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Updated: 2 hours 39 min ago

Nvidia stock rises after analysts praise automotive opportunities

9 hours 9 min ago

Nvidia Corp. shares are up 2% in Tuesday morning trading after a pair of analysts expressed their optimism about the company. "Despite our view that 2018 will be a year of growing pains for semis, Nvidia's strength in AI today, and autonomous driving in the future, make it the king of this jungle in our view," wrote SunTrust Robinson Humphrey analyst William Stein. He's impressed with the company's recently announced partnerships with companies in the automotive space, including Volkswagen and Uber. "While autonomous driving technology was the hottest topic at the [CES] event, we also noticed that much of the discussion centered around co-pilot technology, including the Nvidia-powered Volkswagen ID Buzz," Stein wrote. He also likes the in-car infotainment system that Nvidia designed for Mercedes, as well as the company's discussion of its first Drive Xavier processors. Separately, analysts at Mizuho raised their price target on shares to $240 from $225, also citing automotive opportunities. Nvidia shares have gained 119% in the past 12 months, compared with a 23% rise for the S&P 500 Index and a 45% gain for the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index .

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Qualcomm stock rises after Instinet upgrades to buy

9 hours 41 min ago

Shares of Qualcomm Inc. rose 2.9% in Tuesday morning trading after analysts at Instinet upgraded the stock to buy from neutral. The analysts, led by Romit Shah, believe that Broadcom Ltd.'s attempt at a hostile takeover will light a fire under a management team they consider having been "unassertive" at times. "We expect the company to more aggressively focus on driving shareholder value in order to remain a standalone franchise," Shah wrote, including by closing the acquisition of NXP Semiconductors . He added that, while "not necessarily an immediate catalyst," Qualcomm might also consider settling its legal battle with Apple Inc. . "This would likely come as the strongest counter to Broadcom's attempt to buy the company," Shah wrote. Qualcomm also gave an overview of its 2017 financials in a filing released Tuesday. The company said it generated $23.2 billion in non-GAAP revenue for the year, above the FactSet consensus estimate of $22.8 billion. The company also sent a letter to shareholders asking them to reject Broadcom's takeover bid. Qualcomm shares have gained 4.6% so far this year, compared with a 4.9% rise for the S&P 500 Index and a 6.8% gain for the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index .

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.

Microsoft market cap briefly tops $700 billion for the first time

9 hours 41 min ago

Microsoft Corp.'s market capitalization briefly topped the $700 billion mark in intraday trade, before the stock pulled back, making the software giant the third S&P 500 member to crack that milestone. The stock rose as much as 1.3% to an all-time intraday high of $90.79 soon after the open, which based on 7.715 billion shares outstanding as of Oct. 20, according to recent SEC filings, gave Microsoft a market cap of $700.41 billion. The stock was last up 1.1% at $90.55, giving Microsoft a market cap of $698.56 billion. The only other companies to be above the $700 billion market-cap mark are Apple Inc. , currently at $912.41 billion, and Google parent Alphabet Inc. , which is valued at $792.9 billion. In fourth behind Microsoft is Amazon.com Inc. , at $642.34 billion. Microsoft's stock has rallied 16.6% over the past three months, while the Nasdaq 100 has gained 11.7% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average has rallied 13.5%.

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AveXis shares drop 6% on company's plans to offer up to $400 mln shares in public offering

9 hours 59 min ago

AveXis Inc. shares dropped 6.4% in moderate morning trade Tuesday after the company announced plans for an up to $400 million secondary offering. AveXis also plans to grant the underwriters -- joint book-running managers Goldman Sachs, Jefferies and BofA Merrill Lynch and lead manager BMO Capital Markets -- an option to buy up to $60 million in additional shares of common stock at the public offering price. AveXis also announced on Tuesday plans to expand its clinical development program for spinal muscular atrophy gene therapy candidate AVXS-101. AveXis shares have surged 7.8% over the last three months, compared with a 9.7% rise in the S&P 500 and a 12.4% rise in the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

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Amazon's stock jumps toward 10th-straight gain to another record

10 hours 3 min ago

Amazon.com Inc.'s stock surged 2.2% to another record high, as it heads for the longest win streak in 4 1/2 years, after another analyst price target increase. The stock is on track for a 10th-straight gain--it has gained every session so far in 2018--which would be the longest such streak since the 10-day streak ending July 12, 2013. The stock has rocketed $164.29, or 14%, during the streak, to boost the e-commerce giant's market capitalization by about $79.2 billion to $642.70 billion. On Tuesday, BMO Capital analyst Daniel Salmon raised his stock price target to $1,600, which is the highest among the 48 analysts surveyed by FactSet. Amazon's stock has run up 32.5% over the past three months, while the S&P 500 has gained 9.7%.

