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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 10, 2018

Cars.com management tells activist shareholder it is committed to strategic plan
Cars.com's [s:cars] board of directors and management team late Monday told activist shareholder Starboard Value LP that they are "committed to acting in the best interests of the company and to its stakeholders to enhance shareholder value." Starboard earlier in the day said in a letter to the company that management changes would have to be made, "rather than tolerating results which are unacceptable for shareholders." The company responded in a release saying "we share Starboard's view that we have had a constructive dialogue with them over the past year and that our board and management team are passionate about improving the business." The board and management said their business strategy is intended "to realize ambitious goals. As planned, we look forward to providing long-term financial guidance on or prior to February 28, 2019. We remain open to dialogue with our shareholders, including Starboard, as we develop these targets"

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 10, 2018

Cars.com management put on notice by activist hedge fund
Cars.com Inc. shares ticked higher in the extended session Monday after one the company's largest investors told it to return to growth or face possible management changes. Cars.com shares rose 1.6% after hours, following a 1.4% decline to close the regular session at $23.98. Hedge fund Starboard Value, which owns 9.2% of outstanding shares, told Cars.com in a letter that the company has seen customer losses and revenue declines for nearly two years while operating expenses have risen, all while missing targets. Starboard said that if the business was properly managed it "should easily be able" to achieve about $4 a share of adjusted free cash flow by the end of 2020. "If you believe that the company's true earnings potential is not achievable because recent execution issues will continue in the future, then it is the board's duty to address the source of the problem by making management changes, rather than tolerating results which are unacceptable for shareholders," Starboard said in its letter. Back in March, Cars.com agreed to install members recommended by Starboard to its board.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 10, 2018

CBS to sell Television City complex to L.A.-based developer for $750 million
CBS Corp. said late Monday it has agreed to sell its 25-acre production studio complex CBS Television City and sound stage operation to Los Angeles real estate developer Hackman Capital Partners for $750 million. Privately held Hackman will also have the rights to use the Television City trademark in connection with its operations on the property, CBS said in a statement. CBS programs will continue to be produced on the Television City complex for at least the next five years, the company said. Series produced at Television City include daytime hits such as "The Price is Right" and "The Young and The Restless." CBS is also to retain office space for CBS Studios International's U.S. headquarters and other company departments currently on site. "The sale of Television City unlocks significant value, increasing CBS's financial flexibility, including the ability to redeploy capital for strategic growth initiatives such as additional content investment," acting Chief Executive Joseph Ianniello said in a statement. The deal is expected to close by early 2019. Shares of CBS rose 1.5% in the extended session after ending the regular trading day down 2.3%. Hackman focuses on commercial and industrial projects and notable projects include Culver Studios, a 14-acre film and television studio campus home of Amazon Studios.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 10, 2018

Casey's stock falls as weak fuel sales eclipse earnings beat
Casey's General Stores Inc. shares fell in the extended session Monday after the convenience-store chain's fuel sales did not top Wall Street estimates while other results did. Casey's shares fell 4% after hours, following a 1.5% decline to close the regular session at $119.68. The company reported fiscal second-quarter net income of $66.6 million, or $1.80 a share, compared with $48.9 million, or $1.28 a share, in the year-ago period. Revenue rose to $2.54 billion from $2.15 billion in the year-ago quarter. Same-store gallons of fuel sold fell 1.1% for the quarter. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had forecast earnings of $1.61 a share on revenue of $2.53 billion but a 0.5% increase in same-store gallons sold. For the fiscal third, Casey's cut its forecast on same-store gallons sold, ranging between a decline of 1% to a rise of 0.5%, while analysts are looking for a 1.7% rise.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 10, 2018

Lockheed Martin names Ken Possenriede its new CFO
Lockheed Martin Corp. said late Monday its board of directors has approved the appointment of Kenneth R. Possenriede as the aerospace and defense company's executive vice president and chief financial officer, replacing Bruce L. Tanner. Tanner plans to retire in mid-2019, and Possenriede's appointment is effective Feb. 11, Lockheed Martin said. Possenriede is currently vice president of finance and program management at the company's Aeronautics unit. Lockheed Martin shares were flat in the extended session after ending the regular trading day up 4.6%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 10, 2018

Stitch Fix stock rises after earnings beat
Stitch Fix shares rose 4% in the extended session Monday after the subscription clothing company reported earnings that beat Wall Street estimates. The company reported fiscal first-quarter net income of $10.7 million, or 10 cents a share, compared with $1.4 million, or 4 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Revenue rose to $366.2 million from $295.6 million in the year-ago period. The company reported that it had 2.9 million active clients in the first quarter. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had estimated earnings of 3 cents a share on revenue of $358 million. For the fiscal second quarter, analysts model earnings of 5 cents a share and sales of $363 million. Stitch Fix said it expects second quarter revenue of $360 million to $368 million. Stitch Fix stock has gained 0.5% this year, with the S&P 500 index falling 1.5%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 10, 2018

Ann Taylor parent stock rallies after earnings beat
Shares of Ascena Retail Group Inc. rallied more than 15% in the extended session Monday after the parent company of Ann Taylor and other retail brands reported adjusted fiscal first-quarter per-share results above expectations. Ascena said it earned $6 million, or 3 cents a share, in the quarter, compared with $7 million, or 3 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Adjusted for one-time items, Ascena earned 6 cents a share, compared with 11 cents a share a year ago. Net sales were flat year-on-year at $1.6 billion. Analysts polled by FactSet had expected adjusted earnings of 4 cents a share on sales of $1.56 billion. Ascena said it expects a loss for the fiscal second quarter around 25 cents a share and 15 cents a share, and net sales between $1.675 and $1.705 billion. After-hours gains moderated to around 6%. Ascena ended the regular trading day down 9.3%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 10, 2018

Stocks mount late-day reversal, erasing Dow's 500 point decline
U.S. stocks staged a late-day comeback Monday to push equity benchmarks into positive territory, as semiconductor shares drove the tech-heavy Nasdaq higher. The S&P 500 rose by 0.2% to end around 2,637, based on preliminary numbers. The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 33 points, or 0.1%, to around 24,422. The Nasdaq Composite rose 0.7% to around 7,021. But equities have struggled to notch a streak of positive sessions as softening global growth and simmering U.S.-China trade tensions have weighed on investor sentiment, even as economic data remains robust. In company news, Qualcomm shares rose after a Chinese court ordered Apple Inc. to stop selling older iPhone models in China for infringing two patents held by the chip manufacturer. Still, Apple shares ended slightly higher.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 10, 2018

White House to name Treasury official to lead CFTC: WSJ
The White House will nominate a senior Treasury Department official to serve as chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission after the term of J. Christopher Giancarlo ends next year, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The White House will nominate Heath Tarbert, who currently serves as assistant secretary for international markets at Treasury, the report said.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 10, 2018

Travel retailer Hudson doesn't have to worry about Amazon Go stores heading to airports, analysts say
Hudson Ltd. , a leading travel retailer, doesn't need to be too concerned about a Reuters report that Amazon.com Inc. will be adding its cashier-less Go stores to airports, analysts say. According to Reuters, Amazon is "evaluating top U.S. airports for new locations." UBS analysts question whether this is feasible for a few reasons. First, customers might not have access to a credit card or Go account while in transit, which would hinder their ability to make a purchase. Though a small portion of travelers, the "underbanked," those who don't have a credit or debit card, wouldn't be able to shop at a Go store. And third, according to UBS, the high cost of Go store technology coupled with fees to airport operators would make building a Go store difficult and expensive for Amazon. "Thus we think the headline risk is bigger than the actual risk for Hudson, at least in the near-term," UBS wrote. Hudson has just under 40% of travel retail market share, UBS says. Analysts rates Hudson stock buy with a $27 price target. Credit Suisse thinks the Go format would be difficult for Amazon to scale, and, moreover, undercutting the high prices that are typical in an airport won't help to cover operating costs. "[T]he concession fee paid to airports typically is some percent of revenue," Credit Suisse wrote. "In our view, lower prices likely wouldn't mean more revenue for the whole airport." Credit Suisse rates Hudson shares outperform with a $24 price target. Hudson shares are up 2.8% in Monday trading, but down 17.7% for the last three months. Hudson stock went public in February. The S&P 500 index has dropped 8.6% in the past three months.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 10, 2018

Oil futures settle at lowest in a week
Oil futures fell Monday to settle at their lowest in about a week on growing concerns surrounding a slowdown in energy demand, despite an agreement among Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries members and some nonmember oil producers to cut production starting in January. January West Texas Intermediate oil fell $1.61, or 3.1%, to settle at $51 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange-the lowest settlement for a front-month contract since Nov. 30, FactSet data show.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 10, 2018

Gold futures end with a loss on stronger dollar
Gold futures ended with a loss on Monday, with strength in the dollar putting pressure on the dollar-denominated precious metal. The greenback found support as the British pound touched a 20-month low after a highly anticipated vote on U.K.'s exit from the European Union was postponed. February gold fell $3.20, or 0.3%, to settle at $1,249.40 an ounce. Prices had finished Friday at their highest since July.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 10, 2018

