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The Dow Jones today traded 30 points lower in pre-market trading after the U.S. Labor Department announced 220,000 weekly jobless claims – 7,000 more than what analysts expected. Despite the higher rates of weekly jobless claims, the Labor Department's report was otherwise positive, pushing the 10-year Treasury yield above 3% for the first time since 2011. Weekly jobless claims remain near a 50-year low.
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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The Top Stock Market Stories for Thursday
- Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) leads a busy day of earnings reports on Wall Street. Analysts projected the retail giant would report earnings per share of $1.12 on top of $120.1 billion in revenue for the first quarter. The firm beat profit expectations by $0.02 and easily topped revenue expectations thanks to stronger online sales. Wal-Mart stock had declined by roughly 13% heading into the report since Jan. 1.
- Crude oil prices continue to remain in focus after Brent crude hit $80.00 per barrel. The benchmark crude touched $80.00, as markets are concerned about the impact renewed Iranian sanctions will have on global supply. French oil giant Total announced Wednesday that it was abandoning a gas project in Iran after failing to obtain a waiver from the Trump administration to do business in Iran. The sanctions are expected to decline global output at a time that OPEC is already working diligently to push oil prices higher by containing excessive global production.
Four Stocks to Watch Today: JCP, BABA, F, KR
- Shares of JCPenney (NYSE: JCP) are ticking higher after its earnings report before the bell. Yesterday, retail companies were stunned by the 11% jump for its rival Macy's Inc. (NYSE: M) stock thanks to a strong first-quarter report.
- Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (NYSE: BABA) is generating a lot of buzz as investors monitor trade relations between the United States and China. BABA stock had slumped by 18% thanks to trade restrictions on Chinese companies.
- Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) announced it will restart production of its popular F-150 pickup truck at its Dearborn, Mich., facility. The company recently suspended operations after a fire damaged supplies needed for manufacturing. The F-150 is the most popular consumer vehicle in the United States.
- In an effort to beat back the growth of Wal-Mart and Amazon, grocery giant Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR) announced a deal to purchase a 5% stake in British online supermarket Ocado. The deal will allow Kroger to utilize the UK firm's warehouse automation technology in the United States and improve its supply chain costs.
- Look for additional earnings reports from Applied Materials Inc. (Nasdaq: AMAT), Nordstrom Inc. (NYSE: JWN), The Children's Place Inc. (Nasdaq: PLCE), Teekay Corp. (NYSE: TK), and Quantum Corp. (NYSE: QTM).
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.