Here Are 3 Hot Things to Know About Stocks Right Now

  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average   surged nearly 400 points and was on pace for the best trading day in four months.
  • Walmart Inc. (WMT)  jumped 9.3% on Thursday after U.S. same-store sales rose 4.5%, the most in a decade. 
  • J.C. Penney & Co. (JCP)  plunged 27% after the department store retailer posted a wider-than-expected second-quarter loss. 

Wall Street Overview

Stocks surged on Thursday, Aug. 16, after China said it was set to resume trade talks with the United States and Walmart Inc. (WMT) topped earnings estimates and raised full-year guidance.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 397points, or 1.58%, to 25,559, the S&P 500 gained 0.79% and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.42%.

China said Thursday it would send a delegation to Washington later this month for talks. The visit was at the invitation of the U.S., the Chinese Commerce Ministry said.

The group led by a deputy commerce minister will visit in late August to discuss "issues of mutual concern," the Commerce Ministry announced. No details of an agenda were released, according to the Associated Press.

The two biggest world economies are set impose a new round of tariff hikes on $16 billion of each other's goods next week in their worsening conflict over Beijing's technology policy.

Walmart Inc. (WMT) earned $1.29 a share in the second quarter, beating estimates by 7 cents, as revenue of $128.03 billion also topped forecasts. U.S. same-store sales rose 4.5%, ahead of forecasts of 2.3%. 

The world's largest retailer raised its fiscal-year earnings guidance, saying it now expects adjusted profit of $4.90 to $5.05 a share from previous guidance of $4.75 to $5.

The stock rose 9.3% on Thursday. Walmart is Real Money's "Stock of the Day." 

J.C. Penney Co. (JCP) tumbled 27.18% on Thursday after the company reported an adjusted loss in the second-quarter of 38 cents a share, wider than estimates that called for a loss of 6 cents. Sales were $2.83 billion, down from $3.07 billion a year earlier. Analysts expected sales of $2.81 billion.

The department store retailer said same-store sales rose 0.3% in the quarter; analysts expected growth of 1%.

Earnings reports are expected after Thursday's closing bell from Nvidia Corp. (NVDA) and Nordstrom Inc. (JWN) .

Nvidia and Nordstrom are holdings in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS member club. Want to be alerted before Jim Cramer buys or sells the stocks? Learn more now.

Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) shares rose 2.96% on Thursday after the networking giant posted fiscal fourth-quarter earnings of 70 cents a share, beating estimates by a penny, and revenue of $12.84 billion, which also came in higher than forecasts.

The company also guided for fiscal first-quarter earnings between 70 cents and 72 cents a share with a 5% increase in year-over-year revenue to $12.61 billion. For the October quarter, analysts expect Cisco to report earnings of 69 cents a share on revenue of $12.58 billion.

Cisco has pinned much of its growth on its software and services business. Revenue from subscriptions represented 56% of total software revenue in the first quarter, the company said.

Federal regulators have subpoenaed Tesla Inc. (TSLA) following CEO Elon Musk's tweet last week that he had secured funding to take the electric vehicle maker private, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The subpoena from the Securities and Exchange Commission seeks information from each of Tesla's directors, according to a person familiar with the matter. It isn't known what information was being sought, according to the Journal.

Tesla shares fell 0.96%.

In U.S. economic data, housing starts rose just 0.9% in July, a sign that higher construction costs could be weighing on homebuilders. The Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index tumbled to 11.9 in August, the lowest reading in 21 months, from July's reading of 25.7.

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