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The Dow Jones today continues to climb as investors weigh a possible trade deal between the United States and China. Both the Dow and S&P 500 are on the verge of hitting new all-time highs, while the former is riding a seven-day win streak.
More on China below.
Here are the numbers from Thursday 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.
The Top Stock Market Stories for Friday
- Once again, trade is dominating headlines between the United States and China. Reports indicate that China has exempted many U.S. agricultural products from tariffs ahead of negotiations next month. These exemptions include soybeans and pork products – two U.S. exports that have suffered mightily in prices due to the trade battle. U.S. President Donald Trump has predicted that China will purchase "large amounts" of U.S. agricultural products. Trump additionally delayed tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese goods for two weeks as a "gesture of goodwill.”
- Investors will parse through statements during last night’s Democratic debate. It was a contest of who could tax the rich the most and redistribute capital to a wealth of new government programs. With that said, a new survey of CFOs by CNBC revealed that 66% of executives believe that Americans will elect President Trump in 2020. I’m not looking forward to the 2020 election campaign in any way. So, let’s enjoy the silence as much as we can before the start of the year.
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- This morning, pay very close attention to the August retail report. U.S. retailers have reeled due to the unpredictable nature of the Trump administration's tariff directives. Also, some analysts are predicting that Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) and its July Prime holiday could eat into August retail numbers.
- On the oil front, Saudi Arabia is doing all it can to bolster crude prices, even if that includes falling behind the United States as the top oil exporter. In June, the United States surpassed Saudi Arabia and Russia for a brief period to lock in the top spot with more than 3 million barrels shipped. The U.S. conceded the top spot back to Saudi Arabia in July and August. However, the booming shale business in the United States will continue to display American dominance in the global energy markets. This morning, WTI crude oil hit $55.39 per barrel, while Brent crude sat at $60.55.
Stocks to Watch Today: AAPL, GS, SDC, SQ, AMTD, ETFC
- Shares of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) are under pressure after a sharp downgrade from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS). The investment bank slashed its outlook for the tech giant and predicted up to 26% downside for its stock. Goldman worried that Apple would significantly discount its Apple TV+ service, an action that would cut into its profitability. Goldman cut its one-year price target on AAPL stock from $187 to $165. Shares closed Thursday at a little more than $223 each.
- Shares of SmileDirectClub Inc. (NASDAQ: SDC) had a lousy debut on Thursday. The dental firm said its shares started with a 28% decline. That is the worst opening performance of any "unicorn" IPOs in 2019. It also raises broader concerns about investors' willingness to take risks on these companies coming to the market.
- Shares of Square Inc. (NYSE: SQ) stock are up this morning thanks to a major threat to traditional discount brokerages. The company announced that it would unveil free stock trading on its popular Cash App. If Square finds success in free stock trading, it could provide a significant threat to companies like TDAmeritrade Holding Corp. (NASDAQ: AMTD) or E*TRADE Financial Corp. (NASDAQ: ETFC). Square's decision is the latest shakeup in the booming Fintech space that threatens legacy providers in the brokerage space.
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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.