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Updated: 49 min 25 sec ago

Taco Bell parent Yum Brands sets new $1.5 billion stock buyback program

14 hours 12 min ago

Yum Brands Inc. announced Friday a new $1.5 billion stock buyback program. The Taco Bell, KFC and Pizza Hut restaurant chain parent said the program is in addition to prior outstanding authorizations. Based on Thursday's stock closing price of $78.54, the new program could repurchase 19.1 million shares, which would represent 5.7% of the shares outstanding. Yum's stock, which was little traded in the premarket, has run up 24.0% year to date, while the S&P 500 has gained 15.5%.

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Tesla's stock rallies, as Morgan Stanley says 'new age of trucking' starts today

14 hours 21 min ago

Tesla Inc.'s stock ran up 4.3% in premarket trade Friday, with Morgan Stanley analyst Ravi Shanker saying the "new age of trucking begins today," after the unveiling of the new Tesla Semi truck. Late Thursday, Tesla unveiled its new semi-autonomous electric-powered big rig, with a 500-mile range per charge, on tap for production in 2019. "The Tesla truck appears to best current diesel truck performance in almost every measurable way," Shanker wrote in a note to clients. "Comfort and connectivity will likely be unparalleled as well." He said that while Tesla didn't announce any launch partners as expected, product development head Jerome Guillen briefly thanked customers for many orders. Earlier Friday, J.B. Hunt Transportation Inc. said it has made reservations to buy "multiple" Semi trucks. Tesla's stock had fallen 11.2% over the past three months through Thursday, while the Dow Jones Transportation Average has gained 4.8% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average has climbed 7.9%.

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Tesla bonds rally after unveiling of Semi truck and new roadster

14 hours 27 min ago

Tesla Inc.'s recently issued junk bonds rallied Friday, after the company launched its Semi tractor-trailer and surprised investors with the unveiling of a new version of the Roadster, the electric sports car designed in conjunction with Lotus in the car maker's first automotive effort more than a decade ago. Chief Executive Elon Musk said the new sports car would be first production car able to go from 0 to 60 miles an hour in less than two seconds. "These numbers sound nutty, but they're real," Musk said at the event, streamed live on the internet. TEsla shares jumped in premarket trade after trucking company J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. said it has already ordered multiple tractors. The bonds rallied too, with the most active notes, the 5.300% notes that mature in October of 2025, jumping almost 2 points to 96.31 cents on the dollar to yield 5.899%. On a spread basis, the notes were trading at 353 basis points over Treasures, or 35 basis points tighter. The notes have been trading underwater since they were issued in August on concerns about the company's finances.

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Food distributor Sysco raises dividend by 9%

14 hours 58 min ago

Shares of Sysco Corp. said Friday it will raise its quarterly dividend by 9.1% to 36 cents a share, from 33 cents a share. The food distributor said the new dividend will be payable Jan. 26 to shareholders of record on Jan. 5. Based Thursday's closing share price of $54.48, the new annual dividend rate implies a dividend yield of 2.64%, compared with the implied yield for the S&P 500 of 1.94%. "Sysco is committed to returning value to our stockholders," said Chief Executive Bill DeLaney. "Sysco has paid a cash dividend every quarter since our founding as a public company in 1970." Sysco's stock, which was still inactive in premarket trade, has lost 1.6% year to date, while the S&P 500 has gained 15.5%.

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Wells Fargo fires head of consumer lending unit

15 hours 13 min ago

Wells Fargo & Co. said Friday it has fired Franklin Codel, head of its consumer lending business, because of his actions in a communication with a former team member who was let go. The dismissal did not relate to the business or operations of the lending business, or to sales practices. The move "was the result of Codel's acting in a manner that was contrary to the company's policies and expectations of its senior leaders during a communication he had with a former team member regarding that team member's earlier termination," the bank said in a statement. The unit's four heads will report to Chief Executive Tim Sloan, while the bank appoints a successor. Shares were indicating lower in premarket trade, and are down about 1% in 2017, while the S&P 500 has gained 15%.

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Abercrombie & Fitch shares soar after earnings and revenue trounce estimates

15 hours 31 min ago

Abercrombie & Fitch Co. shares soared 20% in Friday premarket trading after the retailer reported much-better-than-expected third-quarter earnings and revenue. Net income for the quarter totaled $10.1 million, or 15 cents per share, up from $7.9 million, or 12 cents per share, for the same period last year. Adjusted EPS was 30 cents, beating the 22 cents FactSet consensus. Revenue was $859.1 million, up from $821.7 million last year, and ahead of the $820.0 million FactSet estimate. Same-store sales rose 4% for the quarter, with Hollister up 8% and the namesake brand down 2%. The FactSet consensus was for a 0.4% rise. For the fourth quarter, the company sees same-store sales up in the low-single digits and sales up in the mid-to-high-single digits. Abercrombie & Fitch shares are up 32.2% for the last three months, but down nearly 26% for the past 12 months. The S&P 500 index is up 18.2% for the period.

