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Updated: 2 hours 23 min ago

Nissan's Saikawa to become CEO April 1 as Ghosn steps down

Wed, 02/22/2017 - 18:41

Nissan Motor Co. said late Wednesday that Carlos Ghosen will step down as chief executive of the Japanese automaker on April 1. Ghosen will remain on as chairman. Hiroto Saikawa will succeed Ghosen as CEO, Nissan said. Ghosn said he is stepping down to focus more attention on the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, an auto group formed last year with the addition of Mitsubishi.

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API reports inventory declines in crude oil, gasoline: sources

Wed, 02/22/2017 - 16:56

The American Petroleum Institute late Wednesday reported a 884,000 barrel decline in U.S. crude supplies for the week ended Feb. 17, according to sources. Analysts and traders polled by The Wall Street Journal expected a consensus gain of 3.4 million barrels. API also reported a decline of 893,000 barrels of gasoline and a 4.3 million barrel decline in distillates. Analysts expected a decline in gasoline stockpiles of 1.2 million barrels and a decline of distillates of 400,000 barrels. The API report precedes the more closely watched Energy Information Administration report on Thursday. After the report, crude oil for April delivery rose to $53.90 a barrel in electronic trading, following a day in which crude futures snapped a three-session winning streak to settle at $53.59 a barrel.

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Victoria's Secret parent's shares sink on weak guidance

Wed, 02/22/2017 - 16:52

L Brands Inc. shares sank 11.5% in late Wednesday trading after the Victoria's Secret parent gave weak guidance. Net income was $631.7 million, or $2.18 per share, compared with $636.0 million, or $2.15 per share, last year. Adjusted EPS was $2.03, beating the $1.90 FactSet consensus. Sales were $4.49 billion, up from $4.40 billion and meeting the FactSet consensus. Same-store sales for the quarter were flat, also meeting the FactSet consensus. However, same-store sales at Victoria's Secret declined 3%, while at Bath & Body Works, same-store sales increased 5%. L Brands expects 2017 EPS between $3.05 and $3.35, falling short of the $3.61 FactSet consensus. The company expects to report a mid-to-high-teens same-store sales decline in the month of February, reflecting declines at both Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works. L Brands' exit from the swim and apparel categories will also hurt same-store sales for the month by 6 percentage points, the company said. L Brands shares are down 30.8% for the last year while the S&P 500 index is up 21.5% for the same period.

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Mnuchin says strong dollar 'good thing' in long run

Wed, 02/22/2017 - 16:46

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the strong U.S. dollar is a "good thing" in the long run in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. Mnuchin said that the strength of the dollar has to do with where the U.S. economy is relative to the rest of the world's. "For longer-term purposes, an appreciation of the dollar is a good thing, and I would expect longer-term, as you've seen over periods of time, the dollar does appreciate."

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Square shares gain 5% after hours as payments company narrows losses, beats Q4 expectations

Wed, 02/22/2017 - 16:27

Shares of Square Inc. rose more than 5% after hours on Wednesday, after the payments company narrowed its losses and reported results that were better than Wall Street expected. Square reported a net loss of $15.2 million for the fourth quarter, or 4 cents per share, compared with a loss of $80.5 million, or 34 cents during the same quarter a year ago. Analysts tracked by FactSet expected Square to report a per-share loss of 9 cents. Revenue hit $451.9 million in the quarter, up from $374.4 million in the year-earlier period and above the FactSet consensus of $449.8 million. Square's gross payment volume increased 34% in the fourth quarter to $13.7 billion. The company expects 2017 total revenue to be in the range of $2.09 billion to $2.15 billion. FactSet expects revenue for the year to hit $2.1 billion. Square shares have gained nearly 45% in the trailing 12-month period, while the S&P 500 Index is up more than 21% in the same time frame

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Jack in the Box shares plummet 11% after Q1 profit, revenue misses and disappointing guidance

