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Stock Market Today: Dow Turns Positive for 2020

A boost from improved consumer spending data helped get the Dow over the hump Friday, putting it back in the black for the first time since February.

The week closed on a fairly quiet session that saw the Dow finally punch its way back above the breakeven mark for 2020 for the first time since February.

The major news Friday was a Commerce Department consumer spending report that showed a 1.9% improvement in July. Not quite June's 6.2% gain, but still better than expected.

"However, spending could decline in the coming months in the absence of new fiscal stimulus, including enhanced unemployment benefits," Argus Research notes.

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U.S. goods trade volumes also increased in July, with exports climbing 12.1%, the second consecutive monthly double-digit improvement.

"The surge in imports, in our view, bodes well for the outlook for business investment in coming months," write Barclays Investment Bank's Michael Gapen and Pooja Sriram. "In addition, changing household spending patterns and a shift toward consumer durables and away from services has led to strengthening goods imports and the widest goods deficit since late 2018."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.6% to 28,653, finishing in positive territory year-to-date for the first time since Feb. 21. The blue-chip index is now up 0.5% on the year.

Other action in the stock market today:

  • The S&P 500 climbed 0.7% to an all-time high of 3,508.
  • The Nasdaq Composite rose 0.6% to a record 11,695.
  • The small-cap Russell 2000 improved by 0.9% to close at 1,578.

Get Ready for a Busy Monday

Friday might have been a snorer, but investors have plenty to look forward to come Monday. Tesla (TSLA) will begin trading on a split-adjusted basis following its 5-for-1 stock split – same goes for Apple (AAPL), whose 4-for-1 split will go into effect.

We'll also get a revamped Dow Jones Industrial Average, as the index replaces multiple components at once for the first time since 2013. That means waving goodbye to Pfizer (PFE), Raytheon Technologies (RTX) and Exxon Mobil (XOM), and saying hello to Salesforce.com (CRM), Honeywell (HON) and Amgen (AMGN).

In between here and there, you have a couple of days to brush up on the "smart money's" latest moves.

Yesterday, we pointed you to a couple dozen significant stock sells by billionaires, hedge funds and advisories. Well, today, we're breaking down some of their most beloved holdings, including a number that were bulked up during the second quarter. 

Yes, mimicking every billionaire move isn't necessarily a recipe for success. (Indeed, some pros were buying what others were selling last quarter!) But these big-money investors have research access and insider connections you can only dream of – making their stock picks worth a deeper look. Check out the most recent 50 top stock picks of the billionaire set.

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