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U.S. may drop federal oversight of AIG: WSJ

Thu, 09/21/2017 - 17:03

The Federal Stability Oversight Council may decide to remove federal oversight of American International Group as early as Friday, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar the the matter. The outcome of whether AIG will continue to be considered a systemically important financial institution -- which subjects the insurer to Federal Reserve oversight -- isn't certain, the report said. Shares of AIG, which was bailed out by the federal government during the financial crisis, edged higher in after-hours trade.

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Aaron Hernandez--former New England Patriot--had signs of CTE brain disease: reports

Thu, 09/21/2017 - 16:49

Former New England Patriot football player Aaron Hernandez showed signs of Chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a brain diseased associated with trauma linked to playing football, according to an examination conducted by Boston University. A neurological examination of Hernandez's brain performed by Dr. Ann McKee, professor of pathology and neurology at BU, said based on her findings, Hernandez showed signs of stage 3 or 4 CTE, representing the most severe form of the disease, according to a news release. Hernandez was found not guilty on double homicide charges in April. He was serving a life sentence for first-degree murder in a separate trial that took place in 2015. Five days after his not-guilty verdict, the ex-Patriot was found dead in his cell of an apparent suicide. A number of former NFL players have been diagnosed with CTE. Hernandez's lawyer is said to be filing a lawsuit against the National Football League related to the BU findings, according to Deadspin.

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg outlines plan to crack down on election interference

Thu, 09/21/2017 - 16:41

Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said Thursday that the company is taking additional steps to protect election integrity on the its platform. Facebook stock edged down less than 1% after hours to $171.05. "So today I want to share the steps we're taking to protect election integrity and make sure that Facebook is a force for good in democracy," he said in a Facebook Live video. "While the amount of problematic content we've found so far remains relatively small, any attempted interference is a serious issue." Among other measures, Zuckerberg promised to add 250 people across the company that are focused on security and safety, which would include doubling the current team working on election security. The Facebook executive also said the company plans to make political advertising "more transparent" by forcing advertisers to disclose which page paid for ads and also will let its users see any ads a page is running across all audiences on its platform. Facebook plans to work more closely with election commissions around the world and share more information with other tech and security firms. "... We are in a new world. It is a new challenge for internet communities to deal with nation states attempting to subvert elections. But if that's what we must do, we are committed to rising to the occasion." This year Facebook shares have risen 35.7%, as the S&P 500 index increasing 9.9%.

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Texas Instruments hikes dividend, share buybacks

Thu, 09/21/2017 - 16:39

Texas Instruments Inc. shares rose in the extended session Thursday after the chip maker's board raised the quarterly dividend by 24% and added a hefty share buyback authorization. Texas Instruments shares rose 1.5% to $87.35 after hours. The company will raise its quarterly dividend to 62 cents a share from 50 cents, with the new dividend payable Nov. 13 to shareholders as of Oct. 31. Texas Instruments's board also added $6 billion in share repurchase authority, in addition to the 44.6 billion in purchasing authority that remained at the end of June 2017.

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McDonald's raises dividend by 7%

Thu, 09/21/2017 - 16:34

McDonald's Corp. said late Thursday its board of directors has approved a 7% dividend increase to $1.01 a share, payable Dec. 15 to shareholders of record Dec. 1. That's the company's 41st consecutive dividend increase. McDonald's shares fell less than 0.1% in after-hours trading after ending the regular session down 0.5%.

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Presidio shares fall 5% after company posts revenue miss

Thu, 09/21/2017 - 16:25

Shares of Presidio Inc. fell more than 5% late Thursday after the IT company missed fiscal fourth-quarter revenue expectations. Presidio said it earned $10.4 million, or 11 cents a share, in the quarter, versus a net loss of $7.4 million, or 10 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Adjusted for one-time items, the company earned $30.6 million, or 32 cents a share, compared with $23.4 million, or 25 cents a share, in the prior-year quarter. Revenue fell to $729 million, from $754 million a year ago. Analysts polled by FactSet had expected adjusted earnings of 32 cents a share on sales of $737 million. The shares ended the regular trading session down 0.4%.

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Dow snaps 9-day winning streak as stocks end lower

Thu, 09/21/2017 - 16:04

U.S. stock-market indexes closed lower on Thursday, retreating slightly from all-time highs, with consumer staples and technology shares selling off the most. Modest losses came a day after the Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged and outlined its plan to start reducing its massive balance sheet in October. The S&P 500 shed 7.64 points, or 0.3%, to 2,500.60. The Nasdaq Composite index slipped 33.35 points, or 0.5%, to 6,422.69. The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 53.36 points, or 0.2%, to 22,359.23, snapping a nine-day winning streak. Among the worst performers on the Dow, Procter & Gamble Co fell nearly 2%, while Apple Inc shares slid 1.7%.

