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US FINANCIAL MARKET

U.S. Stocks fluctuate at the Open as Ukraine Tension Boosts Haven Demand

  • U.S. stocks fell to session lows on Friday, erasing earlier gains and dropping in heavy trading, as forces in Ukraine engaged a Russian armored column on Ukrainian soil.
  • Ukraine said its troops attacked and partially destroyed a column of armed vehicles that had crossed the border from Russian territory, while Russia said it was concerned about an attack on another convoy carrying aid.
  • Monster Beverage soared 30 percent after Coca-Cola agreed to buy a stake in the company.
  • J.C. Penney gained 1.8 percent after posting a narrower second-quarter loss.
  • Applied Materials jumped 5.4 percent after forecasting sales that may top analysts’ estimates.
  • Nordstrom slid 4 percent as the department-store chain reported same-store sales that missed estimates in the most recent quarter.
  • Data today showed total industrial production advanced 0.4 percent for a second month in July.
  • A different report showed the August New York Fed Empire Manufacturing report fell more than estimated.
  • Consumer confidence unexpectedly declined from its lowest level since March.
  • Separately, wholesale prices in the U.S. rose at a slower pace in July as fuel costs dropped by the most in eight months.

Coca-Cola to Acquire 17% Stake in Monster Beverage

  • Coca-Cola agreed to swap some brands and buy a 17 percent stake in Monster Beverage for about $2.15 billion.
  • The move is part of a deal that will include the transfer of Coca-Cola’s energy drinks NOS, Full Throttle, Burn, Mother and Play to Monster.
  • Under the agreement, the two companies will share marketing, production and distribution.

Radio Disney to Seek Buyers for 23 Stations in Digital Push

  • Disney plans to sell 23 Radio Disney stations and rely on satellite and the Internet to distribute the mix of children’s music and programming.
  • The decision underscores a change in the way programming is delivered as well as a shift in consumption with the growth of mobile devices.

Nordstrom Same-Store Sales Miss Forecasts as Retailers Slump

  • The largest U.S. luxury department-store chain missed same-store sales estimates in the most recent quarter as the retail industry struggles to lure customers with promotions.
  • Sales at stores open at least a year rose 2.7 percent in the second quarter, missing the 3.1 percent that analysts had estimated.
  • Its full-line department stores saw sales drop 1.2 percent, compared with projections for growth of 1.2 percent.
  • Quarterly sales rose 6.1 percent to $3.39 billion.

Slow pace of rail recovery stirs fear of future woes

  • More than eight months after an extreme winter began snarling North American rail traffic.
  • Rail logjams contributed to the economic slowdown early in the year, rippling across corporate America and affecting everything from car makers to ethanol producers.
  • Across the continent’s seven largest operators, trains ran almost 8 percent slower on average and sat idle at key terminals for nearly three hours longer in the second quarter than a year earlier.
  • While Canada’s rail operators have nearly recovered, many U.S. operators lag far behind.

Tim Hortons to battle Starbucks; price rises likely

  • Canadian coffee and donut chain Tim Hortons hopes to lure new coffee drinkers and fend off rivals such as Starbucks and McDonald’s.
  • Tim Hortons, which says it serves nearly 8 out of every 10 cups of coffee sold in Canada, outlined a plan in February to kick-start growth and improve returns by fine-tuning its menu to encourage more spending, improving service and opening new restaurant formats.

Top U.S. hedge funds up Walgreen shares; lose some taste for Apple

  • Top U.S. hedge fund managers did some shopping for losers and sold some of their gainers.

Ebay in talks to take bitcoins at payments unit : WSJ

  • A deal would be an endorsement for a crypto currency, which is gaining acceptance with a slowly growing number of businesses, including online retailer Overstock.com.
  • But some industry executives have warned about the risks of an unregulated currency.

