On The Fly: Top stock stories for Wednesday
Stocks began the final day of trading of August with little fanfare and ended the same way. The averages fell into negative territory shortly after the open and remained there for the entire session. There was little in the way of a catalyst as the day's economic data barely budged the market. The Chicago purchasing manager's report was below expectations, while crude oil inventories were higher than expected, and the combination put the sellers in control, resulting in the S&P posting a narrow loss for the month. ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., the research arm of payroll provider ADP estimated that private sector employment increased by 177,000 jobs in August, compared to the consensus forecast for 175,000 job additions. The Chicago PMI dropped 4.3 points to 51.5 in August. An index of pending home sales rebounded 1.3% to 111.3 in July. NYMEX crude fell to fresh two-week lows following the inventory data that showed a 2.3M barrel increase in crude-oil supplies, versus the consensus forecast for a 1.3M build. COMPANY NEWS: The Department of Justice filed a civil antitrust lawsuit seeking to block Deere's (DE) proposed acquisition of Precision Planting from Monsanto (MON), claiming that the transaction would combine the "only two significant U.S. providers of high-speed precision planting systems" and deny farmers the "benefits of competition that has spurred innovation, improved quality and lowered prices." In response, Deere said they plan to contest the legal action, calling the allegations about the competitive "misguided"... Tesla (TSLA) announced in a regulatory filing that it plans to raise additional cash this year to help it fund development and production of its new Model 3 sedan and build out its giant battery factory. Tesla says it planned to raise money through a potential equity or debt offering. MAJOR MOVERS: Among the notable gainers was Chico's (CHS), which advanced 12% after the company reported better than expected second quarter results. Also higher was Interactive Intelligence (ININ), which gained 5.6% to close at $59.85 after agreeing to be acquired by Genesys for $60.50 per share in cash in a transaction valued at approximately $1.4B. Shares of Bob Evans (BOBE) rose 6% after the company reported better-than-expected earnings, despite a decline in sales. The company also raised its earnings per share outlook for the fiscal year. Among the noteworthy losers was Palo Alto (PANW), which slid a bit over 7% after the IT security company announced roughly in-line results, but provided weaker than expected guidance. However, several Wall Street analysts remain upbeat on the stock, saying that the company's longer term outlook remains positive. Also lower following its earnings reports is tax services provider H & R Block (HRB), which declined 10.5%. Additionally, Under Armour (UA) slipped 4.6% after Argus analyst John Staszak downgraded the stock to Hold from Buy, based on his belief that the company will have to make significant investments to expand its business going forward. INDEXES: The Dow fell 53.42, or 0.29%, to 18,400.88, the Nasdaq lost 9.77, or 0.19%, to 5,213.22, and the S&P 500 declined 5.17, or 0.24%, to 2,170.95.