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Amazon stock rises after BMO raises price target to new Street high

10 hours 26 min ago

Shares of Amazon.com Inc. gained 1.8% in Tuesday morning trading after analysts at BMO Capital Markets raised their price target on shares to $1,600, the highest among analysts tracked by FactSet. The analysts, led by Daniel Salmon, are upbeat about Amazon's advertising opportunities and believe that the ad business represents an $18 billion total addressable market "in the midterm." He thinks Amazon could eventually generate 22% of its total gross merchandise value from direct response ads. Separately, analysts at Oppenheimer raised their price target to $1,450 and named Amazon their "top large-cap pick" for the year. "Amazon is best positioned among our large-cap universe to benefit from secular trends - shift to e-commerce, public cloud, automation and digital advertising - further supported by an improving global macroeconomic backdrop and domestic tax reform," wrote the analysts, led by Jason Helfstein. Amazon shares have gained 11.6% so far this year, compared with a 4.8% gain for the S&P 500 Index .

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Dow tops 26,000 as U.S. stocks open at records

10 hours 30 min ago

U.S. stocks opened sharply higher on Tuesday, with major indexes hitting their latest in a string of records and the Dow breaking through its latest 1,000-point milestone. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 215 points, or 0.9%, to 26,025. The S&P 500 added 15 points, or 0.5%, to 2,801. The Nasdaq Composite Index added 52 points, or 0.7%, to 7,312. Corporate earnings were a main driver of trading, both UnitedHealth Group Inc. and banking heavyweight Citigroup Inc. were among the stocks that reported. Shares of UnitedHealth rose 2.7% while Citigroup gained 1.4%. Separately, General Electric Co. fell 2% after the conglomerate said a review of GE Capital's insurance portfolio would result in a $6.2 billion after-tax charge in the fourth quarter.

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Amazon Studios signs 'Catastrophe' co-creator Sharon Horgan to exclusive overall deal

10 hours 35 min ago

Amazon.com Inc. said on Tuesday that it has signed the Emmy-nominated TV writer and creator Sharon Horgan to an exclusive overall two-year deal. Horgan created, writes and stars in the British show "Catastrophe," which streams in the U.S. on Amazon, with Rob Delaney. The show was nominated for a Emmy in 2016 for outstanding comedy writing. Along with Horgan's individual deal with Amazon, the company's TV division inked a first-look deal with Horgan's co-owned entertainment company, Merman. Horgan will be attached to show concepts Amazon picks up in its deal with Merman, and Amazon has the rights to remake any Merman-produced TV projects. Shares of Amazon are up nearly 60% in the last 12 months, while the S&P 500 index is up more than 22% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up almost 30%.

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Finisar stock falls after Goldman Sachs downgrades to sell

10 hours 43 min ago

Shares of Finisar Corp. fell 3.7% in premarket trading Tuesday after analysts at Goldman Sachs downgraded its stock to sell. The analysts, led by Doug Clark, see a "combination of cyclical risks and company specific product exposures that could pressure revenues and margins." While he contends that the company's relationship with Apple Inc. seems promising, he believes investors are downplaying potential execution risks for the company. In addition, he points to "rising capacity and weaker demand" for optical components, which is causing oversupply in the market. "We believe Finisar could be most at risk given its vertical integration," Clark wrote. Finisar's stock has gained 12% so far in 2018, while the S&P 500 Index is up 4.2%.

