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Actor Verne Troyer, who played 'Mini-me' on Austin Powers movies, dies at 49: reports

Sat, 21 Apr 2018 20:40:55 GMT

Verne Troyer, the actor known best for his portrayal of Mini-Me inAustin Powers, has died at 49, according to a statement on his Facebook page and media reports. Earlier this month, reports indicated that he was rushed to hospital, with a report by TMZ saying that the actor was "extremely upset, drunk and suicidal."

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North Korea says it will suspend missile tests, close nuclear test site

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 23:02:48 GMT

North Korea says it will suspend nuclear and missile tests and shut down its nuclear test site, according to media reports citing North Korea's Korean Central News Agency early Saturday. The announcement comes days ahead of a scheduled summit meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in. According to KCNA, Kim said that "under the proven condition of complete nuclear weapons, we no longer need any nuclear tests, mid-range and intercontinental ballistic rocket tests, and that the nuclear test site in northern area has also completed its mission."

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SmugMug acquires Verizon-owned Flickr

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 21:47:41 GMT

Verizon Communications Inc. has sold its Flickr unit to privately held SmugMug Inc. for an undisclosed sum, USA Today reported late Friday. Verizon stock was up a fraction in the extended session Friday after closing down 1.1% to $47.90 during regular trading. Verizon bought Yahoo Inc. for $4.5 billion last year and the acquisition included the Yahoo-owned Flickr, among other web properties. Verizon since joined Yahoo and other assets into its Oath subsidiary. Flickr was founded in 2004. It currently has 75 million registered members and has played a central role in the cultural and social life of the internet, USA Today reported. SmugMug is a family-run organization. Verizon stock is down 10% this year, as the S&P 500 index has gained less than 1%.

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Throw out your romaine lettuce, CDC says, expanding E. coli warning

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 21:24:19 GMT

Throw out any romaine lettuce you have now unless you know where it came from, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said late Friday. The agency said it was expanding its warning about romaine lettuce contaminated with E. coli to cover all lettuce that was grown around Yuma, Ariz. "Do not buy or eat romaine lettuce at a grocery store or restaurant unless you can confirm it is not from the Yuma, Arizona, growing region," the CDC said, adding, "Unless the source of the product is known, consumers anywhere in the United States who have any store-bought romaine lettuce at home should not eat it and should throw it away, even if some of it was eaten and no one has gotten sick." According to the agency, 53 people across 16 states have been infected with the E. coli strain O157:H7 connected with romaine lettuce, and 31 have been hospitalized with five of those experiencing kidney failure. No deaths have been reported, the CDC said. The CDC originally issued warnings about the romaine lettuce E. coli outbreak last week.

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Typical Walmart worker makes $19,177 a year

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 20:57:53 GMT

The chief executive officer of Walmart Inc. makes 1,188 times the typical worker, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing late Friday. In fiscal 2018 the median worker compensation was $19,177, and CEO Douglas McMillon's total compensation was $22.8 million. Walmart excluded about 90,000 employees outside of the U.S. from countries such as Costa Rica, Guatemala, and South Africa, after which the company took into account the remaining 2.2 million workers in its employ when determining the median compensation. Firms are reporting their CEO pay in comparison to the median worker for the first time because of a 2015 rule mandated by the Dodd-Frank act. Walmart stock was flat in the extended session after closing down 1% to $86.98. Walmart stock has lost 12% this year, as the S&P 500 index has gained less than 1%.

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Pivotal shares close up 5% after first trading day

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 20:38:28 GMT

Pivotal Software Inc. stock gained 4.9% Friday to close at $15.73. Friday was the first day the cloud software maker's stock traded on public exchanges, after pricing its IPO at $15, the mid point of the $14 to $16 range. That $15 price values the software company at $3.75 billion based on shares outstanding as of the offering, and has raised at least $555 million from the offering. Pivotal offered 33,117,000 shares of Class A stock, and selling-shareholder Generic Electric Co. offered 3,883,000 shares of Pivotal's Class A stock, which amounted to about 20% of the company's stake in Pivotal.

