1. U.S. Stock Market:
“U.S. equities traded higher on Wednesday as investors cheered the Federal Reserve’s plan for scaling back its massive $4.5 trillion balance sheet. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 60 points, with Goldman Sachs contributing the most gains. The Nasdaq composite advanced. The S&P 500 gained 0.1 percent, as materials led advancers, putting it on track to post a record close.”
“U.S. stocks were volatile but still slightly higher on Wednesday after minutes of the Federal Reserve’s latest meeting showed policymakers agreed they should hold off on raising rates until evidence a recent economic slowdown was transitory. The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 68.29 points, or 0.33 percent, to 21,006.2, the S&P 500 .SPX had gained 4.54 points, or 0.19 percent, to 2,402.96 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC had added 16.42 points, or 0.27 percent, to 6,155.13.”
“U.S. stocks clung to small gains Wednesday after minutes of the Federal Reserve’s latest policy meeting showed broad agreement on plans to begin shrinking the central bank’s balance sheet and also pointed to a likely rate increase next month. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.26% was up 43 points, or 0.2%, at 20,981. The S&P 500 SPX, +0.14% was up 2 points, or 0.1%, to 2,400. The Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +0.26% was up 10 points to 6,149, a gain of 0.2%.”
2. U.S. Bond Market:
“U.S. 10-year Treasury yields fell to session lows in early U.S. trading on Wednesday, underpinned by some safe-haven demand in the wake of Moody’s downgrade of China’s debt rating, citing its slowing growth and rising indebtedness. At 8:54 a.m. (1254 GMT), benchmark 10-year government note yield was down 0.5 basis point at 2.278 percent, while the 30-year bond yield was 1.3 basis points lower at 2.932 percent, Reuters data showed.”
“The U.S. Treasuries gained as investors await to read the Federal Reserve’s minutes of the last policy meeting, scheduled to be released later in the day. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury, slipped nearly 1 basis point to 2.27 percent, the super-long 30-year bond yields fell 1 basis point to 2.93 percent and the yield on short-term 2-year note traded 1/2 basis point lower at 1.32 percent.”
3. FX Markets:
“The U.S. dollar churned little changed against leading rivals Wednesday ahead of the release of Federal Reserve meeting minutes that are largely expected to back expectations for another interest-rate hike come June. The dollar USDJPY, +0.13% fell 0.1% against its Japanese counterpart to change hands at ¥111.78 from ¥111.79 late Tuesday in New York. Then yen is up 4.4% this year. The euro EURUSD, +0.0358% rose less than 0.1% to $1.1188, although it also seen big gains this year. The pound GBPUSD, -0.1389% was down 0.1% to $1.2940, compared with $1.2961 late Tuesday. The Chinese yuan USDCNH, -0.0407% was trading little changed at 6.8784 to the dollar after Moody’s Investor Service downgraded China’s sovereign credit rating for the first time since 1989.”
“The dollar held steady against other major currencies in quiet trade on Wednesday, as investors awaited the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s latest policy meeting due later in the day. EUR/USD edged up 0.10% to 1.1194, off Tuesday’s six-month high of 1.1268. Elsewhere, GBP/USD was little changed at 1.2966. USD/JPY held steady at 111.81, while USD/CHF was little changed at 0.9762. The Australian dollar was also steady, with AUD/USD at 0.7478, while NZD/USD gained 0.36% to 0.7036.”
“Oil futures were little changed Wednesday, holding on to a weekly gain ahead of a looming decision on output cuts by major producers and prospects of falling U.S. supplies. Light, sweet crude for July delivery CLN7, +0.02% on the New York Mercantile Exchange was flat at $51.47 a barrel. Brent crude LCON7, +0.17% the global benchmark, rose 5 cents, or 0.1%, to $54.20.”
“Gold prices remain under pressure, seeing little movement after the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) latest report showed slowing momentum in the U.S. housing sector. Wednesday, the association said that existing home sales fell 2.3% last month to a seasonally adjusted and annualized rate of 5.57 million units, compared to March’s revised annualized rate of 5.7 million homes. Economists were expecting to see a small decline to 5.65 million units. Gold prices were under pressure ahead of the report and have remained relatively unchanged in initial reaction. June Comex gold futures last traded at $1,253 an ounce, down 0.20%.”
“Uncertainty about what happens next with an OPEC-led production cut and lower-than-expected supply drains pushed oil prices lower early Wednesday. The price for Brent crude oil was down 0.13 percent about a half hour before the start of trading in New York to $54.08 per barrel. West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark for the price of oil, was down 0.37 percent to $51.28 per barrel.”
5. Market Movers:
Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:INO) is flying high this morning, currently trading $1.60 higher at $8.73 – a 22 percent boost. The sudden surge comes after the company announced earlier today that its HIV vaccine has generated some of the highest immune response rates ever recorded for a product of its kind. The company’s stock is also soaring when it comes to volume, with over 13.3 million shares already traded so far today. On a typical trading day, only about 768,000 shares of Inovio change hands. Inovio told investors this morning via a press release that its vaccine, Pennvax-GP, had produced extremely promising results after being evaluated in its first clinical study – a trial referred to as the “HVTN 098” program.
Fidelity & Guaranty Life (NYSE:FGL) announced Wednesday morning that it has agreed to be acquired by CF Corp. (CFCO) for $31.10 per share in cash. Fidelity & Guaranty Life gapped open sharply higher Wednesday morning and is now up 1.88 at $30.58. The stock has jumped to a new high for the year.
Bristow Group Inc (NYSE:BRS) BRS 28.93% was down, falling around 24 percent to $11.16. Bristow Group reported Q4 adjusted loss of $1.15 per share on revenue of $323.651 million. The company projects FY18 results to be impacted by continued offshore oil and gas industry downturn.
