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  • Stocks little changed as Fed offsets economy data Jul 30, 2014 4:44 PM
    U.S. stocks were little changed Wednesday as data showing better-than-forecast economic growth was offset by weaker earnings and the Federal Reserve’s decision to keep trimming asset purchases.

  • Stocks decline as Russian sanctions overshadow phone rally Jul 29, 2014 4:33 PM
    U.S. stocks fell as the European Union and the U.S. announced sanctions against Russia, snuffing out earlier gains led by a rally in telephone stocks.

  • U.S. stocks unmoved by mergers, economy Jul 28, 2014 5:17 PM
    U.S. stocks were little changed Monday, after erasing an earlier loss, as merger activity and optimism over corporate earnings offset concern over crises abroad before a Federal Reserve policy decision.

  • Home-rental firms Wall Street built say grow or go Jul 27, 2014 8:07 AM
    The U.S. home-rental industry, transformed over the past two years by Wall Street-backed companies that were built on the rubble of the housing crash, is poised to be reshaped again as landlords like Philips get out. Corporate owners with limited capital or deadlines to repay investors are now selling houses in bulk, or one by one, after a 26 percent surge in prices from a March 2012 low.

  • Money-market funds get new regime aimed at preventing runs Jul 27, 2014 6:32 AM
    The riskiest money-market mutual funds will be required to abandon their stable, $1-share value and allow their prices to float under rules adopted by the Securities and Exchange Commission. “Today’s reforms will fundamentally change the way that most money-market funds operate,” SEC Chair Mary Jo White said before the vote.

  • Amazon, Visa reports bring Dow under 17,000 Jul 25, 2014 4:18 PM
    Investors got some bad news about the American shopper on Friday, driving down stocks and sending the Dow Jones industrial average to a loss for the week. Two major U.S. companies — the retail giant Amazon and the credit card processor Visa — both said the second half of the year was looking more troubled than originally expected. The cautious outlook from two companies so heavily exposed to consumer spending spooked investors, causing the stock market to fall at the open and remain lower throughout the day. “Visa put a lot of caution into the market this morning,” said Quincy Krosby, a market strategist at Prudential Financial. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 123.23 points, or 0.7 percent, to 16,960.57. It’s the first time the Dow has closed below the psychologically notable 17,000-point mark since July 9. The Standard & Poor’s 500 fell 9.64 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,978.34 and the Nasdaq composite fell 22.54 points, or 0.5 percent, to 4,449.56. With Friday’s selling, the Dow fell 0.8 percent this week. The S&P 500 closed basically unchanged and the Nasdaq rose 0.4 percent this week. Visa was the biggest decliner among the blue chips, falling $7.97, or 3.6 percent, to $214.77. The credit card processor reported an 11 percent rise in quarterly profit but cut its full-year forecast on concerns about growth overseas. Because the Dow is a price-weighted index, and Visa is the most expensive stock in the Dow, Visa was having an outsized impact on it. Roughly 60 points of the Dow’s decline can be attributed to Visa. Investors have closely watched Visa ever since the company went public in 2008. Credit cards that use Visa’s payment system are in nearly person’s pocket, and each time a consumer buys a product with a Visa card the company takes a small percentage. To see Visa give a cautious outlook is worrisome, Krosby said. “Visa represents the consumer and the consumer is one of the most important pieces for the future of this economic recovery,” she said. Amazon’s quarterly results didn’t help boost investor sentiment either. Amazon’s stock slumped 10 percent after the online retail giant late Thursday posted a much wider loss than analysts had forecast, hit by expenses. The Seattle-based company is focused on spending the money it makes to expand into new areas and products, including a smartphone, the Fire, which starts selling Friday. Amazon fell $36.60 to close at $324.01, the biggest decliner in the S&P 500 index. Investors retreated from riskier stocks and moved into traditional havens at times of uncertainty: bonds and gold. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note eased to 2.47 percent from 2.50 percent late Thursday as demand for the government bond rose. Gold climbed $12.50, or 1 percent, to $1,303.30 an ounce. Despite the disappointing news from those consumer-focused companies, corporate earnings from the latest quarter have been solid. Of the 230 companies that have reported so far, 76 percent have beaten profit expectations and 67 percent have beaten sales expectations, according to FactSet. So far the S&P 500 is averaging a 6.7 percent earnings growth this quarter compared to a year ago. Investors had expected earnings to be up 4.9 percent when the results started to roll in at the beginning of July. Even with Friday’s declines, the stock market remains near all-time highs, and the S&P 500 closed at a record Thursday.. That made some investors cautious. “I continue to see the level of complacency in the (stock) market to be unnerving,” Scott Clemons, chief investment strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman, which manages $25 billion in assets for private investors. “All of this geopolitical tension, the market trading near all-time highs, I think the market is at a critical state right now.” Clemons said he doesn’t believe the market is poised for a major sell-off, but instead thinks investors should brace for more volatility and more heavy-handed reaction to disappointing earnings or data, like Friday’s Amazon and Visa results. In other company news: — Starbucks fell $1.71, or 2 percent, to $78.74despite the company reporting a profit that came in above analysts’ expectations. The company also raised its full-year profit forecast. — El Pollo Loco surged $9.03, or 60 percent, to $24.03 on its first day of trading in the public market. The grilled chicken restaurant chain priced its shares at $15 per share late Thursday.

