: Walt Disney World workers to get $18 minimum wage under union deal

MarketWatch - 12hr 

The unions that represent workers at Walt Disney World said Thursday that they have reached an agreement with Walt Disney Co. DIS that will raise the minimum wage to $18 an hour this year. The agreement comes after almost 14,000 union members rejected Disney’s previous offer in February of a $17 minimum wage, the unions said in a news release. According to the Services Trades Council Union (STCU), which is made up of different unions representing 45,000 theme park workers, there will be a ratification vote on March 29. Representatives from Walt Disney did not immediately return a request for comment.

: Oxford Industries stock falls more than 5% after weaker quarterly guidance

MarketWatch - 13hr 

Shares of Oxford Industries Inc. OXM dropped nearly 6% in the extended session Thursday after the owner of Tommy Bahama, Lilly Pulitzer and other apparel brands beat expectations for its fiscal fourth quarter but guided for a weaker fiscal first-quarter 2023 profit. Oxford earned $32 million, or $2 a share, in the quarter, compared with $24 million, or $1.50 a share, in the year-ago period. Adjusted for one-time items, Oxford Industries earned $2.28 a share. Revenue rose to $382 million, from $300 million a year ago. FactSet consensus called for EPS of $2.14 on sales of $379 million. Oxford guided for 2023 revenue of $1.62 billion to $1.66 billion and adjusted adjusted EPS of $11.50 to $11.90 for the year. For fiscal first quarter, the company guided for sales between $405 million and $425 million, and an adjusted EPS between $3.60 and $3.80. FactSet consensus calls for a current-quarter adjusted EPS of $4.09 on sales of $411 million. “We are excited about our plans for 2023 and believe continued consumer interest in elegant casualwear, moving to warmer climates and travel are all macro trends that play to our strengths,” Chief Executive Tom Chubb said. “We believe these factors position us well to deliver another year of excellent results.” Shares of Oxford Industries ended the regular trading day down 0.8%.

: Joann shares shed gains after hours on big earnings miss

MarketWatch - 13hr 

Joann Inc. JOAN shares shed gains from the regular session after hours Thursday after the fabric, arts and crafts retailer missed big on earnings while beating Wall Street estimates on revenue, as it seeks to cut costs. Joann shares fell 5% after hours, following a 7.1% surge in the regular session to close at $2.11. The company reported a fourth-quarter loss of $91.1 million, or $2.23 a share, versus net income of $13.6 million, or 32 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Adjusted earnings, which excludes stock-based compensation expenses and other items, were 7 cents a share, compared with $1.16 a share in the year-ago period. Revenue declined to $692.8 million from $735.3 million in the year-ago period. Meanwhile, analysts surveyed by FactSet had forecast earnings of 62 cents a share on revenue of $668.8 million. The company said it’s looking to reduce annual costs by roughly $200 million. “While many of the cost headwinds we faced in fiscal year 2023 are becoming tailwinds, we believe it is prudent to continue to take proactive steps to strengthen our balance sheet,” said Scott Sekella, Joann’s chief financial officer, in a statement. “With this in mind, our new credit facility is another tool to improve our balance sheet as we focus on cash generation throughout fiscal year 2024.” The CFO was referring to a credit facility that adds a series of $100 million first-in last-out loans, adding to its existing $500 million asset-based revolving credit loan.

: Scholastic stock sinks 12% after publisher’s quarterly loss widens, outlook lowered

MarketWatch - 13hr 

Shares of Scholastic Corp. SCHL dropped 12% in the extended session Thursday after the children’s publishing, education and media company reported a wider quarterly loss, saying its education business suffered as school districts continue to manage staff shortages and retail demand for children’s books softened. Scholastic also dialed down its outlook for the year. The company lost $19.3 million, or 57 cents a share, in the fiscal third quarter, compared with a loss of $15.3 million, or 44 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter. Revenue dropped to $325 million, from $345 million a year ago. “Scholastic navigated short-term headwinds in domestic and international markets, which contributed to modest sales declines and higher losses in our seasonally small third quarter,” Chief Executive Peter Warwick said in a statement. The “tougher market conditions” are expected to continue into the fiscal fourth quarter, the company said. Scholastic guided for a fiscal 2023 adjusted EBITDA of $175 million to $185 million, compared with a previous expectation of $195 million to $205 million. Full-year revenue is expected to grow about 4%, compared with a previous range of 8% to 10%. Shares of Scholastic ended the regular trading day down 2.2%.

