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FSOC discussed designation of a systemically important institution

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 20:32:33 GMT

The Financial Stability Oversight Council said Friday it discussed the ongoing annual reevaluation of its designation of a nonbank financial company -- in all likelihood, a reference to American International Group , as media reports suggested the group of regulators would ahead of the meeting. The FSOC didn't say what, if anything, was decided. If the FSOC ruled that AIG was no longer a systemically important financial institution, the insurer would no longer be subject to federal oversight via the Federal Reserve. AIG was bailed out by the federal government during the financial crisis of 2008.

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Facebook drops stock split, Zuckerberg credits stock's rise

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 20:14:53 GMT

Facebook Inc. will not execute a stock split that creates a non-voting class of shares after facing an investor lawsuit, Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg announced Friday afternoon. Zuckerberg wanted the stock split to ensure he remained in control of Facebook even while donating a massive amount of his stock to an LLC he and his wife Priscilla created to support philanthropic causes. In his announcement on Facebook, Zuckerberg said the increase in Facebook's stock price allows him to avoid creating a non-voting class of stock. "Over the past year and a half, Facebook's business has performed well and the value of our stock has grown to the point that I can fully fund our philanthropy and retain voting control of Facebook for 20 years or more," Zuckerberg wrote. "As a result, I've asked our board to withdraw the proposal to reclassify our stock -- and the board has agreed." Facebook stock has increased 48.2% in 2017, pushing its market capitalization to near $500 billion, while the S&P 500 index has gained 11.7% in that time. Zuckerberg was set to testify next week in a Delaware court where investors were fighting the split, but that session was suddenly canceled Friday, amid rumors of a settlement between Facebook and investors.

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U.S. stocks close mostly higher, Dow has 2nd positive week in a row

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 20:03:06 GMT

U.S. stocks ended with slight moves on Friday, as the market's recent upward momentum remained intact, although geopolitical uncertainty limited buying appetite with major indexes near records. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 10 points, or less than 0.1%, to 22,349. The S&P 500 rose 1.5 point to 2,502. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 4 points, or 0.1%, to 6,427. North Korea returned to the forefront after the country's foreign minister Ri Yong Ho said late Thursday at a United Nations meeting that his country might consider a nuclear bomb of "unprecedented scale" in the Pacific. While geopolitical tensions have been elevated, some analysts said the stock market has become desensitized to the threats the U.S. and North Korea. For the week, the Dow rose 0.4%, the S&P rose 0.1%, and the Nasdaq fell 0.3%. Among the day's most active stocks, CarMax Inc. rose 7.8% after quarterly earnings and revenue beat Wall Street expectations.

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Record number of S&P 500 companies have issued upbeat revenue guidance

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 19:52:51 GMT

The beginning of third-quarter earnings reporting season is still a few weeks away, but a record number of companies have already provided revenue guidance that was above expectations, according to Senior Earnings Analyst John Butters at FactSet. FactSet has been tracking guidance since 2006. Overall, 54 companies have issued positive revenue guidance, which is more than double the five-year average of 25, and above the first-quarter 2011 record of 45, Butters said. Over half (30) of the positive revenue guidance comes for the information technology sector, followed by 11 from the consumer discretionary sector and eight from health care, FactSet data shows. Since the end of the second quarter, the SPDR Technology Select Sector ETF has climbed 7.0%, the SPDR Consumer Discretionary Select Sector ETF has eased 0.1%, the SPDR Health Care Select Sector ETF has tacked on 3.0% and the S&P 500 has gained 3.3%.

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Oil prices edge up for the session and gain for the week

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 18:50:36 GMT

U.S. oil pricesedged up for the session on Friday and gained for a third-straight week. Major oil producers at the OPEC-led committee meeting said compliance with their production-cut agreement climbed to a record 116% in August. November West Texas Intermediate crude rose 11 cents, or 0.2%, to settle at $50.66 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. For the week, the contract tacked on 0.4%, but prices based on the front-month contracts climbed 1.5%.

