DAILY MARKET REPORTS
- The blue-chip Dow Jones index raced past the 24,000-mark for the first time on Thursday, propelled by further gains for bank stocks and a recovery in technology shares.
- The 30-member index has crossed four similar 1,000-point milestones this year on the back of strong corporate earnings, robust economic data and hopes that President Donald Trump’s tax plan would make headway.
- Efforts to push the sweeping tax legislation through the U.S. Senate was hurtling on Thursday toward a dramatic conclusion, with Republican leaders pursuing behind-the-scenes deals intended to secure enough votes for passage.
- Kroger was the biggest S&P gainer, surging about 12 percent after the biggest U.S. supermarket chain beat both sales and profit estimates.
- Sears Holding jumped 13.3 percent after the retailer narrowed its quarterly losses.
US FINANCIAL MARKET
CVS reportedly near deal to buy Aetna for around $66 billion
- CVS could announce an acquisition of Aetna for more than $66 billion as soon as Monday.
- The talks are advanced and could value Aetna at between $200 and $205 a share.
- Talks would be first to combine a pharmacy and pharmacy benefit manager with an insurer.
Costco blows away some Amazon fears with 10% comp
- The retailer’s mark of 10.8% smashed the consensus estimate of 7%.
- Costco posted 39% growth in its e-commerce channel.
- Costco reported net sales of $11.26 billion for the month of November, the four weeks ended November 26, 2017, an increase of 13.2 percent from $9.95 billion during the similar period last year.
Sears’ shares soar as loss narrows; sales continue decline
- Sears said this month it had struck a deal that will help it reduce contributions to its pension plan for the next two years and monetize real estate that had formerly been protected.
- The company’s net loss was $558 million in the third quarter.
- Sears said it had taken in more than $270 million from sales of real estate and other assets in the third quarter.
Kroger forecasts upbeat holiday-quarter, beats Street view
- The company has been reducing prices and exploring new ways to sell food as it battles rivals.
- Net earnings rose to $397 million, in the third quarter from $391 million a year earlier.
- Total revenue rose 4.5 percent to $27.75 billion.
- The supermarket owner has about 2,800 outlets in the US, with chains such as Ralphs, Harris Teeter and Food 4 Less.
Verizon to Sell Wireless Home Broadband, Challenging Cable
- Verizon Communications plans to start selling home broadband service over its wireless network in late 2018.
- Verizon said it would sell high-speed internet access in three to five cities, starting in Sacramento, Calif.
- The wireless giant will use fifth-generation, or 5G technology, which is capable of delivering significantly faster internet speeds than existing 4G technology, also known as LTE.
- The company said more details, such as its price, would be unveiled later.
Alphabet Considers Giving Nest a New Home Within Google
- Pulling Nest closer would allow Google to more tightly integrate its services with Nest products as they take on rival Amazon.com Inc. in the home-device market.
- The Google Home smart speaker trails Amazon’s Echo system, and Amazon recently launched a home-security device that competes with Nest.
- Nest’s internet-connected thermostats, smoke detectors and security cameras work with both Google’s and Amazon’s virtual assistants.
Amazon Plans to Send Alexa to the Office
- The online retail giant plans to announce the initiative here Thursday at its annual conference for its Amazon Web Services cloud-computing unit.
- The effort to expand Alexa’s reach into the workplace comes as the service faces increased competition from virtual assistants created by Alphabet’s Google, Apple’s Siri, and Microsoft’s Cortana.
Express Scripts CEO sees Amazon as a potential partner: CNBC
- Express Scripts, the biggest (pharmacy benefit manager) PBM in the United States, and drug distributors have been under pressure by the speculated entry of Amazon into the prescription drug market.
- PBMs negotiate drug benefits for health insurance plans and employers, and have in recent years taken an increasingly aggressive stance in price negotiations with drugmakers.
The Apple Watch now has its first FDA-approved medical accessory
- AliveCor’s KardiaBand allows Watch wearers to check their heart activity with an embedded sensor.
- The band starts at $199 and requires a yearly subscription of $99 for the monitoring services, the company said.
- Apple has said its seen rapid growth in Watch sales in recent months.
- The company has tapped the Watch as a key to its growing commitment to health tech.
