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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 21, 2022

Kraft Heinz appoints new CFO
Kraft Heinz Co. said late Friday it has appointed Andre Maciel as its chief financial officer, effective March 2. Maciel will succeed Paulo Basilio, who will step down on March 1, the company said. Basilio will remain with the company as a strategic adviser through August. Shares of Kraft Heinz were off around 0.1% in the extended session Friday after ending the regular trading day down 0.2%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 21, 2022

U.S. stocks end lower Friday, Nasdaq books worst week since March 2020
U.S. stock indexes closed lower Friday, capping another punishing week for growth and technology stocks as investors await a Federal Reserve update next week on how aggressively interest rates may rise and financial conditions tighten to tame inflation. The Nasdaq Composite Index led the three stock benchmarks lower Friday, ending down 2.7%, but off 7.6% for the week, which was its worst weekly decline since March 2020, according to Dow Jones Market Data. The Nasdaq also entered correction territory mid-week, commonly measured as at least a 10% decline from its recent record close, and recorded its worst start to a year through Friday since the 2008 global financial crisis. Rising 10-year Treasury yields, up about 25 basis points near 1.74% this year, also have pressured speculative stocks and total returns of riskier assets. The S&P 500 index tumbled 1.9% Friday and 5.7% for the week, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.3% for the session and 4.6% for the week, pulled lower in part by jitters about pinched margins as major banks kicked off fourth-quarter earnings.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 21, 2022

Oil prices tally a fifth consecutive week of gains
Oil prices finished lower on Friday, but scored a fifth consecutive weekly rise. "Crude prices may not have a one-way ticket to $100 oil, but the supply-side fundamentals certainly support that could happen by the summer," said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA. "The next few trading sessions could be difficult for energy traders as oil prices may move more so on investor positioning ahead of Wednesday's FOMC policy decision and over a handful of brewing geopolitical risks, that include Russia-Ukraine tensions, Iran nuclear talks, and developments with global handling over North Korea." March West Texas Intermediate crude fell 41 cents, or 0.5%, to settle at $85.14 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The U.S. benchmark, based on the front-month contract, rose 2.2% for the week, according to Dow Jones Market Data.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 21, 2022

Gold futures fall for the session, but post a second straight week gain
Gold futures fell on Friday amid declines in most asset classes, but still tallied a gain for a second straight week after settling Wednesday at their highest in two months. "While the precious metal markets are likely overbought from significant gains earlier this week, and due some corrective action, we blame big picture risk off psychology," analyst at Zaner wrote in a daily report Friday. "Not only has the tensions between Russia and the rest of the world undermined sentiment, but U.S. corporate earnings seem to have lost their ability to lift equities and highflying crude oil prices have corrected sharply." February gold fell $10.80, or 0.6%, to settle at $1,831.80 an ounce. For the week, however, most-active gold futures rose 0.8%, up a second week in a row, according to FactSet data.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 21, 2022

Google asks federal court to dismiss ad tech lawsuit
Google parent Alphabet Inc. filed a motion in federal court in New York Friday asking the court to dismiss Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's antitrust lawsuit over Google's ad tech products. "This lawsuit has now been rewritten three times. With each version, AG Paxton follows the same pattern: make inaccurate and inflammatory allegations, publicize them widely, and repeat. This playbook may generate attention, but it doesn't make for a credible antitrust lawsuit," Google said in a blog post.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 21, 2022

Google, Epic Games agree to trial in early 2023
Google parent Alphabet Inc. and Epic Games Inc. have agreed to start their antitrust lawsuit in late January 2023, according to a filing in federal court in Northern California last week. Epic, the maker of the popular Fortnite game, is suing Google over alleged antitrust violations after Fortnite was dropped from the both the Google Play Store and Apple Inc.'s App Store in August 2020. Epic and Apple went to court last year, a split decision of sorts that has been appealed by both companies.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 21, 2022

Biden presses Congress to pass chips funding as he hails Intel's plan for new site
President Joe Biden on Friday pressed lawmakers to pass what's known as the CHIPS Act, which would provide $52 billion to boost U.S. semiconductor production. Speaking at the White House alongside Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger, Biden hailed the company's plans to invest more than $20 billion to build the world's largest chip-manufacturing site in Ohio. Biden, however, said the U.S. produces barely 10% of computer chips and that Friday's announcement is "just the beginning."

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 21, 2022

Moderna's stock has tumbled enough for a long-time bear to say stop selling
Shares of Moderna Inc. slumped 2.3% toward an eight-month low in morning trading Friday, and have tumbled 26.5% amid a six-day losing streak, enough for formerly bearish BofA Securities analyst Geoff Meacham to say investors should stop selling the biotechnology company. Meacham raised his rating to neutral from underperform, and lifted his stock price target to $180 from $135. Meacham said he has been bearish on Moderna for some time because of "overly optimistic" Wall Street assumptions on COVID-19 boosters, but has valuation has compressed in recent months and as the pandemic starts moving toward endemic status, he is now focusing more on the beyond-"Spikevax" pipeline. "Bulls previously called Moderna the 'Tesla of Biotech,' which meant that the stock narrative overruled valuation assumptions but now, the latter looks more reasonable," Meacham wrote in a note to clients. "As a results, we think the risk/reward in [Moderna] shares is more favorable, considering Moderna's leadership position in mRNA technology." The stock, which has now lost nearly two-thirds of its value from the August 2021 peak, has shed 35.5% so far this year, while the S&P 500 has declined 5.9%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 21, 2022

Stocks open mostly lower as Netflix drags down Nasdaq
Stocks opened mostly lower Friday, on track for a hefty weekly loss as the Nasdaq Composite pushes deeper into correction territory. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 56 points, or 0.2%, to 34,772, while the S&P 500 was off 0.1% at 4,477. The Nasdaq was down 0.2% at 14,126, bringing it down more than 5% for the week. The Nasdaq earlier this week entered correction territory, falling more than 10% from its record high set in November. Shares of Netflix Inc. helped weigh on the Nasdaq in Friday's session, slumping 20% after delivering a disappointing quarterly report.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 21, 2022

Coty stock upgraded as CoverGirl makes market share gains and Kardashian beauty brands show promise
Coty Inc. stock rose 1.9% in Friday premarket trading after the beauty company was upgraded to buy from neutral at D.A. Davidson. Analysts maintained their $11.50 price target. D.A. Davidson cites market share gains for the CoverGirl cosmetics brand and Sally Hansen nail brand along with steep share declines since a November meeting with Chief Executive Sue Nabi for the rating change. Coty stock has slumped 14.6% over the past month, but shares have rallied 25.4% over the past year. The S&P 500 index is down 3.6% over the last month. Analysts also note the launch of Kylie Skin, a Kylie Kardashian line, is off to "a good start." KKW Beauty, a line from Kylie's sister Kim, will launch in the second half of 2022. Other brands, both in the U.S. and in China are also "yielding promising results."

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 21, 2022

Huntington Banchares stock down after earnings miss
Huntington Bancshares Inc. shares fell 4.4% in premarket trades on Friday after the bank missed Wall Street's earnings target. The Columbus, Ohio financial company said it earned $401 million, or 26 cents a share in the fourth quarter, up from $316 million, or 27 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter. Adjusted earnings totaled 36 cents a share in the latest quarter. Revenue rose to $1.65 billion from $1.24 billion. The bank fell short of the analyst expectation for earnings of 30 cents a share and revenue of $1.69 billion, according to a survey of analysts by FactSet. Shares of Huntington Bancshares are up 8.2% so far in 2022, compared to a loss of nearly 6% by the S&P 500.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 21, 2022

Coty stock upgraded as CoverGirl make market share gains and Kardashian beauty brands show promise
Coty Inc. stock rose 1.9% in Friday premarket trading after the beauty company was upgraded to buy from neutral at D.A. Davidson. Analysts maintained their $11.50 price target. D.A. Davidson cites market share gains for the CoverGirl cosmetics brand and Sally Hansen nail brand along with steep share declines since a November meeting with Chief Executive Sue Nabi for the rating change. Coty stock has slumped 14.6% over the past month, but shares have rallied 25.4% over the past year. The S&P 500 index is down 3.6% over the last month. Analysts also note the launch of Kylie Skin, a Kylie Kardashian line, is off to "a good start." KKW Beauty, a line from Kylie's sister Kim, will launch in the second half of 2022. Other brands, both in the U.S. and in China are also "yielding promising results."

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 21, 2022

Blackstone, Starwood team up on second extended stay hotel deal: WSJ
Blackstone Inc. and Starwood Capital Group have agreed to pay $1.5 billion to jointly acquire 111 properties under the WoodSpring Suites brand from Brookfield Asset Management Inc. , The Wall Street Journal reported Friday. The WoodSpring Suites brand, owned by Choice Hotels International Inc., specializes in guests staying weeks or months. The firms are targeting Americans traveling for business or drive-to vacations, the newspaper reported, citing people familiar with deal. The WoodSpring Suites deal comes after Blackstone and Starwood jointly bought Extended Stay America Inc. for $6 billion in 2021. Shares of Blackstone Group are down 13.8% this year, compared to a drop of 6% by the S&P 500.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 21, 2022

Mortgage payments, rents see biggest jumps in Redfin's records in December
The average monthly mortgage payment in the U.S. in December soared 21.6% from a year ago, the biggest increase since real-estate services company Redfin Corp. has been keeping records, and are expected to keep rising this year, Redfin said Friday. And monthly average rents in December jumped 14.1% to $1,877, also the biggest increase on record. Redfin attributed the rise in mortgage payments to both climbing home prices and mortgage rates. Redfin started recording rental data in February 2019. "And those rising mortgage costs push more potential homebuyers into renting instead, which pushed up demand and prices for rentals," said Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather. "Mortgage rate increases are accelerating, which will cause both mortgage payments and rent to grow throughout 2022." Redfin's stock, which fell 0.7% in premarket trading, has plunged 42.3% over the past three months to close Thursday at the lowest price since June 1, 2020, while the S&P 500 has lost 1.5% over the same time.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 21, 2022

