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The Dow Jones news today features a worldwide bond sell-off as central banks across the globe strike a more hawkish tone. Dow Jones futures are up 31 points this morning ahead of the Blue Apron IPO and a busy day of earnings reports and economic data.
Here are the numbers from Wednesday 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 Thursday's economic calendar.
The Five Top Stock Market Stories for Thursday
- Thursday's morning session will place a lot of emphasis on the state of the U.S. economy and its labor markets. This morning, the U.S. Department of Commerce released its final first-quarter GDP estimate. While forecasts anticipate a growth rate of 1.2%, the Department of Commerce announced that the economy grew in Q1 by 1.4%. Meanwhile, on the jobs front, the U.S. Department of Labor announced that the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits hit 244,000 last week. That figure surpassed consensus expectations of 240,000.
- Financial stocks continue to push higher in premarket hours after the U.S. Federal Reserve unveiled results from its stress test on U.S. banks. The Fed also approved stock buyback and dividend hikes from 34 U.S. banks. Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C) stock added more than 3.3% in early trading after the firm doubled its quarterly dividend. Other bank stocks were pushing higher. JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) added 2.5% and Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC) is up nearly 2.9%. Look for a big day for the sector. Banking stocks also rose Wednesday thanks to a slight uptick in U.S. 10-year Treasury bonds and a widening spread between bond prices set for different maturity dates.
- Crude oil prices pressed higher this morning after the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) announced a larger-than-expected decline in U.S. gasoline inventories on Wednesday. An uptick in prices on Thursday would represent the sixth consecutive session of rising oil prices. The WTI crude oil price today added 0.9%. Brent crude gained 0.8%. The EIA report also indicated that U.S. crude inventory levels increased again last week. However, the increase was smaller than analysts had expected.
- In deal news, shares of Staples Inc. (Nasdaq: SPLS) added more than 1% after trading was halted after the bell Wednesday. According to reports, private equity firm Sycamore Partners will take the office retailer private for a price of 10.25 a share. The deal comes a year after a federal judge blocked a merger between Staples and rival Office Depot Inc. (Nasdaq: ODP). The Sycamore Partners deal is expected to close by the end of 2017.
- Today, Blue Apron Holdings Inc.(NYSE: APRN) will begin trading publicly for the first time. The company slashed its IPO range Wednesday for its debut to a range of $10 to $11. That range is much lower than the $15 to $17 previously expected. The expected valuation dropped from $3.2 billion to a little under $2.1 billion. What went wrong? Investors are worried about the impact Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) will have in the global food and grocery business. Blue Apron is the first meal-kit company to go public. Before the bell, make sure to read our free and exclusive Blue Apron Stock and IPO Guide.
Four Stocks to Watch Today: PIR, NKE, WBA, FB
- In earnings news, shares of Pier 1 Imports Inc. (NYSE: PIR) plunged more than 10% after the retailer fell well short of Wall Street's quarterly expectations. Although the company reported a smaller earnings per share (EPS) loss (-$0.04) than investors forecasted, the firm's $411 million in quarterly revenue failed to meet expectations.
- Shares of Nike Inc. (Nasdaq: NKE) are in focus as the global shoe and apparel maker prepares to report quarterly earnings. Investors will be looking for additional insight into the success of the company's large cost-cutting effort that has included the reduction of its workforce and a shakeup to its international manufacturing process. The once-dominant apparel maker has faced increasing competition from Adidas AG (ADR) (OTCMKTS: ADDYY) and Under Armour Inc. (NYSE: UAA). Expect its leaders to also discuss how it plans to sell its products on Amazon after years of avoiding the platform.
- Shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance Co. (NYSE: WBA) popped another 4.4% in premarket hours after the company easily beat Wall Street earnings expectations and announced a new deal to replace its previous merger plans. Walgreens will now pay more than $5.1 billion in cash for Rite Aid's 2,186 stores and give the company a termination fee of roughly $325 million. Walgreens reported EPS in the fiscal third quarter of $1.33 on top of $30.1 billion. Those figures surpassed expectations of $1.31 per share on $29.6 billion in revenue.
Is Netflix Losing Its Edge?
- Shares of Facebook Inc. (Nasdaq: FB) announced this week that it is working with Hollywood studios to begin producing original TV content for its platform. This is just the latest catalyst that will likely push the stock toward $250.00 per share in the future. Here are the other reasons why we're very bullish on FB stock and how you should play it right now.
- Look for additional earnings reports from Micron Technology Inc. (Nasdaq: MU), Constellation Brands Inc. (NYSE: STZ), Conagra Brands Inc. (NYSE: CAG), McCormick & Co. (NYSE: MKC), Rite Aid Corp. (NYSE: RAD), Acuity Brands Inc. (NYSE: AYI), Lindsay Corp. (NYSE: LNN), and American Outdoor Brands Corp. (Nasdaq: AOBC).
Thursday's U.S. Economic Calendar (all times EDT)
- GDP at 8:30 a.m.
- Jobless Claims at 8:30 a.m.
- Corporate Profits at 8:30 a.m.
- Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index at 9:45 a.m.
- EIA Natural Gas Report at 10:30 a.m.
- Four-Week Bill Announcement at 11 a.m.
- Three-Month Bill Announcement at 11 a.m.
- Six-Month Bill Announcement at 11 a.m.
- Louis Fed Bank President James Bullard speaks at 1 p.m.
- Farm Prices at 3 p.m.
- Fed Balance Sheet at 4:30 p.m.
- Money Supply at 4:30 p.m.