Breaking Stock Market and Financial News

Oil prices sink to lowest levels since November

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Thu, 05/04/2017 - 10:04

Oil prices dropped Thursday, with expectations for a recovery in Libyan production and rising U.S. output setting prices up for their lowest finish since November. Two of the largest factions in Libya have made progress in reaching a deal to resolve the nation's political and economic crises, BBC News reported late Wednesday. Clashes between armed groups had caused intermittent shutdowns of Libya's major oil field, but a resolution to the tensions could lead to higher output. June West Texas Intermediate crude sank by $1.27, or 2.7%, to trade at $46.55 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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Tablet shipments plagued by 10th-straight quarterly decline

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Thu, 05/04/2017 - 10:04

Worldwide shipments of tablets fell 8.5% to 36.2 million in the first quarter, with every major brand except Huawei experiencing a decline, according to industry tracker IDC. The contraction marks the tenth-straight quarterly decline for the tablet market, though the previous five quarters fell at an even faster clip, with declines in the double-digit percentages. IDC, which counts both slate tablets and detachable tablets with keyboards among its analysis, attributed the decline over the past few years to bigger-screen smartphones. Apple Inc. , which reported earnings earlier this week, experienced its 13th-straight quarter of year-over-year shipments declines, down 13%, according to IDC. The iPad's share of the market declined marginally to 24.6% from 25.9% a year ago. Samsung Electronics recorded a 1% decline in shipments and its share increased to 16.5% from 15.2%. Huawei rounded out the top three and surpassed Amazon.com Inc. with a 31.7% increase in shipments. Shares of Apple fell 0.7% to $146.04 in morning trade. Its shares have gained 13% in the past three months and 55% in the past year, outperforming both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 . The Dow, a 30-member index that includes Apple, is up 4.3% and 19%, over the past three months and past year.

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The Dow industrials have gone 48 straight sessions without a three-day win streak

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Thu, 05/04/2017 - 09:57

The Dow Jones Industrial Average opened slightly higher on Thursday, as the equity gauge aims for its third straight gain. That would mark the blue-chip benchmark's longest win streak since the period ended Feb. 27, when the Dow went 12 consecutive days in positive territory, then its longest such streak since 1987. However, since that period, stocks have moved in fits and starts amid doubts about President Donald Trump's pro-market agenda, with the Dow going 48 straight trading sessions without a three-day string of positive returns. Thursday's tepid rise for the Dow was being aided in part by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. , which had been contributing about 15 points to the benchmark. However, stocks were struggling to hold on to gains Thursday, a day after the Federal Reserve left a key interest rate unchanged and described recent weakness in economic data as "transitory," providing some support for buying stocks. A sharp decline in energy, as U.S. crude oil prices tumbled, was limiting the market's early gains. Dow component Chevron Corp. was cutting 10 points from the average. More broadly, the S&P 500 index was trading flat as was the Nasdaq Composite Index .

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Starbucks expands loyalty rewards to grocery stores

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Thu, 05/04/2017 - 09:35

Starbucks Corp. said Thursday that it will expand its loyalty rewards program to grocery stores where items like packaged coffee, K-Cup packs, ready-to-drink Starbucks beverages, and Via instant coffee are sold. Rewards gathered for grocery purchases can be redeemed at Starbucks retail locations. Starbucks shares are nearly flat in Thursday trading, and are up more than 9% for the year so far. The S&P 500 index is up 6.8% for 2017 to date.

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U.S. stocks open slightly higher as earnings trickle in

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Thu, 05/04/2017 - 09:32

The U.S. stock market opened higher on Thursday as investors appeared mildly optimistic a day after the Federal Reserve's sanguine statement on the economy. Though disappointing earnings from Facebook Inc. dampened the mood. The S&P 500 opened s point, or 0.1%, higher at 2,390. The Nasdaq Composite advanced 5 points, or less than 0.1%, to 6,078 at the open, trading just below its all-time closing high. The Dow Jones Industrial Average began the session up 22 points, or 0.1%, at 20,979.

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U.S. stocks open slightly higher as earnings trickle in

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Thu, 05/04/2017 - 09:32

The U.S. stock market opened higher on Thursday as investors appeared mildly optimistic a day after the Federal Reserve's sanguine statement on the economy. Though disappointing earnings from Facebook Inc. dampened the mood. The S&P 500 opened s point, or 0.1%, higher at 2,390. The Nasdaq Composite advanced 5 points, or less than 0.1%, to 6,078 at the open, trading just below its all-time closing high. The Dow Jones Industrial Average began the session up 22 points, or 0.1%, at 20,979.

