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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 23, 2018

Senate confirmation hearing for Trump's VA nominee delayed: report
Senators have delayed the confirmation hearing for Ronny Jackson, President Donald Trump's nominee to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Washington Post reported Monday night. The Post said both Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee had raised concerns about his qualifications and management of the White House medical staff. Separately, CNN reported members of the committee had been told of allegations of improper conduct in his past. "I can tell you we're vetting out Jackson," Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., told the Post. "I can't get into specifics, but we're doing our job to make sure he's fit for the job." Jackson's confirmation hearing had been scheduled for Wednesday. He is a Navy admiral and has been the physician to the president since 2013.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 23, 2018

Former President George H.W. Bush hospitalized a day after wife's funeral
Former President George H.W. Bush was hospitalized Sunday, a day after the funeral for his wife, Barbara. According to a statement from his office, Bush, 93, was admitted to a Houston hospital "after contracting an infection that spread to his blood. He is responding to treatments and appears to be recovering." Barbara Bush died April 17 at the age of 92, and was laid to rest Saturday in Houston. The two were married for 73 years.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 23, 2018

Former President George H.W. Bush hospitalized days after wife's funeral
Former President George H.W. Bush was hospitalized Monday, two days after the funeral for his wife, Barbara. According to a statement from his office, Bush, 93, was admitted to a Houston hospital "after contracting an infection that spread to his blood. He is responding to treatments and appears to be recovering." Barbara Bush died April 17 at the age of 92, and was laid to rest Saturday in Houston. The two were married for 73 years.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 23, 2018

Assured Guaranty shares drop as Einhorn recommends short
Assured Guaranty Ltd. shares fell in the extended session late Monday after Greenlight Capital's David Einhorn recommended a short position against the bond insurer. Assured Guaranty shares fell 4.8% after hours, following a 2.1% decline to close at $35.93 in the regular session. At the Sohn Investment Conference on Monday, Einhorn said that Assured Guaranty has a lot of exposure to Puerto Rico bonds, which continue to deteriorate, and that the company also faces problems with its exposure to bonds in Illinois and New Jersey.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 23, 2018

Rand Paul says he'll support Mike Pompeo for secretary of state
Sen. Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican, said Monday he would back CIA Director Mike Pompeo to be secretary of state after getting what he said were assurances about Iraq and Afghanistan. Paul had previously opposed Pompeo's nomination. He made his announcement just ahead of a vote on Pompeo's nomination in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Enough senators have announced support for Pompeo to be confirmed by the full Senate.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 23, 2018

Ameriprise beats earnings expectations, raises dividend
Shares of Ameriprise Financial Inc. rose more than 3% late Monday after the company beat first-quarter earnings expectations and increased its dividend. Ameriprise said it earned $594 million, or $3.91 a share, in the quarter, compared with $403 million, or $2.52 a share, in the year-ago period. Sales rose 8% to $3.20 billion, mostly thanks to "strong" sales growth in the company's advice & wealth management business, the company said. Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected Ameriprise to earn $3.31 a share on sales of $3.08 billion in the quarter. The company raised its quarterly dividend by 8% to 90 cents a share, the 11th increase in the past nine years. Ameriprise stock ended the regular session up 1.3%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 23, 2018

Whirlpool shares down 3% after earnings miss, worse-than-expected outlook
Shares of Whirlpool Corp. lost 3% late Monday after the appliances maker reported first-quarter earnings and sales below expectations and said it expects pressure this year from lower sales and increased costs. Whirlpool said it earned $94 million, or $1.30 a share, in the quarter, compared with $153 million, or $2.01 a share, in the year-ago period. Sales rose to $4.91 billion, compared with $4.78 billion a year ago. Analysts polled by FactSet had expected earnings of $2.51 a share on sales of $4.95 billion. Whirlpool said it expects GAAP profit between $12.30 a share to $13.30 a share in 2018, as "favorable product price/mix is expected to be partially offset by lower global revenue growth and increased raw material inflation." The analysts surveyed by FactSet expect 2018 GAAP earnings of $13.68 a share. In the same statement, Whirlpool said it will increase its quarterly divided by 4.5%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 23, 2018

Carvana to sell 6 million shares in follow-on offering, releases preliminary numbers
Shares of Carvana Co. fell nearly 5% late Monday after the company, which operates a platform for buying used cars online, said it wants to sell 6 million shares in a follow-on offer. Additionally, certain stockholders are proposing to sell 4 million shares, and a selling stockholder has granted the underwriters the right to buy up to 1.5 million shares, the company said. Wells Fargo, Citigroup, and Deutsche Bank are the book runners. In a separate press release, Carvana released preliminary results for its first quarter, saying it expects to have sold about 18,450 vehicles, compared with 8,334 sold in the first quarter of 2017. The increase in retail cars sold "was driven in part by increased penetration in existing markets, as well as Carvana's business participating in 56 markets as of March 31, 2018 from 23 markets as of March 31, 2017," the company said in the statement. Net sales and operating revenues are to be about $360 million, compared with $159.1 million for the year-ago period, Carvana said. Analysts polled by FactSet expect about 18,000 vehicles sold and sales around $343 million in the quarter. Carvana shares ended the regular trading session up 2%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 23, 2018

Sanmina shares skyrocket 15% after company beats earnings
Sanmina Corp. shares rose more than 15% late Monday after the electronics maker reported fiscal 2018 second-quarter profit and sales above Wall Street expectations. Sanmina said it earned $24.6 million, or 33 cents a share, in the quarter, compared with $31.7 million, or 41 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Adjusted for one-time items, Sanmina earned $37 million, or 50 cents a share, compared with $59.1 million, or 76 cents a share, a year ago. Sales reached $1.68 billion, matching sales for the same period of fiscal 2017. Analysts polled by FactSet had expected adjusted earnings of 45 cents a share on sales of $1.64 billion. Sanmina had ended the regular trading session up 0.4%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 23, 2018

Pfeffer Capital declares bitcoin 1st viable replacement for gold at Sohn
Speaking at the 23rd annual Sohn Investment Conference, John Pfeffer, partner at Pfeffer Capital said bitcoin is the first viable candidate to replace gold, saying its better "on every front." Pfeffer joins the Winklevoss twins as the latest prominent figure promoting bitcoin as the next global store of wealth. While championing bitcoin, Pfeffer said that the majority of crypto assets are bad bets. Pfeffer finished by saying that if bitcoin displaces 25% of foreign reserves it would give the network a value of $6.4 trillion. The price of a single bitcoin reached a six-week high Saturday, trading above $9,000.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 23, 2018

TD Ameritrade shares slip after earnings miss
TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. shares declined in the extended session Monday after the broker's earnings fell short of Wall Street estimates. TD Ameritrade shares slipped 2% after hours, following a less than 0.1% decline to close at $61.20 during regular trading. The company reported fiscal second-quarter net income of $271 million, or 48 cents a share, compared with $214 million, or 40 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Adjusted earnings were 73 cents a share. Revenue rose to $1.42 billion from $904 million in the year-ago period. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had estimated 74 cents a share on revenue of $1.38 billion.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 23, 2018

Alphabet stock rises after earnings beat
Alphabet Inc. shares rose 2.5% in the extended session Monday after the company topped analyst estimates. Alphabet stock was down a fraction to $1,073.44 during the regular session. The company reported first-quarter net income of $9.4 billion, or $13.33 a share, compared with $5.43 billion, or $7.73 a share, in the year-ago period. The search giant logged a $3.03 billion gain in its other income and expenses line item due to investments that it holds that it now must report on its financial statements. Excluding that gain, Alphabet logged earnings of $9.93 a share. Revenue rose to $31.15 billion from $24.75 billion in the year-ago period and traffic acquisition costs were $6.29 billion. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had estimated $9.28 a share on revenue of $24.26 billion excluding traffic acquisition costs. For the second quarter, analysts model earnings of $9.90 a share on revenue of $25.25 billion, excluding TAC. Alphabet class A stock has gained 25% in the past year, with the S&P 500 index rising 14%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 23, 2018

Dow marks longest losing skid in 7 weeks as government bond yields hover near 3%
The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Monday finished in negative territory for a fourth straight session, marking its longest losing trend since early March, as Wall Street wrestled with rising government bond yields. The Dow closed off about 14 points, or less than 0.1%, at 24,448. The four declines in a row represent the lengthiest downdraft for the blue-chip gauge since a similar period ended March 2, according to FactSet data. The S&P 500 index , meanwhile, closed virtually unchanged at 2,670, while the Nasdaq Composite Index finished the session down 0.3% at 7,128. The advance in U.S. interest rates, notably the 10-year Treasury note yield to near 3% , has come as traders increasingly start to price in four interest-rate hikes in 2018 from the Federal Reserve, rather than the three signaled by policy makers. Higher rates translate into increased borrowing costs for U.S. corporations and the level at around 3% is viewed as a threshold at which bonds can compete with investor appetite for other investments, like stocks, market participants said. In corporate news, shares of Box Inc. surged by nearly 11% after Venture capitalist, Chamath Palihapitiya, said shares of the cloud-storage company had room to run higher and that the company would benefit from advancements in artificial intelligence. Separately, shares of Alcoa Corp slumped 12% as the Treasury Department said it has extended its wind-down period for dealing with Russian company Rusal, a major industrial metals mining company.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 23, 2018

Dow drops toward just the second 4-day losing streak in 7 months
The Dow Jones Industrial Average's 93-point drop in afternoon trade put it on track for a fourth-straight loss, which would be the longest losing streak since the four-day stretch ending May 2. It would also be just the second four-day losing streak in seven months. The Dow has lost 417 points during the current streak, compared with the 1,171-point drop during the streak ending March and the 128-point loss during the 4-day streak ending Sept. 26. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite are both down for just a third-straight session.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 23, 2018

