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Here Are 3 Hot Things to Know About Stocks Right Now

  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up more than 200 points Thursday after strong earnings reports from some market heavyweights.
  • Cisco Systems (CSCO) advanced after the networking giant posted fiscal third-quarter earnings that topped Wall Street forecasts.
  • Walmart  (WMT) surged after first-quarter earnings at the world's largest retailer were stronger than expected.

Wall Street Overview

Stocks ended up Thursday after strong earnings reports from some market heavyweights helped push aside investors' concerns -- for now -- about the U.S.-China trade war. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 215 points, or 0.84%, to 25,863, the S&P 500 advanced 0.89% and the Nasdaq climbed 0.97%.

President Trump banned China's Huawei Technologies from dealing with U.S. companies. Huawei, the world's biggest telecoms equipment maker and a key player in China's ambitions to dominate 5G networking around the globe, was placed on the "Entity List" by the U.S. Commerce Department late Wednesday. 

Shares of several communication chipmakers fell sharply following news of the ban, while rival telecommunications companies advanced.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, meanwhile, said Trump may opt to place tariffs on automobile imports from Europe and Japan later this week, contradicting multiple media reports that suggested he would delay that decision for six months.

Cisco Systems (CSCO) advanced after the networking giant posted fiscal third-quarter earnings that topped Wall Street forecasts and issued a strong fourth-quarter revenue forecast. The company said tariff increases on China-made goods wouldn't affect its near-term profit outlook. Shares rose 6.7% to $55.93.

Shares of retail giant Walmart (WMT)   rose 1.4% to $101.31 after posting stronger-than-expected first-quarter earnings. Walmart CFO Brett Biggs said the company will do everything it can to keep prices low, but warned "increased tariffs will lead to increase prices, we believe, for our customers."

"Both of these companies' stocks soared not just because of their better-than-expected earnings," said Jim Cramer. "They flew because both expressed a degree of immunity to the tariffs that shocked Wall Street."

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Boeing (BA) said completed development of the updated software for the troubled 737 MAX, which has been involved into two fatal crashes. Shares rose 2.4% to $353.81.

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) revealed in an SEC filing its first investment in online giant Amazon  (AMZN) Wednesday, a stake that is now closing in on $1 billion. Shares of Amazon were up 2% to $ 1,907.57.

Tesla (TSLA) shares slipped 1.6% to $228.33 after one of its biggest investors, T. Rowe Price (TROW) , disclosed it sold 81% of its shares in the electric vehicle maker over the first three months of the year, according to an SEC filing.

Related. The Key Thing to Watch in Nvidia's Earnings Report

Amazon, and Cisco are holdings in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS member club. Want to be alerted before Jim Cramer buys or sells these stocks? Learn more now.

In economic news, homebuilding in the U.S. increased more than expected in April, as housing starts rose 5.7% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.235 million units last month, the Commerce Department said. Data for March was revised up to show homebuilding rising to a pace of 1.168 million units, instead of falling to a rate of 1.139 million units as previously reported.

Cramer and the Action Alerts PLUS team said in a note that "a bottom is forming in the housing market and that the recent decline in interest rates (aided by the move lower in longer-term Treasury yields) is helping to offset the high list prices that in combination with previously higher mortgage rates had been pricing many would-be buyers out of the market."

"That said, while this is certainly an important reading as it gives us insights into the builders' view on the economic outlook," they added, "we reiterate our view that - at least for the time being - negotiations on the U.S./China trade front remain the key to this market."

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 16,000 to a seasonally adjusted 212,000 for the week ended May 11, the Labor Department said. Economists had forecast claims would fall to 220,000.

Real Money's Stephen Guilfoyle: Here's How I'm Trading Walmart