Dow Jones Industrial Average Surges 320 Points as McDonald’s Stock Soars (NYSE: MCD)

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For Oct. 22, 2015, here’s your stock market news and stocks to watch based on today’s market moves…

How Did the Stock Market Do Today?                                                              Dow Jones Industrial Average

Dow Jones: 17,489.16; +320.55; +1.87%

S&P 500: 2,052.51; +33.57; +1.66%

Nasdaq: 4,920.05; +79.93; +1.65%

The Dow Jones Industrial Average today (Thursday) surged more than 320 points as stronger than expected earnings reports and improved economic data lifted investor optimism. In addition, Mario Draghi, the head of the European Central Bank, hinted his monetary policy team may slash interest rates and/or extend their bond-purchasing program in order to boost inflation and the world’s largest economic bloc.

After the bell, Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN), Alphabet Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG, GOOGL), AT&T Corp. (NYSE: T), and Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) reported earnings, which will largely affect performance in the markets on Friday.

Top Stock Market News Today

  • Stock Market News: Nine of 10 S&P sectors gained on Thursday, with healthcare as the lone decliner. Materials and industrial stocks were the biggest winners. Shares of General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) were up 2.5%, while Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) added another 3.6% after reporting positive earnings following the bell yesterday. The European Central Bank offered a boost to stocks as the markets largely anticipate Mario Draghi’s team will cut interest rates and boost its quantitative easing program. In addition, traders responded positively to weekly jobless claims, which came in lower than expected.
  • Oil Prices Rise: Oil prices broke a three-day slump. November WTI oil prices gained 0.5% to hit $45.44 per barrel, while Brent crude prices added 0.7% to hit $48.22. Shares of Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) added 2.5%, while shares of Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) added about 3.3%.
  • On Tap Tomorrow: On Friday, oil prices will be in focus when Baker Hughes Inc. (NYSE: BHI) reports the weekly rig count for domestic production, and the October Purchasing Managers’ Manufacturing Index (PMIs) will be released. Companies reporting earnings tomorrow include Procter & Gamble Co. (NYSE: PG), Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE: RCL), American Airlines Group Inc. (Nasdaq: AAL), and Whirlpool Corp. (NYSE: WHR).

Stocks to Watch: MCD, VRX, AMZN, CAT

  • Stocks to Watch No. 1, MCD: Shares of McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD) surged more than 8% after the company crushed earnings expectations and said the company’s turnaround efforts have largely succeeded. MCD stock gained as the company said demand in China has been restored following a meat scandal that shook the brand’s reputation. Here’s how you should play MCD stock following the strong earnings report.
  • Stocks to Watch No. 2, VRX: Shares of Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl. Inc. (NYSE: VRX) fell another 6.9% as the company faces additional downgrades to its stock. The firm has been under significant pressure due to Congress’ focus on the firm’s pricing practices. The stock has fallen by 46% this week. Money Morning Credit Strategist Michael Lewitt explains the company’s stock is crashing, and this biotech implosion could be profitable for investors.
  • Stocks to Watch No. 3, AMZN: Shares of Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) surged more than 8% after the bell today as the company beat Wall Street earnings expectations. The company reported an earnings per share of $0.17, beating consensus expectations of a loss of $0.13. The company continues to see strong growth in subscribers to its Prime services and has raised its guidance looking forward. Here’s how you can profit from AMZN stock using an options strategy here.
  • Stocks to Watch No. 4, CAT: Shares of Caterpiller Inc. (NYSE: CAT) gained more than 2.8% after the company reported stronger than expected third-quarter earnings.

What Investors Must Know This Week

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