Nashville police say Waffle House shooting suspect is in custody
The Nashville, Tenn., police said Monday that Travis Reinking, the suspect in a quadruple homicide at a Waffle House restaurant on Sunday, is now in custody, according to a tweet. The 29-year-old is believed to have shot four people before another customer wrestled his gun away and he fled. Reinking is from central Illinois and has a history of mental problems, according to media reports. He was wearing nothing apart from a green jacket when he started shooting, and fled the scene wearing no clothing.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 23, 2018

White van injures several pedestrians on busy Toronto street, driver arrested
Toronto police said Monday that a white van has injured several pedestrians on a busy street in the Yonge Street and Finch Avenue area of the city, CBC News reported. The van and driver then fled the scene, the Canadian broadcaster reported, but police later said it had been found and the driver has been arrested. Police said the incident had injured eight to 10 people, but paramedics said the number was up to five.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 23, 2018

Oil gives up earlier losses, turns higher ahead of Nymex settlement
Oil futures gave up earlier losses Monday to turn higher ahead of the settlement on the New York Mercantile Exchange. "The fear of geopolitical risk, and the reality that supply will tighten again this week, brought the market back," said Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at Price Futures Group. Saleh al-Sammad, political leader of the Houthi rebels in Yemen was killed in Saudi-led air strikes, Al Jazeera reported, citing the Houthi-run Al-Masirah TV network. June West Texas Intermediate crude rose 14 cents, or 0.2%, to trade at $68.54 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It traded as $67.14 Monday, pressured by strength in the U.S. dollar and expectations for continued growth in U.S. crude production.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 23, 2018

Merck's stock surges to lead Dow's gainers after Goldman turns bullish
Shares of Merck & Co. Inc. ran up $1.61, or 2.7%, to a near three-month high in afternoon trade Monday, enough to pace the Dow Jones Industrial Average's gainers, after Goldman Sachs turned bullish on the drugmaker, citing the success of its blockbuster cancer drug Keytruda. The price gain was adding about 11 points to the price of the Dow, which was up 3 points. Analyst Jami Rubin raised her rating to buy, added the shares to Americas Conviction List and boosted her stock price target to $73 from $63. Rubin had previously had a neutral rating on Merck for at least the past three years. "We believe the narrative for this company is quickly changing with the success of Keytruda," which she believes has the potential to be a $16 billion asset by 2025, Rubin wrote in a note to clients. She said Keytruda could drive a "significant shift" in product mix from a large primary care to a specialty biopharmaceutical company. Merck's stock has climbed 7.4% year to date, while the SPDR Health Care Select Sector ETF has slipped 0.2% and the Dow has lost 1.1%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 23, 2018

Box 's stock on track for biggest daily gain since 2015 IPO after Palihapitiya call
Shares of Box Inc. jumped the most since making its debut as a publicly traded company after Social Capital's Chamath Palihapitiya made a bullish call on the company. Palihapitiya, speaking at the 23rd annual Sohn Investment Conference, makes the argument that Box shares are incredibly cheap, with low churn and a big margin of safety. But specifically, he said the company could profit the most among its peers from growth in artificial intelligence, setting the cloud-storage outfit, run by CEO Aaron Levie, up to be "extremely valuable." The entrepreneur and former Facebook Inc. executive sees the possibility for Box to increase by 10 times over the next decade. Most recently, shares of Box were trading nearly 10% higher (and were up about 14% at its intraday peak, which would represent its largest daily gain since it went public in late January of 2015). The company's shares have gained 8.3% so far in 2018, compared with the S&P 500 index which is flat year to date, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average , which is down about 1% so far this year.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 23, 2018

Gundlach recommends investing exchange-traded XOP, shorting Facebook
Bond guru Jeffrey Gundlach of DoubleLine Capital offered his trade ideas at the Sohn Investment Conference, suggesting investors short Facebook Inc.'s stock while going long on energy stocks in a pair trade. He advised investors to plow money into the SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Exploration and Production exchange-trade fund , which trades at $38.9 per share. He said the energy sector would outperform the broad market S&P 500 going into a recession. Gundlach also criticized Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's tepid apology. When he heard Facebook had 2.2 billion users, he said he heard "2.2 billion compliance breaches." Facebook is currently trading at $167 a share, up 4.6% in April, but down 5.3% for this year.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 23, 2018

Donnelly becomes crucial third Democrat to back Pompeo for secretary of state
Sen. Joe Donnelly, an Indiana Democrat, said Monday he will vote for Mike Pompeo to become secretary of state. Donnelly becomes the third Democrat, after North Dakota's Heidi Heitkamp and West Virginia's Joe Manchin, to say they would back President Donald Trump's nominee. Pompeo is poised to be rejected by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in a vote late Monday, but Republicans are expected to bring his nomination to the Senate floor. Republicans needed one Democrat to vote for Pompeo on the floor since GOP Sen. Rand Paul has said he'll vote no and Sen. John McCain is absent.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 23, 2018

Flotek's stock plunges to pace NYSE decliners after downbeat revenue outlook
Shares of Flotek Industries Inc. plunged 37.5% in active afternoon trade Monday to pace the NYSE's decliners, putting them on track to close at a 7 1/2-year low, after the chemical company provided a downbeat first-quarter outlook. Volume spiked up to 5.4 million shares, compared with a full-day average of less than 1 million shares. The Houston-based company, which is scheduled to report results on May 9, said it expects revenue of $59 million to $62 million, down from $80.0 million in the same period a year ago. The one analyst that provided an estimate expected revenue of $73.4 million. "At the start of the quarter, our revenues were impacted by weather-related delays in activity," said Chief Executive John Chisholm. "While we continued to focus on fixed cost reductions, our efforts did not keep pace with revenue declines." The stock is on track to close below the $4 mark for the first time since December 2010. It has now lost 15.2% year to date, while the SPDR Materials Select Sector ETF has slipped 2.7% and the S&P 500 is little changed.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 23, 2018

SIG cuts Wells Fargo price targets in the wake of billion-dollar fine
SIG analyst Jack Micenko on Monday cut his estimates for per-share earnings for Wells Fargo & Co. in the wake of the Friday announcement that the bank would pay $1 billion in fines after years of customer misdeeds. For FY 2018, Micenko now expects EPS of $4.59, down from earlier forecasts of $4.83, while for FY 2019, he sees EPS of $5.24, versus $5.34 earlier. But Micenko upped his stock price target to $58 from $54, noting that multiples "should begin showing signs of normalization in time absent further negative news." Analysts have used several of Wells' recent earnings calls to press management on whether any "further negative news" should be expected, with little luck. Wells shares have lost 13% for the year to date, while the S&P 500 is roughly flat.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 23, 2018

Sohn: Half Sky Capital's Li Ran's bullish on GrubHub
Li Ran of Half Sky Capital Monday afternoon expressed optimism about GrubHub Inc. , saying that restaurant orders in major cities are likely to accelerate over the next 12 months, with the company the beneficiary, according to the fund's own survey. Ran, the CIO at Half Sky, says a generous tipping culture in the U.S. and a relatively high-barrier to entry for competitors support a bullish outlook for the restaurant-delivery company. Grubhub had 14.5 million active diners producing $3.8 billion in gross orders, which by her estimate, could rise to $16 billion by 2022. Shares of GrubHub were up 1.3% in recent trade, and have climbed 43% so far this year, outstripping the broader market. The S&P 500 index is flat in the first four months of the year, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average [: DJIA] is down about 1% in 2018. Ran's comments echo those of other analysts, including Mizuho, which said it expects "GrubHub to emerge as the primary winner in online delivery over the next decade," in a late-January note.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 23, 2018

John Khoury of Long Pond Capital sees 60% upside in D.R. Horton's stock
John Khoury of Long Pond Capital on Monday said he sees upside potential for home builder D.R. Horton of 60%. Kicking off the 23rd annual Sohn Investment Conference, a popular ideas confab, Khoury said D.R. Horton is transforming into a pure-play manufacturer of entry-level homes, which should ensure a higher premium for its shares, he says, noting that the company has moved away from its land-related business. Higher cash flow from home sales has allowed for debt reduction, Khoury makes the case. Looking ahead, Khoury estimates that future demand will be high because existing-home inventory is low, while there are almost 2 million more people in their mid to late 20s than early to mid-30s, looking to buy. Shares of the home builder were up 0.8% in recent trade, but have been down 15.1% so far in 2016, according to FactSet data. By comparison, the S&P 500 index is flat for 2018, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 1.1% in the first four months of the year.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 23, 2018

Acacia is the 'safest bet in semi/optical land' and could get acquired, says William Blair
Shares of Acacia Communications Inc. are up 0.5% in Monday trading after William Blair analyst Dmitry Netis called it "the safest bet in semi/optical land" and suggested that the company could get acquired. Acacia shares plummeted last week after the U.S. banned American companies from selling components to Chinese smartphone maker ZTE. "While it could likely take several quarters for the company to regain its footing, prove it is ready to tackle serious geopolitical issue surrounding it like a mature public company (with respect to future profitability and stock buybacks), and rid itself of the poor investor sentiment, we believe the likelihood of multiple expansion or an acquisition remains high," Netis wrote. He has an outperform rating on the stock. Acacia shares are down 47% over the past 12 months, while the S&P 500 is up 14%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 23, 2018

Alcoa's stock plunges toward biggest selloff in 9 years after government's decision on Russia's Rusal
Shares of aluminum producer Alcoa Corp. tumbled 12.5% in midday trade Monday, putting them on track for the biggest one-day selloff in nine years, after the U.S. extended the deadline for dealing with United Co. Rusal. The Russia-based aluminum giant is controlled by Oleg Deripaska, who was sanctioned for his involvement in U.S. elections meddling. Trading volume has ballooned to 8.6 million shares, which is nearly double the full-day average. Alcoa's stock is on track for the biggest percentage decline since it plunged 14.2% on March 30, 2009. The stock has lost 2.5% year to date, while the S&P 500 has gained less than 0.1%. Among other aluminum companies, Century Aluminum Co.'s stock slumped 3.1% in midday trade and Kaiser Aluminum Corp. shares shed 1.8%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 23, 2018

