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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).