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STOCK MARKET UPDATES: Inflation, jobs reports lift stocks, banks ready earnings, Musk tweets

Stocks rise on cooling inflation and rising unemployment as investors await earnings from Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo as Elon Musk warns of tough economic sledding. FOX Business is providing real-time updates on the markets, commodities and all the most active stocks on the move.


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Amazon shareholder proposals hit a record for second-consecutive year


E-retail giant Amazon is facing 18 shareholder proposals, beating its 2022 record of 15 proposals, as environmental, social and governance (ESG)-focused investors push for more changes in the company, according to Amazons' proxy statement released on Thursday.

The proposals cover a variety of topics including a request to change Amazon's executive compensation package, an audit to ensure that Amazon's technologies are not used for human rights violations and additional reporting of Amazon's animal welfare standards.

Shareholders need at least 53% of votes to win. However, the results are non-binding and Amazon's board is not required to move forward on the suggestions.

The number of shareholder proposals across industries has grown since 2020. However, support for those proposals fell from 2021 to 2022, according to a PWC report.

Posted by Reuters

Elon Musk: US faces 'tough sledding' on economic front

Elon Musk expects the U.S. to go through tough economic conditions until next spring. The billionaire CEO of Tesla and head of Twitter noted Federal Reserve's own staff economists are bracing for a mild recession this year after the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank in early March.

Posted by FOX Business

Dow, S&P, Nasdaq jump 1%+ as inflation eases


Nasdaq Composite Index.

All three of the major market averages rallied, led by the Nasdaq Composite, after a second report on inflation, the producer price index, cooled following a similar read from the consumer price index earlier in the week fueling speculation the Federal Reserve’s rate hiking cycle may be nearing an end.

In commodities, oil slipped 1% to $82.16 per barrel, while gold and silver marked fresh highs of $2,041.30 and $25.87 an ounce, respectively. 

Posted by FOX Business

Truist exits mortgage backed securities and agency-bonds

Truist Financial Corp.


Truist Financial Corp says they "will exit generalist sales and trading of Mortgage Back Securities (MBS), Small Business Administration (SBA) and Agency bonds and supported services."

"We made the decision to exit certain aspects of our fixed income sales, research, and trading business by January 2024, and will work closely with our clients to support them during this transition." the bank told FOX Business in a statement.

"Truist Securities regularly assesses opportunities for our organization and makes adjustments to our business to invest in areas for growth." said a Truist spokesperson.

This exit will come with about an 80 employee cut according to Bloomberg.

Posted by FOX Business

Progressive disappoints on profits

Progressive Corp.


Progressive Corp. on Thursday reported first-quarter earnings of $447.9 million.

On a per-share basis, the Mayfield Village, Ohio-based company said it had net income of 75 cents missing Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of eight analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of $1.44 per share.

The insurer posted revenue of $14.3 billion in the period. Its adjusted revenue was $14.23 billion, beating Street forecasts. Seven analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $14.12 billion.

Posted by Associated Press

Suspect arrested in killing of Cash App founder Bob Lee

A San Francisco supervisor says an arrest has been made in the downtown stabbing death of Cash App founder Bob Lee.

San Francisco Board President Aaron Peskin said the suspect was apprehended early Thursday in Emeryville, which is a San Francisco suburb.

San Francisco police did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Lee was found by police with stab wounds at 2:30 a.m. April 4.

He later died at a hospital. Prominent tech leaders took to social media to mourn Lee’s death and blame San Francisco for what they call the city’s lax attitude toward crime.

Posted by Associated Press

Commanders to be sold for record $6B to Josh Harris group: report

The group led by Josh Harris has reached an agreement in principle to purchase the Washington Commanders for a U.S. sports franchise record $6 billion, Sportico reported on Thursday.

Per Sportico, Commanders owner Dan Snyder and the Harris group — which includes billionaire Mitchell Rales and NBA legend Earvin "Magic" Johnson — are hoping to complete the contract in the coming days. Harris is the principal owner of the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils.

ESPN reported last month that Snyder received a pair of $6 billion offers, with the other coming from Canadian billionaire Steve Apostolopoulos.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who was rumored to be in the mix, did not submit an offer, multiple media outlets reported.

