Breaking Stock Market and Financial News

U.S. sanctions 30 firms, individuals for aiding Iran, North Korea arms programs

Top Reuters News - Fri, 03/24/2017 - 10:52
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States has imposed sanctions on 30 foreign companies or individuals for transferring sensitive technology to Iran for its missile program or for violating export controls on Iran, North Korea and Syria, the State Department said on Friday.

Microsoft, IBM stocks' brief premarket plunges were 'correct' trades--FINRA spokesperson

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Fri, 03/24/2017 - 10:03

The one-off trades that briefly sent Microsoft Corp.'s stock tumbling 12% in premarket trade Friday, and International Business Machine Corp.'s stock plunging 11%, were "correct" trades and will not be erased, a FINRA spokesperson told MarketWatch. The trades were made via the FINRA/Nasdaq Trade Reporting Facility (TRF). "They were both premarket, and both odd lots, and therefore don't need to be within the National Best Bid and Offer [requirement]," a FINRA spokesperson told MarketWatch. The NBBO is the Securities and Exchange Commission rule that requires brokers to guarantee the best available ask or bid price when the execute trades for customers, according to Nasdaq. In other words, someone is just out of luck, and someone else is feeling very lucky.

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Amtrak train derails at New York's Penn Station, no word on injuries

Top Reuters News - Fri, 03/24/2017 - 09:47
NEW YORK (Reuters) - An Amtrak Acela train came off the tracks at New York City's Penn Station during Friday morning's rush hour and services were suspended, but there was no immediate word of any injuries, New Jersey Transit and a local CBS affiliate said.

Skechers shares upgraded on international wholesale growth

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Fri, 03/24/2017 - 09:09

Skechers USA Inc. was upgraded to outperform from market perform at Cowen & Company on the footwear brand's global growth in the wholesale channel, which analysts think will increase margins and drive earnings and free cash flow expansion. Skechers' stock price target was raised to $35 from $26. Skechers is the second largest footwear brand in North America behind Nike Inc. , analysts wrote in a Friday note, with particular appeal to the mid-tier and mass markets that are "underserved by competitors." Cowen analysts estimate that its international business will overtake the domestic business in the next two years. "Skechers is transitioning to an international wholesale-driven model, led by distributor-owned and franchise stores, its Asia joint venture, and distribute franchise stores," the note said. "International wholesale generates higher gross and operating margin than other channels." Skechers shares are up 2.4% in Friday trading, but down 7% for the past year. The S&P 500 index is up 15.5% for the last 12 months.

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Trump administration grants permit for Keystone XL pipeline: TransCanada

Top Reuters News - Fri, 03/24/2017 - 09:03
(Reuters) - The United States has issued a presidential permit for TransCanada Corp's Keystone XL oil pipeline, the Canadian company said on Friday, ending a years-long battle between environmentalists and the industry over whether Washington should approve it.

U.S. regulators press four foreign banks to improve living wills

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Fri, 03/24/2017 - 09:03

U.S. financial regulators on Friday pressed four foreign banks to improve their living wills. Barclays PLC , Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank and UBS AG were each given until July 2018 to improve their resolution plans, which are intended to map out a strategy so their U.S. operations could be closed under bankruptcy law without taxpayer assistance in the event of an unexpected crisis. At the same time, the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said livings wills presented by 16 large U.S. banks would be functional. Only Northern Trust Corp.'s living will had shortcomings that must be addressed in this year's plan due on Dec. 31.

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Alteryx prices at top of range to raise $126 million

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Fri, 03/24/2017 - 08:43

Alteryx, Inc. , a provider of self-service data, priced its offering late Thursday at $14, the top of its range, to raise $126 million in its initial public offering. The company sold 9 million shares and the company has granted underwriters the option to buy up to 1.35 million additional shares. Shares are expected to start trading Friday on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "AYX." Goldman, Sachs & Co and J.P. Morgan Securities were the lead underwriters on the offering.