Raymond James upgrades Webster Financial to strong buy on loan growth
Raymond James analyst William J. Wallace IV (RJA) on Friday upgraded shares of Webster Financial Corp. to strong buy from outperform and increased his price target to $73 from $65. The integration of the bank's $5 billion acquisition of Sterling Bancorp should drive upside after it closes as expected in February, he said. Webster Financial's fourth-quarter core loan growth, excluding PPP loans, came in at 4.3% as "the biggest highlight" from its results. The fourth quarter marked the third consecutive quarter with loan growth above 2.5%. Wallace said the loan growth figures give him increased confidence in management's targeted 8% to 10% adjusted loan growth target. "All in, our thesis remains unchanged, where we believe cost and growth targets from the Sterling deal are attainable, and the financial merits of the deal are being mispriced," he said. Shares of Webster Financial are up 9.8% so far in 2022, compared to a drop of about 6% by the S&P 500.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 21, 2022

Sealy to launch eco-friendly mattress collection
Tempur Sealy International Inc. said Friday that it is launching Sealy Naturals, an eco-friendly line of mattresses. Coming in the summer, the Naturals line is made from responsibly-sourced materials including wool, hemp, organic cotton and natural latex. Prices will start at $3,499 for a queen-sized mattress, which will come in firm, soft and medium options. Sealy Naturals will be a collection of hybrid mattresses with both an innerspring and latex design. Tempur Sealy stock has rallied 37.6% over the past year, outpacing the S&P 500 index , which is up 16.3%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 21, 2022

Schlumberger shares rise premarket after company tops earnings estimates and offers upbeat outlook
Schlumberger Ltd. shares rose 1.4% premarket Friday, after the energy giant beat estimates for the fourth quarter and said it expects demand-led capital spending in the sector to create a multiyear growth cycle. The Houston, Tx.-based company posted net income of $601 million, or 42 cents a share, for the quarter, up from $374 million, or 27 cents a share, in the year-earlier period. Adjusted per-share earnings came to 41 cents, ahead of the 39 cent FactSet consensus. Revenue climbed 13% to $6.225 billion from $5.532 billion, also ahead of the $6.085 billion FactSet consensus. "Looking ahead into 2022, the industry macro fundamentals are very favorable, due to the combination of projected steady demand recovery, an increasingly tight supply market, and supportive oil prices," Chief Executive Olivier Le Peuch said in a statement. "We believe this will result in a material step up in industry capital spending with simultaneous double-digit growth in international and North American markets." Shares have gained 53% in the last 12 months, while the S&P 500 has gained 16%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 21, 2022

Netflix gets an upgrade from a long-time bear, who said the stock's selloff is 'overcooked'
Shares of Netflix Inc. plummeted 19.6% in premarket trading Friday, as the streaming-video service's disappointing outlook overnight prompted a number of Wall Street analysts to cut their ratings, but at least one analyst said the selloff appears "overcooked." Benchmark's Matthew Harrigan, who's been bearish on Netflix for at least the past two years, isn't turning bullish, but he did raise his rating to hold from sell. "Netflix stock should find a floor as the $405 after market price discounts both member growth deceleration and margin underachievement," Harrigan wrote in a note to clients. He "vacated" his previous $470 stock price target, but now sees fair value for the stock at $450. Harrigan said he's still bullish on the direct-to-consumer streaming migration, but he views Netflix as "first among equals" rather than a dominant player commanding overwhelming network effects. The stock, which is on track to open at the lowest price seen during regular-session hours since June 2020, has already slumped 22.2% over the past three months through Thursday, while the S&P 500 has slipped 1.5%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 21, 2022

Coronavirus tally: U.S. averaging more than 2,000 COVID deaths a day and CDC updates warning for unvaccinated
The U.S. is averaging more than 2,000 COVID-19 deaths a day, according to a New York Times tracker, as the highly contagious omicron variant keeps cases and hospitalizations close to record levels. U.S. new cases are averaging 735,652 a day, up 21% from two weeks ago, although cases appear to be peaking in northeastern states that were among the first to be hit hard. New York City, Cleveland, Chicago and Washington, D.C. are showing case numbers level off and start to fall, Deaths lag cases and hospitalizations and are now averaging 2,029 a day, up up 45% from two weeks ago. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated data on boosters late Thursday and said unvaccinated Americans aged 50 and older are far more likely to require hospitalization than those who are fully vaccinated and have received a booster shot. While many vaccinated people are having breakthrough illness because of omicron, they are suffering mild symptoms and are not at risk of severe illness or death. The unvaccinated are 17 times more likely to end up in a hospital bed than people who had just their primary two doses, the data shows. On a global basis, the total tally for COVID-19 cases hiked up above 342.8 million and the death toll rose above 5.57 million, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. leads the world with a total COVID-19 case count of 69.3 million and death toll of 860,248.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 20, 2022

Intuitive Surgical stock falls after company earnings hurt by fewer procedures
Shares of Intuitive Surgical Inc. fell more than 4% in the extended session Thursday after the health care company reported fourth-quarter earnings and sales slightly above expectations but said the pandemic continues to lead to fewer procedures done with its main robotic surgical system. Intuitive said it earned $381 million, or $1.04 a share, in the quarter, compared with $365 million, or $1.01 a share, in the fourth quarter of 2020. Adjusted for one-time items, the company earned $1.30 a share. Sales rose 17% to $1.55 billion, the company said. Analysts polled by FactSet expected Intuitive to report an adjusted EPS of $1.28 a share on sales of $1.52 billion. "During 2021, COVID-19 resurgences continued to impact da Vinci procedure volumes," the company said in a statement. "COVID-19 has had, and will likely continue to have, an adverse impact on the company's procedure volumes." Shares of Intuitive ended the regular trading day down 0.3%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 20, 2022

Yellen says she expects inflation to ease this year if U.S. controls pandemic
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Thursday she expects inflation to "diminish over the course of the year" if the U.S. is successful in controlling the COVID-19 pandemic. In an interview on CNBC, Yellen said she hopes inflation would get back to around 2% by the end of the year. The treasury chief said the Biden administration is "doing all the things that we can to deal with supply chain issues that are pushing prices up" and said inflation rose more than most economists, including herself, expected.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 20, 2022

PPG stock falls 3% as paint maker to raise prices to ease inflation pressure
Shares of PPG Industries Inc. fell nearly 3% in the extended session Thursday after the paint and coatings maker reported fourth-quarter profit and sales above Wall Street expectations but said pandemic-related "disruptions" continue to impact production and sales, and it will increase prices to mitigate soaring costs. PPG said it earned $267 million, or $1.12 a share, in the quarter, compared with $272 million, or $1.14 a share, in the year-ago period. Adjusted for one-time items, PPG earned $1.26 a share. Sales rose 12% to $4.2 billion. Analysts polled by FactSet expected adjusted EPS of $1.18 on sales of $4 billion. "Looking ahead, while demand for PPG products remains strong, the heightened supply and COVID-related disruptions experienced in the fourth quarter are expected to continue in the first quarter of the year impacting our ability to manufacture and deliver product," the company said in a statement. "We expect raw-material costs to remain at an elevated level and we are experiencing additional inflation in other cost areas, including logistics and labor." PPG said it will raise prices in all business lines "to mitigate the incremental inflation, and we continue to aggressively manage all aspects of our cost structure, including actions to minimize the cost impacts of the current supply challenges." Shares of PPG ended the regular trading day down 1.2%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 20, 2022

CSX Q4 sales rise 21% as 'all lines of business' grew, rail operator says
Shares of CSX Corp. fell in the extended session Thursday after the rail operator reported fourth-quarter results that met Wall Street expectations. CSX said it earned $934 million, or 42 cents a share, in the fourth quarter, compared with $760 million, or 33 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Sales rose 21% to $3.43 billion, thanks to "growth across all major lines of business," the company said. Analysts polled by FactSet expected earnings of 42 cents a share on sales of $3.3 billion. "As we enter 2022, we remain committed to providing our customers high-quality service and creating additional capacity to help them address current supply-chain challenges through the increased use of rail," CSX Chief Executive James Foote said in a statement. Shares of CSX ended the regular trading day down less than 0.1%

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 20, 2022

Dow posts 5th straight loss as stock-market bounce runs out of steam
Stocks ended lower Thursday, giving up early gains as investors appeared unable to shake off worries over a rising interest-rate environment. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell around 313 points, or 0.9%, to close near 34,715, according to preliminary figures, extending its losing streak to five sessions, the longest since September. The S&P 500 declined around 50 points, or 1.1%, to finish near 4,483, while the Nasdaq Composite dropped around 186 points, or 1.3%, to end near 14,154. The tech-heavy Nasdaq on Wednesday entered correction territory, having fallen more than 10% from a record high set in November. Analysts have tied stock-market weakness to begin the new year to expectations the Federal Reserve will be much more aggressive than previously expected in raising interest rates and otherwise tightening monetary policy in an effort to rein in persistently high inflation.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 20, 2022

Google appeals $2.7 billion EU antitrust fine
Google parent Alphabet Inc. on Thursday said it filed a final appeal of a $2.7 billion European Union antitrust fine to the EU's Court of Justice, its highest court. The latest appeal to overturn a 2017 fine linked to its shopping-ads service contends the General Court pushed beyond EU legal precedents and revised the reasoning of the underlying EU antitrust decision. "We feel there are areas that require legal clarification from the European Court of Justice," a Google spokeswoman said.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 20, 2022

Oil prices settle lower as February WTI contracts expire
Oil prices finished with a loss on Thursday after the Energy Information Administration reported an unexpected weekly rise in U.S. crude inventories. However, concerns over potential disruptions to global crude supplies, particularly as the market weighs the possibility of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, helped to limit price losses. February West Texas Intermediate crude fell 6 cents, or nearly 0.1%, to settle at $86.90 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract, which expired at the end of the session, finished Wednesday at the highest since October 2014. March WTI oil , which is now the front-month contract, settled at $85.55, down 25 cents, or 0.3%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 20, 2022

J.B. Hunt stock jumps after dividend raised by 33%
Shares of J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. rallied 1.8% in afternoon trading, after the trucking company said it raised its quarterly dividend by 33%, to 40 cents a share from 30 cents. The company said the new dividend will be payable Feb. 18 to shareholders of record on Feb. 4. Based on the current stock price, the new annual dividend rate implies a dividend yield of 0.78%, compared with the implied yield for the S&P 500 of 1.35%. J.B. Hunt's stock has now rallied 36.2% over the past 12 months, while the Dow Jones Transportation Average has advanced 20.9% and the S&P 500 has gained 189%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 20, 2022

Wells Fargo wins termination of 2015 regulatory order
Wells Fargo & Co. on Thursday confirmed that the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) terminated a consent order from 2015 stemming from billing and marketing practices on identity and debt cancellation products offered by the bank. "The OCC believes that the safety and soundness of the bank and its compliance with laws and regulations does not require the continued existence of the order," the federal regulatory agency said in a legal document posted on its website. The OCC had charged the bank in 2015 with deficiencies in the bank's practices and issued a cease and desist order. Wells Fargo said the termination of the 2015 OCC order fits its "top priority" to build a risk and control infrastructure that's "appropriate for its size and complexity." Shares of Wells Fargo rose 0.6% on Thursday after gaining 16.5% so far in 2022. The stock is up 72.1% in the past year, ahead of the 19% gain by the S&P 500 .

