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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Mar 21, 2019

Dow and S&P 500 surge, but NYSE Arms Index indicates panic-like, sell-on-rally behavior
While the stock market rallies Thursday, the NYSE's Arms Index, a volume-weighted breadth measure, as increased to the point that suggests panic-like, sell-on-rallies behavior by investors. The Arms Index tends to fall below 1.000 as the market rises, as the increases in the ratio of volume in advancing stocks over declining volume outpaces increases in the ratio of the number of advancing stock to declining stocks, as buyers become more aggressive than sellers. But despite the Dow Jones Industrial Average being up 228 points and the S&P 500 up 0.9%, the NYSE's Arms rose to 2.243, which would typically indicated panic-like selling behavior. Readings above 2.000 and below 0.500 are believed to indicate panic-like behavior. The number of advancing stocks on the NYSE outnumbered decliners by a 3.53-to-1 margin, while advancing volume outnumbered declining volume by just a 1.58-to-1 ratio. The last time the NYSE's Arms was that high was when it reached 2.73 on Dec. 4, when the Dow plunged 799 points.

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
Mar 21, 2019

Guess says it will focus on the highly-competitive denim category
Guess Inc. says denim, an area where it was once a dominant force, will be a focus going forward. "Today, our denim penetration is much lower than our historic levels and I believe we can grow it back with a great product assortment, strong store presentation, and effective marketing," said Carlos Alberini, chief executive of the fashion brand, according to a FactSet transcript. Guess shares have plummeted 14% in Thursday trading after the company reported a fourth-quarter earnings miss. The denim category is filled with tough competition, including American Eagle Outfitters Inc. and Levi Strauss & Co. , which went public on Thursday. Guess shares have tumbled nearly 9% in 2019 while the S&P 500 index has rallied 13.4% for the period.

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
Mar 21, 2019

Levi Strauss shares soar 35% after open
Levi Strauss & Co. is a publicly-traded company again, with shares opening at $22.22, 31% above the anticipated IPO price and reaching as high as 35% above the IPO price within minutes. The New York Stock Exchange helped celebrate the denim icon's first trading day by suspending its "no jeans" policy on the trading floor, with traders wearing Levi's instead. In fiscal 2018, Levi's net revenue was $5.6 billion, up 13% from the previous year. The company has gone public at a time of transformation in the clothing and retail space, with online brands snapping up share and traditional retail names shutting stores and managing shifting consumer shopping habits. The SPDR S&P Retail ETF has gained 8.3% in 2019 while the S&P 500 index has rallied 13.4% for the period.

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
Mar 21, 2019

Rite Aid shareholders approve plans for reverse stock split
Rite Aid Corp. said Thursday that shareholders at its annual meeting have approved a plan for a reverse stock split. The drugstore chain said 78% of shareholders voted in favor of the move. The company's board will now decide on a ratio of either 1-for-10, 1-for-15 or 1-for-20. The aim is to help the company regain full compliance with New York Stock Exchange listing rules, which require that the price remains at $1.00 for 30 straight trading days. The stock was last quoted at 68 cents, down 2% on the day. Shares have fallen 56% in the last 12 months, while the S&P 500 has gained 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
Mar 21, 2019

EIA reports a modest decline in U.S. natural-gas supplies
The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported Thursday a modest decline in U.S. natural-gas supplies|NEW] that domestic supplies of natural gas fell by 47 billion cubic feet for the week ended March 15. The data included a slight upward revision to the previous week's total stocks. Analysts polled by S&P Global Platts had expected a decline of 48 billion cubic feet. Total stocks now stand at 1.143 trillion cubic feet, down 315 billion cubic feet from a year ago and 556 billion below the five-year average, the government said. April natural gas traded at $2.811 per million British thermal units, down about a penny, or 0.3%, from Wednesday's settlement.

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
Mar 21, 2019

Stocks attempt post-Fed bounce as Wall digests dovish stance; Levi Strauss set for its IPO
U.S. stocks opened lower on Thursday but soon cut early losses, as investors digest the Federal Reserve's downgrade of the domestic economic outlook for 2019, citing sluggish global expansion. As expected, the central bank kept its key rate at a range of 2.25% and 2.50%, but a more dovish policy stance than investors has undercut the buying appetite on Wall Street. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was virtually unchanged at 25,745, the S&P 500 index added 0.1% at 2,824, while the Nasdaq Composite Index rose 0.2% to 7,743. Ordinarily, the Fed's accommodative stance would be bullish for markets because it means lower borrowing costs for longer but some investors are wrestling with the idea that the Fed may be seeing negatives that investors should brace for, with its decision to lower gross domestic product forecasts to 2.1% from 2.3% for 2019 as well as slashing its projections for further rate hikes to zero from two last December. In corporate news, Biotechnology firm Biogen Inc. said Thursday that it decided to discontinue late-stage trials of a treatment for Alzheimer's disease, putting the company's shares under pressure. Meanwhile, clothing retailer Levi Strauss & Co. was set to go public later Thursday after pricing on Wednesday at $17. In economic reports, the Labor Department said the number of laid-off workers who applied for first-time unemployment benefits fell by 9,000 in the week ended March 16 to 221,000 - a one-month low. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had forecast claims to total 225,000. The Philadelphia Fed's business activity index rebounded in March to a seasonally adjusted reading of 13.7 from -4.1 the previous month. A reading above zero indicates improving conditions. Economists polled by MarketWatch had forecast a reading of

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
Mar 21, 2019

Apple on track to surpass Microsoft as most valuable company by market cap
Apple Inc.'s stock surged 1.3% in premarket trade Thursday, after a Needham upgrade to strong buy, which put the company on track to retake its position as the most valuable U.S. company by market capitalization. With 4.715 billion shares outstanding as of Jan. 18, according to the latest SEC filings, Apple's stock gain is set to raise its market cap to $898.5 billion from $887.2 billion on Wednesday. That would knock Microsoft Corp. down to second place, as the software giant's premarket stock drop of 0.4% implies a market cap of $898.0 billion, down from Wednesday's $901.6 billion. Amazon.com Inc.'s stock is down 0.1% ahead of the open, which would keep the e-commerce and cloud giant in third place with an implied market cap of $881.7 billion. Apple's stock has surged 19.3% year to date, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has gained 10.4%.

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
Mar 21, 2019

Freddie Mac names new CEO
Mortgage guarantor Freddie Mac said Thursday that it would appoint David M. Brickman chief executive officer effective July 1. The company announced the departure of Donald Layton as CEO last September, and said at that time that it was conducting a search for a successor, which included Brickman, then the company's president, as well as external candidates. "After a thorough search and selection process," the board opted to appoint Brickman, the company said in a release. The Federal Housing Finance Agency, Freddie's regulator, approved the decision. Freddie and its counterpart Fannie Mae continue to operate under government conservatorship, as they have done since the 2008 financial crisis.

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
Mar 21, 2019

Inovio Pharmaceuticals stock up 9% after company announces positive data from Phase 1 trial of Ebola vaccine
Shares of Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc. rose 9% in premarket trade Thursday after the company announced that its investigational Ebola vaccine was able to elicit a strong antibody response in the majority of subjects in a Phase 1 trial. The vaccine, dubbed INO-4201, was given to 70 subjects either through a skin injection or an injection into muscle. Of those subjects, 67 were able to mount a strong antibody response to an Ebola antigen after three doses, while 52 were able to do so after only two doses, the company said. Inovio noted that the 13 subjects who received the vaccine through a skin injection were all able to mount an antigen-specific antibody response after just two doses. The vaccine, which is non-live as opposed to other investigational Ebola vaccines based on viral vectors, has not shown any serious systemic adverse effects like fever, joint pain or low white blood cell count, the company said. Shares of Inovio have fallen 10% in the year to date, while the S&P 500 has gained 12.7%.

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
Mar 21, 2019

Apple's stock rallies after Needham upgrade to 'strong buy,' bucking broader market weakness
Shares of Apple Inc. rose 0.7% in premarket trade Thursday, bucking the weakness seen in the broader stock market, after analyst Laura Martin at Needham upgraded Apple ahead of the company's press event next week. Martin raised her rating to strong buy, after being at buy for the past two years, and boosted her price target to $225 from $180. Martin said the expected announcement of a new content service should lower churn, which she believes is the most important value driver for an ecosystem company, which Apple users believe the company is. "The lower the churn, the higher the lifetime value per user," Martin wrote in a note to clients. Separately, Wedbush's Dan Ives reiterated his outperform rating but lifted his stock price target to $215 from $200, saying he views the long-awaited unveiling of Apple's new streaming video service as a "pivotal step" in further driving its services flywheel. While Apple's stock rose ahead of the open, futures for the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 fell 0.4% and futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 93 points, or 0.4%.

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
Mar 21, 2019

Ford names Amazon veteran Tim Stone as CFO, effective June 1
Ford Motor Co. said Thursday that its Chief Financial Officer Bob Shanks has decided to retire at year-end. The car company said it has named Tim Stone, a 20-year Amazon veteran and former CFO of Snap Inc. to succeed Shanks as CFO effective June 1. Ford shares were slightly higher premarket, but have fallen 23% in 2019, while the S&P 500 has gained 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
Mar 21, 2019

Bank of England leaves policy on hold amid Brexit uncertainty
The Bank of England left its main lending rate unchanged at 0.75% on Thursday, in line with expectations. The central bank said new economic data has been mixed and the U.K.'s economic outlook will depend significantly on the nature and timing of Brexit. "Shifting expectations about the potential nature and timing of the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union have continued to generate volatility in UK asset prices, particularly the sterling exchange rate," said the BOE statement. "Brexit uncertainties also continue to weigh on confidence and short-term economic activity, notably business investment." The market reaction to the policy update was muted, with the British pound holding its losses in response. Sterling last bought $1.3115, down 0.6%. In other assets, the 10-year gilt also reacted little, last yielding 1.08%, while U.K. stock benchmark FTSE 100 held on to its modest gain, last up 0.4%

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
Mar 21, 2019

Conagra shares climb premarket after earnings beat
Conagra Brands Inc. shares rose about 4% in premarket trade Thursday after the food company beat profit estimates for its fiscal third quarter. The maker of food brands including Birds Eye, Reddi-wip and Slim Jim said it had net income of $242 million, or 50 cents a share, in the quarter to Feb. 24, down from $362.8 million, or 90 cents a share, in the year-earlier period. Excluding restructuring charges, charges related to the acquisition of Pinnacle Foods and other items, the company had EPS of 51 cents, ahead of the 49 cents FactSet consensus. Sales rose to $2.701 billion from $1.995 billion, just below the FactSet consensus of $2.751 billion. The company said the integration of Pinnacle, acquired in October of 2018, is on track and it still expects $215 million in cost synergies. It is still expecting fiscal 2019 adjusted EPS of $2.03 to $2.08. Shares have fallen 35% in the last 12 months, while the S&P 500 has gained 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
Mar 21, 2019

Biogen's stock plummets after phase 3 trial of Alzheimer's treatment discontinued
Shares of Biogen Inc. plummeted 26% toward a near 3-year low in premarket trade Thursday, after the biotechnology company and Japan's Eisai Co. Ltd. said Thursday they have decided to discontinue late-stage trials of a treatment for Alzheimer's disease, after an independent data monitoring committee said they were unlikely to meet its primary goal. The phase 3 trials sought to evaluate the efficacy and saftey of aducanumab in patients with mild cognitive impairment due to Alzheimer's disease and mild Alzheimer's disease dementia. "This disappointing news confirms the complexity of treating Alzheimer's disease and the need to further advance knowledge in neuroscience," Biogen Chief Executive Michael Vounatsos said in a statement. The companies are planning to present detailed data from the trials at future medical meetings to help with ongoing research. A phase 2 safety study and a phase 1b study will also be discontinued. Aducanumab is an investigational compound being studied for treatment in early Alzheimer's. Biogen shares were on track to open at the lowest level seen during regular-session hours since July 2016. The stock has gained 15.6% over the past 12 months through Wednesday, while the S&P 500 has advanced 4.1%.

