What's moving markets today

11:13 a.m. ET, February 15, 2019

It's all about trade: Dow races 250 points higher; Nasdaq goes for six in a row

Hopes for trade peace between the United States and China continue to carry the stock market higher.

  • The Dow jumped 250 points, or 1%, on Friday morning
  • The Nasdaq gained 0.5%, on track for a sixth straight gain
  • And the S&P 500 climbed 0.8%

Markets were boosted by news that US-China trade talks will continue trade negotiations next week in Washington.

"That has turned what was a modestly negative tone to a modestly positive one," Paul Hickey, co-founder of Bespoke Investment Group, wrote to clients.

Hickey added, "Let the record show that we are getting just as tired about typing subject lines related to Chinese trade talks as you are reading about them."

Nvidia (NVDA) jumped 6% after posting guidance that wasn’t as bad as feared. Newell Brands (NWL), the maker of Rubbermaid and Sharpie markers, tumbled 14% on a sales miss and tepid guidance.

Caesars Entertainment (CZR) gained 2% as billionaire investor Carl Icahn reportedly pushed the casino operator to sell itself.

8:21 a.m. ET, February 15, 2019

Berkshire Hathaway does a U-turn on Oracle

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway has sold its entire stake in Oracle — an investment it held for just one quarter.

A regulatory filing by Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA) on Thursday revealed that it sold over 41 million shares in the software company before the end of 2018. The stake was worth more than $2 billion when it was first disclosed in November.

Buffett's legendary investment company has also trimmed its stake in Apple (AAPL). Berkshire Hathaway owned 249.6 million shares in the iPhone maker as of December 31, a reduction of 1% from the previous quarter.

Shares in Oracle (ORCL) and Apple were both slightly lower during premarket trading.

8:21 a.m. ET, February 15, 2019

Coke vs. Pepsi: What the soda rivals expect in 2019

Coca-Cola says 2019 will be volatile. Pepsi said this year will be just fine. Both say sales will grow 4%.

What gives?

"They have a different geography set than we do," PepsiCo CFO Hugh Johnston told CNN Business on Friday.

PepsiCo (PEP), which reported its full year and fourth-quarter earnings on Friday, expects a 2% drag on its growth from foreign exchange rates in the coming year. Coca-Cola, which reported earnings on Thursday, said it expects that figure to be at around 6 or 7%.

Despite their soda rivalry, Coca-Cola and Pepsi are very different companies: Coke is all about beverages, while Pepsi has a big snack business which includes Frito-Lay and Quaker.

Johnston told CNN Business he expects 2019 to be "benign" and "favorable" to the company's bottom line. Meanwhile, Coca-Cola (KO) CEO James Quincey said on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" Thursday morning that this year will "be more volatile and uncertain than 2018."

Coke had its worst trading day since 2008 on Thursday. But investors don't seem too worried about Pepsi's 2019 forecast. Shares of the company were up about 2% before the bell.

10:10 a.m. ET, February 15, 2019

Deere says farmers are worried about tariffs

Farmers are still worried about the administration's tariffs and ongoing trade wars, according to farming equipment company Deere & Company (DE).

CEO Samuel Allen highlighted the anxiety in the company's gloomy first-quarter earnings report:

Our results were hurt by higher costs for raw materials and logistics as well by customer concerns over tariffs and trade policies. These latter issues have weighed on market sentiment and caused farmers to become more cautious about making major purchases."

Allen said the company hopes to "soon have more clarity around trade issues" and is "cautiously optimistic" for 2019.

The stock is down roughly 4% in premarket trading, erasing nearly half of its year-to-date gains.

10:07 a.m. ET, February 15, 2019

Nvidia rebounds following dire warning

Nvidia (NVDA) is moving 6% higher following a strong earnings report in which it beat expectations.

It's a welcome turnaround for investors after the chipmaker issued a an ominous warning just two weeks ago regarding its 2019 outlook because of "deteriorating macroeconomic conditions."

With today's premarket surge factored in, the stock has recovered its losses since the late January warning.

7:12 a.m. ET, February 15, 2019

Carl Icahn is reportedly pushing Caesars into a sale

Caesars Entertainment (CZR) is surging nearly 7% following a report that billionaire activist Carl Icahn, who has a 10% stake in the company, is pushing the casino and resort owner into a sell.

The Wall Street Journal scooped that some of Caesars shareholders have asked Icahn to help push for a sale and that he hasn't "ruled out launching a proxy fight."

Caesars had a brutal 2018. The stock lost nearly half of its value because of lower room rates at its Las Vegas hotels, such as the iconic Caesars Palace.

But it has nearly recovered all of its losses this year and shares are up roughly 45%. Caesars releases earnings next week.

6:31 a.m. ET, February 15, 2019

Coming up: Pepsi earnings

PepsiCo (PEP) is about to post earnings for the fourth quarter of 2018.

The food and beverage maker has been expanding its portfolio of healthy foods and drinks as consumers turn to more low-calorie, sugar-free options.

It's a tough market. Pepsi rival Coca-Cola (KOhad its worst day since October 2008 on Thursday, plunging 8%. The company said in an earnings report that sales declined 10% in 2018 and it issued disappointing guidance for 2019, citing the global economic slowdown, a strong US dollar and political uncertainty.

8:15 a.m. ET, February 15, 2019

Markets check before the bell

US stock futures were pointing lower earlier this morning due to disappointing economic data and trade worries. They're now in positive territory.

The latest round of trade talks between high-level US and Chinese delegations has wrapped up in Beijing. It wasn't immediately clear how much progress was made during this week's discussions, but US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin described them as "productive."

Negotiators from the two countries have been trying to strike a deal before March 2, when the US government is due to raise tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods. President Trump has indicated he might be willing to extend that deadline if a deal is close.

Investors are also worried about data released Thursday that showed a surprise drop in US retail sales for December.