Breaking Stock Market and Financial News

Bitcoin hits record high, nears $300 billion market capitalization

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Mon, 12/11/2017 - 16:04

The digital currency bitcoin rallied on Monday, hitting its latest in a series of records in the first full day of trading for bitcoin futures. The price of a single bitcoin rose 14.5% to $17,209.28, according to data and news website Coindesk. Earlier, it hit a record of $17,382.64, which represented a new high for the world's largest cryptocurrency, taking out a record hit last Thursday. At its current size, bitcoin has a market capitalization of $290.6 billion, according to CoinMarketCap. Only 10 components of the S&P 500 have a higher market cap. On Sunday, Cboe Global Markets launched its bitcoin futures contract, which allows leveraged bets on the price of bitcoin. The introduction of futures was seen as a legitimizing milestone in the history of bitcoin, which has been soaring all year. The digital currency ended 2016 below $1,000, and has soared more than 17-fold since then. The S&P 500 rose 0.3% on Monday, bringing its year-to-date advance to 18.8%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 0.2% higher on the day. Both ended at records.

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'American Vandal' tops list of most-binged shows on Netflix in 2017

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Mon, 12/11/2017 - 15:47

Netflix Inc. on Monday broke with a long tradition by revealing the shows that viewers binge-watched in 2017. The streaming giant listed the shows that were most popular based on the average daily viewing hours per member between Nov. 1, 2016 and Nov. 1, 2017. The shows that were devoured -- watched for more than two hours per day -- were led by "American Vandal," followed by "3%," "13 Reasons Why," "Anne with an E," "Riverdale", "Ingobernable," "Travelers," "The Keepers," "The OA," and "The Confession Tapes." Netflix shares were down 1.3% in late trade, but have gained 50% in 2017, while the S&P 500 has gained 19%.

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New bitcoin futures suggest breakneck price gains to slow

Top Reuters News - Mon, 12/11/2017 - 15:39
By Saqib Iqbal Ahmed, Jemima Kelly and Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss

Eli Lilly hikes dividend by 8%

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Mon, 12/11/2017 - 15:36

Eli Lilly and Co. said Monday its board approved an 8% hike in its quarterly dividend. The drugmaker said it will pay a 56.25 cents a share dividend in the first quarter to shareholders of record as of Feb. 15 on March 9. Eli Lilly shares rose 0.2% to $86.64 in recent trading.

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Tesla's stock rallies 1 day before bearish 'death cross' set to appear

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Mon, 12/11/2017 - 15:31

Tesla Inc.'s stock rallied 3.7% in afternoon trade Monday, putting it on track to close above its widely-followed 200-day moving average for the first time in six weeks, and above its 50-day moving average for the first time in nine weeks. The 200-day MA is viewed by many chart watchers as a dividing line between short- and long-term trends, while the 50-day MA is seen by many as a short-term trend tracker. The stock's move Monday likely comes a day before the 50-day MA crosses below the 200-day MA, a bearish technical event referred to as a "death cross." The 50-day MA was last at $325.59, down from $325.86 on Friday, while the 200-day has climbed to $325.36 from $324.95 on Friday, according to FactSet. The last death cross appeared on Oct. 5, 2016 when the stock closed at $208.46; it fell another 13% before bottoming at $181.47 on Dec. 2, 2016. Tesla's stock has lost 10.2% over the past three months, while the S&P 500 has climbed 6.8%. Tesla's stock fallen from its Sept. 18 record of $385.00 amid production concerns, but has rallied over the last month amid apparent strong demand for its new Semi big rig.

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California wildfire rages, threatens communities

Top Reuters News - Mon, 12/11/2017 - 15:30
VENTURA, Calif. (Reuters) - Crews battling a massive wind-driven California wildfire that has torched nearly 1,000 buildings and charred an area larger than New York City on Monday struggled to protect communities menaced by flames along the state's scenic coastline.

Nearly half of Americans still oppose Republican tax bill: Reuters/Ipsos poll

Top Reuters News - Mon, 12/11/2017 - 15:08
WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) - As Republicans in the U.S. Congress rush to finish their tax plan, the legislation is not getting more popular with the public, with nearly half of Americans still opposed to it, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll released on Monday.

