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The Dow Jones today rose more than 200 points in pre-market trading on a report that the U.S. economy added 313,000 new jobs in February – the largest gain since July 2016. The same report also announced that unemployment remained unchanged and wages grew by 2.6% over the last year.
With strong growth numbers already pushing this nine-year bull market to record heights, many investors think there's little room left for it to grow. However, we think there's plenty of value left – you just need to know where to look…
Here are the numbers from Thursday for the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq:
|Index||Previous Close||Point Change||Percentage Change|
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
- U.S. President Donald Trump has agreed to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to discuss the possibility of denuclearization in the Korean Peninsula, breaking with traditional executive protocol. South Korea's National Security Office Chief Chung Eui Yon said yesterday that Kim Jong Un had "expressed eagerness to meet President Trump as soon as possible."
- Gold prices fell Friday thanks to a stronger-than-expected jobs report. The nation added 313,000 new jobs in February, topping expectations of 200,000. Wages also increased by 2.6% on an annual basis. It was strong wage growth last month that helped spur a market correction and fueled an uptick in inflation expectations. The stronger jobs report will now put the U.S. Federal Reserve and a possible rate hike back in focus.
- President Trump signed two key trade declarations on Thursday. The president will introduce a 25% tariff on steel imports and a 10% tariff on aluminum, which will take effect on March 24. Retaliatory measures are expected from targeted countries as a result of the new tariffs. For example, traders anticipate that China will focus on U.S. soybeans and hurt Trump's base of supporters in the rural Midwest. Trump has exempted Canada and Mexico from these tariffs.
- Crude oil prices ticked higher thanks to the strong jobs report and indication of a stronger U.S. economy. WTI crude oil price today added 1.0%, while Brent crude added 1.1%. The uptick also was fueled by optimism over Trump's planned meeting with North Korea's leadership. However, investors need to pay attention to today's weekly rig count report. Analysts expect that U.S. production will have increased once again.
Stocks to Watch Today: DIS, FOXA, AMZN, JPM, BRKA
- Shares of Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) are in focus after the entertainment giant received strong pushback over its CEO's pay package. The deal would have paid Bob Iger a stunning $48.5 million annually over four years. However, shareholders rejected this plan. The plan was specifically tied to the firm's recently planned acquisition of 21st Century Fox (NYSE: FOXA).
- Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) has announced the next phase of healthcare venture with JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) and Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK.A). According to reports, the company is now seeking a CEO to help get the program off the ground. This deal has set off a wave of merger and acquisition talk across the industry, as companies worry about the "Amazonification" of the healthcare industry.
- Additional companies reporting earnings on Friday include Big Lots Inc. (NYSE: BIG), Party City Holdco Inc. (Nasdaq: PRTY), and American Woodwork Co. (Nasdaq: AMWD).
Friday's U.S. Economic Calendar (all times EST)
- Employment Situation at 8:30 a.m.
- Wholesale Trade at 10 a.m.
- Chicago Fed Bank President Charles Evans Speaks at 12:45 p.m.
- Baker-Hughes Rig Count at 1 p.m.
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