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The Dow Jones today is off to a hot start after the Senate passed a 2018 federal budget yesterday…
Dow Jones futures are up 77 points in pre-market hours as the Senate's budget confirmation clears the way for a new tax cut bill. And the gains will keep coming. Money Morning Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald says stocks are heading even higher for three key reasons…
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
- U.S. markets are digesting news that the U.S. Senate has passed a budget, paving the way for a vote on tax reform later this fall. The $4 trillion budget passed along party lines in the senate 51 to 49, with Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) as the lone dissenter from the Republican side. The budget will now face a reconciliation process and a vote in the House of Representatives. With that in mind, the Senate is expected to pick up tax reform and will likely utilize the reconciliation process in order to bypass any filibuster. This process would require just a 51-vote majority.
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- The markets will lend their ears to the words of U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, who is slated to speak this afternoon. Yellen will be giving a lecture today at the National Economic Council's Herbert Stein Memorial Lecture and Annual Members Dinner. Markets are also looking for an announcement from President Donald Trump on who he will nominate to run the Fed starting in the next term. According to reports, Fed Gov. Jerome Powell is now the favorite to become the chief of the central bank. Although Trump hasn't made his final decision, he did meet with five candidates (including Janet Yellen) on Thursday. Either way, we know the Fed is set on raising interest rates, and savvy investors know how to "trade the Fed" for huge profits…
- The global markets are looking ahead to Sunday's election in Japan. Shinzo Abe is expected to win another term. The world's third-largest economy has experienced several consecutive quarters of economic growth and increased business investment. However, there are many questions about the nation's huge debt burden and its central bank's handling of monetary policy in recent years.
- The price of Bitcoin was off 0.7% over the last 24 hours. The Bitcoin price is hovering just shy of $5,700 after a big jump Thursday afternoon. Markets have largely shrugged off concerns about China's decision to halt Bitcoin trading, ban initial coin offerings, and shutter local exchanges. With those concerns in the rear-view mirror, several major catalysts have some analysts' projecting that Bitcoin will hit $6,000 by the end of the year and rally up to $10,000 by 2019. Here's what you need to know about Bitcoin prices heading into the weekend.
- Crude oil prices were falling Friday as traders took profits off the table. Crude prices have been rising in recent trading sessions due to rising geopolitical premiums. Investors have been weighing ongoing uncertainty fueled by market problems in Venezuela, Iraq, and various parts of Africa. WTI crude oil price today dipped 0.6% while crude prices dropped 0.4%.
Stocks to Watch Today: GE, SLB, PYPL
- Shares of General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) plunged more than 6.8% in pre-market hours after the conglomerate fell well short of earnings expectations Friday. The firm reported earnings per share (EPS) of $0.45, a figure that was four cents short of Wall Street analysts' expectations. The firm did top revenue forecasts by almost $1.5 billion. The firm's stock is off nearly 23% in a year as the company weighs significant restructuring costs. Expect new CEO John Flannery to face a wealth of questions later today about the balance sheet.
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- Shares of Schlumberger Ltd. (NYSE: SLB) added 1.13% after the company reported earnings this morning. The oil-service giant matched EPS expectations of $0.42 and fell just slightly short of revenue expectations of $7.91 billion.
- Shares of PayPal Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: PYPL) jumped more than 3% after the company topped Wall Street earnings expectations after the bell Thursday. Shares are likely to hit an all-time high Friday after the firm raised full-year guidance. The mobile payment trend continues to provide a huge boost to the firm's bottom line.
- Additional companies reporting earnings on Friday include Procter & Gamble Co. (NYSE: PG), Honeywell International Inc. (NYSE: HON), SunTrust Banks Inc. (NYSE: STI), Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. (NYSE: CLF), Kansas City Southern (NYSE: KSU), Baker Hughes (NYSE: BHGE), Manpower Group Inc. (NYSE: MAN), Mobile Mini Inc. (Nasdaq: MINI), and Synchrony Financial (NYSE: SYF).
Friday's U.S. Economic Calendar (all times EDT)
- Existing Home Sales at 10 a.m.
- Baker-Hughes Rig Count at 1 p.m.
- Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank President Loretta Mester speaks at 2 p.m.
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