Fed Chair Janet Yellen goes back to Capitol Hill and the Senate this morning after rattling markets from the House side yesterday. The 10-year Treasury yield has fell to around 1.53%. That is a three-year low. (CNBC)
Pepsi reported quarterly profits rising to $1.72 billion, from $1.31 billion, a year ago as higher sales of snacks and beverages in North America helped reduce the impact of a strong dollar. Sales fell 7% to $18.59 billion. The company increased its 2015 annual dividend to $3.01 per share from $2.81 per share and said it would return about $7 billion to shareholders through dividends and buybacks in 2016. (Reuters)
Whole Foods sales at established locations slipped 1.8% in the quarter and are forecast to be flat to down 2% for the year, as it works to keep prices down and fend off rivals. Profits for the quarter fell to $157 million. Total sales rose to $4.8 billion. (AP)
Kellogg is reporting a loss of $41 million in the quarter. The maker of Frosted Flakes, Pop Tarts and Eggo waffles posted sales of $3.14 billion in the quarter. Kellogg shares are off 2% since the beginning of the year, but are up almost 7% in the last 12 months. (AP)
The S&P 500 is down 31 and the NASDAQ is down 63. The MSCI international index is flat.
Oil is down 75 cents at $26.66 a barrel. That is a 2003 low.
Gold is up $45 at $1239 a Troy ounce. That is an eight and a half month high.
US Stocks finished yesterday’s extremely volatile trading session near the flat line. The DOW traded in a 1000 point range yesterday eventually settling nearly unchanged. We also saw a sharp drop in oil prices back below $30/barrel.
Coca-Cola reported 4th quarter revenue of $10 Billion which was $100mm above Wall St. expectations. The company reported EPS of 28 cents per share which was way above the 17 cents per share they reported over the same period last year. Shares of Coke traded 1.5% higher on that news.
Walt Disney reported the highest quarterly earnings in the company’s history as the success of the latest installment of Star Wars offset continued woes at ESPN. Disney said revenue in its movie business jumped 46% in the quarter to $2.72 Billion. The woes at ESPN though continue to weigh on the stock price. Shares of Disney are 5% lower right now.
Oregon Insurance regulators removed MODA Health from State Control as MODA agreed to remain in business and stabilize their shaky finances by selling assets and taking other steps to raise $179mm. The Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services issued a consent order that outlines a plan to raise sufficient funds so they can serve their 62K Oregon customers without interruption.
And the Fed Chair Janet Yellen is out this morning sounding a bit more cautious about the Fed’s outlook for the US economy, but didn’t back away from expectations for additional, gradual, interest rate hikes.
Japan's Nikkei dropped 5.4% last night, as the dollar dipped to a November 2014 low against the yen, and yields on Japan's 10-year bond went negative for the first time ever. China markets remained closed for the Lunar New Year holiday. (CNBC)
Coca-Cola's global soda volume rose 2% in the fourth quarter, even though Diet Coke continued to suffer declines. Diet Coke's decline has been largely a U.S. issue. Non-carbonated drink such as bottled water rose 6%. Coke earned a profit of $1.24 billion. Total revenue fell 8% percent to $10 billion in the quarter. (AP)
Sears Holdings, the parent company of Sears and Kmart, continued its sales slump and is closing at least another 50 stores. Kmart is now down to 950 locations from 1,309 just five years ago, while Sears’ namesake department stores now number 708, from 868 in 2011. Sears is also considering selling off more assets, including its auto services business, to raise cash. Holiday comparable sales at Kmart fell 7.2% and 6.9% at Sears, for the worst performance among major department. (Fortune)
The S&P 500 is down 14 and the NASDAQ is down 33. The MSCI international index is down 1.80%.
Oil is up 25 cents at $29.75 a barrel. The slick stuff was down more than 4% yesterday.
Gold is down $2 at $1196 a Troy ounce. Yesterday the bling popped nearly 3.5%. Uncertainty over global growth puts the precious metal on course for its longest rally since 2011. Up nearly 14% for the year. (Reuters)
With Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management a Registered Investment Advisor I am Troy Reinhart.
