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Taco Bell owner Yum Brands raises dividend

yesterday

Yum Brands Inc. said late Friday its board of directors declared a dividend of 47 cents a share, an increase of 12%. The dividend will be paid March 6 to shareholders of record on Feb. 14, the fast-food chain said. Shares of Yum were flat in the extended session after ending the regular trading day down 0.9%.

Stocks end lower on worries over coronavirus outbreak

yesterday

Stocks ended lower Friday, giving up early gains after authorities confirmed a second U.S. coronavirus case. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell around 170 points, or 0.6%, to end near 28,990, according to preliminary figures, while the S&P 500 lost around 30 points, or 0.9%, to finish near 3,295. The Nasdaq Composite closed near 9,315, off around 88 points, or 0.9%. Analysts said stocks were vulnerable to a pullback as concerns rise about the potential effect of the viral outbreak on global growth. Chinese authorities have moved to restrict movement into and out of several cities, including Wuhan, the center of the outbreak. The spread of the respiratory virus in China and to other countries rattled global markets, fueling fears that the disruption to travel and trade may undermine global economic growth.

U.S. oil suffers biggest weekly fall since May

yesterday

Oil futures ended sharply lower Friday, as worries over potential oversupply were augmented by fears the spread of the coronavirus could undercut demand for crude. West Texas Intermediate crude March delivery fell $1.40, or 2.5%, to end at $54.19 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after hitting the lowest level for a most active contract since late October. The U.S. benchmark saw a 7.5% weekly drop, its biggest such fall since a nearly 9% drop in the week ending May 31, according to FactSet.

Boeing to consider more cuts to 787 Dreamliner production: report

yesterday

Boeing Co. is considering further production cuts to its 787 Dreamliner jets, according to CNBC on Friday, which cited a statement from the jet maker. Boeing last year said it would cut production of the wide-body jets to 12 from 14 a month for about two years beginning in late 2020. Some in the industry had seen risk that the Dreamliner production rate could be further lowered due to lack of demand. Boeing did not immediately return a request for comment. The jet maker has been mired in controversy over its narrow-body 737 Max planes, grounded since March after two deadly crashes. In the statement to CNBC, the company said that it maintains "a disciplined rate management process taking into account a host of risks and opportunities. We will continue to assess the demand environment and make adjustments as appropriate in the future." Boeing shares fell 1.4% on Friday and have lost 12% in the past 12 months, which contrasts with gains of 18% for the Dow Jones Industrial Average . Boeing is a Dow component.

Massachusetts to sell $900 million worth of weed in 2020, says analyst

yesterday

Massachusetts will likely continue to see marijuana supply shortages in 2020, according to a Canaccord Genuity research note to clients Friday. Analyst Bobby Burleson wrote that he expects continued licensing delays and increased pressure to operate the state's economic empowerment and social equity initiatives to be contributing factors. Wholesale weed prices are among the most expensive in the U.S., and are driven by the limited supply due to the scarcity of licenses, Burleson wrote. Massachusetts had a "strong" first full year of pot sales, recording $445 million in sales, according to the Cannabis Control Commission. Burleson expects 2020 sales of $900 million. Weed stocks largely fell Friday, with the ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF down 4.1% in early afternoon trading; the Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences Index ETF fell 3.7%.

Gold prices notch gains for the day and week as coronavirus fears intensify

yesterday

Gold prices finish higher on Friday, ending at the highest settlement in about three weeks as a viral outbreak originating out of China continued to grow. February gold closed $6.50, or 0.4%, higher at $1,571.90 an ounce on Comex. The metal also marked a weekly gain of 0.4%. China has moved to restrict movement of some 46 million people in and out of cities near the center of the outbreak, while also canceling Lunar New Year events as the number of infections continued to rise. The virus also continued to spread to other countries. Friday's settlement marks gold's highest since Jan.7, according to FactSet data.

