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Dow Jones Industrial Average Falls 50 Points on Manufacturing Growth Concerns

Money Morning Contributor

For Sept. 23, here’s how the Dow Jones Industrial Average did today, earnings reports, top stock market news, and stocks to watch based on today’s market moves…

How Did the Stock Market Do Today?

Dow Jones
Dow Jones
: 16,279.89; -50.58; -0.31%

S&P 500: 1,938.76; -3.98; -0.21%

Nasdaq: 4,752.74; -3.98; -0.08%

The Dow Jones Industrial Average today (Wednesday) slipped 50 points after new economic data suggested the global economy was slowing down. According to the September PMI report, U.S. manufacturing growth remained at its lowest levels since August 2013. Meanwhile, Chinese manufacturing growth fell to a six-and-a-half-year low over the last month. News of the manufacturing decline in China hit emerging markets and nations linked to the world’s second-largest economy the hardest during today’s trading session. The Brazilian real fell more than 2% today against the U.S. dollar and hit its lowest exchange level ever.

The S&P 500 Volatility Index (VIX), the market’s fear gauge, fell roughly 1.5% on the day.

Top Stock Market News Today

  • Stock Market News: Eight of 10 S&P 500 sectors were down on the day with materials and energy stocks leading the decline. Concerns about global growth continue to weigh on blue-chip stocks. Dow Chemical Co. (NYSE: DOW) slipped more than 2.3%, while Sherwin-Williams Co. (NYSE: SHW) dipped 2% on heavy volumes.
  • Oil Prices Slip: Oil prices slumped again on Wednesday as traders were uncertain about how to digest the latest inventory report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. WTI prices fell more than 3.4% to hit $44.76, while Brent oil prices dipped 2.3% to hit $47.91. Oil prices initially traded higher on news that crude inventories fell roughly 1.9 million barrels last week. However, the supply report indicated imports declined. This indicates a global glut of oil still exists, but oil simply wasn’t entering the United States. Shares of Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) were down 0.6%, while Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) was down 1.4%. The largest decline in the energy sector today came from Baytex Energy Corp. (NYSE: BTE), which slipped 13% as the Canadian-based producer continues to face debt challenges in the low price environment.
  • On Tap Thursday: Tomorrow, U.S. Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen will make her first public speech since announcing the Fed’s rate decision. Yellen will give a speech on inflation pressures, which were central to the Fed’s decision last week to maintain current rates. Companies reporting earnings on Thursday include Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE), Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. (Nasdaq: BBBY), Accenture Plc. (NYSE: ACN), KB Home (NYSE: KBH), Jabil Circuit Inc. (NYSE: JBL), and HB Fuller Co. (NYSE: FUL).

Stocks to Watch: VLKAY, BWA, HON, DLPH, FNFG, HRTX, LMT

  • Stocks to Watch No. 1, VLKAY: Shares of Volkswagen AG (OTCMKTS ADR: VLKAY) jumped more than 6.5% today on news its CEO Martin Winterkorn has resigned over pressures related to the company’s emissions scandal. The company admitted to deceiving American regulators about the amount of pollution emitted from its vehicles. The news had sent shares of the world’s largest automaker (by sales volumes) into a freefall over the last two trading sessions. Some economists are starting to raise concerns about the German economy in that this blow to one of the nation’s largest companies could fuel more damage than its exposure to Greece. Concerns about the company’s future is also weighing on its suppliers. Shares of BorgWarner Inc. (NYSE: BWA), Honeywell International Inc. (NYSE: HON), and Delphi Automotive Plc. (NYSE: DLPH) all fell today.
  • Stocks to Watch No. 2, FNFG: Shares of First Niagara Financial Group Inc. (Nasdaq: FNFG) surged nearly 15% after a report from Bloomberg indicated the regional bank’s directors are exploring a sale to an unnamed company.
  • Stocks to Watch No. 3, HRTX: Shares of Heron Therapeutics Inc. (Nasdaq: HRTX) surged more than 21% today after the biotech company released positive data from the study of its experimental pain medicine, HTX-011. Heron was a bright spot in what has been a shaky few days for biotech stocks. The iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (Nasdaq: BB) fell another 0.8% as investors continue to react to a plan by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to set price controls for specialty drugs.
  • Stocks to Watch No. 4, LMT: Shares of Lockheed Martin Corp. (NYSE: LMT) slipped 0.4% today after the company rolled out the F-35A Lightning II for the Norwegian Armed Forces. Despite today’s downturn, Lockheed Martin stock is expected to benefit as more F-35s are delivered across the world.

What Investors Must Know This Week

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