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Updated: 52 min 8 sec ago

FBI probing Russian payments labeled 'to finance election campaign of 2016': report

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 13:26

The FBI is scrutinizing more than 60 money transfers sent by the Russian foreign ministry to its embassies across the globe, BuzzFeed News reported, citing agency sources. Most of the transfers had a note that said the money was to be used "to finance election campaign of 2016." Seven nations, including the U.S. and Russia, had federal elections during the span when the funds were sent, the report notes. The transfers moved through Citi accounts and totaled more than $380,000, the report said. Citi turned over a range of documents on more than 650 suspicious transactions, not all of which are related to the election.

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Fed's Bostic backs gradual rate hike path

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 13:06

The U.S. central bank should continue to raise interest rates gradually because the current policy stance remains "very accommodating rather than neutral," said Raphael Bostic, the president of the Atlanta Fed, on Tuesday. Just how gradual that pace should be will depend on the strength of incoming economic data and what it implies for the outlook, Bostic said in a speech to Auburn University's branch in Montgomery, Ala. Bostic, who joined the Atlanta Fed in June, will be a voting member of the Fed's interest-rate committee in 2018. Bostic said he is still holding to the view that recent weakness in inflation "reflects idiosyncratic noise" but said he would be watching the next few inflation reports for signs of a pickup.

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White House considering Mohamed El-Erian for Fed vice chair post: report

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 11:27

The White House is considering Mohamed El-Erian for the No. 2 job at the Federal Reserve, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal. El-Erian, the chief economic adviser at Allianz Global Advisers and is the former chief executive at PIMCO, is one of several candidates under consideration for the post, according to the report, which quotes a person familiar with the matter. The White House is also considering nominating Kansas banking regulator Michelle Bowman for another vacancy on the Fed board of governors.

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Dow skids nearly 170 points at its intraday low as stock-market slide gathers steam

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 10:17

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped firmly lower on Tuesday, adding to a recent downtrend in equity benchmarks as investors await updates on tax reform. The Dow was down about 130 points, or 0.5%, at 23,297, hitting a low of 23,271, or down 168 points at its lows of the session. The S&P 500 index slipped 0.5% at 2,572, while the Nasdaq Composite Index retreated 0.4% at 6,729. All three benchmarks opened in negative territory and were negative for the month of November. According to FactSet data, the Dow was off 0.3% in November, the S&P 500 was down 0.2%, while the Nasdaq was looking at a 0.1% decline over that period. November has traditionally been a period for stock market buying as professional investors set up their portfolios for 2018.

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U.S. stocks open lower as investors await clarity on taxes, watch central bankers

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 09:31

U.S. stocks traded lower at the open on Tuesday, as Wall Street looked to the latest developments in the Republican Party's efforts to reform U.S. tax policy. Central bankers were also in focus, with Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen joining her European and Japanese counterparts in a panel discussion that could offer clues into the path for interest rates. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.3%, or 66 points, to 23,374. The S&P 500 lost 8 points, or 0.3%, to 2,577. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 22 points, or 0.3%, to 6,736. Among specific stocks, Home Depot Inc. fell 1% after reporting its third-quarter results, while Dick's Sporting Goods Inc. sank 6.8% after giving a disappointing 2018 outlook.

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GameStop CEO J. Paul Raines to take medical leave

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 09:27

GameStop Corp. said Tuesday it has named Daniel DeMatteo as interim chief executive, replacing J. Paul Raines, who is seeking medical treatment after a reoccurrence of a previously disclosed illness. Raines had a cancerous tumor removed from his brain in 2014. DeMatteo, a co-founder of the company, has previously served as CEO and in other executive roles. Shares were flat premarket, but are down 36% in 2017, while the S&P 500 has gained 15%.

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Cohn says he's confident House will pass tax bill this week

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 09:05

Gary Cohn, the director of the White House National Economic Council, said Tuesday he's confident the House of Representatives will pass its tax-cut bill before members leave for a Thanksgiving break later this week. Speaking at a Wall Street Journal conference, Cohn also said he's assuming the Senate Finance Committee will pass its version of a tax bill this week. Cohn stuck to a year-end target for passing a tax bill, saying "We have to get taxes done this year." The administration's next priority after tax reform is an infrastructure bill, Cohn said.

