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Jun 14, 2018

After-hours buzz: ADBE, JBL and more | CNBC

After-hours buzz: ADBE, JBL and more

Chloe Aiello

Shantanu Narayen, CEO, Adobe Mark Neuling | CNBC
Shantanu Narayen, CEO, Adobe
Check out the companies making headlines after the bell:
Shares of Adobe tumbled 3 percent in extended trading. The design software company reported better-than-expected earnings for the second quarter of its 2018 fiscal year and forecast strong third-quarter guidance. Adobe reported earnings per share of $1.66 on revenue of $2.2 billion, versus the $1.54 EPS on $2.16 billion in revenue analysts expected.
Jabil Circuit stock jumped 3.2 percent after the bell. The manufacturing services company reported third-quarter earnings that beat Wall Street expectations. Jabil also announced a $350 million share repurchase program that will expire in August 2019.
Time Warner climbed 1.6 percent in extended trading after the U.S. government agreed not to seek a stay that could delay the approved deal with AT&T. AT&T has said it could close its $85 billion acquisition of Warner as early as tomorrow, according to a court filing.
Shares of AT&T dipped slightly on the news.
Shares of Finisar seesawed in the extended session before settling up close to 1 percent. The optical component manufacturer reported fourth-quarter financial results that Finisar CEO Michael Hurlston called disappointing.
"While we are disappointed in last quarter's results, we do expect both revenues and gross margins will increase in our fiscal first quarter," Hurlston said in a statement.
Finisar is still up 3 percent week to date. Optical stocks jumped after U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced a deal with Chinese telecom giant ZTE, Reuters reported.

Mutual Funds and ETF stories | Market Watch

Mutual Funds
JUNE 14, 2018

This week's Mutual Funds and ETF stories

By MarketWatch

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Mutual Funds
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Don't miss these top money and investing features:

Famed investor Warren Buffett auctions off a lunch with himself for charity every year; most recently the winning bidder paid just over $3 million. But it's really more than just a lunch. Ten years ago, investor Guy Spier and a friend won this unique opportunity, and the lessons about investing and life that Spier learned from Buffett that day have stuck with him.

In this week's digest, Spier shares some of Buffett's wisdom, advice that has helped him manage money for himself and his clients, and just might help you as well. Then, check out other lessons on the importance of being disciplined, as an investor and a person, with money and life decisions you make.

Plus, see why companies that experts have deemed great are not necessarily good stocks, and find out where to get fat yields for your income needs.

— Jonathan Burton


What lunch with Warren Buffett taught me about investing and life

Guy Spier was a winner of Buffett's coveted charity auction; now he's offering his own version
What lunch with Warren Buffett taught me about investing and life

These 5 lessons from West Point can make you a better investor — and a better person

You're the secret to your success.
These 5 lessons from West Point can make you a better investor — and a better person

Calling a company ‘great' doesn't make it a good stock

Backward-looking studies, undermined by data mining, are a trap for investors
Calling a company ‘great' doesn't make it a good stock

How to get 5%-plus yields from your investments

You can choose your risk profile, too, from big telecom to closed-end funds
How to get 5%-plus yields from your investments

Why investors shouldn't give up on value investing just yet

Value investing remains deeply unpopular, having lagged the performance of growth stocks for years. Here's why it shouldn't be overlooked.
Why investors shouldn't give up on value investing just yet

AT&T, Time Warner and the entire media merger frenzy explained

From AT&T and Time Warner to the hot pursuit of 21st Century Fox and Sky, media mergers are in full swing. Why now? WSJ's Amol Sharma answers all your questions about the forces driving media deals.
 AT&T, Time Warner and the entire media merger frenzy explained

System takeover 300x601
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Daily dose of inspiration:
"Picasso had a saying. He said, 'Good artists copy, great artists steal.' And we have always been shameless about stealing great ideas."
- Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple
3 things to help you make it.
The surprising thing Elon Musk, Kanye West and Steve Jobs all have in common
TrackMaven CEO Allen Gannett says anyone can come up with great, world-changing ideas if they understand the formula to success used by the likes of Elon Musk.
Read More »
3 ways to find happiness, according to a 22-year-old who has suffered unspeakable tragedy
Kayvon Asemani's dad tried to murder his mom when he was 9. Now he's a college grad with a job at Facebook and the personal support of Sheryl Sandberg.
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The 8 highest-paid soccer players in the world
Sadly, one won't make it to the World Cup.
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Labor and Greens back charities’ objections to foreign influence laws | Australia news | The Guardian

