Here Are 3 Hot Things to Know About Stocks Right Now

  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose for a third day in a row Thursday, building on a strong two-day rally that closed out a tough October for the blue-chip index. The Dow fell 5.1% last month.
  • DowDuPont Inc. (DWDP)  rose 8% after the chemicals company earned 74 cents a share in the third quarter, beating forecasts by 3 cents.  
  • Apple Inc. (AAPL) , a holding in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS portfolio, rose 1.5% ahead of the iPhone giant's fiscal fourth-quarter earnings expected after the closing bell Thursday.

Wall Street Overview

Stocks rose Thursday, Nov. 1, as traders looked to put the worst month for equity markets in at least two years behind them and awaited earnings from Apple Inc. (AAPL) . 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 265 points, or 1.1%, to 25,381, the S&P 500 gained 1.1%, and the Nasdaq rose 1.8%. Stocks gained momentum after Donald Trump tweeted he had a "long and very good conversation" with Chinese President Xi Jinping concerning trade.

The Dow jumped Wednesday, Oct. 31, posting its best two-day rally in more than two years as the blue-chip index closed out a tough October down 5.1%.

Most of the headline risks that drove markets lower through October, including U.S.-China trade concerns, rising interest rates and slowing economic growth, remain firmly entrenched in investor sentiment. Investors will be turning their eyes to earnings from Apple, hoping the report from the iPhone maker after Thursday's closing bell helps turn around the tech-heavy Nasdaq, which dropped 9.2% in October, its worst month in nearly 10 years.

"The rebound in tech, led primarily by the FANG stocks, is what's really driving the rally because of how big these companies are and due to their heavy weighting in so many ETFs," said Zev Fima, research analyst for Jim Cramer's Action Alert PLUS portfolio. "That said, Apple is not only the biggest tech company but the biggest company period so Thursday's earnings results after the bell are going to be key in keeping this rally we've been seeing alive.

Fima said another key factor will be Apple CEO Cook's commentary regarding China. "There have been some concerns regarding services growth, so that's the concern right now but at 15x forward earnings, part of the reason Apple has held up so well through all of this, with services providing a growing recurring revenue stream at higher margins, as a long-term investor, I would be inclined to view any weakness as a buying opportunity," Fima said.

In addition to earnings from Apple, reports are expected after markets close from Starbucks Corp. (SBUX) , Kraft Heinz Co. (KHC)  , Weight Watchers International Inc. (WTW) , CBS Corp. (CBS) and GoPro Inc. (GPRO) .

Meanwhile DowDuPont Inc. (DWDP) posted third-quarter adjusted earnings of 74 cents a share, beating forecasts of 71 cents. Revenue of $20.12 billion came in slightly below estimates. The company also announced a new $3 billion stock buyback program. Shares rose 8%.

DowDuPont also is a holdings in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS member club. Want to be alerted before Jim Cramer buys or sells DWDP? Learn more now.

Cigna Corp. (CI)  reported income from operations in the third quarter of $3.84 a share, which beat expectations of $3.43. The health insurer also raised targets for both full-year profit and sales. The stock rose 1%.

Ford Motor Co. (F) said U.S. sales in October declined 3.9% to 192,616 vehicles. Shares of the automaker fell 3%.

Encana Corp.  (ECA) reached an agreement to acquire Newfield Exploration Co. (NFX)  in an all-stock transaction valued at about $5.5 billion.

The companies said the deal was expected to close in the first quarter of 2019. Encana fell 13%, while shares of Newfield jumped 16%.

Fitbit Inc. (FIT)  rose 26% after the company posted adjusted earnings in the third quarter of 4 cents a share, while analysts had expected a loss of 1 cent. It was the first time in two years that the wearables company posted an adjusted profit.

New York Times Co. ( NYT) posted third-quarter adjusted earnings of 15 cents a share, 3 cents above forecasts. Revenue of $417.3 million also topped forecasts and ad revenue in the quarter jumped to $121.7 million from $113.6 million a year earlier. The stock rose 7%.
 
 
What Are "Closed-End" Mutual Funds and How Do They Fit Into a Savvy Investors' Portfolios? Click here to register for a free online video in which TheStreet's retirement expert Robert Powell and an all-star panel run down all you need to know. 

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