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The Market In 5 Minutes: Traders In A Standstill Ahead Of FOMC Meeting

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The Market In 5 Minutes: Traders In A Standstill Ahead Of FOMC Meeting
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Benzinga's Top Upgrades, Downgrades For March 9, 2017

Below is a tool used by the Benzinga News Desk each trading day -- it's a look at everything happening in the market, in five minutes. Apply for daily AM access by clicking here or email minutes@benzinga.com.

Macro Focus

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average surged 58 points to 18,114.00, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 index futures gained 8 points to 2,141.50. Futures for the Nasdaq 100 index rose 17 points to 4,812.50.

Oil prices traded higher as Brent crude futures dropped 1.09 percent to trade at $45.45 per barrel, while US WTI crude futures also fell 1.14 percent to trade at $43.36 a barrel.

Housing Starts for Aug 1.14M vs 1.19M consensus estimate. The prior reading was 1.21M. Building Permits for Aug 1.14M vs 1.17M estimate.

The Federal Open Market Committee will begin its two-day policy meeting today.

BZ News Desk Focus

  • Lennar (NYSE: LEN) Q3 EPS $1.01, Revenue $2.83B, No Estimates
  • Ascena Retail (NASDAQ: ASNA) Reports Q4 Adj. EPS $0.08 vs $0.16 Est., Sales $1.812B vs $1.77B Est.
  • HNI (NYSE: HNI) Cuts Q3 Adj. EPS Outlook from $0.90-$0.95 to $0.74-$0.79 vs $0.95 Est.

Shares of Sarepta Therapeutics (NASDAQ: SRPT) soared higher by more than 80 percent and hit a new 52-week high of $56.18. Traders and analysts turned uber-bullish on the stock after the FDA granted an accelerated approval for its Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) drug called Eteplirsen.

Sell-Side Themes

Wedbush slapped Outperform ratings on KB Home (NYSE: KBH) and D.R. Horton (NYSE: DHI), although Lennar was given a Neutral rating.

Nomura started Ford (NYSE: F) at Buy and General Motors (NYSE: GM) at Neutral.

Sell-Side's Most Noteworthy Calls

  • Stifel downgraded Avnet (NYSE: AVT) to Hold.
  • MKM Partners downgraded JD.com (NASDAQ: JD) to Neutral.
  • Morgan Stanley upgraded Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) to Overweight.
  • Bernstein upgraded Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ: AMD) to Market Perform.
  • Deutsche Bank initiated coverage of Valeant (NYSE: VRX) at Hold.
  • SunTrust started Mobileye (NYSE: MBLY) at Buy.

Deal Talk

Cabelas (NYSE: CAB) spiked following a mid-day Dealreporter report suggesting the company's sale process is near conclusion.

Unilever (NYSE: UL) is reportedly in talks to acquire actress Jessica Alba's consumer products retail company Honest Co. Unfortunately for Alba, Unilever's $1 billion bid is well short of the company's $1.7 billion valuation following a 2015 fundraising round. One of the major reservations Unilever likely has involves lawsuits against Honest Co. dealing with its product lines.

In The News

Authorities on Monday arrested the man they believe responsible for the recent bombings in New York and New Jersey after a swift manhunt culminating in a shootout that wounded the suspect and two officers. Prosecutors charged Ahmad Khan Rahami, a 28-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen and Afghanistan native, with five counts of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer. He is expected to face further charges in the bombings that set the New York region on edge over the weekend.

Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf will appear before the Senate Banking Committee to discuss alleged improper sales tactics. He likely will face questions about who in the bank's upper reaches was disciplined, as well as his own stewardship.

Blogosphere

"What's a bank to do when regulators want it to offload risk to prevent a repeat of the last financial crisis?" asks Lisa Abramowicz. "Why turn to a complicated derivative transaction commonly associated with that same crisis, of course."

Why do shrinking companies almost always end up building up large unfunded pension liabilities?

Trending

SRPT GM SBUX MSFT ASNA LEN REGN F JPM GOOGL PTCT NVDA TEVA KBH CSCO

#TerenceCrutcher The Police Department in Tulsa, Oklahoma, released video of an encounter during which, the authorities said, a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black man who could be seen raising his hands above his head.

Guess This Chart

  • This company announced a cut to its quarterly dividend by more than half on Monday, and that this will be the last payment before they suspend it.
  • This stock reached a all-time low of $11.35 in Tuesday's premarket.
  • Sympathy plays include Six Flags Entertainment (NYSE: SIX) and Walt Disney Co (NYSE: DIS).
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