Fed rate hike

Why Four Speeches from Fed Officials Will Move the Dow Jones Today

The Dow Jones today is trending upward in pre-market hours as traders anticipate four speeches from U.S. Federal Reserve officials today that could divulge clues about upcoming rate hikes.

Dow futures projected a near-100-point gain in pre-market hours after the 10-year bond dipped back under 2.9%.

While the nature of the Fed's interest rate hikes are still uncertain, savvy investors are already positioning themselves to profit...

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

Index Previous Close Point Change Percentage Change
Dow Jones 24692.48 164.70 0.66%
S&P 500 2703.96 2.63 0.10%
Nasdaq 7210.09 -8.14 -0.11%

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

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The Top Stock Market Stories for Friday

  • The Federal Reserve will be in focus today when four members of the central bank take the stage at different events across the country. Today features very little economic data or earnings reports from blue-chip companies. Instead, the market is likely to move on broader sentiment tied to expectations on interest rates moving forward.

Fed rate hike

  • The price of gold sat at $1,332 this morning, putting the precious metal on pace for its worst week since early December. However, Money Morning Resource Specialist Peter Krauth foresees a significant buying opportunity on the horizon. Krauth projects that gold prices will hit $1,400 by the middle of the year and rally as high as $1,500 by the end of December 2018.
  • Shares of Blue Buffalo Pet Products Inc. (Nasdaq: BUFF) popped nearly 17% after the company announced it will be acquired General Mills Inc. (NYSE: GIS). Blue Buffalo shareholders will receive $40 per share, making the deal worth $8 billion. GIS stock fell nearly 4% after the deal. We've been bullish on Blue Buffalo for months, and today, it has once again beaten our expectations.
  • Crude oil prices were flat this morning as markets continued to monitor the strength of the U.S. dollar. Later today, Baker Hughes will release its weekly production rig count. Markets anticipate that U.S. production will continue to rise in 2018 and possibly hit 11 million barrels per day - the highest level in 40 years. WTI crude oil price today dipped 0.1%, while Brent crude slipped 0.1%.

Stocks to Watch Today: HPE, SNAP, BLK

  • BlackRock Inc. (NYSE: BLK) is making headlines today after announcing plans to remove gun manufactures from its managed portfolios. Blackrock made the change in the wake of last week's fatal school shoot in Florida. Yesterday, the nation's largest privately owned bank, First National Bank of Omaha, announced it would no longer issue NRA-sponsored credit cards to the association's members.
  • Shares of Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. (NYSE: HPE) popped nearly 12% this morning after the tech giant topped Wall Street earnings expectations after the bell Thursday. The earnings report was the first since CEO Meg Whitman stepped down earlier this month. She was replaced by company President Antonio Neri, who outlined his vision for the company and his proposed turnaround strategy. The firm reported earnings per share of $0.34 topping the $0.22 estimate. The firm also easily beat revenue expectations.
  • Shares of Snap Inc. (NYSE: SNAP) fell more than 6% yesterday after socialite Kylie Jenner sent a single tweet that erased $1.3 billion from the social media parent's market capitalization. On Thursday, Jenner wrote, "sooo does anyone else not open Snapchat anymore? Or is it just me... ugh this is so sad." The tweet came just two days after Snap stock received a downgrade from Citigroup (NYSE: C) after the social media firm launched a questionable redesign in November.
  • Additional companies reporting earnings on Friday include Pinnacle Entertainment Inc. (NYSE: PNK), Huntsman Corp. (NYSE: HUN), Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. (NYSE: COG), Cinemark Holdings Inc. (NYSE: CNK), and HMS Holdings Corp. (Nasdaq: HMS).

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

  • Boston Federal Reserve Bank President Eric Rosengren speaks at 10:15 a.m.
  • New York Fed Bank President William Dudley speaks at 10:15 a.m.
  • Baker-Hughes Rig Count at 1:00 p.m.
  • Cleveland Fed Bank President Loretta Mester speaks at 1:30 p.m.
  • San Francisco Fed Bank President John Williams speaks at 3:40 p.m.

Get On the Path to Greater Wealth: When it comes to making money in the market, "getting in" early - before a stock begins to make its decisive move - is the single biggest factor to your success as an investor. That's why we've introduced Money Morning Profit Alerts. This new, free service lets you choose what investing areas you want to follow - and makes sure you get alerted to news from that sector as soon as we publish it. It's easy to get started - just go here.

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