Markets

Caterpillar and four other Dow stocks that could win if the White House keeps talking down the dollar

The U.S. dollar index fell to a three-year low Wednesday and looks set for more declines after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said a weak dollar was good for U.S. trade. The dollar index is now down 10 percent in the past year and broke below the key 90 level after Mnuchin’s remarks. According to Kensho, there are some big winners in the Dow when the dollar is falling. CNBC’s analysis looked at when the dollar index is down 5 percent or more in a three-month period. That happened 29 times since January 1993. The stock that did best on average while the dollar fell was Caterpillar, up 8.1 percent. 3M was the second-best performer, averaging a 5.3 percent gain, and Visa came in third, with a 5.2 percent gain. Next was Apple with a 4.9 percent average gain, followed by Chevron,...

Abbott’s fourth-quarter results, 2018 profit forecast beat estimates

Abbott Laboratories’ fourth-quarter results and 2018 adjusted earnings forecast beat Wall Street estimates as the healthcare company gains from its recent purchase of rivals such as St.Jude Medical and Alere. The company’s shares rose 2.6 percent to $60.75 before the bell on Wednesday. Sales from Abbott’s medical device business — its largest division — grew 9.6 percent on an operational basis to $2.74 billion in the quarter ending Dec. 31. The unit includes devices Abbott picked up from its $25 billion acquisition of St. Jude Medical that was completed last year. Sales for its diagnostics unit jumped 6.7 percent and raked in $1.91 billion, bolstered by the completion of its $5.3 billion Alere buy in the quarter. Sales in Abbott’s nutrition unit, which had been unde...

Mnuchin comment surprises financial markets, turns dollar decline into ‘one-way bet’

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s comment that a weak dollar is good for the country accelerated a decline in the currency and fed fears in a market already speculating that White House may make the dollar less attractive for the longer term. Mnuchin’s comments echo statements by President Donald Trump, who famously helped turn a market trend of a stronger dollar last January when he said, prior to his inauguration, that the dollar was “too strong” and that U.S. companies can’t compete because of it, particularly against the Chinese. The dollar index has lost more than 10 percent since then, and after Mnuchin’s comment Wednesday morning, it sank to a new three-year low. The comments also depart from the policy of the past three presidential administrat...

Cruise operator Royal Caribbean to give workers a 5 percent equity bonus after hitting its performance goals

After achieving its ambitious three-year goals to double earnings and record a double-digit return on invested capital, Royal Caribbean Cruises on Wednesday told employees they will receive 5 percent bonuses. Employees will receive equity awards equal to five percent of their 2017 salaries in what it called the “Thank You, Thank You Bonus.” The awards, which vest over three years, will go to the company’s 66,000 employees, excluding corporate officers. In addition to the five percent equity awards, the company said it will contribute to a fund that upgrades crew living and recreational areas. Royal Caribbean Cruises reported fourth-quarter profit and revenue that beat Wall Street estimates, helped by higher onboard spending and lower cruise operating expenses in the cruci...

General Electric reveals SEC investigation into accounting

The Securities and Exchange Commission has opened up an investigation of General Electric‘s accounting practices in the wake of the conglomerate’s review of its insurance business. On Jan. 16, GE revealed it had conducted a review of its GE Capital insurance portfolio and decided to take a $6.2 billion after-tax charge in the fourth quarter of 2017, and contribute $15 billion over the next seven years to shore up the portfolio’s reserves. The SEC is investigating both the process that led to the insurance reserve increase and the fourth-quarter charge, Chief Financial Officer Jamie Miller said Wednesday. Additionally, the SEC will look at GE’s revenue recognition and its controls for long-term service agreements. “We are cooperating fully with the investigatio...

Stocks making the biggest moves premarket: CMCSA, GE, UTX, SWK, UAL, WFC & more

Check out which companies are making headlines before the bell: Comcast – The NBCUniversal and CNBC parent reported adjusted fourth-quarter profit of 49 cents per share, 2 cents a share above estimates. Revenue topped forecasts, as well, and Comcast announced a 21 percent dividend increase. The company also said it would repurchase at least $5 billion in stock this year. General Electric – GE fell 2 cents a share shy of estimates, with adjusted quarterly profit of 27 cents per share. Revenue also missed expectations, however GE said its cash flow was improving and it gave an earnings forecast for 2018 that falls largely above Street forecasts. United Technologies – The defense contractor reported fourth-quarter profit of $1.60 per share, beating estimates by 4 cents a share. Revenue also b...

