On The Fly: Top stock stories for Wednesday
Stocks began the day in negative territory but by the end of the first hour of trading, the Dow had pared its opening losses. The averages stayed close to the flat line for most of the day with the news flow slow and little on the domestic economic calendar aside from the release of the minutes from the Fed's last rate setting meeting. The market remains near all-time highs while investors await more clarity on the Trump administration plans for tax reform, infrastructure spending, and deregulation. ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., existing home sales rose 3.3% to a 5.69M rate in January, rebounding from the 1.6% drop to a revised 5.51M rate in December. The minutes from the Federal Reserve meeting that concluded on February 1 were released today. "In discussing the outlook for monetary policy over the period ahead, many participants expressed the view that it might be appropriate to raise the federal funds rate again fairly soon if incoming information on the labor market and inflation was in-line with or stronger than their current expectations or if the risks of overshooting the Committee's maximum-employment and inflation objectives increased," the minutes read. COMPANY NEWS: Just a few days after rejecting a $143B takeover bid from Kraft Heinz (KHC), Unilever (UN, UL) made headlines again. Shares of the consumer goods giant trading in New York gained 3.7% after the company said it is conducting a comprehensive review of options available to "accelerate delivery of value" to its shareholders. The company said the events of the last week have "highlighted the need to capture more quickly the value we see in Unilever," adding that they expect their review to be completed by early April... Meanwhile, TJX (TJX) reported better than expected fourth quarter results. The parent of T.J. Maxx also said that it intends to increase its regular quarterly dividend by 20%. MAJOR MOVERS: Among the notable gainers was Toll Brothers (TOL), which advanced 6% after the homebuilder's earnings for the quarter topped expectations. Also higher was Depomed (DEPO), which gained 9.4% after reporting a 33% percent increase in net product sales and unveiling plans to add 80 people to its pain sector sales staff. Additionally, shares of Garmin (GRMN) jumped 7.3% after the maker of personal navigation announced quarterly results that beat consensus estimates. Among the noteworthy losers was Papa John's (PZZA), which slid 7% after the pizza chain posted weaker than expected same-store sales growth. Additionally, First Solar (FSLR) dropped 8.3% despite reporting better than expected fourth quarter adjusted earnings. However, the solar systems providers' unadjusted results were impacted by pre-tax charges of $729M due to "difficult restructuring decisions" it undertook in the fourth quarter. INDEXES: The Dow rose 32.60, or 0.16%, to 20,775.60, the Nasdaq lost 5.32, or 0.09%, to 5,860.63, and the S&P 500 declined 2.56, or 0.11%, to 2,362.82.