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The Dow Jones news today is highlighted by a busy day of earnings reports, economic data, and reactions to the U.S. Federal Reserve's decision to maintain interest rates at current levels.
Here are the numbers from Wednesday 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 Thursday's economic calendar.
The Five Top Stock Market Stories for Thursday
- Dow Jones futures are up 49 points this morning thanks to a string of positive earnings reports and increased optimism over the expected victory of Emmanuel Macron in the upcoming French presidential election. France's CAC-40 hit a nine-year high ahead of Sunday's election between Macron and Marine Le Pen.
- In economic news, the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits last week registered at 238,000. That figure is lower than the 247,000 expected by economists. Analysts are gearing up for Friday's announcement of the April unemployment rate, which is expected to rise to 4.6%.
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- On Wednesday, the U.S. central bank held interest rates in place during the FOMC meeting, where the Fed voted unanimously to wait on a potential rate hike. During a statement after the meeting, Fed Chair Janet Yellen said the current weakness in the U.S. economy is only temporary and projected the Fed is on pace to hike rates at least two more times this year. Yellen said that the Fed will likely raise rates in June and September before it begins the process of drawing down its balance sheet in December.
- House Republicans will vote on a new bill to repeal and replace parts of the Affordable Care Act today. The vote comes two months after Republicans abandoned a vote on a previous iteration of the bill. The bill is expected to pass and move to the Senate where it would face far more opposition from legislators. Americans should be wary of this new bill because it fails to address one major issue that could leave a number of Americans penniless. Learn all about this problem, right here.
- Crude oil prices fell to their lowest levels since OPEC announced its plan to engage in production cuts. The decline came after the EIA reported a decline in inventory levels last week and a rise in gasoline stocks. Crude prices have remained under pressure on concerns around falling global demand and rising production in the United States and Libya. The WTI crude oil price today fell 2.0%. Brent crude dipped 1.75%.
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- Facebook Inc. (Nasdaq: FB) stock fell 0.6% in pre-market hours as the markets digest the social media giant's earnings report from the first quarter. The company smashed both earnings and revenue expectations and said the firm now has nearly 2 billion users worldwide. Somehow, that was not enough for investors, as a sell-off hit the stock after the bell Wednesday. The downturn came after the company warned that advertising growth could slow down from its very high levels.
- In other earnings news, shares of Tesla Inc. (Nasdaq: TSLA) were off 1.5% in pre-market hours after the technology giant reported a non-GAAP earnings per share (EPS) loss of $1.33. The company reported $2.7 billion in revenue, more than doubling its revenue total from the same quarter last year. The company said its Model 3 production goals are on track for July and that it has plenty of cash on hand to start the second quarter. But the real story about Tesla is Elon Musk's goals for U.S. infrastructure. Here's what you need to know… and the opportunity that exists in the months and years ahead.
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- Shares of Snap Inc. (NYSE: SNAP) are in focus after the social media giant received coverage from Wall Street firm Canaccord Genuity with a share price target of $22.00. The markets are now looking forward to the firm's first-ever quarterly earnings call, which will take place on May 10. With earnings in focus, Money Morning has a warning for investors over a key metric that could send shares plummeting. Read our insight here.
- Shares of Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) were up slightly on news that the company is planning to launch a $1 billion fund to promote U.S. advanced manufacturing. In an interview with CNBC last night, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that he hopes that the new investment fund spurts manufacturing development and investment across the country and creates new jobs.
- Look for additional earnings reports from Activision Blizzard Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI), Zynga Inc. (Nasdaq: ZNGA), Zillow Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ZG), Shake Shack Inc. (NYSE: SHAK), Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Nasdaq: REGN), and Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE: HLF).
Thursday's U.S. Economic Calendar (all times EDT)
- Challenger Job-Cut Report at 7:30 a.m.
- International Trade at 8:30 a.m.
- Jobless Claims at 8:30 a.m.
- Productivity and Costs at 8:30 a.m.
- Gallup Good Jobs Rate at 8:30 a.m.
- Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index at 9:45 a.m.
- Factory Orders 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.
- Treasury STRIPS at 3 p.m.
- Fed Balance Sheet at 4:30 p.m.
- Money Supply at 4:30 p.m.