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The Dow Jones today projected a second straight day of strong gains, as companies begin to report their first-quarter earnings of 2018. Dow futures were up nearly a 150 points in pre-market trading, despite the lingering threat of a trade war and Middle Eastern conflict still hanging over the markets.
With earnings season underway, the Money Morning team has been looking for the best ways to take advantage of the strong dividend returns coming out of Wall Street. Money Morning Quantitative Specialist Chris Johnson has developed a strategy that allows investors to reap huge gains off the "post-dividend" bump - by betting against the market. Check out Chris' strategy here...
Here are the numbers from Thursday 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 to watch.
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The Top Stock Market Stories for Friday
- Earnings season will kick into high gear today with the release of multiple reports from three of the nation's top financial institutions. JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM), Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE: WFC), and Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C) will all be in the spotlight today.
- U.S. President Donald Trump could be shaking up trade policy. However, it isn't NAFTA or tariffs with China that are headlining the story. According to reports, Trump has requested his advisors explore American reentry into the Transpacific Partnership (TPP). President Trump pulled the United States out of TPP shortly following his inauguration. The recommendation comes after lawmakers from ag-producing states discussed the impact of leaving the deal with the administration. The decision to reenter the TPP would be very valuable to states that produce the bulk of U.S. wheat given that it would allow exporters to avoid tariffs of $65 per tonne to Japan, which is the largest export market for American wheat. Leading nations of the pact, such as Japan and Australia, reacted coolly to the president's pivot but did not rule out the possibility of American reentry.
- Facebook Inc. (Nasdaq: FB) is still in focus across the financial world. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg appeared before Congress two times this week to address his firm's ongoing data scandal involving consulting firm Cambridge Analytica. Congress' failure to understand how the Internet works and Facebook's business model was on full display, but Zuckerberg was able to maintain his composure as he answered questions over the two-day period.
Stocks to Watch Today: JPM, WFC, C
- Shares of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) are in focus as the bank prepares to report Q1 earnings before the bell. JPM stock added 1.1% despite falling short of profit expectations. Wall Street anticipated that the firm would report earnings per share (EPS) of $2.28 on top of $27.53 billion in revenue. The firm reported EPS of $2.26; however, it reported revenue of $28.52 billion.
- Shares of Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE: WFC) are on the move after the firm reported quarterly earnings. Wall Street projected that the firm would report EPS of $1.07 on top of $21.73 billion in revenue. The company came in higher, with an EPS of $1.12 on top of $21.93 billion in revenue. CEO Tim Sloan issued a statement addressing the company's ongoing attempt to emerge from its account scandal and bolster investor confidence. "I'm confident that our outstanding team will continue to transform Wells Fargo into a better, stronger company; however, we recognize that it will take time to put all of our challenges behind us," said Sloan in a statement.
- Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C) is up 1.4% after the firm reported Q1 earnings before the bell. Wall Street analysts projected an average EPS of $1.61 on top of $18.94 billion in revenue. The bank reported EPS of $1.71 on $18.87 billion in revenue. The bank cited stronger results from its consumer banking division and a stronger bottom line thanks to recent tax reform.
- Additional companies reporting earnings from PNC Financial Services Group Inc. (NYSE: PNC) and Infosys Ltd. (Nasdaq: INFY).
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.