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The Dow Jones news today will be dominated by the testimony of the former FBI Director James Comey in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee on President Donald Trump's decision to fire him. Dow Jones futures are up only three points this morning. In other stock market news, the United Kingdom goes to the polls today in an election that will affect the speed and strategy of Brexit.
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 today's most important market events and stocks, plus Thursday's economic calendar.
The Five Top Stock Market Stories for Thursday
- The European Central Bank will keep its loose money policy in effect. This morning, the ECB kept interest rates at current levels but suggested it could tighten monetary policy in the near future. The ECB remains committed to its $2.3 trillion bond-purchasing program and negative interest rates despite opposition from Germany's leaders.
- This morning, the former head of the FBI will say that he told President Trump that he was not under investigation; however, he will discuss Trump's somewhat controversial statements about "loyalty" and asking the FBI to end the investigation into former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Many investors are concerned that Comey's testimony could distract Congress and dismantle any remaining hope for tax reform or infrastructure spending.
- Crude oil prices were falling in early trading as concerns about oversupply continue to rattle the market. On Wednesday, the Energy Information Administration reported a surprise gain in U.S. inventory levels. The news came as markets continue to speculate on the possibility that OPEC nations may struggle to meet their production cuts in the wake of Qatar's recent political isolation. The WTI crude oil price today fell 0.9%. Brent crude dipped 0.7%.
- The U.S. House of Representatives will vote on a bill Thursday that would significantly overhaul the Dodd-Frank Act. The new bill would change the mandates of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, alter bankruptcy rules, eliminate the Volcker Rule and fiduciary responsibilities, and revise the way that future regulations are crafted.
- British voters are heading to the polls today. Less than one year after voters decided to pull Britain out of the European Union, today's snap election will set a mandate on whether the country has a hard or soft landing as it prepares for negotiations to begin in less than two weeks. This is the fourth major vote in the last three years.
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- In other earnings news, shares of The J.M. Smucker Co. (NYSE: SJM) was flat after the company reported quarterly earnings per share (EPS) of $1.80. That figure topped Wall Street estimates by roughly eight cents. The firm has been locked into an aggressive cost-cutting program that is expected to save it roughly $450 million each year through 2020.
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- Shares of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (NYSE: BABA) surged more than 14% after the company announced in an Investor Day presentation that it expects its 2018 fiscal year revenue to increase by 45% to 49%.
- Keep an eye on Snap Inc. (NYSE: SNAP). Yesterday, the parent company of social media giant Snapchat saw its shares fall nearly 4% after analysts at Nomura suggested that user growth could slide again this quarter.
- Shares of Pandora Media Inc. (NYSE: P) added nearly 1% after news broke that the streaming music giant could be attracting a major investor. Satellite radio giant SiriusXM has said it is considering a major investment after talks about a possible merger failed.
- Look for earnings reports from Vail Resorts Inc. (NYSE: MTN) and Comtech Telecommunications Corp. (Nasdaq: CMTL).
Thursday's U.S. Economic Calendar (all times EDT)
- Jobless Claims at 8:30 a.m.
- Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index at 9:45 a.m.
- Quarterly Services Survey at 10 a.m.
- EIA Natural Gas Report at 10:30 a.m.
- Three-Month Bill Announcement at 11 a.m.
- Six-Month Bill Announcement at 11 a.m.
- Three-Year Note Announcement at 11 a.m.
- 10-Year Note Announcement at 11 a.m.
- 30-Year Bond Announcement at 11 a.m.
- Fed Balance Sheet at 4:30 p.m.
- Money Supply at 4:30 p.m.
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