U.S. stocks were mostly lower as the tense situation in Ukraine was brought back in the spotlight following a report from NATO who observed an alarming rise in Russian forces near the Ukraine border.
Speaking at Jackson Hole, Fed Chair Janet Yellen stated that 19 labor market indicators the Fed monitors suggest that the decline in the unemployment rate overstates improvements seen in the labor market.
"The Federal Reserve's monetary policy objective is to foster maximum employment and price stability," Yellen said in her speech. "In this regard, a key challenge is to assess just how far the economy now stands from the attainment of its maximum employment goal. Judgments concerning the size of that gap are complicated by ongoing shifts in the structure of the labor market and the possibility that the severe recession caused persistent changes in the labor market's functioning."
- The Dow lost 0.22 percent, closing at 17,001.22.
- The S&P 500 lost 0.20 percent, closing at 1,988.40.
- The NASDAQ gained 0.14 percent, closing at 4,538.55.
- Gold gained 0.45 percent, trading at $1,281.10.
- Oil lost 0.42 percent, trading at $93.57 a barrel.
- Silver gained 0.08 percent, trading at $19.43 an ounce.
News Of Note
The ITC voted to impose anti-dumping duties on steel imports from countries such as South Korea and India. The tariffs could be as high as 11 percent.
Analyst Upgrades And Downgrades Of Note
Analysts at UBS upgraded AK Steel (NYSE: AKS) to Neutral from Sell. Shares hit new 52-week highs of $10.75 before closing the day at $10.68, up 6.69 percent.
Analysts at Jefferies maintained a Hold rating on Aeropostale (NYSE: ARO) with a price target lowered to $4 from a previous $5. Shares lost 9.97 percent, closing at $3.52.
Analysts at UBS maintained a Neutral rating on Best Buy (NYSE: BBY) with a price target raised to $32 from a previous $29. Shares gained 0.22 percent, closing at $31.20.
Analysts at Barrington Research downgraded CBS Outdoor (NYSE: CBSO) to Market Perform from Outperform. Shares lost 1.23 percent, closing at $33.84.
Analysts at Wunderlich maintained a Hold rating on Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH) with a price target raised to $60 from a previous $56. Shares lost 0.81 percent, closing at $64.82.
Analysts at Macquarie downgraded Deere & Company (NYSE: DE) to Underperform from Neutral with a price target lowered to $75 from a previous $85. Shares lost 1.68 percent, closing at $84.76.
Analysts at Raymond James maintained a Strong Buy rating on Intuit (NASDAQ: INTU) with a price target raised to $100 from a previous $89. Also, analysts at Barclays maintained an Equal-Weight rating on Intuit with a price target raised to $90 from a previous $69. Shares hit new 52-week highs of $86.80 before turning negative and closing the day at $83.57, down 2.61 percent.
Analysts at Stifel Nicolaus maintained a Buy rating on Kohl's (NYSE: KSS) with a price target raised to $68 from a previous $60. Shares hit new 52-week highs of $59.89 before closing the day at $59.43, up 0.24 percent.
Analysts at Citigroup maintained a Buy rating on L Brands (NYSE: LB) with a price target raised to $72 from a previous $63. Also, analysts at FBR Capital maintained a Market Perform rating on L Brands with a price target raised to $62 from a previous $57. Meanwhile, analysts at Credit Suisse maintained a Neutral rating on L Brands with a price target raised to $62 from a previous $57. shares gained 0.26 percent, closing at $63.88.
Analysts at Stifel Nicolaus maintained a Buy rating on Macy's (NYSE: M) with a price target raised to $70 from a previous $64. Shares hit new 52-week highs of $62.09 before closing the day at $61.77.
Analysts at Deutsche Bank maintained a Buy rating on Salesforce.com (NYSE: CRM) with a price target raised to $70 from a previous $65. Also, analysts at UBS maintained a Buy rating on Salesforce with a price target raised to $76 from a previous $73. Shares gained 7.34 percent, closing at $59.80.
Analysts at FBR Capital upgraded SeaWorld Entertainment (NYSE: SEAS) to Outperform from Market Perform with a price target raised to $26 from a previous $21. Shares gained 6.63 percent, closing at $20.27.
Analysts at ISI Group downgraded The Madison Square Garden Company (NYSE: MSG) to Neutral from Buy. Shares hit new 52-week highs of $65.57 before closing the day at $65.08.
Equities-Specific News Of Note
Allergan's (NYSE: AGN) request to speed up its lawsuit against Valeant Pharmaceuticals (NYSE: VRX) and Bill Ackman's Pershing Square was denied by a California federal judge. Separately, Reuters reported that Valeant and Pershing Square will submit a request to Allergan for a special shareholder meeting, as they have support from more than 30 percent of shareholders. Shares of Allergan gained 0.72 percent, closing at $165.56, while shares of Valeant gained 3.03 percent, closing at $117.26.
