Here Are 3 Hot Things to Know About Stocks Right Now

  • Stocks haven't declined on back-to-back days in April.
  • Even with its gains on Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average remains more than 2,000 points below its all-time high of 26,616 on Jan. 26. 
  • Bank of America Corp. (BAC)   rose 0.47% after the bank posted first-quarter earnings that topped forecasts. Netflix Inc. (NFLX) is scheduled to report earnings after Monday's closing bell.

Wall Street Overview

Stocks rose on Monday, April 16, as concerns over prolonged military action in Syria faded and the focus for investors shifted to a heavy upcoming slate of U.S. corporate earnings.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 212 points, or 0.87%. The S&P 500 was up 0.81% and the Nasdaq rose 0.70%. Leading the Dow higher were Merck & Co. (MRK)  , UnitedHealth Group Inc. (UNH) and Caterpillar Inc. (CAT) .

Donald Trump on Saturday, April 14, declared "Mission Accomplished" for a U.S.-led allied missile attack on Syria's chemical weapons program. The U.S., U.K. and France in the early hours of Saturday conducted a coordinated missile attack described as a "limited, targeted, effective strike" on targets in Syria in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack by the forces of President Bashar al-Assad in Douma last week.

The conflict in Syria appeared to be having little impact on trading with Wall Street turning instead to earnings reports Monday from Bank of America Corp. (BAC)  and Netflix Inc. (NFLX)   .

Bank of America reported first-quarter profit of 62 cents a share, 3 cents ahead of estimates. The bank said sales and trading revenue in the quarter rose 6% to $4.1 billion.

Bank of America shares rose 0.47% on Monday.

Later in the week, reports will be issued from Goldman Sachs Group Inc.  (GS)  , Morgan Stanley (MS)  , Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) , General Electric Co  (GE) , International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) and UnitedHealth.

UnitedHealth and Goldman Sachs are holdings in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio. Want to be alerted before Cramer buys or sells the stocks? Learn more now.

Merck jumped 2.6%, while Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. (BMY) slumped 7.8% after the drugmakers released data from their respective lung cancer studies. 

Merck appears to be the "clear winner so far," according to Credit Suisse Securities (USA) analyst Vamil Divan. Merck's data were "better-than-expected across all patient subgroups," while Bristol-Myers' data "shows early signs of a survival benefit, but questions remain until we see full data," Divan wrote.

Volkswagen AG's (VLKAY) commercial-vehicles unit reportedly is considering a full takeover of Navistar International Corp. (NAV) . Shares of the Illinois truck maker jumped 9.8% following the report from The Wall Street Journal.

WPP PLC (WPP) CEO Martin Sorrell quit over the weekend, marking a stunning downfall for one of the advertising industry's most well-known figures.

WPP recently began an independent investigation into Sorrell, 73, after reports of personal misconduct and inappropriate use of company funds. Sorrell denied the allegations, and made no mention of them in a letter to employees. American depositary receipts of WPP were down 4.7%.

Starbucks Corp. ( SBUX)  rose 0.3% after CEO Kevin Johnson apologized for the arrest of two black men in one of the coffee chain's Philadelphia stores last week and promised to investigate the alleged incident of racial profiling.

Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM) will refile as early as Monday an application with the Chinese government to clear its $44 billion takeover of NXP Semiconductors N.V. (NXPI) , sources told Reuters.

Shire Pharmaceuticals PLC (SHPG)  said Monday it will sell its oncology business to France's Servier SAS as it continues to discuss a possible $50 billion takeover play by Japan's Takeda Pharmaceutical Co.  (TKPYY) .

Retail sales in the U.S. during March rose 0.6% vs. economists' expectations that called for an increase of 0.1%. Sales at U.S. retailers had declined the previous three straight months.

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