Here Are 3 Hot Things to Know About Stocks Right Now

  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up for the seventh straight day Thursday despite conflicting signals on an interim deal with China that would delay tariffs, and as the European Central Bank cut its main deposit rate.
  • CVS (CVS - Get Report) shares climbed after analysts at Deutsche Bank called the company its "top pick" in the managed care, drug supply and beneficiary technology space. CVS is Real Money's Stock of the Day.
  • Oracle ( ORCL - Get Report) shares fell after the business software company posted weaker-than-expected first quarter sales and said CEO Mark Hurd would be taking a medical leave of absence. 

Wall Street Overview

Stocks finished up Thursday, but pared earlier gains going into the close, amid mixed signals about a possible interim trade deal with China and the European Central Bank's rate cut and resumption of quantitative easing.

The Dow finished in positive territory for the seventh straight day, the longest winning streak since May 2018, closing up 45 points, or 0.17%, to 27,182. The index ended less than 1% below its all-time high set July 16.
 
The S&P 500 rose 0.29% to finish at 3,009, and the Nasdaq gained 0.30% to close at 8,194.

Visa ( V - Get Report) , Travelers ( TRV - Get Report) , and 3M ( MMM - Get Report)  lead the Dow's advance. Paypal ( PYPL - Get Report) was the Nasdaq's big winner and LKQ Corp. ( LKQ - Get Report) , whose shares surged after an activist hedge fund acquired a 5.2% stake in the replacement-auto-parts company, was the Nasdaq's top earner.
 
Bloomberg reported President Donald Trump's advisers were considering an interim deal with China that would delay tariffs. Citing five sources familiar with the matter, the story said the preliminary deal would include some commitments from China on intellectual property theft. 
However, CNBC reported a short time later that a senior White House official said the U.S. was "absolutely not" considering an interim trade deal with China.
 
Trump, in a tweet late Wednesday, said he would offer a two-week delay on the imposition of tariffs on China-made goods as a "gesture of good will" toward Beijing as the two sides prepared for high-level trade talks in October.
 
Trump followed up Thursday morning, tweeting,  "It is expected that China will be buying large amounts of our agricultural products!
 

It is expected that China will be buying large amounts of our agricultural products!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 12, 2019
 
China said earlier this week it was exempting some U.S. goods from additional tariffs in a move that signaled potential thawing in the ongoing trade dispute between the world's two biggest economies.
 
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC that he was "cautiously optimistic" about the U.S. trade negotiations with China.
 
Separately, the ECB increased the charge it applies to regional lenders holding cash in the central bank's overnight deposit facility by 10 basis points to -0.5%, matching the lowest rate within the bank's targeted lending operations. No changes were made to the bank's main refinancing rate, which sits at 0%.
 
The ECB also said it would restart the dormant quantitative easing program on Nov. 1, with monthly purchases of government, agency and corporate bonds of around €20 billion, and run them "for as long as necessary", and would only end when the Bank starts raising its key interest rates.
 
Trump responded to the ECB move by taking a shot at the Federal Reserve, one of his favorite targets, tweeting "... And the Fed sits, and sits, and sits. They get paid to borrow money, while we are paying interest!"

CVS (CVS - Get Report) shares dipped slightly to $63.90 after analysts at Deutsche Bank called the company its "top pick" in the managed care, drug supply and beneficiary technology space, citing the potential for better-than-expected results from its pharmacy services business. CVS is Real Money's Stock of the Day.

Oracle (ORCL - Get Report) shares fell 4.3% to $53.89 after the business software company posted weaker-than-expected first quarter sales and said CEO Mark Hurd would be taking a medical leave of absence.

Walmart (WMT - Get Report) said it plans to expand its unlimited grocery delivery subscription service to 1,400 stores this fall. Shares were up nearly 1% to $116.92.

Shares of AT&T ( T - Get Report) slipped nearly 1% to $38.38 as CFO John Stephens reiterated the company's near-term earnings forecasts, while highlighting its plans to extract more value from TimeWarner, following Elliott Management's criticism earlier this week.

Aurora Cannabis (ACB - Get Report) shares fell 9.4% to $5.89 after the Canadian marijuana company posted weaker-than-expected fourth quarter revenues.

In economic news, the Consumer Price Index for all items rose by 0.1% last month, with gasoline prices down about 3.5%, the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics said.

"The U.S. economy continues to be in decent shape," said David Madden, a market analyst at CMC Markets UK. "The jobless claims reading dipped to 204,000, from 217,000 and economists were expecting 215,000. When you factor in the very low unemployment rate, it is clear the jobs market is robust. Headline CPI cooled to 1.7%, but the core reading ticked up to 2.4% from 2.2%, and this highlights a clear increase in underlying demand, which begs the question, why would the Fed cut rates next week."

In energy news, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its "Short-Term Energy Outlook" that it expects oil demand to grow by only 0.9 million barrels per day this year.

Brent crude contracts were down 51 cents to $60.30 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate contracts, which are more tightly linked to U.S. gas prices, were 76 cents lower at $54.99 a barrel.

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