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Spanish official looks set to become ECB's deputy after Irish withdrawal

Mon, 19 Feb 2018 14:46:29 GMT

The nomination of Philip Lane, Ireland's central bank governor, to become the European Central Bank's next deputy was withdrawn Monday, opening the door for Spain's candidate to take the No. 2 spot at the ECB. Lane's nomination was withdrawn by Ireland's Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe, who said indications pointed to Spanish Economy Minister Luis de Guindos succeeding Vitor Constâncio as the ECB's vice president. "[It] is crucial that the election of a new vice president for the ECB is based on consensus, and should not be a source for any disagreement," Donohoe said in a statement. "I believe Professor Lane is an exceptionally well-qualified candidate who would make an ideal person to serve on the executive board of the European Central Bank," said Donohue.

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Russian curling medalist tests positive for banned substance: report

Mon, 19 Feb 2018 04:09:07 GMT

A Russian athlete has failed a preliminary doping test at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, the New York Times reported Sunday. Alexander Krushelnytsky, who won a bronze medal with his wife in mixed-doubles curling, reportedly tested positive for traces of meldonium, a heart medication that the World Anti-Doping Agency has banned as a performance-enhancer since 2015. A second test will be applied, and if positive, the bronze medal may be stripped. The result is another embarrassment for Russian athletes, after the International Olympic Committee banned Russia from the Winter Games for systemic doping, although it allowed about 160 Russian men and women to compete under the moniker Olympic Athletes From Russia. Those athletes had to pass strict tests to compete at Pyeonchang. Meldonium is the same substance that tennis star Maria Sharapova tested positive for in 2016, leading to a 15-month suspension.

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Fed's Powell names two senior advisers: report

Sun, 18 Feb 2018 22:58:51 GMT

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has appointed a pair of monetary-policy experts as senior advisers, the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday. Citing sources familiar with the matter, the Journal said Jon Faust and Antulio Bomfim will join the Fed. Faust is a Johns Hopkins University economic professor, and will reportedly advise Powell on a part-time basis. Bomfim is an economist in the Fed's monetary affairs division. Both have previously served as advisers to the Fed.

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Clean energy company NextEra raises quarterly dividend by 13% to $1.11

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 21:27:12 GMT

Clean Energy company NextEra Energy said Friday it is raising its quarterly dividend by 13% to $1.11. The new dividend will be payable March 15 to shareholders of record as of Feb. 27. The board further approved a two-year extensions of its dividend policy, which is expected to lead to 12% to 14% increases per year through at least 2020. Shares rose 1.1%, and have gained 24% in the last 12 months, while the S&P 500 has gained 17%.

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Dow, S&P 500 book slight gains, mark 6th straight advance

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 21:11:41 GMT

The Dow industrials and S&P 500 on Friday logged their sixth straight advance on Friday, but the Nasdaq lagged its peers, as political drama sparked turbulent trade late in the session. Still, the benchmarks produced their best weekly rise in years, as the stock market attempts to claw back from last week's 10% pullback. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closd up about 19 points, or 0.1%, at 25,212, while the S&P 500 index ended up about a point, or less than 0.1%, at 2,732. The Nasdaq Composite Index , meanwhile, closed down roughly 17 points, or 0.2%, at 7,239. Stocks took an afternoon hit after Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said Friday's indictment by the Justice Department of Russian individuals and other entities included no allegation that any American knowingly colluded with Russia in trying to influence the 2016 presidential election. However, Rosenstein said there's no charge that any American participated. For the week, the Dow and S&P 500 returned 4.3%, while the Nasdaq put in a weekly advance of 5.3%, marking its best weekly rise since 2011.

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Federal Reserve Board seeks to fine and bar Barclays banker over FX manipulation

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 20:58:27 GMT

The Federal Reserve Board is looking to fine and permanently bar former Barclays employee Peter Little over manipulation in the currency market. Little, the former head of Barclays' foreign exchange spot trading desk in New York, is "alleged to have engaged in unsafe and unsound practices by using electronic chat rooms to coordinate with traders and competitor banks to influence FX pricing benchmarks," the Fed said in a statement on Friday. Little is also being accused of failing to supervise his subordinates. The Fed is seeking to fine him $487,500 and bar him from working in the banking industry. This is the third time the central bank's board of governors has taken action against Barclays or its employees, following the barring of former FX traders Christopher Ashton and Michael Weston. The move to censure Little comes after domestic and U.K. regulators have slapped foreign-exchange traders at prominent banks with hefty fines over the past several years for allegedly using chat rooms to manipulate currency closing prices, or fixes, for everything from the U.S. dollar to the Japanese yen .