Oil remains sharply lower as U.S. rig count rises

yesterday

Crude futures remained sharply lower Friday after oil-field-services company Baker Hughes said the number of U.S. oil rigs rose by 3 from last week to 676. West Texas Intermediate crude for March delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange was off $1.40, or 2.5%, at $54.19 a barrel in recent trade.

Shanghai Disney to close indefinitely in response to coronavirus outbreak

yesterday

Shares of Walt Disney Co. fell 0.8% in morning trading Friday, extending the previous session's 1.3% selloff, after Shanghai Disneyland, Disneytown said it will "temporarily" close starting Jan. 25 in response to the coronavirus outbreak. The closure comes at the start of the Lunar New Year holiday. "We will continue to carefully monitor the situation and be in close contact with the local government, and we will announce the reopening date upon confirmation," Shanghai Disney Resort said in a statement. Fellow Dow Jones Industrial Average components McDonald's Corp. also said Friday that it had closed stores in Wuhan and surrounding cities in China because of the coronavirus outbreak, which has led to at least 25 deaths. Disney's stock has gained 8.3% over the past three months, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has advanced 8.7%.

Naval air station near Chicago on lockdown

yesterday

The Great Lakes Naval Air Station in suburban Chicago is on lockdown Friday morning after a vehicle passed through a security checkpoint without presenting credentials. "We had a gate runner at 7:09 a.m.," a spokesman said, describing the driver as having cleared an entry-control area "without showing credentials and kept going." Personnel on the base were being advised to take cover. The 1,600-acre base on the Lake Michigan shoreline about 40 miles north of downtown Chicago, in North Chicago, Ill., is the Navy's largest training installation and the home of the Navy's only boot camp, noted the Chicago Tribune.

McDonald's shuts restaurants in Wuhan due to coronavirus

yesterday

McDonald's Corp. said Friday that it has shut stores in Wuhan and surrounding cities in China due to the coronavirus outbreak. In a statement from McDonald's in Asia, the company said that the fast-food giant's operations in the Hubei province are normally in cities where public transportation is accessible. In Wuhan, Ezhou, Huanggang, Qianjiang and Xiantao, public transport has been suspended. Across China, McDonald's has taken measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus, including a required system of measuring worker body temperatures when they arrive for work; the distribution of masks to crew members and hand sanitizers to customers; and stepped up cleaning of delivery boxes after they return to the restaurant. McDonald's stock has gained 13.8% over the past year while the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 19%. Read also: McDonald's earnings preview: Chick-fil-A is the fast-food giant's biggest competition in the U.S.

CDC confirms second coronavirus case in U.S., a Chicago resident who returned from Wuhan on Jan. 13

yesterday

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday it has confirmed a second case in the U.S. of the coronavirus that has led to the quarantine of the Chinese city of Wuhan. The patient is a female Chicago resident in her 60s, who returned from a visit to Wuhan on Jan. 13, the CDC said on a call with reporters. Another 63 patients in 22 states are being investigated for signs of the virus, said the agency. The Chinese authorities have said more than 800 cases of the illness have been confirmed and at least 25 patients have died. The illness is understood to have broken out at a seafood market in Wuhan and is being spread human-to-human. People in Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Macao, and one other man in the U.S. have been infected.

Stocks open slightly higher after strong earnings

yesterday

Stocks opened with modest gains Friday, with the Nasdaq Composite pushing further into record territory, after a round of strong corporate earnings overshadowed worries over the spread of the coronavirus. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 96 points, or 0.3%, to 29,256, while the S&P 500 was up around 3 points, or 0.1%, at 3,329. The Nasdaq Composite rose 40 points or 0.4%, to 9,441 -- after posting a record finish on Thursday. Shares of Dow component Intel Corp. jumped more than 7% after reporting data-center sales late Thursday that topped Wall Street estimates. Shares of American Express Co. also powered higher, rising 5%, after reporting a fourth-quarter profit that beat expectations.