Allscripts shares rise on news to sell Netsmart, but Leerink questions move
Shares of Allscripts Healthcare Solutions Inc. rose 4.1% Monday, after the company said it is selling its Netsmart Technologies Inc. business for about $525 million. The healthcare IT company placed its homecare business in Netsmart in March of 2016 in exchange for the largest ownership stake in the company, which specializes in behavioral health, human services and post-acute care. The company expects the deal to close by the end of the fourth quarter. It will use the proceeds to pay down debt, invest in growth areas and buy back stock. Leerink analyst David Larsen said he viewed the sale as a "mixed outcome" for shareholders. "We are encouraged that the sale proceeds of ~$525M will allow the company to reduce its leverage and provide the potential for more share repurchases, but we question why management would sell the company if it has generated such good growth and value over the past few years," Larsen wrote in a note. "With weak 3Q18 bookings blamed in part by Netsmart sales distractions, we believe there will be even greater focus on 4Q18 bookings which may disappoint and lead to further stock pressure." Allscripts shares have fallen 32% in 2018, while the S&P 500 has fallen 1.9%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 10, 2018

Apple news from China is 'another gut punch' for iPhone maker, analyst says
News that a Chinese court has ordered Apple Inc. to stop selling some iPhones after finding it infringed on patents held by Qualcomm Inc. is "another gut punch" for the company that adds to all the noise recently coming from China, according to Wedbush. Analyst Daniel Ives said the news is concerning, although he is expecting it to affect just 10% to 15% of sales in the region. "In a nutshell, with China being a linchpin of growth for Apple around iPhone sales any further dent in the armor at this juncture is not what Apple or investors wanted to see given the headwinds around sales of its latest XR model," Ives wrote in a note. "It continues to feel like every day the sun will come out and there will be another bad data point for Apple as since the company reported its quarter in early November it's been a string of bad news around iPhone demand, transparency in the food chain, supplier cuts, China tariff worries with the stock down significantly and losing its gains for the year." Still, Ives said he expects today's news to offer more noise than something that will have a real impact. He reiterated his outperform rating on the stock, which was down 0.1% in afternoon trade, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.8% and the S&P 500 was down 0.7%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 10, 2018

Hess Corp. to spend about $2.9 billion in capex in 2019, from $2.1 billion in 2018
Hess Corp. on Monday unveiled its capital budget for 2019, saying it plans on spending $2.9 billion next year and allocate about three-quarters of that money in assets it called "high-return growth" in the U.S.'s Bakken formation and in Guyana. There will be more rigs and more well drilling in the Bakken, which is mostly located in North Dakota; in Guyana, 2019 will be "peak spending" for the first stages of developing the Liza field, with the first barrels expected to flow by 2020, Hess said. Hess has scheduled an investor day in New York City on Wednesday. The company earlier this year set a 2018 capital budget of $2.1 billion, the same as 2017, allocating about two-thirds to Bakken and Guyana fields. Shares of Hess fell nearly 3% on Monday alongside other energy stocks, and have gained 8% this year, versus losses around 2.6% each for the S&P 500 index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 10, 2018

Generic drug makers stocks fall sharply after report of expanded price-fixing probe
Shares of generic drug makers fell sharply Monday, after a Washington Post report that an antitrust lawsuit brought by states over two drugs in 2016 has expanded into a major probe of alleged price-fixing. The case now involves at least 16 companies and 300 drugs, the report said, citing Joseph Nielsen, an assistant attorney general and antitrust investigator in Connecticut, who has been a leader in the probe. Nielsen is quoted as saying, "this is most likely the largest cartel in the history of the United States." The victims were consumers and taxpayers, who have been carrying the high cost of overcharges on common antiboitics, blood-pressure medications, arthritis treatments, anxiety pills and more, said the report. Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd. ADRs fell 5.7% on the news. Mylan NV was down 4.6%, and Dr. Reddy Labs Ltd was down 3%. Abbott Labs was down 1.4% and Pfizer Inc. was down 1.6%. The S&P 500 was down 1.8% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down about 2%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 10, 2018

U.K.'s May confirms Brexit vote delay, says deal must include controversial Northern Ireland backstop
U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May confirmed the parliamentary vote on the Brexit deal she agreed with the European Union would be delayed during a speech in the British House of Commons on Monday. The primer minister further said there was "no deal available that doesn't include the backstop," referencing the agreed solution to dealing with the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Members of parliament critical of May's deal have said the backstop could become permanent and thus infringe upon the U.K.'s sovereignty. May added that she would do anything she could to get further assurances on the backstop from the EU. The British pound extended its sharp losses following May's speech, touching a fresh 20-month low. Sterling last bought $1.2531, down 1.6%, according to Factset. The euro was up 1.6% versus the pound, buying £0.9086.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 10, 2018

Visteon stock downgraded at Goldman Sachs
Analysts at Goldman Sachs on Monday downgraded shares of Visteon Corp. to sell from neutral, saying they believe the auto supplier will continue to be behind its peers amid headwinds for the industry and higher exposure to Ford Motor Co. "Further, with products leveraged more toward hardware/middleware and (autonomous-vehicle) efforts uncertain/longer off, we see VC as a less likely take-out candidate," the Goldman analysts said. Visteon was spun off Ford in 2000. Shares fell 7% on Monday and are down 50% for the year, which compares with declines of 2.6% each for the S&P 500 index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 10, 2018

Fannie, Freddie announce holiday suspension of foreclosure evictions
Homeowners facing foreclosure won't be evicted over the holiday season if their mortgages are owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac . The two government-sponsored mortgage giants announced Monday that their annual eviction moratorium will run from December 17 through January 2. While mortgage servicers and lenders may still engage in legal activities related to foreclosure, affected families won't be locked out of the homes. This step should bring "a greater measure of certainty," Freddie said in a release. "We encourage homeowners who may be struggling with their mortgage or facing possible foreclosure to reach out," Fannie officials noted.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 10, 2018

Action camera maker GoPro to move production of U.S.-bound cameras out of China over tariffs
Action camera maker GoPro Inc. said Monday it is planning to move production of all U.S.-bound cameras out of China to avoid the impact of potential tariffs. The company said it will keep production of international-bound cameras in China. "Today's geopolitical business environment requires agility, and we're proactively addressing tariff concerns by moving most of our US-bound camera production out of China," Chief Financial Officer Brian McGee said in a statement. "We believe this diversified approach to production can benefit our business regardless of tariff implications." McGee said GoPro owns its own production equipment, while partners provide manufacturing facilities, "so we expect to make this move at relatively low cost." GoPro shares were down 0.4% in early trade and have fallen 34.6% in 2018, while the S&P 500 has fallen 1.5%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 10, 2018

Stocks mixed in early trade; Apple drags on Dow
Stocks opened slightly lower Monday, then turned mixed, struggling for direction following a selloff that last week sent the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average back into negative territory for the year to date. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was off 17 points, or 0.1%, near 24,371. Shares of Apple Inc. fell 1.8%, leading blue-chip decliners, after news reports said a Chinese court ordered the company to stop selling older iPhone models in the country after finding it had infringed on two patents held by Qualcomm Inc. . The S&P 500 rose 0.1%, while the Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.5%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 10, 2018

UPDATE: Axsome Therapeutics shares soar 24% premarket on positive trial of Alzheimer's therapy
Shares of Axsome Therapeutics Inc. surged about 24% premarket Monday, after the biotech, which specializes in therapies for central nervous system disorders, reported positive results in an interim analysis of a trial of a treatment for the agitation associated with Alzheimer's disease. An independent data monitoring committee (IDMC) recommended continuing the Phase 1/2 trial of AXS-05 and did not indicate any safety concerns. The company intends to follow the committee's recommendation. "We anticipate that implementation of the IDMC's recommendations may provide greater flexibility to our operating plans and timelines which we will evaluate in the coming weeks," Chief Executive Herriot Tabuteau said in a statement. Roughly 70% of Alzheimer's patients suffer from agitation, which can be highly upsetting for patients and caregivers. There is currently no approved treatment for the condition. Axsome shares have fallen 47% in 2018, while the S&P 500 has fallen 1.5%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 10, 2018

Systemax to pay one-time dividend of $6.50 a share
Systemax Inc. said Monday it will pay a special one-time dividend of $6.50 a share after the sale of its French operations earlier this year. The provider of industrial products said the dividend will be paid Jan. 3 to shareholders of record as of Dec. 24. Shares were not yet active premarket, but have fallen 21.8% in 2018, while the S&P 500 has fallen 1.5%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 10, 2018

Power company AES raises quarterly dividend by 5% to 13.65 cents a share
Power company AES Corp. said Monday it is raising its quarterly dividend by 5% to 13.65 cents a share. The new dividend will be paid Feb. 15, 2019 to shareholders of record as of Feb. 1. Shares were slightly lower premarket, but have gained 43% in 2018, while the S&P 500 has fallen 1.5%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 10, 2018

ConocoPhillips to spend about $6.1 billion in capex in 2019, flat versus 2018
ConocoPhillips set its capital budget for 2019 on Monday, saying it plans to spend $6.1 billion, or roughly the same as will be spent by end 2018. The energy company said it is increasing its target payout to shareholders to more than 30% of cash from operations, up from 20% to 30%. The company is expecting to buy back $3 billion of its own stock. It expects 2019 production to range from 1,300 thousand barrels of oil equivalent per day (MBOED) to $1,350 MBOED. "We are running our business for sustained through-cycle financial returns, which is necessary for attracting investors back to the E&P sector," Chief Executive Ryan Lance said in a statement. "We believe we have designed ConocoPhillips to offer investors both resilience to lower prices and participation in higher prices via an approach that rations capital across a low cost of supply portfolio, competes on per-share versus absolute growth, and pays out a significant portion of cash from the business to shareholders." Shares rose about 1% premarket, and have gained 20% in 2018, while the S&P 500 has fallen 1.5%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 10, 2018

UPDATE: Axovant shares slide 30% premarket after trial of treatment for sleep disorder fails to meet main goal
Axovant Sciences Ltd. shares slid 30% in premarket trade Monday, after the company said a trial of a treatment for REM sleep behavior disorder in patients with Lewy body dementia failed to meet its main goal. the Basel, Switzerland-based biotech said the phase 2 trial involving 34 patients using nelotanserin failed to meet its primary endpoint and that it would discontinue clinical development of the therapy. Lewy body dementia is the second most common type of dementia after that associated with Alzheimer's disease. Axovant shares have fallen 67.6% in 2018, while the S&P 500 has fallen 1.5%.

