Breaking Stock Market and Financial News

Fitch upgrades Greece's debt one notch to B-

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Fri, 08/18/2017 - 16:36

Fitch Ratings late Friday upgraded its rating on Greece's sovereign debt one notch to B-, from CCC, with a positive outlook, saying that country's economy is "gradually recovering" and public finances are improving. The country's debt sustainability "will steadily improve," underpinned by on-going compliance with the terms of the European Stability Mechanism program, and reduced political risk, sustained GDP growth, and additional fiscal measures to take effect through 2020, Fitch said in a statement. The B-rating is "highly speculative." Greece last month returned to the bond market for the first time since 2014, selling 3 billion euros of five-year bonds, on offer that was oversubscribed. Ratings agency Moody's Investors Service in June also upgraded Greece's debt.

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U.S. stocks close lower, post second straight weekly loss

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Fri, 08/18/2017 - 16:05

U.S. stock-market indexes ended the second straight week with losses after lackluster performance on Friday following White House Chief Strategist Stephen Bannon's ouster from the administration. The S&P 500 closed 4.46 points, or 0.2%, lower at 2,425.55 and booked a 0.7% weekly loss. The top loser on the S&P 500, Foot Locker, Inc. plunged 28% on Friday following earnings that missed expectations. The Nasdaq Composite index , which traded in positive territory most of the session, ended 5.39 points, or 0.1%, lower at 6,216.53, and booked a 0.6% loss over the week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 76.22 points, or 0.4%, to 21,674.51 and fell 0.8% over the week. Weighing on the blue-chip index, Nike, Inc. fell more than 4%.

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Trump dumps controversial chief strategist Bannon in latest upheaval

Top Reuters News - Fri, 08/18/2017 - 15:53
WASHINGTON/HAGERSTOWN, Md. (Reuters) - President Donald Trump on Friday fired chief strategist Stephen Bannon in the latest White House shake-up, removing the far-right architect of his 2016 election victory and a driving force behind his anti-globalization and pro-nationalist agenda.

Nike, Home Depot's stocks cut 30 points from Dow industrials in late trade

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Fri, 08/18/2017 - 15:43

The Dow Jones Industrial Average Friday afternoon was being dragged lower by shares of Nike and Home Depot, as blue chips looked to close out another downbeat week, its fourth in succession, in negative territory. Shares of Nike Inc. , off 2.34, or 4.1%, and Home Depot Inc. , down $2.16, or 1.5%, together were weighing the Dow down by more than 30 points. Each $1 move in any of the price-weighted Dow's components its equivalent to a 6.84-point swing in the equity average. Overall, the Dow was off 33 points, or 0.2%, adding to Thursday's drop, which was the worst for the gauge since May 17; and snapped a 63-session streak without a decline of at least 1%. The Dow is set to end the week down about 0.6%, marking its fourth straight weekly drop since June 30, a sign that the industrials are losing momentum after a run of repeated all-time highs. Friday's trade was volatile as the market, during a thinly traded August session, reacted to political news events, notably the announcement that White House adviser Stephen Bannon was ousted amid a fervor of President Donald Trump's reaction to a white-supremacist rally over the weekend. The rest of the market was fighting to post slight gains. The S&P 500 index was trading up less than 0.1% at 2,431, while the Nasdaq Composite Index was up 0.2% at 6,232.

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Summer rumblings could herald a stormy fall for U.S. stocks

Top Reuters News - Fri, 08/18/2017 - 15:05
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Trump-fed rally in stocks, lately showing signs of faltering as the long Wall Street summer nears its end, faces a key test in the weeks ahead with the approach of a historically unkind season for equities and a clutch of issues - such as raising the debt ceiling - awaiting the return of lawmakers to Washington.

Oil prices rally for the session, but fall for the week

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Fri, 08/18/2017 - 14:52

Oil prices settled sharply higher Friday, buoyed by unconfirmed reports of a unit shutdown at a major U.S. refinery, as well as a weekly decline in the active drilling rig count for oil. September WTI crude rose $1.42, or 3%, to settle at $48.51 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. That was its highest finish in a week, but it still lost 0.6% from last Friday's finish.

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White House lawyer Cobb predicts quick end to Mueller probe

Top Reuters News - Fri, 08/18/2017 - 14:49
(Reuters) - The White House lawyer brought in to deal with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election said he believed the focus of the probe was "narrow" and the aspects related to President Donald Trump should be completed before the end of the year.

Venezuela's constituent assembly assumes power to legislate

Top Reuters News - Fri, 08/18/2017 - 14:40
CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela's new legislative superbody on Friday gave itself the power to pass laws, superseding the opposition-led congress and fueling criticism by government adversaries that socialist President Nicolas Maduro is consolidating a dictatorship.

Wells Fargo troubles shift from phony bank accounts to real ones

Top Reuters News - Fri, 08/18/2017 - 14:16
(Reuters) - After paying customers millions of dollars for opening phony accounts they did not want, Wells Fargo & Co has said it is now grappling with the possibility it harmed customers by closing real accounts they needed, leaving them without access to funds.

Mark Zuckerberg to take two months of paternity leave this year

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Fri, 08/18/2017 - 13:44

Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg is taking two months of paternity leave as his wife expects their second child, Zuckerberg wrote on Facebook Friday. Zuckerberg said he will take a month off after the birth and then will later take off the month of December. He noted that Facebook offers four months of paternity leave. Shares of Facebook were up less than 1% Friday afternoon.