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Exxon: Baytown, Beaumont refineries back in line at reduced rates

Thu, 09/21/2017 - 15:59

Exxon Mobil Corp. said Thursday its Baytown and Beaumont refineries in the U.S. Gulf Coast have begun producing fuels at a reduced rate, as their recovery from Hurricane Harvey continued. Refined-product pipelines in the Gulf area and other regions of Texas have restarted, and offshore production platforms in the Gulf have resumed normal operations, Exxon said. Baytown is the U.S.'s second-largest refinery. Exxon shares fell 0.9%.

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Sanderson Farms raises dividend to 32 cents a share

Thu, 09/21/2017 - 15:43

Sanderson Farms Inc. said Thursday it is increasing its quarterly dividend by 8 cents to 32 cents a share. The poultry producer's board also declared a special dividend of $1 a share. The regular dividend and the special dividend are payable Oct. 17 to shareholders of record Oct. 3. Sanderson Farms shares rose 0.5%.

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Facebook says it will release Russian-linked ads to Congress

Thu, 09/21/2017 - 15:38

Facebook Inc. said it will release ads to Congress that appeared to have come from Russia and were aimed at influencing the U.S. election. Facebook had already announced it was handing them over to Special Counsel Robert Mueller but had resisted providing them to Congress. But Facebook still won't release them to the public. "We believe the public deserves a full accounting of what happened in the 2016 election, and we've concluded that sharing the ads we've discovered, in a manner that is consistent with our obligations to protect user information, can help," Facebook General Counsel Colin Stretch said in a statement.

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Republicans rewrite health bill to appeal to Murkowski: report

Thu, 09/21/2017 - 14:43

Senate Republicans have rewritten an Obamacare repeal bill in an attempt to win the support of Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, according to a report Thursday. Independent Journal Review said a new draft of legislation from Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana includes three provisions that would benefit Alaska, including continuing Obamacare premium tax credits. Murkowski is a swing vote on the bill, which may come up for a vote next week.

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SEC, DOJ fine Swedish telecom $965 million for bribing Uzbekistan officials

Thu, 09/21/2017 - 14:23

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, U.S. Department of Justice, and Dutch and Swedish law enforcement officials settled charges Thursday against Sweden-based telecommunications provider Telia Company AB [s:tlsny] alleging the company paid bribes to government officials to win business in Uzbekistan. Telia entered the Uzbek telecommunications market by allegedly offering and paying at least $330 million in bribes to a shell company controlled by an Uzbek government official who was a family member of the President of Uzbekistan. The payments were disguised as payments for lobbying and consulting services that never actually occurred. The official was in a position to exert significant influence over other Uzbek officials. Telia Company's subsidiary in Uzbekistan, Coscom LLC, has entered a guilty plea with the DOJ. Telia cooperated in the investigation according to a statement by Marie Ehrling, the Telia board's chairwoman, and received an aggregate discount of 25% off of the bottom of the otherwise-applicable U.S. Sentencing Guidelines fine range.

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Anadarko's stock surges to lead S&P 500 gainers after share buyback announcement

Thu, 09/21/2017 - 13:58

Shares of Anadarko Petroleum Corp. soared 8.2% in afternoon trade Thursday, enough to make them the biggest gainers in the S&P 500 , after the oil and gas company said it plans to buy back $1 billion worth of its stock over the next 3 1/2 months. The stock, on track to close at three-month high, was also headed for the biggest one-day percentage gain since Nov. 30, 2016. The company said late Wednesday that set a $2.5 billion stock repurchase program, that extends through the end of 2018. At Wednesday's closing price of $44.81, the program represents about 10% of the shares outstanding. Chief Executive Al Walker said the initial target is to buy $1 billion worth of shares before the end of the year. Filings show Anadarko repurchased a total of $36.65 million worth of its stock during the first two quarters of 2017. The stock has rallied 6.9% over the past three months, but was still down 30.5% year to date. In comparison, the SPDR Energy Select Sector ETF has lost 11.2% this year, while the S&P 500 has gained 11.9%.

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Nvidia announces new Shield TV configuration priced to match Apple TV

Thu, 09/21/2017 - 13:51

Nvidia Inc. announced that it is releasing a new configuration of its Shield TV for $179 Thursday that will match the price for Apple Inc.'s new 4K HDR TV product announced last week. Nvidia shares are down 3.7% to $178.97 in afternoon trading. The new configuration will include essentially the same hardware that plays 4K HDR video and 16GB of storage, but will include a remote not a video game controller, according to Nvidia. The new Shield TV is available for pre-order Thursday and won't begin shipping until Oct. 18. The announcement comes amid the first reviews for the new Apple TV Thursday and some critics have noted issues with the new gadget. Nvidia stock is up 70% thus far this year, as the S&P 500 index up 10%.