Labor and Greens back charities’ objections to foreign influence laws | Australia news

Katharine Murphy

Labor and the Greens have backed a list of demands from the charities and not-for-profit sector as the parliament continues to consider controversial electoral reforms and the foreign influence transparency scheme.
Following a signal from the Labor leader Bill Shorten that the opposition “won’t support anything that punishes the charity and not-for-profit sector”, Labor and the Greens have now endorsed six principles articulated by an alliance of charities and not-for-profits.
While the political focus this week has been on the potential impact of the proposed foreign influence transparency legislation on the Chinese company Huawei, charities and not for profits are concerned the legislation would require groups to register every time they undertake communications or lobbying activities on behalf of or with the knowledge of a “foreign principal”.
The alliance of charities and not-for-profits says the regime “would have serious impacts on the work of groups like WWF-Australia, Pew Charitable Trusts and Oxfam Australia, who work with international partners”.
“In fact, the definition of foreign principal is so broad, that it may require those who work for these organisations to register as an agent of UN bodies or international governments if they so much as make a presentation to them that refers to planned activities”.
The group has outlined six principles that Labor and the Greens have endorsed.
It says the sector should have the capacity to use international funding for issues-based advocacy. Any legislation needs to ensure there is “a clear distinction between issues-based advocacy and politically partisan electioneering” – with the definitions consistent with a distinction drawn in the Charities Act.
The group wants to ensure the sector does not face an increase in their current compliance requirements and “are not subject to more extensive regulatory controls and administrative requirements or criminal offences than other third parties, for example businesses and industry associations”.
It says donors of gifts that are not intended or used for promoting or opposing a candidate or a party for political office “should not be subject to new public reporting or registration requirements”.
The alliance also insists charities should be “free to cooperate on issues-based advocacy to advance issues of public interest, including by working with non-Australian citizens and non-permanent Australian residents”.
The shadow charities minister, Andrew Leigh, said the opposition endorsed the principles because “charities shouldn’t be caught in the crossfire of any proposed legislation.”
“There is bipartisan support for banning foreign political donations, but banning donations to political parties should not entail cutting down free speech,” Leigh said.
“The advocacy voice of charities and not-for-profits is not only the voice of the various organisations — it is the voice of every Australian who donates, volunteers or is a member of a charity. When the voice of charities and not-for-profits are threatened, so is our democracy.”
With many groups – business, universities, as well as charities – complaining about the impact of the proposed regime, the attorney-general Christian Porter a week ago produced amendments to the proposed register of foreign agents with the objective of limiting its reach.
The charities alliance wants the new regime to be unambiguous in its application, because there is currently confusion about who is required to register.
The Chinese telecommunications company Huawei said on Thursday it may not have to register, and it’s not clear whether aid groups would have to declare their activities when they don’t have contractual relationships with other parties.
“Oxfam regularly works with foreign governments in the delivery of aid programs. We use those experiences and relationships in our communications with the department of foreign affairs and trade, and in the work we do to inform and influence Australia’s aid policy and programming,” said Helen Szoke, chief executive of Oxfam.
“The foreign influence transparency scheme would require us to register as a foreign agent in those situations,” she said.
While Porter has argued there is no stigma attached to being on the register, that it is only a transparency measure, Szoke says humanitarian work “must be seen as independent and neutral”.
“Being categorised as a foreign agent could hurt our reputation with partners in Australia and overseas.”

8 Stocks Seen Surging On New Merger Wave | Investopedia

8 Stocks Seen Surging On New Merger Wave

Mark Kolakowski

Expect the floodgates to open for M&A activity, pursuant to the court approval granted on June 12 to the $85 billion bid by telecom provider AT&T Inc. (T) for cable TV giant Time Warner Inc. (TWX). "The court ruling is significantly important because it will affect the process and pace of broader M&A activity which is also seen as another significant upside catalyst for the market," according to a research report from Ivan Feinseth, chief investment officer (CIO) and director of research at Tigress Financial Partners, as quoted by Barron's. In the wake of the court's decision, the shares of other companies known or rumored to be acquisition targets or merger candidates have jumped, among them, per Barron's:
Source: Barron's

