Dow Jones Industrial Average Closes Its Worst First Week of the Year Ever

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For Jan. 8, 2016, 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:
16,346.45; -167.65; -1.02%

S&P 500: 1,922.03; -21.06; -1.08%

Nasdaq: 4,643.63; -45.80; -0.98%

The 2016 China stock market meltdown continued to weigh on the Dow Jones Industrial Average today (Friday) as investors suffered another choppy day of trading.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slumped 167 points, ending the worst first week of trading since 1928. Oil prices again fell, but Chinese stocks stabilized and the U.S. Labor Department reported the American economy added 292,000 jobs in December. The U.S. unemployment report remained unchanged at 5%. The jobs report boosted expectations that the U.S> Federal Reserve will hike interest rates in March. CME Watch indicated the odds of a rate increase jumped to 52%.

Top Stock Market News Today

  • Stock Market Today: All 10 major S&P sectors fell Friday as investors weighed concerns about the Chinese economy and global oil prices. Crude oil prices again slid below $33 to their lowest levels in more than a decade. Oil prices are now off by more than 70% since mid-2014. February’s WTI prices were off 0.3% at $33.16 per barrel – the lowest since February 2004. Meanwhile, Brent oil crude – priced in London – fell 0.6% to hit $33.55, the lowest close since June 2004. The sector’s most active traders today were Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) and Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX), which fell 2.1% and 1.1%, respectively, on the day.
  • IPO Bonanza: In a blockbuster announcement, state-owned oil titan Saudi Aramco confirmed it is exploring the possibility of filing an initial public offering (IPO). Such a move would instantly make the mega-producer of crude oil the world’s largest public company by market capitalization by an incredible margin. According to some estimates, the market capitalization of a firm that produces more than 10 times the amount of oil produced by Exxon could be worth anywhere from $2.5 trillion to $10 trillion. That market cap smashes the market cap of the world’s largest company – Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) – which is currently sitting at a value of a little more than $500 billion. It also means one of the world’s most secretive private companies will be forced to open its books to global investors. Typically, the company would remain private, but falling oil prices have left Saudi Arabia cash-strapped and running massive financial deficits.
  • On Tap Next Week: On Monday, the markets will continue to eye the Chinese markets and the People’s Bank of China as the central bank considers further devaluation of its currency, the yuan. A light economic calendar features speeches by two members of the Federal Reserve – Dennis Lockhart (Atlanta) and Rob Kaplan (Dallas) – and the December update to the Labor Market Conditions Index. Companies set to report quarterly earnings include Alcoa Inc. (NYSE: AA), Apollo Education Group Inc. (Nasdaq: APOL), Team Inc. (NYSE: TISI), and Schulman Inc. (Nasdaq: SHLM).

 Stocks to Watch: FDX, QRVO, TCS, GPS, M, JWN

  • Stocks to Watch No. 1, FDX: Shares of FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) were up 0.1% on news European regulators have formally approved the global shipping giant’s deal to purchase European rival TNT Express NV (OTCMKTS ADR: TNTEY). U.S. regulators approved the deal last November.
  • Stocks to Watch No. 2, QRVO: Shares of Qorvo (Nasdaq: QRVO) slumped more than 2.5% after it slashed its Q3 revenue outlook. The supplier of Apple Inc. reduced its outlook based on recent news that the iPhone manufacturer is poised to reduce its production of gadgets. AAPL stock added 0.5%, reversing a three-day losing streak.
  • Stocks to Watch No. 3, TCS: Shares of Container Store Group Inc. (NYSE: TCS) crashed more than 41% after the company severely missed its Q4 profit expectations from Wall Street analysts.
  • Stocks to Watch No. 4, GPS:Shares of Gap Inc. (NYSE: GPS) fell more than 14% after the company reported its core store sales fell 5% in December. The retailer isn’t immune to a difficult holiday season. According to industry reports, Standard & Poor’s is reviewing the credit ratings of both Macy’s Inc. (NYSE: M) and Nordstrom Inc. (NYSE: JWN), and both firms could face a downgrade.

What Investors Must Know This Week

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