Breaking Stock Market and Financial News

Google parent Alphabet becomes the second $600 billion company

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Mon, 04/24/2017 - 15:56

Google's Alphabet Inc. has become just the second $600 billion U.S. company, as the internet giant's stock ran up 2.4% in afternoon trade Monday toward a record close. Alphabet's market capitalization has reached $605.1 billion. It remains well behind No. 1 Apple Inc. , which is currently at $753.9 billion, but well ahead of No. 3 Microsoft Corp. at $522.6 billion. Amazon.com Inc. is a distant fourth at $433.7 billion. Alphabet's stock is on track to close above the March 17 record of $872.37. It has run up 11% year to date, while Apple shares have soared 24%, Microsoft's stock has rallied 8.8% and the S&P 500 has gained 6%. Alphabet is scheduled to report first-quarter results on Thursday, after the market closes.

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UC Berkeley sued over Ann Coulter's planned visit

Top Reuters News - Mon, 04/24/2017 - 15:45
(Reuters) - Two groups that invited conservative commentator Ann Coulter to speak at the University of California at Berkeley sued school officials on Monday, saying the school's decision to postpone her appearance violated their free speech rights.

McDonald's stock surges toward 5th-straight record close

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Mon, 04/24/2017 - 15:29

McDonald's Corp.'s stock surged Monday toward a fifth-straight record close, as investor awaited the fast-food giant's first-quarter report. The stock was up as much as 1% to an an all-time intraday high of $134.76 earlier in the session, before paring some gains to be up 0.7% in afternoon trade. The stock has now run up 2.2% during its record-closing streak. McDonald's is scheduled to report first-quarter results before the market opens on Tuesday. McDonald's stock has now surged 10% year to date, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has gained 5.2%. Shares of rival Wendy's Co. climbed 2.1% in afternoon trade, and have soared 8.2% amid a four-session win streak, putting them on track to close at the highest level since Aug. 27, 2007. Meanwhile, Jack in the Box Inc.'s stock tacked on 0.9% toward a two week high, and shares of Taco Bell parent Yum Brands Inc. rose 1.5% toward a two-month high.

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Trump urges U.N. reform to make U.S. investment worthwhile

Top Reuters News - Mon, 04/24/2017 - 15:15
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump complained on Monday that the United States is shouldering an unfair burden of the cost of the United Nations, but said if the world body reforms how it operates, the investment would be worth it.

Tesla gets more ambitious with Superchargers as it prepares to start charging fees

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Mon, 04/24/2017 - 15:14

As Tesla Inc. prepares to charge drivers of its electric cars for some usage of its network of "Superchargers," the company is increasing its goals for building out the network of charging equipment. In a blog post Monday, Tesla said it plans to double the number of Superchargers available worldwide this year, with North America seeing a 150% increase. That goal is more ambitious than the one set forth in February's quarterly-earnings report, when Tesla said it planned to double the number of Superchargers in North America. The announcement comes after Tesla said customers who purchase Tesla's top-of-the-line offerings, the Model S and Model X, after Jan. 15 receive free annual credits of 400 KwH, which adds up to about 1,000 miles of driving, and will have to pay a varying fee after that. Cars purchased before this year will still enjoy unlimited Supercharger usage, but Tesla has not said what it will offer with the Model 3, the lower-priced electric sedan it expects to begin manufacturing this year. Tesla stock has been trading at record highs this year, gaining more than 20% in the past three months as the S&P 500 index has increased 3%. Shares were trading 0.8% higher in Monday afternoon trading, with prices around $308 a share.

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Oil ends lower on U.S. output worries, OPEC doubts

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Mon, 04/24/2017 - 14:39

Oil futures drifted lower Monday, with West Texas Intermediate crude for June delivery ending with a loss of 39 cents, or 0.8%, at $49.23 a barrel. Analysts said a combination of worries about rising U.S. output and doubts about the ability of OPEC to achieve an extension of a program of production curbs kept pressure on futures.

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Mnuchin says tax plan will 'pay for itself' with economic growth

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Mon, 04/24/2017 - 13:53

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Monday President Donald Trump's tax plan will focus on a middle-income tax cut, tax simplification and making U.S. businesses more competitive. Trump has said he will make an announcement on taxes Wednesday. Asked during a White House briefing if the plan would be revenue-neutral, Mnuchin said it would "pay for itself" through economic growth.

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Gold ends lower as havens lose ground after French vote

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Mon, 04/24/2017 - 13:50

Gold futures ended lower Monday, losing ground after France's first-round presidential election result soothed fears the country could eventually move to bolt the euro and the European Union. June gold on Comex dropped $11.60, or 0.9%, to close at $1,277.50 an ounce, but off of a session low at $1,266. Gold and other traditional havens, such as Treasurys and the Japanese yen, suffered after centrist Emmanuel Macron scored a first-place finish in the first round of France's presidential election on Sunday. Macron will go up against second-place finisher Marine Le Pen, who has called for France to exit the euro, in a May 7 runoff. Macron holds a large lead in opinion polls.