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Gold prices fail to hold above key $1,300 level

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Fri, 08/18/2017 - 13:41

Gold prices touched their highest intraday level of the year on Friday, briefly topping $1,300 an ounce before pulling back to settle lower for the session. "The selloff is unusual as there was no data or market news to account for the [roughly] $15 drop" from the day's highs, said Mark O'Byrne, research director at GoldCore. "Risk aversion has eased with stocks eking out small gains and some traders may have decided to take profits at the $1,300 level." December gold fell 80 cents, or less than 0.1%, to settle at $1,291.60 an ounce after trading as high as $1,306.90. For the week, it fell 0.2%.

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Baker Hughes data show a decline in the weekly U.S. oil-rig count

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Fri, 08/18/2017 - 13:14

Baker Hughes on Friday reported that the number of active U.S. rigs drilling for oil fell by 5 to 763 rigs this week. The total active U.S. rig count, which includes oil and natural-gas rigs, also declined by 3 to 946, according to Baker Hughes. Oil prices added a bit more to earlier gains, with September West Texas Intermediate crude up $1.34, or 2.9%, for the session at $48.43 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It traded at $48.38 before the data.

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U.S. stocks rise to session highs after report of likely Bannon ouster

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Fri, 08/18/2017 - 12:59

U.S. stocks rose to session highs Friday following a report that President Donald Trump has told senior aides he has decided to fire strategist Stephen Bannon. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 27 points, or 0.1%, to 21,778. The S&P 500 index gained 8 points, or 0.3%, for 2,438. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 30 points, or 0.5%, to 6,252. The New York Times reported that Trump has discussed how and when to dismiss Bannon, while a person close to Bannon told the Times that he had submitted his resignation on Aug. 7.

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Trump, top aides seek to overcome divisions delaying Afghan strategy

Top Reuters News - Fri, 08/18/2017 - 12:58
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump huddles with his national security team on Friday to try to agree on a strategy for Afghanistan which includes options ranging from a pullout or reduction of U.S. forces to a modest troop increase.

Trump to push out adviser Bannon: New York Times

Top Reuters News - Fri, 08/18/2017 - 12:56
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump has decided to push out his chief strategist Steve Bannon, but White House officials were still discussing when and how, the New York Times reported on Friday, citing two unnamed administration officials.

Matson's stock suffering biggest-ever selloff after new competition concerns prompt downgrades

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Fri, 08/18/2017 - 12:54

Shares of shipping company Matson Inc. were suffering the biggest selloff since they started trading in January 1972, amid concerns over a new competitor to its West Coast-to-Hawaii shipping business. The stock's price drop of $7.09, or 24%, was shaving about 43 points off the Dow Jones Transportation Average , which was up 3 points in midday trade. The selloff topped the previous record of the $6.76, or 16.2%, drop on Nov. 8, 2016, according to FactSet data. TOTE Inc. announced Thursday plans to establish a new domestic shipping service to Hawaii, with plans to use new environmentally advanced containerships in 2020. Stephens Inc. analyst Jack Atkins downgraded Matson to equal weight from overweight and slashed his stock price target to $23 from $36, citing competition concerns in Matson's core shipping lane. "If it materializes, we think this could be a material headwind to profitability and, as such, we would anticipate significant multiple contraction for MATX in the interim and an extended period of volatility and uncertainty for the stock," Atkins wrote in a note to clients. Wells Fargo's Michael Webber downgraded Matson to underperform from market perform and cut his target to $22 from $35. The stock has tumbled 37% year to date, while the S&P 500 has gained 8.8%.

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Stephen Bannon being removed from White House: reports

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Fri, 08/18/2017 - 12:47

President Trump has decided to remove Stephen Bannon, his chief strategist, media reports said Friday. The New York Times said Trump has told senior aides he is removing Bannon, and the Drudge Report said he was "moving on." Earlier Friday, Axios reported a decision on Bannon was imminent and that officials expected him to be fired. The reported decision to remove Bannon comes in the wake of Trump's controversial comments on the violence in Charlottesville.

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Roadblocks, weapons bans as Boston braces for 'Free Speech' rally

Top Reuters News - Fri, 08/18/2017 - 12:46
BOSTON (Reuters) - Boston officials are planning road blockades and even banning food vendors from the historic Boston Common as they step up security around a "Free Speech" rally on Saturday featuring right-wing speakers, aiming to avoid a repeat of last weekend's violence at a white supremacist rally in Virginia.

Several people stabbed in Finnish city of Turku: police

Top Reuters News - Fri, 08/18/2017 - 12:43
HELSINKI (Reuters) - Several people were stabbed in an knife attack in the Finnish city of Turku on Friday but it was not immediately clear if this was a militant action or had some other motive.

Oil prices turn higher, tap fresh session highs

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Fri, 08/18/2017 - 12:00

Oil turned decidedly higher in Friday trading to touch fresh session highs, with prices looking to recoup some of the week's losses ahead of the expiration on Tuesday of the September futures contracts for West Texas Intermediate oil. September WTI crude rose 54 cents, or 1.2%, to trade at $47.63 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange after trading as low as $46.78. October Brent crude traded at $52.18 a barrel, up $1.15, or 2.3%. WTI was still trading lower for the week, set to lose 2.1%, but Brent turned up about 0.1% for the week.

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