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Macy's fires growth officer on the heels of weak holiday sales

Fri, 01/13/2017 - 16:41

Macy's Inc. said it fired Chief Growth Officer Peter R. Sachse, a 34-year employee. Sachse will be "involuntarily separating" from Macy's effective Jan. 30, the retailer said in a filing. Sachse's separation was announced Jan. 9, the company said. Sachse will receive $2.7 million in a lump sum and continued vesting of equity awards through March, the retailer said. The dismissal comes a little over a week afterMacy's and other department stores reported weak holiday sales and as the company announced store closures. Shares of Macy's fell 0.1% late Friday after ending the regular trading day down 0.3%.

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Nasdaq closes at new record as broader market ends little changed

Fri, 01/13/2017 - 16:07

The Nasdaq closed at a fresh record Friday following a snap of a five-day streak of new highs while the broader market finished little changed heading into the holiday weekend. The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 5.27 points to finish at 19,885.73, with shares of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. dragging on the average, for a weekly decline of 0.4%. The S&P 500 index closed up 4.20 points, or 0.2%, at 2,274.64, with the financials and consumer-discretionary sectors the strongest performers, for a weekly of decline of 0.1%. The Nasdaq Composite index finished up 26.63 points, or 0.5%, at 5,574.12, for its sixth record in seven sessions and a weekly gain of 1%.

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House passes bill helping to pave way for Obamacare repeal

Fri, 01/13/2017 - 15:43

The House of Representatives passed a budget bill Friday that is a procedural step toward repealing the Affordable Care Act. By a vote of 227 to 198, the House approved a budget resolution that instructs committees to write plans for repealing much of the law commonly known as Obamacare. The Senate approved the measure on Thursday.

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Oil futures suffer largest weekly loss in more than a month

Fri, 01/13/2017 - 14:41

Oil futures fell Friday to tally loss of about 3% for the week--the largest such loss since early November, according to FactSet data. Doubts surrounding oil-producer compliance with a production cut agreement lingered despite some signs of cutbacks. February West Texas Intermediate crude fell 64 cents, or 1.2%, to settle at $52.37 a barrel.

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Gold futures gain roughly 1.9% for the week

Fri, 01/13/2017 - 13:58

Gold futures settled with a loss on Friday, but still scored a gain of about 1.9% for the week. "Gold appears to be trading in lock step with U.S. dollar trends over the past few weeks, with this week's strength reflecting softness in the dollar," said Rob Haworth, senior investment strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management. "Our view on President-elect [Donald] Trump's policies is that we should see a stronger U.S. dollar, which should continue to pressure gold prices this year." February gold fell $3.60, or 0.3%, for the session to settle at $1,196.20 an ounce.

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Baker Hughes data show U.S. oil-rig count down for first time in 11 weeks

Fri, 01/13/2017 - 13:13

Data from Baker Hughes Friday revealed that the number of active U.S. rigs drilling for oil fell by 7 to 522 rigs this week. The decline follows ten consecutive weeks of increases. The total active U.S. rig count, which includes oil and natural-gas rigs, also fell 6 to 659, according to Baker Hughes. February West Texas Intermediate crude was trading down 46 cents, or 0.9%, for the session at $52.55 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, unchanged from the levels it traded at before the data.

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After spike in rates, Treasury asks dealers about MBS, TIPS

Fri, 01/13/2017 - 12:01

The Treasury Department said Friday it is asking primary dealers about market conditions for mortgage-backed securities and TIPS, or inflation-protected securities. In its latest primary dealer agenda, the Treasury said it was asking dealers about the near and medium term outlook for the MBS market in light of recent changes in long-term Treasury and mortgage rates. It also asked dealers about current supply and demand in the TIPS market in light of the recent rise in real rates.

