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DOW BREAKS ABOVE 25,000 FOR FIRST TIME

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DAILY MARKET REPORTS

    • Thursday’s moves marked the latest feat for a rally that has repeatedly wrong-footed skeptics and sent stock indexes around the world to multiyear highs.
    • The Dow industrials performed well in 2017, rising 25% as investors bet on solid corporate earnings and a pickup in economic growth around the world.
    • Minutes from the Fed’s December meeting released Wednesday showed that officials expressed growing confidence in the strength of the labor market and the economy.
    • The ADP Report showed that U.S. private employers added 250,000 jobs in December, marking the biggest monthly increase since March.
    • Department store operators were down more than 5 percent after the companies reported same-store sales during the key selling months of November and December.
    • Tesla’s shares slipped 2.7 percent after the electric car maker delayed a production target for its new Model 3 sedan for the second time.
    • Sprint shares fell about 5 percent after the wireless carrier appointed former Altice CEO Michel Combes as CFO.
    • L Brands slid 13 percent on disappointing quarterly earnings forecast.

Walgreens Focuses on Pharmacy Sales as Store Count Rises

  • Walgreens said an increase in prescription volumes helped lift U.S. pharmacy sales in its latest quarter as it works to continue capturing a larger share of the prescription-drug market.
  • Comparable-store sales at Walgreens’s U.S. retail pharmacies rose 4.7% from a year ago, as pharmacy sales grew 7.4%. Comparable-retail sales, which includes general merchandise and personal-care items, fell 0.9%.
  • In all the company’s profit fell 22% to $821 million due to an impairment on the company’s stake in a China-based pharmaceutical wholesaling joint venture.
  • Revenue rose 7.9% to $30.74 billion.
  • Regulators recently approved Walgreens’s $4.38 billion deal with Rite RAD Aid to buy 1,932 of Rite Aid’s stores, but the deal was smaller than originally anticipated because of regulatory concerns.
  • The company had initially offered $9.4 billion to buy Rite Aid, which would have grown its store count by 4,600 stores.

Monsanto’s profit rises, expects weed killer prices to rise

  • Monsanto forecast a strong year ahead, helped by higher pricing for a key chemical used in pesticides and better demand for Soybean globally.
  • The company, which is being acquired by Germany’s Bayer, said pricing for glyphosate, the chief ingredient in its top-selling weed killer “Roundup”, was set to go up this year.
  • Sales of soybean seeds jumped 21.3 percent to $728 million, lifting overall net sales marginally to $2.66 billion in the first quarter.
  • Net profit rose to $169 million in the quarter, from $29 million a year earlier.

Intel extends losses as worries over chip security linger

  • Security researchers on Wednesday disclosed a set of flaws that they said could let hackers steal sensitive information from nearly every modern computing device that uses chips from Intel, Advanced Micro Devices and ARM Holdings.
  • Intel said it has started providing software and firmware updates to mitigate the security issues, which it claimed would not have any financial or market-share impact.
  • The chipmaker said the issue was not a design flaw, but it would require users to download a patch and update their operating system.

Tesla falls on Model 3 production delay, but analysts upbeat

  • The company announced Wednesday it delivered 1,550 Model 3 sedans in the fourth quarter. That missed the FactSet consensus of 4,100 deliveries by a wide margin.
  • The news continues a long history of company forecasts poor enough to be construed as misleading.
  • Analysts had projected in September that Tesla would deliver 15,900 Model 3s in the fourth quarter, and it had promised to deliver 1,500 in the third quarter.
  • Tesla said it would likely build about 2,500 Model 3s per week by the end of the first quarter, half the number it had earlier promised.
  • The company now expects to reach its goal of 5,000 vehicles per week by the end of the second quarter.

