Dow Jones Industrial Average Surges 156 Points on Fed Rate Focus Report - For Dec. 15, 2015, here's the top stock market news and stocks to watch based on today's market moves...

How Did the Stock Market Do Today?

Dow Jones:17,524.91; +156.41;+0.90%

S&P 500: 2,043.41; +21.47;+1.06%

Nasdaq:4,995.36; +43.13;+0.87%

The Dow Jones Industrial Average today (Tuesday) gained 156 points as investors await Wednesday's FOMC decision on whether the U.S. Federal Reserve will hike interest rates for the first time since 2006.

This morning, the U.S. Labor Department announced inflation levels for November matched economist forecasts. Without food and energy, core prices increased by 0.2%. That helped fuel a rise in consumer stocks today. Shares of The Coca-Cola Co. ( KO ), McDonald's Corp. ( MCD ), and Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ ) all rose on the day. The inflation report will likely be key in the Fed's decision tomorrow on whether or not to increase interest rates.

Top Stock Market News Today

  • Stock MarketNews: All 10 S&P sectors were positive today, with energy stocks and financial stocks seeing the strongest gains. The financial sector is primed for the second day of the Federal Reserve meeting tomorrow to determine whether the U.S. economy is prepared for an interest rate hike. Shares of JPMorgan Chase & Co. ( JPM ), Morgan Stanley ( MS ), Citigroup Inc. (C), and Bank of America Corp. (BAC) all gained more than 2.8%. According to CME Group's FedWatch program, there is an 83% probability the central bank will hike rates tomorrow. It was also a busy day in the semiconductor industry after news that the board of Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) has decided not to break up the company into two separate businesses after a six-month review.
  • Budget Bending: Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said his party will take the wraps off a deal for a $1.15 trillion spending bill, but will need to pass a short-term funding extension to allow a vote on the measure Thursday.
  • Oil in Focus: Shares of multinational oil giants pushed the Dow Jones Industrial Average higher today. Shares of Chevron Corp. (CVX) and Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) both gained more than 3.8% as oil prices bounced back from 11-year lows. January WTI crude oil prices gained 2.9% to hit $37.35 per barrel. Meanwhile, Brent crude prices added nearly 1.4% to hit $38.45.
  • On Tap Tomorrow: On Wednesday, the Fed Open Market Committee concludes its final meeting of the year, and markets are eager for an afternoon meeting where Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen is expected to make a big announcement. Traders expect the Fed will finally end its zero-interest-rate policy (ZIRP) and increase its benchmark rate for the first time since 2006. But this isn't the only big event on the economic calendar. Traders will eye critical November reports on U.S. industrial production and housing starts. Companies set to report quarterly earnings tomorrow include Oracle Corp. (ORCL), FedEx Corp. (FDX), Joy Global Inc. (JOY), Pier 1 Imports Inc. (PIR), Jabil Circuit Inc. (JBL), Herman Miller Inc. (Nasdaq: MLHR), and Advantage Oil & Gas Ltd. (AAV).

Stocks to Watch: MMM, VRX, WBA, MU, AAPL, DLG

  • Stocks to Watch No.1, MMM: Shares of 3M Co. (MMM) fell more than 6% after the company slashed its 2015 earnings forecast for the second time this year, telling investors it is struggling in a "continued slow-growth global economy." The firm has had numerous layoffs and sold several divisions in order to stay in the green. The company cut its full-year guidance for 2015 to $7.55 per share, down from a previous estimate of $7.60 to $7.65 per share. The company also offered a less than spectacular outlook for 2016.
  • Stocks to Watch No.2, VRX: Shares of Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. (VRX) surged more than 16% on news the Canadian drug manufacturer has signed a distribution deal with pharmacy benefits giant Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. (Nasdaq: WBA).
  • Stocks to Watch No.3, MU: Shares of Micron Technology Inc. (Nasdaq: MU) added nearly 4% on news the semiconductor giant plans to purchase the remaining stake of Taiwan's Inotera Memories for roughly $3.2 billion.
  • Stocks to Watch No.4, AAPL: Shares of Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) slipped more than 1.7% on news its chip supplier Dialog Semiconductor slashed its earnings guidance. The firm blamed weakness in the mobile telecom industry for its reduced expectations moving forward.

What Investors Must Know This Week

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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