Breaking Stock Market and Financial News

Take-Two Interactive shares rally 4% as strong earnings offset delay in release of new video game

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Tue, 05/23/2017 - 13:01

Shares of "Grand Auto Theft" maker Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. rallied 4% Tuesday, after better-than-expected earnings offset the bad news of a delay in the release of a much-anticipated new video game. "Although we are disappointed Red Dead Redemption 2 is getting pushed out to FY19, we are pleasantly surprised to see an EPS guidance for FY18 that looks to be about $1.40-$1.65, which is what we had thought management would use for its initial view with RDR2," MKM Partners analyst Eric Handler wrote in a note. MKM rates Take-Two as buy, with a stock price target of $80, equal to 11% above current trading levels. Handler welcomed the company's bigger-than-expected revenue for its fiscal fourth quarter. Take-Two shares have gained 46% in 2017, while the S&P 500 has gained 7%.

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Housing recovery intact despite drop in new home sales

Top Reuters News - Tue, 05/23/2017 - 12:55
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - New U.S. single-family home sales tumbled from near a 9-1/2-year high in April, but the housing recovery likely remains intact amid a tightening labor market.

Nokia's stock jumps to 16-month high after settlement deal with Apple

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Tue, 05/23/2017 - 12:20

Shares of Nokia Corp. jumped 5.1% toward a 16-month high in midday trade Tuesday, as investors cheered the news that the Finland-based network infrastructure company said it would receive and upfront cash payment and additional payments from Apple Inc. as part of the settlements of lawsuits against each other. The deal allows Apple to resume selling Nokia's digital health products in Apple stores. Canaccord Genuity analyst T. Michael Walkley raised his stock price target on Nokia to $7.00 from $5.50. Since the settlement came much sooner than his expectation that it would take "well into 2018," he added back about 250 million euro worth ($280.2 million) of licensing revenue from Apple into his estimates for 2018, leading to the higher stock price target. Walkley said the settlement also removes 100 million euro ($112.1 million) in annual legal costs. Nokia's stock, which has run up 35% year to date, was on track for the highest close since Jan. 29, 2016. In comparison, Apple's stock has rallied 33% year to date, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has gained 6.0%.

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CIA ex-chief cites signs of possible Trump campaign ties to Russia

Top Reuters News - Tue, 05/23/2017 - 12:18
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former CIA Director John Brennan said on Tuesday that he does not know whether President Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign colluded with Russia but that he saw "information and intelligence that was worthy of investigation."

S&P 500 retakes 2,400 level less than a week after the stock market got rocked

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Tue, 05/23/2017 - 12:18

The S&P 500 on Tuesday has reclaimed its level prior to last week's broad unraveling of U.S. equity-index benchmarks on Wednesday. The S&P 500 index intraday move put it recently at 2,400.86, up 0.3%, compared with a close of 2,400.67 last Tuesday, highlighting relative resilience for the stock market that was roiled by negative headlines about the White House less than a week ago. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was trading up 0.2% at 20,941, while the Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 0.2% at 6,142. Tuesday's trade puts the broad-market S&P 500 just about two points shy of record close and five points short of an intraday all-time high. The Dow is still about 50 points from its pre-collapse level, while the Nasdaq is about 25 points short of Tuesday's close. The three benchmarks are shooting for their fourth straight session of gains--their longest win streaks since late February, according to FactSet data.

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Alexion stock plummets 9% after top management shake-up

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Tue, 05/23/2017 - 12:01

Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. shares dropped 9.2% to $104.89 in very active morning trade Tuesday after the company announced departures of its chief commercial officer, chief financial officer and two executive vice presidents. The company just appointed a new chief executive officer, Ludwig Hantson, in late March, and CFO Dave Anderson started at the company in December. "These changes appear to be the plan of the recently appointed new CEO, Ludwig Hantson, and we believe signal his intention to make a complete break with the company's past leadership," said Leerink analyst Geoffrey Porges, adding that after the shake-up, "none of the management team that built the Soliris business, or presided over the value-destroying Synageva deal in 2015, remain in place...These changes are not a complete surprise, given the signals that have been coming from new CEO, but will alarm many investors given the concern that there may be other 'shoes to drop' in terms of disclosure of additional underlying issues with the core business and operations." Still, Porges reiterated an outperform rating for Alexion. Two executives, CCO Carsten Thiel and Executive Vice President, Chief Human Resources Officer Clare Carmichael, will be leaving the company "to pursue new opportunities" starting June 1, the company said. Thiel will be replaced by Brian Goff, who has worked in biopharma for more than 25 years at companies including Johnson & Johnson and Baxter . CFO Anderson will resign at the end of August and Executive Vice President, Head of Research & Development Martin Mackay will be retiring at the end of this year, the company said, with searches underway for the open positions and a new head of human resources. Alexion shares have dropped 19.8% over the last three months, compared with a 1.5% rise in the S&P 500 .

