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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 19, 2021

China ETFs surge on GDP beat
Chinese growth-stock exchange-traded funds roared higher Tuesday, the first trading day in the U.S. after the country said it had had economic growth that beat analyst expectations and surpassed pre-pandemic rates of growth. Gross domestic product rose 6.5% in the fourth quarter compared to a year earlier, according to a release from the National Bureau of Statistics, higher than Q4 2019 growth of 6.0%. The Global X MSCI China Information Technology ETF and the Invesco China Technology ETF both jumped 5.6% by midday Tuesday, while the iShares MSCI China Small-Cap ETF was up 5.3%. Many Western analysts maintain some skepticism about official Chinese government reports on economic health. Still, the centralized government has been better able to coordinate a pandemic response than more diverse countries like the U.S.

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



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 19, 2021

Aclaris Therapeutics stock more than triples after 'positive' data on arthritis treatment trial
Shares of Aclaris Therapeutics Inc. skyrocketed more than 200% toward a 2 1/2-year high, on massive volume, in midday trading Tuesday, after the biopharmaceutical company announced "positive" data from a Phase 2a trial of its rheumatoid arthritis treatment. The stock shot up 211.1%, putting it on track for the highest close since July 2018, to pace all gainers on major U.S. exchanges. Trading volume soared to 79.7 million shares, compared with the full-day average of about 859,000 shares. The company said the Phase 2a multicenter trial was randomized, patient-blind, sponsor-unblinded and placebo-controlled, and the primary endpoint was safety and tolerability of ATI-450, an investigational oral MK2 inhibitor. In the trial, the company said ATI-450 as generally well tolerated, showed no serious adverse events and demonstrated durable clinical activity. Aclaris Chief Medical Officer David Gordon said he believes the data supports the hypothesis that MK2 inhibition is an important novel target for treating immuno-inflammatory diseases, and he looks forward to progressing ATI-450 to Phase 2b. The stock has soared more than four-fold (up 305.5%) over the past three months, while the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF has rallied 19.4% and the S&P 500 has gained 10.6%.

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



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 19, 2021

Tesla's stock gains as Model Y deliveries in China have begun
Shares of Tesla Inc. rose 1.2% in morning trading Tuesday, after the electric vehicle market leader tweeted over the weekend that it has started official deliveries of its Model Y vehicles in China. The model Y is Tesla's compact SUV, which can seat up to 7 people. Despite the gain, the stock has struggled over the past week to regain its rallying form, which saw the stock nearly double over the past three months, while rocketing more than 700% over the past year. The stock, which is now 5.0% below its Jan. 8 record close of $880.02, has waffled within a closing range of $811.19 to $854.41 the past six sessions. Tesla's stock is now up 94.0% over the past three months while the S&P 500 has advanced 10.4%.

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



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 19, 2021

The Ratings Game: Facebook stock upgraded as BMO says risks to ad targeting could ease
Facebook Inc. shares FB are up 1.7% in Tuesday morning trading after BMO Capital Markets analyst Daniel Salmon upgraded the stock to outperform from market perform and boosted his price target to $325 from $270. Salmon wrote that while the company could see its targeting capabilities reduced due to an Apple Inc. privacy measure on its iOS operating system, this action could mark the "peak" of "targeting headwinds" for Facebook. "We increasingly believe that over the short-to-medium-term FB will be able to mitigate some of these losses via new tools…while over the medium-to-longer-term, we see FB lowering its reliance on targeting events/ signals generated from outside its walled garden as more advertiser conversions occur in platform," he wrote. Salmon is also upbeat about ongoing initiatives at Facebook as the company looks to drive increased revenue from areas like e-commerce, messaging, and payments. He still sees "acute" risks for the company around the potential for heightened security spending, which could hit margins, as well as antitrust pushback, though he doubts regulators will take "material" action in the next year. Facebook shares have lost 2.7% over the past three months as the S&P 500 SPX has risen 10.6%.

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



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 19, 2021

FedEx to cut up to 6,300 jobs in Europe, pay up to $575 million in severance
Shares of FedEx Corp. after the package delivery company said it will cut between 5,500 and 6,300 jobs in Europe as it nears the completion of the network integration of TNT Express. FedEx's stock rose 1.4% in morning trading. The cuts will be across operational teams and back-office functions. FedEx expects to pay severance in the range of $300 million to $575 million in cash as a result of the job cuts, which charged expected to be incurred through fiscal 2023. Annualized savings from the cuts are expected to be between $275 million and $350 million, starting in fiscal 2024. FedEx's stock has dropped 9.2% over the past three months, while the Dow Jones Transportation Average has advanced 11.6% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average has gained 10.0%.

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



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 19, 2021

Dow kicks off trade 200 points higher Tuesday as investors focus on Biden inauguration, Yellen confirmation hearing
U.S. stock benchmarks Tuesday morning rose on the first trading day after a holiday-shortened week, a day ahead of the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and as fourth-quarter earnings season kicks into higher gear. Investors are awaiting testimony from Janet Yellen, the former Fed chair nominated by Biden to head the Treasury, who is scheduled to testify at her confirmation hearing speak before the Senate Finance Committee at 10 a.m. Eastern, while market participants also are parsing quarterly results from Goldman Sachs Group and Bank of America among others. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 213 points, or 0.7%, at 31,030, the S&P 500 index climbed 0.7% to 3,796, while the Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 1% at 13,127.

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



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 19, 2021

Kulicke & Soffa's stock surges toward 21-year high after upbeat profit outlook
Shares of Kulicke & Soffa Industries Inc. charged up 5.0% toward a 21-year high in premarket trading Tuesday, after the semiconductor equipment company provided an upbeat profit outlook for the fiscal first quarter, citing "strong demand" for its K&S products. The company expects adjusted earnings per share of 73 cents to 77 cents for the quarter that ended in December, well above the FactSet consensus of 54 cents. "Strong demand for K&S solutions is stemming from the general semiconductor and LED end-markets and ongoing recovery is anticipated to continue within automotive throughout fiscal year 2021," the company said. The company is projected to report first-quarter results on or around Feb. 3. The stock, which is on track to open at the highest price seen during regular-session hours since May 2000, has run up 41.0% over the past three months through Friday while the S&P 500 has gained 10.0%.

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



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 19, 2021

American Airlines enters new PSP agreement for $3.1 billion, with first installment already received
American Airlines Group Inc. disclosed Tuesday that it reached a Payroll Support Program Extension Agreement (PSP2) with the U.S. Treasury for an expected total of at least $3.09 billion. The company said the first installment of the PSP2 agreement of $1.54 billion was received on Jan. 15. As part of the agreement, American Airlines has agreed to issue warrants to the Treasury to buy shares of common stock. The warrants have an exercise price of $15.66 per share. American Airlines' stock, which rallied 1.5% in premarket trading, has climbed 25.5% over the past three months through Friday, while the U.S. Global Jets ETF has advanced 26.0% and the S&P 500 has gained 10.0%.

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



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 19, 2021

Charles Schwab stock jumps after profit and revenue beats, with trading households rising more than 50%
Shares of Charles Schwab Corp. surged 2.1% in premarket trading Tuesday, after the discount brokerage reported fourth-quarter profit and revenue that beat Wall Street forecasts, as client engagement grew to record levels in 2020. Net income was $1.14 billion, or 57 cents a share, after net income of $852 million, or 62 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Excluding non-recurring items, adjusted earnings per share rose to 74 cents from 63 cents and beat the FactSet consensus of 65 cents. Total revenue jumped 60% to $4.18 billion, above the FactSet consensus of $4.11 billion. "The pandemic's rapid escalation in early 2020 was accompanied by volatile equity markets and further easing of monetary policy," said Chief Executive Walt Bettinger. "As the year progressed, government aid packages and vaccine developments helped settle the markets, with the S&P 500 eventually erasing its pandemic-related losses to finish up 16% from December 2019." That helped lift new-to-firm households last year by more than 175% from 2019, while the number of households placing trades rose more than 50%. The stock, which reached a record close of $61.20 on Jan. 12, has soared 51.1% over the past three months through Friday, while the S&P 500 has gained 10.0%.

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



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 19, 2021

SPAC Churchill Capital declines comment on whether it is pursuing specific merger following 'unusual' trading of its stock
Churchill Capital Corp IV , a special purpose acquisition corporation set up by former Citigroup Inc. banker Michael Klein, issued a statement on Tuesday in response to inquiries from shareholders and following what it called 'unusual trading' in its shares in recent sessions. The blank-check company, which was formed for the purpose of acquiring a business or businesses, said it is always reviewing a range of potential business combinations to find a best fit for its shareholders. "We do not generally comment on rumors and speculation and will not comment as to whether the company is or is not pursuing a specific business opportunity other than saying, as noted, we are always evaluating a number of potential business combinations," said the statement. Churchill shares have gained about 50% in the last three months, amid media reports that it is in talks for a merger with electric vehicle company Lucid Motors. Electric vehicles have become a major subject of speculation after Tesla Inc.'s more than 700% gains in the last 12 months.

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



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 19, 2021

American Express stocks surges after J.P. Morgan swings to bullish from bearish, boosts price target
Shares of American Express Co. rallied 2.3% in premarket trading Tuesday, after J.P. Morgan analyst Richard Shane swung to bullish from bearish on the credit card and travel services company, citing expectations of a sharp rebound in consumer spending. Shane raised his rating by two notches to overweight from underweight, while boosting his stock price target to $148 from $105. He said in the March-April period of 2021, AmEx will be lapping the severe spending decline of last year resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, which positions the company to "rebound from being a top-line laggard to a top-line leader" in the second half of 2021. "[H]igh-end spend is likely to rebound sharply (and early) as economy recovers," Shane wrote in a note to clients. "Pend up demand for leisure travel has potential to be unprecedented catalyst in 2H21." The stock has lost 7.1% over the past 12 months through Friday, but has climbed 19.2% the past three months, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has gained 5.0% the past year and advanced 9.3% the past three months.

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



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 19, 2021

PetMed Express stock slumps after profit miss
PetMed Express Inc. stock slumped 8.6% in Tuesday premarket trading before rebounding to a 2.1% decline after the pet pharmacy reported fiscal third-quarter profit that missed expectations. Net income totaled $7.6 million, or 38 cents per share, up from $6.8 million, or 34 cents per share, last year. Sales totaled $65.9 million up from $59.9 million last year. The FactSet consensus was for EPS of 39 cents and sales of $64.3 million. Average order size rose to $88 from $85, according to a statement from PetMed Chief Executive Menderes Akdag. And the company declared a quarterly dividend of 28 cents per share, payable on Feb. 12, 2021 to shareholders of record as of the close of business on Feb. 1, 2021. PetMed stock has gained 27.4% over the past year outpacing the S&P 500 index , which is up 13.2% for the period.