The Battle For Fox

Shares of Twenty-First Fox have surged after the AT&T ruling, as a bidding war appears to be heating up between Comcast Corp. (CMSCA) and The Walt Disney Co. (DIS) for various Fox assets, primarily in cable and satellite television. Comcast is expected to offer $60 billion in cash for these assets, versus an existing $52 billion all-stock bid by Disney, CNBC reports.
FOX Chart
FOX data by YCharts

More Media Mania

CBS and Viacom have already been engaged in merger talks with each other, but the plot may thicken, with telecom provider Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) or cable TV company Charter Communication Inc. (CHTR) as possible suitors for either or both, per CNBC as well as a report in The Wall Street Journal. Verizon already is a TV provider through its FiOS fiber optic communications service. More interesting still, CNBC speculates that wireless phone providers Sprint and T-Mobile may look to expand into TV via acquisition once their own plan to merge goes through.
Another player may be cable TV mogul John Malone, the chairman and controlling shareholder of Liberty Media Corp. (FWONA). CNBC notes that he also has stakes in Discovery and Charter, among others, and a longstanding belief that smaller TV content providers would benefit from consolidation, possibly also including their combination with cable or wireless companies.

Horizontal vs. Vertical Mergers

Drugstore chain CVS Health Corp. (CVS) already has announced a plan to acquire health insurance company Aetna, while health insurer Cigna Corp. (CI) seeks to buy pharmacy benefit management (PBM) firm Express Scripts (ESRX). Unlike AT&T's bid for Time Warner, which represents a horizontal merger among rivals in the same market, these two healthcare combinations would be vertical mergers of companies in complementary, but different markets, MarketWatch reports. As a result, MarketWatch speculates that these health care deals are even more likely to win approval, given that they do not eliminate direct competition.

Airline Relative Underperformance Continues | Investopedia

JC Parets

If you've been reading posts from All Star Charts as of late, you've probably noticed a lot of posts about the areas of the market showing relative strength, such as technology and consumer discretionary. However, one industry not getting as much attention is airlines. The reason for that is simple: the Dow Jones Transportation Average ($DJT) is sitting roughly 3% off all-time highs within a strong uptrend, but airlines continue to struggle to gain any altitude, sitting at 52-week lows on an absolute basis and crashing on a relative basis.
The chart below is daily chart of the NYSE Arca Airlines Index ($XAL). For the past 1.5 years, the index has made absolutely no progress, and it continues to chop around between 103 and 124. This chart is one we'd put in the "hot mess" category and steer clear of. While there may be opportunities on an absolute basis in individual stocks or opportunity for range traders in the index, there's often tremendous opportunity cost sitting in markets like this that just aren't trending. (See also: Why Airlines Aren't Profitable.)
Technical chart showing the performance of the NYSE Arca Airlines Index ($XAL)
With that said, the charts that I think speak volumes about airlines are the ones on a relative basis.
Below is a chart of the Airline Index vs. the Dow Jones Transportation Average showing the massive top this ratio has put in over the past four years. Prices broke decisively below the 2015-2016 lows in April and quickly accelerated to the downside, now approaching nearly four-year lows. While this move may be extended in the short term, this is not a long-term pattern we want to be buying. One technical analysis principle is that there is symmetry in price moves, which would suggest that this is the beginning of a multi-year downtrend, with a price target approximately 32% below the April breakdown level, with several levels of potential support along the way.
Technical chart showing the performance of the NYSE Arca Airlines Index ($XAL) vs. the Dow Jones Transportation Average ($DJT)
[Beyond the symmetry of price moves, I cover many more important principles of Technical Analysis in my course on the Investopedia Academy, which features over 75 lessons of on demand video, exercises and interactive content.]
In addition to this, the Airline Index vs. the S&P 500 broke down to 4.5-year lows in May and looks vulnerable to a decline similar in length and magnitude. The measured move of this symmetrical triangle is down near the 2011-2012 lows, representing a nearly 35% decline from the level prices broke below in May. Like the pattern we saw above, this is the beginning of a long-term downtrend that we want no part of on the long side.