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White House says charges show 'no collusion' between Russia, Trump campaign

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 20:35:48 GMT

The indictment of 13 Russians for breaking U.S. laws to interfere with the 2016 election show there was "no collusion" between Donald Trump's presidential campaign and Russia, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. Trump has been briefed on the indictment, Sanders said, and the president tweeted that the campaign "did nothing wrong."

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Apple's stock on track for biggest 6-day gain in nearly 4 years

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 20:24:33 GMT

Apple Inc.'s stock rose 0.3% in afternoon trade, putting it on track for the sixth-straight gain. The 11.8% the stock has climbed during that streak, which began after it closed at a four-month low on Feb. 8, would be the biggest six-session percentage gain since it climbed 12.7% in the six sessions ending May 1, 2014. That six-day rally was kicked off by better-than-expected fiscal second-quarter results and after the company boosted its capital return program to $130 billion. The stock's current bounce coincides with the bounce in the broader stock market. The Dow has rallied 1,426 points, or 6.0%, amid a six-session win streak.

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Oil futures end higher, hold gains after rig-count data

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 20:00:39 GMT

Oil futures ended higher Friday, holding gains after data showed another rise in the number of U.S. drilling rigs. West Texas Intermediate crude for March delivery rose 34 cents, or 0.6%, to end at $61.68 a barrel. For the week, the U.S. benchmark rose 4.2%, cutting its month-to-date decline to 4.7%, according to FactSet data.

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Mueller announces guilty plea of American in ID theft case

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 19:18:01 GMT

Special Counsel Robert Mueller on Friday announced a guilty plea with Richard Pinedo, saying the American man used stolen identities in connection with defeating security features of digital payment companies. The plea deal followed an indictment of 13 Russians for breaking U.S. laws to interfere with the 2016 elections. The Pinedo announcement does not mention the 2016 election.

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Dow rebounds as Rosenstein says no allegation any American participated in unlawful activity with Russia

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 19:04:37 GMT

The Dow Jones Industrial Average bounced back, coming off its intraday lows, after Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said Friday's indictment by the Justice Department of Russian individuals and other entities included no allegation that any American knowingly colluded with Russia in trying to influence the 2016 presidential election. Rosenstein, during a news conference, said that the indictment lays out no evidence that efforts to impact the presidential vote were successful. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 84 points, or 0.3%, at 25,281, in recent trade, the S&P 500 index rose 0.4% at 2,740, while the Nasdaq Composite Index added less than 0.1% at 7,259. The stock market turned lower Friday afternoon following reports that 13 Russians were indicted for attempting to interfere with the 2016 election. Rosenstein said there's no allegation any American participated in unlawful activity.

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Oil remains higher after rise in U.S. rig count

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 18:10:18 GMT

Oil futures maintained gains Friday after data showed a rise in the number of U.S. oil rigs this week. Baker Hughes said the number of U.S. oil rigs rose to 798 versus a total of 791 a week ago. West Texas Intermediate crude for March delivery was up 36 cents, or 0.6%, at $61.53 a barrel.

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Mueller indicts 13 Russian nationals over interfering with U.S. elections

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 18:07:08 GMT

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has indicted 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities, accusing them of interfering in U.S. elections. The entities include the Internet Research Agency -- described as a Russian group engaged in operations to interfere with political processes -- and multiple defendants associated with it. The indictment says the defendants were supporting Donald Trump's campaign and disparaging Hillary Clinton.

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FBI says it didn't investigate tip that Florida shooter wanted to kill people

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 17:49:10 GMT

The Federal Bureau of Investigation on Friday said it didn't properly respond after someone close to the shooter who killed at least 17 people at a Florida school contacted the agency. The FBI said it was contacted on its public access line on Jan. 5 by someone "close to Nikolas Cruz" who provided information "about Cruz's gun ownership, desire to kill people, erratic behavior, and disturbing social media posts, as well as the potential of him conducting a school shooting." However, the information was not provided to the Miami field office of the FBI, and no investigation was conducted at that time.

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U.S. Steel, Alcoa shares jump after tariff proposal

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 17:41:11 GMT

Shares of U.S. Steel Corp. surged more than 12% and Alcoa Inc. stock rose nearly 3% on Friday after the U.S. Commerce Department recommended tariffs on steel and aluminum from other countries, including China and Brazil. U.S. Steel shares were recently up 10% to $43, on track for their their highest close since September 2014. The tariffs and quotas would vary from country to country, with the highest ones going to aluminum from China and Russia, among other countries, and the highest steel tariffs on imports from countries including Brazil, China and Russia. President Donald Trump earlier this week said he was considering the tariffs, and the administration last month imposed tariffs on solar panels and modules.

