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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 17, 2020

Best Buy stock drops after report of CEO inquiry
Best Buy Co. Inc. shares declined after a report late in Friday's session that the company is investigating its chief executive after an anonymous letter accused him of an inappropriate romantic relationship. The Wall Street Journal reported just before the close that the board was investigating a letter received Dec. 7 that accused CEO Corie Barry of having a yearslong relationship with Karl Sanft, a former senior vice president at the electronics retailer, before she was named to the top job last June. Sanft is now chief operating officer for 24 Hour Fitness Worldwide Inc. Best Buy stock dropped from an intraday high of $90.32 to $89.90 in the last 20 minutes of Friday's session, then declined another 1% in after-hours action immediately following the end of trading.

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
Jan 17, 2020

S&P 500, Dow close at new records, notch best weekly gains since August
U.S. stocks closed at all-time highs Friday, marking the third-straight record close for the Dow and S&P 500, as investors cheered bullish economic data and continued to ride a wave of trade optimism. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 50 points, or 0.2%, to about 29,348, the S&P 500 index gained roughly 13 points, or 0.4% to close at 3,330 and the Nasdaq Composite index advanced 32 points, or 0.2% to end the session at roughly 9,389. All three benchmarks set new intraday and closing highs. Market sentiment was boosted by stellar figures on U.S. home construction, with the Commerce Department reporting that home builders broke new ground on new homes at an annual rate of 1.61 million in Decmeber, 17% higher than the month before, and well above consensus expectations. Meanwhile data out of China showed December GDP growth at the fastest pace since last March. Though some analysts expressed concern about rising stock-market valuations, with the price-to-earnings ratio reaching 18.8, according to data from Refinitiv, others noted that low bond yields justify higher prices. In company news, Qualcomm Inc. shares gained 4.6% after Citi upgraded the stock to buy from neutral to lead S&P 500 stocks 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
Jan 17, 2020

Natural-gas futures log lowest finish since 2016; oil prices post a second weekly decline
Natural-gas futures fell Friday as ample U.S. supplies and forecasts for milder-than-normal weather in much of the nation pushed prices to their lowest finish since May 2016. Oil futures, meanwhile, ended slightly higher Friday, but marked a weekly decline for a second week. February natural gas lost 7.4 cents, or 3.6%, to settle at $2.003 per million British thermal units, with prices down about 9% for the week, according to FactSet data. February West Texas Intermediate oil added 2 cents, or 0.03%, to settle at $58.54 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, with front-month contract prices down nearly 0.9% from the week-ago finish.

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
Jan 17, 2020

CDC to start screening travelers from Wuhan to 3 major U.S. airports for signs of Coronavirus
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday it will start screening people traveling to the U.S. from Wuhan City in the Hubei Province of central China through three major airports for signs of a new virus that has sickened 40 people and killed two. The Coronavirus has been compared to pneumonia, as well as to SARS and MERS, two former respiratory illnesses that broke out in Asia. Symptoms include fever, coughing and difficulty breathing. The initial screenings will take place at the airports that receive the most travelers from Wuhan, namely San Francisco's SFO, New York's JFK and Los Angeles LAX. Cases of the illness have now been confirmed in Thailand and Japan, according to a CDC advisory from Thursday. Most of the patients in Wuhan had some link to a large seafood and animal market, suggesting animal-to-person spread, although others had no exposure to animals, suggesting the disease can also be transmitted from person-to-person.

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
Jan 17, 2020

Gold futures end higher for the session, barely changed for the week
Gold futures settled higher on Friday, but barely budged for the week. "Gold has struggled to shine this week as positive economic data from the United States and China cooled concerns over the global economy," said Lukman Otunuga, senior research analyst at FXTM. "Appetite towards the metal was also bruised by the 'phase one' [U.S.-China] deal, which offered some light at the end of the long trade war tunnel. With stock markets hitting record highs and the dollar stabilizing, gold is positioned to weaken in the short term," he said. February gold rose $9.80, or 0.6%, to settle at $1,560.30 an ounce. Prices ended 20 cents higher than the week-ago 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
Jan 17, 2020

Apple could see smartphone replacement cycles finally shorten, Morgan Stanley says
Apple Inc. could start to see a contraction in smartphone replacement cycles, Morgan Stanley's Katy Huberty said in a recent note to clients. She said that iPhone owners are now holding onto their phones for close to four years amid changes in how phones are priced and a slowdown in the pace of tech upgrades. "However, longer battery life and upcoming 5G technology, which will enable new functionality like augmented reality and combined with aggressive trade-in offers that subsidize upgrades for existing iPhone owners, suggest replacement cycles can't stretch much further and may in fact begin to shrink," she wrote. Huberty raised her price target on Apple's stock to $368 from $296. She also hiked her bull case to $515 from $407, which reflects 235 million iPhone shipments and a replacement cycles that's slightly less than six months shorter than it is in her base case. The base case bakes in a 3.7-year replacement cycle. Apple shares are up 34% over the past three months, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average has added 8.6%.

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
Jan 17, 2020

Baker Hughes reports a weekly rise in the U.S. oil-rig count
Baker Hughes on Friday reported that the number of active U.S. rigs drilling for oil rose by 14 to 673 this week. That followed declines for oil rigs in each of the past three weeks. The total active U.S. rig count, meanwhile, was up 15 from last week to 796, according to Baker Hughes. Oil prices extended their decline, with February West Texas Intermediate crude down 20 cents, or 0.3%, at $58.32 a barrel. It was trading at $58.50 before the rig data.

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
Jan 17, 2020

Disney to drop 'Fox' name from 20th Century Fox film studio and other assets acquired last year
The Walt Disney Co. is dropping the 'Fox' brand from the 21st Century Fox assets that it acquired last March in a deal valued at $17 billion, Variety magazine reported Friday, citing a source close to the situation. The 20th Century Fox film studio will be renamed 20th Century Studios and Fox Searchlight Pictures will become Searchlight Pictures, according to the report. No final decisions have been made for the TV assets, which include 20th Century Fox Television and Fox 21 Television Studios. The Fox News channel remained as part of parent Fox Corp. . Fox and MarketWatch parent News Corp share common ownership. Disney shares were slightly lower Friday, but have gained 31% in the last 12 months, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average , which counts Disney as a member, has gained 20% and the S&P 500 has gained 26%.

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
Jan 17, 2020

Qualcomm stock gains after Citi upgrade
Shares of Qualcomm Inc. are up nearly 4% in Friday morning trading after Citi Research analyst Christopher Danely upgraded the stock to buy from neutral and upped his price target to $108 from $89. "We expect upside to both revenue and margins for Qualcomm going forward given share gains in 5G, higher [average selling prices], and increased royalty revenue," Danely wrote. While he's worried over the long run about declining royalty rates and Apple becoming more involved in its own chip process, he expects the 5G rush "will put these trends on hold for at least the next 12 months like in previous upgrade cycles." Shares have added 21% over the past three months, as the S&P 500 has risen 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
Jan 17, 2020

Altria downgraded to sell on concerns about headwind posed by new minimum age for buying tobacco
CFRA downgraded Altria Group Inc. stock to sell from hold on Friday and said it expects a change in the minimum age for buying tobacco is a big headwind. Analyst Garrett Nelson lowered his 12-month price target to $44 from $50. "We think recent federal legislation raising the minimum purchase age to 21 for tobacco products presents a significant long-term headwind for MO," Nelson wrote in a note. "According to CDC data, 12.5% of middle school and 31.2% of U.S. high school students reported they were currently use of some form of tobacco product in 2019 (mostly e-cigarettes)." The company may be forced to make more "draconian" cost cuts to support profit, he wrote. The company may also need to write down part of the value of its 35% stake in e-cigarette company Juul, which has become the subject of regulatory and and criminal investigations over allegations it targeted teenagers in advertising. Altria shares were up 0.3% Friday and have gained 8.9% in the last 12 months, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average , which counts it as a member, has gained 20% and the S&P 500 has gained 26%.

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
Jan 17, 2020

Boeing likely to take 'substantial charge' on 737 Max: analyst
Boeing Co. is likely to take a "substantial charge" in the fourth quarter to account for the mounting costs of its 737 Max debacle, analysts at Canaccord Genuity said in a note Friday. The analysts, led by Ken Herbert, lowered their price target on the stock to $350 from $370 and also lowered their sales and profit estimates. The Max production ramp could be slower once the plane returns to the skies, they added. The 737 Max has been grounded worldwide since March following two deadly crashes connected to a faulty anti-stall system, and its return-to-service date has stretched for months. "We are surprised the stock has held up as well as it has considering the company is perhaps facing the most severe crisis in its 100- year history, but we continue to see the financial risk as not fully reflected in the stock," the Canaccord analysts said. Shares of Boeing have dropped 8% in the past 12 months, contrasting with advances of 26% and 20% for the S&P 500 index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average .

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
Jan 17, 2020

IBM stock falls as Morgan Stanley downgrades ahead of earnings
Shares of International Business Machines Corp. are off 0.8% in Friday morning trading after Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty downgraded the stock to equal weight from overweight. She wrote that Morgan Stanley's recent survey of chief information officers "provides new evidence of core IBM revenue declines, particularly in software and services." The downgrade comes as IBM is due to report fourth-quarter earnings Tuesday afternoon. Huberty expects the company to give a full-year earnings outlook on its conference call, and her earnings-per-share estimate of $12.80 for calendar 2020 is below the $13.28 FactSet consensus and would be flat with what analysts expect for calendar 2019. IBM shares have gained about 2% over the past three months, as the S&P 500 has added 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
Jan 17, 2020

Expeditors's stock drops after profit warning, adding to disappointing results from other Dow transport members
Shares of Expeditors International of Washington Inc. tumbled 5.8% in morning trading Friday, pulling back from the previous session's record close, after the transportation and shipping company warned of a fourth-quarter profit and revenue shortfall. The company said it expects earnings per share of 78 cents to 81 cents, well below the FactSet consensus of 94 cents. Chief Executive Jeffrey Musser said he believed disappointing earnings and revenue performance was a results of slowing global economies, trade disputes and changing supply-and-demand dynamics. "We've seen impacts throughout the year from these market conditions, but the pace at which these changes occurred accelerated dramatically in the fourth quarter," Musser said. Expeditors's warning comes after disappointing results from fellow Dow Jones Transportation Average components CSX Corp. and Kansas City Southern . The Dow transports fell 86 points, or 0.8%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 37 points, or 0.1%.

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
Jan 17, 2020

Dow, S&P 500, Nasdaq open at intraday records as stock market aims to cap solid week of gains
U.S. stock rose at the start of trade Friday, with the major benchmarks reaching new highs in just the third week of the year, after data on new U.S. home construction showed it surging to 13-year highs in December. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.1% at 29,334, the S&P 500 index rose 0.2% at 3,322, while the Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 0.3% to reach 9,381 at Friday's start. Gains on the day have been bolstered by strong economic data. December housing starts showed home constructing rising 16.9%, to annual rate of 1.608 million units, to the fastest pace since 2006, well above the consensus forecast of 1.375 million, according to a MarketWatch poll of economists. Investors optimism wasn't dented by China reporting its worst annual growth in three decades of 6.1%.

