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Copyright: Copyright 2017, MarketWatch, Inc.
 



Oil prices end at highest level in about three weeks

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 18:55:06 GMT

Oil prices rose Wednesday to finish at their highest level in roughly three weeks. Data from the Energy Information Administration revealed a weekly rise in U.S. crude supplies that was below some market expectations, along with bigger-than-expected drops in gasoline and distillate stockpiles. Disruptions to crude production in Libya added further support to oil prices. May West Texas Intermediate crude rose $1.14, or 2.4%, to settle at $49.51 a barrel.

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Citizens Financial shares slide after report employees fabricated customer meetings

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 18:50:42 GMT

Citizens Financial Group Inc. shares took a sharp turn down Wednesday, after a Wall Street Journal report that employees fabricated meetings with customers to meet goals set by the bank. Eleven current and former branch employees told the paper that bankers lied about the number of meetings they were having with customers as part of the company's "Citizens Checkup" program. In some instances, bankers falsified forms to make them look more like records of real meetings. The bank responded by saying it had no data to support those claims and "strict controls and standards" to detect such behavior. Shares of Providence, R.I.-based Citizens were last down 3% and have fallen 4.8% in the year so far, while the S&P 500 has gained more than 5%.

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Mylan stock sinks 2% after FDA fails to approve its generic asthma medication

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 18:04:46 GMT

Mylan NV shares sank 2.0% in afternoon trade Wednesday after the company said the Food and Drug Administration failed to approve its generic version of the asthma medication Advair Diskus, which is manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline . Advair Diskus, which consists of an inhaler and a combination medication, is used to treat asthma and help individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Mylan said it was reviewing the FDA's response and will provide updates "as soon as practicable." Odds of approval were low according to FDA statistics, since the decision was released in time for the FDA's late March goal date, said Raymond James analyst Elliot Wilbur. Two issues could have hindered Mylan's new drug application, EvercoreISI analyst Umer Raffat said Tuesday: a citizen's petition filed by Novartis AG's Sandoz criticizing Mylan's low-dose product and how dated Mylan's phase 3 trial was. "Had FDA denied the Sandoz citizen's petition outright, it may have implied that the FDA does not deem Sandoz's point to be important, and the odds of generic approval today would have been higher," Raffat said. "But, that didn't happen." Mylan shares have risen 8.5% over the last three months, compared with a 5.0% rise in the S&P 500 .

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Nutanix shares sink as lockup expires

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 16:55:50 GMT

Shares of Nutanix Inc. sank 8% Wednesday after the company's 180-day-lockup period on selling shares expired. Nutanix hit the public market in September of 2016 and saw a huge share pop,closing 130% above its issue price of $16 a share. Shares have not done as well since then, with a drop of 39% in the past month and a drop of 30% in the past three months, compared to the S&P 500's loss of less than 1% and gain of 5%, respectively.

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Trump wants 'good deal' on health care, Spicer says

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 16:44:40 GMT

President Donald Trump still wants to repeal and replace Obamacare, but he "wants to have a good deal," White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Wednesday. The White House and House Republicans have reportedly begun new talks on Obamacare repeal, with neither willing to put a time line on a new bill. "We're not going to create a deal for the sake of creating a deal," Spicer said Wednesday. House Republicans' American Health Care Act was pulled last week over lack of support.

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Amazon's stock surges to record high as 'retail dominance' drives investor interest

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 16:15:49 GMT

Shares of Amazon.com Inc. surged 1.6% in midday trade Wednesday, toward its first record close this month, as investors continued to bet on the ecommerce giant's dominance over its retail peers. Since Feb. 3, when the stock tumbled 3.5% after disappointing fourth-quarter results, the stock has run up 7.3%, while the SPDR S&P Retail ETF has shed 1.8% and the S&P 500 has edged up 2.7%. Analyst Rob Sanderson at MKM Partners said he believes Amazon's stock has been outperforming because its "retail dominance" is driving investor interest. "We think this reflects a challenging environment for traditional retailers and money flow from consumer retail as conclusions of fundamental analysts increasingly point them toward Amazon," Sanderson wrote in a recent note to clients. "We continue to view Amazon as the best long-term growth story available to investors today." Amazon's stock rally Wednesday comes in the wake of data showing consumer confidence soaring in March to the highest reading in 16 years. Basically, investors are recognizing that consumers are willing to spend, just not at traditional retailers.

