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The Dow Jones today continues climbing after investors cycled out of tech stocks yesterday. Still, huge news from Alibaba last night brings the spotlight back on the sector, with Intel and Western Digital reporting earnings today.
Dow futures are up 91 points this morning as investors continue to eye events in Davos, Switzerland. Global trade and U.S. tax reform continue to generate a significant amount of buzz among financial leaders around the globe. Click here to find out the best picks to profit off of the talks in Davos…
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 Top Stock Market Stories for Thursday
- An absolutely bombshell report landed last night that could hint at the entry of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.'s (NYSE: BABA) entry into the United States. CNBC reports the Chinese e-commerce giant is in discussions with Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR) about teaming up in the future. The talks, which are still preliminary, even sent Kroger executives over to China to meet with Alibaba leaders. This appears to be a direct response to last year's purchase of Whole Foods Market by Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN).
- The World Economic Forum will continue in Davos, Switzerland, Thursday. Over the last 24 hours, banking executives – including Goldman Sachs Group's (NYSE: GS), Lloyd Blankfein, and JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s (NYSE: JPM) Jamie Dimon – praised the Trump administration's efforts to pass U.S. tax reform. Today's cheerleader was Barclays (NYSE: BCS) CEO Jes Stanley, who told CNBC that the U.S. reform could fuel lower taxes in Europe. "The U.S.A. has clearly embarked on a strategy to be very business-friendly as a regulatory matter and now as a tax matter, and the question is: 'How is continental Europe going to respond?'" he said.
- Gold prices hit an 18-month high thanks to a lower U.S. dollar. The greenback hit a three-year low after U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the Trump administration favors a weaker dollar to bolster U.S. exports. This is quite a steep departure from U.S. monetary policy over the last decade. As we've explained in recent weeks, gold prices are just getting started. This is going to be a terrific year for gold prices, which are already up sharply since the beginning of the year. To get you started, here's our latest update on where we foresee gold prices heading by the end of 2018. You won't believe it until you see it yourself.
- Crude oil prices continue to rise thanks to the sliding U.S. dollar. This morning, Brent crude topped $71 per barrel for the first time since 2014. The WTI crude oil price today added 0.8% on news that U.S. inventory levels fell for the tenth straight week. Falling U.S. inventories continue to offset expectations that American oil production will hit a whopping 10 million barrels per day later this year.
Three Stocks to Watch Today: F, CAT, SBUX
- Shares of Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) are off nearly 0.6% in pre-market hours after the firm fell short of Wall Street profit expectations Wednesday afternoon. The automotive giant reported earnings per share (EPS) of $0.39, a figure that was $0.03 short of analysts' consensus forecasts. Despite this figure, the firm did beat Wall Street revenue numbers by $1.2 billion.
- Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) is generating a lot of buzz this morning with earnings in focus. Investors remain bullish on the stock ahead of U.S. President Donald Trump's pending announcement of a massive infrastructure plan to boost U.S. economic growth. Wall Street anticipates that the company will report EPS of $1.77 on top of $12.01 billion in revenue.
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- Starbucks Corp. (Nasdaq: SBUX) will report earnings before the bell Thursday. Wall Street anticipates that the coffee retail giant will report earnings of $0.57 per share. The Street also expects revenue of $6.13 billion. Pay attention to today's analyst call for questions about the firm's latest plan to boost worker pay and offer employee bonuses in the wake of the Trump tax plan. The company is expected to also provide sick leave and expand parental leave thanks to the reform law.
- Look for additional earnings reports from Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC), Celgene Corp. (Nasdaq: CELG), Intuitive Surgical Inc. (Nasdaq: ISRG), JetBlue Airways Corp. (Nasdaq: JBLU), Western Digital Corp. (NYSE: WDC), Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV), American Airlines Group (Nasdaq: AAL), Biogen Inc. (Nasdaq: BIIB), 3M Co. (NYSE: MMM), Northrup Grumman Corp. (NYSE: NOC), and Alaska Air Group (NYSE: ALK).
Thursday's U.S. Economic Calendar (all times EST)
- Jobless Claims at 8:30 a.m.
- Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index at 9:45 a.m.
- New Home Sales at 10 a.m.
- Leading Indicators at 10 a.m.
- EIA Natural Gas Report at 10:30 a.m.
- Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Index 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.
- 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, 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.