The Bottom Line

On an absolute basis, there appears to be very little edge in the Airline Index until this 103 to 124 range resolves itself decisively. While there are several long and short opportunities that look attractive in individual names, it's important to take into account the relative performance of the industry to determine the opportunity cost of putting on a trade.
As of now, the weight of the evidence suggests that this group of stocks is likely to underperform the Dow Jones Transportation Average and the broader market. As a result, we want to continue to focus our efforts on the sectors making new highs to express our bullish thesis in equities. When the weight of evidence changes, we'll gladly change our minds, but for now, it looks like there are better places to be.
If you enjoyed this post, consider joining the All Star Charts community by starting a 30 day risk-free trial or signing up for our "Free Chart of the Week".
From the desk of Tom Bruni, @BruniCharting
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The Biggest Lie In Investing That You Believe In | TEDx Talk

Original Published on June 13, 2018

US Treasury yields fall after ECB says rates to stay low until 2019 | Bonds | CNBC

US Treasury yields fall after ECB says rates to stay low until 2019

Thomas Franck, Silvia Amaro

U.S. government debt yields dropped Thursday after the European Central Bank said it would hold interest rates low at least until summer 2019.
Though the ECB also outlined its plan to halt its quantitative easing policy by the end of 2018, many on Wall Street interpreted the central bank's rate forecast as more dovish than expected, pushing Treasury yields lower.
"The Governing Council expects the key ECB interest rates to remain at their present levels at least through the summer of 2019 and in any case for as long as necessary," the ECB said in its statement.
The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.939 percent at 3:21 p.m. ET, while the yield on the 30-year Treasury bond dropped to 3.058 percent. Bond yields move inversely to prices.
"The ECB did what the market generally expected which was to define a time and a direction for QE," said Thierry Wizman, global interest rates and currencies strategist at Macquarie Group. "But the euro has sold off despite this because the rates guidance that they provided was more dovish than what the market expected."
The ECB said that if incoming data follows expectations, then its monthly bond purchasing program would be extended through the end of the year, though at a lower pace. Until now, the central bank was scheduled to maintain its QE through September, carrying monthly purchases of €30 billion ($35 billion) of government and private debt.
Those purchases will now be cut to €15 billion during the last three months of 2018. The 10-year German bund yield fell sharply following the statement to 0.42 percent.
"Draghi said they didn't even discuss a date for the end of low rates," Wizman added. "This is about rates guidance, not QE."
The announcement from ECB President Mario Draghi and his colleagues came after the U.S. Federal Reserve announced a rate hike of 25 basis points on Wednesday and said there could be two more before the end of the year, more than previously anticipated.
The Fed changed several phrases from its prior memos, citing more optimistic economic growth and higher inflation expectations.
"Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in May indicates that the labor market has continued to strengthen and that economic activity has been rising at a solid rate," the Fed statement read. "Job gains have been strong, on average, in recent months, and the unemployment rate has declined."
Wednesday's increase in rates moves the funds target rate to 1.75 percent to 2 percent.
U.S. retail sales jumped more than expected in May as consumers purchased automobiles and a range of other goods despite rising gasoline prices, according to the Commerce Department. The government said Thursday that retail sales leaped 0.8 percent last month, the biggest advance since November 2017 and well ahead of economists' expectations of a 0.4 percent increase.
Excluding volatile automobile, gasoline, building materials and food services, retail sales increased 0.5 percent last month after an upwardly revised 0.6 percent increase in April.

Here’s how the ECB just breathed new life into the dollar rally, analysts say | MarketWatch