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Tesla to report 23,000 vehicles delivered in first quarter: analysts

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 15:20:04 GMT

Tesla Inc. is likely to report next week the delivery of 23,000 vehicles in the first quarter, analysts at Cowen said in a note Wednesday. That estimate is on the low end of expectations the Silicon Valley electric-car maker would deliver 23,000 to 24,500 vehicles in the quarter, the analysts said. Tesla is expected to report its first-quarter deliveries early next month. The company missed delivery estimates in the fourth quarter. The Cowen analysts also said they expect Tesla to tap markets for additional capital this year "to build a cushion for 2018 capex needs that will likely be quite steep." They kept their sell rating on the stock and a price target of $155. "As Tesla's Model 3 ramp proceeds, we continue to have more questions than answers about the company and the vagueness of details coupled with lack of disclosure from management is sure to raise eyebrows with investors," they said. "We continue to believe Tesla shares are an overvalued show-me story."

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Supreme Court asks lower court to review law barring retailers from charging more to buy with credit cards

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 15:01:46 GMT

A New York law that barred retailers from charging customers more when they use credit cards instead of cash hit a legal roadblock Wednesday when the Supreme Court sent the law back to a lower court for more review. The justices agreed with merchants in New York state that the law actually curtailed their free speech by mandating what they say to their customers about the credit card fees. The lower court had upheld the New York law as a pricing regulation only and not as a matter of free speech.

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Oil prices rise to session highs as EIA reports drop in U.S. gasoline supplies

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 14:40:29 GMT

Oil futures added to earlier gains on Wednesday after data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed a weekly increase in crude supplies, but also revealed bigger-than-expected declines in gasoline and distillate stockpiles for the week ended March 24. Crude inventories rose by 900,000 barrels to a weekly record 534 million barrels. The American Petroleum Institute late Tuesday reported a 1.9 million-barrel climb, according to sources, while analysts polled by S&P Global Platts forecast a climb of 300,000 barrels. Gasoline supplies, however, dropped 3.7 million barrels, while distillate stockpiles fell 2.5 million barrels last week, according to the EIA. May crude rose 63 cents, or 1.3%, to $49 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It was trading at $48.55 before the supply data.

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Incident at U.S. Capitol 'criminal in nature,' police spokeswoman says

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 14:35:10 GMT

An incident involving a suspect hitting a Capitol Police car on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol appears to be "criminal in nature," and not related to terrorism, a Capitol Police spokeswoman said. Washington police said earlier that a suspect was in custody after a driver hit the police car and tried to run over other officers.

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Suspect in custody after driving into U.S. Capitol police car: reports

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 13:52:04 GMT

Washington police say a suspect is in custody after a driver hit a Capitol Police car and tried to run over other officers, reports said. Earlier, the Washington Post said shots were fired outside a congressional building on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol. The Post cited Washington police as saying a call came in at 9:30 a.m. for shots fired. A police spokesperson told the Post no injuries were immediately reported.

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U.S. stocks open lower

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 13:33:59 GMT

The U.S. stock market opened slightly lower on Wednesday as investors awaited a string of speeches by Federal Reserve officials. Traders are also tracking the U.K.'s invocation of Article 50, which officially starts that country's withdrawal from the European Union. The S&P 500 opened 4 points, or 0.2%, lower at 2,354. Shares of Vertex Pharmaceutical Inc. jumped 20% as one of its drugs had completed late-stage trials. The Nasdaq Composite fell 2 points, or less than 0.1%, at 5,873. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 43 points, or 0.2% at 20,656 at the open.

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Capital One upgraded as bet on higher-risk customers looks set to pay off

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 13:14:28 GMT

Capital One Financial Corp. was upgrade to buy from neutral at Instinet, which cited a more bullish outlook on the credit card issuer's focus on higher-risk customers. Analyst Bill Carcache raised his stock price target to $105, which is 25% above Tuesday's closing price of $84.17, from $97. Carcache said that Capital One has stood out as the only major card issuer that has increased its mix of subprime customers since the Great Recession, while its rivals, such as Bank of America Corp. , Citigroup Inc. , Discover Financial Services , J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Synchrony Financial , have been cutting their subprime exposure. "We've now reached a point in the cycle where we believe [Capital One's] subprime bet is about to pay off, handsomely," Carcache wrote in a note to clients. The stock, which was still inactive in premarket trade, has lost 3.5% year to date, while the SPDR Financial Select Sector ETF has tacked on 2.2% and the S&P 500 has gained 5.4%.

