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Stock Market & Financial Investment News

News For MA;SKS;GPS;WMT;TGT From The Last 14 Days
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February 27, 2015
16:22 EDTGPSStocks have another winning week after Greek deal, Yellen reassurance
Stocks ended higher this week after the euro zone sealed its deal to extend Greece's bailout and Fed chair Janet Yellen reiterated that the central bank would take a patient approach to raising interest rates. MACRO NEWS: Last Friday afternoon, Greece reached a framework deal with its euro zone partners to extend its bailout by four months, contingent on a reform proposal being accepted. The proposals were accepted by the EU early this week... In testimony before Congress, Janet Yellen reiterated that the Federal Reserve can remain patient in deciding when to hike interest rates... U.S. economic data was mixed, as the Q4 GDP growth revision, durable goods orders for January, and an index of consumer sentiment beat expectations, but weekly jobless claims and existing home sales for January missed expectations... Somewhat positive economic data came out of China, as the flash HSBC/Markit Purchasing Managers' Index was 50.1, representing a four month high. However, China's export orders declined at the fastest rate in 20 months. COMPANY NEWS: Drug maker Valeant (VRX) agreed to buy Salix (SLXP), which develops gastrointestinal products, for $158 per share. In another development on the M&A front, Bloomberg reported that HP (HPQ) is in talks to make its biggest acquisition in several years by potentially acquiring Aruba Networks (ARUN), which provides Wi-Fi products. Additionally, PTC Therapeutics (PTCT) rose after Reuters said the company is working with financial advisers to explore a potential sale after receiving takeover interest from several companies including Shire (SHPG) and BioMarin (BMRN)... Solar energy company SunPower (SPWR) was one of this week's big winners after its quarterly results topped expectations, and the company announced that it's in advanced talks to form a joint YieldCo vehicle with peer First Solar (FSLR). First Solar also rallied after the news... Among the noteworthy losers this week was Lumber Liquidators (LL), after the company reported Q4 earnings per share and revenue that missed consensus expectations. The flooring retailer also warned on its associated call that an upcoming "60 Minutes" piece may cast the company in an unfavorable light and disclosed in its annual report that the Department of Justice indicated in recent communications that it is contemplating seeking criminal charges under the Lacey Act... Companies that rose after reporting their quarterly results included Home Depot (HD) and Gap (GPS), while HP, TASER (TASR), and J.C. Penney (JCP) dropped after reporting their results. INDEXES: For the week, the Dow was down 0.04% to 18,132.70, the Nasdaq was up 0.15% to 4,963.53, and the S&P 500 was down 0.27% to 2,104.50.
16:14 EDTGPSOn The Fly: Closing Wrap
Stocks on Wall Street were lower for the day, but still rose for the week and the month of February. The market moved in a narrow range for most of today's session despite a host of economic reports that were released earlier in the day. In spite of today's modest declines, the market put the finishing touches on one of its best months ever, with the Dow and S&P posting their best monthly rises since October 2011 and the Nasdaq notching its best month since 1998. ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., the Commerce Department estimated GDP grew at an annual rate of 2.2% in the last quarter of 2014, which is weaker than the 2.6% rate first estimated last month, but above the consensus forecast for the GDP growth rate to be cut to 2%. The Chicago PMI fell 13.6 points to 45.8 in February, which was much worse than the expected reading of 58.0. The University of Michigan consumer sentiment final February print came in at 95.4, which is a little better that the 93.6 preliminary February print and above the consensus forecast for a 94.0 reading. The pending home sales index bounced 1.7% to 104.2 in January, versus expectations for it to be up 2%. COMPANY NEWS: Two notable retailers moved in opposite directions following their quarterly reports, as Gap (GPS) rose and J.C. Penney fell. Gap gained $1.23, or 3.05%, to $41.60 after the company reported fourth quarter earnings that beat expectations. The owner of Old Navy, Banana Republic and its flagship nameplate also announced a $1B share repurchase program and plans to increase its dividend. J.C. Penney, meanwhile, reported earnings that missed expectations and gave a 2015 gross margin outlook that disappointed some analysts and its shares slid 62c, or 6.8%, to $8.50. MAJOR MOVERS: Among the notable gainers was Monster Beverage (MNST), which jumped $16.38, or 13.13%, to $141.12 after the energy drink maker's fourth quarter results surpassed analysts’ consensus estimates and announced plans to expand distribution with Coca-Cola (KO) bottlers into additional territories. Among the noteworthy losers was Weight Watchers (WTW), which dropped $6.23, or 35.48%, to $11.33 after reporting lower than expected quarterly revenues and issuing a worse than expected profit forecast for its new fiscal year. Also lower were shares of Southwestern Energy (SWN), which fell $1.27, or 4.82%, to $25.08 after becoming the latest oil production company to lower its 2015 capital expenditure forecast. INDEXES: The Dow fell 81.72, or 0.45%, to 18,132.70, the Nasdaq lost 24.36, or 0.49%, to 4,963.53, and the S&P 500 declined 6.24, or 0.3%, to 2,104.50.
