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Dow Jones Industrial Average Today Gains as G20 Meeting Kicks Off

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Nothing moves the Dow Jones Industrial Average like a fresh round of stimulus, and we could be looking at the mother of all stimulus plans as the G20 kicks off its two-day meeting in China. World leaders, central bankers, centralized planners, and their “yes men” will be gathering to discuss new ways to boost the world’s sluggish economy. While bold measures like structural reforms (re: less reliance on debt-based growth) are greatly needed and would help instill confidence, early reports indicated there will has been a lot of internal squabbling among idea generators.

With the mood brighter on this Friday, let’s tackle your top stock market news, stocks to watch, and economic calendar for Feb. 26, 2016.

Dow Futures Today: G20 to Focus on Boosting Global Growth Figures

Dow Jones futures forecast a 77-point gain as investors cheer new stimulus plans, Chinese Yuan policy, rising oil prices, and improving U.S. economic data.

Here’s a breakdown of why the Dow is slumping and what you need to watch later today.

  • Focus on U.S. economic data and speeches by three members of the Federal Reserve. This morning, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reports its second revision to fourth-quarter GDP, a figure that is expected to be revised downward to 0.4%. However, the big number to keep an eye on today is the core PCE price index, a figure that if it beats expectations could boost the chances for a rate hike during the March FOMC meeting.
  • Markets were also optimistic after China announced that it will not devalue its currency again in order to boost its export levels, but it will consider other means of monetary policy to support its struggling economy. Wait, what? People actually believe them about not manipulating their currency again in the future?
  • Yesterday, the Dow surged 212 points as strong economic data suggested that the U.S. manufacturing sector is better off than expected.
  • Oil prices increased this morning as traders began to unwind short bets against energy commodities and remained somewhat hopeful that a proposed deal among global producers to freeze output could come to fruition. WTI crude prices were up more than 1.4%, while Brent prices added more than 1.8%.

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

  • Shares of C. Penney Company Inc. (NYSE: JCP) are on fire this morning after the company beat Wall Street revenue expectations. The stock was up more than 8% in premarket hours.
  • With earnings reports coming in today, look for noise out of Foot Locker Inc. (NYSE: FL), Sothebys (NYSE: BID), American Tower Corp. (NYSE: AMT), Hilton Worldwide Holdings (NYSE: HLT), and PNM Resources Inc. (NYSE: PNM).
  • Shares of Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE: HLF) were up more than 13% this morning on news that the health supplement and vitamin maker is discussing matters with government regulators over charges that the firm operates a pyramid scheme. The charges have long come from activist investor Bill Ackman who has shorted the stock for years.
  • The New York Times reports that one of the biggest energy acquisitions of the year could be on the rocks right now. According to the paper, Energy Transfer Equity (NYSE: ETE) is looking for ways to scuttle away from the $38 billion buyout of Williams Companies Inc. (NYSE: WMB). Both firms have seen their share prices erode in recent months due to weakening revenues and falling oil-and-gas prices. Energy Transfer Equity has reportedly considered offering $2 billion to Williams shareholders to walk away from the deal, but a vote could be pending in the near future.
  • President Obama’s call for increased gun control only created a surge in demand for firearms after the FBI reported a record number of background checks for the month of December. Now the December-ending earnings report is in for Sturm, Ruger & Co. (NYSE: RGR), and wow were they profitable. Shares hit a new intraday all-time high yesterday at $70 each and finished up 7.7% on the day. Rival Smith & Wesson Holding Corp. (Nasdaq: SWHC) added nearly 3.6% on the news.

Investors 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…

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

  • GDP at 8:30 a.m.
  • International Trade in Goods at 8:30 a.m.
  • Personal Income and Outlays at 8:30 a.m.
  • Consumer Sentiment at 10 a.m.
  • Federal Reserve Bank Gov. Jerome Powell speaks at 10:15 a.m.
  • San Francisco Fed President John Williams speaks at 10:15 a.m.
  • 7-Year Note Auction at 11:30 a.m.
  • Baker-Hughes Rig Count at 1 p.m.
  • Federal Reserve Bank Gov. Lael Brainard speaks at 1:30 p.m.

What Investors Must Know This Week

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