Breaking Stock Market and Financial News

Cisco plans to acquire hyperconvergence startup for $320 million

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Mon, 08/21/2017 - 10:37

Shares of Cisco Systems Inc. were up less than 1% Monday morning after the company said it plans to acquire Springpath Inc., a hyperconvergence startup, for $320 million in cash and equity awards. Hyperconvergence has been heating up in the tech space, as the software combines storage and computing functionality in a hybrid-cloud environment. Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. made a move into the space this year, with a$650 million cash acquisition of Simplivity. Cisco said it has been working with Springpath since the beginning of 2016, when they worked to launch HyperFlex, Cisco's own hyperconvergence system. Cisco's acquisition is expected to close in the first quarter of Cisco's 2018 fiscal year, which runs until Oct. 28. Shares of Cisco have lost 4.3% in the past month, while the S&P 500 has lost 2%.

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Under Armour, Nike, Foot Locker stocks battered after spate of downgrades, price target cuts

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Mon, 08/21/2017 - 10:35

Under Armour Inc. , Foot Locker Inc. and Nike Inc. are among the stocks that have fallen in Monday trading after a number of analysts downgraded sporting goods shares or cut their price targets. Under Armour is the biggest loser, down 3.7%, followed by Foot Locker, down 3.6%, and Nike, down 2.7%. The sporting goods sector is challenged by a promotional environment fueled by a number of bankruptcies and liquidations, like that for The Sports Authority. There are also concerns about slowdowns in certain areas of the sporting universe, such as golf, and the shift that many brands are making to direct-to-consumer selling. The SPDR S&P Retail ETF is down nearly 1% in Monday trading, and down 14.1% for the year so far. The S&P 500 index is up 8.1% for 2017 so far.

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Nike downgraded on increased competition and growth risk

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Mon, 08/21/2017 - 09:43

Nike Inc. was downgraded to hold from buy at Jefferies on concern that increased competition in the U.S. is putting growth and margins at risk. Jefferies cut its price target to $60 from $75. Jefferies analysts led by Randal Konik cite market data that shows increased website visits, market share and brand share for top running items going to Adidas AG . Analysts also say there are a rising number of Adidas mentions on Finish Line Inc. and Foot Locker Inc. earnings calls. "[W]e believe secular industry tailwinds still exist, but Adidas brand heat dilutes them, and Nike innovation is strong, but there's less buzz around its near-term pipeline," the note said. Nike shares are down 2.4% in Monday trading, but up 5.7% for the year so far. The S&P 500 index is up 8.4% for 2017 so far.

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Apple's $1 billion TV investment helps company compete with Spotify in near term

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Mon, 08/21/2017 - 09:36

Apple Inc.'s $1 billion investment to buy and produce original TV programming pits the technology giant against Spotify, not Netflix Inc. or Amazon.com Inc. -- at least for the time being, according to analysts at RBC Capital Markets. Apple's designated $1 billion content spend is small compared with Netflix's $6 billion, Amazon's $4 billion and Time Warner Inc.-owned HBO's $2 billion. Lead analyst Amit Daryanani wrote in the note that it makes more sense to see the investment as potentially taking share away from Spotify. Daryanani wrote that if Apple is able to add seven million to eight million paid Apple Music subscribers, it would recoup the $1 billion investment in three years, and given the double-digit growth in music streaming and the roughly 20 million subscriber gap between Spotify and Apple, upside to market share gains could be significant. "We think this itself provides Apple sufficient incentive to sustain the level of these investments," Daryanani wrote. "In addition, over the longer term, content investments open multiple possibilities including strengthening iTunes media sale/rental business, launching an Apple TV exclusive streaming service, leverage in negotiating with media companies, and driving M&A strategy. Ultimately, we think the investments fit well with Apple's goal of doubling services business by 2020." Shares of Apple have gained 36% in the year to date, while the S&P 500 index is up more than 8% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up nearly 10%.

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U.S. stocks open flat as geopolitical caution remains elevated

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Mon, 08/21/2017 - 09:32

U.S. stocks opened flat on Monday, suggesting investors were reluctant to jump into the markets even after two straight days of declines as geopolitical tensions remained high. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 7 points to 21,667. The S&P 500 was down half a point to 2,425. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up less than one point to 6,217. A new cycle of escalation near the Korean Peninsula looked set to begin as the U.S. and South Korea on Monday kicked off annual military exercises that have a history of enraging North Korea. Tensions between the country and the U.S. have weighed on markets in recent weeks, and there may be few other catalysts for investors to trade on ahead of the Kansas City Federal Reserve's symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyo. In company news, Sempra Energy rose 0.3% on news it had reached a deal to buy Oncor for $9.45 billion.