Construction Partners sets terms of IPO to raise
Construction Partners Inc. set terms of its initial public offering Monday, in which the Alabama-based civil infrastructure company expects to raise up to $114.75 million and selling shareholders could raise up to $76.50 million. The company said it will not receive proceeds from shares sold by shareholders. Construction Partners is offering 6.75 million Class A common shares in the IPO, which is expected to price between $15 and $17 a share, while selling shareholders are offering 4.50 million shares. The selling shareholders have granted the underwriters of the offering options to buy up to an additional 1.69 million shares. The company applied to have its shares listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol "Road." Baird, Raymond James and Stephens are the lead underwriters. For the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2017, the company had net income of $26.0 million, or 63 cents a share, up from $22.0 million, or 51 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. Revenue rose to $568.2 million from $542.3 million. The company is going public at a time the Renaissance IPO ETF has slipped 0.1% over the past three months and the S&P 500 has lost 5.7%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 23, 2018

Apple's Shazam acquisition subject to 'in-depth investigation' by European regulators
The European Commission has begun an "in depth investigation" into Apple Inc.'s plans to acquire music-recognition service Shazam, the commission said in a press release Monday. "The way people listen to music has changed significantly in recent years, with more and more Europeans using music streaming services," said commissioner Margrethe Vestager in the release. "Our investigation aims to ensure that music fans will continue to enjoy attractive music streaming offers and won't face less choice as a result of this proposed merger." Vestager is in charge of policy that pertains to issues of competition, according to the release. Concerns stem from "Shazam's strong market position in the music recognition apps market and Apple's market position in the music streaming services market." The commission worries about Apple's access to "commercially sensitive data" about what people are listening to on rival apps, which Apple might then be able to use to target those users and bring them over to Apple Music. Apple shares are up 0.5% in Monday morning trading, while Spotify Technology SA shares are down 0.3% and Pandora Media Inc. shares are up 0.6%. The S&P 500 has gained 0.2% in Monday's session, as has the Dow Jones Industrial Average , of which Apple is a component.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 23, 2018

Dow touches session lows as Goldman slices 20 points from blue chips in early action
The Dow Jones Industrial Average early Monday was under selling pressure, with a decline in shares of Goldman Sachs Group Inc., exacting the most pressure among the benchmark's 30 components. The Dow was most recently off 40 points, or 0.2%, at 24,415. The benchmark was down by as many as 62 points, with shares of Goldman contributing about 20 points, down 1.2%, or $3.18, at $248.78. A $1 swing in any one of the Dow's components equates to a 6.89-point move in the average. Goldman's decline comes even as the benchmark 10-year Treasury note climbed toward a psychologically significant level around 3% for the first time since 2014. Rising yields should underpin a bank's business model of borrowing over a longer term and paying depositors on a shorter term. Elsewhere, the S&P 500 index was trading flat at 2,670, while the Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.1% at 7,156. All three benchmarks have been swinging in and out of positive territory to start the week.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 23, 2018

IRobot stock falls after report that Amazon is working on home robots
Shares of iRobot Corp. are down 5.5% after Bloomberg reported that Amazon.com Inc. was working on building robots for the home. The robot project is code-named Vesta after the Roman goddess of the home, according to several people familiar with the company's plans. Bloomberg said that it was "unclear what tasks an Amazon robot might perform" but that those familiar with the project speculated that the robot could be "a sort of mobile Alexa." Shares of iRobot, which makes the Roomba vacuum, are down 11% over the past 12 months. The company delivered a weak outlook in February. Amazon shares are up 70% and the S&P 500 is up 14%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 23, 2018

Walmart close to $12 billion deal for India's Flipkart after earlier Amazon chatter: Bloomberg
Walmart Inc. is close to buying a majority stake of 60% to 80% in one of India's leading e-commerce companies, Flipkart, according to Bloomberg, citing people close to the matter. Flipkart is valued at about $20 billion. Investors in Flipkart Online Services Pvt are now behind the deal after earlier discussions about an Amazon.com Inc. deal, the report says. Amazon has been focused on growing its presence in India, with Chief Executive Jeff Bezos noting that there are now 40 million local products on the site in the shareholder's letter published Wednesday. Bloomberg says Walmart and Flipkart are still working out the details of the deal, including whether Flipkart's founders will continue to lead the business. Walmart shares are down 12.4% for the year so far, Amazon's shares are up 31.5% for the period, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average is down about 1% for 2018 to date.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 23, 2018

Dow opens higher, tries to power passed angst about bond yields flirting with a key threshold
U.S. stock benchmarks opened slightly higher on Monday, but investors were focused on climbing government bond yields and a wave of corporate results from technology companies this week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose nearly 50 points, or 0.2%, at 24,521, the S&P 500 index advanced 0.2% at 2,675, while the Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 0.3% at 7,168. The 10-year Treasury yield was last at 2.967% after settling at 2.949% late Friday in New York, the highest afternoon level since January 2014. Yields rise as bond prices fall. Climbing yields translate into greater costs for U.S. corporations, unless underpinned by a commensurately growing economy. Meanwhile, Halliburton Co. shares fell even after swinging to a profit in the first quarter, with crude-oil prices falling sharply in early trade Monday, putting pressure on energy stocks . Looking ahead, some 180 companies are expected to report earnings this week, marking the busiest period for corporate results this season.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 23, 2018

Pier 1's stock extends plunge after analyst recommends 'exit the shares now'
Shares of Pier 1 Imports Inc. slumped 1.5% toward an 8 1/2-month low in premarket trade Monday, after Raymond James turned bearish on the specialty home products retailer, citing the lack of anything "revolutionary" in the company's turnaround plan. Analyst Budd Bugatch cut his rating to underperform, after being at market perform since September 2016. Bugatch acknowledged that he was "a bit late" with the downgrade, but was giving relatively new Chief Executive Alasdair James time to make the case for the turnaround plan, but given the lack of progress, he can not longer recommend investors holding onto the shares while management negotiates its "year of investment" in fiscal 2019, and its "year of transition" in 2020 to finally get to expected growth in 2021. "Accordingly, we are forced to recommend clients exit the shares now," Bugatch wrote in a note to clients. The stock had plummeted 26% over the past three sessions, to close Friday at the lowest level since September 2009, after the company announced a 3-year plan to address "weaknesses" in its business. The stock had tumbled 36.2% year to date through Friday, while the SPDR S&P Retail ETF had lost 2.7% and the S&P 500 had eased 0.1%.

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Apr 23, 2018

McDermott still committed to CB&I deal, confirms rejection of Subsea 7 buyout bid
McDermott International Inc. confirmed that it had rejected an unsolicited buyout bid by Norway-based Subsea 7 S.A. , adding that it remains "fully committed" to completing the deal to buy Chicago Bridge & Iron as planned. The engineering and construction company for the energy industry confirmed that Subsea's buyout bid of $7 a share, which was 15.7% above Friday's closing price of $6.05, was subject to the termination of the CB&I merger deal. McDermott said after it "carefully reviewed and considered" the Subsea 7 bid, it still believes the CB&I deal, which is expected to close in May 2018, is in the best interest of McDermott shareholders. McDermott's stock ran up 18.2% in premarket trade, while CB&I shares tumbled 13.6%. Over the past three months, McDermott's stock has plunged 23.0% while the S&P 500 has lost 6.0%.

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Apr 23, 2018

Treasury extends wind-down period for dealing with aluminum giant Rusal
The U.S. Treasury said it's extended its wind-down period for dealing with Rusal , the aluminum giant controlled by Oleg Deripaska, who was sanctioned for his involvement in U.S. elections meddling, to Oct. 23. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said it's extended the maintenance and wind-down period while it considers Rusal's petition for delisting from the sanctions. In a frequently asked questions notice, "the path for the United States to provide sanctions relief is through divestment and relinquishment of control of Rusal by Oleg Deripaska."

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Apr 23, 2018

Akorn files complaint against Fresenius for ending merger deal
Akorn Inc. said Monday it has filed a complaint against Fresenius SE & Co. in a Delaware court, asking that Germany-based Fresenius be required to fulfill its obligations to complete its buyout agreement. Earlier, Fresenius said it was ending the deal to buy the generic drug maker, following an investigation into possible violations of Food and Drug Administration data-integrity requirements, which Akorn responded by saying it "categorically" disagreed with the decision. In the filing with the Delaware court, Akorn said the attempt to end the merger is a breach of the agreement without merit. "The investigation is not a condition to closing and the only remaining condition is approval from the Federal Trade Commission," the company said in the filing. "We intend to vigorously enforce our rights, and Fresenius' obligations, under our binding merger agreement." Akorn's stock tumbled 33% in premarket trade. It has shed 40.6% over the past three months, while the S&P 500 has lost 6.0%.

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Apr 23, 2018

Prothena shares plummet 60% on discontinued drug
Prothena Corp. PLC shares plummeted 60% in premarket trade Monday after the company said it is discontinuing development of AL amyloidosis therapy NEOD00, the most advanced therapy in its pipeline. The decision was made at the recommendation of an independent data monitoring committee, which reviewed a futility analysis of a phase 3 trial, Prothena said. In addition, a phase 2b study didn't meet its primary or secondary endpoints. The decision "comes as an early negative surprise," said RBC Capital Markets analyst Kennen MacKay. The company's only other drug in clinical trials is intended for Parkinson's disease and is currently in phase 2 trials. Prothena shares have dropped 17% over the last three months to $36.84, compared with a nearly 6% drop in the S&P 500 .