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
Mar 21, 2019

Murphy Oil's stock jumps after $2.1 billion sales of Malaysian subs, new share buyback plan
Shares of Murphy Oil Corp. rallied 4.1% toward a 3 1/2-month high in premarket trade Thursday, after the oil and natural gas exploration and production company announced a deal to sell its primary Malaysian subsidiaries for $2.13 billion in cash to PTT Exploration and Production Public Company. Murphy could receive a bonus payment of up to $100 million for reaching certain future exploratory drilling results. The Malaysian subsidiaries accounted for 16% of Murphy's year-end 2018 proved reserves of 816 million barrels of oil equivalent. With the proceeds from the deal, Murphy approved a new $500 million stock repurchase program, and plans to pay down $750 million in debt. Murphy said it expects to book a gain from the deal of $900 million to $1.0 billion and plans to repatriate nearly all of the cash proceeds to the U.S. The stock has gained 15.2% over the past 12 months, while the SPDR Energy Select Sector ETF has slipped 2.6% and the S&P 500 has gained 4.1%.

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
Mar 21, 2019

G-III Apparel shares soar 8% premarket as profit blows past estimates
G-III Apparel Group Ltd.'s shares soared 8% in premarket trade Thursday, after the company blew past profit estimates for its fiscal fourth quarter and offered stronger-than-expected guidance for fiscal 2020. The owners of brands including Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger and Karl Lagerfeld said it had net income of $24.1 million, or 48 cents a share, after a loss of $500,000, or 1 cent a share, in the year-earlier period. Adjusted per-share earnings came to 55 cents, well ahead of the 43 cents FactSet consensus. Sales rose to $766.8 million from $714.9 million, slightly below the FactSet consensus of $768.0 million. The company said it now expects fiscal 2020 sales of about $3.28 billion and adjusted EPS of $3.25 to $3.35. The current FactSet consensus is for sales of $3.26 billion and EPS of $3.05. For the first quarter, the company is expecting sales of about $650 million and adjusted EPS of 15 cents to 25 cents. The FactSet consensus is for sales of $648 million and EPS of 25 cents. Shares have fallen 6% in the last 12 months through Wednesday, while the S&P 500 has gained 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
Mar 21, 2019

Olive Garden parent Darden Restaurants stock surges after profit and sales beat, raised guidance
Shares of Darden Restaurants Inc. surged 3.5% in premarket trade Thursday, after the parent of Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse restaurant chains reported fiscal third-quarter profit and sales that beat expectations, and raised its full-year guidance. Net income for the quarter to Feb. 24 rose to $223.6 million, or $1.79 a share, from $217.8 million, or $1.73 a share in the year-ago period. The FactSet EPS consensus was $1.75. Net sales rose 5.5% to $2.25 billion, above the FactSet consensus of $2.24 billion, as same-store sales growth of 2.8% beat expectations of a 2.3% rise. Olive Garden same-store sales rose 4.3%, topping the FactSet consensus of 3.4% growth, while the 3.8% increase in LongHorn Steakhouse same-store sales beat expectations of a 3.0% rise. "Our strong top-line results exceeded the industry this quarter resulting in significant market share gains," said Chief Executive Gene Lee. For fiscal 2019, Darden raised its EPS guidance range to $5.76 to $5.80 from $5.60 to $5.70 and lifted its same-store sales growth outlook to 2.5% to 2.7% from approximately 2.5%. The stock has rallied 9.6% over the past three months through Wednesday, while the S&P 500 has hiked up 16.9%.

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
Mar 21, 2019

Biogen and Eisai to discontinue phase 3 trial of Alzheimer's treatment
Biogen Inc. and Japan's Eisai Co. Ltd. said Thursday they have decided to discontinue late-stage trials of a treatment for Alzheimer's disease, after an independent data monitoring committee said they were unlikely to meet its primary goal. The phase 3 trials sought to evaluate the efficacy and saftey of aducanumab in patients with mild cognitive impairment due to Alzheimer's disease and mild Alzheimer's disease dementia. "This disappointing news confirms the complexity of treating Alzheimer's disease and the need to further advance knowledge in neuroscience," Biogen Chief Executive Michael Vounatsos said in a statement. The companies are planning to present detailed data from the trials at future medical meetings to help with ongoing research. A phase 2 safety study and a phase 1b study will also be discontinued. Aducanumab is an investigational compound being studied for treatment in early Alzheimer's. Biogen shares were halted premarket for the news.

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
Mar 21, 2019

Novocure Chief Science Officer Eilon Kirson to retire after 7 years in the role
Novocure Ltd. said Thursday Chief Science Officer Eilon Kirson will retire after about 7 years in the role, and 17 years with the company. The cancer treatment company said Kirson's retirement provides the opportunity to separate medical and scientific responsibilities. Uri Weinberg, vice president of clinical development, will assume responsibilities for preclinical and clinical development and regulatory affairs effective immediately, and Ely Benaim will join the company as chief medical officer effective April 1, assuming responsibilities for clinical operations, medical affairs and safety. The stock, which is still inactive in premarket trade has soared 67.8% over the past three months, while the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF has rallied 24.6% and the S&P 500 has climbed 16.9%.

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
Mar 21, 2019

Encana CFO Sherri Brillon to retire after 10 years in the role
Encana Corp. said Thursday Chief Financial Officer Sherri Brillon will retire effective May 1, after 10 years in the role. The energy producer said it appointed Corey Code, a 20-year veteran of the company, was most recently vice president, investor relations and strategy, and has served as treasurer. The stock, which was still inactive in premarket trade, has soared 29.9% year to date, while the SPDR Energy Select Sector ETF has climbed 16.5% and the S&P 500 has rallied 12.7%.

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
Mar 20, 2019

Levi Strauss prices IPO at $17 a share, will raise more than $600 million
Levi Strauss & Co. priced its initial public offering at $17 a share Wednesday afternoon, and will raise more than $600 million. The iconic San Francisco blue-jeans company had expected to price shares at $14 to $16, according to an earlier filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company said it would sell about 36.7 million shares, with roughly 9.5 million coming from the company and about 27.2 million coming from selling stockholders, for a total raise of $623.3 million. At the IPO price, the company would be valued at roughly $6.55 billion, based on the outstanding share count in SEC filings. Underwriters, led by Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan, have access to an additional 5.5 million shares that would be sold by the company. Shares are expected to begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol LEVI on Thursday morning.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Mar 20, 2019

AutoZone OK's $1 billion additional stock buyback
AutoZone Inc. said late Wednesday its board of directors has authorized an additional $1 billion in the company's stock buyback program. "AutoZone's continued strong financial performance allows us to repurchase our stock while maintaining our investment-grade credit ratings," Chief Financial Officer Bill Giles said in a statement. AutoZone shares rose 0.2% in the extended session after ending the regular trading day up 0.2% as well.

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
Mar 20, 2019

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May says she will ask EU for a delay of Brexit to June 30
Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday said she planned to ask for a short extension of Britain's plan to exit from the European Union--an effort to avoid a disorderly departure from Europe's trade bloc. "We will now not leave on time with a deal on the 29th of March. This delay is a matter of great personal regret for me," she said during a TV address at 10 Downing Street late Wednesday local time. The British leader had formally requested a three-month extension earlier in the day but voiced her frustration with a Brexit process that has taken about 1,000 days since the late June 2016 referendum that saw U.K. citizens surprisingly vote to abandon the EU. "I am not prepared to delay any Brexit any further than the 30th of June," she said, adding that the public has "had enough" talking about Brexit and wanted to get on with other important matters. The decision to delay Brexit runs the risk of Britain leaving the 27-member EU without a formal trade pact, viewed as a worse-case scenario for domestic and international markets. European Council president, Donald Tusk, has said he would consider a Brexit extension only if May can secure a "positive vote on a withdrawal agreement." That may be a tall order given that last week Parliament rejected May's divorce agreement for the second time. According to reports, May is set to travel to Brussels on Thursday where she will discuss extension options. "I am on your side. It is now time for [Members of Parliament] to decide," May said during her TV address. The British Pound was down against the dollar, with the buck changing hands at $1.3194, down 0.6%, according to FactSet data.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Mar 20, 2019

U.S. Cannabis producer Curaleaf revenue rises 407% as losses widen
U.S. cannabis retailer and producer Curaleaf Holdings Inc. reported widening losses and revenue that grew 407% late Wednesday. The company reported fourth-quarter net losses of $16.5 million, or 4 cents a share, compared with profits of $624,000, or zero cents a share in the year-ago quarter. Revenue rose to $32 million from $6.3 million in the year-ago period, excluding revenue from managed entities. There are not enough analysts polled by FactSet on earnings or revenue to form reliable consensus estimates. Curaleaf said that insiders and investors agreed to voluntarily lock-up their shares until April 29. The company reiterated its full-year revenue guidance of $400 million. Curaleaf stock has gained 50% in the past three months, as the S&P 500 index 15%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Mar 20, 2019

