| Feb 15, 2018 | 4:03 PM EST
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Closing Bell

Wall Street is on a roll as all three major indices had big gains Thursday, marking the fifth consecutive win for Wall Street.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed trading near its high, rising 1.24%, or 309 points, to 25,202 while the Nasdaq rose 1.58%, or 113 points, to 7,256 and the S&P 500 gained 1.2%, or 33 points, to 2,731.

Amazon Pays $1.2 Million EPA Fine For Selling Illegal Pesticides

Amazon (AMZN) agreed to settle charges that it committed nearly 4,000 violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act by paying the EPA a fine of $1.3 million. 

Amazon was accused of allowing third-parties to sell and distribute imported pesticide products that weren't licensed for sale in the U.S. 

"This agreement will dramatically reduce the online sale of illegal pesticides, which pose serious threats to public health in communities across America," EPA Region 10 Administrator Chris Hladick said in a news statement.

U.S Bancorp Fined $613 Million for Failing to Scrutinize Suspicious Transactions

U.S. Bancorp (USB) was fined $613 million by the officials for failing to scrutinize suspicious transactions, including millions of dollars that were linked to payday lender, and race car driver, Scott Tucker.

The settlements were announced jointly by the Manhattan U.S. Attorneys Office, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Reserve and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. 

Between 2009 and 2014 the bank put a cap on how many alerts could be generated by its customer transaction monitoring system. 

 Tucker was sentenced to more than 16 years in prison in January for running an illegal $3.5 billion internet-based payday lending scheme that featured interest rates as high as $1,000. 

Gun Stocks Rise One Day After Deadly School Shooting

Shares of U.S. gunmakers popped higher at Thursday's market opening following a Florida school shooting that left 17 people dead on Wednesday. Gunmaker stocks often see quick increases after mass shootings, as enthusiasts apparently buy more weapons because they fear mass killings could result in new government restrictions on gun sales.

Pure gun plays Sturm, Ruger & Co. (RGR) traded as much as 2.8% higher in early trading Thursday, while American Outdoor Brands Corp. (AOBC) rose as much as 4.5%. However, both later pulled and were trading up 0.3% and 0.9% respectively.

Olin Corp. (OLN) , a company that sells a mix of gun brands and other products, also rose as much as 2.7% higher but dipped into negative territory later in the morning before rebounding up 0.43%. So did fellow mixed-product gunmaker Vista Outdoor Inc. (VSTO) , which tacked on 0.3% early on but was down 0.7%.

Nikolas Cruz, 19, was taken into custody Wednesday in the neighborhood surrounding the school after his alleged shooting spree in Parkland, Fla. He was a former student who was expelled from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School for unspecified disciplinary reasons.

Mortgage Rates Rise to Highest Mark in Nearly 4-years

The benchmark 30-year fixed mortgage rate rose to 4.38% in the week ending February 15, up from the 4.32% rate last week, mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported. 

A year ago the rate averaged 4.15%. 

"Inflation measures were broad-based, cementing expectations that the Federal Reserve will go forward with monetary tightening later this year," said Len Kiefer, Freddie Mac's deputy chief economist.

U.S. Jobless Claims Rise by 7,000

U.S. initial jobless claims rose by 7,000 last week to 230,000, matching analyst forecasts for the week ended February 10. 

The number of people already collecting benefits also climbed by 15,000 to 1.94 million, thats down from the 2.4 million who were receiving benefits in the same week last year. 

New jobless claims continued to sit beneath the 300,000 threshold for the 154th straight week, the longest streak since claims were below 300,000 for 160 weeks between 1967 and 1970.

U.S. Factory Output Flat for Second Straight Month

U.S. factories produced the same amount of goods in January as the did in December, marking the second consecutive month of flat production following three consecutive months of gains. 

Overall industrial production, which includes mines and utilities, fell 0.1% during the month as mining production fell 1% and utility output rose 0.6%. 

Manufacturing plants are running at 76.2% capacity, according to the Federal Reserve, which is up from the 75.4% capacity from a year ago. 

Cisco Announces Plans to Repatriate $67 Billion in Cash

Cisco (CSCO) says that it plans to repatriate $67 billion in overseas cash and use a significant portion of that money to return value to shareholders through share buybacks and increased dividends.

Cisco shares were rising 7.6% premarket Thursday.

Cisco joins fellow tech company Apple (AAPL) in bringing its overseas cash pile back to the U.S. in response to the U.s. tax reform law that has lowered the duties that are paid for bringing the cash home.

McDonald's Pledges More Balance Happy Meals by 2022

McDonald's (MCD) said that at least half of its kid menu options will meet its new global Happy Meal nutrition criteria by 2022.

The meals will have 600 calories or less, with no more than 10% of those calories from saturated fat, no more than 650 mg of sodium and no more than 10% of calories from added sugar.

"This is an important step in the right direction and we look forward to seeing how today's announcement will lead to kids eating fewer calories and less sugar, saturated fat and sodium," American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown said in a statement applauding the move.


Markets are on a four-day winning streak and U.S. futures were indicating that the major U.S. indices would at least start the day in positive territory.

Dow Jones futures were rising 0.87%, or 216 points, while Nasdaq futures were climbing 0.56%, or 38 points and S&P futures were indicating an open 0.5% higher, or 13 points.

World markets were riding the momentum from strong trading in the U.S. with the Nikkei, Hang Seng and Shanghai Composite in Asia closing the day up 1.47%, 1.97% and 0.45% respectively.

In Europe the CAC 40 in France was leading the way higher, rising 1.42% while the Dax gained 0.65% and the FTSE 100 climbed 0.52%.

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