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 20, 2022

Biden says Russian move across Ukraine border would be 'invasion,' walking back 'minor incursion' comment
President Joe Biden on Thursday made an effort to walk back a much-criticized comment that he made the prior day about Russian President Vladimir Putin potentially launching a "minor incursion" targeting Ukraine. "If any assembled Russian units move across the Ukrainian border, that is an invasion," Biden said Thursday ahead of a meeting on infrastructure. "If Putin makes this choice, Russia will pay a heavy price." During a news conference on Wednesday, Biden made a comment that could be interpreted as giving Putin permission to make a minor incursion into Ukraine.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 20, 2022

EIA data show an unexpected rise in last week's U.S. crude supplies
The Energy Information Administration reported on Thursday that U.S. crude inventories climbed by 500,000 barrels for the week ended Jan. 14. On average, analysts had forecast a fall of 700,000 barrels, according to a poll conducted by S&P Global Platts. Data were delayed by a day this week because of Monday's Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday. The American Petroleum Institute on Wednesday reported a 1.4 million-barrel climb, according to sources. The EIA also reported a weekly inventory increase of 5.9 million barrels for gasoline, while distillate stockpiles fell by 1.4 million barrels. The S&P Global Platts survey expected a supply gain of 2.4 million barrels for gasoline and an inventory decline of 1.1 million barrels for distillates. The EIA data showed crude stocks at the Cushing, Okla., Nymex delivery hub edged down by 1.3 million barrels for the week. February West Texas Intermediate crude was up 53 cents, or 0.6%, at $87.49 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, ahead of the contract's expiration at the end of the session. It traded at $87.47 before the supply data.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 20, 2022

EIA reports a bigger-than-expected weekly fall in U.S. supplies
U.S. Energy Information Administration reported on Thursday that domestic natural-gas supplies fell by 206 billion cubic feet for the week ended Jan. 14. That compared with the average decline of 193 billion cubic feet forecast by analysts polled by S&P Global Platts, which pegged the five-year average supply fall for the period at 167 billion cubic feet. Total stocks now stand at 2.810 trillion cubic feet, down 226 billion cubic feet from a year ago, but 33 billion cubic feet above the five-year average, the government said. Following the data, February natural gas continued its decline, trading 17.5 cents, or 4.3%, lower at $3.856 per million British thermal units.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 20, 2022

Canadian pot company Fire & Flower seeking Nasdaq listing
Fire & Flower Holdings Corp. said it has filed to list its stock on the Nasdaq as the latest Canadian pot company to trade on a major U.S. exchange after Tilray , Canopy Growth , Aurora Cannabis , Cronos Group , OrganiGram Holdings and others. "Listing on the Nasdaq will allow us to expand our shareholder base and drive increased shareholder value as we continue to leverage our unique technology-driven business model to enter new targeted markets across North America," Fire & Flower CEO Trevor Fencott said in a statement on Wednesday. The company said it would announce when its stock will officially start trading on the Nasdaq and did not yet disclose its Nasdaq ticker symbol. OTC-listed shares of Fire & Flower are up 4% so far in 2022 and down 44% in the past 12 months, compared to a loss of nearly 8% in 2022 and a drop of 56% in the past 12 months by the Cannabis ETF .

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 20, 2022

Economic Report: Coming up: U.S. existing home sales
frederic j. brown/Agence France-Presse/Getty ImagesExisting-home sales increased slightly in December to an estimated seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 6.48 million, according to economists polled by MarketWatch. High home prices and a short supply of properties for sale are expected to hamper buyers for months to come. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA and the S&P 500 SPX were both down slightly in Thursday morning trades.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 20, 2022

Heartland Express matches profit expectations but misses on revenue amid 'extremely challenging' hiring environment
Trucking company Heartland Express Inc. reported Thursday fourth-quarter profit that matched expectations but revenue that fell short, amid an "extremely challenging" environment for hiring and retaining drivers. Net income rose to $20.3 million, or 26 cents a share, from $17.7 million, or 22 cents a share, in the year-ago period. The FactSet consensus was 26 cents. Revenue fell 4.9% to $148.1 million, below the FactSet consensus of $152.8 million. Operating expenses declined 7.9% to $121.6 million, as salaries, wages and benefits costs fell 6.8% to $59.6 million. The company said it implemented "creative compensation packages and driving opportunities" to better attract and retain drivers. For 2022, the company expects demand to remain strong, and increasing costs to lift freight rates throughout the year as supply chain challenges are expected to continue. The stock, which was still inactive in premarket trading, has lost 4.9% over the past three months, while the Dow Jones Transportation Average has tacked on 0.8% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average has slipped 1.6%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 20, 2022

NIH says Pfizer's Paxloid should be first treatment option for certain COVID-19 patients
The National Institutes of Health on Wednesday updated its COVID-19 treatment guidelines for patients with mild to moderate forms of COVID-19 who are at high risk for disease progression. The new guidelines now include the recently authorized antivirals developed by Pfizer Inc. and Merck & Co. Inc. /Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, note that GlaxoSmithKline and Vir Biotechnology Inc.'s sotrovimab is the only monoclonal antibody that is thought to be effective against omicron, and have added a three-day course of Gilead Sciences Inc.'s Veklury as a treatment option. The panel suggests that clinicians first use Pfizer's Paxlovid, then sotrovimab, then Veklury, and the final option should be molnupiravir, which is the Merck/Ridgeback drug.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 20, 2022

Walgreens to launch eight primary care practices in Tucson
Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. said Thursday that it plans to launch eight primary care and pharmacy practices with VillageMD in the Tucson area. The first Village Medical at Walgreens in Tucson will open Feb. 8. The Tucson locations will create 250 full-time jobs, including nurses, doctors and medical assistants. Village Medical at Walgreens can help patients with chronic illnesses as well as everyday injuries. There are plans for more than 200 Village Medical at Walgreens locations by the end of the year. Eighty-one have already opened across the following markets: Arizona, where it already has a presence in Phoenix, Florida, Texas, Kentucky and Indiana. Walgreens announced a $5.2 billion investment in VillageMD in October, and created a new reporting segment, Walgreens Health, during its most recent earnings. The company is expected to get a business boost from COVID vaccines and at-home testing in 2022. Walgreens stock has gained 11.3% over the past year while the S&P 500 index is up 17.7% for the period.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 20, 2022

Union Pacific revenue rises above expectations, to outpace growth in expenses
Shares of Union Pacific Corp. were little changed in premarket trading Thursday, after the railroad operator reported fourth-quarter profit and revenue that rose above expectations, as higher fuel surcharges, a positive business mix and price increases helped offset lower volumes as a result of supply chain challenges. Net income increased to $1.71 billion, or $2.66 a share, from $1.38 billion, or $2.05 a share, in the year-ago period, beating the FactSet consensus for earnings per share of $2.61. Total revenue grew 11.5% to $5.73 billion, above the FactSet consensus of $5.60 billion, with freight revenue rising 10.3% to $5.30 billion. Revenue growth outpaced the 5.0% rise in operating expenses to $3.29 billion, which included a 4.8% rise in compensation and benefits expense to $1.07 billion. Quarterly workforce productivity improved 1% to 1,046 car miles per employee, while the reportable personal injury rate deteriorated to 0.98 per 200,000 employee hours in 2021 from 0.90 in 2020. Separately, the company said it repurchased 1.4% billion worth of its stock during the quarter. The stock has gained 5.0% over the past three months through Wednesday, while the Dow Jones Transportation Average has edged up 0.8% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average has slipped 1.6%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 20, 2022

Walmart will open its first fulfillment center in Mississippi, creating 250 jobs
Walmart Inc. said Thursday that it will open its first fulfillment center in Mississippi, creating 250 full-time permanent jobs. Located in near Memphis in Olive Branch, the facility will span more than 1,000,000 square feet and will open in Spring 2022. Workers in Olive Branch will pack and ship items directly to customers, building out the supply chain network for Walmart's e-commerce business. Walmart already has three distribution centers, which send items to stores, 86 store locations and more than 25,000 employees in Mississippi. Walmart stock is down 1.1% over the past year while the benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 12.3% for the period.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 20, 2022

Alibaba stock surges as interest rate cut in China fuels broad rally
Shares of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. shot up 5.9% in premarket trading Thursday, putting it on track for the biggest gain this year, as an interest rate cut by the People's Bank of China helped fuel a rally in the U.S.-listed shares of China-based companies. Among other more-active shares of China-based companies, JD.com Inc. jumped 6.7%, Nio Inc. rallied 2.7%, DiDi Global Inc. climbed 3.2%, iQIYI Inc. gained 4.3%, XPeng Inc. rose 2.7% and Baidu Inc. gained 5.0%. Meanwhile, the iShares MSCI China ETF was up 3.7% while futures for the S&P 500 edged up 0.5%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 20, 2022

1Password draws $6.8 billion valuation in venture round
Toronto-based 1Password has raised a $620 million Series C round of financing, marking the largest by a Canadian company. The financing puts the password management specialist's value at $6.8 billion. Iconiq Growth led the round, with investments from Tiger Global, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Backbone Angels, Salesforce Ventures and Accel, the company said Wednesday. Individuals that took part in the investment round included Jeff Weiner, executive chairman at LinkedIn; former Disney CEO Robert Iger; General Motors CEO Mary Barra; as well as celebrities Ryan Reynolds, Scarlett Johansson, Robert Downey Jr., Matthew McConaughey, Chris Evans, Rita Wilson, Ashton Kutcher, Trevor Noah, Justin Timberlake and Pharrell Williams.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 20, 2022