15:29 EDTMAMasterCard recommends rejection of 'mini-tender' offer from TRC Capital
MasterCard announced that it has been notified of an unsolicited "mini-tender" offer dated February 25, 2015, made by TRC Capital, a private Canadian investment company, to purchase up to 1.5M shares of MasterCard's common stock, less than one fifth of 1% of the outstanding shares of common stock. TRC Capital's unsolicited "mini-tender" offer price of $88.50 per share is approximately 4.5% below the $92.67 per share closing price of MasterCard's common stock on February 25, the last trading day prior to the commencement of the offer. MasterCard is not affiliated in any way with TRC Capital, the offer, or the offer documentation. MasterCard recommends against shareholders tendering shares in response to this unsolicited offer.
12:54 EDTGPSOn The Fly: Midday Wrap
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10:12 EDTGPSGap rises after Q4 earnings top forecast, capital return plans announced
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08:18 EDTGPSGap sees FY15 EPS hurt 13c by port dispute, 16c by foreign exchange
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06:14 EDTGPSGap names Wendi Goldman EVP for product design, WSJ reprots
Wendi Goldman, who once worked for Banana Republic and served as co-president of the former Limited Brands (LB), has been named as executive VP for Gap (GPS) product design, The Wall Street Journal reports. Reference Link
February 26, 2015
18:43 EDTGPSOn The Fly: After Hours Movers
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16:59 EDTGPSGap sees FY15 EPS $2.75-$2.80, consensus $3.01
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16:06 EDTGPSGap announces $1B share repurchase, plans to increase dividend
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16:01 EDTGPSGap reports Q4 EPS 75c, consensus 74c
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15:30 EDTGPSNotable companies reporting after market close
Notable companies reporting after the market close, with earnings consensus, include Monster Beverage (MNST), consensus 59c... Ross Stores (ROST), consensus $1.11... Gap (GPS), consensus 74c... Autodesk (ADSK), consensus 24c... Universal Health Services (UHS), consensus $1.50... Southwestern Energy (SWN), consensus 50c... Ensco (ESV), consensus $1.36... J.C. Penney (JCP), consensus 11c... Nimble Storage (NMBL), consensus (14c)... Herbalife (HLF), consensus $1.22... Allscripts Healthcare (MDRX), consensus 9c... SBA Communications (SBAC), consensus 2c... Aruba Networks (ARUN), consensus 27c... Splunk (SPLK), consensus 4c... Air Lease (AL), consensus 61c... Ingram Micro (IM), consensus 99c... Weight Watchers (WTW), consensus 7c... Northern Oil and Gas (NOG), consensus 19c... Envision Healthcare (EVHC), consensus 36c... Infoblox (BLOX), consensus 5c... Live Nation (LYV), consensus (41c)... OmniVision (OVTI), consensus 29c... Bonanza Creek Energy (BCEI), consensus 27c.
