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Market Overview

Mid-Morning Market Update: Markets Edge Higher; Walmart Tops Q4 Expectations


Following the market opening Tuesday, the Dow traded up 0.04 percent to 25,892.53 while the NASDAQ climbed 0.16 percent to 7,484.45. The S&P also rose, gaining 0.08 percent to 2,777.80.

Leading and Lagging Sectors

Tuesday morning, the consumer staples shares climbed 0.4 percent. Meanwhile, top gainers in the sector included Pyxus International, Inc. (NYSE: PYX) up 6 percent, and Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) up 3 percent.

In trading on Tuesday, financial shares fell 0.4 percent.

Top Headline

Walmart Inc (NYSE: WMT) reported better-than-expected earnings for its fourth quarter.

Walmart said it earned $1.41 per share in the fourth quarter on revenue of $138.8 billion, which came in better than the $1.33 per share and $138.66 billion Street analysts were expecting. Comparable store sales in the U.S. rose by 6.8 percent on a two-year stack, which marks the strongest performance seen in nine years.

The company also lifted its annual cash dividend from $2.08 per share paid in the last year to $2.12 per share for fiscal year 2020.

Equities Trading UP

Intercept Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ: ICPT) shares got a boost, shooting up 16 percent to $127.97 after the company reported its Phase 3 REGENERATE study of obleticholic acid patients with NASH-related liver fibrosis met its primary endpoint.

Shares of Kraton Corporation (NYSE: KRA) shot up 25 percent to $36.39 after the company initiated a process to review strategic alternatives for its cariflex business and the company announced a $50 million stock buyback.

eHi Car Services Limited (NYSE: EHIC) shares were also up, gaining 14 percent to $12.02 after the company received an acquisition offer for $12.25 per ADS.

Equities Trading DOWN

Windstream Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: WIN) shares dropped 66 percent to $1.16 after losing a debt-default trial related to the spin-off of assets into Uniti. Cowen & Co. downgraded Windstream from Outperform to Market Perform and lowered the price target from $8 to $1.

Shares of Uniti Group Inc. (NASDAQ: UNIT) were down 34 percent to $13.15 after its largest customer, Windstream, lost a debt-default trial related to Windstream's spin off of assets into Uniti. Cowen & Co. downgraded Uniti Group from Outperform to Market Perform.

Motif Bio plc (NASDAQ: MTFB) was down, falling around 22 percent to $2.11 after entering into an amendment agreement with Hercules Capital.


In commodity news, oil traded down 0.3 percent to $55.42 while gold traded up 1 percent to $1,335.60.

Silver traded up 0.3 percent Tuesday to $15.785, while copper rose 1 percent to $2.831.



European shares were lower today. The eurozone’s STOXX 600 declined 0.47 percent, the Spanish Ibex Index fell 0.56 percent, while Italy’s FTSE MIB Index slipped 0.9 percent. Meanwhile the German DAX dropped 0.29 percent, and the French CAC 40 fell 0.45 percent while U.K. shares fell 0.65 percent.


The NAHB housing market index rose 4 points to a reading of 62 in February. However, economists were expecting a reading of 59.

The Treasury is set to auction 3-and 6-month bills at 11:30 a.m. ET.


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