Brent oil at highest since July 2015; WTI climbs to a 1-week high

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Mon, 12/11/2017 - 14:53

Oil prices climbed Monday, with Brent crude, the global benchmark, logging its highest settlement in more than two years after the reported shutdown of a major North Sea oil pipeline that could last for weeks. Meanwhile, West Texas Intermediate crude, the U.S. benchmark, settled at a more than one-week high, rebounding from a 1.7% decline last week as recent upbeat U.S. economic data fed expectations for crude demand. February Brent added $1.29, or 2%, to end at $64.69 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe. January WTI crude rose 63 cents, or 1.1%, to settle at $57.99 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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GE's stock turns lower, heads for six-year low

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Mon, 12/11/2017 - 14:22

General Electric Co.'s stock erased early gains to fall 0.7% in afternoon trade Monday, putting it on pace to close at a six-year low. After rising 0.3% on Thursday and closing unchanged on Friday, GE's stock was up as much as 0.5% at its intraday high of $17.79, which put it on track for the first three-session streak without a decline since the four-day win streak ended Sept. 25. The stock was now headed for the lowest close since Dec. 20, 2011. It has shed 3.8% so far this month, which puts the stock in danger of a 10th-straight monthly decline, which is the longest such streak since there is available data going back to 1972. The shares have shed 25.8% over the past three months, amid disappointment over the company's third-quarter results and turnaround plan, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has climbed 10.5%.

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Snap shares up 5% after analyst note

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Mon, 12/11/2017 - 14:02

Snap Inc. shares have risen 5% to $15.91 in afternoon trading after a positive note from Monness, Crespi, Hardt & Co. analyst James Cakmak to clients Monday. In the report, Cakmak wrote that the stock has reached as a turning point because the company is in a position to beat Wall Street estimates, executives were "candid" about the company's challenges in the third-quarter earnings call, and has a strong relationship with Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. Cakmak also wrote that the company will likely grow its advertiser base and develop additional ad inventory. The analyst wrote that Snap has about 175 million daily active users, or about 50 million more than what he estimates for Twitter Inc. . Snap stock has dropped 25% since its March initial public offering, as the S&P 500 index has gained 8.7%.

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Gold prices mark another finish at the lowest since July

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Mon, 12/11/2017 - 13:51

Gold fell on Monday, as strength in bitcoin and U.S. stocks continued to dull the investment appeal of the yellow metal, keeping prices for gold at their lowest finish in nearly five months. February gold lost $1.50, or 0.1%, to settle at $1,246.90 an ounce. That was the lowest settlement since July 20, according to FactSet data.

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Chef Batali exits company, TV show after sex harassment accusations

Top Reuters News - Mon, 12/11/2017 - 13:32
(Reuters) - Celebrity chef Mario Batali said on Monday that he has stepped away from his restaurant company and ABC said it asked him to step aside as co-host of a daytime food and talk show after he was accused of sexual harassment in a report by an online food trade publication.

Judge tells ex-Trump adviser Manafort to stop communicating with media

Top Reuters News - Mon, 12/11/2017 - 13:12
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. federal judge on Monday issued a stern warning to President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort to refrain from making statements to the media that could harm his right to a fair trial.

Apple stock rises after company confirms Shazam acquisition

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Mon, 12/11/2017 - 12:45

Apple Inc. shares gained 1.9% in midday trading Monday after the company confirmed that it had acquired music-recognition app Shazam. "Apple Music and Shazam are a natural fit, sharing a passion for music discovery and delivering great music experiences to our users," Apple said in a statement. "We have exciting plans in store, and we look forward to combining with Shazam upon approval of today's agreement." Terms of the deal weren't disclosed, but a report from Tech Crunch last week pegged the value at approximately $400 million, below the $1 billion valuation Shazam fetched in a 2015 funding round. Apple shares have gained 49% so far in 2017, compared with a 23% rise for the Dow Jones Industrial Average .

