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Updated: 52 min 43 sec ago

Gold prices finish lower after 2-session climb

Wed, 11/15/2017 - 13:49

Gold prices settled lower Wednesday, easing back in the wake of two sessions of gains, as key U.S. dollar benchmark traded nearly flat for the session. The ICE U.S. Dollar Index was nearly unchanged at 93.794, trading off session lows which had helped boost dollar-denominated prices of gold earlier Wednesday. December gold lost $5.20, or 0.4%, to settle at $1,277.70 an ounce.

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Boot Barn's stock jumps to 10-month high after analyst boosts rating, price target

Wed, 11/15/2017 - 13:20

Shares of Boot Barn Holdings Inc. shot up 6.4% toward a 10-month high in afternoon trade Wednesday, after J.P. Morgan upgraded the western and work-related footwear and apparel retailer. The stock has now run up 48% since Boot Barn reported fiscal second-quarter profit, revenue and same-store sales that beat expectations after the Nov. 2 close. J.P. Morgan analyst Matthew Boss raised his rating to overweight, after being at neutral since April 2016, and nearly doubled his stock price target to $17 from $9. After hosting a meeting with Boot Barn management, Boss came away more confident that sales have stabilized and that e-commerce has swung to a tailwind from a headwind the past three quarters, while the balance sheet has strengthened. Boss said that suggests company has "weathered the storm" of earnings compression it has suffered the past two years. He also stable-to-rising oil and gas prices suggests the economic backdrop in the key oil-and-gas states that Boot Barn operates in are improving. Despite the rally this month, the stock was still down 0.6% year to date, while the SPDR S&P Retail ETF has lost 9.1% and the S&P 500 has climbed 15%.

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GE's stock bounces sharply to pace Dow gainers

Wed, 11/15/2017 - 12:22

General Electric Co.'s stock bounced sharply off earlier lows to rally 1.5% on heavy volume, enough to pace the gainers within the Dow Jones Industrial Average . The stock was down as much as 2.2% at its intraday low of $17.50 in the first minute after the open, and was up as much as 2.7% at its high of $18.38, which was reached a little after 11:00 a.m. ET. Volume of 86 million shares made the stock the day's most actively traded. The stock was on track for just the fourth gain in the 18 sessions since the day after GE reported third-quarter results. The bounce comes after the 12.6% plunge in the past two sessions to six-year low, as investors and analysts expressed disappointment over new Chief Executive John Flannery's turnaround plan. Despite Wednesday's rally, GE's stock was still by far the worst performer among Dow components over the past three months, shedding 27.8% over that time. The next worst were shares of Merck & Co. , which have lost 12.1%. Meanwhile, the Dow has gained 6.0% the past three months.

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CFPB's Cordray to step down by end of November

Wed, 11/15/2017 - 12:09

Richard Cordray, the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, will leave his post by the end of the month, he said in a memo to staff. There has been growing speculation he will run for governor of Ohio, though the memo does not refer to future plans. His departure would allow President Donald Trump to appoint a new director. House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, a Texas Republican, said "we are long overdue for new leadership" at the agency, which was created by the Dodd-Frank Act.

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SendGrid's stock soars in its debut, after IPO prices above the expected range

Wed, 11/15/2017 - 10:39

SendGrid Inc.'s newly minted stock opened Wednesday at $18.55 at 10:31 a.m. ET, or 15.9% above the $16 initial public offering price. The IPO had priced late Tuesday above the expected range of $13.50 to $15.50, with the company increasing the number of shares offered to 8.2 million from 7.7 million, a sign of strong demand. SendGrid, sells a software platform that helps companies manage email communications with customers, raised $131.2 million with its IPO. The stock was last up 16.6% at $18.68. The company went public at a time when the Renaissance IPO ETF has rallied 6.5% over the past three months and the S&P 500 has gained 4.2%.

