Here Are 3 Hot Things to Know About Stocks Right Now

  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished higher Friday, breaking its three-day losing streak, after President Trump said a trade agreement between the U.S. and China, the world's two largest economies, was "potentially very close."
  • Nordstrom (JWN) - Get Report  rose after the retailer posted stronger-than-expected third-quarter earnings and improved its full-year profit outlook. Nordstrom is Real Money's Stock of the Day.
  • Tesla (TSLA) - Get Report  fell after the electric-vehicle maker unveiled the "Cybertruck" Thursday night and a demonstration of its "bulletproof" windows went wrong.

Wall Street Overview

Stocks ended higher Friday, as Wall Street broke its three-day losing streak, after President Donald Trump said that a trade agreement between the U.S. and China, the world's two largest economies, was "potentially very close."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 109 points, or 0.39%, to 27,875.62, the S&P 500 was up 0.22% while the Nasdaq rose 0.16%.

Pfizer (PFE) - Get Report , Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) - Get Report and Boeing (BA) - Get Report  led the Dow's advance.

Trump on Friday said during an interview with Fox News that a trade agreement was potentially very close. China President Xi Jinping told an international forum in Beijing that although his country "wants to work for a 'phase one' agreement on the basis of mutual respect and equality" it "will fight back" when necessary.

Stocks had been moving lower this week amid conflicting signals from U.S.-China trade talks. But volatility has remained historically low and the three major U.S. stock benchmarks remain near all-time highs despite ongoing concern about the timing of an agreement between the two nations.

The unrest in Hong Kong has also been an issue. The House of Representatives late Wednesday voted 417 to 1 in favor of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, after the Senate passed it the previous day.

The legislation, which aims to protect human rights in Hong Kong and which insulates the China-backed territory from tariffs, now goes to the White House for Trump's signature. The White House had signaled that he would sign the measure, but his comments on Friday hinted that he might veto the legislation in favor of a trade agreement.

"We have to stand with Hong Kong but I'm also standing with President Xi," Trump told Fox News. "He's an incredible guy, but we have to stand. ... I'd like to see them work it out, okay? I stand with freedom, I stand with all of the things that I want to do, but we are also in the process of making one of the largest trade deals in history. And if we could do that, it would be great."

With tariffs on $160 billion in China-made consumer goods set to kick in on Dec. 15, investors are hoping a trade agreement can be reached that will prevent any spending disruption from American shoppers over the key holiday season, which unofficially begins on Black Friday next week.

Nordstrom (JWN) - Get Report , the top performer on the S&P 500, soared 10.6% to $37.95 after the retailer posted stronger-than-expected third-quarter earnings and improved its full-year profit outlook. Nordstrom is Real Money's Stock of the Day.

Tesla (TSLA) - Get Report was the worst performer on the Nasdaq, falling 6.1% to $333.04 after the electric vehicle maker unveiled the "Cybertruck" Thursday night.

Foot Locker (FL) - Get Report fell 2.9% to $40.25 after the athletic footwear and apparel retailer reported stronger-than-expected third-quarter earnings, but forecast flat same-store sales for the holiday quarter.

Gap (GPS) - Get Report rose 4.4% to $16.94 after the apparel retailer reported fiscal-third-quarter adjusted earnings that were better than Wall Street expected.

The University of Michigan's final sentiment index advanced to 96.8 in November from 95.5 in October. It was also above both the preliminary reading and median analyst estimate of 95.7.

Richard Curtin, the survey's chief economist, said that in 30 of the past 35 months the sentiment index was 95 or higher, a level of optimism second only to when the index was above 100 for 34 out of 36 months from January 1998 to December 2000, averaging 106. 

"Although impeachment proceedings occurred in both time periods," Curtin said, "the current period is distinctive for the much sharper partisan divisions in the economic expectations among consumers as well as the wide gap in optimism between consumers and business firms. One side anticipates a recession, while the other side expects an uninterrupted expansion in the year ahead."

CMC Markets analyst David Madden noted that "the markets have managed to cling [to] the vast majority of the gains that were posted recently so sentiment remains strong."

"The final reading of the University of Michigan consumer sentiment report was 96.8 -- a four-month high," he said. "The flash manufacturing and services PMI reports both showed improvements on the month, so it appears the U.S. economy is in decent health."

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