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



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 19, 2021

Thermo Fisher to acquire company with COVID-19 test
Shares of Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. are up 1.3% in premarket trading on Tuesday after the company said it will spend $450 million in cash to acquire Mesa Biotech Inc., a privately held medical testing company. It will also pay the company up to $100 million in additional milestone payments. Mesa has developed several tests, including a molecular diagnostic test for COVID-19 that has been authorized by the Food and Drug Administration. "The addition of Mesa Biotech's easy-to-use, rapid PCR-based test is highly complementary to our existing offering and will further help us meet the continuing demand for COVID-related testing," Thermo chief operating officer Mark Stevenson said in a statement. Mesa has 500 employees and generated $45 million in revenue in 2020. Mesa and Thermo both have authorized COVID-19 tests that the FDA recently said may be affected by new strains of SARS-CoV-2. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter. Thermo's stock has gained 48.3% over the last year, while the S&P 500 is up 14.5%.

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
Jan 19, 2021

ODP's stock slips after WSJ report of rejecting Staples' buyout bid
Shares of ODP Corp. slipped 1.1% in premarket trading Tuesday, after The Wall Street Journal reported that the office supplies retailer has rejected an unsolicited buyout proposal by rival Staples, which is owned Sycamore Partners. The buyout bid of $40 a share in cash, announced last week, valued ODP at more than $2 billion. The WSJ report, citing a letter it reviewed, said ODP has determined that rather than a sale, it prefers a sale of its retail and consumer-facing e-commerce operations. Staples' latest bid marks the third attempt to acquire its rival, as the WSJ reported. ODP's stock has more than doubled (up 113.8%) over the past three months through Friday, including a 24.1% gain last week, while the S&P 500 has advanced 10.0%.

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



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 19, 2021

Entain shares nosedive as MGM says it won't go forward with offer
MGM Resorts International said it doesn't plan to submit a revised proposal to buy Entain , the U.K. sports betting and gambling company. Entain shares dropped 15% in London action. "MGM today announces that, after careful consideration and having reflected on the limited recent engagement between the respective companies regarding MGM's rejected all stock proposal at an exchange ratio of 0.6x, it does not intend to submit a revised proposal and it will not make a firm offer for Entain. MGM is committed to being a premier global omni-channel gaming and entertainment company, and will maintain a disciplined framework while evaluating a range of compelling strategic opportunities," said MGM.

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



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 19, 2021

Norwegian Cruise extends cruise suspensions through April 30
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. said Tuesday that it was extending its global cruise suspension through April 30. The suspension now includes all cruises on its Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises. The stock, which is up 1.3% in premarket trading, has rallied 54.3% over the past three months through Friday while the S&P 500 has gained 10.0%. The cruise operator had previously suspended all cruises through Feb. 28, and select cruises through March 31. Norwegian's suspension now matches that of Royal Caribbean Group announced last week, while Carnival Corp. said earlier in January that it would pause sailings of Princess Cruises through May 14. Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) isn't suspending cruises, it currently recommends "all people avoid travel on cruise ships," because the risk of COVID-19 on cruise ships is "very high."

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



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 19, 2021

UPDATE: Aphria stock price target raised by Stifel but analysts caution on stretched valuation
Shares of Canadian cannabis company Aphria Inc. rose 4.4% in premarket trade Tuesday, after Stifel raised its stock price target to C$15.50 ($12.18) from C$9.80, and said recent results underscore the company's long-term prospects. But analysts led by W. Andrew Carter also reiterated a hold rating on the stock. While Aphria's earnings beat Stifel's estimates, they included lower Canadian adult use sales, which were tempered by stronger distribution sales and higher global medical sales, the analysts wrote in a note to clients. Still, they said they were However, we have been surprised at the stock's outperformance -- it has gained 25% after earnings, while the S&P 500 has fallen 1% -- following earnings and adding to postelection strength. "We believe the outperformance for the Canadian LPs on the prospect of U.S. federal reform has limited merit pushing valuations to unsubstantiated levels, but we believe our robust fundamental outlook alongside the growth prospects of the pending combination with Tilray Inc. are limiting factors for a more negative approach," the analysts wrote. ". But we believe the robust valuation (11X EV/FY22E net cannabis revenue) serves as an impediment for material outperformance with the stock likely to remain volatile." Cantor Fitzgerald raised its 12-month stock price target for Aphria to C$26 from C$11.75 on Friday, to factor in its merger with Tilray even though it was unimpressed by the company's quarterly earning.s Aphria shares have gained 136% in the last 12 months, while the Cannabis ETF has gained 29%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 19, 2021

Goldman Sachs stock rallies as profit more than doubles and beats expectations
Shares of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. rose 2.0% in premarket trading Tuesday, after the bank and brokerage reported fourth-quarter net income that more than doubled and beat expectations by a wide margin, and revenue that also beat forecasts. Net income grew to $4.51 billion, or $12.08 a share, from $1.72 billion, or $4.69 a share, in the year-ago period. The FactSet consensus was for earnings per share of $7.45. Total revenue increased 17.9% to $11.74 billion, above the FactSet consensus of $9.99 billion, as net interest income jumped 32.4% to $1.41 billion to beat expectations of $1.14 billion. Among business segments, revenue increased the most in market making (53%) and investment banking (34%). Within investment banking, equity underwriting revenue nearly tripled (up 195%) to $1.12 billion, above the FactSet consensus of $784.4 million, while debt underwriting rose 68% to $526 million but missed expectations of $583.8 million. Fixed income, currencies and commodities (FICC) revenue grew 6% to $1.88 billion, missing expectations of $2.06 billion, while equities revenue rose 40% to $2.39 billion to surpass expectations of $1.89 billion. The stock has run up 46.3% over the past three months through Friday, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has gained 9.3%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 19, 2021

Peloton, Fiverr and Chewy downgraded to sell at UBS
In a note on U.S. internet and interactive entertainment stocks, UBS downgraded Peloton Interactive , Fiverr International and Chewy to sell from neutral. Analysts led by Eric Sheridan said the three stocks are "emblematic of a market that values growth over any semblance of valuation that can be justified on a multiple year view based on our fundamental analysis." Take-Two Interactive Software was downgraded to neutral from buy.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 19, 2021

Bank of America's stock slips after profit beat expectations but revenue falls shy
Shares of Bank of America Corp. slipped 0.2% in premarket trading Tuesday, erasing earlier gains, after the bank reported a fourth-quarter profit that beat expectations but revenue that fell short, as global markets revenue rose less than forecast. Net income fell to $5.5 billion, or 59 cents a share, from $7.0 billion, or 74 cents a share, in the year-ago period. The FactSet consensus was for earnings per share of 55 cents. Total revenue declined 10.1% to $20.10 billion, below the FactSet consensus of $20.58 billion, as net interest income fell 15.5% to $10.25 billion to top expectations of $10.24 billion. Consumer banking revenue fell 13.4% to $8.24 billion, above the FactSet consensus of $8.13 billion, while global markets revenue increased 14.1% to $3.91 billion but missed expectations of $4.10 billion. Equities revenue rose 30% to $1.3 billion, while fixed income, currencies and commodities (FICC) revenue decreased 5% to $1.7 billion. Global banking revenue fell less than forecast and global wealth and investment management revenue declined in line with expectations. "In the fourth quarter, we continued to see signs of a recovery, led by increased consumer spending, stabilizing loan demand by our commercial customers, and strong markets and investing activity," said Chief Executive Brian Moynihan. Earlier, the bank said it had authorized a stock buyback program of $2.9 billion through March 31. The stock has rallied 39.2% over the past three months through Friday, while the SPDR Financial Select Sector ETF has climbed 25.7% and the S&P 500 has gained 10.0%.

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



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 19, 2021

UPDATE: Coronavirus tally: Global cases of COVID-19 top 95.6 million and U.S. approaches 400,000 fatalities
The global tally for confirmed cases of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 climbed above 95.6 million on Tuesday, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University, while the death toll rose above 2 million. The U.S. has the highest case tally in the world at 24 million and the highest death toll at 399,003, or more than a quarter of the global total. The U.S. added at least 142,588 new cases on Mondayaccording to a New York Times tracker , and counted at least 1,440 deaths, although the numbers are likely underreported as staffing is reduced at weekends and on holidays. The U.S. is averaging about 3,300 deaths a day and California has become the first state to have more than 3 million cases. In Los Angeles Country, air quality regulators have lifted limits on how many cremations can be performed due to a backlog of bodies, according to an emergency order. Brazil has the second highest death toll at 210,299 and is third by cases at 8.5 million. India is second worldwide in cases with 10.6 million, and third in deaths at 152,556. Mexico has the fourth highest death toll at 141,248 and 13th highest case tally at 1.6 million. The U.K. has 3.4 million cases and 90,031 deaths, the highest in Europe and fifth highest in the world.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 19, 2021

Halliburton narrows loss as revenue tops estimates
Oil services company Halliburton Inc. said Monday it had a net loss of $235 million, or 27 cents a share, in the fourth quarter, narrower than the loss of $1.654 billion, or $1.88 a share, posted in the year-earlier period. Adjusted to exclude severance and other charges, the company had per-share earnings of 18 cents, ahead of the 15 cents FactSet consensus. Revenue fell to $3.237 billion from $5.191 billion, but also beat the $3.213 billion FactSet consensus. Chief Executive Jeff Miller said he is "optimistic" about activity momentum in North America and expects international activity to bottom in the first quarter. The company booked $446 million of pre-tax impairments and other charges in the quarter, mostly due to a contemplated structured transaction for its North American real estate assets. Shares rose 2.4% premarket, but have fallen 13.4% in the last 12 months, while the S&P 500 has gained 13%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 19, 2021

Lumentum to acquire Coherent in cash and stock deal valued at $5.7 billion
Lumentum Holdings Inc. said Monday it has agreed to acquire Coherent Inc. in a cash-and-stock deal valued at $5.7 billion. Under the terms of the deal, Lumentum will pay $100 in cash at 1.1851 shares of comment stock for each Coherent share. At closing. Coherent shares will own about 27% of the combined company. The deal "unites Coherent's leading photonics and lasers businesses, including in the Microelectronics, Precision Manufacturing, Instrumentation, and Aerospace & Defense markets, with Lumentum's leading Telecom, Datacom, and 3D Sensing photonics businesses, creating a diversified photonics technology company with significantly increased scale and market reach," the companies said in a joint statement. The deal is expected to boost earnings in the first year after closing and to generate more than $150 million in annual run-rate synergies. The deal is expected to close in the second half of 2021. Coherent shares soared 31.7% premarket, while Lumentum was down 1.7%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 19, 2021