Aphria gets C$100 million investment from unnamed institutional investor

yesterday

Canadian cannabis company Aphria Inc. said Friday it has entered an agreement to receive a C$100 million (76.2 million) investment from an unnamed institutional investor. The investor purchased 14 million units of the company priced at C$7.12 per unit, the company said in a statement. Each unit is comprised on one common share and one-half of one common share warrant, entitling the holder to purchase a share at a price of $9.26 for 24 months after the closing date. Proceeds of the deal will be used to finance international expansion, working capital and for general corporate purposes. U.S.-listed hares rose 3.8% premarket on the news, but are down 17% in the last 12 months, while the S&P 500 has gained 26%.

Cannabis REIT Innovative Industrial Properties stock falls after stock offering prices at discount

yesterday

Shares of Innovative Industrial Properties Inc. dropped 4.5% in premarket trading, after the real estate investment trust (REIT), which focuses on properties leased to cannabis companies, announced that pricing of a stock offering at a near 8% discount. The company said its offering of 2,967,799 shares, representing about 22% of the shares outstanding, priced at $73.25 to raise $217.4 million. That pricing was 7.8% below Thursday's close of $79.45. The company plans to use the proceeds from the stock sale to invest in real estate assets. The stock has rallied 9.6% over the past 3 months through Thursday, while the SPDR Real Estate Select Sector ETF has edged up 0.2%, the ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF declined 11% and the S&P 500 has gained 10.5%.

Co-Diagnostics' stock tumbles after stock sale agreement priced at 29% discount

yesterday

Shares of Co-Diagnostics Inc. tumbled 16% in premarket trading Friday, after the molecular diagnostics company took advantage of the prior session's big rally to enter into a stock sale agreement. The company said it agreed to sell 3,448,278 shares, representing about 20% of the shares outstanding, to institutional investors at $1.45 a share, which was 28.6% below Thursday's closing price of $2.03 but 28.3% above Wednesday's closing price of $1.13. Co-Diagnostics's stock had rocketed 80% on Thursday on trading volume of 36.1 million shares, after the company said it had "completed principle design work" for a test to screen the Wuhan coronavirus. The stock has nearly doubled (up 99%) over the past three months through Thursday, while the S&P 500 has gained 10.5%.

Cincinnati Bell's gets another buyout bid that is 14% above the deal agreed with Brookfield Infrastructure

yesterday

Cincinnati Bell Inc. said Friday that it has received an unsolicited buyout bid from an "infrastructure fund" for $12 a share in cash. That bid is 14% above the buyout deal Cincinnati Bell made with Brookfield Infrastructure Partners L.P. in December for $10.50 a share, in a deal valued at $2.6 billion including debt. The new bid implies a market capitalization for the communications company of about $605 million. "Cincinnati Bell has commenced discussions with the Fund regarding the Proposal following Cincinnati Bell's board of directors having made the required determinations under the Brookfield Merger Agreement that allow it to do so," Cincinnati Bell said in a statement. "The Brookfield Merger Agreement remains in effect and accordingly the Cincinnati Bell board reaffirms its existing recommendation in support of the transaction with Brookfield Infrastructure at this time." Cincinnati Bell's stock has more than doubled (up 115%) over the past three months while the S&P 500 has gained 10.5%.

American Express's stocks rises toward a record after profit beat expectations

yesterday

Shares of American Express Co. surged 1.8% toward a record high in premarket trading Friday, after the credit card and travel services company reported a fourth-quarter profit that beat expectations, while revenue was in line. Net income fell to $1.69 billion, or $2.03 a share, from $2.01 billion, or $2.32 a share, in the year-ago period. Excluding non-recurring items, adjusted earnings per share rose to $2.03 from $1.74, above the FactSet consensus of $2.01. Total revenue, net of interest expense, increased 9% to $11.37 billion, matching the FactSet consensus, amid continued growth in fees, spend and lend revenue. Consumer services revenue rose 10% to $6.2 billion, commercial services revenue grew 7% to $3.5 billion and merchant and network services revenue increased 3% to $1.7 billion. The company said it added 11.5 million new proprietary cards in 2019, with nearly 70% of new card members choosing fee-based products. The stock has rallied 12.9% over the past three months through Thursday, while the SPDR Financial Select Sector ETF has gained 8.0% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average has advanced 8.8%.