14:48 EDTGPSGap technical remarks before results
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09:09 EDTTGTKohl's says some areas of U.S. 'reallly impacted by weather'
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06:46 EDTMADeutsche sees American Express as undervalued, upgrades to Buy
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February 25, 2015
12:31 EDTTGTOn The Fly: Midday Wrap
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11:18 EDTTGTTarget says worker wages 'competitive'
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11:10 EDTTGTTarget sees Q1 SSS up about 2%
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11:07 EDTTGTTarget says could be in a position to revisit stock buybacks later this year
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10:58 EDTTGTTarget says top priority is to drive digital sales growth
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10:10 EDTGPSBofA/Merrill retail analysts hold an analyst/industry conference call
Head of European General Retail Equity Research Steegers, along with Head of U.S. General Retail Equity Research Hutchinson, discuss the global apparel sector, focusing on international expansion, pricing and sustainability of margins and returns on an Analyst/Industry conference call to be held on February 25 at 10 am.
09:08 EDTTGTOn The Fly: Pre-market Movers
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08:02 EDTTGTTarget says seeing early momentum in efforts to transform company
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08:01 EDTTGTTarget sees Q1 adjusted EPS 95c-$1.05, consensus $1.04
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08:01 EDTTGTTarget reports Q4 adjusted EPS $1.50, consensus $1.46
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08:00 EDTTGTTarget reports Q4 adjusted EPS $1.50, consensus $1.46
08:00 EDTWMTWal-Mart still pressured by prominent shareholder over pay, Reuters says
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05:55 EDTTGTTarget implied volatility of 25 at upper end of index mean range
February 24, 2015
15:21 EDTTGTNotable companies reporting before tomorrow's open
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14:47 EDTTGTTarget technical comments ahead of earnings
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12:53 EDTTGTEarnings Preview: Target sees Q4 adjusted EPS $1.43-$1.47, above prior view
Target (TGT) is scheduled to report fourth quarter results before the market open on Wednesday, February 25, with a conference call scheduled for 10:30 am ET. Target offers merchandise at discounted prices through its retail stores and online business. EXPECTATIONS: Analysts are looking for earnings per share of $1.46 on revenue of $21.64B, according to First Call. The consensus range for EPS is $1.44-$1.49 on revenue of $21.42B-$21.94B. LAST QUARTER: Target reported third quarter adjusted EPS of 54c on revenue of $17.73B, against estimates for 47c and $17.56B, respectively. The company said U.S. segment comparable store sales were up 1.2% in Q3, reflecting digital sales growth of over 30%, with Canadian segment SSS up 1.6%. In an interview with CNBC following the earnings report, Chief Executive Officer Brian Cornell said that the company was "not happy" with Target Canada's performance and that the company has "upped our game" with respect to data security. Cornell said the company viewed Q4 as a "notable inflection point." NEWS: In January, Target announced that it plans to discontinue operating stores in Canada through its indirect wholly-owned subsidiary, Target Canada. The company said it expects to report approximately $5.4B of pre-tax losses on discontinued operations in Q4, driven primarily by the write-down of the company's investment in Target Canada, along with costs associated with exit or disposal activities and quarter-to-date Canadian Segment operating losses prior to today. Target expects to report approximately $275M of pre-tax losses on discontinued operations in FY15. Target expects this decision will increase its earnings in FY15 and beyond, and increase its cash flow in fiscal year 2016 and beyond. Based on performance through November and December, Target now expects to report Q4 U.S. comparable sales of approximately 3%, better than prior guidance of approximately 2%, driven primarily by increased traffic and stronger-than-expected digital sales. The company raised its Q4 adjusted EPS view