LIVE STOCK MARKET UPDATES: Fed minutes, CPI data, Buffett on banks, Musk on Twitter
Fed rate-setters expect ‘mild recession,’ March CPI shows slowing inflation, Warren Buffett on bank crisis, and Elon Musk reflects on Twitter deal. FOX Business is providing real-time updates on the markets, commodities and all the most active stocks on the move.
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Several Federal Reserve officials at the U.S. central bank's policy meeting last month considered pausing interest rate increases until it was clear the failure of two regional banks would not cause wider financial stress, but even they ultimately concluded high inflation remained the priority.
"Several participants ... considered whether it would be appropriate to hold the target range steady at the meeting" to assess how financial sector developments might influence lending and the path of the economy, according to the minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee's March 21-22 meeting, which were released on Wednesday.
However, those officials, along with others, agreed that actions taken by U.S. policymakers and the Fed had "helped calm conditions in the banking sector and lessen the near-term risks to economic activity and inflation," the minutes said, and supported a quarter-percentage-point rate increase despite the new uncertainty around the financial sector.
Harley-Davidson Inc said on Wednesday Chief Financial Officer Gina Goetter was leaving the company at the end of April to pursue another job.
The company said Vice President David Viney will take over as interim CFO after Goetter's departure on April 28.
Shares of the company were down 6.5% at $34.91 in extended trade.
Billionaire investor Daniel Loeb is considering taking SiriusPoint Ltd private less than three years after he agreed to combine his hedge fund's reinsurance business, Third Point Re, with rival Sirius International Insurance Group to form the global specialty insurer.
The cash and stock deal was announced in 2020 when insurers braced for a wave of claims related to the coronavirus pandemic and Loeb said the merger would provide more heft for internal growth and acquisitions. The deal was finalized in early 2021.
On Wednesday Loeb, who runs hedge fund Third Point, said the company could be more successful as a private entity.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite led U.S. stocks lower after the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s last meeting showed policymakers expect a “mild recession” later this year, partially due to the banking crisis.
Consumer discretionary stocks led the declines, while industrials closed higher. In commodities, oil hit the highest level since November at $83.26 per barrel.
WisdomTree has confirmed receipt of notice from shareholder ETFS Capital Limited of its intent to nominate three directors at WisdomTree’s 2023 Annual Meeting of Stockholders.
ETFS chair Graham Tuckwell is asking Wisdom Tree to replace four incumbent directors with three new directors of his own choosing and one director mutually agreed upon, according to the firm.
“Given WisdomTree’s strong operating results, strong stock performance, and recent stock upgrade by UBS, we view this level of wholesale Board change as unjustified and an unwarranted risk to our stockholders. We have completed a significant level of Board refreshment over the past few years, and our current Board members possess extensive experience relevant to WisdomTree’s business strategy, including global financial, accounting, and compliance expertise, and many years in senior leadership positions in the investment management and financial services industry,” said Wisdom Tree chair Frank Salerno.
The date of the 2023 Annual Meeting has not yet been announced. WisdomTree stockholders are not required to take any action at this time.
LVMH, the world's largest luxury company, reported a 17% rise in first-quarter sales, more than double analysts' expectations, as China rebounded sharply after COVID-19 lockdowns.
Sales at the French company, which owns the Louis Vuitton and Dior fashion houses, as well as Hennessy cognac and U.S. jeweler Tiffany, came to 21.04 billion euros ($23.10 billion) for the three months to end-March.
The 17% growth on an organic basis, which strips out the effect of currency fluctuations and acquisitions, compared with analysts' expectations for 8% growth, according to a Visible Alpha consensus.
The figures for LVMH, a bellwether for the high-end industry that has proven resilient to rising inflation and market turmoil, offered the first snapshot of the scale of the Chinese recovery after lockdowns dented sales at the end of 2022.
Medical device companies are doing better than pharmaceuticals in a reversal of the behavior seen during the Covid-19 pandemic.
