Breaking Stock Market and Financial News

ECB leaves rates at record low, reiterates dovish guidance

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Thu, 12/14/2017 - 07:58

The European Central Bank on Thursday made no changes to policy, keeping its deposit rate at negative 0.4% and its main refinancing rate at 0%. The bank reiterated its guidance that rates will "remain at their present levels for an extended period of time, and well past the horizon of the net asset purchases." The policy makers confirmed the decision from October to halve its quantitative easing program to €30 billion in January and let it run until the end of September 2018 or "beyond." The ECB also repeated previous guidance that it stands ready to increase the size and/or duration of the QE program if the outlook for inflation becomes less favorable. Next up is ECB President Mario Draghi's press conference at 1:30 p.m London time, or 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time.

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Danaher provides somewhat downbeat 2018 profit and sales outlook

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Thu, 12/14/2017 - 07:47

Danaher Corp. said Thursday it expects 2018 net earnings per share to rise to $3.50 to $3.60, which is 2.9% to 5.9% above the FactSet 2017 EPS consensus of $3.40. The diversified industrial company expects 2018 adjusted EPS of $4.25 to $4.35, the midpoint of which is below the FactSet consensus of $4.34. The company said the adjusted EPS outlook assumes core revenue growth of between 3.5% to 4.0%. The FactSet 2018 revenue consensus of $19.08 billion implies growth of 4.9% from the 2017 consensus of $18.20 billion. The stock, which was inactive in premarket trade, has rallied 21% year to date, while the S&P 500 has gained 19%.

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Sanderson Farms shares slump premarket after profit miss

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Thu, 12/14/2017 - 07:38

Sanderson Farms Inc. shares moved lower premarket Thursday, after the company posted weaker-than-expected profit for its fiscal fourth quarter, hurt by weak poultry prices, hurricane disruptions and higher-than-expected chicken production. The company said it had net income of $72.9 million, or $3.20 a share, in the quarter, down from $76.0 million, or $3.36 a share, in the year-earlier period. Sales rose to $919.9 million from $790.8 million. The FactSet consensus was for EPS of $3.49 and sales of $911 million. "Market conditions weakened during our fourth fiscal quarter of 2017, as market prices declined seasonally after Labor Day. The seasonal decrease in demand was exacerbated by hurricane disruptions and higher than expected chicken production caused by higher than expected live weights. Despite this weakness, we performed well during the quarter," Chief Executive Joe Sanderson said in a statement. Shares have gained 78% in 2017, outperforming the S&P 500 , which has gained 19%.

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Russia's Putin, on track for easy re-election, laments dearth of rivals

Top Reuters News - Thu, 12/14/2017 - 07:35
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday he faced no credible high-profile political opponents as he prepared to run for re-election in March, but would work to try to create a more balanced political system.

Harry Potter publisher Scholastic profit, sales fall from a year ago

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Thu, 12/14/2017 - 07:33

Scholastic Corp. , which publishes the "Harry Potter" series of books, reported fiscal second-quarter net income that fell to $57.1 million, or $1.60 a share, from $67.9 million, or $1.92 a share, in the same period a year ago. Excluding non-recurring items, adjusted earnings per share came to $1.92, which compares with the estimate of one analyst surveyed by FactSet of $1.75 a share. Revenue declined to $598.3 million from $623.1 million, below the analyst's estimate of $601.4 million. Children's book and publishing and distribution revenue fell to $411.8 million from $432.5 million, which was expected given the release of "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two" and "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them™: The Original Screenplay" a year ago, which was partially offset by the release of "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: The Illustrated Edition" this year. The company affirmed its fiscal 2018 revenue outlook of $1.65 billion to $1.780 billion and ongoing EPS outlook of $1.20 to $1.30. The stock, which was still inactive in premarket trade, has lost 11% year to date, while the S&P 500 has gained 19%.

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Linn Energy to split into three standalone companies in 2018

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Thu, 12/14/2017 - 07:25

Linn Energy Inc. said Thursday it is planning to split into three standalone companies by mid-2018. The company, which currently trades on the over-the-counter market under the ticker symbol 'LNGG', will serve as holding company for the existing 50% equity interest of Roan, a company focused on developing assets in Oklahoma, and will apply to list on the NYSE and Nasdaq next year. Separately, it is in talks with Citizen Energy II, LLC to consolidate 100% of the equity in Roan into LNGG. The board is reviewing options for Blue Mountain Midstream LLC and will divest non-core assets at the time of the separation. Linn is also planning to tender for at least $250 million of its own shares, which were not active premarket.

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With no deal on children's health plan, U.S. states scramble for Plan B

Top Reuters News - Thu, 12/14/2017 - 07:19
NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - For Nancy Minoui of Portland, Oregon, and Crystal Lett of Dublin, Ohio, Congress' failure to fund the Children's Health Insurance Program is not some distant tale of political wrangling.

Disney to buy 21st Century Fox in a deal valued at $52.4 billion

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Thu, 12/14/2017 - 07:19

Shares of 21st Century Fox Inc. rallied 1.0% in premarket trade Thursday, after the TV and film studio company agreed to be acquired by Walt Disney Co. in a deal that valued at about $52.4 billion. Disney's stock gained 0.8% ahead of the open. Under terms of the agreement, which has been anticipated in recent weeks, 21st Century shareholders will receive 0.2745 Disney shares for each 21st Century share they own. Based on Wednesday's closing prices, that would value 21st Century shares at $29.54 each, which is 9.8% below Wednesday's closing price of $32.75. Disney will also assume $13.7 billion of net 21st Century debt. After the deal closes, 21st Century will spin off Fox Broadcasting network and stations, Fox News, Fox Business, FS1, FS2 and Big Ten Network to its shareholders. Disney will issue 515 million new shares to fund the deal, which is expected to yield at least $2 billion in cost savings and add to earnings for the second fiscal year after the deal closes. Separately, Disney said Robert Iger will remain chairman and chief executive of Disney through 2021. 21st Century's stock has rallied 23.6% over the past three months, while Disney shares have climbed 9.9% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average has run up 10.7%.