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FAANG stocks unlikely to outperform in 2018: analyst

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Mon, 12/11/2017 - 12:32

The so-called FAANG companies -- Facebook Inc. , Amazon.com Inc. , Apple Inc. , Netflix Inc. , and Alphabet Inc.'s Google -- have been big winners in 2017, but analysts at Morgan Stanley think that the stocks are less likely to see sizable gains heading into the new year. "While we believe that fundamental drivers for these stocks remain intact, history indicates returns may moderate their pace and we question whether growth over value can continue to be as meaningful a driver of returns," wrote the analysts, led by Benjamin Swinburne. These five stocks account for about 24% of the S&P 500's incremental market cap, he wrote, but Morgan Stanley's analysis indicates that top performers, on average, "do not outperform the following year." Swinburne deems Google most exposed to a consumer recession, and Netflix least exposed. Facebook shares have gained 56% so far in 2017, compared with 55% for Amazon, 49% for Apple, 51% for Netflix, and 33% for Alphabet. The S&P 500 is up 19% this year.

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Fitbit stock hits highest price since January as Jawbone lawsuit ends

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Mon, 12/11/2017 - 12:17

Fitbit Inc. stock gained 3.9% in midday trading Monday, putting it on pace to close above $7 for the first time since late January. The company announced Friday after the market close that that it had reached a settlement in its lawsuit with Jawbone, for undisclosed terms. Jawbone accused Fitbit in 2015 of stealing its employees and trade secrets. Fitbit shares have fallen 1.1% so far in 2017, compared with a 19% gain for the S&P 500 Index .

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Buoyed by mayoral votes, Venezuela socialists eye presidency race

Top Reuters News - Mon, 12/11/2017 - 11:50
CARACAS (Reuters) - President Nicolas Maduro has set his sights on Venezuela's 2018 presidential election after the ruling Socialist Party as predicted dominated mayoral polls with the help of a partial boycott by a crumbling opposition.

Brent oil prices rally, set for highest settlement since mid-2015

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Mon, 12/11/2017 - 11:41

Brent crude-oil futures rallied Monday, with prices set for their highest settlement since the middle of 2015, following reports Monday that a major North Sea pipeline has been shut down. A crack in the Forties pipeline, which carries about 40% of North Sea crude across land for processing at a refinery in Scotland, was discovered last week, according to BBC News. February Brent crude rose $1.12, or 1.8%, to $64.52 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.

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SEC forces halt of initial coin offering

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Mon, 12/11/2017 - 11:36

The Securities and Exchange Commission forced the halt of what the regulator said was an offer of unregistered securities by a California-based company selling digital tokens to investors for its blockchain-based food review service. The company, Munchee Inc., refunded investor proceeds before any tokens were delivered to investors after an investigation by the SEC's new Cyber Unit, which is focused on misconduct involving distributed ledger technology and initial coin offerings. Munchee was seeking $15 million in capital to improve an existing iPhone app centered on restaurant meal reviews and create an ''ecosystem'' in which Munchee and others would buy and sell goods and services using the tokens. According to the SEC's order, the company and other promoters told investors via its website and a white paper that they could expect an increase in value of the tokens and that the company would create and support a secondary market for the tokens. The SEC has said its report on its investigation of DAO that a token can be a security. Munchee consented to the SEC's cease-and-desist order without admitting or denying the findings.

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J.C. Penney partners with menswear retailer Bombfell for online big-and-tall styling service

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Mon, 12/11/2017 - 11:31

J.C. Penney Co. Inc. has partnered with online menswear styling service Bombfell to provide styling services for big-and-tall customers. Shoppers can head to the JCPenney+Bombfell site to take a quiz that will help the service determine fit and preferences. Customers preview the five stylists' picks before the items ship, and then shoppers have seven days to try the items on. Shoppers keep what they want and send back what they don't want. The $20 stylist fee is applied to anything purchased. The average price point is $39 per item, according to the website. In a statement, J.C. Penney notes its history of serving the big-and-tall customer, saying the assortment available on its website has driven "up to 20% of our enterprise business in big-and-tall - much higher than most merchandise categories." J.C. Penney shares are down more than 68% for the past year while the S&P 500 index is up 17.5% for the period.

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