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Updated: 2 hours 42 min ago

Campbell Soup says Pacific Foods lawsuit puts deal at risk

Wed, 09/27/2017 - 17:42

Campbell Food Co. said late Wednesday that a lawsuit brought by the estate of a former Pacific Foods shareholder against Pacific Foods "creates an impediment" to the closing of the $700 million deal, announced in July, even as Campbell is not named in the suit. Campbell said it notified Pacific Foods on Wednesday that the company has 60 days under the terms of the agreement to resolve the issues arising from the suit if the transaction is to be completed. After that period, Campbell "has the option to extend the cure period or terminate the agreement," the company said in a statement. Shares of Campbell were flat in late trading after ending the regular session up 0.8%.

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Thor shares rise after hours on earnings beat

Wed, 09/27/2017 - 17:00

Thor Industries Inc. shares rose in the extended session Wednesday after the recreational-vehicles maker topped Wall Street estimates for the quarter. Thor shares advanced 3.3% to $123.89 after hours. The company reported fiscal fourth-quarter net income of $119.5 million, or $2.26 a share, compared to $82.8 million, or $1.57 a share, in the year-ago period. Revenue rose to $1.93 billion from $1.29 billion in the year-ago period. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had estimated $1.96 a share on revenue of $1.82 billion.

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Pier 1 shares fall as company posts wider quarterly loss

Wed, 09/27/2017 - 16:39

Shares of Pier 1 Imports Inc. fell more than 7% late Wednesday after the retailer reported a wider-than-expected loss in the fiscal second quarter and forecast a smaller per-share profit for fiscal year 2018 than what analysts had expected. Pier 1 said it lost $7.8 million, or 10 cents a share, in the fiscal first quarter, compared with a loss of $4 million, or 5 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter. Adjusted for one-time items, the company reported a loss of 5 cents a share in the quarter. Revenue rose 0.4% to $407.6 million, compared with $405.8 million in the same period last year. Comparable-store sales rose 1.8% in the quarter. Analysts polled by FactSet had expected a loss of 6 cents a share on sales of $407 million, and a rise of 0.7% for comparable-store sales. The company updated its full-year outlook to "reflect the anticipated impact of hurricanes Harvey and Irma" on the third quarter. The new guidance calls for comparable-store sales to either slide 1% or rise 1% for the year, and flat to 25% higher sales growth. The company guided for a GAAP EPS between 31 cents and 41 cents for the year. The analysts surveyed by FactSet had expected a fiscal 2018 EPS of 46 cents a share. The stock had ended the regular trading session up 3.2%.

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U.S. stocks close higher as financials, tech rally

Wed, 09/27/2017 - 16:05

U.S. stock-market indexes closed higher on Wednesday with the financial and technology sectors driving the gains. The S&P 500 closed 10.20 points, or 0.4%, to 2,507.04, a point below the record level set last week. Financials led the gains, closing 1.3% higher. Technology shares also rallied, gaining 1.1%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite index advanced 73.10 points, or 1.2%, to 6,453.26. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 56.39 points, or 0.3%, to 22,340.71. The Russell 2000 index of small companies closed at records, after rising nearly 2% to 1,484.65, its best one-day gain since November. Among the best performers, Micron Technology Inc. jumped 8.5%. Shares of Alphabet Inc, parent of Google, rose 2.4%.

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Applied Materials to buy back $3 billion in shares, sees $5.08 EPS by 2020

Wed, 09/27/2017 - 15:51

Shares of Applied Materials Inc. surged Wednesday on positive momentum in the chip sector and the chip materials company's long-term forecast and share buyback program. Applied Materials shares rallied 6.9% to $49.09, helped in part by Micron Technology Inc.'s strong forecast for memory chips, and are up 52% year to date. Applied Materials forecast adjusted earnings of $5.08 a share in fiscal 2020 as Internet-of-things applications, Big Data and artificial intelligence drive computing demand. For the current year, analysts surveyed by FactSet expect fiscal earnings of $3.21 a share. The company also announced a new $3 billion share repurchase program in addition to the $995 million that remains on an earlier program.

