Dow Jones Industrial Average Up Today Despite Volatility in China

Money Morning Contributor

For Jan. 12, 2015, here’s the top stock market news and stocks to watch…

Stock Futures Today

dow jones industrial average
Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average for today (Tuesday) forecasted a 123-point gain as Chinese stocks stabilize after falling near four-year lows.

On Monday, China’s stock market meltdown continued to weigh on the Dow. Stocks were on the decline for a sixth-straight session before turning positive in the final hour. The Dow gained 52 points even though the Chinese stock market tumbled another 5.3%, causing China’s main index to close at a three-and-a-half-month low.

Top News in the Stock Market Today

  • The Stock Market Today: On Tuesday, markets will continue to eye the Chinese markets and a business domestic economic calendar. Look for a monthly update to the NFIB Small Business Index and speeches by two members of the U.S. Federal Reserve – Stanley Fischer (Fed Vice Chair) and Jeffrey Lacker (Richmond).
  • State of the Union: Tuesday night, President Barrack Obama will deliver his eighth and final State of the Union Address. The President is expected to focus on current political issues including gun control, immigration reform, and the Syrian refugee crisis. President Obama is also expected to discuss income inequality and healthcare.
  • Oil Outlook: Oil prices have fallen nearly 16% in the last two weeks, and the rout continued today. February WTI prices fell another 0.2% to reach $31.34 per barrel. Meanwhile, Brent oil crude gained 0.1% at $31.59. The slowdown in the Chinese economy continues to be a major drag on global crude prices.

Earnings Outlook: CSX, IHS, PRGS

  • Earnings Report No. 1, CSX: After the bell, CSX Corp. (Nasdaq: CSX) will report 2015 Q4 earnings. Wall Street anticipates that the rail and transportation is poised to report earnings per share (EPS) of $0.46 on top of $2.92 billion in revenue.
  • Earnings Report No. 2, IHS: Later this afternoon, IHS Inc. (NYSE: IHS) is set to report its 2015 Q4 earnings. The information and analytics firm is expected by analysts to report an EPS of $0.49 on $122.2 million in revenue.
  • Earnings Report No. 3, PRGS: This morning, markets expect Progress Software Corp. (Nasdaq: PRGS) to report 2015 Q4 earnings. Wall Street analysts expect the software company will report EPS of $1.56 on top of $600.51 million in revenue.

Stocks to Watch: MCK, MDT, AA, RAD, WBA

  • Stocks to Watch No. 1: MCK: Shares of McKesson Corp. (NYSE: MCK) plunged more than 10% after the company announced that its 2017 profits are set to decline due to pricing pressures in generic drugs. The firm also narrowed its 2016 profit outlook. The sharp downturn comes in the wake of a Walgreen Boots Alliance’s (NYSE: WBA) purchase of Rite Aid Corp. (NYSE: RAD), a deal that puts McKesson’s distribution deal with the latter in doubt.
  • Stocks to Watch No. 2, MDT: Shares of Medtronic PLC (NYSE: MDT) were on the rise after a report stated the medical device manufacturer is set to repurchase $5 billion in shares in the next few years. The firm also hiked the lower end of its full-year adjusted earnings outlook range to $4.36 per share, up three cents from the previous estimate.
  • Stocks to Watch No. 3, TWX: Shares of Time Warner Inc. (NYSE: TWX) were in focus on news that activist investor Carl Icahn is building an equity stake in the cable giant. It remains unclear why Icahn is building a position.
  • Stocks to Watch No. 4, AA: Shares of Alcoa Inc. (NYSE: AA) slipped 0.5% in premarket hours after the company released a mixed quarterly earnings report. The firm beat top-line earnings expectations, but fell short on bottom-line figures. The aluminum manufacturer reported EPS of $0.04 on top of revenues of $5.245 billion. Wall Street expected the company to report $0.02 on $5.29 billion in revenue.

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

  • Federal Reserve Vice Chair Stanley Fischer speaks at 5:30 a.m.
  • NFIB Small Business Optimism Index at 6 a.m.
  • Redbook at 8:55 a.m.
  • JOLTS at 10 a.m.
  • 4-Week Bill Auction at 11:30 a.m.
  • 3-Year Note Auction at 1 p.m.
  • Richmond Federal Reserve Bank President Jeffrey Lacker speaks at 3:15 p.m.

What Investors Must Know This Week

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