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U.S. stocks open slightly higher, but on track for worst week since November

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Fri, 03/24/2017 - 08:32

U.S. stocks opened slightly higher on Friday, with the Dow rebounding after six straight daily losses. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.2% to 20,696. The S&P 500 added 0.2% to 2,350. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 0.4% to 5,840. Despite the rise on the day, major indexes were on track for their worst weekly performance since November. Investors continued to watch the situation in Washington, where a postponed vote on a key health-care bill is scheduled to take place. Market participants are watching the outcome largely for clues to the fate of other elements of President Donald Trump's agenda, including corporate tax cuts. Health-care stocks could be volatile as details emerge on the likelihood of its passage; the sector opened with a gain of 0.1%. Among the day's biggest movers, Micron Technology Inc. jumped 12% a day after giving a strong outlook.

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Apple downgraded at Needham, but remains top stock pick

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Fri, 03/24/2017 - 08:12

Analysts at Needham downgraded shares of Apple Inc. as the company comes within 6% of their target price. Lead analyst Laura Martin cut her rating to buy from strong buy on Friday, but said the stock remains her top pick. Martin sees Apple's recurring revenue stream and average user churn as a boon, as well as the company's pure play in mobile products and relatively inexpensive price compared to major content companies. "Despite the fact that Apple's profit metrics are higher than world class content companies such as Disney and CBS, and its asset efficiency is higher than world class internet companies like Facebook and Expedia, Apple's valuation is dramatically below these companies," Martin wrote in a note to clients. Martin also raised estimates for 2018 and increased her price target to $165 from $150. Shares of Apple have increased 33% in the last 12 months, while the S&P 500 index has gained 15% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 18% during the same time frame.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.

Microsoft, IBM stocks in brief plunge premarket following off-price trades

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Fri, 03/24/2017 - 07:42

Shares of Microsoft Corp. and International Business Machines Corp. traded down over 10% at one point in premarket trade Friday, but it wasn't clear whether they were traded on the FINRA/NYSE Trade Reporting Facility (TRF) or the FINRA/Nasdaq TRF. According to FactSet's time and sales data, 57 Microsoft shares went through at $56.9171 at 8:00:25 a.m. ET, below the previous trade of $64.90 at 8:00:01 a.m., and 12% below Thursday's close of $64.87. The next trade at 8:21:37 a.m. was 40 shares at $64.95. For IBM, 22 shares changed hands at $154.785 at 8:00:25 a.m., down from $175.05 at 6:38:57 a.m., and down 11% from Thursday's close at $174.82. The next trade was 100 shares at $174.70 at 8:33:09. Another Dow Jones Industrial Average component's stock traded at a off-price level, as 75 shares of General Electric changed hands at $28.859 at 8:00:25, down 2.7% from Thursday's close. That trade was surrounded by a trade at $29.64 at 7:59:51 a.m. and $29.65 at 8:20:12 a.m. FINRA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Risky House healthcare vote to test Trump's negotiating skills

Top Reuters News - Fri, 03/24/2017 - 06:55
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday faces the first concrete test of how well the deal-making skills he honed in his real estate business will translate on Capitol Hill in a high-stakes vote on new Republican health care legislation.

London attacker Khalid Masood was a 52-year-old criminal with militant links

Top Reuters News - Fri, 03/24/2017 - 06:45
BIRMINGHAM, England (Reuters) - Before he killed at least four people in Britain's deadliest attack since the 2005 London bombings, Khalid Masood was considered by intelligence officers to be a criminal who posed little serious threat.

Finish Line's stock plunges after profit falls well short of expectations

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Fri, 03/24/2017 - 06:43

Shares of Finish Line Inc. plunged 15% toward a 6 1/2-year low in premarket trade Friday, after the athletic shoe and apparel retailer reported a fiscal fourth-quarter profit that fell well short of expectations amid heavy discounting to clear inventory. For the quarter to Feb. 25, the company swung to a loss of $9.5 million, or 23 cents a share, from a profit of $4.0 million, or 9 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. Excluding non-recurring item, such as store impairment charge, adjusted earnings per share came to 50 cents, below the FactSet consensus of 70 cents. Revenue slipped to $557.5 million from $559.8 million, but was above the FactSet consensus of $548.1 million. Same-store sales declined 4.5%, compared with the FactSet consensus for a 4.2% drop. "As elements of our footwear offering did not resonate with our customers as we expected and the overall retail environment in February became increasingly difficult, we made the decision to get more aggressive on pricing to be competitive and clear slow moving product," said Chief Executive Sam Sato. The stock has tumbled 15% year to date through Thursday, while the SPDR S&P Retail ETF has lost 6.5% and the S&P 500 has gained 4.8%.

