STOCKS CLIMB: Here's what you need to know

Stocks climbed on Thursday afternoon after spending the morning little changed.

All three major indices ticked up into the green to varying degrees.

Stocks saw their biggest declines in eight months on Wednesday following a report that President Donald Trump in February asked James Comey, the FBI director whom he fired last week, to drop an investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

First up, the scoreboard:

  • Dow: 20,696.01, +89.08, (+0.43%)
  • S&P 500: 2,370.27, +13.31, (0.56%)
  • Nasdaq: 6,066.80, +54.33, (0.90%)
  • US 10-year yield: 2.226%, +0.010
  • WTI crude: $US49.33, +0.27, (+0.55%)

1. The Trump administration just handed Wall Street some great news. During his testimony to the Senate Banking Committee, the treasury secretary said the Trump administration did not support the separation of investment and commercial banks.

2. The Trump administration formally launches NAFTA renegotiations. US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said via a letter to US lawmakers that he triggered a 90-day consultation period with Congress and the American public that would allow talks to begin after August 16.

3. The US dollar has officially given up all its post-election gains. The greenback climbed to a 13-year high after US President Donald Trump won the election in early November, but the index has been slowly giving up those gains over the past few months.

4. Brazilian markets got rocked after local newspaper O Globo reported that a recording existed of President Michel Temer approving a payment intended to make jailed former house speaker Eduardo Cunha remain silent in the country’s biggest-ever graft investigation. Some analysts argue the latest allegations could lead to concerns about Brazil’s overall economic agenda.

5. Walmart beats on earnings as online sales surge. America’s largest brick-and-mortar retailer said gross merchandise volume in its e-commerce unit — the value of everything sold online — jumped by 69% compared with the same period last year.

6. Elon Musk admits that Tesla’s stock is out of control. “I do believe this market cap is higher than we have any right to deserve,” he said in an interview with The Guardian, pointing out his company produces just 1% of GM’s total output. “We’re a money losing company.”

7. A $US25 billion biotech’s stock jumped after releasing promising data on its new cancer drugs. Incyte was up by as much as 8% on Thursday morning.

8. Initial jobless claims unexpectedly dropped. Claims, which count the number of people who applied for unemployment insurance for the first time, fell by 4,000 to 232,000.


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