Baker Hughes shares up 1.2% premarket as revenue tops estimates
Shares of Baker Hughes Co. rose 1.2% premarket Thursday, after the oilfield products and services company posted better-than-expected revenue for the fourth quarter, offsetting a profit miss. The company posted net income of $294 million, or 32 cents a share, down from $653 million, or 91 cents a share, in the year-earlier period. Adjusted per-share earnings came to 25 cents, below the 28 cent FactSet consensus. Revenue rose to $5.519 billion from $5.495 billion a year ago, ahead of the $5.491 billion FactSet consensus. "As we look ahead to 2022, we expect the pace of global economic growth to remain strong although slightly moderate compared to 2021," CEO Lorenzo Simonelli said in a statement. "We believe the broader macro recovery should translate into rising energy demand for 2022 and relatively tight supplies for oil and natural gas, providing an attractive investment environment for our customers and a strong tailwind for many of our product companies." Shares have gained 15% in the last 12 months, while the S&P 500 has gained 17.7%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 20, 2022

American Airlines trims loss, beats revenue estimate and share rise
American Airlines Group Inc. said Thursday its fourth-quarter net loss narrowed to $931 million, or a loss of $1.44 a share, compared with a loss of $2.18 billion, or $3.81 a share in the year-ago quarter. The company's adjusted loss in the most recent quarter totaled $1.42 a share. Fourth-quarter revenue at the carrier rose to $9.43 billion from $4.03 billion. Analysts expected American Airlines to lose $1.46 a share on revenue of $9.34 billion. American said its fourth-quarter revenue fell 17% compared to the fourth quarter of 2019. For the first quarter American Airlines expects revenue to be down 20% to 22% from 2019 levels. American Airlines president and incoming CEO Robert Isom said the company's focus in 2022 will be on "running a reliable airline, returning to profitability, and delivering on our long-term plan to deleverage the balance sheet." Shares of American Airlines shares rose 1.7% in premarket trades.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 20, 2022

Travelers' stock jumps after big profit beat, as revenue rose above forecasts
Shares of Travelers Companies Inc. jumped 2.5% in premarket trading Thursday, after the insurer reported a big profit beat, fueled by strong margins and returns from its investment portfolio. Net income rose to $1.33 billion, or $5.37 a share, from $1.31 billion, or $5.10 a share, in the year-ago period. Excluding nonrecurring items, core earnings per share rose to $5.20 from $4.91, well above the FactSet consensus of $3.86. Total revenue grew 7% to $9.01 billion, beating the FactSet consensus of $8.66 billion, as net written premiums increased 10% to $8.00 billion to top expectations of $7.88 billion. Net investment income climbed 9.7% to $743 million, helped by higher private equity and real estate partnership returns. The stock has gained 0.9% over the past three months through Wednesday, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has slipped 1.6%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 20, 2022

Signet Jewelers shares jump 7% premarket after company raises guidance to reflect strong holiday sales
Signet Jewelers Ltd. shares jumped 7% in premarket trade Thursday, after the company raised its holiday season guidance and outlook for fiscal 2022, to reflect a stronger-than-expected performance. "We delivered operating margin expansion as our strategy drove higher traffic and strong conversion with effective promotion and cost management," CFO Joan Hilson said in a statement. "Reflecting this strong performance and confidence in our business, today we're announcing a $500 million expansion to the remaining $184 million available under the existing share repurchase program." The company is now expecting holiday season sales of 42.4 billion, up 30.4% versus the same time a year ago. Same-store sales rose 25.2% and were up 35.1% compared with 2019, before the pandemic. With sales remaining strong in January, the company raised its fiscal 2022 guidance and now expects revenue of $7.78 billion, up from earlier guidance of $7.41 billion to $7.49 billion. It expects same-store sales to grow 48%, compared with earlier guidance of 41% to 43%. The FactSet consensus is for sales of $7.49 billion and same-store sales growth of 47.1%. Shares have gained 140.4% in the last 12 months, while the S&P 500 has gained 17.7%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 20, 2022

Coronavirus tally: U.S. COVID hospitalizations remain at record above 158,000 a day
The highly contagious omicron variant kept U.S. hospitalizations with COVID-19 at record levels above 158,000 on Thursday, according to a New York Times tracker. U.S. new cases are averaging about 800,000 a day, although cases appear to be peaking in northeastern states that were among the first to be hit hard. New York City, Cleveland, Chicago and Washington, D.C. are showing case numbers level off and start to fall, according to a New York Times tracker. Deaths, which lag cases and hospitalizations are close to 2,000 a day, up 48% from two weeks ago. On a global basis, the total tally for COVID-19 cases hiked up above 338 million and the death toll rose above 5.56 million, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. leads the world with a total COVID-19 case count of 68.6 million and death toll of 857,778.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 20, 2022

Casper Sleep shares jump 11% premarket after company says shareholders approved buyout
Casper Sleep Inc. shares rose 11% in premarket trade Thursday, after the company said shareholders approved its plan to be acquired by certain subsidiaries of Durational Consumer SPV IV, an investment vehicle managed by Durational Capital Management LP. The company said the deal won about 69.5% of the vote at a special meeting on Wednesday. Durational is paying $6.90 a share to take Casper private, valuing the company at around $286 million. The deal is now expected to close the week of Jan. 24. Casper will now operate as a private company and continue to be based in New York. The mattress and sleep accessories company went public in February of 2020 at $12 a share, but the stock price has struggled and closed Wednesday at $5.73.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 20, 2022

Regions Financial stock extends pullback after profit falls below expectations
Shares of Regions Financial Corp. dropped 4.2% in premarket trading Thursday, to extend its pullback from a 14-year high to a third session, after the regional bank reported fourth-quarter profit that fell below expectations, while revenue matched forecasts. Net income declined to $414 million, or 43 cents a share, from $588 million, or 61 cents a share, in the year-ago period. The FactSet consensus for earnings per share was 49 cents. Total revenue fell 3.1% to $1.63 billion, matching the FactSet consensus, as net interest income increased 1.3% to $1.02 billion to also match analyst forecasts. Total adjusted noninterest expenses rose 4.0% to $967 million, while salaries and employee benefits expense fell 1.0% to $575 million. Loans and leases for commercial and industrial declined 3.7% to $42.25 billion, for residential first mortgage increased 6.0% to $17.4 billion and for consumer credit card fell 2.9% to $1.16 billion. The stock, which has shed 6.9% since closing at a 14-year high on Jan. 14, has gained 0.6% over the past three months while the S&P 500 has slipped 0.1%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 19, 2022

Biden sees Build Back Better package broken up to get parts of it passed
President Joe Biden on Wednesday said he expects his social-spending and climate package probably will be broken up in order to have parts of it passed by Congress. "I think we can break the package up, get as much as we can now and come back and fight for the rest," he told reporters during a news conference that came at the one-year mark of his presidency. He said there is support for more than $500 billion aimed at energy and environmental issues, adding that a key moderate Democratic senator, West Virginia's Joe Manchin, supports early education programs for 3- and 4-year-olds.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 19, 2022

API data reportedly show weekly gains in U.S. crude and gasoline supplies
The American Petroleum Institute reported late Wednesday that U.S. crude supplies rose by 1.4 million barrels for the week ended Jan. 14, according to sources. The API, which released its data a day later than usual due to Monday's Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday, also reportedly showed a weekly inventory increase of 3.5 million barrels for gasoline, while distillate supplies edged down by 1.2 million barrels. Crude stocks at the Cushing, Okla., delivery hub fell by 1.5 million barrels last week, sources said. Inventory data from the Energy Information Administration will be released Thursday. On average, the EIA is expected to show crude inventories down by 700,000 barrels, according to a survey of analysts conducted by S&P Global Platts. The survey also calls for a weekly supply increase of 2.4 million barrels for gasoline and an inventory decline of 1.1 million barrels for distillates. Oil prices edged lower in the electronic trading session after the API data. February West Texas Intermediate crude was at $86.44 a barrel in electronic trading, after settling Wednesday at $86.96 on the New York Mercantile Exchange - the highest finish since October 2014.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 19, 2022

Biden: 'It is going to be a disaster for Russia if they further invade Ukraine'
President Joe Biden offered warnings for Russia and its leader, Vladimir Putin, as he spoke during a news conference that came at the one-year mark of his presidency. "It is going to be a disaster for Russia if they further invade Ukraine," Biden told reporters Wednesday. The American president also said Putin has "never seen sanctions" like the ones that have been promised if he moves on Ukraine.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 19, 2022

Biden says he didn't over promise, probably has outperformed
President Joe Biden defended his campaign promises Wednesday, despite high inflation and a lack of progress for his Build Back Better plan, as well as other legislative setbacks. "I didn't over promise," Biden said during a press conference that came at the one-year mark of his presidency. "I have probably outperformed what anybody thought would happen." Biden also hit Republicans over what he said was obstruction by them, saying he didn't anticipate there would be such a "stalwart effort" by the GOP to prevent him from getting anything done. "Name me one thing they're for," he said.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 19, 2022

Biden says he didn't overpromise, probably has outperformed
President Joe Biden defended his record on his campaign promises Wednesday, despite high inflation and a lack of progress for his Build Back Better plan, as well as other legislative setbacks. "I didn't overpromise," Biden said during a press conference that came at the one-year mark of his presidency. "I have probably outperformed what anybody thought would happen." Biden also hit Republicans over what he said was obstruction by them, saying he didn't anticipate there would be such a "stalwart effort" by the GOP to prevent him from getting anything done. "Name me one thing they're for," he said.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 19, 2022

Biden describes COVID situation as 'a job not yet finished'
President Joe Biden on Wednesday said there will be improvements as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, as he spoke during a news conference at the White House. "Some people may call what's happening now a new normal. I call it a job not yet finished. It will get better," Biden told reporters.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 19, 2022