These devices, crucial for the early detection of diseases and the treatment of patients were used less frequently during the pandemic as Americans postponed routine check ups.
With the return to hospitals, companies including Edwards Lifesciences, Boston Scientific, and Stryker are all way up this year.
National CineMedia LLC, the biggest movie-theater advertising business in North America, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Tuesday and said it had entered into a restructuring agreement with its lenders.
The announcement follows a similar move by British theater chain Cineworld in September and underscores the challenges facing the cinema industry, which is yet to bounce back from the pandemic slump and a dearth of major film releases.
Under the restructuring, NCM's secured lenders will convert all its debt into equity; its listed holding company, National CineMedia Inc will receive an ownership interest of about 14% in the restructured entity.
Twitter Inc CEO Elon Musk said on Wednesday the social media company is "roughly breaking even," as most of its advertisers have returned and its aggressive cost-cutting efforts have started bearing fruit after massive layoffs.
Musk, in an interview with BBC broadcast live on Twitter Spaces, said Twitter has about 1,500 employees now, a sharp decline from "just under 8,000 staff members" it had before he took it over in October.
He says Twitter was in a $3 billion negative cash flow situation and had to take drastic actions, referring to its large-scale layoffs.
"We could be cash-flow positive this quarter if things go well," he said in the interview that attracted more than 3 million listeners, adding the company currently has all-time high user numbers.
Former U.S. President Donald Trump is suing his former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen for more than $500 million, according to a filing in a Florida court on Wednesday.
Cohen testified before a Manhattan grand jury that later indicted Trump on 34 felony counts of falsifying business r ecords, marking the first time in U.S. history that a former president has been charged with a crime.
Trump, who is seeking the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, pleaded not guilty in that case on April 4.
The lawsuit accuses Cohen of violating his attorney-client relationship with Trump by revealing his "confidences" and "spreading falsehoods."
Cohen did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Warner Bros Discovery Inc said on Wednesday it will launch on May 23 its long-awaited new streaming service, christened "Max", which combines HBO Max's scripted entertainment with Discovery's reality shows.
Prices for Max would range from $9.99 a month for the ad-supported version to $19.99 a month for "Max Ultimate" - the ad-free tier that allows 4 concurrent streams. The new service will serve as a test of Chief Executive David Zaslav's ambition to create one of the world's leading streaming services by assembling a collection of disparate assets.
Speaking at the launch of the service, Zaslav said HBO's "one-of-a-kind storytelling" would bring subscribers to the service while Discovery's unscripted programming will retain them.
The absence of HBO in the name of the new service was explained by streaming chief J.B. Perrette, who said, "HBO is HBO" and it "should not be pushed to the breaking point" by taking on a wide variety of content offered by HBO and Discovery.
Investors celebrated the consumer price index for March which showed that inflation eased even though it remains around the 5% level.
Billionaire Warren Buffett assured investors Wednesday that Berkshire Hathaway will be fine when he's no longer around to lead the conglomerate.
Buffett said shareholders shouldn't worry about the future of the company after Vice Chairman Greg Abel takes over because he will do a great job and Berkshire will still follow the same model of allowing its subsidiaries to largely run themselves while looking for other companies to buy with the substantial cash reserves it keeps on hand at all times.
Buffett said more banks will fail over time because some managers will continue to do “dumb things” at times to boost short-term profits, but most people shouldn't worry about it because their money is protected by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which is paid for by the banks — not the federal government.
Berkshire sold off most of its bank investments in recent years besides its major Bank of America stake because of Buffett's concerns.
E-cigarette maker Juul Labs Inc has agreed to pay $462 million to settle claims by six U.S. states including New York and California that it unlawfully marketed its addictive products to minors, a person familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.
With the deal, Juul will have settled with 45 states for more than $1 billion. The company did not admit wrongdoing in the settlement, which also included Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts and New Mexico as well as the District of Columbia.
Juul is still facing a lawsuit by Minnesota, where a trial is currently underway, as well as lawsuits or open investigations by Florida, Michigan, Maine and Alaska.
