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Updated: 2 hours 4 min ago

EIA data show U.S. crude supplies up more than expected

Wed, 09/20/2017 - 10:38

Data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration Wednesday showed that domestic crude supplies climbed by 4.6 million barrels for the week ended Sept. 15. That's above the forecast for a rise of 2.4 million barrels by analysts surveyed by S&P Global Platts. The American Petroleum Institute had reported late Tuesday an increase of 1.4 million barrels, according to sources. The EIA also reported that total domestic crude output rose by 157,000 barrels a day to 9.510 million barrels. Gasoline stockpiles were down 2.1 million barrels for the week, while distillate stockpiles fell 5.7 million barrels, according to the EIA. October crude , which expires at the day's settlement, rose 52 cents, or 1.1%, to $50 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices traded at $50.21 before the supply data.

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Apple admits issues with Apple Watch connectivity, stock falls

Wed, 09/20/2017 - 10:21

Apple Inc. shares declined Wednesday morning after the tech company reportedly admitted there are issues with connectivity of its new Apple Watch Series 3. The new Apple smartwatch is the first to connect to cellular networks on its own, without having to be electronically tethered to an iPhone, but reviewers had issues staying connected while reviewing the new device. According to The Verge, Apple admitted an issue in an official statement, saying, "We have discovered that when Apple Watch Series 3 joins unauthenticated Wi-Fi networks without connectivity, it may at times prevent the watch from using cellular. We are investigating a fix for a future software release." The new Apple Watch, which costs at least $399 for versions with a cellular connection, opened for preorders last Friday and will begin reaching customers Sept. 22. Apple stock fell more than 1% in early trading Wednesday, and is down 0.4% in the past month, as the S&P 500 index has gained 3.3%.

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Adobe share slip but Canaccord Genuity analyst says fundamentals are strong

Wed, 09/20/2017 - 10:04

Shares of Adobe Systems Inc. were trading down 5% Wednesday morning, a day after the company beat earnings expectations, but had weaker than expected results in its booked business segments. Canaccord Genuity analyst Richard David urged investors to look past that decline however and raised his price target to $170 from $165, saying "Adobe did not suddenly see the industry's best competitive moat disappear, nor did competitive products miraculously merge to disrupt the firm." David says he is not concerned about the fundamentals, but rather the ability of the company's salespeople to convince clients that the firm can be a strategic partner and thus get larger $1 million deals. Davis reiterated a buy rating on the stock. Shares of Adobe have gained 6% in the past three months, outperforming the S&P 500 , which has gained 3%.

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Pfizer's stock jumps to 13-month high to lead Dow gainers after analyst upgrade

Wed, 09/20/2017 - 09:52

Shares of Pfizer Inc. surged 1.3% in morning trade Wednesday toward a 13-month high, after the drug maker was upgraded at Morgan Stanley, which cited valuation following "a long period of middling performance." The stock was the biggest percentage gainer within the Dow Jones Industrial Average . The 46-cent price gain added about 3 points to the Dow's price, which was up 1 point. Analyst David Risinger raised his rating to overweight from neutral, and boosted his price target to $39 from $35. "Following underperformance, we believe [Pfizer] shares are poised to outperform given global rollout of #1 growth driver Ibrance, the stock's favorable risk-reward and M&A optionality," Risinger wrote in a note to clients. He expects breast cancer treatment Ibrance to maintain its first-to-market advantage, given competitors' safety issues. He said prospects of tax reform in the U.S. gives the company additional acquisition options. The stock has gained 10.5% year to date, while the SPDR Health Care Select Sector ETF has run up 18.9% and the S&P 500 has climbed 12.0%.

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HTC Corporation to halt shares Thursday in anticipation of 'material information' release

Wed, 09/20/2017 - 09:42

HTC Corporation , a maker of Android hardware, will halt the trading of its shares Thursday when it expects the release of 'material information,' the Taiwan Stock Exchange said Wednesday. Alphabet Inc.'s Google , which has partnered with HTC in the past, has been rumored to be buying the company, but HTC would not comment on the rumors, according to The Verge. After the release of information Thursday, HTC is expected to resume trading.