Last week Berkshire Hathaway bought Precision Castparts. Now three Precision Castparts leaders, including CEO Mark Donegan, Corporate Counsel Ruth Beyer and CFO Shawn Hagel have been appointed to Warren Buffets Board of Directors. (Omaha World Herald)
Hasbro posted its biggest jump in quarterly revenue in nearly five years driven by demand for Star Wars and Jurassic World toys. Sales from toys targeted at boys, surged 35% to $569.8 million in the quarter. Sales from its games category, which includes Monopoly, were up 11% after two straight quarters of decline. Hasbro profits rose 3.4% to $175.8 million. The company also raised its quarterly dividend by 11%to 51 cents per share. (Reuters)
Don’t forget we live in a global economy. Ford plans to build a new assembly plant in Mexico and increase output in that country. That follows the signing of a new labor deal which boosts worker pay in the U.S.. (Wall Street Journal)
Chobani, the Greek-yogurt maker, has rejected offers from beverage giant Pepsi and other investors to buy a majority of the company. Chobani was exploring a sale after being approached by several parties in 2015. The yogurt maker wanted to sell a minority stake while outside investors were looking for a majority stake in the company. Coca-Cola was also a suitor. (Reuters)
The S&P 500 is down 27 and the NASDAQ is down 86. The MSCI international index is down 2.21%.
Oil is up $1.00 at $29.75 a barrel.
Gold is up $24 at $1182 a Troy ounce.
It is jobs Friday and the Department of Labor says the economy added 151,000 jobs in January. The private sector added 158,000 jobs, government shed 7000. The unemployment rate dipped to 4.9%, the lowest level since February 2008. Wages increased 0.5%. All those are pretty good numbers.
The dollar index has been getting weaker the last few days. The greenback against a basket of six major international currencies is on track for its heaviest weekly loss since 2009. (Reuters)
With the big game on everyone’s mind there are new players competing to bring you NFL football action. Apple, Amazon, Google, and Verizon are among companies bidding for streaming rights to the NFL's Thursday night package. (Variety)
Is this another sign of their end times? J.C. Penney selling its headquarters building in Plano, Texas in an effort to reduce debt and costs. J.C. Penney has occupied the three-story office building as its headquarters since 1992. (CNBC)
Join us this weekend for Financial Focus Radio, the truth in wealth building, when we will guide you through the MODA and Obama Care mess with our trusted health insurance expert Don Klipennes.
The S&P 500 is down 12 and the NASDAQ is down 32. The MSCI international index is down 0.5%.
Oil is up 25 cents at $32.00 a barrel.
Gold is up $2 at $1160 a Troy ounce.
Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell saw a steep decline in profits as lower crude prices continue to inflict pain on major oil companies. Fourth-quarter 2015 profits were down 56% to $1.8 billion. Revenue on an annual basis, was the lowest in 13 years, falling 87%. Shell, is cutting some 10,000 jobs and contractor positions this year. (Reuters)
ConocoPhillips, the largest U.S. independent oil and gas company, reported a bigger quarterly loss and slashed its dividend. The company will cut its quarterly dividend to 25 cents per share, from 74 cents per share. The company lost $3.5 billion in the fourth quarter. Shares of ConocoPhillips are down nearly 45% over the past year. (CNBC)
Layoffs surged in January to the highest levels since July as employers in the retail and energy sectors cut jobs. U.S.-based companies announced 75,114 planned job cuts last month, up more than 200% percent from a 15-year low in December. That is 42% higher than last year. Retailers cut 22,246 positions, a seven-year high. Wal-Mart accounted for much of the payroll reductions. The nation's largest retailer said it plans to close 269 stores and expects to let go 16,000 workers.
Macy's said it will also shutter some locations this year, costing 4,820 employees their jobs. The energy sector layed off 20,246 positions, the highest monthly total since the start of the oil price rout. (Challenger, Gray & Christmas)
The S&P 500 is down 7 and the NASDAQ is down 17. The MSCI international index is down 0.5%.