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BJ's Restaurants launches alcohol delivery in California

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Mon, 08/21/2017 - 09:19

BJ's Restaurants Inc. said Monday that it has launched a pilot program for alcohol delivery in its online ordering platform. Taking place in select California markets, allows customers to add BJ's craft beer and wine either when ordered through the DoorDash app or directly from BJ's. As of Aug. 21, 98 BJ's restaurant locations have partnered with DoorDash in California, Denver, Miami and other locations nationwide. BJ's chain of restaurants serves soups, sandwiches, pizza, burgers, and more. BJ's shares are unchanged in Monday premarket trading, and are down nearly 18% for the year so far. The S&P 500 index is up 8.3% for 2017 to date.

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Russia names replacement for Sergei Kislyak as envoy in Washington

Top Reuters News - Mon, 08/21/2017 - 09:03
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's next ambassador to Washington will be Anatoly Antonov, a former defense official who is subject to European sanctions over his role in the conflict in Ukraine, the Kremlin announced on Monday.

Britain's Big Ben falls silent for four years of renovation work

Top Reuters News - Mon, 08/21/2017 - 09:00
LONDON (Reuters) - The "Big Ben" bell in the British parliament's famous clock tower tolled for the last time on Monday before it ceased its regular bongs for four years while renovation work is carried out.

'We're the victims,' says father of young Filipino shot dead in war on drugs

Top Reuters News - Mon, 08/21/2017 - 08:59
MANILA (Reuters) - Hundreds of neighbors and left-wing activists marched and lit candles near the spot where a 17-year-old high school student was shot dead by police last week in President Rodrigo Duterte's controversial war on drugs.

Champions Oncology shares surge 8% on news of AstraZeneca collaboration

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Mon, 08/21/2017 - 08:50

Champions Oncology Inc. shares surged 8.2% in premarket trade Monday on news of the company's collaboration with AstraZeneca . The companies plan to develop new Patient-Derived Xenograft (PDX) models -- cancer tumors transplanted into mice that are used to study cancer -- for their cancer research. These new models will focus on metastatic, previously treated cancers so researchers can better understand mechanisms of resistance, the companies said, "providing a critical platform to optimize drug development in these settings." Those two areas of cancer research are a "surprisingly underserved space," said AstraZeneca Vice President and Head of Oncology Steve Fawell. AstraZeneca shares declined 0.5% in premarket trade. Champions shares have surged 29.2% over the last three months to $3.19 and AstraZeneca shares have dropped 14.1%, compared with a 1.8% rise in the S&P 500 .

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Herbalife shares surge 8% premarket after it unveils self-tender offer, talks on going-private transaction

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Mon, 08/21/2017 - 08:14

Herbalife Ltd. shares rocketed 8.3% in premarket trade Monday, after announcing a self-tender offer and confirming it recently held talks on a going-private transaction. The health products distributor said it has commenced a modified Dutch auction self-tender offer to buy for cash up to $600 million of its own shares in a move that should help shareholders in the event the company goes private in the next two years. Herbalife said it recently held talks with a prospective financial investor on a deal that would have taken the company private. "While these conversations were formally terminated on August 16, 2017, because these discussions contemplated the possibility of the Company being taken private, the Board of Directors decided to provide tendering shareholders with some protection in the event the Company is taken private within two years resulting in remaining shareholders possibly receiving a higher price than paid in the self-tender," the company said in a statement. Shareholders who tender their shares will be paid no less than $60 a share and no more than $68, and will receive a contingency value right as part of the deal. That would give them the right to a contingent cash payment if the company is taken private. The company said that Carl Icahn has agreed in connection with the tender not to increase his stake in the company above 50% unless he has agreed to buy 100% of the shares. Icahn will not be participating in the tender offer. Shares have gained 29% in 2017, while the S&P 500 has gained 8.3%.

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Francesca's shares drop after it issues sales warning, announces chief merchant departure

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Mon, 08/21/2017 - 08:03

Francesca's Holdings Corp. shares fell nearly 6% in Monday premarket trading after it said second-quarter same-store sales fell and announced that Laurie Hummel, the company's chief merchandising officer, has stepped down. Same-store sales were down 3%, below the FactSet consensus for a 1% decline. Back-to-school is "off to a challenging start," said Chief Executive Steve Lawrence, in a statement, and same-store sales have slowed further since July. Second-quarter earnings are expected to be 20 cents, ahead of the 16-cent FactSet consensus. The second-quarter earnings call will take place on September 6. A search for a new chief merchant has begun. Francesca's shares are unchanged in Monday premarket trading, but are down nearly 56% for the year so far. The S&P 500 index is up 8.3% for 2017 to date.

