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1. S&P 500 ends at record as investors pencil in July rate cut23:07[−]

U.S. stocks ended strongly higher Thursday, with the S&P 500 notching a record close, as investors penciled in a July rate cut a day after a Federal Reserve policy meeting reinforced expectations for easier monetary policy. The S&P 500 rose around 28 points, or 0.9%, to end around 2,954, according to preliminary figures, eclipsing its previous record finish of 2,945.83 set earlier this year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced around 249 points, or 0.9%, to end near 26,753, while the Nasdaq Composite rose around 64 points to end near 8,051, a gain of 0.8%. Investors shrugged off escalating fears of military conflict in the Middle East after Iran shot down an unarmed U.S. military drone. Oil futures rallied sharply.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.


2. U.S. oil prices post biggest one-day gain of the year21:43[−]

U.S. oil futures rallied Thursday in reaction to worsening tensions between the Iran and U.S. that may lead to a disruption of oil flow in the Strait of Hormuz. Iran shot down a U.S. drone and U.S. President Donald Trump said in a tweet that "Iran made a very big mistake!" Language from Trump "has driven up oil as traders fear supply in the Middle East might be squeezed by Washington D.C. potentially taking a tougher stance on the country," said David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets. July West Texas Intermediate oil rose $2.89, or 5.4%, to settle at $56.65 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. That was the highest front-month contract finish since late May and biggest one-day dollar and percentage gain since December, according to Dow Jones Market Data. August WTI became the front-month contract at the day's settlement. It added $3.10, or 5.7%, to $57.07.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.


3. Gold futures log highest settlement since 201320:57[−]

Gold futures rallied Thursday to settle at their highest since September 2013, as the U.S. Federal Reserve hinted at the likelihood of interest-rate cuts. "While we think the explosion in gold prices is an overreaction to news that the Fed was moving closer to cutting interest rates, the gold market was already putting together a classic bull market case last month with one of the key hallmarks the potential emergence of investment demand.," analysts at Zaner Metals said in a daily note. Also, "news that Iran shot down a U.S. military drone rekindles the potential for a heavy-handed U.S. response against Iran," the analysts said, raising demand for haven gold. August gold rose $48.10, or 3.6%, to settle at $1,396.90 on Comex. Based on the most-active contracts, that was the biggest one day dollar and percentage climb since June 2016, according to Dow Jones Market Data.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.


4. Walmart paying $282 million to settle charges over Brazil payments20:42[−]

Walmart has agreed to pay $282 million to the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Justice Department to settle charges it violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Walmart allowed subsidiaries in Brazil, China, India, and Mexico to employ third-party intermediaries who made payments to foreign government officials, the SEC said, and failed to sufficiently investigate or mitigate anti-corruption risks. "The company could have avoided many of these problems, but instead Walmart repeatedly failed to take red flags seriously and delayed the implementation of appropriate internal accounting controls," said Charles Cain, chief of the SEC Enforcement Division's FCPA Unit. Walmart consented to the SEC's order finding that it violated the books and records and internal accounting controls provisions of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.


5. Lifeway Food's stock soars after announcing plans to enter the CBD market20:25[−]

Shares of Lifeway Foods Inc. shot up 44% toward an 11-month high in active afternoon trading Thursday, after the Illinois-based maker of probiotic, fermented beverages announced plans to enter the cannabis market with a drink infused with cannabidiol, or CBD. Trading volume swelled to about 1 million shares, compared with the full-day average of about 37,000 shares. The company said it will enter the market through its Plantiful + CBD product, once it is legalized at the federal level by the Food and Drug Administration. The company said it is also planning to file a comment in support of the FDA developing a science-based structure for the sale of products that contain CBD. plans to release Plantiful + CBD in a biodegradable 3.5-ounce bottle. "Mental health is as important as physical well-being, and CBD shows promise as way to promote lowered anxiety and stress relief," said Chief Executive Julie Smolyansky. "Science has shown that probiotics are natural inflammation reducers, and we believe that the addition of CBD will create an unmatched combination in the beverage space." The stock, on track for the highest close since July 2018, has more than doubled (up 122%) year to date, while the ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF has run up 30% and the S&P 500 has gained 17%.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.