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Hasbro-Mattel combination would create heightened negotiating power: Fitch

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 08:52

If Hasbro Inc. acquired Mattel Inc. , not only would it combine the two biggest toy companies in the world, it would enhance the unified company's negotiating power with retailers, according to Fitch Ratings. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. would continue to be the biggest customer with $2 billion in sales. At the end of fiscal 2016, Wal-Mart, Toys R Us and Target Corp. accounted for about 19%, 10% and 8% of combined sales, respectively. "These retailers are constantly encouraging high levels of competition among suppliers, demanding innovative new products and exclusive products, leading to price reductions, and product delivery with shorter lead times," wrote Fitch's consumer companies analyst Ellen Itskovitz in a note. "Fitch expects a merged entity would have improved negotiating power and can weather the complex retail landscape more effectively." Fitch also thinks the merger would bring together the strength in girls' toys that Mattel has with the boys' toys strength at Hasbro. Mattel shares are down 36% for the year so far, but up 20.7% for the week to date. Hasbro shares are up 24.5% for 2017 to date and up 5.9% for the week to date. The S&P 500 index is up 15.5% for 2017 so far.

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TJX shares sink after revenue, same-store sales miss

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 08:52

TJX Cos. shares sank 3.9% in Tuesday premarket trading after the off-price retailer reported third-quarter revenue and same-store sales that fell below consensus. Net income for the quarter totaled $641.4 million, or $1 per share, up from $549.8 million, or 83 cents per share, for the same period last year. The FactSet consensus was $1. Revenue was $8.76 billion, up from $8.29 billion last year and below the $8.86 billion FactSet estimate. Same-store sales were flat, below the FactSet consensus for 2.4% growth. TJX Chief Executive Ernie Herrman said the hurricanes and warm weather hurt results. The hurricanes had an estimated 3-cent EPS impact in the quarter. For the fourth quarter, TJX expects EPS in the range of $1.25 to $1.27 and adjusted EPS in the range of $1.14 to $1.16. Same-store sales growth is expected to be 1% to 2%. The FactSet estimate is for EPS of $1.27 and same-store sales growth of 2.7%. TJX shares are down 5.8% for the year so far while the S&P 500 index is up 15.5% for the period.

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Apple's stock in danger of 4th straight fall, but RBC sees multiple earnings 'tailwinds'

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 08:13

A sharp increase in Apple Inc.'s off-balance-sheet manufacturing and purchase commitments to a record $37.6 billion in fiscal 2017, up 31% from a year ago, potentially indicate a strong ramp for iPhone X, according to RBC Capital analyst Amit Daryanani. After an analysis of Apple's audited annual report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Daryanani said the 8% decline in warranty accruals was "logical" given the iPhone X delay; a slight decline in operating margins in the U.S. reflect carrier discounts on new phones; and the 31% rise in vendor nonreceivables reflect component purchases by Apple for manufacturing licensee partners and overall inventory on Apple's balance sheet. Daryanani reiterated his outperform rating and $190 stock-price target, citing "multiple tailwinds" for EPS growth, including higher average selling prices for iPhone X, improved gross margins and potential tax reform. The stock slipped 0.1% in premarket trade, which puts it on track for a fourth straight decline since it closed at a record $176.24 on Nov. 8. The stock has climbed 8.8% over the past three months, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 has rallied 6.9% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average has gained 6.6%.

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CVS Health announces plan to add 5,000 apprentices by 2022

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 08:09

CVS Health Corp. said Tuesday that it has set a goal of adding 5,000 apprentices by 2022. The new apprentice target coincides with the expansion of the program to seven new states, including Arizona, Hawaii, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. A total of 18 states participate. Registered apprenticeships provide training in pharmacy care, prescription benefit management and other fields. CVS Health launched its apprenticeship program in 2005 for pharmacy technicians. Through 2017, it has had more than 4,700 join. CVS shares are down 9.4% for the year to date while the S&P 500 index is up 15.5% for the period.