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
Dec 10, 2018

Axsome Therapeutics shares soar 12% premarket on positive trial of Alzheimer's therapy
Shares of Axsome Therapeutics Inc. surged about 12% premarket Monday, after the biotech, which specializes in therapies for central nervous system disorders, reported positive results in an interim analysis of a trial of a treatment for the agitation associated with Alzheimer's disease. An independent data monitoring committee (IDMC) recommended continuing the Phase 1/2 trial of AXS-05 and did not indicate any safety concerns. The company intends to follow the committee's recommendation. "We anticipate that implementation of the IDMC's recommendations may provide greater flexibility to our operating plans and timelines which we will evaluate in the coming weeks," Chief Executive Herriot Tabuteau said in a statement. Roughly 70% of Alzheimer's patients suffer from agitation, which can be highly upsetting for patients and caregivers. There is currently no approved treatment for the condition. Axsome shares have fallen 47% in 2018, while the S&P 500 has fallen 1.5%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 10, 2018

Aurora Cannabis to buy Mexican partner Farmacias Magistrales in stock deal
Just days after Aurora Cannabis Inc. announced a supply deal with Mexico's Farmacias Magistrales SA, the Canadian cannabis company said it has entered a letter of intent to buy the company in a stock deal. Farmacias is Mexico's first and for now only federally licensed importer of raw materials containing THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, and has facilities to store and distribute medical products with more than 1% THC, Aurora said in a statement. The deal will give the company access to a market with more than 130 million people. Farmacias has about 80,000 retail outlets for selling CBD products and 500 pharmacies and hospitals to sell THC products. Aurora will pay for the deal with stock based on a valuation of the proforma revenue distribution projections of Farmacias. Aurora shares rose 1.2% premarket, but are down 23.8% in 2018, while the S&P 500 has fallen 1.5%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 10, 2018

British pound falls on report U.K.'s May calling off Brexit vote
The British pound fell Monday after Bloomberg reported that U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May would call off a vote in Parliament on her Brexit plan. The report said May would seek to reschedule the vote, which had been set for Tuesday, on the terms of the U.K.'s exit from the European Union. The British pound fell 0.5% versus the dollar to $1.2664.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 09, 2018

Dow futures down over 200 points following volatile week
U.S. stock futures declined Sunday evening following a volatile week on Wall Street and as Asian equities pointed to a lower open. On Sunday, China summoned the U.S. ambassador to Beijing to protest the detention of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, an arrest that has renewed fears over a prolonged U.S.-China trade war. Dow futures were down over 200 points, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures were also lower. Global markets were hit last week with U.S. stocks suffering their biggest weekly loss since March on worries over the economy and global trade.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 07, 2018

Federal prosecutors call for 'substantial' prison term for ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen
A sentencing memo from the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York asks for a "substantial term of imprisonment" for Michael Cohen, President Trump's former personal lawyer who has pleaded guilty to making false statements to Congress. The memo asks for a "modest downward variance" from guidelines that call for a sentence between 51 and 63 months' imprisonment. It says that while Cohen should receive "credit for his assistance" in the special counsel's investigation, "that credit should not approximate the credit a traditional cooperating witness would receive."

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 07, 2018

Facebook plans to spend $9 billion more on stock buybacks
Facebook Inc. has freed up another $9 billion for share repurchases, adding to $15 billion it had previously authorized to buy back its own stock. According to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the social-media giant's board approved the increased amount on Thursday, adding to a program that began in 2017. Share repurchases have been a popular way for companies to spend the extra profit received from the tax cuts enacted earlier this year, and Goldman Sachs has predicted that buybacks will hit $1 trillion this year. Facebook stock has struggled in 2018 amid a bevy of controversies, with shares declining 22.1% so far this year as the S&P 500 index has gained 0.8%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 07, 2018

Amgen raises dividend by 10%
Amgen Inc. said late Friday its board of directors has declared a dividend of $1.45 a share for the first quarter of 2019. The dividend is payable March 8 to shareholders of record on Feb. 15. That represents a 10% increase from what Amgen paid in each of the previous four quarters. Shares of Amgen rose 0.2% in the extended session Friday after ending the regular trading day down 3.8%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 07, 2018

U.S. stocks end sharply lower as trade concerns linger
U.S. stocks finished sharply lower on Friday as trade concerns and a downbeat U.S. jobs report saw the S&P and Nasdaq post their biggest weekly declines since Mar. 23. The S&P 500 ended the day down 2.3%, the Nasdaq Composite Index shed 3.1% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost about 550 points, or 2.2%. Tech giants Apple Inc., Alphabet Inc., and Amazon Inc. all ended Friday down more than 3%. Earlier in the session the Labor Department said the U.S. economy added 155,000 jobs in November. Economists polled by MarketWatch had forecast an increase of 190,000.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 07, 2018

Consumer credit grows at fastest rate in 11 months in October
Consumer credit grew at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 7.7% in October, the Federal Reserve said Friday. That's the biggest jump in 11 months. Revolving credit grew at a 10.7% rate, while nonrevolving credit, like student and auto loans, rose at a 6.7% rate.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 07, 2018

Panic-like selling takes hold in Nasdaq as stock-market losses gather steam in final hour Friday
Selling on the Nasdaq reached panic-like proportions Friday afternoon with less than an hour left in regular trade, as the exchange's Arms index rose. The Arms is a volume weighted breadth measure, that tends to rise when the broader market falls, as the intensity of the selling in declining stocks is usually greater than the intensity of buying in rising stocks. Levels above 2.000 are considered panic-like activity. The Nasdaq Composite Index was off 3% at 6,969. The number of advancing stocks compared against decliners was at 2,108 to 787, pushing the Arms index on the exchange to 2.068. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 index was trading 2.2% lower at 2,635 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled 595 points, or 2.3%, at 24,374 on Friday. All three benchmarks were looking at their worst weekly drops since the period ended March 23, down nearly 5%, according to FactSet data.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 07, 2018

Trump blasts Tillerson as 'dumb' and 'lazy' after ex-secretary of state's criticism
President Donald Trump on Friday blasted former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who made critical comments about him in an interview Thursday night. On Twitter, Trump called the former Exxon chief executive "dumb as a rock" and "lazy as hell," while praising current Secretary Mike Pompeo. Tillerson said in an appearance in Houston Thursday that he had to explain to Trump certain things couldn't be done the way he wanted because "it violates the law."

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 07, 2018

All 30 Dow industrials stocks and the 20 Dow transport stocks are falling
As the Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbles 659 points, or 2.6%, in afternoon trade, all 30 of its components are losing ground. Of the biggest decliners, shares of Microsoft Corp. dropped 4.4%, Caterpillar Inc. shed 4.3% and Intel Corp. declined 4.3%. The most active Dow stock was Apple Inc. , which shed 3.5% toward the lowest close since April 30. Elsewhere, the Dow Jones Transportation Average lost 4.2%, with all 20 components falling. Meanwhile, the defensive Dow Jones Utility Average rose 0.5%, with 14 of 15 components gaining ground.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 07, 2018

Dow on track for worst weekly skid -- down 1,200 points -- in about 8 months
The Dow Jones Industrial Friday afternoon was on track to registered its worst weekly decline in about 8 months, according to FactSet data. The Dow was down about 622 points, or 2.5%, at 24,323, with that drop contributing to a 1,219 points loss over the course of the abbreviated week(the stock and bond markets were closed on Wednesday to mark a day of mourning for George H.W. Bush on Wednesday). If it holds, it would represent the steepest weekly slump since the week ended March 23. The blue-chip index's decline has come amid intensifying worries that global growth is likely to slow in the coming year or two, with a clash between China and the U.S. likely contributing mightily to those fears. Those concerns were dragging the S&P 500 index and the Nasdaq Composite Index sharply lower, with all three benchmarks on track to produce weekly declines of nearly 5%. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq also are headed for their worst weekly drop since late March.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 07, 2018

Dow's 600-point tumble puts the blue-chip gauge on the brink of re-entering correction
A fresh tumble for the Dow Jones Industrial Average on Friday was putting the blue-chip benchmark on the verge of shedding 10% from its recent peak in October, which would place it back in correction. The Dow was most recently off about 600 points, or 2.4%, at 24,354, with that decline placing it about 9.3% short of a dropping 10% from its Oct. 3 all-time high at 26,828.49, according to FactSet data. The decline comes amid fresh worries about trade relations between China and the U.S., with the S&P 500 index and the Nasdaq Composite Index also trading sharply lower on the day, even after a cooler-than-expected jobs report, showing that 155,000 jobs were created in November, offered some suggestion that the Federal Reserve may be more deliberate in raising borrowing costs in coming months. If the Dow were to tumble back into correction, it would join the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 07, 2018