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Apr 23, 2018

Sears shares jump after Eddie Lampert's hedge fund recommends sale of Kenmore, other assets
Sears Holding Corp. shares are up 12.6% in Monday premarket trading after an investor in the struggling retailer, ESL Investments Inc., whose chief executive, Eddie Lampert, is also the CEO of Sears, recommended the partial or complete sale of a number of assets, including the Kenmore brand, the Sears Home Improvement business, and the PartsDirect business. The two latter assets are part of the Sears Home Services division. ESL is one of the company's primary lenders. The ESL Investments letter says it is willing to place a bid to acquire the Sears Home Services division and PartsDirect at an enterprise value $500 million. ESL would also be willing to purchase some of Sears' real estate, including the assumption of $1.2 billion in debt obligations, in order to lease it back to the stores for continued operation. Lampert and Kunal Kamlani, president of ESL Investments and a director on Sears' board, said they will not participate in any negotiations or discussions on behalf of the company. Sears shares are down 77.5% for the past year while the S&P 500 index is up 13.7% for the period.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 23, 2018

Exxon Mobil's stock gains after Raymond James upgrade
Shares of Exxon Mobil Corp. edged up 0.2% in premarket trade Monday, after the oil and gas giant was upgraded at Raymond James, which said the bear case has essentially run its course as oil prices approach cycle highs. Analyst Pavel Molchanov raised his rating to market perform, after being at underperform the past five months. With its production and expansion troubles in the "rearview mirror," and its dividend yield near record levels, Molchanov said "there is a realistic chance" share repurchases will be reinstated in the near future. Exxon's dividend yield based on Friday's stock closing price of $79.00 was 3.90%, above SPDR Energy Select Sector's yield of 3.07% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average's implied yield of 2.17%, according to FactSet. Separately, Molchanov said his 2018 forecast for oil prices was rising to $68 a barrel for West Texas Intermediate from $65 a barrel. Exxon's stock has lost 5.6% year to date through Friday, while the SPDR energy ETF has gained 1.4% and the Dow has lost 1.0%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 23, 2018

Newell Brands' stock rallies after agreement with Starboard ends proxy contest
Shares of Newell Brands Inc. rallied 3.3% in premarket trade Monday, after the consumer products company said it agreed to appoint two directors nominated by activist investor Starboard Value LP, to end the current proxy contest. Newell said it will also nominate another board member from Starboard's slate. As part of the agreement, Andrew Langham will step down from the board, effective immediately, and David Atchison will not stand for election. The two new appointees are Gerardo Lopez and Robert Steele, and the intended nomination is for Bridget Ryan. "This agreement will enable the company to now focus exclusively on the execution of our transformation plans and our efforts to strengthen our financial and operational performance," said Chief Executive Michael Polk. "We have listened to and agreed with our shareholders' desire to see this campaign reach a constructive resolution." The stock had tumbled 14.4% year to date through Friday, while the S&P 500 had eased 0.1%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 23, 2018

Verizon, AT&T collusion probe makes Sprint/T-Mobile deal 'a little less likely," says J.P. Morgan
J.P. Morgan analyst Philip Cusick recently weighed in on reports that AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. are the subject of a Justice Department probe into whether the companies colluded to make it harder for customers to switch carriers even with eSIM technology. "While the DoJ and IRS have brought other probes against fixed and wireless providers in the past, we have never seen a substantial impact from those and would be surprised to see a painful outcome for carriers in this one," he wrote. "However, it is worth noting that, while we see the wireless industry as highly competitive, a DoJ view that carriers are colluding could mean that a potential Sprint T-Mobile merger would face higher scrutiny, making us somewhat less optimistic about that deal." Cusick has a neutral rating on Sprint's stock and an overweight rating on T-Mobile's. Sprint shares are down 29% over the past 12 months, while T-Mobile's is down 3% and the S&P 500 is up 14%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 23, 2018

Pfizer says FDA failed to approve Herceptin biosimilar
Pfizer Inc. said early Monday that the Food and Drug Administration failed to approve its trastuzumab biosimilar, intended as a lower-cost version of Roche's cancer drug Herceptin. The FDA asked for more technical information and not for safety or clinical data information, Pfizer said. The company said it plans to work with the FDA to address the issue. Roche's Herceptin is used to treat breast cancer along with cancers of the stomach and gastroesophageal junction; the FDA approved Mylan's Herceptin biosimilar in December. Pfizer shares declined 0.14% in Monday premarket trade. Company shares have declined 0.5% over the last three months, compared with a 6% drop in the S&P 500 .

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 23, 2018

Netflix to tap high-yield bond market with $1.5 billion deal
Netflix Inc. said Monday it is planning to tap the high-yield bond market with a $1.5 billion deal. The company said it will use the proceeds for general corporate purposes, including content acquisition, production and development, capex, investments, working capital and potential acquisitions and strategic deals. The company's most active bonds, the 4.875% notes that mature in April of 2028, last traded at 96.50 cents on the dollar to yield 5.332%, or at a yield spread of 239 basis points over Treasurys, according to trading platform MarketAxess. Shares were slightly higher premarket and have gained 129% in the last 12 months, while the S&P 500 has gained 14%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 23, 2018

PSE&G's plan to replace gas pipes to increase residential bills 2%, add 3,200 jobs
Public Service Electric and Gas Co. said Monday it settled with New Jersey Board of Public Utilities for a $1.875 billion plan to replace gas pipes, which will increase residential customer bills by less than 2%, or about $17 a year. PSE&G said the five-year plan, which will enable the utility to replace 875 million of aging cast iron and unprotected steel gas pipes, is expected to create about 3,200 jobs. The company said the steel pipes will be replaced with plastic piping, which are less likely to leak and release methane gas. "Since 2009, residential gas heating bills are down about 50 percent because of the lower cost of natural gas supply," PSE&G said in a statement. "Continued low gas prices make this the ideal time to accelerate this work." PSE&G's stock, which was still inactive in premarket trade, has lost 3.9% year to date, while the SPDR Utilities Select Sector ETF has lost 4.5% and the S&P 500 has eased 0.1%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 23, 2018

Kimberly-Clark earnings beat, as company offers higher sales guidance
Kimberly-Clark [S:kmb] on Monday reported earnings that slightly edged forecasts even as the company announced new restructuring plans. Sales totaled $4.7 billion in the quarter, up 5% compared to a year ago, and above the FactSet consensus of $4.6 billion. Per-share earnings were 26 cents, versus $1.57 in the year-ago period, while adjusted EPS of $1.71 beat the consensus of $1.69. In the first quarter, the company booked $577 million of restructuring charges, and said it expects $1.7-1.9 billion total of such expenses through 2020. The company guided full-year sales higher, to a 2%-3% increase, up from the 1%-2% increase it saw previously. Shares have lost 23% over the past 12 months, while the S&P 500 [S: spx] has gained nearly 14%. The stock jumped nearly 2% in pre-market trading Monday.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 23, 2018

Kamada shares drop on FDA's continued concerns about therapy's safety, trial delay
Kamada Ltd. shares dropped 4.4% in premarket trade Monday on news that the company has not been able to resolve the Food and Drug Administration's concerns about the safety of its therapy, which will delay a phase 3 clinical trial that Kamada had planned for the second half of the year. It's also possible the trial may not happen, Kamada suggested. The product, Inhaled Alpha-1 Antitrypsin, is intended to treat Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency, a genetic disorder that can lead to lung and liver disease. Kamada and the FDA have been discussing the regulator's concerns with Inhaled AAT since last summer, and Kamada submitted a revised phase 3 protocol to the FDA in March responding to the feedback. But in April the FDA's response letter indicated that "while several issues had been addressed, the FDA has continued concerns and questions" about Inhaled AAT's safety, Kamada said. The company plans to respond in the third quarter, but "anticipates that its planned response will result in continued interaction with the FDA." Kamada makes two FDA-approved drugs, but Inhaled AAT is one of the products in its pipeline that is furthest along. Kamada shares have plummeted 20% over the last three months, compared with a nearly 6% drop in the S&P 500 .

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 23, 2018

McDermott's stock soars, Chicago Bridge shares sink after Subsea 7 bids to buy McDermott
Shares of McDermott International Inc. soared 19% in premarket trade Monday, while shares of Chicago Bridge & Iron Co. , which has agreed to be acquired by McDermott, sank 12% after Norway-based oil-services company Subsea 7 S.A. reportedly made a bid to buy McDermott. Subsea said it made a buyout bid of $7 a share for McDermott, which was 15.7% above Friday's closing price, and values McDermott at about $2.0 billion, but McDermott rejected the deal, The Wall Street Journal reported. Subsea said the deal was subject to the termination of McDermott's pending merger with Chicago Bridge & Iron, the WSJ report said. In December, McDermott agreed to buy Chicago Bridge in a deal valued at $6 billion. McDermott's stock had lost 8.1% year to date through Friday, while Chicago Bridge shares had shed 9.6% and the S&P 500 had slipped 0.1%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 23, 2018

Humana-led consortium to acquire privately held Curo Health Services in $1.4 billion deal
A consortium comprised of Humana Inc. , TPG Capital, Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe, said Monday they have reached agreement to acquire privately held Curo Health Services for about $1.4 billion. Curo is a hospice operator with 245 outlets in 22 states. Humana will hold a 40% minority interest in the company when the deal is completed, expected by summer of 2018. The consortium is in the midst of acquiring the Kindred at Home Division of Kindred Healthcare Inc. , the largest home health provider and second largest hospice operator in the U.S. The Curo deal is not conditioned on the closing of the Kindred deal, but the consortium intends to merge the two to create the nation's biggest hospice operator. Humana does not expect the deal to have a material impact on earnings. Shares were not yet active premarket, but have gained 38% in the last 12 months, while the S&P 500 has gained 14%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 23, 2018