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Skechers shares fall more than 5% after being downgraded to negative as competition increases

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 13:01:28 GMT

Shares of footwear company Skechers U.S.A Inc. were down more than 5% in premarket trade on Wednesday after Susquehanna Financial Group downgraded the stock to negative from positive. Analysts at Susquehanna expect Skechers' domestic wholesale to disappoint as the company faces ongoing challenges likely to result in less expense leverage than Wall Street anticipates. Skechers is also suffering from increased competition when it comes to retailers buying additional inventory. With Nike Inc. holding its usual demand and brands such as Adidas AG and Puma gaining traction, Skechers is being crowded out, writes lead Susquehanna analyst Sam Poser. Retailers are even planning incremental dollars to fund Under Armour Inc. , according to Poser. "While we continue to believe Skechers' product suite has markedly improved, our proprietary checks indicate that initial sell-through and order-flow in the domestic wholesale business is trending short of expectations and will remain challenged." Poser wrote in a note to clients. "We don't believe upside will materialize. While we recognize international wholesale now encompasses about 40% of Skechers' business, we believe sentiment remains closely tied to it domestic business." Shares of Skechers are down 2.7% in the last 12 months, while the S&P 500 index has gained nearly 15%.

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IDC sees security-related spending rising to $82 billion this year, accelerating through 2020

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 12:45:37 GMT

International Data Corp. (IDC) said it expects global spending on security technology to rise to $81.7 billion in 2017, up 8.2% from a year ago. Spending on security-related hardware, software and services is expected to "accelerate slightly" over the next several years, achieving a compound annual growth rate of 8.7% through 2020, with industry revenue projected to approach $105 billion. "The rapid growth of digital transformation is putting pressures on companies across all industries to proactively invest in security to protect themselves against known and unknown threats," said Eileen Smith, a program director at IDC. She said the banking, discrete manufacturing and government industries will spend the most on security technology. Of the three security-related areas, services will be the largest area of spending, IDC says. The SPDR Technology Select Sector ETF has rallied 10% year to date, while the S&P 500 has gained 5.4%.

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Dunkin' Brands shares down nearly 3% premarket as Goldman downgrades to sell

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 12:41:52 GMT

Shares of Dunkin' Brands Group Inc. fell 2.8% in premarket trades Wednesday, after the doughnut retailer was downgraded to sell from neutral at Goldman Sachs. Analysts led by Karen Holthouse said unit growth risk and exposure to winter storms in the Northeast are pressures on a stock that is trading at the high end of its valuation range. "Outsized exposure to winter storms in the Northeast (55% of footprint vs. 20% for our coverage) presents some risk to 1Q17 results; however, we believe the larger challenge stems from McDonald's McCafe and 7-11's breakfast promotions in the quarter," they wrote in a note. Goldman lowered its stock price target to $47 from $48 and cut its below-consensus 2017 to 2019 EPS estimates by 1%. Shares have gained 7% in the year so far, outperforming the S&P 500's 5% gain.

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China Energy to acquire 19.9% stake in Cowen as part of strategic partnership

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 12:24:02 GMT

Financial services firm Cowen Group Inc. said Tuesday it has agreed a strategic partnership with China Energy Company Ltd, or CEFC, under which the Chinese company will acquire a 19.9% stake in Cowen. CEFC will pay about $100 million for the stake and will provide Cowen with debt financing of $175 million in the form of a loan. CEFC is the largest private company in Shanghai and seventh largest private company in China, according to a joint statement. CEFC will pay $18 a share for the stake, equal to a 29.5% premium over Cowen's closing share price on March 28. CEFC will have the right to appoint three directors to the Cowen's board, boosting the total to eleven. The equity investment and debt financing are expected to close by the end of the third quarter. Cowen shares were halted premarket for the news, but have lost 10% in the year so far, while the S&P 500 has gained 5%.