Johnson Outdoor's stock tumbles after swinging to a loss, surprise sales decline
Shares of Johnson Outdoors Inc. tumbled 13% in afternoon trade Friday, after the seller of outdoor recreation equipment swung fiscal fourth-quarter loss, on a surprise decline in sales. The net loss for the quarter to Sept. 28 was $4.96 million, or 49 cents a share, after a profit of $589,000, or 6 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. The range of per-share estimates of the two analysts surveyed by FactSet was a loss of 5 cents to earnings of 6 cents. Sales declined to $91.13 million from $91.76 million, while the two analysts surveyed by FactSet were expecting a rise to $94.8 million to $94.9 million. The stock has now tumbled 41% over the past three months while the S&P 500 has declined 8.1%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 07, 2018

Oil futures end higher, up more than 3% for the week
Oil futures settled higher on Friday, tallying a gain of 3.3% for the week--their second weekly climb in a row. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries said Friday that it reached an agreement among its members to cut production by 800,000 barrels a day from October's levels. It didn't mention the level of cooperation expected from nonmember producers, including Russia, but news reports said nonmembers would cut by 400,000 barrels to lift the total output cuts to 1.2 million barrels a day. January West Texas Intermediate oil rose $1.12, or 2.2%, to settle at $52.61 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 07, 2018

Vail Resorts' stock plunges toward biggest-ever decline after quarterly results miss expectations
Shares of Vail Resorts Inc. plummeted toward the biggest one-day selloff since they went public nearly 22 years ago, after the ski resort operator reported a wider-than-expected loss and a sales miss. The stock plummeted 19.6%, on track for a 9-month low. The previous biggest one-day loss during the financial crisis, when it plunged 17.3% on Nov. 14, 2008. The company went public in February 1997. The stock has now lost 26% year to date, while the S&P 500 has lost 1.3%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 07, 2018

Former regulator pushing challenge that could lead to Volcker rule exemption for big banks
A former federal banking regulator is pushing lenders to look into challenging the interpretation of a new law in such a way as to limit the application of the Volcker Rule to all the six largest banks in the country, Yahoo Finance reported. The report said Keith Noreika, previously the acting Comptroller of the Currency, is pushing banks to look into taking the issue to court. The text of what's popularly called the Crapo bill, designed to apply to community banks, has a number of double negatives that cloud the meaning of the bill. If successfully challenged, large banks such as US Bancorp , PNC Financial Services , Capital One Financial and Bank of New York Mellon would be freed of the Volcker Rule that limits proprietary trading.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 07, 2018

Airline stocks suffer broad selloff as economic growth, oil price concerns prompt sector downgrade
Airline stocks were knocked lower Friday, with the sector on track to suffer the biggest one-day loss in nearly 3 years, as the recent drop in oil prices and concerns over a slowing economy acted as a one-two punch for the group. The NYSE Arca Airline Index slid 5.1% toward a fourth-straight decline. Friday's loss was headed for the biggest one-day loss since Feb. 26, 2016. Crude futures surged 2.4% Friday, as OPEC and its allies reached a deal to cut production, but has declined 22% over the past three months. Lower oil prices lowers fuel costs for air carriers, but it also leads to undisciplined capacity growth that could hurt unit revenue performance. Analyst Hunter Keay at Wolfe Research downgraded the airline sector, saying that while a recession and lower oil are both "toxic" for air carriers, "we trust airlines to react better to a recession that we trust them NOT to behave poorly with lower oil prices." Among the sector's more active components, shares of American Airlines Group Inc. plunged 9.1%, Delta Air Lines Inc. dropped 4.3%, JetBlue Airways Corp. tumbled 5.8% Southwest Airlines Co. lost 4.1% and United Continental Holdings Inc. shed 5.4%. The airline index has lost 6.0% over the past three months, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has declined 5.8%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 07, 2018

Dow on track for worst weekly skid -- down 1,150 points -- in about 8 months
The Dow Jones Industrial Friday afternoon was on track to registered its worst weekly decline in about 8 months, according to FactSet data. The Dow was down about 566 points, or 2.3%, at 24,368, with that drop contributing to a 1,150 points over the course of the abbreviated week(the stock and bond markets were closed on Wednesday to mark a day of mourning for George H.W. Bush on Wednesday). The blue-chip index's decline has come amid intensifying worries that global growth is likely to slow in the coming year or two, with a clash between China and the U.S. likely contributing mightily to those fears. Those concerns were dragging the S&P 500 index and the Nasdaq Composite Index sharply lower, with all three benchmarks on track to produce weekly declines of at least 4%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 07, 2018

Dow's 530-point midday drop puts the blue-chip gauge on the brink of re-entering correction
A fresh tumble for the Dow Jones Industrial Average on Friday was putting the blue-chip benchmark on the verge of shedding 10% from its recent peak in October, which put the index back in correction. The Dow was most recently off 536 points, or 2.1%, at 24,420, with that decline placing it about 9% short of a dropping 10% from its Oct. 3 all-time high at 26,828.49, according to FactSet data. The decline comes amid fresh worries about trade relations between China and the U.S., with the S&P 500 index and the Nasdaq Composite Index also trading sharply lower on the day, even after a cooler-than-expected jobs report, showing that 155,000 jobs were created in November, offered some suggestion that the Federal Reserve may be more deliberate in raising borrowing costs in coming months. If the Dow were to tumble back into correction, it would join the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 07, 2018

Gold futures up over 2% for the week, largest weekly rise since August
Gold futures marked their highest settlement since July on Friday, climbing about 2.2% for the week, to score the largest weekly percentage gain since August. Prices for the precious metal climbed as the dollar weakened in the wake of a disappointing U.S. monthly jobs report. February gold rose $13.60, or 1.1%, to settle at $1,239.60 an ounce. That was the highest finish for a most-active contract since Nov. 1, according to FactSet data.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 07, 2018

Aurora Cannabis's stock soars after getting access to Mexico market with Farmacias supply deal
Shares of Aurora Cannabis Inc. shot up 10.8% in afternoon trade Friday, after the Canada-based marijuana company said it was expanding into Mexico with the establishment of an exclusive supply deal with Farmacias Magistrales S.A. The company said Farmacias, a pharmaceutical manufacturer and distributor that reaches 80,000 retail points and 500 pharmacies and hospitals, recently received the first import license graded from the Mexico's Federal Commission for Protection Against Health Risks, which allows the company to import medical cannabis containing THC. "This new exclusive partnership further expands Aurora's early mover advantage in Latin America, allowing us to become a leading player in the development of the medical cannabis system in Mexico, a legal market of 130 million people," said Aurora Chief Executive Terry Booth. The stock has lost 5.2% over the past three months, while the ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF has shed 15.7% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average has lost 5.5%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 07, 2018

PriceSmart shares slide 5% after retailer posts declines in Nov. sales
Shares of PriceSmart Inc. fell more than 5% Friday, as investors digested the release of monthly sales for November. The San Diego-based membership warehouse club operator said sales fell 1% to $258.9 million in the month from the year-earlier period. For the three months to end November, sales edged up 0.3% to $747.4 million from $745.4 million. The company had 41 warehouse clubs at month end, compared with 40 in November of 2018. For the five-week period through Dec. 2, same-warehouse sales fell 2.8%. For the thirteen-week period, they fell 2.1%. PriceSmart will release its fiscal 2019 first-quarter results on Jan. 9 after the market close. Shares have fallen 28% in 2018, while the S&P 500 has fallen 1%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 07, 2018

Baker Hughes data show a weekly drop in U.S. oil-rig count
Baker Hughes on Friday reported that the number of active U.S. rigs drilling for oil fell by 10 to 877 this week. The total active U.S. rig count, which includes oil and natural-gas rigs, was down by 1 at 1,079, according to Baker Hughes. January West Texas Intermediate crude was up $2.32, or 4.4%, at $53.81 a barrel from Thursday's finish, buoyed by a decision by major oil producers to cut production at the start of the new year. Prices were little changed from before the rig data Friday.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 07, 2018

Fed's Bullard: Updated Taylor rule suggests current level of interest rates 'is about right'
Monetary policy rules, when updated for recent macroeconomic developments, suggest the U.S. central bank can hold policy steady, said St. Louis Fed President James Bullard, on Friday. The rules, such as the well-known Taylor rule used to guide Federal Reserve policy since the 1990s until the financial crisis, should be updated to use modern-day inflation expectations, and a lower neutral interest rate, Bullard said. "Incorporating these developments yields a modernized policy rule that suggests the current level of the policy rate is about right," Bullard said, in a speech to the Indiana Bankers Association meeting in Carmel, Ind. The St. Louis Fed President, who will be a voter member of the Fed's interest-rate committee in 2019, has been arguing since mid-2016 that the Fed should be cautious in raising interest rates.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 07, 2018

Dow's nearly 500-point midday drop puts the blue-chip gauge on the brink of re-entering correction
A fresh tumble for the Dow Jones Industrial Average on Friday was putting the blue-chip benchmark on the verge of shedding 10% from its recent peak in October, which put the index back in correction. The Dow was most recently off 485 points, or 1.9%, at 24,467, with that decline placing it about 8.8% short of a dropping 10% from its Oct. 3 all-time high at 26,828.49, according to FactSet data. The decline comes amid fresh worries about trade relations between China and the U.S., with the S&P 500 index and the Nasdaq Composite Index also trading sharply lower on the day, even after a cooler-than-expected jobs report, showing that 155,000 jobs were created in November, offered some suggestion that the Federal Reserve may be more deliberate in raising borrowing costs in coming months. If the Dow were to tumble back into correction, it would join the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 07, 2018