: Weight Watchers chairman to step down in May

MarketWatch - 13hr 

WW International Inc. WW, the parent company of Weight Watchers, said late Thursday its chairman would not stand for re-election, and is stepping down. Raymond Debbane, the current chair, will step down the day before the company’s May 9 annual meeting, WW said, with the board appointing Thilo Semmelbauer as chairman-elect. Semmelbauer has been a board member since September 2016.

: Air Products abandoned coal project it invested $2 billion in 3 years ago to focus on hydrogen

MarketWatch - 14hr 

Air Products & Chemicals Inc. APD said Thursday that it has withdrawn from the coal-to-methanol Bengalon project in Indonesia, so it can focus energy-transition projects. The industrial gases company had said in May 2020 that it invested $2 billion in the project. The stock fell 3.1% in Thursday’s regular session to $266.94, the lowest close since Nov. 3. “The financial landscape for blue and green hydrogen projects has significantly changed in the last year, driving increasing opportunities for Air Products to invest in these energy transition projects around the world,” the company said in a statement, which it said was made in response to media reports. “As a result, the Company has decided to redeploy its financial resources on such energy transition opportunities.” Air Products said it remains “committed” to its industrial gas business in Indonesia. The stock has dropped 14.5% over the past three months, while the Materials Select Sector SPDR exchange-traded fund XLB has slipped 3.0% and the S&P 500 SPX has gained 2.7%.

: Dow, S&P 500 post modest gains Thursday as investor focus returns to banking risks

MarketWatch - 14hr 

U.S. stocks ended modestly higher Thursday in choppy trade as worries about potential weakness in the banking system resurfaced a day after the Federal Reserve increased hikes by 25 basis points. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA rose about 73 points, or 0.2%, ending near 32,103, down about 400 points from the session’s high. The S&P 500 index SPX gained 0.3% and the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP closed up 1%, according to preliminary figures from FactSet. Stocks closed off the session’s highs, but gained ground after Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told a Senate committee that the federal government would take extra steps to stabilize the U.S. banking system, if necessary. Stocks closed sharply lower Wednesday after the Fed raised its policy rate to a range of 4.75% to 5%, up a year ago from close to zero. But some analysts said a catalyst of the selloff was comments from Yellen indicating she wasn’t yet considering ways to guarantee all bank deposits, despite regulators providing an exception to depositors in Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank, which failed earlier this month. Sheila Bair, who ran the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. from 2006 to 2011, told MarketWatch on Thursday that the focus should be on underwater securities at all banks, not only regional lenders.

: Yellen says U.S. would take ‘additional actions’ on bank system if necessary

MarketWatch - 15hr 

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Thursday will tell lawmakers that the federal government would take extra steps to stabilize the U.S. banking system if necessary. “We have used important tools to act quickly to prevent contagion,” Yellen says in testimony prepared for delivery to a House Appropriations subcommittee. “And they are tools we could use again.” Yellen’s comments follow a Senate hearing on Wednesday in which she said she wasn’t considering ways to guarantee all bank deposits. Invoking regulators’ guarantee of all deposits at Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank, Yellen says “the strong actions we have taken ensure that Americans’ deposits are safe. Certainly, we would be prepared to take additional actions if warranted.” Some lawmakers have discussed raising the deposit-insurance limit from its current $250,000 per depositor, but Yellen said Wednesday that is not her focus right now.