Williams-Sonoma stock rises after company tops Wall Street views, raises dividend
Williams-Sonoma Inc. shares jumped more than 10% in the extended session Wednesday after the retailer posted fourth-quarter earnings above expectations, raised its dividend by nearly 12%, and increased its share buyback program. Williams-Sonoma said it earned $155 million, or $1.93 a share, in the quarter, compared with $96 million, or $1.13 a share, in the year-ago period. Adjusted for one-time items, Williams-Sonoma earned $2.10 a share. Revenue rose 9% to $1.8 billion. Analysts polled by FactSet had expected adjusted earnings of $1.96 a share on sales of $1.8 billion. The company guided for revenue between $5.67 billion and $5.84 billion for 2019, and EPS between $4.50 a share and $4.70 a share. In a separate press release, Williams-Sonoma said its board authorized an 11.6% dividend increase to 48 cents a share, payable May 31 to shareholders of record as of April 26. The board increased the share buyback authorization by $500 million, resulting in a program around $700 million. Shares had ended the regular trading up 0.2%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Mar 20, 2019

Guess stock tanks after earnings miss, light forecast
Guess Inc. shares fell more than 10% in after-hours trading Wednesday after the clothing company reported a worse fiscal fourth quarter than expected and projected less profit this year than analysts were projecting. Guess reported net income of $23.2 million, or 28 cents a share, on revenue of $837.1 million, up from $792.2 million a year ago. After wiping away more than $3 million from a fine by the European Commission and more than $5 million in severance paid out to its former chief executive, the company claimed adjusted earnings of 70 cents a share, up from 62 cents a share a year ago. Analysts on average expected adjusted earnings of 75 cents a share on sales of $831 million. "There are several areas of the operation that offer opportunities for improvement, which should result in operating margin growth over time," new Chief Executive Carlos Alberini said in a statement. The current fiscal year appears to be a challenge, though: Guess predicted a loss of 25 cents to 29 cents a share in the current quarter, roughly double the average analyst prediction, and unadjusted earnings of $1.09 to $1.21 for the full year, while analysts predicted $1.40 a share on average. After closing with a 2% decline at $22.07, shares dropped to less than $20 in immediate late trading following release of the results. The stock has gained 47.3% in the past 12 months, as the S&P 500 index increased 4.3%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Mar 20, 2019

FBI joining Boeing 737 Max probe: report
The FBI has joined the criminal investigation into Boeing Co.'s 737 Max certification, The Seattle Times reported late Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter. The federal grand jury investigation is reportedly looking into safety approvals for the plane, involved in two fatal crashes in less than five months. Shares of Boeing fell 1% in the extended session after ending the regular trading day up 0.7%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Mar 20, 2019

Micron stock ticks higher as results top lowered Wall Street expectations
Micron Technology Inc. shares ticked higher in the extended session Wednesday after the memory chip maker topped lowered Wall Street expectations. Micron shares were last up 0.5% after hours, following a 0.6% decline to close the regular session at $40.13. The company reported fiscal second-quarter net income of $1.62 billion, or $1.42 a share, compared with $3.31 billion, or $2.67 a share, in the year-ago period. Adjusted earnings were $1.71 a share. Revenue declined to $5.84 billion from $7.35 billion in the year-ago quarter. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had forecast earnings of $1.60 a share on revenue of $5.8 billion.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Mar 20, 2019

Stocks end slightly lower after giving up post-Fed gains
Stocks ended mostly lower Wednesday, unable to maintain gains seen after Federal Reserve policy makers signaled they would deliver no rate increases this year and offered a detailed plan to end the wind-down of its balance sheet. After erasing early losses to turn higher in the wake of the announcement, stocks drifted back into negative territory, with the S&P 500 ending 0.3% lower near 2,824, according to preliminary figures, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average shed more than 140 points, or 0.5%, to finish near 25,746. The Nasdaq Composite clung to a gain, ending 0.1% higher near 7,729. Financial stocks were a drag, feeling heat as the Fed decision prompted a sharp decline in Treasury yields, a negative for lenders. Financials led sector losers in the S&P 500, falling 2.1%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Mar 20, 2019

Oil prices settle at a 4-month high after a weekly drop in U.S. crude supplies
Oil futures rallied Wednesday to settle at four-month highs after the Energy Information Administration reported a drop of 9.6 million barrels in domestic crude supplies for the week ended March 15. April West Texas Intermediate oil , which expired at the day's settlement, rose 80 cents, or 1.4%, to finish at $59.83 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest for a front-month contract since November. May WTI crude , the new front-month contract, added 94 cents, or 1.6%, to $60.23.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Mar 20, 2019

Bank stocks stumble as 10-year yield hits 15-month low following Fed lower-for-longer policy update
Popular gauges of financial institutions on Wall Street traded solidly lower after the Federal Reserve Wednesday downgraded its forecast for U.S. economic growth and indicated that policy makers wouldn't hike rates in 2019. That reaffirmation of its earlier dovishness provides a poor environment for bank's, whose business models perform better in a rising interest-rate environment. The 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.53%, hitting its lowest level since early January of 2018, after the Fed policy update. Meanwhile, the Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF fell 0.6%, while the S&P 500's financial sector was off by 1.2% and the Invesco KBW Bank ETF was 1.8% lower in late-Wednesday action. Although the Federal Open Market Committee held interest rates at a range of 2.25% to 2.50% as expected, it downgraded its economic outlook, dropping its gross domestic product forecast to 2.1% for 2019, from 2.3% before, and said that the winding down of its balance sheet would end in September. Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average , the Nasdaq Composite Index and the S&P 500 index all headed modestly higher after the Fed decision.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Mar 20, 2019

Dollar drops to 6-week low as Fed affirms dovish stance
The U.S. dollar fell to its lowest level since early February on Wednesday as the Federal Reserve reaffirmed its dovish stance. The central bank downgraded its expectation of interest rate increases to zero for 2019, from two expected hikes before. Although this aligned the Fed's forecast with those of many market participants, it reinforced the idea that a major driver of the dollar's strength last year has petered out. The Fed also downgraded its economic outlook, dropping its gross domestic product forecast to 2.1% for this year, from 2.3% before, and said that the winding down of its balance sheet would end in September. The popular ICE U.S. Dollar Index , which measures the buck against six rivals, turned negative after the Fed update. The gauge was last down 0.5% at 95.947, its lowest level since earlyFebruary, according to FactSet. Market participants are now turning their attention to a news conference with Fed Chairman Jerome Powell scheduled for 2.30 p.m. Eastern.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Mar 20, 2019

Gold settles lower, then climbs in electronic trade after Fed statement
Gold prices finished lower on Wednesday, giving back nearly all of their gain from a day earlier. Prices then traded higher in electronic trading, finding support as the ICE U.S. Dollar Index weakened in the wake of the Federal Reserve's latest policy statement. The central bank left interest rates unchanged as expected and signaled no more interest-rate increases this year, with just one in 2020. In electronic trading, gold for April delivery was at $1,312.80 an ounce. The contract had lost $4.80, or 0.4%, to settle at $1,301.70 an ounce on Comex, ahead of the Fed news.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Mar 20, 2019

Stocks reverse most losses after Fed predicts no rate hikes in 2019
U.S. stocks rebounded sharply Wednesday afternoon, following the Federal Reserve's announcement that it would leave interest rates unchanged at between 2.25% and 2.5% and the release of projections that indicate the central bank won't raise rates at all this year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 33 points, or 0.1%, the S&P 500 was up roughly 1 point, or 0.1%, while the Nasdaq Composite index rose 23 points, or 0.3%. The U.S. central bank also said it would begin slowing the pace at which it reduces its balance sheet in May, and cease the reduction altogether by September. In a statement accompanying the decision the central bank said that while U.S. economy and job market remain strong, evidence of slowing global growth and muted inflation will allow the Fed to be "patient" as it considers any future changes to interest rate policy.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Mar 20, 2019

Dot plot shows just one rate hike in 2019 as Fed signals end of balance-sheet runoff by September
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - The Federal Reserve signaled just one more increase in interest rates this year and none in 2020, according to its new 'dot plot,' and the bank said it would end its balance-sheet runoff by September. Before a marked shift in strategy in January, the central bank had previously indicated it would raise rates twice this year and once more in 2020. The Fed cited slower economic growth and persistently low inflation. The bank cut its GDP estimate in 2019 to 2.1% from 2.3%. It also trimmed its PCE inflation forecast to 1.8% from 1.9%, leaving its core PCE estimate at 2%. The Fed still sees its fed funds rate rising to 2.8% in the long run, but not before 2021. The bank also announced plans to start winding down the runoff in its $4 trillion balance sheet in May, finishing by September. It will continue to reduce its holdings of mortgage-backed securities beyond September, reinvesting the proceeds in a broad range of Treasurys. The vote was unanimous.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Mar 20, 2019

Dot plot shows no rate hikes in 2019 as Fed signals end of balance-sheet runoff by September
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - The Federal Reserve signaled no more increase in interest rates this year and just one in 2020, according to its new 'dot plot,' and the bank said it would end its balance-sheet runoff by September. Before a marked shift in strategy in January, the central bank had previously indicated it would raise rates twice this year and once more in 2020. The Fed cited slower economic growth and persistently low inflation. The bank cut its GDP estimate in 2019 to 2.1% from 2.3%. It also trimmed its PCE inflation forecast to 1.8% from 1.9%, leaving its core PCE estimate at 2%. The Fed still sees its fed funds rate rising to 2.8% in the long run, but not before 2021. The bank also announced plans to start winding down the runoff in its $4 trillion balance sheet in May, finishing by September. It will continue to reduce its holdings of mortgage-backed securities beyond September, reinvesting the proceeds in a broad range of Treasurys. The vote was unanimous.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Mar 20, 2019

Trump says he's talking about leaving tariffs on China for 'substantial period of time'
President Donald Trump on Wednesday, ahead of a trip to Ohio, told reporters on the South Lawn that he would leave tariffs on China for a "substantial period of time." "We are not talking about removing them, we are talking about leaving them," he said. "We have to make sure that if we do the deal with China, that China lives by the deal," he said. Trump said the deal "is coming along nicely." There's currently a 10% tariff on an array of Chinese goods.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Mar 20, 2019

Walmart ending Savings Catcher price match program
Walmart Inc. is discontinuing its price-matching Savings Catcher program on May 14, which is the last day that shoppers can submit a Walmart Pay eReceipt for a reward. However, shoppers can hang on to that reward to spend online or in stores when they choose. "We are at our best when we deliver everyday low prices for our customers, and we've been focused on doing that through investments in price," the company said in a statement. "And customers are noticing - we've seen a significant reduction in usage and redemptions from Savings Catcher." Many participants in the UBS Consumer Retail Conference this month said that prices have increased due to the tariff war between the U.S. and China, and they won't be fully rolled back if the tariffs go away, analysts wrote in a March 8 note. Walmart was one of the participants in that conference. Still, the retail giant reasserted its commitment to low prices. "While the company has largely accomplished its aim to invest several billion dollars in price over the course of several years, that doesn't mean that Walmart is done investing in price," UBS wrote. "It's continuously looking for ways to take cost out of the business, and pass along savings to customers." UBS rates Walmart stock neutral. Walmart shares have gained 6.2% in Wednesday trading while the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 10.4% for the period.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Mar 20, 2019

