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The Dow Jones today traded 90 points lower in pre-market trading as investors turned over imminent bilateral trade talks between the United States and China. The American trade delegation, which includes U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, will spend two days in Beijing attempting to diffuse an increasingly complicated trade situation. Markets are reacting negatively to reports that the United States is considering restrictions that would prevent certain Chinese firms from selling telecommunications equipment in the U.S markets.
As Chinese trade fears roil markets again, Money Morning Defense and Tech Specialist Research Michael Robinson is looking for the best strategies to protect investments from volatility. Michael believes he's found several great "insurance investments" in the tech market – ones that will not only protect your portfolio, but help you profit. Check out Michael's findings here…
Here are the numbers from Wednesday for the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq:
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Now here's a closer look at today's Money Morning insight, the most important market events, and stocks to watch.
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Money Morning Insight of the Day
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Money Morning Quantitative Specialist Chris Johnson argues that the markets are at a tipping point. And with just a few smart plays in today's classic stock-picker's market, you can pull in triple-digit gains with just a small investment.
The Top Stock Market Stories for Thursday
- Yesterday, the Fed Open Market Committee announced it would not raise interest rates this session. The central bank committee, which is in charge of monetary policy, said that inflation is rising and that the U.S. economy is getting better. Markets are now looking forward to the next meeting on June 12 for the U.S. Federal Reserve to bump rates higher for the second time in 2018.
- Shares of Tesla Inc. (Nasdaq: TSLA) slumped more than 4.5% after Tesla CEO Elon Musk held an highly unusual earnings call. After announcing that his firm burned through $700 million in cash during the quarter of 2018, Musk refused to take any more questions on the company's fiscal health, dismissing analysts' questions as "boring." Musk instead spent the rest of the quarterly call taking questions from a YouTuber named Gali Russell who had lobbied Musk on Twitter to let him partake in the earnings call.
- This morning, the U.S. Labor Department reported initial jobless claims rose by 2,000, to 211,000. Analysts had projected 225,000 for the week. The tightening U.S. labor market has now seen the total number of Americans receiving benefits fall to the lowest level since 1973. America's unemployment rate is sitting at 4.1%, the lowest figure in 17 years. Tomorrow, the Labor Department will release the April jobs report.
Four Stocks to Watch Today: GPRO, SPOT, CI
- GoPro Inc. (Nasdaq: GPRO) will lead another busy day of earnings reports on Wall Street. The firm will report earnings after the bell Thursday. Wall Street expects that the tech firm is about to report a loss of -$0.40 per share on top of $175.40 billion in revenue. Here's a way to make a lot of money in a short time during earnings season.
- Spotify Technology SA (NYSE: SPOT) did not have a very good first earnings report. Shares plunged more than 8% after the firm's music-streaming forecasts fell well short of expectations. During its earnings report, signals indicated that the firm's growth could slow despite news that its user base of 170 million users (75 million of which are paid) was well within expectations.
- Cigna Inc. (NYSE: CI) pushed higher after the health insurance giant reported better-than-expected earnings before the bell. The firm reported earnings per share of $4.11, a number that easily beat the $3.39 projected by analysts. The firm reported a strong uptick in consumer enrollments and hiked its 2018 forecast.
- Look for more earnings reports from Activation Blizzard Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI), Pandora Media Inc. (NYSE: P), Arista Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: ANET), Skyworks Solutions Inc. (Nasdaq: SWKS), Fortinet Inc. (Nasdaq: FTNT), Shake Shack Inc. (NYSE: SHAK), CBS Corp. (NYSE: CBS), Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE: HLF), and Teva Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (Nasdaq: TEVA).