What's moving markets today

By CNN Business
5:20 p.m. ET, February 4, 2019
5:19 p.m. ET, February 4, 2019

Can anything stop Google's ad sales machine?

From CNNBusiness' Seth Fiegerman

Our Seth Fiegerman reports that Alphabet (GOOGL), the parent company of Google, posted a 20% jump in ad sales for the last three months of 2018. That's remarkable given that the tech industry's data-privacy practices are under more scrutiny that ever, from both regulators and consumers alike.

Fiegerman reminds us of the recent flurry of events:

In the final three months of 2018, Google's CEO was grilled by Congress about data privacy, its employees around the world walked out over sexual harassment scandals, and it disclosed a security bug impacting its largely forgotten social network, Google Plus.
4:12 p.m. ET, February 4, 2019

Nasdaq jumps more than 1% as tech stocks roar

From CNN Business' Matt Egan

US stocks closed sharply higher on Monday, powered by late-day buying in the tech world and a recovery in oil prices.

  • The Nasdaq jumped 1.2% ahead of Google owner Alphabet’s (GOOGL) earnings report.
  • The Dow gained 175 points, or 0.7%
  • And the S&P 500 advanced 0.7%

Big tech stocks including Nvidia (NVDA), Microsoft (MSFT) and Apple (AAPL) marched higher. Clorox (CLX) jumped nearly 6% after posting better-than-expected earnings.

Energy stocks (XLE) recovered from earlier losses, in tandem with oil prices. US crude settled down 1.3% to $54.56 a barrel, rebounding from an early plunge of nearly 4%. 

2:23 p.m. ET, February 4, 2019

Volatility in the oil market won't end anytime soon

From CNN Business' Matt Egan and Jordan Valinsky

Oil prices have been on a roller coaster ride lately, and there are no signs that will stop.

Our Matt Egan notes that there are a number of reasons for that, including fading fears of a US recession, a strong January jobs report and OPEC's efforts to reign in production. Plus, there are the recently implemented sanctions on a Venezuelan oil company.

"There's just too many x-factors at this point," Egan said on CNN International's The Express.

The recent string of quick oil rallies and sharp selloffs are "going to continue and it will really be a volatile place for the foreseeable future," he added.

12:39 p.m. ET, February 4, 2019

Midday market update: Nasdaq pops ahead of Google earnings

From CNN Business' Matt Egan

US markets are finally showing some signs of life after a slow start on Monday.

  • The Dow was up 25 points in midday trading
  • The S&P 500 advanced 0.3%
  • The Nasdaq climbed nearly 1%

The tech sector is the clear standout, with the Technology Select Sector SPDR (XLK) surging 1.4%. The rally reflects optimism ahead of Google owner Alphabet's (GOOGL) big earnings report after the closing bell.

Other tech names, including Nvidia (NVDA), Adobe (ADBE), Microsoft (MSFT) and Apple (AAPL), moved sharply higher.

Another positive for stocks: Energy stocks (XLE) have rebounded in tandem with oil prices. US crude plunged as much as 3.6% on Monday but has since halved its losses.

The big winner on the S&P 500 is Clorox (CLX), which soared 9% after beating earnings estimates.

11:48 a.m. ET, February 4, 2019

Gannett slides after rejecting takeover bid

From CNN Business' Jordan Valinsky and Tom Kludt

Shares of Gannett (GCI) are down nearly 3% following its decision to reject a takeover bid from a hedge fund-owned company.

The nation's largest newspaper chain, which also publishes USA Today, said this morning that it would not accept an acquisition offer from MNG Enterprises. Gannett said in a statement the offer was "not in the best interests of Gannett and its shareholders."

MNG made an unsolicited offer last month to buy Gannett, arguing that the struggling newspaper chain was in need of new ownership. Gannett has seen its value plunge by 40% over the last two years.

9:39 a.m. ET, February 4, 2019

Stocks, like the Super Bowl, off to a boring start

From CNN Business' Matt Egan

Wall Street hasn't awoken from its Super Bowl slumber yet.

US markets opened little changed on Monday.

The quiet open comes after the Dow rallied more than 1% last week, its sixth straight weekly gain.

Papa John’s (PZZA) bounced 8% after announcing a $200 million investment from hedge fund Starboard Value. Clorox (CLX) climbed 4% after posting strong earnings and backing its 2019 guidance.

US oil prices tumbled 2% to $54.12 a barrel, dragging down energy stocks (XLE). 

9:14 a.m. ET, February 4, 2019

Tesla is buying a battery maker

From CNN Business' Jordan Valinsky

Tesla said it plans to acquire Maxwell Technologies, a company that makes sustainable energy products including vehicle batteries.

The all-stock deal values Maxwell's stock at $4.75 per share — a 55% premium above Friday's closing of $3.07. The purchase values Maxwell at nearly $218 million.

Tesla's (TSLA) stock is unchanged on the news. Maxwell's (MXWL) stock is soaring 52% in premarket trading. The acquisition could close in the second quarter of this year.

"We believe this transaction is in the best interests of Maxwell stockholders and offers investors the opportunity to participate in Tesla's mission of accelerating the advent of sustainable transport and energy," said Maxwell CEO Franz Fink in a release.
8:27 a.m. ET, February 4, 2019

'Bond king' Bill Gross is retiring

From CNN Business' Jordan Valinsky

Bill Gross is retiring, capping off an influential 40 year career in finance.

Gross, 74, plans to focus on his "personal assets and private charitable foundation," according to investment firm Janus Henderson, which announced its star's departure.

Gross is best known for the founding of PIMCO, one of the world's largest mutual funds. Under Gross, PIMCO became the world's largest bond fund manager.

8:08 a.m. ET, February 4, 2019

Clorox's earnings clean up

From CNN Business' Jordan Valinsky

Shares of Clorox (CLX) are jumping nearly 5% following a solid earnings report.

The consumer goods conglomerate's second-quarter earnings beat expectations. Sales for the quarter rose 4% boosted by its laundry and lifestyle brands, including Hidden Valley salad dressings and Burt's Bees products. Clorox said its Nutranext supplements company purchase last year is paying off.

Clorox said its 2019 sales and earnings forecast remains "on track." The company forecasts between 2% and 4% sales growth.