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U.N. chief says arrest of Reuters journalists shows erosion of press freedom in Myanmar

Top Reuters News - Thu, 12/14/2017 - 07:18
TOKYO/YANGON (Reuters) - The arrest of two Reuters journalists in Yangon this week was a signal that press freedom is shrinking in Myanmar and the international community must do all it can to get them released, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Thursday.

Teva shares jump 4% premarket as company says it will cut 14,000 jobs in restructuring

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Thu, 12/14/2017 - 07:17

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. shares jumped 4% in premarket trade Thursday, after the company announced further restructuring moves aimed at improving its financial performance. The Israeli generic drug maker has been hit by competition from cheap generics and announced a major overhaul of its management structure in November. The company said it is now planning to cut 14,000 jobs, or 25% of its workforce, in the next three years, as part of measures aimed at cutting costs by $3 billion by end 2019. The company is expecting to book a restructuring charge of at least $700 million in 2018. "Today we are launching a comprehensive restructuring plan, crucial to restoring our financial security and stabilizing our business," Chief Executive Kare Schultz said in a statement. "We are taking immediate and decisive actions to reduce our cost base across our global business and become a more efficient and profitable company." The company will immediately suspend its dividend and cancel its 2017 bonus program. It is also reviewing the possibility of selling non-core assets. Shares have fallen 57% in 2017, while the S&P 500 has gained 19%.

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Bank of England holds key rate at 0.5% in unanimous vote

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Thu, 12/14/2017 - 07:15

The Bank of England on Thursday left its key interest rate at 0.5%, meeting widely held expectations after the central bank in November raised the rate for the first time in a decade. The Monetary Policy Committee voted 9-0 to leave the rate steady. "The recent news in the macroeconomic data has been mixed and relatively limited. Global growth has remained strong. Domestically, some activity indicators suggest GDP growth in Q4 might be slightly softer than in Q3," the central bank said in a statement. The central bank left unchanged the size of its asset purchase program at £435 billion ($584 billion) and its corporate-bond purchase program at £10 billion. The pound bought $1.3414, down from $1.3449 ahead of the decision. Sterling late Wednesday traded at $1.3419.

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Humana announces $3 billion share buyback program

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Thu, 12/14/2017 - 07:07

Humana Inc. said Thursday its board has approved a $3 billion share buyback program, replacing an earlier authorization of $2.25 billion. Shares were slightly higher premarket, and have gained 26% in 2017, while the S&P 500 has gained 19%.

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Norwegian Air ramps up transatlantic fare war with four new routes

Top Reuters News - Thu, 12/14/2017 - 06:29
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA will start flying four new routes between the United States and Europe, the budget carrier said on Thursday, rapidly expanding its low-cost transatlantic flights and increasing pressure on established carriers.

U.N. probes alleged abduction of North Korean restaurant workers, official says

Top Reuters News - Thu, 12/14/2017 - 06:29
SEOUL (Reuters) - A senior United Nations human rights official on Thursday said he was investigating North Korea's allegations that a dozen restaurant workers who arrived in the South from China last year were abducted against their will.

Eurozone business activity at its strongest since 2011: IHS Markit

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Thu, 12/14/2017 - 06:24

Business activity in the eurozone revved higher in December, led by strong factory output and an upturn in the service sector, data firm IHS Markit said Thursday. The preliminary, or flash, composite purchasing managers' index came in at 58.0, the highest since February 2011, and above FactSet's consensus estimate of 57.2. "The PMI is signalling an impressive 0.8% GDP increase in the fourth quarter," said Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit, in a statement. The manufacturing PMI rose to a record of 60.6 in December. Overall, French business-activity growth outpaced that of Germany's for a third straight month, said IHS Markit. "France has been the big surprise this year, rapidly pulling out of its malaise to help shift the eurozone expansion into a higher gear," said Williamson.

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Investors call on Sanderson, Denny's, McDonald's to cut antibiotics

Top Reuters News - Thu, 12/14/2017 - 06:22
(Reuters) - An investor coalition that presses for corporate responsibility is calling on U.S. food companies McDonald's Corp, Denny's Corp and Sanderson Farms Inc to stop buying or producing meat raised with medically important antibiotics.

Federal Communications Commission set to reverse net neutrality rules

Top Reuters News - Thu, 12/14/2017 - 06:14
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Communications Commission is expected on Thursday to rescind net neutrality rules championed by Democratic former President Barack Obama that barred the blocking or slowing of internet traffic.

Bitcoin fever exposes crypto-market frailties

Top Reuters News - Thu, 12/14/2017 - 05:27
LONDON/NEW YORK (Reuters) - As bitcoin raced to another record high on Tuesday, one of the biggest providers of digital currency wallets, Coinbase, went down under the weight of traffic, leaving many of its more than 10 million customers unable to access their funds.

Putin says will run as independent candidate for new Kremlin term

Top Reuters News - Thu, 12/14/2017 - 04:38
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin, seeking a new term in office in a March election, said on Thursday he would run as an independent candidate while hoping for support from more than one political party.

In-flight sexual assaults often unreported; airlines need to step up

Top Reuters News - Thu, 12/14/2017 - 04:02
SINGAPORE/NEW DELHI (Reuters) - When a 17-year-old Bollywood actress took to social media this week alleging she was sexually assaulted on an airplane, she appeared to catch the airline industry off-guard.

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