Stocks have been higher since the open following optimistic comments last night from White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow about trade talks with China. Kudlow said that a phase-one trade deal with China is "coming down to the short strokes" and that the U.S. is "in communication with them every single day right now." The latest trade headlines have put the market on track to close the week at record highs, unless a less positive trade headline short-circuits things in afternoon trading.
ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., retail sales bounced 0.3% in October, with the ex-auto component rising 0.2%. The Empire State manufacturing survey fell 1.1 points to 2.9 in November. Import prices dropped 0.5%, with export prices slipping 0.1% in October. Industrial production dropped 0.8% and capacity utilization fell to 76.7% in October, which was weaker than forecast. Business inventories were flat in September, with sales slipping 0.2%.
TOP NEWS: Shares of Nvidia (NVDA) are down 2% following the company's report of its fiscal Q4 results as the company guided January quarter revenue slightly below expectations. Despite this morning's weakness, Wall Street analysts were generally bullish on the report, with a number hiking their price targets for the shares and Craig-Hallum analyst Richard Shannon upgrading Nvidia to Buy from Hold. Taking the opposite side, New Street analyst Pierre Ferragu downgraded Nvidia to Neutral from Buy, citing "uncertain momentum" and his expectation that there will be a better entry point into the stock at some future date.
Amazon (AMZN) told CNBC in an email that "numerous aspects of the JEDI evaluation process contained clear deficiencies, errors, and unmistakable bias -- and it's important that these matters be examined and rectified," suggesting that the e-commerce giant will challenge the award to Microsoft (MSFT) of the Department of Defense cloud computing services contract that could span 10 years and be worth up to $10B.
Under Armour (UAA) said it was aware of recent media coverage concerning the company's business practices and reiterated its previously communicated view that the company "firmly believe that our disclosures and our accounting practices have been entirely appropriate. Our management and board of directors have reviewed this matter extensively over the past two and a half years and stand by the Company's financial reporting." The statement was issued after The Wall Street Journal's Khadeeja Safdar and Aruna Viswanatha reported that former executives at Under Armour said they scrambled to meet sales goals, borrowing business from future quarters to mask slowing demand in 2016 for its athletic apparel.
Shares of Amarin Corporation (AMRN) have gained 6.5% in morning trading after a U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory panel voted 16-0 to recommend an indication and label expansion for Vascepa capsules.
MAJOR MOVERS: Among the noteworthy gainers was RH (RH), which rose 7% after a disclosure from Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway revealed that its two new stock buys during the third quarter were shares of the company formerly known as Restoration Hardware along with Occidental Petroleum (OXY). Also higher were Farfetch (FTCH) and Applied Materials (AMAT), which gained a respective 29% and 10% after reporting quarterly results.
Among the notable losers was resTORbio (TORC), which plunged 86% after the company stopped the development of RTB101 in preventing clinically symptomatic respiratory illness after its PROTECTOR 1 Phase 3 study failed to meet its primary endpoint..
Also lower was Aurora Cannabis (ACB), which fell 8% after reporting quarterly results.
INDEXES: Near midday,
the Dow was up 151.67, or 0.55%, to 27,933.63
, the Nasdaq was up 54.74, or 0.65%, to 8,533.76
, and the S&P 500 was up 18.47, or 0.60%, to 3,115.10.