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Hibbett upgraded on belief that hurricanes will help the retailer's new digital platforms

Wed, 09/20/2017 - 09:41

Hibbett Sports Inc. was upgraded Wednesday to positive from neutral at Susquehanna Financial Group on the belief that Hurricanes Irma and Harvey will benefit the sports retailer's new digital platforms. The price target was raised to $17 from $11. Hibbett discussed the launch of its e-commerce site in July, which many analysts believed was too late. "[P]rior to the storms, the timing of the benefits from Hibbett's new digital presence was unclear," wrote analysts led by Sam Poser. "Now we believe the hurricane-induced demand will act as a bridge to the sustainable improvements supported by Hibbett's beefed up digital presence. Hibbett has over 32% exposure to hurricane-ravaged regions, which will see significant increases in replacement footwear sales." Analysts say the benefits will be similar to those seen post-Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Hibbett shares are up 3.4% in early Wednesday trading, but down 63.5% for the year so far. The S&P 500 index is up 12.1% for 2017 to date.

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Stocks retreat from records ahead of Fed policy update

Wed, 09/20/2017 - 09:35

U.S. equity markets opened on a subdued note on Wednesday after reaching all-time highs on Tuesday, as traders are focused on the Federal Reserve's interest-rate decision at 2 p.m. Eastern. Although the market isn't expecting any change to interest rates, investors will be anticipating an update to monetary policy and Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen's outlook for the economy and stubbornly low inflation at a news conference a half-hour after the release of the central bank's statement. The S&P 500 opened 0.36 points or 0.01% higher at 2,507, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.01% or 2.3 points to 22,370 points at the open. The Nasdaq Composite started Wednesday 5.8 points--0.09%-- lower at 6,456. In individual stocks, General Mills slipped after missing earnings, dropping 6.4%. comp 2507 1.11 0.04

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Panera Bread launches new kids menu

Wed, 09/20/2017 - 09:23

Panera Bread Co. said Wednesday that it will now offer nearly all of its entrees in a smaller size, creating a new kids menu that includes 250 "clean" combinations that don't have artificial flavors, preservatives and other chemicals. Panera's Chief Executive Ron Shaich is also challenging the CEOs of other restaurant chains like McDonald's Corp. and Wendy's Co. to eat their own company's kids menu for a week, "and if not, to take a thoughtful look at that they are offering our smallest guests." Panera announced a merger with JAB in April. The PowerShares Dynamic Food & Beverage Portfolio is down 2.8% for the year so far while the S&P 500 index is up 12% for the period.

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Victoria's Secret parent L Brands downgraded on bra pricing concerns

Wed, 09/20/2017 - 08:32

Victoria's Secret parent L Brands Inc. was downgraded to market perform from outperform at Cowen & Company on concerns that without higher bra pricing there are risks to margins and same-store sales. The price target was lowered to $39 from $40. Analysts say L Brands has is a category leader, but there are several challenges ahead, including the need to maintain lower pricing in the $20-to-$30 range on sports bras and bralettes in order to maintain share while also offering bras in the $50-to-$60 range, driving store traffic, and sports bra competition. "Victoria's Secret needs to rebalance the assortment in their core lingerie offering after the shift toward bralettes and sport last year pressured average unit retail," Cowen said in a Wednesday note. L Brands shares are down 1.1% in premarket trading, and down more than 40% for the year so far. The S&P 500 index is up 12% for 2017 to date.

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3M's stock falls to turn Dow futures negative after J.P. Morgan downgrade

Wed, 09/20/2017 - 08:12

Shares of 3M Co. fell 0.8% in premarket trade Wednesday, to help knock Dow Jones Industrial Average futures into negative territory, after J.P. Morgan turned bearish on the consumer and industrial products company, citing concerns over valuation. The stock's premarket price decline of $1.76 would shave about 12 points off the Dow's price, while Dow futures were down 10 points. Analyst Stephen Tusa cut his rating to underweight from neutral, saying the recent rally in the shares appear to ignore the risks stemming from slowing end markets in auto, electronics and China. Tusa said he believes it is also getting more expensive to drive growth. "Combine these concerns with a multiple near the high end of its historical range and we see a negative skew on the risk reward, with potential downside catalysts including negative consensus revisions and stubbornly weak U.S. price performance which would reinforce concerns around channel distruption," Tusa wrote in a note to clients. Still, he raised his price target to $201 from $185. The stock, which closed at a record high of $213.76 on Monday, has run up 19.6% year to date through Tuesday, while the Dow has rallied 13.2%.

