Editor's Note: In wake of increasing global instability, gold is surging to new highs. And Money Morning Resource Specialist Peter Krauth believes that this is just the beginning - with a potential trade war on the horizon, Peter believes 2018 could be an explosive year for the precious metal...
The Dow Jones today traded flat in pre-market hours after Tuesday's 344-point decline. Tech stocks underwent a broad sell-off, with social media giant Facebook Inc. (Nasdaq: FB) leading the pack. Yesterday's downturn solidified the first quarterly downturn in the stock market in two years.
Much of the tech sector's poor performance is due to widespread concern over cybersecurity threats to the sector's profit potential. However, Money Morning Director of Technology & Venture Capital Research Michael Robinson has discovered a tech breakthrough that could revolutionize cybersecurity. Check it out here...
Here are the numbers from Tuesday 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 Wednesday's economic calendar.
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The Five Top Stock Market Stories for Wednesday
- The U.S. Commerce Department issued its third and final estimate to Q4 gross domestic product (GDP). The final reading came in at 2.9%, topping the expectations of 2.7% among analysts. Economists had anticipated that the figure would come in higher than the 2.5% reported last month. This was the final GDP report before the passage of the recent tax law. Next month, we'll get the first estimate of GDP for the January to March quarter.
- Gold prices dipped to $1,338.90 due to a stronger U.S. dollar. The price of gold retreated from its recent six-week high, as geopolitical tensions and fears of a trade war between the United States and China eased. Markets are hoping that both nations will be able to set aside differences and come to an agreement on trade policy in the near future.
- According China's state news agency, Xinhua, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has pledged to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula during a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. The announcement comes after Kim Jong Un made his first visit abroad since assuming power in 2011. The announcement comes in preparation for broader talks between North Korea and the United States.
- The fallout to the data breach at Facebook Inc. (Nasdaq: FB) hit a new phase Wednesday after the firm made a series of changes to its data and privacy tools. The actions come a week after it was revealed that political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica collected data on 50 million Facebook users without their consent.
- Crude oil prices fell after the American Petroleum Institute reported an uptick in U.S. crude inventories yesterday afternoon. The WTI crude oil price today added 0.2%. Brent crude dipped 0.2%. Markets are watching for the official weekly inventory report from the Energy Information Administration later this morning.
Three Stocks to Watch Today: WBA, BB, AAPL
- Shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. (NYSE: WBA) gained more than 2% after the health benefits company topped Wall Street earnings expectations before the bell. The company reported an adjusted quarterly profit of $1.73 per share, a figure that topped analysts' expectations by $0.18. The firm also increased its 2018 outlook, citing the tailwinds of the recent tax law.
- Shares of BlackBerry Ltd. (Nasdaq: BB) added 5.2% after the Canadian tech company topped Wall Street earnings expectations before the bell. The firm reported earnings per share of $0.05 on top of $239.00 million in revenue. The average Wall Street forecast called for flat earnings and $211.03 million in revenue.
- Shares of Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) were off in pre-market hours after Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) cut expectations for iPhone sales in the second quarter. Goldman analyst Rod Hall slashed his price target from $161 to $159 as a result. Goldman expects that Apple will sell 53 million units this quarter and 40.3 million in the June quarter.
- Look for additional earnings reports from GameStop Corp. (NYSE: GME), PVH Corp. (NYSE: PVH), Sportsman's Warehouse Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: SPWH), HB Fuller Co. (NYSE: FUL), Oxford Industries Inc. (NYSE: OXM), and Progress Software Corp. (Nasdaq: PRGS).
Wednesday's U.S. Economic Calendar (all times EDT)
- MBA Mortgage Applications at 7 a.m.
- GDP at 8:30 a.m.
- International Trade in Goods at 8:30 a.m.
- Corporate Profits at 8:30 a.m.
- Retail Inventories at 8:30 a.m.
- Wholesale Inventories at 8:30 a.m.
- Pending Home Sales Index at 10 a.m.
- EIA Petroleum Status Report at 10:30 a.m.
- Atlanta Fed Bank President Raphael Bostic Speaks at 11:30 a.m.
- Two-Year FRN Note Auction at 11:30 a.m.
- Seven-Year Note Auction at 1 p.m.
- Farm Prices at 3 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.