to $1.43-$1.47 from $1.13-$1.23. The company said GAAP results are expected to include losses related to liquidation of Target Canada,net of taxes, net expenses related to the 2013 data breach, which are not expected to be material, the impact of the reduction of the beneficial interest asset recognized in connection with the 2013 sale of the company’s credit card portfolio, which is expected to reduce GAAP EPS by approximately 2c. The company noted that the "vast majority" of exit costs from Canada are non-cash and said the exit will allow a quicker return to share repurchases. During the quarter, Target named Mike McNamara as executive VP and Chief Information Officer. Target said it is planning open 15 stores in FY15, including three distinct store formats: eight TargetExpress locations, one CityTarget and six general merchandise stores. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge by retailers including Target to the Federal Reserve's rules for debit card "swipe fees," meaning the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit decision, which upheld the rules, will must be followed, said Reuters. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sent a letter to Target and other retailers for "allegedly selling store brand herbal supplement products in New York that either could not be verified to contain the labeled substance, or which were found to contain ingredients not listed on the labels." The letters call for the retailers to "immediately stop the sale of certain popular products," including Echinacea, Ginseng, St. John’s Wort, and others. Target recently announced that all online orders of $25 or more now qualify for free shipping. Target agreed to pay $3.9M to settle a lawsuit alleging the company used inaccurate price scanners, misrepresented product weight, and charged higher prices than advertised, The San Francisco Gate reported, citing prosecutor statements. Target announced on its website that it will shutter its online streaming service Target Ticket on March 7. STREET RESEARCH: BofA/Merrill upgraded Target to Neutral from Underperform. The firm sees a more stable outlook for Target with the exit of the Canada division and expects the U.S. improvements to continue. RW Baird says that while Target's decision to exit Canada should help cash flows longer term, its view on the company's U.S. fundamentals remain unchanged. The firm says it's hard to call the company's above-plan Q4 comps "robust" given the easy compare. Wells Fargo believes that Target's decision to exit Canada came sooner than expected and removes a major ''weight off the shoulders'' of the company. The firm estimates Target's U.S. earnings can grow to as high as $5.50 in 2016. Stifel downgraded Target to Hold from Buy. The firm believes near-term tactical opportunities are play out and management commentary indicates investments will be necessary in order to modernize. PRICE ACTION: Target shares are up over 6.5% over the past three months. In early afternoon trading ahead of Wednesday's earnings report, shares are down 0.5% to $76.27.
07:37 EDTTGTTarget February weekly volatility elevated into Q4 and outlook
Target February weekly call option implied volatility is at 57, March is at 25, April is at 23, July is at 20; compared to its 26-week average of 20 according to Track Data, suggesting larger near term price movement into the expected release of Q4 results on February 25.
07:25 EDTMARW Baird to hold a conference
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06:39 EDTMAVisa Europe announces 'tokenisation service'
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06:21 EDTWMTWal-Mart de Mexico announces retirement of CFO Rafael Matute
Wal-Mart de Mexico announces that its board approved Rafael Matute's decision to retire from the company, after having served for 17 years as CFO, and the appointment of Pedro Farah as the new CFO. The changes will be effective June 1 and Matute will stay until July 31 to help with the transition. Farah is currently CFO of Walmart Latin America.
February 23, 2015
10:50 EDTWMTWal-Mart to host 2015 Global Sustainability Milestone Meeting
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08:32 EDTTGTTarget lowers online free shipping minimum to $25
Target announced that, effective immediately, all online orders of $25 or more now qualify for free shipping, with virtually no exclusions. The new minimum is decreased from $50.