Wed, 02/22/2017 - 16:23

Jack in the Box Inc. shares plummeted 11% in post-market trade Wednesday after the company reported a first-quarter profit and revenue miss. Earnings for the latest quarter rose to $1.14 per share, or $37 million, from 94 cents per share, or $34 million, in the year-earlier period. The latest results include restructuring charges of $2 million, which include facility closing costs and employee severance pay, and lower-than-expected sales and margins at its Qdoba franchise, the company said. Adjusted earnings-per-share were $1.14, below the FactSet consensus of $1.24. Revenue rose to $488 million from $471 million, below the FactSet consensus of $500 million. Jack in the Box expects same-store sales of flat to down 2% at Jack in the Box restaurants and down 1% to 3% same-store sales at Qdoba restaurants in the second quarter. For fiscal year 2017, it said it expects a 2% same-store sales increase at Jack in the Box restaurants and about flat same-store sales at Qdoba restaurants. The company expects adjusted EPS of $4.25 to $4.45 for fiscal year 2017, below the FactSet consensus of $4.71. Jack in the Box shares have declined 3.9% over the last three months, compared with a 7.3% rise in the S&P 500 .

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Dow's 50-day MA is the farthest above 200-day MA in nearly 18 years

Wed, 02/22/2017 - 16:21

The Dow Jones Industrial Average's rally Wednesday to a 9th-straight record close helped push its 50-day moving average as far above its 200-day moving average as it has been in nearly 18 years. The 50-day MA, seen by many as a short-term trend tracker, rose to 20,017.83. The 200-day MA, which many use as a dividing line between longer-term uptrends and downtrends, rose to 18,703.43. That put the 50-day MA 1,314.40 points above the 200-day MA, the most since June 17, 1999. On a percentage basis, the the 50-day MA closed 6.79% above its 200-day MA, the biggest spread since Aug. 6, 2013.

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Fitbit misses fourth-quarter earnings, revenue expectations

Wed, 02/22/2017 - 16:19

Shares of Fitbit rose 4% after hours Wednesday after it reported a fourth-quarter net loss of $146.3 million, or a loss of 65 cents per share, after net income of $64.2 million, or 26 cents per share, in the year-earlier period. It reported an adjusted loss per share of 56 cents, wider than the FactSet consensus of a loss of 54 cents. It reported revenue of $574 million, down from $711.6 million in the year-earlier period and below the FactSet consensus of $576 million. Fitbit said it expects full-year revenue between $1.5 billion to $1.7 billion, compared to the FactSet consensus of $1.6 billion. For the first quarter, it expects revenue in the range of $270 million to $290 million, compared to the FactSet consensus of $308 million, and an adjusted loss per share between 18 cents and 20 cents, wider than the FactSet consensus of a loss of 16 cents. Shares of Fitbit have fallen 31% in the past three months, compared to the S&P 500's gain of 7%.

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Tesla reports wider quarterly loss but beats sales expectations

Wed, 02/22/2017 - 16:14

Tesla Inc. shares rose 1% late Wednesday after the electric-car maker reported a wider-than-expected quarterly loss but beat sales expectations. Tesla said it lost $121.3 million, or 78 cents a share, in the fourth quarter, compared with a loss of $320.4 million, or $2.44 cents a share, in the fourth quarter of 2015. Adjusted for one-time items, Tesla lost $106.5 million, or 69 cents a share, in the quarter, compared with $2.02 a share a year ago. Sales rose to $2.28 billion, compared with $1.21 billion a year ago. Analysts polled by FactSet had expected the Silicon Valley car maker and energy company to report an adjusted loss of 53 cents a share on sales of $2.16 billion. Shares had ended the regular session down 1.4%.

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HP shares rise slightly as quarterly results top Street view

Wed, 02/22/2017 - 16:14

HP Inc. shares rose slightly in the extended session Wednesday after the computer company's quarterly results topped Wall Street estimates. HP shares advanced 1.2% to $16.40 after hours. The company reported adjusted fiscal first-quarter earnings of 38 cents a share on revenue of $12.68 billion. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had estimated earnings of 37 cents a share on revenue of $11.83 billion. The company sees adjusted second-quarter earnings of 37 cents to 40 cents a share, while analysts had estimated 38 cents a share.