The Container Store Group Inc (NYSE:TCS)‘s stock surged 37% to $5.67 a share after the company reported fourth-quarter results that beat analysts’ expectations and announced a restructuring plan. Net sales for the period were $221 million, exceeding consensus estimates of $213 million. The specialty retail chain also provided full-year 2017 guidance, saying net sales would be between $830 million to $850 million, and forecasting earnings per share of $0.25 to $0.35. Both beat analyst estimates.
Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ALXN) was the second-worst performing stock in the S&P 500 after the biotech company made massive changes to its executive suite, changes which caused its shares to tumble 9.3%. The pressure hasn’t let up today either, as Alexion’s stock has dropped another 3% this morning. Shares of Alexion Pharmaceuticals have dropped 3.5% to $100.98 at 10:48 a.m. today, while the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB) has declined 0.3% to $290.20.
Shares of Chico’s FAS, Inc. (NYSE:CHS) CHS, -11.45% sank 15.7% in morning trade Wednesday to the lowest price seen September 2010, after the women’s apparel retailer’s disappointing fiscal first-quarter results and outlook. The stock is on track to suffer the biggest one-day percentage loss since May 6, 2006, when it plunged 19%. Volume topped 5 million shares within the first 30 minutes after the open, compared with the full-day average of 2.8 million shares.
Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (NYSE:LOW) LOW 4.13% shares are trading lower by $3.40 (4.3 percent) at $78.94 in Wednesday’s session. The catalyst for the decline is a Q1 EPS miss of three cents along with a slight revenue miss. Lowe’s sees FY2017 EPS guidance at $4.30 vs. $4.64 estimates. After a much lower open, Lowe’s had a brief rally to $79.96 before continuing its descent lower. So far, the ensuing decline has reached $78.40 and is attempting to reenter the $79.00 handle.
What happened: Shares of airplane parts supplier Triumph Group Inc (NYSE:TGI) are up 28% as of 2 p.m. EDT. So what: Triumph Group reported its fiscal fourth-quarter and full-year 2017 (yes, they’re a little ahead of everyone else) earnings this morning. Sales of $919.9 million fell a bit below consensus expectations for $924.8 million, and the company reported losses per diluted share of $2.57. Additionally, Triumph Group forecast that fiscal 2018 revenues will fall well short of analysts’ hoped-for $3.5 billion in sales and will range between $3.1 billion and $3.2 billion instead.
Shares of Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE:ANF) were halted on Wednesday after reports that American Eagle Outfitters (NYSE:AEO) was teaming up with a deep-pocketed private equity firm on a bid. The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday afternoon that American Eagle has teamed up with Cerberus Capital Management to bid for Abercrombie, which confirmed earlier this month that it’s in talks to sell itself.
What happened: Shares of Aegean Marine Petroleum Network Inc. (NYSE:ANW) got slammed on Wednesday, plunging 32% by 11 a.m. EDT after the company reported atrocious first-quarter results, which immediately prompted an analyst downgrade. So what: Aegean Marine recorded just $1.4 million, or $0.03 per share, in net income during the first quarter, which was down 88.1% year over year due to higher operating expenses and finance costs. The results missed the consensus estimate by a country mile given that analysts expected the company to earn $0.36 per share. The miss came despite the fact that revenue more than doubled, to $1.5 billion, and was $360 million higher than analysts anticipated.
Neurocrine Biosciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:NBIX)‘s Phase II study of Ingrezza in pediatric Tourette’s failed, as it appears that too few patients got therapeutic doses of the drug. Management plans to continue on with this indication, with a Phase IIb study likely to follow after a meeting with the FDA, and the rationale for continuing seems solid. Near-term drivers could be more limited, but Neurocrine shares look undervalued below the high $60’s, with both Ingrezza and Elagolix driving meaningful per-share value.
Puma Biotechnology Inc (NASDAQ:PBYI) traders are eagerly-anticipating the end of the trading halt for Puma on Wednesday after the company received a positive recommendation for approval of neratinib from the FDA’s Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee. The advisory committee voted 12-4 to recommend approval of neratinib for treatment of patients with early-stage HER2-positive breast cancer.
Beaten-down pharma specialist Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (ADR) (NYSE:TEVA), which has seen its value plummet some 45% over the past year, remains an intriguing option for risk-tolerant investors who looking for potential bounce-back candidate. TEVA stock closed Tuesday at $28.76, down roughly 20% year-to-date, with a 15% rout having occurred over the past three months. Now at decade lows, Teva trails not only the 7% rise in the S&P 500 Index, but has also grossly underperformed the 8% rise in the VanEck Vectors Pharmaceutical ETF (NASDAQ:PPH).
Scorpio Tankers Inc. (NYSE:STNG) will acquire the Navig8 Product Tankers 27 eco-designed product tanker fleet. The enlarged Scorpio Tankers will be the third largest tanker owning group in the world. The deal will see Scorpio Tankers buy the 10 LR1/2s owned by Navig8 Product Tankers, as well as take over the 17 vessels on bare boat charter to Navig8. VesselsValue says Navig8’s 10 wholly owned product tankers are worth US$362.52 million today. The other 17 involved in the deal are chartered in on bare boat from CSSC Shipping, China Merchants Bank, Bank of Communications and Ocean Yield ASA. These 17 vessels have a market value today of US$661.64 million according to VesselsValue.
Tiffany & Co. (NYSE:TIF) reported first quarter EPS of $0.74 Wednesday morning, up from $0.69 a year ago. Sales rose 1% to $899.6 million from $891.3 million last year. The consensus estimates were for EPS of $0.70 and revenues of $913.44 million. Tiffany gapped open sharply lower Wednesday morning and is now down 8.23 at $84.91. The stock has tumbled to over a 3-month low.