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
Jan 17, 2020

IMedia's stock rockets on heavy volume after Shaq partnership
Shares of iMedia Brands Inc. rocketed 55% in very active premarket trading Friday, after the interactive media company announced a partnership with basketball hall-of-famer Shaquille O'Neal, which includes a nationally televised live program called "Shaq's Invicta Collection." Trading volume ballooned to 3.4 million shares just minutes after the open, compared with the full-day average of about 37,000 shares. The limited-edition collection will have a new line of watches designed by O'Neal, iMedia said in a release late Thursday. "Shaq's Invicta Collection" is slated to launch in March 2020, with live broadcasts on iMedia's ShopHQ. "Shaquille and Invicta are iconic partners and we are honored to offer their new designs and products to our customers," O'Neal said. "Shaquille and Invicta are iconic partners and we are honored to offer their new designs and products to our customers," said iMedia Chief Executive Tim Peterman. IMedia's stock has still lost 13% over the past three months, while the S&P 500 has gained 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
Jan 17, 2020

Adobe stock gains after Oppenheimer upgrade, while Autodesk gets a downgrade
Shares of Adobe Systems Inc. are up 0.9% in premarket trading Friday after Oppenheimer analyst Brian Schwartz upgraded the stock to outperform from perform, while Autodesk Inc. shares are off 0.7% after he made the reverse move on that software stock. Schwartz said that Adobe is the closest supplier among those he covers to achieving the "holy grail" of the customer experience, which in his view is "having the capability to smoothly integrate customer data, workflow, analytics, compute and reporting in real-time, across all devices." As for his Autodesk downgrade, Schwartz is concerned that the company's strong execution in its construction business can't balance a weak macroeconomic backdrop in the manufacturing sector. Autodesk's stock has added 33% over the past three months, while Adobe's has climbed 28% and the S&P 500 has risen 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
Jan 17, 2020

Hexo to raise $20 million in share sale, sending stock down 6% premarket
Hexo Corp. shares slid 6% in premarket trade Friday, after the Canadian cannabis company said it plans to sell shares to raise $20 million in funding. The Ottawa-based company said it has entered an agreement with institutional investors to sell 11.9 million share priced at $1.67 each, a discount to its $1.78 closing price Thursday. The company has further agreed to issue warrants to purchase 5.9 million shares at an exercise price of $2.45 a share. The warrants will have a five-year term. Shares have fallen 63% in the last 12 months, while the S&P 500 has gained 26%.

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
Jan 17, 2020

Kansas City Southern's stock drops after earnings, revenue miss expectations
Shares of Kansas City Southern dropped 1.7% in premarket trading Friday, after the railroad company missed profit and revenue expectations. Net income fell to $127.2 million, or $1.30 a share, from $161.1 million, or $1.59 a share, in the year-ago period. Excluding non-recurring items, adjusted earnings per share came to $1.82, below the FactSet consensus of $1.84. Revenue rose to $729.5 million from $694.0 million, but was below the FactSet consensus of $730.8 million, as misses in the company's chemical and petroleum, agriculture and minerals and intermodal revenue offset a beat by industrial and consumer products. The operating ratio for 2019 was 69.1%, after 63.7% in 2018; the company expects operating ratio of 60% to 61% in 2020. The stock has rallied 19.4% over the past three months through Thursday, while the Dow Jones Transportation Average has gained 7.7% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average has advanced 8.4%.

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
Jan 17, 2020

Pinterest stock rallies again after Wells Fargo upgrade
Shares of Pinterest Inc. have had a strong week, rising 17% over the past three trading sessions, and the rally looks poised to continue after an upgrade to overweight from equal weight by Wells Fargo analyst Brian Fitzgerald. The stock is up more than 4% in premarket trading Friday. "Shares have materially underperformed the broader market since the company's April 2019 IPO, despite our view that the company's fundamentals remain on solid footing, as Pinterest has delivered generally solid results, handily exceeding pre-IPO targets with healthy audience and engagement growth, strong revenue growth and solid progress toward profitability," he wrote. He sees several catalysts down the road, including greater engagement stemming from more video on the platform, improvements in monetization on the heels of ad-tech upgrades, and better international monetization as the company invests in an overseas sales force. Fitzgerald said that Pinterest's average revenue per user in the U.S. was 22.5 times what it was internationally in the third quarter, compared to 3.6 times for Snap Inc. , 4.6 times for Twitter Inc. , and 6.9 times for Facebook Inc. . He upped his price target to $30 from $28. Pinterest shares have risen 26% over the past month, but they're off 12% over three months. The S&P 500 has climbed 4% over one month and 11% over three.

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
Jan 17, 2020

EBay stock falls after Wells Fargo turns bearish
Shares of eBay Inc. are off 1% in premarket trading Friday after Wells Fargo analyst Brian Fitzgerald downgraded the stock to underweight from equal weight in a note titled: "Value Stock Or Melting Ice Cube?" He sees an unattractive risk-reward scenario going forward given his expectation that eBay will continue to face challenges with its core marketplace business, including due to a U.S. internet sales tax rollout and increasing competition from new marketplaces as well as established players. "We estimate eBay's U.S. gross merchandise volume (GMV) through the first three quarters of 2019 was 5.8x larger than the combined GMV of emerging marketplaces Etsy, RealReal, Mercari and Poshmark, down from 7.6x larger in 2018," Fitzgerald wrote. He cut his price target to $32 from $45. Shares are off 8% over the past three months, while the S&P 500 has gained 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
Jan 17, 2020

UPDATE: Durect stock slides after FDA committee ends meeting with split vote on post-surgical pain treatment
Biopharmaceutical company Durect Corp.'s shares slid 12% in premarket trade Friday, after a U.S. Food and Drug Administration committee ended a meeting to review the company's Posimir treatment for post-surgical pain with a split vote, as six members voted to recommend the treatment and six voted against. The stock was halted all day Thursday, ahead of the meeting. "We are encouraged by the support from a number of the Committee members," Chief Executive James Brown said in a statement. "We continue to believe the data meets all of the regulatory requirements and that the weight of the evidence supports approval. We look forward to working with the agency as it completes its review of the POSIMIR application." The FDA is not obliged to take the recommendation of the committee, called the Anesthetic and Analgesic Drug Products Advisory Committee, although it often does. Durect shares have gained 322% in the last 12 months, while the S&P 500 has gained 26%.

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
Jan 17, 2020

Vail's stock slides as ski season gets off to slow start
Shares of Vail Resorts Inc. slid 2.9% in premarket trading Friday, after the ski resort operator said the ski season go off to a slow start, as historically low snowfall led to lower-than-expected results at its Whistler Blackcomb and Stevens Pass resorts. Total skier visits from the beginning of the ski season to through Jan. 5 were down 7.8% from the same period a year ago. Lift ticket revenue was up 0.4% and ski school revenue increased 2.0%, while dining revenue declined 3.6% and retail/rental revenue for North American resort and ski area store locations fell 1.8%. "Season to date snowfall at Whistler Blackcomb was 60% below the 30-year average through December 31, 2019, representing the lowest snowfall recorded in over 30 years for the period," said Chief Executive Rob Katz. "In recent weeks, conditions have improved at Whistler Blackcomb with nearly all of the terrain now open." Vail's stock has gained 6.6% over the past three months through Thursday and rallied 37.9% over the past 12 months. In comparison, the S&P 500 has advanced 10.6% the past three months and rallied 25.8% the past year.

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
Jan 17, 2020

Comcast's Peacock streaming service gets glowing review from Wells Fargo
Comcast Corp.'s new streaming service Peacock got a glowing review early Friday from Wells Fargo with analysts predicting that it will be a growing part of the company's messaging. Comcast offered details on the new service for the first time Thursday at an analyst day, with the cable giant explaining that it would be available via a free premium ad-supported streaming service with subscription tiers offering more than 600 movies and 400 series. The service will launch April 15 for Comcast customers and July 15 for everyone else. Peacock, which gets its name from the iconic NBC logo, is similar to Hulu, the streaming service controlled by Disney . Hulu's ad-supported service is $5.99 a month. Peacock will offer a $4.99 a month and $9.99 a month product. "In our view, CMCSA management (very deep bench!) effectively laid the case why Peacock will have a place in the streaming field," Wells Fargo analysts led by Jennifer Fritzsche said in a note to clients. "The elevator pitch is there (here it is: CMCSA is relevant because it the only streaming player of scale that is going after the ad-supported premium content group)." Estimates offered by Comcast management are likely conservative and beatable and with the distribution agreement signed with Cox, it starts with a subscriber base of more than 24 million. "While we recognize there is no incremental revenue from this subscriber base directly, there is a significant intangible benefit of improving the overall retention of video subscribers that can come from such an offering," said the note. Wekks ?Fargo rates Comcast as overweight. Comcast shares were slightly higher premarket Friday, but have gained 31% in the last 12 months, while the S&P 500 has gained 26%.

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
Jan 17, 2020

UPDATE: Snap shares climb 3% premarket after UBS upgrades to buy
Snap Inc. shares rose 3% in premarket trade Friday, after UBS upgraded the stock to buy from neutral and said it expects positive business momentum to continue into 2020 and beyond. Analysts led by Eric Sheridan raised their stock price target to $24 from $16, equal to 32% upside from its current price. "While the stock is up 21% over the past month and certainly not a contrarian idea to upgrade at these levels, we see a renewed mgmt team focused on driving a mix of user growth (especially the Android refresh) and ad monetization that could produce multi-year revenue growth even above our newly raised forecasts," the positive picture of U.S. internet users, suggesting strong growth in usage and ad conversion, said the note. At the same time, industry data is showing solid momentum for ad budget allocation and potential tailwinds for pricing on Snap's snapchat platform over the medium term. Snap shares have gained 128% in the last 12 months, while the S&P 500 has gained 26%.

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
Jan 17, 2020

State Street's stock surges toward 15-month high after profit, revenue rise above forecasts
Shares of State Street Corp. rallied 3.3% toward a 15-month high in premarket trading Friday, after the trust bank reported fourth-quarter profit and revenue that rose above expectations, while expenses fell. Net income increased to $704 million, or $1.73 a share, from $437 million, or $1.03 a share, in the year-ago period. The FactSet consensus for earnings per share was $1.70. Total revenue grew 0.8% to $3.05 billion, above the FactSet consensus of $2.92 billion, as net interest income fell 8.8% to $636 million but beat expectations of $618.3 million. Fee revenue rose 2%, as higher servicing, management and software and processing fees offset lower currency trading services and securities finance revenue. Expenses declined 8.8% to $2.27 billion, as headcount declined 3% due primarily to productivity savings. The stock, which is on track to open at the highest level seen during regular-session hours since October 2018, has soared 35.9% over the past three months through Thursday, while the SPDR Financial Select Sector ETF has gained 10.3% and the S&P 500 has advanced 10.6%.

