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The Dow Jones today is trending up this morning, but the defense industry might be on the cusp of a breakout...
Dow Jones futures are up 40 points ahead of trading today as the Dow nears its record high of 25,000 points. Investors are hoping the recent tax cut will help spur stocks even higher, but it's another bill that could make investors rich. Here's what to look for...
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.
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The Five Top Stock Market Stories for Thursday
- The new tax law is already causing headaches for accountants and homeowners across the country. Yesterday, the Internal Revenue Service warned that homeowners couldn't prepay and deduct their 2018 property taxes unless they had already received an assessment heading into the new year. Given that the new law reduces itemized deductions on state and local taxes (while increasing the standard deduction for individuals and couples), many people want to prepay those taxes now before the new limitations go into effect. The IRS said yesterday that the loophole could work, but an assessment must have been completed in 2017. This has sent homeowners scrambling, as anyone who hasn't received such an assessment won't be able to prepay next year's or several years' worth of property taxes and receive a benefit, particularly those owners in high-tax states.
- A light day of economic data and earnings reports will center on two major pieces of data. The most important number this morning is the weekly jobless claims. Today, the U.S. Department of Labor said that jobless claims came in last week at 245,000, a figure that topped expectations by 5,000. Heading into the new year, we'll want to keep an eye on labor numbers to determine if the U.S. economy will maintain its momentum. In addition, we'll want to see whether Americans who picked up a seasonal job around the holidays were able to maintain employment or find an alternative form of employment.
- The weaker U.S. dollar has been a boon for gold prices. The precious metal hit a one-month high, boosting gold stocks like Barrick Gold Corp. (NYSE: ABX) and Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (NYSE: FCX). The dollar has declined steadily since the Federal Reserve raised interest rates and Congress passed a large tax reform law that will increase deficits over the next decade. But gold's rally is likely just getting started. Heading into 2018, today's prices offer a terrific entry point for investors looking to profit. Here's why...
- The price of Bitcoin cratered Thursday morning. Bitcoin is off nearly 10% over the last 24 hours following news that South Korea has introduced new regulations in the cryptocurrency space. The new laws will allow the government to shut down cryptocurrency exchanges if they fail to comply with other rules and will create a ban on anonymous virtual currency accounts. The government - like many other around the globe - had raised concerns around Bitcoin for things like money laundering, drug trafficking, and other illicit practices. Bitcoin traded just under $14,500 this morning.
- Crude oil prices are hovering at levels not seen since 2015. Markets continue to monitor the stability of a massive deal to cap excessive production by the Organization of the Petroleum Export Countries (OPEC). But higher prices could spur even more production, especially in the United States. The Energy Information Administration will announce weekly crude inventory levels today, which will give us a glimpse of how American producers are responding. WTI crude just topped $60.00 per barrel, a figure we haven't seen since June 2015. And rising prices are essential to the world's largest IPO. This deal, one year away, is going to make investors very rich.
Three Stocks to Watch Today: AAPL, AMZN, CLMT
- Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) is back in the news thanks to a string of lawsuits naming the technology giant as the defendant. Eight lawsuits accuse Apple of failing to inform iPhone owners that the firm had slowed down their devices. The plan was allegedly part of a misguided efforts to resolve poor battery performance. Shares of AAPL stock are flat in pre-market hours.
- Lawsuits are not the only reason why Apple is in the news this morning. Multiple outlets report that Apple and Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) are in separate discussions with the Saudi Arabian government about future investment in the country. Currently, both organizations sell their products in Saudi Arabia through third-party vendors. But now both firms are considering operational expansion into the country. The companies are both looking for opportunities at a time when the Saudi government is aiming to diversify its economy away from its steep reliance on oil revenue.
- A quiet day of earnings reports features an update from Calumet Specialty Products Partners LP (Nasdaq: CLMT). The firm reported earnings per share of $0.19 on top of 1.00 billion in revenue.
Thursday's U.S. Economic Calendar (all times EST)
- International Trade in Goods at 8:30 a.m.
- Jobless Claims at 8:30 a.m.
- Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index at 9:45 a.m.
- EIA Natural Gas Report at 10:30 a.m.
- EIA Petroleum Status Report at 11 a.m.
- Four-Week Bill Announcement at 11 a.m.
- Three-Month Bill Announcement at 11 a.m.
- Six-Month Bill Announcement at 11 a.m.
- 52-Week Bill Announcement at 11 a.m.
- Seven-Year Note Auction at 1 p.m.
- Farm Prices at 3 p.m.
- Fed Balance Sheet at 4:30 p.m.
- Money Supply at 4:30 p.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.