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Acorda unveils royalty transactions valued at $53 million

16 hours 4 min ago

Acorda Therapeutics Inc. unveiled royalty transactions Friday valued at $53 million. The company said it will receive $40 million in a royalty monetization with Healthcare Royalty Partners and $13 million in a deal with H. Lundbeck A/A. In return for the payment to Acorda, HCR receives the right to royalty revenue on Fampyra, a treatment for MS, payable by Biogen Inc. up to an agreed limit. After that, Acorda will continue to receive Fampyra royalty revenue until the stream ends. The payment from H. Lundbeck amends the license agreement for Selincro, an alcohol dependence therapy, to eliminate future royalty and milestone obligations on sales outside of the U.S. Acorda shares were slammed on Wednesday after it announced that several patients in a Parkinson's Disease drug trial had died. Shares were slightly lower premarket, and are down 8% in 2017, while the S&P 500 has gained 15%.

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Tesla's stock gets a premarket boost after J.B. Hunt reserves 'multiple' new Semi trucks

16 hours 9 min ago

Trucking company J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. said Friday it has made reservations to buy "multiple" Tesla Semi trucks, giving Tesla Inc.'s stock an extra boost in premarket trade. "We believe electric trucks will be most beneficial on local and dray routes, and we look forward to utilizing this new, sustainable technology," said J.B. Hunt Chief Executive John Roberts. Tesla unveiled the electric Semi big rig trucks late Thursday. Tesla's stock surged 3.7% ahead of the open. It was up 2.1% before J.B. Hunt's announcement. Tesla's stock had lost 11.2% over the past three months through Thursday, while J.B. Hunt shares have gained 6.3%, the Dow Jones Transportation Average had gained 4.8% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average had rallied 7.9%.

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UPDATE: Hibbett Sports shares jump 22% premarket after earnings blow past estimates

16 hours 17 min ago

Hibbett Sports Inc. shares surged 22% in premarket trade Friday, after the sports retailer blew past estimates for its fiscal third quarter and raised guidance for the full year. Hibbett said it had net income of $7.6 million, or 37 cents a share, for the quarter, down from $14.6 million, or 66 cents a share, in the year-earlier quarter. Sales rose to $237.8 million from $237.0 million. The FactSet consensus was for EPS of 22 cents and sales of $219 million. Chief Executive Jeff Rosenthal said the company was "very pleased" with results for the period. "Sales in equipment and accessories remained soft, but were offset by positive comparable store sales in footwear and significant improvement in branded apparel," he said. "Our e-commerce sales exceeded even our high expectations, as we experienced good response from early marketing initiatives and strong conversion from online traffic." The company raised its outlook for fiscal 2018, and said it now expects EPS of $1.42 to $1.50, up from prior guidance of $1.25 to $1.35. It expects same-store sales to be down in a mid-single-digit range, against earlier expectations of a decline in the mid to high-single-digit range. Shares have fallen 60% in 2017, while the S&P 500 has gained 15%.

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Foot Locker's stock soars after profit, revenue and same-store sales beat expectations

16 hours 21 min ago

Shares of Foot Locker Inc. shot up 11% in premarket trade Friday, after the athletic footwear retailer reported fiscal third-quarter profit and sales that fell less than expected. Net income for the quarter to Oct. 28 declined to $102 million, or 81 cents a share, from $157 million, or $1.17 a share, in the same period a year ago. Excluding non-recurring items, adjusted earnings per share came to 87 cents, above the FactSet consensus of 80 cents. Revenue slipped to $1.87 billion from $1.89 billion, but beat the FactSet consensus of $1.83 billion. Same-store sales decreased 3.7% from a year ago, but the FactSet consensus was for a decline of 4.6%. Merchandise inventories were $1.32 billion, down 3.4% from a year ago. Chief Executive Richard Johnson said despite the "highly promotional" environment, the availability of premium product is gradually improving compared with the first half of the year. The stock had plunged 33.2% over the past three months through Thursday, while the SPDR S&P Retail ETF has climbed 6.0% and the S&P 500 has gained 6.4%.

