Financial News
Nasdaq breaks above 7,000 for the first time External Link

The Nasdaq Composite Index rallied to a record on Monday, breaking above the 7,000 level for the first time in its history. The index rose 0.9%, or 63 points, to hit an intraday record of 7,000.96. Among the biggest boosts to the index was Apple Inc. , the largest U.S. stock by market capitalization, which rose 1.4%. Alphabet Inc. , the parent company of Google, rose 1% on the day while Amazon.com Inc. was up 0.9%. The gains came on growing confidence congressional Republicans will succeed in getting a major tax bill passed this week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.7% to 24,835 while the S&P 500 was up 0.7% at 2,693. Thus far this year, the Nasdaq is up 30%, boosted in large part by the outperformance of large-cap technology and internet stocks. According to Dow Jones data, it took the index 165 days to cross the milestone after hitting 6,000 for the first time. This is the third-fastest period that the Nasdaq has crossed a 1,000-point milestone in its history.

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Mon, 18 Dec 2017 17:55:05 GMT
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Pfizer sets new $10 billion stock buyback program, bumps up dividend by 6.3%External Link

Shares of Pfizer Inc. edged up 0.3% in midday trade Monday, after the drug giant said it authorized a new $10 billion share repurchase program, and that it will raise its quarterly cash dividend by 6.3%. Pfizer said the new buyback program is in addition to the $6.4 billion remaining under the current repurchase program. Based on current share prices and 5.96 billion shares outstanding, $16.4 billion would represent 439.7 million shares, or about 7.4% of the shares outstanding. The new dividend of 34 cents a share, up from 32 cents a share, will be payable March 1 to shareholders of record on Feb. 2. The new annual dividend rate implies a dividend yield of 3.65%, compared with the implied yield for the SPDR Health Care Select Sector ETF of 1.45%, and for the Dow Jones Industrial Average of 2.07%. Pfizer's stock has rallied 14.8% year to date, while the health care ETF has run up 21.9% and the Dow has climbed 25.7%.

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Mon, 18 Dec 2017 16:58:23 GMT
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Amtrak train derails near Tacoma in Washington stateExternal Link

An Amtrak train has derailed along Interstate 5 in Washington state, in Pierce County, near Tacoma. Part of the derailed train has fallen off a bridge onto the road below. Amtrak, in a tweet, said it is "aware of an incident involving Amtrak train 501" and will provide an update when more details are known. It was not immediately clear if the crash included injuries either to train passengers or in the cars below, but local media reported a major emergency response on the scene. The local sheriff's office was reporting "multiple injuries and fatalities," according to NBC.

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.


Mon, 18 Dec 2017 16:53:01 GMT
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Costco's stock rallies toward another record after analyst upgradeExternal Link

Shares of Costco Wholesale Corp. climbed 0.7% in midday trade, putting them on track for the second-straight record close in the wake of fiscal first-quarter results, after BMO Capital upgraded the warehouse-club retailer, citing expectations that its online business was set to accelerate. Analyst Kelly Bania raised her rating to outperform, after downgrading it to market perform in July. She lifted her stock price target to $215 from $160, to tie for the highest target of the 30 analysts surveyed by FactSet. Bania said that Costco's online business, which the company had previously been reluctant to deeply pursue, is still in the early stages, and could continue to support a strong same-store sales outlook and higher valuation as the company widens its competitive moat. She expects Costco to realize that customers that shop both online and in the stores spend more in total after becoming an online grocery customer, "which could also support a stronger outlook for Costco's member renewal trends." The stock has rallied 21% year to date, while the SPDR S&P Retail ETF has tacked on 2.6% and the S&P 500 has climbed 20%.

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Mon, 18 Dec 2017 16:44:37 GMT
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ESPN President John Skipper resigns to deal with substance addictionExternal Link

President of Walt Disney Co.-owned ESPN, John Skipper, said on Monday that he is resigning from the network. "I have struggled for many years with a substance addiction. I have decided that the most important thing I can do right now is to take care of my problem," Skipper said in a statement. "I have disclosed that decision to the company, and we mutually agreed that it was appropriate that I resign. As I deal with this issue and what it means to me and my family, I ask for appropriate privacy and a little understanding." Skipper, 61, started at ESPN in 1997 as the company's general manager of ESPN The Magazine. He was tapped to head the network in 2012. His resignation comes at a rocky time for ESPN as it struggles to contend with declining viewership, which have led to layoffs, and as it maneuvers covering sports in an intensified socially and politically-charged environment. George Bodenheimer, who was ESPN's president before Skipper, will serve as the network's acting chair for 90 days, as ESPN leadership looks for Skipper's replacement. Shares of ESPN owner Disney have gained 7% in the year to date, while the S&P 500 index is up more than 20% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average has gained nearly 25%

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Mon, 18 Dec 2017 16:29:26 GMT
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