Here Are 3 Hot Things to Know About Stocks Right Now

  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose sharply Friday following a U.S. jobs report that smashed economists' estimates, and after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the central bank would be "patient" when it comes to raising interest rates.
  • The jump in U.S. nonfarm payrolls to 312,000 in December was well above economists' estimates of 180,000 jobs. The unemployment rate rose to 3.9%, climbing from a half-century low of 3.7%, while average hourly wages rose to an annual rate of 3.2%.
  • Apple Inc. (AAPL) rose 4.3% on Friday following the stock's 10% plunge on Thursday after the iPhone maker issued its first revenue warning in 12 years.

Wall Street Overview

Stocks surged on Friday, Jan. 4, after the U.S. added 312,000 jobs to payrolls in December, smashing economists' estimates, and after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the central bank would be "patient" when it comes to raising interest rates as it monitors incoming data.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 747 points, or 3.3%, to 23,433, the S&P 500 gained 3.4%, and the Nasdaq was up 4.3% as tech shares soared. The rebound followed a drubbing for U.S. stocks on Thursday after a sales warning from Apple Inc. (AAPL) and a weak report on U.S. manufacturing. The Dow on Thursday fell 660 points, or 2.83%, to 22,686, the S&P sank 2.48% and the Nasdaq dropped more than 3%.

"As always, there is no preset path for policy," Powell said Friday in a panel discussion on monetary policy and central banking at the American Economic Association in Atlanta. "And particularly with muted inflation readings that we've seen coming in, we will be waiting as we watch to see how the economy evolves."

Powell also said he wouldn't resign if asked to by Donald Trump, who has criticized the central bank for raising U.S. interest rates too quickly.

As recently as Dec. 24, Trump used a golf analogy to denigrate Powell, comparing him with a bad putter.

The Fed will set monetary policy "in a completely non-political way," Powell said. "I would want the public to be assured that we have a strong culture."

Robust U.S. jobs growth last year in the U.S. continued apace in December, even amid signs the economy has been slowing as Donald Trump's trade war with China takes a toll on both countries and the stimulus fades from U.S. tax cuts in late 2017.

The nonfarm payrolls jump to 312,000 in December was well above economists' estimates of 180,000 jobs. The December pace was double the 155,000 jobs added in November, and also above the average 206,000 per month created during all of 2018.

In a surprise, the unemployment rate rose to 3.9%, climbing from a half-century low of 3.7%. Average hourly wages also rose to an annual rate of 3.2%.

The jobs growth could provide a jolt to a U.S. stock market that declined in 2018 and has floundered in the first few trading days of the new year.

Stocks had been rebounding in the premarket session as planned trade talks between Washington and Beijing acted as a catalyst for a modest rebound in risk sentiment.

China's Commerce Ministry said Friday that Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Jeffrey Gerrish will visit Beijing next week for two days of high-level trade talks as the damaging dispute continued to take its toll on the the U.S. and China, both of which recorded notable manufacturing slowdowns at the end of 2018.

On Friday, China's central bank said it would reduce the ratio of cash to loans that domestic lenders need to hold on their balance sheets, a move that will add around $220 billion to the nation's financial system as officials attempt to re-ignite growth in the world's second-largest economy.

Apple Inc. (AAPL) rose 4.3% on Friday, making up some ground following the stock's 10% plunge on Thursday after the iPhone maker issued its first revenue warning in 12 years.

TheStreet's Eric Jhonsa said perhaps an iPhone sales stumble was necessary to fully appreciate the size of Apple's smartphone franchise, and how dependent even a company with Apple's reach remains on the business for now.

Amazon.com Inc.'s (AMZN) price target was cut to $2,000 from $2,200 by analysts at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. on "revised estimates." Shares rose 5%. 

Apple and Amazon 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.

Intel Corp. ( INTC)  jumped 6.1% after analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch boosted their rating and price target on the stock, citing the chipmaker's increasing focus on data-centric products. 

Netflix Inc. (NFLX) was up 9.7% after the stock was added to Goldman Sachs's conviction buy list.