Sprint will introduce ‘disruptive’ prices next week: new CEO

  • CEO Claure spent his first day on the job meeting Apple CEO Tim Cook, and said “Apple will become a crucial part of Sprint,” the website reported.
  • Claure’s first order of business is cutting prices, followed by sprucing up the company’s network, now completing a massive overhaul, and reducing operational costs.

US ECONOMY & POLITICS

Wholesale Prices in U.S. Rise at Slower Pace as Fuel Drops

  • The 0.1 percent increase in the producer price index matched the median forecast of economists.
  • The so-called core measure, which strips out volatile food and fuel, increased 0.2 percent.
  • The wholesale prices report was expanded this year to include 75 percent of all U.S. goods and services, up from about a third for the old metric, which tallied the costs of goods alone.
  • The index now includes prices received for services, government purchases, trade and construction.

Manufacturing in the region covered by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York expanded at a slower pace

  • The central bank’s Empire State Index fell to 14.7 from a four-year high of 25.6 in July.
  • Readings greater than zero signal growth.

Factory Production in U.S. Jumps 1% on Equipment Demand

  • The 1 percent gain at manufacturers followed a 0.3 percent increase in the prior month that was more than initially estimated.
  • Production lines have shifted into higher gear as Americans replace aging autos and companies grow more confident about expanding.
  • Overall industrial production rose 0.4 percent, which was unchanged from June. The June increase was previously reported at 0.2 percent.
  • Stronger demand in overseas markets, which has been a missing ingredient for American producers, would help provide additional momentum.
  • Auto production soared 10.1 percent in July, the biggest gain since July 2009.
  • Production of business equipment jumped 1.3 percent.

Economists raise third-quarter U.S. growth forecasts: Philly Fed survey

  • Analysts see the economy growing at an annual rate of 3.0 percent in the current quarter, up from a previous estimate of 2.9 percent.
  • Fourth-quarter growth was forecast at 3.1 percent, down from a previous estimate of 3.2 percent.
  • First-quarter 2015 growth was estimated at 3.1 percent, unchanged from an earlier estimate of 3.1 percent.
  • Meanwhile, they see the economy growing at a rate of 2.1 percent for all of 2014, down from the previous estimate of 2.4 percent in the previous survey in May.
  • Growth in 2015 is expected to come in at 3.1 percent, unchanged from the 3.1 percent estimate in the May survey.

U.S. consumer sentiment dips in preliminary August reading

  • The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan’s preliminary August consumer sentiment fell to 79.2 from a final reading of 81.8 the month before.

San Bernardino starts bondholder talks two years after bankruptcy

  • San Bernardino, California, has begun face-to-face talks with some of its biggest creditors – bondholders and insurers – for the first time.
  • San Bernardino, a city of 205,000 people located 65 miles east of Los Angeles, filed for bankruptcy in August 2012 with a budget deficit of $45 million.

EUROPE & WORLD

Ukraine Says It Destroyed Part of Armed Convoy From Russia

  • Ukrainian government troops engaged the vehicles that had arrived overnight through a rebel-held section of the border, Andriy Lysenko, a spokesman for the country’s military.
  • Ukrainian soldiers continue to come under shelling, including rounds fired from Russia, he said.
  • The government in Kiev has for months said that separatist rebels in its easternmost regions are receiving support from Russia, which backs them with artillery fire.

Maliki Resigns as Iraq’s Prime Minister to Make Way for Abadi

  • The move ends a political impasse and may enable Prime Minister-designate Haidar al-Abadi to pull together a more inclusive government better able to counter Islamist militants advancing in the country’s north, and to heal sectarian and ethnic rifts threatening to tear Iraq apart.

TODAY in HISTORY

  • Proctor & Gamble Company introduced Crisco vegetable shortening (1911)
  • The Wizard of Oz premiered in Hollywood (1939)
  • The Indian Independence Bill created the two independent states of India and Pakistan (1947)
  • South Korea became the Republic of Korea (1948)
  • Astronomers announced the discovery of the first solar system outside our own (2001)

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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