Here Are 3 Hot Things to Know About Stocks Right Now
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average's rise on Thursday followed three straight lower sessions.
- Even with its slight decline on Thursday, the S&P 500 has risen more than 2% so far in 2018.
- The Nasdaq fell for its third-straight decline after a seven-session winning streak.
Wall Street Overview
Stocks were mixed on Thursday, March 15, as investors reacted to the appointment of a staunch free-trade advocate to a key role in the White House and continued to fret over the potential for a global trade war.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 115 points, or 0.47%. The S&P 500 declined 0.08% and the Nasdaq was down 0.20%. Leading the Dow higher were UnitedHealth Corp. (UNH - Get Report) and McDonald's Corp. (MCD - Get Report) . Intel Corp. (INTC - Get Report) was a laggard.
Donald Trump's decision to appoint television commentator Larry Kudlow as his top economic adviser was partly linked to the market's optimistic tone, given the former Reagan-era economist's views on free trade and corporate deregulation. Kudlow's appointment also appeared to help soften concerns that Trump's targeting of China for further $60 billion in tariffs -- in an effort to reduce the $375 billion trade deficit the U.S. has with the world's second-largest economy -- could accelerate a brewing trade war.
Stocks finished lower on Wednesday, March 14, as investors debated the prospects of a global trade war following the firing of Rex Tillerson as U.S. secretary of state. The Dow dropped 248 points, or 0.99%, to 24,758. The S&P 500 declined 0.57% and the Nasdaq was down 0.19%. The leading laggard on the Dow was Boeing Co. (BA - Get Report) , which fell 2.5% on Wednesday. Boeing declined by 0.09% on Thursday.
In economic data, U.S. jobless claims fell 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 226,000 for the week ended March 10, the Labor Department said.
Import prices rose 0.4% in February, more than expected, after a downwardly revised 0.8% increase in January.
Dollar General Corp. (DG - Get Report) rose 4.7% on Thursday after the retailer posted fourth-quarter same-store sales above analysts' expectations and said it expects total sales to rise 9% in fiscal 2018, with earnings of $5.95 to $6.15 a share.
Sears Holdings Corp. (SHLD earned $182 million, or $1.69 a share, in the three months ended Feb. 3, a swing from a year-earlier loss of $607 million, or $5.67 a share. The latest period included a benefit of $470 million from the new U.S. tax law. The stock fell 6.6%.
Hasbro Inc. (HAS - Get Report) fell less than 1% and fellow toymaker Mattel Inc. (MAT - Get Report) fell 2.3% after Toys "R" Us announced it would be closing its U.S. operations, jeopardizing the jobs of about 30,000 employees.