Breaking Stock Market and Financial News

Oracle soars toward record highs after earnings beat

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 16:13

Oracle Corp. beat expectations with its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings report Wednesday, posting annual earnings and revenue growth for the first time since the 2014 fiscal year and sending shares rocketing toward records. The software giant reported net income of $3.23 billion, or 76 cents a share, on sales of $10.89 billion for the final quarter in its 2017 fiscal year. After adjusting for stock-based compensation and other effects, Oracle reported profit of 89 cents a share. Analysts on average expected Oracle to report adjusted earnings of 78 cents a share on revenue of $10.46 billion, according to FactSet. Oracle shares jumped more than 8% in late trading, topping $50 a share after closing with a 1.1% gain at $46.33. Oracle stock has never traded above $46.99 in a regular trading session, according to FactSet.

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U.S. stocks close mostly lower but Nasdaq bucks trend

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 16:03

The S&P 500 and the Dow closed lower for a second session in a row Wednesday as weak oil prices weighed on the market, but the Nasdaq bucked the trend to rise as large-cap tech stocks gained. Oil prices extended losses to fall deeper into bear territory with August West Texas Intermediate crude down 2.5% to $42.42 a barrel. The S&P 500 shed 1 point to close at 2,435 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 55 points, or 0.3%, to end at 21,411. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 45 points, or 0.7%, to close at 6,233.

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Fed open to reducing regulatory burdens on banks, Powell says

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 16:00

U.S. banks today "are as strong as any in the world" allowing the U.S. central bank to look for ways to reduce unnecessary burdens on the sector, said Federal Reserve Gov. Jerome Powell. In testimony prepared for delivery to a Senate Banking Committee hearing on Thursday morning, Powell said he thought the Fed could consider phasing out the qualitative part of the stress tests. Ian Katz, an analyst with Capital Alpha, called ditching the qualitative part of the stress test "a major headache relief for the banks." Powell said the Fed was also open to looking for ways to improve the Volcker rule and give small firms a waiver from its provisions. The testimony was released on Wednesday afternoon.

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For thousands of U.S. auto workers, downturn is already here

Top Reuters News - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 15:47
LORDSTOWN, Ohio (Reuters) - Wall Street is fretting that the U.S. auto industry is heading for a downturn, but for thousands of workers at General Motors Co factories in the United States, the hard times are already here.

Oil falls to lowest settlement in more than 10 months

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 14:47

Oil prices fell Wednesday to mark the lowest settlement for a front-month futures contract since Aug. 10, according to FactSet data. The broader trend for oil is its "steady slide" in prices, since the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries in late May extended its output-cut agreement through March of next year, said Robbie Fraser, commodity analyst at Schneider Electric. "The primary factor behind that drop continues to be upward revisions to U.S. production expectations, which was once again highlighted" by a 20,000 barrel-per-day increase in the Energy Information Administration's weekly production estimate, he said. August WTI crude lost 98 cents, or 2.3%, to settle $42.53 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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Most Americans say Republican healthcare plan will be harmful: Reuters/Ipsos poll

Top Reuters News - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 14:37
NEW YORK (Reuters) - When U.S. Senate Republicans unveil their plan to overhaul America's healthcare system, they will face a skeptical public that already does not buy the justification for an earlier version that passed the House of Representatives, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Wednesday. 

Altice boosts IPO offering by 37% to raise up to $2 billion

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 14:27

Cable company Altice USA Inc. increased Wednesday the number of shares it will sell in its initial public offering by 37% to 63.9 million shares, to raise up to $1.98 billion, from 46.6 million shares last month. The increase comes entirely from selling shareholders, who are now selling 51.9 million shares, compared with last month's plan to sell 34.5 million shares. The company, which acquired Cablevision last June and Suddenlink in December 2015, is still selling about 12.1 million shares in the IPO, which is still expected to price between $27 and $31 a share. The stock will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol "ATUS."

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Ex-Guantanamo detainee Ghailani may pursue prison prayer claim: U.S. court

Top Reuters News - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 13:54
(Reuters) - A federal appeals court on Wednesday revived a lawsuit in which Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, a former Guantanamo Bay detainee convicted over the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, said prison officials violated his right to participate in group prayer.

Gold settles higher for first time in three sessions

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 13:54

Gold prices settled higher Wednesday for the first time in three sessions, finding support as the U.S. dollar weakened. Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker on Wednesday said he advocated a "pause" on rate hikes while the central bank starts to pare its balance sheet. Prices had ended Tuesday at a five-week low. August gold rose $2.30, or 0.2%, to settle at $1,245.80 an ounce.

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Fed's Harker says plan to start to shrink balance sheet could start in September

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 13:47

Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker on Wednesday said the September meeting could be a good time for the U.S. central bank to begin the process of shrinking its balance sheet. In an interview with the Financial Times, Harker stressed that no final decision had been made and negative economic data would delay the start of the program. Fed officials agreed earlier this month on details to allow a fixed amount of assets to run off the $4.5 trillion balance sheet every month. The initial cap will be set at $10 billion. The Philadelphia Fed president, who is a voting member of the Fed policy committee, said he advocated a "pause" on rate hikes while the central bank starts to pare its balance sheet.

