What's moving markets today: April 17, 2019

6:15 a.m. ET, April 18, 2019

Health care stocks continue to sink

Health care companies couldn't catch a break today and added on to their previous losses.

  • UnitedHealth (UNH) was last down 3%
  • Anthem (ANTM) dropped more than 5%
  • Cigna (CI) was down 3.5%

The industry-wide selloff came on the back of comments from UnitedHealth CEO David Wichmann saying "Medicare for all" proposals could "destabilize the nation's health system".

10:51 a.m. ET, April 17, 2019

US trade deficit narrows for second month in a row

The monthly trade deficit fell by 3.4% to $49.4 billion in February, hitting its lowest level in eight months, according to data released Wednesday by the Census Bureau

For the second month in a row, the trade deficit with China also narrowed as the United States continues to negotiate a trade deal with Beijing. 

Exports to China increased by $1.6 billion and imports fell by $1.5 billion.  

Last year, President Donald Trump imposed tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods, in an effort to pressure Beijing to come to the negotiating table, but saw the trade deficit climb as importers scrambled to stockpile goods ahead of further threatened tariffs.

10:54 a.m. ET, April 17, 2019

See Qualcomm's stock spike after settling with Apple

Qualcomm's (QCOM) settlement with Apple (AAPL) has sent its stock soaring to 5-year high, our David Goldman notes.

The stock closed 23% higher Tuesday and is up another 12% today. Here's a look at its rise:

9:48 a.m. ET, April 17, 2019

Stocks open mixed, Qualcomm continues rally

US stocks started the session mixed. China's GDP report for the first quarter was better than expected but still failed to incite a rally in risk-sensitive assets like stocks.

  • Dow down 0.1%, or 29 points, turning negative after initially opening in the green
  • S&P 500 rose 0.1%
  • Nasdaq climbed 0.3%.

Chip maker Qualcomm (QCOM), which was Tuesday’s best performer in the S&P with a 23% jump after settling its dispute with Apple (AAPL), continued to ascend. The stock was last up 16%.

BNY Mellon (BK) dropped 8% following first quarter earnings that failed to meet estimates before the bell.

9:23 a.m. ET, April 17, 2019

Christine Romans: Stocks have plenty of room to run

I sound like a broken record. Here's why:

  • US stocks feel resilient amid the crush of earnings and a summit to record highs appears inevitable.
  • The Dow is fewer than 400 points away from a high, plodding forward with small, steady gains.

Individual stocks are the story, based on earnings results, but two recent macro comments from top CEOs stand out:

Certainly, there are bigger picture worries about President Trump’s criticism of the Fed and his choices for vacant positions on the Board of Governors.

Tensions are flaring between the US and the EU over Airbus and Boeing subsidies and the trade deal between the US and China is still not finished.

But for now, the path of least resistance, appears higher.

9:46 a.m. ET, April 17, 2019

Good China news doesn’t cut it any more

Buoyant economic data from China could have sent risk assets through the roof, but the market reaction has been a bit muddled.

All over, analysts are grappling with why 6.4% first quarter GDP growth -- more than expected and a rebound from the previous quarter -- didn’t lead to popping champagne corks.

Industrial production numbers were also strong at 8.5%, compared with some 6% expected, and retail sales beat expectations at 8.7% in March.

Still, “China’s imports have been falling recently, which suggests that domestic demand is weak, and that doesn’t tally up with industrial production and retail sales figures,” said David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets.

This might give some investors pause. On top of that, the US-China trade conflict is still not resolved.

Asia stocks ended Wednesday’s session higher, with the Shanghai Composite (SHCOMP) rising 0.3%. US stock futures are pointing to a higher open. But on the whole, market participants appeared underwhelmed, especially given the fallout from weaker-than-expected Chinese data late last year.

In one asset, however, traders have taken the data at face value. Copper prices jumped on Wednesday and “broke above a short-term corrective trend", said Fawad Razaqzada, market analyst at Forex.com, and could climb further. Copper futures for July were up 1.3%

9:16 a.m. ET, April 17, 2019

American Airlines still doesn't know how much the 737 Max grounding will cost it

The grounding of American Airlines' Boeing 737 Max planes has forced the airline to cancel flights into mid-August. But the impact that has on its bottom line remains unclear.

This is what American Airlines (AAL) said in a new regulatory filing:

The financial costs of this disruption cannot be forecasted at this time and will be dependent upon a number of factors, including the period of time the aircraft are unavailable and the circumstances of any reintroduction of the aircraft to service."

The stock is up nearly 2% in premarket trading.