Bed Bath & Beyond, HP Inc., Nasdaq Record, Iran Crisis - 5 Things You Must Know Thursday

Stock futures rise as tensions ease between the U.S. and Iran; Bed Bath & Beyond sinks after posting a surprise quarterly loss and withdrawing guidance; HP Inc.'s board again rejects Xerox's takeover bid.
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Here are five things you must know for Thursday, Jan. 9:

1. -- Stock Futures Rise on Easing U.S.-Iran Tensions

Stock futures were rising Thursday and global stocks rallied as investors' anxiety over an escalation of hostilities between the United States and Iran eased.

Donald Trump's address to the nation Wednesday, during which the president signaled a preference for dealing with Iran through negotiations and sanctions as opposed to military force following the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani last week and Iran's reprisals Tuesday, triggered a spike in U.S. and global equities.

With Iran appearing to indicate that its attacks on American targets in retaliation for Soleimani's killing have "concluded," investors focus shifted to the state of U.S.-China trade relations.

China's Vice Premier Liu He is set to travel to Washington on Jan. 13 for the planned signing of a phase one trade agreement between the world's two largest economies.

Contracts linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 107 points, futures for the S&P 500 were up 10.80 points and Nasdaq futures gained 51.50 points.

The Nasdaq closed at a record high Wednesday after Trump said Iran "appeared to be standing down" and no Americans were hurt after Iranian missiles struck two American military bases in Iraq late Tuesday. The Dow and S&P 500 also finished with gains.

2. -- Jobless Claims, KB Home Earnings on Thursday's Calendar

Jobless claims in the U.S. dropped 9,000 to a seasonally adjusted 214,000 for the week ended Jan. 4, according to the Labor Department. It was the fourth straight weekly decline

Federal Reserve officials Richard Clarida, Neel Kashkari, John Williams, Tom Barkin and Charles Evans have speaking engagements planned for Thursday.

Earnings reports are expected Thursday from KB Home (KBH) - Get Report, Acuity Brands (AYI) - Get Report and WD-40 (WDFC) - Get Report.

3. -- Bed Bath & Beyond Sinks on Surprise Loss, Withdrawn Guidance

Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) - Get Report was sinking in premarket trading Thursday after earnings at the housewares retailer missed expectations and the company withdrew its outlook for the year. 

Bed Bath & Beyond reported a fiscal third-quarter adjusted loss of 38 cents a share on a revenue decline to $2.76 billion from $3.03 billion a year earlier.

Analysts had been expecting earnings of 2 cents a share on revenue of $2.85 billion.

Bed Bath & Beyond said comparable-store sales in its third quarter fell 8.3%, hurt by the late occurrence of Thanksgiving. Adjusting for the calendar shift, comparable sales fell 3.6%. 

The company said it was pulling its outlook for the year because it "expects its sales and profitability to remain pressured during the fiscal 2019 fourth quarter." Analysts had forecast full-year earnings of $1.89 a share on revenue of $11.32 billion. 

"Our performance in the third quarter was unsatisfactory and underscores the imperative for change and strengthens our sense of priorities and purpose," said Mark Tritton, Bed Bath & Beyond's president and CEO. "We will be finalizing the details of our strategic plan over the next few months and appreciate your patience as we embark and pursue this journey to position Bed Bath & Beyond to deliver long-term, sustainable growth."

Tritton took over the role as CEO in early November.

The stock fell 8.83% to $15.18 in premarket trading. 

4. -- HP Inc.'s Board Again Rejects Xerox's Takeover Bid

HP Inc. (HPQ) - Get Report again has dismissed a takeover bid by Xerox (XRX) - Get Report, telling its would-be suitor its $33.5 billion offer “significantly undervalues HP - and is not a basis for discussion.”

“We reiterate that the HP Board of Directors’ focus is on driving sustainable long-term value for HP shareholders,” read a letter to Xerox CEO John Visentin from HP CEO Enrique Lores and Chairman Chip Bergh. "Your letter dated January 6, 2020 regarding financing does not address the key issue - that Xerox’s proposal significantly undervalues HP - and is not a basis for discussion.”

Xerox said earlier this week it secured $24 billion in financing for its unsolicited bid for HP.

HP’s market cap is more than $30 billion, well above Xerox's $7.7 billion.

5. -- Uber Makes Changes to Comply With California Gig Law

Uber (UBER) - Get Report said it would switch to providing estimates as opposed to fixed prices for its rides in California in response to a new law that reclassifies gig economy workers as employees.

In an email sent to riders and seen by Reuters, Uber said the final price would now be calculated at the end of a trip, "based on the actual time and distance traveled."

"Due to a new state law, we are making some changes to help ensure that Uber remains a dependable source of flexible work for California drivers," Uber said in the email.

The change applies to all private rides, while upfront prices will continue to be provided for shared, or pooled rides, Reuters noted.

In a blog post, Uber said the steps were the result of changes to its fare structure, with drivers still getting paid per mile and minute, but the company now taking a fixed 25% cut from drivers. That service fee previously fluctuated.