Breaking Stock Market and Financial News

Russian-Germans in focus amid fears of Moscow propaganda

Top Reuters News - Wed, 08/16/2017 - 10:55
PFORZHEIM, Germany (Reuters) - German political parties campaigning for elections next month are competing to attract 2 million voters with roots in the former Soviet Union, amid concerns that Russian propaganda could sway votes in the community.

Dick's Sporting Goods downgraded on weak 'profit profile'

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Wed, 08/16/2017 - 10:47

Dick's Sporting Goods Inc. was downgraded to hold from buy at Canaccord Genuity on concerns that heavy promotions are hurting the company. The share-price target was cut to $27 from $52. "To say we overstayed our welcome on Dick's Sporting Goods is an understatement," analysts said. "The elements to our buy thesis have all but completely eroded and the profit profile of the business has fundamentally downshifted." Canaccord analysts led by Camilo Lyon cite "heavy" discounts in hunting, electronics including fitness trackers and apparel, including licensed apparel. Analysts say it will take into next year to clear excess inventory in the hunting category. "The broader concern stems from the fact that the company believes this is the new normal for aggressive pricing tactics," the note said. Dick's Sporting Goods shares are up 3.1% in Wednesday trading but down more than 18% this week, after reporting second-quarter results. The company's shares have fallen nearly 48% for the year to date while the S&P 500 index is up 10.4% for the period.

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EIA reports a decline in U.S. crude supplies for seventh week in a row

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Wed, 08/16/2017 - 10:37

Data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration Wednesday showed that domestic crude supplies fell by 8.9 million barrels for the week ended Aug. 11. That's more than double the forecast for a decline of 3.6 million barrels by analysts surveyed by S&P Global Platts. The American Petroleum Institute had reported late Tuesday a fall of 9.2 million barrels, according to sources. Gasoline stockpiles were unchanged for the week, while distillate stockpiles climbed by 700,000 barrels last week, according to the EIA. September crude rose 12 cents, or 0.3%, to $47.67 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices traded at $47.77 before the supply data.

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S&P 500 rises again, but NYSE's new lows top new highs for 6th-straight session

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Wed, 08/16/2017 - 10:25

Although the S&P 500 was headed for a fourth-straight gain, to within a fraction of its record close, the number of NYSE-listed stocks hitting new 52-week lows in intraday trade is above the number of stocks hitting new lows for a sixth-straight session. That would be the longest streak of new lows topping new highs since the eight-day stretch ending Nov. 4, 2016. On Wednesday, new lows reached 91 in morning trade, while new highs were at 65. The S&P 500 was up 0.3%, and has rallied 1.3% the past four sessions, and was just 0.4% away from its Aug. 7 record close of 2,480.91. On Nov. 4, the S&P 500 had closed at 2,085.18, or 4.8% below its previous record close of 2,190.15 on Aug. 15, 2016. During that streak of new lows above new highs, the S&P 500 had declined on each of those days.

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Dow industrials try for 4th straight gain as broader market climbs

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Wed, 08/16/2017 - 09:39

U.S. stock benchmarks traded modestly higher on Wednesday, and within range of all-time highs, as investors awaited the latest Federal Reserve minutes, which could indicate whether more rate increases are ahead in 2017 The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.2% at 22,042, the S&P 500 index rose 0.2% at 2,470, while the Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 0.3% at 6,349. The Fed is expected to release minutes from its July meeting at 2 p.m. Eastern Time, which could offer more details on its plan to unwind its $4.5 trillion asset portfolio. A reduction of that portfolio is being closely watched because it can serve as an additional monetary-tightening mechanism for the central bank, in addition to lifting interest rates. Ahead of the minutes, data on housing missed expectations. Housing starts fell 5.6% in July, compared with the year-ago period, and they were off 4.8% from June's pace. In corporate news, shares of retail giant Target Corp. rose 1.8% after reporting an increase in same-store sales and lifting its 2017 outlook.

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Army helicopter with five aboard crashes off Hawaii: U.S. Coast Guard

Top Reuters News - Wed, 08/16/2017 - 09:22
(Reuters) - Emergency personnel on Wednesday were responding to reports of a downed Army Black Hawk helicopter with five crew aboard off the west coast of Hawaii, according to the United States Coast Guard.

Goldman Sachs adds Biogen to its Americas Conviction List

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Wed, 08/16/2017 - 09:12

Goldman Sachs added Biogen Inc. to its Americas Conviction List on Wednesday. Biogen shares surged as much as 1.4% in premarket trade Wednesday. Biogen was previously upgraded to buy in late July by Goldman. Goldman Sachs analyst Terence Flynn said there could be a 17% upside to his $338 price target, and that Biogen's lead Alzheimer's drug, aducanumab, "could be one of the first disease-modifying drugs to reach the market," with a peak sales projection of $12 billion. "On BIIB's base [multiple sclerosis] franchise, we view investor concerns on competition and pricing as overblown," Flynn said. "Finally, BIIB has a relatively under-leverage balance sheet, and we expect [free cash flow yield] and US cash to grow." Biogen shares have surged 11.8% over the last three months, compared with a 2.7% rise in the S&P 500 .

