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The DJIA today is rising ahead of the Fed's annual Jackson Hole, Wyo., summit. Dow Jones futures are up 58 points this morning even as China warns that U.S. President Donald Trump is "sabotaging" world trade. As Money Morning Capital Wave Strategist Shah Gilani says, the Dow is going to keep heading higher…
Here are the numbers from Wednesday 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 Thursday's economic calendar.
The Five Top Stock Market Stories for Thursday
- The U.S. Federal Reserve will kick off its three-day symposium on monetary policy in Jackson Hole, Wyo., this morning. The event will feature speeches from Fed Chair Janet Yellen and European Central Bank President Mario Draghi. Markets are looking for some insight regarding the Fed's plan to begin unwinding its $4.5 trillion balance sheet in September. Neither Yellen nor Draghi are expected to announce any changes on interest rate policy, but concerns about inflation will likely be noted.
- Thursday's busy economic calendar is led by the weekly jobless claims report. This morning, the U.S. Department of Labor said that 234,000 Americans filed for claims last week, a figure that was below expectations. Economists anticipated that the number of Americans seeking benefits would increase by 6,000 from last week's figure to reach 238,000. In addition, be sure to keep an eye out today for the monthly update on existing home sales. This month is expected to display additional tightness in supply across the United States.
- Gold prices are in focus as markets begin to fear the validity of President Trump's threat to shut down the U.S. government over his proposed border wall. Trump has also suggested that the nation could soon pull out of the North American Free Trade Agreement. This morning, Chinese officials didn't hold back their criticism of Trump, accusing the president of "sabotaging" global trade. They also expressed "strong dissatisfaction" with the administration's probe into whether Chinese companies are stealing American trade secrets.
- While investors focus on the Fed today, the biggest threat to the stock market's bull run is geopolitical risk. Between President Trump's trade wars, China's border battle with India, instability in the agricultural markets, and terrorism, an international event could destabilize the markets. But the biggest threat is sitting across the Pacific Ocean. Here's why the volatile leader Kim Jong Un could bring serious volatility to the market at any time.
What Happens When North Korea Doesn't Use Normal Logic?
- Crude oil prices were slightly lower after the Energy Information Administration announced Wednesday that U.S. crude inventory levels fell again last week. While lower inventories typically bolster prices, the numbers didn't produce enough of a drawdown to reduce concerns about rising supply in Libya and several other members of OPEC. The WTI crude oil price today fell 0.4%. Brent crude dipped 0.2%. Money Morning Global Energy Strategist Dr. Kent Moors recently commented on the challenges facing OPEC in today's oil market. More importantly, he explained how you can profit.
Four Stocks to Watch Today: XOM, AMZN, BAYRY, MON
- Shares of Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) are under pressure after Harvard University released a damning report about the company's public stance on climate change. A report from two university researchers claimed that the global energy giant misled the public in advertising while stating in its research that it acknowledged the scientific consensus on climate change. The company has struck back, calling the report "inaccurate and preposterous." Exxon claims that the report was financed and authored by climate activists.
- Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) investors will be cheering on Thursday after the company cleared an important regulatory hurdle. The Federal Trade Commission formally approved the company's deal to purchase Whole Foods Market Inc. (NYSE: WFM) for $13.7 billion. The FTC's decision will prevent any investigation into the company's deal.
- The European Commission has launched a formal investigation into Bayer AG's (OTCMKTS ADR: BAYRY) deal to purchase Monsanto Co. (NYSE: MON) for $66 billion. The massive agriculture deal has raised concerns about competition in the pesticide and seed markets. While the United States is typically a bit more lenient, the EU commissioners will now provide a final decision after its investigation concludes by January 2018.
- Look for additional earnings reports from Broadcom Ltd. (Nasdaq: AVGO), GameStop Corp. (NYSE: GME), Ulta Beauty Inc. (Nasdaq: ULTA), Splunk Inc. (Nasdaq: SPLK), Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE: ANF), Tiffany & Co. (NYSE: TIF), Dollar Tree Inc. (Nasdaq: DLTR), Marvell Technology Group Ltd. (Nasdaq: MRVL), The JM Smucker Co. (NYSE: SJM), Staples Inc. (Nasdaq: SPLS), and Hormel Foods Corp. (NYSE: HRL).
Thursday's U.S. Economic Calendar (all times EDT)
- Jobless Claims at 8:30 a.m.
- Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index at 9:45 a.m.
- Existing Home Sales at 10 a.m.
- EIA Natural Gas Report at 10:30 a.m.
- Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Index at 11 a.m.
- Three-Month Bill Announcement at 11 a.m.
- Six-Month Bill Announcement at 11 a.m.
- Two-Year Note Announcement at 11 a.m.
- Five-Year Note Announcement at 11 a.m.
- Seven-Year Note Announcement at 11 a.m.
- Five-Year TIPS Auction at 1 p.m.
- Fed Balance Sheet at 4:30 p.m.
- Money Supply at 4:30 p.m.
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