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Switch shares slide 5% premarket after guidance disappointed investors

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 07:52

Shares of data-center company Switch Inc. fell 5% in premarket trade Tuesday, extending late-session losses from Monday that came after its first quarterly earnings report since going public. Wells Fargo analyst Jennifer Fritzsche said it was a solid quarter, but investors may have been disappointed that the midpoint of its first revenue guidance implies a 0.7% sequential decline in fourth-quarter revenue. "We believe SWCH is being conservative in guidance and would anticipate the company to be toward the high-end of its revenue guidance targets," Fritzsche wrote in a note. "Our struggle with the name continues to be valuation driven." Switch stock is currently trading at about a 4 times premium to the average of data center REITs, she said. Wells Fargo has a market perform rating on the stock. J.P. Morgan analysts agreed that guidance was conservative, and said it was reiterating its overweight rating and $22 stock price target. The stock has gained 18% since going public at $17 and is up about 5% in the last month. The S&P 500 has gained 0.4% in the last month.

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Dick's Sporting Goods shares sink on weak 2018 outlook

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 07:48

Dick's Sporting Goods Inc. shares sank 2.4% in Tuesday premarket trading after the athletic retailer announced a preliminary 2018 earnings per share decline of about 20%. Net income for the quarter totaled $36.9 million, or 35 cents per share, down from $48.9 million, or 44 cents per share, for the same period last year. Adjusted EPS was 30 cents, beating the 26-cents FactSet consensus. Revenue totaled $1.94 billion, up from $1.81 billion and ahead of the $1.89 billion FactSet estimate. E-commerce sales increased about 16% during the quarter, accounting for 10.3% of total sales. Same-store sales fell 0.9%, ahead of the 2.7% decline FactSet forecast. The company plans to invest in its private brands, e-commerce and other areas, according to a statement from Chief Executive Edward Stack. "Given these investments, continued gross margin pressure and approximately flat comp sales, we expect earnings per diluted share to decline by as much as 20% in 2018," he said. For full-year 2017, the company now expects EPS in the range of $2.95 to $3.07, and adjusted EPS of $2.92 to $3.04. The previous guidance was for EPS of $2.85 to $3.05 and adjusted EPS of $2.80 to $3.00. For the fourth quarter, Dick's expects EPS in the range of $1.05 to $1.17 and adjusted EPS in the range of $1.12 to $1.24. The FactSet consensus is for full-year EPS of $2.87 and fourth-quarter EPS of $1.11. Dick's shares are down nearly 57% for the past year while the S&P 500 index is up 19.4% for the period.

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Loxo announces $400 mln Bayer cancer partnership

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 07:45

Loxo Oncology Inc. shares rose as much as 8% before declining nearly 3% in premarket trade on Tuesday after the company announced a $400 million partnership with Bayer AG to develop and commercialize two of its cancer therapies. Loxo is also eligible for up to $650 million in additional milestone payments for the two therapies, larotrectinib and LOXO-195; $25 million if a certain U.S. net sales level is met; tiered, double-digit royalties on net sales and up to $475 million in sales milestones. Under the agreement, Loxo will lead worldwide development activities and U.S. regulatory activities, while Bayer will lead regulatory activities outside the U.S. and global commercial activities, with the companies splitting global development costs and U.S. commercial costs and profits. Bayer will also book global revenues. Loxo shares have surged 12.4% over the last three months to $83.23, compared with a 4.8% rise in the S&P 500 and a 6.6% rise in the Dow Jones Industrial Average .

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YogaWorks acquires four Atlanta studios

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 07:16

YogaWorks Inc. said Tuesday that it has entered the Georgia market with the acquisition of four Infinity Yoga studios in Atlanta. This brings YogaWorks' total fleet to 66 locations. Infinity Yoga was founded in 2013. Current Infinity Yoga teachers and staff will remain on board, and the current schedule of classes and other events will continue as scheduled. Infinity Yoga will transition to the YogaWorks name in the coming months. YogaWorks shares are up 14.2% for the month so far, but down 33.6% for the last three months. The S&P 500 index is up nearly 5% for the last three months.

