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The Dow Jones today is climbing thanks to the passage of the tax reform bill and a short-term spending bill to avoid a government shutdown.
Dow Futures are up six points ahead of today's trading session. After the U.S. Senate avoided a government shutdown on Thursday night, expect traders to begin setting their positions for 2018. If you're looking for a once-in-a-lifetime profit opportunity next year, click here...
Here are the numbers from Thursday for the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq:
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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
- Markets are on the rise this morning after the Senate passed a temporary spending bill to prevent a government shutdown. The Senate now plans to turn its attention to a bill aimed at reducing government spending. It'd better act quick, as the temporary spending bill only extends government payments through Jan. 19.
- Wall Street will digest the news of two major moves at the executive level. First up, Alphabet Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOGL) CEO Eric Schmidt announced he will step down as executive chair at the global technology giant. Schmidt will serve as a "technical advisor" starting in 2018. Meanwhile, Papa John's International Inc. (Nasdaq: PZZA) founder John Schnatter will step down as company CEO next month. The decision comes after the executive criticized NFL leadership for its handling of national anthem protests before games. Schnatter will remain as the company chair, but it unlikely that he will remain the face of the organization's advertising strategy.
- Gold prices ticked to $1,271 in what appears to be the start of something big for the yellow metal ahead of the New Year. But today's real story in the precious metal business is palladium. The spot price of palladium hit a 17-year high thanks to a shortage in the international space. Heavy demand in the automotive sector, particularly in China, is pushing the price higher. About 80% of global demand for the metal comes from the automotive business for the creation of catalysts. Click here to read how Bitcoin and the Federal Reserve are going to drive up gold and silver prices...
- Crude oil prices rose to levels we haven't seen since 2015. The price has continued to rise in recent weeks thanks to increased optimism over OPEC's deal to cap excessive production through the end of 2018. Traders are also eyeing the status of a major pipeline in the North Sea that plans to reopen in early January. The pipeline has been shut down this month due to maintenance. WTI crude oil price today fell 0.4%, while Brent crude dipped 0.3%.
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- The price of Bitcoin plunged more than $3,000 in 12 hours Thursday, as infighting between developers has gone mainstream and fueled a massive sell-off. The price plunged below $13,000, as traders continue to react to a series of negative updates in the crypto space. Bitcoin has been in a freefall since exchange Coinbase added rival Bitcoin Cash to trading.
Stocks to Watch Today: QCOM, CB, RXDX
- Shares of Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) were flat this morning despite positive news out of California. The tech giant became the third firm to receive a permit to test autonomous vehicles on state roads in the future. The firm is already engaged in a partnership with Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) to field test vehicles. Qualcomm will not compete against Nvidia Corp. (Nasdaq: NVDA) and Samsung to make the next big leap in self-driving vehicles in The Golden State. These two firms received permits from California over the last 18 months.
- In deal news, shares of Ignyta Inc. (Nasdaq: RXDX) rallied more than 70% after news that the firm plans to sell itself for $1.7 billion to Swiss drug maker Roche Holding AG.
- Shares of Chubb Ltd. (NYSE: CB) pushed higher this morning after the company reported plans to introduce a $1 billion stock buyback program. The insurance giant is putting more money back into the company, as its current buying program expires at the end of 2017. Expect a lot of questions surrounding the timing of this decision, given that the tax reform bill just passed. Critics of the bill may jump on this buyback program and cite it as evidence that not all companies plan to increase payroll after tax reform.
- No major U.S. companies report earnings on Friday.
Friday's U.S. Economic Calendar (all times EST)
- Durable Goods Orders at 8:30 a.m.
- Personal Income and Outlays at 8:30 a.m.
- New Home Sales at 10 a.m.
- Consumer Sentiment at 10 a.m.
- Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Index at 11 a.m.
- Baker-Hughes Rig Count at 1 p.m.
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About the Author
Garrett Baldwin is a globally recognized research economist, financial writer, and consultant with degrees from Northwestern, Johns Hopkins, Purdue, and Indiana University. He is a seasoned financial and political risk analyst, with a focus on stocks, hedge funds, private equity, blockchain, and housing policy. He has conducted risk assessment projects for clients in 27 countries, and consulted on policy and financial operations for some of the nation's largest financial institutions, including a $1.5 trillion credit fund, a $43 billion credit and auto loan giant, as well as two of the largest Wall Street banks by assets under management.
Garrett joined Money Map Press as an economist and researcher in 2011, specializing in alternative strategies with an emphasis on fundamental and technical analysis.