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Supermarket chain Albertsons exploring takeover of Whole Foods: FT

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Mon, 04/24/2017 - 13:45

U.S. supermarket operator Albertsons is exploring a takeover of Whole Foods Market Inc. , the Financial Times reported on Monday, citing two people briefed on the matter. Albertsons is owned by private-equity firm Cerberus Capital Management, which has held preliminary talks with bankers on a bid for Whole Foods, the paper reported. The news comes just weeks after hedge fund Jana Partners LLC said it had amassed a 9% stake in Whole Foods, and was urging it to look at a possible sale, change its management board and revise contracts with suppliers and others. Whole Foods has hired Evercore ISI to advise it on a deal that includes a possible sale of the company, according to the FT. Shares jumped 3% on the news, and are up 20% in 2017, while the S&P 500 has gained 5%.

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Sanofi has filed an antitrust suit against Mylan alleging 'illegal conduct' to prevent EpiPen competition

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Mon, 04/24/2017 - 12:02

Sanofi ADR filed an antitrust lawsuit on Monday against Mylan NV , which makes the EpiPen allergic reaction treatment, claiming that the company engaged in anticompetitive practices to prevent the uptake of Sanofi's then-rival product, Auvi-Q. Mylan allegedly offered "new and unprecedented" discounts off the list price of the EpiPen to prevent various players, including health insurers, from covering the Auvi-Q, according to the lawsuit. Sanofi claimed to have lost "hundreds of millions of dollars in sales" from these actions, along with other costs, and is asking for triple the amount in damages along with legal fees. Mylan spurred public backlash after raising the price of its EpiPen sixfold over several years, which brought attention to its lack of competitors. The Auvi-Q was recalled by Sanofi in 2015 after reports that the devices might deliver inadequate doses of epinephrine. It is is now being sold by privately-held Kaleo Inc., which invented the device, which the Sanofi lawsuit claims is "in part because of the artificial barriers to entry Mylan's conduct erected." Mylan shares were up 1.5% in morning trade on Monday. Shares have surged 4.4% over the last three months, compared with a 3.9% rise in the S&P 500 .

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J.C. Penney to hire 800 workers as part of Sephora beauty expansion

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Mon, 04/24/2017 - 11:34

J.C. Penney Co. Inc. said Monday that it will hire 800 consultants as part of a beauty expansion that will include 70 new Sephora store-in-store locations. J.C. Penney is also expanding 32 Sephora shops by nearly half. All additions start May 5. Sephora Inside JCPenney will be available in 650 stores this year, the company said. J.C. Penney has also launched same-day pickup for online Sephora orders. Soon customers will be able to schedule makeovers online with Sephora consultants. J.C. Penney shares are down 0.4% in Monday trading, and down 41.6% for the past year. The S&P 500 index is up 13.3% for the last 12 months.

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Mother's Day spending will reach record high, driven by jewelry

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Mon, 04/24/2017 - 11:21

Mother's Day spending is expected to reach a record high of $23.6 billion, according to the National Retail Federation, with spending on jewelry driving the increase. Last year's total was $21.4 billion. Shoppers are expected to spend an average of $186.39, up from $172.22 last year. Jewelry sales are forecast to reach $5 billion, up 19%, with personal services up 15% from last year to $1.9 billion. Outings like dinner or brunch are expected to reach $4.2 billion, and flowers are expected to total $2.6 billion. The SPDR S&P Retail ETF is down 2.3% for the year to date while the S&P 500 index is up 5.9% for the period.

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Amazon launches subscription service marketplace

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Mon, 04/24/2017 - 11:09

Amazon.com Inc. said Monday that it has launched a self-service marketplace for digital subscription businesses. Digital subscriptions currently available on the Amazon site include lifestyle, news, and streaming content services like SlingTV, eMeals and LegalZoom. The Subscribe with Amazon program also allows users to take advantage of Prime member discounts. Amazon shares are up 21% for the year so far while the S&P 500 index is up 6% for the period.

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Nasdaq opens at all-time high; Dow advances 200 points

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Mon, 04/24/2017 - 09:32

U.S. stocks rocketed higher at the open on Monday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average gaining 200 points and the Nasdaq Composite Index reach all-time highs, after centrist Emmanuel Macron finished first in in this weekend's French presidential vote. The S&P 500 index climbed 20 points, or 0.9%, to 2,370, while the Dow rose 205 points, or 1%, to 20,755. The Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 68 points, or 1.2%, to 5,978. Shares of Hasbro Inc. rose after the company's quarterly profit and sales figures surpassed expectations. Macron, a political neophyte who isn't affiliated with either of France's two most established parties, will face off against far-right candidate Marine Le Pen in the second round of voting, which is set for May 7. His first-place finish quieted fears that Le Pen would face off against another euroskeptic candidate in the second round.