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Health care stocks spike higher after McCain says 'no' to Graham-Cassidy

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 18:25:44 GMT

Health care stocks spiked higher in afternoon trade, to erase nearly all of their earlier broad losses, after Sen. John McCain said he could not vote for the Senate bill to repeal major parts of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. The SPDR Health Care Select Sector ETF was down just 0.1% in afternoon trade, but had been down as much as 0.5% before McCain said no. Within the ETF, shares of UnitedHealth Group Inc. were down as much as 3.6% to lead the Dow Jones Industrial Average's decliners, but bounced to be down just 1.1% post-McCain. Elsewhere, shares of Aetna Inc. and Cigna Corp. were both up 0.2%, reversing earlier losses of 1.9% for Aetna and 1.0% for Cigna.

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McCain says he's a 'no' on Obamacare repeal bill, making passage unlikely

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 18:06:11 GMT

Sen. John McCain said Friday he cannot vote for the Senate bill to repeal major parts of Obamacare, which severely dims its hopes for passage. McCain was one of the critical swing votes its supporters were courting. "I cannot in good conscience vote for the Graham-Cassidy proposal," he said. He said the factors influencing his decision was the lack of a full analysis from the Congressional Budget Office.

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Dow's drop defies broad market rally

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 18:00:24 GMT

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 28 points in afternoon trade, but the broader stock market was putting in a fairly bullish performance. The Dow's drop reflected declines in 23 of its 30 components, led by selloffs in Apple Inc. and UnitedHealth Group Inc. shares. Meanwhile, the number of advancing stocks was dominating decliners by a 1,789-to-1,035 score on the NYSE and by a 1,587-to-1,046 margin on the Nasdaq exchange. The volume in advancing stocks accounted for 58.0% of total volume on the Big Board and 50.9% of the total on the Nasdaq. Separately, the S&P 500 slipped less than 0.1% and the Nasdaq Composite gave up 0.1%.

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DaVita's stock tumbles to lead S&P 500 losers after scathing SIRF report

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 17:21:46 GMT

Shares of DaVita Inc. tumbled 7.0% in midday trade Friday to pace the S&P 500 decliners, after a Southern Investigative Reporting Foundation (SIRF) report questioned how the medical care services provider received about half its operating profits from the non-profit American Kidney Fund, and the enormous premium received on some dialysis treatments. The report comes after DaVita Chief Executive Kent Thiry avoided answering an analyst's question on how much revenue DaVita generates from dialysis patients whose insurance premiums are paid by the AKF's health insurance payment program. The company didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. Separately, shares of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. , which is DaVita's largest shareholder with 38.6 million shares, or 20% of the shares outstanding, slumped 0.8% in midday trade. DaVita's stock has lost 12.5% over the past three months, while the SPDR Health Care Select Sector ETF has gained 0.8% and the S&P 500 has climbed 2.6%.

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SEC fines pharmaceutical company $4.1 million for misleading performance metric

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 17:20:50 GMT

The Securities and Exchange Commission settled fraud charges on Friday against Massachusetts-based Aegerion Pharmaceuticals, now a subsidiary of Novelion Therapeutics , for allegedly exaggerated how many new patients actually filled prescriptions for an expensive drug that was its sole source of revenue. Aegerion Pharmaceuticals agreed to pay a $4.1 million penalty to settle the charges, without admitting or denying the allegations, that it misled investors on multiple occasions in 2013 by saying the number of unfilled prescriptions for Juxtapid was not material and the "vast majority" of patients receiving prescriptions ultimately purchased the drug. Juxtapid is used to treat a rare and potentially life-threatening genetic condition that causes extremely high cholesterol and was priced at approximately $250,000 to $300,000 annually per patient in 2013 and 2014. The SEC's complaint alleges that it only around 50% of prescriptions resulted in actual drug purchases. Aegerion did not disclose to investors that the conversion rate was actually in the range of 50 to 60% until Oct. 2014. The SEC's investigation is continuing with the assistance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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Apple, UnitedHealth stocks slash 50 points from Dow industrials in midday trade