Retail imports reach record 2 million containers as tariffs loom
Retail container ports have reached a new record, 2 million containers in a month, with retailers scrambling to get merchandise into the U.S. before possible tariff hikes, according to the National Retail Federation. Tariff increases were postponed for 90 days after talks between the U.S. and China during the Group of 20 meeting. "We hope that the temporary stand-down becomes permanent, but in the meantime there has been a rush to bring merchandise in before existing tariffs go up or new ones can be imposed," said NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold in a statement. "China's abuses of trade policy need to be addressed, but tariffs that drive up prices for American families and costs for U.S. businesses are not the answer." The Global Port Tracker said U.S. ports it covers handled 2.04 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in October, the last month for which numbers are available. That's up 9% from September and up 13.6% from last year. November was estimated at 2.01 million TEUs, up 14% year-over-year. Imports are forecast to fall in 2019 "as the market adjusts to higher prices to to the Trump tariffs and the impact on consumer and industry confidence going forward," said Ben Hackett, founder of Hackett Associates, which produces the Global Port Tracker for the NRF. The SPDR S&P Retail ETF is down 3% for 2018, the Amplify Online Retail ETF is up 5.8% for the period. The S&P 500 index is down 0.7%] for the year to date.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 07, 2018

Brainard says Fed should impose capital buffers on banks, says interest-rate path 'appropriate'
Federal Reserve Gov. Lael Brainard on Friday suggested it may be time for the central bank to impose countercyclical counter buffer on banks, a step her colleagues on the board have resisted. "At a time when cyclical pressures have been building and bank profitability has been strong, it might be prudent to ask large banking organizations to fortify their capital buffers, which could subsequently be released if conditions warrant," she said. She said corporate borrowing has reached new heights amid rapid growth and deteriorating underwriting standards, and mutual funds that are exposed have liquidity mismatches. On the economy, she said domestic economic momentum has been strong and that there are good reasons to expect growth to remain solid next year. "The gradual path of increases in the federal funds rate has served us well by giving us time to assess the effects of policy as we have proceeded. That approach remains appropriate in the near term, although the policy path increasingly will depend on how the outlook evolves," Brainard said.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 07, 2018

OPEC members to cut output by 800,000 barrels a day starting in January
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries announced Friday that it will reduce overall production among its members by 800,000 barrels a day from October's levels for six months, beginning in January. The statement did not specify the output cut by nonmembers, which include Russia, but news reports have pegged the nonmember cuts at 400,000 barrels a day to bring the total reduction to 1.2 million barrels a day. The OPEC statement also said that members and nonmembers will still hold an official meeting later Friday. OPEC's next scheduled meeting will be held in Vienna in April. Oil prices continued to trade higher, with January West Texas Intermediate oil up 4.2% at $53.64 a barrel and February Brent crude up 5.1% at $63.08.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 07, 2018

Shares of Moderna open at $22, 4% lower than IPO price
Shares of Moderna Inc. opened at $22 Friday on the Nasdaq , or 4% below its initial public offering price, with the first trade crossing at 11:40 am Eastern for 2,249,704 shares. The IPO priced on Thursday at the middle of the company's expected range of $22 to $24 a share. Moderna sold 26.3 million shares to raise $604.3 million, the largest biotech offering to date. The company has gone public during a sluggish time for biotech stocks; the Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF was up 14% for the year through August, but is now down 0.4% in the year to date. The S&P 500 is up 0.4%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 07, 2018

Dow falls by about 400 points as stock market takes a fresh leg lower late-morning Friday
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was trading near session lows late-morning Friday, with investors focusing on nagging worries on trade relations between the U.S. and China. The Dow most recently was down 391 points, or 1.6%, at 24,549, the S&P 500 index traded 1.5% lower at 2,656, while the Nasdaq Composite Index retreated 1.9% at 7,052. The moves follow a jobs report that showed that 155,000 jobs were created in November, while the unemployment rate remained at the 3.7%, the lowest since 1969. For the week, the Dow is set to drop 3.9%, the S&P 500 is on track for a 3.8% decline, while the Nasdaq is poised for a weekly drop of 3.7%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 07, 2018

Chesapeake Energy's stock bounces as oil price jump offsets J.P. Morgan's bearish call
Shares of Chesapeake Energy Corp. bounced sharply off a 10-month low Friday, as a big rally in oil prices helped offset J.P. Morgan analyst Arun Jayaram turning bullish on the oil and gas production company. Jayaram cut his rating to underweight, after being at neutral for at least the past three years, citing concerns over near-term headwinds from the $4 billion WildHorse Resource Development Corp. announced in late October. The stock rallied 2.6% in morning trade, after closing Thursday at the lowest level since Feb. 21. Jayaram said that although the acquisition, which provided increased oil weightings, was a "necessary step" to turn the corner on its turnaround plan, "the stock will likely be a 'show me' situation" as investors generally had mixed views on the East Texas Eagle Ford plays. Meanwhile, the energy sector was broadly higher, with the SPDR Energy Select Sector ETF up 1.6% with 24 of 25 components gaining ground, as oil prices jumped after reports that OPEC and Russia agreed to production cuts. Chesapeak's stock has tumbled 31% over the past three months, while the energy ETF has shed 10% and the S&P 500 has lost 7.1%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 07, 2018

Natural-gas futures extend gains after EIA reports bigger-than-expected weekly U.S. supply decline
The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported Friday that domestic supplies of natural gas fell by 63 billion cubic feet for the week ended Nov. 30. The data were released a day later than usual because of Wednesday's National Day of Mourning following the passing of former President George H.W. Bush. Analysts polled by S&P Global Platts had forecast a decline of 57 billion cubic feet, on average. Total stocks now stand at 2.991 trillion cubic feet, down 704 billion cubic feet from a year ago, and 725 billion below the five-year average, the government said. January natural gas traded at $4.462 per million British thermal units, up 13.5cents, or 3.1%, from Wednesday's settlement. It was trading at $4.458 before the supply data.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 07, 2018

J.M. Smucker recalls some 9Lives Protein Plus wet canned cat food
J.M. Smucker Co. said Friday it was voluntarily recalling certain lots of 9Lives Protein Plus wet canned cat food, citing possible low levels of thiamine, or Vitamin B1. Symptoms of thiamine deficiency in cats, which can develop after several weeks of a low-in-thiamine diet, could include decreased appetite, salivation, vomiting and weight loss, as well as neurological symptoms such as wobbly walking, circling, falling, seizures and ventroflexion (bending towards the floor) of the neck. The lots being recalled are 9Lives Protein Plus With Tuna & Chicken 4 pack of 5.5 ounce cans, with best-if-used-by dates of March 27, 2020 to Nov. 14, 2020, and 9Lives Protein Plus With Tuna & Liver 4 pack of 5.5 ounce cans with best-if-used-by dates of April 17, 2020 to Sept. 14, 2020. J.M. Smucker's stock fell 0.8% in morning trade. It has lost 8.6% over the past three months, while the SPDR Consumer Staples Select Sector ETF has gained 1.5% and the S&P 500 has lost 6.7%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 07, 2018

U.S. wholesale inventories climb 0.8% in October
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - Wholesale inventories in the U.S. jumped 0.8% in October, suggesting companies ramped up production ahead of the holidays. Sales fell 0.2% in the month, however. The ratio of inventories to sales, meanwhile, rose to 1.28 from 1.27. That's how many months it would take to sell all the inventory on hand. One year ago, the inventory-to-sales ratio was also 1.28. An increase in inventories adds to gross domestic product.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 07, 2018

Morgan Stanley gets less bullish on Apple due to China demand woes
Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty cut her price target on Apple Inc. shares to $236 from $253 on Friday, citing weakness in the China market. She said that her supply-chain conversations in Asia suggest that the smartphone market is weakening in China. The country is "following in the footsteps of the U.S. with replacement cycles lengthening after a structurally shorter cycle over the last decade," Huberty wrote. Rising average selling prices and overall better smartphone quality are leading people to keep their current devices for longer, according to Huberty. She also sees "some risk of churn" at the low end of Apple's customer base in China, given that some local manufacturers are offering phones with new features such as a triple camera. Huberty kept her overweight rating on the stock and said that wearables and services revenues could help the company amid a weak stretch for iPhones. Apple's shares are off 0.2% in Friday morning trading, and they're down 21% over the past three months. The Dow Jones Industrial Average has dropped 3.4% in that time.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 07, 2018

Dow jumps more than 100 points as stocks attempt rally after lackluster jobs report, but weekly losses ahead
The Dow and the S&P 500 gained some altitude Friday morning--but benchmarks were on track for weekly losses--after a cooler-than-expected employment report. U.S. nonfarm payrolls increased a seasonally adjusted 155,000 last month, the Labor Department reported. The unemployment rate held steady at 3.7%, hanging near the lowest rate since 1969. Year-over-year wage growth matched the prior month's 3.1% pace as the best rate since 2009. The data are closely watched amid the Federal Reserve's plan to normalize interest rates, with its coming rate-setting meeting scheduled for Dec. 18-19. Although some softness in the data following last month's figures aren't likely to prevent the Fed from lifting benchmark interest rates, currently at a range between 2% and 2.25%, a quarter-of-a-basis-point later this month, there are signs that policy makers may take a more conservative tack in 2019. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was trading 0.4% higher at 25,055, those for the S&P 500 index edged 0.4% higher at 2,705, while the Nasdaq Composite Index rose 0.1% at 7,196. For the week, the Dow is set for a loss of 1.9%, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq are on track to produce a weekly loss of about 2%. In corporate news, shares of Big Lots Inc. were sharply lower after the discount retailer reported disappointing third-quarter results and lowered its full-year guidance. Investors also have been closely watching a meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and Russia, which reached an agreement in Vienna to cut crude-oil output, delivering a jolt to crude-oil prices and the energy sector.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 07, 2018