DSW's reliance on Camuto-brand shoes comes with a risk, analyst says
DSW Inc.'s plan to focus on private-label merchandise through its Camuto Group acquisition comes with a risk, according to Canaccord Genuity analysts. DSW, which has changed its name to Designer Brands with a new ticker, "DBI," that will go into effect April 2, announced during its Tuesday investor day that it will focus on exclusive merchandise. "This increase in private label goods made by Camuto will over time replace the 700 labels (20% of the mix today) that do not warrant shelf space," Canaccord wrote. "While we see the potential behind this strategy, we also see risks DSW may not be accounting for, namely risk to Camuto's private label wholesale business with Dillard's and Macy's." Canaccord analysts are concerned that Dillard's Inc. and Macy's Inc. would move their business elsewhere to reduce competition. "[T]hat is just what we are seeing evidence of with Steve Madden having won a portion of the Dillard's private-label business," Canaccord said. Canaccord rates DSW shares hold with a $25 price target, down from $28. DSW stock closed Wednesday down nearly 13%, and are down 4.5% in Wednesday trading. Shares have sunk 14.5% in 2019. The S&P 500 index has gained 12.6% for the year to date.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Mar 20, 2019

Ford to finish its first driverless vehicles in 2021 in Michigan
Ford Motor Co. said Wednesday it will complete its first autonomous vehicles starting in 2021 in southeast Michigan, upfitting commercial hybrid vehicles with self-driving technology and "unique interiors." Its first driverless vehicles will be geared toward commercial services, Ford said. The car maker also said it is expanding its battery-electric vehicle footprint in its home state, planning to invest more than $850 million in its Flat Rock assembly plant through 2023 and adding a second shift. The plant investment also includes funding to build the next-generation Mustang and is part of a $900 million investment in Ford's operations in southeastern Michigan. "We've taken a fresh look at the growth rates of electrified vehicles and know we need to protect additional production capacity given our accelerated plans for fully electric vehicles," Joe Hinrichs, Ford's president of global operations, said in a statement. Shares of Ford fell nearly 2% on Wednesday. The stock is down 22% in the past 12 months, contrasting with gains around 4% for the S&P 500 index in the same period.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Mar 20, 2019

Viacom's stock falls as AT&T-DirecTV may drop its networks, but BTIG warns DirecTV may have more to lose
Shares of Viacom Inc. dropped 4.2% in morning trade Wednesday, to pace decliners in the communications services sector, in the wake of the media company's warning of a disruption in service for those accessing its TV networks through AT&T Inc.'s DirecTV. Viacom's stock has now shed 5.8% this week. Meanwhile, AT&T's stock has lost just 0.6% this week. Viacom said Tuesday that despite "a series of offers" made to AT&T-DirecTV to reach a new carriage agreement, which expires March 22, AT&T's "unwillingness to engage in constructive conversations" could force a disruption of service. BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield said history suggests that DirecTV, not Viacom, has more to lose if DirecTV drops Viacom networks. The last time DirecTV dropped Viacom networks in 2012, it lost subscribers and market share to competitors. Viacom's stock has gained 2.4% year to date and AT&T shares have climbed 6.8%, while the SPDR Communications Services Select Sector ETF has rallied 13.3% and the S&P 500 has rallied 12.7%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Mar 20, 2019

Mall wars heat up in NYC as Brookfield Place announces new venue
In the wake of the new Hudson Yards shopping destination launch on Manhattan's West Side, Brookfield Properties has announced a partnership with Convene, a company that creates event spaces, to launch a 73,000-square-foot venue at Brookfield Place in downtown Manhattan. Convene will build and operate the space, which will house several rooms for meetings and events both large and small. The venue will also have a cafe. The SPDR S&P Retail ETF has gained 8% in 2019, the ProShares Decline of the Retail Store ETF has lost 6% for the period, and the S&P 500 index has rallied 12.6% for the year so far.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Mar 20, 2019

U.S. oil prices move higher after EIA reports a nearly 10 million-barrel drop in U.S. crude supplies
The Energy Information Administration on Wednesday reported that U.S. crude supplies fell by 9.6 million barrels for the week ended March 15. Analysts polled by S&P Global Platts expected a climb of 1 million barrels. The American Petroleum Institute on Tuesday had reported a fall of 2.1 million barrels, according to sources. Supplies of gasoline also dropped by 4.6 million barrels, while distillates fell by 4.1 million barrels last week, according to the EIA. The S&P Global Platts survey had shown expectations for supply declines of 2.1 million barrels each for gasoline and distillates. April West Texas Intermediate crude , which expires at the end of the session, was up 37 cents, or 0.6%, at $59.40 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It was trading at $58.92 before the data. May WTI added 24 cents, or 0.4%, to $59.53.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Mar 20, 2019

Starbucks stock rises toward 2nd record this month, 8th record this year
Shares of Starbucks Corp. rose 0.6% in morning trade, pairing earlier gains of as much as 1.4%, but that was still enough to put them on track for a second record close this month, and eighth record this year. The coffee seller announced earlier that it had entered into a $2 billion accelerated stock repurchase agreement, as well as a new effort to revamp its customer experience. That announcement comes a day after Starbucks announced a new tiered loyalty rewards program. Starbucks shares have rallied 11.5% year to date, while the SPDR Consumer Discretionary Select Sector ETF has climbed 13.2% and the S&P 500 has advanced 12.7%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Mar 20, 2019

Amazon launches private-label skincare brand, Belei
Amazon.com Inc. has launched a line of private-label skincare products, Belei. Products are free from parabens and other chemicals, aren't tested on animals and come in recyclable packaging. The line will include 12 products, including a charcoal balancing mask for $18, dark spot solution serum for $22 and a vitamin C moisturizer for $35. Amazon stock is up 18.4% in 2019 while the S&P 500 index has gained 12.7% for the period.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Mar 20, 2019

Car maker stocks fall after BMW profit warning
Shares of auto makers fell Wednesday, pulled down by Germany-based BMW AG's warning of a significant drop in profits this year. Ford Motor Co.'s stock slumped 2.4%, General Motors Co. shares shed 2.9% and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. shares dropped 1.3%. BMW's Germany-listed shares tumbled 5.3%, with the company blaming its profit warning on higher costs associated with stricter emissions regulation, heavy investment in electric and self-driving cars, currency translation effects, higher raw materials and global trade tensions. The auto maker stock declines come as the S&P 500 slipped 0.3%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Mar 20, 2019

Dow drifts 122 points lower as investors await a key policy update from Fed's Powell; FedEx's stock sinks
U.S. stock benchmarks on Wednesday retreated slightly at the open ahead of a Federal Reserve meeting and news conference expected to reaffirm the central bank's dovish policy stance. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was off by about 122 points, or 0.5%, at 25,764, while the S&P 500 index was slipping 0.3% at 2,823, while the Nasdaq Composite Index was off by 0.2% at 7,708. Later Wednesday, the Jerome Powell-run central bank will release its economic forecasts at 2 p.m. Eastern Time, and Powell will host a news conference a half-hour later. Meanwhile, investors are watching developments in U.S.-China trade talks after Tuesday reports by the Wall Street Journal indicated Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin planned to go to Beijing next week, in an effort to complete a tariff agreement. In corporate news, shares of FedEx Corp. , often viewed as a barometer of global growth prospects, were down sharply after the logistics company missed Wall Street forecasts for its fiscal third quarter, partly due to higher costs for its FedEx Ground business.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Mar 20, 2019

Starbucks to reevaluate customer experience, approves $2 billion stock repurchase program
Starbucks Corp. announced a new effort to revamp its customer experience, a $100 million investment in Valor Siren Ventures, and a $2 billion accelerated stock repurchase program. The new developments, and more, are part of the company's investor day event. The customer experience changes will begin in New York City this summer. The Valor Siren Ventures investment will benefit companies and technologies related to food and retail. The fund will seek out an additional $300 million. Starbucks will also pilot cups that are recyclable and compostable in several global markets, including New York, Vancouver and London, in the coming months; launch new strawless lids in the U.S. and Canada; and will preview a new app feature that shows the path of the Pike Place Roast coffee from origin to cup. Starbucks stock has gained nearly 12% in 2019 while the S&P 500 index is up nearly 13% for the period.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Mar 20, 2019

FedEx's stock tumble set to shave about 69 points off the Dow transports
Shares of FedEx Corp. tumbled 6.2% in premarket trade Wednesday, and were set to be a big drag on the Dow Jones Transportation Average , in the wake of the package delivery service's disappointing fiscal third-quarter report. The implied price decline would shave about 69 points off the price of the Dow transports, which would represent about 0.7% of Tuesday's closing price. J.P. Morgan analyst Brian Ossenbeck downgraded FedEx to neutral, after being at overweight since at least December 2016, and slashed his price target to $202 from $227. Ossenbeck said he is increasingly concerned that margins will be pressured even if FedEx's ground business can lower costs fast enough to growth profit. Shares of rival United Parcel Service Inc. fell 1.9% ahead of the open in sympathy. Meanwhile, futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 8 points.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Mar 20, 2019

Amazon introduces a $90 Kindle
Amazon.com Inc. launched a new Kindle on Wednesday. Priced at about $90, the e-reader includes a new front light, updated electronic ink and free three-month access to Kindle Unlimited, which allows users to read millions of titles. Amazon shares have rallied 17.3% in 2019 while the S&P 500 index has gained 13% for the period.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Mar 20, 2019

Google parent Alphabet to book 1.49 billion euros EU fine in Q1
Google parent Alphabet Inc. said Wednesday it will book the 1.49 billion euros ($1.69 billion) fine imposed by the European Union for anti-competitive behavior in the first quarter. The company made the announcement in a regulatory filing without offering further comment.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Mar 20, 2019

Apple unveils new AirPods with wireless charging cases
Apple Inc. unveiled Wednesday new AirPods, with faster connect times, longer talk times and hands-free "Hey Siri" feature, with a new wireless charging case. The new wireless headphones are available online on Wednesday, and in Apple retail stores next week, for $159 with the standard charging case and for $199 with the wireless charging case. A standalone wireless charging case can be bought for $79. Personal engravings can be added to the new AirPods and charging cases for free on Apple.com and the Apple Store app. The new AirPods announcement comes after the company unveiled new iMac, iPad Air and iPad mini models earlier this week, and ahead of an expected new streaming-video service next week. Apple's stock inched less than 0.1% lower in premarket trade. It has run up 18.3% year to date through Tuesday, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has climbed 11.0%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Mar 20, 2019

