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In Dow Jones news today (Friday, March 31), the index fell over 65 points as the first quarter of 2017 came to a close. Banking stocks slumped and contributed most to the day's decline.
Stock Talks with Bill Patalon
Let's look at the numbers from Friday for the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq:
Dow Jones: 20,663.22; -65.27; -0.31%
S&P 500: 2,362.72; -5.34; -0.23%
Nasdaq: 5,911.74; -2.61; -0.04%
Today's market highlights:
- Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) fell 2%, leading the downturn on Friday for the Dow Jones.
- Saudi Aramco is prepared to become the world's largest public company.
- Crude prices closed at $50.60 on news of a rising production rig count.
- The Nasdaq posted its best quarter since 2013.
- Gold prices have had their best quarter in a year thanks to rising geopolitical uncertainty.
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Now, here's a look at today's most important market events and stocks, plus a preview of Monday's economic calendar.
DJIA Today: Dow Slides as Banking Stocks Weigh; Oil Prices Remain Mixed
- The Dow Jones dropped 65 points as banking and energy stocks lagged. Shares of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) and Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) contributed most to the index's losses on the day. Shares of GS and XOM fell 0.6% and 2%, respectively.
- With the first quarter coming to a close, the Nasdaq is generating headlines. The index had its best quarter since 2013 and was powered by a strong performances from technology giants Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN), Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL), and Facebook Inc. (Nasdaq: FB).
- The Saudi Aramco IPO is generating a lot of buzz after the company appointed JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM), Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS), and HSBC Holdings Plc. (NYSE ADR: HSBC) as its international financial advisers. The company is expected to be valued at more than $2 trillion when it goes public, and it will easily top the list of the most valuable public companies in the world. Here's what you need to know about the largest IPO in market history.
- Crude oil prices were mixed after Baker Hughes Inc. (NYSE: BHI) reported that the number of U.S. production rigs in operation increased for the 11th consecutive week. The WTI crude oil price today was up 0.5% to $50.60. Meanwhile, Brent crude fell 0.3% as traders questioned whether OPEC will extend its six-month deal to cap excessive crude output. Over the first quarter, the WTI price fell 5.8% as concerns about rising U.S. supplies outweighed optimism over OPEC's production cuts.
- Despite the weak first quarter, investing in oil is going to be hugely profitable in 2017. But don't get tricked into buying some of the most popular stocks on the market. That's why we break down a list of the stocks you must avoid this spring. Money Morning Global Energy Strategist Dr. Kent Moors explains that making money in oil doesn't mean investing in Big Oil companies. And Moors has insight on one oil-producing region that will produce $1 trillion in wealth for savvy investors in the years ahead. Check it out, right here.
- But the big story today is the price of gold. Gold prices had their best quarter in a year due to increased geopolitical uncertainty. The precious metal added 0.2% today to top $1,250 per ounce. Despite a recent interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve, gold prices have added nearly 4% since mid-March. Money Morning Resource Specialist Peter Krauth has just released his latest insight on gold prices for 2017. Be sure to learn how you could make a double-digit profit on gold before the end of the year, right here.
Stock Market News and Top Stocks to Watch Today: March 31, 2017
- In deal news, shares of E I Du Pont De Nemours and Co. (NYSE: DD) dipped 1.6% despite news that the company plans to sell its crop protection business. The $1.6 billion deal is part of an effort to gain approval from European regulators as the company plans to merge with Dow Chemical Co. (NYSE: DOW). Shares of FMC Corp. (NYSE: FMC) rallied more than 15% after the company announced it will purchase the largest stake of DuPont's crop business.
- New York Times Co. (NYSE: NYT) has been a punching bag of President Donald Trump since he first announced his candidacy to the nation's highest office. Earlier this week, President Trump took to Twitter to voice his displeasure with the media giant and said that the newspaper was "failing." But Money Morning dug into the numbers and uncovered something that would certainly surprise critics of the Gray Lady. The stock has been on a solid run, and it looks poised for even greater returns in the future. Here's what you need to know about NYT stock.
- Credit Suisse Group AG (NYSE ADR: CS) stock fell 1.6% after three of its offices were raided by local authorities. The financial services company had its London, Paris, and Amsterdam offices raided in relation to client tax matters. It is not clear what local authorities are searching for at this time, but the company is cooperating.
- In earnings news, shares of BlackBerry Ltd. (Nasdaq: BBRY) rallied more than 12% after the company topped fourth-quarter earnings expectations. The uptick in strong quarterly results are a sign that the company's continued shift to software is generating positive momentum. The firm reported earnings per share (EPS) of $0.04 on top of $297 million in revenue. Wall Street anticipated that the Canadian technology company would report an EPS loss of $0.01 on top of $294 million in revenue.
Monday's U.S. Economic Calendar (all times EDT)
- PMI Manufacturing Index at 9:45 a.m.
- ISM Manufacturing Index at 10 a.m.
- Construction Spending at 10 a.m.
- New York Federal Reserve Bank President William Dudley speaks at 10:30 a.m.
- Four-Week Bill Announcement at 11 a.m.
- Three-Month Bill Auction at 11:30 a.m.
- Six-Month Bill Auction at 11:30 a.m.
- Gallup US Consumer Spending Measure at 2 p.m.
- Richmond Federal Reserve Bank President Jeffrey Lacker speaks at 5 p.m.