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The Container Store adjusts guidance after loan amendment

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Mon, 08/21/2017 - 07:20

The Container Store Group Inc. said Monday that there will be charges and expenses tied to an amendment of its loan agreement. As a result, the retailer has adjusted its guidance for fiscal 2017. The amendment extends the maturity date to Aug. 18, 2021, with an increase to interest rate margin for LIBOR loans to 7% and for base rate loans to 6%. The principal amount of the loan has been lowered to $300 million. The Container Store expects to incur about $7 million of incremental interest expense, for a total of $25 million, and debt extinguishment costs of about $2 million. Fiscal 2017 earnings are expected to be 13 cents to 23 cents per share, and adjusted EPS is expected to be 27 cents to 40 cents. The FactSet EPS consensus is 38 cents. The Container Store shares are unchanged in premarket trading, and down 32.1% for the year so far. The S&P 500 index is up 8.3% for 2017 to date.

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Build-A-Bear completes strategic review, to buy back $20 million of its own shares

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Mon, 08/21/2017 - 07:20

Build-A-Bear Workshop Inc. said Monday it has concluded a review of its strategic alternatives and decided to buy back up to $20 million of its own shares. "Adoption of the share repurchase program reflects our belief that our stock represents an attractive investment opportunity," Chief Executive Sharon Price John said in a statement. The company has returned to sustained profitability and has strong cash flow and a flexible capital structure, she said. "We believe Build-A-Bear Workshop will have the capacity to repurchase our stock while still deploying capital to facilitate the attainment of our next stated objective of sustained profitable growth," she said. The strategic review was comprehensive, she said, without providing details. Build-A-Bear has about 400 stores worldwide where children and adults can create and dress their own toy bears. Shares were not active premarket, but have fallen 37% in 2017, while the S&P 500 has gained 8.3%.

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U.S. scales back visa services in Russia after Putin cuts its staff

Top Reuters News - Mon, 08/21/2017 - 06:54
MOSCOW (Reuters) - The United States said on Monday it was scaling back its visa services in Russia after Moscow ordered it to sharply cut its diplomatic staff in retaliation over new U.S. sanctions.

China's Great Wall confirms interest in Fiat Chrysler

Top Reuters News - Mon, 08/21/2017 - 06:35
SHANGHAI/BEIJING (Reuters) - China's Great Wall Motor Co Ltd is interested in bidding for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), a company official said on Monday, confirming reports it is pursuing all or part of the owner of the Jeep and Ram truck brands.

Texas university removes 'white supremacy' statues overnight

Top Reuters News - Mon, 08/21/2017 - 06:10
(Reuters) - The University of Texas at Austin removed the statues of three Confederate-era figures from a main area on campus on Monday, saying they had become symbols of white supremacy and that they were taken down overnight to avoid confrontations.

Chinese auto maker interested in buying Fiat: Reuters

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Mon, 08/21/2017 - 05:42

Chinese auto maker Great Wall Motor Co. is considering a bid for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV , according to a Reuters report Monday. "With respect to this case, we currently have an intention to acquire," Reuters quoted an unnamed Great Wall Motor official as saying. This follows a report by Automotive News that the Chinese company was exploring the purchase of Fiat's Jeep brand. In Milan, Fiat shares rose as much as 4.9% on Monday morning. NYSE-listed shares of Fiat were up 2.9% in premarket trade.

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'America First' protesters face off with opponents at California beach rally

Top Reuters News - Mon, 08/21/2017 - 04:15
LAGUNA BEACH, Calif. (Reuters) - Anti-immigration demonstrators faced off against a much bigger crowd of counter-protesters in the Southern California town of Laguna Beach on Sunday, as police kept the opposing sides apart.

Millions of Americans await awe-inspiring total solar eclipse

Top Reuters News - Mon, 08/21/2017 - 04:00
SALMON, Idaho/MURPHY, N.C. (Reuters) - Millions of Americans armed with protective glasses are taking positions along a slender ribbon of land cutting diagonally across the United States to marvel at the first total solar eclipse to unfold from coast to coast in nearly a century.

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