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Copyright: Copyright 2017, MarketWatch, Inc.
 



3M sees 2017 EPS, sales growth at 'top half' of guidance range

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 11:57:54 GMT

3M Co. said Tuesday it said the industrial and consumer products company is tracking at the "top half" of its 2017 growth guidance range of 4% to 5% and earnings per share of $9.00 to $9.10. The FactSet consensus for revenue of $31.49 billion implies 4.6% growth from a year ago, while the EPS consensus is $9.06. For 2018, 3M expects net EPS of $9.60 to $10.00, compared with the FactSet consensus of $9.70, and total sales growth of 5% to 7%. The FactSet 2018 revenue consensus of $33.16 billion is 5.3% above 2017 expectations. Speaking at its annual analyst and investors gathering in New York later Tuesday, Chief Executive Inge Thulin will also highlight investments in its priority growth platforms, including auto electrification, air quality and personal safety. The stock, which was still inactive in premarket trade, has soared 34% year to date, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has rallied 23%.

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Verizon CEO steps down from General Electric board

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 22:36:51 GMT

Verizon Communications Inc. Chief Executive Lowell McAdam resigned from the General Electric Co. board of directors, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Monday. McAdam told GE that he no longer had enough time to continue to serve on the board, the SEC filing said. "Lowell is very supportive of [GE] Chairman Flannery," a Verizon spokesman said in an email message. "It has become clear, however, that the work on GE's board was going to distract Lowell from his day job, and the Verizon shareowner, which is his first priority." GE referred MarketWatch to the SEC filing. Verizon stock is up less than 1% to $51.99 after hours. GE stock is flat after hours and has fallen 44% this year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average , of which both Verizon and GE are components, has gained 23%. Verizon stock has lost 2.9% as the S&P 500 index has gained 18%.

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Comcast drops out of Fox bidding, Disney reportedly still in talks

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 22:22:25 GMT

Comcast Corp. is no longer bidding for entertainment assets from 21st Century Fox Inc. , according to a Monday afternoon report, which could leave Walt Disney Co. as the sole bidder remaining. "We are no longer engaged in the review of those assets," Comcast said in a statement to some news organizations. "We never got the level of engagement needed to make a definitive offer." Disney and Comcast were "in active talks" in negotiations for parts of the Fox empire that includes the movie and television studios and some cable networks, [l: The Wall Street Journal reported last week, adding that the Murdoch family hoped to make a decision on a transaction by year's end. Sony Corp. and Verizon Communications Inc. have also reportedly shown interest in the assets, the Journal reported. Reuters, which first reported the Comcast statement, said Monday that Disney and Fox were still in negotiations and could reach a deal this month.

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House bill would not pay for itself, JCT finds

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 22:16:30 GMT

The House tax relief bill would generate $483 billion in revenue over a decade from additional growth -- not nearly enough to pay for the $1.44 trillion cost, the Joint Committee on Taxation said Monday. That's very similar to the JCT finding on the Senate tax bill, which they said would generate $458 billion in extra revenue relative to the legislation's $1.41 trillion cost. A conference to reconcile the two chambers' bills is set to start on Wednesday.

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Iron Mountain to buy IO Data Centers for $1.32 billion

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 22:00:45 GMT

Iron Mountain Inc. plans to buy U.S. operations of IO Data Centers LLC for $1.32 billion, including land and buildings in Arizona, New Jersey and Ohio, the company said Monday. As part of the agreement, Iron Mountain will pay an additional $60 million based on future performance. The deal is expected to close in early 2018 and be accrective to the company's 2019 adjusted funds from operations. Separately, Iron Mountain said it is offering 14.5 million shares in a secondary offering to finance its IO Data Centers transaction. Shares of Iron Mountain were off 0.7% after hours.

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Boeing increases dividend and share-repurchase plan, shares gain

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 21:49:54 GMT

Boeing Co. announced a larger dividend and share-repurchase authorization Monday afternoon, sending shares 1% higher in late trading. Boeing said it would increase its quarterly dividend 20% to $1.71 per share, payable March 2, 2018, to shareholders of record as of Feb. 9. The company replaced a share-repurchase authorization of $14 billion, established in December 2016, with one for $18 billion. Boeing said it expects to make the repurchases in the next 24 to 30 months, and repurchased $9.2 billion in shares under the previous authorization. Boeing stock added 1% in immediate after-hours action following the announcement; shares closed at their second highest price on record, $283.16, after falling 1% from Friday's record closing high.

