What's moving markets today

By CNN Business

Updated 4:20 p.m. ET, February 25, 2019
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4:16 p.m. ET, February 25, 2019

Trade rally runs out of steam; Oil prices plunge after Trump warns OPEC to 'relax'

From CNN Business' Matt Egan

The huge trade rally on Wall Street is showing signs of fatigue. 

US markets finished in the green on Monday but ended at session lows as enthusiasm about US-China trade progress faded.

  • The Dow closed up 61 points, giving back most of an early rally of 210 points
  • The S&P 500 edged 0.1% higher
  • And the Nasdaq gained 0.4%

Global markets soared overnight after President Donald Trump announced he would delay increasing tariffs on China. China’s Shanghai Composite surged 5.6%, its biggest gain since July 2015.

US oil prices plunged 3.1% to $55.48 a barrel after Trump warned OPEC to “please relax and take it easy.” Oil traders may be worried that Trump's pressure could persuade Saudi Arabia's to limit its production cuts. Saudi Arabia's cutbacks have been a major driver of the recent rally in oil prices.

Meanwhile, General Electric (GE) jumped 6% on a $21.4 billion deal to sell its BioPharma business to Danaher (DHR). GE had been up nearly 16% at its highs of the day.

12:24 p.m. ET, February 25, 2019

Midday market update: Dow buoyed by trade news

From CNN Business' Jill Disis

US-China trade optimism is keeping Wall Street happy Monday.

The Dow was up about 180 points during midday trading. That's largely unchanged from the spike it enjoyed at the start of the day, which came on news that President Donald Trump will delay US tariffs on China.

The Nasdaq built on earlier gains, advancing 1.3%. The S&P 500 remained positive, but steady, at a 0.6% increase.

General Electric (GE) was still up about 9% after the company said it reached a deal to sell its BioPharma business to Danaher (DHR) for $21.4 billion.

Major biotech stocks, including Biomarin (BMRN), Incyte (INCY) and Alexion (ALXN), rose roughly 2 to 4% after the sale was announced.

9:41 a.m. ET, February 25, 2019

Dow climbs 175 points on tariff delay; GE on track for best day in a decade

From CNN Business' Matt Egan

Wall Street is starting the week in rally mode -- thanks once again to thawing trade tensions.

The Dow jumped 175 points, or 0.7%, on Monday as investors cheered President Donald Trump’s decision to delay imposing an increase in tariffs on China. The S&P 500 gained 0.6%. The Nasdaq climbed 0.9%.

Investors are relieved that the United States and China have made enough progress in trade talks to avoid a planned March 1 increase in US tariffs. China’s Shanghai Composite surged 5.6%, its biggest one-day rally since July 2015. 

"Was the postponement a big surprise? Not really, but it's news the market wants to hear," Kit Juckes, macro strategist at Societe Generale, wrote to clients.

General Electric (GE) spiked 14% after reaching a deal to sell its BioPharma business to Danaher (DHR) for $21.4 billion. GE is on track for its best day since March 2009. Spark Therapeutics (ONCE) skyrocketed 120% on its $4.8 billion sale to Roche.

The rally on Wall Street comes after the Dow advanced last week for the ninth in a row. 

10:59 a.m. ET, February 25, 2019

Gold miner launches $18 billion hostile bid for rival

From CNN Business' Paul R. La Monica

It may not be 1849. But there's a new gold rush going on in 2019. Merger mania!

Barrick Gold (GOLD), which recently bought gold miner Randgold Resources, launched an unsolicited $18 billion takeover offer for Newmont Mining (NEM) Monday. Newmont is already in the process of its own deal. It has an agreement to buy Goldcorp (GG).

Barrick Gold CEO Mark Bristow said in a press release that the Newmont offer is "superior" to Newmont's bid for Goldcorp and "represents a radical and long-overdue restructuring of the gold industry...a transformative shift from short-term survival tactics to the long-term creation of sustainable value."

Newmont doesn't sound too interested in a deal though. The company said in a statement that it "previously reviewed and rejected potential combinations" with both Barrick and Randgold before they merged.

But more deals are likely coming.

Gold hit a record high of above $1,900 an ounce in 2011 and has since tumbled to about $1,330. Mergers -- and the cost savings that come with them -- are the best way for miners to cope with the epic slide in prices.
9:28 a.m. ET, February 25, 2019

Buffett: We made a mistake on Kraft

From CNN Business' Chris Isidore

Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett admits he paid too much for Kraft.

I was wrong in a couple of ways on Kraft Heinz," he said in an interview Monday morning on CNBC after Kraft's stock crashed on Friday. "We did overpay. We didn’t overpay for Heinz. We overpaid for Kraft."

Kraft Heinz was created nearly four years ago when Heinz, which was bought by Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRKB) and private equity firm 3G Capital in 2013, merged with Kraft.

Late Thursday Kraft Heinz wrote down the value of several of its best-known brands, leading it to post a large loss. Berkshire, which own more than 325 million shares, wrote down the value of its holdings in Kraft Heinz (KHC) by about $3 billion.

Buffett said that package foods companies like Kraft Heinz are losing the battle with major retailers such as Walmart (WMT) and Costco (COST), and with private label brands such as Costco's Kirkland products.

But Buffett said he has no intention to sell any of its shares of Kraft Heinz.

"We don’t pull the plug. It isn’t our style," he said.

6:22 a.m. ET, February 25, 2019

Chinese stocks charge into a bull market

From CNN Business' Jethro Mullen and Charles Riley

Shanghai stocks just had their best day in more than three years.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite (SHCOMP) leaped 5.6% today, its biggest daily percentage gain since 2015, according to Reuters. That lifted it into a bull market, which is defined as a rise of at least 20% from a recent low.

Some of the encouragement came from President Trump, who announced that he'll delay a major tariff hike on Chinese exports in order to give the two countries more time to reach a trade deal. 

Trump tweeted that trade negotiators had made "substantial progress" and that he will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping "to conclude an agreement" if the talks continue to advance.

Xi also contributed to the sharp rise with comments calling for the development of China's financial industry, which investors interpreted as encouragement to move more money into the sector.

Meanwhile, other stock markets around the world have surged on President Trump's announcement. Indexes in Tokyo and Hong Kong advanced 0.5%, while European markets opened with gains of a similar size. US stock futures are moving higher.

6:22 a.m. ET, February 25, 2019

All eyes on Huawei

From CNN Business' Ivana Kottasová and Samuel Burke

We're on the ground in Barcelona at the world's biggest mobile tech show, otherwise known as Mobile World Congress.

If you've been following the headlines, it should serve as no surprise that one company really stands out this year: Chinese tech giant Huawei.

Walking out of the Barcelona airport, there's a Huawei hospitality stand. The company's branding dots the city. Even the lanyards conference attendees wear around their necks are decorated with the Huawei name.

There's a good reason everyone is focused on Huawei.

The company is a crucial part of China's efforts to advance 5G wireless networks, and today it's caught in a life-or-death battle with the US government, which claims that Huawei poses a potential national security threat.

Huawei strongly denies the claims and is trying hard to persuade the world to use its 5G technology and not cave to pressure from Washington.

Its chairman, Guo Ping, addressed the controversy on Sunday, ahead of the formal start of MWC.

"This is not something that should be decided by politics," he said.

Guo added that he's hoping that "independent sovereign states" will make "independent decisions based on their own understanding of the situation, and will not just listen to someone else's order."