Wall Street's Top Stories At Midday

Stocks rise as trade talks news awaited, Kraft crashes after writedown

Stocks opened with modest gains as investors grew optimistic about the ongoing trade talks with China. Once opened, the averages recaptured their losses from yesterday and added to their weekly gains. The market, trying to log its eighth winning week in the last nine, has seen the Dow push past the 26,000 level and the S&P rise to just a few points below 2,800.

ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., no economic data of note was reported.

TOP NEWS: Shares of Kraft Heinz (KHC) plunged 27% on Friday morning after Wall Street largely abandoned the stock following its Q4 results, writedown of goodwill for two of its big brands and a dividend cut. The consumer packaged foods maker also revealed a probe by the SEC over the accounting practices in its procurement division, prompting at least seven downgrades of the stock to Neutral or equivalent ratings. The slide also means big paper losses for Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-A, BRK-B), which reportedly owned more than 325M shares as of the end of 2018.

Shares of Stamps.com (STMP) have cratered, losing 57% in value after the company gave a much weaker than expected forecast for 2019 along with an announcement that it had ended its exclusive partnership with the U.S. Postal Service.

Shares of Intel (INTC) apparantely are being boosted by an upgrade after Morgan Stanley analyst Joseph Moore raised his rating on the chipmaker to Overweight, citing his belief that shares "can rerate higher" given that the company has put "a more financially oriented CEO" in charge with the appointment of Robert Swan. Moore raised his price target on Intel shares to $64 from $55. The stock is up roughly 3% to $52.90 near noon.

MAJOR MOVERS: Among the noteworthy gainers was Zillow (ZG), which rose 21% after announcing that co-founder Rich Barton will return as CEO and after reporting quarterly results. Also higher after reporting quarterly results were Wayfair (W) and Roku (ROKU), which gained a respective 32% and 20%. 

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