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Wal-Mart details Florida hiring and investment plans through January 2018

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Tue, 05/23/2017 - 11:32

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said Tuesday that it was planning investments in Florida through January 2018 that will create 800 jobs with the opening of nine new stores across the state. The discount retail giant said it also plans to announce in the coming months the official grand opening of its e-commerce distribution center in Davenport, which currently employs over 550 people and has plans to hire at least 1,000 more people over the next year. Separately, the company confirmed plans to begin construction of a new distribution center for perishable goods in Cocoa, which is expected to employ more than 450 people when operational. The stock, which was up 0.4% in midday trade, has climbed 14% year to date, while the SPDR Consumer Staples Select Sector ETF has gained 8.0% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average has advanced 5.9%.

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Oil services stocks fall after Goldman's downbeat rig count outlook, Helmerich & Payne downgrade

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Tue, 05/23/2017 - 11:16

Oil service stocks took a hit Tuesday, highlighted by the 4.3% selloff in Helmerich & Payne Inc. shares , after Goldman Sachs soured on the sector's valuations amid concerns that rig count growth will "flatten out" over the next few years. Analyst Waqar Syed cut H&P's rating to sell from neutral, and slashed his stock price target to $45, which is 21.5% below current levels, from $63. Syed said he believes rig count growth should plateau, after more than doubling over the past year, given budget constraints for exploration and production companies, the fact that pressure pumping capacity isn't keeping pace at which wells are being drilled and because of improving well productivity. As a result, Syed cut his stock price target on Nabors Industries Ltd. to $15.25 from $17.50, Halliburton Co. to $56 from $61, Schlumberger Ltd. to $87 from $90 and Weatherford International Ltd. to $5 from $6.50. The VanEck Vectors Oil Services ETF fell 0.5% in morning trade and has tumbled 17% year to date, while the S&P 500 was up 0.1% on Tuesday, and has gained 7.1% so far this year.

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Xilinx's stock rocked after 'modest' outlook prompts analyst downgrade

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Tue, 05/23/2017 - 10:44

Shares of Xilinx Inc. dropped 6.3% in morning grade Tuesday, after running up to a 16 1/2-year high the day before, after Wells Fargo downgraded the chip maker, citing concerns over valuation given the "modest" sales growth outlook. Analyst David Wong cut his rating to market perform, after being at outperform since October 2014. After attending Xilinx's analyst day Monday, Wong said he agreed with management's belief that the company will continue to gain market share in the programmable logic device market over the next few years, but the company's fiscal 2018 sales outlook implies "modest" growth of 6%, which suggests the rest of 2017 could be below current projections of double-digit growth for the global integrated circuit market. The stock had shot up 13% since Xilinx reported fiscal fourth-quarter results in late April to close Monday at $67.52, the highest close since Nov. 15, 2000 and above Wong's price target of $66. Separately, Susquehanna Financial analyst Christopher Rolland said that while Xilinx's analyst day was "constructive," it "lacked meaningful 'game chancing' announcements" to compel him to change his neutral rating or $60 stock price target. Xilinx's stock is still up 4.8% year to date, while the PHLX Semiconductor Index has climbed 17.1% and the S&p 500 has gained 7.0%.

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Fed's Kashkari says soft inflation readings are 'concerning'

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Tue, 05/23/2017 - 10:23

Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari on Tuesday sounded in no hurry to raise short-term interest rates. Kashkari, who was the lone dovish dissenter against a March rate hike, told reporters recent soft inflation readings were "concerning" and said there still might be room to lower the unemployment rate without sparking price pressures, according to the Wall Street Journal and Reuters.