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Dow and S&P 500 on track to retrace a little over half of their recent selloffs

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 17:29:07 GMT

The S&P 500 is surging 0.6% in midday trade Friday, putting it on track to have its best week in more than six years, but has only retraced 57.1% of the previous selloff. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 161 points, or 0.6%, on track for a sixth-straight gain, and the best week since November 2016, but has retraced just 54.5% of its selloff. The S&P 500 fell 291.87 points, or 10.2%, from its Jan. 26 record close of 2,872.87 to the Feb. 8 low of 2,581.00, and has now bounced 166.55 points since. The Dow had tumbled 2,756.25 points, or 10.4%, from its Jan. 26 record through Feb. 8, and has bounced 1,500.79 points since. Technicians who use the Fibonacci ratio of 0.618%, also known as the "Golden Ratio," believe that until a charted instrument retraces 61.8% of a previous move, it is still governed by that previous moves. Basically, despite the big bounces this week, the S&P 500 and the Dow would still be part of the previous downtrend until the S&P 500 closes above 2,761.38 and the Dow closes above 25,563.82. Meanwhile, with the Nasdaq Composite up 0.5%, and on track for its biggest weekly gain since December 2011, it has now retraced 70.66% of its Jan. 26-Feb. 8 selloff.

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Metals and mining ETF rallies after Commerce Department recommends tariffs

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 17:23:43 GMT

An exchange-traded fund tracking metal and mining companies rallied on Friday, after the Commerce Department recommended tariffs on major metal imports. The SPDR S&P Metals & Mining ETF jumped 3.1% and extended its advance throughout the trading day. Thus far this week, it is up 12%, which is set to be its biggest one-week percentage gain since March 2016. The U.S. Commerce Department has recommended a 24% tariff on steel imports from all countries, and a 7.7% tariff on aluminum imports, among other options. President Donald Trump is required to make decisions on the recommendations in April. Among specific stocks, United States Steel Corp. surged 11% while AK Steel Holding Corp. advanced 11.5%. Nucor Corp. was 4.8% higher on the day, while aluminum maker Alcoa Corp. was up 3.4%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.7% while the S&P 500 was up 0.6% and the Nasdaq Composite Index added 0.5%.

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Commerce Department recommends 24% tariff on steel imports as it lays out options for Trump

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 17:12:07 GMT

The U.S. Commerce Department has recommended a 24% tariff on steel imports from all countries, and a 7.7% tariff on aluminum imports, among other options. President Donald Trump is required to make decisions on the recommendations in April. The Commerce Department said the imports "threaten to impair the national security" of the U.S.

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Helios & Matheson increases ownership of MoviePass to 78%

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 16:56:01 GMT

Helios & Matheson Analytics Inc. said on Friday that it increased it's stake in cinema-going subscription service MoviePass. Helios & Matheson said its total ownership of the outstanding shares of MoviePass's common stock is now equal to 78% of the rapidly growing business. Shares of Helios & Matheson were down more than 7% after announcing the move, but shares are up more than 29% in the last 12 months. By comparison, the S&P 500 index is up 17% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up more than 22%.

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S&P 500 poised for biggest weekly advance since 2011

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 16:42:21 GMT

The S&P 500 rallied for a sixth straight session on Friday, putting the benchmark U.S. equity index on track for its best weekly performance in more than six years. The index rose 0.4% on the day, bringing its week-to-date advance to 4.7%. That represents the biggest one-week percentage gain since a week ending Dec. 2, 2011. The Nasdaq Composite Index , up 5.9% on the week and 0.3% on the day, is also set for its biggest weekly gain since December 2011. The Dow Jones Industrial Average , meanwhile, is up 0.5% on the day, bringing its weekly gain to 4.7%. That represents its best week since November 2016, in the wake of the presidential election. All three indexes are set for their sixth advance in a row, as concerns over inflation appeared to wane.

