Dow Jones Industrial Average Up Today Despite Oil Prices Hitting 11-Year Low

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For Dec. 21, 2015, here are your stock market futures, earnings reports, top stock market news, and stocks to watch…

Stock Futures Today

On Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell nearly 370 points, its worst one-day performance since the first week of September. Sluggish oil prices and a downturn in Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) and Goldman Sachs Group (NYSE: GS) stock pulled down the markets.

U.S. stock futures for Monday, Dec. 21, 2015 forecasted a 139-point gain as the markets attempt to reverse from Friday’s slump. Traders will stop adding positions and limit exposure before the holiday on Friday. U.S. markets will be closed this Friday and the following Friday, while both Thursdays will have shortened trading schedules

FOMC meeting minutes today
Top News in the Stock Market Today

  • The Stock Market Today: On Monday, the markets will only feature light activity because of the short-week of trading before the Christmas holiday. On the data front, keep an eye on the Chicago Fed National Activity Index. An unusual weather pattern in recent months may have benefited the center of the Midwestern economy and could surprise investors.
  • Fed Focus: On Friday, Richmond Federal Reserve Bank President Jeffrey Lacker predicted that the U.S. central bank will increase interest rates up to four times over the next 12 months. The central bank will tighten monetary policy as it expects the nation’s economy to grow stronger in 2016. However, some foresee challenges to that prediction, including low oil prices, concerns about economic growth for major trade partners, and a recent downturn in domestic manufacturing.
  • Oil Outlook: Oil pricesare heading toward 2008 lows on concern about the ongoing global glut in supply and the rising U.S. dollar. January WTI prices were down 0.6% at $34.53 per barrel. Meanwhile, Brent oil crude – priced in London – was off 1.1% at $36.46.

Earnings Outlook: CTAS, SCS, NEOG

  • Earnings Report No. 1, CTAS: After the bell, Cintas Corp. (Nasdaq: CTAS) will report fiscal second-quarter earnings. The company is expected to report per-share earnings of $1.00 on top of $1.218 in revenue.
  • Earnings Report No. 2, SCS: When the bell rings at market close, Steelcase Inc. (NYSE: SCS) will report fiscal third-quarter earnings. The furniture company is expected to release an EPS of $0.33 on top of $813.20 in bottom-line revenue.
  • Earnings Report No. 3: NEOG: Before the market opens, Neogen Corp. (Nasdaq: NEOG) will report quarterly earnings. The food and animal safety giant is expected to report fiscal-second-quarter earnings of $0.26 per share on top of $77.20 in revenue.

 Stocks to Watch: DIS, ISIS, SYT, MON, AAPL

  • Stocks to Watch No. 1: ISIS: Drug manufacturer Isis Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Nasdaq: ISIS) announced that it will change its name to “Ionis Pharmaceuticals Inc.” The decision comes as the firm attempts to disassociate its name from the terrorist organization ISIS.
  • Stocks to Watch No. 2: DIS: Shares of The Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) were up more than 2.4% this morning. The stock clawed back to north of $110 per share after falling 4% Friday due to a downgrade from investment firm BITG.
  • Stocks to Watch No. 3, SYT: Shares of Syngenta AG (ADR) (NYSE: SYT) are back in focus on news that state giant China National Chemical Corp. increased its takeover offer of the agrichemical company by an additional $2 million. The new offer, which would take place over two different stages, is valued at roughly $44 billion. Syngenta has long been a desired target of Chinese sovereign wealth funds and international grain giant Monsanto Co. (NYSE: MON).
  • Stocks to Watch No. 4, AAPL: On Sunday night, Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) CEO Tim Cook was interviewed on 60 Minutes. Tim Cook told journalist Charlie Rose that the technology company manufactures its products in China because United States workers have more skills than American and German workers. He denied that the company operates in China because the cost of labor is significantly cheaper. In addition, Cook said the company is keeping money abroad because of the antiquated domestic tax code, which was developed – in his terms – for the industrial age, not the digital age. Shares of Apple were up 1.4% in premarket hours.

Today’s U.S. Economic Calendar (all times EST)

  • Chicago Fed National Activity Index at 8:30 a.m.
  • 4-Week Bill Announcement at 11 a.m.
  • 3-Month Bill Auction at 11:30 a.m.
  • 6-Month Bill Auction at 11:30 a.m.

What Investors Must Know This Week

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