Fiber products maker Domtar's shares slide after profit warning

yesterday

Shares of Domtar Inc. slid 2.6% in premarket trade Friday, after the maker of fiber-based products warned that fourth-quarter results fell short of expectations. The Fort Mill, South Carolina-based company, which makes products used in packaging and absorbent hygiene products, said it now expects fourth-quarter sales of $1.2 billion, compared with a $1.3 billion FactSet consensus. It expects an operating loss of $15 million to $19 million, that includes closure and restructuring costs of about $19 million and depreciation and amortization costs of $74 million. "We increased market-related downtime to better balance our supply with our customer demand and to accelerate our inventory reduction plan," Chief Executive John D. Williams said in a statement. "Our inventories are now at optimal levels and our expectation is that our business will return to a balanced level in early 2020 given recent capacity closures." The company expects to post its fourth-quarter earnings on Feb. 7 before the market open. Shares have fallen 11.6% in the last 12 months, while the S&P 500 has gained 26%.

Air Products beats profit expectations but came up shy on sales, gives downbeat Q2 outlook

yesterday

Air Products & Chemicals Inc. reported Friday a fiscal first-quarter profit that beat expectations, but revenue that missed and provided a downbeat outlook. The industrial gases company's stock was still inactive in premarket trading. Net income for the quarter to Dec. 31 rose to $475.6 million, or $2.14 a share, from $347.5 million, or $1.57 a share, in the year-ago period. Excluding non-recurring items, adjusted earnings per share of $2.14 topped the FactSet consensus of $2.10. Sales grew 1.4% to $2.25 billion, below the FactSet consensus of $2.29 billion, as misses in industrial gas sales in the Americas and in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region offset a beat in Asia. Volume growth and higher pricing was partially offset by lower energy pass-through, unfavorable currency moves and a contract modification to a tolling agreement in India. Looking ahead, the company said it expects second-quarter adjusted EPS of $2.10 to $2.20, which is below the current FactSet consensus of $2.24, but reiterated the full-year guidance of $9.35 to $9.60, which surrounds expectations of $9.44. The stock has rallied 12.2% over the past three months through Thursday, while the S&P 500 has gained 10.5%.

Broadcom: Deals with Apple could be worth $15 billion

2 days ago

Broadcom Inc. disclosed Thursday afternoon new deals with Apple Inc. worth $15 billion, and shares moved higher in extended trading. In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the chip maker said that it had signed two multiyear statement of work agreements with the iPhone manufacturer for components that will be included in Apple products beginning this month. The two deals are in addition to an agreement to supply RF chips that Broadcom disclosed last summer. Broadcom said that the two new deals as well as the rest of the previously disclosed contract would lead to, in aggregate, $15 billion in revenue for the company. Broadcom shares gained about 2% in the after-hours trading session Thursday, while Apple supplier Skyworks Solutions Inc.'s shares declined despite a strong earnings report released Thursday afternoon.

EHealth stock jumps 15% after company outlook tops expectations

2 days ago

EHealth Inc. shares rose more than 15% in the extended session Thursday after online health insurance marketplace said it expects better-than-forecast fourth-quarter results when it reports in February. EHealth said it expects a GAAP profit between $53 million and $55 million, and quarterly revenue between $257.5 million to $259.5 million. Analysts polled by FactSet expect GAAP earnings of $2 a share on sales of $192 million. EHealth saw "record consumer demand to the eHealth platform allowing us to grow fourth-quarter approved Medicare members in excess of 85%," Chief Executive Scott Flanders said in a statement. "We remain excited about the Medicare market opportunity and significant growth potential ahead of us and are looking forward to sharing our outlook for 2020 as part of our fourth quarter earnings release next month." Shares of EHealth ended the regular trading day down 2.5%.