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Bluebird Bio stock retreats from records after announcing stock offering

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 21:19:27 GMT

Bluebird Bio Inc.'s soaring stock price hit a bit of turbulence Monday afternoon, after the company said it planned to sell $600 million in fresh shares amid a run to record prices. Bluebird shares have more than tripled this year, and received a big boost in the past few sessions after presenting new research on cancer treatments last week. Shares added 17.9% Monday after a big price target boost and closed higher than $200 for the first time, but Bluebird said just after the session ended that it planned to sell $600 million in fresh shares, with the possibility of increasing the size by up to 15%. In immediate late trading after the announcement, Bluebird shares fell more than 2.5%.

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SEC charges day trader for role in insider trading ring

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 21:15:47 GMT

The Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday charged Joseph Spera, a former day trader, with posing as a portfolio manager to induce investment bankers to share nonpublic details about upcoming secondary offerings. He allegedly made more than $1 million in illegal insider trading profits as part of a ring that allegedly stole confidential information from investment banks and clients while agreeing not to disclose the information to others or trade before the offerings were announced. The SEC and criminal authorities previously charged four others in the alleged insider trading ring in parallel actions. The SEC alleged that Spera and the others generated approximately $5.5 million in total illicit profits, including illegal trades they made based on nonpublic information they obtained ahead of a major announcement by a large pharmaceutical company. The U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of New Jersey has filed a parallel criminal action against Spera, who agreed to plead guilty. Spera's childhood friend Paul Petrello and two others charged initially, Steven Costantin and Ronald Chernin, have also pleaded guilty in the criminal actions and agreed to partial settlements in the SEC cases with potential monetary sanctions to be determined at a later date. Litigation continues against the alleged ringleader of the scheme, Steven Fishoff, who recruited Spera into the fold along with Petrello.

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Dow, S&P 500 end at records as bitcoin marks first day of futures trading

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 21:09:52 GMT

The S&P 500 index and Dow industrials closed at fresh records on Monday, as the world's most prominent virtual currency, bitcoin, made its futures debut on Sunday and as investors awaited the Federal Reserve's next policy update in coming days. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 0.2% at 24,386, while the S&P 500 index finished 0.3% higher at 2,659. Both indexes marked fresh all-time highs. The Nasdaq Composite Index, meanwhile, ended up 0.5% at 6,875, less than a percentage point from its record closing high. The moves for equities come as investors await a key policy decision from the Federal Reserve on Wednesday. Separately, bitcoin futures were seen as adding a modicum of legitimacy to its parabolic rise after the Cboe Global Markets Inc. launched futures trading on its exchange late Sunday, with bitcoin trading on Monday going off with few glitches, despite a pair of trading halts on Sunday.

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Xerox stock gains after Carl Icahn calls for new CEO

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 21:07:39 GMT

Investor Carl Icahn called for a new chief executive for Xerox Corp. in an interview with The Wall Street Journal on Monday, opening up a new battle in his fight with the company. "The CEO is the most important person in the company," Icahn told the Journal. We believe Xerox still has potential, but it will go the way of Kodak if there aren't major changes." The statement came after a board member put forth by Icahn resigned as a director Monday so that Icahn could put forth four board members for election. The move was part of a termination of an agreement between the two parties that had given Icahn three board seats. Xerox CEO Jeff Jacobson took over control of the company after a corporate split earlier this year. Xerox shares moved from a slight decline to a slight gain on the day after the news broke, then closed even on the day at $29.59.

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Bitcoin hits record high, nears $300 billion market capitalization

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 21:04:10 GMT

The digital currency bitcoin rallied on Monday, hitting its latest in a series of records in the first full day of trading for bitcoin futures. The price of a single bitcoin rose 14.5% to $17,209.28, according to data and news website Coindesk. Earlier, it hit a record of $17,382.64, which represented a new high for the world's largest cryptocurrency, taking out a record hit last Thursday. At its current size, bitcoin has a market capitalization of $290.6 billion, according to CoinMarketCap. Only 10 components of the S&P 500 have a higher market cap. On Sunday, Cboe Global Markets launched its bitcoin futures contract, which allows leveraged bets on the price of bitcoin. The introduction of futures was seen as a legitimizing milestone in the history of bitcoin, which has been soaring all year. The digital currency ended 2016 below $1,000, and has soared more than 17-fold since then. The S&P 500 rose 0.3% on Monday, bringing its year-to-date advance to 18.8%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 0.2% higher on the day. Both ended at records.

