Flat open ahead of inauguration

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Housing starts soared 11.3% in December but the markets opened flat with the Dow slipping 2 points to 19,801 ahead of the inauguration of president elect Donald Trump. Nasdaq rose 15 points to 5,571.


On the upside


Rumors circulated that outgoing Canadian Pacific Railway (NYSE: CP) chief executive Hunter Harrison may be headed to CSX (Nasdaq: CSX).


Ocular (Nasdaq: OCLR) raised its second quarter revenue forecast.


Catabasis Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: CATB) published positive results from a Phase 1 study of its Duchenne muscular dystrophy treatment edasalonexent in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. 


On the downside


DryShips (Nasdaq: DRYS) announced a 1-for-8 reverse stock split.


Rent-A-Center (Nasdaq: RCII) reported a sharp 14% drop in fourth quarter same store sales at its Core U.S. stores and warned that revenue would fall short of previous guidance. 


Goldman Sachs downgraded GNC Holdings (NYSE: GNC) from a Neutral rating to a Sell rating.


In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of nearly 9 to 7 on the NYSE and by more than 10 to 9 on Nasdaq. The broader S&P 500 index edged up a fraction to 2,272. Bitcoin gained $16 to $885.


It was a mixed close for the markets with the Dow losing 22 points to 19,804 as average hourly earnings edged up 0.1% in December while the consumer price index rose 0.3%. Nasdaq gained 16 points to 5,555.


On the upside


The Food and Drug Administration granted Fast Track designation to aTyr Pharma's (Nasdaq: LIFE) limb girdle muscular dystrophy treatment Resolaris.


Uni-Pixel (Nasdaq: UNXL) entered a Memorandum of Understanding with General Interface Solution to form a three year strategic manufacturing project.


Zacks Investment Research upgraded Star Bulk Carriers (Nasdaq: SBLK) from a Hold rating to a Buy rating. 


On the downside


Pearson (NYSE: PSO) warned of lower earnings for the next two years and said that it would cut its dividend.


Bonanza Creek Energy (NYSE: BCEI) received an unsolicited inquiry from Bill Barrett regarding a potential transaction between Bonanza Creek and Bill Barrett. 


Shares of EnteroMedics (Nasdaq: ETRM) plunged for the fifth day.


In the broad market, advancing issues edged out advancers by a margin of nearly 5 to 4 on the NYSE and by nearly 9 to 7 on Nasdaq. The broader S&P 500 index added rose 4 points to 2,271. Bitcoin tumbled $31 to $867.


JPMorgan Chase pays $55 million fine

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The markets traded mixed during the midday with the Dow falling 42 points to 19,784. Nasdaq added 3 points to 5,542.


JPMorgan Chase will pay $55 million to settle allegations of racial discrimination against mortgage customers. The Justice Department has accused the bank of allowing brokers to charge minorities with the same credit profile as white borrowers higher rates. JPMorgan has denied any wrongdoing.


The Federal Trade Commission has sued Qualcomm for antitrust violations. The chipmaker is accused of using its position as the holder of industry standard chip technology to maintain a monopoly on cell phone processors. Qualcomm allegedly forced cell phone makers to pay elevated royalties and forced manufacturers to use Qualcomm's baseband processors.


An appeals court will allow the Federal Desposit Insurance Corp. to sue five banks for securities law violations. Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, HSBC Holdings, Royal Bank of Scotland and UBS are all accused of misrepresenting mortgage backed securities that they sold to Citizens National Bank and Strategic Capital Bank in 2007 and 2008.


In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of 5 to 4 on both the NYSE and on Nasdaq. The broader S&P 500 index edged up a fraction to 2,268. Bitcoin dropped $29 to $868.


Mixed open as CPI edges up

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The markets opened mixed with the Dow falling 33 points to 19,793 while Nasdaq rose 14 points to 5,553 as the consumer price index edged up 0.3% in December.


On the upside


Mexico granted market approval to Apricus Biosciences' (Nasdaq: APRI) erectile dysfunction treatment Vitaros.


CoLucid Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: CLCD) will be acquired by Eli Lilly (Nasdaq: LLY) for a premium of approximately $960 million in cash.


NXT-ID (Nasdaq: NXTD) reported sharply higher preliminary fourth quarter revenue. 


On the downside


Gigamon (NYSE: GIMO) warned that fourth quarter revenue would fall short of expectations.


Cameco (NYSE: CCJ) reported preliminary 2016 earnings that missed analyst estimates by a wide margin and announced job cuts. 


Investors locked in profits on Pulmatrix (Nasdaq: PULM).


In the broad market, declining issues barely edged out advancers by a slim margin on the NYSE while advancers outpaced decliners by more than 10 to 9  on Nasdaq. The broader S&P 500 index added a point to 2,269. Bitcoin tumbled $36 to $861.


Markets drop on hard Brexit

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The markets closed lower with the Dow falling 58 points to 19,826 in reaction to Britain's hard Brexit decision. Nasdaq dropped 35 points to 5,538.


On the upside


Biogen (Nasdaq: BIIB) will pay a cash fee of $1.25 billion to Forward Pharma (Nasdaq: FWP) as part of a license agreement and will pay royalties of up to 10-20% of net sales of Biogen products approved for the treatment of multiple sclerosis that are covered by a Forward patent.

 

Cinedigm's (Nasdaq: CIDM) Dove Channel app is now available on Apple TV.