  • After much movement, stocks end where they began Jul 24, 2014 4:32 PM
    Only Wall Street could make the buying and selling of more than 3 billion shares look like nothing happened. Major U.S. stock indexes ended roughly where they began Thursday, despite investors having to work through a busy day of corporate earnings and two economic reports.

  • S&P 500 ekes out record high as earnings roll in Jul 23, 2014 4:52 PM
    The stock market eked out a record high Wednesday, as investors weighed positive earnings from the technology industry against disappointing news from Boeing and other companies. Biotechnology stocks were among the largest gainers. Among big tech names, Apple’s earnings topped Wall Street expectations, helped by rising shipments of iPhones. Microsoft also announced results that beat forecasts.

  • U.S. stocks climb as earnings reports roll in Jul 22, 2014 4:34 PM
    Solid earnings for a range of big companies helped nudge the stock market higher on Tuesday. The restaurant chain Chipotle Mexican Grill and the cable giant Comcast surged after reporting better results than Wall Street expected.

  • U.S. stock slip to start the week; Six Flags sinks Jul 21, 2014 4:49 PM
    The stock market started the week with a slight loss on Monday as investors weighed a mixed batch of corporate earnings against mounting political turmoil. European leaders are considering tougher sanctions on Russia for its backing of separatists accused of shooting down a Malaysia Airways passenger plane in Ukraine last week.

  • Stocks mount strong rebound on company earnings Jul 18, 2014 4:33 PM
    Investors largely looked through the brewing geopolitical hot spots this week in part because company earnings have been favorable, said Terry Sandven, chief equity strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management.“Clearly the equity market remains remarkably resilient,” he said. “Despite heightened political issues on the horizon the path of least resistance for equities is still up.”

  • Obama opens Eastern Seaboard to oil exploration Jul 18, 2014 1:30 PM
    The decision promises to create plenty of jobs and thrills the oil industry, but dismays environmentalists worried about the immediate impact as well as the long-term implications of oil development.

  • Jet downing, weak earnings rattle stock market Jul 17, 2014 4:55 PM
    The downing of a passenger plane flying over Ukraine rattled U.S. financial markets Thursday, deepening a slide set off by a batch of disappointing company earnings and a weak home construction report. All three major stock indexes ended lower for the first time in a week, but remained near record highs and positive for the year.

  • U.S. stocks close higher; Time Warner soars Jul 16, 2014 4:44 PM
    Major stock indexes rebounded Wednesday, finishing higher for the third time in four days and lifting the Dow Jones industrial average to its second record close this month. Investors had lots of market-moving news to consider, including encouraging corporate earnings from Intel, a higher profit forecast from hospital operator HCA Holdings and a pickup in U.S. homebuilders’ confidence.

  • U.S. stocks mostly down as investors digest earnings Jul 15, 2014 4:41 PM
    The Federal Reserve’s latest take on the U.S. economy put many investors into sell mode Tuesday, sending stocks mostly lower after a brief upward turn early in the day. Fed Chair Janet Yellen, speaking before Congress, said the U.S. economy has yet to recover fully, but raised the possibility the central bank could raise its key short-term interest rate sooner than currently projected.

  • Stocks move higher on earnings, acquisition news Jul 14, 2014 4:39 PM
    Stocks shook off last week’s doldrums and finished sharply higher Monday, driven by a round of corporate deal news and strong earnings from Citigroup. Investors cheered AECOM Technology’s $4 billion acquisition of engineering and construction services company URS Corp., sending URS’ stock up 11.6 percent and AECOM 8.6 percent.