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Oil extends losses as EIA reports a second-straight weekly rise in U.S. crude supplies

Wed, 11/15/2017 - 10:36

Data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration Wednesday showed that domestic crude supplies rose by 1.9 million barrels for the week ended Nov. 10. That was contrary to the forecast for a decline of 1 million barrels from analysts surveyed by S&P Global Platts. The American Petroleum Institute on Tuesday had reported a 6.5 million-barrel climb, according to sources. Gasoline stockpiles also rose by 900,000 barrels for the week, while distillate stockpiles fell 800,000 barrels, according to the EIA. The S&P Global Platts survey forecast supply declines of 1 million barrels for gasoline and 2 million barrels for distillates. December crude was down 69 cents, or 1.2%, from Tuesday to $55.01 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It traded at $55.13 before the supply data.

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Apple's stock falls toward longest losing streak in 7 months

Wed, 11/15/2017 - 10:10

Shares of Apple Inc. slid 1.1% in morning trade, putting them on track to suffer a fifth-straight loss since they closed at a record on Nov. 8. That would be the longest losing streak since the five-session stretch ending April 11. During the current streak, the stock has shed 3.9%, compared with the 2.2% decline during the April losing streak. Apple's current streak started after it closed at a record of $176.24 a week ago, when the technology behemoth became the first public company to clear the$900 billion market-capitalization hurdle with a closing market cap of $904.9 billion. The current market cap is $869.9 billion. The stock has run up 46% year to date, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 has climbed 29% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average has gained 18%.

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Dow sinks more than 150 points, threatens 3-week low as global stock market slumps

Wed, 11/15/2017 - 10:10

U.S. stock indexes on Wednesday opened firmly lower, putting the Dow Jones Industrial Average on track to hit its lowest level since late October as a broad commodity downturn whacks investor sentiment. The Dow opened off 150 points, or 0.7%, at 23,258, putting it on pace to hit the lowest level since late Oct. 25, according to FactSet data. The S&P 500 index was off 0.8% at 2,558, while the Nasdaq Composite Index was off 1% at 6,669. The latest retreat in equity benchmarks has been attributed partly to a sharp slide in crude-oil futures, with West Texas Intermediate oil trading on the New York Mercantile exchange off 2.8% so far this week.

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Wall Street's 'fear gauge' hits highest level since August as Dow drops 150 points

Wed, 11/15/2017 - 10:10

A popular gauge of Wall Street volatility on Wednesday surged on Wednesday the most in more than two months, hitting its highest level since August, as global stock markets retreated firmly. The CBOE Volatility Index jumped about 21% to around 14, its highest level since Aug. 17. That's still below its historical average of around 19, but underlines a sense of growing worries about a downturn in the future. The gauge, based on options activity, measures expectations for S&P 500 volatility over the coming 30 days, and has increased by nearly 40% in November. Overall, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was trading down more than 150 points, or 0.7%, threatening its lowest close since Oct. 25, according to FActSet data. The S&P 500 index was off 0.7% at 2,559, while the Nasdaq Composite Index was down 1.2% at 6,679.

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U.S. business inventories flat in September as sales rise

Wed, 11/15/2017 - 10:07

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - Business inventories in the U.S. were basically flat in September following a slightly revised 0.6% increase in August, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. Sales rose 0.2% in the month. The ratio of inventories to sales, meanwhile, fell to 1.36 in September from 1.38. That's how many months it would take to sell all the inventory on hand. One year ago, the inventory-to-sales ratio was higher at 1.40.

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Skechers names new CFO, who was previously at Mattel

Wed, 11/15/2017 - 09:32

Skechers USA Inc. said Wednesday it has hired John Vandemore to be its chief financial officer, effective within the next few weeks. Vandemore, who recently served as CFO of Mattel Inc. , will assume the role from David Weinberg, who assumed the CFO role in 2009 in addition to being chief operating officer since 2006. Vandemore will report to Weinberg. The footwear seller's stock slipped 0.2% in morning trade. It has over run up 31% year to date, while the S&P 500 has gained 15%.

