Stocks spike on China-US trade progress reports

U.S. stocks got a late afternoon pop, curbing earlier losses for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, on word that the U.S. may ease tariffs on China, according to Dow Jones. The Treasury Department pushed back on the reports as did the White House. “No new tariff decisions have been made. We are focused on the current 90 day period and the expected high level visit by China Vice Premier Liu He at the end of this month.” said Lindsay Walters in a statement to FOX Business.

Still the Dow rose 162.94 points, the Nasdaq Composite 49.77 and the S&P 500 nearly 20. Some of companies most sensitive to trade, including Boeing, Caterpillar and 3M led the rebound.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
I:DJI DOW JONES AVERAGES 35135.94 +236.60 +0.68%
SP500 S&P 500 4655.27 +60.65 +1.32%
I:COMP NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX 15782.834136 +291.18 +1.88%
CAT CATERPILLAR, INC. 195.92 -2.81 -1.41%
MMM 3M CO. 176.23 +0.71 +0.40%
BA THE BOEING CO. 198.39 -0.79 -0.40%

Defense contractors Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon also helped give the markets a boost as President Trump unveiled a revamped U.S. missile defense strategy, the first time in nearly a decade.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
NOC NORTHROP GRUMMAN CORP. 356.39 +2.41 +0.68%
LMT LOCKHEED MARTIN CORP. 341.23 -1.49 -0.43%
RTN n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a.

Within financials, Morgan Stanley shares fell after reporting fourth-quarter earnings per share of $0.80 on revenue of $8.5 billion on Thursday. Analysts expected profit per share of $0.89 on revenue of $9.24 billion. The results did not mirror the positive trends reported by Goldman Sachs earlier in the week.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
MS MORGAN STANLEY 97.23 -0.70 -0.71%
GS THE GOLDMAN SACHS GROUP, INC. 386.54 -2.85 -0.73%

PG&E Corp shareholder BlueMountain Capital Management on Thursday said the U.S. power company's decision to file for bankruptcy was unnecessary, arguing that there was evidence the company was solvent. The California utility giant will be removed from the S&P 500 at the close of trading on Thursday. Shares fell further and have lost 84 percent of their value in the past 12 months.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
PCG PG&E CORP. 12.38 +0.14 +1.14%


Initial jobless claims for state unemployment benefits decreased by 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted 213,000 for the week ended Jan.12, the Labor Department said on Thursday.

Europe's carmakers fell as much as 1.5 percent after U.S. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley said he thought President Trump was "inclined" to impose tariffs on European cars to win better terms on agriculture.

European markets finished the day lower. London’s FTSE fell 0.4 percent, Germany’s DAX was down 0.2 percent and France’s CAC was off 0.4 percent.

Ken Martin contributed to this report.