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In Dow Jones news today, markets were stagnant after the United Kingdom officially began the process of withdrawing from the European Union.
Let's look at today's numbers for the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq:
Dow Jones: 20,659.32; -42.18; -0.20%
S&P 500: 2,361.13; +2.56; +0.11%
Nasdaq: 5,897.55; +22.41; +0.38%
Today's market highlights:
- Shares of UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE: UNH) dropped more than 1% on the day as investors believe the Trump administration will not reform or repeal the Affordable Care Act.
- Pending U.S. home sales increased by 5.5% in February.
- Weekly mortgage applications remained flat.
Now here's a closer look at today's most important market events and stocks, plus a preview of Thursday's economic calendar.
DJIA News Today: Markets Flat as UK Invokes Article 50, Starts Brexit Process
- Prime Minister Theresa May formally engaged Article 50, the first step of the UK's departure from the world's largest economic bloc. Financial institutions like Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) sent messages to their employees across Europe to reassure them that their jobs remained safe. The banks also told employees they would continue to engage in business while the UK worked to develop new trade and political ties to the EU.
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- The geopolitical tensions in Europe overshadowed ongoing partisan bickering in Washington, where the Trump administration is reportedly open to continued dialogue on healthcare reform. The news could be a step back for the administration after its embarrassing defeat on the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Markets are more interested in having the administration get to work on pro-growth policy efforts.
- Shares of Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) and Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) each climbed over 2% on increased optimism for the retail sector. Money Morning Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald has liked Amazon stock and its profit potential for years. Since his most recent Amazon recommendation on Jan. 4, shares have jumped by double digits. Find out more on what Fitz-Gerald has to say about Amazon, right here.
- The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) – largely considered the markets' fear gauge -was down 1.3% on the day. Gold prices were also sliding thanks to stronger economic data and increased expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve will increase interest rates in the months ahead.
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- Oil prices were ticking higher after the Energy Information Administration reported a smaller than expected uptick in crude inventories. The WTI crude oil price today added 2.1%, while Brent crude climbed 1.9%.
Stock Market News and Top Stocks to Watch Today: March 29, 2017
- In deal news, shares of semiconductor maker Exar Corp. (NYSE: EXAR) surged more than 22% on news that the company would sell itself to Maxlinear Inc. (NYSE: MXL) for $13 a share. That would make the deal worth roughly $472 million. The deal still needs to obtain regulatory approval and will not be finalized until the second quarter.
- Shares of World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. (NYSE: WWE) are in focus as the company prepares for its annual WrestleMania. The event will take place on Sunday, April 2. While everyone is distracted by the fireworks and celebrities in attendance, investors should know that this is both the creative and financial peak of the company's year. In fact, history shows that WWE stock will tank after the event. Here's how you can make money on this stock's pending decline.
- In earnings news, shares of RH (NYSE: RH) – formerly Restoration Hardware – jumped more than 14% after the company easily topped Wall Street earnings expectations. The luxury furniture retailer received stock price target upgrades from Goldman Sachs and Tesley Advisory Group after it reported earnings.
- Shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Nasdaq: VRTX) jumped more than 20% after the company reported success in a late-stage trial for a cystic fibrosis treatment.
- In earnings news, shares of Paychex Inc. (Nasdaq: PAYX) fell 2.5% as the payroll and human resources management firm prepares to report earnings. Wall Street anticipates that the firm will report earnings per share (EPS) of $0.54 on top of $798.39 million in revenue.
- After the bell, look for earnings reports from Luluemon Athletica Inc. (Nasdaq: LULU), HB Fuller Co. (NYSE: FUL), Progress Software Corp. (Nasdaq: PRGS), and Worthington Industries Inc. (NYSE: WOR).
Thursday's U.S. Economic Calendar (all times EDT)
- Loretta Mester Speaks 9:45 a.m.
- EIA Natural Gas Report 10:30 a.m.
- Three-Month Bill Announcement 11 a.m.
- Six-Month Bill Announcement at 11 a.m.
- Farm Prices 3 p.m.
- Fed Balance Sheet 4:30 p.m.