Akorn's stock plunged toward 5-year low after Fresenius terminates merger deal
Shares of Akorn Inc. plunged 36% toward a 5-year low in premarket trade Monday, after Germany-based healthcare company Fresenius SE & Co. said it terminated the deal to buy the generic drug maker. Fresenius said over the weekend that its decision was due to Akorn's "failure to fulfill several closing conditions." In February, Fresenius said it launched an investigation into potential breaches of U.S. Food and Drug Administration data-integrity requirements on product development at Akorn. On Monday, Akorn responded by saying it "categorically" disagrees with Fresenius' accusations. "The previously disclosed ongoing investigation, which is not a condition to closing, has not found any facts that would result in a material adverse effect on Akorn's business and therefore there is no basis to terminate the transaction," the company said. "We intend to vigorously enforce our rights, and Fresenius' obligations, under our binding merger agreement." The stock is on track to open at the lowest level seen during regular session hours since February 2013. It had tumbled 39% year to date through Friday, while the S&P 500 had slipped 0.1%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 23, 2018

Elaine Wynn urges Wynn shareholders to remove director John Hagenbuch
Elaine Wynn, co-founder and biggest shareholder of casino operator Wynn Resorts Ltd. , on Monday urged shareholders to join her in withholding votes from director candidate John Hagenbuch at the company's annual meeting scheduled for May 16. In an open letter, Wynn said she was "deeply concerned" about the lack of independence and oversight demonstrated by the current board and argued that the only way to restore the company's reputation was to change its members and reform the company's corporate governance. "This is largely the same board that announced only two months ago, "with a collective heavy heart" the resignation of "our founder, CEO and friend Steve Wynn," she wrote, referring to her ex-husband who was ousted after revelations of yearslong sexual abuse of employees. "Several longstanding legacy directors still wield significant influence at the company," she wrote. "This is especially true of Mr. Hagenbuch, who serves on the special committee responsible for overseeing the investigation into allegations of Mr. Wynn's sexual harassment and on the compensation committee, which is responsible for the company's executive compensation practices that proxy advisory firms have viewed as highly problematic." Shares were slightly higher premarket and have gained 66% in the last 12 months, while the S&P 500 has gained 14%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 23, 2018

CenterPoint Energy to buy Vectren for $72 a share
Electricity and natural gas distributor CenterPoint Energy Inc. will acquire Vectren Corp. for $72 a share in cash, the companies said in a statement Monday. The price per share is 9.8% higher than Vectren's closing price of $65.55 on Friday. The combined company, which will be headquartered in Houston, is expected to have electric and natural gas delivery operations in eight states and an enterprise value of $27 billion. The deal is expected to close by the first quarter of 2019.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 23, 2018

Henry Schein plans animal health spinoff, expects more than $1 bln
Henry Schein Inc. shares rose 1.4% in premarket trade Monday after the company said it plans to spin off its animal health business for an expected $1 billion to $1.25 billion in tax-free cash. The company said it may use the tax-free cash for share buybacks, debt repayment and acquisitions. The company's animal health business will merge with privately-held Vets First Choice, with plans to form a company called Vets First Corp. and go public. Vets First Corp. will be headed up by Vets First Choice Chief Executive and Founder Ben Shaw, and expects combined pro forma 2017 sales of about $3.6 billion. Once the deal closes, expected by the end of 2018, Henry Schein expects 2017 pro forma revenue of about $9 billion, and will likely update full-year earnings guidance once the transaction closes. Henry Schein shares have dropped 9.5% over the last three months, compared with a nearly 6% drop in the S&P 500 .

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 23, 2018

Halliburton swings to profit in first quarter
Halliburton Co. said Monday it had net income of $46 million, or 5 cents a share, in the first quarter, after a loss of $32 million, or 4 cents a share, in the year-earlier period. Adjusted per-share earnings, excluding impairments and other charges related to a write-down of all of the company's remaining investment in Venezuela, came to 41 cents, a penny ahead of the FactSet consensus of 40 cents. Revenue climbed to $5.740 billion from $4.279 billion, ahead of the FactSet consensus of $5.739 billion. The company said it took a charge of $312 million to write down all its Venezuela investment, but is maintaining its presence there and managing its go-forward exposure. Shares fell 1.2% in premarket trade, but have gained 10% in the last 12 months, while the S&P 500 has gained 14%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 23, 2018

Hasbro's stock falls after adjusted profit, sales miss expectations
Shares of Hasbro Inc. dropped 3.6% in premarket trade Monday, after the toy maker reported first-quarter profit and sales that missed expectations, citing the negative impact of the liquidation of Toys 'R' Us. The company swung to a net loss of $112.5 million, or 90 cents a share, from a profit of $68.6 million, or 54 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. Excluding non-recurring items, such as expenses associated with Toys 'R' Us, severance costs and adjustments related to recent tax legislation, adjusted earnings per share came to 10 cents, below the FactSet consensus of 33 cents. Revenue fell to $716.3 million from $849.7 million, below the FactSet consensus of $816.0 million. "First quarter 2018 revenues were negatively impacted across all brand portfolio categories by the liquidation of Toys 'R' Us in the U.S. and U.K., along with uncertainty in its other operations, as well as retail inventory overhang, primarily in Europe," the company said in a statement. The stock has dropped 8.9% year to date through Friday, while the S&P 500 has slipped 0.1%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 23, 2018

Paris attack suspect sentenced to 20 years for Brussels shootout: reports
Salah Abdeslam, the sole surviving suspect from terrorist attacks carried out in Paris in November 2015, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for a shootout with police in Brussels, according to reports Monday. Abdeslam, 28, was charged with attempted terrorist murder stemming from a March 2016 shootout during police raids as authorities hunted suspects linked to the deadly Paris attacks. Four officers in Brussels were wounded during the raids. Abdeslam's co-defendant, Sofien Ayari, 24, was also sentenced to 20 years for attempted terrorist murder.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 23, 2018

Kate Middleton heads to hospital to give birth to royal baby
The latest addition to the U.K. royal family could be arriving as soon as Monday after Kate Middleton, the wife of Prince William, was admitted to hospital in London. Middleton is at St. Mary's Hospital where she was in the "early stages of labor," with the couple's soon-to-be third child, according to a statement from Kensington Palace via its official Twitter account. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, as the couple are known, have two other children, George and Charlotte. The new baby, whose sex is not yet known, will be fifth-in-line to the throne behind brother George, sister Charlotte, William and Prince Charles, the baby's grandfather.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 23, 2018

U.S. 10-year yield takes stab at 3%, rising 3 basis points to 2.986%
The yield on 10-year U.S. notes continued to rise on Monday, inching closer to the psychologically important 3% as strengthening inflation prospects added to expectations of a more hawkish approach from the Federal Reserve. The interest rate on the benchmark paper added 3 basis points to 2.986% in early Monday trade, at around its highest level since January 2014. The yield on 2-year notes rose 3 basis points to 2.48%. The rise in U.S. interest rates has come as traders increasingly start to price in four Fed rate hikes in 2018, rather than the three that have been signaled by the rate setters. On Friday, traders on the fed-fund futures market saw a 38% chance of a total of four hikes this year, compared with 24.5% on April. 11.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 23, 2018

U.S. 10-year yield takes stab at 3%, rising 2 basis points to 2.973%
The yield on 10-year U.S. notes continued to rise on Monday, inching closer to the psychologically important 3% as strengthening inflation prospects added to expectations of a more hawkish approach from the Federal Reserve. The interest rate on the benchmark paper added 2 basis points to 2.973% in early Monday trade, at around its highest level since January 2014. The yield on 2-year notes rose 1.7 basis points to 2.47%. The rise in U.S. interest rates has come as traders increasingly start to price in four Fed rate hikes in 2018, rather than the three that have been signaled by the rate setters. On Friday, traders on the fed-fund futures market saw a 38% chance of a total of four hikes this year, compared with 24.5% on April. 11.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 22, 2018

Sean Hannity linked to property empire aided by foreclosures, HUD: report
Fox News host Sean Hannity has been linked to a group of more than 20 shell companies that has spent at least $90 million buying almost 900 homes across seven states over the past decade, according to a report Sunday by The Guardian. Many of the properties were bought at discounts in 2013 after foreclosures, and others were bought with funding help from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Guardian said, citing public records. Around that time, Hannity had sharply criticized former President Barack Obama for the rate of U.S. foreclosures, and he did not disclose his financial dealings with HUD during an interview last year with HUD Secretary Ben Carson in which he complained about the state of public housing. Last week, it emerged that Hannity was a client of Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, whose office was recently raided by the FBI. Hannity had not disclosed that fact, and said he only asked for Cohen's advice on some real-estate matters.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 22, 2018

Police hunt for suspect after 'nude' gunman kills 4 in Waffle House shooting in Nashville: reports
At least four killed in a shooting at a Waffle House restaurant in Nashville Sunday morning, according to reports. The Metropolitan Nashville Police Department described the shooter as a white man with short hair who had been wearing only black pants and a coat. Authorities said 29-year-old Travis Reinking of Morton, Ill., was named a person of interest because the car that the gunman arrived in was registered to him, the Associated Press reported. Three people died at the Waffle House, while another died at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, according to Police spokesman Don Aron, the AP said. According to other reports, the gunman fled the scene in the nude.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 21, 2018

Actor Verne Troyer, who played 'Mini-me' on Austin Powers movies, dies at 49: reports
Verne Troyer, the actor known best for his portrayal of Mini-Me inAustin Powers, has died at 49, according to a statement on his Facebook page and media reports. Earlier this month, reports indicated that he was rushed to hospital, with a report by TMZ saying that the actor was "extremely upset, drunk and suicidal."

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 20, 2018

North Korea says it will suspend missile tests, close nuclear test site
North Korea said it would suspend nuclear and missile tests and shut down its nuclear test site, according to media reports citing North Korea's Korean Central News Agency early Saturday. The announcement comes days ahead of a scheduled summit meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in. According to KCNA, Kim said that "under the proven condition of complete nuclear weapons, we no longer need any nuclear tests, mid-range and intercontinental ballistic rocket tests, and that the nuclear test site in northern area has also completed its mission."