Shares of Sanchez Energy (NYSE: SN) extended its gains. 


On the downside


Shares of EnteroMedics (Nasdaq: ETRM) fell for the fourth day.


Progress Software (Nasdaq: PRGS) widened losses for the fourth quarter. 


Profit taking weighed down shares of Globus Maritime (Nasdaq: GLBS).


In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of nearly 5 to 4 on the NYSE by nearly 5 to 2  on Nasdaq. The broader S&P 500 index fell 6 points to 2,267. Bitcoin rocketed $72 to $894.


Wal-Mart to hire 10,000 people

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The markets extended its losses during the midday with the Dow dropping 89 points to 19,796. Nasdaq tumbled 40 points to 5,533.


Wal-Mart will hire 10,000 people this year to staff new stores and support its online initiatives. The low price retailer will open 59 new stores in 2017, which is much lower than the 130 stores that were opened in 2016. E-Commerce services will be expanded to include online grocery pick-up. Wal-Mart's plans to open new stores and remodel existing locations is expected to create 24,000 construction jobs.


Amazon will be a retail partner for the Department of Agriculture's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Online Purchase Pilot program. Recipients of food stamps in Iowa, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Washington will be able to pay for online Amazon grocery orders with their benefits. The program begins in the summer of 2017 and will run for two years.


JCPenney will open Nike shops in more than 600 of its department stores nationwide. The compact 500-square feet shop-within-a-shop will be housed in the men's department. Apparel for running, playing basketball or general exercising will be available in the Nike shops while athletic shoes will be sold next to the in-store shop.


In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of nearly 5 to 4 on the NYSE and by nearly 5 to 2 on Nasdaq. The broader S&P 500 index fell 9 points to 2,264. Bitcoin jumped $72 to $895.


Britain will pursue a hard Brexit and leave the EU single market sending the stock market down to a lower open with the Dow slipping 22 points to 19,863. Nasdaq fell 22 points to 5,551.


On the upside


The European Commission granted Orphan Drug Designation to Benitec Biopharma's (Nasdaq: BNTC) oculopharyngeal muscular dystrophy treatment BB-301.

 

Clayton Williams Energy (NYSE: CWEI) will be acquired by Noble Energy (NYSE: NBL) for a premium of approximately $2.7 billion in cash and stock including the assumption of debt.


The Environmental Protection Agency approved the pathway for isobutnol that is produced by Gevo (Nasdaq: GEVO) to be an advanced biofuel under the Renewable Fuel Standard Program. 


On the downside


Alcobra (Nasdaq: ADHD) reported disappointing results from a Phase 3 clinical trial of Metadoxine Extended Release to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in adult patients.


The Customs and Border Patrol agency will reinstate a ban on Arista Networks' (NYSE: ANET) network switches. 


Christopher & Banks (NYSE: CBK) cut its fourth quarter revenue forecast, widened expected fourth quarter losses and announced the departure of chief executive LuAnn Via.


In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of more than 10 to 9 on the NYSE while decliners edged out advancers by more than 2 to 1 on Nasdaq. The broader S&P 500 index lost 4 points to 2,269. Bitcoin leaped $53 to $876.


U.S. markets closed

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U.S. markets are closed in observance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. day.

Mixed close as crude oil retreats

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The markets closed mixed with the Dow slipping 5 points to 19,885 as crude oil prices retreated. Nasdaq gained 26 points to 5,574.


On the upside


Globus Maritime (Nasdaq: GLBS) cancelled its previously announced private placement and debt conversion.

 

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will cover DexCom's (Nasdaq: DXCM) continuous glucose monitoring system Dexcom G5 Mobile.


Telenav (Nasdaq: TNAV) settled a patent infringement suit against the company. 


On the downside


Investors locked in profits on Opexa Therapeutics (Nasdaq: OPXA).


Skyline Medical (Nasdaq: SKLN) priced its public offering of 1.75 common shares at the discounted price of $2.25 per share. 


Profit taking weighed down shares of Marinus Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: MRNS).


In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced declines by a margin of 5 to 3 on the NYSE and by nearly 5 to 2 on Nasdaq. The broader S&P 500 index added 4 points to 2,274. Bitcoin added $1 to $815.


Nintendo launches Switch on March 3

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The markets traded modestly higher with the Dow adding a point to 19,892. Nasdaq gained 31 points to 5,579.


Nintendo will launch its new Switch gaming system on March 3 with a $299.99 price tag. The Switch is a combination console with a TV Mode, Tabletop Mode and Handheld Mode. More than 80 games are being developed for the Switch including The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey, Splatoon 2 and Xenoblade Chronicles 2.


Three former Takata executives have been indicted for criminal wrongdoing related to the company's faulty air bag inflators. The indictment says that the executives knew in 2000 that the inflators failed safety tests and conspired to create false test results. The manipulated test results were provided to automakers as part of Takata's marketing and sales campaign.


Google introduced its 3D digital storytelling app Toontastic 3D aimed at elementary school students. The app has a library of customizable characters, interactive 3D worlds and an idea lab for kids to create 3D cartoons. Artists can also draw their own characters. The app is free.


In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced declines by a margin of nearly 2 to 1 on the NYSE and by nearly 3 to 1 on Nasdaq. The broader S&P 500 index rose 5 points to 2,275. Bitcoin gained $8 to $818.


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