Gannett provides upbeat revenue outlook on advertising rebound
USA Today parent Gannett Co. Inc. provided a fourth-quarter revenue outlook that was above expectations, amid strength in advertising. The media company expects revenue of $865 million to $875 million, up from $699.3 million a year ago. The one analyst that provided an estimate with FactSet was expecting $857 million. Gannett also expects a net loss of $135 million to $130 million. "Revenue improvement was primarily driven by a continued rebound in our advertising trends, both print and digital," said Chief Executive Michael Reed. "We also continued to see strong digital-only circulation pro forma revenue performance with an increase of approximately 46% year-over-year." The stock, which is still inactive in premarket trading, has soared 171.9% over the past three months while the S&P 500 has gained 10.0%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 19, 2021

Bank of America sets $2.9 billion stock buyback program through March, to pay regular dividend
Shares of Bank of America Corp. gained 1.2% in premarket trading Tuesday, after the bank said it authorized the repurchase of $2.9 billion worth of common shares through March 31. The bank also announced a regular quarterly dividend of 18 cents a share, to be payable March 26 to shareholders of record on March 5. The announcements come ahead of BofA's fourth-quarter report, which is expected to be revealed later on Tuesday. The bank said that is the maximum allowed for the period, under guidelines established by the Federal Reserve. Based on Friday's closing stock price of $33.01, that buyback program could represent up to 87.85 million shares, or about 1% of the shares outstanding. BofA's stock has run up 39.2% over the past three months through Friday, while the S&P 500 has gained 10.0%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 19, 2021

Western Union's stock shoots up after deal to be in Walmart stores nationwide
Shares of Western Union Co. shot up 8.5% in premarket trading Tuesday, after the money-movement company announced a new agreement with Walmart Inc. in which money transfer services will be enabled at Walmart stores nationwide. Services available at Western Union's Walmart locations, which are expected to be available in the spring of 2021, will include domestic and international money transfers, bill payments and money orders. Western Union's stock has gained 1.1% over the past three months through Friday, while Walmart shares have tacked on 1.2% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average has advanced 9.3%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 19, 2021

Logitech International shares jump after lifting outlook
Shares of Logitech International jumped 8% in early Swiss trade as the computer peripheral maker upgraded its 2021 outlook. It now sees 57% to 60% sales growth at constant currencies on $1.05 billion in non-GAAP operating income, compared to its previous outlook of 35% to 40% sales growth and $700 million to $725 million of operating income. Its fiscal third-quarter operating income tripled to $448 million on sales growth of 80% in constant currencies, helped by demand for accessories for webcams and tablets, video conferencing, audio and wearables and gaming.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 15, 2021

NRA files for chapter 11, plans move to Texas
The National Rifle Association said late Friday that it has filed for chapter 11 in a Texas bankruptcy court, saying the "restructuring plan" will help streamline its legal and financial affairs and ensure its "continued success." The organization also said it was leaving New York and going forward with plans to reincorporate in Texas. "The plan can be summed up quite simply: We are DUMPING New York, and we are pursuing plans to reincorporate the NRA in Texas," the NRA said in a letter in its website signed by Wayne LaPierre, its chief executive. The organization said it was not insolvent and is "as financially strong as we have been in years." The NRA and New York have been in an ongoing, high-profile legal battle for months.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 15, 2021

Dow ends down over 170 points after disappointing December retail sales
U.S. stock-market benchmarks finished lower on Friday, booking weekly losses after a third straight drop in retail sales highlighted weakness in consumer spending at the turn of the year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 177 points, or 0.6%, to 30,814, based on preliminary numbers. The S&P 500 slipped 0.7% to end around 3,768. The Nasdaq Composite slid 0.9% to finish near 12,999. For the week, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq both fell 1.5%, while the Dow shed 0.9%. The disappointing retail sales data added to the urgency of further fiscal support. President-elect Joe Biden unveiled a proposed $1.9 trillion stimulus package on Thursday evening, but the bill has drawn widespread skepticism among analysts who question the package's viability. Investors also watched the unofficial start to corporate earnings season, with JPMorgan Chase reporting profits that beat expectations. However, revenues for Citigroup and Wells Fargo fell short of analyst estimates.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 15, 2021

CDC: New more infectious strain of the coronavirus likely to become dominant in the U.S. by March
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday that a new more infectious strain of SARS-CoV-2 will likely become the most dominant form of the virus in the U.S. by March. The strain, B.1.1.7, was first identified by health officials in the United Kingdom in December. The CDC said in a new report that enhanced genomic sequencing, in addition to vaccination and standard mitigation practices like mask-wearing and social distancing, will be needed to stem the spread of the new strain. President-elect Joe Biden announced Thursday that he plans to boost funding for a national genomic sequencing surveillance system, given that the U.S. is trailing other developing countries using this technology in their pandemic responses. "CDC's modeling data show that universal use of and increased compliance with mitigation measures and vaccination are crucial to reduce the number of new cases and deaths substantially in the coming months," the agency said. It also said the U.S. should conduct "strategic testing" of people without symptoms but who are at high-risk for contracting the virus. More than 70 people in 12 states are confirmed to have been infected with the new strain, as of Jan. 13,according to the CDC.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 15, 2021

Oil futures fall for the session; U.S. prices pare their gain for the week
Oil futures declined Friday, prompting U.S. prices to pare their gain for the week, pressured as fresh outbreaks of COVID-19 in China dulled the outlook for energy demand. "China's growing health crisis has led to a fall in oil as it is the largest importer of energy in the world," said David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets UK. "The Beijing administration has put 22 million people on lockdown due to rising COVID-19 cases, so demand fears are in circulation." February West Texas Intermediate crude fell $1.21, or 2.3%, to settle at $52.36 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Based on the front month, prices edged up by 0.2% from last Friday's settlement, FactSet data show.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 15, 2021

3D Systems stock pulls back from a near 6-year high after J.P. Morgan analyst turns bearish
Shares of 3D Systems Corp. tumbled 11% in afternoon trading Friday, after J.P. Morgan analyst Paul Coster turned bearish on the 3D printing company, citing an "unfavorable" risk-versus-reward profile at current prices. The stock has skyrocketed more than four-fold (up 329.7%) over the past three months, to close Thursday at the highest price since April 2015, while the S&P 500 has gained 8.5%. Coster cut his rating to underweight from neutral, but raised his price target to $18, which is 37% below current levels, from $14. He said a strong rebound in the economy will raise activity levels in 3D printing, especially in the auto and aerospace markets, and in the elective surgery and dental markets once the pandemic passes, but he said that view is likely already priced into the stock. He also downgraded fellow 3D printer maker Stratasys Ltd. to underweight from neutral, and the stock fell 2.4% after closing Thursday at the highest price since July 2015.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 15, 2021

Duke Energy Florida to invest in EV charging stations as part of clean energy plan, and raise rates
Duke Energy Corp.'s subsidiary Duke Energy Florida (DEF) announced Friday agreement to push its clean energy program for the state, including investing in electric vehicle charging stations and accelerating the retirement of coal plants, but will also include base rate increases over the next three years. The utility company said the agreement is subject to approval by the Florida Public Service Commission (FPSC). "This agreement provides a path to minimize bill increases while continuing to make smart investments that will offer customers greater reliability, cleaner energy alternatives and innovative technology," said Catherine Stempien, DEF state president. The agreement includes base rate increases of about $5 billion over the next three years. As a result, DEF said its average residential customers will see their bills increase by 3% to 4% in 2022, and by 1% to 2% in 2023 and 2024. Duke's stock, which rose 0.3% in afternoon trading, has slipped 0.6% over the past 12 months, while the SPDR Utilities Select Sector ETF has lost 4.6% and the S&P 500 has gained 15.0%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 15, 2021

Gold prices decline, leading to a loss for the week
Gold futures declined on Friday as strength in the U.S. dollar weighed on prices for the precious metal, leading to gold's modest loss for the week. "Gold has a strong case to rise higher, but it won't shake off a surging dollar," said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at Oanda. "Gold could soften towards $1,800 and if buyers don't emerge, it could get ugly fast," he said. February gold lost $21.50, or 1.2%, to settle at $1,829.90 an ounce. Prices based on the most-active contract lost 0.3% for the week, FactSet data show.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 15, 2021

Baker Hughes data reveal an 8th weekly rise in a row for the U.S. oil-rig count
Baker Hughes on Friday reported that the number of active U.S. rigs drilling for oil rose by 12 to 287 this week. That followed increases in each of the last seven weeks. The total active U.S. rig count, which includes those drilling for natural gas, was also up by 13 to 373, according to Baker Hughes. February West Texas Intermediate crude continued to trade sharply lower following the data, losing $1.34, or 2.5%, to $52.23 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 15, 2021

FedEx adds new surcharge for residential deliveries by large customers
FedEx Corp. is adding a surcharge for its large customers delivering to residences, in an effort to provide "the best possible service during this challenging time." Starting Feb. 15, will apply a surcharge of 30 cents per package for customers who ship more than 30,000 weekly average packages from Jan. 4 through Jan. 31. The "Peak -- Residential Delivery Charge" will apply "until further notice" to FedEx Express and FedEx Ground domestic residential packages in the U.S., and will exclude FedEx SmartPost and FedEx One Rate packages. "The impact of the virus continues to generate elevated volumes, and we continue to experience high demand for capacity and increased operating costs across our network," FedEx said in a statement. The "Peak -- Residential Delivery Charge" will be assessed in addition to the customer's "Residential Delivery Charge" already in place. FedEx's stock dropped 1.3% in midday trading. It has lost 10.4% over the past three months, while rival United Parcel Service Inc. shares have declined 8.5%. Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Transportation Average has gained 7.6% over the same time, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has advanced 8.3%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 15, 2021

Bumble files for IPO, to list on Nasdaq under the 'BMBL' ticker symbol
Bumble Inc. disclosed Friday that it has filed for an initial public offering, as the Texas-based dating-app maker is looking to go public at a time of strong investor for IPOs and after a strong year for rival Match Group Inc. . Bloomberg had reported last month that Bumble had filed confidentially for an IPO, and was seeking a valuation of $6 billion to $8 billion. Bumble has not yet determined the number of shares it will offering in the IPO, the expected pricing or the number of shares it expects have outstanding after the IPO. The stock is expected to list on the Nasdaq exchange under the ticker symbol "BMBL." Goldman Sachs and Citigroup are the lead underwriters. From Jan. 29, 2020 to Sept. 30, 2020, the company recorded a net loss of $84.0 million on revenue of $376.6 million. The company is looking to go public at a time that the Renaissance IPO ETF has run up 23.1% over the past three months while, which Match shares have soared 35.4% and the S&P 500 has gained 8.5%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 15, 2021

Utilities ETFs outperform as investors make defensive bets
Exchange-traded funds exposed to utilities outperformed on Friday as investors fled stocks and other risky assets. The Utilities Select Sector SPDR Fund was up 0.5%, one of the only ETFs tracking the 11 sectors of the S&P 500 to be above water. Invesco's S&P 500 Equal Weight Utilities ETF jumped 0.6%, and both the Vanguard Utilities ETF and the iShares U.S. Utilities ETF gained 0.5%. Stocks lost ground Friday after some analysts pointed out that an ambitious fiscal relief plan from President-Elect Joe Biden was likely to face an uphill battle in Congress, even as economic data continued to disappoint.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 15, 2021