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Smith & Wesson parent American Outdoor kicks off another stock buyback program

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 12:13:38 GMT

Smith & Wesson parent American Outdoor Brands Corp. said Wednesday that a new $50 million stock repurchase program was approved, on the same day that it completed its previous $50 million program. The new program runs through March 28, 2019. Since 2012, the guns and firearms accessories maker said it has reduced its public float by 25.6% by buying back a total of 16.9 million shares at an average price of $12.67, which is 48% below Tuesday's closing price of $18.75. The stock, which was indicated up about 0.4% in premarket trade, has tumbled 11% year to date through Tuesday, while the S&P 500 has gained 5.4%.

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EU receives U.K. letter officially kicking off Brexit talks

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 11:51:32 GMT

The U.K. government letter formally starting the Brexit process has been received by Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, kicking off two years of negotiations. The letter, which invokes Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, formally states the U.K.'s intention to withdraw from the European Union. It was handed over at lunchtime Wednesday in Brussels after being signed by British Prime Minister Theresa May the day before. "After nine months, the U.K. has delivered," Tusk said in a post to Twitter. Speaking to lawmakers in the House of Commons, May said, "This is a historic moment, and there's no turning back." The pound nudged higher to $1.2468 after the letter's delivery, after dropping to $1.2456 late Tuesday. U.K. stocks stayed 0.3% lower for the session, with the FTSE 100 at 7,332.69.

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BuzzFeed plans to go public in 2018: report

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 11:24:00 GMT

BuzzFeed is making plans to go public in 2018, the news website Axios reported, citing unnamed industry sources. BuzzFeed, which started life with mostly viral videos often involving cats, has grown into a news site with an entertainment division including an L.A. studio, has long planned to go public, Axios reported. BuzzFeed Chief Executive Jonah Peretti has turned down past offers from media companies, the Axios report said.

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Toshiba board approves Westinghouse bankruptcy filing

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 02:56:42 GMT

U.S. nuclear power company Westinghouse Electric Co. plans to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, after the board of its parent company, Japan's Toshiba Corp. , approved the move Wednesday, according to a report by Nikkei news service. Cost overruns at Westinghouse's nuclear projects in Georgia and South Carolina have weighed heavily on Toshiba, which warned in February it may face up to a $6.2 billion writedown from its nuclear energy business. Toshiba bought Westinghouse in 2006 for $5.4 billion. The Japanese conglomerate also intends to spin off its memory-chip unit at the end of March to raise much-needed capital.

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Vertex Pharma shares jump more than 20% on cystic fibrosis study results

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 22:51:25 GMT

Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. shares surged in the extended session Tuesday after the biotech drug maker said its cystic fibrosis treatment met endpoints in two late-stage clinical studies. Vertex shares rose 6.3% to $95.30 after hours, before being halted. As after-hours trading resumed, shares surged 21% to $108.60. The company said two studies showed its combination treatment of the drug tezacaftor and its branded drug Kalydeco significantly improved the lung function in cystic fibrosis patients. Vertex said it plans to submit marketing applications based on the results to both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency in the third quarter.

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Democratic National Committee asks all staff to resign: report

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 21:25:01 GMT

The Democratic National Committee has requested all current staffers to submit resignation letters by April 15, according to a report by NBC News. The report says DNC Chairman Tom Perez has launched an overhaul of the party's organization, following a difficult year that included the abrupt resignation of former Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. The DNC was also hit with charges it favored Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary.

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Wells Fargo agrees to $110 million settlement of class-action suit

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 21:16:13 GMT

Wells Fargo & Co. said late Tuesday it agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit over the creation of millions of unauthorized customer accounts. The bank said it will set aside $110 million to settle a class-action suit filed in California in May 2015. "After attorneys' fees and costs of administration, class members will be paid first for out-of-pocket losses, such as fees incurred due to unauthorized account openings," Wells Fargo said in a statement. "Amounts remaining after out-of-pocket losses will be split among all claimants, based on the number and kinds of unauthorized accounts or services claimed." In September, the bank agreed to a $185 million settlement with the $185 million settlement with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau after employees created more than 2 million unauthorized checking and credit-card accounts for customers. Wells Fargo shares rose 0.3% to $56.10 after hours.