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 17:13:26 GMT

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was under pressure Friday afternoon, weighed by selling in shares of Apple Inc. and UnitedHealth. The Dow components, the worst blue-chip performers, were exacting a combined 50-point toll on the Dow in midday trading. UnitedHealth Group Inc.'s shares alone were dragging the benchmark down about 32 points, with shares trading $4.64, or 2.4% lower. Meanwhile, Apple Inc. was trading 1.4% lower, or $2.17, and on pace for its worst weekly decline, down 5.5%, during the week of one of its iPhone product updates. A $1 move in any one of the Dow's 30 components is equal to a 6.89-point swing. Most recently, the Dow was down 42 points, or 0.2%, at 22,315. Overall, the market was flipping between advances and declines as investors wrestled with North Korea's threat to detonate a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific Ocean this weekend. The S&P 500 index was down less than 0.1% at 2,499, while the Nasdaq Composite Index was trading 0.1% lower at 6,415.

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Baker Hughes data show U.S. oil-rig count down a third-straight week

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 17:11:54 GMT

Baker Hughes on Friday reported that the number of active U.S. rigs drilling for oil fell for a third week in a row, down 5 to 744 this week. The total active U.S. rig count, which includes oil and natural-gas rigs, declined by 1 to 935, according to Baker Hughes. November West Texas Intermediate crude was down 7 cents, or 0.1%, from Thursday at $50.48 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, little changed from the level it traded at before the data.

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Fed's George wants to put QE 'in a box,' never to be reopened

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 16:18:22 GMT

Kansas City Fed President Esther George said Friday she hoped the central bank would put its "quantitative easing" bond-buying program "in a box" and not used again, according to a report by Reuters. In a speech in Oklahoma City, George said she was pleased with the muted reaction in the market to the Fed decision Wednesday to start the plan to allow assets to run off the balance sheet. George, who will not be a voting member of the Fed policy committee until 2019, said the recent spate of low inflation readings is no reason for the Fed to delay further interest rate hikes.

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U.S. Steel's stock drops, as steel prices poised to fall after Trump attack on imports

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 14:40:11 GMT

Shares of U.S. Steel Corp. sank 3.8% in morning trade Friday toward a one-month low, after Cowen & Co. downgraded the steelmaker, citing the belief that steel and iron ore prices were poised to move lower. Analyst Novid Rassouli cut his rating to underperform from market perform, and lowered his price target to $20 from $24. Ironically, Rassouli said the Section 232 investigation into the effects of steel imports on U.S. national security authorized by President Trump has caused imports to rise to record levels as importers rushed in product prior to any action, which should put pressure on hot-rolled coil steel prices. "The material exposure to spot prices makes us cautious on shares of U.S. Steel as we enter a period where we expect prices to move lower in the next few month," Rassouli wrote in a note to clients. U.S. Steel's stock has now tumbled 22% since April 20, when Trump signed a presidential memorandum to prioritize the Section 232 investigations, while the S&P 500 has gained 6.2% over the same time.

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SEC imposes trading suspension on company touting role in hurricane relief

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 14:20:16 GMT

The Securities and Exchange Commission temporarily suspended trading on September 22 in the securities of Grupo Resilient International Inc. , also known as Paradise Ridge Hydrocarbons, Inc., in response to allegedly dubious claims in a recent press release regarding its hurricane relief efforts. The SEC is questioning the adequacy and accuracy of statements made by the Addison, Texas, company on September 7 regarding the company's provision of Hurricane Harvey disaster relief, including claims that the company had added a "FEMA approved contractor" to the board of its subsidiary and that the company was currently deploying workers and preparing to deploy a network of mobile broadband trailers to assist with Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in Houston. There are additional questions about some of the company's prior press releases. The suspension will terminate on October 5, 2017 at midnight.