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
Jan 17, 2020

Fastenal shares fall premarket after sales fall short of estimates
Fastenal Inc. shares slid 3.9% in premarket trade Friday, after the provider of industrial and construction supplies posted weaker-than-expected sales for the fourth quarter. Winona, Minn.-based Fastenal said it had net income of $178.7 million, or 31 cents a share, in the quarter, up from $168.8 million, or 29 cents a share, in the year-earlier period. Sales rose 3.7% to $1.277 billion from $1.232 billion. The FactSet consensus was for EPS of 31 cents and sales of $1.289 billion. "The general slowing in economic activity that we experienced in the second and third quarters of 2019 continued in the fourth quarter of 2019," the company said in a statement. "This general softness was exacerbated in December by holiday timing and longer than usual year-end plant shutdowns." Shares have gained 30% in the last 12 months, while the S&P 500 has gained 26%.

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
Jan 17, 2020

Twitter's stock falls after UBS cuts rating, price target
Shares of Twitter Inc. fell 1.4% in premarket trading Friday, after UBS analyst Eric Sheridan downgraded the social media company, saying continued investments into safety and security and ad technology are likely to cap valuation. Sheridan cut his rating to neutral, after being at buy since April 2018, and trimmed his price target to $35 from $37. "As we enter 2020, we see [Twitter] at a bit of a crossroads--we...hear from ad industry contacts that 2020 should be a year where [Twitter's] platform is set to capitalize on large scale events (Olympics, European football championship & US election) but exiting from its 'buggy' summer we think [Twitter] management also is likely to persist with investments around safety/security and ad tech stack (both of which are needed against long-term management goals)," Sheridan wrote in a note to clients. The stock has tumbled 13.7% over the past three months through Thursday, while the S&P 500 has gained 10.6%.

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
Jan 17, 2020

Schlumberger's stock surges after profit and revenue beat expectations
Shares of Schlumberger Ltd. rallied 1.7% in premarket trading Friday, after the oil services company reported fourth-quarter profit and revenue that exceeded expectations. Net income fell to $333 million, or 24 cents a share, from $538 million, or 39 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. Excluding non-recurring items, adjusted earnings per share came to 39 cents, above the FactSet consensus of 37 cents. Revenue rose to $8.32 billion from $8.18 billion, beating the FactSet consensus of $8.16 billion, as revenue from its reservoir characterization, drilling, production and Cameron business segments all topped expectations. Free cash flow was $1.5 billion for the quarter and $2.7 billion for the year. "After a strong free cash flow performance in the second half of 2019, we are confident in our ability to further improve cash flow generation in 2020," said Chief Executive Olivier Le Peuch. The stock has run up 21.6% over the past three months through Thursday, while the VanEck Vectors Oil Services ETF has gained 13.9% and the S&P 500 has advanced 10.6%.

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
Jan 17, 2020

Biopharma Durect says FDA committee ended meeting with split vote on post-surgical pain treatment
Biopharmaceutical company Durect Corp. said Friday a U.S. Food and Drug Administration committee ended a meeting to review its Posimir treatment for post-surgical pain with a split vote, as six members voted to recommend the treatment and six voted against. The stock remained halted in premarket trade Friday, continuing a halt first made in premarket trade Thursday, ahead of the meeting. "We are encouraged by the support from a number of the Committee members," Chief Executive James Brown said in a statement. "We continue to believe the data meets all of the regulatory requirements and that the weight of the evidence supports approval. We look forward to working with the agency as it completes its review of the POSIMIR application." The FDA is not obliged to take the recommendation of the committee, called the Anesthetic and Analgesic Drug Products Advisory Committee, although it often does. Durect shares have gained 322% in the last 12 months, while the S&P 500 has gained 26%.

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
Jan 17, 2020

Regions Financial profit falls a bit shy of expectation, revenue meets
Regions Financial Corp. reported Friday a fourth-quarter profit that fell a bit short of expectations, while revenue was in line with forecasts. The stock was little changed in light premarket trading. Net income was $366 million, or 38 cents a share, compared with $390 million, or 37 cents a share, in the year-ago period. The FactSet consensus was 39 cents. The regional bank said non-recurring items, such as losses on the early extinguishment of debt and charges for branch consolidation, reduced earnings per share by 2 cents. Total revenue rose 3% to $1.48 billion, matching the FactSet consensus, while net interest income slipped 4.1% to $931 million, but topped expectations of $926.5 million. Total loans grew 0.6% to $82.39 billion, while consumer lending fell 3.4% to $30.42 billion. The stock has gained 7.1% over the past three months, while the SPDR S&P Bank ETF has advanced 8.0% and the S&P 500 has tacked on 10.6%.

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Jan 17, 2020

Pound stumbles after weaker-than-expected U.K. retail sales data
The British pound fell Friday after data showed U.K. retail sales falling by 0.6% in December versus the previous month, adding to a picture of a weak economy that may need interest rate cuts to stimulate growth. In the three months to December 2019, sales fell 1% against the prior three months. The pound fell 0.2% to $1.3052, from a level of around $1.31 seen just ahead of the data.

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Jan 16, 2020

Fastenal raises dividend to 25 cents a share
Industrial supplier Fastenal Co. said late Thursday its board of directors approved a dividend of 25 cents a share, from 22 cents a share in the fourth quarter. The dividend is payable on Feb. 28 to shareholders of record on Jan. 31, the company said. Shares of Fastenal rose 0.5% in the extended session after ending the regular trading day up 1.4%.

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Jan 16, 2020

Progress Software stock rallies as outlook tops Street view
Progress Software Corp. shares rose in the extended session Thursday after the business software company's outlook topped Wall Street estimates. Progress shares rose 4.7% after hours, following a 5% gain in the regular session to close at $47.54. Progress expects adjusted earnings of 69 cents to 71 cents a share on revenue of $110 million to $113 million for the first quarter, and $2.87 to $2.92 a share on revenue of $448 million to $455 million for the year. Analysts surveyed by FactSet estimate earnings of 64 cents a share on revenue of $103.9 million for the first quarter, and $2.84 a share on revenue of $436.7 million for the year. The company reported a fourth-quarter loss of $4.7 million, or 11 cents a share, compared with net income of $8.6 million, or 19 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Adjusted earnings were 79 cents a share. Revenue rose to $117 million from $98.1 million in the year-ago quarter. Analysts had forecast earnings of 75 cents a share on revenue of $118.3 million.

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Jan 16, 2020

Gap cancels Old Navy spinoff, citing 'cost and complexity'
Gap Inc. said late Thursday it no longer plans to spin off its Old Navy brand, saying the "cost and complexity" of the separation limited the creation of "appropriate value" from the split. The process of preparing the spinoff shone a light onto operational problems and areas for improvement, the company said. "We have learned a lot and intend to operate Gap Inc. in a more rigorous and transformational manner that empowers our growth brands, Old Navy and Athleta, and appropriately focuses on profitability for Banana Republic and Gap brand," interim Chief Executive Robert Fisher said in a statement. Gap plans to appoint a new CEO overseeing all brands, the company said. In the same statement, Gap said it expects fiscal 2019 same-store sales and net sales to at the higher end of a previous guidance between down mid-single digits and down low-single digits. Thanks to better-than-expected promotional levels over the holiday period, particularly at Old Navy, Gap forecast adjusted fiscal year 2019 earnings per share to be "moderately above" a previous guidance between $1.70 and $1.75. Shares of Gap rose 9% in the extended session Thursday after ending the regular trading day up 3.9%.

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Jan 16, 2020

CSX shares slip after revenue misses Wall Street view
CSX Corp. shares slipped in the extended session Thursday after the railroad operator's earnings topped Wall Street estimates but its revenue didn't. CSX shares declined 4% after hours, following a 2.3% rise in the regular session to close at $76.74. The company reported fourth-quarter net income of $771 million, or 99 cents a share, compared with $843 million, or $1.01 a share, in the year-ago period. Revenue declined to $2.89 billion from $3.14 billion in the year-ago quarter. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had forecast earnings of 96 cents a share on revenue of $2.92 billion.

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Jan 16, 2020

Dow, S&P 500 log back-to-back records as trade optimism powers rally
U.S. stocks on Thursday notched solid gains, with a late-session flourish deeper into record territory for good measure, one day after President Trump signed the first phase of a U.S.-China trade pact and on the day the Senate ratified a revised trade treaty between the U.S. Mexico and Canada. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 267 points, or 0.9%, to close around 29,298, the S&P 500 index gained 28 points, or 0.8% to end the session at roughly 3,317 and the Nasdaq Composite index rallied about 98 points, or 1.1% to close at 9,357. All three benchmarks finished at all-time highs. Investors have cheered the details of the U.S.-China trade pact, which includes promises by the Chinese to buy $200 billion in incremental exports from the U.S., and sentiment was also BUOYED by a new North American trade treaty, formerly known as Nafta, set to reach the president's desk. Economic data were also encouraging, with the government reporting that retail sales rose 0.3% in December, in line with expectations, and new applications for jobless benefits fell by 10,000 to near 50-year lows in the week ended Jan. 11. The Philly Fed manufacturing index also rose above expectations, while a survey of home builders showed confidence in the industry near 20-year highs. In company news, Morgan Stanley shares rose 7.1% after beating expectations for fourth-quarter earnings and revenue, while shares of Bank of New York Mellon Corp. tumbled 7.7% as investors balked at a fourth-quarter revenue miss and projections of rising costs in 2020.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 16, 2020

Nio's stock swings to a gain, heads for longest win streak in a year
Shares of Nio Inc. rallied 1.9% toward an 8-month high in active afternoon trading Thursday, putting them on track for the longest stretch of gains in nearly a year. Trading volume was 79.9 million shares, which makes the stock the most actively traded on major U.S. exchanges. The China-based electric vehicle maker's stock appeared set to snap its win streak at 6 days, as it tumbled as much as 8.8% to an intraday low of $3.91 minutes after the open, before bouncing. The stock has now run up 34.9% during its win streak. Helping propel Nio's stock higher this year was been upbeat December deliveries data, a surge in fellow EV maker Tesla Inc. shares and reports that Nio had secured funding needed for 2020. The stock's win streak would be the longest since the seven-day streak ended Feb. 1, 2019. It has just about tripled (up 199.3%) over the past three months, while Tesla shares have nearly doubled (up 96.2%) and he S&P 500 has gained 10.7%.