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Home Depot's stock climbs after Raymond James turns bullish

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Wed, 08/16/2017 - 08:51

Shares of Home Depot Inc. gained 0.7% in premarket trade, after the home improvement retailer was upgraded at Raymond James, which cited "impressive" quarterly results and upbeat management commentary. Analyst Budd Bugatch raised his rating to outperform, after being at market perform for the past three years, and set a $165 stock price target. The company reported early Tuesday fiscal second-quarter profit, revenue and same-store sales that beat expectations, and raised its outlook, but the stock fell 2.7%, after running up 6.7% in the three weeks leading up to the report. Bugatch said investors are concerned about the sustainability of the current economic recovery, given that it has lasted for so many years. "That said, underlying industry indicators, as well as comments form key industry suppliers, remain positive," Bugatch wrote in a note to clients. "Positive trends in housing turnover, housing starts, overall home affordability and the emergence of first-time homebuyers (typically owners of older homes) during the second quarter all point to an ongoing favorable domestic housing environment." The stock has climbed 12% year to date, while the SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF has rallied 13% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average has advanced 11%.

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UnitedHealth leadership transition praised by Wall Street analysts

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Wed, 08/16/2017 - 08:38

UnitedHealth Group Inc.'s leadership transition, with the company's new chief executive announced on Wednesday, was praised by two Wall Street analysts that same day. Under the announcement, President David Wichmann will become CEO starting September 1 and current CEO Stephen Hemsley will become executive chairman of the board of directors. "Management is the single most important factor in our view of UNH - and with Hemsley staying in a very important operating/strategic role, we are very comfortable with this change," said Mizuho analyst Sheryl Skolnick. "That's critical to us - that Steve, who made the transition from 'the guy who makes the trains run on time' to the single most visionary health care executive we know who is one superb 'operator,' is staying on in that strategic role... the guardians of the UNH galaxy are firmly in place." Wichmann taking over as CEO is also crucial, said Skolnick, describing him as "the keeper of keys - having done practically every acquisition over the last 20 years, no one knows better where the jewels are hidden in the organization, nor how to run the still-important health plan." Though the transition news comes sooner than expected and "while Stephen Hemsley has been an iconic CEO and these are big shoes to fill, in our view the company will continue successfully along its game-changing path of shaping health care in America and beyond its borders, with no change expected in the strategy," said Leerink Partners analyst Ana Gupte. Hemsley's continued involvement as executive chairman will also likely ease the transition, Gupte said. UnitedHealth shares have surged 15.7% over the last three months, compared with a 2.7% rise in the S&P 500 .

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Pinnacle Foods raises quarterly dividend by 14% to 32.50 cents a share

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Wed, 08/16/2017 - 08:37

Pinnacle Foods Inc. said Wednesday it's raising its quarterly cash dividend by 14% to 32.50 cents a share. The new payment will be made Oct. 9 to shareholders of record as of Aug. 29. Shares were not active premarket, but have gained 12% in 2017, while the S&P 500 has gained 10%.

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Amazon's stock slips after President Trump tweet that company is doing 'great damage'

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Wed, 08/16/2017 - 08:26

Shares of Amazon.com Inc. slipped 0.3% in premarket trade Wednesday, but pared earlier losses, after President Donald Trump tweeted that the e-commerce giant was "doing great damage to tax paying retailers." The stock had fallen as much as 0.9% within a few minutes after the tweet, which went out at 6:12 a.m. ET. Separately, analyst Youssef Squali at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey initiated coverage of Amazon with a buy rating and $1,220 stock price target, which was 24% above Tuesday's closing price of $982.74. Squali said that while the stock isn't cheap on a relative basis, it is "fundamentally compelling" as it dominates the e-commerce space with about 40% market share. He said with the impending acquisition of Whole Foods Market Inc. , Amazon is also positioning itself as a major player in groceries. "Combined with a growing wave of physical store closings, rise of online private labels and strengthening of its logistics network, this move should help Amazon accelerate the pace of disruption of retail to gain share both offline and online," Squali wrote in a note to clients. The stock has soared 31% year to date, while the S&P 500 has gained 10%.