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Gold prices suffer worst single-session decline since July

Thu, 09/21/2017 - 13:51

Gold prices settled below $1,300 an ounce on Thursday, suffering from their largest one-day percentage decline since early July, after the U.S. Federal Reserve suggested that an interest-rate hike was likely before the end of the year. December gold fell $21.60, or 1.6%, to settle at $1,294.80 an ounce. That was the lowest finish since Aug. 24, according to FactSet data.

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Halloween spending expected to be a record-breaking $9.1 billion

Thu, 09/21/2017 - 13:08

Halloween shopping for costumes, candy, decorations, and more is forecast to reach $9.1 billion this year, up 8.3% from last year's record $8.4 billion, according to survey data from the National Retail Federation. Consumers are expected to spend an average $86.13, up from $82.93 last year. Shoppers plan to spend $3.4 billion on costumes and $2.7 billion on both candy and decorations. The top costume for children is expected to be a superhero; witch will be the top choice for adults; and pumpkin costumes will be tops for pets. The SPDR S&P Retail ETF is down 8.2% for the year so far while the S&P 500 index is up nearly 12% for the period.

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Trump unveils new North Korea sanctions as China cuts off banking ties

Thu, 09/21/2017 - 12:50

President Donald Trump said Thursday he's issued an executive order to cut off revenue North Korea uses to fund development of "the deadliest weapons known to humankind." Speaking at the United Nations, Trump said the order strengthens the U.S. Treasury's ability to target individuals or entities that conduct trade in goods, services or technology with North Korea. He also said China's central bank has told that country's banks not to do business with North Korea.

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Wall Street's 'fear gauge' sees muted reaction as Trump announces fresh North Korea sanctions

Thu, 09/21/2017 - 12:49

A measure of fear on Wall Street was hovering around its lowest level in its history, even as President Donald Trump unfurled executive orders to cut off funding to rogue nation North Korea. The CBOE Volatility Index , or VIX, was down 1.5% at 9.63 in most recent trade, putting it on track for its 9th lowest level since 1993 when the gauge of volatility and market fear was created, according to FactSet data. The VIX, also known as the fear gauge, measures options bets on the S&P 500 index 30 days in the future, and is viewed as a measure of market expectations for a fall because equity prices tend to fall faster than they climb. U.S. stocks were muted, holding a modest decline on Thursday. Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 44 points, or 0.2%, at 22,373, the S&P 500 index was trading 0.2% lower at 2,504, while the Nasdaq Composite Index retreated 0.3% at 6,434. Trump announced his executive orders following a meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in. As a part of order the People's Bank of China has been told to stop doing business with North Korea. Stock reaction was muted following Trump's news conference Thursday afternoon. The measures to curb North Korea's antagonism in the Korean Peninsula come as Pyongyang has fired a number of ballistic missile tests in Japanese airspace in recent weeks, and has tested of a thermonuclear bomb.

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Zinc producer VM Holding files for IPO

Thu, 09/21/2017 - 12:39

Luxembourg-based zinc producer VM Holding S.A. filed Thursday for an initial public offering of stock, which it expects to list on both the New York Stock Exchange and the Toronto Stock Exchange. The company did not provide the number of shares it plans to offer, but said it plans to raise up to $100 million, which is likely a placeholder amount. VM (Votorantim Metais) expects its shares to trade under the ticker symbol "NEXA." In 2016, VM produced 416,869 tonnes of zinc, 41,551 tonnes of copper nad 59,181 tonnes of lead contained in concentrates, as well as 8.3 million ounces of silver and 27,893 ounces of gold. The company had a net profit of $110.5 million in 2016, on revenue of $1.91 billion.

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GM's price target raised at Morgan Stanley

Thu, 09/21/2017 - 12:29

Analysts at Morgan Stanley on Thursday raised their price target on General Motors Co. stock, saying the car maker "has an opportunity to unlock hidden strategic value." The analysts set their target to $43, from $40, representing a 10% upside from Thursday prices. They rate the stock their equivalent of buy, and moved it to their No. 3 pick in autos, making GM their highest-ranked U.S. auto maker. GM is likely to host an investor day before the end of the year, where it would explain key strategic priorities, and the analysts expect it to focus on value, a strategy for shared autonomy, and the company's long-term goals in China, they said in a note. "We see GM moving in the direction of (Fiat Chrysler) and Sergio Marchionne's philosophy of taking action to unlock value and opening up to partnerships with external firms on applied AI in mobility," they said. GM shares gained 0.2% and are up nearly 12% so far this year, mirroring the S&P 500 Index's gains in the same period.

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