6. Carnival's stock tumble follows 6th-straight earnings report that disappointed investors20:08[−]

The selloff in Carnival Corp.'s stock following the cruise operators latest earnings report shouldn't surprise investors, as it is the sixth-straight quarter that results disappointed. Although earnings per share and sales have beat expectations the past six quarters, the stock has still declined after each of the reports, by an average of 6.9%, including Thursday's 9.3% drop. The stock is now on track to close at the lowest level since Jan. 3, 2019, after Carnival beat earnings and revenue expectations but cut its full-year profit outlook. The stock has now shed 24% over the past year, while the S&P 500 has gained 6.3%.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.


7. Dow trades off session high after Trump says 'you'll soon find out' on possible Iran strike19:38[−]

The Dow Jones Industrial average retreated from its best levels on Thursday and haven assets surged as President Donald Trump used cryptic language to describe the possibility of increased hostilities against Iran. The Dow was most recently trading up about 120 points, or 0.4%, at 26,619, but had been at 26,761 at its intrasession peak, while the S&P 500 index was up 0.5% at 2,940 off its highs, after setting an intraday record at 2,956.20. The president was asked if the U.S. would strike back after Iran shot down a U.S. drone in its airspace. He said at a news conference with Canadian President Justin Trudeau: "you'll soon find out." Trump issued a tweet saying that Iran "made a very big mistake," which he repeated at the news conference. Markets had been more buoyant after the Federal Reserve strongly implied that a rate cut could be warranted if economic conditions worsen.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.


8. Senate OKs resolution aimed at blocking arms sales to Saudi Arabia, other countries19:20[−]

The Senate on Thursday voted in favor of an effort to block sales of a range of U.S. weapons-related licenses and services to Saudi Arabia and other nations, though President Donald Trump looks set to quash this effort with a veto. Senate Joint Resolution 36 won support in a 53-45 vote. It's one of 22 resolutions related to arming the Saudis that were set to get voted on in the Senate on Thursday, as members of Congress continue to express frustration with the Trump administration's stance toward Saudi Arabia. Trump's administration warned earlier Thursday that his advisers would recommend that he veto the resolution disapproving the arms sales, if it were passed by the Senate.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.


9. Papa John's $80 million franchisee investment indicates sluggish turnaround: BTIG19:15[−]

Papa John's International Inc. has announced an additional $80 million investment in its franchisee assistance program, which indicates that the company's turnaround isn't happening just yet, BTIG analysts said in a note. The investment will start in the third quarter of fiscal 2019 and will be used to bolster the brand by getting its newest ambassador and board member, Shaquille O'Neal, involved in the branding, and for royalty relief. The investment extends through 2020. "This suggests to us that any meaningful sales turnaround has yet to take hold and franchisees are not yet capable of standing on their own with regard to unit economics," wrote BTIG. "We continue to believe that menu and marketing are the two most meaningful levers for management to pull but expect a turnaround to take longer than initially expected as the bulk of these efforts is still to come." BTIG thought the company would begin to pullback on royalty relief in the second half of 2019, with a total of about $5 million per quarter invested in the last two quarters. Papa John's has struggled since its founder John Schnatter became embroiled in a racially-charged controversy and stepped down from the company. Papa John's shares are down about 2% in Thursday trading, but have rallied 21.1% in 2019. The S&P 500 index has gained 17.2% for the year to date.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.


10. Slack stock jumps 50% after direct listing19:10[−]

Slack Technologies Inc. shares jumped in Thursday morning trading following the workplace-communications company's direct listing. Shares opened at $38.50, 48% above a reference price of $26 set late on Wednesday, before heading higher. The company opted for a direct listing, rather than a traditional IPO, meaning that Slack didn't raise additional capital in the process of going public. The direct-listing tactic was employed by Spotify Technology SA as well in early 2018. Slack's listing comes as the Renaissance IPO ETF has risen 41% so far this year and as the S&P 500 has gained 18% in that time

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.


11. Grocery Outlet's stock debuts with a big rally18:47[−]

Shares of Grocery Outlet Holding Corp. debuted with a big rally, as they opened 41% above the initial public offering price of $22. The first trade was at $36.00 at 11:45 a.m. Eastern, and has pared some gains to trade recently at $30.70. The IPO had priced late Wednesday well above the expected range of $18 to $19, which was raised on Tuesday from a previous expected range of $15 to $17. The California-based extreme-value retailer sold 17.2 million shares to raise about $378 million. The company has gone public at a time that the Renaissance IPO ETF has rallied 39.3% year to date and the S&P 500 has gained 17.5%.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.