Under pressure from regulators, Juul in 2019 pulled most of its flavors from the market and halted much of its advertising. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration last June briefly banned the products, though it put the ban on hold and agreed to reconsider the action after the company appealed.
The Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee has subpoenaed the Federal Trade Commission's chair for documents related to the regulatory agency's privacy probe of Twitter, the panel said on Wednesday.
In its statement, the committee said that Chairman Jim Jordan and others asked Chair Lina Khan about its probe of Twitter following its acquisition by Elon Musk. The committee said that Khan did not adequately respond to them or to their requests for documents and information.
The FTC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Two iPhone suppliers, Cirrus Logic and AAC Technologies, saw their stocks plummet today after Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo announced that the iPhone 15 Pro/Pro Max would not use their technology.
Apple Inc. intended to use solid-state buttons in the design of this new iPhone, but after some unresolved technical issues will revert to physical buttons.
"Luxshare ICT, another Taptic Engine supplier for solid-state buttons, will likely be less affected by this change due to its significantly larger operating scale vs. AAC Technologies." said Ming-Chi Kuo
U.S. crude inventories rose unexpectedly last week, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday, helped by release of oil from the U.S. government emergency reserve as well as weaker levels of export.
Crude inventories rose by 597,000 barrels in the last week to 470.5 million barrels, compared with analysts' expectations in a Reuters poll for a 600,000 barrel drop.
Stock of crude oil in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve declined 1.6 million, the first drawdown this year, as part of a congressionally mandated sale of 26 million barrels.
Brookfield Infrastructure Corp will buy freight container lessor Triton International Ltd for about $4.7 billion, to capitalize on a boom in demand from customers looking to cut transportation delays.
The cash-and-stock offer of $85 per Triton common share represented a premium of nearly 35% to the stock's last close.
The deal, expected to close in the fourth quarter, is valued at about $13.3 billion including debt.
Demand for Intermodal shipments, which involve moving containers across multiple modes of transport, has been strong as customers look for efficient ways to transport goods amid industrywide delays caused by staffing shortages.
U.S. stocks gave back some of the early gains after March's CPI data rose a less-than-expected 5%, the lowest since May 2021. Both consumer discretionary and staples fell, while industrials and materials held onto gains.
Oil topped the $82 per barrel level for the first time since January, while gold ticked up to $2,021 an ounce.
The Bank of Canada on Wednesday left its key overnight interest rate on hold at 4.50% as expected and raised its growth forecast for this year, while dropping language that had warned of a possible recession.
Last month the Bank of Canada (BoC) became the world's first major central bank to pause its tightening campaign. Governor Tiff Macklem said he wanted to let the eight previous rate hikes sink in and would hold off on further increases as long as inflation came down as forecast.
"The Bank expects CPI inflation to fall quickly to around 3% in the middle of this year and then decline more gradually to the 2% target by the end of 2024," it said in a statement, blaming services prices and wage growth for the slow decrease.
Previously the BoC had been less specific about when inflation would reach target, saying it would happen sometime next year. At the same time, the BoC raised its growth forecast for this year to 1.4% from 1.0% in January.
U.S. industrial conglomerate Emerson Electric Co on Wednesday said it would buy measurement tools maker NI Corp for $8.2 billion in an effort to boost its automation capabilities.
The $60-per-share cash offer represents a premium of 14.11% to the NI stock's Tuesday close.
The purchase would let Emerson tap Texas-based NI's software-connected automated test and measurement systems, helping the company achieve higher growth and margins in its automation portfolio.
The NI deal is expected to close in the first half of Emerson's fiscal 2024.
American Airlines Group Inc on Wednesday forecast first-quarter profit below Wall Street estimates as the carrier battles higher costs related to labor and fuel, sending its shares down 4.50% in early trading on the Nasdaq.
The company's outlook comes about a month after rival United Airlines forecast a first-quarter loss citing similar reasons.
The airline industry has been leaning on soaring consumer demand to mitigate higher labor and fuel costs with higher fares.