: Oil futures settle lower, with U.S. prices back below $70 a barrel

MarketWatch - 15hr 

Oil prices settled lower on Thursday, with U.S. benchmark prices falling back below $70 a barrel just a day after topping that level for the first time in a week. “The banks are the main driver of oil, and really all risk assets today, as fading confidence in the financial system is reigniting fears that another crisis may be looming after we saw some of the biggest bank failures since 2008 in early March,” said Tyler Richey, co-editor at Sevens Report Research. May West Texas Intermediate crude CLK23 fell 94 cents, or 1.3%, to settle at $69.96 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

: Gold futures mark highest settlement in more than a year

MarketWatch - 16hr 

Gold futures climbed Thursday to their highest settlement in over a year after the Federal Reserve announced a quarter-point interest-rate hike a day earlier and signaled one more rate increase this year. While Fed Chairman Jerome Powell pushed back on market expectations of a rate cut this year, the market focused on the Fed’s “less hawkish” adjustment to the statement: the removal of “ongoing increases” from the text of the statement, said Fiona Cincotta, senior financial markets analyst at City Index. That suggested the central bank is “nearing the end of the hiking cycle.” Gold for April delivery GCJ23rose $46.30, or 2.4%, to settle at $1,995.90 an ounce on Comex. That was the highest most-active contract finish since March 10 of last year, FactSet data show.

: Snap launches division to bring AR to other companies

MarketWatch - 16hr 

Snap Inc.’s SNAP stock jumped more than 3% Thursday after it launched a new division to help other companies build augmented-reality features for their websites or apps. The division, called AR Enterprise Services, marks Snap’s entry into selling its AR technology to business customers so they can enhance real-world photos and videos with computerized images. Snap says more than 250 million people engage with AR every day on Snapchat, its photo-messaging app.

: Pentagon probing Boeing Co. security clearance lapses involving Air Force One: WSJ

MarketWatch - 17hr 

Boeing Co. BA employees allegedly worked on current and future Air Force One planes without the required security credentials, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday. Pentagon officials are scrutinizing the security lapse, the newspaper said, citing people familiar with the matter. The company and the Defense Department also have been examining for how long many workers with access to the jets lacked certain credentials, and why in some cases security clearances had expired months or years ago, the report said. The Wall Street Journal quoted an Air Force spokeswoman as saying both the Air Force and Boeing are looking into what was described as a lapse in personnel tracking and “continue to provide robust security for the presidential jets.” Boeing said that it “quickly notified the Air Force after it discovered what it described as an administrative issue,” the report said. Air Force Ones are a variant of the famous 747 “Queen of the Skies” Boeing jet, which the company recently retired. The current iteration is a specially configured 747-200B, the newest and largest presidential airplane, Boeing has said. Capabilities include longer range and aerial refueling.

: ABB sets new $1 billion stock repurchase program, after completing last year’s $2 billion program

MarketWatch - 17hr 

The U.S.-listed shares of ABB Ltd. ABBCH:ABBN rose 1.4% in afternoon trading Thursday, after the Switzerland-based electrification and automation company announced a new $1 billion stock buyback program, to be launched in April. The new program, which represents about 1.5% of the company’s market capitalization of $66.02 billion, according to FactSet, follows the completion of the $2 billion program launched a year ago. Under the previous program, the company repurchased 67.46 million shares, or 3.3% of the shares outstanding. The stock has edged up 1.3% over the past three months while the iShares MSCI Switzerland exchange-traded fund EWL has lost 9.9% and the S&P 500 SPX has declined 10.8%.

: Carvana debt swap ‘tantamount to default,’ S&P says, cutting the retailer’s debt ratings to CC

MarketWatch - 17hr 

Carvana Co.’s CVNA debt swap is “distressed” and “tantamount to default” if completed because it will result in bondholders receiving less than originally promised, S&P Global ratings analysts said Thursday. They lowered their rating on Carvana’s debt to CC, from CCC+, with a negative outlook. The outlook “reflects our expectation that we will lower our issuer credit rating on the company to ‘D’ (default) upon the completion of the proposed exchange offer,” S&P said. “Shortly after restructuring, we would raise the ratings to a level that reflects the ongoing risk of a conventional default or future distressed restructurings.” Carvana is pursuing the deal because its capital structure “is unsustainable and the company has limited options to reduce its debt burden and improve its cash flow organically,” S&P said. The car retailer on Wednesday updated its fiscal first-quarter guidance and launched a bond swap of up to $1 billion to stave off its cash burn. The swap reportedly lacks support from the majority of the bondholders. Carvana stock is down 94% in the past 12 months, compared with a decline of around 10% for the S&P 500 index. SPX