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'American Vandal' tops list of most-binged shows on Netflix in 2017

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 20:47:01 GMT

Netflix Inc. on Monday broke with a long tradition by revealing the shows that viewers binge-watched in 2017. The streaming giant listed the shows that were most popular based on the average daily viewing hours per member between Nov. 1, 2016 and Nov. 1, 2017. The shows that were devoured -- watched for more than two hours per day -- were led by "American Vandal," followed by "3%," "13 Reasons Why," "Anne with an E," "Riverdale", "Ingobernable," "Travelers," "The Keepers," "The OA," and "The Confession Tapes." Netflix shares were down 1.3% in late trade, but have gained 50% in 2017, while the S&P 500 has gained 19%.

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Eli Lilly hikes dividend by 8%

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 20:36:55 GMT

Eli Lilly and Co. said Monday its board approved an 8% hike in its quarterly dividend. The drugmaker said it will pay a 56.25 cents a share dividend in the first quarter to shareholders of record as of Feb. 15 on March 9. Eli Lilly shares rose 0.2% to $86.64 in recent trading.

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Tesla's stock rallies 1 day before bearish 'death cross' set to appear

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 20:31:40 GMT

Tesla Inc.'s stock rallied 3.7% in afternoon trade Monday, putting it on track to close above its widely-followed 200-day moving average for the first time in six weeks, and above its 50-day moving average for the first time in nine weeks. The 200-day MA is viewed by many chart watchers as a dividing line between short- and long-term trends, while the 50-day MA is seen by many as a short-term trend tracker. The stock's move Monday likely comes a day before the 50-day MA crosses below the 200-day MA, a bearish technical event referred to as a "death cross." The 50-day MA was last at $325.59, down from $325.86 on Friday, while the 200-day has climbed to $325.36 from $324.95 on Friday, according to FactSet. The last death cross appeared on Oct. 5, 2016 when the stock closed at $208.46; it fell another 13% before bottoming at $181.47 on Dec. 2, 2016. Tesla's stock has lost 10.2% over the past three months, while the S&P 500 has climbed 6.8%. Tesla's stock fallen from its Sept. 18 record of $385.00 amid production concerns, but has rallied over the last month amid apparent strong demand for its new Semi big rig.

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Brent oil at highest since July 2015; WTI climbs to a 1-week high

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 19:53:46 GMT

Oil prices climbed Monday, with Brent crude, the global benchmark, logging its highest settlement in more than two years after the reported shutdown of a major North Sea oil pipeline that could last for weeks. Meanwhile, West Texas Intermediate crude, the U.S. benchmark, settled at a more than one-week high, rebounding from a 1.7% decline last week as recent upbeat U.S. economic data fed expectations for crude demand. February Brent added $1.29, or 2%, to end at $64.69 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe. January WTI crude rose 63 cents, or 1.1%, to settle at $57.99 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.

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GE's stock turns lower, heads for six-year low

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 19:22:22 GMT

General Electric Co.'s stock erased early gains to fall 0.7% in afternoon trade Monday, putting it on pace to close at a six-year low. After rising 0.3% on Thursday and closing unchanged on Friday, GE's stock was up as much as 0.5% at its intraday high of $17.79, which put it on track for the first three-session streak without a decline since the four-day win streak ended Sept. 25. The stock was now headed for the lowest close since Dec. 20, 2011. It has shed 3.8% so far this month, which puts the stock in danger of a 10th-straight monthly decline, which is the longest such streak since there is available data going back to 1972. The shares have shed 25.8% over the past three months, amid disappointment over the company's third-quarter results and turnaround plan, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has climbed 10.5%.

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Snap shares up 5% after analyst note

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 19:02:04 GMT

Snap Inc. shares have risen 5% to $15.91 in afternoon trading after a positive note from Monness, Crespi, Hardt & Co. analyst James Cakmak to clients Monday. In the report, Cakmak wrote that the stock has reached as a turning point because the company is in a position to beat Wall Street estimates, executives were "candid" about the company's challenges in the third-quarter earnings call, and has a strong relationship with Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. Cakmak also wrote that the company will likely grow its advertiser base and develop additional ad inventory. The analyst wrote that Snap has about 175 million daily active users, or about 50 million more than what he estimates for Twitter Inc. . Snap stock has dropped 25% since its March initial public offering, as the S&P 500 index has gained 8.7%.

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Gold prices mark another finish at the lowest since July

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 18:51:57 GMT

Gold fell on Monday, as strength in bitcoin and U.S. stocks continued to dull the investment appeal of the yellow metal, keeping prices for gold at their lowest finish in nearly five months. February gold lost $1.50, or 0.1%, to settle at $1,246.90 an ounce. That was the lowest settlement since July 20, according to FactSet data.

