Here Are 3 Hot Things to Know About Stocks Right Now

  • The S&P 500 closed at a record high for the second day in a row Thursday, but concerns about a U.S.-China trade pact and Cisco's (CSCO) - Get Report earnings miss slowed investors down.
  • Walmart (WMT) - Get Report  fell even after the retail giant posted stronger-than-expected third-quarter earnings Thursday, and boosted its full-year profit guidance as e-commerce and grocery sales at the world's biggest retailer continue to surge. Walmart is Real Money's Stock of the Day.
  • Cisco Systems fell after the networking equipment maker posted stronger-than-expected first-quarter earnings but said uncertain conditions would hit client orders in the months ahead.

Wall Street Overview

The S&P 500 closed at a record high for the second day in a row Thursday, but concerns about a U.S.-China trade pact and Cisco's (CSCO) - Get Report earnings miss slowed investors down.

The S&P closed up 2.59 points or 0.08% to 3,096.63, breaking its day-old record. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which had been down by about 100 points, finished down 1.63, or 0.01%, to 27,781.69. The Nasdaq ended off 3 points, or 0.04% to 8,479.02.

Both the Dow and S&P had closed at record highs on Wednesday.

NetApp (NTAP) - Get Report was the S&P's biggest earner, trading after the data-management-services company reported better-than-expected fiscal-second-quarter profit. Shares rose 3.2% to end at $61.98.

Cisco Systems was the biggest loser on all three indexes, falling 7.3% to $44.91 after the networking equipment maker posted stronger-than-expected first-quarter earnings but said uncertain conditions would hit client orders in the months ahead.

Boeing (BA) - Get Report was the Dow's top gainer after Vertical Research Partners analyst Robert Stallard reiterated his bullish rating of the aerospace giant and increased his price target to $400 from $380. Boeing said on Monday it could bring the troubled 737 MAX back into service early next year. Shares rose 1.4% to $367.44.

On the trade front, China's Commerce Ministry said Thursday that the cancellation of U.S. tariffs was a significant condition for a "phase one" trade agreement, casting doubt on the level of progress in talks between Washington and Beijing. The remarks followed a speech from Donald Trump on Tuesday in which he raised the specter of fresh levies on China-made goods if the two sides were unable to reach a broad agreement on trade.

Reports Wednesday also noted China's reluctance to commit to an exact monetary amount of agricultural purchases it would make from the U.S. The president has said China has agreed to buy up to $50 billion in U.S. soybeans, pork and other agricultural products annually.

Walmart (WMT) - Get Report was off slightly to $120.65 even after the retail giant posted stronger-than-expected third-quarter earnings Thursday, and boosted its full-year profit guidance as e-commerce and grocery sales at the world's biggest retailer continue to surge. Walmart is Real Money's Stock of the Day.

Viacom (VIAB) - Get Report , soon to be CBSViacom, advanced 1.9% to $22.47 after the media giant posted fourth-quarter earnings that beat analysts' forecasts.

Apple (AAPL) - Get Report was off about 1% to $262.64 after Maxim Group analysts downgraded the tech giant to sell from hold, citing a bearish outlook for fiscal 2020 iPhone sales.

Semiconductor make Nvidia (NVDA) - Get Report  shares rose ahead of the company's latest financial report due after the closing bell Thursday. 

The U.S. producer price index rose 0.4% in October. Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said "the most striking element of the report is healthcare, where hospital costs jumped by 1.0%, lifting the (year-over-year) rate to 3.7%, a six-year high."

"Healthcare has been the inflation dog that didn't bark so far in this cycle, but the recent numbers clearly show prices accelerating," he said. "We don't know how far this will run, but the combination of several years with prices rising slower than wages, amid a falling payment-to-cost ratio for Medicare and Medicaid, could prove a toxic mix."

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