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SEC fines Citadel Securities $22 million for misleading clients about trade pricing

Fri, 01/13/2017 - 10:43

The Securities and Exchange Commission said on Friday that Citadel Securities LLC will pay $22.6 million to settle charges that its team that processes retail customer orders from other brokerage firms misled those customers about the way it priced trades. According to the SEC, Citadel Execution Services used two algorithms that did not take the other side of the retail orders, called internalization, at the best price observed nor did it seek the best price in the marketplace. That's despite telling broker-dealer clients that it either took the other side of the trade and provided the best price that it observed on various market data feeds or sought to obtain that price in the marketplace. Citadel Securities executes approximately 35% of the average daily volume of retail equity shares traded in the U.S. markets, according to the SEC's order. Citadel Securities has since discontinued use of the two algorithms which violated the law from late 2007 through January 2010. Citadel did not admit or deny the findings, but agreed to be censured and pay a penalty of $16 million, return $5.2 million in gains and pay interest of more than $1.4 million.

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Kellogg names Fareed Khan CFO

Fri, 01/13/2017 - 10:38

Kellogg Co. said Friday that Fareed Khan will join the company on Feb. 17 as chief financial officer, succeeding Ron Dissinger, who will stay with the company in 2017 to help with the transition. Khan will be named CFO and Principal Financial Officer the day after the company's 10-K is filed. Dissinger announced his retirement in May 2016. Khan joins from U.S. Foods Holding Corp. where he was CFO from 2013 and aided with the company's IPO. Kellogg shares are unchanged in premarket trading, and up 1.4% for the past year. The S&P 500 index is up 20.1% for the last 12 months.

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Dimon isn't worried Trump will adopt protectionist policies

Fri, 01/13/2017 - 10:31

J.P. Morgan & Co. CEO Jamie Dimon said he isn't concerned that President-elect Donald Trump's trade policies will hurt the economy by pushing for tariffs and adopting a protectionist stance. During a call with reporters on Friday following the bank's quarterly results, Dimon said despite Trump's rhetoric and frequent use of Twitter, which indicate the real-estate mogul would retool trade agreements with Mexico and hold a hard line with countries like China, he expects the coming president's administration to "do the right thing." "Putting aside the one-liners and election rhetoric, I am comforted by the fact that he's putting real players on the playing field," Dimon said. Trump, for example, has repeatedly accused China of manipulating its currency and has threatened to place tariffs on its goods. Critics fear that such a tacked would backfire as China would likely retaliate with tariffs of its own. The U.S. is the biggest market for China, accepting about a fifth of its exports. Shares of J.P. Morgan were up nearly 2% on Friday, following its better-than-expected results, which were giving a lift to financials and the Dow Jones Industrial Average . "Give him some time," Dimon said of Trump. The J.P. Morgan boss is a part of Trump's economic brain trust, the Strategic and Policy Forum, which consists of 16 business leaders, headed by Stephen Schwarzman, the billionaire co-founder of private-equity firm Blackstone Group .

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Holiday retail sales rise 4% to beat NRF expectations

Fri, 01/13/2017 - 10:29

Retail sales for November and December increased 4% year-over-year to $658.3 billion, according to the latest numbers from the National Retail Federation. The final tally includes $122.9 billion from non-store sales, which includes e-commerce. Non-store sales were up 12.6% from 2015. The overall total exceeds the NRF's forecast of $655.8 billion, which would have been an increase of 3.6%. The organization forecast a 7% to 10% increase in online sales to $117.0 billion. A number of department store retailers like Macy's Inc. and Kohl's Corp. have issued profit warnings for the holiday season. Sales at department stores were down 7% adjusted year-over-year while clothing and accessories stores increased 2.5%, furniture and home furnishings stores saw a 4.8% increase, and food and beverage stores saw sales increase 3.6%.