Sprint appoints former Altice head Michel Combes as CFO

  • Sprint appointed former Altice CEO Michel Combes as chief financial officer, a month after it struck a deal with the cable operator’s U.S. business to develop a 5G network.
  • Altice USA and Sprint announced a multi-year agreement in November that will allow the U.S. telecom provider to use Altice’s cable infrastructure to transmit cellular data and develop a 5G network.
  • Combes, who will relocate to Kansas City for his new role, has more than 30 years of experience in the telecommunications business.

AT&T to launch 5G in U.S. by late 2018

  • AT&T said it would launch fifth-generation (5G) mobile network service in a dozen cities in the United States by late 2018.

Neiman Marcus CEO to Step Aside

  • Karen Katz, a Neiman lifer who has served as CEO and president since 2010, is stepping aside and will be replaced by an outsider, the people said.
  • Ms. Katz, who is 60 years old, plans to retire from her executive duties, but will retain her board seat, the people said.
  • Neiman Marcus filed to go public in 2015, but scrapped the planned offering in January 2017. Later that year, it was approached by Saks Fifth Avenue parent Hudson’s Bay about being acquired. But the talks ended without a deal.

Holiday Sales Rebound at Macy’s and J.C. Penney

  • Macy’s said same-store sales rose 1% in November and December from a year ago, while Penney’s increased 3.4%.
  • The results were an improvement from a year ago when both chains reported declines.
  • Both Macy’s and Penney have struggled with falling sales as shoppers make fewer trips to malls and do more of their spending on smartphones.
  • On Thursday, Macy’s said it would close 11 stores early this year, which are part of about 100 closures the company had announced in August 2016.
  • Macy’s now expects comparable sales on an owned basis to decline between 2.4 percent and 2.7 percent, whereas total revenue is expected to drop between 3.6 percent and 3.9 percent in fiscal 2017.

 

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US ECONOMY & POLITIC

U.S. Jobless Claims Rose Last Week

  • Initial jobless claims, a proxy for layoffs across the U.S., rose by 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted 250,000.
  • Claims have remained historically low, showing the overall health of the labor market. Claims numbers have remained below 300,000 a week for nearly three years.
  • The number of claims that workers made for longer than a week declined by 37,000 to 1,914,000 in the week ended Dec. 23.

Fed Minutes Reveal Uncertainties Over Tax Cuts

  • Federal Reserve officials in December debated whether looming tax cuts might require them to raise short-term interest rates more aggressively in 2018 than last year, when they lifted borrowing costs three times.
  • Officials expressed growing confidence in the strength of the labor market and the economy.
  • But the minutes also show officials weren’t sure how likely it was that the tax changes would induce businesses to invest more, noting companies might instead use higher after-tax profits to reduce debt, buy back stock or acquire other firms.

Magnitude 4.5 earthquake rocks San Francisco Bay area

  • The U.S. Geological Survey says the quake’s epicenter was 2 miles (3 kilometers) from Berkeley, California.
  • The earthquake had a preliminary depth of 8 miles (13 kilometers).
  • No damage or injuries was immediately recorded.

Powerful winter storm grounds nearly 3,000 flights

  • American, Delta, JetBlue and Southwest are waiving ticket-change fees.
  • Newark, Boston airports hit hardest.
  • The powerful storm is expected to bring heavy winds, snow, ice and then brutal cold to the East Coast of the U.S.

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EUROPE & WORLD

 

Samsung unveils new processor, likely to be used in the upcoming Galaxy S9

  • Samsung unveiled its new Exynos 9 Series 9810 processor on Thursday, a chip that may be used in its upcoming Galaxy S9 smartphone.
  • Samsung said the processor has new artificial intelligence technology that will enable devices to recognize faces, suggesting that Samsung will offer a new feature similar to Apple’s Face ID in future products.
  • Samsung’s current smartphones offer facial recognition, but the sophistication and security isn’t as advanced as Apple’s.

 

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TODAY in HISTORY

  • Utahwas admitted as 45th state in the United States (1896)
  • Burma (Myanmar) gained independence from Great Britain (1948)
  • Former wrestler Jesse Ventura was sworn in as Minnesota’s governor (1999)

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