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Cerus stock plunges 16% after news of temporary impact to US blood centers, revenue warning

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Tue, 05/23/2017 - 10:06

Cerus Corp. stock plunged 16.2% to $2.52 in Tuesday morning trade after the company said it expects a supply shortage of a platelet additive solution to temporarily affect some U.S. blood centers and affect the company's 2017 revenue. Cerus decreased its 2017 product revenue guidance from $43 million to $48 million to $38 million to $46 million accordingly. Fresenius Kabi [s:DE:FRE], the maker of the platelet additive solution, had no expected a delay in the Food and Drug Administration's approval of a plastic component used to make the solution, Cerus said. The original piece had been discontinued by Fresenius Kabi's supplier, Cerus said, and Fresenius Kabi is working to fix the delay and minimize supply disruption. Cerus's Intercept blood system for platelets is used to deactivate things like viruses and bacteria in platelet components and ensure platelets' safety; Fresenius Kabi's Amicus platform works to separate cells and collect platelets. Availability of Fresenius Kabi's platelet additive solution is "essential" for customers who make Intercept platelets on the Amicus platform to keep producing pathogen-reduced platelets, Cerus President William Greenman said, and the issue could affect impacted blood centers through the end of this year. Intercept platelets can also be produced in 100% plasma, without platelet additive solution, on the Trima Accel apheresis platform, though blood centers may only have one platform, Cerus said. Cerus shares have dropped 40.6% over the last three months, compared with a 1.3% rise in the S&P 500 .

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Former James Bond star Roger Moore has died aged 89: BBC

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Tue, 05/23/2017 - 09:45

Former James Bond star Roger Moore has died at the age of 89 after a short battle with cancer, the BBC reported Tuesday, citing family members. "It is with a heavy heart that we must announce our loving father, Sir Roger Moore, has passed away today in Switzerland after a short but brave battle with cancer," the BBC reported, citing a letter from Moore's children. A private funeral will be held in Monaco, the letter said. Moore played Bond seven times between 1973 and 1985, taking over the role from Sean Connery. His Bond appearances included "A View to a Kill", "Live and Let Die", "The Spy Who Loved Me" and "Moonraker". Moore also played Simon Templar in "The Saint" from 1962 to 1969. The actor was made Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1998 for his services to Unicef, and was promoted to Knight Commander in 2003.

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Starbucks to offer free Teavana drinks during Friday happy hour event

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Tue, 05/23/2017 - 09:35

Starbucks Corp. said Tuesday that it will be handing out free iced tea during its first summer "Fri-Yay" happy hour event at participating Teavana stores in the U.S. and Canada. The first happy hour event will take place between 3pm and 7pm on May 26. Customers can choose from the Beach Bellini, Strawberry Daquiri and Piña Colada flavors. Teavana will continue hosting the happy hours from June 2 through August 11, and customers who purchase one 24-ounce featured iced tea beverage will get a second of equal or lesser value for free. In addition to the three above, Teavana will also feature Mandarin Mimosa. Starbucks shares are nearly flat in early Monday trading, and up more than 12% for the past year. The S&P 500 index is up more than 17% for the last 12 months.

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U.S. stocks open slightly higher, on track for fourth straight daily rise

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Tue, 05/23/2017 - 09:31

U.S. stocks opened with a modest gain on Tuesday, suggesting the market's recent upward bias remained intact as investors looked past a suspected terrorist attack in Manchester, England. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 35 points, or 0.2%, to 20,930. The S&P 500 ticked up by 3 points to 2,398, a rise of 0.1%. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 17 points, or 0.2%, to 6,151. All three indexes are on track for their fourth straight daily advance, having shrugged off a sharp decline last week, which came on rising political uncertainty. At current levels, major indexes are about 1% below their all-time highs, hit earlier this year. Among the most actively traded stocks of the day, Agilent Technologies Inc. rose 6.7% a day after it raised its earnings and revenue outlook, while Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. surged 8.3% after it posted results that blew past expectations.

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Helios & Matheson's stock nearly doubles after acquiring facial recognition technology licensing rights

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Tue, 05/23/2017 - 09:29

Shares of Helios & Matheson Analytics Inc. rocketed 91% toward a 3 1/2-month high in premarket trade Tuesday, after predictive analytics company said it has acquired the licensing rights to IsItYou's facial recognition technology in the field of crime and terrorism. The technology will be integrated with RedZone's navigation app, RedZone Map, which is used for situational awareness to improve safety. "Through artificial intelligence and facial recognition technology, we will seek to develop the capability to identify dangerous people entering an area and notify our users in real time," said RedZone founder Ted Farnsworth. Helios & Matheson's stock had tumbled 26% year to date through Monday, while the S&P 500 had gained 6.9%.