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Amazon and Whole Foods offering Prime members added discounts on organic turkey

Wed, 11/15/2017 - 09:09

Amazon.com Inc. said Wednesday that the e-commerce giant and Whole Foods Market will offer lower prices on holiday and best-selling grocery items, including discounts on organic and antibiotic-free turkeys for Prime members. Amazon says the discounts are a preview of those Prime members can expect when the membership program becomes the official rewards program of Whole Foods. Organic turkeys, normally priced at $3.49 per pound, will be $2.99 per pound for Prime members. And antibiotic-free turkeys, normally $2.49 per pound, will be $1.99 per pound. Other items that will have their prices slashed include responsibly-farmed raw peeled shrimp, 365 Everyday Value canned pumpkin, organic broccoli, Fage yogurt and organic rice from Lundberg Family Farms. Amazon shares are down 0.7% in Wednesday premarket trading, but up 53% for the past year, outpacing the S&P 500 index , which is up 18.3% for the last 12 months.

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Bank stocks sink as Treasury yields slide

Wed, 11/15/2017 - 09:00

Financial stocks dropped in premarket trade Wednesday, as falling oil prices less-than-robust economic data led to sharp drop in Treasury yields. The SPDR Financial Select Sector ETF slumped 0.9% ahead of the open, putting it on track to open at a six-week low. Among the ETF's more heavily-weighted components, shares of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. shed 1.1%, Bank of America Corp. gave up 1.2%, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. slid 0.9% and Citigroup Inc. dropped 1.1%. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell 5.9 basis points to 2.322%. Lower long-term yields could weigh on bank profits, as the spread between what banks earn on longer-term assets, including loans, and the cost of shorter-term liabilities to fund those assets narrows. Meanwhile, crude oil futures fell 1.2% amid supply concerns and consumer prices and retail sales rose in line with expectations while New York manufacturing activity declined. The financial ETF has gained 4.1% over the past three months through Tuesday, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has climbed 6.4%.

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Empire State index retreats in November from three-year high

Wed, 11/15/2017 - 08:35

The Empire State index fell 10.8 points to 19.4, moving back from a three-year higj but still pointing to a solid manufacturing environment in the New York area. Any reading above zero indicates improving conditions. The new-orders index rose to 20.4 and shipments fell to 18.4.

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Core CPI picks up while retail sales gain 0.2% in October

Wed, 11/15/2017 - 08:31

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - Consumer prices minus food and energy picked up a bit in October while retail sales rose modestly, according to government data released Wednesday. The overall CPI rose by a seasonally adjusted 0.1% in October, while core prices rose a slightly stronger 0.2%. Over the past 12 months, core consumer inflation has risen 1.8%, up from a 1.7% gain in September, That's the highest rate since April. Retail sales rose 0.2% in October on modest across-the-board gains after a revised 1.9% surge in the prior month.

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Acorda Therapeutics' stock pummeled as drug study enrollment halted after patient deaths

Wed, 11/15/2017 - 08:15

Shares of Acorda Therapeutics Inc. plummeted 38% toward a five-month low in premarket trade Wednesday, after the biopharmaceutical company said it halted new enrollment for studies of its Parkinson's disease treatment tozadenant following some patient deaths. The company said of the 890 patients exposed to tozadenant in phase 3 and phase 2b studies, there have been seven cases of sepsis, five of which were fatal. None of 234 patients exposed to placebo developed sepsis. As a result, the company said it has increased the frequency of blood cell count monitoring in its phase 3 tozadenant program, as four of the sepsis cases were associated with agranulocytosis, or lowered white blood cell counts, with two of the patients having no white blood cells. Acorda said further discussion with the independent data safety monitoring board and the Food and Drug Administration were pending. Acorda's stock had run up 33% over the past three months through Tuesday, while the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF had slipped 1.4% and the S&P 500 had gained 4.6%.