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API data show U.S. crude supplies up 1.9 million barrels: sources

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 20:46:19 GMT

The American Petroleum Institute late Tuesday reported a rise of 1.9 million barrels in U.S. crude supplies for the week ended March 24, according to sources. The API data also showed a decline of 1.1 million barrels in gasoline supplies and a fall of 2.0 million barrels in distillates, sources said. Supply data from the Energy Information Administration will be released Wednesday morning. Analysts polled by S&P Global Platts forecast an increase of 300,000 barrels in crude inventories. May crude was at $48.37 a barrel in electronic trading, unchanged from the contract’s settlement on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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Sonic shares slip after revenue misses Street view

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 20:39:01 GMT

Sonic Corp. shares declined in the extended session Tuesday after the drive-in restaurant chain's quarterly revenue came in below Wall Street expectations. Sonic shares slipped 3.3% to $23.13 after hours. The company reported adjusted fiscal second-quarter earnings of 15 cents a share on revenue of $100.2 million. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had forecast earnings of 14 cents a share on revenue of $104.5 million. For the year, Sonic forecast same-store sales to decline by 2% or be flat, while analysts expect a 0.9% decline.

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Dave & Buster's shares down 6% after earnings beat, but weaker growth

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 20:24:07 GMT

Shares of Dave & Buster's Entertainment Inc. shares fell 6% late Tuesday after the casual-dining chain beat fourth-quarter per-share earnings expectations but called for lower-than-expected same-store sales for 2017. It also missed quarterly comparable-store sales expectations. Dave & Buster's said it earned $27.4 million, or 63 cents a share, in the quarter, compared with $23 million, or 53 a share, in the fourth quarter of 2015. Revenue rose 15% to $270.2 million in the quarter. Analysts polled by FactSet had expected per-share earnings of 59 cents on sales of $270 million. Comparable-store sales rose 3.2%, compared with expectations of a 3.7% growth, according to FactSet. The company said it expects 2017 sales between $1.15 billion and $1.17 billion and a comparable-store sales increase between 2% and 3%. The analysts surveyed by FactSet had expected a comparable-store sales growth around 3.6% for the year. Shares had ended the regular session up 2.3%.

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Amazon adding 1,000 full-time jobs with new Virginia fulfillment center

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 20:23:04 GMT

Amazon.com Inc. said Tuesday that it will add 1,000 new full-time associates in Virginia when it opens a fulfillment center in Clear Brook. The company has 3,500 full-time hourly employees at three existing Virginia fulfillment centers. The new Clear Brook facility will cover more than one million square feet. Employees there will pick, pack and ship larger items like big-screen televisions and patio furniture. Amazon announced in January that it will add 100,000 full-time jobs over the following 18 months. Amazon shares closed Tuesday up 1.1%, and shares are up 47.6% for the last year. The S&P 500 index is up 15.8% for the past 12 months.

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Depomed dives as activist investor fight leads to new CEO, board members

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 20:22:35 GMT

Depomed Inc. announced a series of changes at the top after a battle with an activist investor Tuesday, and warned that first-quarter revenue will be lower than expected, sending shares down. The pain-medication company announced that Chief Executive James Schoeneck had resigned and will be replaced by Arthur Higgins, the former CEO of Bayer Healthcare. Higgins will also take a board seat and be joined as a director by Gavin Molinelli, a partner at activist investor Starboard Value, which had agitated for a sale and new board members. "We are pleased to have reached an agreement to work with Depomed," Molinelli said in Tuesday's announcement. "We believe that Arthur Higgins is an excellent choice to lead Depomed." William McKee, the former Chief Financial Officer of Barr Pharmaceuticals, will also join the board, while Samuel Saks, David Zenoff and Schoeneck will depart. Depomed also said that first-quarter sales could be less than $100 million, projecting a range of $95 million to $100 million; analysts on average were projecting revenue of $114.6 million for the company, according to FactSet. Depomed stock fell nearly 7% in late trading after the announcement, dropping to $13.25 after closing at $14.23.

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Restoration Hardware parent shares rally on earnings beat

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 20:20:31 GMT

RH shares rallied in the extended session Tuesday after quarterly results for the parent company of Restoration Hardware topped Wall Street estimates. RH shares surged 8% to $41.05 after hours. The company reported adjusted fiscal fourth-quarter earnings of 68 cents a share on revenue of $586.7 million. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had estimated 66 cents a share on revenue of $584.2 million. For the year, RH forecast earnings of $1.78 to $2.19 a share on revenue of $2.3 billion to $2.4 billion. Analysts expect $1.94 a share on revenue of $2.33 billion.

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