Matt Lauer’s Firing Leaves NBC’s $500 Million Franchise in Crisis
- “Today” is a financial juggernaut for NBC, a unit of Comcast Corp., generating revenue north of $500 million annually, according to people familiar with the show.
- Although the audience for “Today” has declined in recent years, it is still the most-watched morning program among the coveted demographic of adults 25 to 54.
- It trails ABC’s “Good Morning America” in total viewers.
US ECONOMY & POLITIC
U.S. jobless claims post second weekly decline
- Initial claims for state unemployment benefits slipped 2,000 to 238,000 for the week ended Nov. 25, the Labor Department said.
- The claims report also showed the number of people still receiving benefits after an initial week of aid increased 42,000 to 96 million.
- The labor market is near full employment, with the jobless rate at a 17-year low of 4.1 percent.
Chicago PMI slips in November to 3-month low
- The Chicago PMI fell to a three-month low of 63.9, MNI Indicators said Thursday.
- It’s still a very strong reading, as any reading above 50 indicates improving conditions.
- Backlogs slipped to a three-month low, though in October they were at a 43-year high.
Consumers keep on spending in October, aided by rising incomes and low inflation
- Consumer spending rises 0.3% in October, PCE inflation still low
- Personal income rose 0.4% for the second month in a row.
- The savings rate, meanwhile, edged up to 2% from 3%.
Inflation pressures remain sluggish
- The price index for personal-consumption expenditures—the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge—rose 0.1% in October, the smallest gain since July.
- So-called core prices, which strip out food and energy components, increased 0.2%, matching September’s growth and a touch higher than gains earlier this summer.
- In the 12 months through October, overall prices rose 1.6%, down from September’s annual rate of 1.7%.
- Core prices gained 1.4% in October from a year earlier, matching September’s pace.
John McCain will support Senate tax bill, boosting its chances of passing
- “After careful thought and consideration, I have decided to support the Senate tax reform bill,” McCain said in a statement. “I believe this legislation, though far from perfect, would enhance American competitiveness, boost the economy, and provide long overdue tax relief for middle class families.”
Trump Nominates Marvin Goodfriend for Federal Reserve Board Seat
- Current Carnegie Mellon University professor would fill one of three vacancies on board, if confirmed.
- Mr. Goodfriend, a widely respected monetary economist, would provide academic heft on a board that now has just two economists, including Ms. Yellen. He has criticized the Fed’s buying of mortgage-backed securities as part of its postcrisis asset purchases aimed at lowering long-term interest rates. He has said the Fed should limit its bond-buying to Treasury securities except in limited circumstances when it has been given explicit permission by Congress.
EUROPE & WORLD
OPEC Agrees to Limit Oil Output Through 2018
- The accord signals that the world’s biggest oil-producing countries believe that a global oversupply of oil is still weighing down oil prices, even a year after they struck their first agreement to cut crude production.
- Any agreement OPEC strikes will be contingent on support from a group of producers outside the cartel led by Russia, which pumps more crude than any country in the world.
Eurozone Inflation Picks Up, Boosting ECB as It Prepares to Reduce Stimulus
- EU’s statistics agency said consumer prices were 1.5% higher than a year earlier.
- But the pickup was largely driven by a rise in energy prices, which have proved volatile in the past. Excluding prices for energy, food and other volatile items, the core rate of inflation was unchanged at 0.9%.
Tokyo Disney Resort operator shares jumps after expansion plan report
- Shares of Oriental Land jumped on Thursday after local media reported plans to spend more than 300 billion yen ($2.7 billion) on a major expansion of its Tokyo Disney Resort theme park featuring an attraction based on hit film “Frozen”.
- Oriental Land is the Japanese operator of the Tokyo Disney Resort, which started with the opening of Tokyo Disneyland in 1983 in Urayasu on the outskirts of Tokyo.
TODAY in HISTORY
- Barbados became independent of Great Britain. (1966)
- The fossilized remains of a female human ancestor named Lucy (after the Beatles song Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds) were found in Ethiopia. (1974)
- The Brady Bill, requiring a five-day waiting period for handgun purchases, is signed. (1993)
- President Bill Clinton became the first U.S. president to visit Northern Ireland. (1995)
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