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Bed Bath and Beyond shares slide 14%; SunTrust notes other home retailers not performing as poorly

Wed, 09/20/2017 - 07:25

Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. shares 14% premarket Wednesday, as analysts weighed in on earnings released last Tuesday that fell well short of expectations. SunTrust Robinson Humphrey analysts noted that other home retailers are not performing as weakly, and reiterated their argument from earlier this year that the company needs strength in everyday product value, as well as customer messaging. "Neither appear to be in the cards in the near term for BBBY which, in our opinion, relies too heavily on the archaic practice of heavy couponing for both," analysts wrote in a note. SunTrust reiterated its hold rating on the stock and its estimates and stock price target are under review. KeyBanc analysts reiterated their underweight rating on the stock and cut their price target to $21, or 22% below its current level. "We remain supportive of mgmt's investments in the business, and remain hopeful that they start to benefit the top line," they wrote. "However, in the NT, margins remain under significant pressure and further deteriorated in the quarter." Shares have fallen 33% in 2017 through Tuesday, while the S&P 500 has gained 12%.

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General Mills' stock tumbles after profit and sales miss

Wed, 09/20/2017 - 07:13

Shares of General Mills Inc. tumbled 4.3% in premarket trade Wednesday, after the food company, which brands include Cheerios, Haagen-Dazs and Better Crocker, missed fiscal first-quarter profit and sales expectations. Net income for the quarter to Aug. 27 totaled $408.6 million, or 69 cents a share, after $419.5 million, or 67 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. Excluding non-recurring items, adjusted earnings per share came to 71 cents, below the FactSet consensus of 76 cents. Revenue fell 3.5% to $3.77 billion, just shy of the FactSet consensus of $3.79 billion. North American retail sales declined 5% to $2.44 billion, compared with the FactSet consensus of $2.45 billion, while convenience stores and foodservice sales were flat at $447 million versus expectations of $447.6 million. The company affirmed its fiscal 2018 outlook for a decline of 1% to 2% in organic net sales. The stock has lost 10.3% year to date through Tuesday, while the SPDR Consumer Staples ETF has gained 6.6% and the S&P 500 has climbed 12.0%.

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Sanofi, Alnylam report positive results from late-stage trial of hATTR amyloidosis treatment

Wed, 09/20/2017 - 07:11

Sanofi and Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc. on Wednesday reported positive results in a late-stage trial of a treatment for Hereditary ATTR (hATTR) Amyliodosis patients with polyneuropathy. In a joint statement, the companies said an investigational RNAi therapeutic met its primary and secondary endpoints. The disease is an inherited one that is progressively debilitating and often fatal and is caused by mutations in the TTR gene. TTR protein is produced in the liver and usually acts as a carrier for vitamin A. Mutations can cause proteins to accumulate and damage organs and tissue, including the heart. About 50,000 people worldwide suffer from the disease, which currently has no approved treatment apart from liver transplant. Patients typically have a life expectancy of 2.5 to 15 years after the first symptoms appear. "This is a significant milestone that supports our belief that RNAi therapeutics have the potential to become an innovative new class of medicines for patients with rare genetic diseases," said Elias Zerhouni, M.D., president, global R&D at Sanofi in a statement. Alnylam shares were halted premarket for the news, but have gained 100.4% in 2017 through Tuesday, while the S&P 500 has gained 12%.

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Spielberg steps in as CEO at Amblin as Michael Wright steps down

Tue, 09/19/2017 - 18:46

Amblin Partners said late Tuesday that Chief Executive Michael Wright is stepping down and handing the CEO role over to Amblin Chairman Steven Spielberg. The privately held joint venture, which includes Amblin Entertainment, DreamWorks Pictures and Participant Media, said Wright will be the executive producer for two upcoming films. Amblin said that Jeff Small will remain as president and co-CEO and oversee operations with Spielberg.