The price tag of $6 billion smashes the previous record sale for a U.S. sports franchise, set last August after Walmart heir Rob Walton purchased the Denver Broncos for $4.65 billion.

Posted by Reuters

Exxon CEO Darren Woods earned $35.9M last year


The largest U.S. oil company Exxon Mobil Corp on Thursday disclosed Chief Executive Darren Woods was paid $35.9 million last year a 52% increase.

Exxon's chief received the highest percentage increase among peers with Chevron CEO Michael Wirth receiving a 4% increase. Occidental Petroleum's CEO Vicki Hollub's pay rose 35% while ConocoPhillips CEO Ryan Lance's pay fell 16%.

Oil company workers did not see the same level of increases with median annual compensation for workers declining at several big energy companies. The median pay for an Exxon worker fell 9% last year to $171,582 while Chevron's median worker pay dropped 12%, to $161,488, filings showed.

The two largest U.S. oil majors, Exxon and Chevron posted record profits in 2022 on high energy prices and costs cuts measures including payroll reductions. Exxon posted the most among Western oil majors — $56 billion. 

Posted by Reuters

Average long-term US mortgage rate drops a 5th straight week

The average long-term U.S. mortgage rate inched down for the fifth straight week, positive news for potential home buyers and a real estate market that’s been chilled by the Federal Reserve's series of interest rate hikes the past year.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the average on the benchmark 30-year rate ticked down to 6.27% from 6.28% the previous week. The average rate last year at this time was 5%.

The average long-term mortgage rate hit 7.08% in the fall — a two-decade high.

Posted by Associated Press

Infosys tumbles after falling short of expectations

Infosys Ltd.


Infosys Limited on Thursday reported fiscal fourth-quarter earnings of $744 million, with earnings per share of the Bangalore, India-based company coming to 18 cents falling below Wall Street expectations of 19 cents per share.

The business consulting services provider posted revenue of $4.55 billion in the period, which also missed Street forecasts. Five analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $4.73 billion.

For the year, the company reported profit of $2.98 billion, or 71 cents per share. Revenue was reported as $18.21 billion.

Posted by Associated Press

Amazon awarded CEO Andy Jassy no new stock in 2022

AMZN$ Inc did not grant its Chief Executive Andy Jassy any new stock in 2022, shrinking the pay gap between the online retailer's top boss and rank-and-file employees, the company said on Thursday in a securities filing.

At the same time, it awarded more than $40 million each to the recently elevated CEOs of e-commerce and cloud businesses, at 2022 share prices, while Jassy took home a similar amount from his own earlier grants, the filing showed.

Amazon for months has grappled with inflation and recession fears that prompted its customers to tighten their budgets. Aiming to slash costs, the company said it would cut 27,000 jobs and trim some stock awards.

In his annual letter to shareholders published on Thursday, Jassy said he was confident the cost cuts would pay off and that Amazon's core e-commerce and cloud computing businesses still have room to grow.

He said the company was investing in new areas such as generative artificial intelligence, which has become a buzzword since the launch of OpenAI's ChatGPT and sparked a race for dominance between Microsoft Corp and Alphabet Inc.

Posted by Reuters

US jobless claims rise but remain at historically low levels

U.S. applications for jobless benefits rose to their highest level in more than a year, but remain at relatively low levels despite efforts by the Federal Reserve to cool the economy and job market in its battle against inflation.

Jobless claims in the U.S. for the week ending April 8 rose by 11,000 to 239,000 from the previous week, the Labor Department said Thursday. That's the most since January of 2022 when 251,000 people filed for unemployment benefits.

The four-week moving average of claims, which evens out some of the week-to-week fluctuations, rose by 2,250 to 240,000. That's the most since November of 2021.

Posted by Associated Press

Amazon joins the AI arms race


Amazon Web Services, a.k.a. AWS, announced Thursday that it's intention to get in the artificial intelligence ring.

While Microsoft's ChatGPT and Google's Bard have stolen the show as of late, Amazon made sure to remind customers that they have been using machine learning for over 20 years.

Amazon already used AI in areas such as its delivery drones, its fulfilment center robots, and in Alexa.

Amazon wants to further democratize AI by making "it easy and practical for our customers to use generative AI in their businesses."

