. (Nasdaq: MPAA).
Wednesday's U.S. Economic Calendar (all times EDT)
- MBA Mortgage Applications at 7 a.m.
- Consumer Price Index at 8:30 a.m.
- Retail Sales at 8:30 a.m.
- Business Inventories at 10 a.m.
- EIA Petroleum Status Report at 10:30 a.m.
- FOMC Meeting Announcement at 2 p.m.
- FOMC Forecasts at 2 p.m.
- Fed Chair Press Conference at 2:30 p.m.