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McDonald's introduces Signature Crafted Recipes sandwiches in Florida, hiring 5,000 workers

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Thu, 05/04/2017 - 09:30

McDonald's Corp. said Thursday that it has introduced its Signature Crafted Recipes sandwiches - Maple Bacon Dijon, Pico Guacamole and Sweet BBQ Bacon - at nearly 900 Florida restaurants. The sandwiches were introduced this week, along with a new utensil, the "Frork," that diners can eat them with. The Signature Crafted sandwiches can be customized with beef or chicken, and a choice of either an artisan roll or sesame seed bun. Florida restaurants are also getting the "Experience of the Future" upgrade, including self-order kiosks, table service, and buildings with side-by-side drive-thru lanes. To support the upgrades, McDonald's Florida franchisees are hiring 5,000 workers. McDonald's are nearly flat in premarket trading, and up 17.2% for the year so far. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 6.7% for 2017 to date.

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PrivateBancorp's stock jumps on heavy volume after CIBC raised buyout bid

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Thu, 05/04/2017 - 09:13

Shares of PrivateBancorp Inc. ran up 4.3% toward record territory in active premarket trade Thursday, after Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce raised its buyout bid for the Chicago-based bank. CIBC said it will raise the cash portion of its bid by $3 a share. Trading volume in PrivateBancorp shares spiked to 1.5 million shares ahead of the open, which already matched the full-day average. Based on Wednesday's closing prices, CIBC said the new bid values PrivateBancorp at $4.9 billion, which is 26% higher than when the original bid was announced on June 29, 2016. PrivateBancorp shares have soared 44% over the past 12 months through Wednesday, while the S&P 500 has gained 16%.

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Express closing its Canadian stores

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Thu, 05/04/2017 - 09:07

Express Inc. said Thursday that it is closing its 17 stores in Canada and discontinuing Canadian operations through its Express Fashion Apparel Canada Inc. subsidiary. The company entered the Canadian market in 2011. As a result, Express Canada has filed an application for protection under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. Store-closing sales will begin mid-May. For the fiscal year ending Jan. 28, 2017, Express Canada had net sales of about $34 million and contributed a net loss of about $6 million. Express expects a pre-tax loss in the range of $28 million to $34 million driven by the write-down of the Express Canada investment and associated costs. The company will incur first-quarter charges of about $6 million and the remaining $22 million to $28 million in the second quarter. The company anticipates tax benefits in the range of $14 million to $16 million, about $7 million of which will be in the first quarter. Express expects net losses in the range of $14 million to $18 million in 2017. About $1 million will be in the first quarter. Express shares are down 1.7% in premarket trading, and down 50% for the past year. The S&P 500 index is up 16.4% for the last 12 months.

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Biohaven Pharmaceutical raises $168 million in initial public offering

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Thu, 05/04/2017 - 08:56

Biohaven Pharmaceutical Holding Company priced its initial public offering at $17 a share Thursday to raise $168.3 million. The company sold 9.9 million shares and has granted underwriters a 30-day option to buy an additional 1.485 million shares. The shares are expected to start trading Thursday under the symbol "BHVN." Morgan Stanley, Piper Jaffray & Co and Barclays Capital are the joint book-running managers on the offering.

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Buffalo Wild Wings responds to activist investor, Mercato Capital Management

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Thu, 05/04/2017 - 08:54

Buffalo Wild Wings Inc. issued a statement Thursday in response to what it calls "misleading claims" made by activist investors, Mercato Capital Management. The restaurant chain says Mercato based its "flawed analysis" of the company's performance on comparisons with restaurants and retailers that are "meaningfully different," much larger companies, and broad market indices like the Nasdaq. "Buffalo Wild Wings should instead be compared to its casual dining peers," the company wrote. "The casual dining peer group utilized by Buffalo Wild Wings properly excludes companies that are quick-serve, fast-food or delivery restaurants as well as companies outside the restaurant industry." Among the companies it calls peers are Cheesecake Factory Inc. , Outback Steakhouse parent Bloomin' Brands Inc. , Olive Garden parent Darden Restaurants Inc. , and Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc. . "Compared with the median returns generated by this set of our casual dining peers, Buffalo Wild Wings has generated significantly better returns for its shareholders," the statement said, adding that the company has had compounded annual returns of more than 24% annually since its IPO. Buffalo Wild Wings shares are unchanged in premarket trading and up 20.1% for the past year. The S&P 500 index is up 16.4% for the last 12 months.