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Sailpoint Technologies prices IPO at $12

Thu, 11/16/2017 - 23:06

SailPoint Technologies Holdings, Inc. priced its initial public offering at $12 Thursday night, setting the company up to begin trading Friday morning. The price for 20 million shares was higher than the expected range of $9 to $11 a share, and means the IPO will bring in at least $240 million. Sailpoint sells enterprise identity-management tools, which helps businesses securely manage employees' use of multiple apps on their systems. The company has been owned by private-equity firm Thoma Bravo, which will maintain a majority stake in Sailpoint after the IPO. Thoma Bravo offered 5 million shares in the IPO, while Chief Executive Mark McClain and President Kevin Cunningham sold 700,000 shares combined. The other 14.3 million shares were sold by Sailpoint, which will collect at least $171.6 million before fees that it intends to use for general corporate purposes, including "expanding our global presence," according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Sailpoint revenue increased to $132.4 million in 2016 from $95.4 million in 2015, while net losses were reduced to $3.2 million from $10.8 million in that time. Underwriters have access to 1.5 million more shares, which are expected to list Friday morning on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol SAIL.

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Stitch Fix prices IPO at $15, below expectations

Thu, 11/16/2017 - 22:06

Stitch Fix Inc. priced its initial public offering at $15 a share Thursday evening to pull in at least $120 million ahead of the online clothing seller's market debut Friday. The price was lower than the $18 to $20 range that the company originally expected, as The Wall Street Journal reported was likely earlier Thursday. At $15 a share, the company has a valuation of about $1.4 billion. Stitch Fix is selling 8 million shares in the offering, lower than the initial estimate of 10 million shares, while founder and Chief Executive Katrina Lake is selling 1 million shares; underwriters, led by Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan, have access to an additional 1.2 million shares. Financial information shared in the filing show very strong revenue gains, from net revenue of $73.2 million in its 2014 fiscal year to $342.8 million in 2015, $730.3 million in 2016 and $977.1 million in the 2017 fiscal year, which ended July 31. Stitch Fix turned a profit in its 2015 and 2016 fiscal years, $20.9 million and $33.2 million in net income respectively, but slipped back to a loss of less than $600,000 last year. The company's stock is expected to begin trading Friday on the Nasdaq exchange under the ticker symbol SFIX.

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EA suspends in-game payments for new 'Star Wars: Battlefront II' video game

Thu, 11/16/2017 - 22:04

Electronic Arts Inc. late Thursday suspended micropayments on its highly anticipated new video game "Star Wars: Battlefront II," just hours before the game's Friday launch. The move was made to appease fans, who had revolted online in the days leading up to the game's release. Many voiced strong opposition to its "loot-box" system, in which players paid real money to unlock characters and in-game items, arguing that the game forced players who did not pay for upgrades to spend dozens of hours to unlock items, and potentially penalized players who did not want to spend as much. "We've heard the concerns," said Oskar Gabrielson, general manager of EA's Dice unit, in a statement Thursday. "We hear you loud and clear, so we're turning off all in-game purchases. . . . and all progression will be earned through gameplay." EA said it would make changes to improve gameplay, and in-game purchases would return at a later date. EA shares were flat after hours Thursday, after closing up slighly for the day, and are up almost 42% year to date compared to the S&P 500's 15% gain.

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Nvidia price target boosted again at RBC

Thu, 11/16/2017 - 18:19

Nvidia Corp. shares rose slightly in late trading Thursday after RBC Capital Markets analyst Mitch Steves boosted his price target on the stock. Steves moved his price target to $250 from $240 and maintained an outperform rating on the stock in a note delivered shortly after the end of Thursday's trading, explaining that the chip maker's recent earnings beat dramatically increased his best-case scenario for the stock. "Overall, after a single quarter of out-performance the 2020 upside case increases by 10%," Steves wrote. The RBC analyst had already raised his price target to $240 from $230 in the wake of Nvidia's third-quarter earnings report, along with a host of other analysts who helped push Nvidia stock to record levels. Nvidia shares gained about 0.5% in late trading after closing with a 0.8% gain at $211.61; the stock is up more than 98% so far this year, as the S&P 500 index has gained 15.5%.

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Comcast, Verizon approached 21st Century Fox for a deal: report

Thu, 11/16/2017 - 17:37

Comcast Corp. has approached 21st Century Fox Inc. to express an interest on a deal, according to a report on The Wall Street Journal citing people familiar with the situation. It was unclear whether Comcast would be interested in all or part of Fox, the report said. Verizon Communications also is exploring buying parts of Fox, according to the report. Earlier this month, Walt Disney Co. and Fox discussed a potential deal, but talks fell through. Shares of Fox rose more than 6% on the news, while Comcast stock rose 0.9%.