Oil is flat at $31.75 a barrel.
Gold is up $9 at $1150 a Troy ounce.
Mortgage applications fell last week by 2.6% as snow covered much of the East Coast. Applications to refinance rose 0.3%, but are down 31.5% from a year ago. Applications to purchase a home fell 7% from a week earlier but are 17% higher than a year ago. (Mortgage Bankers Association)
Job growth in the private sector slowed a bit in January as larger companies hired fewer workers than the previous month and manufacturing jobs were flat, according to ADP and Moody's Analytics. However, the private sector added 205,000 new positions. Strong job growth in the service sector that added 192,000 jobs. Financial firms added19,000 workers for the biggest gain since March 2006. Medium-sized firms, 50 to 499 employees, added the most with 82,000 jobs, while companies with more than 500 workers added 44,000, just half December's total. (CNBC)
Amazon is planning to open hundreds of physical bookstores. The number may be as high 300 to 400 brick-and-mortar locations. In November, Amazon opened its first brick-and-mortar store in Seattle. Amazon has promised that literature sold at Amazon Books will not differ in price from its online price tag. (Wall Street Journal)
Merck reported a 2.5% fall in quarterly revenue, hurt by a strong dollar. Profits fell to $981 million down from $7.32 billion last year. Revenue fell to $10.22 billion. (CBC)
The S&P 500 is up 6 and the NASDAQ is up 11. The MSCI international index is up.
Oil is up 25 cents at $30.25 a barrel.
Gold is up $5 at $1132 a Troy ounce.
It is Ground Hog Day and the market like the movie is the same thing over and over. As go the price of oil so goes stocks. This morning that is down.
The US consumer is not doing too bad. Consumer spending was unchanged in December after rising 0.5% in November. Consumer spending increased 3.4% in 2015. (Commerce Department)
Wages and salaries increased 4.5% in 2015 the largest increase since 2012. Income at the disposal of households after accounting for inflation in 2015 recorded its biggest increase since 2006. (Commerce Department)
Savings surged to $753.3 billion in December, the highest level since December 2012. (Commerce Department)
U.S. construction spending rose in December 0.1% as spending on nonresidential structures recorded its biggest drop since 2013. Construction outlays increased 10.5% in 2015, the biggest rise since 2005. (Bloomberg)
Toy maker Mattel beat expectations on profits and sales, helped by the first quarterly sales increase in more than two years on renewed popularity for Barbie and Hot Wheels. (CNBC)
As the consumer makes the transition to more efficient LED light bulbs, General Electric will stop selling compact fluorescent lamp bulbs in 2017. (Gizmodo)
The S&P 500 is down 15 and the NASDAQ is down 17. The MSCI international index is down.
Oil is down 75 cents at $30.75 a barrel.
Gold is down $3 at $1125 a Troy ounce.
While we slept in was reported China's manufacturing sector contracted at the fastest pace since 2012 in January. That added worries about oil demand from the world's second-biggest economy at a time when the market is already weighed down by a large supply overhang. For the last month or so oil and the stocks have assumed an almost perfect correlation. So you got it oil is down and so are stocks. (Bloomberg)
The health insurer Aetna had a profit of $1.37 per share in the fourth quarter, above estimates. Revenue also beating forecasts. Aetna was helped by improved membership numbers and margins in its Medicare business. (CNBC)
Drug distributor Cardinal Health earned a profit of $1.30 per share in Q4, better than expected as were sales. The company said its results were boosted by growth in its customer base and solid fundamentals. (CNBC)
It is no longer buying the world a Coke. Coca-Cola has taken 40% stake in Nigerian juice and snack Chi as it continues its push into Africa. (Bloomberg)
Boeing won the contract to begin preliminary work on a new fleet of Air Force One presidential jets, based on its 747-8 model. The initial contract is worth $25.8 million, while estimates put the deal's total worth at $1.65 billion. (CNBC)
The S&P 500 is down 18 and the NASDAQ is down 32. The MSCI international index is flat.