  • High-speed trading risk blamed on short-sighted regulations Jul 13, 2014 6:01 AM
    A technology arms race that risks destabilizing U.S. stock markets was triggered by regulations intended to promote competition among the exchanges, Wall Street executives told a Senate committee. The Securities and Exchange Commission’s rules for a national market system have come under scrutiny as lawmakers examine whether high-frequency traders have exploited changes introduced by regulators, exchanges and brokers. The SEC’s rules require all exchanges and brokers to connect to one another to ensure that investors receive the best available prices when they buy shares. The Senate Banking Committee’s hearing could intensify pressure on the SEC to change rules it enacted over the past decade. SEC Chair Mary Jo White has said the agency will examine whether its rules have pushed trading away from public markets in favor of private venues such as dark pools. “The costs associated with maintaining access to each venue, retaining technologists and regulatory staff, and developing increasingly sophisticated risk controls are passed on to investors and result in unnecessary systemic risk,” exchange operator Intercontinental Exchange Inc. Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Sprecher told lawmakers. Executives from Citadel, Invesco, Nasdaq OMX Group and BATS Global Markets also testified at the Banking Committee’s session, which follows other congressional hearings on high-speed trading triggered by publication of Michael Lewis’s book, “Flash Boys.” The book said that stock markets are plagued by conflicts of interest that benefit high-frequency traders and harm long-term investors. “Many of the concerns raised by market participants and investors are the outgrowth of SEC Regulation NMS and the overall patchwork approach to market trading infrastructure and stability taken by the SEC in the past,” Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, said Tuesday. Citadel Chief Executive Kenneth C. Griffin, Nasdaq Executive Vice President Thomas A. Wittman and KOR Group President Dave Lauer also fault regulation for failing to keep pace with changes in market behavior. The SEC should, for instance, remove long-standing privileges allowing dark pools to discriminate against some customers to the benefit of others, according to Griffin. Dark pools now account for 14 percent of total share volume, according to estimates by Rosenblatt Securities Inc. “Regulation has created this monstrosity of a market, and it is only by peeling back some regulations and refining others that we can hope to simplify market structure and increase market efficiency,” Lauer told lawmakers in prepared remarks. The committee also heard calls to simplify the pricing model used by exchanges, which Sprecher has said should be banned. The so-called “maker-taker” model pays rebates to traders who stand ready to buy or sell shares as needed, while charging those on the other side of the transaction. Exchanges profit off the difference between those fees. “It’s great that we compete for those commission dollars but we’ve lost track of getting the best price for a company that’s trying to raise capital and an investor like me,” Sprecher said. The SEC should revisit its rules while being careful to avoid changes that would impose speed limits on traders or create new advantages for some market participants, according to BATS Chief Executive Joseph Ratterman. “Whether it is banning the current maker-taker fee structure, limiting payment for order flow generally, or other attempts to alter the fundamental economics of trading, price controls are a blunt instrument likely to cause disruptions and consequences that are unforeseeable and potentially detrimental to all types of investors,” Ratterman said in his prepared testimony.

  • Crumbs Cupcake chain files bankruptcy Jul 12, 2014 4:51 PM
    Crumbs was hailed as a “breakout company” by Inc. magazine in 2010 and became a publicly held business the following year through a merger with 57th Street General Acquisition Corp. The company, then run by Crumbs co-founder Jason Bauer, planned to open 200 locations in the top 15 markets by the end of this year.

  • Stocks stabilize, but end down for the week Jul 11, 2014 4:18 PM
    As U.S. companies start to report second-quarter results, investors expect more growth in profits. Earnings for S&P 500 companies are forecast to climb by 6.4 percent. That rise is bigger than the 3.4 percent increase in the first quarter and 4.9 percent in the same period a year earlier, according to data from S&P Capital IQ.

  • European banking scare sends stocks lower Jul 10, 2014 5:01 PM
    Stocks fell Thursday as worries about the soundness of a European bank spooked U.S. investors, prompting them to sell stocks and snap up less risky assets like gold and governments bonds. Fears emerged overnight about the financial stability of Espirito Santo International, a holding company that is the largest shareholder in a group of firms, including the parent of Portugal’s largest bank, Banco Espirito Santo.

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