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 20, 2018

SmugMug acquires Verizon-owned Flickr
Verizon Communications Inc. has sold its Flickr unit to privately held SmugMug Inc. for an undisclosed sum, USA Today reported late Friday. Verizon stock was up a fraction in the extended session Friday after closing down 1.1% to $47.90 during regular trading. Verizon bought Yahoo Inc. for $4.5 billion last year and the acquisition included the Yahoo-owned Flickr, among other web properties. Verizon since joined Yahoo and other assets into its Oath subsidiary. Flickr was founded in 2004. It currently has 75 million registered members and has played a central role in the cultural and social life of the internet, USA Today reported. SmugMug is a family-run organization. Verizon stock is down 10% this year, as the S&P 500 index has gained less than 1%.

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Apr 20, 2018

Throw out your romaine lettuce, CDC says, expanding E. coli warning
Throw out any romaine lettuce you have now unless you know where it came from, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said late Friday. The agency said it was expanding its warning about romaine lettuce contaminated with E. coli to cover all lettuce that was grown around Yuma, Ariz. "Do not buy or eat romaine lettuce at a grocery store or restaurant unless you can confirm it is not from the Yuma, Arizona, growing region," the CDC said, adding, "Unless the source of the product is known, consumers anywhere in the United States who have any store-bought romaine lettuce at home should not eat it and should throw it away, even if some of it was eaten and no one has gotten sick." According to the agency, 53 people across 16 states have been infected with the E. coli strain O157:H7 connected with romaine lettuce, and 31 have been hospitalized with five of those experiencing kidney failure. No deaths have been reported, the CDC said. The CDC originally issued warnings about the romaine lettuce E. coli outbreak last week.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 20, 2018

Typical Walmart worker makes $19,177 a year
The chief executive officer of Walmart Inc. makes 1,188 times the typical worker, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing late Friday. In fiscal 2018 the median worker compensation was $19,177, and CEO Douglas McMillon's total compensation was $22.8 million. Walmart excluded about 90,000 employees outside of the U.S. from countries such as Costa Rica, Guatemala, and South Africa, after which the company took into account the remaining 2.2 million workers in its employ when determining the median compensation. Firms are reporting their CEO pay in comparison to the median worker for the first time because of a 2015 rule mandated by the Dodd-Frank act. Walmart stock was flat in the extended session after closing down 1% to $86.98. Walmart stock has lost 12% this year, as the S&P 500 index has gained less than 1%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 20, 2018

Pivotal shares close up 5% after first trading day
Pivotal Software Inc. stock gained 4.9% Friday to close at $15.73. Friday was the first day the cloud software maker's stock traded on public exchanges, after pricing its IPO at $15, the mid point of the $14 to $16 range. That $15 price values the software company at $3.75 billion based on shares outstanding as of the offering, and has raised at least $555 million from the offering. Pivotal offered 33,117,000 shares of Class A stock, and selling-shareholder Generic Electric Co. offered 3,883,000 shares of Pivotal's Class A stock, which amounted to about 20% of the company's stake in Pivotal.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 20, 2018

Salesforce CEO made 30 times typical worker last year, but ratio should have been much higher
Salesforce.com Inc. Chief Executive Marc Benioff made 30 times the median Salesforce employee's salary in the most recent fiscal year, the company disclosed Friday afternoon, though it would have been much higher if it were not for a quirk of the calendar. Salesforce said Benioff made about $4.7 million in fiscal 2018, with $1.5 million in salary and a $3 million bonus, while the median employee compensation was $155,284. The company said both figures would have been much higher if stock bonuses were counted, but a change in the equity payout schedule meant that no equity awards were actually doled out in the 2018 fiscal year. Salesforce said if the equity awards given to employees and Benioff in the 2019 fiscal year had counted on the tally, it would have increased the ratio to 130-to-1. Companies this year are reporting their CEO pay in relation to the compensation of a median worker for the first time as a result of a 2015 rule mandated by the Dodd-Frank act. Salesforce stock has gained 46.1% in the past year, while the S&P 500 index has added 14.3%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 20, 2018

Justice Department looking into whether AT&T, Verizon are hampering switching carriers: report
The Justice Department has opened an antitrust investigation into AT&T , Verizon Communications and a telecommunications standards organization, the GSMA, over whether they hindered consumers from easily switching wireless carriers, The New York Times reported, citing six people with knowledge of the inquiry. The report said the government was looking into whether they thwarted a new technology that would allow people to switch providers without having to insert a new SIM card into a device. The report said device makers including Apple , Google and Microsoft support the technology.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 20, 2018

U.S. stocks slump in broad decline, Apple shares tumble
U.S. stocks closed lower on Friday, with major indexes slumping in a broad decline. While Wall Street posted a second straight positive week, the selloff heavily eroded the week's gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.8% to 24,463. The S&P 500 lost 0.9% to 2,670. The Nasdaq Composite Index ended down 1.3% to 7,146. For the week, the Dow rose 0.4%, the S&P was up 0.5% and the Nasdaq rose 0.6%. All three closed below their 50-day moving average, a level used as a gauge for short-term momentum trends. Equities were pressured by a decline in Apple Inc. , which shed 4.1% amid cautious analyst commentary over its upcoming quarterly results. While 10 of the 11 S&P 500 sectors closed in negative territory, technology was among the biggest losers of the day, down 1.5%. Separately, investors dropped stocks as the yield for the benchmark 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.96% and neared its highest since around 2014.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 20, 2018

The U.S. 10-year government bond yield just touched its highest level in about 4 years
Treasury prices tumbled, pushing yields higher, on Friday as investors and traders sold U.S. government paper. The 10-year Treasury note yield advanced 4.4 basis points to 2.956%, the highest since January 2014. The 2-year note yield rose 4.2 basis points to 2.956%, while the 30-year bond yield rose 3.9 basis points to 3.144%. Bond prices move in the opposite direction of yields. Investors pointed the finger at a range of reasons including an overextended yield curve flattening in the last few weeks, stronger inflation expectations and more market participants pricing in three additional rate hikes this year. The rise in yields coincided with an accelerated slide in the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 index in late-Friday trade.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 20, 2018

Dow falls nearly 300 points at lows, threatens to give up weekly gain as government bond yields rise
The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Friday was encountering intensifying selling pressure with less than an hour left of trading, with the blue chip gauge on the verge of giving up its weekly gain. Part of the blame for the downdraft accelerating was a rise of the yield in the benchmark 10-year Treasury note to 2.96%, representing the highest since around 2014. Meanwhile, shares of Apple Inc. were powering the decline, cutting about 50 points from the average. Most recently, the Dow was down about 256 points, or 1%, with the benchmark hanging on to a weekly advance of about 0.2%. Apple's stock, off $7, or 4%, also was dragging the broader technology sector lower, with Dow component International Business Machines Corp. share [: IBM] slicing about 20 points from the average. The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index was taking the brunt of the intraday tumble among the main benchmarks, off 1.4%, at 7,138. The S&P 500 index was down 1% at 2,666, with tech and the consumer-staples sectors both off nearly 2%, leading losses in the broad-market index. The S&P 500 was holding on to a weekly gain of 0.4%, while the Nasdaq boasts a rise over the 5-session period of 0.5%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 20, 2018

All 11 S&P 500 sectors trade in negative territory in the last hour of trade, as bond yields pop
The S&P 500's sectors were all trading in the red late Friday, with less than a half-hour remaining in trade as government bond yields jumped. Losses for the S&P 500's 11 sectors were led by steep declines in consumer categories, with consumer staples stocks off 1.9% and those for consumer-discretionary down 1.3%. Technology shares also were facing heavy pressure, falling 1.7%, led by a sharp decline in Apple Inc. shares . Most recently, the S&P 500 was trading 1.1% lower at 2,664, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was giving up 1% at 24,409, while the Nasdaq Composite Index retreated by 1.5% at 7,134. Selling accelerated late Friday as bond yields for the benchmark 10-year Treasury note [: TMUBMUSD10Y] popped, hitting 2.96%, marking its highest yield level since around 2014, according to FactSet data.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 20, 2018

Fed policy rate is close to neutral, Kashkari says
Federal Reserve monetary policy is close to neutral - a level that doesn't add or push down inflation, said Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari, on Friday. His comments, in an interview on CNBC, indicate he may not support additional rate hikes this year. Kashkari said the neutral rate of interest could be 2%. At the moment, the target range for the federal funds rate is 1.5% to 1.75%. Other Fed officials have higher estimates of neutral. Only Kashkari and St. Louis Fed President James Bullard have been urging their colleagues to be cautious about hiking rates. The other 13 officials generally support gradual rate hikes. The Fed has targeted two more moves this year.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 20, 2018

Oil ends the day slightly higher, up 1.5% for the week
Oil prices settled modestly higher Friday, shaking off earlier short-lived weakness sparked by a tweet from U.S. President Donald Trump, to finish the week with a 1.5% gain. Trump had blamed OPEC for what he called "artificially high" oil prices, prompting a temporary fall in prices. However, following a meeting of the joint Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-OPEC ministerial monitoring committee Friday, there has really been "no change except additional confirmation the Russia and Saudi Arabia will continue to cooperate for the long term," said James Williams, energy economist at WTRG Economics. May West Texas Intermediate crude rose 9 cents, or 0.1%, to $68.38 a barrel. The contract expired at the day's settlement. June WTI , the new front-month contract, added 7 cents, or 0.1%, to settle at $68.40 a barrel.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 20, 2018

Gold futures fall 0.7% for the week
Gold prices fell Friday to post a loss of 0.7% for the week, their first such loss in three weeks. Strength in the U.S. dollar and Treasury yields dulled investor demand for the precious metal. June gold declined by $10.50, or 0.8%, to settle at $1,338.30 an ounce.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 20, 2018

Baker Hughes reports a rise in U.S. oil-rig count for third-straight week
Baker Hughes on Friday reported that the number of active U.S. rigs drilling for oil rose by 5 to 820 this week. The oil-rig count had logged gains in each of the last two weeks. The total active U.S. rig count, which includes oil and natural-gas rigs, climbed by 5 to 1,013, according to Baker Hughes. May West Texas Intermediate crude was down 16 cents, or 0.2%, from Thursday, to $68.13 a barrel, down from $68.19 before the rig data.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 20, 2018

