Dow Jones Industrial Average Today Flat as Kuwaiti Oil Strike Ends

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Dow Jones Industrial Average
Dow Jones Industrial Average News, 4/20/2016: Well, that didn’t take long…

On Wednesday, Kuwaiti oil workers called off their strike and pushed output back toward normal levels. WTI crude oil prices fell by 1.9%, while Brent crude was off 1.3%.

The end of this strike is significant because Kuwait’s production had declined by more than 50% from March levels. But as we explained earlier this week, Kuwait relies significantly on oil revenues in order to fund its social budgets.

In the wake of the failure at Doha to get a production freeze deal completed, concerns about oversupply are again rattling traders. That’s especially true in the United States as the Energy Information Administration prepares to announce weekly crude inventory levels.

The announcement will have a greater impact on WTI crude prices than Brent. Preliminary data from the American Petroleum Institute show that the American oil inventory levels increased far more than expected last week. But that’s not all you need to know about what could easily be the wildest trading session of the week.

Here’s today’s top stock market news, stocks to watch, ways to profit and economic calendar for April 20, 2016.

What’s Moving the Dow Jones Industrial Average Today: Kuwait Oil Strike Ends

Dow Jones futures projected a 6-point gain after the markets absorbed a hotly contested New York Primary and oil prices slumped on news that the Kuwait oil workers have ended their multi-day strike.

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Here’s a breakdown of why the Dow is pushing higher this morning.

  • What’s the latest sign that the PC industry is under duress? How about the news that the world’s largest computer chipmaker will be laying off 11% of its global workforce. Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) announced it will slash 12,000 jobs, and most of the firings will happen in the next two months. The layoffs are expected to continue through next year. Intel bet big on the PC and laptop market in recent years, but consumers have widely adopted mobile devices as their technology of choice. INTC stock fell more than 1.8% after the company reported lackluster earnings, although the company largely blamed its restructuring effort for the quarterly report. It also said its CFO Stacy Smith will switch roles and lead the company’s sales programs.
  • The semiconductor industry will face another test when QUALCOMM Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) reports earnings after the bell today.
  • On the political front, Republican Donald Trump had a decisive victory in the New York presidential primary, strongly improving his chances of securing the GOP nomination. Meanwhile, current projections have Secretary of State Hillary Clinton winning the Democratic primary, defeating Senator Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.). Seven more months of this wonderful campaign season, America…
  • Americans just aren’t patient enough for better cybersecurity features when it comes to retail shopping. Shoppers have largely complained about the waiting times of the new chip-enabled credit and debit cards. The negative consumer opinion has led Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) to introduce new technology to reduce the waiting time by several seconds. Will it be enough? Probably not if a five-second advertisement annoys you every time you play a video on YouTube…
  • On the economic front, pay attention to the existing home sales for March. The market is expected to have a nice rebound last month after a steep decline in February. The National Association of Realtors is expected to report a 3.5% jump in March. But anything short of expectations could be unsettling.
  • In another sign that the U.S. economy was weak in the first quarter, housing figures are weighing on the markets. In March, domestic housing starts slipped more than expected and new home construction figures struck a one-year low.

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

Companies to Watch in the Stock Market Today

  • It’s another busy day of earnings reports. The Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE: KO) slipped 1.6% early this morning after reporting it had beaten top-line earnings expectations by one penny. The firm said that its global case volumes were slightly below analyst expectations. Earlier this week, rival Pepsico Inc. (NYSE: PEP) beat earnings expectations after citing strong sales in its snack business and its ability to offset weakened demand for fizzy drinks among American consumers.
  • Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) received a nice 1.3% bump this morning after beating quarterly profit expectations by a penny. Revenue levels were also in line with Wall Street expectations. Despite the improved earnings report, traders are more concerned about the status of the firm’s auction process. At least 40 companies examined Yahoo’s books to consider a deal for its many assets. Verizon Comm. Inc. (NYSE: VZ) is considered to be the top contender for the firm’s core assets.
  • Shares of American Express Co. (NYSE: AXP) are under pressure as the company releases its quarterly earnings report after the bell. Wall Street expects the credit card giant to report a decline in quarterly profits as the firm struggles to reduce costs. The firm is also trying to rebrand itself and establish new partnerships after looking a major contract with former customer Costco Wholesale Corp. (Nasdaq: COST).
  • On the earnings front, look for reports from Yum! Brands Inc. (NYSE: YUM), Las Vegas Sands Co. (NYSE: LVS), American Express Company (NYSE: AXP), and QUALCOMM Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM).

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

  • MBA Mortgage Applications at 7 a.m.
  • Existing Home Sales at 10 a.m.
  • EIA Petroleum Status Report at 10:30 a.m.

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