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The Dow Jones today will climb near 100 points as investors grow more confident of the U.S. Federal Reserve's plan to lower interest rates. Yesterday, a key central banking official hinted that a rate cut is better than "[waiting] for a disaster to unfold."
Plus: another busy day of earnings reports ahead. Details and more on these DJIA impacts below.
But first, here are the numbers from Thursday for the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq:
|Index||Previous Close||Point Change||Percentage Change|
Now, here's a closer look at today's Money Morning insight, the most important market events, and stocks to watch.
The Top Stock Market Stories for Friday
- Pay close attention to another busy morning of earnings reports. American Express Co. (NYSE: AXP) topped earnings expectations and confirmed its full-year guidance. The credit card giant leads a busy earnings calendar that also includes Schlumberger Ltd. (NYSE: SLB) and BlackRock Inc. (NYSE: BLK). American Express beat earnings expectations by $0.02 (reporting $2.05) and topped investor expectations.
- Oil prices are ticking higher as tensions escalate in the Middle East. U.S. President Donald Trump said Thursday that the U.S. Navy destroyed an Iranian drone. Trump called the strike a "defensive action." Iran, however, announced that it has no record of a drone being hit in the Strait of Hormuz. The price of WTI crude hit $56 barrel, while Brent crude sat just under $63.
- Gold prices hit a six-year high thanks to ongoing geopolitical tensions and the expectations that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates this month. Spot gold topped $1,450 after New York Fed President John Williams suggested Thursday that the central bank will need to introduce new stimulus measures to combat inflation. However, a spokesperson from the NY Fed later clarified that Williams was citing academic research on economic growth and not a personal opinion or public policy.
Stocks to Watch Today: BA, MSFT, MS
- Shares of Boeing Inc. (NYSE: BA) are under pressure once again thanks to the 737 Max. The global aviation giant will take a $4.9 billion hit during the second quarter due to the grounding of the aircraft. Planes have been idled around the globe while the company addresses software issues responsible for two recent crashes.
- Shares of Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) hit an all-time high after the company topped Wall Street earnings expectations Thursday. With a market capitalization north of $1 trillion, Microsoft has established itself as a leading player in the cloud computing space.
- Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) isn't bullish on the state of the market. Following speculation on rate hikes after comments from the NY Fed, Morgan Stanley CIO Mike Wilson predicted that the markets will experience a 10% pull back within the next three months. Wilson has a year-end target for the S&P 500 at 2,750, due partly to weaker earnings expectations in the months ahead.
- Look for earnings reports from Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. (NYSE: CLF), States Street Corp. (NYSE: STT), and Kansas City Southern (NYSE: KSU).
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