Green Organic Dutchman posts first quarterly revenue
The Green Organic Dutchman Holdings Ltd. said it had a net loss of C$45.2 million ($33.9 million), or 21 cents a share, for 2018, wider than the C$13.5 million loss, or 12 cents a share, posted in the year-earlier period. Revenue came to C$1.9 million, as the company booked its first quarterly revenue following the acquisition of HemPoland on Oct. 1 and the full legalization of cannabis in Canada on Oct. 17. The company did not provide a net loss for the quarter, but said its loss from operations came to C$18.1 million due to the costs of ramping up operations, consumer research and administration related to gearing up for commercial production in 2019. The company ended the year with C$263.5 million of cash, which will be used to fund expansion and international growth. Jefferies analyst Owen Bennett said costs came in "significantly below estimates. You could take a positive or negative view of this (encouraging re route to profitability or not spending much around brand awareness)," he wrote in a note to clients. "First real financial catalyst will be next quarter with further re-rating potential if they execute." Bennett rates the stock a buy with a price target of C$6.10, compared with its current trading level of C$5.48. U.S.-listed shares were down 0.5% in premarket trade, but have gained 128% in 2019 so far, while the S&P 500 has gained 4%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Mar 20, 2019

Marijuana Co. of America to buy 20% stake in NPE, to form Viva Buds JV for cannabis delivery
Marijuana Co. of America Inc. announced Wednesday its intent to buy a 20% stake in Natural Plant Extract of California (NPE), and its plan to establish a joint venture operating a cannabis delivery service named Viva Buds. Under terms of a letter of intent, Marijuana Co. (MCOA) will contribute $2 million in cash and $1 million worth of its common stock. MCOA and NPE will share in the profits of Viva Buds. "This partnership will enable MCOA to establish itself as a major player in the cannabis arena," said MCOA Chief Executive Donald Steinberg. "All licenses are in place to allow for vertical integration from farm to consumer." MCOA's stock has tumbled 43.4% year to date, while the ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF has soared 55.3% and the S&P 500 has gained 13.0%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Mar 20, 2019

Pfizer acquires option to buy Vivet Therapeutics for equivalent of $635.8 million
Pfizer Inc. said Wednesday it has paid 45 million euro, or the equivalent of $51 million to acquire a 15% equity stake in privately held gene therapy company Vivet Therapeutics, and has acquired an option to buy the rest of Vivet shares for EUR560 million ($635.8 million). Pfizer's stock rose 0.2% in premarket trade. Pfizer and Vivet will collaborate on developing VTX-801, Vivet's treatment for Wilson disease, a life-threatening liver disorder of impaired copper transport. Under terms of the deal, Pfizer can exercise its option to buy 100% of Vivet after the company's delivery of certain data from the phase 1/2 trial for VTX-801. Monika Vnuk, vice president of worldwide business development at Pfizer, will join Vivet's board of directors. Pfizer's stock has gained 16.4% over the past 12 months through Tuesday, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has tacked on 4.7%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Mar 20, 2019

E.W. Scripps stock jumps premarket on news to acquire 8 TV stations from Nexstar-Tribune
Shares of The E.W. Scripps Co. soared 5% in premarket trade Wednesday, after the media company said it is acquiring eight TV stations in seven markets from the Nexstar Media Group Inc. and Tribune Media . Those two companies are selling assets as part of a plan to merge. E.W. Scripps said it will pay $505 million for six markets and $75 million for WPIX, the CW affiliate in New York City. The stations had blended revenue for 2017 to 2018 of $263 million and EBITDA of $56 million. The company is planning to finance the deal with a mix of term loans and unsecured debt, that will raise its total debt to $1.85 billion and leave it with a total leverage ratio net of cash of about 5 times at closing. The company is expecting the deal to expand its presence in Arizona, Florida, Michigan and New York and to add about 769 employees. The company has granted Nexstar the option to buy WPIX back from March 31, 2020 through the end of 2021. E.W. Scripps shares have gained 76% in the last 12 months, while the S&P 500 has gained 4%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Mar 20, 2019

General Mills stock surges toward 1-year high after profit beat, raised outlook
Shares of General Mills Inc. shot up 5.8% toward a 1-year high in premarket trade Wednesday, after the branded consumer foods company reported a fiscal third-quarter profit that beat expectations, and raised its full-year outlook. Net income for the quarter to Feb. 24 fell to $446.8 million, or 74 cents a share, from $941.4 million, or $1.62 a year ago, which included a tax-reform related benefit. Excluding non-recurring items, adjusted EPS came to 83 cents, above the FactSet consensus of 69 cents. Sales rose 8% to $4.20 billion, matching the FactSet consensus, as North American retail sales beat expectations, convenience stores and foodservice sales were in line and pet foods sales came up shy. For the fiscal 2019, the company revised its adjusted EPS guidance to flat to up 1% from flat to down 3%. The stock, on track to open at the highest level seen during regular-session hours since March 20, 2018, has run up 21.3% year to date through Tuesday, while the SPDR Consumer Staples Select Sector ETF has gained 7.8% and the S&P 500 has advanced 13%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Mar 20, 2019

Radian more than doubles stock repurchase program to $250 million
Radian Group Inc. said Wednesday it has more than doubled its stock repurchase program, increasing it to $250 million from $100 million. Based on Tuesday's stock closing price of $20.60, the mortgage insurance company can now buy back up to 5.7% of its shares outstanding. Separately, Radian said Debra Hess, chief financial officer of NorthStar Asset Management Group, and David Stevens, former chief executive of the Mortgage Bankers Association, have joined its board of directors. Stephen Hopkins, a Radian board member since 1999, said he plans to retire. Radian's stock, which is still inactive in premarket trade, has rallied 26% year to date, while the S&P 500 has climbed 13%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Mar 19, 2019

Tencent Music stock falls in first earnings since IPO
Tencent Music Entertainment Group shares fell more than 7% in the extended session Tuesday after the company reported its first results since its initial public offering. The Chinese company reported fourth-quarter net losses of $127 million, or 8 cents per American depositary receipt. Adjusted for items such as stock-based compensation, among other items, earnings were 8 cents per depositary receipt. Revenue grew 51% to $785 million. Tencent Music stock has gained 53% in the past three months, with the S&P 500 index rising 13%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Mar 19, 2019

Smartsheet stock rallies more than 10% after results top Street estimates
Smartsheet Inc. shares rallied in the extended session Tuesday after the cloud-based work platform topped Wall Street estimates for the quarter and forecast better-than-expected revenue. Smartsheet shares rallied 12% after hours, following a 0.5% decline to close the regular session at $43.44. The company reported a fourth-quarter loss of $11.7 million, or 11 cents a share, compared with $8.7 million, or 45 cents a share, in the year-ago period. The adjusted loss was 7 cents a share. Revenue rose to $52.2 million from $33 million in the year-ago quarter. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had forecast a loss of 14 cents a share on revenue of $49.7 million. Smartsheet expects a loss of 19 cents to 18 cents a share on revenue of $54 million to $55 million for the quarter, and 59 cents to 55 cents a share on revenue of $253 million to $257 million a year. Analysts had forecast a loss of 14 cents a share on revenue of $52.6 million for the quarter, and 52 cents a share on revenue of $243.8 million for the year.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Mar 19, 2019

API data reportedly show a more than 2 million-barrel decline in U.S. crude supplies
The American Petroleum Institute reported late Tuesday that U.S. crude supplies fell by 2.1 million barrels for the week ended March 15, according to sources. The API also reportedly showed that gasoline stockpiles were down 2.8 million barrels, while distillate inventories declined by 1.6 million barrels. Inventory data from the Energy Information Administration will be released Wednesday. The EIA data are expected to show crude supplies climbed by 1 million barrels last week, according to a survey of analysts conducted by S&P Global Platts. It also shows expectations for inventory declines of 2.1 million barrels each for gasoline and distillates. April West Texas Intermediate crude was at $58.93 a barrel in electronic trading, down a dime from the $59.03 settlement on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Mar 19, 2019

Trump White House nominates permanent FAA chief after Boeing crash
The White House nominated a former Delta Air Lines executive as permanent head of the Federal Aviation Administration just a week after the agency grounded Boeing's 737 MAX fleet after a fatal Ethiopian Airlines crash. Steve Dickson was tapped to be the agency's next chief. The agency has been run by acting chief Daniel Elwell since January 2018. Dickson was responsible at Delta for helping to train the airline's 13,000 pilots and make sure the company was in compliance with regulations. He is a graduate of the Air Force and a former F-15 fighter pilot who has flown a variety of aircraft. (Updates to reflect the White House announcing the nomination.)

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Mar 19, 2019

FedEx stock falls after company misses Wall Street Q3 views
Shares of FedEx Corp. fell more than 3% in the extended session Tuesday after the logistics company missed Wall Street's expectations for its fiscal third quarter, thanks in part to higher costs for its FedEx Ground business. FedEx said it earned $739 million, or $2.80 a share, in the quarter, compared with $2.07 billion, or $7.59 a share, in the year-ago period. Adjusted for one-time items, FedEx earned $797 million, or $3.03 a share, in the quarter, compared with $1.02 billion, or $3.72 a share, a year ago. Revenue rose to $17 billion, from $16.5 billion a year ago. Analysts polled by FactSet had expected adjusted earnings of $3.03 a share on sales of $17.6 billion. "Our third quarter financial results were below our expectations and we are focused on initiatives to improve our performance," Chief Executive Frederick W. Smith said in a statement. "Our investments in innovation, network infrastructure and automation will increase our competitiveness and drive long-term earnings growth." Shares of FedEx had ended the regular trading day down 0.5%. FedEx guided fiscal 2019 earnings between $11.95 and $13.10 a share; the analysts polled by FactSet expect EPS of $16.02 a share for the year.

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Mar 19, 2019

Dow snaps 4-day win streak ahead of Fed policy update
U.S. stock benchmarks on Tuesday closed mostly lower in a bumpy session, as investors digested news on trade and awaited a policy decision by the rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee due Wednesday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 0.1% at 25,887, on a preliminary basis. The decline marked the first for the blue-chip gauge in the past four sessions. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 index ended flat at 2,833, while the Nasdaq Composite Index managed a gain of about 0.1% to 7,723. All three benchmarks had been swinging up and down throughout the session. Moves for the equity benchmarks come as the Fed is set to release its policy outlook at 2 p.m. Eastern Time, with that update expected to reaffirm a dovish pivot for the central bank since its last meeting in January. Investors will closely watch the pace of future rate hikes, if any in 2019, and help investors glean when policy makers are slated to end a runoff of a trillion-dollar balance sheet that grew in the aftermath of the 2008-09 crisis. Meanwhile, stocks also reacted to updates related to U.S.-China negotiations, which were said to be nearing a final stage, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin were expected fly to Beijing next week. A separate report from Bloomberg News said that China may walk back early trade agreements, citing sources familiar. In corporate news, the Department of Transportation was investigating the the certification of Boeing's 737 Max jets, which was a focus after a pair of fatal crashes within five months.