Trump says he's picking Nauert for U.N., Barr for attorney general
President Donald Trump said Friday he'll nominate William Barr for attorney general and Heather Nauert as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Barr served as attorney general under the late President George H.W. Bush, and Nauert is the State Department spokeswoman. She is a former Fox News host. Trump spoke to reporters before departing for a safe neighborhoods event in Kansas City, Mo.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 07, 2018

Broadcom stock gains after 'messy quarter'
Shares of Broadcom Inc. are up 3.1% in Friday morning trading after what Susquehanna analyst Christopher Rolland called a "messy quarter" in which the company beat estimates with its earnings and outlook but announced changes to its reporting. Broadcom will stop providing quarterly forecasts and it will also begin reporting just three segments, with most of its revenue in one. "Ultimately, we view the report as better than feared, but acknowledge reporting changes, lack of accretion and back-end-loaded year raise the risk profile," Rolland wrote. He has a positive rating and $285 target on the shares. Cowen & Co. analyst Matthew Ramsay upped his target to $280 from $255, writing of his optimism around long-term trends and the company's track record of merger integration. "We expect Wireless to continue to experience near-term growth headwinds due to share losses in the 2018 iPhone to Qorvo , although management remains confident in share recovery in the 2019 product cycle and 5G trends remain promising for the long term," he wrote. The stock has fallen 9% so far this year, while the S&P 500 has risen 0.6%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 07, 2018

Oil surges on reports of deal on OPEC production cut
Oil futures jumped sharply Friday on news reports that indicated members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies had agreed to a production cut. West Texas Intermediate crude for January delivery jumped $2.12, or 4.1%, to $53.61 a barrel, while the global benchmark, February Brent crude jumped $3.05, or 5.1%, to $63.11 a barrel. Some news reports said that OPEC and its allied had agreed to a 1.2 million barrel-a-day cut in output. The meeting of OPEC and non-OPEC members was still in progress, however.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 07, 2018

Tesla's stock jumps after Jefferies turns bullish, boosts price target
Shares of Tesla Inc. rallied 2.1% toward a 4-month high in premarket trade Friday, after Jefferies analyst Philippe Houchois turned bullish on the electric car maker, citing optimism over the company's profit, self-funding and productivity potential. Houchois raised his rating to buy, after upgrading it to hold in April. He raised his stock price target to $450, which is 24% above were it closed Thursday, from $360. Houchois said that after "unrealistic goals" for growth, industrial ramp and automation have been rebased, Tesla is still one of the few original equipment manufacturers that are likely to growth earnings in 2019 and 2020. After visiting Tesla's Fremont, Calif. facility, Houchois said there is "meaningful scope" to improve productivity and offset the erosion in average sales price with the Model 3. "Tesla should continue to stand out with broader price points, battery security of supply, product edge and a brand that transcends the volume/premium divide," Houchois wrote in a note to clients. "In short, in the year ahead we think only Tesla will avoid a volume zero-sum-game or negative margin trade-off in EVs." The stock has soared 38% over the past three months, while the S&P 500 has lost 6.1%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 07, 2018

Sonic adds low-calorie chili to the menu
Sonic Corp. said has launched a Hearty Chili Bowl that starts at 140 calories and offers a full serving of vegetables for $2.49. Diners can add Fritos, shredded cheese and onions for $2.99. Sonic's menu includes chili cheese hot dogs, the Fritos Chili Cheese Jr. Wrap, and Fritos Chili Pie. Sonic shares have gained 58.3% for the year to date while the S&P 500 index is up 0.8% for the period.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 07, 2018

Oil-linked currencies rally as OPEC countries reportedly reach agreement to curb production
Commodity-linked currencies, including the Canadian dollar , Norwegian krone and Russian ruble , rallied on Friday, following reports that the OPEC members reached an agreement to curb oil production. The price of the commodity surged up in response, last up nearly 5%. Oil exports are an instrumental part of the Canadian, Norwegian and Russian economies. Meanwhile, the U.S. dollar slipped against their currencies, last buying C$1.3300, down 0.6%, 8.4884 krone, down 0.3%, and 66.1900, off by 1%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 07, 2018

Stock-market index futures pivot higher after jobs figures show signs of cooling
Futures for U.S. stock benchmarks on Friday turned decidedly higher after a key reading of domestic employment came in weaker than expected, at least on a headline basis. U.S. nonfarm payrolls increased a seasonally adjusted 155,000 last month, the Labor Department reported. The unemployment rate held steady at 3.7%, hanging near the lowest rate since 1969. Year-over-year wage growth matched the prior month's 3.1% pace as the best rate since 2009. The data is a closely watched amid the Federal Reserve's plan to normalize interest rates after the 2007-'09 financial crisis. Although some softness in the data following last month's figures aren't likely to dissuade the central bank from not lifting benchmark interest rates, currently at a range between 2% and 2.25%, a quarter-of-a-basis-point higher at the conclusion of its two-day meeting on Dec. 19, it may give policy makers, led by Chairman Jerome Powell, some pause in increasing rates in 2019. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 32 points, or 0.1%, at 24,937, those for the S&P 500 index edged 0.1% up at 2,693, while those for the Nasdaq-100 were flat at 6,823. All three index futures were trading lower prior to the report, after the Dow and S&P 500 ended in negative territory on Thursday, while the Nasdaq Composite Index produced a 0.4% gain, in a tumultuous session.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 07, 2018

Dollar turns negative after cooler-than-expected headline jobs report
The U.S. dollar flipped into negative territory and dropped to session-lows after Friday's jobs report missed estimates. U.S. nonfarm payrolls came in at 155,000, compared with the MarketWatch consensus forecast of 190,000. The unemployment rate remained at a 49-year low of 3.7%, and average hourly wages rose by 0.2%. The ICE U.S. Dollar Index was last down 0.2% at 96.647, on track for a 0.6% decline on the week. The jobs report is a key component of the Federal Reserve's monetary policy decision-making, and while the central bank is expected to hike interest rates next week, its path for increases in 2019 is less certain. Currency analysts are also beginning to pencil in a weaker U.S. economy in the second half of next year.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 07, 2018

Illinois Tool Works sets 2019 guidance ahead of investor day
Illinois Tool Works Inc. set guidance for 2019 on Friday in a release provided ahead of its annual investor day. "We are in the midst of executing a focused and disciplined plan to leverage ITW's powerful proprietary business model and diversified, high quality business portfolio to their full potential," Chief Executive E. Scott Santi said in the release. The company is expecting GAAP 2019 EPS to range from $7.90 to $8.20 and for operating margins to improve by about 100 basis points. The company is still expecting 2018 GAAP EPS of $7.55 to $7.65. The FactSet consensus is for 2018 EPS of $7.60 and 2019 EPS of $8.11. Shares were slightly lower premarket, and have fallen 20% in 2018, while the S&P 500 has gained 0.8%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 07, 2018

Treasury yields come off intraday highs after November jobs report
Treasury yields came off their session highs after the November nonfarm payrolls report showed the U.S. economy had added less jobs than expected. The 10-year Treasury note yield was mostly flat at 2.877%, down from its session high at 2.903%, while the 2-year note yield was down 0.4 basis point to 2.754%. The 30-year bond yield is up 1.4 basis points to 3.148%. Bond prices move in the opposite direction of yields. The economy added 155,000 jobs in November, while the unemployment rate remains steady at 3.7%. Economists polled by MarketWatch had forecast a gain of 190,000 jobs. Average hourly earnings rose 0.2%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 07, 2018

U.S. adds 155,000 jobs in November, unemployment flat at 3.7%
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - The U.S. generated a solid 155,000 new jobs in November, keeping the economy on track in 2018 to produce the most new jobs in three years. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected a gain of 190,000 nonfarm jobs, however. The unemployment rate remained at a 49-year low of 3.7% for the third straight month. The average wage paid to American workers rose 0.2% to $27.35 an hour, the Labor Department said Friday. The 12-month rate of hourly wage gains was unchanged at 3.1%, though it's still the highest level in more than nine years. Hours worked each week dipped 0.1 hour to 34.4 hours. The government said 237,000 new jobs were created in October instead of 250,000. September's gain was lifted slightly to 119,000 from 118,000.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 07, 2018

White House chief of staff Kelly expected to resign soon, reports say
John Kelly is expected to resign as White House chief of staff in the coming days, according to reports on Friday. Axios reported West Wing officials believe his departure is imminent and that Nick Ayers, who is Vice President Mike Pence's chief of staff, will replace him. CNN said Kelly and Trump have stopped speaking in recent days.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 07, 2018

Altria to discontinue e-vape products and Verve oral nicotine and refocus on reduced-risk tobacco
Altria Group Inc. said Friday it is discontinuing its MarkTen and Green Smoke e-vape products, along with Verve oral nicotine containing products in response to regulatory restrictions that will hamper its effort to improve their financial performance. The tobacco giant said it will refocus its efforts on reduced-risk tobacco product opportunities. "We do not see a path to leadership with these particular products and believe that now is the time to refocus our resources," Chief Executive Howard Willard said in a statement. Altria is expecting to book a roughly $200 million pretax charge in the fourth quarter, most of which will be a non-cash asset impairment charge. Earlier, Altria agreed to invest $1.8 billion in Canadian weed company Cronos Corp. and to be that companies exclusive partner in the cannabis sector. Shares rose 2.5% premarket, but are down 24% in 2018, while the S&P 500 has gained 0.8% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average has gained 0.9%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 07, 2018