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Jan 16, 2020

Oil futures end higher as U.S. trade deals raise expectations for energy demand
Oil futures ended higher on Thursday, with prices bouncing back after settling a day earlier at their lowest level since December. The U.S. and China made the first phase of their trade deal official on Wednesday and the Senate approved the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement on Thursday, boosting prospects for U.S. energy demand. February West Texas Intermediate oil tacked on 71 cents, or 1.2%, to settle at $58.52 barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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Jan 16, 2020

Bombardier's stock suffering biggest-ever plunge after warning of revenue decline
Shares of Bombardier Inc. plunged 30% in afternoon trading, toward the lowest close in nearly 4 years, after the Montreal-based plains and trains maker warned of a surprise decline in revenue, citing challenges faced by its transportation business. That puts the stock on track for the biggest-ever one-day percentage decline, surpassing the previous record of 25.6% on Jan. 15, 2015. The company said it expects fourth-quarter revenue of approximately $4.2 billion, down from $4.3 billion a year ago, and below the FactSet consensus of $4.95 billion. Transportation revenue is expected to be about $1.8 billion, below the FactSet consensus of $2.21 billion. Bombardier said it's transportation business was taking a $350 million charge related to London Overground's LoTrain project, negotiations with the Swiss Federal Railways and increased costs for projects in Germany. For 2019, the company said it now expects free cash flow to be negative $1.2 billion, compared with the cash-burn guidance provided in October of $500 million. The stock, on track for the lowest close since March 17, 2016, has now shed 23.3% over the past three months, while the Dow Jones Transportation Average has gained 8.3% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average has advanced 8.1%.

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Jan 16, 2020

Microsoft plans to be carbon negative in 10 year
Microsoft Corp. isn't satisfied with trying to be carbon neutral, it plans to be carbon negative by 2030. But that's not all, as the software giant said that by 2050, it will remove from the earth all the carbon it has ever emitted, either directly or by electrical consumption, since its founding in 1975. "While the world will need to reach net zero, those of us who can afford to move faster and go further should do so," said President Brad Smith. "That's why today we are announcing an ambitious goal and a new plan to reduce and ultimately remove Microsoft's carbon footprint." The stock rose 1.2% in midday trading toward its fourth record close of 2020. It has surged 17.6% over the past three months, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has climbed 8.2%.

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Jan 16, 2020

GAO says Trump administration broke the law in holding up Ukraine aid
The Trump administration violated the Impoundment Control Act last summer by withholding funds meant for Ukrainian security assistance, said the Government Accountability Office, a nonpartisan watchdog, in a report released on Thursday. The withholding of the aid for Ukraine is at the center of Democrats' efforts to remove President Donald Trump from office.

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Jan 16, 2020

EIA reports a bigger-than-expected weekly decline in U.S. natural-gas supplies
The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported Thursday that domestic supplies of natural gas fell by 109 billion cubic feet for the week ended Jan. 10. Analysts expected a fall of 92 billion cubic feet, on average, according to a survey conducted by S&P Global Platts. Total stocks now stand at 3.039 trillion cubic feet, up 494 billion cubic feet from a year ago, and 149 billion cubic feet above the five-year average, the government said. February natural gas traded at $2.157 per million British thermal units, 3.7 cents, or 1.8%, from Wednesday's settlement. Prices were up from $2.137 before the data.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 16, 2020

Dow surges above 29,000 and stock market hits fresh records, propelled by strong earnings and data
U.S. benchmarks jumped to all-time intraday highs early Thursday, on the heels of the signing of a formal trade truce between the U.S. and China, completed at a White House signing ceremony on Wednesday. Investors were judging a batch of U.S. economic reports including those on retail sales and jobless claims and a fresh batch of quarterly results, headlined by those from Morgan Stanley, as upbeat, providing further reason to extend a record-setting move by stocks. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 170 points, or 0.6%, at 29,202, the S&P 500 index advanced 0.5% at 3,307, while the Nasdaq Composite Index picked up 0.7% to 9,320. All three stock gauges touched intraday records at the start of Thursday action. In economic news, most retailers posted higher sales in December to finish out the holiday season on a strong note. Retail sales increased 0.3% last month, the government said Thursday, just a tick below the MarketWatch forecast. Meanwhile, the number of Americans who applied for unemployment benefits in early January fell for the fifth week in a row, giving a clean bill of health to strong U.S. labor market as 2020 got underway. And the Philadelphia Fed gauge of business conditions indicated that its gauge of business activity in its region surged in January. The regional Fed bank's index rose to 17 in January from 2.4 in the prior month. On the corporate front, Morgan Stanley saw its shares rally after the investment bank reported fourth-quarter earnings and sales that rose well above expectations.

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Jan 16, 2020

Coca-Cola unveils new Powerade Ultra, Powerade Power Water sport drinks
Coca-Cola Co. said Thursday its Powerade brand is adding two new zero-sugar products to its sports-drink lineup, the first expansion of the Powerade portfolio in over a decade. With new packaging, inspired by the Powerade ION4 Advanced Electrolyte System, Powerade Ultra will be rolled out in late-January, which includes creatine, branched-chain amino acids, vitamins B3, B6 and B12 and 50 % more ION4 electrolytes than original Powerade drinks. In mid-February, Powerade Power Water will be introduced. Powerade Ultra will be available in Mixed Berry, White Cherry and Citrus Blast flavors, while Powerade Power Water will come in Berry Cherry, Tropical Mango and Cucumber Lime flavors. Coca-Cola said Powerade Ultra will be the first ready-to-drink sports beverage to include shelf-stabilized creatine. "This technology is new to The Coca-Cola Company," said Nilesh Karava, senior manager, active hydration product development. "Other beverage companies have been trying to crack the code on creatine shelf-stabilization for years, so this work is a clear demonstration of our team's agility and curiosity." Coke's stock, which rose 0.2% in premarket trading, has climbed 20.8% over the past 12 months through Wednesday, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has gained 19.9%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 16, 2020

Synaptics looks well positioned for an iPhone win, Mizuho says in upgrade
Synaptics Inc. shares are up 3% in premarket trading Thursday after Mizuho analyst Vijay Rakesh upgraded the stock to buy from neutral and raised his price target to $77 from $46. The second half of this year, with the expected launch of more 5G handsets and OLED devices, could benefit Synaptics, he wrote. "In addition, we believe Synaptics could be well positioned for an upcoming iPhone win with touch especially as current iPhone incumbent Broadcom looks to sell its handset RF/touch segment. We also see new management focus on driving more operating-expense control and operating leverage." Rakesh also downgraded shares of Xilinx Inc. to neutral from buy, writing that the base-station rollout in China is experiencing "a more pronounced near-term pause." Xilinx shares have added 4.4% over the past three months, as Synaptics shares have surged 69%. The S&P 500 has gained 10% in that span.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 16, 2020

Charles Schwab's stock slips after profit miss, revenue declines in line with expectations
Shares of Charles Schwab Corp. lost 0.8% in premarket trading Thursday, after the discount broker reported fourth-quarter profit that fell below expectations. Net income fell to $852 million, or 62 cents a share, from $935 million, or 65 cents a share, in the year-ago period. The results include an expense related to pending acquisitions of 1 cent per share. The FactSet consensus for earnings per share was 64 cents. Revenue fell 2% to $2.61 billion, matching the FactSet consensus, as net interest revenue declined 1.9% to $1.60 billion. Asset management and administration fees revenue rose 12% to $845 million, just shy of the FactSet consensus of $846 million, while trading revenue dropped 58% to $86 million but beat expectations of $78 million. Schwab caused a stir in the discount broker industry during the fourth quarter, when it dropped commissions on U.S. stocks, ETF and options, then announced a deal to buy rival TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. in a $26 billion deal. Schwab's stock has soared 20.8% over the past three months through Wednesday, while the SPDR Financial Select Sector ETF has gained 9.5% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average has advanced 7.5%.

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Jan 16, 2020

WeWork signed 4 leases in Q4 for a 93% decline vs. year-earlier period: CNBC
Office-sharing company WeWork signed four leases in the fourth quarter, covering 184,022 square feet, a 93% decline from the year-earlier period, CNBC reported Thursday, citing data from real estate company CBRE. The disappointing performance came after the company was forced to pull a planned initial public offering, after investors balked at some of the details in its IPO documents, including huge losses and massive long-term liabilities. The news led to the ouster of co-founder and CEO Adam Neumann, and forced the company into an emergency bailout with investor Softbank . WeWork has been cutting costs and jobs since the October bailout and has said it would focus more on big companies and not small and mid-sized clients.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 16, 2020

Tesla stock falls after Morgan Stanley turns bearish
Tesla Inc. shares have surged 36% in the past month amid positive delivery numbers and increasing optimism from some analysts, but Morgan Stanley threw cold water on the Tesla bull case Thursday. Analyst Adam Jonas downgraded the stock to underweight from equal weight, writing of his concerns around valuation and underappreciated risks to the company's China business. The stock is off about 4% in premarket trading. "Near-term momentum and sentiment around the stock is admittedly very strong but we ultimately question the sustainability of the momentum," he wrote. Jonas argued that the bull case in China is already priced into Tesla's stock, which has doubled on a three-month basis as the S&P 500 has added 10%. "We continue to harbor concerns about whether an auto business commercializing advanced, dual-purpose technology in economically sensitive industries could be a long-term winner in the Chinese market," he wrote. This is a risk not just to Tesla, but also to other automakers in his coverage universe, including Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. . Jonas upped his price target to $360 from $250 in conjunction with the downgrade, reflecting the stock's big run up in recent weeks.

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Jan 16, 2020

Southwest Airlines to keep Boeing 737 Max off schedule through June 6
Southwest Airlines Co. said Thursday it is planning to remove the Boeing 737 Max aircraft from its schedule through June 6, based on the uncertainty surrounding the timing of a return to service. The airline had previously said it would keep the aircraft off its schedule through April 13. "The revision will proactively remove roughly 330 weekday flights from our schedule out of our total peak-day schedule of more than 4,000 daily flights," the airline said in a statement on its website. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and other regulators around the world grounded the 737 Max last year after two fatal crashes, that are believed to be related to problems with its MCAS automated system. Shares were up slightly premarket and have gained about 11% in the last 12 months, while the NYSE Arca Airline ETF has gained 11% and the S&P 500 has gained 26%.

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Jan 16, 2020

U.S. import prices climb 0.3% in December on fuel costs
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - The cost of imports rose 0.3% in December to mark the biggest advance in nine months, but most of the increase was tied to higher oil prices. If fuel is excluded import prices were unchanged in the final month of 2019, the government said Thursday. Import prices rose a scant 0.5% last year after a nearly 1% decline in 2018. Other U.S. inflation barometers such as wholesale and consumer prices also show that price pressures were weak at the end of 2019. The cost of imports from China, meanwhile, were flat in December. They fell 1.8% for the full year amid a tense trade fight with the Trump administration.