Here’s how the ECB just breathed new life into the dollar rally, analysts say

Anneken Tappe

By guaranteeing that it will sit on its hands for at least a year when it comes to raising interest rates, the European Central Bank sank the euro Thursday and potentially gave the dollar fuel for a long-running rally, analysts said.
Though the ECB did more or less what market participants expected it to do in terms of laying out a plan to wind down its QE program. The euro’s EURUSD, +0.0000%  sharp drop reflected surprise at the promise by policy makers led by ECB President Mario Draghi to leave interest rates at present, ultralow levels until at least next summer. Investors had penciled in a move in the first half of 2019.
Read: 5 key takeaways from the ECB’s decision to wind down its massive bond-buying program
Marc Ostwald, global strategist at ADM Investor Services International, called it “how to announce the end of QE and stay very dovish — another Draghi tour de force.”
The shared currency registered its steepest one-day drop since the U.K. vote to leave the European Union in June 2016, last fetching $1.1595, down 1.7% at its lowest level since the beginning of the month, according to FactSet data. Meanwhile, the ICE U.S. Dollar Index DXY, +1.40%  bounced 1.1% higher to 94.732.
And this might just be the opening act for a theme that could endure for at least 12 months. While the Fed is expected to deliver up to two more rate increases in 2018 and further hikes next year, the ECB just ensured it won’t move until the latter half of next year at the earliest.
The spread between yields on 10-year U.S. Treasury notes TMUBMUSD10Y, -1.02%  and 10-year German bunds TMBMKDE-10Y, -11.48% widened to 252 basis points on Thursday, the most since the euro was adopted. The prospect for a further widening of rate differentials offers bulls more fodder, analysts said.
“While euro-dollar traders appear to still be fixated with the 10-year U.S./bund spread, this sharp widening in Fed and ECB rate expectations should not be ridden roughshod over,” said Ostwald.
The Federal Reserve completed its seventh on Wednesday, putting its key rates in the range of 1.75% to 2%. Dollar bulls have long been touting the rate differentials between the eurozone and the U.S., but they just got more ammunition.
By the time the ECB gets around to upping its rates, “differentials will have moved even further in favor of the U.S. dollar,” said Rabobank senior FX strategist Jane Foley. “We continue to hold the view that the Fed may forgo a rate hike in December and limit itself to a total of three moves in 2018. Either way, by September 2019, the ECB will be significantly behind the Fed in terms of policy normalization.”
The Fed’s dot plot shows policy makers expect two additional rate increases this year, followed by three in 2019, while the ECB’s main lending rate is set to remain at 0% until next summer.
“By the end of 2019, the Fed expects to have raised rates 12 times since the end of 2014, yet we remain no clearer as to when to expect the next rate increase from either the European Central Bank, Bank of Japan or the Bank of England,” wrote Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets U.K. “This continued widening of interest rate differentials could act as a significant global headwind in the coming months.”
Another problem arises when factoring in the recently rising oil prices, which are expected to push eurozone inflation higher over the next months. This could force “the ECB to jawbone FX and yields earlier than expected,” said Ashraf Laidi of Intermarket Strategy on his blog.
Also read: As election looms, Turkish lira feels more pain after Fed rate hike

Gold hits one-month high on ECB decision, trade tensions I CNBC

Gold hits one-month high on ECB decision, trade tensions


Getty Images
Gold prices rose to a one-month high on Thursday after the European Central Bank (ECB) pledged to keep interest rates steady through the summer of 2019 and investors fretted over weak Chinese data.
The precious metal's upside, however, was capped by a firmer dollar and a slightly more hawkish U.S. Federal Reserve.
Spot gold gained 0.3 percent at $1,303.38 per ounce U.S. gold futures for August delivery settled up $7, or 0.5 percent, at $1,308.30 per ounce.
The ECB said it would end its unprecedented bond purchase scheme by the close of the year, but signaled that this would not mean rapid policy tightening in the coming months.
"The ECB ... has now delivered an intrinsically hawkish announcement (i.e., the end of QE) in a dovish tone," Luigi Speranza, head of European market economics at BNP Paribas, said in a note.
Higher interest rates generally depress the price of gold, a non-interest bearing asset. The ECB move sent the euro down while the dollar index extended its gains as U.S. retail sales posted their strongest rise in six months, supporting the view the Fed would raise short-term interest rates further. On Wednesday, the Fed lifted key overnight borrowing costs increases by the end of this year, compared to one previously.
A stronger greenback typically makes dollar-priced gold more expensive for non-U.S. investors. But gold got a boost after China said it was ready to respond if U.S. President Donald Trump activated tariffs on Chinese goods.
"Trade tensions ... are supportive for gold but having said that we don't think the upside is open because there are headwinds coming from the global recovery ... and the fact that the Fed is more hawkish," said Societe Generale analyst Robin Bhar.
Inflation worries also lent support, said Michael Matousek, head trader at U.S. Global Investors. As production costs rise with inflation, companies have less profits to allocate toward employees, so wages are not growing much, he explained.
"(Investors) are purchasing gold, because they can understand it, as opposed to not understanding why that wage inflation is not going up more," Matousek said.