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U.S. stocks open higher after upbeat bank earnings

Fri, 01/13/2017 - 09:33

U.S. stocks opened slightly higher Friday as investors were relieved by bank earnings results and economic data. J.P. Morgan Chase & Co and Bank of America Corp earnings beat expectations, though Wells Fargo & Co earnings and revenues were lower than expected. Retail sales in December rose by 0.6%, while producer prices inched up by 0.3%. The main indexes were set to book weekly losses, however. The S&P 500 opened up 3.8 points, or 0.2%, at 2,274, hovering near all-time highs. The Nasdaq Composite began the session up 10 points, or 0.2% higher at 5,557. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 37 points or 0.2%, to 19,927.

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GrubHub's stock jumps after Morgan Stanley boosts rating, price target

Fri, 01/13/2017 - 09:06

Shares of GrubHub Inc. surged 4.5% in premarket trade Friday, after Morgan Stanley turned bullish on the online food-ordering company, citing faster diner growth as a result of accelerating restaurant additions. Analyst Brian Nowak raised his rating to overweight, after being at equal weight since May 2016. He raised his stock price target to $44, which is 18% above Thursday's closing price of $37.37, from $36. "In our view, active diner growth--a sign of GRUB's ability to bring on new users--and gross food sales per active diner--measuring GRUB's ability to grow share of stomach--remain the two most important metrics in evaluating the health of GRUB's business," Nowak wrote in a note to clients. "We see bullish indicators in both of these, which are likely to lead to higher earnings power and upward revisions." The stock has dropped 9.3% over the past three months through Thursday, while the Amplify Online Retail ETF has gained 2.7% and the S&P 500 has tacked on 6.5%.

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Newell Brands sells Rubbermaid consumer storage business, puts two others up for sale

Fri, 01/13/2017 - 08:54

Newell Brands Inc. said Friday that it has entered into an agreement to sell its Rubbermaid brand consumer storage totes business to United Solutions, a plastic products company. This business represents $70 million in annual sales, but terms of the deal weren't disclosed. The companies will have a five-year licensing deal for the Rubbermaid brand name. Newell is also selling its Pine Mountain fire starters, fire logs and fire safety business, and the Diamond matches, fire starters, toothpicks and laundry business. These two businesses represent about $87 million in annual sales. Newell previously announced plans to sell two winter sports businesses, Vokl and K2, along with its heaters, humidifiers and fans business. The company hopes to reach deal on all of these during the first half of 2017. In Oct. 2016, Newell sold its tools business, including the Lenox and Hilmor brands, to Stanley Black & Decker Inc. , for $1.95 billion. Newell says it has completed the $100 million acquisition of the WoodWick Candle brand for $100 million. Newell shares are unchanged in Friday premarket trading, and up 24.1% for the past year. The S&P 500 index is up 20.1% for the last 12 months.

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Netflix's stock rallies after Deutsche Bank upgrade ahead of earnings

Fri, 01/13/2017 - 08:36

Netflix Inc.'s stock rallied 0.9% in premarket trade Friday, after Deutsche Bank upgraded the streaming video service, citing expectations that Netflix will report better-than-expected results next week. Analyst Bryan Kraft raised his rating to hold, three months after starting coverage with a sell rating. He raised his stock price target to $110, but that was still 15% below Thursday's closing price of $129.18, from $92. Kraft said when he initiated coverage of Netflix, he believed the company had "an attractive business model," but the stock was priced two years ahead of the fundamentals, and that a sale of the company was "highly unlikely." His new rating and price target is based on a higher subscriber trajectory internationally, a lower tax rate and the believe that fourth-quarter results will beat guidance for international subscribers. "The key driver of the stock price around earnings reports has predominantly been subscribers," Kraft wrote in a note to clients. Netflix is scheduled to report results after the market closes on Jan. 18. The stock has run up 29% over the past three months, while the S&P 500 has gained 6.5%.