Oil is down $1.16 at $32.43 a barrel.
Gold is up $6 at $1113 a Troy ounce.
The Bank of Japan shocked financial markets overnight by adopting negative interest rates for the first time ever, in a desperate attempt to kick start the world's number three economy. A rate of -0.1% will now apply to excess reserves parked at the central bank, which said it would extend the policy "as long as necessary." The decision saw global shares jump, the yen fall, and sovereign bonds rally. (SA)
Oregon regulators yesterday forced tight new state controls on struggling Portland health insurer Moda Health Plans, citing the company's ongoing financial losses and depleted capital reserves. The Oregon Division of Financial Regulation put the company into "supervision," meaning all business decisions will have to cleared by state officials. Moda suffered a miserable fourth quarter of continuing losses and a shrinking capital base. (OregonLive)
Amazon’s full-year sales topped the $100bn mark for the first time in company history last year. However, net profits of $596m reported after the bell yesterday missed Wall Street estimates, as operating expenses rose nearly 18 per cent from the year prior. Shares were down sharply after hours. (FT)
Finally, Fourth quarter GDP numbers are out this morning, and economic growth underwhelmed. The economy grew at a .7% annualized pace in the 4th Quarter, as a strong dollar sapped exports, manufacturing sputtered, and consumer spending cooled. (FT)
Oil is up $.55 at $33.77 a barrel.
Gold is flat at $1116 a Troy ounce.
US Stocks sold off yesterday after the Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged saying the economy has slowed since December. The Fed also mentioned that a second interest rate hike in March was unlikely. Large losses from corporate heavyweights Apple and Boeing accounted for much of the drop in the Dow Industrials. With Apples declining stock price and Googles stock trading higher Apple is close to surrendering the title of world’s largest company to Google.
The US Stock market hasn’t been confident in the economy this year, and now, no longer is the Fed. Yesterday the Fed essentially issued a mea culpa admitting they shouldn’t have raised interest rates in December and that they probably won’t raise rates 4 times in 2016 as they had previously stated.
Facebook reported earnings yesterday after the bell that smashed wall st estimates. Facebook’s earnings were up 39% over the same period last year. The company said that 1.59 billion people globally visited their site at least once a month with 90% of those people using a mobile device to access the site. Mark Zukerberg and team seem to be doing a great job quieting the skeptics (including me) regarding their ability to monetize the business.
Ecommerce giant EBay reported earnings that were in-line with wall streets expectations of 39 cents/share. Revenue for the company was flat year over year, but the company gave guidance for 2016 that was much lower than expected sending the stock 10% lower. It seems that everyone is having a hard time competing with Amazon.
The Chinese central bank is taking steps to try to stop the flood of money leaving the country. The People’s Bank of China is curbing the ability of foreign companies to repatriate their earnings back to their own currency. They are also making it harder to bet against the Yuan and transfer money out of the country. These moves are going to make it difficult for the IMF to designate the Yuan as one of the worlds reserve currencies.
US Stocks traded sharply higher yesterday led higher by big earnings driven gains and oil prices trading higher. Today investors are digesting more earnings reports and looking towards 2pm when the Fed decision about interest rates is announced.
Yesterday after the bell Apple reported earnings that beat consensus estimates but missed on revenue estimates. IPhone sales grew at the slowest pace since the iPhone was introduced in 2007. The company forecast that revenue in the current quarter would decline at the steepest rate in 15 years signaling an end to the company’s hyper growth of the past. Shares of Apple are trading lower on this news.
Boeing reported earnings this morning that easily beat analysts’ expectations, but the company said that they will produce far fewer planes in 2016 than originally expected which sent the stock down 6%.
AT&T reported earnings that were softer than expected. The company added fewer wireless customers than a year ago. AT&T has been facing intense competition from carriers attracting customers in new ways. Last year AT&T bought DirecTV to offer national bundles of wireless and cable they say their rivals can’t match. Shares of AT&T are trading lower.
And it appears that the US consumer is shrugging off the stock market volatility as consumer confidence in January rose more than expected. Consumers don’t see the stock market weakness as having a negative impact on the economy.