February 22, 2015
15:31 EDTWMTMcDonald's under pressure to raise hourly pay as Wal-Mart sets bar, Reuters says
According to labor experts McDonald's (MCD) and its franchisees may be under pressure to raise hourly wages as the improved economic landscape increases competition for good workers and as retailer Wal-Mart (WMT) raises its hourly pay, says Reuters. Reference Link
February 20, 2015
16:48 EDTWMTDow, S&P 500 finish week at record highs after Greek deal reached
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16:03 EDTWMTOptions Update; February 20, 2015
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13:20 EDTWMTAnalysts divided on Wal-Mart after results, pay raise announcement
Barclays cut its rating on Wal-Mart (WMT) this morning after the world's largest retailer reported its quarterly results and gave forward looking guidance yesterday. However, research firm Janney Capital wrote in a note to investors that it believes shares of Wal-Mart will probably outperform going forward, as other retailers are likely to implement wage hikes similar to the one that the giant discounter announced. BACKGROUND: Yesterday Wal-Mart announced that it would raise the wages of all of its employees to at least $10 per hour by February 2016. The company also reported higher than expected fourth quarter profits, excluding certain items, but its Q4 revenue came in below expectations. Moreover, the retailer provided lower than expected profit guidance for its fiscal 2016 and lowered its fiscal 2016 sales growth guidance to 1%-2% from its previous outlook of 2%-4%. Wal-Mart's stock fell significantly yesterday after the quarterly report. ANALYST REACTION: Barclays lowered its rating on Wal-Mart to Equal Weight from Overweight and dropped its price target for shares to $85 from $90. The firm says the retailer's investments to improve the shopping experience at its U.S. stores will continue into FY17 and are unlikely to produce near-term benefits. It believes Wal-Mart's Q4 domestic comps were aided by lower gas prices and easy weather comparisons, and notes that weather is unlikely to help in FY16. Meanwhile, Janney Capital analyst David Strasser said Wal-Mart's stock dropped because of worries about the company's spending and the hit the company took from negative foreign exchange trends. However, other retailers are likely to implement similar wage hikes, causing the entire sector to come under pressure and enabling Wal-Mart's stock to outperform going forward, according to Strasser. Additionally, Wal-Mart is likely to continue to benefit from higher gas prices in Q1, wrote the analyst, who kept an $89 price target and Buy rating on the shares. PRICE ACTION: In mid-afternoon trading, Wal-Mart added 0.5% to $83.94.
10:16 EDTGPSGap weekly volatility increases into Q4 and spring outlook
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10:01 EDTWMTOn The Fly: Analyst Downgrade Summary
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09:38 EDTWMTActive equity options trading on open
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09:06 EDTWMTWal-Mart can outperform as peers follow suit on wages, says Janney Capital
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07:20 EDTTGT, WMTWal-Mart wage increase may pressure Target, Staples, Reuters says
Wal-Mart's (WMT) wage increase announcement will likely pressure the retail, fast-food, and restaurant sectors to potentially follow suit, reports Reuters, citing an Edward Jones analyst and the managing director of consultancy firm Strategic Resource Group. The analysts specifically named Target (TGT) and Staples (SPLS). Reference Link
05:50 EDTWMTWal-Mart downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at Barclays
Barclays cut its rating on Wal-Mart to Equal Weight from Overweight and dropped its price target for shares to $85 from $90. The firm says the retailer's investments to improve the shopping experience at its U.S. stores will continue into FY17 and are unlikely to produce near-term benefits. It believes Wal-Mart's Q4 domestic comps were aided by lower gas prices and easy weather comparisons, and notes that weather is unlikely to help in FY16. The stock closed yesterday down $2.77 to $83.52 after Wal-Mart reported Q4 results.
February 19, 2015
16:28 EDTWMTOn The Fly: Closing Wrap
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12:45 EDTMA, WMTOn The Fly: Midday Wrap
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12:09 EDTMAAmerican Express confirms intent to appeal federal court ruling
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11:00 EDTMAAmerican Express plans to appeal antitrust ruling, CNBC reports
American Express stated to CNBC that the company is "disappointed" with a court decision in an antitrust matter and plans to file an appeal. "The court's ruling will not provide any benefit to consumers and will, in fact, harm competition by further entrenching the two dominant networks. We continue to believe that the Department of Justice's arguments are flawed and believe we should prevail on appeal," American Express stated. Reference Link
10:57 EDTWMTWal-Mart initiatives should help competitive position, says RW Baird
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09:35 EDTWMTOption volume leaders
Option volume leaders: AAPL TSLA TWTR MCD WMT PBR SPWR WFM GILD FB SCTY according to Track Data.
09:28 EDTWMTWal-Mart says near 70% of U.S. holiday e-commerce traffic from mobile
On its Q4 earnings call, Wal-Mart management said nearly 70% of walmart.com traffic in the U.S. came via mobile during the recent holiday period.
