Dow Jones Industrial Average Adds 103 Points Ahead of Fed Meeting

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For Dec. 14, 2015, here’s the top 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:
17,368.50; +103.29; +0.60%

S&P 500: 2,021.94; +9.57; +0.48%

Nasdaq: 4,952.23; +18.76; +0.38%

The Dow Jones Industrial Average today (Monday) gained 103 points on a busy day of mergers and key economic data. Domestic oil prices were on the rise ahead of tomorrow’s critical U.S. Federal Reserve meeting. The markets largely expect the Fed will hike interest rates in the next two days. Traders appear cautious yet expectant regarding the FOMC meeting that kicks off on Tuesday morning. According to the CME FedWatch program, there is an 83% chance the Fed will hike interest rates during its post-meeting announcement on Wednesday.

Top Stock Market News Today

  • Stock Market News: Eight of 10 S&P sectors saw gains today, with materials stocks slumping more than 1.7% thanks to the Dow-DuPont deal. It was a positive day for renewable energy companies on news Trina Solar Ltd. (NYSE ADR: TSL) received a $986 million offer to go private. The stock surged more than 11%. Meanwhile, sluggish commodity prices weighed down Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (NYSE: FCX) stock. The company’s stock fell by more than 6% despite the 1.9% gain in oil prices. Gold prices are down due to the ongoing expectation that the Fed will hike interest rates this week.
  • Oil in Focus: Crude oil prices snapped a six-session losing streak after they approached 11-year lows. January WTI prices gained 1.9% to settle at $36.31, while Brent crude oil prices were off roughly 0.15% to close at $37.92. Oil prices had been cratering since a meeting during the first week of December by member countries of OPEC. The global oil cartel announced that it does not plan to cut production in order to protect its market share.
  • On Tap Tomorrow: On Tuesday, the Federal Reserve kicks off its final meeting of 2015, and the markets expect it will finally end its zero-interest-rate policy (ZIRP) and increase its benchmark rate for the first time since 2006. Traders will also keep an eye on the November update to the Consumer Price Index, which could provide additional ammunition for a rate hike should inflation levels rise toward the Fed’s long-term goal of reaching 2.0% annual inflation.
  • Companies set to report quarterly earnings tomorrow include FactSet Research Systems Inc. (NYSE: FDS), Gildan Activewear Inc. (NYSE: GIL), and Heico Corp. (NYSE: HEI).

Stocks to Watch: DD, DOW, AAPL, NWL, JAH

  • Stocks to Watch No. 1, DD: Shares of DuPont Co. (NYSE: DD) slipped 3.6% on news the company agreed to a merger over the weekend with Dow Chemical Co. (NYSE: DOW). The merger – which will face significant regulatory scrutiny – is valued at roughly $130 billion. Shares of Dow Chemical fell nearly 4% on the day.
  • Stocks to Watch No. 2, AAPL: A report from investment firm Stifel indicates that Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) was able save $0.70 per share – or $4.1 billion – by hedging against the U.S. dollar’s rise in 2015. The company began seeking security against the rising greenback in the second half of 2014 as the dollar began to rise against the currencies of major emerging markets where Apple relies on a large share of its revenue. Apple stock was off 0.6% on the day.
  • Stocks to Watch No. 3, NWL: Shares of Newell Rubbermaid Inc. (NYSE: NWL) slipped nearly 7% on news the company plans to purchase Jarden Corp. (NYSE: JAH). The proposed $15 billion deal will create the largest manufacturer of food containers. Shares of Jarden gained more than 2.6% on news of the deal.

What Investors Must Know This Week

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