The Federal Reserve starts a two day meeting this morning and is not expected to take any action on interest rates this meeting. However, there is hope central bankers will make some reassuring comments about market volatility and offer guidance on rate hikes. (Fox Business News)
Big bank AIG will return a minimum of $25 billion in capital to shareholders over the next two years, execute an IPO of its United Guaranty unit, and divest a number of other businesses. (CNBC)
Health giant Johnson & Johnson's sales fell 2.4% to $17.8 billion in the fourth quarter. Currency rates and slumping medical device sales continued to be a drag. Profits rose 18% to $3.2 billion. Excluding currency rates, revenue was up 1.8% renewed vitality in the Band-Aid segment. Medical device sales fell 8.7% for the year to $25.1 billion. (USA Today)
3M, maker of miracle products like Scotch tape and Post-it notes, reaffirmed its 2016 financial forecast of a 1% to 3% percent sales growth, excluding the impact of currency. The company cut about 1,500 jobs in the fourth quarter and took a pre-tax restructuring charge of $114 million. Profits fell to $1.04 billion, from $1.18 billion, a year ago. Sales fell 5.5% in the quarter. (Reuters)
Oil is flat at $30.27 a barrel.
Gold is up $7 at $1112 a Troy ounce. A three month high.
U.S. stocks logged their first positive week of 2016 last week. But the S&P 500 and Nasdaq are still in correction territory ahead of today's trading. (CNBC)
McDonald's fourth-quarter results are out reporting profits of $1.31 per share on revenues of $6.34 billion.
Global same-store rose 5%. In the US, they jumped 5.7% thanks to all-day breakfast. The company's shares have rallied 32% over the past year. (Business Insider)
Businesses were more likely to boost pay in the fourth quarter and confidence in U.S. growth continued, even as sales and profit growth flattened according to a survey by the National Association for Business Economics. 49% of firms reported raising wages in the quarter. Nearly half of businesses expect sales to rise. 19% of firms expect margins will drop in the current quarter, the highest since July 2014.
Ford is exiting all its operations in Japan and Indonesia this year, because the automaker sees "no reasonable path to profitability" in those countries. (Reuters)
The S&P 500 is down 8 and the NASDAQ is down 16. The MSCI international index is down 0.77%.
Oil is down $1.05 at $31.14 a barrel. Oil prices spiked 7% on Friday. That represented a dramatic rebound from last Wednesday, when crude crashed to as low as $26.19 a barrel, the weakest level since April 2003. That's a 21% jump in just two days. (CNN)
Gold is up $8 at $1104 a Troy ounce.
General Electric fourth-quarter profits were 52 cents per share, down from the 56 cents it reported last year. Sales rose 1% to $33.8 billion. GE reaffirmed its full-year profit forecast of 2% to 4% organic growth for the year. (Fox Business News)
Oil and gas exploration services company, Schlumberger says customers are abruptly cancelling projects. The world's largest oilfield services company plans to cut 10,000 jobs and a $10 billion stock buyback program to save cash. (Financial Times)
Like lemmings running over the cliff and into the sea retail investors pulled $5.2 billion from U.S. stock mutual funds in the latest week. That marks the third straight weeks of outflows. Remember the market timers Hall of Fame is an empty room in Paducah, Kentucky.
Join us this weekend for Financial Focus Radio when we will dissect this market downturn.
The S&P 500 is up 27 and the NASDAQ is up 74. The MSCI international index is up 2.46%.
Oil is up $1.56 at $31.09 a barrel. Crude oil is at 12-year lows and is cheaper than milk and a barrel. The price of one gallon of crude is equal to about half a gallon of milk, the lowest ratio since 2004. The cost of the oil inside a barrel is less than the cost of a barrel itself. (Fox Business News)
Gold is down $1 at $1098 a Troy ounce.