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Kosmos Energy's stock tumbles after largest shareholders pare holdings

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Tue, 05/23/2017 - 08:55

Shares of Kosmos Energy Ltd. tumbled 6.5% in premarket trade Tuesday, after the oil and gas exploration company said a large stock offering by its two largest shareholders priced at a discount. The company said late Monday that Blackstone Group , its second-largest shareholder, was selling 30 million shares to the public, and that Warburg Pincus, its largest shareholder, was selling 10 million shares. The secondary offering represents about 10.3% of the total shares outstanding. On Tuesday, Kosmos said the offering priced at $7.25 a share, or 7.5% below Monday's closing price of $7.84. The stock had run up 32% since May 5, after the company reported better-than-expected first-quarter results, to be up 12% year to date through Monday. In comparison, the SPDR Energy Select Sector ETF has lost 9.8% this year, while the S&P 500 has gained 6.9%.

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Auto parts retailer stocks tumble in wake of AutoZone's disappointing results

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Tue, 05/23/2017 - 08:35

Shares of car-parts retailers are tumbling in premarket trade Tuesday, after AutoZone Inc. reported fiscal third-quarter results that were "significantly" below expectations. Shares of Advance Auto Parts Inc. , which reports first-quarter results on Wednesday, sank 6.0% to put them on track to open at a 6 1/2-month low. O'Reilly Automotive Inc.'s stock dropped 5% toward a 15-month low ahead of the open, while Genuine Auto Parts Co. shares shed 3.7%. AutoZone's stock plunged 8%, to put it on course to open at the lowest level seen during regular trading hours since February 2015, after the company reported profit, revenue and same-store sales that missed expectations. The stock declines are bucking the trend in the broader stock market, as futures for the S&P 500 are rising 0.2% ahead of the open.

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Handmade at Amazon launches the Wedding Shop

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Tue, 05/23/2017 - 08:30

Handmade at Amazon, Amazon.com Inc.'s portal for handcrafted and custom items, has introduced the Handmade Wedding Shop, which will sell wedding products and wedding-related items. Two-day delivery will be available for Prime-eligible items. Available items include personalized wedding invitations and wedding decorations, jewelry, and fashion accessories, such as veils, gloves and ties. Amazon shares are up 0.4% in Tuesday premarket trading, and up 39.3% for the past year. The S&P 500 index is up nearly 17% for the last 12 months.

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Cracker Barrel earnings beat expectations, but sales miss

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Tue, 05/23/2017 - 08:20

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc. reported fiscal third-quarter net income of $46.9 million, or $1.95 per share, down from $49.2 million, or $2.04 per share, for the same period last year. Revenue for the quarter was $700.4 million, up from $700.1 million. The FactSet consensus was for EPS of $1.85 and sales of $713.0 million. Same-restaurant sales fell 0.4%. A 2.1% decline in traffic was partially offset by a 1.7% increase in the average check. The company's board increased the quarterly dividend by 4.3% to $1.20 per share, and declared a special dividend of $3.50. Cracker Barrel expects fourth-quarter EPS between $2.10 and $2.20. The FactSet consensus is $2.19. The company raised its full-year EPS guidance to between $8.25 and $8.35 from between $8.10 to $8.25, and now expects revenue of about $2.95 billion, reflecting six new Cracker Barrel stores and three new Holler & Dash Biscuit House locations. Same-restaurant sales are expected to be flat to up 0.5%, with comparable same-store retail sales down 3.5% due to cautious expectations for the fourth quarter. The FactSet full-year EPS consensus is $8.23 on sales of $2.96 billion. Cracker Barrel shares are up 1.3% in Tuesday premarket trading, but down 3.3% for the year so far. The S&P 500 index is up 7% for 2017 to date.

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Islamic State claims responsibility for Manchester attack: report

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Tue, 05/23/2017 - 08:07

Islamic State has claimed responsibility for Monday night's deadly attack in Manchester, saying in a statement the blast at the Ariana Grande concert was carried out with an explosive device planted at the venue, Reuters reported Tuesday. "One of the soldiers of the caliphate was able to place an explosive device within a gathering of the crusaders in the city of Manchester," the statement said. BBC's security correspondent Gordon Corera noted that the wording can mean ISIS inspired the attack, rather than directed it. The explosion that left 22 people dead and 59 injured was carried about by a suicide bomber, who also died in the blast, according to U.K. police. A 23-year-old has been arrested in Manchester in relation with the attack.

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