Dow skids to session low Friday morning amid report that Pfizer vaccines in EU may face delays
U.S. stock market indexes Friday morning were trading at or near sessions lows after a report indicated some delays in the distribution of vaccines from Pfizer in Europe. AFP reported that the European Union's Pfizer vaccine deliveries could be delayed 'for next 3-4 weeks.' The Dow was trading off 370 points, or 1.2%, at 30,620, the S&P 500 index was off 1.2% at 3,749, while the Nasdaq Composite Index was off 1.2% at 12,954. Stock benchmarks had been under pressure earlier in the session as investors digested President-elect Joe Biden's COVID-19 fiscal spending proposal and weaker-than-expected retail sales reports. Investors are fixated on vaccine distributions as investors look toward the prospects of a recovery from the virus-stricken economy.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 15, 2021

Panic-like buying emerges in Nasdaq Composite despite slump in stock-market index early Friday
Trading in the Nasdaq Composite was exhibiting panic-like-buying behavior Friday morning, a day after exhibiting panic-like selling a day ago. The Nasdaq Composite was trading 0.5% lower at 13,041, while the Nasdaq Arms Index, a volume-weighted breadth measure, fell to 0.453. Many on Wall Street see declines below 0.500 as suggesting panic buying. The Arms Index is calculated by dividing the ratio of the number of advancing stocks over decliners by the ratio of the volume of advancing stocks over declining volume. As the stock market rises, the Arms often falls below 1.000, as the buyers rush into advancing stocks. The number of stocks declining on the Nasdaq on Friday outnumbered advancers by nearly 2 to 1, with volume in advancing stocks representing about 51% of total volume on the Nasdaq Composite. Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average [: DJIA] was trading 0.7% lower at 30,761, while the S&P 500 index was trading 0.8% lower at around 3,765.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 15, 2021

Retail stocks take a hit after disappointing data, as COVID-19 even weighed on online sellers
Shares of retailers traded broadly lower early Friday, to underperform the broader stock market, after economic data showing that December retail sales fell for a third-straight month, and by much more than expected. The data indicated that sales at even internet retailers and electronic stores, which had been standout performers during the COVID-19 pandemic, dropped last month. The SPDR S&P Retail ETF slid 1.2% in morning trading and the Amplify Online Retail ETF shed 1.4%, while the S&P 500 eased 0.3%. Among the sector's more-active components, shares Walmart Inc. dropped 1.9%, GameStop Corp. fell 3.3% and Macy's Inc. lost 1.5%. Elsewhere, Amazon.com Inc.'s stock inched up less than 0.1% while Best Buy Co. Inc. shares declined 0.4%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 15, 2021

Stocks open lower after Biden proposal, weak retail sales
U.S. stocks slumped at the open Friday as investors assessed the chances for an ambitious fiscal proposal from President-Elect Joe Biden, and incoming data continued to show the coronavirus pandemic battering the economy. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 191 points, 0.6% to open near 30,800, while the S&P 500 lost 15 points or 0.4%, trading near 3,781. The Nasdaq Composite was 10 points, 0.1%, lower, near 13,104. Biden on Thursday offered his proposal, which some analysts think won't be able to be passed, despite Democrats' hold on Congress, and others suggesting much of the upside is already baked into stocks. Meanwhile, U.S. retail sales tumbled in December, confirmation that more aid is needed to tide the economy over.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 15, 2021

Walmart CEO of U.S. e-commerce business and Jet.com founder Marc Lore to retire
Walmart Inc. said Mark Lore, chief executive of the retail giant's U.S. e-commerce division, will retire at the end of January after more than four years in the role. Walmart's stock fell 1.3% in premarket trading. Lore joined Walmart in September 2016, after the company acquired Jet.com e-commerce site, of which Lore was founder and CEO. Walmart said Lore will serve as a strategic advisor to Walmart through September 2021. In the fiscal third quarter, Walmart said e-commerce sales rose 79% above year-ago levels, while rival Target Corp. reported digital comparable-store sales growth of 155% during the same quarter. Walmart's stock has advanced 27.5% over the past 12 months through Thursday, while Target shares have run up 69.2% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average has gained 6.8%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 15, 2021

Charah Solutions stock nearly doubles on heavy volume after 12-year contract with Dominion Energy
Shares of Charah Solutions Inc. nearly doubled (up 94%) in very-active premarket trading Friday, after the Louisville-based provider of environmental services to the power generation industry announced a 12-year coal ash marketing contract by Dominion Energy Inc. . Trading volume ballooned to 7.3 million shares ahead of the open, compared with the full-day average of about 46,200 shares. The contract calls for the treatment of up to 8.1 million tons of reclaimed ponded coal ash at Dominion's Chesterfield Power Station in Virginia. As part of the contract, Charah will install this year processing and transportation infrastructure that will enable rail transportation of coal ash from the Chesterfield station to cement kiln feed markets. Financial terms of the contract were not disclosed. The stock, which is on track to open at the highest level seen during regular-session hours since August 2019, has lost 9.7% over the past three months through Thursday, while the S&P 500 has gained 9.0%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 15, 2021

Exxon Mobil's stock falls after WSJ report of SEC investigation
Shares of Exxon Mobil Corp. dropped 2.3% in premarket trading Friday, putting them on track for their first decline in 10 sessions, after The Wall Street Journal reported the Securities and Exchange Commission has launched an investigation into allegations that an employee of the oil giant overstated the value of a key Permian Basin asset. Citing people familiar with the matter, the WSJ report said several people involved in valuing the asset complained that they were being forced to use unrealistic assumptions about how quickly the company could drill wells in the Permian Basin to arrive at a higher value. At least one employee how complained was fired last year, the WSJ report said. Exxon Mobil's stock had soared 22.1% amid a 9-day win streak, to close Thursday at a 7-month high. It has run up 46.0% over the past three months through Thursday, while the SPDR Energy Select Sector ETF has advanced 44.0% and the S&P 500 has gained 9.0%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 15, 2021

Citigroup beats profit estimates but revenue falls short
Citigroup Inc. said Friday it had net income of $4.6 billion, or $2.08 a share, in the fourth quarter, down from $5.0 billion, or $2.15 a share, in the year-earlier period. Revenue fell 10% to $16.5 billion from $18.4 billion. The FactSet consensus was for EPS of $1.34 and revenue of $16.7 billion. The revenue decline was due to lower revenues in global consumer banking, institutional clients group and corporate, the bank said in a statement. Net income fell due to lower revenue, higher costs and a higher tax rate, which was partly offset by lower cost of credit. Chief Executive Michael Corbat said full-year revenues were flat, despite the "massive economic impact of COVID-19." The bank had $676 billion in loans as of quarter end, down 3% from the year-earlier period. Deposits stood at $1.3 trillion, up 20%. Revenue from the global consumer banking business rose 11% to $4.7 billion. Revenue at the institutional clients group fell 1% to $9.3 billion, as treasury and trade solutions, investment banking and corporate banking revenue fell, offsetting strength in fixed income markets, equity markets and the private bank. Investment banking revenue fell 5% to $1.3 billion, as strong growth in equity underwriting was more than offset by lower revenue in M&A and debt underwriting. Equity underwriting revenue rose 83% to $438 million, while debt underwriting fell 16% to $617 million. Markets and securities revenues rose 13% to $4.5 billion, as fixed income markets revenue fell 7% to $3.1 billion and equity markets revenue rose 57% to $810 million. Corporate banking revenue were a negative $85 million, after positive $542 million a year ago. Citi shares fell 1.7% premarket, and have fallen 15% in the last 12 months, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has gained 7%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 15, 2021

Wells Fargo's stock slumps after revenue falls more than forecast, but profit breaks streak of misses
Shares of Wells Fargo & Co. slumped 2.5% in premarket trading Friday, after the bank reported a fourth-quarter profit that beat expectations for the first time in six quarters, but revenue that fell more than forecast as lower interest rates weighed on net interest income. Net income rose to $2.99 billion, or 64 cents a share, from $2.87 billion, or 60 cents a share in the same period a year ago. The FactSet consensus was for earnings per share of 59 cents. Total revenue fell 9.7% to $17.93 billion, missing the FactSet consensus of $18.12 billion, as all of the bank's business segments saw revenue decline. Net interest income dropped 17% to $9.28 billion, below the FactSet consensus of $9.35 billion. Consumer banking and lending revenue fell 5% to $8.61 billion, as an 8% decline in consumer and small business banking revenue and a 7% fall in credit card revenue offset a 2% increase in home lending. "Although our financial performance improved and we earned $3.0 billion in the fourth quarter, our results continued to be impacted by the unprecedented operating environment and the required work to put our substantial legacy issues behind us," said Chief Executive Charlie Scharf. The stock has soared 51.4% over the past three months through Thursday, while the SPDR Financial Select Sector ETF has advanced 26.0% and the S&P 500 has gained 9.0%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 15, 2021

Aphria price target raised by Cantor to reflect merger with Tilray as analyst deems earnings disappointing
Cantor Fitzgerald raised its 12-month stock price target for Canadian cannabis company Aphria Inc. to C$26 from C$11.75 on Friday, to factor in its merger with Tilray Inc. even though it was unimpressed by the company's quarterly earnings released on Thursday. "We were disappointed by the Nov qtr reported by APHA.TO on 1/14 (yes, the stock was up 20%, but we think other reasons were at play), but that would be like saying that President-elect Biden, VP-elect Harris, and just-elected Senators Warnock and Ossoff, all had a bad hair day," analyst Pablo Zuanic wrote in a note to clients. "They just won their respective elections. We think the analogy applies here - it is about what APHA TLRY can do in a fast-deregulating cannabis world." Zuanic is expecting Canadian licensed players to have a first-mover advantage as recreational markets open in overseas markets, such as Israel, Mexico, Germany and the Netherlands, as medical markets develop and as they enter the U.S. "We raise these points because if Canopy Growth and Cronos [s:cron][ are valued at 18-21x CY21 EV/sales (based on FactSet consensus estimates), and APHA TLRY is at 13x, despite being #1 in the Canadian market (20% share, 7pt above #2), and having the optionality of a future CPG partner (we think it is the most attractive asset), we would say there is value," he wrote. Aphria shares were up 7.5% premarket Friday, and have gained 131% in the last 12 months, while the Cannabis ETF has gained 31% and the S&P 500 has gained 15%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 15, 2021