An 'EV tipping point' is approaching, but that's not good news for Tesla: B. of A.
With several electric vehicles coming to the market by legacy and new auto makers soon, analysts at B. of A. Securities expect that a "tipping point" for EVs will happen this year, although higher prices would remain a constraint. The year 2022 "marks the start of commercialization for electric vehicles ... with many of start-up EV automakers launching/ramping new product and many of the incumbent automakers also beginning their product launch onslaught," the analysts said in a note Wednesday. B. of A. analysts said they expects about 1 million EVs sold in 2022, rising to about 1.8 million in 2023 and 3 million in 2024, implying EV penetration of around 6% this year, 11% in 2023, and 16% in 2024. Tesla Inc. EV market share could fall to 19% by 2024, from 69% in 2021. Among "incumbent" auto makers in the U.S., Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. "appear to be the biggest share gainers in the EV market," the analysts said, both increasing their share from mid-single digits to mid-double digits over the period. Moreover, 2022 will be characterized by the production ad sales ramp of Lucid Group Inc.'s Air sedan and Rivian Automotive Inc.'s R1T pickup truck, R1S SUV, and the electric commercial van. It also could see the launch of Fisker Inc.'s Ocean SUV, Canoo Inc. Lifestyle Vehicle, and Lordstown Motors Corp.'s Endurance pickup, the analysts said.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 19, 2022

Oil prices mark another finish at the highest since 2014
Oil prices rallied on Wednesday to mark another settlement at their highest since October 2014. "We've seen fresh 7-year highs for both Brent and U.S. crude oil prices, as concerns over geopolitical tensions serve to keep a floor under prices," while a temporary pipeline outage between Iraq and Turkey "added another layer of complexity to the story for oil prices and serves to keep markets on edge," said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK. The flow of oil through the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline has resumed following an explosion nearby that led to its shutdown, news reports said. Adding support to oil prices, the International Energy Agency raised its oil demand growth expectations for 2022. February West Texas Intermediate crude climbed by $1.53, or 1.8%, to settle at $86.96 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. That was the highest front-month WTI contract finish since Oct. 8, 2014, FactSet data show.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 19, 2022

Gold and silver futures rally to their highest finish since November
Gold futures settled higher Wednesday for the first time in four sessions and silver rallied by more than 3%, with both precious metals settling at their highest prices since November. "Gold has been largely ignoring the inflation data and instead focusing on how the [Federal Reserve] might respond to those data," said Peter Grant, vice president, senior metals strategist at Zaner Metals. Gold is often used a hedge against inflation. "Rising geopolitical tensions with Russia are also providing support for gold, he said. February gold rose $30.80, or 1.7%, to settle at $1,843.20 an ounce, the highest most-active contract finish since Nov. 19, FactSet data show. March silver , meanwhile, climbed 74 cents, or nearly 3.2%, to settle at $24.231 an ounce, the highest since Nov. 22, FactSet data show. Silver may be taking the lead "as pandemic-related growth concerns ease, which is just going to further stoke inflation," said Grant.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 19, 2022

Disney creates new international content unit to boost DTC streaming services
Walt Disney Co. said Wednesday that it is creating an international content unit as it looks to keep expanding its direct-to-consumer streaming content business. The new unit will be run by Rebecca Campbell, who was named chairman of international content and operations. "Disney's direct-to-consumer efforts have progressed at a tremendous pace in just a few short years, and our organization has continued to grow and evolve in support of our ambitious global streaming strategy," said Chief Executive Bob Chapek. "Rebecca has played a vital role in orchestrating our global platform expansion, and I'm excited that she will be leading our new International Content group, bringing her expertise and talent to oversee the growing pipeline of original local and regional content for our streaming services while continuing to lead our international operations." Disney also named Michael Paull to president of Disney Streaming, and will oversee streaming services such as Disney , Hulu, ESPN and Star , from his previous position of head of Disney . Disney's stock, which was little changed in midday trading, has lost 11.0% over the past three months, while the SPDR Communication Services Select Sector ETF has declined 6.5% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average has eased 0.2%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 19, 2022

Top U.S. business regulator Khan pushes more aggressive antitrust laws
One of the nation's top anti-monopoly regulators on Wednesday said the government is looking to expand its playbook on how to identify and block potentially harmful mergers or excessive industry consolidation. "As we have seen the growth of new technologies, the market dynamics have changed," said Lina Khan, chairwoman of the Federal Trade Commission, in an interview with CNBC. "When you start to see trends toward consolidation, those can often be important moments for regulators to jump in." The FTC and U.S. Justice Department on Tuesday said they would seek public input on how to update government rules to prevent anti-competitive mergers. Biden administration officials contend old antitrust rules are inadequate to prevent harm to the economy since they are too narrowly focused on price fixing. Khan, 32, has said there's too little competition in too many industries and that it can stifle innovation or harm workers. Khan and other regulators are especially focused on large tech companies such as Facebook and Google . The FTC is now engaged in a lawsuit against Facebook.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 19, 2022

State Street stock extends pullback from near 4-year high after revenue comes up shy of expectations
Shares of State Street Corp. slumped 4.7% in morning trading Wednesday, to extend their pullback from a near four-year high, after the trust and banking services company reported fourth-quarter revenue that came up shy of expectations, as net interest income fell more than forecast (NII). Net income rose to $697 million, or $1.78 a share, from $537 million, or $1.39 a share, in the year-ago period. The FactSet consensus for earnings per share was $1.88, while the bank said EPS excluding "notable" items, such as acquisition and restructuring costs and deferred compensation expense acceleration, came in at $2.00. Total revenue rose 4.7% to $3.05 billion, below the FactSet consensus of $3.01 billion, as net interest income fell 3.0% to $484 million to miss expectations of $486.4 million. Total expenses rose 1.4% to $2.16 billion, as compensation and employee benefits costs grew 4.6% to $1.18 billion. The stock has now dropped 7.3% since it closed Friday at the highest level since April 2018. It has lost 0.9% over the past three months while the S&P 500 has gained 1.5%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 19, 2022

Coca-Cola to use self-driving vehicles to deliver its latest product launches
Coca-Cola Co. said Wednesday that it will use a limited number of self-driving vehicles to deliver its latest launches to customers in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York. Starting today, customers can go to a special website to sign up for a delivery of the new items in less than an hour, while supplies last. Some of those packages will arrive via the robotic vehicles. The new items include Coca-Cola with Coffee Mocha, which joins a lineup that includes vanilla, the top-selling Coca-Cola with Coffee flavor, and caramel. Coca-Cola with Coffee launched in January 2021. The beverage giant has also unveiled new packaging for its Coca-Cola Cherry, Coca-Cola Vanilla and Coca-Cola Cherry Vanilla drinks, as well as the zero-sugar versions of these items. Coca-Cola has made a series of product announcements in recent weeks. The stock has run up 25% over the past year while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has gained 14.6%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 19, 2022

Stocks open modestly higher after Tuesday tumble
Stocks opened higher Wednesday, taking back some of the ground lost in the previous session when the 10-year Treasury yield jumped to a two-year high. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 123 points, or 0.3%, to 35,492, while the S&P 500 gained 0.4% to 4,595. The Nasdaq Composite was up 0.5% at 14,584. The tech-heavy Nasdaq on Tuesday led major indexes to the downside, dropping 2.6% and finishing below its 200-day moving average. Bank earnings appeared to help sentiment Wednesday, with shares of Bank of America Corp. and Morgan Stanley rising after reporting results.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 19, 2022

Regions Bank to eliminate non-sufficient funds fees in the coming months
Regions Financial Corp. said Wednesday its Regions Bank subsidiary will eliminate non-sufficient funds fees by the end of the second quarter, as the regional bank matched moves made recently by Bank of America Corp. and Wells Fargo & Co. . The regional bank's stock rose 0.8% in premarket trading. Regions said it will also eliminate overdraft protection transfer fees by the end of the first quarter, and will lower the number of Paid Overdraft Item Fees that can be charged on consumer banking accounts to three per day. The bank also said that it will make consumers' paychecks available up to two days before the regular payday, if their employer uses direct deposit. Regions' stock has rallied 8.7% over the past three months through Tuesday, while the SPDR S&P Bank ETF has climbed 6.5% and the S&P 500 has gained 1.3%

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 19, 2022

MGM Resorts, Entain to boost investment in BetMGM by $450 million in 2022, after 2021 revenue topped projections
MGM Resorts International and U.K.-based Entain PLC , joint owners of sports betting and iGaming operator BetMGM, said Wednesday they expect to invest another $450 million in BetMGM in 2022. That will bring the combined investment to $1.1 billion since BetMGM was launched in 2018. MGM's stock rose 1.0% in premarket trading, while Entain's U.K.-listed stock surged 3.7%. The announcement comes as the companies said they were "wholly supportive" of BetMGM's success, as they said BetMGM net revenue from operations is expected to be about $850 million in 2021, which is above expectations and up nearly fivefold from a year ago. For 2022, net revenue from operations is expected to rise to $1.3 billion, with the expected launch of online sportsbooks in Illinois and Louisiana in the first quarter, retail sportsbooks in Puerto Rico and both online sportsbooks and iGaming in Ontario later this year. MGM shares have dropped 7.7% over the past three months through Tuesday and Entain's stock has tumbled 18%, while the S&P 500 has gained 1.3%

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 19, 2022

Housing starts edges higher in December as permitting for residential construction soars
U.S. home builders started construction on homes at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of roughly 1.7 million in December, representing a 1% increase from the previous month, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Wednesday. Compared with December 2020, housing starts were up 2.5%. Meanwhile, permitting for new homes occurred at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 1.87 million, up 9% from November and 6.5% from a year ago. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected housing starts to occur at a median pace of 1.65 million and building permits to come in at a median pace of 1.71 million.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 19, 2022

Economic Report: Coming up: U.S. housing starts report for December
Joe Raedle/Getty ImagesU.S. home builders likely started construction on homes at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 1.65 million in December, according to economists polled by MarketWatch, while building permits likely reached an annual pace of 1.71 million. The popular gauge of new-home construction comes out at 8:30 a.m. Eastern.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 19, 2022

U.K. announces relaxing to COVID-19 restrictions
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday announced a series of changes relaxing COVID-19 restrictions. In England, the use of mandatory certification that shows either vaccination or a recent negative test at major venues will end, as will the mandate that required the wearing of face masks in classrooms. The U.K. also is no longer recommending employees work at home, Johnson said. Self-isolation rules are still mandatory, though the waiting period will be reduced to five days after two negative tests.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 19, 2022

