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Dow Jones Industrial Average Slips on Falling Oil Prices

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Was Super Tuesday super? Candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump cleaned up, further cementing themselves as presidential nominees. Meanwhile, futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were ticking lower as oil prices retreated again, continuing a wave of volatility that has defined the crude market since the beginning of the year.

Instead, let’s focus on an economic calendar that is going to provide us with vital economic data ahead of next week’s FOMC meeting.

Let’s tackle your top stock market news, stocks to watch, and economic calendar for Wednesday, March 2, 2016.

Dow Futures Today: Aubrey McClendon Arrested, Oil Prices Sink

Dow Jones futures forecast a 23-point decline despite news that U.S. private companies added 214,000 jobs in February. The figure topped consensus expectations of 190,000 jobs and further bolstered evidence that the jobs market remains healthy. On Friday, the U.S. Labor Department will release the “official” February unemployment report.

Here’s a breakdown of why the Dow Jones Industrial Average was still in the red before opening bell.

  • Today, the focus is on crude oil prices, which are down 2% this morning on news the American Petroleum Institute predicts the nation added 9.9 million barrels of oil to its inventories last week. This figure is way above consensus expectations. The U.S. Energy Information Administration will release inventory data later this morning and will have a dramatic impact on oil prices if their estimates are well over or under expectations.
  • Late Tuesday, the U.S. Justice Department said it charged Aubrey McClendon, the former CEO of Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK), and one of the wildcatters (i.e. people who drill wells in areas not known to have oil) who drove the domestic shale revolution of conspiring to suppress prices and rig deals associated with oil and natural gas leases. The DOJ says this scheme took place between December 2007 and March 2012. Given that the part owner of the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder is very politically connected, let’s just assume he pays a fine and donates to his favorite local politician (or vice versa).
  • Yesterday, the Dow surged nearly 350 points after financial stocks rallied on the back of news that China will loosen monetary policy again in order to boost weak economic growth. The banking sector had its best day in weeks, boosted by more economic stimulus from China and strong U.S. economic data. That came even with Barclays Plc. (NYSE: BCS) offering a horrendous annual report this morning. Shares of Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) and Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C) both surged more than 5%.

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

  • There was a reason why CNBC was interested in Warren Buffett’s take on railroad stocks earlier this week. Deal speculation is running high, and companies are trying to get the upper hand in consolidation. According to reports, Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. (NYSE: CP) – currently fighting off a takeover bid from Norfolk Southern Corp. (NYSE: NSC) – has pitched a $20 billion-plus offer to acquire CSX Corp. (Nasdaq: CSX). While CSX turned the deal down this week, Canadian Pacific will likely return with another offer in the near future.
  • This morning, the Sports Authority formally filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Its possible that the firm shuts down its operations in the next month if it is unable to find a buyer. Pay attention to see if there is any interest from firms like Dicks Sporting Goods Inc. (NYSE: DKS) and Hibbett Sports Inc. (Nasdaq: HIBB).
  • On the earnings side, pay attention to earnings reports from Costco Wholesale Corp. (Nasdaq: COST), Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE: ANF), American Eagle Outfitters (NYSE: AEO), and 51job Inc. (Nasdaq ADR: JOBS).
  • Shares of Zynga Inc. (Nasdaq: ZNGA) were up more than 4% today on news that company founder Mark Pincus is poised to take over as the software and gaming company’s new chairman.

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

  • MBA Mortgage Applications at 7 a.m.
  • ADP Employment Report at 8:15 a.m.
  • Gallup U.S. Job Creation Index at 8:30 a.m.
  • San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank President John Williams Speaks at 10 a.m.
  • EIA Petroleum Status Report at 10:30 a.m.
  • Beige Book at 2 p.m.
With futures down this morning, investors wonder if we’re heading 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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