J.P. Morgan Chase's stock rises into record territory after reporting record $12.1 billion profit
J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. reported record fourth-quarter net income of more than $12 billion, boosted by a reserve take down of nearly $3 billion, as earnings per share, revenue and net interest income all beat expectations. The stock rose 0.7% in premarket trading, after running up 12.4% amid a 7-day win streak to a record close of $141.17 on Thursday. Net income rose to $12.14 billion, or $3.79 a share, from $8.52 billion, or $2.57 a share, in the same period a year ago. Excluding non-recurring items, such as credit reserve releases, adjusted EPS came to $3.07, above the FactSet consensus of $2.62. Revenue rose 3.4% to $30.16 billion, beating the FactSet consensus of $28.67 billion. Consumer and community banking revenue fell 8.3% to $12.73 billion, but was above the FactSet consensus of $12.42 billion, while corporate and investment bank revenue increased 17.0% to $11.35 billion to top expectations of $10.76 billion. Net interest income fell 7% to $13.4 billion, driven primarily by lower interest rates, but topped the FactSet consensus of $13.26 billion. The stock has shot up 38.8% over the past three months through Thursday, while the SPDR Financial Select Sector ETF has climbed 26.0% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average has gained 8.8%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 15, 2021

PayPal target raised to Street-high $350 at Mizuho amid bitcoin momentum
Mizuho analyst Dan Dolev upped his price target on PayPal Holdings Inc.'s stock to $350 from $290, writing of traction for the company's bitcoin efforts. His new target is higher than all those listed on FactSet. "Both our survey and management commentary unveil a dramatic increase in engagement due to crypto," he wrote in a note to clients. "As evidence, PayPal recently said that 50% of its crypto users are opening the PayPal app daily." Dolev sees the potential for PayPal to generate nearly $2 billion in revenue from bitcoin in 2023, which equates to 10% upside over his current overall revenue estimate for the period. Dolev's survey work indicated that those engaging in bitcoin trading through PayPal's platform demonstrate PayPal app usage that's three times higher than non-bitcoin traders. They also have higher cash balances, he said. PayPal announced in October that it would begin letting users buy, sell, and hold cryptocurrencies through its app. MoffettNathanson analyst Lisa Ellis is also upbeat about the opportunity in bitcoin. "Over the long-term, we believe PayPal's cryptocurrency initiatives have significant strategic value, helping PayPal diversify the PayPal and Venmo apps into 'destination apps' for a broad range of financial services, and positioning PayPal to help shape the long-term role of cryptocurrencies (and government-backed digital currencies) in the consumer payment system," she wrote in a Friday note to clients, while raising her price target on the stock to $300 from $280. In the near term, she thinks cryptocurrency services could contribute about 2 percentage points, or $300 million to $600 million, to PayPal's 2021 revenue. The stock has gained 111% over the past 12 months as the S&P 500 has risen 15%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 15, 2021

Advertising software maker Viant Technology files for IPO
Advertising software company Viant Technology Inc. filed for an intial public offering on Friday with plans to list on Nasdaq under the ticker "DSP." The company is planning a dual-class structure of Class A and Class B shares. There are six banks underwriting the deal, led by BofA Securities and UBS. Proceeds of the deal will be used for working capital and other general corporate purposes, including possible acquisitions or investments.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 15, 2021

Coronavirus tally: Global cases of COVID-19 top 93 million and death toll nears 2 million
The global tally for confirmed cases of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 climbed above 93 million on Friday, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University, while the death toll rose above 1.99 million. The U.S. has the highest case tally in the world at 23.3 million and the highest death toll at 388,705, or more than a quarter of the global total. The U.S. added at least 238,391 new cases on Wednesdayaccording to a New York Times tracker , and counted at least 3,973 deaths, after setting a record of more than 4,400 on Tuesday, the most in a single day since the start of the outbreak. President-elect Joe Biden on Thursday rolled out a coronavirus relief plan with a price tag of $1.9 trillion, a sweeping measure that includes cash payments to Americans and money for distributing COVID-19 vaccines. "I know what I've just described does not come cheaply, but a failure to do so will cost us dearly," Biden said in a speech at a Wilmington, Del., theater following the plan's release. Brazil has the second highest death toll at 207,095 and is third by cases at 8.3 million. India is second worldwide in cases with 10.5 million, and third in deaths at 151,918. Mexico has the fourth highest death toll at 137,916 and 13th highest case tally at 1.6 million. The U.K. has 3.3 million cases and 86,163 deaths, the highest in Europe and fifth highest in the world.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 14, 2021

Biden team cancels weekend inauguration walk-through over security concerns: Politico
President-elect Joe Biden and his team have canceled a planned rehearsal on Sunday for Wednesday's inauguration because of security concerns, Politico is reporting late Thursday. FBI Director Christopher Wray said Thursday that the bureau was monitoring an "extensive amount of concerning online chatter" and working to separate the intentional from the aspirational. Additionally, Biden, who famously rode Amtrak back and forth between his Wilmington, Del., home and Washington, D.C., during his decades in the Senate, has had to abandon a plan to arrive in the capital by rail on Monday.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 14, 2021

FHFA, Treasury agree to let Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac retain earnings
The Federal Housing Finance Agency and the Treasury Department have reached an agreement that will allow Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to keep their earnings for the foreseeable future, until they reach the capital targets needed to exit conservatorship. The agreement was solidified through amendments to the preferred stock purchase agreements held by Treasury. Last year, the two agencies reached an agreement to let the mortgage giants retain up to $25 billion in earnings. Prior to that, all of Fannie and Freddie's earnings were swept to the Treasury Department to repay the federal government for the funds used to bail the two enterprises out. FHFA Director Mark Calabria warned that retained earnings would not be enough to recapitalize Fannie and Freddie, and that without access to private capital they were still at risk of failing in a future housing crisis.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 14, 2021

Accolade agrees to buy medical-expert company for $460 million
Accolade Inc. said late Thursday it has agreed to buy Innovation Specialists LLC, which does business as 2nd.MD, a "leading" expert medical opinion and medical decision support company based in Houston, for $460 million. The deal is expected to close by the end of February, and under the terms of the agreement, Accolade will pay $230 million in cash, $130 million in Accolade stock, and up to $100 million of Accolade stock payable upon certain revenue milestones after the closing. "With healthcare utilization expected to rise significantly in 2021, on the heels of the COVID-19 pandemic, the integration of 2nd.MD with Accolade's health and benefits solutions and clinical service offerings will simplify the healthcare experience for employees and increase return on investment for employers by ensuring their employee populations are receiving appropriate care and reducing unnecessary treatment in high-cost scenarios," the company said. Accolade will continue to offer 2nd.MD as a stand-alone service as well. Shares of Accolade rallied more than 7% in the extended session Thursday after ending the regular trading day up 0.2%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 14, 2021

Porch Group says its expenses, losses rose, announces two deals
Porch Group Inc. shares were halted in the extended session Thursday after the software company released preliminary quarterly earnings and announced two major deals. The shares ended the regular trading session up nearly 5%. Porch said it expects 2020 revenue to be slightly over $72 million. Expenses grew, however, due to the company's decision to invest "more aggressively" in sales teams and marketing, research and development, and costs relating to becoming a public company. Porch became public through a merger with a blank-check company late last year. Porch said it expects a 2020 net loss between $53 million and $55 million, and an adjusted EBITDA loss between $18 million and $19 million, compared with a previous target of a $10 million loss. Porch raised its 2021 revenue outlook from $120 million to $170 million. Porch said it has agreed to buy home insurer Homeowners of America and and marketing and data platform V12. Porch is acquiring HOA and V12 for a combined $122 million, it said.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 14, 2021

Monster Beverage's long-time CFO to become co-CEO
Monster Beverage Corp. said late Thursday that its board elected Hilton H. Schlosberg as co-chief executive officer alongside Rodney C. Sacks, who has been the CEO since 1990. Schlosberg has resigned as president, chief financial officer, and chief operating officer, the company said. Sacks will continue as board chairman and Schlosberg will continue as vice chair. Monster also said that the board elected Thomas J. Kelly as the next CFO. Schlosberg has been with Monster in senior executive roles for more than 30 years, and had been the CFO for more than 23 years, the company said. "For decades, Hilton has been my business partner in running the Company. Hilton and I have operated as co-leaders of the Company as it has grown over the years," Sacks said in a statement. Monster shares rose 0.7% in the extended session Thursday after ending the regular trading day up 0.6%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 14, 2021

Stocks end slightly lower as investors await Biden stimulus plan
Stocks gave up early gains to end slightly lower Thursday as investors awaited the rollout of President-elect Joe Biden's plan for another large-scale round of federal spending to tide over an economy suffering from a renewed surge in COVID-19 cases. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished with a loss of around 69 points, or 0.2%, near 30,992, according to preliminary figures, while the S&P 500 gave up 14 points, or 0.4%, ending near 3,796. The Nasdaq Composite closed near 13,113, off around 16 points, or 0.1%. Biden is expected Thursday evening to unveil a spending plan that could approach $2 trillion, according to news reports, including another round of checks directly to households. Ahead of Thursday's opening bell, data showed a larger-than-expected jump in first-time jobless claims.

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Jan 14, 2021

Oil futures settle at their highest since February 2020
Oil futures rose Thursday, with U.S. prices logging their highest settlement since February of last year. Risky assets, including crude prices, have benefitted, in part, from expectations that the looming stimulus package announcement from President-elect Joe Biden's administration is "just the beginning of fiscal support he will deliver," said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at Oanda. February West Texas Intermediate crude rose 66 cents, or nearly 1.3%, to settle at $53.57 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. That was the highest front-month contract finish since Feb. 20, FactSet data show.

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Jan 14, 2021

Gold prices post a modest loss on risk-on sentiment
Gold futures settled slightly lower on Thursday, as U.S. benchmark stock indexes traded higher and Treasury bond yields strengthened, dulling demand for the haven precious metal. Hopes for President-elect Joe Biden's coronavirus relief plan fueled a "risk-on attitude," said David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets UK. February gold lost $3.50, or 0.2%, to settle at $1,851.40 an ounce.

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Jan 14, 2021

Petco shares soar more than 50% as trading begins
Petco Health & Wellness Co. Inc. stock began trading on Thursday and quickly soared 56.4%. The first trade at 12:13 p.m. ET was at $26. Shares priced at $18. Petco launched in 1965 and offers a wide range of pet products and services. The company is going public at a time when consumers are spending more money and effort to care for their pets. The Renaissance IPO ETF has soared 112.5% over the last year while the S&P 500 index is up 16.3% for the period.

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Jan 14, 2021

E.W. Scripps started laying off employees, as a result of the ION Media acquisition
Shares of E.W. Scripps Co. fell 0.7% in midday trading Thursday, after the media company said it has starting laying off 120 employees this week, as part of cost-saving moves related to its acquisition of ION Media. The TV station owner had about 5,900 full-time employees at the end of 2019, according to the most recently available annual report. said it now expects to exceed its initial estimates of $500 million in synergies over the next six years as a result of the ION deal. The company had announced in September 2020 that it was buying ION, in a deal backed by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. , for $2.65 billion. E.W. Scripps stock has run up 40.5% over the past three months, while the S&P 500 has gained 9.4%.

