Here are five things you must know for Thursday, March 28:
1. -- Stocks Turn Mixed Amid Progress in Trade Talks
U.S. stock futures turned mixed Thursday while European stocks rose as investors looked past a coordinated slide in government bond yields and instead focused on progress in U.S.-China trade talks.
Benchmark government bond yields re-tested multi-month, and in some cases multi-year lows in overnight trading, with paper from both Japan and German trading deeply in negative territory at the lowest levels since 2016.
Those moves added further downward pressure on U.S. Treasury yields, which already were influenced by a dovish Federal Reserve, weakening manufacturing data and an unsteady housing market, to trade at a December 2017 low of 2.34% overnight. At last check, the 10-year U.S. Treasury note was yielding 2.377%.
Asian shares closed Thursday's session mixed following reports of notable progress in U.S.-China trade talks, specifically related to the sensitive issues of intellectual property theft and forced technology transfers. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin arrived in Beijing on Thursday for top-level negotiations.
Back in the U.S., futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down 3 points, S&P 500 futures slipped 0.50 points and Nasdaq futures were down 0.75 points, ahead of data on fourth-quarter GDP growth at 8:30 a.m. ET. Economists surveyed by FactSet expect GDP to have risen 2.6% in the quarter.
The economic calendar in the U.S. Thursday also includes weekly Jobless Claims at 8:30 a.m., and the Pending Home Sales Index for February at 10 a.m.
2. -- Five Below Rises as Profit Tops Estimates but Outlook Is Light
Five Below (FIVE) - Get Report jumped 3.4% in after-hours trading Wednesday after the specialty retailer topped analysts' fourth-quarter earnings and revenue expectations, but provided forward-looking guidance that was below expectations.
The Philadelphia-based company reported fourth-quarter earnings of $1.58 a share on revenue of $602.7 million. Analysts were expecting earnings of $1.57 a share on revenue of $602 million.
However, fiscal first-quarter earnings guidance of between 32 cents a share and 35 cents a share was below analysts' estimates of 39 cents. Five Below said it expects revenue to range between $361 million and $366 million vs. Wall Street expectations of $363.4 million.
"As we look ahead to 2019, we are focused on elevating our customer experience, delivering even better WOW products, and further enhancing our supply chain as we innovate across the organization," said CEO Joel Anderson. "We are excited to continue our high growth with a record number of new store openings and remain confident in our 20/20 through 2020 goals and our ability to reach our 2,500+ U.S. store potential."
"Overall, this is a bit of a mixed read, with strong results to the end of the year, partially offset by the weaker-than-expected 2019 guidance," wrote Jim Cramer and the Action Alerts PLUSteam, which holds Five Below in its portfolio. "We aren't terribly surprised to see the first-quarter guidance come in light as we heard similar commentary from other department stores like Kohl's (KSS) - Get Report , which guided for a soft February month due to poor weather conditions.
"The shares are holding up quite well after-hours and are trading a few dollars higher (near our current $125 price target) despite the lower-than-expected guidance, likely because investors are appreciating the consistently positive comps sales growth and how the new store openings, which there will be more of in 2019 compared to 2018, act as a terrific profit engine for the company. That's what makes this regional to national expansion story so special," Cramer and the AAP team said.
3. -- Lyft Jacks Up Expected IPO Price to $70-$72 a Share
Ahead of its highly anticipated initial public offering, ride-hailing giant Lyft jacked up the estimated price range of the IPO to between $70 and $72 a share.
Lyft's IPO is expected to be priced Thursday evening, with the stock set to debut on the Nasdaq Stock Market on Friday. In a new filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission posted Wednesday afternoon, Lyft raised its share price range from a previous estimate of $62 to $68 a share. Under the new price estimate, Lyft's valuation comes in at about $20 billion.
Lyft's valuation and its prospects as a public company are subjects of much debate as it prepares to begin trading. As the first ride-hailing company to go public and the first of several unicorn IPOs anticipated this year, Lyft's public offering will be seen as a bellwether for Uber's IPO, and possibly as a test of investor appetites for new tech listings. Uber Technologies is expected to follow Lyft into the public markets in the coming months.
4. -- Bayer Must Pay $81 Million to Man in Roundup Cancer Trial
Edwin Hardeman proved that Roundup's design was defective, it lacked sufficient cancer warnings and its manufacturer, Bayer subsidiary Monsanto, was negligent, the six-person jury in San Francisco found.
The jury last week found that Roundup was a substantial factor in causing the man's cancer, setting the stage for the second trial to determine damages.
Bayer said it will appeal.
"We are disappointed with the jury's decision, but this verdict does not change the weight of over four decades of extensive science and the conclusions of regulators worldwide that support the safety of our glyphosate-based herbicides and that they are not carcinogenic," according to a statement from Bayer, which acquired Monsanto last year in a $63 billion deal.
5. -- Lululemon Surges After Earnings Beat
Lululemon posted adjusted earnings in the quarter of $1.85 a share, topping analysts' estimates by 11 cents. Revenue rose 26% from a year earlier to $1.2 billion and beat analysts' expectations of $1.15 billion.
Same-store sales in the quarter jumped 16% (17% on a constant dollar basis) and matched expectations.
The company guided for fiscal first-quarter revenue of $740 million to $750 million vs. expectations of $744 million. Lululemon said it expects earnings of 68 cents to 70 cents a share in the quarter, ahead of expectations of 67 cents.
The company also said it would buy back $500 million of its stock.
The stock rose 11.1% to $163.07 in premarket trading.
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