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Jan 16, 2020

Global Blue to list on NYSE via takeover by Dan Loeb-backed blank-check company Far Point
Zurich-based payments company Global Blue said Thursday it will become a public company with a New York Stock Exchange listing via a takeover by blank-check company Far Point Acquisition Corpl, which is co-owned by Daniel Loeb's hedge fund Third Point LLC and the former president of the NYSE Thomas Farley. Farley will become chairman of Global Blue once the deal is complete and the current chief executive Jacques Stern will remain in his role with his existing team. New investors, including Alibaba unit Ant Financial Services Group, have committed to investing $350 million in the new company at an estimated valuation of $2.6 billion. The new entity will trade on NYSE under the ticker symbol "GB." The company specializes in payments involving tax-free shopping, helping shoppers claim VAT refunds in 43 countries. It also offers merchant acquisition services. The company had revenue of more than 400 million euros ($447 million) in the fiscal year to end March.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 16, 2020

Paints company PPG's stock falls after profit rises less than expected
PPG Industries Inc.'s stock sank 4.4% in premarket trading Thursday, after the paints and specialty materials company reported a fourth-quarter profit that missed expectations. Net income rose to $292 million, or $1.22 a share, from $258 million, or $1.08 a share, in the year-ago period. Excluding non-recurring items, adjusted earnings per share rose 14% to $1.31, below the FactSet consensus of $1.34. Revenue increased 0.7% to $3.67 billion to match the FactSet consensus, as an almost 2% increase in selling prices helped offset a nearly 3% decline in sales volumes. "We delivered this strong performance in spite of weakening global manufacturing activity that impacted many of our industrial end-use markets," said Chief Executive Michael McGarry. "As the quarter progressed, industrial demand began to stabilize in China, but remained challenged in Europe and the U.S." The stock has gained 9.9% over the past three months through Wednesday, while the S&P 500 has advanced 10.0%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 16, 2020

UPDATE: Burger King to add Impossible Whopper plant-based meat substitute to its 2 for $6 lineup
Burger King said Thursday it is adding the Impossible Whopper, a burger made with plant-based meat substitute, to its 2 for $6 lineup. The fast-food chain, owned by Restaurant Brands International Inc. , said the offer will be available for a limited time and will include the plant-based meat substitute spicy crispy chicken, crispy chicken and whopper sandwiches. Impossible Foods is a direct competitor of Beyond Meat Inc. , which has been on a tear lately with its stock gaining 41% in the last three months. Burger King first started to offer the Impossible Whopper from Impossible Foods Inc. last year after an initial test in St. Louis and six other U.S. markets. Restaurant Brands shares were not active premarket, but have gained 11% in the last 12 months, while the S&P 500 s[: spx] has gained 26%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 16, 2020

Morgan Stanley's stock surges after profit, revenue rise well above expectations
Shares of Morgan Stanley surged 2.5% toward a 20-month high in premarket trading Thursday, after the investment bank and broker reported fourth-quarter profit and revenue that rose well above expectations. Net income increased to $2.90 billion, or $1.30 a share, from $1.53 billion, or 80 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. The FactSet consensus for earnings per share was $1.02. Total revenue grew 27% to $10.86 billion, above the FactSet consensus of $9.71 billion. Institutional securities revenue rose 32% to $5.05 billion, beating the FactSet consensus of $4.46 billion. Within trading, equity sales and trading revenue slipped 0.5% to $1.92 billion, just shy of the FactSet consensus $1.93 billion, while fixed income revenue more than doubled (up 126%) to $1.27 billion, beating expectations of $859.0 million. Investment banking revenue rose 11% to $1.58 billion to top expectations of $1.52 billion. The stock has rallied 23.7% over the past three months through Wednesday, while the SPDR Financial Select Sector ETF has gained 9.5% and the S&P 500 has advanced 10.0%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 16, 2020

Biopharma Durect shares halted ahead of FDA committee meeting on post-surgical pain treatment
Shares of biopharmaceutical company Durect Corp. were halted Thursday, ahead of a U.S. Food and Drug Administration committee meeting to review Posimir, a treatment for post-surgical pain. The meeting of the Anesthetic and Analgesic Drug Products Advisory Committee (AADPAC) will start at 8 a.m. Eastern and is expected to end at 5. p.m. Posimir is designed to be injected into the surgical site and to deliver bupivacanine for up to three days after surgery. The FDA is not obliged to follow the recommendation of the committee but often does so. Durect shares have gained 305% in the last 12 months, while the S&P 500 has gained 26%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 16, 2020

Signet Jewelers shares soar 13.4% premarket after better-than-expected holiday sales and raised guidance
Signet Jewelers Ltd. shares soared 13.4% in premarket trade Thursday, after the operator of jewelry stores posted stronger-than-expected holiday sales and raised its fourth-quarter and fiscal 2020 guidance. Hamilton, Bermuda-based Signet said same-store sales rose 1.6% over the holiday season. E-commerce sales rose 13.5% while brick-and-mortar same-store sales rose 0.2%. The company said it now expects fiscal 2020 same-store sales to rise 0.1%, versus prior guidance of down 1.7% to down 1.0%. It expects total sales to come to $6.1 billion, compared with earlier guidance of $6.01 billion to $6.05 billion. The FactSet consensus is $6.06 billion. The company expects adjusted EPS to range from $3.61 to $3.69, compared with prior guidance of $3.11 to $3.29. The FactSet consensus is for $3.26. For the fourth quarter, it now expects same-store sale to rise 1.1%, compared with prior guidance of down 4.0% to down 2.0%. It expects total sales of $2.12 billion, up from prior guidance of $2.03 billion to $2.07 billion. It expects adjusted EPS to range from $3.44 to $3.52, compared with prior guidance of $3.01 to $3.16. The FactSet consensus is for fiscal 2020 EPS of $3.11 on sales of $2.07 billion and a same-store sales decline of 2.4%. Shares have fallen 35% in the last 12 months, while the S&P 500 has gained 26%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 16, 2020

Qudian's stock sinks after guidance withdrawn, new $500 million stock buyback program
Shares of Qudian Inc. sank 5.5% in active premarket trading Thursday, after the China-based consumer finance company said it was withdrawing its fiscal 2019 guidance, and will not issue an outlook in the near term, given uncertainty regarding the regulatory and operating environment. Separately, the company said it approved a new $500 million stock repurchase program. Qudian said recent regulatory developments include further restrictions on loan collection practices, more stringent user data privacy rules and the requirement for peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms to exit their P2P businesses. "These regulatory developments have reduced the availability of funding for consumer credit and driven up delinquency rates across the industry, including the company's loan portfolio," the company said. As a result, Qudian said transaction volumes have "substantially" decreased as it implemented "significantly stricter" loan approval standards. In November, the company said it expected 2019 adjusted net income of RMB4.0 billion ($581.4 million). Qudian's stock has plunged 33.5% over the past three months through Wednesday, while the S&P 500 has gained 10.0%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 16, 2020

Regis cuts 290 jobs as part of transition to franchise model
Hair salon operator Regis Corp. said it cut 290 jobs across the U.S. and Canada as part of a restructuring aimed at cutting costs as it transitions to a fully franchised business model. The job cuts, which are in administrative positions that supported company owned and operated stores, is expected to lower expenses by about $18.7 million a year. Regis had 20,000 employees as of June 2019, 17,000 of which were in the U.S. "We are pleased that we are at a point in our transformation where we can continue efforts underway to re-engineer our cost structure," said Chief Executive Hugh Sawyer. "Although this phase of our transformation is certainly difficult, it is necessary in order to properly allocate capital and human resources to support investments in our rapidly growing franchise business." The stock, which was still inactive in the premarket, has declined 11.6% over the past 12 months while the S&P 500 has climbed 25.7%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 16, 2020

GlaxoSmithKline cut to underweight at Barclays
GlaxoSmithKline was downgraded to underweight from equal weight by Barclays, which said 2020 looks to be a much tougher investment year for the pharma giant without much growth. It's now expecting zero like-for-like sales growth a slight EPS downgrade, Barclays said. "Whilst dividend/FCF yields look attractive, the former is likely to remain a source of uncertainty and the latter elevated in the absence of a pipeline/growth story," the broker said.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 15, 2020

Apple snaps up artificial-intelligence startup Xnor.ai for about $200 million: reports
Apple Inc. has acquired artificial-intelligence startup Xnor.ai for a price near $200 million, according to reports Wednesday. The acquisition, which was first reported by GeekWire, would give the smartphone giant access to low-power AI tools for image recognition in cameras. Apple didn't respond to MarketWatch's request for comment. Its stock closed down 0.4% in Wednesday's session but has been on a recent run. Shares have gained 54% over the past six months, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average has added 6.3%.

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Jan 15, 2020

XPO stock jumps on possible sale of one or more business units
XPO Logistics Inc. shares rallied in the extended session Wednesday after the logistics company said it might sell off one or more of its business units. XPO shares surged 15% after hours, following a 1.5% rise to close the regular session at $82.82. The company said its board authorized a review of strategic alternatives "including the possible sale or spin-off of one or more of XPO's business units" but excluding its "North American less-than-truckload unit." XPO retained Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan as its financial advisers. "We continue to trade at well below the sum of our parts and at a significant discount to our pure-play peers," said Bradley Jacobs, XPO chairman and chief executive, in a statement. "That's why we believe the best way to continue to maximize shareholder value is to explore our options, while remaining intensely committed to the satisfaction of our customers and employees."

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Jan 15, 2020

Alcoa misses views, expects a global aluminum surplus for 2020
Shares of Alcoa Corp. wavered between gains and losses in the extended session Wednesday after the alumina and aluminum producer reported a larger-than-expected loss for the fourth quarter and its sales came in below expectations. Alcoa also said it is closing one alumina refinery as part of its multi-year "asset review process" and that is selling assets as previously announced. The company said it lost $303 million, or $1.63 a share, in the quarter, versus a profit of $51 million, or 27 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Adjusted for one-time items, the company lost $57 million, or 31 cents a share, versus earnings of 70 cents a share a year ago. Revenue came in at $2.4 billion, compared with $3.3 billion a year ago. Analysts polled by FactSet had expected Alcoa to report an adjusted loss of 21 cents a share on sales of $2.5 billion. Alcoa projected a global aluminium surplus for 2020 and a "balanced" alumina market for the year. The bauxite market is expected to be in a small surplus in 2020, Alcoa said.

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Jan 15, 2020

Dow closes above 29,000 for first time as U.S.-China sign 'phase one' of trade agreement
U.S. stocks finished higher Wednesday, but well off their loftiest levels, after the market lost some steam in the wake of a President Trump signing an initial trade pact with China, halting a two-year trade dispute between the world's largest economies. Gains on the day, however slight, helped to produce the first close above 29,000 for the Dow Jones Industrial Average , representing a psychologically significant level for the blue-chip benchmark. The Dow closed up 91 points, or 0.3%, at 29,031, but had hit an intraday peak at 29,127, before edging back. The S&P 500 index closed 0.2% higher at 3,289, enough for an all-time closing high, while the Nasdaq Composite Index finished 0.1% higher at 9,259, shy of a record finish for the technology-heavy benchmark. However, all three benchmarks touched intraday records. President Trump signed a landmark deal intended to increase sales of U.S. goods and services to Beijing, with parts of a 96-page agreement intended to protect U.S. intellectual property rights. The long-sought pact also is expected to expand U.S. access to Chinese financial markets. However, markets have been worried that the deal doesn't go far enough and that further progress will be hard.