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Jan 14, 2021

Commodities ETFs outperform as demand grows
Exchange-traded funds linked to commodities rallied on Thursday as investors bet stronger economic growth would continue to drive prices for raw goods and materials higher. The First Trust Tactical Commodity Strategy Fund was 0.6% higher midday, as was the United States Commodity Index Fund . The United States Copper Index Fund , a pure-play approach to a metal many see as a barometer of economic growth because of its widespread usage, gained more than 1.3%. While higher prices for commodities signal stronger economic growth, its flip side is higher prices for finished goods - inflation.

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Jan 14, 2021

Poshmark shares more than double after trading begins
Poshmark Inc. stock began trading on Thursday and quickly shot up 145%. The first trade was for $97.50 at 11:42 a.m. ET. Poshmark priced its IPO at $42 per share, ahead of the previous $35-to-$39 range. The digital fashion platform is going public at a time when shoppers are heading increasingly online rather than to stores during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Renaissance IPO ETF has rallied 112.4% over the last year while the benchmark S&P 500 index is up 16.2% for the period.

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Jan 14, 2021

Aphria's stock soars after reporting surprise profit, giving a boost to merger partner Tilray
The U.S.-listed shares of Aphria Inc. shot up 17% in midday trading Thursday toward a more-than two-year high, after the Canada-based cannabis company reported a surprise fiscal second-quarter adjusted profit and revenue that rose above forecasts, citing strength in its global cannabis and consumer packaged goods businesses. The net loss for the quarter to Nov. 30 widened to C$122.0 million ($96.3 million), or 42 cents a share, from C$8.2 million, or 3 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Excluding non-recurring items, the company swung to EPS of 1 cent from a loss of 19 cents, beating the FactSet consensus for a per-share loss of 3 cents. Revenue rose 33% to C$160.5 million ($126.6 million), above the FactSet consensus of C$153.9 million. Adult-use cannabis revenue rose 149% to C$72.1 million. The average selling price of adult-use cannabis rose to C$4.29 per gram from C$4.15 per gram in the previous quarter, while the average retail selling price of medical cannabis fell to C$6.96 per gram from C$7.38 per gram. Shares of Tilray Inc. jumped 19.4%, as the company and Aphria agreed in December to a merger. The stock, which which is on track for the highest close since November 2018, has soared 98.6% over the past three months while the ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF has climbed 72.4% and the S&P 500 has gained 9.4%.

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Jan 14, 2021

Signet stock soars, holiday e-commerce sales jump 60% year-over-year
Signet Jewelers Ltd. shares rose 6.2% in Thursday trading after the retailer said holiday season sales are expected to beat the Street. Over the past year, the jewelry company's stock has nearly doubled, up 95.3%, while the S&P 500 index has gained 16.3%. Chief Executive Virginia Drosos attributes the holiday season results to new digital capabilities that are part of a transformation strategy. E-commerce sales jumped 60.8% during the holiday shopping season, even as brick-and-mortar same-store sales fell 4.1%. According to data provided in a De Beers Group report published in November, 54% of respondents to a survey conducted with wedding company The Knot were thinking about an engagement ring more than the wedding or honeymoon, "supporting jewelers' hypothesis that engagement ring sales were benefiting from reduced wedding and travel budgets in light of COVID-19 restrictions." For the fourth quarter, Signet expects sales of $2.10 billion to $2.12 billion and same-store sales growth of 4% to 5%. The FactSet consensus is for $2.01 billion in sales and same-store sales growth of 1.8%.

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Jan 14, 2021

Tesla to report Q4 earnings on Jan. 27
Tesla Inc. said Thursday it will report fourth-quarter and full-year earnings after market close on Jan. 27. A live question-and-answer webcast will follow at 6:30 p.m. Eastern, the electric-vehicle maker said. Shares of Tesla edged higher Thursday, tracking the broader market. The stock has gained 695% in the past 12 months, compared with gains around 16% for the S&P 500 index.

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Jan 14, 2021

EIA data show a weekly fall of 134 billion cubic feet in U.S. natural-gas supplies
The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported on Thursday that domestic supplies of natural gas declined by 134 billion cubic feet for the week ended Jan. 8. On average, the data were expected to show a drop of 123 billion cubic feet for the week, according to analysts polled by S&P Global Platts. Total stocks now stand at 3.196 trillion cubic feet, up 126 billion cubic feet from a year ago, and 218 billion cubic feet above the five-year average, the government said. Following the data, February natural gas was up 3.1 cents, or 1.1%, to $2.758 per million British thermal units. It traded at $2.761 shortly before the data.

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Jan 14, 2021

Panic-like selling--not buying--surfaces in Nasdaq Composite trade Thursday morning
Trading on Nasdaq Thursday morning was exhibiting panic-like-selling behavior, even as the broader market appeared to be rising on the prospects of further fiscal spending when President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in on Jan. 20. The Arms Index, a volume weighted breadth measure that tracks the ratio of advancing stock to declining stocks over the ratio of advancing volume over declining volume, was showing a reading of 2.390 for Nasdaq-listed shares. Many technicians say a rise to at least 2.000 suggests panic-like selling behavior. The reading comes even as the Nasdaq Composite Index was up 0.5% at 13,194, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was trading around a record high, up 0.5% at 31,202, while the S&P 500 index was climbing 0.3% at 3,822. The so-called panic selling in the Nasdaq may indicate that a broader array of technology-related stocks are rising, even as large-capitalization tech names were down, including Apple Inc. and Microsoft Corp. .

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Jan 14, 2021

AMD gets a downgrade from BMO after Intel CEO change
Advanced Micro Devices Inc. shares were subject to a downgrade by BMO Capital Markets analyst Ambrish Srivastava Thursday, in the wake of rival Intel Corp.'s announcement that it plans to replace its chief executive. "[W]e believe AMD has done a tremendous job under its CEO, and valuation reflects the near flawless execution under her watch," Srivastava wrote. "However, we do think a large part of the rich valuation is also attributable to how poorly Intel has executed." He argued that the CEO change at Intel offers the chip giant an opportunity to make up for past missteps. Srivastava lowered his price target on AMD shares to $75 from $80 and downgraded the stock to underperform from market perform. At the same time, he upped his Intel price target to $70 from $50 while upgrading the stock to outperform from market perform. AMD shares have gained 8.8% over the past three months as Intel's have risen 9.8%. The S&P 500 is up 9.5% over that span.

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Jan 14, 2021

Stocks open higher as Dow aims to set new record
U.S. stocks rose at the start of Thursday's session as investors focused on the prospect of a new fiscal stimulus package under a Biden administration. The S&P 500 rose 0.2% to 3,818. The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 122 points, or 0.4%, to 31,182, passing its record closing high of 31097.97 set last week. The Nasdaq Composite added 0.4% to 13,182. President-elect Joe Biden is set to lay out details of more fiscal stimulus Thursday evening. Early reports suggest he will propose around $2 trillion of new spending. BlackRock Inc. shares fell even after the asset manager, with $8.7 trillion in assets under management, reported fourth-quarter profit and revenue that beat expectations.

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Jan 14, 2021

Google's deal for Fitbit closes at last
Fitbit Inc. announced Thursday morning that its acquisition by Alphabet Inc.'s [s; GOOGL] Google has officially closed. Alphabet agreed to pay about $2.1 billion, or $7.35 a share, to acquire Fitbit. The deal was first announced in November 2019 but faced regulatory pushback, particularly in the European Union. European regulators who were looking into the deal eventually gave their blessing last month after securing commitments from Google around data privacy. "Google will continue to protect Fitbit users' privacy and has made a series of binding commitments with global regulators, confirming that Fitbit users' health and wellness data won't be used for Google ads and this data will be kept separate from other Google ad data," Chief Executive James Park said in a letter to Fitbit users Thursday. Fitbit shares were halted prior to the announcement. Fitbit's stock had gained 5.2% over a 12-month span compared with a 16% rise for the S&P 500 over the same span.

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Jan 14, 2021

Chipotle upgraded at RBC based on potential for thousands more restaurant locations
Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. was upgraded to outperform from sector perform at RBC Capital Markets based on a number of factors that could grow the business, including the potential to expand the company by thousands of restaurant locations. RBC raised its price target to $1,650 from $1,320. Chipotle has an average price target of $1,461.31, based on 33 analysts polled by FactSet. The stock closed Wednesday at $1,395. "[W]e see the greatest upside near-term from reaccelerating unit growth, setting Chipotle further along the path to 6,000 restaurants, from ~2,700 today," the note said. "Management noted recently that its pipeline for new restaurant expansion approximates 200 units this year, up from 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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Jan 14, 2021

DPW Holdings stock soars as Coolisys's EV charger can now be preordered on Amazon
Shares of DPW Holdings Inc. rocketed 47% in very active premarket trading Thursday, after the diversified holding company said its Coolisys Technologies Corp. business has started accepting pre-orders on Amazon.com for its ACECool residential electric vehicle charger. Trading volume swelled to 12.5 million shares, compared with the full-day average of about 7 million shares. The Coolisys wall-mount charging system is compatible with all electric vehicles utilizing the SAE J1772 connector, including Tesla Inc. vehicles with SAE J1772 adapters. "We believe our EV charger product line is well positioned to address the expected rapid expansion of infrastructure required to support broad adoption of electric vehicles globally," said Coolisys Chief Executive Amos Kohn. DPW shares have soared 88.7% over the past three months through Wednesday, while the S&P 500 has gained 9.2%.

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Jan 14, 2021

FuelCell Energy stock sinks after J.P. Morgan analyst turns bearish, saying it's 'richly valued'
Shares of FuelCell Energy Inc. sank 7.1% in premarket trading Thursday, after J.P. Morgan analyst Paul Coster turned bearish on the alternative energy company, suggesting the stock should be worth about half of its latest closing price. Coster cut his rating to underweight from neutral and established a $10 stock price target, which is 47.8% below Wednesday's close of $19.14. Coster likes the company, as he says it has a "strong backlog and a strengthened balance sheet." He says FuelCell's optionality likes in the versatility of its molten-carbonate technology in industrial applications, and he is anticipating a "breakout contract" in the industrial, chemical or energy sector. The problem is, Coster said he thinks the stock is "richly valued" at current levels. The stock had soared 80.4% amid a seven-day win streak to close Wednesday at the highest price since June 2018. Separately, Coster started fellow alternative energy company Plug Power Inc. with a neutral rating, saying that while the stock is his top pick in the hydrogen space, the price is "fully valued." FuelCell's stock has skyrocketed nearly eight-fold (up 687.7%) over the past three months through Wednesday, while the S&P 500 has tacked on 9.2%.