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Denbury Resources cut 15% of its workforce last week

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Wed, 08/16/2017 - 08:05

Denbury Resources Inc. said that it cut 15% of its workforce on Aug. 10, consisting primarily at jobs at the oil and gas company's headquarters in Plano, Texas. Speaking late Tuesday at the EnerCom Oil & Gas Conference, Chief Executive Christian Kendall said he believed for Denbury to be profitable in the long term, the company needs to be positioned for oil prices at $50 a barrel, and were working toward that goal. "In fact, as recently as last week, we had to make a significant head count reduction in our company staff," Kendall said, according to a transcript provided by FactSet. The company disclosed Wednesday that it expects to incur an $8 million one-time charge in the third quarter in connection with the job cuts, which were implemented on Aug. 10. Crude oil futures were recently up 0.3% at $47.70 a barrel. Denbury's stock, which was still inactive in premarket trade, has plummeted 63% year to date, while the SPDR Energy Select Sector ETF has lost 16% and the S&P 500 has gained 10%.

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Tyson to create 300 jobs as it expands Tennessee chicken operations

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Wed, 08/16/2017 - 07:12

Tyson Foods Inc. said Wednesday that it will create more than 300 jobs in Tennessee, as it invests $84 million to expand its poultry operation in Union City. The food company expects the expansion to be completed by mid-2019. "Customer and consumer demand for protein, especially chicken, is increasing so we're investing in projects that build on our strengths, expand our capabilities and increase our capacity," said Doug Ramsey, group president of poultry. The stock, which was still inactive in premarket trade, has gained 6.9% year to date, while the S&P 500 has climbed 10%.

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UnitedHealth president David Wichmann to become CEO Sept. 1

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Wed, 08/16/2017 - 07:08

UnitedHealth Group Inc. said Wednesday that David Wichmann, who has been president since 2014, will become chief executive on Sept. 1. Current CEO Stephen Hemsley will become executive chairman of the board, while current board chairman, Richard Burke, will become the company's lead independent director. Wichmann joined UnitedHealth in 1998 and served as chief financial officer from 2011 until mid-2016. Shares rose 1.2% in premarket trade, and have gained 21.5% in 2017, while the S&P 500 has gained 10%.

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Target's stock surges after profit and sales beat, raised outlook

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Wed, 08/16/2017 - 06:54

Shares of Target Corp. jumped 4% in premarket trade Wednesday, after the discount retailer reported fiscal second-quarter results that beat expectations and provided an upbeat outlook. For the quarter to July 29, net income was $672 million, or $1.22 a share, compared with $680 million, or $1.16 a share, in the same period a year ago. Excluding non-recurring items, adjusted earnings per share came to $1.23, beating the FactSet consensus of $1.19. Revenue rose 1.6% to $16.43 billion from $16.17 billion, above the FactSet consensus of $16.27 billion. Same-store sales increased 1.3%, beating expectations of 0.3% growth, as traffic rose 2.1%. For 2017, the company raised its adjusted EPS outlook to $4.34 to $4.54, compared with previous guidance of "above the midpoint" of a $3.80 to $4.20 range. "In particular, we are pleased that second-quarter traffic increased more than 2 percent, reflecting growth in both our store and digital channels," said Chief Executive Brian Cornell. The company said it will remodel more than 100 stores and nearly double the number of small-format stores. The stock has tumbled 25% year to date through Tuesday, while the SPDR S&P Retail ETF has lost 12% and the S&P 500 has gained 10%.

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U.S.-Japan conduct air drills as North Korea watches next move by "Yankees"

Top Reuters News - Wed, 08/16/2017 - 06:36
TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese jets conducted air manoeuvres with U.S. bombers southwest of the Korean peninsula on Wednesday as North Korea considered whether to fire missiles towards the U.S.-administered territory of Guam.

Lincoln Memorial in Washington defaced with expletive

Top Reuters News - Wed, 08/16/2017 - 05:35
(Editor's note: Please be advised that paragraph 2 contains language that some readers may find offensive)

China angered at U.S. criticism of religious freedom, says U.S. not perfect

Top Reuters News - Wed, 08/16/2017 - 05:18
BEIJING (Reuters) - China hit back on Wednesday at criticism by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson of its record on religious freedom, saying the United States was not perfect and should be looking after its own affairs rather than making baseless accusations.

Exclusive: China's Belt and Road acquisitions surge despite outbound capital crackdown

Top Reuters News - Wed, 08/16/2017 - 03:44
HONG KONG (Reuters) - Mergers and acquisitions by Chinese companies in countries that are part of the Belt and Road initiative are soaring, even as Beijing cracks down on China's acquisitive conglomerates to restrict capital outflows.

Offshore drilling mergers raise hopes for sector recovery

Top Reuters News - Wed, 08/16/2017 - 03:17
HOUSTON (Reuters) - Mergers among offshore oil drillers are raising hopes that consolidation could bring relief to a sector struggling to emerge from an industry downturn triggered by low crude prices.

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