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Mar 19, 2019

Chao requests investigation into certification of Boeing 737-Max 8 aircraft
Transportation Department Secretary Elaine Chao said in a letter released Tuesday that she's requested the department's inspector general to audit the activities that resulted in the certification by the Federal Aviation Administration's Boeing 737-Max 8 aircraft. That aircraft has had deadly crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia. "To help inform the Department's decision making and the public's understanding, and to assist the FAA in ensuring that its safety procedures are implemented effectively, this is to confirm my request that the Office of Inspector General proceed with an audit to compile an objective and detailed factual history of the activities that resulted in the certification of the Boeing 737-Max 8 aircraft," the letter states.

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Mar 19, 2019

Union Pacific's stock paces Dow transports losers after Loop Capital downgrades 'unluckiest' railroad
Shares of Union Pacific Corp. sank 3.3% in afternoon trade Tuesday, to pace the Dow Jones Transportation Average's decliners, after Loop Capital analyst analyst Rick Paterson downgraded the railroad operator, citing concerns that the potential negative effects of recent weather events have yet to be priced in. Paterson cut his rating to hold, after being at buy for the past six months, and slashed his price target to $182 from $193. "Union Pacific wins the award for the world's unluckiest railroad in our view," Paterson wrote in a note to clients. "We thought last May's Oregon tunnel collapse was a cruel blow, but it as nothing compared to the one-two punch of the polar vortex and the Nebraska flooding that currently has the network reeling." Paterson said that while the weather events haven't hurt the stock--it closed at a record on Feb. 19--given the perception that the effects are short-term in nature, he believes what has happened is "going to pose a challenge to cost efficiency, service and growth" in at least the first half of the year. The stock has rallied 16.4% year to date while the Dow transports have climbed 12.3% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average has gained 11.2%.

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Mar 19, 2019

Google confirms AMD will power streaming-videogame service
Alphabet Inc.'s Google-branded streaming-videogame service will be powered by Advanced Micro Devices Inc. chips, Google executives confirmed Tuesday. AMD shares were more than 7% higher in Tuesday trading, after Morgan Stanley analysts predicted the announcement ahead of trading. AMD Chief Executive Lisa Su revealed earlier this year at CES that AMD and Google had worked together on the beta test of the service, known as Project Stream. At an event Tuesday in connection with the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, Google executives said that the partnership will lead to thousands of exclusive custom AMD gaming chips in Alphabet data centers to run the service, which Google calls Stadia. Alphabet shares were trading about 0.6% higher Tuesday.

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Mar 19, 2019

Dow cuts intraday gain amid conflicting reports on progress in U.S.-China tariff negotiations
U.S. stock benchmarks were off their best levels in Tuesday afternoon trade, coming amid a pair of reports signaling various stage of progress between the U.S. and China in its trade negotiations. According to Bloomberg News, some U.S. officials were worried that Beijing might roll back some concessions as the world's largest economies attempt to resolve a yearlong trade dispute. Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal indicated that the parties were in the 'final stages' of trade talks. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, most recently, was up 90 points, or 0.3%, at 26,002, pulling back from an intraday high at 26,109. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 index advanced 0.4% to 2,843 and the Nasdaq Composite Index rose 0.4% to 7,745. Both benchmarks were off their best levels on Tuesday. On Monday, Bloomberg reported that a meeting between President Xi Jinping and President Donald Trump that had been rescheduled to April from March, was being further pushed back to June. The purported purpose of the gathering was to complete any trade agreement between the parties, Bloomberg reported.

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Mar 19, 2019

Kazakh President Nazarbayev resigns suddenly after 30 years in office
The president of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, has resigned suddenly after nearly 30 years in office, but will retain his lifetime post as chairman of the Security Council and lead the ruling party, Radio Free Europe reported Tuesday. The news was announced in a televised address to the nation by Nazarbayev, who has led Kazakhstan since the collapse of the former Soviet Union in 1991. The 78-year-old has been criticized for suppressing dissent and resisting moves to push the country toward democracy, as well as for immunizing himself from criminal and civil prosecution through the status of "leader of the nation" imposed on him in 2010. A former steelworker, Nazarbayev held on to power by rigging elections and has been accused of human-rights abuses. He famously moved the capital of Kazakhstan to Astana from Almaty in 1997. The move comes after protests that were prompted by anger at the deaths of five children from a single family in a house fire in Astana in February. The parents of the children were both away working night shifts. Protests were also driven by harsh economic conditions facing many people in the oil-rich nation.

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Mar 19, 2019

Citibank fined for violating Fair Housing Act
Citibank was fined $25 million by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency for violating the Fair Housing Act. The regulator said Tuesday that the bank had "certain control weaknesses" in its Relationship Loan Pricing program which promised to provide a credit on closing costs or interest rate reductions to borrowers. But the bank did not provide some borrowers with either benefit, and those borrowers "were adversely affected on the basis of their race, color, national origin, or sex." The bank has initiated and mostly completed a plan to reimburse all customers who did not receive the benefit, the OCC said in a release. In addition, it will provide reimbursement to approximately 24,000 customers of approximately $24 million. Citi shares were up nearly 1% mid-afternoon.

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Mar 19, 2019

Tesla delays price increase to Wednesday after 'unusually high volume'
Tesla Inc. tweeted Tuesday that it was postponing price increases on its vehicles, scheduled to take effect late Monday, to Wednesday due to "unusually high volume" ahead of the increases. Tesla was unable to process all orders by midnight on Monday, so the price increase, around 3% on average, is scheduled for midnight Wednesday. The shorter range Model 3 remains at $35,000. Shares of Tesla rose more than 1% on Tuesday. They are down 13% for the past 12 months, contrasting with gains around 5% for the S&P 500 index.

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Mar 19, 2019

Dow stands less than 750 points shy of a record, as a 'golden cross' forms in the blue-chip benchmark
The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Tuesday looked set to extend a bullish turn that has seen it register four consecutive gains, putting the index less than 800 points from its October record. Most recently, the Dow was up 173 points, or 0.7%, at 26,086, as of midday Thursday. On Oct. 3, the Dow hit a record at 26,828.39, with its current level putting it about 745 points short of that level. The blue-chip gauge's rally, headed for a fifth straight day, also has formed a bullish golden cross, where its 50-day moving average crossed above its 200-day moving average, a feature often viewed by market technicians as a bullish sign in an asset. The Dow's 50-day stands at 25,180.51, while the 200-day is at 25,166. The bullish cross comes 60 sessions after a bearish death cross appeared on Dec. 19. The last golden cross appeared on April 19, 2016, which was 66 sessions after a death cross appeared. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 index was up 0.6% at 2,851, while the Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 0.7% at 7,766.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Mar 19, 2019

Dow stands less than 800 points shy of a record, as a 'golden cross' forms in the blue-chip benchmark
The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Tuesday looked set to extend a bullish turn that has seen it register four consecutive gains, putting the index less than 800 points from its October record. Most recently, the Dow was up 130 points, or 0.5%, at 26,043, as of late-morning Thursday. On Oct. 3, the Dow hit a record at 26,828.39, with its current level putting it about 785 points short of that level. The blue-chip gauge's rally, headed for a fifth straight day, also has formed a bullish golden cross, where its 50-day moving average crossed above its 200-day moving average, a feature often viewed by market technicians as a bullish sign in an asset. The Dow's 50-day stands at 25,180.51, while the 200-day is at 25,166. The bullish cross comes 60 sessions after a bearish death cross appeared on Dec. 19. The last golden cross appeared on April 19, 2016, which was 66 sessions after a death cross appeared. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 index was up 0.3% at 2,841, while the Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 0.3% at 7,734.

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Mar 19, 2019

FDA says Nutra Pharma illegally markets unapproved products claiming to treat addiction and chronic pain
The Food and Drug Administration said on Tuesday it had posted a warning letter to Nutra Pharma Corp. for illegally marketing unapproved products for treating pain and addiction. "Health fraud scams like these are inexcusable," said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb. Nutra Pharma makes a line of products that supposedly contain cobra venom, something the company says can be used to treat chronic pain, cancer, arthritis and heroin addiction. "These products have not been demonstrated to be safe or effective and may keep some patients from seeking appropriate, FDA-approved therapies," the FDA said in a statement. The regulatory agency is seeking a response from Nutra Pharma within 15 working days. Nutra Pharma trades over the counter.

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Mar 19, 2019

MoviePass launches new $9.95 a month 'uncapped' subscription plan
MoviePass, which is owned by Helios & Matheson Analytics Inc. , said Tuesday it was launching a new "uncapped" subscription plan for $9.95 a month for a 12-month subscription, for a limited time. The monthly plan for MoviePass Uncapped is $14.95, for a limited time. The standard price will rise to $19.95 a month when the limited-time offers expire. MoviePass Uncapped includes no cap on the number of 2D movies in MoviePass's theater network, which has more than 30,000 screens in the U.S., a "large" selection of blockbusters and independent films and the ability to reserve tickets three hours before showtime. "We are - and have been - listening to our subscribers every day, and we understand that an uncapped subscription plan at the $9.95 price point is the most appealing option to our subscribers," said Helios & Matheson Chief Executive Ted Farnsworth. "While we've had to modify our service a number of times in order to continue delivering a movie-going experience to our subscribers, with this new offering we are doing everything we can to bring people a version of the service that originally won their hearts." H&M shares gained 1.1% in morning trade. They have lost virtually all their value over the past 12 months, while the Russell 2000 has slipped 0.5% and the S&P 500 has gained 4.8%.

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Mar 19, 2019

Goodyear to cut 1,100 jobs in Germany as it cuts tire production, modernizes plants
Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. disclosed Tuesday that it expects to cut 1,100 jobs in Germany, as part of its plan to modernize tire manufacturing facilities and curtail production. Goodyear's stock rose 1.7% in morning trade. The tire maker said it expects to record charges of $135 million, with $90 million recorded in the first quarter of 2019, as a result of the facility rationalization plan, which is expected to be completed during 2022. The facilities in the plan are the Goodyear Dunlop Tires Germany GMbH's facilities in Hanau and Fulda. The company expects changes to the layout of the plants, efficiency gains from new equipment and the decision to curtail production of tires for declining, less profitable segments of the tire market to lead to the job cuts. Goodyear said the savings from the plan is expected to boost operating income for its Europe, Middle East and Africa business by an annualized $60 million to $70 million over a 3-year period beginning 2020. The stock, which closed at a near 6-year low earlier this month, has tumbled 35.5% over the past 12 months, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has gained 5.9%.