Weed REIT to raise $150 million, stock falls 4%

2 days ago

Cannabis real estate investment trust Innovative Industrial Properties Inc. said late Thursday that it plans to sell 2 million shares of its common stock. At Thursday's closing price of $79.44 that would amount to about $158.9 million. Innovative Industrial Properties fell 4% in the extended session Thursday. The company said it plans to use the cash to invest in further weed-related real estate assets and for general corporate purposes. The company's bankers have the option to buy another 300,000 shares and the company is selling all of the stock. Unlike many cannabis stocks, Innovative Industrial Properties shares have gained 40% in the past year, as the ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF fell 40%.

E-Trade stock falls after mixed Q4 results for discount broker

2 days ago

E-Trade Financial Corp. late Thursday reported mixed fourth-quarter earnings, missing per-share expectations but beating revenue forecast, and the stock fell in the extended session. E-Trade said it earned $172 million, or 76 cents a share, in the quarter, compared with $270 million, or $1.06 a share, in the year-ago quarter. Revenue fell to $679 million, from $735 million. Analysts polled by FactSet had expected the discount brokerage to report a profit of 81 cents a share on sales of $671 million. The company also declared a dividend of 14 cents, payable March 2 to shareholders of record on Feb. 25. E-trade "generated our best year ever for customer trading, growth in customer cash, and stock plan implementations," the company said in a statement. E-Trade and other brokerages late last year dropped commission fees on some trades.

Atlassian shares surge 9% on earnings, revenue beat

2 days ago

Atlassian Corp. shares popped 9% in after-hours trading Thursday after the software company reported better-than-expected second-quarter earnings. Atlassian reported net income of $41.8 million, or 49 cents a share, compared with net income of $45.2 million, or 18 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Revenue surged 37% to $408.7 million from $299 million a year ago. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had expected 27 cents a share on revenue of $389 million. Atlassian shares are up about 42% over the last 12 months. The S&P 500 index has gained about 26% the past year.

Nasdaq edges to record finish as stocks bounce back from earlier losses

2 days ago

Stocks came back from early losses to finish mostly higher on Thursday, with the Nasdaq Composite edging to a record close as investors appeared to shake off worries surrounding the coronavirus outbreak that originated in China after the World Health Organization said it was too early to consider the event a "global emergency." The Nasdaq ended the day up nearly 19 points, or 0.2%, to end near 9,402, according to preliminary figures, topping its previous record finish of 9,388.94 set on Jan. 17. The S&P 500 rose around 4 points, or 0.1%, to end near 3,326. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lagged behind the other major indexes, ending around 26 points lower near 29,160, a loss of 0.1%.

U.S. oil futures mark lowest settlement since late November

2 days ago

Oil futures fell sharply on Thursday, sending U.S. prices to their lowest settlement since late November, as the spread of coronavirus raised worries about the global economy and energy demand. "All markets are watching the situation with China" and the coronavirus, said Tariq Zahir, managing member at Tyche Capital Advisors. "Energy markets could see a rather [large] impact on demand, especially if this virus gets worse." March West Texas Intermediate oil fell $1.15, or 2%, to settle at $55.59 barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. That was the lowest front-month contract finish since Nov. 29, according to Dow Jones Market Data.