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Amazon launches new Echo and Fire TV devices

Wed, 09/27/2017 - 15:31

Amazon.com Inc. has introduced a number of new Echo devices, including a less expensive version of the Echo, priced at about $100 versus the present price tag of nearly $180. The latest version of the Alexa-enabled device is smaller, provides improved sound, and can better pick up the users voice even in noisy situations. The Echo Plus, priced at $150, has a built-in smart-home hub that can find compatible lights, switches and more. It also has improved audio quality. Alexa also has a number of new features, including Alexa Routines that can perform a few functions with one command, such as turning off the lights and locking the door when the user says, "Goodnight." Amazon has also launched a brand new Echo, the Echo Spot, that is equipped with a circular screen, many of the qualities of the other Echo devices, such as improved audio and smart home capabilities, and priced at about $130. The e-commerce giant has also unveiled a new Fire TV device with 4K Ultra HD, High Dynamic Range. Priced at about $70, the device will start shipping on Oct. 25. Finally, Amazon and BMW will make an updated version of the Alexa skill in the BMW and Mini vehicles starting mid-2018. Users will now be able to get direction, play music, control their smart home and have access to third-party developers like Starbucks Corp. and NPR. Amazon shares are up 1.6% in Wednesday trading and up 27.1% for the year so far. The S&P 500 index is up 12.2% for 2017 so far.

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Delta Air CEO tells CNBC the new tariff plan on Bombardier jets is 'absurd'

Wed, 09/27/2017 - 15:16

Delta Air Lines Inc. Chief Executive Edward Bastian said Wednesday in an interview with CNBC that the 220% tariff slapped on a new Bombardier Inc. jetliner to U.S. airlines was "absurd." The U.S. International Trade Commission's ruling late Tuesday that it would add a tariff comes after Boeing Co. filed a complaint after Bombardier sold CSeries jets to Delta last year; a final decision on the ruling is expected next year. Delta said the Boeing didn't produce a product that was comparable to Bombardier's C-series, and that Boeing had offered Delta used jets as an alternative, the CNBC report said. "We think it's absurd," Bastian told CNBC. Delta's stock dropped 1.8% in afternoon trade, while Boeing shares gained 0.7% and the S&P 500 tacked on 0.5%. The Canada-listed shares of Bombardier tumbled 8.4%.

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Russell 2000 hits record, on track for biggest one-day rise since June

Wed, 09/27/2017 - 13:59

The Russell 2000 rallied on Tuesday, hitting an intraday record in what was on track to be its biggest one-day percentage gain since June. The index of small companies gained 1.5% to 1,479.32 and was set for its fourth straight daily rise, as well as its best day since June 28. The index was at an all-time high, bringing its year-to-date advance to 9%. While small-caps had been struggling, dropping between mid-July and mid-August, they have since staged a powerful rebound, gaining nearly 10% since that intraday low. The move eclipsed the gains in other major indexes; the S&P 500 rose 0.3% on Tuesday while the Dow was up 0.1%. The Nasdaq Composite Index added 1%. The iShares Russell 2000 ETF , an exchange-traded fund that tracks the index, has seen inflows of $1.3 billion thus far this year, making it one of the most popular U.S.-listed funds of 2017.

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Price could be fired over private jet use, Trump indicates

Wed, 09/27/2017 - 13:08

President Donald Trump said Wednesday he's "not happy" with Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, whose use of private jets for official travel has drawn scrutiny. Asked by a reporter if he could fire Price, Trump replied "we'll see." Trump said "I'm not happy about it and I let him know it."

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Canadian dollar dips as central bank says low inflation remains a concern

Wed, 09/27/2017 - 12:23

The U.S. dollar jumped as high as C$1.2433 against its Canadian rival in Wednesday's session, compared to only C$1.2347 late Tuesday, following remarks by Bank of of Canada Gov. Stephen Poloz. He said the central bank's policy decisions are particularly dependent on economic data amid persistently low inflation in the developed world. He said that any change in interest rates wouldn't affect inflation fully for a year and a half to two years, adding that "when we make our monetary policy decisions, we are less concerned about the latest inflation numbers--which are already a month old--than we are about where inflation will be in the future." The BOC already raised its key interest rate twice this year, once in July and once in early September. Poloz further reiterated the BOC's inflation target of 1-3%, and said that exports will be boosted by a lower Canadian dollar.

