On The Fly: Top stock stories for Tuesday
Stocks had another winning day, with the Dow the best performing index on the heels of solid earnings reports from both Home Depot (HD) and Wal-Mart (WMT). Outside of the strength in retail driven by those two giants, the restaurant sector was also in focus after the owner of Burger King and Tim Hortons struck a deal to add a fried chicken concept to its stable of brands. ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., Markit's manufacturing PMI fell 0.7 points to 54.3 in the flash February reading, erasing January's 0.7 point rise to 55.0. In Asia, Japan's all industry activity index declined at a seasonally adjusted 0.3% in December, which was more than expected. In Europe, the overall flash composite index of services and manufacturing activity in the Eurozone spiked to 56.0 in February, the highest reading since April 2011. COMPANY NEWS: Shares of Kraft Heinz (KHC) and Unilever (UN) ended the day in negative territory after the companies announced in a joint statement that the former has "amicably agreed to withdraw its proposal for a combination of the two companies." This comes just few days after Kraft, which is partly owned by 3G Capital Partners and Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A, BRK.B), confirmed that it was working on a deal to acquire Unilever. Speculating on what the bid withdrawal news could mean for Kraft Heinz and its part owners 3G and Berkshire, the Financial Times argued that the Brazilian investment firm could set its sights on Mondelez (MDLZ). The company's shares jumped 5.8% amid the takeover speculation, and after the maker of Oreo cookies and Triscuits reaffirmed its 2017 outlook and talked about its new, healthier product line-up while presenting at an industry conference... Retail was in focus, as Wal-Mart rose 3% after the world's largest retailer reported better than expected earnings for the quarter and announced its largest domestic same-store sales increase since July 2012. Shares of Macy's (M) dipped fractionally after the company's fourth quarter adjusted earnings per share beat estimates. However, the department store chain reported weaker than expected revenue and gave a disappointing outlook. Meanwhile, Home Depot gained 1.4% after the retailer posted fourth quarter sales and earnings that topped consensus expectations and announced a new $15B share repurchase authorization. MAJOR MOVERS: Among the notable gainers was Restaurant Brands (QSR), which advanced 7% after the company agreed to acquire Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen (PLKI) for $79.00 per share in cash, or $1.8B. Popeyes' shares jumped 19% following the news. Also higher was Community Health (CYH), which rallied nearly 34% after reporting better than expected fourth quarter results. Additionally, Tronox (TROX) jumped by 35% after saying it is acquiring the TiO2 business of Cristal, announcing its intent to begin a process to sell its Alkali business, and reporting better than expected quarterly results. Among the noteworthy losers was Trevena (TRVN), which fell 40% after announcing oliceridine Phase 3 data. Also lower was Momenta Pharmaceuticals (MNTA), which dropped 15.5% after the company disclosed that its generic Copaxone 40mg ANDA will be delayed by an FDA warning letter at its fill-finish manufacturing partner, Pfizer (PFE). INDEXES: The Dow rose 118.95, or 0.58%, to 20,743.00, the Nasdaq gained 27.37, or 0.47%, to 5,865.95, and the S&P 500 advanced 14.22, or 0.6%, to 2,365.38.