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FirstEnergy to deactivate coal-fired plant in West Virginia, affecting 190 employees

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 16:20:45 GMT

FirstEnergy Corp. said Friday it plans to deactivate the coal-fired Pleasants Power Station in Willow Island, West Virgina, affecting about 190 employees. The stock was up 0.6% in morning trade. The company said the decision was made after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission rejected last month FirstEnergy subsidiary Mon Power's plan to buy Pleasants. The company said the Public Service Commission of West Virginia had approved the sale, subject to a number of "significant conditions," which combined with the FERC rejection made the proposed deal "unworkable." FirstEnergy said the plant deactivation is subject to regulatory review for reliability impacts. "We will continue to pursue opportunities to sell the plant while planning for deactivation," said Chief Executive Charles Jones. The stock has gained 7.7% over the past 12 months, while the S&P 500 has climbed 17%.

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SEC halts trading in three companies for making questionable crypto asset claims

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 14:57:28 GMT

The Securities and Exchange Commission suspended trading on Friday in Cherubim Interests, Inc. , PDX Partners, Inc. , and Victura Construction Group, Inc. because of questions surrounding similar statements they made about the acquisition of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology-related assets. The SEC said recent press releases issued by the three companies claimed that the companies acquired AAA-rated assets from a subsidiary of a private equity investor in cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, among other things. Cherubim Interests, Inc. also announced the execution of a financing commitment to launch an initial coin offering. The SEC has questions regarding the nature of the companies' business operations and the value of their assets, including in press releases issued beginning in early January 2018. The SEC also said Cherubim Interests, Inc is delinquent in filing annual and quarterly reports. The SEC has been warning investors to be on alert for companies that may publicly announce ICO or coin/token related events for the sole purpose of moving the price of the company's common stock.

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Dow pivots slightly higher, as stock market aims for 6th gain in a row, best weekly gains in years

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 14:40:40 GMT

U.S. stock-indexes traded modestly higher on Friday, on pace for its best week in more than a year following five straight daily gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 60 points, or 0.2%, at 25,255, the S&P 500 index added 2.5 points, or 0.1%, at 2,734. The Nasdaq Composite Index added 8 points, or 0.1%, at 7,264. For the week, the Dow was on track for its best rise since the period ended Dec. 2, 2011, the S&P 500 looked set for the best weekly climb since Jan. 4, 2013, while the Nasdaq appeared set for its best such return since the period ended Nov. 11, 2016. In corporate news, Coca-Cola Co. shares rose by 1% in after the beverage company reported fourth-quarter adjusted per-share earnings and sales that beat expectations. In economic reports, a reading on import prices for January showed a monthly increase of 1%, helping to confirm signs that once-sluggish inflation is pushing higher. Data earlier in the week showed a rise in consumer price inflation, which is watched as a barometer for the Federal Reserve's interest-rate plans. The import-price increase was hotter than the 0.7% rise in import prices expected by a FactSet poll of analysts, and compares with a 0.1% gain in December.

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Kraft Heinz earnings and sales miss

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 14:26:10 GMT

Kraft Heinz Co. reported fourth-quarter net income of $8.0 billion, or $6.52 per share, up from $944.0 million, or 77 cents per share, for the same period last year. Adjusted EPS was 90 cents per share, missing the 95-cents FactSet consensus. Sales were $6.88 billion, up from $6.86 billion last year and below the $6.91 billion FactSet consensus. Heinz Chief Financial Officer David Knopf says the company has made $300 million in strategic investments and $800 million in capital expenditures to improve the business since the tax overhaul was put in place. U.S. sales were down 1.1% to $4.8 billion with volume down 1.7 percentage points driven by distribution losses in the club channel for Planters nuts, lower shipments of natural cheese and service-related losses in cold cuts. Losses were offset by gains in macaroni and cheese, Lunchables, Capri Sun beverages and P3 portable snacks. Kraft Heinz shares are down 0.3% in Friday premarket trading, and down 16.7% for the last year. The S&P 500 index is up 16.4% for the past 12 months.

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Apple's upcoming capital return announcement not a reason to be bullish: analyst

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 13:58:20 GMT

Analysts at Raymond James resumed coverage of Apple Inc. Friday with a market perform rating, citing the stock's big run up prior to "a supercycle that didn't occur" as reason for their mixed stance. The analysts, led by Chris Caso, see Apple's upcoming spring announcement about how it plans to grow its capital returns program as the next potential catalyst for the stock, but they believe that with so many people anticipating this update, it's not "enough of a reason to be overweight the stock." Later this year, the analysts believe that Apple could benefit from doing a better job of managing "the mix of features and price points" given what they perceive as "substantial demand" already for phones that cost $1,000 or more. Apple shares are down 0.2% in premarket trading Friday and up 28% over the past 12 months, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 22% in that time.