Quanta Services initiates quarterly dividend
Quanta Services Inc. said Friday it was initiating a quarterly cash dividend of 4 cents a share. The provider of contracting services for the electric power, oil and cash and communications industries said the new dividend will be payable Jan. 16 to shareholders of record on Jan. 2. Based on Thursday's stock closing price of $32.65, the new annual dividend rate implies a dividend yield of 0.49%. That compares with the implied yield for the S&P 500 of 2.06%, according to FactSet. "Our decision to initiate a dividend demonstrates our continued confidence in the stability of Quanta's base business, long-term growth prospects, solid financial position and commitment to enhancing stockholder value," said Chief Executive Duke Austin. "The planned dividend is a meaningful milestone in Quanta's history and complements our stock repurchase activity." The stock, which was still inactive in premarket trade, has shed 16.5% year to date, while the S&P 500 has gained 0.8%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 07, 2018

Altria to invest C$2.4 billion in Canadian cannabis company Cronos
Canadian cannabis company Cronos Group Inc. said Friday that tobacco giant Altria Group Inc. has agreed to make a C$2.4 billion ($1.8 billion) equity investment in the company to provide the capital to help it expand and innovate. As part of the deal, Altria will receive warrants that if fully exercised would grant the company an additional C$1.4 billion. Altria will have a roughly 45% ownership stake in the company that would climb to 55% if the warrants are exercised. "This strategic partnership provides Cronos Group with additional financial resources, product development and commercialization capabilities, and deep regulatory expertise to better position the Company to compete, scale and lead the rapidly growing global cannabis industry," Cronos said in a statement. The new legal Canadian cannabis market is attracting investment from a range of players, including a $4 billion investment from Constellation Brands Inc. in Canopy Growth Corp. . Cronos will be Altria's exclusive partner in pursuing opportunities in the sector, said the statement. The deal is expected to close in the first half of 2019. Altria shares rose 1.1% premarket. Cronos shares were halted for the news, but have gained 35% in 2018, while the S&P 500 has gained 0.8%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 07, 2018

Vail Resorts reports wider-than-expected loss as sales miss
Vail Resorts Inc. reported Friday a fiscal first-quarter net loss that widened to $107.8 million, or $2.66 a share, from $28.4 million, or 71 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. The ski resort operator said the loss included acquisition-related expenses of $4.9 million and a loss of $3.6 million from off-season operations. The FactSet consensus for net losses was $2.47 a share. Total revenue slipped 0.4% to $220.0 million from $220.2 million, while the FactSet consensus was for a rise of $235.1 million. North American season pass sales were up 21% in units, and 13% in sales dollars through Dec. 2 compared with the same period a year ago. The stock was still inactive in premarket trade. The stock has lost 7.6% over the past three months, but has run up 28% year to date. The S&P 500 has slipped 6.1% over the past three months and is up 0.8% this year.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 07, 2018

Southwest's November load factor fell as capacity growth outpaced traffic's rise
Southwest Airlines Co. reported Friday November load factor that declined to 84.5% from 85.8% a year ago, as seat supply growth outpaced the rise in traffic. Capacity increased 6.5% to 13.40 billion available seat miles while traffic rose 4.9% to 11.33 billion revenue passenger miles. Year-to-date load factor was 83.6%, down from 84.0% the same period last year, as capacity growth of 3.8% topped the 3.3% rise in traffic. The stock edged up 0.1% in premarket trade. It has lost 18.1% this year, while the NYSE Arca Airline Index has shed 10.3% and the S&P 500 has gained 0.8%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 07, 2018

Big Lots' stock set to sink after wider-than-expected loss, outlook cut
Shares of Big Lots Inc. were indicated down nearly 8% in premarket trade Friday, after the discount home furnishings and food retailer reported a wider-than-expected fiscal third-quarter loss and cut its outlook, while same-store sales beat. The company swung to a net loss for the quarter to Nov. 3 of $6.6 million, or 16 cents a share, from a profit of $4.4 million, or 10 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. That compares with the company's previous per-share guidance range of a loss of 6 cents to a profit of 4 cents, and the FactSet consensus of a 1-cent loss. Sales rose to $1.15 billion from $1.11 billion, topping the FactSet consensus of $1.14 billion, as same-store sales growth of 3.4% beat expectations of a 3.0% rise. The company said it expects near-term results to be "challenging" this holiday season. For fiscal 2018, the company affirmed its same-store sales growth guidance of "approximately 1%," but cut its adjusted EPS outlook to $3.55 to $3.75 from $4.40 to $4.55. The stock has tumbled 28% year to date through Thursday, while the SPDR S&P Retail ETF has slipped 0.4% and the S&P 500 has gained 0.8%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 06, 2018

Trump close to picking Barr for A.G., Nauert for UN: reports
President Donald Trump is close to making two major nominations: William Barr for U.S. attorney general and Heather Nauert as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, the Washington Post reported separately Thursday. Both nominations could be announced in the coming days, the Post said. Barr, 68, served as attorney general under President George H.W. Bush from 1991-93. He has, in the past, questioned the political makeup of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigative team. Barr, or any other nominee, likely would not face a Senate confirmation vote for months, leaving acting attorney general Matt Whitaker in charge of the DOJ until then. Nauert is a former Fox News anchor and current State Department spokeswoman with little foreign policy experience. CNN reported that may be intentional, and that the Trump administration may be seeking to downgrade the importance of the UN ambassador role.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 06, 2018

CBS paid $5 million in hush money over sexual-assault claims against '60 Minutes' creator: report
CBS Corp. has paid a former employee more than $5 million in hush money over a period spanning more than 20 years over accusations that legendary "60 Minutes" creator and producer Don Hewitt sexually assaulted her multiple times, the New York Times reported late Thursday. The Times, citing a draft report by the CBS board into the media giant's workplace culture, said the woman claimed Hewitt sexually assaulted her over a period of years and destroyed her career. CBS found the accusations credible, the Times said, and reached a settlement in the 1990s paying her $450,000 for her silence. The agreement has been updated six times since then, the Times said, for a total payout of more than $5 million. Hewitt died in 2009. The same report reportedly found that the independence "60 Minutes" enjoyed from the rest of the CBS News division fostered a culture permissive of misconduct, and found that last year's firing of "60 Minutes" executive producer Jeff Fager for misconduct was justified. The CBS board is scheduled to review the report next week, along with findings about a probe into the alleged sexual misconduct of ousted CEO Les Moonves.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 06, 2018

Lululemon stock bounces back after earnings
Lululemon Athletica Inc. shares dropped in late trading Thursday after the athletic-wear company reported earnings that beat expectations, but managed to claw back to slight gains before the end of the extended session. Lululemon reported earnings of 71 cents a share on revenue of $747.7 million, up from $619 million a year ago. After adjustments for taxes and other effects, the company claimed earnings of 75 cents a share, up from 56 cents a share in the year-ago quarter. Analysts on average expected adjusted earnings of 69 cents a share on sales of $738 million, according to FactSet. The company also increased its guidance for full-year profits, and met analysts' expectations for its fourth-quarter forecast. The stock immediately plunged about 10% after the numbers were released, but then clawed back to a 0.4% gain at the end of after-hours trading. Shares closed with a 1.6% decline at $131.44, but have gained 67.3% so far this year, as the S&P 500 index has gained 1%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 06, 2018

Markel stock drops after hours on regulatory inquiries
Markel Corp. shares fell in the extended session Thursday after the insurer announced that it was hiring outside counsel for an internal review following notification from unnamed regulators. Markel shares fell 5.9% after hours, following a 1% rise to close the regular session at $1,147.93. The company said it was contacted on Nov. 30 by unnamed U.S. and Bermuda authorities "into loss reserves recorded in late 2017 and early 2018 at Markel CATCo Investment Management Ltd and its subsidiaries." Markel said the inquiries were limited to Markel CATCo.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 06, 2018

Domo shares rally 15% as results, outlook top Street views
Domo Inc. shares rallied in the extended session Thursday after the cloud-based operating system company's results and outlook topped Wall Street estimates. Domo shares surged 15% after hours, following a 1.1% decline to close the regular session at $15.63. The company reported a third-quarter loss of $32.5 million, or $1.24 a share, compared with a loss of $43.9 million, or $27.27 a share, in the year-ago period. The adjusted loss was $1.06 a share. Revenue rose to $36.8 million from $28.3 million in the year-ago quarter. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had forecast a loss of $1.38 a share on revenue of $35 million. For the fourth quarter, Domo expects a loss of $1.27 to $1.23 a share on revenue of $37.5 million to $37.9 million, while analysts have forecast a loss of $1.39 a share on revenue of $35.7 million.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 06, 2018

Ulta Beauty stock falls after earnings show light holiday forecast
Ulta Beauty Inc. shares declined in after-hours trading Thursday following an earnings report that predicted weaker holiday results than analysts expected. The cosmetics retailer reported fiscal third-quarter earnings of $131.2 million, or $2.18 a share, up from $1.70 a share a year ago and ahead of analysts' average estimate of $2.16 a share, according to FactSet. Ulta reported revenue of $1.56 billion, up from $1.34 billion a year ago and in-line with the average analyst forecast of $1.56 billion. Ulta's forecast for the fourth quarter came up short of expectations, though. The company predicted earnings of $3.50 to $3.55 a share, while analysts on average expected $3.62 a share, and revenue of $2.09 billion to $2.1 billion, short of expectations of $2.12 billion. Ulta shares slid more than 6% in late action following the report's release, cutting into year-to-date gains of 31%. The S&P 500 index has gained 1% so far this year.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 06, 2018