Morgan Stanley shares jump premarket as profit tops Street estimates
Morgan Stanley shares rose 2.3% in premarket trade Wednesday, after the bank beat profit estimates for the fourth quarter amid strong performances at its investment banking and wealth management divisions. Morgan Stanley posted net income of $3.7 billion, or $2.01 a share, for the quarter, up from $3.4 billion, or $1.81 a share, in the year-earlier period. Revenue rose to $14.524 billion from $13.597 billion a year ago. The FactSet consensus was for EPS of $1.94 and revenue of $14.558 billion. Investment banking revenues rose 6%, driven by higher M&A fees from a flurry of deals. Equity underwriting revenue fell from a year ago amid a decline in follow-on offerings and block trades, but were partially offset by higher revenue from private placements. Fixed income underwriting revenue rose, driven by higher securitized products and high-yield issuances. In trading, equity revenues rose 13% driven by higher prime brokerage revenues and a mark-to-market gain of $225 million on a strategic investment. Fixed income revenues fell 31% from a year ago in what the bank called a "challenging trading environment." In the wealth management division, revenue rose 10% from a year ago to $6.3 billion from $5.7 billion. Net interest income rose thanks to growth in lending and higher brokerage sweep deposits. Investment management revenue rose to $128 billion from $1.1 billion, driven by the acquisition of Eaton Vance, higher performance fees and higher assets under management. Shares have gained 25% in the last 12 months, while the S&P 500 has gained 20.5%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 19, 2022

Activision Blizzard could be paid up to $3 billion if Microsoft buyout deal is terminated
Activision Blizzard Inc. disclosed Wednesday the termination provisions of the $68.7 billion merger agreement with Microsoft Corp. , which include payment of up to $3 billion by Microsoft. The videogame maker said if the merger deal is terminated, including termination under antitrust concerns, if Activision isn't in material breach of any provisions of the deal, Microsoft would pay a termination fee of $2.0 billion if the termination notice is provided before Jan. 18, 2023; pay $2.5 billion if provided after Jan. 18, 2023 but before April 18, 2023; and pay $3.0 billion if provided after April 18, 2023. If, however, Activision terminates the deal to accept a superior proposal from another buyer, Activision would pay Microsoft a termination fee of $2.27 billion. Meanwhile, Activision said its board of directors has "unanimously" approved the merger deal and recommends shareholders vote in favor of the deal. Activision's stock slipped 0.1% in premarket trading after soaring 25.9% on Tuesday after the deal was announced. It has still lost 11.6% over the past 12 months, while Microsoft shares have run up 39.8% and the S&P 500 has advanced 20.5%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 19, 2022

P&G beats the Street, narrows sales guidance
Procter & Gamble Co. shares rose 0.8% in Wednesday premarket trading after the consumer products company reported fiscal second quarter results that beat expectations and narrowed its full-year sales guidance. Net income totaled $4.22 billion, or $1.66 per share, up from $3.85 billion, or $1.47 per share, last year. Sales of $20.95 billion were up from $19.75 billion last year. The FactSet consensus was for EPS of $1.65 and sales of $20.34 billion. "These results keep us on track to deliver our earnings outlook and to raise estimates for sales growth, cash productivity and cash return to shareowners," said Chief Executive Jon Moeller in a statement. Organic sales were up across all segments, with health care and fabric and home care up 8%, and grooming and baby, feminine and family care up 5%. P&G brands include Bounty paper towels, Pantene hair products and Tide laundry care products. For fiscal 2022, P&G is guiding for sales growth in the range of 3% to 4%, up from a previous range of 2% to 4%. The FactSet consensus is for sales of $79.12 billion, implying 3.9% growth. EPS growth is still expected to be in the range of 6% to 9% from $5.50 last year, and adjusted EPS growth is forecast to be in the range of 3% to 6% from $5.66 last year. The FactSet consensus is for EPS of $5.91, suggesting 4.4% growth. P&G stock has gained 17.3% over the past year while the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 14.4% for the period.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 19, 2022

Canopy Growth announces launch of Martha Stewart CBD-based topicals
Canadian cannabis company Canopy Growth Corp. said Wednesday that Martha Stewart CBD has launched a line of CBD-based topicals in its first category expansion, adding to existing products that include gummies, oils and softgels. The new Martha Stewart CBD Wellness Topicals are designed to improve wellbeing, with a cream designed for muscle recovery, one for better sleep and one aimed at stress management. CBD is the non-psychoactive ingredient in the cannabis plant that is widely held to have wellness benefits. The creams are priced at a range of $19.99 up to $99.99 for 150 mL, of the Super Strength CBD cream aimed at muscle recovery. They were designed by Stewart along with Marquee Brands and Canopy Growth. Canopy's U.S.-listed shares were up 1.3% premarket, but have fallen 11% in the last 12 months, while the Cannabis ETF has 57% and the S&P 500 has gained 20.5%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 19, 2022

Bank of America stock jumps as profit rises above expectations, while revenue comes up a bit shy
Shares of Bank of America Corp. rallied 2.0% in premarket trading Wednesday, after the moneycenter bank reported fourth-quarter profit that rose above expectations while revenue came up a bit shy, while growth in loans and deposits helped boost net interest income (NII) despite a challenging interest rate environment. Net income rose to $6.77 billion, or 82 cent a share, from $5.21 billion, or 59 cents a share, in the year ago period, and beat the FactSet consensus of 77 cents. Total revenue rose 9.8% to $22.06 billion, below the FactSet consensus of $22.18 billion, as NII grew 11.3% to $11.41 billion to top expectations of $11.32 billion. Within business segments, consumer banking revenue rose 8% to $8.9 billion, global wealth and investment management revenue rose 16% to a record $5.4 billion and global banking revenue increased 24% to $5.9 billion, while global markets revenue fell 2% to $3.8 billion. Within markets, equities revenue rose 3% to $1.4 billion while fixed income, currency and commodities (FICC) revenue fell 10% to $1.6 billion. The stock has slipped 0.5% over the past three months through Tuesday, while the SPDR Financial Select Sector ETF has been little changed and the S&P 500 has gained 1.3%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 19, 2022

Coronavirus tally: White House to offer 400 million N95 masks to Americans from national stockpile
The White House will announce plans later Wednesday to offer 400 million N95 masks to Americans for free at pharmacies and community health centers across the country, the Wall Street Journal reported. The masks will be sourced from the national strategic stockpile and the program will start next week, a White House official told the paper. The move comes as part of a stepped-up government response to the surge in cases driven by the highly infectious omicron variant and after the CDC said single-layer cloth masks are not enough to protect against infection. The administration launched its covidtests.gov site offering at-home tests on Tuesday, a day ahead of its official launch date. The omicron variant has pushed U.S. new cases to a record high of about 800,000 a day, although cases appear to be peaking in northeastern states that were among the first to be hit hard. New York City, Cleveland, Chicago and Washington, D.C. are showing case numbers level off and start to fall, according to a New York Times tracker. Hospitalizations are averaging 156,894 a day, up 47% from two weeks ago, and daily deaths are close to 1,900, up 43% from two weeks ago. On a global basis, the total tally for COVID-19 cases hiked up above 334.3 million and the death toll rose above 5.55 million, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. leads the world with a total COVID-19 case count of 67.6 million and death toll of 854,074.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 19, 2022

UnitedHealth stock gains after profit, revenue rise above expectations
Shares of UnitedHealth Group Inc. rose 0.3% in premarket trading Wednesday, after the health insurer reported fourth-quarter profit and revenue that rose above expectations and affirmed its full-year outlook. Net income increased to $4.07 billion, or $4.26 a share, from $2.21 billion, or $2.30 a share, in the year-ago period. Excluding nonrecurring items, adjusted earnings per share came to $4.48, above the FactSet consensus of $4.30. Revenue grew 12.6% to $73.74 billion, topping the FactSet consensus of $72.98 billion, as premiums increased 13.8% to $57.55 billion. Operating costs rose 10.1% to $68.20 billion, with medical costs growing 14.4% to $48.16 billion. The company affirmed its 2022 guidance ranges for adjusted earnings per share of $21.10 to $21.60 and for revenue of $317 billion to $320 billion, which compares with the FactSet consensus for EPS of $21.63 and revenue of $316.8 billion. The stock has gained 8.6% over the past three months through Tuesday, while the SPDR Health Care Select Sector ETF has tacked on 2.7% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average has slipped 0.3%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 19, 2022

RBC analyst says was wrong on Exxon as oil giant upgraded to sector perform
Exxon Mobil was upgraded to sector perform from underperform at RBC Capital Markets, which lifted its price target to $90 from $70. Analyst Biraj Borkhataria said the firm was wrong on Exxon last year and that the oil giant has gone from the brink of a potential dividend cut to significant free cash flow potential in 2022. Despite moderating chemicals margins, he says more upgrades will flow through this year. Exxon shares rose 1.7% on Tuesday to reach a new 52-week high, and have jumped 53% over the last 52 weeks.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 18, 2022

Oil extends gains after reports that an explosion disrupted flow through the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline
Oil futures gained more ground in electronic trading late Tuesday, with U.S. benchmark prices near $87 a barrel after settling at their highest level in more than seven years. Turkey's state pipeline operator Botas said it cut oil flow through the Kirkuk-Ceyhan crude oil pipeline after an explosion near the southeastern province of Kahramanmaras in Turkey, Reuters reported Tuesday. In a translated statement, Botas said the pipeline would be put back into operation as soon as possible, once necessary measures are taken. The pipeline carries more than 450,000 barrels from northern Iraq into the Mediterranean port of Ceyhan (Turkey), according to a tweet from Javier Blas, energy and commodities columnist at Bloomberg. The news of the disruption to the pipeline's flow of oil follows Tuesday's price rise to their highest levels since 2014, which were triggered by an attack on oil infrastructure in the United Arab Emirates. In electronic trading, February West Texas Intermediate crude was at $86.89, up from Tuesday's settlement at $85.43.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 18, 2022

