What's moving markets today: May 16, 2019

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8:51 a.m. ET, May 16, 2019

Stocks could hit new records

Stocks could climb back to fresh record highs, despite the recent dramatic global selloff over the trade war with China.

Even though the S&P 500 recorded its worst one-day drop since January on Monday, it's still only off 3.2% from the record high it reached on April 30. And that's despite the trade tensions with China, renewed fears over global growth, as well as ongoing concerns over Brexit, Italian politics and equity valuations, said Fawad Razaqzada, technical analyst at Forex.com.

When the market is able to absorb so much negativity, it is usually a sign of strength. So I wouldn’t bet against the S&P hitting another record high in the coming days, even if we think the markets are overvalued at current levels," said Razaqzada.

Futures are pointing to a higher open today.

8:32 a.m. ET, May 16, 2019

Warren Buffett reveals his Amazon investment

Warren Buffett revealed how much his stake in Amazon (AMZN) is worth: more than $900 million.

In an interview earlier this month, Buffett mentioned that one of Berkshire Hathaway's (BRKA) investment managers had taken a stake in Amazon, though he did not disclose the amount.

In a filing late Wednesday, Berkshire revealed the stake: 483,300 shares, worth $904 million based on Wednesday's closing price.

Read more here

7:36 a.m. ET, May 16, 2019

Atlanta Fed downgrades GDP expectations

The Atlanta Federal Reserve downgraded its GDP growth forecast for the second quarter to an annualized rate of just 1.1% yesterday after a series of weaker-than-expected economic data.

Just last week, the same GDPNow model estimated 1.6% of economic growth between April and July.

On Wednesday, both retail sales and industrial production for April came in lower than expected. According to the Atlanta Fed, second quarter consumer spending growth is anticipated at 3%, rather than 3.2%.

7:34 a.m. ET, May 16, 2019

Walmart shares are slightly higher after reporting earnings

Walmart (WMT) just had a mixed first quarter earnings report, per our Paul R. La Monica:

Online sales rose, but...

Earnings also show the US shopper is healthy:

  • The stock is up more than 7% for the year
7:06 a.m. ET, May 16, 2019

EU fines five banks $1 billon over foreign exchange cartel

The European Union has fined five banksBarclays (BCS), RBS (RBS), Citigroup (C), JPMorgan (JPM) and MUFG (MUFG), $1.2 billion for participating in a foreign exchange trading cartel.

The EU Competition Commission said the banks took part in two cartels for 11 currencies, including the Euro, The British Pound, the US Dollar and the Yen.

The investigation found that individual traders exchanged sensitive information and trading plans through online professional chatrooms.

Read more here.

6:35 a.m. ET, May 16, 2019

US places ban on Huawei

President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed an executive order barring US companies from using telecoms gear from sources the administration deems a national security threat.

That action is seen as targeting Beijing and Chinese telecoms equipment maker Huawei. The US government on Wednesday also added Huawei to the so-called Entity List of companies it says undermine American interests. That means US companies may need a license to continue supplying Huawei with crucial components.

The company relies on US suppliers such as:

Intel and Qualcomm shares are up slightly in premarket trading.

The United States is already locked in a trade war with China. Both sides are still negotiating, but new rounds of tit-for-tat tariffs in the past week have made markets jittery.

6:35 a.m. ET, May 16, 2019

Checking in on global markets

Here's what's happening in global markets: 




  • US stock futures are pointing higher.
  • Wednesday's close: US stocks have notched two consecutive days of gains. The Dow finished up 0.5%. The S&P 500 rose 0.6%, and the Nasdaq climbed 1.1%.