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Immune Pharma shares tumble 9% premarket as it unveils restructuring

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Mon, 04/24/2017 - 08:41

Shares of Immune Pharmaceuticals Inc. slid 9% in premarket trade Monday, after the company unveiled a restructuring and said it has received notice from the Nasdaq that it is not in compliance with listing requirements after the delay of a key regulatory filing. Immune Pharma said it has not yet filed its 10-K for 2016, but will do so as soon as practicable. Meanwhile, the company is making inflammatory disease and dermatology its key areas of focus. Its oncology business will be folded into its Cytovia Inc. unit, which may be spun off to Immune shareholders. Chief Executive Dr. Daniel Teper will step down from that role to run Cytovia's cancer research and development effort, but will remain on the Immune board. Elliot Maza, currently a board member, will become interim CEO of Immune. Shares are down 3% in 2017 through Friday, while the S&P 500 has gained 5%.

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UPDATE: Amazon's stock could soar 40% to reach Wedbush's new Street-high target

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Mon, 04/24/2017 - 08:36

Shares of Amazon.com Inc. rallied 1.2% in premarket trade Monday, after Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter boosted his stock price target to $1,250, which is now the highest among the 46 analysts surveyed by FactSet, citing expectations of continued "substantial earnings growth." Pachter's new target, up from $900, is 39% above Friday's closing price of $898.53. The stock traded at $909 ahead of the open, just below the April 5 record close of $909.28. "Amazon appears intent upon growing annual profits (with some quarterly volatility), which we expect to continue as the company invests in growth," Pachter wrote in a note to clients. "Amazon Web Services (AWS) should be the growth engine, with its gross and operating margins expanding rapidly." He said margin expansion could be tempered by spending on video content, fulfillment and international expansion. Separately, Goldman Sachs analyst Heath Terry raised his stock price target to $1,100 from $1,000, citing expectations of revenue acceleration. Amazon is scheduled to report first-quarter results after Thursday's closing bell. The stock has soared 20% year to date, while the S&P 500 has gained 4.9%.

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Kimberly-Clark earnings beat estimates

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Mon, 04/24/2017 - 07:45

Kimberly-Clark Corp. reported first-quarter net income of $563.0 million, or $1.57 per share, up from $545.0 million, or $1.50 per share, last year. The FactSet consensus was $1.54 per share. Sales were $4.48 billion for the quarter, flat versus the same period last year and just below the $4.49 billion FactSet estimate. The consumer products company said Monday that it sees a sales increase of 1% to 2% for 2017. Kimberly-Clark shares are up 0.3% Monday premarket trading, and up nearly 14% for the year so far. The S&P 500 index is up nearly 5% for 2017 to date.

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Akari Therapeutics stock rises 10% on positive mid-stage trial results

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Mon, 04/24/2017 - 07:25

Akari Therapeutics PLC shares surged as much as 9.7% in premarket trade Monday after the company said its drug for a rare blood disease had positive results in a mid-stage clinical trial. The drug, Coversin, is intended to treat paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria, a dangerous blood disease that typically affects younger adults. Five patients were enrolled in the phase 2 trial, which lasted 90 days and tested the drug's safety and efficacy. Four of those patients remain on the drug, symptom-free and without any serious adverse events, Akari Therapeutics said. The company plans to begin a phase 3 clinical trial in the fourth quarter of this year, with initial data from that emerging in the first quarter of 2019. Akari Therapeutics shares were valued at $20.50 as of Friday's close. Shares have surged 201.5% over the last three months, compared with a 3.0% rise in the S&P 500 .

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Netflix plans to issue 1 billion euros in senior notes to fuel its content acquisitions

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Mon, 04/24/2017 - 07:24

Netflix Inc. on Monday said it plans to issue 1 billion euros in senior notes as the streaming giant continues its aggressive content expansion. Netflix said it intends to use the proceeds for general corporate purposes, including content acquisitions, capital expenditures, investments, working capital and potential acquisitions and strategic transactions, according to a news release. Netflix's most active bonds, the 4.375% notes that mature in November of 2026, last traded at 98.75 cents on the dollar, according to MaketAxess.

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Akzo Nobel to review third PPG proposal

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Mon, 04/24/2017 - 07:17

Akzo Nobel N.V. said that it will consider the third unsolicited proposal that it has received from PPG Industries Inc. , in accordance with the Dutch governance code. PPG raised its offer for the second time to EUR96.75 per share (about $105) from the previous bid of EUE88.72. Akzo Nobel rejected the previous bids, saying they were too low. Akzo Nobel shares are up 37.6% for the year so far, while PPG shares are up 11.8% for the period. The S&P 500 index is up nearly 5% for 2017 so far.

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