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Jan 15, 2020

U.S. oil futures finish at a 6-week low as petroleum-product stocks climb
Oil futures settled lower Wednesday, with U.S. prices at their lowest in six weeks following a surge in weekly domestic gasoline and distillate stockpiles. The losses came despite a weekly decline in U.S. crude supplies and the official signing of the Phase 1 U.S.-China trade deal. Oil may extend losses if the Phase 1 trade deal "fails to satisfy market expectations and leaves investors with more questions than answers," Lukman Otunuga, senior research analyst at FXTM, told MarketWatch. "Should concerns over trade uncertainty negatively impacting global growth make a return, oil will remain in the direct firing line," he said. February West Texas Intermediate oil lost 42 cents, or 0.7%, to settle at $57.81 barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. That was the lowest front-month contract settlement since Dec. 3, FactSet data show.

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Jan 15, 2020

Moody's turns 'positive' on Delta, United Airlines credit rating outlooks
Shares of Delta Air Lines Inc. rose 0.3% and United Airlines Holdings Inc. gained 0.4%, after upbeat comments by credit rating agency Moody's Investors Service on the outlooks for the air carriers. For Delta, Moody's affirmed the senior unsecured rating at Baa3, which is Moody's lowest investment grade rating, but revised the outlook to positive from stable, suggesting the next rating move is more likely to be an upgrade. "The positive outlook anticipates sustained reliability of operations, and competitive operating margin and free cash flow over the cycle," Moody's said. Meanwhile, Moody's affirmed United's Ba2 corporate family rating, which is two notches below investment grade, while raising the rating outlook to positive from stable, citing "expected benefits of United's strong business profile and execution of its current network strategy which should sustain good operating cash flow in upcoming years." Separately, Moody's said it expects "US airlines will continue to emphasize earning acceptable returns on invested capital, which will lead to capacity reductions and cost management when economic growth slows to mitigate downwards pressure on earnings and cash flows." The NYSE Arca Airline Index has tacked on 7.3% over the past three months while the S&P 500 has gained 10.0%.

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Jan 15, 2020

Shake Shack shares pop as Goldman Sachs sees menu innovation driving same-store sales
Shake Shack Inc. shares jumped 8% in Wednesday trading after a bullish note from Goldman Sachs forecasts a menu-driven same-store sales rise. Goldman analysts say softness in the burger chain's third-quarter results was due to a weak menu. Same-store sales rose 2% in the third-quarter, falling short of the 2.5% growth FactSet forecast. During the fourth quarter, Shake Shack added a group of holiday-themed milkshakes that customers responded well to, analysts said. Recently, Shake Shack brought back the popular Shackmeister item to U.S. menus, and Hot Chick'n will be coming later in the year along with the introduction of Hot Chick'n Bites, a spicy version of the Chick'n Bites item. "We note a key investor concern has been that Shake Shack would take these items off the menu all together due to operational complexity and costs," Goldman wrote, with reference to the chicken offerings. Speaking at the ICR Conference, Shake Shack Chief Executive Randall Garutti also said the company is working on a new version of the veggie burger. Moreover, the disruption that had been anticipated from the Grubhub Inc. integration seem to be "manageable." About 40% of Shake Shacks are now exclusively on Grubhub. "Estimates are already factoring in a high level of disruption as they migrate to Grubhub," Goldman wrote. Goldman Sachs rates Shake Shack shares buy with a 12-month target of $115. Analysts see an 80% upside to that price target. Shake Shack stock has rallied 43% over the past year while the S&P 500 index has gained 26.1% for the period.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 15, 2020

Stage Stores stock extends plunge, has lost 69% in a 6-day losing streak
Shares of Stage Stores Inc. slumped 8.6% in afternoon trading Wednesday to pace the NYSE's losers, as the selloff continues following the department store chain's warning earlier this week of wider-than-expected losses. The stock has now shed more than two-thirds of its value (down 69%) amid a 6-day losing streak. That selloff was highlighted by a record 57% plunge on Monday, after the company said it expected full-year losses to be $25 million to $30 million below the low end of previous guidance in the wake of disappointing holiday sales. The stock has till gained 32% over the past three months, as Wall Street has looked favorably at the company's decision to convert its stores to off-price. In comparison, the SPDR S&P Retail ETF has gained 6.7% and the S&P 500 is up 9.9%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 15, 2020

Gold futures settle higher after back-to-back session declines
Gold futures settled higher on Wednesday, finding support after posting back-to-back session declines. Prices for the precious metal gained as the U.S. and China signed the much anticipated Phase 1 trade agreement and the U.S. House of Representatives voted to send impeachment articles to the Senate. Against that backdrop, "the S&P 500 has pulled back from its high and that appears to have given gold a further lift," said Michael Armbruster, managing partner at Altavest. "With the S&P 500 looking expensive at current levels, and the [Federal Reserve] continuing to add liquidity, it makes sense that investors would look to diversify into gold." February gold rose $9.40, or 0.6%, to settle at $1,554 an ounce.

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Jan 15, 2020

Mallinckrodt's stocks soars on heavy volume toward near-40% gain this week after comments at broker conference
Shares of Mallinckrodt PLC shot up 22% in afternoon trading Wednesday, enough to pace the NYSE's gainers, to stretch its gains for the week to 38%. Trading volume spiked to 15.7 million shares, nearly triple the full-day average of 5.3 million shares. The stock started rallying this week after Chief Financial Officer Bryan Reasons said at the J.P. Morgan Health Care Conference on Monday that the company could pay off its potential 2020 debt maturities, which is a "slightly over" $600 million, in cash. And regarding the dispute with the government over pricing for Acthar, he implied that he was optimistic regarding a favorable outcome, so there was no need to rush to settle. "Right now, we felt like the hearing went really well and we feel good about it," Reasons said, according to a transcript provided by FactSet. "So, we don't feel it's in our best interest to actually initiate the settlements." And regarding the opioid litigations, Chief Executive Mark Trudeau said he was "hopeful" that a resolution can be reached "sooner rather than later." The stock has more than doubled (up 110%) over the past three months, while the SPDR S&P Pharmaceuticals ETF has climbed 29.5% and the S&P 500 has gained 9.8%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 15, 2020

Covis Pharma's asthma treatment to be available at Walgreens for free for those with commercial insurance
Covis Pharma B.V., a Holland-based privately held specialty pharmaceutical company, announced Wednesday a deal in which its for its Alvesco Inhalation Aerosol asthma treatment will be exclusively available at Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. pharmacies for a reduced cost. Covis said Alvesco, an inhaled anti-inflammatory maintenance therapy, will be free for eligible patients with commercial insurance. For eligible patients without insurance or prescription drug coverage, Alvesco prescriptions can be filled at a lower cost, not to exceed $50. "While there is no cure for asthma, it can be managed with proper treatment and we are proud to help patients with our best-in-class therapy Alvesco," said Covis Chief Executive Michael Porter. "Now with our Walgreens' collaboration, we will be able to further extend our ability to help patients by alleviating the financial burden of managing this disease." Walgreens's stock, which slipped 0.4% in midday trading, has slipped 0.2% over the past three months, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has gained 7.5%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 15, 2020

Apple target gets a boost at Canaccord on 5G, services optimism
Canaccord Genuity analyst T. Michael Walkley raised his price target on shares of Apple Inc. to $355 from $275 on Wednesday, writing that the company can continue its strong rally thanks to upcoming 5G tailwinds and continued monetization of its massive installed base. "With all of the new services Apple continues to launch combined with its growing installed base of users and underlying healthy growth trends, we believe Apple will sustain services revenue momentum following a record 2019 toward doubling the company's 2016 revenue by 2020," Walkley wrote. He sees the $4.99 pricing of Apple TV as attractive and argues that the company should be able to sustain iPhone demand through 2021 with the anticipated launch of 5G-enabled and lower-cost devices on the horizon. Shares are up 0.5% in Wednesday morning trading. They've gained 34% over the past three months, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average has risen 7.7%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 15, 2020

Oil prices fall as EIA reports hefty weekly increases in U.S. petroleum-product supplies
Oil prices extended their decline on Wednesday after weekly data from the Energy Information Administration revealed much bigger-than-expected increases in U.S. supplies of gasoline and distillates. U.S. crude supplies fell by 2.5 million barrels for the week ended Jan. 10. Analysts polled by S&P Global Platts forecast a rise of 500,000 barrels, while the American Petroleum Institute on Tuesday reported an increase of 1.1 million barrels, according to sources. However, the EIA data also showed supply increases of 6.7 million barrels for gasoline and 8.2 million barrels for distillates. The S&P Global Platts survey had shown expectations for a smaller climb in supplies of 3.3 million barrels for gasoline and 1.3 million barrels for distillates. February West Texas Intermediate crude was down 60 cents, or 1%, at $57.63 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It was trading at $57.97 before the supply data.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 15, 2020

Kudlow vows fresh U.S. action if China trade deal isn't enforced
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Wednesday the U.S. is prepared to take "proportionate actions" if China doesn't live up to its commitments in a trade deal to be signed by President Donald Trump. Speaking on CNBC, Kudlow said the deal would boost China's purchases of U.S. agricultural, manufacturing and energy products, but keep in place many tariffs on Chinese goods. Chinese Vice Premier Liu He is scheduled to join Trump at the White House at 11:30 a.m. Eastern for the signing of the phase-one deal. Kudlow asserted the agreement would boost not just U.S. economic growth but also improve growth around the world. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose more than 120 points as investors awaited the deal signing, and the S&P 500 and Nasdaq also climbed in early trading.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 15, 2020

Pelosi names 7 Democrats as managers for impeachment trial
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday named seven House Democrats as managers for President Donald Trump's upcoming impeachment trial in the Senate. She said the managers will be two powerful committee chairmen, Rep. Adam Schiff of California and Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York, as well as Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York, Rep. Val Demings of Florida, Rep. Jason Crow of Colorado and Rep. Sylvia Garcia of Texas.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 15, 2020

Cord-cutting expected to cost traditional TV distributors 5.1% of subscribers in 2020: S&P Global
Traditional multichannel video programming distributors, or MVPDs, the cable, satellite and telecoms companies that offer TV service, will lose about 5.1% of subscribers in 2020 to cord-cutting, S&P Global Ratings said Wednesday, up from an earlier forecast of 3.3%. "We believe there is greater downside risk than upside potential to our 2020 forecast," credit analyst Naveen Sarma said in a statement. The agency is expecting subscriber losses at the two satellite TV operators, Dish Network and AT&T's DirectTV , to moderate, but pay-TV cable subscriber losses are expected to climb to 3.1%. Rising prices for virtual pay-TV services will make them less attractive, while consumers are also facing a barrage of new streaming video on demand (SVOD) services by mid-2020. Pay-TV services are also vulnerable to an economic downturn, said Sarma. The ratings implications are mixed: cable companies can manage an increase in the pace of cord-cutting from a credit perspective, thanks to their broadband service. But media and entertainment companies will come under pressure if overall pay-TV subscriber losses accelerate. Netflix shares have fallen 3.8% in the last 12 months, while the S&P 500 has gained 26%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 15, 2020