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Long Blockchain enters letter of intent to merge with Stater Blockchain

10 hours 59 min ago

Long Blockchain Corp. said Tuesday it has entered into a "letter-of-intent" to be acquired by Stater Blockchain in an all-stock deal. Under terms of the deal, Long Blockchain would form a wholly-owned subsidiary that would merge into Stater, with Long Blockchain remaining listed on the Nasdaq Capital Markets after the deal closes. If a deal between Long Blockchain, formely known as Long Island Iced Tea, and Stater is reached, Long Blockchain said it would complement its agreement to acquire cryptocurrency mining rigs. Stater focuses on developing and deploying blockchain technology solutions in the financial markets. Long Blockchain's stock was halted for news pending. At Friday's closing price of $5.02, the company had a market capitalization of about $49 million. The stock has shot up 106% over the past three months, as the company announced it was changing its name to Long Blockchain, while the S&P 500 has gained 8.9%.

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Eiger shares plummet 40% after phase 2 trial failure

11 hours 8 min ago

Eiger BioPharmaceuticals Inc. shares dropped more than 40% in premarket trade Tuesday after the company said its pulmonary arterial hypertension drug failed to meet a primary and secondary endpoint both overall and in key subgroups. The company will stop developing the therapy, ubenimex, in pulmonary arterial hypertension based on the phase 2 trial results, but will continue to develop it in lymphedema, or swelling in the arms or legs. Pulmonary arterial hypertension is a life-threatening condition characterized by high blood pressure in the heart and lungs. Eiger President David Cory said that the results were disappointing but that the company "has a deep pipeline of products focused on rare diseases that was built to reduce risk against a single binary event," with other clinical trial results expected in the second half of the year. Eiger shares have surged 35% over the last three months to $16.00, compared with a nearly 9% rise in the S&P 500 and a 12.4% rise in the Dow Jones Industrial Average .

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Applied Materials, Lam Research stocks rise on Susquehanna upgrade

11 hours 21 min ago

Shares of Applied Materials Inc. and Lam Research Corp. rose 1.8% and 1.5%, respectively, in premarket trading Tuesday after analysts at Susquehanna Financial Group upgraded both stocks to positive. The analysts, led by Mehdi Hosseini, believe that memory spending will remain stable through the end of this decade. He also has an upbeat view on the display market, which he believes could help Applied Materials grow annual revenue by roughly 8% through 2020. " All in all, we expect a stable memory spending environment, combined with secular trends in Display to drive earnings power of >$5, with operating cash flow and free cash flow margins averaging 28% and 26%, respectively," he wrote. As for Lam Research, Hosseini sees the company growing revenue by at least 5% annually through the end of the decade, and earnings by more than 10%. Applied Materials shares are up 4.6% so far this year, while Lam shares have gained 2.4%. The S&P 500 is up 4.2% and the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index is up 5.5%.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.

Goldman Sachs to offer home-improvement loans via its Marcus subsidiary

11 hours 26 min ago

Goldman Sachs on Tuesday said its Marcus platform would now offer home improvement loans that would incur no fees and get money in the hands of creditworthy customers within five days. Loans from $3,500 to $40,000 for periods of three to six years are available, Goldman said. "We are excited to offer a new way for consumers to use our personal loans, as they look to invest in one of their most valuable assets, their own homes," said Abhinav Anand, who runs the Marcus lending division. Marcus is Goldman's attempt to pivot toward a Main Street focus. Shares of the bank have gained 5.2% over the past 12 months, dwarfed by the 30% gain for the Dow Jones Industrial Average [s:djia].

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.

Yum China expects to book one-time tax charge of $160 million in Q4

11 hours 27 min ago

Yum China Holdings Inc., which was spun out of KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut owner Yum Brands Inc. , said Tuesday it is expecting to take a one-time charge of about $160 million in the fourth quarter because of the tax bill signed into law in December. The company said the charge stems from the repatriation tax and re-valuation of deferred tax assets. The company will provide an update on the tax charge on its earnings conference call, scheduled for Feb. 7. Shares were not yet active premarket, but have gained 76% in the last 12 months, while the S&P 500 has gained 22%.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.

