Dow Jones Industrial Average Rallies Today on OPEC Oil Optimism

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Did you really think that Iran would be the reason why the Dow Jones Industrial Average is rallying this morning? That’s exactly what’s happening. Oil prices are on the rise thanks to Iranian optimism over a deal that would freeze oil production to support energy prices. And that’s not all that’s kicked off a wild morning for global markets…

dow jones industrial average
Let’s jump into what traders are chatting about this morning.

For Feb. 18, 2016, here’s your top stock market news, stocks to watch, and economic calendar.

Dow Futures Today

Futures for the Dow Jones today (Thursday) forecasted a 51-point gain as oil prices jumped more than 2% and the Dow received a healthy boost from the earnings of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT). Here’s a breakdown of why the Dow is higher this morning and what you need to watch later today.

  • No one is cutting production; they are simply keeping oil production levels where they are. No one is going to cheat, they promise, but for now global supply levels are poised to remain in place. An agreement between global oil producers has traders buying up contracts and pushing global Brent prices up more than 2% and WTI crude up more than 2.8%. But before you go out and start loading up on energy stocks, you’ll need to check in with our Global Energy Strategist Dr. Kent Moors, who has the latest honest insight on what is happening in the Middle East and with oil prices right now. Read it, right here.
  • Bad news if you’re looking for direction from the Federal Reserve. The central bank has no idea what to do or think according to its minutes released yesterday. Policymakers effectively threw in the towel during their last monetary policy meeting. According to the minutes from its January meeting, the consensus among leaders of the central bank was… they have no clue whether ongoing market volatility will impede global economic growth. Previous minutes from other meetings included an assessment of global economic conditions, but that portion couldn’t be found. How’s that for leadership?
  • Yesterday, the Dow popped more than 250 points as investors overlooked statements from the Federal Reserve and latched onto the rally fueled by rallying oil prices. The market also saw a nice boost from earnings reports from companies like Garmin Ltd. (Nasdaq: GRMN), Fossil Group Inc.(Nasdaq: FOSL), and Priceline Group Inc. (Nasdaq: PCLN).
  • Today’s trading session will center on the weekly inventory report from the Energy Information Administration, meaning that oil prices will again dominate the daily session. That said, this morning’s weekly jobless claims report will offer some direction for traders as they focus on the impact of claims on the domestic economy.

Now here’s your list of top stocks to watch in today’s market, plus today’s economic calendar:

Earnings and Stocks to Watch in Today’s Market

  • The Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) earnings report is a big deal this morning as shares have fallen more than 4% in premarket training. The global retailer topped Wall Street earnings expectations by three cents, but its bottom-line revenue fell short due to a rising dollar. The firm also announced a haircut to its full-year revenue due to the dollar’s strength. Looking for optimism? The retailer raised its annual dividend to $2 a share from $1.96 a share.
  • Stock in International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM) jumped more than 3% after the firm received an upgrade from investment Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS). The bank is optimistic about the firm’s transformation to cloud-based services. That said, the stock is still off more than 20% this year.
  • Shares of Perrigo (NYSE: PRGO) were off 6% after the healthcare manufacturer announced a weak earnings report that fell 13 cents short of expectations and slashed its 2016 outlook. Oops… maybe they should have accepted that takeover bid from Mylan NV (NYSE: MYL) in 2015.

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

  • Jobless Claims at 8:30 a.m.
  • Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey at 8:30 a.m.
  • Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index at 9:45 a.m.
  • Leading Indicators at 10 a.m.
  • EIA Natural Gas Report at 10:30 a.m.
  • EIA Petroleum Status Report at 11 a.m.
  • 3-Month Bill Announcement at 11 a.m.
  • 6-Month Bill Announcement at 11 a.m.
  • 2-Year Note Announcement at 11 a.m.
  • 2-Year FRN Note Announcement at 11 a.m.
  • 5-Year Note Announcement at 11 a.m.
  • 7-Year Note Announcement at 11 a.m.
  • 30-Year TIPS Auction at 1 p.m.
  • John Williams speaks at 3:30 p.m.
  • Fed Balance Sheet at 4:30 p.m.
  • Money Supply at 4:30 p.m.
Despite the recent rally, investors still want to know if we’re headed for a stock market crash, correction, or bear market. Here’s what our Money Morning experts predict will happen in 2016…

What Investors Must Know This Week

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