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Dow notches longest run of record closes in three decades

Wed, 02/22/2017 - 16:03

U.S. stocks finished mostly lower on Wednesday, but that didn't stop the Dow Jones Industrial Average from posting its ninth straight record close -- its longest such streak since Jan. 20, 1987. The blue-chip gauge gained 32.60 points, or 0.2%, to 20,775.60, led by DuPont Inc. , Nike Inc. and 3M Company . Meanwhile, the S&P 500 index shed 2.58 points, or 0.1%, to 2,362.80, as a drop in crude-oil prices weighed on energy shares. The Nasdaq Composite Index slipped 5.32 points, or 0.1%, to 5,860.63. Stocks pared earlier gains after minutes from the Federal Reserve's latest policy meeting highlighted the uncertainty surrounding President Donald Trump's fiscal policies. Tesla Inc. , Square Inc. and Fitbit Inc. will report earnings after the close.

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Viacom's Paramount Pictures subsidiary's CEO to step down

Wed, 02/22/2017 - 15:45

Viacom Inc. said Wednesday that Brad Grey will step down as chairman and chief executive officer of the media company's Paramount Pictures subsidiary after 12 years at the company. Grey will remain with the company "for a period" while the search for a successor is conducted. "Brad has overseen the production and distribution of some of Paramount's most celebrated hits, and more recently championed the successful relaunch of the studio's television division," said Viacom Chief Executive Bob Bakish. "As we look ahead, I couldn't be more excited by our early plans to reenergize the slate, more deeply integrate the studio and networks, and make the most of our incredible assets." Viacom's stock, which slipped 0.6% in afternoon trade, has rallied 20.6% over the past 12 months, while the S&P 500 has gained 21.4%.

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S&P downgrades Macy's to one notch above junk status

Wed, 02/22/2017 - 15:19

Standard & Poor's downgraded Macy's Inc.'s ratings to the last level of investment grade Wednesday, after the department store chain's weak fourth-quarter earnings. S&P lowered the rating to BBB-minus from BBB, and removed its from CreditWatch negative, where it had placed the issuer's rating on Jan. 5. The downgrade "reflects our view of the company's weakened operating performance and competitive standing given the ongoing industry challenges, such as sustained low customer traffic, increased price transparency, and unrelenting competition from online, fast-fashion, and off-price retailers," S&P said in a statement. The outlook is negative, meaning the agency could lower the rating again in the medium term. "We believe the apparel retail market will remain difficult and operating performance will continue to be pressured for Macy's, which could further weaken the company's competitive standing and/or its credit metrics, with a likely need for further debt reduction in 2018," said the agency. Macy's most active bonds, the 1.875% notes due to mature in January of 2022, were last trading at 99 cents on the dollar, according to MarketAxess.

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Philip Morris's stock rises just briefly after new profit outlook appears like an increase

Wed, 02/22/2017 - 15:12

Shares of Philip Morris International Inc. got just a brief boost in afternoon trade Wednesday, after the tobacco company provided a new 2017 "currency only" profit outlook. The company said it now expects 2017 earnings per share of $4.80 to $4.95 at prevailing exchange rates, compared with the guidance of $4.70 to $4.85 it provided in its fourth-quarter report released on three weeks ago. Although the company said it raised its EPS guidance "for currency only," the new outlook excludes an unfavorable currency impact of 8 cents a share, compared with an unfavorable currency impact of 18 cents a share for the previous outlook. The stock was down about 0.3%, then jumped to a gain of as much as 0.3% after the new profit outlook was released, before pulling back to a decline of 0.1% in recent trade. Philip Morris's stock has gained 13% over the past 12 months, while the S&P 500 has climbed 21%.

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Oil snaps 3-session rise as non-OPEC output comes into focus

Wed, 02/22/2017 - 14:41

Crude-oil prices on Wednesday logged their first loss in four sessions, giving the previous day's gain and then some as concerns about growing output from producers outside of a pact to curtail global oversupply plagued investors. West Texas Intermediate crude oil for April delivery finished off 74 cents, or 1.4%, at $53.59 a barrel. Comments from Qatar's oil minister, Mohammed al-Sada, kicked off the downbeat sentiment. Speaking at an energy meeting in London, al-Sada said major oil producers outside of OPEC weren't cutting production, as much as they had pledged. The crude market has been anxious about rising production, namely from U.S. shale-oil producers and Russia, who has a history of non-compliance to production limits. Looking ahead, investors are awaiting inventory data from the American Petroleum Institute late Wednesday.