With the recent market turmoil January is on track to be the worst month for the S&P 500 since February 2009, the last month of financial crisis losses before the market began its rebound. Make a note …. That downturn ended …. so will this one. There is nothing a long-term investor with a well-diversified and balanced portfolio can and should do in response to this correction. (CNBC)
In the move to reduce holdings of assets perceived to be risky, the average cash balances of investors have climbed to 5.4%, the third-highest level since 2009. Remember no one can time the market. The only way to lock in certain losses is to sell your investments in a down cycle. (CNBC)
Mortgage application volume jumped 9% for the week over week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Refinancing was the driver of total volume, surging 19%, but are 40% below a year ago. Applications to purchase a home fell 2% week-to-week, but are 17% higher than a year ago.
U.S. consumer prices fell in December as the cost of energy goods dropped and services rose. According to the Labor Department the Consumer Price Index slipped 0.1%. The CPI increased 0.7% for 2015. Last month, energy prices dropped 2.4% percent, with gasoline tumbling 3.9%. Food prices fell for a second straight month.
The S&P 500 is up 1 and the NASDAQ is up 10. The MSCI international index is down 0.21%.
Oil is down 32 cents at $28.03 a barrel.
Gold is down $7 at $1100 a Troy ounce.
Stocks are dropping this morning, as oil prices sink another 3% and have traded below $28 per barrel, hitting lows not seen since September 2003. The S&P 500, and Nasdaq remain in correction territory after closing flat yesterday in a volatile session. The S&P 500 is just above the August 2015 correction low of 1,867. (CNBC & Reuters)
U.S. Treasury yields are lower this morning, with the 10-year yield falling below the 2% for the second time since last week, trading back to October 2015 lows. (Reuters)
IBM is forecasting weak earnings in 2016 after reporting an 8.5% fall in fourth-quarter revenue as a strong dollar weighed on results. The company receives more than half its revenue from markets outside the United States. The strong dollar carved off $7 billion from IBM's 2015 revenue and reduced its profit by $300 million in the fourth quarters. As of Tuesday's close, IBM's shares had fallen 18.5% in the past 12 months. (Reuters)
Goldman Sachs reported a fourth-quarter profit of $765 million. Revenue was $7.27 billion in the quarter. The results surpassed Wall Street expectations. Goldman shares have decreased 13% since the beginning of the year. (AP)
The S&P 500 is down 29 and the NASDAQ is down 74. The MSCI international index is down 2.66%.
Oil is down 81 cents at $27.65.
Gold is up $11 at $1100 a Troy ounce.
U.S. stocks are sharply higher this morning, after Chinese stocks gained 3.2% last night. Data shows the Chinese economy grew at 6.8%in Q4of 2015. For 2015, China's growth slowed to a 25-year low of 6.9%. The world's second-largest economy continues to shift away from its manufacturing roots. (CNBC)
Bank of America reported a 9.8% rise in profits for the fourth quarter of the year. The second largest U.S. bank reported profits of $3.01 billion, up from $2.74 billion, last year. Total revenue rose 4.3% to $19.53 billion. Global markets revenue rose 31%, accounting for 16% of total revenue. (Reuters)
UnitedHealth ended 2015 with a 19% drop in fourth-quarter profits. The company earned a profit of $1.22 billion for Q4, down from $1.51 billion in the previous year. The company had revenue of $43.6 billion. Earnings from the company's pharmacy benefits management unit jumped 50%. (AP)
Royal Dutch Shell is exiting a multi-billion-dollar Abu Dhabi gas field project, calling it uneconomic in the current downturn. Major write downs were not expected. (CNBC)
The S&P 500 is up 28 and the NASDAQ is up 69. The MSCI international index is up.
Oil is up 31 cents at $29.73. According to the International Energy Agency Chinese oil demand likely hit a record high in 2015.
Gold is down $6 at $1085 a Troy ounce.