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Michael Kors upgraded on belief strategic turnaround is starting to show results

Wed, 09/27/2017 - 12:01

Michael Kors Holdings Ltd. shares are up 1.9% Wednesday after the company's stock was upgraded to buy from hold at Canaccord Genuity, which believes that company's strategic turnaround is starting to yield results. The price target was raised to $58 from $43. "After a multi-year stretch of excessive promotions, stale innovation in handbags, and a watch category that disproportionately depressed comps and collapsed earnings before interest and taxes margins, we believe the strategic steps management has recently begun implementing are showing early signs of traction," Canaccord analysts led by Camilo Lyon wrote in a Wednesday note. Michael Kors has recently taken steps to add embellishment and make other style changes to its merchandise, and has pulled back from department stores. The introduction of the Access smart watch line has also offset the declines in the fashion watch category. Michael Kors shares are up 11.5% for the year so far, and up 34% for the last three months. The SPDR S&P Retail ETF is up 3.2% for the past three months and the S&P 500 index is up 3.3% for the period.

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Financial ETF surges to a decade high as Fed, data help boost Treasury yields

Wed, 09/27/2017 - 10:50

Bank stocks surged Wednesday, with the SPDR Financial Select Sector ETF running up 1% to the highest level seen in nearly a decade, as hawkish comments from Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen and upbeat data fueled a rise in Treasury yields. Among the financial sector tracker's (XLF) most heavily weighted components, shares of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. rallied $3.55, or 1.5%, and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. rose 95 cents, or 1.0%, to pace the Dow Jones Industrial Average advancers. The shares' gains were adding a combined 31 points to the Dow's price, which was up 10 points. Elsewhere, shares of Bank of America Corp. climbed 2.1%, Citigroup Inc. tacked on 1.8% and Wells Fargo & Co. gained 0.6%. The XLF was on track to close at the highest level since Dec. 10, 2007.The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose 7.4 basis points to a 2-month high of 2.303%. The higher yield can help boost bank profits, as it can increase the spread between what banks earn on longer-term assets like loans and the cost of shorter-term liabilities to fund those assets.

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EIA data show U.S. crude supplies fell unexpectedly last week

Wed, 09/27/2017 - 10:38

Data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration Wednesday showed that domestic crude supplies fell by 1.8 million barrels for the week ended Sept. 22. That's contrary to the forecast for a rise of 1.3 million barrels by analysts surveyed by S&P Global Platts. The American Petroleum Institute had reported late Tuesday a fall of 761,000 barrels, according to sources. Gasoline stockpiles were up 1.1 million barrels for the week after three consecutive weeks of declines, while distillate stockpiles fell 800,000 barrels, according to the EIA. November crude rose 28 cents, or 0.5%, to $52.16 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices traded at $52.04 before the supply data.

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Hartford debt default a 'virtual certainty,' says S&P

Wed, 09/27/2017 - 10:29

The city of Hartford, Conn., is on the brink of defaulting on its debt, S&P Global Ratings said late Tuesday. S&P lowered the city's rating to double-C from B-minus, a steep four-notch downgrade. And it is keeping the city's rating on negative credit watch. "The downgrade to 'CC' reflects our opinion that a default, a distressed exchange, or redemption appears to be a virtual certainty," said S&P Global Ratings credit analyst Victor Medeiros. S&P says Hartford's budgetary performance has been weak for several years, the management environment remains constrained due to structurally imbalanced budget and that bankruptcy risk remains. City officials earlier this month warned of a potential bankruptcy filing in 60 days pending help for its fiscal emergency. Hartford is the capital of Connecticut, which itself is seen as a vulnerable credit risk, according to muni-market analysts. The state has yet to pass a budget for the current fiscal year that would close a two-year $3.5 billion spending gap.

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Micron's stock soars to record high on heavy volume as analysts cheer results

Wed, 09/27/2017 - 10:26

Shares of Micron Technology Inc. shot up 8.1% in very active trade to a record high early Wednesday, as a host of Wall Street analysts raised their price targets in the wake of better-than-expected fiscal fourth-quarter results. Volume ballooned to over 33 million shares less than an hour after the open, enough to make the stock the most actively traded on major U.S. exchanges, and already above the full-day average of 28.4 million shares. Of the 32 analysts surveyed by FactSet, 17 boosted their price targets to life the average target to $48.54, which is 31% above current levels, compared with a target of $43.28 at the end of August. J.P. Morgan analyst Harlan Sur raised the target to $50 from $40, saying demand is expected to remain strong into next year on "robust" datacenter spending, a server upgrade cycle, the ramp of Apple Inc.'s next-generation iPhone, continued strong PC gaming and increasing content in automobiles. The stock has soared 17% over the past three months, while the PHLX Semiconductor Index has climbed 9% and the S&P 500 has gained 3.5%.