Smith & Wesson gun maker stock soars 15% after earnings and revenue beat
American Outdoor Brands Corp. shares surged 15% in the extended session Thursday after the company beat Wall Street earnings and revenue expectations. The Smith & Wesson gun maker reported fiscal second-quarter net income of $6.7 million, or 12 cents a share, compared with $3.2 million, or 6 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Adjusted for items such as the amortization of intangible assets, earnings were 20 cents a share, up from 11 cents a share in the year-earlier quarter. Revenue climbed to $161.7 million from $148.4 million in the year-ago period. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had estimated adjusted earnings of 14 cents a share on revenue of $154.1 million. For the fiscal third quarter, analysts model adjusted earnings of 10 cents a share on sales of $158.4 million. The gun maker said it expects adjusted earnings of between 9 cents and 13 cents a share and sales of $155 million to $165 million. American Outdoor stock has fallen 4.9% this year, with the S&P 500 index rising 1%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 06, 2018

Broadcom's stock rallies after earnings, outlook top Street views
Broadcom Inc. shares rallied in the extended session Thursday after the chipmaker's quarterly results and outlook topped Wall Street estimates. Broadcom shares surged 5% after hours, following a 2.1% decline to close the regular session at $227.24. The company reported fiscal fourth-quarter net income of $1.12 billion, or $2.64 a share, compared with $532 million, or $1.25 a share, in the year-ago period. Adjusted earnings were $5.85 a share. Revenue rose to $5.44 billion from $4.84 billion in the year-ago quarter. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had forecast earnings of $5.58 a share on revenue of $5.4 billion. "Looking forward to fiscal year 2019, we expect another year of double digit revenue growth," said Broadcom CEO Hock Tan in a statement. For 2019, Broadcom expects revenue of $24.5 billion, while analysts had forecast revenue of $22.58 billion. "Sustained demand within our semiconductor segment will be augmented by the newly acquired mainframe and enterprise software businesses to our infrastructure software segment," Tan said. In November, Broadcom closed its acquisition of CA Inc., an $18.9 billion deal it announced in July.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 06, 2018

Lululemon stock slides after earnings
Lululemon Athletica Inc. shares dropped in late trading Thursday, after the athletic-wear company reported earnings that beat expectations. Lululemon reported earnings of 71 cents a share on revenue of $747.7 million, up from $619 million a year ago. After adjustments for taxes and other effects, the company claimed earnings of 75 cents a share, up from 56 cents a share in the year-ago quarter. Analysts on average expected adjusted earnings of 69 cents a share on sales of $738 million, according to FactSet. The company also increased its guidance for full-year profits, and met analysts' expectations for its fourth-quarter forecast. The stock immediately plunged about 10% after the numbers were released, but then clawed back, trading about 5% lower. Shares closed with a 1.6% decline at $131.44, but have gained 67.3% so far this year, as the S&P 500 index has gained 1%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 06, 2018

Stocks end off session lows after powerful reversal; Nasdaq ends positive
Most U.S. stock benchmarks closed lower Thursday, but well off the day's worst levels, with the blue-chip Dow shedding as many as 785 points at its lows. The S&P 500 was down 0.2% to around 2,696, based on preliminary numbers. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended lower by 79 points, or 0.3%, to 24,948. The Nasdaq Composite finished higher by 0.4% to 7,188. Equities came under pressure throughout the session after a senior executive of Huawei Technologies, a Chinese telecoms group, was detained for allegedly violating U.S. sanctions on Iran. Late in the session, reports suggested senior Federal Reserve officials wanted to adopt a wait-and-see attitude after December's Fed meeting. In company news, shares of Sears Holdings Corp. gained more than 3% after Eddie Lampert's investment fund offered to buy what was left of the retailer for $4.6 billion.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 06, 2018

Apple falls to third place behind Microsoft, Amazon in market cap
Apple Inc. once again lost its position as the most valuable U.S. company to Microsoft Corp. , after its shares fell 1.1% in Thursday's session amid renewed fears about China tensions and weak iPhone demand. The company finished Thursday's session with a market cap of $829 billion, behind Microsoft at $838.3 billion and Amazon.com Inc. at $830.9 billion. Microsoft shares rose 0.6% in Thursday trading and Amazon's stock gained 1.9%. The three companies have been jockeying for the top spot in recent weeks, following years of Apple's dominance. Microsoft and Amazon have been closing the gap as they continue to show strong growth in their cloud-computing businesses. At the same time, there is fresh concern about Apple's ability to continue sustaining iPhone demand at high price points. Apple shares have gained just 3% so far this year, while Amazon's stock has risen 45% and Microsoft's has gained 27%. The S&P 500 is up 0.8% in that time, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average , of which Microsoft and Apple are components, is up 0.9%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 06, 2018

Fed weighing whether to signal wait-and-see mentality after December hike: WSJ
Federal Reserve officials are considering whether to signal a new wait-and-see mentality after a likely interest-rate increase at their meeting in December, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday, citing recent interviews and statements. Officials still think the broad direction of short-term interest rates will be higher in 2019, according to recent interviews and public statements, the report said. But as they push up their benchmark, they are becoming less sure how fast they will need to act or how far they will need to go, the report added.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 06, 2018

OPEC reached a preliminary pact in Vienna to cut oil output, but specific volumes yet to be decided: report
Members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries reached a "preliminary agreement" following talks in Vienna to cut oil production, but specifics on the amount to be cut have not yet been decided, Russian news agency TASS reported Thursday. The agency also said that according to sources, oil production will be reduced from the October 2018 level. OPEC had ended its meeting Thursday without offering specifics on a volume for production cuts. The group is expected to meet with nonmember oil producers, including Russia, on Friday. January West Texas Intermediate crude settled at $51.59 a barrel, down $1.40, or 2.7%, on Thursday.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 06, 2018

Oil futures end lower as OPEC postpones an output cut decision to Friday
Oil futures settled lower on Thursday amid ongoing uncertainty surrounding the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries' decision on production cuts, which the group has postponed until Friday, when it meets with non-member producers. Oil prices were under pressure, "somewhat reflecting the selloff in stocks, some reflecting skepticism OPEC will come through with sufficient production cuts to support prices," said Rob Haworth, senior investment strategist at U.S. Bank. "U.S. production remains robust, although if prices remain close to these low levels production growth could falter. For now we believe prices remain under pressure, even if OPEC can come through with production cuts," he said. January West Texas Intermediate oil lost $1.40, or 2.7%, to settle at $51.49 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 06, 2018

All 11 S&P 500 sectors tumble by at least 1% in broad-based, stock-market tumble
The S&P 500's main sectors were all trading sharply lower midday Thursday, highlighting the depth of a decline in equity markets. The 11 sectors of the S&P 500 were all down by as much as 1%, with financials and energy sectors down by at least 3.5%, leading the drop. The move comes as investors have been sensitive to signs of an economic slowdown that could upend a multiyear bullmarket and longstanding expansion in the U.S. Tumbling crude-oil prices also have been spotlighted as a sign of those worries, since oil prices tend to fall sharply when expectations for demand drop. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq Composite Index also were trading sharply lower on the day. Both stock and bond markets were closed on Wednesday to mark a national day of mourning for George H.W. Bush, the U.S.'s 41st president, who died at 94.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 06, 2018

Kraninger confirmed by the Senate to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Kathy Kraninger was confirmed by the Senate to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau by a 50-to-49 vote. Currently at the Office of Management and Budget, Kraninger was criticized by Democrats for her lack of experience in the field of consumer protection or financial regulation. Kraninger at the OMB oversees spending at a number of agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security where she worked during the George W. Bush administration. She'll take over from Mick Mulvaney, who has been acting director of the CFPB while simultaneously serving as director of the OMB.

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
Dec 06, 2018

Shares of Conatus Pharmaceuticals plummet over 50% after Phase 2 trial fails to meet primary endpoint
Shares of Conatus Pharmaceuticals Inc. plummeted 53% Thursday after the company announced its Phase 2 clinical trial of emricasan did not meet its primary endpoint. Patients with liver damage from nonalcoholic fatty liver disease did not show sufficient patient improvement on the drug compared to a placebo. Stifel analysts downgraded the company to hold from buy and lowered their price target to $4 from $10, while analysts at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey lowered their price target to $12 from $20. Friday's selloff puts the biotech's stock on track to suffer its biggest one-day percentage decline since the company went public in July 2013. Shares of Conatus have fallen 53% in the year to date, and the S&P 500 has fallen 0.1%.

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



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Dec 06, 2018

More than half of the S&P 500 components have produced death crosses
With the S&P 500 poised to produce a bearish "death cross" chart pattern on Friday, more than half of the index's components are already there. A death cross is when the 50-day moving average (DMA) crosses below the 200-DMA, with many chart watchers viewing that occurrence as marking the spot a shorter-term pullback transitions to a longer-term downtrend. Based on FactSet data, the 50-DMAs of 270 S&P 500 components are below their 200-DMAs, representing about 53.5% of the components. The S&P 500 is down 1.1% in afternoon trade, with the 50-DMA falling to 2,762.95 from 2,767.87 on Tuesday, while the 200-DMA slipped to 2,761.93 from 2,762.09. Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is still weeks away from producing a death cross, and only 10 of its 30 components had 50-DMAs below their 200-DMAs.

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



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