Dow Jones Today Drops Sharply as Prices Increase and Retail Sales Fall

The Dow Jones today falls after January's Consumer Price Index (CPI) came in higher than estimated, and U.S. retail sales unexpectedly fell.

Dow futures plunged as much as 300 points this morning after January's CPI data showed a greater-than-estimated uptick in prices. This larger-than-expected uptick confirms analysts' suspicions that inflation is increasing. Before the report, Dow futures were projected to rise more than 150 points. However, the report at 8:30 a.m. prompted a sharp sell-off.

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

Index Previous Close Point Change Percentage Change
Dow Jones 24640.45 39.18 0.16%
S&P 500 2662.94 6.94 0.26%
Nasdaq 7013.51 31.55 0.45%

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

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The Five Top Stock Market Stories for Wednesday

  • U.S. stocks are down after January's update to the CPI, a key measure of domestic inflation. Last month, the CPI jumped 0.5%, a figure that was well above the 0.3% forecast. In addition, year-over-year CPI hit 2.1%, while consensus expectations called for an uptick of 1.9%. Ongoing worries about inflation were partly responsible for recent swings in the market. Investors anticipate that if inflation rises too quickly, then the U.S. Federal Reserve will likely hike interest rates at a faster pace.

dow jones today

  • Today is an important day for investors looking to invest alongside top hedge funds and money managers. Investors like Warren Buffett, Carl Icahn, and Bill Ackman are expected to disclose their investment positions from the fourth quarter in regulatory 13F filings.
  • Gold prices ticked slightly higher Wednesday ahead of today's key inflation report. An ounce of gold is hovering just north of $1,333. We may see some bumps along the way, but right now appears to be a terrific entry point for long-term gold investors. Money Morning Resource Specialist Peter Krauth has released his latest gold forecast. Here's where gold prices will be headed in 2018 after this week's market volatility.
  • This morning, the Department of Commerce reported that January retail sales fell more than -0.3%. That figure was well below analysts' expectations and represented the sharpest monthly decline in 11 months. Analysts had anticipated a 0.2% gain for the month.
  • Crude oil prices fell Wednesday ahead of a key inventory report this morning from the Energy Information Administration.  The WTI crude oil price today dipped 1.1%. Brent crude dipped 0.5%. It appears that a sell-off is possible due to jitters about the broader U.S. equities market and the Fed's reaction to inflation. While other traders are distracted by this downturn, savvy investors are paying attention to the major energy milestone that is about to be reached here in the United States. Learn more right here.

Three Stocks to Watch Today: CMG, H, TAP

  • Shares of Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (NYSE: CMG) added more than 11% after the company named a new CEO. The firm has appointed Brian Niccol to the executive suite. He is the former CEO of Taco Bell, a division of Yum! Brands Inc. (NYSES: YUM).
  • Shares of Hilton Worldwide Corp. (NYSE: H) added 2.3% after the global hospitality company topped Wall Street earnings expectations. The firm reported earnings per share (EPS) of $0.54, which easily beat consensus expectations of $0.45 per share. The firm also reported a 24% year-over-year jump in revenue thanks to stronger booking volumes and average room prices.
  • Share of Molson Coors Brewing Co. (NYSE: TAP) added 2.7% after the global beer brewer beat earnings expectations for the quarter. The firm reported adjusted EPS of $0.62, a figure that topped forecasts by $0.06.
  • Look for additional earnings reports from Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), TripAdvisor Inc. (Nasdaq: TRIP), Applied Materials Inc. (Nasdaq: AMAT), Marriott International Inc. (NYSE: MAR), SodaStream International Ltd. (Nasdaq: SODA), NetApp Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP), Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A), and Pepper Snapple Group Inc. (NYSE: DPS).

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

  • MBA Mortgage Applications at 7 a.m.
  • Consumer Price Index at 8:30 a.m.
  • Retail Sales at 8:30 a.m.
  • Atlanta Fed Business Inflation Expectations at 10 a.m.
  • Business Inventories at 10 a.m.
  • EIA Petroleum Status Report at 10:30 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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