Breaking Stock Market and Financial News

Aetna shares on news of up to $4 bln share buyback authorization; doubling quarterly cash dividend

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 14:22

Aetna Inc. shares were halted in Friday afternoon trade before the company announced it was authorizing up to $4 billion for share buybacks and would double its quarterly cash divided to 50 cents per share. Aetna shares have declined 1.0% over the last three months, compared with a 7.2% rise in the S&P 500 .

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Trump's team in disarray, U.S. Senator McCain tells Europe

Top Reuters News - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 14:17
MUNICH, Germany (Reuters) - Republican Senator John McCain broke with the reassuring message that U.S. officials visiting Germany have sought to convey on their debut trip to Europe, saying on Friday that the administration of President Donald Trump was in "disarray".

Car bomb in Turkey's southeast kills three-year-old, wounds 15: Anadolu

Top Reuters News - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 14:08
ISTANBUL (Reuters) - A three-year-old was killed and fifteen people were wounded on Friday by a car bomb in a southeastern Turkish town, provincial governor Gungor Azim Tuna was quoted as saying by state-run Anadolu news agency.

Trump says U.S. looking at 'big order' of Boeing Super Hornets

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 14:03

President Donald Trump said Friday the U.S. is seriously looking at a "big order" of Super Hornet fighter jets from Boeing . Trump made the comment while speaking at a Boeing facility in South Carolina, during which he said he wanted more products to be made by American workers at U.S. factories. Boeing shares were trading up 1.2% Friday afternoon and were unchanged as Trump spoke.

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Gold prices fall the day, but post a third straight weekly gain

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 13:51

Gold prices fell Friday, but tallied a third straight weekly gain with political uncertainty fueling demand for the precious metal. April gold declined by $2.50, or 0.2%, to settle at $1,239.10 an ounce. Futures prices, which settled Thursday at a more than three-month high, gained roughly 0.3% for the week.

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Senate confirms Trump's EPA pick as White House targets regulation

Top Reuters News - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 13:49
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate confirmed President Donald Trump's pick to run the Environmental Protection Agency on Friday over the objections of Democrats and green groups worried he will gut the agency, as the administration readies executive orders to ease regulation on drillers and miners.

Baker Hughes reports a rise in U.S. oil-rig count for fifth week in a row

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 13:42

Data from Baker Hughes Friday revealed that the number of active U.S. rigs drilling for oil rose by 6 to 597 rigs this week. That marked the fifth weekly increase in a row. The total active U.S. rig count, which includes oil and natural-gas rigs, also rose by 10 to 751, according to Baker Hughes. March West Texas Intermediate crude held onto earlier declines after the figures, trading down 15 cents, or 0.3%, at $53.21 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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Scott Pruitt confirmed to lead Environmental Protection Agency

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 13:27

The Senate confirmed Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency on Friday. Two Democrats, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, joined Republicans to confirm him, while Republican Susan Collins of Maine voted against him. The vote was 52-46.

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More anti-Trump rallies planned in U.S. cities

Top Reuters News - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 12:27
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A second consecutive day of protests against U.S. President Donald Trump's month-old administration will unfold on Friday in cities across the country, with activists urging Americans to skip work and school in a show of dissent.

Mondelez's stock slumps after Kraft's bid for Unilever reduces buyout odds

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 11:45

Shares of Mondelez International Inc. shed 1.4% in midday trade, as Kraft Heinz Co.'s bid to buy Unilever PLC might reduce the likelihood that Mondelez gets acquired. Analyst Pablo Zuanic at Susquehanna said that although Unilever has rejected Kraft Heinz's bid, he believes "a deal to eventually happen." For now, Zuanic said the bid "should lower the probability of a bid for [Mondelez]," as the focus seems to be more on grocery than snacks. He said the bid should also pressure the stocks of a number of U.S.-heavy food companies, including General Mills Inc. , Campbell Soup Co. and Kellogg Co. . General Mills shares dropped 3.3% after cutting its sales outlook, Campbell's stock shed 6.7% after reporting disappointing quarterly sales and Kellogg's shares slumped 2.9%. Kraft's stock soared 7.6% and Unilever's U.S.-listed shares climbed 11%, while the S&P 500 eased 0.2%.