Comcast beats earnings expectations, adding 350,000 high-speed internet customers

Consumers may be cutting the cord, but Comcast‘s bets on high-speed internet and film franchises are providing fresh sources of growth. The media and cable giant reported quarterly earnings on Wednesday that beat analyst expectations, and revenue that topped estimates, as the company grew its customer base in high-speed internet and business services, offsetting lost customers in video services. It also announced plans to increase its dividend by 21 percent and to repurchase at least $5 billion in stock in 2018. Here’s how the company did in the fourth quarter: EPS: 49 cents per share, adjusted vs. 47 cents expected by Thomson Reuters. Revenue: $21.92 billion vs. $21.82 billion expected by a Thomson Reuters. A year earlier, Comcast reported adjusted earnings of 45 cents per sha...

General Electric falls short in fourth quarter but offers stronger 2018 outlook

Investors were reminded Wednesday of the challenges that lay ahead for General Electric, as the company reported steep revenue declines and said it was being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission over its accounting practices. GE’s fourth quarter fell short of Wall Street’s expectations, but it offered up a stronger-than-expected outlook for 2018. That news initially lifted GE shares in premarket trading, but during its investor call, the company revealed its recent review of its GE Capital insurance portfolio was under scrutiny and it would be restating two years of financial results. The stock was down slightly early in Wednesday’s regular trading session. In the latest period, the conglomerate swung to a loss from continuing operations of $10.01 billio...

Trump’s tariffs on washing machines and solar panels don’t mean the end of trade deals

The Trump administration’s new tariffs on imported washing machines and solar panels smack of protectionism, but they are not signaling the U.S. is willing to take the kind of broad-brush trade actions that would upset the stock market, such as killing NAFTA. While the actions in themselves did not cause much of a stir, they sent a shudder through the foreign exchange market and raised concerns about the NAFTA talks, in their sixth round this week. But trade experts said the NAFTA talks appear to be in a better place than they were in the last round between the U.S., Canada and Mexico even though there are a number of difficult issues yet to be resolved. “I think it plays in nicely to the administration’s plan on being tough on enforcing trade rules and fighting out again...

United Continental fourth-quarter profit tops estimates, then shares fall

United Continental Holdings, the parent of United Airlines, posted earnings Tuesday that outpaced analyst estimates. But shares plunged in post-market trading during a long-awaited investor presentation in which the airline unveiled a strategy to add more seats to the market while keeping a lid on costs. Some analysts appeared unconvinced that the plan would help expand margins. The presentation was a chance for CEO Oscar Munoz and other top United brass to impress investors, who had dumped shares after executives on a tense earnings call last quarter gave a fuzzy picture of its costs and other metrics for 2018. The company did post better-than-expected results for the fourth quarter of 2017: $1.40 per share on an adjusted basis. Wall Street analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were expectin...

After-hours buzz: UAL, TXN & more

Check out the companies making headlines after the bell Tuesday: Shares of United Continental gained 3.3 percent before settling down nearly 5 percent in extended trading. Shares flew after the airline company reported fourth quarter financial results, in which United beat expectations on both top and bottom lines. United reported earnings of $1.40 on $9.44 billion in revenue. Shares later sunk after the company reported it would expand U.S. seat capacity, driving up costs but enabling future growth. Texas Instruments stock fell more than 6 percent in the extended session. The chipmaker reported fourth quarter earnings of $1.09 on $3.75 billion in revenue, which met expectations for earnings and just beat on revenue. Texas Instruments saw a one-time 67 percent reduction in profits, that th...

California in Recession? (Part II)

The release of labor market indicators suggests not, contra some recent commentary. Figure 1: California civilian employment over age 16 from household survey (black), nonfarm payroll employment (dark blue), private nonfarm payroll employment (pink) from establishment survey, all in thousands, seasonally adjusted, on log scale. NBER defined recession dates shaded gray. Source: BLS and NBER. For comparison, here is Wisconsin and the Nation nonfarm payroll, all logged and normalized to 2011M01=0. Figure 2: Log nonfarm payroll employment for California (blue), Wisconsin (red), and US (black), seasonally adjusted, normalized to 2011M01=0. Source: BLS and author’s calculations. The Philadelphia Fed’s coincident index for California rose through the November reading; the November leading index i...