12. Oracle stock hits all-time high after earnings18:27[−]

Shares of Oracle Corp. were up 8.8% in Thursday morning trading and on track to close at a new all-time high after the software company beat earnings expectations and delivered an upbeat outlook. The stock hit a new intraday record of $57.31 at its high point in Thursday's session. Shares are on pace for their largest single-day percentage gain since Dec. 18, 2014. Oracle spent $36 billion in its latest fiscal year on stock purchases, helping drive the share price higher, as Oracle's share count decreased by about 12% from a year earlier. Despite the record price high, the market capitalization remains below levels seen late last year. "We believe that there are clear areas of strength in Oracle's apps business - NetSuite in particular - but until this uptick in growth starts to translate into more consistent operating income (i.e. not just buyback driven EPS growth) and apps growth (only +4% in [constant currency]), we expect the stock is likely to remain relatively range bound," wrote Evercore ISI's Kirk Materne, who has an in-line rating on the stock. Shares are up 27% so far this year, as the S&P 500 has gained 17%.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.


13. Canopy Growth's stock gains ahead of earnings; options prep for relatively subdued reaction18:05[−]

The U.S.-listed shares of Canopy Growth Corp. rose 0.7% in morning trading Thursday, ahead of the Canada-based cannabis company's fiscal fourth-quarter results due out after the close. Canopy has reported wider than expected losses the past four quarters, while revenue beat expectations in the third quarter after missing the previous three quarters. An options strategy known as a straddle, a pure volatility play involving the simultaneous purchase of bullish and bearish options at at-the-money stock prices and expiring at Friday's close, are priced for the stock to move about 7.0% in either direction on Friday. That compares with an average 13.8% one-day post-earnings move the past 4 quarters. But that average includes a 3.1% gain after third-quarter results, preceded by a 10.9% decline, a 30.4% surge and a 10.8% fall after the previous three quarters. Canopy's stock has rallied 60.1% year to date, while the ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF has advanced 30.2% and the S&P 500 has gained 17.6%.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.


14. Wolverine price target trimmed as Sperry boat shoes fall out of fashion18:00[−]

Wedbush analysts trimmed the price target for Wolverine World Wide Inc. to $35 from $38 based on the decline in popularity of Sperry's iconic boat shoes. Sperry, Saucony and Keds are among the brands in the Wolverine portfolio. "After our recent meetings with the president of Sperry and the CFO, and follow up conversations with the company, it seems as if demand for boat shoes may have been more tepid," Wedbush wrote. "While largely expected down double-digits, Sperry boat shoes saw deeper pressure in May while stronger selling Saltwater Duck boots are expected in 3Q." Saltwater boots are another Sperry style that have reached instantly-recognizable status. Wedbush maintained its outperform rating. "Management remains confident in the sales and margin outlook for 2H19 given on hand orders (in some cases in excess of the planned revenue growth) for Sperry boots and new Merrell product introductions, e-commerce growth (+20%), and gains from Saucony Italy." Wolverine's stock has fallen 15.3% in 2019 while the S&P 500 index has gained 17.6%

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.


15. Natural-gas prices decline after a larger-than-expected weekly climb in U.S. supplies17:42[−]

The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported Thursday that domestic supplies of natural gas rose by 115 billion cubic feet for the week ended June 14. The average forecast of analysts polled by S&P Global Platts had called for an increase of 104 billion cubic feet. Total stocks now stand at 2.203 trillion cubic feet, up 209 billion cubic feet from a year ago, but 199 billion below the five-year average, the government said. July natural gas traded at $2.228 per million British thermal units, down 4.8 cents, or 2.1%, from Wednesday's settlement. It was trading at $2.300 before the data.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.


