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Stocks End Mixed as Disney, Home Depot Shares Slip, Trade Worries Reappear

Here Are 3 Hot Things to Know About Stocks Right Now

  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished lower Thursday as weakness in such names as Walt Disney (DIS ) and Home Depot (HD ) offset gains from Microsoft (MSFT ) and tech stocks, while trade worries reappeared.
  • Microsoft climbed after announcing it was setting aside $40 billion to buy back its own stock, and raising its quarterly dividend by 5 cents a share. Microsoft is Real Money’s Stock of the Day.
  • The Wall Street Journal reported that a FedEx ( FDX ) pilot was detained in China as the U.S. and China began deputy-level trade talks.

Wall Street Overview

Stocks finished mixed Thursday as weakness in such names as Walt Disney ( DIS ) and Home Depot ( HD ) offset gains from Microsoft ( MSFT ) and tech stocks, while trade worries reappeared amid mixed signals from the Federal Reserve.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gave up a 100-point gain and finished down 52 points, or 0.19%, to 27,094. The S&P 500, close to a record high, finished even, while the Nasdaq advanced 0.07%.

 

Microsoft, which hit an all-time intraday high of $142.37, was the Dow’s top gainer. Shares of thecomputer software bellwether climbed 1.8% to $140.99 after the company said it was setting aside $40 billion to buy back its own stock, and raising its quarterly dividend by 5 cents a share. Microsoft is Real Money’s Stock of the Day.
Walt Disney ( DIS ) , Home Depot ( HD) , and Caterpillar ( CAT ) led the Dow’s retreat.
A key adviser to President Donald Trump said in an overnight interview in Hong Kong that the administration could push tariffs on Chinese goods to as much as 100% if a trade deal isn’t reached soon. Michael Pillsbury, director of the Center on Chinese Strategy at the Hudson Institute in Washington made the comments in an interview with the South China Morning Post.
The U.S. and China began deputy-level trade talks in Washington Thursday in an effort to iron out the difference between the world’s two largest economies.
Possibly complicating the negotiations was a report that said a FedEx ( FDX) pilot was detained by police in China. The Wall Street Journal reported that the pilot, former U.S. Air Force colonel Todd Hohn, was detained last week in the city of Guangzhou. FedEx shares ended up 1% at $152.45.
The Federal Reserve cut U.S. rates Wednesday for the second time this year. The 7-3 vote in favor of a rate cut of 25 basis points takes the target range to 1.75% to 2%. Two central bank officials voted against any cut in rates, while St. Louis Fed President James Bullard advocated for a larger easing of 50 basis points.
Projections from the 17 members of the Fed’s board – not all of whom vote during regular policy meetings – indicated a broad mix of forecasts over the next few months, leaving markets confused as to when or even if the Fed would be prepared to lower rates again.
President Donald Trump, a relentless critic of Powell and the Fed, said in an interview with Fox News that he was “not thrilled” with the central bank. Asked about Powell’s future, Trump said, “It’s safe, yeah, it’s safe. I mean, sure, why not?”
“I mean he’s got a job, and you know, I’m disappointed in him,” Trump said.
Meanwhile, the New York branch of the U.S. Federal Reserve ran its third consecutive cash injection into Wall Street’s funding markets Thursday, adding to the $128 billion it has pumped in so far, following yesterday’s move to lower benchmark borrowing costs.
Global oil prices spiked following multiple media reports that Saudi Arabia has asked neighboring Iraq for as much as 20 million barrels of crude to support domestic refineries.
Brent crude contracts were up 80 cents to $63.46 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate contracts, which are more tightly linked to U.S. gas prices, were up 34 cents to $58.38 a barrel.
AT&T ( T ) rose 1.1% to $37.15  following reports that it could be preparing to either spin off its DirecTV business or orchestrate a deal to combine it with Dish Network ( DISH) .
Shares of U.S. Steel ( X) tumbled 11.2% to $11.06 after the steelmaker said it expects an adjusted loss for the third quarter of 35 cents a share, well below forecasts that called for a loss of 10 cents.
Twilio ( TWLO) shares rose 2.3% to $115.11 after analysts at Morgan Stanleyboosted their target price on the cloud software group, citing value linked to its next-generation communication platform. See  Why I Covet Twilio and How I’m Playing This Cloud Stock Now.

Datadog (DDOG) took off running following the cloud-monitoring-software company’s public listing on Thursday, opening at $40.35, about 49% above its IPO price of $27.  Shares finished up 39.1% to $37.55.

In economic news, initial jobless claims rose 2,000 to 208,000 in the week ended Sept. 14. Claims fell a revised 13,000 to 206,000, a nearly five-month low, in the prior week. Economists forecast that new claims would total a seasonally adjusted 215,000.
The Philadelphia Federal Reserve’s manufacturing index, which fell to 12.0 in September after registering a reading of 16.8 in August, beat economists’ expectations that called for a reading of 10.0.
U.S. home sales unexpectedly rose to a 17-month high in August for a second straight month of gains. The National Association of Realtors said existing home sales increased 1.3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.49 million units last month. July’s sales pace was unchanged at 5.42 million units.

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