Stocks end sharply lower as bond yields hit 2-year high, Goldman shares slump
Stocks ended sharply lower Tuesday, kicking off a holiday-shortened week on a down note as Treasury yields jumped to two-year highs. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell around 542 points, or 1.5%, to close near 35,369, while the S&P 500 shed around 86 points, or 1.8%, ending near 4,577. The Nasdaq Composite declined around 387 points, or 2.6%, to finish near 14,507. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note jumped more than 9 basis points to 1.866%, its highest since January 2008. Shares of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. fell 7%, leading Dow decliners after the investment bank delivered results that missed Wall Street expectations on earnings.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 18, 2022

Bank of America's stock falls ahead of earnings, in wake of Goldman and JPMorgan disappointments
Shares of Bank of America Corp. dropped 2.9% in afternoon trading Tuesday, putting them on track for a fourth-straight decline, ahead of the bank's fourth-quarter results due out before the next session's opening bell. The stock has now shed 5.5% during its losing streak. The stock's losses comes after bank and broker Goldman Sachs Group Inc. reported disappointing fourth-quarter results on Tuesday, sending the stock down 6.4%, and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. fourth-quarter results reported before Friday's open has helped trigger a two-day drop of 10.0%. Bank of America's stock rose 4.5% on the day it reported third-quarter results (Oct. 14), but fell on the day of the previous seven quarterly reports by an average of 3.2%, according to FactSet data. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 fell 1.4% on Tuesday after gaining 0.1% on Friday.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 18, 2022

U.S. oil prices mark highest settlement since 2014
Oil prices rose Tuesday to mark their highest settlement since 2014. "A lot of fundamentals just flipped to bullish and that could have oil prices continue to push higher," said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA. "The Houthi drone attack on the UAE reignited worries about potential supply disruptions in the region," and OPEC is falling short of hitting their production quotas, he said. "It seems a handful of countries and regions, such as UAE, Libya, Kazakhstan, Canada and North Dakota can have a disruption in crude production at any time from geopolitical tensions or due to cold weather," he added. February West Texas Intermediate crude climbed by $1.61, or 1.9%, to settle at $85.43 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. That was the highest front-month WTI contract finish since October 2014, FactSet data show.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 18, 2022

Arms Index suggests there's no panic at all in the stock market's selloff
Despite the broad, sharp selloffs in the Big 3 stock market indexes, market internals suggest there is no panic in the selling, and there may even be signs that investors are looking to buy on the dip. The NYSE Arms Index, a volume-weighted breadth measure that tends to rise above 1.000 during market selloffs and fall below 1.000 during rallies, is actually down to 0.843, while the Nasdaq Arms is down to 0.715. Many Wall Street technicians suggest Arms readings of 2.000 and above indicate panic-like selling behavior, while readings below 0.500 indicate panic buying. Currently, number of declining stocks is outnumbering advances by a 5.2-to-1 margin on the NYSE and by a 4.7-to-1 margin on the Nasdaq, while share volume in declining stocks is outnumbering up volume by a smaller 4.4-to-1 on the Big Board and by 3.3-to-1 on the Nasdaq. Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is falling 502 points, or 1.4%, the S&P 500 is down 1.7% and the Nasdaq Composite is shedding 2.2%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 18, 2022

Russell 2000 falls toward a 1-year low, in danger of first 'death cross' since March 2020
The Russell 2000 is taking the brunt of the broader market's selloff, as the small-capitalization companies tracker is sinking 2.4% to put it on track for the lowest close since Jan. 29, 2021. The index has tumbled 13.6% since it closed at a record 2,442.74 a little over two months ago (Nov. 8). The selloff puts the index on the verge of producing a "death cross" chart pattern for the first time since March 2020. A "death cross" appears when the 50-day moving average crosses (DMA) below the 200-DMA, which many chart watchers say marks the spot a short-term pullback graduates to a longer-term downtrend, but they're not always good market-timing tool given that their appearances are usually well telegraphed. The Russell 2000's 50-DMA came in at 2,255.33 on Tuesday, and has been falling by a little over 4 points per day over the past week, while the 200-DMA came in at 2,253.30 and has been falling by about 0.4 points per day. The last "death cross" appeared on March 19, 2020, which was the day after the index closed at its post-pandemic low of 991.16. A "death cross" came within about 0.4 points from appearing in October 2021, just before a renewed rally took the index to its record close in early November. In comparison, for the S&P 500 , which was down 1.6% on Tuesday, the 50-DMA is at 4,679.20 and the 200-DMA is at 4,423.39.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 18, 2022

Gold futures end lower for a third straight session
Gold futures settled lower on Tuesday, marking a third straight session decline as bond yields and the dollar climbed, dulling the metal's investment appeal. Changes in bond yields and the U.S. dollar index will continue to impact the gold price until the Federal Reserve monetary policy meeting next week, said Chintan Karnani, director of research at Insignia Consultants. February gold fell $4.10, or 0.2%, to settle at $1,812.40 an ounce. Prices based on the most-active contract posted declines on Thursday and Friday, ahead of Monday's Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 18, 2022

Goldman Sachs CEO Solomon sees 'above-trend' inflation possibly for 'some time'
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. CEO David Solomon told analysts on Tuesday the bank expects inflationary pressure to increase in 2022. Inflation is persisting in many countries and major central banks are beginning to raise rates including the Bank of England last year, while the U.S. Federal Reserve is expected to boost rates four times in 2022. "Based on my experience, it makes sense that coming out of the recent period of easy monetary policy, inflation may be above-trend for some time," Solomon said. "In the near-term, inflationary pressures may continue to intensify before they start to decrease." He also expects to see more volatility amid interest rate hikes, which will likely have an impact on economic growth, asset prices and client activity. Goldman Shares are down 8.3% in recent trades.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 18, 2022

Ford, ADT to launch vehicle-security monitoring joint venture
Ford Motor Co. and ADT Inc. said Tuesday they are forming Canopy, a joint venture aimed at vehicle security. The JV "combines ADT's professional security monitoring and Ford's AI-driven video camera technology to help customers strengthen security of new and existing vehicles" of all brands, the companies said. The systems would be offered "early next year," they said, with the first products designed for commercial and retail pickups and vans including the Ford F-150, F-150 Lightning, Transit vans and E-Transit. Shares of Ford have gained 150% in the past 12 months, compared with gains of around 22% for the S&P 500 index.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 18, 2022

Blink Charging to supply EV charging stations to GM dealers in U.S. and Canada
Blink Charging Co. said Tuesday it was supplying its IQ 200 level 2 electric vehicle charging stations to participating General Motors Co. dealerships in the U.S and Canada. The EV charging station provider's stock rose 0.7% in morning trading, erasing earlier loss of as much as 2.4%, while GM shares sank 3.2%. Blink said it has already shipped chargers to GM dealerships in 50 U.S. states and has orders to supply GM dealer in the U.S. and Canada with additional charging stations in the U.S. and Canada over the next several months. Bling's stock has lost about 18% over the past three months, while the S&P 500 has gained 2.7%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 18, 2022

Dow trades over 500 points lower as yields extend pop, with 2-year above 1%
U.S. stock indexes opened sharply lower Tuesday after a three-day break, in observance of Martin Luther King Jr., with the high-growth technology sector trading sharply lower at the the start of a busy week of corporate earnings report. Meanwhile, a blockbuster tech deal was also in the spotlight, after Microsoft Corp. said it had reached an agreement to acquire Activision Blizzard Inc. in an all-cash deal valued at $68.7 billion. The Dow was down 529 points, or 1.5%, at 35,393, the S&P 500 index was off 1.3% at 4,600, while the Nasdaq Composite Index was off 1.7% at 14,651. The moves for stocks come as the 10-year Treasury note yields above 1.8% and the 2-year Treasury note breaches 1%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 18, 2022

Charles Schwab Q4 profit rises, but falls short of estimate
Charles Schwab Corp. said Tuesday its fourth-quarter profit rose 39% to $1.58 billion, or 76 cents a share, from $1.14 billion, or 57 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter. The online brokerage firm's adjusted profit rose to 86 cents a share from 74 cents a share. Revenue increased 13% to $4.71 billion. The financial firm was expected to earn 88 cents a share on revenue of $4.79 billion, according to an analyst survey by FactSet. Shares of Charles Schwab fell 2.7% in premarket trades. Full-year 2021 net income rose to a record $5.9 billion, up from $3.3 billion in 2020. The company's financial results include its TD Ameritrade results from Oct. 6.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 18, 2022

Goldman Sachs stock selloff slashing more than 100 points off the Dow's price
Shares of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. sank 4.2% in premarket trading Tuesday, putting them on track to open at a six-month low, after the bank and broker reported fourth-quarter profit that fell well short of expectations. The stock was by far the biggest drag on the Dow Jones Industrial Average . The implied price decline would shave about 105 points off the Dow's price, while Dow futures slid 307 points or 0.9%. The next biggest drag on the Dow is Microsoft Corp.'s stock , which slumped 1.4% after announcing a $68.7 billion deal to buy Activision Blizzard Inc. , with the implied price decline taking about 29 points off the Dow's price.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 18, 2022

UPDATE: Microsoft to acquire Activision Blizzard in all-cash deal valued at $68.7 billion to mark its biggest-ever deal
Microsoft Corp. said Tuesday it has reached an agreement to acquire Activision Blizzard Inc. in an all-cash deal valued at $68.7 billion that will be the biggest ever by the software giant. Microsoft will pay $95 per Activision share to create the world's third-biggest gaming company measured by revenue, behind Tencent and Sony. The deal includes franchises "Warcraft," "Diablo," "Overwatch," "Call of Duty" and "Candy Crush," in addition to global eSports activities through Major League Gaming, the companies said in a joint statement. The deal is expected to close in fiscal 2023. Activision will continue to be led by CEO Bobby Kotick and his management team, who have come under criticism for their handling of misconduct by some of the company's employees. "Gaming is the most dynamic and exciting category in entertainment across all platforms today and will play a key role in the development of metaverse platforms," said Satya Nadella, chairman and CEO of Microsoft. Microsoft shares fell 1.8% premarket on the news. Activision shares were halted for the news, but had gained 37.6% before the halt was announced. Last week, Take-Two Interactive Inc. announced its acquisition of Zynga Inc. in a $12.7 billion cash-and-stock deal.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 18, 2022

