Dow futures climbed off lows and turned green just before the opening bell on Wednesday after Wal-Mart's plunging stock fueled a 254-point decline in the Dow Jones Industrial Average yesterday.
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Here are the numbers from Tuesday 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 Wednesday's economic calendar.
The Top Stock Market Stories for Wednesday
- Investors are looking for clues on the timing of the U.S. Federal Reserve's next interest rate hike. The central bank will release minutes from its January meeting today. These minutes are also the final minutes from the Janet Yellen era at the Fed. The report will likely indicate how seriously members of the central bank are taking inflation threats.
- Gold prices dipped thanks to a stronger U.S. dollar. Today, the Fed is poised to release minutes from its January meeting. Money Morning Resource Specialist Peter Krauth explained yesterday that a short-term dip may be in the cards, but the price is poised to rocket higher in the months ahead. How high will gold prices go? Peter breaks down his latest forecast for Money Morning readers right here.
- Crude oil prices fell Wednesday on concerns about a global glut in the energy markets. Markets are keeping an eye on an update today from the Energy Information Administration on the status of U.S. inventory levels. Yesterday, energy giant BP Plc. (NYSE: BP) projects that global demand will plateau in the 2030s. The WTI crude oil price today added 0.2%. Brent crude dipped 0.2%.
- Bitcoin was hovering at $11,200. But the big news in the cryptocurrency space was happening in Venezuela. Yesterday, the nation launched its new oil-backed cryptocurrency - the "petro" - in a direct effort to shirk U.S. sanctions. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro wants to raise foreign investments as his country faces 13,000% inflation, plus food and medicine shortages, purportedly worsened by international sanctions. The president claims that the country successfully raised $735 million from the sale of the token. Here's more on the petro and what it means to the international financial markets.
Three Stocks to Watch Today: WMT, AMZN, LC
- Shares of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) are trying to recover after a dismal Tuesday trading session. Shares of the retail giant plunged more than 10% after a lackluster earnings report indicated that the firm's online sales underperformed analysts' expectations. Tuesday was Wal-Mart's worst trading day since 1988.
- Shares of Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) are on the move as investors continue to monitor the struggles of its largest competitors. TradingAnalysis.com founder Todd Gordon said in an interview with CNBC that the stock is on the verge of hitting $1,500. Gordon said that the company is poised to outperform the Nasdaq 100-tracking ETF. Meanwhile, MKM Partners hiked its price target for AMZN stock to $1,750.
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- Shares of LendingClub Corp. (NYSE: LC) fell more than 10% after the peer-to-peer lending company reported earnings and revenue Tuesday afternoon. The firm's report fell well short of analysts' expectations, as it faces a string of costly class-action lawsuits that resulted in settlements worth $125 million. The firm also issued a weaker-than-expected forecast for the first quarter.
- Look for additional earnings reports from Pandora Media Inc. (NYSE: P), Boston Beer Co. (NYSE: SAM), Jack in the Box Inc. (Nasdaq: JACK), Sturm, Ruger & Co. Inc. (NYSE: RGR), The Cheesecake Factory Inc. (Nasdaq: CAKE), Garmin Ltd. (Nasdaq: GRMN), The Wendy's Co. (NYSE: WEN), Noble Corp. (NYSE: NE), Dish Network Corp. (Nasdaq: DISH), and Advance Auto Parts Inc. (NYSE: AAP).
Wednesday's U.S. Economic Calendar (all times EST)
- MBA Mortgage Applications at 7 a.m.
- Redbook at 8:55 a.m.
- Philadelphia Fed Bank President Patrick Harker speaks at 9 a.m.
- PMI Composite Flash at 9:45 a.m.
- Existing Home Sales at 10 a.m.
- Two-Year FRN Note Auction at 11:30 a.m.
- Five-Year Note Auction at 1 p.m.
- FOMC Minutes at 2 p.m.
- Minneapolis Fed Bank President Neel Kashkari speaks at 8:15 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.