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Microsoft hikes quarterly dividend, announces changes to board of directors

Tue, 09/19/2017 - 17:22

Microsoft Corp. announced Tuesday that it is increasing its quarterly dividend to 42 cents per share, or 7.6% compared with the year-earlier quarter. The dividend is payable Dec. 14, 2017 to shareholders of record on Nov. 16, 2017. The ex-dividend date will be Nov. 15, 2017. In addition to the dividend hike the company also said it was adding PepsiCo Inc. Chief Financial Officer Hugh Johnston to its board of directors. Microsoft stock edged down 0.1% after hours, after closing nearly 0.5% up to $75.44 during the regular session.

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Former Google CFO joins Twitter board, PepsiCo exec to depart

Tue, 09/19/2017 - 17:15

Former Google Inc. Chief Financial Officer Patrick Pichette is joining the board of Twitter Inc. , as PepsiCo Inc. CFO Hugh Johnston leaves to join the board of Microsoft Corp. . Pichette resigned from Google in 2015 after serving as CFO of the web giant for nearly seven years, and will join as an independent director on Dec. 1 for a two-year term. "After taking a two-year sabbatical to spend time with my wife and travel the world, I'm excited to join the Twitter Board and help the company advance its mission," Pichette said in the announcement. Johnston will step down Oct. 1, and explained in Tuesday's announcement that PepsiCo policies limit the number of boards he can join, so his appointment at Microsoft means he must step down at Twitter. After the changes take place, Twitter will have a nine-person board of directors. Twitter shares added 0.6% in late trading, after closing with a 0.9% gain at $17.76.

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Krystal Biotech boosts IPO share offering

Tue, 09/19/2017 - 17:10

Krystal Biotech Inc. late Tuesday boosted the number of shares available for its initial public offering. The Pittsburgh-based gene therapy company, which develops treatments for dermatological diseases, upped its offering to 3.96 million shares at $10 a share to raise up to $39.6 million. An additional 594,000 shares are available to cover overallotments. Last week, Krystal's Securities and Exchange Commission filing offered 3 million shares at a price range of $9 to $11 a share. In late August, Krystal Biotech said it hoped to raise up to $35 million in its IPO.

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Tax-reform blueprint will move away from immediate capex expensing: report

Tue, 09/19/2017 - 17:09

Next week's tax reform blueprint from top Congressional and White House leaders is likely to move away from the idea of allowing the immediate deduction of new capital investment, in favor of a limited period of accelerated capital investment deductions, Politico reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The report also said that the statement from the so-called Big Six, which includes Treasury Sec. Steven Mnuchin, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, will scrap the idea of a 15% corporate tax rate, which has been President Trump's stated goal.

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API data show modest U.S. crude supply rise, drop in gasoline stockpiles: sources

Tue, 09/19/2017 - 16:53

The American Petroleum Institute reported Tuesday that U.S. crude supplies climbed by 1.4 million barrels for the week ended Sept. 15, according to sources. The API data also showed that gasoline stockpiles dropped 5.1 million barrels, and inventories of distillates fell by 6.1 million barrels, sources said. Supply data from the Energy Information Administration will be released Wednesday morning. Analysts polled by S&P Global Platts expect the EIA to report a climb of 2.4 million barrels in crude inventories, along with declines of 800,000 barrels for gasoline and 1 million barrels for distillate supplies. October crude was at $49.87 a barrel in electronic trading, up from the settlement of $49.48 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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Bed Bath & Beyond earnings miss widely, stock plunges 18%

Tue, 09/19/2017 - 16:37

Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. reported earnings far below expectations Tuesday, citing restructuring- and hurricane-related issues, and promised information on new initiatives later in the afternoon as shares plummeted. The retailer announced fiscal second-quarter profit of $94.2 million, or 67 cents a share, on sales of $2.9 billion, down from earnings of $1.11 a share on revenue of $2.99 billion in the year-ago quarter. Analysts on average expected earnings of 93 cents a share on sales of $3 billion, according to FactSet. Bed Bath & Beyond listed issues that caused the profit miss and their effects, including restructuring charges (8 cents a share), Hurricane Harvey impacts (2 cents a share) and a new accounting standard (a penny a share). The retailer said that it "is undertaking a number of transformational initiatives," which it will discuss in a conference call at 5 p.m. Eastern. Trading was halted for the stock ahead of the announcement, and the price plunged more than 18% in after-hours action after trading resumed; shares closed with a 1% decline at $27.03 Tuesday after reaching a 52-week intraday low of $26.54.

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