UnitedHealth's stock gain, Goldman's drop a 3-point net benefit for the Dow
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was getting just a light lift from earnings reporters Wednesday, as the boost from UnitedHealth Group Inc.'s better-than-expected results was being mostly offset by Goldman Sachs Group Inc.'s profit miss. UnitedHealth's stock was rising $3.54, or 1.2%, to add about 24 points to the Dow's price, while Goldman shares fell $3.12, or 1.3%, to subtract about 21 points. The Dow was up 62 points, with 19 of 11 components gaining ground.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 15, 2020

Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq tread water ahead of trade-deal signing
U.S. stock benchmarks on Wednesday opened slightly lower to flat as investors awaited the signing of a partial Sino-American trade pact later in the day, amid a rollout of quarterly corporate earnings results. The hoped for improvement in U.S.-China trade relations might not be immediately achieved though, with key issues left unresolved, including existing tariffs and efforts to impose restrictions on China's Huawei Technologies Co. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was off 13 points, or less than 0.1%, at 28.921, the S&P 500 index added less than 0.1% at 3,284 and the Nasdaq Composite Index picked up 0.1% at 9,260. The trade deal is expected to be signed in the White House at 11:30 a.m. Eastern time. In economic news, U.S. wholesale inflation rose 0.1% in December, according to the Labor Department's producer price index, below the 0.2% rise expected by economists, according to a MarketWatch poll. An account of business conditions in the Fed's regional districts, known as the Beige Book, is due at 2 p.m. In corporate news, Target Corp. shares were down after the retailer said sales rose 1.4% between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31 in stores and through digital channels operating for at least 12 months, but warned that growth for the full quarter, which includes January, would likely come in less than half the 3% to 4% growth it had predicted.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 15, 2020

Clovis Oncology's stock soars after FDA accepts sNDA for prostate cancer treatment
Shares of Clovis Oncology Inc. soared 22% in very active premarket trading Wednesday, after the biopharmaceutical company said the supplemental new drug application (sNDA) for its prostate cancer treatment Rubraca has been granted priority review status by the Food and Drug Administration. Trading volume swelled to over 2.9 million shares, compared with the full-day average of 10.7 million shares. "Recently presented data suggests that Rubraca may play a meaningful role in the treatment of patients with BRCA1/2-mutant recurrent, metastatic castrate-resistant prostate cancer, and this filing represents an important milestone for Clovis as it brings us one step closer to potentially making this valuable therapy available," said Chief Executive Patrick Mahaffy. "We are encouraged by the FDA's decision to grant priority review to the Rubraca application, which focuses on eligible patients with advanced prostate cancer, for whom new treatment options are very much needed." The stock has nearly tripled (up 177.7%) over the past three months through Tuesday, while the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF has advanced 18.2% and the S&P 500 has gained 9.6%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 15, 2020

Saudi Aramco valuation set at $2 trillion at J.P. Morgan
J.P. Morgan initiated coverage of Saudi Arabian Oil Co. , known widely as Saudia Aramco, with an overweight rating and a price target of 37.00 Saudi riyals per share, which is 6.6% above current levels and suggests a fair value for the oil giant of $2 trillion. That valuation compares with the S&P 500's largest U.S. energy company by market capitalization, Exxon Mobil Corp. , at $292.8 billion. Analyst Christyan Malek said key drivers for Aramco include an "increased appetite" from the Kingdom of Saudia Arabia to regain market share of global oil demand, in the context of a tightening of oil market deficit, and a rising call from captive refining commitments. "Aramco effectively offers minority shareholders 'bond with equity upside' type properties," Malek wrote in a note to clients. "Premium barrels, capex flexibility, captive crude demand through vertical integration into the eastern hemisphere (where we expect most marginal LT growth to emerge) and low gearing enable Aramco to commit to distributing a structurally higher percentage of cashflow through the cycle." The stock,which went public on Dec. 12, has declined 5.7% since then, while the SPDR Energy Select Sector ETF has slipped 1.5% and the S&P 500 has gained 3.6%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 15, 2020

Nio's stock soars on heavy volume after report of funding secured
Shares of Nio Inc. soared 13.3% on heavy volume in premarket trading Wednesday, after reports that the China-based electric vehicle maker secured funding needed for 2020. Trading volume ballooned to over 9.6 million shares, making the stock the most actively traded ahead of the open. A report in Sina Finance said the financing is about $1 billion. The stock, which has run up 16% amid a 5-session win streak through Tuesday, is on track to open above the highest closing price seen since May 20. It has more than doubled (up 142.6%) over the past three months through Tuesday, while U.S.-based fellow EV maker Tesla Inc. shares have also more than doubled (up 108.6%) and the S&P 500 has gained 9.6%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 15, 2020

Peloton stock gains after Wedbush pens bullish note
Shares of Peloton Interactive Software Inc. are up 0.7% in premarket trading Wednesday after Wedbush analyst James Hardiman initiated coverage of the exercise company's stock with an outperform rating and $37 price target. "Based on our analysis of the business model, our expansive survey work of both Peloton users and prospective customers, and our own experience with the product, we do not believe that Peloton will prove to be a fad, but instead one of a small number of fitness companies likely to be an enduring force going forward," he wrote. Hardiman thinks that Peloton could eventually come to amass 4 million subscribers, including 3 million in the U.S., up from about 600,000 currently. That would equate to about 2% of U.S. households. Peloton shares are up 27% over the past three months, as the S&P 500 has gained 9.6%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 15, 2020

Novavax shares soar 20% premarket after company wins FDA fast-track designation for flu vaccine
Novavax Inc. shares soared 20% in premarket trade Wednesday, after the late-stage biotech said it has received fast track designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for its NanoFlu vaccine in adults of 65 years of age and older. The decision "reflects the urgent unmet medical need for a more effective vaccine against influenza, particularly in the older adult population which often experiences serious and sometimes life-threatening complications, of the disease" said Stanley C. Erck, Novavax chief executive in a statement. NanoFlu is currently in a phase 3 trial that seeks to evaluate its immunogenicity and safety compared to the quadrivalent formulation of Fluzone. Novavax shares have fallen 91% in the last 12 months, while the S&P 500 has gained 26%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 15, 2020

Beyond Meat downgraded as analysts say stock price already accounts for U.S. growth potential
Beyond Meat Inc. was downgraded to market perform from outperform at Bernstein as analysts believe the current stock price accounts for the plant-based meat company's U.S. growth potential. Bernstein maintained its $106 target price. Beyond Meat shares fell 4.4% in Wednesday premarket trading after closing Tuesday up 2.4% at $117.05. Beyond Meat stock is down 4.1% over the past three months while the benchmark S&P 500 index has gained 9.6%. Bernstein analysts led by Alexia Howard note that shares rallied after news of a Canadian test of the P.L.T. burger (plant, lettuce, tomato) with McDonald's Corp. . If the burger is rolled out in the U.S., Bernstein expects that Beyond Meat will grow its sales to $910 million in fiscal 2021 from $280 million in fiscal 2019, "which will likely test the high end of Beyond Meat's capacity based on its current capacity expansion plans in the U.S., although further capacity expansion could unlock additional upside in the top line." Beyond Meat and Roquette, a plant-protein producer, announced a multi-year pea protein supply agreement on Tuesday. Bernstein thinks there's upside to the Beyond Meat stock should the company expand abroad, with big growth potential in Europe.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 15, 2020

Under Armour to launch the first signature shoe for NBA's Joel Embiid in fall 2020
Under Armour Inc. will launch a new shoe for NBA star Joel Embiid in the fall of 2020. The UA Embiid 1 will be the first signature shoe for the Philadelphia 76ers star, though the two have partnered since 2018. Under Armour says the shoe will use Embiid's origins in Cameroon as inspiration. There will be a number of colorways launched during the 2020 and 2021 season. The latest shoe joins the Steph Curry in Under Armour's footwear lineup. Under Armour stock has gained 7% over the past year while the S&P 500 index is up 25.8% for the period.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 15, 2020

Curaleaf closes upsized $300 million senior secured term loan facility
Curaleaf Holdings Inc. said Wednesday it has closed an upsized $300 million senior secured term loan facility with an interest rate of 13% per annum. Proceeds of the deal will be used to refinance existing debt, pay fees and expenses from previously announced acquisitions, to fund capex and for general corporate purposes. "Most importantly we strengthened our balance sheet without diluting our existing shareholders," Chief Executive Joseph Lusardi said in a statement. Cannabis companies have been struggling to raise capital of late after a sharp correction in the sector, which has been developing more slowly than expected and continues to compete with the black market. A number of companies, including Aurora Cannabis have been forced into highly dilutive capital raisings. Curaleaf shares have gained 22% in the last 12 months, while the ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF has fallen 41% and the S&P 500 has gained 26%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 15, 2020

Best Buy, toy makers and Walmart stocks fall in wake of Target's disappointing sales
Shares of Best Buy Co. Inc. dropped 2.8% in premarket trading Wednesday, after the consumer electronics retailer appeared to suffer from the fallout of Target Corp.'s disappointing holiday-period sales performance. Target said earlier same-store sales during the November/December period rose 1.4%, "below our expectations," given softer-than-expected performance in electronics, toys and portion of home assortment. Also suffering collateral damage, shares of toy makers Hasbro Inc. fell 2.2% and Mattel Inc. shed 3.0%. Among Target competitors, shares of Walmart Inc. declined 1.9% and Kohl's Corp. slipped 0.9%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 15, 2020

Aphria shares up 2.4% premarket after CIBC upgrades to neutral from underperform
Canadian cannabis company Aphria Inc.'s shares rose 2.4% in premarket trade Wednesday, after CIBC upgraded the stock to neutral from underperform and said it is more constructive on the stock now that an inevitable cut to guidance has been announced. "There will be issues to contend with, such as ongoing elevated capex spend and substantial working capital investments," analysts John Zamparo and Krishna Ruthnum wrote in a note. "But the balance sheet is relatively strong and market share gains are encouraging." The analysts raised their price target on the stock to C$7.00 ($5.36) from C$6.50. The company's revised guidance--it now expects 2020 revenue of C$575 million to C$625 million versus earlier guidance of C$650 million to C$700 million--is "much more achievable" although it may not be conservative enough, the analysts wrote. But with consensus below the new range, future guidance risk has moderated, said the note. Aphria shares have fallen 25.5% in the last 12 months, while the ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF has fallen 41%. The S&P 500 has gained 26%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 15, 2020

Goldman Sachs misses profit expectations while revenue beats; stock slips
Shares of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. slipped 0.5% in premarket trading Wednesday, after the investment and consumer bank reported a fourth-quarter profit that fell well short of expectations, while revenue beat. Net income fell to $1.72 billion, or $4.69 a share, from $2.32 billion, or $6.04 a share, in the year-earlier period, as operating expenses increased 42% as a result of "significantly higher" compensation and provisions for litigation and regulatory proceedings. The FactSet consensus for earnings per share was $5.47. Total revenue rose 23% to $9.96 billion, above the FactSet consensus of $8.55 billion, as net interest income rose 7.5% to $1.07 billion compared with expectations of a decline to $984.1 million. Investment banking revenue slipped 6% to $2.06 billion, global markets revenue rose 33% to $3.48 billion and consumer and wealth management revenue increased 8% to $1.41 billion. Within markets, fixed income, currency and commodities revenue rose 63% to $1.77 billion, above the FactSet consensus of $1.16 billion, while equities revenue grew 12% to $1.71 billion, but missed expectations of $1.75 billion. The stock has run up 19% over the past three months through Tuesday, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has gained 7.1%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 15, 2020

