Breaking Stock Market and Financial News

Oil prices end at lowest level in a month

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Thu, 04/27/2017 - 14:46

Oil prices settled with a loss on Thursday, as growing U.S. crude production and news of the restart of Libya's biggest oil field helped send prices to their lowest finish in about month. June WTI crude fell 65 cents, or 1.3%, to settle $48.97 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, a level not seen since March 28, according to FactSet data.

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MGM Resorts stock jumps 3.4% as CFRA reiterates strong buy rating

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Thu, 04/27/2017 - 13:58

Shares of casino operator MGM Resorts International rose 3.4% Thursday, after the company reported stronger-than-expected earnings for its first quarter. CFRA reiterated its strong buy rating on the stock and raised its stock price target to $36 from $34 on the news. MGM said it had net income of $207 million, or 36 cents a share, in the quarter, up from $67 million, or 12 cents a share, in the year-earlier period. Revenue rose to $2.71 billion from $2.21 billion, ahead of the FactSet consensus of $2.63 billion. "MGM National Harbor and Borgata, our newest additions on the East Coast, are leading their respective markets, and we continue to work toward expanding our footprint in Macau with the opening of MGM Cotai later this year," Chief Executive Jim Murren said in a statement. Shares have gained 7% in 2017, while the S&P 500 has gained 6.6%.

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Anadarko's stock tumbles as explosion prompts closure of over 3,000 wells for weeks

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Thu, 04/27/2017 - 12:27

Shares of Anadarko Petroleum Corp. tumbled 6.3% in active midday trade Thursday to a nine-month low, after the oil and gas exploration company said it would close more than 3,000 wells in response to the last week's fatal home explosion in Firestone, Colo. The stock changed hands recently at $56.13, the lowest level seen since Sept. 16, while volume spiked to 7.9 million shares, or more than double the full-day average. The company said late Wednesday that the wells, which account for total production of about 13,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, could remain shut for two to four weeks while inspections and testing of equipment can be conducted. Analyst Paul Grigel at Macquarie Research reiterated his overweight rating on the stock, saying he believed any impact from the shut in production will be limited. "We believe the ultimate impact on financials and the company is likely to be de minimis but do recognize this will likely be a near-term focus until the investigation by local fire officials is complete," Grigel wrote in a note to clients. The stock has plunged 19% year to date, while the SPDR Energy Select Sector ETF has shed 11% and the S&P 500 has gained 6.5%.

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Bitcoin price hits fresh all-time high

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Thu, 04/27/2017 - 12:05

Bitcoin climbed to a fresh all-time high on Thursday, shrugging off worries about a global banking crackdown on digital-currency exchanges. The price of a single coin traded as high as $1,331 Thursday, according to the CoinDesk Bitcoin Price Index. Bitcoin's most recent advance comes as Bitfinex, one of the world's largest digital-currency exchanges, has struggled to establish new banking relationships after halting U.S. dollar withdrawals two weeks ago. The freeze has caused the price of bitcoin traded on Bitfinex to soar, possibly distorting prices across the market, as investors are forced to buy coins at a premium in order to move their assets off the exchange. The digital currency has climbed more than 30% this year, even as Chinese regulators instigated a precipitous drop in local trading volume by forcing local exchanges to upgrade their anti-money laundering controls. In the U.S., the Securities and Exchange Commission has rejected two proposed bitcoin exchange-traded funds, though it recently said it would review one of those decisions.

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Trump says he'll give Nafta re-negotiation a 'good, strong shot'

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Thu, 04/27/2017 - 12:01

President Donald Trump said Thursday he'll give the re-negotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement a "good, strong shot" but reiterated he would "terminate" U.S. participation if he doesn't get what he called a fair deal. He said he decided to have talks since pulling out would be a "shock to the system." Trump said early Thursday on Twitter that the leaders of Canada and Mexico asked him to re-negotiate the deal. Trump's tweets followed a report that the White House was readying an executive order to pull out of the trade agreement.

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Speaker Ryan says he's confident Congress will pass bill to avoid shutdown

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Thu, 04/27/2017 - 11:45

House Speaker Paul Ryan said Thursday he's confident Congress will pass a "short-term extension" of current government funding that would keep operations going past Friday. The government is funded through Friday and would partially shut down early Saturday without a new bill. House lawmakers have released a bill that would fund the government for a week. Ryan did not give a time for a vote, however.

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Johnson & Johnson to increase quarterly dividend by 5% from 80 cents per share to 84 cents

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Thu, 04/27/2017 - 10:54

Johnson & Johnson said Thursday morning that the company will be increasing its quarterly dividend rate to 84 cents per share from 80 cents per share, a 5% increase. The company made the change "in recognition of our 2016 results, strong financial position and confidence in the future of Johnson & Johnson," Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Alex Gorsky said. The company reported a first-quarter earnings beat on April 19. Johnson & Johnson shares have surged 8.9% over the last three months, compared with a 3.9% rise in the S&P 500 .