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Mar 19, 2019

U.S. factory orders edge up 0.1% in January, point to slower economy
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - U.S. factory orders rose a scant 0.1% in January, another sign pointing to slower economic growth in the first quarter. Economists polled by MarketWatch had forecast a 0.4% increase. Orders for durable goods, or products meant to least at least three years, rose 0.3%. But orders for cheaper products not meant to last a long time, known as nondurable goods, sank 0.5% in January. The 0.1% increase in factory orders in December, meanwhile, was left unchanged.

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Mar 19, 2019

Chesapeake Energy's stock jumps after bullish analyst call, crude oil rally
Shares of Chesapeake Energy Corp. jumped 4.5% toward a 4-month high in active morning trade Tuesday, after an upbeat call by Raymond James analyst James Freeman and a rally in crude oil futures toward a 4-month high. Freeman affirmed his outperform rating while boosting his stock price target to $4.50, which is 43% above Monday's closing price, from $4.00. "While we believe that [Chesapeake] will modestly outspend cash flow in 2019, we believe that the company has a good chance of being roughly cash flow neutrality in 2020, a very positive step as the firm looks to continue paring down debt," Freeman wrote in a note to clients. Separately, crude futures rose 0.3%, putting them on track for the highest close since Nov. 12. Chesapeake's stock has soared 57% year to date, while continuous crude futures have run up 31% and the S&P 500 has climbed 13%.

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Mar 19, 2019

Dow clambers above 26,000 at open, attempts to match longest win streak of 2019 ahead of Fed update
U.S. stocks on Tuesday opened solidly higher ahead of a policy update by the Federal Reserve set to be released Wednesday afternoon. Investors appeared to shake off news reports that President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping to formally end a U.S.-China trade dispute is unlikely to occur until June. A report from Bloomberg News last week placed April as a tentative time for that gathering, delayed from sometime this month. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up solidly, gaining 113 points, or 0.4%, to 26,029, on pace for its fifth gain in a row, which would match the blue-chip index's longest string of gains since the period ended Jan. 10, according to FactSet data. The S&P 500 index rose 0.4% at 2,844, while the Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 0.5% to 7,756. A meeting of the rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee is set to commence later Tuesday morning, with an update to policy set to be released at 2 p.m. Eastern Time. In corporate news, shares of Nvidia Corp. were in focus Tuesday after the company announced Monday evening that Amazon.com Inc. would now be using its T4 data-center chips.

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Mar 19, 2019

Carbon Black names Steve Webber as its new CFO
Carbon Black Inc. said Tuesday it named Steve Webber as its chief financial officer, joining from BackOffice Associates. Carbon Black, the cybersecurity company, which went public in May 2018, previous CFO was Mark Sullivan, who is resigned and retired as of March 11 after being in the role since October 2015. The stock was indicated down nearly 2% in premarket trade. It has gained 7.8% year to date through Monday, while the Renaissance IPO ETF has run up 31.6% and the S&P 500 has climbed 13.0%.

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Mar 19, 2019

AbbVie stock down 0.8% after FDA places hold on clinical trials of venetoclax as a treatment for multiple myeloma
Shares of AbbVie Inc. fell 0.8% in premarket trade Tuesday after the Food and Drug Administration placed a partial hold on all the company's clinical trials of venetoclax as a potential treatment for multiple myeloma. The hold came after a review of Phase 3 data showed a higher proportion of deaths in the treatment arm than in the control arm. "As a result of this action, no new patients should be enrolled in any studies of venetoclax for multiple myeloma until a further analysis of the data is completed. Patients who are currently enrolled in studies and receiving benefit from the therapy may continue with treatment, after consultation with their physician," the company said in a statement. The FDA's hold will not impact any of the already-approved indications for venetoclax, such as chronic lymphocytic leukemia or acute myeloid leukemia, AbbVie said. Shares of AbbVie have fallen 12.5% in the year to date, while the S&P 500 has gained 13%.

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Mar 19, 2019

Dow's bullish 'golden cross' set to appear, exactly 3 months after a bearish 'death cross'
The Dow Jones Industrial Average chart is set on Tuesday to produce a bullish "golden cross" pattern, exactly three months after a bearish "death cross" appeared. A golden cross is when the 50-day moving average (DMA), a shorter-term trend tracker, crosses above the 200-DMA, a longer-term trend divider. Many technicians believe the cross marks the spot where a shorter-term bounce turns into a longer-term uptrend. Dow futures are up about 102 points before the open. The 50-DMA is on track to open at $25,177.96 and the 200-DMA at 25,165.81, according to FactSet. The bullish cross comes 60 sessions after a bearish death cross appeared on Dec. 19. The last golden cross appeared on April 19, 2016, which was 66 sessions after a death cross appeared. After that last golden cross, the Dow rallied 29% before the next death cross appeared. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite are both about two weeks away from producing golden cross patterns.

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Mar 19, 2019

Apple announces new iMacs with greater computing and graphics performance
Apple Inc. said Tuesday it has updated its iMac lines, which the company boasts will deliver "dramatic increases" in computing and graphics performance. Apple's stock edged up 0.4% in premarket trade. The new lines will have up to 8-core Intel 9th-generation processors for the first time and Vega graphics option. Apple said the new 21.5 inch iMac with Retina 4K display starts at $1,299 and the new 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display starts at $1,799, both available starting Monday. The non-Retina display model will still be available for $1,099. "Customers are going to love the huge boost in iMac performance," said Tom Boger, senior director of Mac product marketing. The new iMac announcement comes a day after Apple launched new a iPad Air and iPad mini. The stock has rallied 19.2% year to date through Monday, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has gained 11.1%.

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Mar 19, 2019

UPDATE: Jones Lang LaSalle to acquire HFF in deal with equity value of about $2 billion
Real estate and investment management firm Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. said Tuesday it has agreed to acquire HFF Inc. in a cash-and-stock deal with an equity value of about $2 billion. JLL will pay $24.63 in cash and 0.1505 JLL shares for each HFF share owned, equal to a total consideration of $49.16 per HFF share, or a 22% premium over the volume weighted average price of HFF over 60 trading days. On close, JLL shareholders will own about 87% of the combined company. HFF is a commercial real-estate capital markets intermediary, closing more than $800 billion in more than 27,000 transactions since 1998. "Increasing the scale of our Capital Markets business is one of the key priorities in our Beyond strategic vision to drive long-term sustainable and profitable growth," JLL Chief Executive Christian Ulbrich said in a statement. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter. HFF shares soared 7% premarket after resuming trade following a halt. JLL shares were not active.

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Mar 19, 2019

Air Canada accelerating in-take of Airbus A321 planes after grounding of Boeing 737 Max jets
Air Canada said Tuesday it has covered 98% of the routes affected by the grounding of Boeing 737 Max jets following two fatal crashes by the aircraft in the last five months. Air Canada said it intends to remove the 737 Max jets from its fleet until at least July 1, 2019. "The Boeing 737 MAX accounted for six per cent of Air Canada's total flying, but there is a domino effect from removing the 737s from our fleet that impacts the schedule and ultimately will impact some customers," Chief Commercial Officer Lucie Guillemette said in a statement. The airline has been substituting different aircraft on 737 Max routes, and has extended leases for aircraft that were scheduled to exit the fleet. It is also accelerating the in-take of Airbus A321 aircraft from WOW Airlines and his hired other carriers to provide extra capacity. It has made changes to certain routes and temporarily suspended others until further notice. But it has also implemented a flexible re-booking policy with full fee waiver and refund options for affected customers. Boeing shares were slightly lower premarket and are down 11% in the past month, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average is flat and the S&P 500 is down 1.9%.

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Mar 19, 2019

BorgWarner names Kevin Nowlan its new CFO, who joins from Meritor
BorgWarner Inc. said Tuesday it named Kevin Nowlan its new chief financial officer, effective April 1. The maker of engine and drivetrain products said Nowlan was previously CFO of Meritor Inc. since 2013. BorgWarner said Thomas McGill, who has been acting as interim CFO, will become controller on April 1, succeeding Anthony Hensel, who will become vice president of special projects. BorgWarner's stock, which was still inactive in premarket trade, has rallied 10.7% year to date, while the S&P 500 has climbed 13.0%.

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Mar 19, 2019

Altimmune's stock soars on heavy volume after positive trial data of flu vaccine candidate
Shares of Altimmune Inc. soared 36% in active premarket trade Tuesday, after the immunotherapeutics company reported "additional positive data" from its flu treatment and said it was seeking development and commercialization partnerships. Volume swelled to more than 1.5 million shares, compared with the full-day average of about 1.7 million shares. The company said a phase 2 extension study of its NasoVAX intranasal influenza vaccine candidate showed that 100% of the evaluated subjects remained seroprotected, and the rate was unchanged more than a year after vaccination. "Based on the continued positive data, we are seeking development and commercialization partnerships for our NasoVAX program," said Chief Executive Vipin Garg. "This will allow us to focus on our strategy of building a pipeline of multiple early to mid-stage assets. We are currently engaged in a rigorous acquisition review process focused on novel immunotherapeutic approaches for cancer, including immunostimulants and oncolytic viruses, and innovative product candidates for liver diseases." The stock has rallied 40.3% year to date through Monday, but has plunged 94% over the past 12 months, while the S&P 500 has climbed 13% the past three months and gained 4.4% the past year.