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TransCanada gets Presidential Permit to build the Keystone oil pipeline, ends bankruptcy claim

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Fri, 03/24/2017 - 06:22

TransCanada Corp. said Friday it has received a Presidential Permit from the U.S. Department of State to construct the Keystone XL Pipeline. As a result, TransCanada said it will discontinue its bankruptcy claim and end its constitutional challenge. The company said it will continue to engage stakeholders throughout Nebraska, Montana and South Dakota to obtain permits and approvals so it can begin construction. "We greatly appreciate President Trump's Administration for reviewing and approving this important initiative and we look forward to working with them as we continue to invest in and strengthen North America's energy infrastructure," said TransCanada Chief Executive Russ Girling. Earlier this month, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had recused himself from dealings with the controversial Keystone pipeline, as Tillerson was CEO of Exxon Mobil Corp. , which would benefit from the pipeline being built. The project was rejected by former President Barack Obama in 2015. TransCanada's U.S.-listed shares, which were still inactive in premarket trade, have gained 0.8% over the past three months, while the S&P 500 has advanced 3.6%.

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Blackstone to sell its Seaworld stake to China's Zhonghong at a 33% premium to market prices

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Fri, 03/24/2017 - 06:01

SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. said Friday it was selling a 21% equity stake held by affiliates of the Blackstone Group to a subsidiary of China's Zhonghong Zhuoye Group Co. Ltd. for $23 a share. That represents a 33% premium to Thursday's stock closing price of $17.31. As part of the deal, which is expected to close in the second quarter of 2017, SeaWorld will advise Zhonghong on the development and design of theme parks operated by Zhonghong. SeaWorld will expand its board to 11 members to add two Zhonghong executives. Once the deal is completed, Blackstone will no longer hold any equity interest in SeaWorld or have any board seats. Blackstone is currently SeaWorld's largest shareholder with 19.5 million share, according to FactSet. At $23 a share, that stake would be valued at $448.5 million. "Zhonghong Group is making a significant, long-term investment in SeaWorld, reflecting their appreciation of the strength of our brand, our potential to grow the company and a shared commitment to protect wildlife and the environment," said SeaWorld Chief Executive Joel Manby. The stock, which was still inactive in premarket trade, has slumped 8.6% year to date, while the S&P 500 has gained 4.8%.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.

Poll finds unprecedented uncertainty among French voters before presidential election

Top Reuters News - Fri, 03/24/2017 - 04:32
PARIS (Reuters) - A month before the first round of France's presidential election, 43 percent of voters are hesitant about who to vote for, a poll said on Friday, underlining the uncertainty surrounding the volatile election campaign.

Chicago police officer charged with 16 new counts in shooting case: media

Top Reuters News - Fri, 03/24/2017 - 02:45
(Reuters) - A white Chicago police officer accused of murder in the shooting death of a black teenager was charged on Thursday with 16 new counts of aggravated battery, in a case that sparked national debate over police use of force against minorities.

All drill, no frack: U.S. shale leaves thousands of wells unfinished

Top Reuters News - Fri, 03/24/2017 - 01:22
NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. shale producers are drilling at the highest rate in 18 months but have left a record number of wells unfinished in the largest oilfield in the country – a sign that output may not rise as swiftly as drilling activity would indicate.

How a border tax could divide Boeing and its suppliers

Top Reuters News - Fri, 03/24/2017 - 01:14
SEATTLE (Reuters) - A U.S. tax overhaul proposed by Republican leaders in Congress would deepen divisions between big manufacturers like Boeing Co and the thousands of smaller companies that supply them, according to suppliers and tax and trade experts.

BOJ's Kuroda says won't raise bond yield targets now

Top Reuters News - Fri, 03/24/2017 - 00:27
TOKYO (Reuters) - Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said on Friday he does not expect the central bank to raise its bond yield targets now, and will look at underlying trend inflation in guiding monetary policy.

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