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Advanced Auto's stock rallies as profit beat offsets sales miss

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 07:00

Shares of Advanced Auto Parts Inc. rallied 3.3% in premarket trade Tuesday, after the auto parts seller beat third-quarter profit expectations, offsetting a sales miss. Net income for the quarter to Oct. 7 fell to $96.0 million, or $1.30 a share, from $113.8 million, or $1.54 a share, in the same period a year ago. Excluding non-recurring items, adjusted earnings per share came to $1.43, above the FactSet consensus of $1.21. Revenue fell to $2.18 billion from $2.25 billion, just below the FactSet consensus of $2.21 billion. Same-store sales fell 3.4%, compared with the FactSet consensus for a decline of 2.1%. The company affirmed its 2017 outlook for same-store sales to decline 3% to 1%. The stock had plunged 51.4% year to date through Monday, while the S&P 500 had climbed 15.5%.

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North Korean soldier braves gunfire, defects across DMZ to South

Mon, 11/13/2017 - 23:14

A North Korean soldier escaped a hail of gunfire from his own troops Tuesday during a daring defection across the Korean Demilitarized Zone. The soldier fled through the border village of Panmunjom and successfully made it into South Korea, according to news reports. He reportedly drove a vehicle toward the border until a wheel fell off, then ran the rest of the way, getting shot twice. He was brought to a South Korean hospital and is expected to survive. The defection came amid rising tensions on the Korean peninsula, and as the U.S. and South Korea held naval exercises off South Korea's east coast. Also Monday, an American man was reportedly arrested by South Korean troops after trying to cross the DMZ into North Korea.

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Investor Steve Jurvetson steps down amid sexual misconduct probe

Mon, 11/13/2017 - 18:21

Prominent Silicon Valley venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson has stepped down from the firm he co-founded, Draper Fisher Jurveston, reportedly following sexual harassment allegations. In a statement Monday, the company said Jurvetson was leaving by "mutual agreement," but did not disclose a reason. Recode reported his departure came after an internal investigation found he exhibited unacceptable behavior toward female entrepreneurs. In August, USA Today reported the company was investigating sexual harassment allegations against Jurvetson. In a tweet Monday, Jurvetson said: "I am leaving DFJ to focus on personal matters, including taking legal action against those whose false statements have defamed me." Jurvetson will also take a leave of absence from boards of Tesla Inc. and SpaceX, the Wall Street Journal reported.

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Wal-Mart to sell Lord & Taylor goods on Walmart.com

Mon, 11/13/2017 - 17:50

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said late Monday that department store Lord & Taylor will sell its goods on Walmart.com next year. The online store is expected to launch in spring of 2018, and "will introduce a specialized online experience offering premium fashion brands directly from the Lord & Taylor flagship," Wal-Mart said. The goal is to create "a premium fashion destination on Walmart.com," as more customers on the company's site are searching for higher-end items, said Denise Incandela, head of fashion at Walmart U.S. eCommerce, in a press release. Lord & Taylor is owned by Canadian retailer HBC , which also owns Hudson's Bay and Saks Fifth Avenue stores. Wal-Mart shares rose 0.3% in after-hours trading after ending the regular session up 0.1%.

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Denali Therapeutics seeks up to $100 million in initial public offering

Mon, 11/13/2017 - 17:19

Denali Therapeutics Inc. hopes to raise up to $100 million in an initial public offering, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission late Monday. A $100 million IPO listing is usually a placeholder and is subject to change. The South San Francisco, Calif.-based biotech company specializes in developing treatments for neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. With no revenue, the company reported a net loss of $86.7 million, or $3.37 a share in 2016. Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, J.P. Morgan and Evercore ISI are listed as underwriters for the offering. The company plans to list its ticker as "DNLI" on the Nasdaq.

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