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Mar 19, 2019

Chesapeake Energy's stock surges after bullish analyst call, crude oil rally
Shares of Chesapeake Energy Corp. rallied 2.5% in premarket trade Tuesday, after an upbeat call by Raymond James analyst James Freeman and a rally in crude oil futures toward a 4-month high. Freeman affirmed his outperform rating while boosting his stock price target to $4.50, which is 43% above Monday's closing price, from $4.00. "While we believe that [Chesapeake] will modestly outspend cash flow in 2019, we believe that the company has a good chance of being roughly cash flow neutrality in 2020, a very positive step as the firm looks to continue paring down debt," Freeman wrote in a note to clients. Separately, crude futures rose 0.6%, putting them on track for the highest close since Nov. 12. Chesapeake's stock has soared 50% year to date, while continuous crude futures have run up 31% and the S&P 500 has climbed 13%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Mar 19, 2019

DSW stock plunges after full-year adjusted profit misses expectations
Shares of DSW Inc. plunged 8.7% in premarket trade Tuesday, after the discount footwear retailer reported full-year earnings that missed expectations, while fiscal fourth-quarter revenue beat. The company swung to a net loss for the quarter to Feb. 2 of $45.7 million, or 58 cents a share, from a profit of $12.0 million, or 15 cents a share, in the year-ago period. For fiscal 2018, the net loss per share was 26 cents, after a profit of 84 cents in 2017; excluding non-recurring charges, adjusted EPS was $1.66, below the FactSet consensus of $1.78. DSW said adjusted EPS included a loss of 12 cents from the wide down of operations for exited businesses. The company did not provide adjusted EPS for the fourth quarter. Fourth-quarter revenue rose to $843.4 million from $724.7 million, beating the FactSet consensus of $840.6 million, and same-store sales growth of 5.4% beat expectations of a 4.9% rise. The stock has gained 5.5% over the past three months while the SPDR S&P Retail ETF has rallied 9.9% and the S&P 500 has climbed 13.0%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Mar 19, 2019

Michaels Cos. stock soars 4% premarket as quarterly earnings beat offsets soft guidance
Michaels Cos. Inc. shares rose 4.3% in premarket trade Tuesday, as better-than-expected quarterly earnings offset guidance that was below consensus. The Irving, Texas-based arts and crafts retail chain said it had net income of $181.4 million, or $1.15 a share, in its fiscal fourth quarter to Feb. 2, down from $202.9 million, or $1.11 a share, in the year-earlier period. Excluding restructuring charges and a tax adjustment, EPS came to $1.44, ahead of the $1.42 FactSet consensus. Sales edged down to $1.789 billion from $1.891 billion, but were also ahead of the FactSet consensus of $1.778 billion. Same-store sales fell 0.4%, compared with the FactSet consensus for a decline of 0.2%. For fiscal 2019, the company is expecting adjusted EPS of $2.34 to $2.46 on sales of $5.19 billion to $5.24 billion. The FactSet consensus is for EPS of $2.48 and sales of $5.246 billion. Shares have fallen 45% in the last 12 months, while the S&P 500 has gained 4.4%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Mar 19, 2019

Starbucks to launch new tiered rewards program
Starbucks Corp. announced Tuesday a new tiered rewards structure to its loyalty program, to provide more choices in how rewards are used, effective April 16. Members will still earn two stars for every $1 spent, but new tiered rewards will include an extra espresso shot, dairy substitute or additional flavor for 25 stars, brewed hot coffee, hot tea or select bakery items for 50 stars and a handcrafted drink, hot breakfast or yogurt parfait for 150 starts. Other tiers include 200 stars and 400 stars. The company said stars earned by Starbucks Rewards Visa Credit and prepaid members will no longer expire. Starbucks said loyalty program membership has increased more than 25% over the past two years to 16 million active members, with rewards transactions accounting for 40% of tender at U.S. company-operated stores. The stock, which is still inactive in premarket trade, has climbed 10.6% over the pat three months while the S&P 500 has gained 13.0%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Mar 18, 2019

Apple streaming service won't offer Netflix subscription, Hastings says
Netflix Inc. will not be part of Apple Inc.'s new streaming service, Chief Executive Reed Hastings said late Monday, Variety reported. Speaking at a press event in Los Angeles, Hastings confirmed what many had already suspected. "Apple is a great company," he said, according to Variety. "We have chosen not to integrate into their services." Netflix is currently available through Apple's app store, and that is not expected to change. Apple is expected to unveil its highly anticipated streaming service next week. While it will feature some original shows, it is expected to also bolster its offerings by selling subscriptions to some third-party streaming services, such as HBO and Showtime, much as Amazon.com Inc.'s Prime service does. Speaking on other subjects, Hastings said Netflix won't be entering the potentially lucrative Chinese market for a while. "We will be blocked in China for a long time," he said

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
Mar 18, 2019

Revlon stock tanks after beauty company finds 'material weakness' in its controls, misses views
Shares of Revlon Inc. fell more than 16% in the extended session Monday after the cosmetics maker reported unaudited fourth-quarter and 2018 earnings, saying it spotted a "material weakness" in its internal controls over financial reporting for 2018. Revlon said it will file its 2018 Form 10-K no later than March 29. Financial results are not expected to change, Revlon said. The company reported a fourth-quarter net loss of $1.33 a share on sales of $742 million, compared with a loss of $1.46 a share on sales of $787 million in the fourth quarter of 2017. Analysts polled by FactSet had expected a profit of 15 cents a share on sales of $749 million for the quarter. Revlon shares ended the regular trading day 2.6% higher.

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
Mar 18, 2019

Atlassian acquires planning-software startup for $166 million after record close
Atlassian Corp. has agreed to acquire a six-year-old startup that helps businesses plan collaboratively among teams for $166 million, the company announced Monday afternoon after establishing another record-high closing price. AgileCraft will cost the company $154 million in a cash payment, with the rest paid out in shares with vesting provisions. The purchase could show Atlassian's refocused direction - the software company previously sold its businesses that attempted to compete with Slack technologies Inc. and Microsoft Corp. in workplace chat to Slack, along with investing in the business-messaging startup. Atlassian said that the deal would add $1 million to $2 million to revenue in fiscal 2019 revenue, which should be three-quarters complete by the time the acquisition closes in April, but is expected to be dilutive to margins both this year and in fiscal 2020. Atlassian shares closed at an all-time high Monday and have gained 87.7% in the past year, as the S&P 500 index has increased 2.6%, pushing the software company's market capitalization higher than $25 billion. The stock dipped about 0.4% in late trading Monday immediately after the acquisition was announced.

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
Mar 18, 2019

Cannabis producer Tilray stock rises after losses widen, revenue tops estimates
Tilray Inc. shares gained more than 4% in the extended session Monday after the cannabis producer reported wider-than-expected losses but beat Wall Street revenue estimates. The company reported fourth-quarter net losses of $31 million, or 33 cents a share, compared with losses of $2.9 million, or 4 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Revenue rose to $15.5 million from $5.1 million in the year-ago period. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had estimated losses of 14 cents a share on revenue of $14.1 million. For the first quarter, analysts expect losses of 19 cents a share on sales of $19 million. Tilray stock has fallen 53% in the past six months, with the S&P 500 index falling 2.8%.

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
Mar 18, 2019

Stocks finish slightly higher as Dow picks up fourth straight gain
Stocks closed on a positive note on Monday to extend last week's broad-based rally even as Boeing's travails dragged on the blue-chip Dow. The S&P 500 rose less than 0.4% to end near 2,833. The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 65 points, or less than 0.3%, to finish near 25,912, based on preliminary numbers. The Nasdaq Composite rose 0.3% to end around 7,714. The Dow notched its fourth straight consecutive gain. The S&P and Nasdaq hit a fresh 52-week high. Major stock-market benchmarks built on last week's rally that lifted the S&P 500 above its long-term resistance level at 2,800. Investors said they would mostly look ahead to the Fed's two-day meeting set to conclude on Wednesday, with expectations for the central bank to lower its forecasts for interest rates. In company news, shares of Boeing Co. were down 2% after The Wall Street Journal said that federal prosecutors and Department of Transportation officials were investigating the development of the firm's 737 Max jetliners.

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
Mar 18, 2019

Aerpio Pharmaceuticals stock plummets after failed trial of diabetic retinopathy treatment
Shares of Aerpio Pharmaceuticals Inc. plummeted 71% toward a record low in active trade Monday, after the biopharmaceutical company said a phase 2b study of its treatment for diabetic retinopathy failed to meet its primary endpoint of improvement over placebo. The stock was the biggest decliner listed on major U.S. exchanges, with volume reaching 5.5 million shares, or about 22 times the full-day average. Meanwhile, the company said the trial of its lead candidate AKB-9778 was found did to be safe and well tolerated and showed some encouraging in some secondary endpoints. "While we are disappointed in the primary endpoint results of this study, we are nevertheless encouraged by the fact that several other promising findings observed in our prior 3-month Phase 2a trial have been prospectively confirmed in this 1-year trial," said Chief Executive Stephen Hoffman. The company said it plans to provide an update on the status of AKB-9778 after a full analysis. The stock has now lost 37% over the past 3 months while the iShares Nasdaq Biotechology ETF has gained 16% and the S&P 500 has tacked on 11%.

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
Mar 18, 2019

Mylan voluntarily recalls two lots of its levoleucovorin injection
Mylan N.V. said on Monday that it is voluntarily recalling two lots of its levoleucovorin injection due to the discovery of foreign particulates in the drug. Levoleucovorin is used to reduce harmful effects of methotrexate, a medication used to treat patients with osteosarcoma. It is also used in combination chemotherapy with 5-fluorouracil to treat patients with advanced metastatic colorectal cancer. Mylan said it discovered the presence of copper salts in the levoleucovorin during 12-month stability testing. Such particulates can lead to severe health complications like vasculitis, allergic reactions and pulmonary embolism. The drug maker has not received any reports of adverse events related to the recall and said it notified its distributors and customers by letter. Shares of Mylan have fallen 2.2% in the year to date, while the S&P 500 has gained 11.1%.

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
Mar 18, 2019

EIA forecasts U.S. shale oil output to climb by 85,000 barrels a day in April
Crude-oil production from seven major U.S. shale plays is forecast to climb by 85,000 barrels a day in April to 8.592 million barrels a day, according to a report from the Energy Information Administration released Monday. Oil output from the Permian Basin, which covers parts of western Texas and southeastern New Mexico, is expected to see the largest climb among the big shale plays, with an increase of 40,000 barrels a day in April from March. The April contract for West Texas Intermediate oil futures was trading up 58 cents, or 1%, at $59.10 a barrel ahead of its settlement on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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
Mar 18, 2019

Amazon's stock surges above 200-day moving average
Shares of Amazon.com Inc. rallied 1.9% in afternoon trade Monday, which puts them on track to send a bullish technical signal by closing above the widely followed 200-day moving average (DMA). A close above the 200-DMA, which many chart watchers view as a dividing line between longer-term uptrends and downtrends, would be the third time it has done so over the past 3 1/2 months. The two previous closes above the line, on Jan. 31 and Dec. 3, were followed by quick reversals back below the line the next day. The 200-DMA currently extends to $1,730.20, according to FactSet. The last time it closed above the line for at least 2-straight days was on Nov. 9. Of the other FAANG stocks, shares of Netflix Inc. have closed above its 200-DMA since Jan. 30 and Google-parent Alphabet Inc. has closed above it since March 1, while Facebook Inc. and Apple Inc. are below their respective 200-DMAs. Microsoft's stock has climbed 12.5% over the past three months, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has tacked on 9.3%. In a note to clients Monday, Wells Fargo said Amazon is still gaining retail customers, and they're visiting more frequently, with the company's "share of wallett" in the fourth quarter increasing 33% from a year ago.

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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