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In Dow Jones news today, the Dow climbed 69 points after a positive round of economic data and earnings reports pushed banking stocks higher.
Let's look at the numbers from Thursday for the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq:
Dow Jones: 20,728.49; +69.17; +0.33%
S&P 500: 2,368.07; +6.93; +0.32%
Nasdaq: 5,915.44; +16.80; +0.30%
Today's market highlights:
- Oil prices climbed after a major supply disruption in Libya.
- Activist investor Bill Ackman apologized to his hedge fund clients for betting on Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. (NYSE: VRX).
- Several environmental groups are suing the Trump administration for approving the Keystone pipeline.
Now, here's a look at today's most important market events and stocks, plus a preview of Friday's economic calendar.
Dow Jones News Today: Dow Pushes Higher After Positive Q4 GDP Report
- The U.S. Commerce Department reported that Q4 GDP registered at 2.1%. That figure is higher than the 1.9% previously reported by the government agency. The news pushed financial stocks higher and helped renew confidence in U.S. economic growth. Shares of Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC), Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C), JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM), and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) all climbed.
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- The U.S. Federal Reserve was back in focus after Cleveland Fed Bank President Loretta Mester said she would like to see additional interest rate hikes in 2017. She also projected that the U.S. economy will rebound from what is expected to be a weak first quarter. According to CME Group's FedWatch Tool, the probability of an interest rate hike in May sits at just 4.3%. Markets expect the central bank to take action in June.
- Investors are still keeping an eye on Europe, where the United Kingdom has begun the process of withdrawing from the European Union. But it wasn't the start of negotiations that is generating headlines. In a stunning warning, European Union head Jean-Claude Juncker warned that he could campaign to split up the United States. Juncker said he may promote the independence of Ohio and Texas in order to avenge President Donald Trump's support for the Brexit.
- Meanwhile in Washington, political chatter has centered on rising expectations that the Republican Party may reconsider healthcare reform. That's not particularly great news for the stock markets as a plan to revisit healthcare would distract political leaders from more important pro-growth policies like deregulation, tax reform, and infrastructure spending.
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- 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.
- While the Saudi Aramco IPO is getting all the attention today, investors need to know about the delay in the Spotify IPO. Last month, Business Insider reported the IPO of the music streaming giant could face delays. The company is trying to shore up its balance sheet and establish a business model that can lure investors. Here's more on the challenges that Spotify faces before it goes public.
- Crude oil prices pushed higher as concerns about rising U.S. inventory levels have been offset by news of a major supply disruption in Libya. Production in Libya is off more than 250,000 barrels per day (bpd) after armed protestors blocked the country's western oil fields. In addition, traders are speculating that OPEC members will extend their deal to cap excessive production in order to support global crude prices. The WTI crude oil price today was up 1.6%. Brent crude added 0.8%.
Stock Market News and Top Stocks to Watch Today: March 30, 2017
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- Shares of Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. (NYSE: VRX) are in focus after billionaire activist investor Bill Ackman apologized for his investment in the scandalous drug company. Ackman's hedge fund Pershing Square Capital lost a staggering $3 billion after Ackman doubled and tripled down on the losing stock. The stock had topped $250 less than two years ago, but has plunged to roughly $11.00 per share today due to the firm's underwater balance sheet and predatory practices. Shares of VRX stock fell more than 1% on the day.
- In earnings news, shares of Lululemon Athletica Inc. (Nasdaq: LULU) plunged more than 23% after the yoga apparel retailer reported a huge Q4 miss and offered a weak first-quarter outlook. The firm reported weak consumer traffic at its brick-and-mortar locations and said it struggled to convert customers on its e-commerce site.
- Look for an additional earnings report from Franklin Covey Co.(NYSE: FC) after the bell.
Friday's U.S. Economic Calendar (all times EDT)
- Personal Income and Outlays at 8:30 a.m.
- Chicago PMI at 9:45 a.m.
- Consumer Sentiment at 10 a.m.
- Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank President Neel Kashkari speaks at 10 a.m.
- Louis Federal Reserve Bank President James Bullard speaks at 10:30 a.m.
- Baker Hughes Rig Count at 1 p.m.