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The Dow Jones today is roiled by a data breach at credit-reporting agency Equifax, and it's possible your confidential information is stolen...
Equifax Inc. (NYSE: EFX) is down 13% in early morning trading as Dow Jones futures sink 60 points. The financial data breach impacts 143 million consumers and over 200,000 credit card holders. The potential destruction Hurricane Irma will bring is also weighing down stocks, especially as it threatens oil and gas production.
Here are the numbers from Thursday 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 Friday's economic calendar.
The Five Top Stock Market Stories for Friday
- If you're living in the United States, there's about a 40% chance that your sensitive consumer data has been breached by hackers. Credit-reporting giant Equifax announced that a massive breach affecting 143 million consumers was discovered on July 29. Compromised data includes birth dates, social security numbers, credit card information, and more. Shares of Equifax Inc. are off more than 13% in premarket hours after the announcement. You can visit https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/ to find out if your information has been stolen.
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- U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen remains in the hot seat. According to Bloomberg, U.S. President Donald Trump is considering at least six candidates to fill the role of Federal Reserve chair when Yellen's term ends. For months, many had speculated that the nomination was already a two-person battle between Yellen and current National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, a former Goldman Sachs Group (NYSE: GS) executive. However, the race has reportedly expanded after Cohn's criticism of Trump in the wake of the Charlottesville violence last month.
- The price of gold is sitting at a one-year high. A weakening dollar and greater concerns about geopolitical uncertainty continue to raise gold prices as investors look for a stable alternative to stocks. Meanwhile, the European Central Bank has signaled plans to take its foot off the stimulus pedal. The central bank of the world's largest economic block plans to scale back its monthly $60 billion asset-buying program.
- Markets are still watching the progress of Hurricane Irma. The storm is on a collision course with Miami, Fla. The storm could create a 10-foot surge for towns on both sides of the state at the same time. Following catastrophic destruction in the Caribbean Islands, travel companies are working around the clock to avoid any interaction with the storm. Leading cruise operators like Carnival Corp. (NYSE: CCL), Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE: RCL), and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (Nasdaq: NCLH) have changed travel arrangements for dozens of trips, and airline companies are effectively evacuating residents of eastern Florida.
- Crude oil prices were mixed as Hurricane Irma prepares to make landfall in Florida this weekend. The storm could affect gasoline refining along the Gulf Coast and shut down major economic centers across Florida. The other factor moving oil prices today is Saudi Arabia. The largest member of OPEC has announced plans to slash supplies in order to help bolster prices. WTI crude oil price today fell 0.33%, while Brent crude is up 0.28% to $54.64. Read more here on why Money Morning Global Energy Strategist Dr. Kent Moors says this is a bullish indicator for oil prices...
Stocks to Watch Today: AMZN, KR, AOBC, LLY, RH
- Is your city going to become the second headquarters of Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN)? If so, the development will run at least $5 billion and would be home to at least 50,000 employees. Major cities across the country have been pitching themselves as the "HQ2," or second headquarters, of the largest e-commerce company on earth. Baltimore, New York City, and Chicago are all cities that have made their first move in trying to attract HQ2. It's unclear who will emerge as the winner, but Amazon is seeking a city with at least 1 million residents, a "business-friendly" environment, and a place that will attract new workers. But it's also more likely they'll consider who offers the best tax breaks.
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- Shares of Eli Lilly & Co. (NYSE: LLY) are on the move this morning after the global drug company announced a cost reduction plan designed to save $500 million annually. The plan, which kicks off next year, will include the elimination of 3,500 positions, or about 8% of its global workforce. More than half of those jobs will come from the United States. Shares of LLY stock were off 0.6%.
- Shares of Restoration Hardware Holdings Inc. (NYSE: RH) blew the doors off Wall Street expectations on Thursday after it hiked its annual forecast and shattered earnings figures. This was a significant surprise for the embattled retail industry. Shares rallied more than 44% in a day. This morning, the company's stock continues to climb.
- Shares of The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR) were in focus after the grocery giant reported quarterly earnings. Shares fell more than 5.3% after the firm fell short of earnings per share (EPS) expectations. This was the first earnings report for Kroger since the announcement that Amazon had purchased its rival, Whole Foods. Wall Street had anticipated earnings of $0.40 per share on top of $27.38 billion in revenue. The firm reported $0.39 on top of $27.59 billion.
- Shares of American Outdoor Brands Corp. (Nasdaq: AOBC) plunged 17% in post-market hours after the outdoor and firearms company fell well short of expectations. Most investors know the newly branded company as Smith & Wesson. The firm reported EPS of $0.02 on top of $129.1 million in revenue. Wall Street expected better. Consensus expectations called for EPS of $0.11 on top of $147.9 million in revenue. The firearm company (and broader industry) has struggled since its greatest salesman - former U.S. President Barack Obama - left the White House in January.
Friday's U.S. Economic Calendar (all times EDT)
- Employment Situation at 8:30 a.m.
- PMI Manufacturing Index at 9:45 a.m.
- ISM Manufacturing Index at 10 a.m.
- Construction Spending at 10 a.m.
- Consumer Sentiment at 10 a.m.
- Baker-Hughes Rig Count at 1 p.m.
About the Author
Garrett Baldwin is a globally recognized research economist, financial writer, consultant, and political risk analyst with decades of trading experience and degrees in economics, cybersecurity, and business from Johns Hopkins, Purdue, Indiana University, and Northwestern.