Here Are 3 Hot Things to Know About Stocks Right Now

  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average turned higher Thursday, rising for the third straight day in a row. U.S. stocks have closed with gains in seven of the past nine sessions.
  • Morgan Stanley (MS) earned 80 cents a share in the fourth quarter, missing forecasts of 89 cents. The stock fell 4.4%.
  • Netflix Inc. (NFLX)  will report earnings after the closing bell Thursday. Analysts expect the streaming giant to post fourth-quarter earnings of 24 cents a share on revenue of $4.21 billion.

Wall Street Overview

Stocks surged Thursday afternoon after the Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. is considering lifting tariffs levied against China in order to hasten a deal that would end a trade war between the world's two largest economies. 

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is pushing for the duties to be lifted, but he is facing resistance from U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, sources told the Journal Thursday. 

The U.S. Treasury later provided a statement to CNBC denying the Journal report and stocks pared gains slightly.

"Neither Secretary Mnuchin nor Ambassador Lighthizer have made any recommendations to anyone with respect to tariffs or other parts of the negotiation with China. This is an ongoing process with the Chinese that is nowhere near completion," the Treasury's statement read. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 163 points, or 0.67%, to 24,370, the S&P 500 was up 0.76%, and the Nasdaq rose 0.71%.

China's vice premier, Liu He, confirmed Thursday he will travel to Washington for two days of talks with U.S. officials starting Jan. 30, easing worries that the U.S. government shutdown, now in its 27th day, would delay negotiations that already are running up against a March 1 deadline.

However, reports late Wednesday from The Wall Street Journal that China-based Huawei Technologies Co., the world's biggest telecommunications equipment maker, was being investigated by federal prosecutors for allegedly stealing trade secrets from American businesses cast a pall over the trade negotiations.

That concern was compounded by the launch of a bi-partisan bill in Congress late Wednesday that sought to ban U.S. companies from exporting goods to foreign companies that have violated State Department sanctions and specifically named Huawei and Chinese rival ZTE Corp.

Sentiment was dented by a forecast from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSM) , a key Apple Inc. (AAPL) supplier, that said first-quarter revenue would fall 14%, the steepest decline in at least 10 years.

Morgan Stanley ( MS)  said fourth-quarter profit from continuing operations tumbled 25% as the firm's bond-trading division suffered along with rival Wall Street firms through turbulent financial markets.
 
Net income was $1.53 billion, the New York-based bank said. Earnings per share were 80 cents, missing the average analyst estimate of 89 cents. Net revenue fell by 10% 10% to $8.55 billion.
 
Shares fell 4.4%.
Netflix Inc. ( NFLX) , the streaming giant, will report earnings after the closing bell Thursday. Analysts expect Netflix to post fourth-quarter earnings of 24 cents a share on revenue of $4.21 billion.
 
The company on Tuesday said it was raising its U.S. monthly subscription prices by 13% to 18%, its largest increase ever and the fourth time it has increased prices in the U.S. since it started its streaming service 12 years ago. The last hike came in 2017.

Railroad operator CSX Corp. (CSX) reported fourth-quarter earnings of $1.01 a share on revenue of $3.14 billion, topping analysts' estimates on both the top and bottom lines. The stock, however, declined 0.44% on Thursday after CSX said it expects slower growth in 2019.

Alcoa Inc. (AA)  earned 66 cents a share on an adjusted basis in the fourth quarter, higher than forecasts of 50 cents, on revenue of $3.3 billion. But the aluminum giant forecast that its supply would outpace demand this year and that shipments across its business would be flat.

Alcoa rose 2.1% after trading down earlier in the session.

PPG Industries Inc.  ( PPG) posted stronger-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings but guided for slower growth in 2019 because of a stronger U.S. dollar and increased economic uncertainty. The stock rose 4.74%.