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Apple first-ever head of diversity Denise Smith to exit after 20 years at the company

Thu, 11/16/2017 - 17:21

Apple Inc. is losing its first-ever vice president of diversity and inclusion at the end of the year the company confirmed late Thursday. Denise Young Smith has held the position since May, and will leave at the end of 2017. She has worked at Apple for 20 years, and previous positions include head of retail, and worldwide head of human resources. "We deeply believe that diversity drives innovation," Apple said in a statement. "We're thrilled to welcome an accomplished leader like Christie Smith to help us continue the progress we've made toward a more diverse workplace." Verizon-owned tech blog TechCrunch reported the news earlier Thursday. Apple stock is up 48% this year, with the S&P 500 index up 15%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average , of which Apple is a component, is up 19% this year.

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Oil climbs in electronic trade as ISDA rules that PDVSA and Venezuela defaulted on debts

Thu, 11/16/2017 - 17:21

The International Swaps and Derivatives Association ruled Thursday that Venezuela, as well as state oil company Petróleos de Venezuela SA, defaulted on their debts. ISDA's determination committee will reconvene on Nov. 20 to make a decision on how credit-default swaps, which can be used to protect against nonpayment, will be settled, according to a report from the Financial Times. "This is an evolving story," said Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at Price Futures Group. "The default is clear and there is a real risk that this will lead to a dramatic drop in [Venezuelan] oil production that is well below 2 million barrels a day right now," he said. "This should make it more difficult for refiners to get caught up on distillate supply that is well below normal in the U.S. and Mexico. Not great news at all and [this] will be another reason to not be bearish on crude." December West Texas Intermediate crude was at $55.26 a barrel in electronic trading, above the $55.14 Thursday settlement on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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Caesars to acquire Centaur Holdings for $1.7 billion

Thu, 11/16/2017 - 16:49

Caesars Entertainment Corp. said late Thursday that it is buying Centaur Holdings LLC for $1.7 billion in cash. Caesars stock is up less than 1% to $12.85 in late trading. The acquisition will add two Indiana-based Hoosier Park Racing and Casino and Indiana Grand Racing and Casino to the company's Total Rewards network, Caesars said in a statement. Executives expect the transaction to close in the first half of 2018. "We believe the acquisition of Centaur is the best use of capital to support our growth plans and the long-term value of Caesars Entertainment," Chief Executive Mark Frissora said in a statement. "Our network expansion plan is off to a great start with this strategic transaction and we continue to have a strong financial position with solid cash flows to pursue other expansion opportunities with attractive returns." Caesars stock has gained 50% this year, with the S&P 500 index rising 15%.

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PayPal stock soars to intraday record after executives raise fourth-quarter guidance

Thu, 11/16/2017 - 16:49

PayPal Inc. stock hit a record intraday high of $77.94 Thursday, and closed up 5.8% after news that executives raised its fourth-quarter forecasts and that it would sell its $5.8 billion credit portfolio to Synchrony Financial . PayPal issued a fourth-quarter revenue forecast of earnings of between 52 cents and 59 cents a share on revenue of between $3.64 billion and $3.7 billion. Previously, executives had forecast earnings of between 37 cents and 39 cents a share on sales of $3.57 billion to $3.63 billion. PayPal was formerly a unit of eBay Inc. and executives spun the company out after investor pressure. It started trading as a separate entity in July 2015 at $34.69. PayPal stock is up 94% this year, with the S&P 500 index up 15%.

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Williams Sonoma shares fall after earnings, deal with 3D-imaging company

Thu, 11/16/2017 - 16:33

Shares of Williams Sonoma Inc. fell 9% after the retailer missed per-share earnings by a penny and announced a deal to buy a 3D imaging and augmented-reality company. Williams Sonoma said it earned $71.3 million, or 84 cents a share, in the quarter, compared with $69.3 million, or 78 cents a share, in the year-ago period. The EPS included the impact of about 2 cents a share in lost sales after hurricanes Harvey and Maria. Revenue rose 4.3% to $1.30 billion, compared with $1.25 billion a year ago. Sales reflect an estimated $7 million impact of lost sales after the hurricanes, the company said. Analysts polled by FactSet had expected earnings of 83 cents a share on sales of $1.29 billion. In a separate statement, the San Francisco-based company said it had agreed to buy Outward Inc., a 3D imaging and augmented-reality platform for home furnishings and decor based in San Jose, Calif. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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