Finance


Elon Musk

Mike Blake | Reuters

This is a live blog. Check back for updates.

12:24 pm: Tech sector hits new all-time high

11:52 am: Markets at midday: Nasdaq turns positive, stocks off lows

Stocks are off their lows of the day around midday Thursday, and the Nasdaq turned positive as big tech Microsoft and Facebook led the gains. The Dow pared losses to trade about 90 points lower, after dropping 205 points at its session low. The S&P 500 is last down 0.1%. —Li

11:22 am: Wall Street goes on the defensive

The ETFs that track the S&P 500 real estate and utilities sectors hit intraday records on Thursday as traders hedged some of their risk exposure amid renewed coronavirus fears. The Real Estate Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLRE) rose 0.6% while the Utilities Select Sector fund (XLU) gained 0.8%. Real estate and utilities are considered to be defensive sectors because they are typically less tied to economic turbulence. —Imbert, Francolla

11 am: SunPower plummets 18%

Shares of solar company SunPower dropped 18% after the company reported fourth quarter earnings that fell short of analyst expectations. On an adjusted basis, the company said it earned 23 cents per share for the quarter on $607 million in revenue. According to estimates from FactSet, analysts had been calling for EPS of 24 cents, and $627.7 million in revenue. For the full-year, the company reported an adjusted loss of 29 cents per share. Following earnings, Cowen downgraded the stock to a market perform rating. The firm said it’s optimistic about a number of the company’s initiatives, including its solar plus storage offering, but that “the near and mid-term catalysts are largely baked in.” Thursday’s drop is in sharp contrast to Wednesday’s trading session when the stock gained 10.6%. —Stevens

10:26 am: Senators grill Shelton on multiple fronts

Shelton has been peppered with questions on both sides regarding her views on the gold standard, Fed independence and deposit insurance, among other issues. Both Democrats and Republicans have challenged her, though the stronger criticism has come from the former side. “The bottom line is, Ms. Shelton has too many alarming ideas and has flipped-flopped on too many important issues to be confirmed for this job,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown, the Ohio Democrat. By contrast, her fellow nominee, Christopher Waller, has faced comparatively few questions and appears on the way to easy confirmation. – Cox

10:21 am: Shelton says Trump’s open Fed criticism is ‘refreshing’

During her confirmation hearing, Federal Reserve nominee Judy Shelton said anyone is welcome to criticize the central bank – even the president. “I think what we’ve seen historically is some Fed chairman have felt they were being pressured behind the scenes. In some ways, it’s refreshing that that’s out in the open.” —Cox

10:08 am: Stocks hit session lows as CDC confirms 15th US case of coronavirus

The Dow dropped about 200 points, hitting its low of the day, after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the 15th case of coronavirus infection in the United States. The S&P 500 is last down 0.4%. — Li

10 am: Streak of positive Thursdays at risk

With the S&P 500 trading in the red this morning, the index could be headed for its worst Thursday in several months. Bespoke Investment Group pointed out on Twitter that the index has not had a negative Thursday since before Thanksgiving. The S&P 500 slipped 0.16% on Nov. 21.The index is down roughly 0.22% in earning trading. That would mark the worst Thursday since Oct. 31, when the S&P 500 fell 0.3%. — Pound

9:55 am: Tesla turns positive

Shares of Tesla erased early losses and are now trading in the positive territory after the electric auto maker said it plans a $2 billion common stock offering. The stock recovered as analysts and investors cheered the move as a way to shore up its balance sheet and possibly further expansion plans. Shares of Tesla fell as much as 6% in premarket trading following the announcement. —Li

9:31 am: Dow slips more than 100 points from record high

The Dow fell about 123 points at the open, slipping from a record high reached in the previous session. The S&P 500 is down 0.3%, while the Nasdaq dipped 0.5%. The losses came as a sharp rise in reported coronavirus cases fueled concerns that the epidemic would disrupt the global economy. Travel companies with high China exposure led the decline, with Wynn Resorts and Las Vegas Sands down 2% each. Tesla is down 2.3% at the open.— Li