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Sally Beauty shares slide after earnings and sales miss expectations

Wed, 11/15/2017 - 07:58

Sally Beauty Holdings Inc. shares slid 4.5% in Wednesday premarket trading after the company reported fourth-quarter earnings and revenue that missed expectations. Net income fell to $35.7 million, or 27 cents per share, from $52.6 million, or 36 cents per share, last year. Adjusted EPS was 45 cents, below the 47-cent FactSet consensus. Sales also fell, totaling $974.2 million from $976.4 million last year. The FactSet consensus was $990.0 million. Same-store sales decreased 1.4%, below the 0.8% growth FactSet forecast. The company said Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria caused store closures from late August through the end of the fiscal year, hurting sales and same-store sales. But even after those weather-related challenges, Chief Executive Chris Brickman said "revenue fell short of our expectations." Sally Beauty plans to restructure its international operations and will invest in e-commerce, which will allow two-day delivery to more than 90% of U.S. homes by the middle of fiscal 2018. The company completed the restructuring of its North American operations, incurring a charge of $22.7 million from staff cuts and facility closures. The company expects charges for the European restructuring of $12 million to $14 million. For fiscal 2018, Sally Beauty expects same-store sales to be about flat, below the FactSet consensus for 0.9% growth. Sally Beauty shares are down 37% for the past year while the S&P 500 index is up 18.3% for the period.

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UPDATE: SandRidge to acquire Bonanza Creek Energy in cash-and-stock deal valued at $746 million

Wed, 11/15/2017 - 07:57

SandRidge Energy Inc. said Wednesday it has reached an agreement to acquire Bonanza Creek Energy in a cash-and-stock deal valued at $746 million. SandRidge said it will pay $36 per Bonanza Creek share. The deal will add 67,000 contiguous net acres in the oil window of DJ Basin of Colorado. "SandRidge will benefit from the greatly increased scale and substantial cost and operational synergies as a result of the transaction," Chief Executive James Bennett said in a statement. The deal is expected to boost cash flow starting in 2018. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter. Bonanza Creek shares surged 14% in premarket trade after resuming trading following a halt for the news. SandRidge shares fell 1.6%, and have fallen 22% in 2017, while Bonanza Creek has lost 73%. The S&P 500 has gained 15% in 2017.

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Target beats expectations, but stock falls after concerns over 'highly competitive' sales environment

Wed, 11/15/2017 - 06:58

Target Corp. reported Wednesday fiscal third-quarter profit and sales that beat expectations, but the stock tumbled 2.7% after the discount retailer provided a less-than-rosy profit outlook for the current quarter and said it expected a "highly competitive" holiday sales environment. Net income for the quarter to Oct. 28 fell to $480 million, or 88 cents a share, from $608 million, or $1.06 a share, in the same period a year ago. Excluding non-recurring items, adjusted earnings per share came to 91 cents, beating the FactSet consensus of 86 cents. Revenue increased 1.4% to $16.67 billion, above the FactSet consensus of $16.60 billion, as same-store sales growth of 0.9% beat expectations of a 0.4% increase. Comparable traffic increased 1.4%, while comparable digital sales rose 24%. The company expects fourth-quarter adjusted EPS of $1.05 to $1.25, compared with the FactSet consensus of $1.24, and raised its full-year adjusted EPS guidance range to $4.40 to $4.60 from $4.34 to $4.54. Fourth-quarter same-store sales are expected to be flat to up 2%, surrounding the FactSet consensus for 0.5% growth. The stock has run up 10.6% over the past three months through Tuesday, while the SPDR S&P Retail ETF has tacked on 3.1% and the S&P 500 has gained 4.6%.

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Fed should convince markets it would tolerate inflation at 2.5%, Evans says

Wed, 11/15/2017 - 03:01

Inflation has been too low for too long and the U.S. central bank has to alter its communications with the markets to convince investors the central bank is willing to let it run hotter than the 2% target, said Charles Evans, the president of the Chicago Fed, on Wednesday. In a speech in London, Evans said the Fed must alter its statement to make clear that its inflation target of 2% is not a ceiling. "Our communications should be much clearer about our willingness to deliver on a symmetric inflation outcome, acknowledging a greater chance of inflation at 2.5% in the future than what has been communicated in the past," Evans said. Many economists and Fed officials think the low inflation seen this year is due to transitory factors. But Evans said "it gets harder and harder for me to feel comfortable" with the transitory explanation "with each low monthly reading."

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