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Jan 14, 2021

J&J's COVID-19 vaccine candidate shows it generates antibodies in early-stage trial
Shares of Johnson & Johnson gained 1.7% in premarket trading on Thursday, the day after a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that its COVID-19 vaccine candidate generated neutralizing antibody titers in 100% of roughly 800 adult participants younger than 55 years old by day 57. (Some of the data from the Phase 1/2 clinical trial was published in preprint form in September.) "In addition, during 71 days of follow-up after the first dose, antibody titers further increased and stabilized, which suggests durability of the Ad26.COV2.S-elicited immune response," the researchers wrote in the NEJM. The company's experimental COVID-19 vaccine candidate is a single-dose vaccine, though the Phase 1/2 trial also includes a cohort of participants who receives two doses. It is also currently being tested in a Phase 3 clinical trial. J&J said it plans to share additional data from this trial about the immune response in adults older than 55 later this month, and it also expects to release topline data from the Phase 3 trial sometime in January. Two vaccines have been authorized by the Food and Drug Administration in the U.S., both of which are mRNA vaccines that require two doses. J&J is developing an adenovirus-based vaccine. J&J's stock is up 7.7% over the past year, while the S&P 500 has gained 15.8%.

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Jan 14, 2021

OPEC leaves 2021 forecast for oil-demand growth unchanged
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC, on Thursday left its forecast for oil demand to grow to 95.9 million barrels a day in 2021, a rise of 5.9 million barrels a day. That's a partial rebound from the 9.8 million barrel a day decline in demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic last year. On the supply side, OPEC left its estimate of 2020 non-OPEC liquids production largely unchanged from its previous forecast at 62.7 million barrels a day, down 2.5 million barrels a day from 2019. Its forecast for 2021 non-OPEC output was also relatively unchanged, calling for an increase of 800,000 barrels a day. Oil futures remained lower, with West Texas Intermediate crude for February delivery was down 19 cents, or 0.4%, at $52.72 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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Jan 14, 2021

Delta Air's stock gains, after revenue beats expectations but losses were wider than forecast
Shares of Delta Air Lines Inc. rose 1.1% in premarket trading Thursday, after the air carrier reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter revenue, boosted by strength in its cargo business, although losses were wider than forecast. The company swung to a loss of $755 million, or $1.19 a share, from net income of $1.10 billion, or $1.71 a share, in the year-ago period. Excluding non-recurring items, the adjusted per-share loss was $2.53, compared with the FactSet loss consensus of $2.51. Total revenue fell 65% to $3.97 billion, above the FactSet consensus of $3.67 billion, as passenger revenue fell 74% to $2.70 billion to miss expectations of $2.71 billion while cargo revenue rose 10% to $204 million to beat forecasts of $159.8 million. Load factor fell to 42% from 86%, missing the FactSet consensus of 44.4%, as traffic declined 73% while capacity fell 44%. For the March quarter, Delta expects total revenue to be down 60% to 65% from a year ago, while the current FactSet consensus of $4.44 billion implies a 48.3% decline. "Our December quarter results capped the toughest year in Delta's history," said Chief Executive Ed Bastian. "While our challenges continue in 2021, I am optimistic this will be a year of recovery and a turning point that results in an even stronger Delta returning to revenue growth, profitability and free cash generation." The stock has rallied 27.4% over the past three months through Wednesday, while the U.S. Global Jets ETF has run up 27.1% and the S&P 500 has gained 9.2%.

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Jan 14, 2021

Aphria's stock surges after reporting surprise profit, revenue that rose above expectations
The U.S.-listed shares of Aphria Inc. surged 3.7% in premarket trading Thursday, toward a 21-month high, after the Canada-based cannabis company reported a surprise fiscal second-quarter adjusted profit and revenue that rose above forecasts, citing strength in its global cannabis and consumer packaged goods businesses. The net loss for the quarter to Nov. 30 widened to C$122.0 million ($96.3 million), or 42 cents a share, from C$8.2 million, or 3 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Excluding non-recurring items, the company swung to EPS of 1 cent from a loss of 19 cents, beating the FactSet consensus for a per-share loss of 3 cents. Revenue rose 33% to C$160.5 million ($126.6 million), above the FactSet consensus of C$153.9 million. Adult-use cannabis revenue rose 149% to C$72.1 million. The average selling price of adult-use cannabis rose to C$4.29 per gram from C$4.15 per gram in the previous quarter, while the average retail selling price of medical cannabis fell to C$6.96 per gram from C$7.38 per gram. Aphria agreed in December to a merger with Tilray Inc. . The stock, which closed Wednesday at the highest price since April 2019, has soared 70.1% over the past three months through Wednesday, while the ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF has climbed 60.0% and the S&P 500 has gained 9.2%.

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Jan 14, 2021

Newmont board approves share buyback program for up to $1 billion
Newmont Corp. said Thursday its board has approved a share buyback program for up to $1 billion to be completed in the next 18 months. The gold and copper producer's new authorization builds on its 2020 $1.0 billion program, which saw it retire 22 million shares at an average price of $45 a share. Shares were up 0.5% premarket, and have gained 45% in the last 12 months, while the S&P 500 has gained 16%.

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Jan 14, 2021

Canopy Growth says it has an option to acquire more than 10% of TerrAscend
Canadian cannabis company Canopy Growth Corp. on Thursday filed an early warning report on Thursday relating to an option it has acquired, which if exercised, would give it a greater than 10% stake in TerrAscend Corp. Companies are obliged to make such disclosures if they acquire more than 10% of a company. TerrAscend has operations in New Jersey and California. Canopy entered an agreement to acquire the option representing 1.07 million shares of TerrAscend on Wednesday for about $10.5 million. Canopy has already acquired more than 22 million share purchase warrants, which combined with the new option, would give it about 10.9% of TerrAscend. The option will be triggered if there is a change in the legal status of cannabis in the U.S. Canopy already owns 38.9 million exchangeable shares of TerrAscend, and about 29% of its outstanding common shares. "Assuming the conversion of all proportionate voting shares of TerrAscend and the Exchangeable Shares into Common Shares and the exercise of the warrants and the Option held by the Company following the occurrence or waiver of the Triggering Event, the Company would beneficially own, and exercise control or direction over approximately 26.8% of the issued and outstanding Common Shares," Canopy said in a statement. Canopy has no immediate plans or intentions with regard to TerrAscend, it said. Canopy shares were up 0.5% premarket and have gained 35% in the last 12 months, while the Cannabis ETF has gained 30% and the S&P 500 has gained 16%.

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Jan 14, 2021

Plug Power stock set to snap long win streak after J.P. Morgan says it is 'fully valued'
Shares of Plug Power Inc. dropped 6.0% in premarket trading Thursday, putting them in danger of snapping a seven-day win streak, after J.P. Morgan analyst Paul Coster initiated a price target at a 14% discount. Coster started coverage of Plug Power at neutral with a price target of $60, after the stock closed Wednesday at $69.50, the highest close since October 2005. Coster said Plug Power is a "first- and fast-mover in the hydrogen fuel cell space with proven technology to pursue a massive market opportunity," and could grow sales to more than $1.2 billion by 2024. "This is our top pick in the hydrogen space, but [the stock is] fully-valued in our view," Coster wrote. The stock has more than doubled (up 116.0%) amid a seven-session win streak through Wednesday, which was the longest win streak since November 2019. The stock has skyrocketed four-fold (up 301.7%) over the past three months, while the S&P 500 has gained 9.2% the past three months.

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Jan 14, 2021

Signet expects fourth-quarter sales to beat consensus estimates
Signet Jewelers Ltd. offered fourth-quarter sales guidance Thursday that exceeded consensus estimates, after same-store sales rose 5.6% in the nine-week holiday season through Jan 2. The company is now expecting fourth-quarter same-store sales to climb 4% to 5%, compared with a FactSet consensus for growth of 1.8%. The company expects total sales to range from $2.10 billion to $2.12 billion, compared with a FactSet consensus of $2.0 billion. The company's preliminary holiday sales came of $1.8 billion, unchanged versus the year-earlier period. E-commerce sales rose 60.8%, while bricks-and-mortar sales fell 4.1%. As of Jan. 2, the company had closed 355 of its planned 380 store closures for this fiscal year.

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Jan 14, 2021

Express stock soars after reaching agreement on $140 million in additional financing
Shares of Express Inc. soared 24% in premarket trading Thursday, after the struggling apparel retailer announced an agreement that will provide it with $140 million in additional financing. The financing deal, reached with Sycamore Partners, as well as Wells Fargo and Bank of America Merrill Lynch, includes a $90 million term loan dur May 2024 and a $50 million delayed draw term loan, which will be repaid after the receipt of a CARES Act tax refund. "We continue to effectively manage our financial liquidity," said Chief Executive Tim Baxter. "I expect this additional capital will support the Company through the duration of the pandemic, and allow us to continue the important and transformational work of the EXPRESSway Forward strategy." The stock has tumbled 78.4% over the past 12 months through Wednesday, while the SPDR S&P Retail ETF has run up 56.8% and the S&P 500 has gained 16.0%.

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Jan 14, 2021

Christopher & Banks files for voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy, plans to close most of its stores, sell-ecommerce platform
Christopher & Banks Corp. said Thursday it is voluntarily filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and plans to close a significant portion, if not all, of its bricks-and-mortar stores. The Minneapolis-based retailer, which focused on privately branded women's clothing and accessories, is in talks with potential buyers of its e-commerce platform and related assets and expects to file a motion shortly. The company hired B. Riley Securities in December to help with the exploration of its strategic options. "Since the start of the COVID pandemic, we have taken aggressive steps to protect our business while continuing to serve our customers in a healthy and safe environment," Chief Executive Keri Jones said in a statement. "Despite the tremendous advancements we have made in executing our strategic plan, due to the financial distress resulting from the pandemic and its ongoing impact, we elected to initiate this process and pursue a potential sale of the business in whole or in part to position the Company for the future." Shares closed Wednesday at 7 cents.

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Jan 14, 2021

BlackRock stock heads toward another record after profit, revenue rise above expectations
Shares of BlackRock Inc. rose 1.8% in premarket trading Thursday, putting them on track for a seventh-straight record close, after the asset manager, with $8.7 trillion in assets under management, reported fourth-quarter profit that revenue that rose above expectations. Net income grew to $1.55 billion, or $10.02 a share, from $1.30 billion, or $8.29 a share, in the year-ago period. Excluding non-recurring items, adjusted earnings per share rose to $10.18 from $8.34, and beat the FactSet consensus of $9.14. Revneue increased 13% to $4.48 billion, above the FactSet consensus of $4.27 billion. Total net inflows were $127 billion, and were positive across investment styles, product type and region, boosted by strength in its iShares exchange-traded funds and active strategies. The stock has rallied 21.9% over the past three months through Wednesday, while the S&P 500 has gained 9.2%.

