Here Are 3 Hot Things to Know About Stocks Right Now

  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended in positive territory Friday after the U.S. added 196,000 jobs in March, a rebound from the prior month's poor showing.
  • Boeing (BA - Get Report) acknowledged for the first time that its software played a role in two recent deadly 737 MAX 8 accidents.
  • Intel (INTC - Get Report) fell after Wells Fargo downgraded shares of the chipmaker to market perform from outperform.

Wall Street Overview

Stocks ended in positive territory Friday after  U.S. employers hired at a faster-than-expected pace in March, a rebound from the prior month's dismal results that had raised alarms about the magnitude of an economic slowdown.
 
Nonfarm payrolls in the U.S. last month rose by 196,000, the Labor Department said. Economists surveyed by FactSet had estimated a gain of 175,000, on average. In February, the U.S. added just 20,000 jobs, the fewest since September 2017.
 
The U.S. unemployment rate held steady at 3.8%, close to the lowest in a half-century and consistent with economists' estimates. Average wages climbed by 4 cents to $27.70 an hour, compared with a 10-cent gain the prior month.
 
The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended up more than 40 points, or 0.15%, to 26,424.99, the S&P 500 rose 0.46%, while the Nasdaq climbed 0.59%.
 
Tom Kennedy, head trader and portfolio analyst at New England Investment & Retirement Group, said the jobs number continues "a trend of solid employment gains."

"This was sort of a high-profile month, given how large a miss last month was," he said. "Last month could've been the start of a trend, but this sort of middle-of-the-road, average number showed that was a blip and likely due to weather and other factors," Kennedy said. "This is an important factor as it has the ability to impact Fed decision making. This average number here is kind of perfect. It gives (the Fed) a lot of flexibility and gives them the ability to essentially wait for further data and likely doesn't force their hand one way or another."

President Donald Trump continued his criticism of the Federal Reserve, insisting along with his top economic adviser that the central bank cut interest rates.

Trump said Friday the Fed should lower interest rates from its current range of 2.25% to 2.50%. White House Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow told Fox News that Trump thinks the Fed went "too far" in its past hiking cycle, which saw benchmark rates lifted on eight separate occasions. Kudlow said the central bank could use "new thinking" on how supply-side dynamics influences the broader economy.

Trump said Thursday he believes there is a "very good chance" of reaching a trade deal with China. Trump also said he would participate in a summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping to finalize the details of an agreement in about four weeks, but only if the framework of a deal is in place. White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow would not give a timetable for the on-going talks. 

"It's not so much about timing, it's about getting a good deal," Kudlow said on Bloomberg TV on Friday. Kudlow also said Chinese Vice Premier Liu He was due back in Beijing after Friday's talks but the two sides will continue talks through teleconference next week.

Boeing ( BA - Get Report)  acknowledged for the first time that its software system played a role in two recent deadly 737 MAX 8 accidents, while analysts at UBS lowered their price target on the world's biggest planemaker amid ongoing investigations into the aircraft's safety. Separately, Boeing said it is cutting production of the 737 Max jets by 20% from 52 per month to 42 per month.
 
"We're adjusting the 737 production system temporarily to accommodate the pause in MAX deliveries, allowing us to prioritize additional resources to focus on software certification and returning the MAX to flight," Boeing Chairman and CEO Dennis Muilenburg said in a statement toward the close.
 
In addition, the 737 Max airplanes have another software problem that is unrelated to the flight control software system implicated in the two crashes. Boeing said in a statement that the newly reported issue is "relatively minor" and will be fixed as part of an update to the aircraft's flight control software system.
 
Shares closed down around 1% to $391.93. 
 
Shares of Snap ( SNAP - Get Report) rose nearly 5% to $11.84 after the company was upgraded by analysts at Summit Insights Group to hold while analysts at Bank of America maintained their neutral rating and $12 price target. Snap also unveiled Snap Games, a multiplayer platform featuring original and third-party games on the company's social media platform.
 
Intel ( INTC - Get Report)  fell slightly to $55.60 after Wells Fargo downgraded shares of the chipmaker to market perform from outperform. Analysts said that "we think shares now reflect a more balanced risk/reward."
 
Shares of Chipotle Mexican Grill ( CMG - Get Report)  rose nearly 1% to $708.37 after Stifel Nicolaus analyst Chris O'Cull  reiterated his hold rating on the Mexican food chain's stock and lifted his 12-month price target to $700 from $500. 
 
Samsung Electronics ( SSNLF) , the world's biggest smartphone maker, warned investors that its first-quarter profits would likely miss expectations. 
 
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