Stock futures were pressured early this morning following a report that Chinese officials were not optimistic about the prospect of the U.S. holding off on planned tariff increases after the low-level talks between the two sides earlier this week went poorly. The pressure eased after Bloomberg said that the U.S. is looking into rolling out a previously agreed upon currency pact as part of an early deal that could also lead to next week’s planned tariff increase being suspended. The tentative move higher gained real momentum after President Trump tweeted that he would be meeting with China's Vice Premier tomorrow at The White House, countering some reports that there was a chance the Chinese delegation would be leaving early. The SPX took off on that tweet and has continued to grind higher throughout the day. While all eyes remain fixed on headlines about the U.S. and China trade talks, there was also some domestic economic data released as well, including reports on consumer prices and weekly jobless claims.
ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., initial jobless claims unexpectedly dropped 10,000 to 210,000 in the week ended October 5. Forecasters had been calling for a slight rise. The headline Consumer Prices Index was flat in September, and the core was up 0.1%, both of which were a little shy of estimates.
TOP NEWS: Shares of Delta Air Lines (DAL) are down 3% after the company reported Q3 results and gave a Q4 RASM and adjusted EPS outlook that Stephens analyst Jack Atkins said was "likely to be somewhat disappointing for investors."
Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) shares have jumped 20% higher after the company announced Mark Tritton, who was most recently executive VP and Chief Merchandising Officer at Target (TGT), will be joining as president and CEO and as a member of its board, effective November 4. Morgan Stanley analyst Simeon Gutman said selecting Tritton was "a high quality hire" and "a clear win" that could prompt the stock to squeeze above his unchanged $12 price target in the near-term, but he also believes that execution risk remains high at Bed Bath.
Boeing (BA) and Porsche (POAHY) announced a Memorandum of Understanding to explore the "premium urban air mobility market and the extension of urban traffic into airspace." As part of the partnership, Boeing, Porsche and Boeing subsidiary Aurora Flight Sciences are developing a concept for a fully electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicle.
MAJOR MOVERS: Among the noteworthy gainers was Ra Pharmaceuticals (RARX), which doubled in price after entering into a merger agreement pursuant for which UCB will acquire the company for $48 per share in cash.
Also higher was ProPetro (PUMP), which jumped 22% after announcing "substantial completion" of fact finding for its previously disclosed internal review.
Among the notable losers was ForeScout (FSCT), which dropped 35% after its lower than expected Q3 revenue pre-announcement.
Also lower was PG&E (PCG), which fell 29% after The Wall Street Journal reported Judge Dennis Montail opened the door for a rival chapter 11 plan from Elliott and other bondholders that are allied with victims of wildfires, stripping the company of the sole right to propose a bankruptcy plan.
INDEXES: Near midday, the Dow was up 183.99, or 0.70%, to 26,530.00, the Nasdaq was up 50.34, or 0.64%, to 7,954.08, and the S&P 500 was up 21.89, or 0.75%, to 2,941.29.