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The Dow Jones news today continues to focus on retail earnings ahead of another round of economic data. Markets are also anticipating insight from two key members of the U.S. Federal Reserve today (May 12).
Here are the numbers from Thursday for the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq:
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Now here's a closer look at today's most important market events and stocks, plus Friday's economic calendar.
The Five Top Stock Market Stories for Friday
- Investors are preparing for another busy day of economic data, including the Consumer Price Index and monthly retail sales reports. The Consumer Price Index increased by 0.2% in April – in line with economists' expectations – after a surprise decline in March. But expect retail figures to steal the show as investors weigh recent weakness in the sector against a recent round of dismal earnings reports from some of the top brick-and-mortar companies in the sector. Retail sales increased by 0.4% in April, according to the U.S. Commerce Department. However, that figure was below the 0.6% expected by analysts.
- On Thursday, the United States saw the largest decline in unemployment claims since 1988, another sign of an overheating labor market. New jobless claims fell to 236,000 in the first week of May. Thursday's report from the U.S. Labor Department came just before today's speeches by two members of the Federal Reserve, Charles Evans and Patrick Harker. Markets will be looking for clues into whether the central bank is poised to raise interest rates in June.
- Tech billionaire Mark Cuban has taken a stance on a select group of stocks. Cuban has called Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN), Facebook Inc. (Nasdaq: FB), Alphabet Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOGL), and Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) undervalued. The so-called FANG stocks have been a large driver of the S&P 500 and Nasdaq rally over the last six months. But Cuban is leaving two important stocks out of a group of companies we like to call the "Fab Five" technology stocks. We also expect these stocks to keep soaring in 2017.
- In deal news, it appears that merger activity is about to heat up in the wireless industry. Shares of both Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) and T-Mobile Inc. (NYSE: TMUS) ticked higher in pre-market hours on news that the third- and fourth-largest wireless carriers are discussing a merger. The government had prevented the two from engaging in merger talks for roughly a year.
- It appears that OPEC has officially thrown in the towel against U.S. shale producers. On Thursday, OPEC members suddenly became worried about the state of the world economy – including the United States – and asked for cooperation from all global producers to reduce supply to help bolster crude oil prices. The global oil cartel will meet in Vienna, Austria, on May 25 to discuss an extension to its six-month deal to cap excessive production, a deal that has struggled to produce results due to rising U.S. shale production. The WTI crude oil price today dipped 0.1%. Brent crude added 0.1%.
Three Stocks to Watch Today: JCP, JWN, SNAP
- Get ready for more chatter about earnings reports in the retail sector. Shares of JCPenney Co. Inc. (NYSE: JCP) fell more than 5% after the company missed revenue expectations and reported a bigger than expected decline in same-store sales. Wall Street had expected better results due to the firm's recent commitment to slash expenditures. In February, the retail company announced plans to shutter more than 130 stores and offer retirement benefits to roughly 6,000 employees.
GE Is a Top Stock
- Shares of Nordstrom Inc. (NYSE: JWN) fell by more than 5% despite news that the company topped Wall Street profit expectations. The company reported earnings per share (EPS) of $0.46, easily outpacing analyst consensus expectations of $0.27 per share. However, the firm also fell short of revenue and same-store sales expectations. The retailer fared far better than rival Macy's Inc. (NYSE: M), which missed earnings badly Thursday morning and saw its stock fall more than 14% during yesterday's session.
- Shares of Snap Inc. (NYSE: SNAP) added 0.6% in pre-market hours as investors react to Wednesday's horrible earnings report for the owner of Snapchat. The social media giant reported a massive uptick in operating costs, lackluster user growth, and offered further evidence that Facebook Inc. (Nasdaq: FB) is beating it. Wednesday's earnings report was the company's first since the Snapchat IPO. Money Morning has long advised investors to avoid this stock. Its 22% decline on Thursday is further evidence that IPOs are traps for retail investors. Here's why.
Friday's U.S. Economic Calendar (all times EDT)
- Consumer Price Index at 8:30 a.m.
- Retail Sales at 8:30 a.m.
- Chicago Federal Reserve Bank President Charles Evans Speaks at 9 a.m.
- Business Inventories at 10 a.m.
- Consumer Sentiment at 10 a.m.
- Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank President Patrick T. Harker Speaks at 12:30 p.m.
- Baker Hughes Rig Count at 1 p.m.