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Gold prices get post-settlement boost after Fed minutes

Wed, 02/22/2017 - 14:16

Gold prices jumped in electronic trading Wednesday following the release of minutes from the Federal Reserve's most recent policy meeting. Gold for April delivery traded at $1,238.30 an ounce, up $5.00, or 0.4% higher than the $1,233.30 an ounce settlement on Wednesday. Gold settled lower Wednesday for a third drop in a row.

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U.S. dollar weakens after release of Fed minutes

Wed, 02/22/2017 - 14:15

The U.S. dollar weakened against its major rivals on Wednesday, turning negative against both the yen and the euro after the Federal Reserve said there was considerable uncertainty surrounding fiscal policy, something investors have been looking to boost the dollar and stoke inflation. The U.S. dollar index fell slightly on the day, after having risen by about 0.2%. The comments, which were released as part of minutes from the Fed's most recent meeting, said that uncertainty over the Trump administration's fiscal policies were a major stumbling block. The minutes also revealed that "many" Fed officials had expressed support in raising interest rates "fairly soon," adding to the growing consensus that a rate hike could be announced at the March meeting, something that had been considered unlikely a few weeks ago. Among specific currencies, the dollar fell 0.4% against the yen, erasing an early advance. The euro traded at $1.0567 from $1.0546 late Tuesday, a gain of 0.2%. It had previously dropped by roughly the same amount.

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Treasury yields decline after Fed minutes

Wed, 02/22/2017 - 14:14

Treasury yields turned lower on Wednesday after minutes from the Federal Reserve's most-recent meeting revealed that some officials were waiting for more clarity about President Donald Trump's fiscal policies. Though many policy makers said they believed that the next hike could come "fairly soon" provided economic data continue to improve, the overall tone of the minutes was somewhat less hawkish than investors had anticipated, market strategists said. Fed officials also voiced concerns about the dollar's recent appreciation. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note shed 1.4 basis point to 2.414%, while the yield on the two-year note rose marginally to 1.228%. The yield on the 30-year Treasury bond fell 1.2 basis point to 3.024%. Yields had moved higher earlier in the session following hawkish comments from Fed Gov. Jerome Powell and an auction of $34 billion in new five-year notes that was somewhat softer than expected, analysts said.

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U.S. stocks edge lower after Fed minutes

Wed, 02/22/2017 - 14:08

The U.S. stock market moved south after the latest Federal Reserve meeting minutes showed that "many" Federal Reserve officials expressed support for raising interest rates "fairly soon" if the economy stayed on course or strengthened. The S&P 500 was off by 3 points, or 0.1%, at 2,362. Financials, which were higher before the minutes, pared gains and were flat. The Nasdaq Composite was down 6 points, or 0.1% to 5,860. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was paring gains, trading 9 points or less than 0.1%, higher at 20,754, after setting an intraday all-time high.

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Fed minutes: 'Many' on Fed back interest rate hike 'fairly soon' if economy stays on course or strengthens

Wed, 02/22/2017 - 14:00

"Many" Federal Reserve officials expressed support for raising interest rates "fairly soon" if the economy stayed on course or strengthened, according to minutes of their meeting earlier this month released Wednesday. But officials struggled what to do because of considerable uncertainty over the fiscal policy plans of the Trump administration and Republican Congress. Most officials said it would take "some time" for the outlook on fiscal policy to become clearer. And only a "couple" of the 17 Fed officials argued that uncertainty over fiscal policy should not delay a near-term rate hike. More Fed officials cautioned against adjusting interest rates "in anticipation of policy proposals that might not be enacted, or that, if enacted might turn out to have different consequences for economic activity and inflation than currently anticipated," the minutes said. There was no discussion of shrinking the Fed's $4.5 trillion balance sheet other than to agree to talk about it at later meetings.

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