09:27 EDTWMTWal-Mart says U.S. store traffic positive for first time in 9 quarters in Q4
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08:47 EDTWMTWal-Mart down 1.2% to $85.25 after Q4 earnings beat, FY16 guidance miss
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08:42 EDTWMTWal-Mart sees Q1 Wal-Mart U.S. SSS up 1%-2%
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08:41 EDTWMTWal-Mart says hourly associates to earn at least $10 per hour by Feb. 2016
Doug McMillon, Wal-Mart Stores CEO, announced a new initiative on pay and training for U.S. associates. Approximately 500,000 full-time and part-time associates at Walmart U.S. stores and Sam's Clubs will receive pay raises in the first half of the current fiscal year. Current and future associates will benefit from this initiative, which ensures that Walmart hourly associates earn at least $1.75 above today's federal minimum wage, or $9.00 per hour, in April. The following year, by Feb. 1, 2016, current associates will earn at least $10.00 per hour. As part of today's announcement, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation also committed $100M over five years to help increase the economic mobility for entry level workers by advancing their careers. This initiative will benefit the retail and service industries. The Walmart Foundation will work with other foundations, employers, community colleges and non-profit organizations to address a fundamental challenge in America -- how to better train and advance workers in the retail and adjacent sectors. Today, more than 15 million people, including 7 million women, work in retail.
08:38 EDTWMTWal-Mart sees FY16 operating income pressured by investments
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08:38 EDTWMTWal-Mart lowers FY16 sales growth view to 1%-2% from 2%-4%
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08:36 EDTWMTWal-Mart raises annual dividend 2% to $1.96 per share
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08:34 EDTWMTWal-Mart sees Q1 EPS 95c-$1.10, consensus $1.14
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08:34 EDTWMTWal-Mart sees FY16 EPS $4.70-$5.05, consensus $5.19
08:33 EDTWMTWal-Mart reports Q4 underlying EPS $1.61, consensus $1.54
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05:10 EDTWMTWal-Mart February volatility increases into Q4 and outlook
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February 18, 2015
15:53 EDTWMTWal-Mart technical comments ahead of results
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15:35 EDTWMTNotable companies reporting before tomorrow's open
Notable companies reporting before tomorrow's market open, with earnings consensus, include Wal-Mart (WMT), consensus $1.54... Priceline (PCLN), consensus $10.10... DIRECTV (DTV), consensus $1.40... Noble Energy (NBL), consensus 35c... Host Hotels & Resorts (HST), consensus 39c... Hormel Foods (HRL), consensus 64c... Discovery Communications (DISCA), consensus 41c... SCANA (SCG), consensus 73c... Quanta Services (PWR), consensus 51c... Patterson (PDCO), consensus 59c... Denbury Resources (DNR), consensus 23c... T-Mobile (TMUS), consensus 5c... Linn Energy (LINE), consensus 6c... Linn Co (LNCO), consensus 39c... Bloomin' Brands (BLMN), consensus 27c... Huntington Ingalls (HII), consensus $1.98.
14:31 EDTWMTWal-Mart February volatility elevated into Q4 and outlook
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12:55 EDTWMTEarnings Preview: Wal-Mart sees Q4 EPS $1.46-$1.56, U.S. SSS flat to up 1%
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February 17, 2015
09:19 EDTWMTDocument Security files patent infringement claims against Intel, others
DSS Technology Management, a subsidiary of Document Security (DSS), announced the filing of a patent infringement lawsuit against the Intel (INTC); Dell; GameStop (GME); Conn's Inc. (CONN) and Conn Appliances; NEC Corporation of America; Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) and Wal-Mart Stores Texas, and AT&T (T) in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Tyler Division. DSS's complaint alleges infringement by Intel, Dell, GameStop (GME), Conn's, NEC, Wal-Mart, and AT&T of US Patents 5,965,924 and 6,784,552, which relate to semiconductor manufacturing.
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