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The Dow Jones now could struggle as COVID-19 numbers climb. Australia has announced a total lockdown that could last at least six weeks.
Investors are also waiting for the latest update on Americans seeking unemployment benefits. Economists anticipate that another 1.423 million workers will have filed for unemployment for the week ending Aug. 1. This report is a critical preview of the trends in the U.S. jobs market. Tomorrow, the U.S. Labor Department will release the official jobs report for July.
But before we dive into the latest stories and more, here are the numbers from Wednesday for the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq:
|Index||Previous Close||Point Change||Percentage Change|
Now, here's a closer look at what I'm following today. These are the most important market events and stocks.
The Top Stock Market Stories for Thursday
- On Thursday, the markets are paying very close attention to any progress on a new COVID-19 relief bill on Capitol Hill. Democrats and Republicans are deadlocked over the size of the next bill and the individual relief they can offer to unemployed Americans. Meanwhile, an increasingly frustrated U.S. President Donald Trump has said he will explore executive orders to address unemployment insurance and an eviction moratorium. However, there remains uncertainty over Trump's ability to address both matters through executive action. Since yesterday, the White House has increased its offer for more unemployment insurance, while Democrats have cut their request for funding the U.S. Postal Service.
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- Johns Hopkins University reports that the number of global COVID-19 cases has topped 18.8 million, with deaths surpassing 700,000. Today, markets are eyeing developments around the world. Melbourne - the second largest city in Australia - has announced a total lockdown that will last at least six weeks. Restaurants and shops will be closed, and citizens must remain home unless they are shopping for food, seeing a doctor, or taking care of friends or family. Meanwhile, in the United States, individual states and municipalities are taking action to combat the disease. New York is reportedly setting up new check points for people coming in and out, while Rhode Island announced tighter restrictions on bars and travelers as part of its reopening plan.
Stock to Watch Today: NTDOY, TTWO, ATVI, AMZN
- Shares of Nintendo Ltd. (OTCMKTS: NTDOY) pushed higher after the gaming giant reported stronger-than-expected profits, thanks to the COVID-19 lockdown. The company's operating profits soared 428% during its fiscal Q1. Operating profit came in at $1.4 billion for the June-ending quarter, a figure that crushed Wall Street expectations. The solid earnings report is greater evidence of strong demand for gaming software and platforms during the COVID-19 lockdowns. Like Nintendo, video game publishers Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO) and Activision Blizzard Inc. (NASDAQ: ATVI) have outperformed analysts' expectations.
- Shares of Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) are in focus after founder Jeff Bezos sold $3.1 billion in stock this week. According to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Bezos has now taken about $7.2 billion out of the company in the form of cash. He still owns 54 million shares, valued at more than $170 billion. Bezos is officially the richest person on earth, although Forbes does not include certain foreign leaders or attempt to assess the net worth of the House of Saud. The sale also comes at a time that technology giants like Amazon are facing increased scrutiny from Congress. Bezos recently testified in front of the House Antitrust Subcommittee over antitrust issues. Meanwhile, shares of AMZN are up 73% since the beginning of the year.
- Things continue to remain ugly in the hospitality industry. According to reports, Hilton Hotels Corp. (NYSE: HLT) experienced an ugly June-ending quarter and reported a loss per share of $0.61. That loss was much larger than the -$0.31 anticipated by Wall Street analysts. Hilton, like many of its rivals, has suffered due to the COVID-19 lockdown and a massive slump in global travel spending. Revenue was also much lower than previously expected.
- Look for additional earnings reports from Uber Technologies Inc. (NYSE: UBER), Trade Desk Inc. (NYSE: TTD), Booking Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: BKNG), GoPro Inc. (NASDAQ: GPRO), and DropBox Inc. (NASDAQ: DBX).
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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.