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Apple stock rises after company confirms Shazam acquisition

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 17:45:54 GMT

Apple Inc. shares gained 1.9% in midday trading Monday after the company confirmed that it had acquired music-recognition app Shazam. "Apple Music and Shazam are a natural fit, sharing a passion for music discovery and delivering great music experiences to our users," Apple said in a statement. "We have exciting plans in store, and we look forward to combining with Shazam upon approval of today's agreement." Terms of the deal weren't disclosed, but a report from Tech Crunch last week pegged the value at approximately $400 million, below the $1 billion valuation Shazam fetched in a 2015 funding round. Apple shares have gained 49% so far in 2017, compared with a 23% rise for the Dow Jones Industrial Average .

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.

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FAANG stocks unlikely to outperform in 2018: analyst

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 17:32:59 GMT

The so-called FAANG companies -- Facebook Inc. , Amazon.com Inc. , Apple Inc. , Netflix Inc. , and Alphabet Inc.'s Google -- have been big winners in 2017, but analysts at Morgan Stanley think that the stocks are less likely to see sizable gains heading into the new year. "While we believe that fundamental drivers for these stocks remain intact, history indicates returns may moderate their pace and we question whether growth over value can continue to be as meaningful a driver of returns," wrote the analysts, led by Benjamin Swinburne. These five stocks account for about 24% of the S&P 500's incremental market cap, he wrote, but Morgan Stanley's analysis indicates that top performers, on average, "do not outperform the following year." Swinburne deems Google most exposed to a consumer recession, and Netflix least exposed. Facebook shares have gained 56% so far in 2017, compared with 55% for Amazon, 49% for Apple, 51% for Netflix, and 33% for Alphabet. The S&P 500 is up 19% this year.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.

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Fitbit stock hits highest price since January as Jawbone lawsuit ends

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 17:17:56 GMT

Fitbit Inc. stock gained 3.9% in midday trading Monday, putting it on pace to close above $7 for the first time since late January. The company announced Friday after the market close that that it had reached a settlement in its lawsuit with Jawbone, for undisclosed terms. Jawbone accused Fitbit in 2015 of stealing its employees and trade secrets. Fitbit shares have fallen 1.1% so far in 2017, compared with a 19% gain for the S&P 500 Index .

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Brent oil prices rally, set for highest settlement since mid-2015

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 16:41:11 GMT

Brent crude-oil futures rallied Monday, with prices set for their highest settlement since the middle of 2015, following reports Monday that a major North Sea pipeline has been shut down. A crack in the Forties pipeline, which carries about 40% of North Sea crude across land for processing at a refinery in Scotland, was discovered last week, according to BBC News. February Brent crude rose $1.12, or 1.8%, to $64.52 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.

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SEC forces halt of initial coin offering

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 16:36:37 GMT

The Securities and Exchange Commission forced the halt of what the regulator said was an offer of unregistered securities by a California-based company selling digital tokens to investors for its blockchain-based food review service. The company, Munchee Inc., refunded investor proceeds before any tokens were delivered to investors after an investigation by the SEC's new Cyber Unit, which is focused on misconduct involving distributed ledger technology and initial coin offerings. Munchee was seeking $15 million in capital to improve an existing iPhone app centered on restaurant meal reviews and create an ''ecosystem'' in which Munchee and others would buy and sell goods and services using the tokens. According to the SEC's order, the company and other promoters told investors via its website and a white paper that they could expect an increase in value of the tokens and that the company would create and support a secondary market for the tokens. The SEC has said its report on its investigation of DAO that a token can be a security. Munchee consented to the SEC's cease-and-desist order without admitting or denying the findings.

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J.C. Penney partners with menswear retailer Bombfell for online big-and-tall styling service

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 16:31:37 GMT

J.C. Penney Co. Inc. has partnered with online menswear styling service Bombfell to provide styling services for big-and-tall customers. Shoppers can head to the JCPenney+Bombfell site to take a quiz that will help the service determine fit and preferences. Customers preview the five stylists' picks before the items ship, and then shoppers have seven days to try the items on. Shoppers keep what they want and send back what they don't want. The $20 stylist fee is applied to anything purchased. The average price point is $39 per item, according to the website. In a statement, J.C. Penney notes its history of serving the big-and-tall customer, saying the assortment available on its website has driven "up to 20% of our enterprise business in big-and-tall - much higher than most merchandise categories." J.C. Penney shares are down more than 68% for the past year while the S&P 500 index is up 17.5% for the period.