Posted by FOX Business

Twitter taps eToro to let users trade in stocks, crypto

Trading and investing platform eToro said on Thursday it has partnered with Elon Musk-led Twitter to let users access real-time prices of cryptocurrencies, stocks and other assets, and to enable the trading of those instruments.

The trading data will be available through Twitter's Cashtags feature, which was launched in 2012 and allows users to interact with content around an asset by inserting a dollar sign in front of the ticker.

Musk said in December that Cashtags with data from TradingView was "one of the many product improvements for financial Twitter".

Posted by Reuters

Nvidia enhances mid-range video gaming chip with AI technology


Nvidia Corp said on Wednesday it is packing one of its mid-range chips for gamers with more artificial intelligence features to improve graphics, underscoring the importance of gaming for the company despite the segment's slowing revenue.

The new RTX 4070 chip, which Nvidia will start shipping on Thursday, will cost $599, putting it near the middle of the company's range of graphics processing units (GPUs), which list for up to $1,600.

The chip that it updates, the RTX 3060, is the fourth most popular gaming chip on the market, according to survey data in March from game distribution platform Steam.

Posted by Reuters

Novo Nordisk hikes full-year forecast on Wegovy sales


Diabetes and obesity drug developer Novo Nordisk on Thursday significantly raised its full-year operating profit and sales expectations on the back of strong demand for its highly popular Wegovy obesity drug.

Novo now expects sales growth in local currencies for 2023 to come in between 24% and 30% and operating profit growth between 28% and 34%, up from a February guidance of between 13% and 19% for both those numbers.

The guidance upgrade also partly reflected higher expected sales in the U.S. of its Ozempic diabetes drug, which is based on the same active ingredient as Wegovy - semaglutide.

Posted by Reuters

Alibaba shares plunge on SoftBank's stake sale report


Japanese technology investor SoftBank Group Corp has moved to sell almost all of its remaining shares in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, the Financial Times reported, sending the Chinese e-commerce major's stock tumbling.

The sale would come as valuations of China's big tech firms have started recovering this year after an end to two years of heightened regulatory scrutiny, providing a window for long-time investors such as SoftBank to reduce exposure to an economy battered by strict pandemic policies and Sino-U.S. tension.

SoftBank has been seeking ways to monetise its stake in Alibaba, which the Japanese conglomerate bought into more than two decades ago with just $20 million spending.

Posted by Reuters

OPEC cites risks to summer oil outlook, holds demand forecast

OPEC on Thursday flagged downside risks to summer oil demand as part of the backdrop to shock output cuts announced by OPEC+ producers on April 2, although the producer group maintained its forecast for global oil demand growth in 2023.

Some members of OPEC+, which includes OPEC, Russia and others, announced new voluntary production cuts on April 2. The unexpected move has prompted oil to rally towards $87 a barrel from below $80.

OPEC+ gave little information on the reasons for the surprise cuts, saying in a statement they were a "precautionary measure" to support market stability.

Some OPEC delegates told Reuters they did not know the exact reasons for the reduction.

But in a discussion on the summer market outlook in its monthly oil report on Thursday, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said oil inventories looked more ample and global growth faced a number of challenges.

Posted by Reuters

Delta Air Lines offers bullish outlook on international travel demand


Delta Air Lines on Thursday forecast higher-than-expected profit for the second quarter, citing "record" bookings for summer travel, including strong demand for international trips.

The company's earnings in the January-March quarter , however, fell short of Wall Street estimates. Chief Executive Ed Bastian, in an interview with Reuters, said fuel price volatility and bad weather affected the company's performance in the quarter.

Bastian downplayed those concerns. He said Delta recorded the 10 highest sales days in its history last month and had been able to protect its pricing power despite adding capacity.

The company expects its revenue in the June quarter to rise 15% to 17% from a year ago on capacity growth of 17%.

Delta expects an adjusted profit of $2.00 to $2.25 per share in the second quarter, with an operating margin of 14% to 16%. That is higher than a profit of $1.66 per share estimated by analysts.

Delta retained its full-year earnings forecast after reporting adjusted profit for the first quarter of 25 cents a share, below 30 cents a share expected by analysts.

Posted by Reuters

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