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British pound drops to two-day low against euro on PM May talks Brexit plan

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 14:12:17 GMT

The British pound weakened against the U.S. dollar and the euro on Friday, as Prime Minister Theresa May revealed details on Britain's ambitious for Brexit in a speech in Florence. Against the dollar, the pound slipped to $1.3495, a new intraday low, while the euro jumped to a two-day high at £0.8874.

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Dow, S&P 500 trade flat as stock market wrestles with North Korea's hydrogen-bomb threat

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 14:07:15 GMT

U.S. stock benchmarks saw muted trade early Friday as geopolitical tensions re-emerged after North Korea threatened to test a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean this weekend. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 6 points, or less than 0.1%, at 22,354, the S&P 500 index gave up less than a point at 2,500, while the Nasdaq Composite Index was little changed at 6,423. North Korea's foreign minister Ri Yong Ho said late Thursday at a United Nations meeting that his country might consider a nuclear bomb of "unprecedented scale" in the Pacific. For the week, the Dow is set to post a gain of 0.4%, the Nasdaq is aiming for a gain of 1.8%, while the S&P 500 is looking at a decline of 0.1%. In corporate news, shares of Sprint Corp. and T-Mobile US Inc. were active on reports that a merger announcement between the two was imminent. And Apple Inc. was on track to have its worst weekly decline on the same week of a new iPhone release ever.

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CFTC accuses company of running bitcoin Ponzi scheme

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 13:58:20 GMT

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission accused a New York firm of running a bitcoin-related Ponzi scheme, the regulator's first anti-fraud enforcement action involving the cryptocurrency. In a civil complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan on Thursday, the CFTC charged Gelfman Blueprint Inc. and its chief executive and head trader, Nicholas Gelfman, with fraud, misappropriation, and issuing false account statements in connection with solicited investments in bitcoin. The complaint alleges that from January 2014 through approximately January 2016, the firm and Gelfman fraudulently solicited more than $600,000 from around 80 persons that were purportedly to be placed in a pooled commodity fund using an algorithmic trading strategy. The CFTC alleges the strategy was fake and that performance reports were false, with payouts of supposed profits to the firm's customers coming instead from other customers' funds.

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GrubHub's stock falls toward 7-week low after Amazon teams up with rival Olo

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 13:53:57 GMT

Shares of GrubHub Inc. sank as much as 7.3% just minutes after Friday's open before recovering slightly, fellow online food ordering company Olo said it was teaming up with Amazon.com Inc. , making it easier for Olo's customers to integrate with Amazon Restaurants. GrubHub's stock was down 3.4%, on track to close at a 7-week low. New York-based Olo's clients include Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. , Shake Shack Inc. and Five Guys Burgers & Fries. In 2011, GrubHub and Olo had entered a business partnership, in which GrubHub said it would integrate Olo's list of restaurant menus on its site. GrubHub's stock has rallied 11.6% over the past three months, while the S&P 500 has gained 2.6%.

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U.S. dollar rallies against loonie after weaker-than-expected Canadian inflation report

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 13:03:42 GMT

The U.S. dollar early Friday pared previous losses against the Canadian dollar following a report on inflation in Canada for August that came in weaker than expected. Canada's headline consumer-price index showed a rise of 1.4% on an annualized basis, compared with consensus expectations of 1.5%, according to average estimates of economists polled by FactSet. Core inflation, which strips out more volatile components, stood at 0.86% on annualized basis in August, versus expectations of 1.5%. One dollar bought C$1.2304 after the report, versus an intraday low of C$1.2260.

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Ascendis Pharma shares surge 42% on competitor's flop

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 12:45:41 GMT

Ascendis Pharma shares surged 42% in premarket trade Friday after news that competitor Versartis Inc.'s late-stage clinical trial missed its primary endpoint. Both companies are developing human growth hormone therapies. Wedbush analyst Liana Moussatos raised Ascendis Pharma's price target nearly 81% to $65 on Friday, calling Versartis' human growth hormone product "no longer a threat." Ascendis Pharma's treatment for pediatric growth hormone deficiency is expected to finish enrollment in a late-stage trial in the fourth quarter of this year, and the company also plans to start two trials in the second half of this year, Moussatos said, with results expected in the second half of next year and applications for Food and Drug Administration approval in the first half of 2019. Ascendis Pharma shares have surged 20.5% over the last three months and Versartis shares have surged 25.6%, compared with a 2.7% rise in the S&P 500 .