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Goldman, J.P. Morgan stocks power early rally for Dow industrials

Wed, 09/27/2017 - 10:12

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was rising early on Wednesday, aided by a climb in shares of a pair of financial powerhouses. Goldman Sachs Group's shares , up $4, or 1.7%, were contributing about 30 points to the price-weighted benchmark, while J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. shares , $1.31, or 1.5%, added about another 10 points. A $1 move in anyone of the components of the Dow equates to a 6.89-point swing in the gauge. Higher expectations for a rate increase before the end of the year has been a big contributor the rise in shares of financials, after Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen on Tuesday said it would be "imprudent" to hold back on normalizing monetary policy, even as inflation and wage growth have been muted. Wall Street is pricing in a more than 80% chance of a rate increase before the conclusion of 2017, compared with a 38% chance last month, according to CME Group data. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note [: TMUBUSD10Y] was above 2.31%, marking a roughly 10-week high for the government bond. Higher rates tend to be beneficial to a bank's lending business. A popular way to bet on the financial sector, the Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF was up 1.1% and on pace to snap a four-session skid. Markets are also awaiting details on changes to tax policy later Wednesday afternoon from President Donald Trump's administration. Elsewhere, the S&_P 500 index was up 0.3% at 2,504, while the Nasdaq Composite Index was trading 0.6% higher at 6,425.

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Trivago's stock falls after J.P. Morgan cuts rating, price target

Wed, 09/27/2017 - 09:56

Shares of Trivago N.V. dropped 3.2% in morning trade Wednesday, after J.P. Morgan said it was no longer bullish on the hotel booking site, given limited financial visibility and the belief that any turnaround will take longer than previously expected. Analyst Doug Anmuth cut his ratnig to neutral from overweight, and lowered his stock price target to $14 from $16. Following the Germany-based company's profit warning earlier this month, the stock could remain range-bound while the company works through bidding adjustments from large advertisers such as Priceline Group Inc. , which accounted for 43% of revenue in 2016, Anmuth said. He said Trivago also faces tough year-over-year comparisons through the second-quarter of 2018. The stock has plunged 47% over the past three months, while Priceline shares have lost 2.2% and the S&P 500 has gained 3.5%.

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Dow industrials jump in early trade, attempt to snap longest losing streak since March

Wed, 09/27/2017 - 09:42

U.S. stock benchmarks opened higher Wednesday, as the market appeared to steady after four straight declines for the Dow. The Dow Jones Industrial Average opened 75 points, or 0.3%, higher at 22,356. If the Dow slips a fifth session in a row, it would mark its longest string since March, according to FactSet data. The S&P 500 index was up about 10 points, or 0.4%, at 2,505, while the Nasdaq Composite Index was 38 points, or 0.6%, higher at 6,419. In individual stocks, shares of Nike were off 4% after the athletic-apparel giant late Tuesday posted disappointing quarterly results. Shares of the Dow component were exacting a roughly 16 point toll on the price-weighted benchmark. Investors are waiting a major Republican announcement on tax reform, which could influence trading.

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Delta Air Lines to offer free in-flight texting

Wed, 09/27/2017 - 09:09

Delta Air Lines Inc. said Wednesday it will begin offering free texting in flight, beginning Oct. 1. The company said it will become the first "global carrier," which it described as a U.S.-based airline operating trans-oceanic flights, to offer free mobile messaging. Passengers will be able to access free texting through its Wi-Fi portal page. The stock, which was inactive in premarket trade, has tumbled 8.2% over the past three months, while the NYSE Arca Airline Index has shed 6.2% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average has climbed 4.6%.

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German finance minister to become parliamentary president

Wed, 09/27/2017 - 09:00

German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble is set to become to the next president of the German Bundestag, or parliament, in German Chancellor Angela Merkel's next administration, according to regional reports. Schäuble, who has long been a critic of the European Central Bank's loose monetary policy, was previously expected to take on a finance-related role in the European Union.

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