Here Are 3 Hot Things to Know About Stocks Right Now

  • Prior to Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has closed lower for four consecutive sessions.
  • Even with its gains on Monday, the Dow remains more than 1,700 points below its all-time high set on Jan. 26.
  • The S&P 500 remains more than 150 points below its all-time high, also reached on Jan. 26.

Wall Street Overview

Stocks posted solid gains on Monday, March 5, reversing earlier losses as investors' worries about an impending global trade war eased.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 336 points, or 1.37%. The S&P 500 was up 1.10% and the Nasdaq rose 1%. 

The leading gainers on the Dow Monday were General Electric Co. (GE)  , McDonald's Corp. (MCD)  and Caterpillar Inc. (CAT) .

Stocks finished mixed on Friday, March 2, as investors reacted to Donald Trump's plans to impose strict import tariffs on steel and aluminum, and the potential for a growth-damaging trade war between the U.S. and its various commercial and economic partners.

Trump tweeted on Sunday, March 4, that the U.S. was "on the losing side of almost all trade deals. Our friends and enemies have taken advantage of the U.S. for many years."

But on Monday it appeared Trump was softening a bit on the tariffs he announced last week. In tweets Monday, Trump said: "Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum will only come off if new & fair NAFTA agreement is signed." He added that "Mexico must do much more on stopping drugs from pouring into the U.S. They have not done what needs to be done."

House Speaker Ryan urged the White House not to move forward with the tariffs, with a spokeswoman saying Ryan was "extremely worried" about a trade war and cautioned that tariffs could jeopardize economic gains from the new U.S. tax law. 

AXA SA said Monday it agreed to acquire XL Group Ltd. ( XL) in a deal valued at around $15 billion that will create the world's biggest property and casualty insurance company.

AXA, Europe's second-largest insurer, will pay $57.60 for each XL share, a 33% premium to XL Group's closing price on Friday of $43.20. The proposed deal has been unanimously approved by the boards of both AXA and Bermuda-based XL, and is expected to close in the first half of 2018 subject to shareholder approval.

XL Group shares rose 29%.

Shares of Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM) dropped 1.1% after Action Alerts Plus holding Broadcom Ltd. (AVGO) said the mobile chipmaker had requested a government review of its hostile bid that would delay its annual meeting.

"This was a blatant, desperate act by Qualcomm to entrench its incumbent board of directors and prevent its own stockholders from voting for Broadcom's independent director nominees," said Broadcom, which said in November it would change its domicile to the U.S. from Singapore. Broadcom said in a statement that it wasn't informed until the night of Sunday, March 4, that Qualcomm had "secretly filed a voluntary request with CFIUS to initiate an investigation."

Broadcom said Qualcomm requested that the government's Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. examine Broadcom's bid. Qualcomm didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

The San Diego company's annual meeting on Tuesday, March 6, promised a showdown with Broadcom, which has offered $79 a share for Qualcomm and nominated six directors for the chip company's maker's board.

Action Alerts Plus holding Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) is in talks with big banks including JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) about building a checking-account-like product the e-commerce giant could offer its customers, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

The effort is still in its early stages and may not come to fruition, the people said. The talks with financial firms are focused on creating a product that would appeal to younger customers and those without bank accounts. Whatever its final form, the initiative wouldn't involve Amazon becoming a bank, the people told the Journal.

TreeHouse Foods Inc. (THS) rose 3.8% after the company announced it appointed Steven Oakland as CEO and president. He most recently served as vice chair and president,  U.S. food and beverage , at J.M. Smucker Co.

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