Dow Jones Industrial Average Pulls Back 70 Points as Trade Uncertainty Plagues Global Markets

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 70 points in premarket trading as uncertainty continued to linger around future trade relations between China and the United States. While markets largely rose this week on positive trade developments from Beijing, officials have done little to clarify how or when trade tensions may be resolved.

This week’s trade talks in Beijing ended with an agreement to hold higher-level talks in Washington in late January. However, these talks may be postponed due to the ongoing government shutdown, which is on the verge of becoming the longest in U.S. history.

Here are the numbers from Thursday for the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq:

Index Previous Close Point Change Percentage Change
Dow Jones 24001.92 122.80 0.51%
S&P 500 2596.64 11.68   0.45%
Nasdaq 6986.07 28.99   0.42%

Now, here’s a closer look at today’s Money Morning insight, the most important market events and stocks to watch.

The Top Stock Market Stories for Friday

  • On Thursday, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell told an audience at the Economic Club of Washington that he is very concerned about rising U.S. debt. The nation’s national debt is just under $22 trillion, with $16 trillion owed by the American public. Powell’s statement also included mounting worries about the ongoing government shutdown.
  • If the shutdown continues through Saturday, it will become the longest government closure in U.S. history. Powell stated that the longer the shutdown continues, the more economic and social problems could accelerate. Right now, the FDA has said it might not be able to conduct food testing. Millions of Americans on food stamps may not be able to obtain benefits. And lines at the airport will grow longer with the TSA facing new pressures. Thousands of American workers have already filed for unemployment due to the ongoing shutdown. President Trump has canceled his trip to Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum due to the ongoing shutdown.
  • The price of Bitcoin fell more than 10% on Thursday after a sudden selloff hit the market by surprise. Bitcoin slumped under $4,000 to its lowest level in four weeks thanks to significant turnover in the space. Meanwhile, Ripple has surpassed Ethereum to become the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization.
  • Oil prices are on track for their 10th consecutive winning day in a row. This would be the longest streak of days in the black since January 2010. Oil prices have pushed higher thanks to news that OPEC and non-members like Russia agreed last month to reduce production output by 1.2 million barrels per month. In addition, Saudi Arabia – OPEC’s most important member and largest producer – will slash oil exports. The uptick in crude prices come despite economic concerns in China and across Europe.

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Three Stocks to Watch Today:

  • Just how bad are conditions in China for American companies? According to reports, retailers are cutting the cost of iPhones in Chinese stores due to customers’ attitudes toward the gadgets. Customers simply don’t believe that iPhones are worth the cost. Recently, Apple CEO Tim Cook warned about economic conditions in China. This morning, Goldman Sachs Group (NYSE: GS) forecasted that more American companies will grow concerned about conditions on the ground in the world’s second-largest economy. The investment bank believes that Starbucks Corporation (Nasdaq: SBUX) will be the next company to announce concerns about Chinese economic conditions.
  • Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) announced plans to restructure its European operations and to cut lay off thousands of workers. The firm is engaging in a turnaround plan that will see its departure from minivan manufacturing. The company says it will depart markets where it’s failed to run a profit.
  • Keep a close eye on Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) today. Shares pushed higher after UBS Group (NYSE: UBS) upgraded the stock from “Neutral” to “Buy.” A UBS analyst also hiked the price target from $400 to $410 per share, basing his decision on stronger streaming subscriber figures. NFLX shares are up more than 20% and is one of the top performing S&P 500 stocks of the last 12 months.
  • On Friday, look for an earnings reports from Infosys Limited (Nasdaq: INFY).

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