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Martha Stewart heading to QVC

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Thu, 05/04/2017 - 08:37

Martha Stewart, part of the Sequential Brands Group Inc. portfolio, and QVC Inc. are partnering to launch in several categories, including skincare, food and beverage, and apparel. The collaboration is expected to appear in the second half of this year, and Martha Stewart will make appearances on the QVC channel. Sequential Brands shares are unchanged in Thursday premarket trading, and shares have fall more than 46% in the past year. The S&P 500 index is up 16.4% for the last 12 months.

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Dunkin' Donuts parent's stock falls after sales miss expectations

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Thu, 05/04/2017 - 08:32

Shares of Dunkin' Brands Group Inc. dropped 1.5% in premarket trade Thursday, after the Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins parent's sales miss offset a profit beat. Net income rose to $47.5 million, or 51 cents a share, from $37.2 million, or 40 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. Excluding non-recurring items, adjusted earnings per share came to 54 cents, above the FactSet consensus of 48 cents. Revenue rose to $190.7 million from $189.8 million, but missed the FactSet consensus of $192.3 million. Same-store sales of U.S. Dunkin' Donuts were flat, missing the FactSet consensus of 1.7% growth, while a 2.4% decline for U.S. Baskin-Robbins missed expectations of a 1.5% increase. The company said it continues to expected same-store sales growth in the "low single digit" percentage range for its U.S. Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins stores. "While our Dunkin' Donuts U.S. comparable stores sales were flat in the quarter, these results, delivered against an increasingly-challenging environment for retail and restaurants, demonstrate the benefits of our asset-light, 100-percent franchised business model," said Chief Executive Nigel Travis. The stock has gained 7.5% year to date through Wednesday, while the S&P 500 has advanced 6.7%.

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U.S. initial jobless claims sink 19,000 to 238,000

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Thu, 05/04/2017 - 08:30

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - Initial U.S. jobless claims fell by 19,000 to 238,000 in the last week of April, the government said Thursday. Economists polled by MarketWatch has expected new claims to total a seasonally adjusted 245,000 in the seven days stretching from April 23 to April 29. The more stable monthly average of jobless claims rose by 750 to 243,000. The number of so-called continuing claims that count people already receiving jobless benefits declined by 23,000 to a 17-year low of 1.96 million. And the four-week average of continuing claims was the smallest since 1988.

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Kellogg reports earnings beat, but sales miss expectations

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Thu, 05/04/2017 - 08:21

Kellogg Co. reported first-quarter net income of $262.0 million, or 74 cents per share, up from $175.0 million, 49 cents per share, for the same period last year. Adjusted EPS was $1.06, beating the 99-cent FactSet consensus. Revenue totaled $3.26 billion, down from $3.40 billion last year, and below the $3.28 billion FactSet consensus. The company said U.S. Morning Foods, which includes breakfast cereals, U.S. Snacks, and Europe got off to a slow start. Kellogg reaffirmed 2017 guidance. It expects EPS growth of 8% to 10%, year-over-year on a currency-neutral basis. Kellogg's shares are up 0.7% in Thursday premarket trading, and down 10.5% for the past year. The S&P 500 index is up 16.4% for the last 12 months.

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iHeartRadio parent says there is 'substantial doubt' it will survive another year