16. Thai company with similar ticker to Slack is attracting unusually high volume Thursday17:36[−]

Call it a case of mistaken identity. A company that has a very similar ticker to Slack Technologies Inc. was attracting strong traffic on Thursday, as investors awaited the initial trading in the stock of Slack. Slack has opted to go public through a direct listing under the ticker symbol "WORK." But that symbol, until recently, would pull up a very different company, Workpoint Entertainment PCL, a Thai media company. That stock, which can be found here , was trading up 2.9% on Thursday in extremely high volume of 16.4 million shares, or more than 3 times its average daily volume of 5.3 million shares. The stock featured high up in MarketWatch's daily traffic with almost 1,000 readers on the quote page at last check. Slack, meanwhile, has not yet traded, but is expected to do so shortly. The company set a reference price of $26 late Wednesday.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.


17. Utilities stocks inch lower as AES rally balanced by Treasury yield's drop17:18[−]

The utilities sector eased slightly Thursday, to buck a broader stock market rally, as a sharp drop in longer-term Treasury yields was balanced with a rally in AES Corp.'s stock after an analyst upgrade. The Dow Jones Utility Average inched less than 0.1% lower, although 8 of 15 components traded up, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 222 points, or 0.8%. AES shares jumped 1.8% after Bank of America Merrill Lynch analyst Julien Dumoulin-Smith raised his rating to neutral from underperform, and raised his price target to $16.50 from $16. "We perceive upside to renewable development opportunities and expect [liquid natural gas]/logistics opportunities in Vietnam and the Atlantic Basin to drive future growth," Dumoulin-Smith wrote in a note to clients. Among other more-active utility stocks, Southern Co. edged up 0.1%, Exelon Corp. was little changed and Dominion Energy Inc. gained 0.1%. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell 3.1 basis points to 1.998%, the first move below the 2% mark since November 2016, amid increasing speculation that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates. Utilities stocks usually rise when Treasury yields fall, and Treasury prices gain, as the sector's relative high yield makes then more attractive. The Dow utilities implied dividend yield is 2.94%, compared with the implied yield for the Dow Jones Industrial Average of 2.03%.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.


18. Chipotle launching catering service on Friday17:05[−]

Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. said Thursday that it was launching Chipotle Catering on Friday, in time for the first day of summer and graduation parties. The service will offer three "build-your-own" options that can be customized for groups ranging from 10 people to 200. Chipotle stock has soared more than 70% for 2019 so far, outpacing the S&P 500 index which has rallied nearly 18% for the period.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.


19. Amazon launches college-focused storefront16:44[−]

Amazon.com Inc. said Thursday that it has launched the "Off-to-College" storefront that will sell items for student dorm rooms, Amazon devices, and more. The storefront will offer daily deals, with exclusive perks for Prime Student members. The Prime Student membership is $6.49 per month after a six-month trial, or $59 per year, also after the trial period, half the cost of a regular Prime membership. Amazon has partnered with Ava Phillippe, daughter of Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe,for suggestions on "Ava's List." Amazon also announced the expansion of AmazonFresh one- and two-hour delivery to Las Vegas. Amazon stock has gained nearly 29% for the year to date while the S&P 500 index is up almost 17% for the period.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.


20. Energy stocks surge, as heightened Middle East tensions fuel oil price rally16:40[−]

Energy stocks traded broadly higher Thursday, as increased tension in the Middle East fueled a surge in oil prices. The SPDR Energy Select Sector ETF jumped 1.8% in morning trading, with all 29 of its equity components trading higher, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average hiked up 215 points, or 0.8%. Among the more-active members, shares of Halliburton Co. rose 3.0%, Marathon Oil Corp. gained 3.2%, Schlumberger Ltd. tacked on 3.1%, Exxon Mobil Corp. advanced 1.7% and Chevron Corp. added 1.1%. Elsewhere, Chesapeake Energy Corp.'s stock powered up 4.4% on NYSE-leading volume of 6.3 million shares. August crude oil futures rallied 4.5%, after news that Iran's Revolutionary Guard said it shot down a U.S. drone. Also helping boost prices, data out Wednesday showed that U.S. crude supplies fell, and a firmer date for an Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) meeting was in place to review pledged production limits.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.