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Jan 14, 2021

Coronavirus tally: Global cases of COVID-19 tops 92 million and U.S. case tally climbs above 23 million
The global tally for confirmed cases of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 climbed above 92 million on Thursday, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University, while the death toll rose above 1.98 million. The U.S. has the highest case tally in the world at 23 million and the highest death toll at 3,84,784, or more than a fifth of the global total. The U.S. added at least 230,476 new cases on Wednesdayaccording to a New York Times tracker , and counted at least 3,922 deaths, after setting a record of more than 4,400 on Tuesday, the most in a single day since the start of the outbreak. Brazil has the second highest death toll at 205,964 and is third by cases at 8.3 million. India is second worldwide in cases with 10.5 million, and third in deaths at 151,727. Mexico has the fourth highest death toll at 136,917 and 13th highest case tally at 1.6 million. The U.K. has 3.2 million cases and 84,910 deaths, the highest in Europe and fifth highest in the world.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 14, 2021

Alaska Air load factor falls below Q4 expectations, and is expected to fall further this month
Alaska Air Group Inc. reported fourth-quarter load factor that was below expectations, and provided a downbeat outlook for January, as the air carrier saw revenue passengers decline during the quarter after reaching a pandemic peak in October. Load factor for the quarter was 45%, below the FactSet consensus of 50.5%, as load factor declined to 43% in December from 45% in November and 49% in October. For January, the company expects load factor to fall further to about 35% to 40%. Revenue passengers fell to 1,245 in December from 1,270 in November and 1,400 in October, and is expected to decline to 1,100 to 1,200 in January. Total revenue for the quarter was down 64% from a year ago, while the current FactSet revenue consensus of $831.4 million implies a 62.7% decline. Meanwhile, cash burn for the fourth quarter improved to about $350 million from $399 million in the third quarter, helped by increases in passengers carried and an improvement in demand for future travel, which hit post-COVID-19 highs in October. January cash burn is expected to be $125 million to $150 million. The stock, which is still inactive in premarket trading, has run up 34.5% over the past three months, while the U.S. Global Jets ETF has advanced 27.1% and the S&P 500 has gained 9.2%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 14, 2021

Virgin Galactic jumps after ARK files to launch space exploration ETF
Virgin Galactic jumped 11% in premarket trade after ARK Investment Management filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission to launch a space exploration exchange-traded fund. ARK didn't identify what companies it would hold in the fund. ARK manages several popular exchange-traded funds.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 14, 2021

Palantir downgraded to sell by Citi
Palantir Technologies was downgraded to sell from neutral by Citi, though its price target was raised to $15 from $10. "After a 150 % rise in the stock since the September direct listing, we believe the stock is vulnerable heading into 2021 with the upcoming lockup expiry, and an expected deceleration in growth. Specifically we see risk around the lapping of COVID-19 related contracts, which have the potential to become headwinds in 2H21 into 2022," the analysts said. They also flagged concern about its commercial business. Palantir closed Wednesday at $25.50.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 13, 2021

Tesla asked by federal regulator to voluntarily recall 158,000 vehicles over safety-functions-related defect
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has sent a letter to the Silicon Valley electric-vehicle maker Tesla Inc. seeking a voluntary recall by the company of some 158,000 Model X units from the 2016, 2017 and 2018 model years over a possible defect impacting safety functions including rear-view-camera operation. The Transportation Department's Office of Defects Investigation has tentatively concluded that a failure of the media control unit, or MCU -- the vehicle's display screen -- ensues in some Model Xs when an integrated 8-gigabyte flash memory device exceeds storage capacity. The result, according to the preliminary conclusion, is a loss of rear-view-camera function and of defogging and defrosting capacities. A vehicle's Autopilot and turn-signal capabilities, among others, can also be affected, according to the letter, dated Wednesday and addressed to the car manufacturer's legal department.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 13, 2021

Tesla asked by federal regulators to voluntarily recall 158,000 vehicles over safety-functions defect
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has sent a letter to the Silicon Valley electric-vehicle maker Tesla Inc. seeking a voluntary recall by the company of some 158,000 Model X units from the 2016, 2017 and 2018 model years over a possible defect impacting safety functions including rear-view-camera operation. The Transportation Department's Office of Defects Investigation has tentatively concluded that a failure of the media control unit, or MCU - the vehicle's display screen - ensues in some Model Xs when an integrated 8-gigabyte flash memory device exceeds storage capacity. The result, according to the preliminary conclusion, is a loss of rear-view-camera function and of defogging and defrosting capacities. A car's Autopilot and turn-signal capabilities, among others, can also be affected, according to the letter, addressed to the car manufacturer's legal department.

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



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 13, 2021

: Alexion Pharma pauses further enrollment in COVID-19 drug study
Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. ALXN said late Wednesday it stopped enrolling patients in a clinical study testing a treatment for severe COVID-19 patients based on the recommendation of a data monitoring board. The independent data monitoring committee for the Phase 3 study of the drug Ultomiris said further enrollment of patients should be paused pending more data analysis as the treatment was not looking to be effective in treating COVID-19 patients on ventilators when compared with standard care, the company said. Alexion said it will continue treating current patients and that no new safety concerns were found. Alexion shares declined 0.3% after hours, following a 0.5% rise in the regular session to close at $156.44.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 13, 2021

Nordstrom holiday sales fall 22%
Nordstrom Inc. shares fell more than 3% in the extended session Wednesday after the retailer reported holiday sales that were in line with company expectations and said it continued to expect a fourth-quarter profit. Net sales declined about 22% for the nine-week holiday period ended Jan. 2, with December sales for the Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack brands higher than November sales "with momentum continuing into January," the company said. Online sales in the period rose 23% "and continued to represent a majority of the business," Nordstrom said. The company "continues to expect to deliver positive earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) and operating cash flow for the fourth quarter." Nordstrom will report fourth-quarter and full-year 2020 earnings on March 2. Shares of Nordstrom ended the regular trading day up 0.9%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 13, 2021

Dow narrowly avoids setting new record as investors eye Trump impeachment vote
U.S. stocks ended mixed Wednesday as House lawmakers voted on whether to impeach President Donald Trump, a week before he is set to leave the White House. The S&P 500 rose 0.2% to end around 3,810. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell less than 0.1% to finish around 31,060, after briefly threatening to surpass its previous closing record of 37,097.97 set last Friday. The Nasdaq Composite gained 0.4% to finish near 13,129. The impeachment proceedings were not expected to upset the buoyant tone in broader markets, with investors mostly looking past the political turmoil in Washington. The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note tumbled 4.5 basis points to 1.09% after a strong bond auction.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 13, 2021

Gold prices settle near one-week high as markets keep an eye on second Trump impeachment
Futures for gold on Wednesday finshed solidly higher after a report on U.S. inflation and as investors responded to a House vote on impeaching President Donald Trump, for a second time, days before he is set to relinquish power to President-elect Joe Biden on Jan. 20. February gold prices traded $10.70, or 0.6%, higher to settle at $1,854.90 an ounce, after settling 0.4% lower on Tuesday. The settlement for gold marks its highest level since Jan. 7, FactSet data show. Investors have largely looked past renewed political rancor in Washington. The Democratic-controlled House was expected to vote later Wednesday to impeach Trump for his apparent role in sparking a violent attack on the U.S. Capitol. Trump was impeached by the House once before for abuse of power and obstruction of justice in December of 2019 but acquited in the Senate.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 13, 2021

Twitter's stock bounces toward snapping 6-day losing streak after MKM analyst raises rating, price target
Shares of Twitter Inc. bounced 1.8% in afternoon trading Wednesday, putting them on track to snap a six-day losing streak, which would be the longest in three years, after MKM Partners analyst Rohit Kulkarni upgraded the social media company, saying the headwinds that have weighed on the stock recently are likely to reverse this year. The stock has lost 13.7% over the past six days, fueled by the company's permanent suspension of President Trump, a prolific tweeter, citing risk of further incitement of violence in the wake of the violence at the U.S. Capitol last week. But MKM's Kulkarni raised his rating on Twitter to buy from neutral, while lifting his price target to $60 from $47. "As 2021 progresses, we believe Twitter will have the greatest incremental benefit (vs. its social media peers) as brand advertisers accelerate ad spend and live events and product launches resume their normal cadence," Kulkarni wrote in a note to clients. "Aided by easier [year-over-year comparisons] and growing focus on monetization, we believe Twitter would have improving fundamentals as the year progresses, i.e. revenue growth acceleration and possibly, improving margins. He said pressure from activist investors and management's stock buyback plans will act as support for the stock. Twitter shares have edged up 1.9% over the past three months, while the S&P 500 has gained 8.6%.

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 13, 2021

: GameStop stock soars 60% in apparent short squeeze
GameStop Corp. GME shares soared Wednesday more than a week after short interest on the videogame retailer's stock exceeded the number of outstanding shares. GameStop shares surged 58% to $31.24 at last check, having reached an intraday high of $38.65. Short interest on GameStop rose to 71.2 million shares on Dec. 31 from a previous 68.1 million shares, according to FactSet data. GameStop has 69.8 million shares outstanding. On Monday, GameStop shares finished up 10% after it reached an agreement with activist investor RC Ventures to add three of its members to the board, and advanced less than 0.1% on Tuesday. 

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MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 13, 2021

Motorsport Games shares soar 80% in trading debut
Motorsport Games Inc. shares soared 80% in their trading debut Wednesday, after the company's initial public offering priced at $20, the high end of its upwardly revised range. The Miami-based racing game developer sold 3 million shares to raise $60 million. Underwriters Canaccord Genuity and The Benchmark Co. have the option to acquire an additional 450,000 shares. For the nine months ended Sept. 30, the company recorded net income of $875,419 on revenue of $16.11 million, after a loss of $2.95 million on revenue of $9.57 million in the same period a year ago. The Renaissance IPO ETF has gained 114% in the last 12 months, while the S&P 500 has gained 16%.

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



MarketWatch MarketPulse
Jan 13, 2021

Air Canada to cut 1,700 jobs, reduce capacity by one-fourth
The U.S.-listed shares of Air Canada shed 2.0% in midday trading Wednesday, after the Canada-based air carrier said it will cut 1,700 jobs as part of a network adjusted that includes cutting capacity by an additional 25%. The company said the job cuts are in addition to the more than 200 employees impacted at its Express carriers. In 2019, Air Canada had about 33,300 employees. The stock's selloff is adding to the broader weakness in the airline sector. The U.S. Global Jets ETF , which counts Air Canada as a components, slumped 1.1%. Among the ETFs more active U.S.-based components, shares of American Airlines Group Inc. fell 1.3%, Delta Air Lines Inc. dropped 1.1% and United Airlines Holdings Inc. declined 0.7%.

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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