The Dow Jones Today Is Fighting Trade Jitters

The Dow Jones today will reflect growing uncertainty over a trade deal between the United States and China. But this could be offset by one of the busiest retail earnings days of the year.

Expect earnings reports from Macy's Inc. (NYSE: M), Nordstrom Inc. (NYSE: JWN), Gap Inc. (NYSE: GPS), and other retailers to keep the Dow today steady.

Before we dive into the latest trade developments and more, here are the numbers from Wednesday for the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq:

Index Previous Close Point Change Percentage Change
Dow Jones 27,821.09 -112.93 -0.40
S&P 500 3,108.46 -11.72 -0.38
Nasdaq 8,526.73 -43.93 -0.51

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

  • The Dow has pulled back on speculation that the United States and China may not reach a phase one trade deal by the end of the year. The 10-year Treasury bond is sinking again as investors pull out of equities and move back into ultra-safe investments, like bonds. Investors are worried that the Trump administration will not only proceed with new tariffs on China on Dec. 15, but that he will also reintroduce suspended tariffs or launch new ones against the world's second largest economy. Investors are also worried that China will retaliate in some manner against the U.S. over the passage of a recent Senate bill that unanimously supports Hong Kong protesters.
  • On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve released its minutes from the Oct. 29-30 meeting. During that meeting, the Fed cut interest rates for the third straight time in 2019. However, the bigger news was that the central bank was looking at different strategies to keep the overnight repo market stable as well as benchmark interest rates. The report indicates that the Fed is considering a "standing repo facility," a tool that would allow the central bank to step in and provide liquidity to the markets in exchange for Treasury debt. The problem targeted by the bank is that its balance sheet has jumped roughly 7.4% since it started recent repo operations. At the same time, the S&P 500 has increased by 4.5%, while bank reserves have barely moved.

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Stock to Watch Today: M, FCAU, GM, KSS, AMTD, SCHW

  • Shares of Macy's Inc. (NYSE: M) are off 4.7% after the company reported its first same-store sales decline in two years. The company also missed on third-quarter revenue projections and slashed its full-year guidance. The news comes shortly after Kohl's Corp. (NYSE: KSS) reported similar ugly results during its earnings report on Tuesday.
  • General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) has taken dead aim at its rival Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (NASDAQ: FCAU). The Detroit auto giant has hit FCAU with a racketeering lawsuit, which alleges that a bribery scandal tied to FCAU has impacted GM union contracts in the billions of dollars since 2009. GM is looking to collect damages from the lawsuit in which they claim these bribes drove up the cost of their contracts. The bribery scandal led to the arrest and jailing of several UAW and Fiat officials. The news comes on the same day that the United Auto Workers accused its president of "false, misleading and inaccurate expense records" in an unrelated matter. The UAW is seeking Gary Jones' removal.
  • Shares of TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. (NASDAQ: AMTD) surged more than 24% this morning on news that Charles Schwab Corp. (NASDAQ: SCHW) is considering a deal to purchase the discount broker. The $26 billion deal was expected as consolidation in the space and follows the major shift to zero-commission trading. Shares of SCHW popped 8.8% on the news this morning as well.
  • Look for additional earnings reports from Nordstrom Inc. (NYSE: JWN), Williams-Sonoma Inc. (NYSE: WSM), Anaplan Inc. (NASDAQ: PLAN), Gap Inc. (NYSE: GPS), Intuit Inc. (NASDAQ: INTU), and Splunk Inc. (NASDAQ: SPLK).

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About the Author

Garrett Baldwin is a globally recognized research economist, financial writer, consultant, and political risk analyst with decades of trading experience and degrees in economics, cybersecurity, and business from Johns Hopkins, Purdue, Indiana University, and Northwestern.

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