On an adjusted basis, American expects quarterly profit per share between 1 and 5 cents. Analysts had expected a profit of 6 cents per share, according to Refinitiv estimates.
The Biden administration is proposing strict new automobile pollution limits that would require as many as two-thirds of new vehicles sold in the U.S. to be electric by 2032, a nearly tenfold increase over current electric vehicle sales.
The proposed regulation, announced Wednesday by the Environmental Protection Agency, would set tailpipe emissions limits for the 2027 through 2032 model years that are the strictest ever imposed — and call for far more new EV sales than the auto industry agreed to less than two years ago.
If finalized next year as expected, the plan would represent the strongest push yet toward a once almost unthinkable shift from gasoline-powered cars and trucks to battery-powered vehicles.
Cutera has appointed Sheila Hopkins as Interim Chief Executive Officer and Janet Widmann as Independent Chair of the Board, effective immediately while the board searches for a permanent CEO.
Hopkins has served as a member of Cutera’s Board of Directors since May 2021 and currently serves as a director for Prestige Consumer Healthcare. She previously served as President, Global Vision Care and Executive Vice President of Bausch + Lomb.
The appointments follow the immediate terminations of Daniel Plants as Executive Chairman and David Mowry as CEO, for cause.
Plants had previously recommended the termination of Mowry and indicated that he wanted to succeed him as CEO. After serious consideration, the board decided to seek an external CEO candidate with the assistance of an executive search firm.
Following that decision, in an apparent campaign to seize control of the company, Mowry and Plants issued a press release in which they allegedly disclosed – and blatantly mischaracterized in a defamatory manner – highly confidential internal deliberations of the board in direct violation of their employment agreements and their fiduciary duties as directors and officers under Delaware law, the company said.
Brisbane, California-based Cutera is a leading provider of aesthetic and dermatology solutions for practitioners worldwide.
Mortgage applications increased 5.3% from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending April 7, 2023.
The Refinance Index increased 0.1% from the previous week and was 57% lower than the same week one year ago.
The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 8% from one week earlier.
“Incoming data last week showed that the job market is beginning to slow, which led to the 30-year fixed rate decreasing to 6.30 percent – the lowest level in two months,” said Mortgage Bankers Association Chief Economist Mike Fratantoni.
Billionaire Warren Buffett's company has increased its investments in five major Japanese trading houses to give Berkshire Hathaway control of 7.4% of each of those conglomerates.
Buffett disclosed the new investments Tuesday in interviews with Nikkei and CNBC while he is vists Tokyo this week to meet with executives at the Japanese companies. Buffett said he is “very proud” of his investments in the trading houses that were first disclosed back in 2020.
Shares of Itochu Corp., Marubeni Corp., Mitsubishi Corp., Mitsui & Co. and Sumitomo Corp. all surged after Buffett's new investments were reported.
Delta Air Lines is doubling down on more profitable premium travel as it looks to shore up its defenses against an economic downturn.
Chief Executive Ed Bastian told Reuters the U.S. carrier will have premium seats on every plane it flies starting this summer. Currently, dozens of 50-seat planes, accounting for about 2% of Delta's fleet, don't have those seats.
In all, the Atlanta-based carrier, which reports quarterly earnings on Thursday , said it will offer 15,000 more premium seats a day across its network this year versus the pre-pandemic period. It declined to share more details.
Bastian said Delta wants to attract travelers who are willing to pay for something other than just a seat, helping drive up its profits.
There was no winner in Mega Million's Tuesday drawing pushing the jackpot closer to $500 million for the next lottery drawing.
Boeing on Tuesday announced 130 airplane deliveries over the first quarter of 2023, inching past rival Airbus, which delivered 127 jets.
Boeing's deliveries were up almost 27% from a year earlier, when it delivered 95 jets.
The U.S. planemaker delivered 64 aircraft in March, 36% more than the 41 jets transferred to customers in the same month last year.
The 737 MAX made up 52 of that sum, with United Airlines and Southwest Airlines each taking ownership of 12 MAX jets.
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