The Tech Bubble Will BURST! - Morgan Stanley's Latest WARNING I World Alternative Media

Asia, Europe and U.S. Stock Market at Close Report | CNBC


Asian shares close lower after Fed signals more hikes; trade in focus

Cheang Ming

Major Asian markets closed sharply lower on Thursday after the Federal Reserve raised interest rates, a widely expected move, and indicated two more rate hikes were likely in 2018.
The Nikkei 225 saw losses steepen as the yen firmed near the end of the session. The index sank 0.99 percent, or 227.77 points, to end at 22,738.61. Declines were broad-based, with mining stocks falling 1.79 and consumer names also sliding. Banks and shippers, however, clung to gains.
In Seoul, the Kospi fell 1.84 percent to 2,423.48, lagging other major markets in the region. Automakers were lower, with Hyundai Motor falling 3.91 percent.Technology stocks were a mixed picture, with Samsung Electronics dropping 2.43 percent and LG Electronics bucking the trend to rise 4 percent.
Elsewhere, the S&P/ASX 200 sank below the flat line, closing lower by 0.11 percent at 6,016.60. Gains in materials and telecommunications were offset by declines in the financials subindex. Utilities stocks fell more than 1 percent after jumping in the previous session.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index dropped 1.09 percent by 3:15 p.m. HK/SIN, with the energy, consumer goods, property and technology sectors all seeing declines of more than 1 percent before the market close. Mainland markets saw slimmer losses, with the Shanghai composite erasing early gains to close lower by 0.17 percent at 3,044.46.
The declines recorded in greater China markets came as China's industrial production for May came in below expectations at 6.8 percent. Fixed asset investment and retail sales also missed forecasts.
MSCI's index of shares in Asia Pacific excluding Japan sank 1.21 percent in the afternoon.

Fed signals two more hikes this year 

The Federal Reserve raised rates by 25 basis points and signaled two additional rate hikes later in the year. Wednesday's interest rate hike pushed up the funds rate target to 1.75 percent to 2 percent. The central bank's first rate hike this year took place in March.
"The rate hike was a forgone conclusion, so did little to stir. But the decisive vote to shift up 2018 'dot plot' to four rate hikes from three was arguably the real, and more distinct hawkish trigger," Vishnu Varathan, head of economics and strategy at Mizuho Bank, said in a morning note.
U.S. stocks ended lower after the Fed raised interest rates, with the Dow Jones industrial average declining 0.47 percent, or 119.53 points, to close at 25,201.20.
U.S. Treasury yields rose on the back of the Fed's move, with the yield on the benchmark 10-year note crossing the 3 percent level, before later receding. The two-year Treasury note yield, meanwhile, hit its highest level since 2008 in the last session.
The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of currencies, rose as high as 94.028 on Wednesday, before easing to last trade at 93.402.
Against the yen, the dollar softened to trade at 109.96 by 3:19 p.m. HK/SIN, compared to its previous close above the 110.30 level.
Markets will next focus on the European Central Bank, which could yield hints on the winding down of its quantitative easing program at the end of its meeting later in the day. The Bank of Japan's policy meeting, meanwhile, will end on Friday.
Trade tensions, which had recently yielded some of the spotlight to nuclear negotiations, could also make a return to the fore. U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to meet with members of his administration to make a decision on whether or not to activate billions in tariffs on Chinese imports, Reuters reported, citing a source.