Stocks are much lower this morning as oil is tanking, following yesterday’s rally on Wall Street. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq are in a correction territory, down more than 10% from last summer’s high. Asian stocks ended sharply lower overnight, erasing early gains. Chinese stocks lost 3.5%, moving into a bear market, down more than 20%. (CNBC)
Oregon’s largest employer Intel, sold more data center and mobile chips in the fourth quarter, as it makes steady progress diversifying away from a slowing PC market. The chipmaker made a $3.6 billion in profit, during the quarter. Revenue rose 1%, to $14.9 billion. (USA Today)
Wells Fargo, the world’s largest bank by market value, posted a quarterly profit of $5.71 billion unchanged from last year. Revenue climbed about 1% to $21.6 billion. (Bloomberg)
JPMorgan Chase fourth-quarter profits climbed 10% to $5.43 billion as expenses from litigation and employee compensation shrank. (Bloomberg)
Join us Saturday at 10 for Financial Focus radio as we share with you how to respond to the 2016 market sell off.
Almost $3.2 trillion of paper stock market value has been lost around the world since the start of 2016. U.S. stocks are off $1.77 trillion, while overseas stocks are down $1.4 trillion. But remember these are only paper losses until you actually push the sell button. If you have a long-term time horizon and own quality this is just a normal and expected correction. If you have been treating the financial markets as a casino and have bought junk, this will be very painful. (CNBC)
Banking giant JPMorgan Chase saw fourth-quarter profits rise 9%, helped by strong performance in its consumer banking division and lower legal expenses. The bank was impacted by the drop in oil prices, and the weakness in the commodity prices. The bank had to add to its credit reserves to cover loans to oil and gas companies and metal and mining companies. Total net revenue at the bank totaled $22.9 billion. (AP)
Best Buy saw holiday same-store sales fall 1.2%, due to softer than expected mobile phone sales. The electronics retailer saw other areas, like home theater and appliances, perform well. (CNBC)
The Web is becoming the go to place for all retail. WebMD is exploring a sale of all or part of its business. The online health-care information website operator is said to be in talks with Walgreens and UnitedHealth. (Financial Times)
U.S. stocks are higher this morning, putting the S&P 500 on track for a third day of gains, and the Nasdaq for a second straight positive day after breaking an eight-session losing streak. (CNBC)
A sharp drop-off in home loan activity over the holidays was clearly a blip. Mortgage application volume increased 21.3% last week. (Mortgage Bankers Association)
Is this showing the death throes of the PC? Personal computer shipments suffered their biggest yearly decline ever, dropping 10.4% in 2015. (International Data Corporation.)
Rail provider CSX reported a fourth quarter profit of 48 cents per share, above estimates. The rail operator said a weak global economy and other factors would hurt its 2016 results. (CNBC)
Yum Brands reported December same-store sales in China rose by 1%, driven by a 5% gain at KFC. That helped offset an 11% same-store sales drop at Pizza Hut. Yum is in the process of spinning off its China business. (CNBC)
U.S. oil prices are stronger for the first time in eight sessions, after dipping below $30 per barrel Tuesday for the first time in more than 12 years. Oil is up 85 cents at $31.29 a barrel. (Reuters)
European stocks and U.S. futures are sporting solid gains after the Shanghai Composite managed to squeeze out a 2/10% advance in a volatile session overnight. The Q4 earnings season is underway after Alcoa last night reported mixed results. Still to come this week are Intel, JPMorgan, Wells Fargo, and Citigroup, among others. (SA)
The China market may be short on cheerleaders these days, as global investors fret about a mainland economic slowdown, but Starbucks seems just as keen as ever to expand in the middle kingdom, announcing today that it would open 500 more stores in China this year. That’s in line with the Seattle-based coffee chain’s longstanding plan to buck the economic slowdown spooking global stock markets, and keep expanding rapidly on the mainland throughout the current decade. (ft)
American Airlines has become the latest US company to take a substantial write down on its investments in Venezuela as the country’s economic woes and currency crisis worsen. The airline said in a regulatory filing today that it will take a $592m one-off charge this quarter to write off the value of the Venezuelan currency it holds. Major US companies with exposure to Venezuela – including Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo and AT&T – have been collectively forced to take billions of dollars of write downs in recent years as Venezuela’s currency problems accelerate. (Filing)