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Here Are 3 Hot Things to Know About Stocks Right Now

The three major U.S. stock indexes barreled to record closings highs Friday following bullish comments on U.S.-China trade talks from a key White House adviser.

  • The three major U.S. stock indexes closed at record highs Friday with the Dow ending above 28,000 for the first time following bullish comments on U.S.-China trade talks from a key White House adviser.
  • U.S. retail sales increased 0.3% in October, the Commerce Department said, boosted by higher gasoline prices.
  • Nvidia (NVDA) - Get NVIDIA Corporation Report fell after forecasting lighter-than-expected near-term revenue that offset a solid third-quarter earnings report. Nvidia is Real Money's Stock of the Day.

Wall Street Overview

The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 222.93 points, or 0.80%, to 28,004.89 -- the first time the Dow ever closed above 28,000. The S&P 500 rose 0.77% to 3,120.45, its third record close in a row, while the Nasdaq climbed 0.73% to a new closing high of 8,540.83.

All three indexes hit record intraday highs at the market open Friday morning.

"The companies that comprise the Dow Industrial Average are more cyclical than the more well-rounded S&P 500 and those cyclical companies are really beginning to join in the rally that started last month," said Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer for Independent Advisor Alliance. "In the absence of any major, negative news on trade, the market is poised to begin the Santa Claus rally early and should leave markets even higher by year end."

UnitedHealth (UNH) - Get UnitedHealth Group Incorporated Report , Pfizer (PFE) - Get Pfizer Inc. Report  and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) - Get Johnson & Johnson Report were leading the Dow's advance.

A judge in Oklahoma on Friday revised an earlier opioid-related ruling against Johnson & Johnson, telling the drugmaker to make a onetime payment of $465 million - not the $572 million he had originally ordered.

Applied Materials (AMAT) - Get Applied Materials, Inc. Report was the top gainer on the Nasdaq and S&P 500, climbing 8.9% to $62.06 after the semiconductor equipment maker forecast solid near-term sales after stronger-than-expected quarterly results.

White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow told an event at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington Thursday that the world's two largest economies have made "very good progress" amid "constructive talks" aimed at ending their trade dispute of 16 months.

"We're getting close," Kudlow said. "The mood music is pretty good, and that has not always been so in these things."

"I'm sure there are more than a few jittery investors out there but for the most part we're seeing some smooth sailing," said Mike Loewengart, vice president of investment strategy at E*Trade. "Walmart reported very strong earnings and retail sales pushed back into positive territory this month, which shows consumers are continuing to open their wallets."

Loewengart said "trade tensions are at a simmer and likely won't boil over any time soon given Washington's focus on the impeachment hearings."

"On top of that, the Fed has rates at historic lows with little intention to move in the immediate future," he said. "All this translates into a much more tranquil and certain environment, which is where markets tend to thrive."

Gorilla Trades strategist Ken Berman said that "Chinese industrial production and retail sales both missed big time, and if the official numbers are deteriorating, the real trends are likely even worse."

"While the Chinese economy is very important for sustaining global growth, the weak numbers also mean that the Chinese side is unlikely to risk another escalation in the trade war," Berman said.

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TheStreet Recommends

The The House Intelligence Committee was questioning Marie Yovanovitch, the former ambassador to Ukraine, on Friday as part of the impeachment investigation. John Ham, associate advisor at New England Investment & Retirement Group, said "we have seen a muted response from the markets on the impeachment proceedings and expect that long term, it will be a non-event for markets."

"While the proceedings do bring a fair amount of uncertainty, they present an opportunity for near-term overreaction by market participants and we would use those as buying opportunities," Ham said. "In our view, the market is far more focused on the trade war and the rhetoric from phase 1 negotiations. The assumption is that regardless of who is President, the trade war is here to stay until we can come to a workable solution for both sides to sign off on."

Nvidia (NVDA) - Get NVIDIA Corporation Report fell 2.7% to $204.19 after the gaming chipmaker forecast lighter-than-expected near-term revenue that offset a solid third-quarter earnings report. Nvidia is Real Money's Stock of the Day.

J.C. Penney (JCP) - Get J. C. Penney Company, Inc. Report climbed 6.8% to $1.17 after the struggling retailer posted a narrower-than-expected third-quarter loss and boosted its full-year profit guidance.

(JD) - Get Inc. Report

was off slightly to $33.55 even after the China-based

e-commerce giant

and key rival to Alibaba

(BABA) - Get Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. Report

posted stronger-than-expected third quarter earnings.

Occidental Petroleum (OXY) - Get Occidental Petroleum Corporation Report rose 3.2% to $38.95 after billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn lost a court battle to gain access to records linked to the company's $38 billion takeover of Anadarko Petroleum (APC) - Get Anadarko Petroleum Corporation Report . Separately, Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) - Get Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Class A Report launched new positions in Occidental Petroleum and Restoration Hardware parent RH (RH) - Get RH Report , according to regulatory filings.


retail sales increased

0.3% in October, the Commerce Department said, lifted by motor vehicle purchases and higher gasoline prices. Economists had forecast retail sales gaining 0.2% last month. The gain followed September's sales decline of 0.3%.

October industrial production fell 0.8%, well below the consensus, -0.4%. Manufacturing output fell 0.6%, a tenth above the consensus, -0.7%.

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