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Salesforce CEO made 30 times typical worker last year, but ratio should have been much higher

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 20:37:47 GMT

Salesforce.com Inc. Chief Executive Marc Benioff made 30 times the median Salesforce employee's salary in the most recent fiscal year, the company disclosed Friday afternoon, though it would have been much higher if it were not for a quirk of the calendar. Salesforce said Benioff made about $4.7 million in fiscal 2018, with $1.5 million in salary and a $3 million bonus, while the median employee compensation was $155,284. The company said both figures would have been much higher if stock bonuses were counted, but a change in the equity payout schedule meant that no equity awards were actually doled out in the 2018 fiscal year. Salesforce said if the equity awards given to employees and Benioff in the 2019 fiscal year had counted on the tally, it would have increased the ratio to 130-to-1. Companies this year are reporting their CEO pay in relation to the compensation of a median worker for the first time as a result of a 2015 rule mandated by the Dodd-Frank act. Salesforce stock has gained 46.1% in the past year, while the S&P 500 index has added 14.3%.

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Justice Department looking into whether AT&T, Verizon are hampering switching carriers: report

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 20:35:11 GMT

The Justice Department has opened an antitrust investigation into AT&T , Verizon Communications and a telecommunications standards organization, the GSMA, over whether they hindered consumers from easily switching wireless carriers, The New York Times reported, citing six people with knowledge of the inquiry. The report said the government was looking into whether they thwarted a new technology that would allow people to switch providers without having to insert a new SIM card into a device. The report said device makers including Apple , Google and Microsoft support the technology.

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U.S. stocks slump in broad decline, Apple shares tumble

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 20:01:51 GMT

U.S. stocks closed lower on Friday, with major indexes slumping in a broad decline. While Wall Street posted a second straight positive week, the selloff heavily eroded the week's gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.8% to 24,463. The S&P 500 lost 0.9% to 2,670. The Nasdaq Composite Index ended down 1.3% to 7,146. For the week, the Dow rose 0.4%, the S&P was up 0.5% and the Nasdaq rose 0.6%. All three closed below their 50-day moving average, a level used as a gauge for short-term momentum trends. Equities were pressured by a decline in Apple Inc. , which shed 4.1% amid cautious analyst commentary over its upcoming quarterly results. While 10 of the 11 S&P 500 sectors closed in negative territory, technology was among the biggest losers of the day, down 1.5%. Separately, investors dropped stocks as the yield for the benchmark 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.96% and neared its highest since around 2014.

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The U.S. 10-year government bond yield just touched its highest level in about 4 years

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 19:50:07 GMT

Treasury prices tumbled, pushing yields higher, on Friday as investors and traders sold U.S. government paper. The 10-year Treasury note yield advanced 4.4 basis points to 2.956%, the highest since January 2014. The 2-year note yield rose 4.2 basis points to 2.956%, while the 30-year bond yield rose 3.9 basis points to 3.144%. Bond prices move in the opposite direction of yields. Investors pointed the finger at a range of reasons including an overextended yield curve flattening in the last few weeks, stronger inflation expectations and more market participants pricing in three additional rate hikes this year. The rise in yields coincided with an accelerated slide in the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 index in late-Friday trade.

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Dow falls nearly 300 points at lows, threatens to give up weekly gain as government bond yields rise

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 19:38:15 GMT

The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Friday was encountering intensifying selling pressure with less than an hour left of trading, with the blue chip gauge on the verge of giving up its weekly gain. Part of the blame for the downdraft accelerating was a rise of the yield in the benchmark 10-year Treasury note to 2.96%, representing the highest since around 2014. Meanwhile, shares of Apple Inc. were powering the decline, cutting about 50 points from the average. Most recently, the Dow was down about 256 points, or 1%, with the benchmark hanging on to a weekly advance of about 0.2%. Apple's stock, off $7, or 4%, also was dragging the broader technology sector lower, with Dow component International Business Machines Corp. share [: IBM] slicing about 20 points from the average. The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index was taking the brunt of the intraday tumble among the main benchmarks, off 1.4%, at 7,138. The S&P 500 index was down 1% at 2,666, with tech and the consumer-staples sectors both off nearly 2%, leading losses in the broad-market index. The S&P 500 was holding on to a weekly gain of 0.4%, while the Nasdaq boasts a rise over the 5-session period of 0.5%.

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All 11 S&P 500 sectors trade in negative territory in the last hour of trade, as bond yields pop

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 19:33:50 GMT

The S&P 500's sectors were all trading in the red late Friday, with less than a half-hour remaining in trade as government bond yields jumped. Losses for the S&P 500's 11 sectors were led by steep declines in consumer categories, with consumer staples stocks off 1.9% and those for consumer-discretionary down 1.3%. Technology shares also were facing heavy pressure, falling 1.7%, led by a sharp decline in Apple Inc. shares . Most recently, the S&P 500 was trading 1.1% lower at 2,664, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was giving up 1% at 24,409, while the Nasdaq Composite Index retreated by 1.5% at 7,134. Selling accelerated late Friday as bond yields for the benchmark 10-year Treasury note [: TMUBMUSD10Y] popped, hitting 2.96%, marking its highest yield level since around 2014, according to FactSet data.