Plexus stock falls after profit and revenue warning, due to accelerating supply chain challenges
Shares of Plexus Corp. slid 2.1% in premarket trading Tuesday after the electronic manufacturing services company warned that it will miss fiscal first-quarter profit and revenue guidance provided in October because of "unanticipated" supply chain challenges that accelerated in the finals weeks of the quarter. The company cut its outlook for net earnings per share to 80 cents to 84 cents from $1.01 to $1.17, saying the new outlook includes about 6 cents a share of unexpected severance costs. The revenue outlook was cut to $815 million to $820 million from $825 million to $865 million. The current FactSet consensus for EPS is $1.09 and for revenue is $846 million. "While the demand environment remains robust, new and unexpected supplier delivery shortfalls in the Americas region resulted in a revenue, GAAP operating margin, GAAP EPS and free cash flow shortfall," said Chief Executive Todd Kelsey. "We anticipate these supply chain headwinds will persist in the near term." For the fiscal second quarter, the company expects sequential growth in revenue but "limited improvement" in EPS. The stock has edged up 0.6% over the past three months through Friday while the S&P 500 has gained 3.9%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 18, 2022

Credo Technology sets IPO terms, as networking company could be valued at up to $1.7 billion
Credo Technology Group Holding Ltd. has set terms for its initial public offering, in which the networking company is looking to raise up to $280.6 million. The company is offering 23.38 million shares in the IPO, which is expected to price between $10 and $12 a share, and selling shareholders are offering 1.62 million shares. With 144.95 million shares expected to be outstanding after the IPO, the company could be valued at up to $1.74 billion. The stock is expected to trade on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol "CRDO." Goldman Sachs and BofA Securities are the lead underwriters. The company recorded a net loss of $16.7 million on revenue of $37.2 million over the six months ended Oct. 31, after a loss of $19.3 million on revenue of $25.5 million in the same period a year ago. The company is looking to go public at a time of relative investor disdain for recent IPOs, as the Renaissance IPO ETF has tumbled 26.6% over the past three months while the S&P 500 has gained 3.9%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 18, 2022

Goldman Sachs profit falls 13% to miss consensus estimates
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said Tuesday its fourth-quarter net earnings fell 13% to $3.81 billion or $10.81 a share, from $4.36 billion or $12.08 a share, in the year-ago quarter. Revenue at the investment bank increased by 8% to $12.64 billion from $11.74 billion in the year-ago quarter. The investment bank missed the target of $11.77 a share in a survey of analysts by Factset, but beat the revenue target of $12.04 billion. The firm's investment banking revenue increased to $3.6 billion, ahead of the FactSet target of $3.24 billion and above the year-ago tally of $2.72 billion. Head count rose to 43,900 from 43,000 as of Sept. 30. Shares of Goldman Sachs fell 3.5% in premarket trades. As of Friday's close, Goldman Sachs shares are down 0.4% in 2022 and up 26.6% in the past year.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 18, 2022

ProKidney set to go public after SPAC merger that values combined company at $2.6 billion
ProKidney LP, a cellular therapeutics company focused on kidney disease, announced an agreement to merge with special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Social Capital Suvretta Holdings Corp. III in a deal that values the combined company at $2.64 billion. The deal, which will take ProKidney public, is expected to provide $825 million in cash proceeds. After the deal closes, which is expected to occur in the third quarter of 2022, the combined company is expected to trade on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol "PROK." ProKidney's lead product candidate, REACT, is in Phase 1 and Phase 2 clinical trials and has the potential to slow progression of chronic kidney disease (CKD) but in some cases can improve kidney function. Social Capital's stock, which rose 1.1% in premarket trading, has edged up 0.2% over the past three months through Friday while the S&P 500 has gained 3.9%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 18, 2022

OPEC leaves 2022 forecast for global oil-demand growth unchanged
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC, on Tuesday left its forecast for oil-demand growth in 2022 unchanged at 4.2 million barrels a day. OPEC, in its monthly report, said it sees total global consumption this year at 100.8 million barrels a day. Among the wealthy countries that make up the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, oil demand is forecast to grow by 1.8 million barrels a day, while non-OECD oil demand is projected to increase by 2.3 million barrels a day. "While the impact of the omicron variant is projected to be mild and short-lived, uncertainties remain regarding new variants and renewed mobility restrictions, amid an otherwise steady global economic recovery," the OPEC report said. OPEC's estimate of world oil-demand growth in 2021 was left unchanged from last month's assessment at 5.7 million barrels a day to average 96.6 million barrels a day, with an upward revision to fourth-quarter demand, amid better-than-anticipated transportation fuel consumption in the OECD, was offset by a downward revision in the third quarter as reflected in actual data, OPEC said.

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Jan 18, 2022

Airbnb stock slumps after analyst cuts rating, price target citing many headwinds and not enough catalysts
Shares of Airbnb Inc. shed 3.7% in premarket trading Tuesday, after the home-rental company was downgraded by Gordon Haskett analyst Robert Mollins, who said he sees multiple headwinds and not enough upside catalysts. Mollins cut his rating to hold, after being at buy since July 2021, and lowered his stock price target to $172 from $216. Mollins said that while he believes Airbnb will prove the most resilient name in online travel for the foreseeable future, he expects the company's peers will see "far greater" gross book value (GBV) growth relative to pre-pandemic levels; many catalysts are either unlikely to come to fruition, such as increasing take rates on hosts and loyalty programs; and continued market pressure on growth names with inflation likely to persist in 2022. Mollins also sees an increased risk of "material downward" revenue revision in the first quarter as most of the omicron-related headwinds didn't emerge until the second half of December. The stock has dropped 4.8% over the past three months through Friday while the S&P 500 has gained 3.9%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 18, 2022

Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics to supply 3 million doses of COVID antiviral to Unicef in 2022
Merck and partner privately held Ridgeback Biotherapeutics said Tuesday they have won a supply agreement from the United Nations Children's Fund, or Unicef, to provide it with up to 3 million doses of their COVID-19 antiviral molnupiravir in the first half of 2022. The doses will be distributed in more than 100 low and middle-income countries following regulatory authorizations. The treatment has already been authorized in more than 10 countries, including the U.S., UK, Japan and Taiwan. Merck shares were not yet active premarket, but have gained 2.4% in the last 12 months, while the S&P 500 has gained 24%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 18, 2022

Bank of New York Mellon matches profit expectations, while revenue beats
Shares of Bank of New York Mellon Corp. were little changed in premarket trading Tuesday, after the banking and trust and custody company reported fourth-quarter profit that matched expectations and revenue that topped forecasts. Net income rose to $822 million, or $1.01 a share, from $702 million, or 79 cents a share, in the year-ago period, compared with the FactSet consensus for earnings per share of $1.01. Total revenue rose 4.5% to $4.02 billion, above the FactSet consensus of $3.97 billion, as net interest income slipped 0.4% to $677 million but topped expectations of $661.5 million. Among business segments, security services revenue rose 5% to $1.83 billion, market and wealth services revenue grew 1% to $1.17 billion and investment and wealth management revenue rose 3% to $1.02 billion. The bank said it repurchases $1.2 billion of its shares and paid out $280 million in dividends. The stock has rallied 10.8% over the past three months while the S&P 500 has gained 3.9%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 18, 2022

Coronavirus tally: Omicron cases may be peaking in northeastern states but national rate is at record high
The omicron variant of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 has pushed U.S. new cases to a record high of about 800,000 a day, but in a sign welcomed by experts, cases appear to be peaking in northeastern states that were among the first to be hit hard. New York City, Cleveland, Chicago and Washington, D.C. are showing case numbers level off and start to fall, according to a New York Times tracker. Hospitalizations are averaging 156,505 a day, up 54% from two weeks ago, and daily deaths are above 1,900, up 54% from two weeks ago. On a global basis, the total tally for COVID-19 cases hiked up above 330.9 million and the death toll rose above 5.54 million, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. leads the world with a total COVID-19 case count of 66.4 million and death toll of 851,730.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 18, 2022

Kohl's stock could be worth $100 a share if balance sheet optimized, activist investor Macellum says
Activist investor Macellum Advisors GP LLC said Kohl's Corp. leadership has been "materially mismanaging" the business, and plans to nominate a number of candidates for the board of directors unless the board addresses the long-term underperformance of the stock. Kohl's stock slipped 0.6% in premarket trading. Macellum, which owns nearly 5% of the shares outstanding, said it believes the stock could be valued at $100 per share, or more than double Friday's closing price of $47.77, if Kohl's were to make changes to improve operation execution and optimize its balance sheet, which could include selling some of its $7 billion-to-$8 billion worth of real estate assets. Macellum said if Kohl's is unwilling to make suggested changes, it should explore strategic alternatives, including a possible sale of the company. It has gained 9.6% over the past 12 months through Friday, while the SPDR S&P Retail ETF has rallied 16.2% and the S&P 500 has advanced 23.7%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 18, 2022

Nasdaq-100 futures tumble as Treasury yields surge to pre-pandemic levels
Stock futures fell Tuesday, with Nasdaq-100 futures dropping 1% as U.S. Treasury yields shot higher across the board. S&P 500 futures were off 0.5%, with Dow industrials futures modestly lower. The losses came as the yield on the 10-year Treasury climbed 5 basis points to 1.83% and that of the two-year note jumped 9 basis points to 1.04%, both at levels not seen since early 2020, before the pandemic took hold. U.S. markets were closed on Monday for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. Investors are mulling prospects for Federal Reserve tightening amid inflationary pressures. Oil prices were also surging on Tuesday, after Yemen's Iranian-backed Houthi rebels targeting a key oil facility in Abu Dhabi, killing three people and triggering a fire at the country's international airport on Monday. U.S. crude prices rose over 2% to $85.73 a barrel.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 14, 2022

48 state AGs appeal court's dismissal of their Facebook antitrust suit
A coalition of 48 state attorneys general filed an appeal Friday in another attempt to break up Facebook parent Meta Platforms Inc. . The 99-page brief contends Judge James E. Boasberg erred in dismissing the antitrust case against Facebook in June. Boasberg ruled the states waited too long to challenge the company's acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp in 2012 and 2014, respectively. The filing comes on the heels of Boasberg's decision Tuesday to allow the Federal Trade Commissions's revised antitrust case against Facebook to proceed.

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