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Six people in the U.K. found guilty of running boiler-room scam

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 16:18:47 GMT

Three people in the U.K. were found guilty on Monday for their roles in a running a series of boiler rooms that resulted in investors losing more than £2.7 million, said the country's financial industry watchdog. Another three defendants had already pleaded guilty in the proceedings, the Financial Conduct Authority said in a statement. The FCA said the defendants, whose names couldn't yet be released, will be sentenced in Southwark Crown Court in London at a later date.

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Mattel's credit downgraded to a 'junk' rating at Moody's

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 15:21:55 GMT

Mattel Inc.'s senior unsecured bond ratings were downgraded three notches to a "junk" rating of Ba3 from Baa3 at Moody's Investors Service, which cited the toy maker's weak performance this year and the lowered profit expectations for the holiday season. Moody's also cut Mattel's short-term rating to Not Prime from Prime-3. The rating outlook is stable. Moody's said it expects the lowered profit outlook to contribute to "much higher than previously expected year-end leverage." Separately, S&P Global Ratings downgraded on Monday Mattel's credit rating, which it already had rated "junk," one notch to BB- from BB, with a negative outlook. Mattel's stock rose 2.4% in morning trade, but has plunged 44.1% year to date, while the S&P 500 has gained 18.6% so far this year.

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Most wanted beauty product by women is the eyeshadow palette while men want moisturizer

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 15:20:50 GMT

Of all beauty products, women most want a new eyeshadow palette for the holidays, according to a survey of more than 2,000 American women conducted by SkinStore, a beauty retailer. Two skincare products, serum and night cream, round out the top three choices. A survey of more than 2,000 men found that their number one beauty choice was moisturizer, followed by shaving products and facial wash. Beauty stocks like Ulta Beauty Inc. and e.l.f. Beauty Inc. have taken a beating in 2017, down nearly 13% and 24.5% for the year so far respectively as the S&P 500 index has risen 18.6%. Still Cowen & Company analysts said in a Nov. 30 note that skincare, fragrances and hair care are "bright spots" in a sea of disruptions like hurricanes and soft makeup trends. "Ulta's loyalty program and store format are sustainable competitive advantages, and customer relationships as well as vendor relations are competitive moats," analysts wrote. They rate Ulta shares outperform with a $246 price target.

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Verizon stock rises on announcement of new NFL deal

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 15:14:31 GMT

Verizon Inc. shares gained 0.5% in Monday morning trading after the company said that it had signed a new streaming agreement with the NFL, reportedly worth more than $2 billion over five years, according to the Wall Street Journal. Under the deal, Verizon would have the rights to stream national and in-network NFL games on mobile devices, with the games available to viewers regardless of their wireless carrier. The deal begins in January and will include the NFL playoffs. Viewers will be able to watch the games on Yahoo, Yahoo Sports, go90, and the NFL's app. Verizon is trying to make a bigger push into the media business, after acquiring Yahoo's internet assets earlier this year and AOL in 2015. Verizon shares have fallen 4.1% so far in 2017, compared with a 19% gain for the S&P 500 Index .

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Disney, Chevron, 3M stocks help Dow industrials firm early gain

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 15:09:31 GMT

The Dow Jones Industrial Average saw early gains firm on Monday, buoyed by early share rises in Walt Disney Co., Chevron Corp., and 3M Co. Shares of those Dow components were adding about 30 points to the price-weighted benchmark. The Dow was most recently up 40 points, or 0.2%, at 24,366. A $1 move in any one of the Dow's 30 components equates to a roughly 6.8-point swing in the Dow. Elsewhere, the S&P 500 index was up 4.56 points, or 0.2%, at 2,655. Both the S&P 500 and the Dow were trading in record territory, Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite Index was up 0.2% at 6,856.

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Stock market trades flat as bitcoin futures trade kicks off

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 14:51:29 GMT

U.S. stock indexes opened slightly higher Monday, as investors look ahead to a coming meeting by the Federal Reserve's monetary-policy-making committee, and after bitcoin made its trading debut in the futures market late Sunday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average opened higher but was mostly trading at break-even at 24,331, while the S&P 500 index traded about 0.1% higher at 2,652, and the Nasdaq Composite Index gained 10 points, or 0.2%, higher at 6,849. Meanwhile, was at $17,900, after the Cboe Global Market Inc. kicked off trade of the volatile cryptocurrency at 6 p.m. Eastern time on Sunday. Markets are awaiting a key meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee on Wednesday, where a lifting of benchmark U.S. interest rates is expected.

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