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Natural-gas prices pare losses as rise in U.S. supplies meets market expectations

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Thu, 04/27/2017 - 10:37

Data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration Thursday showed that domestic supplies of natural gas rose by 74 billion cubic feet for the week ended April 21. That was generally in line with the increase of 73 billion cubic feet expected by analysts polled by S&P Global Platts. Total stocks now stand at 2.189 trillion cubic feet, down 358 billion cubic feet from a year ago, but 299 billion cubic feet above the five-year average, the government said. June natural gas fell 1.6 cents, or 0.5%, from Wednesday's settlement to $3.255 per million British thermal units. It traded at $3.217 before the data.

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Pentagon launches probe into Trump's ex-security adviser Flynn: letter

Top Reuters News - Thu, 04/27/2017 - 10:24
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A Pentagon inspector general is launching its own investigation into whether President Donald Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn took payments from foreign entities without approval, according to a letter released by House Democrats on Thursday.

Atlanta Fed tracker forecasts paltry 0.2% growth for the first quarter

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Thu, 04/27/2017 - 10:17

The Atlanta Fed's tracker for first-quarter growth forecasts a mere 0.2% increase after the latest round of economic data. The 0.2% growth would be the worst showing in three years. The Atlanta Fed's GDPNow tracker was previously pointing to 0.5% growth. The Commerce Department releases its first estimate of first-quarter GDP on Friday.

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TurboTax-maker Intuit on track for best daily stock gain in 6 years after Trump tax plan

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Thu, 04/27/2017 - 09:58

Shares of Intuit Inc.--the maker of tax-preparation software TurboTax--were on track to post their best one-day rise in about six years in early Thursday trade. Intuit's stock was up nearly 8% putting it on pace for its best daily gain since August 2011, according to FactSet data. The advance for Intuit come on the heels of Wednesday's big reveal of President Donald Trump's simplified tax-code proposal. Shares of tax-preparer H&R Block Inc. were also trading higher. Trump's tax plan would, among other things, cut most itemized tax deductions and reduce the individual tax code to three brackets from seven, in theory making tax-filing significantly simpler. Meanwhile, the broader market was seeing tepid gains, with the S&P 500 index up about 0.1% at 2,389 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average also up about 0.1% at 20,994. Still, the Nasdaq Composite Index hit a fresh intraday record--its second in a row--to trade at 6,043.

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Stocks climb as upbeat earnings boost market; Nasdaq trades in record territory

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Thu, 04/27/2017 - 09:32

Stocks opened higher on Thursday, with the Nasdaq Composite Index trading above its highest-ever closing level, as a spate of encouraging corporate earnings lifted the broader market. The S&P 500 index advanced 2 points, or 0.1%, to 2,389, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 19 points, or 0.1%, to 20,990. The Nasdaq gained 12 points, or 0.2%, to 6,037. Shares of Ford Motor Co. rose after the car giant's earnings and revenue topped analysts' expectations. Dow Chemical Co. shares rose after its earnings came in above expectations. Shares of Under Armour Inc. soared after the athletic-apparel maker reported a smaller-than-expected loss for the first quarter. Stocks finished marginally lower on Wednesday after the White House unveiled the broad strokes of its long-anticipated tax plan. The plan largely hewed to policies that President Donald Trump advocated during the campaign, which had already been incorporated into the market's valuation, market strategists said.

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GrubHub's stock soars after profit and sales rise above expectations

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Thu, 04/27/2017 - 09:14

Shares of GrubHub Inc. soared 13% in premarket trade Thursday toward a 2 1/2-month high, after the online food-ordering company reported first-quarter results beat expectations. Net income rose to $17.7 million, or 20 cents a share, from $9.9 million, or 12 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. Excluding non-recurring items, adjusted earnings per share came in at 29 cents, above the FactSet consensus of 24 cents. Revenue increased 39% to $156.1 million from $112.2 million, beating the FactSet consensus of $153.0 million. Active diners increased 26% to 8.75 million, while daily average grubs grew 21% to 324,600. Looking ahead, the company expects second-quarter revenue of $153 million to $161 million, surrounding the FactSet consensus of $157.9 million. The stock has slumped 6.9% year to date through Wednesday, while the S&P 500 has gained 6.6%.