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UnitedHealth's stock tumbles to lead Dow losers after DoJ joins whistleblower lawsuit

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 11:01

Shares of UnitedHealth Group Inc. tumbled 4% in morning trade Friday to pace the Dow Jones Industrial Average decliners, after the Department of Justice joined a whistleblower's lawsuit against the health care giant for overcharging Medicare. The stock, which is on track to suffer the biggest one-day percentage decline in 15 months, is heading toward the lowest close since Nov. 28, 2016. The price decline of $6.50 is shaving about 45 points off the Dow, which is down 58 points. On Thursday, law firm Constantine Cannon made public its lawsuit filed in 2011, after the DoJ joined the suit, that alleges UnitedHealth defrauded the Medicare program of "hundreds of millions of dollars" by claiming its members were treated for conditions they either did not have or were treated for. The allegations are against Texas-based WellMed, which UnitedHealth acquired in 2011. UnitedHealth's stock was still up 33% over the past 12 months, while the Dow was up 25%.

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Trump scrambles to find top national security aide

Top Reuters News - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 10:49
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump, scrambling to find a new top security aide after firing his first one and being spurned by another candidate, said on Friday he has four people under consideration for the job, including acting national security adviser Keith Kellogg.

China says common interests outweigh differences with U.S.

Top Reuters News - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 10:39
BEIJING (Reuters) - The common interests between China and the United States far outweigh their differences, China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi told U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Friday in their first face-to-face meeting since Tillerson took up his job.

Trump administration considers using National Guard to round up unauthorized immigrants: report

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 10:26

The Trump administration is considering mobilizing National Guard troops to round up unauthorized immigrants, the Associated Press reported Friday. Citing a draft memo, the AP said the White House is mulling the use of as many as 100,000 troops. The memo said the proposed enforcement would go as far east as New Orleans, La., and as far north as Portland, Ore. A senior assistant White House press secretary tweeted "not true" about the story but did not go into any detail.

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Sportsmen fight Trump energy plans alongside environmental left

Top Reuters News - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 09:49
WASHINGTON/SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (Reuters) - When Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz of Utah introduced legislation last month to transfer about 3 million acres of federally-held public land to state control, he was bombarded by thousands of angry phone calls, letters and social media posts urging him to back off.

U.S. stocks open lower, still on track for weekly gains

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 09:34

U.S. stock-market indexes started in negative territory on Friday, retreating from record levels for a second straight session. The main indexes were still on track to post solid weekly gains, however. In corporate news, investors were closely watching shares of Kraft Heinz Co. and Unilever PLC after Kraft said it made an offer to purchase Unilever that was rejected, but added that talks were still ongoing. The S&P 500 opened down 7 points, or 0.3%, at 2,339. The Nasdaq Composite began the session down 12 points, or 0.2% at 5,802. The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 80 points or 0.4%, to 20,540 at the open.

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PBOC steps up efforts to increase financial stability

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 09:14

The People's Bank of China said Friday that it would crack down on financial crimes like money laundering, tax evasion and terrorist financing. Over the past month, the central bank has stepped up monitoring of several prominent bitcoin exchanges to try and prevent Chinese citizens from using digital currencies to circumvent the country's stringent capital controls.The central bank also warned that it sees asset bubbles forming in certain markets and that it will increasingly monitor the country's financial markets for abnormal moves. Chinese stocks finished lower on Friday, with the Shanghai Composite Index down 0.9% at 3,202 and the Shenzen A Share index fell 0.7% to 24,033.74. The dollar strengthened 0.2% to 6.87 yuan.

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Islamic State readies for close combat in alleyways of west Mosul

Top Reuters News - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 08:57
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Islamic State militants are developing a network of passageways and tunnels in the narrow alleys of west Mosul that will enable them to hide and fight among the civilian population when Iraqi forces launch an attack that is expected any day now.

Ecuador opposition candidate vows to remove Assange, denounce Venezuela

Top Reuters News - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 08:47
GUAYAQUIL, Ecuador (Reuters) - Ecuador's lead opposition candidate is offering a sharp break with ten years of leftist rule in the Andean country, vowing to remove Wikileaks founder Julian Assange from the nation's London embassy, speak out against Venezuela's socialist government, and likely renegotiate debts with China.

DineEquity shares slip after CEO resignation, fourth-quarter earnings miss

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 08:35

DineEquity Inc. shares fell 2.2% in Friday premarket trading after the company announced that Chief Executive Officer Julia Stewart has resigned, effective Mar. 1, and reported preliminary fourth-quarter earnings that missed expectations. Richard Dahl, lead director of the board, will serve as interim CEO while a search for a permanent replacement is conducted. Fourth-quarter net income was $21.1 million, or $1.18 per share, and adjusted EPS was to be $1.37. The FactSet consensus is $1.39. IHOP's domestic system-wide same-store sales were down 2.1% for the quarter, compared with a FactSet consensus of 1.2% growth. And Applebee's domestic system-wide same-store sales were down 7.2%, compared with a FactSet consensus of a 4.9% decline. The company will report quarterly and full-year earnings on Mar. 1. DineEquity shares are down 21.1% for the past year while the S&P 500 index is up 21.8% for the same period.

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