The Dow Jones news today is highlighted by political turmoil in Washington, as U.S. President Donald Trump's controversial remarks sent CEOs fleeing from his "American Manufacturing Council." Dow Jones futures are up 43 points this morning, as investors look for clues to the next interest rate hike after the release of the minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve's most recent meeting.
Here are the numbers from Tuesday for the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq:
|Index||Previous Close||Point Change||Percentage Change|
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
- Markets were flat on Tuesday, as investors turned away from concerns about the unstable relationship between North Korea and the United States and focused on the growing instability in the White House. Politicians, the media, and social advocates have denounced President Trump for the timing of his statement regarding the violence in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend. Trump has been attempting to shift coverage to his efforts to enact tax reform and infrastructure spending, but few in Washington now believe that his policies will be enacted by the end of the year.
- President Trump's policies will be in focus Wednesday as the administration prepares to kick off negotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The Trump administration is attempting to renegotiate the trade agreement with the goal of cutting the nation's trade deficit to Mexico. While manufacturing jobs remain a priority to Trump, keep an ear out for concerns from the agricultural sector, which is experiencing a labor shortage and lackluster export levels of corn to our southern neighbor.
- Another busy day of earnings reports will feature major names in the retail sector. But the real excitement comes when the Fed releases minutes from its most recent meeting on monetary policy. The central bank did not raise interest rates in July. However, markets will be looking for clues about the possibility of another rate hike in 2017. Look for significant speculation on the Fed's stance on inflation and the health of the U.S. labor market.
- Three of the "Fab Five" tech stocks will be on the move today. Shares of Facebook Inc. (Nasdaq: FB), Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN), and Alphabet Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOGL) all are pushing higher after they received "Buy" ratings from an analyst at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey Inc. The ratings accompany news that the investment firm has initiated coverage on all three firms and offered bullish rhetoric on the technology sector.
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- Crude oil prices were hovering near an eight-week high thanks to a massive drop in U.S. domestic inventories and speculation that Saudi Arabia will follow through on its plans to cap exports. On Wednesday, the Energy Information Administration reported that U.S. inventory levels fell by 7.2 million barrels. That figure is almost triple the amount anticipated by analysts. Prices were off slightly in early trading, as some traders are taking profits off the table. The WTI crude oil price today fell 0.2%. Brent crude dipped 0.1%.
Three Stocks to Watch Today: TGT, URBN, WFC
- Shares of Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) were up more than 4.8% after the retail giant topped Wall Street earnings expectations before the bell. The company reported earnings per share (EPS) of $1.23 on top of $16.42 billion in revenue. Wall Street had expected EPS of $1.20 on top of $16.28 billion. The positive earnings report comes at a time that Target is attempting to expand its e-commerce platform to take on rival Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN).
- Shares of Urban Outfitters Inc. (Nasdaq: URBN) projected a 19% gain in premarket hours after the struggling retailer surprised investors with a positive earnings report after the bell Tuesday. The stock bounced off near-52-week lows after a surprise earnings report. Despite news that quarterly profits declined by 50% compared to the same quarter in 2016, the $0.44 per share easily beat Wall Street expectations of $0.37 per share.
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- Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE: WFC) will generate headlines Wednesday. The company has agreed to shakeup its board of directors thanks to increased pressure from shareholders. Company's Chair Stephen Sanger will step down from the position by the end of 2017. Two other board members will also step down. The company has faced increased pressure due to its failure to prevent major account scandals within the organization and a lackluster response to widespread fraud and the firm's rotten corporate culture.
- Look for additional earnings reports from Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), NetApp Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP), L Brands Inc. (NYSE: LB), Synopsys Inc. (Nasdaq: SNPS), Vipshop Holdings Ltd. (Nasdaq: VIPS), and MSG Networks Inc. (NYSE: MSGN).
Wednesday's U.S. Economic Calendar (all times EDT)
- MBA Mortgage Applications at 7 a.m.
- Housing Starts at 8:30 a.m.
- Atlanta Fed Business Inflation Expectations at 10 a.m.
- EIA Petroleum Status Report at 10:30 a.m.
- FOMC Minutes at 2 p.m.
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