21. S&P 500 carves out first intraday record since May 1 as Fed fuels stock-market rally16:36[−]

U.S. stock benchmarks Thursday morning surged toward records as the Federal Reserve signaled that policy easing may be forthcoming to sustain the economy. The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 250 points, or 0.9%, at 26,750, the S&P 500 index rose 0.9% at 2,951, briefly setting a new record intraday peak at 2,956.11 for the first time since May 1, while the Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 1.1% at 8,072, putting the technology-heavy index about 1% short of its May 3 record. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell on Wednesday strongly implied that the central bank would cut benchmark interest rates, currently at a range of 2.25%-2.50%, in the coming weeks if the economic outlook buffeted by U.S.-China trade tensions doesn't show signs of improvement. In corporate news, Slack Technologies Inc. is set to make its debut on the New York Stock Exchange in a highly anticipated direct listing of the enterprise software company. Here's what you should know.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.


22. U.S. current-account deficit falls 9.4% in first quarter15:30[−]

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - The U.S. current-account deficit, a measures of the nation's debt to other countries, fell 9.4% in the first quarter mostly because of a smaller deficit in goods. The current-account deficit shrank to $130.4 billion from a revised $143.9 billion in the fourth quarter. The deficit in goods declined to $216.5 billion from $232.3 billion, reflecting ongoing trade wars and slower global growth. The current account reveals if a country is a net lender or debtor. The current account deficit was equal to 2.5% of GDP in the first quarter, down from a six-year high of 2.8% at the end of 2018. It's still well below a peak of 6.3% in 2005, however.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.


23. Tesla shares slide premarket as Goldman Sachs slashes price target to $158 from $20015:27[−]

Tesla Inc. shares fell 1.5% in premarket trade Thursday, after Goldman Sachs slashed its stock price target to $158 from $200 on concerns the company can meet estimates for the second half and beyond. Analysts led by David Tamberrino said they expect the second quarter to be fine and come close to FactSet consensus for volumes, estimates for the second half look high, "considering there are fewer levers to pull to stoke demand going forward (i.e., company released lower priced variants of the Model 3, a leasing option was introduced, and right-hand drive orders have begun)." With the Federal tax credit due to step down again on July 1, second-quarter demand is likely not sustainable, the analysts wrote in a note to clients. Investors should be asking what are the sustainable levels for Model S, Model X and Model 3, they wrote, and how will that change with the introduction of the Model Y, which will likely cannabalize part of the customer base for other models. "We maintain our Sell rating on shares, but lower our 12-month price target to $158 (from $200) as we see a lower probability of the company achieving our upside volume scenarios; we believe a downward path for shares will resume as it becomes more clear that sustainable demand for the company's current products are below expectations," said the note. Tesla shares have fallen 32% in 2019 to date, while the S&P 500 has gained 16.7%.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.


24. Edesa Biotech stock rockets 140% after FDA gives go-ahead to early-stage trial15:26[−]

Shares of Edesa Biotech Inc. shot up 140% in premarket trade after the Toronto-based company said the FDA had given it the go-ahead to start a Phase 2b trial looking at a topical treatment for chronic allergic contact dermatitis. The treatment, called EB01, is the company's lead drug candidate. "There are limited options for ACD patients and we have been pleased with the level of interest from physicians in the U.S.," said Par Nijhawan, Edesa's chief executive officer. "The company is committed to rapidly advancing our clinical plans and remains on track to initiate our clinical study for EB01." Shares of Edesa have declined 22.5% in the year to date through Wednesday, while the S&P 500 has gained 16.7%.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.


25. Fatburger parent acquires Elevation Burger for $10 million15:26[−]

Fat Brands Inc. has completed its acquisition of Elevation Burger for $10 million, the company said Thursday. Fat Brands portfolio of chains includes Fatburger, Buffalo's Cafe and Ponderosa. Fat Brands has more than 400 franchised restaurants with annual system-wide sales of more than $400 million. Elevation Burger was founded in 2002 and sells organic, grass-fed product at 44 franchised locations across the U.S. and abroad. Fat Brands stock has slipped 4% for the year to date while the S&P 500 index has gained 16.7% for the period.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.