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Drug stocks surge on report that President Trump plans to ease industry regulations

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 13:03

The SPDR S&P Biotech ETF surged 4% and the SPDR S&P Pharmaceuticals ETF rose 2.3% in midday trade Tuesday after a New York Times report said President Donald Trump has drafted an executive order that would ease industry regulations. Several proposals in the draft come from industry or simply seem to benefit drug companies, theTimes reported, including a study of how drug prices vary by country and reconsidering trade agreements using that information. The move would be a change in tone for the president, who has previously said drug companies are "getting away with murder" and vowed to bring prices down. Still, several of Trump's previous drug price proposals would likely only be possible through legislative action and not an executive order, the Times article noted. "The limited scope of the Trump discussions is an implicit acknowledgement that only congressional action could solve those issues (say, by rewriting Medicare Part D). Nothing of that scope will be discussed or acted upon in the executive branch," said EvercoreISI analyst Terry Haines. "Congress would not act on any part of ACA affecting drug prices before 2018 at earliest, and even that is far from likely after the battle over ACA taxes and revenues which is pending in the Senate and is far from over." The SPDR S&P Biotech ETF has risen 14.9% in the last month, and the SPDR S&P Pharmaceuticals ETF has surged 3.1%, compared with a 0.9% rise in the S&P 500 .

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Chesapeake Energy's stock sinks after Macquarie turns bearish

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 12:54

Shares of Chesapeake Energy Corp. sank 5.4% toward an 11-month low in midday trade Wednesday, after Macquarie Research turned bearish on the oil and gas explorer, citing concerns that the company is ill-equipped to deal with another drop in oil prices. Analyst Paul Grigel downgraded the stock to a rare underperform rating from neutral and slashed his stock price target to $3.50, which is 25% below current levels, from $6.00. Only 5.8% of the U.S. companies covered by Macquarie are rated underperform. Grigel said the lower outlook for crude prices pressures Chesapeake's fundamentals given the company's recent efforts to increase its oil exposure over natural gas. "While the company has made strides in repositioning itself, it simply isn't far enough along to sustainably compete in a lower-for-longer crude world," Grigel wrote in a research note. Continuous crude oil futures tumbled 1.6% toward a 10 1/2-month low, and have now plunged more than 21% from the February peak. And although the company has been selling assets to pay down its high debt load, Grigel said he is still estimates a "material outspend on high leverage with concerns around liquidity." The stock has plummeted 34% year to date, while the SPDR Energy Select Sector ETF has shed 15% and the S&P 500 has gained 8.8%.

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U.N. chief appoints Russian diplomat to top anti-terror job

Top Reuters News - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 12:36
UNITED NATIONS/VIENNA (Reuters) - United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday appointed one of Moscow's veteran diplomats to head a newly created U.N. Counterterrorism Office, giving a Russian a top job at the world body's headquarters in New York.

Diageo to purchase George Clooney's Casamigos tequila in deal that values the brand up to $1B

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 12:21

Diageo PLC said Wednesday that it has agreed to acquire Casamigos, the tequila brand founded by George Clooney, Rande Gerber and Mike Meldman. The deal values Casamigos at up to $1 billion, with initial consideration of $700 million and an additional $300 million potential based on performance over the next decade. Casamigos shipped 120,000 cases in 2016, primarily in the U.S., Diageo said in a statement. It's on the path to more than 170,000 cases in 2017. The transaction is expected to close in the second half of this year. Diageo expects the deal to be earnings neutral for the first three years and then become accretive. Diageo's other brands include Johnnie Walker whiskey, Bulleit bourbon, Ketel One vodka, and Don Julio tequila. Diageo shares are unchanged in Wednesday trading, but up 17.6% for the year so far. The S&P 500 index is up 8.8% for 2017 to date.

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Argentine peso hits record low against U.S. dollar

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 12:02

The Argentine currency fell sharply against the U.S. dollar to trade at 16.4225 pesos per dollar on Wednesday as investors punished the Latin American currency in disappointment over MSCI's delay in restoring Argentina to its Emerging Markets Index. The index provider on Tuesday said it would not reclassify Argentina as a developing economy due to concerns about capital controls and foreign exchange restrictions. The decision came as the country prepared to sell $2.4 billion worth of 100-year bonds with a yield of 8.25%. The peso has fallen 3.6% against the greenback this year, according to FactSet. [Updated to correct currency unit for the dollar-peso exchange rate.]

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Gunman made no threats to Congress before Virginia shooting: FBI

Top Reuters News - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 11:17
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The gunman who shot at Republican lawmakers practicing for a charity baseball game did not post online any threats against or references to members of Congress before the attack, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said on Wednesday.

Iraqi migrant trains at U.S. border patrol academy

Top Reuters News - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 11:08
ARTESIA, N.M. (Reuters) - At a training facility in the middle of a desert in New Mexico, aspiring border patrol agent Stevany Shakare sprinted laps in 103-degree Fahrenheit weather as her instructors shouted at her to run faster.

Exclusive: U.N. chief set to name Russian diplomat to top anti-terror job - diplomats

Top Reuters News - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 10:47
UNITED NATIONS/VIENNA (Reuters) - United Nations chief Antonio Guterres is set to appoint a Moscow envoy in Vienna to head a newly created U.N. Office of Counterterrorism, officials and diplomats said on Wednesday, giving a Russian a top job at U.N. headquarters in New York.

Trump seizes on Republican victory in Georgia to push agenda

Top Reuters News - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 10:39
SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump knocked Democrats on Wednesday for obstructing his agenda, one day after a fellow Republican won a congressional race in Georgia that was widely seen as a referendum on his young, turbulent presidency.

U.S., China meet on North Korea after Trump points to failed Chinese effort

Top Reuters News - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 10:39
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Top diplomats and defense chiefs from the United States and China began a day of talks in Washington on Wednesday looking for ways to press North Korea to give up its nuclear and missile programs.

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