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The Dow Jones will push higher today as the U.S. Federal Reserve wraps up its April meeting on monetary policy.
Several companies have announced notably lower earnings – one down as much as 42% from Q1 of last year, which we'll talk about. More on what's moving the Dow today, below.
Before we get into these stories, here are the numbers from Tuesday for the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq:
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Now, here's a closer look at today's most important market events and stocks. We'll also discuss the stories that slipped under the radar of the mainstream financial press on Wednesday.
The Top Stock Market Stories for Wednesday
- The Federal Reserve will wrap up its two-day meeting on monetary policy this afternoon. Investors are looking for insight on the unprecedented policy efforts offered by the Fed since March. Fed Chair Jerome Powell isn't expected to announce any new initiatives in a statement today, but it should provide a bit of an assessment on the state of the U.S. economy in the wake of COVID-19. The U.S. central bank is more likely to take action after its next meeting in June. The time until that meeting will give the central bank an opportunity to assess unemployment and economic conditions across the nation.
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- The United States – with more than 1 million infections – represents about one-third of all global coronavirus cases, according to Johns Hopkins University. The death toll in the United States – at more than 58,300 in under three months – has topped the number of Americans who died during the Vietnam War, which lasted more than 10 years. While U.S. states plan to reopen parts of their economies, the focus now centers on the ability to test as many people as possible. President Trump said Tuesday that the United States would soon be able to test as many as 5 million people per day. However, that figure dwarfs the most that the U.S. has been able to test so far in a single day, roughly 314,000.
- June WTI oil prices jumped nearly 14%, while Brent crude gained another 4.1% thanks to a weekly inventory report from the American Petroleum Institute. The private inventory report said that the number of U.S. barrels in storage popped by 10 million last week to 510 million. That figure was actually lower than analysts had expected. Despite the rally, the outlook for oil remains bearish. Large countries around the globe have shuttered their economies due to the COVID-19 outbreak, which has sapped international demand.
Stocks to Watch Today: BCS, GOOGL, SBUX
- Barclays Plc. (NYSE: BCS) was the latest financial institution to take a mighty hit from the coronavirus. The firm reported a 42% drop in first-quarter profit year over year. The company also announced it was suspending buybacks, eliminating its dividend, and taking a $2.62 billion credit impairment charge due to the anticipated slump caused by coronavirus. COVID-19 is the latest development that compounds a period of ongoing macroeconomic uncertainty tied to weak global trade and the United Kingdom's departure from the European Union (a.k.a. Brexit).
- Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL) stock surged more than 8% this morning after the company reported better-than-expected revenue after the bell on Tuesday. The firm has weathered ongoing concerns about falling advertising budgets and weak travel demand. Although the company fell short of Wall Street forecasts on earnings per share at $9.87, its $41.16 billion in revenue represented double-digit growth for the quarter. The company experienced strong growth in YouTube advertising, and company executives explained that sheltering in place has driven huge upticks in consumer engagement.
- Shares of Starbucks Corp. (NASDAQ: SBUX) slipped more than 1% after the firm announced that same-store sales had declined by 10% for the quarter in its two largest markets – the United States and China. The company also warned its investors that it faces a difficult third quarter, even though its China locations have begun to reopen.
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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.