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Wal-Mart testing delivery service that will bring items into your home

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 12:09:29 GMT

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is testing a program that will deliver items, not just to your doorstep, but into your house. The retail giant has partnered with August Home, a provider of smart locks and smart home accessories, for the test. Customers place their order online, and a third-party driver from Deliv will bring the items to a shopper's home, using a one-time passcode that's been pre-authorized by the shopper to allow entry. The driver will then leave boxes by the door and put grocery items in the kitchen, even the refrigerator, before leaving. Customers can watch the process on the August Home app, and will receive confirmation that the door has been locked behind them. The test is being conducted in Silicon Valley using a few August Home customers, according to a blog post from Sloan Eddleston, vice president of Walmart e-Commerce Strategy and Business Operations, posted on the company website. Wal-Mart shares are nearly flat in Friday premarket trading, and up 15.8% for the year so far. The S&P 500 index is up 11.7% for the year so far, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 13.1% for the period.

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Phillips 66 Partners to buy assets from Phillips 66 in deal valued at $2.4 billion, including debt

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 11:57:56 GMT

Phillips 66 Partners LP said Friday it has reached an agreement to acquire assets from Phillips 66 in a deal worth $2.4 billion including debt. Phillips 66 Partners is a master limited partnership that was set up by Phillips 66 to own, operate and acquire crude oil and other energy assets. The MLP is acquiring a 25% interest in two joint ventures, Dakota Access LLC and Energy Transfer Crude Oil Co. LLC, as well as a 100% interest in Merey Sweeny L.P. The deal is expected to be immediately accretive to unitholders in the MLP and to close in early October. The $2.4 billion value includes $625 million of pipeline debt and another $100 million of Merey Sweeny LP debt. The deal will be financed with a mixture of debt, proceeds from a private placement of equity units, and PSXP units issued to Phillips 66, said the companies. "The Bakken Pipeline complements our strategy to expand current systems that are integrated with Phillips 66 refineries and terminals, while MSLP provides another reliable source of cash flow generation to the portfolio," Phillips 66 Chief Executive Greg Garland said in a statement. Shares were not active premarket. The MLP units have lost 0.3% of their value in 2017, while the S&P 500 has gained 12%.

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CarMax shares rise after earnings and revenue beat expectations

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 11:56:13 GMT

CarMax Inc. shares rose 1.5% in Friday premarket trading after the used car retailer reported earnings and sales that beat expectations. CarMax's second-quarter net income was $181.4 million, or 98 cents per share, up from $162.4 million, or 84 cents per share, for the same period last year. The FactSet consensus was 95 cents. Revenue totaled $4.39 billion, an increase from $4.00 billion last year and ahead of the $4.26 billion FactSet consensus. Same-store sales were up 5.3%, beating the 5% FactSet consensus. CarMax's six Houston locations were closed most of last week due to Hurricane Harvey, "which had a modest adverse effect" on same-store sales, the company said. Used vehicles average selling price was $19,667 for the quarter, up from $19,530 for the same period last year. Wholesale vehicle average selling price was $4,957, down from $5,119 last year. CarMax shares are up 7% for the year so far while the S&P 500 index is up 11.7% for the period.

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Sprint, T-Mobile US shares jump premarket on report companies are close to merger terms

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 11:46:36 GMT

Shares of Sprint Corp. and T-Mobile US Inc. jumped in premarket trade Friday, after Reuters said the companies are close to agreeing tentative terms on a merger, citing people familiar with the matter. Japan's Softbank Group Corp. , Sprint's majority shareholder, will own 40% to 50% of the combined entity, Reuters reported. T-Mobile parent Deutsche Telekom AG will own a majority stake. Sprint shares rose 4.4%, while T-Mobile shares were up 1.3%. S&P 500 futures were down 0.2%.