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GameStop says holiday same-store sales slumped 18.7%

Fri, 01/13/2017 - 07:41

GameStop Corp. said Friday same-store sales fell 18.7% in the nine-week holiday period to end December, weighed down by weak demand for "Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare" and "Titanfall 2" and aggressive discounting on Thanksgiving and Black Friday. Total sales came to $2.50 billion, down 16.4% from the year-earlier period. Chief Executive Paul Raines said sales were hurt by holiday weakness, pricing pressure and lower traffic. "We are disappointed with our overall results, but looking broadly, we did see continued growth in our non-physical gaming businesses and we expect this category to approach 40% of our earnings in fiscal 2016," he said in a statement. The company is still aiming to save $100 million in sales, general and admin costs by 2019, he said. GameStop is sticking with its fourth-quarter forecast for EPS of $2.23 to $2.28, below the FactSet consensus of $2.33. Shares were not yet active in premarket trade, but have fallen 8% in the last 12 months, while the S&P 500 has gained 17%.

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Yellen backs Dodd-Frank rules again, sounds upbeat on economy

Fri, 01/13/2017 - 04:25

Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen said late Thursday that key parts of the 2010 Dodd-Frank law -- including higher capital requirements and enhanced supervision for big banks -- should not be scrapped, according to a Wall Street Journal report. She has previously warned against rolling back Dodd-Frank rules, and it is something that President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to do. On Thursday, Yellen also said the U.S. economy faces no serious short-term obstacles, according to a Bloomberg report.

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Tesla details how it will charge new buyers to use Superchargers

Thu, 01/12/2017 - 23:33

Tesla Motors Inc. on Thursday night announced details of how it will start charging some customers to use its high-speed Supercharger network. Buyers who order their Model S and Model X vehicles after Jan. 15 will receive free annual credits for 400 kWh, about enough electricity for 1,000 miles, the company said in a statement. After that, they will be charged "a small fee" to use a Supercharger station, with exact prices varying state to state, and country to country. The free-credits plan will not apply to buyers of the Model 3, which is expected to roll out later this year. "We are only aiming to recover a portion of our costs and set up a fair system for everyone; this will never be a profit center for Tesla," the company said. As examples, Tesla said Superchargers would cost about 20 cents per kWh in California, and that a road trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles would cost about $15. A cross-country trip from Los Angeles to New York would run about $120. The charges will not apply to existing Tesla owners, who can continue to use Superchargers for free. Tesla first announced the plan to charge new users in November.

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Drone-maker Lily Robotics shuts down, sued for false advertising

Thu, 01/12/2017 - 21:09

Drone startup Lily Robotics was sued for false advertising and unfair business practices by the San Francisco District Attorney's Office on Thursday, the same day the company announced it was shutting down after failing to secure more funding. Lily made $34 million in pre-orders last year, and said it would send automatic refunds to customers. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the district attorney's office said Lily failed on its promise to deliver the drones to customers, and it lured sales through a misleading promotional video. Lily's drones had been hyped as revolutionary for their autonomous flight capabilities, and won an innovation award at CES 2016. The San Francisco-based startup had 60,000 orders for the drones, which cost $899. Lily had delayed production of the drones a number of times, and mass production never got off the ground.

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Lawsuit accusing Apple of monopoly on iPhone apps revived by court

Thu, 01/12/2017 - 19:18

A lawsuit that accuses Apple Inc. of having an illegal monopoly on iPhone apps was revived by a federal appears court Thursday. The suit, which is seeking class-action status, could seek hundreds of millions of dollars in damages, claiming consumers were forced to overpay for apps. Apple broke the law by requiring apps to be sold only within its App Store, the suit says, and Apple took 30% of app developers' revenues, which artificially inflated prices. Apple argued that it did not sell the apps themselves, and only served as a platform to distribute them, comparing its App Store to a shopping mall rather than an actual store. A lower court had dismissed the lawsuit, saying the plaintiffs did not have standing. In the ruling Thursday, Judge William A. Fletcher of San Francisco's 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the plaintiffs did in fact have standing to sue, and that Apple's argument was "unconvincing."

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