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Fed policy rate is close to neutral, Kashkari says

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 18:50:31 GMT

Federal Reserve monetary policy is close to neutral - a level that doesn't add or push down inflation, said Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari, on Friday. His comments, in an interview on CNBC, indicate he may not support additional rate hikes this year. Kashkari said the neutral rate of interest could be 2%. At the moment, the target range for the federal funds rate is 1.5% to 1.75%. Other Fed officials have higher estimates of neutral. Only Kashkari and St. Louis Fed President James Bullard have been urging their colleagues to be cautious about hiking rates. The other 13 officials generally support gradual rate hikes. The Fed has targeted two more moves this year.

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Oil ends the day slightly higher, up 1.5% for the week

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 18:46:18 GMT

Oil prices settled modestly higher Friday, shaking off earlier short-lived weakness sparked by a tweet from U.S. President Donald Trump, to finish the week with a 1.5% gain. Trump had blamed OPEC for what he called "artificially high" oil prices, prompting a temporary fall in prices. However, following a meeting of the joint Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-OPEC ministerial monitoring committee Friday, there has really been "no change except additional confirmation the Russia and Saudi Arabia will continue to cooperate for the long term," said James Williams, energy economist at WTRG Economics. May West Texas Intermediate crude rose 9 cents, or 0.1%, to $68.38 a barrel. The contract expired at the day's settlement. June WTI , the new front-month contract, added 7 cents, or 0.1%, to settle at $68.40 a barrel.

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Gold futures fall 0.7% for the week

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 17:45:39 GMT

Gold prices fell Friday to post a loss of 0.7% for the week, their first such loss in three weeks. Strength in the U.S. dollar and Treasury yields dulled investor demand for the precious metal. June gold declined by $10.50, or 0.8%, to settle at $1,338.30 an ounce.

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Baker Hughes reports a rise in U.S. oil-rig count for third-straight week

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 17:11:14 GMT

Baker Hughes on Friday reported that the number of active U.S. rigs drilling for oil rose by 5 to 820 this week. The oil-rig count had logged gains in each of the last two weeks. The total active U.S. rig count, which includes oil and natural-gas rigs, climbed by 5 to 1,013, according to Baker Hughes. May West Texas Intermediate crude was down 16 cents, or 0.2%, from Thursday, to $68.13 a barrel, down from $68.19 before the rig data.

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S&P 500 turns negative for 2018

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 16:08:32 GMT

U.S. stocks fell on Friday, with the S&P 500 returning to negative territory for the year as losses accelerated in midday trading. The benchmark index lost 0.8%, and is now down less than 0.1% for 2018 thus far. While the S&P has been negative for the year multiple times in 2018, it had recently returned to the green. It has traded in positive territory for the year for the past four sessions. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.8% on Friday, bringing its year-to-date move to a drop of 1%. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 1.1% on Friday, but remains up 3.7% for the year. The day's losses were widespread, pressured by weakness in the energy sector and by a sharp decline in Apple Inc.

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Pivotal Software stock rises in first day of trading

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 15:47:55 GMT

Shares of cloud software company Pivotal Software Inc. are up 4.9% in their first day of trading Friday. The stock opened at $16.75, 11.7% above its $15 IPO price. The first trade was executed at 10:43 a.m. ET. Pivotal offered 33,117,000 shares of Class A stock, and selling-shareholder Generic Electric Co. offered 3,883,000 shares of Pivotal's Class A stock, which amounted to about 20% of the company's stake in Pivotal. Pivotal's software helps firms build and deploy their own cloud software. The company has gone public at a time when the Renaissance IPO ETF is up 2.9% and the S&P 500 is up 0.7%.

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Apple's stock drop contributes 40 points to Dow's 230-point fall in late-morning trade

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 15:17:44 GMT

The Dow Jones Industrial Average late-morning Friday was trading lower for a third straight session, with shares of Apple Inc., exacting the largest toll on the blue-chip gauge. Apple shares were off 3.4%, or about $5.92, with the magnitude of the drop sapping about 40 points from the Dow in early action. The Dow most recently was down 230 points, or 0.9%, at 24,438, while the S&P 500 index was off 0.8% at 2,670 and the technology-laden Nasdaq Composite Index down 1.1% at 7,158. Apple's decline may be influenced by downbeat forecasts for the iPhone maker amid disappointment over chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing , which lowered its revenue guidance range for the second quarter, citing weak demand for cell phones. That has led some Wall Street analysts to speculate that weakness in demand bodes ill for Apple Inc. .