: Netflix stock rallies toward best gain in 5 months, leads S&P 500’s gainers

MarketWatch - 18hr 

Shares of Netflix Inc. NFLX powered up 9.1% in midday trading Thursday, enough to pace the S&P 500’s gainers, and putting them on track to close at the highest price for the month. The video streaming giant stock was also headed for the the biggest one-day gain since it ran up 13.1% on Oct. 19, 2022. While the stocks of other companies with leading streaming services were also rising, Netflix’s stock outperformed them by a wide margin. Shares of Apple Inc. AAPL advanced 1.7%, Walt Disney Co. DIS climbed 1.8%, Amazon.com Inc. AMZN rallied 1.6% and Paramount Global PARA gained 2.6%. However, they all outperformed the S&P 500 SPX, which tacked on 1.4%. Separately, The Wall Street Journal reported that New York lawmakers are considering a sales tax on streaming services, such as Netflix, to raise money for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority so fares on New York City subways wouldn’t have to be raised.

: Stock of SPAC looking to take Donald Trump’s Truth Social falls again, after CEO termination and reports that grand jury probing hush-money case won’t act till next week

MarketWatch - 19hr 

Shares of Digital World Acquisition Corp., the special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) that is looking to take Donald Trump’s Truth Social public, dropped 1.6% in morning trading Thursday toward a third-straight loss. The pullback comes amid reports that the grand jury probing former President Trump’s role in paying hush money to a porn star isn’t expected to act on Thursday, so a vote is not expected until next week. The SPAC’s stock had dropped 2.4% on Wednesday, after saying it “terminated” Chief Executive Patrick Orlando after roughly 18 months in the role. Meanwhile, the stock’s three-day pullback comes after it bounces 11.0% on Monday, after the stock had closed Friday at the lowest price since October 2021. It has plunged 81.6% over the past 12 months while the S&P 500 SPX has lost 10.3%.

: Grand jury in Trump hush-money payment probe won’t act Thursday: reports

MarketWatch - 19hr 

A Manhattan grand jury isn’t expected to act today in its probe into former President Donald Trump’s role in paying hush money to a porn star, according to reports. Fox News said the grand jury won’t hear testimony or vote on the case today. The jury doesn’t sit on Fridays, so a vote on the case isn’t expected this week. The Wall Street Journal reported that jurors are scheduled to meet today but are expected to hear another matter.

: EIA reports a weekly U.S. natural-gas supply decline that nearly matches market expectations

MarketWatch - 19hr 

The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported on Thursday that domestic natural-gas supplies fell by 72 billion cubic feet for the week ended March 17. On average, analysts forecast a decline of 71 billion cubic feet in a survey conducted by S&P Global Commodity Insights. Total working gas stocks in storage for the latest week was at 1.9 trillion cubic feet, up 504 billion cubic feet from a year ago and 351 billion cubic feet above the five-year average, the government said. Following the data, April natural gas NGJ23 was up 1.6 cents, or 0.7%, at $2.187 per million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices traded at $2.198 before the supply data.

: Stocks open higher, bounce as investors assess Fed rate path

MarketWatch - 20hr 

U.S. stocks opened higher Thursday, attempting to bounce back from a late selloff the previous session after the Federal Reserve delivered a rate hike and Chair Jerome Powell said rate cuts by year end were unlikely. Investors, however, were betting that the Fed will deliver cuts before year-end, helping equities to find support, analysts said. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA rose 197 points, or 0.6% , while the S&P 500 SPX gained 0.9% and the Nasdaq Composite COMP jumped 1.3%

: United Natural Foods CEO of UNFI Retail unit resigns to ‘pursue other professional opportunities’

MarketWatch - 21hr 

The replaces a previous item that incorrectly reported Michael Stigers position with the company. It has been corrected.United Natural Foods Inc. UNFI disclosed Thursday that Michael Stigers, chief executive of the grocery wholesaler’s UNFI Retail business, will resign to “pursue another professional opportunity.” Stigers will remain with the company until May 31. The stock has tumbled 43.4% so far in March, as the company reported disappointing quarterly results, to close Wednesday at the lowest price since January 2021, while the S&P 500 SPX has slipped 0.8%.