Here Are 3 Hot Things to Know About Stocks Right Now

  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose Friday after the U.S. created more jobs than expected in January. 
  • Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN - Get Report)   fell 5.4% after the online retailing giant reported fourth-quarter earnings and revenue that topped Wall Street's forecasts but issued first-quarter guidance that was below expectations.
  • Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM - Get Report)  posted a fourth-quarter earnings beat and the stock jumped 3.6%, though revenue missed analysts' estimates.

Wall Street Overview

Stocks were mixed Friday, Feb. 1, as the U.S. economy created nearly double the expected number of jobs in January and investors weighed the progress of trade talks between Washington and Beijing.

Nonfarm payrolls rose 304,000 in January, the Department of Labor said in a report, well above economists' estimates of 165,000. The pace last month was nearly on par with the 312,000 jobs added in December.

The unemployment rate rose to 4% from 3.9% in December. Average hourly wages rose just 0.1% vs. the consensus forecast of 0.3%.

Progress in the trade negotiations was characterized by the White House as "substantial" late Thursday following a two-day meeting between China Vice Premier Liu He and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, which culminated in brief talks with Donald Trump and a pledge to sit down with his opposite number, Xi Jinping, to potentially reach a deal prior their self-imposed March 1 deadline.

"I hope our two sides will continue to act in the spirit in mutual respect," Xi said in a letter read by an interpreter to Trump. "An agreement would send a positive signal to our two peoples and the broader international community."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 64 points, or 0.26%, to 25,064, the S&P 500 rose 0.09%, and the Nasdaq slipped 0.25%. The major indexes closed out January with their best monthly performance in years on Thursday. The Dow jumped 7.2% in January, the blue-chip index's biggest increase in January in 30 years. The S&P 500, up 7.9%, had its best January since 1987.

Wall Street also got a boost Friday from the Consumer Sentiment index for January, which fell less than expected to 91.2 from 98.3 in December, and the Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing index, which rose last month to 56 from 54.3 in December.

Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN - Get Report) was fell 5.4% Friday after the online retailing giant reported fourth-quarter earnings and revenue that topped Wall Street's forecasts but issued first-quarter guidance that was below expectations.

Earnings were $6.04 a share, up from $3.75 a year earlier and above estimates of $5.65. Revenue of $72.4 billion beat forecasts of $71.9 billion.

But Amazon said it expects sales in the first quarter of $56 billion to $60 billion, below analysts' predictions of $60.83 billion, and operating income of $2.3 billion to $3.3 billion, roughly in line with consensus of $3.09 billion.

The company said the shortfall was related to regulatory uncertainty in India, a key growth market, raising questions over Amazon's uneven international strategy.

"Overall, this was another strong quarter from the company with plenty of beats in key areas, as well as good growth in North American operating profits and international top-line sales," said Jim Cramer and the Action Alerts PLUS team, which holds Amazon in its portfolio. "We'll hear about guidance getting nitpicked again (Friday), and spending growth might be on top of mind too, however, you won't find another company as innovative as Amazon that's also churning out profits at a torrid pace."

Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM - Get Report) reported a strong fourth-quarter earnings beat and the stock jumped 3.6%, though revenue missed analysts' estimates.

The company reported earnings $1.41 a share, well ahead of Wall Street's consensus estimate of $1.08. Revenue of $71.89 billion came in below expectations of $72.5 billion.

Rival Chevron Corp. (CVX - Get Report) reported strong earnings led by a double-digit jump in revenue. The stock rose 3.26%. 

Honeywell International Inc. (HON - Get Report) posted stronger-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings, and said 2019 profit would continue to expand, easing investor concerns over the impact of a China-led slowdown in global economic growth. Shares rose 0.52%.

Honeywell is a holding in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio. Want to be alerted before Cramer buys or sells the stock? Learn more now.

Merck & Co. (MRK - Get Report) earned an adjusted $1.04 a share, 1 cent better than estimates, on fourth-quarter sales of $11 billion, which came in higher than forecasts of $10.95 billion.

The drug company said it expects 2019 adjusted profit of $4.59 to $4.72 a share vs. estimates of $4.69. Merck rose 2.65%.

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