Stocks are rising in early trading after China exempted some U.S. imports from tariffs and a number of media reports suggested that talks are progressing ahead of a gathering of the principals planned in early October. Meanwhile, President Trump is keeping up his pressure on the Federal Reserve and its chair, Jerome Powell. Trump tweeted this morning that "The Federal Reserve should get our interest rates down to ZERO, or less, and we should then start to refinance our debt. [...] It is only the naivete of Jay Powell and the Federal Reserve that doesn't allow us to do what other countries are already doing. A once in a lifetime opportunity that we are missing because of 'Boneheads.'"
ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., the Producer Prices Index edged up 0.1% in August, while the core rate popped up 0.3%, both of which were a little hotter than expected. The July wholesale trade report slightly undershot estimates with a lean wholesale sales bounce of 0.3% and a 0.2% rise for July inventories that matched the advance reading.
TOP NEWS: Shares of Apple (AAPL) are up nearly 3% after the company unveiled the new iPhone 11 series, the new Apple Watch and iPad, and gave an update on pricing for its upcoming online streaming service at its Special Event yesterday afternoon. Following the event, both Needham and Bank of America Merrill Lynch raised their price targets on the stock to $250, while Morgan Stanley highlighted that Apple's announcements offered "some upside surprises," including lower than expected TV+ pricing.
In M&A news, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited announced that it has made a proposal to the board of London Stock Exchange Group (LNSTY) to combine the two companies. Under the terms of the proposed transaction, London Stock Exchange shareholders would receive 2,045 pence in cash and 2.495 newly issued Hong Kong Exchanges shares, which implies a premium of 22.9% to the closing share price of 6,804 pence on September 10.
Zscaler (ZS) shares are down over 23% near noon following last night's quarterly report from the cloud-based security platform company. Piper Jaffray analyst Andrew Nowinski said that despite reporting "solid" fiscal Q4 results, the slide in the shares is likely attributable to management's comments that large deals were taking longer to close and the fact that management guided Q1 revenue modestly below normal seasonality and likely below buy-side expectations.
MAJOR MOVERS: Among the noteworthy gainers was Aimmune Therapeutics (AIMT), which rose 12% after the FDA posted briefing docs for a panel meeting to review the application for the company's proposed peanut allergy treatment.
Also higher was Alcoa (AA), which gained 3% after Credit Suisse analyst Curt Woodworth upgraded the stock to Outperform from Neutral and raised his price target for the shares to $27 from $26.
Among the notable losers was Dave & Buster's (PLAY), which slid 6% after the company reported quarterly results and expanded its buyback program to $800M but lowered its fiscal 2019 revenue guidance. Also lower after reporting quarterly results was GameStop (GME), which fell 11%.
INDEXES: Near midday, the Dow was up 106.62, or 0.40%, to 27,016.05, the Nasdaq was up 68.35, or 0.85%, to 8,152.50, and the S&P 500 was up 13.47, or 0.45%, to 2,992.86.