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Campbell Soup shares fall after weak U.S. soup sales

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 13:40:08 GMT

Campbell Soup Co. said Friday it had net income of $285 million, or 95 cents a share, in its fiscal second quarter to Jan. 28, up from $101 million, or 33 cents a share, in the year-earlier period. Adjusted per-share earnings came to $1.00, ahead of the FactSet consensus of 82 cents. Sales rose to $2.18 billion from $2.17 billion, also ahead of the FactSet consensus of $2.16 billion. Despite the beat, Chief Executive Denise Morrison said it was a disappointing quarter, driven by continued challenges in U.S. soup and Campbell Fresh. "The decline in organic sales was largely due to the performance of Americas Simple Meals and Beverages, where U.S. soup sales decreased by 7 percent based on the key customer issue we discussed last quarter," she said in a statement. "We are making progress with this customer and expect sales declines in soup to moderate in the second half." Campbell Fresh fell short of expectations due to headwinds in the super premium juice category. Global biscuits and snacks performed better, and the company is raising its cost savings target to $500 million by the end of fiscal 2020, she said. The company completed the acquisition of Pacific Foods in the quarter, a deal expected to bolster the company's presence in organic soup and announced plans to buy Snyder's-Lance, expected to expand snacks. The company raised its full-year guidance and now expects sales to be down 1% to up 1%, versus prior guidance of down 2% to flat. It expects adjusted EPS to rise 2% to 4%, versus prior guidance of down 5% to down 3%. Shares fell 1.9% in premarket trade, and are down 24% in the last 12 months, while the S&P 500 has gained 16%.

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American Axle's stock soars after profit and revenue rise above expectations

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 13:38:35 GMT

Shares of American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings Inc. soared 11% in premarket trade Friday, after the engine and automotive products maker beat fourth-quarter profit and revenue that rose above expectations. Net income for the quarter to Dec. 31 rose to $106.3 million, or 93 cents a share, from $46.9 million, or 59 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. Excluding non-recurring items, adjusted earnings per share came to 89 cents, above the FactSet consensus of 76 cents. Revenue rose to $1.73 billion from $946.5 million, topping the FactSet consensus of $1.69 billion, as non-GM (General Motors) sales more than tripled to $1.01 billion. For 2018, the company said it is targeting revenue of about $7 billion, compared with the FactSet consensus of $6.8 billion. The stock has tumbled 10.8% over the past three months through Thursday, while the S&P 500 has gained 5.6%.

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Mitt Romney says he's running for Senate from Utah

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 13:37:44 GMT

Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney announced Friday that he's running for the U.S. Senate from Utah, saying he can help bring the state's values to Washington. Romney is aiming to replace retiring Sen. Orrin Hatch, a Republican who heads the Senate Finance Committee. One issue Romney focused on in his video message was immigration, saying, "Washington sends immigrants a message of exclusion," but Utah welcomes legal immigrants from around the world.

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Wynn Resorts discloses Steve Wynn will not receive severance

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 13:23:33 GMT

Wynn Resorts Ltd. confirmed Friday that Steve Wynn, who resigned as Chairman and Chief Executive last week amid allegations of sexual misconduct, was not entitled to any severance payment or other compensation under the employment agreement. The company said in an SEC filing, that Wynn has agreed to not compete with Wynn Resorts for two years, and to provide "reasonable cooperation and assistance" to the company in connection with any private litigation or arbitration related to his service with the company. Wynn's lease of his personal residence at Wynn Las Vegas will terminate no later than June 1, 2018, and until such date Wynn will pay rent at fair market value. Wynn Resorts' stock rose 0.6% in premarket trade. It has rallied 7.1% over the past three months, while the S&P 500 has gained 5.6%.

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Coca-Cola shares rise after earnings and sales beat

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 12:24:44 GMT

Coca-Cola Co. shares rose 1.7% in Friday premarket trading after the beverage company reported fourth-quarter earnings and sales that beat expectations. Coca-Cola reported a net loss of $2.75 million, or 65 cents per share, compared with net income of $550.0 million, or 13 cents per share, for the same period last year. Losses were driven primarily by items impacting comparability, including the tax overhaul. Adjusted EPS was 39 cents. Revenue totaled $7.51 billion, down 20% from $9.41 billion last year. The FactSet EPS consensus was 38 cents and the revenue consensus was $7.36 billion. Coca-Cola says it will have a 26% headwind in the first quarter from acquisitions, divestitures and structural items. Coca-Cola shares are down 3.8% for the last three months, but up 8.7% for the past year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 22.2% for the last 12 months.

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