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Synchronoss Technologies stock plummets 28% on departures from CEO and CFO; revenue warning

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Thu, 04/27/2017 - 09:01

Synchronoss Technologies Inc. stock plummeted 28.1% in premarket trade Thursday on news that the company's chief executive officer and chief financial officer are leaving the company to "pursue other interests" and a first-quarter revenue warning. Synchronoss Chief Executive Officer Ronald Hovsepian will be replaced by the company's founder and chairman Stephen Waldis and Chief Financial Officer John Frederick will be replaced by Lawrence Irving. Both the new CEO and CFO have served in the positions before, the company said. Synchronoss also said it expects total revenue in the first quarter to come in $13 million to $14 million below the company's guidance, which was $173 million to $178 million, according to FactSet, compared with the FactSet consensus of $175.5 million. The company also said it expects operating margins to come in below its guidance. Synchronoss is "disappointed" with its first-quarter performance, which follows a $821 million acquisition of software provider Intralinks Holdings in December, and it will likely affect full year guidance. Company shares have plummeted 37.6% over the last three months, compared with a 4.0% rise in the S&P 500 .

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Trump's plan to slash business taxes seen as 'guidepost' by congressional Republicans

Top Reuters News - Thu, 04/27/2017 - 08:52
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump unveiled a one-page plan on Wednesday proposing deep U.S. tax cuts, many for businesses, that would make the federal deficit balloon if enacted, drawing a cautious welcome from fiscal conservatives and financial markets.

H&R Block's stock bounces, after CIO leaves and report of tax-season results

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Thu, 04/27/2017 - 08:50

H&R Block Inc. said Thursday its chief innovation officer, Jason Houseworth, will leave the company "by mutual agreement," effective April 30. He had joined the company in August 2009. Separately, the tax preparation services company reported late Wednesday results for the 2017 tax season, with e-files declining 0.1% through April 21, but beating the IRS's reported decline of 0.3%. "Despite an overall industry decline, I am delighted to report that we improved the client trajectory for the tax season and achieved overall market share gains," said Chief Executive Bill Cobb. On Wednesday, the stock fell 1.4% after the release of President Donald Trump's plan to simplify the tax code. The stock, which was indicated up over 2% ahead of Thursday's open, has gained 3.9% year to date through Wednesday, while the S&P 500 has climbed 6.6%.

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MGM Resorts shares jump 2.2% premarket after profit and revenue beat

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Thu, 04/27/2017 - 08:49

Shares of casino operator MGM Resorts International rose 2.2% in premarket trade Thursday, after the company reported stronger-than-expected earnings for its first quarter. MGM said it had net income of $207 million, or 36 cents a share, in the quarter, up from $67 million, or 12 cents a share, in the year-earlier period. Revenue rose to $2.71 billion from $2.21 billion, ahead of the FactSet consensus of $2.63 billion. "MGM National Harbor and Borgata, our newest additions on the East Coast, are leading their respective markets, and we continue to work toward expanding our footprint in Macau with the opening of MGM Cotai later this year," Chief Executive Jim Murren said in a statement. Shares have gained 3.3% in 2017, while the S&P 500 has gained 6.6%.

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Barnes & Noble promotes Demos Parneros to CEO as Leonard Riggio steps down

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Thu, 04/27/2017 - 08:38

Barnes & Noble Inc. said Thursday that it has promoted Demos Parneros to chief executive of the company. He succeeds Leonard Riggio, who is stepping down from the role, but will remain chairman of the board. Parneros was previously chief operating officer, a role he's filled since November 2016. He's been a director of KeyCorp since January 2014 and at Modell's Sporting Goods since July 2009. Barnes & Noble shares are unchanged in premarket trading, and down 28% for the last year. The S&P 500 index is up 14% for the past 12 months.

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Jobless claims rise, but four-week average at two-month low

Top Reuters News - Thu, 04/27/2017 - 08:34
filing for unemployment benefits rose more than expected last

American Airlines downgraded as pay raises set 'worrying precedent'

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Thu, 04/27/2017 - 08:32

American Airlines Group Inc. was downgraded at J.P. Morgan Thursday, which had been bullish on the air carrier since at least December 2013, saying the wage increases being implemented is a "worrying precedent" for both American and the industry. Analyst Jamie Baker cut his rating to neutral from overweight. He slashed his stock price target to $52, which is 12% above Wednesday's closing price of $46.40, from $59. The stock slumped 4.6% in premarket trade, after the company reported first-quarter earnings, and said it would raise the base pay for flight attendants and pilots, outside of contract negotiations, to industry highs. "We are troubled by [American's] wealth transfer of nearly $1 billion to its labor groups," Baker wrote in a note to clients. "In our minds, this is a seminal event, and represents the first, credible potential blow to our long-held 'it's different this time' investment thesis." Among other airline stocks, Delta Air Lines Inc. slid 2.2% premarket and United Continental Holdings Inc. shed 1.9%. American's stock has soared 26% over the past 12 months, while the NYSE Arca Airline Index has rallied 25% and the S&P 500 has gained 14%.

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