S&P 500 turns negative for 2018
U.S. stocks fell on Friday, with the S&P 500 returning to negative territory for the year as losses accelerated in midday trading. The benchmark index lost 0.8%, and is now down less than 0.1% for 2018 thus far. While the S&P has been negative for the year multiple times in 2018, it had recently returned to the green. It has traded in positive territory for the year for the past four sessions. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.8% on Friday, bringing its year-to-date move to a drop of 1%. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 1.1% on Friday, but remains up 3.7% for the year. The day's losses were widespread, pressured by weakness in the energy sector and by a sharp decline in Apple Inc.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 20, 2018

Pivotal Software stock rises in first day of trading
Shares of cloud software company Pivotal Software Inc. are up 4.9% in their first day of trading Friday. The stock opened at $16.75, 11.7% above its $15 IPO price. The first trade was executed at 10:43 a.m. ET. Pivotal offered 33,117,000 shares of Class A stock, and selling-shareholder Generic Electric Co. offered 3,883,000 shares of Pivotal's Class A stock, which amounted to about 20% of the company's stake in Pivotal. Pivotal's software helps firms build and deploy their own cloud software. The company has gone public at a time when the Renaissance IPO ETF is up 2.9% and the S&P 500 is up 0.7%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 20, 2018

Apple's stock drop contributes 40 points to Dow's 230-point fall in late-morning trade
The Dow Jones Industrial Average late-morning Friday was trading lower for a third straight session, with shares of Apple Inc., exacting the largest toll on the blue-chip gauge. Apple shares were off 3.4%, or about $5.92, with the magnitude of the drop sapping about 40 points from the Dow in early action. The Dow most recently was down 230 points, or 0.9%, at 24,438, while the S&P 500 index was off 0.8% at 2,670 and the technology-laden Nasdaq Composite Index down 1.1% at 7,158. Apple's decline may be influenced by downbeat forecasts for the iPhone maker amid disappointment over chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing , which lowered its revenue guidance range for the second quarter, citing weak demand for cell phones. That has led some Wall Street analysts to speculate that weakness in demand bodes ill for Apple Inc. .

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 20, 2018

Stocks extend losses, Nasdaq falls 1% as Apple drags
U.S. stocks fell to session lows in late-morning trading on Friday, with the Nasdaq dropping 1% amid a steep decline in Apple stock. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.8% while the S&P 500 lost 0.7% and the Nasdaq fell 1%, falling to its lows of the day. Among the biggest drags of the day was Apple Inc. , which shed 3.5% ahead of the company's upcoming quarterly results. Analysts have expressed some caution about the strength of the results, which will be released in early May. The energy sector also weighed on indexes, falling 1% after President Donald Trump tweeted that crude-oil prices were "artificially high."

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 20, 2018

GE's stock pares some gains; analyst says it's too early to buy
Shares of General Electric Co. rallied 4.6% in morning trade, but pared earlier gains of as much as 7.6%, as investors digested the industrial conglomerate's first-quarter results and post-earnings conference call. Analyst Jim Corridore at CFRA cut his stock price target to $16 from $18 while keeping his rating at hold, citing GE's "ongoing operational difficulties." Corridore lowered its 2018 earnings-per-share estimate to 95 cents from 98 cents. "Results continue to be hurt by difficulties at power, where operating profits fell 38%, and oil and gas where it fell 30%," Corridore wrote in a note to clients. "Given the severity of the downturns at oil and gas and power, and ongoing losses at GE Capital, we do not think it's worth wading into the shares despite the below-market valuation." The stock has shed 10.2% over the past three months, while the SPDR Industrial Select Sector ETF has lost 4.9% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average has declined 4.7%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 20, 2018

EBay stock rises after Credit Suisse raises target to Street-high $60
Shares of eBay Inc. are up 1.5% in Friday morning trading after analysts at Credit Suisse raised their price target to $60 from $51. The new target is the highest among Wall Street analysts surveyed by FactSet. "As we look to the next five years of eBay's growth, we draw parallels with its global marketplaces platform peers in the form of Alibaba as well as MercadoLibre as we focus on its newly-announced payments [initiatives] as well as the potential for its advertising businesses," wrote the analysts, led by Stephen Ju. The company announced during its last earnings call that it would begin serving as the merchant of record for transactions made on its site when its deal with PayPal Holdings Inc. expires at the end of the decade. eBay shares are up 32% in the past 12 months, while the S&P 500 has gained 14%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 20, 2018

Mattel's stock sinks to 9-year low after CEO departure puts turnaround efforts in doubt
Shares of Mattel Inc. sank 6.4% toward a nine-year low in morning trade Friday, to pace the S&P 500's decliners, after the company announced the surprise departure of its chief executive officer. The stock's intraday low of $12.21 was the lowest price seen since April 2, 2009. Late Thursday, the toy maker said CEO Margo Georgiadis was leaving the company after just 15 months in the role, with Ynon Kreiz to become Mattel's fourth CEO in as many years. Analyst Michael Swartz at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey said Georgiadis's departure "lends greater uncertainty" to Mattel's turnaround efforts. Swartz said the CEO change increases the possibility that the board of directors will look to sell the company, which could limit the stock's downside. In the meantime, Swartz said "there is virtually no earnings visibility," meaning the stock could "remain volatile for the foreseeable future." The stock has plunged 50% over the past 12 months, while the S&P 500 has gained 14%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 20, 2018

Apple's stock drop responsible for about half of the Dow industrials early stumble
The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Friday was trading lower for a third straight session, with shares of Apple Inc., exacting the largest toll on the blue-chip gauge. Apple shares were off 3.1%, or about $5.30, with the magnitude of the drop sapping about 37 points from the Dow in early action. The Dow most recently was down 70 points, or 0.3%, at 24,595, while the S&P 500 index was off 0.3% at 2,684 and the technology-laden Nasdaq Composite Index was down 0.6% at 7,192. Apple's decline may be influenced by downbeat forecasts for the iPhone maker amid disappointment over chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing , which lowered its revenue guidance range for the second quarter, citing weak demand for cell phones. That has led some Wall Street analysts to speculate that weakness in demand bodes ill for Apple Inc. .

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 20, 2018

Energy ETF falls after Trump tweets that crude prices are "artificially high"
The largest exchange-traded fund to track the energy sector declined in early trading on Friday, after President Donald Trump tweeted that crude-oil prices were "artificially high." The Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF fell 0.9%, with energy standing as the worst performer among the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors in early action. The decline was underpinned by a 0.9% drop in the price of crude oil. Crude turned lower after Trump tweeted that high crude prices "will not be accepted." That came as a meeting of ministers from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries group and the non-OPEC countries were seeking to reaffirm a commitment to keep output limited. Among notable decliners in the sector, Chevron Corp. fell 1.5% while Exxon Mobil Corp. and Marathon Oil Corp. both lost 1%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.2% on Friday while the S&P 500 was off 0.2% and the Nasdaq Composite Index was down 0.5%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 20, 2018

Apple stock falls after analysts express caution ahead of earnings
Shares of Apple Inc. are down 2.6% in Friday morning trading after a pair of analysts issued cautious notes ahead of the company's second-quarter earnings report, due out in early May. Morgan Stanley's Katy Huberty lowered her price target on the stock to $200 from $203, writing that she expects the company to deliver in-line results for the March period but that she also sees "downside to June consensus estimates following iPhone build cuts and weak China data." Canaccord Genuity analyst T. Michael Walkley wrote Friday that his recent consumer survey "indicates slow iPhone sales ahead of new product launches." He said that the $1,000-plus price point for the iPhone X "has been a greater deterrent for broad market appeal than anticipated," while the phone's screen size isn't large enough to have wide appeal in the Chinese market. Walkley rates the stock a buy with a $200 price target. Apple's stock fell in Thursday's session as well, after Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. delivered downbeat June-quarter guidance. Shares of Apple are up 18% over the past 12 months, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has gained 20%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 20, 2018

Apple's stock chops nearly 40 points off Dow industrials
The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Friday was trading lower for a third straight session, with shares of Apple Inc., exacting the biggest toll on the blue-chip gauge. Apple shares were off 3.1%, or nearly $5.42, with the magnitude of the drop sapping about 37 points from the Dow in early action. The Dow most recently was down 41 points, or 0.2%, at 24,624, while the S&P 500 index was off 0.3% at 2,686 and the technology-laden Nasdaq Composite Index was down 0.7% at 7,192. Apple's decline may be influenced by downbeat forecasts for the iPhone maker amid disappointment over chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing , which lowered its revenue guidance range for the second quarter, citing weak demand for cell phones. That has led some Wall Street analysts to speculate that weakness in demand bodes ill for Apple Inc. .

