Stock Market News

Qualcomm’s stock climbs after Susquehanna turns positive

Qualcomm Inc.’s stock climbed 1.2% in premarket trade Wednesday, after the mobile semiconductor company was upgraded by Susquehanna Financial analyst Chris Caso, who suggested the worst for the company and the stock may be over. Caso raised his rating to positive, after being at neutral for the last 18 months. He boosted his stock price target to $60, which is 29% above Tuesday’s closing price of $46.52, from $53. Caso said he is no longer too concerned about Qualcomm’s China business and pressure on royalties. “The China issues are now mostly resolved, and the fact that [Qualcomm] has proven that they can collect royalties in China makes us incrementally more confident that they can continue to collect globally,” Caso wrote in a note to clients. He still sees risks from intense competition on chipsets from Intel Corp. and the near-term slowdown at Apple Inc. , but he believes the current stock price discounts much of that risk. The stock has tumbled 36% over the past 12 months, while the S&P 500 has lost 4.2%.

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Premier Oil shares suspended ahead of possible M&A news

Shares in U.K.-listed Premier Oil PLC were halted for trade on Wednesday after the company requested a suspension ahead an “announcement of a potential acquisition of assets.” The oil and gas exploration company said Wednesday any deal would be classified as a reverse takeover under Financial Conduct Authority listing rules. Premier Oil shares are down 86% in London over the past 12 months, as it grapples with the fallout from multi-year low oil prices. The company dropped out of the FTSE 250 index in 2015.

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PCs face historic decline during holiday quarter

Shipments of personal computers fell 10.6% during the fourth quarter to 71.9 million units, the largest year-over-year decline in PC sales on record, according to industry tracker IDC. The data offers the latest evidence of dismal holiday sales for personal computers, with Gartner earlier on Tuesday reporting an 8.3% decline in the fourth quarter. Total shipments for the year dipped below 300 million units for the first time since 2008. The market contracted by 4.3% in the U.S., where IDC says the introduction of higher-end detachable tablets, such as Apple Inc.’s iPad Pro, cannibalized some demand for traditional PCs. Matching Gartner’s data, IDC’s data also shows a year-over-year decline in PC shipments for market leaders Lenovo, HP Inc. and Dell, while Apple stood as the lone winner.

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Ameriquest sees IPO range of $11 to $13 a share

Ameriquest Inc. said late Tuesday it expects up to $13 a share in its initial public offering. In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, the business-to-business technology services company said it plans to offer just under 6.2 millon shares at $11 to $13 a share. Underwriters have the option to sell another 923,000 shares to cover overallotments. Following the offering, the company expects about 19 million shares outstanding.

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Aeropostale to cut 100 jobs as part of cost-saving program, reiterates fourth-quarter guidance

Aeropostale Inc. said it will cut 100 jobs, or about 13% of staff, as part of a program that is expected to generate between $35 million and $40 million in annual pre-tax savings. The mall-based teen retailer said in a release Tuesday that the savings will be achieved in fiscal 2016. The company expects to record about $1.5 million in pre-tax expenses during fiscal 2015 related to the program. The company’s Chief Executive Officer Julian Geiger has relinquished 1 million in stock options that will be used “by the company solely for the purposes of motivating and retaining other key members of the organization,” the release said. The company reaffirmed its fourth-quarter guidance, forecasting a loss between 4 cents and 17 cents per share. This forecast doesn’t include the impact of the job cuts, store impairments or unexpected closures, lease buyout costs or real estate consulting fees. Aeropostale will announce fourth-quarter 2015 earnings on Mar. 10. Aeropostale stock closed on Tuesday at 25 cents. It is down 92% for the previous 12 months while the S&P is down 4.4% for the same period.

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API says U.S. crude-oil inventories fell last week: reports

The American Petroleum Institute on Tuesday said U.S. crude-oil inventories fell by 3.9 million barrels last week, according to news reports. The industry group also said that gasoline stocks rose by 7 million barrels, while distillate stocks rose 3.7 million barrels. Traders watch the API data for clues to the Energy Information Administration’s weekly inventories data, which is due Wednesday morning. Earlier, oil futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange settled sharply lower after briefly trading below $30 a barrel for the first time since December 2003.

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PCs face historical decline during holiday quarter

Shipments of personal computers fell 10.6% during the fourth quarter to 71.9 million units, the largest year-over-year decline in PC sales on record, according to industry tracker IDC. The data offers the latest evidence of dismal holiday sales for personal computers, with Gartner earlier on Tuesday reporting an 8.3% decline in the fourth quarter. Total shipments for the year dipped below 300 million units for the first time since 2008. The market contracted by 4.3% in the U.S., where IDC says the introduction of higher-end detachable tablets, such as Apple Inc.’s iPad Pro, cannibalized some demand for traditional PCs. Matching Gartner’s data, IDC’s data also shows a year-over-year decline in PC shipments for market leaders Lenovo, HP Inc. and Dell, while Apple stood as the lone winner.

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.

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Yum shares gain as China same-store sales recover

Yum Brands Inc. shares gained in Tuesday’s extended session after the fast-food restaurant operator reported its sales in China recovered last month. Yum said same-stores sales in China rose 1% in December versus a decline of 3% in November, in part on 5% growth at KFC. In the fourth quarter, which includes the month of September, same-store sales increased 2%. Sales at KFC were up 6% but down 8% at Pizza Hut in the quarter. Yum will no longer release monthly China sales data going forward ahead of the planned separation its China operations into a separate business by the end of 2016. Shares of Yum Brands rallied 3.1% in after-hours trading.

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Ford expects record pre-tax profit, announces extra dividend

Ford Motor Co. said Tuesday it expects a “record” 2015 pre-tax profit, around the upper range of the car maker’s guidance of $10 billion to $11 billion. The results for 2016 are expected to be “equal to or higher” than 2015, the car maker said. The company also declared a supplemental dividend of 25 cents a share, which would be on top of first-quarter dividend of 15 cents a share. Ford said it plans another “active product year” with 12 global car product launches, including a new Ford Focus electric, with a projected 100-mile range. Shares of Ford fell 1.6% in late trading Tuesday after ending the regular trading day up 0.6%.

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KaloBios drops its Nasdaq delisting appeal to focus on business strategy

Troubled biotech KaloBios Pharmaceuticals Inc. said Tuesday it has decided to drop its appeal of the Nasdaq decision to delist its shares and will instead spend its resources following its business strategy. The move comes after Nasdaq said it would suspend trading in the stock on Wednesday, at which point it will move to the over-the-counter market. KaloBios has been the subject of a delisting order since the arrest of its ex-chief executive Martin Shkreli on charges of securities fraud. It had been granted a hearing that was scheduled to take place on Feb. 25. “The company’s new board of directors has determined that pursuit of the appeal while the Company is not in compliance with the Nasdaq listing standards would require diversion of company resources that could be better spent pursuing the company’s business plan and reorganization,” the company said in a statement.

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