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The Dow Jones today is down with investors piling out of Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB), Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL), Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX), and Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT).
All five of these stocks are now off at least 11% since the beginning of the month. With a perilous election season approaching, we may not have seen the worst of this sell-off. More below on this story and others moving the Dow today.
Before we dive in, 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
- U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell will appear on Capitol Hill for the third consecutive day. Powell will appear alongside Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in front of the Senate Banking Committee for insight into the $2.2 trillion March stimulus package. Powell has said that the Federal Reserve will continue to provide as much support as necessary to the economy through monetary policy efforts. However, Congress remains deadlocked over another fiscal stimulus policy to help working Americans ahead of what will be a very bitter and partisan election.
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- Johns Hopkins University reports that the United States experienced another 37,300 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday. While that is down from the one-month high of 52,000, it still signals that we are far from eviscerating this virus. In fact, CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield appeared before the Senate yesterday and reported that roughly 90% of Americans remain susceptible to the virus. That said, Dr. Anthony Fauci said at a different hearing that the United States hopes to have enough vaccine doses for every American by April 2020.
- Last, the U.S. dollar is back at two-month highs as concerns about the global economy has facilitated a sell-off in the equity markets and a "race to cash." Don't expect the dollar's rally to slow down as hedge funds and other large investors move to cover short positions on the dollar that they built over the summer. At the end of August, hedge funds held a net short position on the dollar worth $33.93 billion. However, in recent weeks, funds have been covering these positions. We'll see just how much that figure has declined later this week with Friday's Commitment of Traders report. A higher dollar will drive down the cost of commodities like gold, silver, oil, and natural gas.
Stock to Watch Today: UNH, DRI, DLTR
- Shares of Darden Restaurants Inc. (NYSE: DRI) are up 1.1% after the restaurant giant topped earnings expectations. The parent of Olive Garden earned $0.28 per share for the last quarter. That figure topped consensus expectations of $0.05. Although the firm reported a drop in revenue compared to the same quarter last year, the firm boosted investor confidence by reinstating its dividend.
- Shares of Dollar Tree Inc. (NASDAQ: DLTR) are on the move this morning after the discount retailer announced plans to resume its stock buyback program. The company had halted its $800 million buyback program in March at the onset of the COVID-19 crisis. DLTR stock is up 1.6% on the news this morning.
- In deal news, health insurance giant UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE: UNH) is in advanced negotiations to purchase online pharmacy startup DivvyDose. The deal is expected to come in around $300 million, according to reports.
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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.