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S&P, NASDAQ HIT HIGHS ON GAINS IN HEALTH, TECH STOCKS

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S&P, NASDAQ HIT HIGHS ON GAINS IN HEALTH, TECH STOCKS

  • The S&P 500 is currently trading at about 17.5 times forward twelve-month earnings, above the 10-year median of nearly 15 times.
  • Broadcom rose 5% after the chipmaker reported upbeat fourth-quarter results and forecast, and doubled its dividend.
  • Biogen rose 4% following a study that showed higher doses of its Alzheimer’s drug appeared to reduce the risk of brain swelling.

US FINANCIAL MARKET

Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent to Step down Next Year

  • Operating Chief James Quincey will become chief executive in May.
  • Mr. Kent has been chief executive since 2008 and will remain chairman of the company.
  • As chief executive, Mr. Kent has made moves to diversify Coke beyond soda, spearheading the company’s $4.1 billion acquisition of Energy Brands—maker of Vitaminwater and Smartwater—in 2007 before becoming CEO.
  • Coke has spent more than $4 billion to acquire minority stakes in coffee maker Keurig Green Mountain and Monster Beverage.
  • Coke has built up a dairy business in recent years as it launched Fairlife, a lactose-free milk with 50% more protein and 30% fewer calories than regular milk, in the U.S. in late 2014.

Broadcom Gives a Rosy Outlook, Doubles Quarterly Dividend

  • Revenue more than doubled to $4.136 billion.
  • Gross margin fell to 52.5% from 54.2%.
  • Chip maker Avago completed its roughly $37 billion acquisition of rival Broadcom in February, with the combined company retaining the Broadcom name and AVGO ticker symbol.

American Airlines raises fourth-quarter unit revenue forecast

  • The world’s largest airline said higher average fares per mile have boosted its revenue and profit expectations for the fourth quarter.

Biogen and AbbVie Receive Health Canada Approval of Once-Monthly ZINBRYTA for Multiple Sclerosis

  • Results from DECIDE showed that ZINBRYTA(TM) demonstrated superior efficacy across multiple measures of MS disease activity.

Cisco Could Benefit from Tax Reform by Cutting Debt: Moody’s

  • The report examines the broad implications of Mr. Trump’s tax proposals for corporations with overseas cash.
  • It said that about $21.2 billion of Cisco’s debt matures over the next five years.
  • The company could use some of the roughly $65 billion in cash and equivalents it has trapped overseas to pay that off and reduce its debt.

Wells Fargo Likely Faces Regulatory Downgrade, Harming Its Prospects

  • Wells Fargo is likely to receive a regulatory downgrade that could hamper its business activity and growth.
  • CRA ratings are related to banks’ work in lower-to-moderate income neighborhoods.
  • The rating is used to evaluate applications for future approval of bank mergers and acquisitions and branch openings, among other business matters.

Wife of billionaire Pimco co-founder Bill Gross files for divorce

  • The wife of PIMCO co-founder Bill Gross is seeking a divorce after 31 years of marriage.
  • Once known as the “Bond King,” Gross left Pimco in September 2014, eight months after second-in-command Mohamed El-Erian quit after the two clashed over how to run the firm.
  • Gross has a net worth of $2.4 billion.

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US ECONOMY & POLITICS

Consumer Confidence in U.S. Surges Thanks to Optimism about Trump

  • The University of Michigan said Friday that its preliminary index of sentiment rose to 98, the highest since January 2015, from 93.8 in November.

U.S. wholesale inventories fall in October

  • U.S. wholesale inventories decreased 0.4 percent after rising 0.1 percent in September.
  • The component of wholesale inventories that goes into the calculation of GDP – wholesale stocks excluding autos – also fell 0.4 percent in October.
  • Inventory investment contributed half a percentage point to the economy’s 3.2% annualized growth rate in the third quarter.
  • Inventories had weighed on GDP growth since the second quarter of 2015.

Transportation Department Weighs Allowing Phone Calls during Flights

  • Proposal requires carriers and ticket agents to disclose availability of voice calls during flights.
  • U.S. aviation regulators on Thursday suggested they are leaning toward eventually allowing in-flight calls from airline passengers—with two important caveats: airlines will have the option of whether to provide the service, and passengers must be informed well in advance if the flight allows calls.
  • Phone calls on some flights are technically possible now using in-flight Wi-Fi services provided.

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EUROPE & WORLD

Daimler to become 2016’s biggest luxury car maker – CEO

  • “We will achieve it this year, four years ahead of time,” Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche said.
  • Daimler’s passenger car unit Mercedes Benz was on track for full-year sales of more than two million cars, Zetsche said, putting it ahead of rivals Audi and BMW.

South Africa’s Sibanye Gold to Buy Stillwater Mining for $2.2 Billion in Latest Platinum Push

  • Gold mining company expands further in to platinum mining, diversifying away from South Africa.
  • The purchase is Sibanye’s third platinum acquisition since late 2015 and would make the company, which until last year was solely a gold miner, the world’s third largest platinum producer.

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TODAY in HISTORY

A Charlie Brown Christmas” premiered (1965)

U.S. astronauts completed repair work on the Hubble Space Telescope (1993)

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