Why the Dow Jones Today Is Flat as Debate Continues Over Trump's Tax Plan

Uncertainty is weighing down the Dow Jones today as the Senate's plans to overhaul the U.S. tax code are threatened by new concerns about its impact on the deficit.

Dow futures are down 16 points this morning after several GOP senators threaten to hold out on the bill until it does more to address the strength of the economy.

Here’s the truth about what the tax plan does, compared to what the economy really needs…

Here are the numbers from Thursday for the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq:

Index Previous Close Point Change Percentage Change
Dow Jones 24272.35 331.67  1.39%
S&P 500 2647.58 21.51  0.82%
Nasdaq 6873.97 49.58 0.73%

Now here's a closer look at today's most important market events and stocks, plus Friday's economic calendar.

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The Top Stock Market Stories for Friday

dow jones today

  • Investors are once again trying to gauge the timing of the Senate's upcoming vote on tax reform. Republicans have pushed their comprehensive plan for tax reform as fuel for economic growth. However, Congress's Joint Economic Committee expects the bill will add roughly $1 trillion in deficits regardless of the dynamic growth it creates.
  • Keep an eye on shares of pharmaceutical distributors like McKesson Corp. (NYSE: MCK), AmerisourceBergen Corp. (NYSE: ABC), and Cardinal Health Inc. (NYSE: CAH). These firms could face significant pressure after a report broke that Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) is about to enter their turf. According to CNBC, the e-commerce giant is having conversations with firms like Mylan NV (Nasdaq: MYL) and Sandoz, a division of Novartis AG (ADR) (NYSE: NVS), about entry into the space. Shares of MCK reacted negatively to the news in after-hours trading Thursday.
  • While Amazon sucks the oxygen out of the distributor arena, CVS Health Corp. (NYSE: CVS) is doing the same in the health insurance industry. According to Reuters, CVS is very close to finalizing a deal to purchase Aetna Inc. (NYSE: AET). The $66 billion deal in cash and stock could come as soon as Monday. Shares of AET were climbing again in pre-market hours.
  • Crude oil prices continue to move after OPEC and several non-member nations agreed to a deal to extend production cuts through the end of 2018. In addition to agreeing that participants, including Russia, would not increase production beyond 2017 levels, the deal will also include Nigeria and Libya. The two countries have failed to take part in cuts due to ongoing financial and social problems. WTI crude oil price today added 0.1%, while Brent crude added 0.4%.

Stocks to Watch Today: GE, BIG, MON, TSLA, BAYRYK

  • Shares of General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) are on the move after the company announced plans to launch a fleet of autonomous taxis in cities across the United States by 2019. The company has shifted its attention in recent years to electric and autonomous vehicles. Shares of Tesla Inc. (Nasdaq: TSLA) barely nudged downward after the announcement.
  • Shares of Big Lots Inc. (NYSE: BIG) fell nearly 2% after the retailer fell short of Wall Street revenue expectations. The firm matched earnings per share estimates of $0.06. However, the firm fell marginally short of consensus expectations of $1.118 billion.
  • In deal news, one of the most controversial planned mergers for 2018 just cleared a major hurdle. The Committee of Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) has cleared the path for German chemical giant Bayer AG (ADR) (OTCMKTS: BAYRY) to purchase U.S. agricultural giant Monsanto Co. (NYSE: MON).
  • Additional companies reporting earnings on Friday include Genesco Inc. (NYSE: GCO) and American Woodmark Corp. (Nasdaq: AMWD).

Friday's U.S. Economic Calendar (all times EST)

  • Louis Fed Bank President James Bullard speaks at 9:05 a.m.
  • Dallas Federal Reserve Bank President Robert Kaplan speaks at 9:30 a.m.
  • PMI Manufacturing Index at 9:45 a.m.
  • ISM Manufacturing Index at 10 a.m.
  • Construction Spending at 10 a.m.
  • Baker-Hughes Rig Count at 10 a.m.

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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.

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