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 20, 2018

GE poised for best day in three years after results
Shares of General Electric Co. surged on Friday, after the troubled industrial conglomerate posted better-than-expected quarterly results. The stock jumped 6.3% and was on track for its biggest one-day percentage gain since April 2015. With the day's surge, the Dow component was poised to close above its 50-day moving average for the first time since Jan. 12. In its results, General Electric reported earnings and revenue that topped expectations. It also said it was making progress on its cost-cutting efforts and reaffirmed its 2018 financial targets. Despite the day's gain, the stock remains down more than 51% over the past 12 months, by far the worst performer among Dow components over that period. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.2% on Friday while the S&P 500 was off 0.2% and the Nasdaq Composite Index was down 0.5%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 20, 2018

Stocks open unchanged but on track for weekly gains
U.S. equity markets opened unchanged on Friday, though the main indexes were on track for second consecutive weekly gains. Investors digested a number of earnings reports, that mostly topped expectations. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was flat at 24,673. The S&P 500 index opened unchanged at 2,693. Meanwhile the Nasdaq Composite was off by 15 points, or 0.2% to 7,220 at the open. Despite tepid trading over the past two sessions, the main indexes looked at solid weekly gains. Among the best performers on the S&P 500, General Electric Company shares jumped 6% after quarterly earnings topped expectations.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 20, 2018

Kroger announces new $1.2 billion share repurchase program, paid for with convenience store sale
Kroger Co. said Friday that it has approved a new $1.2 billion share buyback program, in addition to the $1 billion program announced March 15. The grocery giant will use the proceeds from the sale of its convenience store business to EG Group. That deal, which was first announced in February, is worth $2.15 billion with after-tax proceeds of $1.7 billion. The remaining proceeds will be used to lower debt. The sale includes 762 convenience stores including 66 franchise operations across 18 states with 11,000 workers. Stores include Loaf 'N Jug, Kwik Shop and Tom Thumb. EG Group will continue to operate the stores under their existing names. Kroger shares are up 2.1% in Friday trading, but down nearly 12% for the year so far. The S&P 500 index is up 0.7% for 2018 to date.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 20, 2018

Wells Fargo fined $1 billion for auto loan, mortgage violations
Wells Fargo was fined $1 billion on Friday by Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. The regulators cited improper placement and maintenance of collateral protection insurance policies on auto loan accounts and improper fees associated with mortgage interest rate lock extension. Wells Fargo also will remediate harmed consumers, the regulators said.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 20, 2018

GE's stock surges above key technical level, into correction territory
General Electric Co.'s stock soared 6.3% in premarket trade Friday on the back of better-than-expected first-quarter results, putting it on track to track to trigger an official correction, as it gaps higher to open above a widely-watched technical level. The 50-day moving average, which many chart watchers use as a guide to the short-term trend, extends to $14.01 on Friday, according to FactSet. In addition, a 10% rally above the April 9 closing low of $12.83, which many on Wall Street define as a correction in a bear market, would be a close above $14.11. Meanwhile, the stock is headed for an open closer to $15. A new bull market for GE, which is defined by many as a gain of 20% or more off a bear market low, would come in at $15.40. GE's stock had lost 19.8% year to date through Thursday, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average had slipped 0.2%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 20, 2018

MoviePass majority owner Helios & Matheson's stock falls further amid 'going concern' doubts
Shares of MoviePass Inc. majority owner Helios & Matheson Analytics Inc. slumped 1.6% in premarket trade Friday, adding to the 39% plunge they have suffered the past three sessions, as investors continued to come to grips with the disclosure that its auditors had "substantial doubt" about the company's ability to continue. H&M's independent auditors had previously expressed doubt about MoviePass's ability to continue as a going concern. In the annual report filed before Tuesday's open, H&M said it had changed its primary business to the integration and development of MoviePass, and now H&M stated: "Our independent auditors have expressed substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern, which may hinder our ability to obtain future financing." H&M said its ability to continue as a going concern "will be determined by out ability to obtain additional funding in the short term," which will enable it to continue to develop its MoviePass business. But the stock's losses accelerated Wednesday with a 33% plummet after H&M announced a public share offering. The stock has tumbled 68.4% over the past three months through Thursday, while the S&P 500 has lost 4.2%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 20, 2018

UPDATE: Transunion to acquire UK's Callcredit for $1.4 billion, stock jump 6% premarket
Credit bureau TransUnion said Friday it has reached agreement to acquire Callcredit, a U.K. credit and consumer data business for 1 billion pounds, or $1.4 billion. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter or early third quarter. Callcredit was founded in 2000 and offers strong synergies to TransUnion, according to Chief Executive Jim Peck. The deal was announced as TransUnion reported first-quarter earnings, showing net income of $73.1 million, or 38 cents a share, up from $62.3 million, or 33 cents a share, in the year-earlier period. Adjusted per-share earnings came to 57 cents, ahead of the FactSet consensus of 51 cents.revenue rose 18% to $537 million, also ahead of the FactSet consensus of $508 million. TransUnion said it is raising its 2018 revenue and adjusted EPS guidance and now expects revenue of $2.170 billion to $2.185 billion. Adjusted EPS is forecast at $2.37 to $2.41, including a 28 cents tax benefit. The FactSet consensus is for revenue of $2.134 billion and EPS of $2.31. Shares jumped 6% premarket and have gained 54% in the last 12 months, while the S&P 500 has gained 14%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 20, 2018

GE's stock on track for best post-earnings performance in over 7 years
General Electric Co.'s stock ran up 5.3% in active premarket trade Friday, as the industrial conglomerate's first-quarter results are shaping up to be the most pleasing for investors in over seven years. With volume of over 4.1 million shares, the stock was the most actively traded before the open. GE had a habit of disappointing investors the past couple years, as the stock had declined on the day results were reported in eight of the past 10 quarters. The stock is on track for the biggest one-day post-earnings gain since Jan. 21, 2011, when it rallied 7.1% after fourth-quarter 2010 results. Before that, the biggest gain was 4.6% on July 19, 2013, after second-quarter 2013 results. The gain could also be a surprise to Wall Street odds makers. At Thursday's close, an options strategy known as a "straddle," which involves the simultaneous buying of at-the-money bullish call and bearish put options, was priced to start making money if the stock moved more than 5.2% in either direction. GE's stock had lost 14.0% over the past three months through Thursday, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average had lost 5.4%.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 20, 2018

GE Power revenue falls less than expected, but 'challenging' conditions continue
General Electric Co.'s stock shot up 5.1% ahead of Friday's open, on the back of better-than-expected first-quarter results, although the company said it sees continued challenges for its power business, which surprisingly was its biggest segment in terms of revenue. Revenue for Power fell 9% from a year ago to $7.22 billion, but that was above the FactSet consensus of $6.70 billion. Meanwhile, segment profit dropped 38% to $273 million, just shy of the FactSet operating income consensus of $276.9 million, while orders tumbled 29% to $5.56 billion. "Power is making progress on cost actions and operational and services execution, but the industry continues to be challenging and is trending softer than our forecast," said Chief Executive John Flannery. Power managed to maintain its lead as GE's biggest segment in terms of revenue, despite analyst expectations it would fall below Aviation, which had revenue rise 7% to $7.11 billion, above the FactSet consensus of $7.03 billion. GE's stock has tumbled 54% over the past 12 months through Thursday, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has run up 20%.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 20, 2018

Schlumberger tops earnings estimates, but expects oil sector to see supply challenges this year
French oil giant Schlumberger Ltd. said Friday it had net income of $525 million, or 38 cents a share, in the first quarter, after a loss of $2.255 billion, or $1.63 a share, in the year-earlier period. Adjusted per-share earnings came to 38 cents, ahead of the FactSet consensus of 37 cents. Revenue fell to $7.829 billion from $8.179 billion, also ahead of the FactSet consensus of $7.811 billion. "Our results in the first quarter of 2018 largely reflected transitory factors, with seasonal reductions in activity in the Northern Hemisphere and planned project startup costs including the equipment mobilization, reactivation, and redeployment associated with recent contract wins," Chief Executive Paal Kibsgaard said in a statement. The company's international businesses started the year with the Middle East, North Sea and Russia all in line with expectations, while strength in Asia was offset by weakness in Latin America and Africa. Looking ahead, Kibsgaard said the lack of stock build in the first quarter, combined with OPEC and Russia-led production cuts left the oil market in balance. But after three years of underinvestment in exploration and production spending, the global production base is showing signs of weakening. "With Libya and Nigeria producing at near-full capacity, Venezuelan production in free fall, the potential of new sanctions against Iran, and rising geopolitical risks, the only major sources of short-term supply growth to address global production decline and strong worldwide demand are Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UAE, Russia, and the US shale oil industry," he said. But with US shale showing signs of production challenges, its likely that the industry will face supply challenges and E&P spending will need to be increased. Shares were down 0.1% premarket, and have fallen 8% in the last 12 months, while the S&P 500 has gained 14%.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit Marke

MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 20, 2018

Ionis Pharmaceuticals' stock soars as Biogen collaboration deal includes $1 billion payment
Shares of Ionis Pharmaceuticals Inc. soared 8.4% in premarket trade Friday, after Biogen Inc. said it would pay the company $1 billion as part of a new 10-year collaboration agreement to develop drug candidates to treat neurological diseases. Biogen's stock was still inactive. Part of the payment will include $625 million to buy about 11.5 million Ionis shares, or about 9.2% of the shares outstanding, at $54.34 a share, which is 18.5% above Thursday's closing price of $45.85. Biogen will have the option to license therapies and will be responsible for their development and commercialization, and may make milestone payments, license fees and royalties to Ionis on net sales. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of 2018. Ionis's stock had lost 8.9% year to date through Thursday, while Biogen shares had tumbled 16.5%, the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF had slipped 0.8% and the S&P 500 had gained 0.7%.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Apr 20, 2018

Transunion to acquire UK's Callcredit for $1.4 billion, as first-quarter earnings top estimates
Credit bureau TransUnion said Friday it has reached agreement to acquire Callcredit, a U.K. credit and consumer data business for 1 billion pounds, or $1.4 billion. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter or early third quarter. Callcredit was founded in 2000 and offers strong synergies to TransUnion, according to Chief Executive Jim Peck. The deal was announced as TransUnion reported first-quarter earnings, showing net income of $73.1 million, or 38 cents a share, up from $62.3 million, or 33 cents a share, in the year-earlier period. Adjusted per-share earnings came to 57 cents, ahead of the FactSet consensus of 51 cents.revenue rose 18% to $537 million, also ahead of the FactSet consensus of $508 million. TransUnion said it is raising its 2018 revenue and adjusted EPS guidance and now expects revenue of $2.170 billion to $2.185 billion. Adjusted EPS is forecast at $2.37 to $2.41, including a 28 cents tax benefit. The FactSet consensus is for revenue of $2.134 billion and EPS of $2.31. Shares were up 0.7% premarket and have gained 54% in the last 12 months, while the S&P 500 has gained 14%.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



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