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Finish Line's adjusted profit misses expectations, shares fall

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 11:16:49 GMT

Shares of Finish Line Inc. fell 2.4% in premarket trade Friday, after the athletic shoe and apparel retailer reported fiscal second-quarter profit and sales that missed expectations. Net income for the quarter to Aug. 26 fell to $2.8 million, or 7 cents a share, from $22.1 million, or 53 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. In an Aug. 28 profit and sales warning, the company said it expected earnings per share of 8 cents to 12 cents. Excluding non-recurring items, adjusted EPS for the latest quarter was 12 cents, missing the FactSet consensus of 14 cents. Revenue declined to $469.4 million from $485.2 million, while the FactSet consensus was $470.5 million. Same-store sales declined 4.5%. On Aug. 28, the company had cut its full-year EPS outlook to 50 cents to 60 cents from $1.12 to $1.23. The stock has tumbled 27.6% over the past three months, while the SPDR S&P Retail ETF has gained 3.2% and the S&P 500 has tacked on 2.7%.

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Transocean to book $1.4 billion charge to cover costs of retiring 6 rigs

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 11:08:44 GMT

Offshore drilling company Transocean Ltd. said Friday it will take an impairment charge of $1.4 billion in the third quarter to cover the costs of retiring six rigs. The ultra-deepwater rigs to be retired are GSF Jack Ryan, Sedco Energy, Sedco Express, Cajun Express, Deepwater Pathfinder, and the deepwater floater Transocean Marianas, the company said in a statement. The rigs will be put up for sale and recycled. Shares have fallen 38% in 2017, while the S&P 500 has gained 12%.

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Uber's license to operate in London won't be renewed

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 10:34:08 GMT

Uber London Ltd.'s license to operate won't be renewed, London's transportation regulator said Friday. Transport for London said its review of the service found Uber demonstrated a lack of corporate responsibility in a number of issues, including its approach to reporting serious criminal offenses. "TfL has concluded that Uber London Limited is not fit and proper to hold a private hire operator licence," TfL said in a statement. Uber's license to operate as a private hire service is set to expire on Sept. 30. Uber may appeal the decision, said TfL.

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U.S. stock futures ease back after North Korea H-bomb threat

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 05:06:18 GMT

U.S. stock futures pointed to opening losses for Wall Street on Friday, after North Korea reportedly threatened to test a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean. Speaking in New York at a United Nations meeting, North Korea's foreign minister Ri Yong Ho said late Thursday his country might consider a nuclear test of "unprecedented scale" in the Pacific. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures slid 61 points, or 0.3%, to 22,271, while S&P 500 futures lost 7.1 points, or 0.3%, to 2,493.75. Nasdaq 100 futures fell 27 points, or 0.5%, to 5,918.50. The losses were in line with weaker Asian markets, where the South Korean Kospi index fell 0.7%. Gold , an asset that grows attractive in times of geopolitical tension, pushed back above the $1,300-an-ounce level, gaining $6.80, while the Japanese yen, another haven asset, surged against the dollar to ¥111.76 from ¥112.47 in late North American trade on Thursday. U.S. stocks retreated from record levels on Thursday as the Dow industrials snapped a nine-day winning streak.

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North Korea threatens to test nuclear bomb over Pacific

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 03:11:00 GMT

North Korea's foreign minister said late Thursday the country may test a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean, according to a report by South Korea's Yonhap news agency. Speaking in New York at a United Nations meeting, Ri Yong Ho said North Korea might consider a nuclear test of "unprecedented scale" in the Pacific, although he said he did not know leader Kim Jon Un's exact thoughts. Ri's comments came shortly after Kim released a statement threatening to make President Donald Trump "pay dearly" for his fiery speech to the U.N. on Tuesday, in which he threatened to "totally destroy" North Korea. North Korea has never tested a nuclear weapon outside its borders, and a blast in the Pacific could potentially threaten the U.S. and other countries with radioactive fallout.

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