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Thu, 05/04/2017 - 08:17

iHeartMedia Inc. said Thursday there is "substantial doubt as to our ability to continue as a going concern for a period of 12 months" as it struggles to refinance or extend maturities on some of its borrowings and waits to see if creditors will participate in proposed exchange offers. The move was expected. The company, the biggest operator of radio stations in the U.S., had said in a recent regulatory filing that it intended to include 'going concern' language in its quarterly report. The company has almost $350 million of debt coming due this year, part of a massive $20 billion debt load it took on as part of a $24 billion leveraged buyout of then Clear Channel Communications Inc. by private-equity firms Bain Capital and Thomas H. Lee Partners in 2008. It has another $8.3 billion of debt coming due in 2019. The owner of iHeartRadio and Clear Channel Outdoor said revenue fell 2.4% in the quarter, while operating income fell 72.9% to $306.7 million. Operating income was boosted in the year-earlier quarter by a $278.3 million gain on the sale of outdoor markets. The company had $365 million of cash at end March. "Our current operating plan indicates we will continue to incur net losses and generate negative cash flows from operating activities given iHeartCommunications' indebtedness and related interest expense," the company said. The company's most-active bonds, the 9.00% notes that mature in March of 2021, were quoted at 76.75 cents on the dollar, according to MarketAxess.

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Capital Bank's stock slumps after buyout deal values regional bank at a discount

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Thu, 05/04/2017 - 07:48

Shares of Capital Bank Financial Corp. slumped 4.9% in premarket trade Thursday, as terms of the $2.2 billion buyout deal with First Horizon National Corp. valued Capital Bank at a discount. First Horizon will exchange 1.750 of its shares and $7.90 in cash for each Capital Bank share outstanding. Based on Wednesday's closing prices, that values Capital Bank shares at $40.835 each, which is 2.9% below Wednesday's closing price of $42.05. The merger is expected to close in the fourth quarter. The banks said the merger will create the fourth-largest regional bank in the Southeast. Capital Bank's stock had gained 7.1% year to date through Wednesday, while First Horizon shares fell 6%, the iShares U.S. Regional Banks ETF slipped 0.5% and the S&P 500 gained 6.7%.

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Philippines' Duterte says chat with Xi was at Trump's request

Top Reuters News - Thu, 05/04/2017 - 07:43
MANILA (Reuters) - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Thursday his telephone conversation this week with Chinese leader Xi Jinping to discuss the Korean peninsula crisis was at the behest of his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump.

Comedy Central-owner Viacom reports improvement in film and TV, as Q2 earnings beat expectations

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Thu, 05/04/2017 - 07:39

Shares of Viacom Inc. rose more than 4% in premarket trade on Thursday after the media and entertainment company reported second quarter earnings that were better than Wall Street expected. Viacom reported net income for the quarter was $121 million, or 30 cents per share, down compared with last year's $303 million, or 76 per share during the same period. Adjusted earnings per share came in at 79 cents, well above FactSet's per-share consensus of 59 cents. Revenue for the quarter hit $3.26 billion, which is an improvement compared with Viacom's $3.00 billion in the year-earlier period and above FactSet's $3.03 billion consensus. Viacom said revenue at its media networks increased 1% in the quarter. Domestic advertising revenue fell 4%, but was offset by international advertising, which increased 11%. Comedy Central's flagship show "The Daily Show with Trevor Noah" had its most-watched quarter to date, with digital viewing up 37%. Revenue at the company's Paramount Pictures film division, which brought in former 20th Century Fox executive Jim Gianopulos to head the studio, rose 10% in the quarter thanks to strong international performance from "XXX: Return of Xander Cage." "We executed quickly on our strategic plan, making significant organizational changes to better focus and align Viacom's brand portfolio and ensure strong leadership," said Viacom Chief Executive Bob Bakish in a statement. "We are working diligently to cement Viacom as a partner of choice in the industry, presenting new and reinvigorated brand strategies for our advertisers, producing creative and flexible new opportunities with our distributors and recommitting ourselves to be the home for the world's best talent." Viacom's commonly-owned class B shares have gained nearly 12% in the year to date, while the S&P 500 index is up close to 7%.

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Retail sector loses the most jobs in April

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Thu, 05/04/2017 - 07:37

The retail sector had the highest number of announced job cuts among all industries in the month of April - 11,669 - according to the latest data from Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a job search and outplacement firm. Year-to-date, retail has had 50,133 cuts, up 36% from the number of cuts announced in the first four months of 2016. Retail has announced the highest number of reductions of any industry, year to to date. Health care/products (11,269), telecommunications (10,269), automotive (8,725) and energy (8,339) round out the top five. Overall, the pace of downsizing decreased in April, with total workforce reductions of 36,602. The total number of cuts announced for the first four months of 2017 was 162,803, down from 249,061 last year. The SPDR S&P Retail ETF is down 2.4% for the year to date while the S&P 500 index is up 6.7% for the period.

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