McDonald's (NYSE: MCD) announced Mike Andres will replace Jeff Stratton as the new U.S. chief after Stratton resignation in October. Shares lost 0.08 percent, closing at $94.45.
Deere (NYSE: DE) announced an additional 460 employees at its Iowa operation will be placed on an indefinite layoff because of weak market demand for its products. Shares lost 1.68 percent, closing at $84.76.
The FCC requested a variety of information from Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) related to its proposed takeover of Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC). Shares of Comcast lost 0.48 percent, closing at $54.18 while shares of Time Warner Cable lost 0.73 percent, closing at $146.45.
According to Re/code, Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ) is still uninterested in acquiring Rackspace (NYSE: RAX). Shares of Hewlett-Packard lost 0.43 percent, closing at $36.84, while shares of Rackspace gained 1.62 percent, closing at $33.92.
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According to Bloomberg, Family Dollar (NYSE: FDO) will consider speaking with Dollar General (NYSE: DG) if it agrees to divest as many stores as regulators state it would have to. Shares of Family Dollar gained 0.33 percent, closing at $79.67 while shares of Dollar General gained 0.11 percent, closing at $63.68.
An attorney at Doral (NYSE: DRL) stated that the company has “not left negotiations” with Puerto Rico's Treasury. Shares lost 2.86 percent, closing at $8.15.
According to Reuters, several private equity firms have expressed interest in acquiring Neustrar. (NYSE: NSR) The company has hired financial advisers to help explore its options. shares gained 2.26 percent, closing at $29.36.
Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL) acquired Gecko Design to join the secretive Google X division. Shares of Google lost 0.14 percent, closing at $582.56.
Winners Of Note
Keurig Green Mountain (NASDAQ: GMCR) announced that it signed a new licensing deal with Kraft Foods Group (NASDAQ: KRFT), in which Kraft's coffee pods will now be licensed and sold under the Keurig brand. Distribution will begin as early as this fall, and no financial terms were disclosed. Shares of Keurig Green Mountain hit new 52-week highs of $135.99 before closing the day at $133.36, up 13.26. Shares of Kraft were unaffected and closed the day at $57.22, down 0.07 percent.
Dynegy (NYSE: DYN) announced that it has acquired power generation assets from Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) and Energy Capital partners. In total, Dynegy acquired 12.5 megawatts of coal and gas generation, almost doubling its existing assets to nearly 26,000 megawatts. Dynegy expects the acquisitions will create synergy targets of more than $40 million per year, $200 million in collateral efficiencies translating to nearly $500 million in present value cash savings. The company expects its adjusted EBITDA accretion to be 125 percent, while its free cash flow accretion will be 220 percent in 2015. Shares gained 8.75 percent, closing at $32.32.
Earnings Of Note
This morning, Foot Locker (NYSE: FL) reported its second quarter results. The company announced an EPS of $0.64, beating the consensus estimate of $0.54. Revenue of $1.64 billion beat the consensus estimate of $1.57 billion. Net income for the quarter rose to $92 million from $66 million in the same quarter a year ago as comparable-store sales rose 7 percent. The company saw its gross margin rate improve by 80 basis points to 32.0 percent, while its SG&A expense ratio fell 70 basis points to 20.9 percent. During the quarter the company opened 13 new stores, remodeled and relocated 112 stores, and closed 18, bringing its total global store count to 3,460 stores in 23 countries. Shares hit new 52-week highs of $55.33 before closing the day at $54.12, up 2.95 percent.
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This morning, Ann (NYSE: ANN) reported its second quarter results. The company announced an EPS of $0.70, beating the consensus estimate of $0.69. Revenue of $648.70 million missed the consensus estimate of $664.54 million. Net income for the quarter fell to $32.7 million from $35.6 million in the same quarter a year ago as comparable-store sales fell 2.3 percent. The company noted that the quarter began on a positive note with solid momentum through mid-June, but softer traffic levels and a highly promotional environment ultimately had an impact on its bottom line. The company saw its gross margin rate decline 230 basis points to 52.4 percent, while its SG&A expense ratio fell 140 basis points to 43.9 percent. Ann issued guidance and sees its third quarter revenue to be $670 million. For the full fiscal year 2014 the company expects total sales to be $2.560 billion. Shares lost 3.32 percent, closing at $37.52.
Quote Of The Day
“Currently, I believe that the facts 'reduce' to one indisputable truth which is that we must change our system of selecting CEOs in order to stay competitive and get us out of an extremely dangerous financial situation. With exceptions, I believe that too many companies in this country are terribly run and there's no system in place to hold the CEOs and Boards of these inadequately managed companies accountable. There are numerous challenges we are facing today whether it be monetary policy, unemployment, income inequality, the list can go on and on... but the thing we have to remember is there is something we can do about it: Shareholders, the true owners of our companies, can demand that mediocre CEOs are held accountable and make it clear that they will be replaced if they are failing.” – Carl Icahn in a blog post.
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