Europe markets close 1.4% higher as ECB plans 'dovish' end to QE; Aveva up 12%

Silvia Amaro, Justina Crabtree

FTSE FTSE 7765.79
62.08 0.81% 1152935067
DAX DAX 13107.10
216.52 1.68% 140300205
CAC CAC 5528.46
75.73 1.39% 102999445
IBEX 35 --- --- --- --- --- ---
The pan-European Stoxx 600 pushed higher during afternoon deals to close 1.4 percent in the green, despite negative trade in the morning. All major bourses and business sectors were positive.
The ECB outlined plans to end its massive stimulus program by the end of 2018, but also claimed interest rates won't likely budge for more than a year. This "dovish" end to its stimulus program led to a fall in the euro and a rise in stocks. Both France's CAC and the German DAX closed up approximately 1.5 percent on the news.
Looking across the European benchmark, Aveva shares led the gains, trading in the double digits throughout the day and closing up 12 percent. The company reported a full-year adjusted pretax profit of over 23 percent.
WPP shares fell following a heated annual general meeting in the previous session. Thirty percent of shareholders voted against a pay proposal involving the former chief Martin Sorrell, who left the company in April following an allegation of misconduct. Almost 17 percent of shareholders were also against the re-election of chairman Roberto Quarta. The media giant's stock closed down 0.4 percent.
Total Votes:
Not a Scientific Survey. Results may not total 100% due to rounding.
Volkswagen shares closed 2.2 percent to the upside, though they were negative earlier in the session after the German carmaker was fined 1 billion euros over its diesel emissions scandal. German prosecutors have said that VW sold over 10 million cars with a cheating software that understated diesel emissions. Volkswagen accepted the verdict, saying it won't appeal against it. This is one of the highest ever fines imposed by German authorities on a company.
Meanwhile, Rolls-Royce remained near the top of the benchmark throughout the day, closing 6.5 percent higher as it announced plans to slash 4,600 jobs to streamline the business. The U.K. listed engineer said the cuts, which represent around 9 percent of its workforce, will help the engine maker meet its free cash flow target through cost savings of around 400 million pounds.
Shares of Unilever slumped after warning its first-half sales will come in below its 3 to 5 percent full-year target. The Anglo-Dutch firm also said that it is "extremely unlikely" to remain listed in the FTSE after consolidating its headquarters in the Netherlands. Unilever's stock closed 2.8 percent lower.

US stocks lifted by tech and media deal activity

The Nasdaq composite rose half a percent on Thursday as technology and media shares were lifted by dealmaking activity. The S&P 500 also rose 0.1 percent, with tech as the best-performing sector. Meanwhile, the Dow Jones industrial average traded 29 points lower as bank shares declined.


Nasdaq closes at all-time high as media and tech stocks jump on dealmaking

Fred Imbert, Silvia Amaro

The Nasdaq composite hit an all-time high on Thursday as dealmaking activity lifted technology and media shares.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq rose 0.8 percent with Facebook, Netflix and Alphabet among the best-performing stocks. The S&P 500 also traded higher, climbing 0.3 percent.
Shares of Twenty-First Century Fox rose 1.8 percent after NBCUniversal-parent Comcast announced a bid to buy several major units of the media giant for $65 billion. Comcast's bid tops Disney's, which agreed to a $52.4 billion deal. Comcast shares rose 3.8 percent while Disney gained 1.9 percent.
"I think this is really their opportunity recreating a company that looks like Disney," said Rich Greenfield, an analyst at BTIG, on CNBC's "Squawk Box."
Comcast CEO "Brian Roberts was sort of embarrassed when Comcast tried to buy Disney [in 2004]. That was a very difficult time for Comcast. … In 2015, Disney was one of the lead complainers about stopping the Comcast acquisition of Time Warner Cable, another loss for Brian. I just don't think Brian will lose a third time," Greenfield said.
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Brendan McDermid | Reuters
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Comcast's bid came a day after a judge approved AT&T's acquisition of Time Warner. Last year, the Justice Department sued to block the merger, arguing it would potentially lead to higher prices for the consumer. AT&T shares rose 1.5 percent, while Time Warner gained 1.3 percent.
The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 14 points as a decline in bank stocks offset Disney's gains.
Shares of J.P. Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs pulled back 1.8 percent and 0.1 percent, respectively. Bank of America, and Morgan Stanley also traded lower. Bank stocks fell after the European Central Bank said it would hold off on raising rates until next year, sending Treasury yields lower. The benchmark 10-year yield fell to trade at 2.94 percent.
The ECB announcement "does not come as a surprise, said Komal Sri-Kumar, president of Sri-Kumar Global Strategies. He noted that "euro zone grown has slowed in the first quarter after good region-wide growth performance in 2017" and added "there is no urgency to tighten" as inflation in the euro zone is still below the central bank's target.
The Commerce Department said retail sales rose 0.8 percent in May, well above a Reuters estimate of 0.4 percent. That also marked the biggest gain in retail sales since November. In the premarket, stock futures added to their gains following the data's release.
"After a mediocre start to the year, … consumer spending in Q2 has definitely improved," said Peter Boockvar, chief investment officer at Bleakley Advisory Group. "Consumers are seeing the tax cuts in their paychecks and higher wages which is helping to offset a rising cost of living."
The Labor Department also reported that weekly jobless claims fell to a near 44½-year-low last week, pointing to a tightening jobs market.