HP calls Xerox board slate a proxy tactic to benefit Carl Icahn

2 days ago

HP Inc. said Thursday Xerox Corp. slate of board candidates is a "self-serving" tactic from billionaire investor Carl Icahn to push an acquisition that "significantly undervalues" the company. "We believe that Xerox's proposal and nominations are being driven by Carl Icahn, and his large ownership position in Xerox means that his interests are not aligned with those of other HP shareholders," HP said in a statement. "Due to Mr. Icahn's ownership position, he would disproportionately benefit from an acquisition of HP by Xerox at a price that undervalues HP." Icahn owns significant stakes in both HP and Xerox. Earlier Thursday, Xerox proposed a slate of 11 board members to replace HP's board. A proxy battle has been brewing ever since Xerox offered $33 billion for HP, which the company rebuffed.

OCC seeks fines and bans against 5 ex-Wells Fargo executives, bans former CEO Stumpf for life

2 days ago

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency issued a notice of charges against five former Wells Fargo & Co. executives on Thursday, for their role in a sales-practices scandal that led to the creation of millions of fake bank accounts. "The actions announced by the OCC today reinforce the agency's expectations that management and employees of national banks and federal savings associations provide fair access to financial services, treat customers fairly, and comply with applicable laws and regulations," Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting said in a statement. The agency is seeking to fine Carrie Tolstedt, former head of the bank's retail operations, $25 million in the form of a civil money penalty (CMP) and to issue her a lifetime prohibition order from participating in the banking industry. It is seeking to fine Claudia Russ Anderson, former community bank group risk officer, $5 million and issue her a prohibition order. It is seeking to fine James Strother, former general counsel, $5 million along with a personal cease & desist order (PC&D). A PC&D requires the individual to take remedial actions or refrain from certain conduct in future dealings in the banking industry. It is seeking to fine former Chief Auditor David Julian $2 million with a PC&D order, to fine former Executive Audit Director Paul McLinko $500,000 with a PC&D order. The agency said it has also issued a prohibition order and a $17.5 million CMP against former Chairman and CEO John Stumpf; a PC&D order and a $2.25 million CMP against the bank's former Chief Administrative Officer and Director of Corporate Human Resources Hope Hardison; and a PC&D order and assessment of a $1.25 million CMP against former Chief Risk Officer Michael Loughlin for their roles in the bank's sales practices misconduct. Wells Fargo responded by saying it will not make any further compensation payments to the individuals named, while it reviews the filings. Shares were slightly lower Thursday and have fallen 3.6% in the last 12 months, while the S&P 500 has gained 26%.

Gold futures finish at their highest in more than 2 weeks

2 days ago

Gold futures settled at a more than two-week high on Thursday, as worries surrounding the spread of the coronavirus led to weakness in the U.S. stock market and a fall in bond yields, lifting the haven appeal of the precious metal. "Appetite towards the precious metal should remain supported by growing fears over the coronavirus outbreak in China," said Lukman Otunuga, senior research analyst at FXTM. "The general uncertainty is likely to accelerate the flight to safety with gold seen testing $1568 in the short term," he said. February gold rose $8.70, or 0.6%, to settle at $1,565.40 an ounce. That was the highest most-active contract settlement since Jan. 7, according to FactSet data.

World Health Organization says coronavirus is a China emergency, but not a global health emergency for now

2 days ago

The World Health Organization said it will not declare the coronavirus outbreak in China to be a global health emergency on Thursday, after an emergency committee was divided about the scope of the illness. "Make no mistake. This is an emergency in China, but it has not yet become a global emergency," Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the agency, said in a statement published on Twitter. There are now 584 cases of the illness, a respiratory disease that has been compared to SARS and MERS, including 17 deaths, said the statement. Of those cases, 575 were reported in China, with other cases found in Japan, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Thailand, the U.S. and Vietnam. "We are aware of media reports of suspected cases in other countries, but those cases are still being investigated," he said. Most of the deaths were of patients with underlying health issues such as hypertension, diabetes or cardiovascular disease that weakened their immune systems, he said. The disease is being transmitted from human to human but appears limited to people in close contact like family groups. "There is still a lot we don't know. We don't know the source of this virus, we don't understand how easily it spreads & we don't fully understand its clinical features or severity," said the statement.