Avis Budget announced preliminary 2017 results ahead of FactSet consensus

11 hours 31 min ago

Avis Budget Group shares were down slightly in premarket trading Tuesday after the firm said that based on preliminary numbers, it expected revenue for its 2017 fiscal year to be $8.85 billion, up 2.2% from a year ago and ahead of FactSet consensus estimates for $8.81 billion. The company expects adjusted pretax income of between $340 and $350 million, also ahead of estimates. "Over the past two years we were confronted with nearly $300 million of unexpected pricing and fleet cost challenges," CEO Larry De Shon said in a release. "In the face of these extraordinary market pressures, we took decisive steps to reduce costs, including implementing voluntary retirement programs and other actions that produced more than $75 million of cost savings in 2017 alone." He also highlighted the company's efforts to adapt to a changing mobility environment, including a previously announced partnership with Waymo, Alphabet Inc.'s self-driving unit. Avis shares are up 12% this year, compared with a 4.2% gain for the S&P 500 Index .

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.

Viacom shares fall premarket following Friday reports of merger talks with CBS

11 hours 33 min ago

Shares of Viacom Inc. fell more than 4% in premarket trade on Tuesday. On Friday, The Wrap reported that Shari Redstone, president of National Amusements, which owns controlling interests in Viacom and CBS Corp. , was reengaging the two media companies in talks to merge. Shares of Viacom closed up 9.6% on Friday from the previous day's close, and CBS shares closed up 1.8%. Redstone has pushed for the two companies, which split a little more than 12 years ago, to merge before. In December, however, she withdrew support. A report from Reuters over the three-day holiday weekend suggested that the two companies were not actively engaged in merger talks, but that Redstone has had conversations with CBS directors exploring the idea. Shares of CBS were up a little more than 1% on light premarket volume on Tuesday. Shares of CBS have declined nearly 6% in the last 12 months and Viacom shares are down close to 13%. By comparison, the S&P 500 index is up more than 22% during the same time frame and the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up roughly 30%.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.

GE stock's big selloff has little impact on Dow's price

11 hours 35 min ago

General Electric Co.'s stock tumbled 3.8% in very active premarket trade, after the company announced large charges and required contributions related to its insurance portfolio. Volume of 3.6 million shares made the stock the most actively traded ahead of the open. Although the stock is on track to suffer the biggest one-day percentage decline in three months, the 72-cent price decline would only shave about 5 points off the price of the Dow Jones Industrial Average , and Dow futures are rallying 215 points.

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Qualcomm urges rejection of Broadcom takeover bid

11 hours 38 min ago

Qualcomm Inc. on Tuesday sent a letter to shareholders urging them to vote to reject a takeover bid by Broadcom. Qualcomm management called Broadcom's proposal "dramatically undervalued" ahead of the firm's March annual meeting. CEO Steve Mollenkopf promised to share a presentation Tuesday that sets out a "clear path to significant near-term value creation for stockholders." Shares of the wireless company are down 2.2% over the past 12 months, while the S&P 500 has gained 22.5%.

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Blackhawk to be taken over by private-equity firms Silver Lake, P2 Capital for $3.5 billion in cash

11 hours 45 min ago

Blackhawk Network Holdings Inc. said Tuesday it has agreed to be acquired by private-equity firms SilverLake and P2 Capital Partners for about $3.5 billion in cash. Shareholders of Blackhawk, which operates a physical and digital gift card and prepaid payments network, will receive $45.25 a share in cash, equal to a 24% premium over Blackhawk's closing share price of $36.50 on Jan. 12. The deal has debt and equity financing, including an about $1.7 billion equity commitment from Silver Lake, and is expected to close by mid-2018. Blackhawk has the right to solicit and receive alternative bids through Feb. 9. Shares were halted premarket for the news, but have fallen 2.5% in the last 12 months, while the S&P 500 has gained 22%.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.

GM's stock climbs after profit outlook, expected impact from tax reform

11 hours 49 min ago

General Motors Co. said Tuesday it will take a $7 billion non-cash charge in the fourth quarter to reduce the value of deferred tax assets as a result of the tax reform legislation. Excluding the charge, the auto maker said it expects 2017 adjusted earnings per share at the high end of its guidance range of $6.00 to $6.50, compared with the FactSet consensus of $6.29. The stock surged 2% in premarket trade. Separately, GM said it expects tax reform to be a "significant benefit" for the company given the positive impact on the long-term cash tax position. The tax reform is also expected to be "favorable" for the auto industry and consumers, GM said. The stock has lost 3.7% over the past three months through Friday, while rival Ford Motor Co. shares have run up 9.2% and the S&P 500 has gained 8.9%.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.

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