26. Vera Bradley acquires majority stake in online accessories company15:17[−]

Vera Bradley Inc. said Thursday that it has taken a 75% interest in Creative Genius Inc., a digitally-native jewelry and accessories company that also operates under the name Pura Vida Bracelets. The deal is for a $75 million consideration, subject to certain price adjustments, and up to $22.5 million in incremental earnout based on 2019 performance. The deal isn't subject to financing conditions. For the year ending Dec. 31, 2018, Pura Vida had revenue of $68.3 million and net income of $3.8 million. For the fiscal year ending Feb. 2, 2019, Vera Bradley had revenue of $416.1 million and no outstanding debt. Vera Bradley has the right to acquire the remaining 25% stake after five years. Pura Vida will operate as a subsidiary of Vera Bradley from its La Jolla, Calif. headquarters, and is expected to be accretive to earnings in fiscal 2020. Vera Bradley stock has rallied 38.6% for the year to date while the S&P 500 index is up 16.7% for the period.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.


27. Kroger's stock rises after profit, sales decline less than expected15:16[−]

Shares of Kroger Co. rose 1.5% in premarket trading Thursday, after the grocery-store giant reported fiscal first-quarter earnings and sales that topped expectations, and affirmed its full-year guidance. Net income for the quarter to May 25 fell to $772 million, or 95 cents a share, from $2.03 billion, or $2.37 a share. Excluding non-recurring items, adjusted earnings per share slipped to 72 cents from 73 cents but was above the FactSet consensus of 71 cents. Sales fell to $37.25 billion from $37.72 billion, but beat the FactSet consensus of $37.19 billion. The latest-quarter results reflect the divestiture of its convenience-store business. Identical sales grew 1.5%, while digital sales increased 42%. Kroger confirmed its 2019 guidance ranges for identical sales growth of 2.00% to 2.25% and for adjusted EPS of $2.15 to $2.25. The stock has lost 14.0% year to date through Wednesday, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has gained 13.6%.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.


28. Del Taco to add two new Beyond Meat plant-based burritos to its menu15:12[−]

Del Taco Restaurants Inc. said Thursday it is expanding its partnership with Beyond Meat Inc. and will offer two new burritos containing that company's plant-based protein. The Mexican fast-food chain said it has sold almost two million Beyond Tacos and Beyond Avocado Tacos since adding those options to its menu in April. "The enthusiasm shown by our fans during the first weeks of our Beyond Meat offerings was undeniable," Del Taco Chief Executive John Cappasola said in a statement. The company is now adding the Beyond 8 Layer Burrrito and the Epic Beyond Cali Burrito to its menu at more than 580 locations across the U.S. Beyond Meat shares rose 2.5% premarket on the news. Del Taco shares were up 1.8% premarket and have gained 14.8% in the last 12 months, while the S&P 500 has gained 16.7%.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.


29. Starboard urges Aecom to review its strategic options to unlock value14:40[−]

Activist shareholder Starboard Value LP said Thursday it has delivered a letter to the head of infrastructure company Aecom, urging a prompt review of the company with the aim of unlocking value. STarboard, which owns 4.0% of Aecom's outstanding shares, said it welcomes the recent announcement that the company plans to sell off its management services division, which is one of three along with design and consulting services and construction services. "This is potentially a positive development," said the letter. "However, it is just one piece of a broader set of opportunities to unlock significant value at AECOM." The company was formed through a set of deals that have not been effectively integrated and metrics lag those of peers, said the letter. "We believe there is a substantial opportunity to drive profitability improvements through integration and operational initiatives. In addition, we believe a more expansive and open minded strategic review of the Company's assets is necessary." Aecom shares rose 2.6% premarket, and have gained 38% in 2019 to date, while the S&P 500 has gained 16.7%.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.


30. Pier 1's stock price to reflect 1-for-20 reverse split14:34[−]

Pier 1 Imports Inc.'s stock will reflect on Thursday a 1-for-20 reverse stock split that went into effect just after midnight. The stock closed at a pre-split price of 68 cents on Wednesday, which would translate to a split-adjusted price of $13.60. The struggling home decor retailer said late Wednesday that shareholders had approved of a reverse split, in the ranges of 1-for-5, 1-for-10 or 1-for-20, and the board of directors decided to go with 1-for-20. "The objective of the reverse stock split is to enable Pier 1 to regain compliance with the NYSE minimum share price continued listing rule and maintain its listing on the NYSE," the company said in a statement. The reverse split will reduce the number of shares outstanding to about 4.25 million from 84.99 million. The stock had tumbled 76% year to date through Wednesday, while the SPDR S&P Retail ETF has declined 16% and the S&P 500 has gained 5.8%.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.



 
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