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The Dow Jones today traded 70 points higher in pre-market trading after the U.S. Labor Department reported that new applications for unemployment benefits hit a 48-year low last week. The report comes on the heels of the April jobs report, which showed the U.S. unemployment rate is holding at 3.9%.
With the unemployment low and the economy signaling robust growth ahead, many of the nation's largest companies are chasing mergers in an effort to boost their bottom lines. One of the most talked about is the proposed Sprint and T-Mobile deal. However, the Money Morning team has identified an even more profitable merger and acquisition in 2018 from the healthcare industry – one that could generate huge profits. Check out our 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
The Iranian nuclear deal is dead. And it will have a significant impact on the energy market. Just how significant? Enough to make you very rich if you know where to put your money right now.
Money Morning Global Energy Strategist Dr. Kent Moors has decades of experience in the global energy markets. He's been a longtime analyst of the brewing geopolitical battles between Iran and the United States. And he's helped make readers a lot of money playing the ups and downs of the oil market. To learn how you can profit on oil, read his latest insight right here.
The Top Stock Market Stories for Thursday
- Oil prices rose on news that the Iranian military fired at least 20 rockets at Israel on Wednesday. Geopolitical tensions have escalated in the wake of U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to pull out of the Iranian nuclear deal. WTI crude oil was sitting just short of $71.50 per barrel, while Brent crude sat comfortably above $77 per barrel. Analysts argue that Trump's decision to depart the nuclear deal will empower Saudi Arabia and Russia in the energy markets and could fuel higher oil prices.
- Alphabet Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOGL), Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), and Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) received approval from the U.S. Transportation Department to begin pilot programs for drone delivery services. Missing from the list of approved companies was Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN). The tech giant has long been an advocate for drone delivery, and its absence came as a surprise to the tech community.
- It will be a busy day for economic data announcements. Most important will be a report on inflation at 8:30 EDT. Strong price growth has picked up to start the year. This has many economists anticipating that the U.S. Federal Reserve will raise interest rates to stave off additional inflation. Meanwhile, the Bank of England announced that it will hold its benchmark interest rate at 0.5%. The country is still facing economic uncertainty over Brexit.
Three Stocks to Watch Today: BKNG, SHLD, F
- A weak guidance report has shares of Booking Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: BKNG) off 6% this morning. Although the travel site operator easily topped Wall Street earnings and revenue expectations, the firm once known as Priceline offered a weak 2018 outlook. That sent investors heading for the exits.
- Sears Holdings Corp. (Nasdaq: SHLD) stock popped more than 16% on Wednesday afternoon. The news came after the embattled retail company announced plans to partner with Amazon.com to sell tires. The plan is part of the company's broader turnaround strategy to make the retail firm profitable again.
- Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) made a stunning announcement on Wednesday. The company said that it will halt production of its F-Series pickup truck. But the move will only be temporary. A fire at a Michigan plant temporarily caused the automotive giant to run out of parts for the top-selling U.S. vehicle. The shutdown could last several weeks, although the company said it has enough parts inventory to last about 12 weeks.
- Look for additional earnings reports from Nvidia Corp. (Nasdaq: NVDA), Yelp Inc. (Nasdaq: YELP), News Corp. (Nasdaq: NWSA), Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC), Amdocs Ltd. (NYSE: DOX), Omeros Corp. (Nasdaq: OMER), and Flowserve Corp. (NYSE: FLS).