9:21 am: Why Tesla isn’t down more

Two analysts heralded news of Tesla’s new $2 billion stock offering as a smart move for CEO Elon Musk and the rest of the carmaker’s board. Dan Ives of Wedbush Securities told CNBC that he thinks the sale is “a smart strategic move. It takes any doomsday scenario around cash crunch, or limiting some of their strategic initiatives, off the table.” Meanwhile, Pierre Ferragu of New Street Research said that while he wasn’t expecting the cash grab, it makes sense that Tesla would want to bolster its balance sheet given its recent valuation surge. “Although we don’t see any reason for the company to consume material cash in coming quarters and years, the company remains exposed to macro fluctuations and would weather an economic downturn better (i.e. without slowing expansion plans) with a stronger balance sheet,” Ferragu wrote. — Franck

9 am: Here are Thursday’s biggest analyst calls

8:45 am: Inflation, claims data fails to move market

Markets reacted little to Thursday morning data that was close to expectations. The headline Consumer Price Index rose 0.2% in January, meeting expectations. On a year-over-year basis, CPI was up 2.5%, also in line. The core gain, excluding food and energy, increased 2.3% for the year, a notch above the 2.2% forecast by economist surveyed by Dow Jones. At the same time, weekly jobless claims rose 2,000 to 205,000, beneath the 210,000 estimate. Stock market futures continued to point to a 150-point drop for the Dow, while government bond yields held in negative territory. —Cox

8:32 am: Alibaba slides 2% despite strong results

Shares of e-commerce giant Alibaba slid 2.4% in Thursday’s premarket trading despite better-than-expected results. For the third quarter the company reported adjusted earnings of 18.19 yuan per share, which was ahead of the 15.75 yuan per share analysts had been calling for, according to estimates from FactSet. Revenue also topped expectations, coming in at 161.45 billion yuan versus the consensus estimate of 159.28 billion yuan. The China-based company said that results were boosted by strength in e-commerce and cloud computing. —Stevens

(Corrects EPS and revenue figures are in Chinese yuan.)

8:29 am: NetApp tanks 13% after disappointing earnings

Shares of data management company NetApp dropped 13.5% during Thursday’s premarket trading after the company’s third quarter earnings results fell short of Street expectations. The company earned $1.16 per share for the quarter on revenue of $1.40 billion. Analysts expected earnings of $1.18 per share and $1.46 billion in revenue, respectively, according to estimates from FactSet. Guidance was also light, and the CFO said he would be retiring by the end of the fiscal year. —Stevens

8:27 am: Coronavirus-related names take a beating again

Shares of travel companies were under pressure again in premarket trading following a sharp rise in reported coronavirus cases. Casino stocks with big revenue exposure to China are down big with Wynn Resorts and Las Vegas Sands sliding 2.7% and 2.3%, respectively. Airlines, which took a big hit after halting their services in China, fell again after rebounding this month. Shares of United Airlines dipped 1.7%, and American Airlines dropped 1.4% in premarket.— Li

8:18 am: Tesla shares slide on $2 billion stock offering

The electric car marker’s stock dropped more than 4% in the premarket on news Tesla will offer $2 billion in common stock. Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO, will buy up to $10 million from that offering while board member Larry Ellison will also buy up to $1 million in common stock. The proceeds from this offering, Tesla says, will be used to “to further strengthen its balance sheet, as well as for general corporate purposes.” — Imbert

8:04 am: Dow futures drop 200 points as reported coronavirus cases jump

Stock futures are under pressure after the number of reported coronavirus cases increased, stoking once again fears of an economic slowdown stemming from the virus. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were down about 200 points, indicating a loss of around 180 points. S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 losses also pointed to sharp losses. China said it confirmed 15,152 new cases and 254 additional deaths. That brings the country’s total death toll to 1,367 as the number of people infected jumped to nearly 60,000. To be sure, the jump in cases may be due to the way Chinese authorities are counting them. Health authorities in Hubei province said Thursday that they changed the way they tabulate case totals — “clinically diagnosed” cases now count toward the “confirmed case” count, resulting in the sudden surge among the latter. Tesla shares dropped 5% on —Imbert

—With reporting by Jeff Cox, Jesse Pound, Gina Francolla and Michael Bloom.

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