Here Are 3 Hot Things to Know About Stocks Right Now

  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended lower Thursday after U.S. retail sales in December fell the most since September 2009.
  • Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) was up 1.9% after reporting fiscal second-quarter profit and revenue that beat analysts' forecasts, hiking its quarterly dividend by 6% and boosting its buyback plan by $15 billion.
  • Coca-Cola Co. (KO) posted fourth-quarter profit in line with analysts' forecasts, but noted that 2019 organic revenue growth would slow and comparable earnings likely would remain flat thanks in part to a stronger U.S. dollar. The stock declined 8.46%.

Wall Street Overview

Stocks ended mixed on Thursday, Feb. 14, after U.S. retail sales in December fell the most since September 2009.

Retail sales fell 1.2% in December, the Commerce Department said. Economists had expected a gain of 0.2%. Although the data were partially affected by the 35-day government shutdown, the weakness in such a key metric of U.S. economic health -- consumer spending is responsible for around two-thirds of GDP growth -- triggered sharp drops in equities.

"These numbers are astonishing, and impossible to square with the Redbook chainstore sales survey, which reported surging sales in December and a record high in the week of Christmas, on the back of the plunge in gasoline prices," said Ian Shepherdson of Pantheon Economics. 

"These data are so wild that we have to expect hefty upward revisions, but if they stand, they are very unlikely to be representative of the trend over the next few months," he added. "The consumer is no longer enjoying tax cuts or falling gas prices, but that's no reason to expect a rollover."

Earlier, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters in Beijing he was "looking forward to discussions" Thursday as he headed off to meetings with China's Vice Premier Liu He in the Chinese capital. Donald Trump has said several times this week that talks are going "very well," and Bloomberg reported that he has considered expanding the March 2 trade deal deadline by 60 days in order to ensure that a comprehensive deal ultimately is reached between the world's two biggest economies.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 104 points, or 0.41%, to end at 25,439, the S&P 500 was down 0.27%, and the Nasdaq rose 0.09% on gains in tech shares such as Netflix Inc. (NFLX) , which rose 2.08%.

Networking giant Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) rose 1.9% Thursday after reporting fiscal second-quarter profit and revenue that beat analysts' forecasts, and after hiking its quarterly dividend by 6% and boosting its buyback plan by $15 billion.

Cisco said it expects third-quarter earnings of 76 cents to 78 cents a share on revenue growth between 4% and 6%. Analysts predicted third-quarter earnings of 76 cents a share on revenue growth of 3%.

The company said that it continues to compete well in China, the world's largest market, and hasn't yet felt the impact of trade tensions between the U.S. and China.

"I think our portfolio right now from an innovation perspective, and particularly with the work the teams are doing in the SP space and the work that we're doing around the 5G packet core and some of these next generation platforms that are going to hit the market this year, I would put our innovation up against there as anybody else's in the world right now," CEO Chuck Robbins told investors on a conference call.

Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) said Thursday it decided not to "move forward with our plans to build a headquarters for Amazon in Long Island City, Queens" amid opposition to the online retailer's plans.

"While polls show that 70% of New Yorkers support our plans and investment, a number of state and local politicians have made it clear that they oppose our presence and will not work with us to build the type of relationships that are required to go forward with the project we and many others envisioned in Long Island City," Amazon said in a statement.

Amazon shares were down 1.06%.

Coca-Cola Co. (KO) posted fourth-quarter profit in line with analysts' forecasts, but noted that 2019 organic revenue growth would slow and comparable earnings likely would remain flat thanks in part to a stronger U.S. dollar.

The stock tumbled 8.46%.

Coca-Cola earned 43 cents a share in the quarter, matching the Wall Street consensus forecast. Revenue fell 6% to $7.1 billion and narrowly missed the consensus estimate of $7.06 billion.

Looking into 2019, Coca-Cola said it sees organic revenue rising 4%, down from 5% in 2018, and a 12% to 13% gain in currency-neutral revenue. Comparable non-GAAP earnings, which totaled $2.08 a share in 2018, are expected to be within 1% of that figure, either to the upside or the downside, in 2019.

Earnings reports are expected after Thursday's closing bell from chipmakers Nvidia Corp. (NVDA)  and Applied Materials Inc. (AMAT)  .

Cisco 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.

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