Here Are 3 Hot Things to Know About Stocks Right Now

  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished in positive territory even as bond yields again inverted - a possible recession warning - ahead of Fed Chairman Jerome Powell's scheduled address Friday at the annual Jackson Hole Economic Symposium.
  • Nordstrom (JWN - Get Report) rose after the Seattle retailer reported fiscal-second-quarter results ahead of analyst expectations. Nordstrom is Real Money's Stock of the Day.
  • Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS - Get Report) surged after the retailer reported fiscal second-quarter sales that beat analysts' forecasts.

Wall Street Overview

Stocks finished mixed as bonds yield inverted - in a possible recession warning - ahead of a scheduled address Friday by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which rose as much as 185, finished up 49 points, or 0.19%, to 26,252, the S&P 500 fell 0.05% and the Nasdaq was off 0.36%.

Boeing (BA - Get Report) , JPMorgan Chase (JPM - Get Report)  and Nike (NKE - Get Report) were the Dow's biggest gainers.

The yield curve inverted Thursday for the third time in less than two weeks. Yield-curve inversions, in which the interest rate on the 10-year Treasury note falls below the rate on two-year notes, are often viewed as warning signs of a recession.

The move happened after Kansas City Federal Reserve President Esther George and Philadelphia President Patrick Harker both said on CNBC they didn't see a need for another rate cut.

At last check, the yield on the two-year Treasury note was at 1.616%, with the 10-year yield at 1.613%.

Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan said on CNBC that he would like to avoid additional stimulus but is keeping an "open mind."

"The market is likely in a wait-and-see mode as monetary policy takes center stage, with Fed officials gathering at Jackson Hole, the yield curve yet again inverting, and ECB minutes alluding to fiscal stimulus," said Mike Loewengart, vice president of investment strategy with E*Trade.

"The drumbeat of warning signs pointing to an economic slowdown seem to be growing louder and more steady, but by almost all measures our economy is strong."

Loewengart pointed to housing data and earnings from home-improvement retailers, both of which have shown strength in this low interest rate environment.

"Regardless, pressure will likely continue to mount for the Fed to effect deeper rate cuts to possibly alter the trajectory of the curve," he said.

In another potentially troubling sign, the U.S. manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) was 49.9 in August, IHS Markit said, down from 50.4 in July and below the neutral 50.0 threshold for the first time since September 2009.

Federal Reserve officials saw the economy as "resilient" in July, even as they voted to cut interest rates for the first time in more than a decade, based on worries about the possible impact on business confidence from President Donald Trump's trade war with China, according to Fed meeting minutes released Wednesday.

"The FOMC meeting minutes were a mixed bag for bulls," said Gorilla Trades strategist Ken Berman.

"Although the members of the committee confirmed Chairman Jerome Powell's 'midcycle adjustment' narrative regarding the July rate cut, the central bank's stance seems flexible enough to deal with risks posed by the trade war and the global economic slowdown."

The three-day annual Jackson Hole Economic Symposium began Thursday. The theme for the event this year in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, is "Challenges for Monetary Policy." Powell is scheduled to make a speech on Friday.

Trump kept up his attack on the Fed Thursday, complaining on Twitter that while Germany sells 30-year bonds offering negative yields, "Our Federal Reserve does not allow us to do what we must do."

"They put us at a disadvantage against our competition," Trump wrote. "Strong Dollar, No Inflation! They move like quicksand. Fight or go home!"

Germany sells 30 year bonds offering negative yields. Germany competes with the USA. Our Federal Reserve does not allow us to do what we must do. They put us at a disadvantage against our competition. Strong Dollar, No Inflation! They move like quicksand. Fight or go home!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 22, 2019

Shares of Nordstrom (JWN - Get Report) rose 15.8% to $30.74 after the Seattle-based retailer reported fiscal-second-quarter results ahead of analyst expectations. Nordstrom is Real Money's Stock of the Day.

Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS - Get Report)  climbed 3.6% to $34.14 after the Pittsburgh-based retail chain reported fiscal second-quarter sales that beat analysts' forecasts.

BJ's Wholesale Club (BJ - Get Report)  shares climbed 17.2% to $26.42 as the chain known for its bulk discount prices beat analysts' earnings estimates.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 209,000 for the week ended Aug. 17, the Labor Department said. Data for the prior week were revised to show 1,000 more applications received than previously reported. Economists had expected claims to drop to 216,000 in the latest week.

Brent crude contracts were down 33 cents and selling at $59.97 per barrel, while West Texas Intermediate contracts, which are more tightly linked to U.S. gas prices, were 29 cents lower at $55.39 per barrel.

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