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The Dow Jones today is climbing after Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) announced a $350 billion U.S. investment plan. However, a potential government shutdown could shock markets if Congress doesn't pass a temporary funding extension today.
Dow futures are up 19 points this morning, as Asia stocks reach record highs on better-than-expected Q4 2017 economic growth in China. This morning, Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) topped Wall Street expectations and propelled stocks higher. Click here to find out how to "ride the capital wave" of U.S. banking strength for huge profits…
Here are the numbers from Wednesday 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 Thursday's economic calendar.
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The Five Top Stock Market Stories for Thursday
- This morning, the S&P 500 and Dow Jones are flat as investors eye the ongoing budget battle in Washington, D.C. Republican leaders have been sprinting around Capitol Hill to find support for a stop-gap measure that would keep the government operating past this weekend. That said, the short-term funding theatrics have grown quite old. This is the third stop-gap measure that would be enacted since the 2018 fiscal year began last October.
- In the wake of the tax reform bill, Apple Inc. just made a major announcement. The firm will pay roughly $38 billion in repatriation taxes as it brings a massive chunk of its $252 billion war chest of cash it has been keeping offshore. In addition, it plans to give out one-time bonuses to employees of $2,500 each. The company has announced it plans to directly invest $350 billion into the United States over the next five years.
- Gold prices were off slightly in pre-market hours thanks to a stronger U.S. dollar. Still, take a step back, and you'll find that gold is off to an incredible start in 2018. With a string of geopolitical threats emerging around the globe, gold is poised to be one of the top-performing assets of the year. Perhaps that's why the U.S. government is hoarding so much of it. We pull the lid off this controversial story, right here.
- Crude oil prices were muted in pre-market hours. Prices still hover near 2014 highs, as investors prepare for today's inventory report from the Energy Information Administration. Markets expect that U.S. inventory levels have declined again. News of a decline in stocks would offset concerns about rising U.S. production. On the global front, markets are a bit on edge over concerns about attacks to Nigerian oil infrastructure. A militant group has threatened to attack the nation's sector within the next few days. The WTI crude oil price today added 0.1%. Brent crude was flat.
- In other economic news, U.S. weekly jobless claims came in lower than analysts' expectations. Last week, 220,000 Americans sought unemployment benefits, well below the forecast of 250,000. This is a positive indicator of economic strength.
Three Stocks to Watch Today: MS, GS, WMT
- Shares of Morgan Stanley popped 1.4% after the investment bank easily topped Wall Street earnings expectations. The firm reported growth across all business segments in 2017 and said earnings per share hit $0.84. That figure topped earnings expectations by $0.07. The firm also beat revenue expectations.
- Goldman Sachs Group (NYSE: GS) has added Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) to its "Conviction Buy" list. The announcement pushed Wal-Mart stock up 1.4% in pre-market hours. Goldman argues that stronger consumer spending in 2017 has created positive momentum for WMT's retail space.
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- Look for additional earnings reports from International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM), American Express Co. (NYSE: AXP), JB Hunt Transport Services (Nasdaq: JBHT), The Bank of New York Melon (NYSE: BK), PPG Industries (NYSE: PPG), and Canadian Pacific Railway (NYSE: CP).
Thursday's U.S. Economic Calendar (all times EST)
- Housing Starts at 8:30 a.m.
- Jobless Claims at 8:30 a.m.
- Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey 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.
- 3-Month Bill Announcement at 11 a.m.
- 6-Month Bill Announcement at 11 a.m.
- Two-Year FRN Note Announcement at 11 a.m.
- Two-Year Note Announcement at 11 a.m.
- Five-Year Note Announcement at 11 a.m.
- Seven-Year Note Announcement at 11 a.m.
- 10-Year TIPS Auction at 1 p.m.
- Fed Balance Sheet at 4:30 p.m.
- Money Supply at 4:30 p.m.
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