| 2017-04-20 16:25:44|
VZ, TRV… 16:25 04/20 04/20/17
On The Fly: Top stock stories for Thursday
Stocks began the session with modest gains despite the poor opening of Dow components Travelers (TRV) and Verizon (VZ). Both were lower following mixed earnings reports but they had little effect on the overall market, as the averages saw their lows shortly after the open. The market continued to tack on gains throughout the day as investors remain optimistic about economic growth in coming quarters. The energy sector remained under pressure as yesterday's inventory data for oil, and today's natural gas inventory report, showed that supply/demand remains out of balance, though new reports suggested the OPEC countries plan to extend their agreement on production cuts. ECONOMIC NEWS: In the U.S., initial jobless claims rose 10,000 to 244,000 in the week ended April 15 after slipping 1,000 to 234,000 in the prior week. The Philly Fed manufacturing index fell 10.8 points to 22.0 in April following a 10.5 point drop to 32.8 in March. The U.S. leading index rose 0.4% to 126.7 in March, a new record high and a seventh straight monthly gain. Gas inventories showed a 54B cubic feet build versus the consensus call for a 50B cubic feet build. In Europe, April's Eurozone consumer confidence flash beat expectations, coming in at -3.6 points. In Asia, Japan's Ministry of Finance reported a merchandise trade surplus for March. Exports rose at an annualized 12% in March, while imports rose 15.8%. COMPANY NEWS: Shares of Verizon declined about 1% after the telecom company reported first quarter earnings and sales that missed expectations. Of note, Verizon posted a net decline of 307,000 retail postpaid connections, but added that the launch of its "unlimited" data offering positively changed the trajectory of customer additions in the quarter... Also lower after reporting quarterly results was Travelers, falling about 1.25% after the property and casualty insurer announced an 11% decline in quarterly profit hurt by catastrophe losses and lower underwriting gains... Shares of American Express (AXP) rose nearly 6% following better than expected quarterly results, helped by higher spending by card members... Qualcomm (QCOM) shares finished the day fractionally higher after the company reported stronger than expected second quarter results, though legal disputes with Apple (AAPL) continue to cast a shadow over its outlook... Ocwen Financial (OCN) shares plunged about 54% after the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or CFPB, sued the company and its subsidiaries for "failing borrowers at every stage of the mortgage servicing process." The CFPB claims that Ocwen's "years of widespread errors, shortcuts, and runarounds cost some borrowers money and others their homes." In response to the claims, Ocwen stated that it "strongly disputes" the allegations and will "vigorously defend itself" against any charges. Additionally, Ocwen Financial received various cease-and-desist orders from state mortgage regulators that it said it is "in the process of reviewing" in detail. MAJOR MOVERS: Among the notable gainers was CSX (CSX), which gained 5.6% after reporting quarterly results, announcing a dividend increase, and a new $1B share repurchase program. Also higher was Select Comfort (SCSS), which advanced over 28% after the company beat Wall Street expectations for the quarter. Additionally, Virtu Financial (VIRT) rose 10% after the company announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire KCG Holdings (KCG) for $20.00 per share, or approximately $1.4B equity value. Shares of KCG jumped 11.3% to $19.75 following the deal announcement. Among the noteworthy losers was eBay (EBAY), which fell nearly 4% after it reported better than expected first quarter results but announced weaker guidance for the upcoming quarter. Also lower was Philip Morris (PM), which slid 3.5% following quarterly results that missed estimates as total cigarette and heated tobacco unit shipment volume declined 9.4% compared to the same period of last year. INDEXES: The Dow rose 174.22, or 0.85%, to 20,578.71, the Nasdaq gained 53.74, or 0.92%, to 5,916.78, and the S&P 500 advanced 17.67, or 0.76%, to 2,355.84.
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