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Stocks extend losses, Nasdaq falls 1% as Apple drags

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 15:13:48 GMT

U.S. stocks fell to session lows in late-morning trading on Friday, with the Nasdaq dropping 1% amid a steep decline in Apple stock. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.8% while the S&P 500 lost 0.7% and the Nasdaq fell 1%, falling to its lows of the day. Among the biggest drags of the day was Apple Inc. , which shed 3.5% ahead of the company's upcoming quarterly results. Analysts have expressed some caution about the strength of the results, which will be released in early May. The energy sector also weighed on indexes, falling 1% after President Donald Trump tweeted that crude-oil prices were "artificially high."

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GE's stock pares some gains; analyst says it's too early to buy

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 14:54:56 GMT

Shares of General Electric Co. rallied 4.6% in morning trade, but pared earlier gains of as much as 7.6%, as investors digested the industrial conglomerate's first-quarter results and post-earnings conference call. Analyst Jim Corridore at CFRA cut his stock price target to $16 from $18 while keeping his rating at hold, citing GE's "ongoing operational difficulties." Corridore lowered its 2018 earnings-per-share estimate to 95 cents from 98 cents. "Results continue to be hurt by difficulties at power, where operating profits fell 38%, and oil and gas where it fell 30%," Corridore wrote in a note to clients. "Given the severity of the downturns at oil and gas and power, and ongoing losses at GE Capital, we do not think it's worth wading into the shares despite the below-market valuation." The stock has shed 10.2% over the past three months, while the SPDR Industrial Select Sector ETF has lost 4.9% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average has declined 4.7%.

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EBay stock rises after Credit Suisse raises target to Street-high $60

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 14:31:14 GMT

Shares of eBay Inc. are up 1.5% in Friday morning trading after analysts at Credit Suisse raised their price target to $60 from $51. The new target is the highest among Wall Street analysts surveyed by FactSet. "As we look to the next five years of eBay's growth, we draw parallels with its global marketplaces platform peers in the form of Alibaba as well as MercadoLibre as we focus on its newly-announced payments [initiatives] as well as the potential for its advertising businesses," wrote the analysts, led by Stephen Ju. The company announced during its last earnings call that it would begin serving as the merchant of record for transactions made on its site when its deal with PayPal Holdings Inc. expires at the end of the decade. eBay shares are up 32% in the past 12 months, while the S&P 500 has gained 14%.

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Mattel's stock sinks to 9-year low after CEO departure puts turnaround efforts in doubt

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 14:19:43 GMT

Shares of Mattel Inc. sank 6.4% toward a nine-year low in morning trade Friday, to pace the S&P 500's decliners, after the company announced the surprise departure of its chief executive officer. The stock's intraday low of $12.21 was the lowest price seen since April 2, 2009. Late Thursday, the toy maker said CEO Margo Georgiadis was leaving the company after just 15 months in the role, with Ynon Kreiz to become Mattel's fourth CEO in as many years. Analyst Michael Swartz at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey said Georgiadis's departure "lends greater uncertainty" to Mattel's turnaround efforts. Swartz said the CEO change increases the possibility that the board of directors will look to sell the company, which could limit the stock's downside. In the meantime, Swartz said "there is virtually no earnings visibility," meaning the stock could "remain volatile for the foreseeable future." The stock has plunged 50% over the past 12 months, while the S&P 500 has gained 14%.

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Energy ETF falls after Trump tweets that crude prices are "artificially high"

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 14:08:13 GMT

The largest exchange-traded fund to track the energy sector declined in early trading on Friday, after President Donald Trump tweeted that crude-oil prices were "artificially high." The Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF fell 0.9%, with energy standing as the worst performer among the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors in early action. The decline was underpinned by a 0.9% drop in the price of crude oil. Crude turned lower after Trump tweeted that high crude prices "will not be accepted." That came as a meeting of ministers from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries group and the non-OPEC countries were seeking to reaffirm a commitment to keep output limited. Among notable decliners in the sector, Chevron Corp. fell 1.5% while Exxon Mobil Corp. and Marathon Oil Corp. both lost 1%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.2% on Friday while the S&P 500 was off 0.2% and the Nasdaq Composite Index was down 0.5%.

