US FINANCIAL MARKET
- Stocks opened higher on Wednesday, with the S&P 500 on track to rebound from a broad selloff in the prior session, ahead of the release of minutes from the most recent meeting of the U.S. Federal Reserve.
o The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose the most in a week while Treasuries fell before the Federal Reserve releases minutes from its latest policy meeting. Oil advanced to a one-month high.
- Tiffany raises forecast as lower-priced jewelry woos U.S. customers. Net profit rose to $125.6 million in the first quarter from $83.6 million a year earlier. Total net sales rose 15 % to $1 billion on a constant-currency basis.
- Target shows signs of turnaround as sales fall less than expected. Target reported a 16 % drop in first-quarter profit. Target reported a 0.3 % drop in U.S. same-store sales. Analysts had expected a fall of 1.1 %.
o Net income fell to $418 million in the quarter from $498 million a year earlier.
o Sales rose 2.1 % to $17.05 billion. Canadian sales were $393 million, up from $86 million in the same period last year when the company had only 24 stores north of the border.
o The company lowered its adjusted full-year profit forecast.
- Lowe’s May sales improve, severe winter hits first-quarter results. Lowe’s revenue rose 2.4 % to $13.40 billion in the first quarter, but came below the average analyst estimate of $13.86 billion. Net income rose to $624 million from $540 million.
o The company also maintained its sales growth forecast of 5 % for the year. But it raised its full-year earnings forecast.
- PetSmart reported first-quarter sales of $1.73 billion, which fell short of estimates. PetSmart also said it expects fiscal 2014 same-store sales to be “relatively flat,” net sales growth in the low single digits.
o “We did not achieve our sales goals, which were impacted by a challenging and volatile consumer environment and a competitive market,” said David Lenhardt, PetSmart’s chief executive.
- American Eagle Outfitters announced plans to close an additional 150 stores after posting sluggish sales today.
- Netflix to launch in six more European countries this year including France and Germany, the company’s biggest expansion in almost three years.
o The other new countries it will enter in late 2014 are Austria, Switzerland, Belgium and Luxembourg. Netflix already operates in Britain, Scandinavia and the Netherlands.
o Netflix currently has 48 million customers for its monthly subscription service in more than 40 countries, with 35.7 million of them in the United States.
- Google overtakes Apple as most valuable brand. Google’s brand value shot up 40 % in a year to $158.84 billion, Millward Brown said in its 2014 100 Top BrandZ report.
o Apple, which dominated the top position for three straight years, saw its brand value fall by 20 % to $147.88 billion.
o The top 10 of the 100 slots were dominated by US firms. IBM was in third place at $107.54 billion, a fall of 4 %, followed by Microsoft at $90.19 billion — a 29 % rise.
o Fast food chain McDonald’s ranked next at $85.71 billion, followed by Coca Cola ($80.68 billion).
- GM adds 218,000 older small cars to growing recall list. Last week, GM recalled almost 3 million vehicles globally and was fined a record $35 million by NHTSA.
- Lockheed machinists at Mississippi space center vote to end strike.
- EBay asks users to change their passwords after cyber-attack. There’s no evidence of unauthorized activity resulting from the breach, EBay said. While credit-card numbers are stored separately and encrypted, it’s still best to change passwords, the company said.
US ECONOMY & POLITICS
- Fed’s Dudley sees ‘relatively slow’ rate hike cycle.
- Minutes from the Fed’s April meeting due at 2 p.m. today may help investors gauge the strength of the U.S. economic recovery and signal the factors the central bank will use in deciding when to raise rates.
- The Tea Party is pretty much over for the 2014 midterm elections, with the limited-government movement losing four of yesterday’s most closely watched races in Republican primaries from Georgia to Idaho.
EUROPE & WORLD
- Russia reached a $400 billion deal to supply natural gas to China through a new pipeline over 30 years. Russia will invest $55 billion, while Beijing will give roughly $20 billion to Moscow as part of the 30-year gas supply agreement.
- Lenovo profit rises 25% on PC, smartphone market share gains. Net income climbed to $158.3 million in the quarter. Lenovo’s sales climbed to $9.4 billion from $7.83 billion a year earlier.
- Burberry profit tops estimates as Bailey settles in as CEO. Adjusted pretax profit rose 8 % to 461 million pounds. This year, Burberry plans to open 20 to 25 so-called mainline stores, mostly in major markets and travel retail, and close 15 to 20.
TODAY in HISTORY
- Clara Barton founded what became the American Red Cross (1881)
- The first hydrogen bomb to be dropped by air exploded over the Bikini Atoll in the Pacific (1956)
Sources: Reuters, Bloomberg.
This information has been prepared from sources believed to be reliable, but no representation is being made as to its accuracy or completeness. The information provided should be used only as general information and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. The economic forecasts set forth in the material may not develop as predicted. All indices, such as the S & P 500, are unmanaged and may not be invested into directly. Sources: Reuters, Bloomberg.
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