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7 Hot Things to Know About Stocks Right Now

  • Rising Thursday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up for a third straight day, the first three-session winning steak since Feb. 26. 
  • Leading the Dow Thursday were DowDuPont Inc., Boeing Co. and Chevron Corp. 
  • With increases on Tuesday and Wednesday, the S&P 500 sported its first back-to-back gains since March 9-10.
  • Goldman Sachs GS is still bullish on the M&A market
  • Rent-a-Center (RCII) - Get Rent-A-Center Inc Report pops another 3% on TheStreet's Ron Orol reporting of buyout interest from Cerberus
  • Small-cap stocks still look wildly expensive, points out TheStreet's Brian Sozzi. According to BofA research, the Russell 2000 trades at a forward price-to-earnings ratio of 19.7 times. That's down from 22.2 times during the cycle peak in November, but is still a whopping 20% premium to historical norms.
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Wall Street Overview

Stocks rose on Thursday, April 5, as worries about a full-blown trade war between the U.S. and China eased with the focus now turning to negotiations.

The U.S. and China will now follow a timeline stretching over the next half year, during which the two sides will seek to negotiate, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average I:DJI  rose 3240 points, or 1%, to 24,505. Leading the Dow were DowDuPont Inc. undefined  , Boeing Co. (BA) - Get Boeing Company Report   and Chevron Corp. (CVX) - Get Chevron Corporation Report . The S&P 500 undefined  gained 0.7% and the Nasdaq I:IXIC  was up 0.5%. 

Stocks rose on Wednesday, April 4, after spending most of the day in negative territory after China said it would slap reciprocal 25% tariffs on 106 U.S. products including soybeans, cars, planes, whiskey, and chemicals. The Dow jumped 230 points, or 0.96%, to 24,264; at its session low on Wednesday the Dow fell 510 points. 

The U.S. trade deficit rose 1.6% in February to $57.6 billion, the highest deficit since October 2008. Imports in February rose 1.7% to $262 billion, while exports also climbed 1.7%.

Weekly jobless claims in the U.S. rose 24,000 to 242,000 and remain historically low. Claims came in under 300,000 for a 161st week. 

Facebook Inc. (FB) - Get Facebook, Inc. Class A Report CEO Mark Zuckerberg made it clear on a rare conference call with reporters Wednesday that he was taking personal responsibility for the data handling issues that have beset his company and battered its stock price in recent weeks.  

Zuckerberg said the company was about "a year into a three-year push" to solving the social network's problems with data security and fake news. 

The company estimated that as many as 87 million users may have had personal data accessed by Cambridge Analytica, not the 50 million that previously was reported. Zuckerberg said the number was calculated within the last few days.

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Facebook shares rose 2.73% on Thursday.

Facebook is a holding in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio. Want to be alerted before Cramer buys or sells the stock? Learn more now.

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Merger talks between CBS Corp. (CBS) - Get CBS Corporation Class B Report and Viacom Inc. (VIAB) - Get Viacom Inc. Class B Report   have turned acrimonious, the Journal reported. 

The companies have dug in their heels in talks over deal price and leadership, said people familiar with the matter. CBS made an all-stock offer for Viacom that valued the company at less than its market value at the time of the offer and insisted that its executive team run the combined entity, the Journal reported.

CBS fell 1.65%, while Viacom rose 0.65%.

Spotify Technology S.A. (SPOT) - Get Spotify Technology SA Report   fell 0.5% after analysts at Stifel initiated coverage of the stock with a buy rating and a $180 price target, implying about a 25% upside for shares from their closing price of $144.22 on Wednesday.

Action Alerts PLUS holding Citigroup Inc. (C) - Get Citigroup Inc. Report rose 1.33% and Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC) - Get Wells Fargo & Company Report rose 0.66% after UBS upgraded both stocks to buy from neutral.

Monsanto Co. (MON)  rose 1.5% after the seeds company posted fiscal second-quarter earnings and sales that missed analysts' expectations but said it remained "optimistic" that its merger with Bayer AG will be completed "within the second calendar quarter of 2018."