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Apple stock falls after analysts express caution ahead of earnings

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 14:07:45 GMT

Shares of Apple Inc. are down 2.6% in Friday morning trading after a pair of analysts issued cautious notes ahead of the company's second-quarter earnings report, due out in early May. Morgan Stanley's Katy Huberty lowered her price target on the stock to $200 from $203, writing that she expects the company to deliver in-line results for the March period but that she also sees "downside to June consensus estimates following iPhone build cuts and weak China data." Canaccord Genuity analyst T. Michael Walkley wrote Friday that his recent consumer survey "indicates slow iPhone sales ahead of new product launches." He said that the $1,000-plus price point for the iPhone X "has been a greater deterrent for broad market appeal than anticipated," while the phone's screen size isn't large enough to have wide appeal in the Chinese market. Walkley rates the stock a buy with a $200 price target. Apple's stock fell in Thursday's session as well, after Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. delivered downbeat June-quarter guidance. Shares of Apple are up 18% over the past 12 months, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has gained 20%.

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GE poised for best day in three years after results

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 13:49:27 GMT

Shares of General Electric Co. surged on Friday, after the troubled industrial conglomerate posted better-than-expected quarterly results. The stock jumped 6.3% and was on track for its biggest one-day percentage gain since April 2015. With the day's surge, the Dow component was poised to close above its 50-day moving average for the first time since Jan. 12. In its results, General Electric reported earnings and revenue that topped expectations. It also said it was making progress on its cost-cutting efforts and reaffirmed its 2018 financial targets. Despite the day's gain, the stock remains down more than 51% over the past 12 months, by far the worst performer among Dow components over that period. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.2% on Friday while the S&P 500 was off 0.2% and the Nasdaq Composite Index was down 0.5%.

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Stocks open unchanged but on track for weekly gains

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 13:31:21 GMT

U.S. equity markets opened unchanged on Friday, though the main indexes were on track for second consecutive weekly gains. Investors digested a number of earnings reports, that mostly topped expectations. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was flat at 24,673. The S&P 500 index opened unchanged at 2,693. Meanwhile the Nasdaq Composite was off by 15 points, or 0.2% to 7,220 at the open. Despite tepid trading over the past two sessions, the main indexes looked at solid weekly gains. Among the best performers on the S&P 500, General Electric Company shares jumped 6% after quarterly earnings topped expectations.

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Kroger announces new $1.2 billion share repurchase program, paid for with convenience store sale

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 13:25:41 GMT

Kroger Co. said Friday that it has approved a new $1.2 billion share buyback program, in addition to the $1 billion program announced March 15. The grocery giant will use the proceeds from the sale of its convenience store business to EG Group. That deal, which was first announced in February, is worth $2.15 billion with after-tax proceeds of $1.7 billion. The remaining proceeds will be used to lower debt. The sale includes 762 convenience stores including 66 franchise operations across 18 states with 11,000 workers. Stores include Loaf 'N Jug, Kwik Shop and Tom Thumb. EG Group will continue to operate the stores under their existing names. Kroger shares are up 2.1% in Friday trading, but down nearly 12% for the year so far. The S&P 500 index is up 0.7% for 2018 to date.

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Wells Fargo fined $1 billion for auto loan, mortgage violations

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 13:13:05 GMT

Wells Fargo was fined $1 billion on Friday by the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. The regulators cited improper placement and maintenance of collateral protection insurance policies on auto loan accounts and improper fees associated with mortgage interest rate lock extension. Wells Fargo also will remediate harmed consumers, the regulators said.

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GE's stock surges above key technical level, into correction territory

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 13:05:15 GMT

General Electric Co.'s stock soared 6.3% in premarket trade Friday on the back of better-than-expected first-quarter results, putting it on track to track to trigger an official correction, as it gaps higher to open above a widely-watched technical level. The 50-day moving average, which many chart watchers use as a guide to the short-term trend, extends to $14.01 on Friday, according to FactSet. In addition, a 10% rally above the April 9 closing low of $12.83, which many on Wall Street define as a correction in a bear market, would be a close above $14.11. Meanwhile, the stock is headed for an open closer to $15. A new bull market for GE, which is defined by many as a gain of 20% or more off a bear market low, would come in at $15.40. GE's stock had lost 19.8% year to date through Thursday, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average had slipped 0.2%.

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