Cannabis sector facing tumultuous 4-6 month period with many facing bankruptcy: MKM
The next four to six months will be tumultuous for the cannabis sector, pricing pressure will continue and about 50% of companies with Canadian licenses are facing bankruptcy. Those were some of the talking points at day two of the ICR Conference in Orlando, Fla., according to MKM analyst Bill Kirk, who highlighted the subdued tone at the event in an early note to investors. "With years of reckless spending, less growth than expected, limited access to capital markets, excess supply, and uncompetitive pricing (to illicit market), we generally agree," Kirk wrote. "And while there may be opportunities on the other side of the looming shakeout, we can't get excited about sector-wide upside." The analyst named Acreage and Flowr as two companies in attendance that he rates as buy. Acreage stock offers a wide discount to the deal price (the company will be acquired by Canopy Growth Corp. as soon as cannabis restrictions in the U.S. are lifted) and is improving profitability as states mature, he wrote. Flowr has fewer supply issues in the Canadian premium market and has better mix exposure to Portugal and Germany, he wrote. Kirk has neutral ratings on Tilray and Cronos . "It is very likely the negative outlook shared at ICR will come to fruition. Acreage and Flowr are opportunities within this set-up largely because they operate outside many of the issues," said the note. The ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF has fallen 41% in the last 12 months, while the S&P 500 has gained 26%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 15, 2020

Bank of America's stock gains after profit, revenue top expectations
Shares of Bank of America Corp. rose 0.7% in premarket trading Wednesday, after the bank reported fourth-quarter earnings that topped expectations. Net income was $6.75 billion, or 74 cents a share, compared with $7.04 billion, or 70 cents a share, in the year-ago period. The FactSet consensus for earnings per share was 68 cents. Total revenue slipped 1.4% to $22.35 billion, from $22.68 billion, but was above the FactSet consensus of $22.22 billion. Net interest income declined 2.9% to $12.14 billion, topping expectations of $12.07 billion. Consumer banking revenue fell 4% to $9.5 billion, while combined credit/debit card spend increased 6%. Global markets revenue rose 6% to $3.4 billion, driven by the sales and trading business. Fixed income, currency and commodities revenue rose 25% to $1.8 billion, which particular improvement in mortgages, while equities revenue declined 4% to $1.0 billion given lower client activity in derivatives. The stock has surged 18.8% over the past three months through Tuesday, while the SPDR Financial Select Sector ETF has gained 9.8% and the S&P 500 has advanced 9.6%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 15, 2020

Target's stock tumbles after holiday sales disappoint
Shares of Target Corp. tumbled 8.6% in premarket trading Wednesday, after the discount retailer reported disappointing holiday-period same-store sales. The company said same-store sales during the November/December period rose 1.4% from a year ago, which Target said was "below expectations." Sales increases in apparel (up 5%), essentials and beauty (up 6%) and food and beverage (up 3%) was offset by declines in home (down 1%) and hardlines (down 3%), which includes toys (about flat) and electronics (down more than 6%). Target said it now expects fourth-quarter same-store sales growth of 1.4%, which is well below the FactSet consensus of 3.7% growth, but is maintaining its earnings-per-share guidance; the FactSet consensus is $1.70. Thes tock has soared 83.6% over the past 12 months through Tuesday, while the S&P 500 has gained 25.8%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 15, 2020

UnitedHealth's stock slips after profit beat but sales came up shy
Shares of UnitedHealth Group Inc. slipped 0.4% in premarket trading Wednesday, after the health care coverage company reported fourth-quarter profit that beat expectations but revenue that came up a bit shy. Net income rose to $3.54 billion, or $3.68 a share, from $3.04 billion, or $3.10 a share, in the year-ago period. Excluding non-recurring items, adjusted earnings per share came to $3.90, above the FactSet consensus of $3.78. Revenue grew 4.3% to $60.90 billion, below the FactSet consensus of $61.02 billion. Premiums increased 6.0% to $47.63 billion, topping the FactSet consensus of $47.51 billion, while products fell 10.8% to $7.63 billion to miss expectations of $7.80 billion. Services rose 13.6% to $5.22 billion, compared with expectations of $5.21 billion. Optum revenue increased 8.0%. The company affirmed its adjusted EPS guidance of $16.25 to $16.55. The stock has run up 20.8% over the past three months through Tuesday, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has gained 7.1%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 14, 2020

Trump calls on Apple to unlock suspects' phones in wake of navy-base shooting
President Donald Trump on Tuesday called on Apple to "step up to the plate" and help U.S. authorities by unlocking phones used by "killers, drug dealers and other violent criminal elements." Attorney General William Barr on Monday made a similar request, as he declared that a deadly shooting at a naval air station in Pensacola, Fla., was an act of terrorism. Apple said last week in a statement that it had provided investigators with the relevant data held by the company. The Associated Press reported that Apple has not yet told the Justice Department whether the company has the capability of accessing the phones that belonged to the gunman.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 14, 2020

Nektar stock drops more than 10% as FDA advisers say no to painkiller
Nektar Therapeutics [sL nktr] shares fell in the extended session Tuesday following a report that a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel voted against recommending one of the drug maker's painkillers for approval. Nektar shares dropped 14.5% after hours, following a 2% rise in the regular session to close at $27.96. At a joint meeting of the FDA's Anesthetic and Analgesic Drug Products Advisory Committee and the Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee, members of the committees voted 27-0 against recommending approval for Nektar's NKTR-181 drug to treat lower back pain on the grounds it could be easily abused, Reuters reported late Tuesday. The FDA is not bound by the recommendations of its panels but generally follows their recommendations.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 14, 2020

API data show a weekly climb of 1.1 million barrels in U.S. crude supply, sources say
The American Petroleum Institute reported late Tuesday that U.S. crude supplies rose by 1.1 million barrels for the week ended Jan. 10, according to sources. The API data also reportedly showed a stockpile climb of 3.2 million barrels for gasoline, while distillate stocks rose by 6.8 million barrels. Inventory data from the Energy Information Administration will be released Wednesday. The EIA data are expected to show crude inventories climbed by 500,000 barrels last week, according to analysts polled by S&P Global Platts. They also forecast supply increases of 3.3 million barrels for gasoline and 1.3 million barrels for distillates. February West Texas Intermediate crude was at $58.25 a barrel in electronic trading. It settled at $58.23 Tuesday on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 14, 2020

Beyond Meat, Roquette ink multi-year supply agreement
Shares of Beyond Meat Inc. edged up 2% on Tuesday after it announced a multi-year pea protein supply agreement with Roquette, a maker of plant-based ingredients and a pioneer of plant proteins. Terms of the deal, which expands a 10-year partnership between the companies, were not disclosed. "This latest contract with Roquette reflects Beyond Meat's commitment to further scaling the plant protein supply chain as global demand for our products continues to rise," Beyond Meat Chief Executive Ethan Brown said in a release announcing the deal. Beyond Meat's stock is up 55% this year. The S&P 500 index , by comparison, is up 1.6% in 2020. Last week, Impossible Foods Inc. introduced new pork and sausage products at the CES tech show in Las Vegas.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 14, 2020

Chubb expects 30% decline in fourth-quarter catastrophic losses
Chubb Ltd. said late Tuesday it expects after-tax catastrophic losses to decline by about 30% from the year-ago fourth quarter. The insurance company said it estimates fourth-quarter net catastrophe losses of $430 million pre-tax, or $353 million after tax, from tornadoes in Texas, California wildfires, Typhoon Hagibis in Japan, and civil unrest in Hong Kong and Chile. That compares with last year's $585 million pre-tax, or $506 million after tax, losses in the fourth quarter caused by California wildfires and Hurricane Michael, along with storms in Australia and Typhoon Trami in Japan. Chubb shares were flat after hours, following a 0.1% decline to close the regular session at $150.76.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 14, 2020

Stocks close mostly lower as earnings season gets under way
U.S. stocks ended Tuesday's session mixed, with the Dow posting modest gains and setting a new intraday high, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq notched modest losses as investors parsed fourth-quarter results from several major financial firms as earnings season began in earnest. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 27 points, or 0.1% to end the day at around 28,935, the S&P 500 index lost about 5 points, or 0.2% to close at 3,283 and the Nasdaq Composite index retreated 23 points, or 0.2% to end at approximately 9,251. Stocks were boosted in early trade by better-than-expected earnings reports from Citigroup Inc. and Dow component JPMorgan Chase & Co. , with Citi's stock gaining 1.6% on the day and JP Morgan's adding 1.2%. Wells Fargo & Co. results disappointed, however, and the bank's shares fell 5.4% Tuesday. Investors were also eyeing developments in U.S.-China trade, with a phase-one deal set to be singed Wednesday. Stocks hit session lows after a report from Bloomberg News said that existing tariffs on Chinese imports would likely stay in place through the election, before mostly recovering those losses. In other company news, Delta Air Lines Inc. shares rose 3.3% after it reported better-than-expected earnings and Perrigo Co. Plc [PRGO] shares rose 12.6% to lead the S&P 500, after it raised its guidance for full-year 2019 sales.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 14, 2020

Bank of America's stock rises on heavy volume ahead of earnings report
Shares of Bank of America Corp. rallied 1.1% in active afternoon trading Tuesday, ahead of the bank's fourth-quarter earnings report due out before the next session's opening bell. Trading volume was over 47.3 million shares, enough to make the stock the most actively traded on major U.S. exchanges. Analysts surveyed by FactSet expect, on average, earnings per share of 68 cents and revenue of $22.22 billion and net interest income (NII) of $12.07 billion. The company has beat profit expectations the past 18 quarters, according to FactSet. Over the same time, BofA has beat revenue expectations 11 times and NII estimates 9 times. On Tuesday, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc. beat profit and revenue expectations, while Wells Fargo & Co. missed on both. Bank of America's stock has soared 21.6% over the past three months, while the SPDR Financial Select Sector ETF has rallied 11.8% and the S&P 500 has gained 10.9%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 14, 2020

Oil futures end higher after 5 consecutive sessions of declines
Oil futures edged higher on Tuesday, scoring their first climb in six sessions, as worries about potential global supply disruptions continued to ease but geopolitical risks remained. Traders will now focus on weekly U.S. petroleum supply data due later Tuesday from the American Petroleum Institute and from the Energy Information Administration early Wednesday. On average, the EIA is expected to report a rise of 500,000 barrels in U.S. crude stocks for the week ended Jan. 10, according to analysts surveyed by S&P Global Platts. February West Texas Intermediate oil tacked on 15 cents, or 0.3%, to settle at $58.23 barrel 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.



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