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The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down as investors question the possibility of a trade deal between the United States and China. More on this below.
Plus: Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) just topped earnings expectations. I'll cover this further down as well.
First, 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.
The Top Stock Market Stories for Thursday
- This morning, China called on U.S. President Donald Trump to remove existing tariffs and end the trade war between the world's two largest economies. Investors are now questioning whether a phase one deal between the two countries will happen. China wants the United States to roll back tariffs as part of any early deal. "If both sides reach a phase one agreement, the level of tariff rollback will fully reflect the importance of the phase one agreement," China's Ministry of Commerce spokesperson Gao Feng said this morning.
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- Former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick announced he will enter the Democratic presidential primary race. Patrick joined another late entrant, billionaire Michael Bloomberg, to announce his candidacy in recent days. The move comes after major donors and political pundits raised concerns about the front-runners, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren. Patrick will likely appeal to centrist voters, but has ties to Wall Street. He has served as a managing director at Bain Capital, the same firm tied to Mitt Romney in 2012. The news comes as Elizabeth Warren launches attack ads against billionaires, taking shots at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS).
- The labor market will likely generate headlines today. The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits hit a five-month high last week. The latest report indicates that 225,000 people sought these benefits last week. That is the highest level since June 22. The figure also topped expectations by roughly 10,000 applicants. That said, the labor market has been very resilient this late in the economic cycle. The unemployment rate sits at a 50-year low. Meanwhile, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said Wednesday that the U.S. labor market has "benefited a wide range of individuals and communities." The Fed recently cut interest rates for the third time in 2019. The Fed will consider yet another rate cut in December.
Stock to Watch Today: WMT, CSCO, HPQ, XRX
- Shares of Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) added 2.6% this morning after the company topped earnings expectations. The firm cited strong grocery sales and a 41% jump in online sales during the third quarter. However, it's worth noting that WMT also saw a 5.4% dip in its tax rate, a decline that helped it squeeze by consensus expectations. The company reported earnings per share of $1.16, a figure that beat expectations by $0.07.
- Shares of Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) fell 5.6% after the firm reported earnings Thursday. The tech giant topped earnings expectations by reporting a quarterly profit of $0.84, $0.03 above estimates. However, the company slashed its forward guidance and raised concerns about a slowdown in global technology spending.
- Shares of HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ) popped 2.1% after activist hedge fund investor Carl Icahn took a stake in the company. Icahn is pushing for the tech firm to merge with Xerox Holdings Corp. (NYSE: XRX). Icahn reportedly took a $1.2 billion stake in HP.
- Look for additional earnings reports from NVIDIA Corp. (NASDAQ: NVDA), Applied Materials Inc. (NASDAQ: AMAT), Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIAB), Wix.Com Ltd. (NASDAQ: WIX), and Williams-Sonoma Inc. (NYSE: WSM).
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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.