Here Are 3 Hot Things to Know About Stocks Right Now

  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished higher Wednesday following the release of minutes from the January meeting of the Federal Reserve's rate-setting committee. 
  • CVS Health Corp. (CVS - Get Report)  posted stronger-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings but its 2019 profit guidance fell far short of Wall Street forecasts. The stock sank 8.1%.
  • Tesla Inc. (TSLA - Get Report) said it was replacing its general counsel Dane Butswinkas just two months after he joined the electric carmaker. The stock fell 1%.

Wall Street Overview

Stocks closed higher on Wednesday, Feb. 20, amid increasing signs of tangible progress in U.S.-China trade talks and following the release of the minutes from the latest Federal Reserve meeting.

With China's trade delegation arriving in Washington this week, investors were growing increasingly optimistic that the year-long trade spat, which has resulted in collective tariffs worth nearly $500 billion and slowed global trade to its weakest levels since 2010, finally may be heading toward at worst a stalemate between the world's two biggest economies.

Meanwhile, officials at the central bank, led by Chairman Jerome Powell, saw the plunge in stocks in December as a sign of a weakening global economy and heightened concern over policy risks, such as Donald Trump's trade war with China and the potential for another U.S. government shutdown, according to the minutes.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 63 points, or 0.24%, to 25,954, the S&P 500 was up 0.18%, and the Nasdaq rose 0.03%.

CVS Health Corp. (CVS - Get Report) posted stronger-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings but its 2019 profit guidance - linked to "significant additional deterioration" in its long-term care business - fell far short of Wall Street forecasts. The stock sank 8.1%. 

CVS Health said adjusted earnings for the three months ended in December were $2.14 a share, ahead of the Wall Street consensus of $2.09. Revenue of $54.42 billion missed estimates of $54.6 billion. CVS also said it took a $2.2 billion goodwill impairment charge linked to its long-term care business.

Looking into 2019, CVS said it sees cash flow from operations in the range of $9.8 billion to $10.3 billion and full-year GAAP earnings of between $4.88 and $5.08 a share, or $6.68 to $6.88 on an adjusted basis, well below the Refinitiv forecast of $7.41 a share.

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Tesla Inc. (TSLA - Get Report) shares were down 1% Wednesday after the electric carmaker announced it was replacing its general counsel Dane Butswinkas just two months after he joined the company.

The departure of Butswinkas is yet another in a long line of top executives who have left Tesla over the past two years as the company ramps up the production of its mass market Model 3 sedan.

More than 50 senior executives have left the company in the past two years, according to The Wall Street Journal, including Chief Financial Officer Deepak Ahuja, who retired in January. In September, accounting chief Dave Morton left the company after only a few weeks.

Owens Corning Inc. (OC - Get Report) posted stronger-than-expected fourth-quarter profit and said it sees returning to a "strong conversion of adjusted earnings into free cash flow" over the coming year. The stock was down 5.1%. 

Adjusted earnings in the quarter were $1.38 a share, well ahead of the Wall Street consensus forecast of $1.21.

Bausch Health Cos. (BHC - Get Report) was down 4.5% Wednesday after the medical device maker swung to a fourth-quarter loss but issued positive fiscal 2019 revenue guidance.

Tilray Inc. (TLRY - Get Report) , the Canadian cannabis company, said Wednesday it was acquiring FHF Holdings Ltd., the parent company of hemp-food maker Manitoba Harvest, from a U.S. private-equity firm for up to C$419 million ($315 million) in cash and stock. Tilray rose 5.3%.

Shares of Garmin Ltd. (GRMN - Get Report) were rising 17% Wednesday after the navigation device maker posted earnings that beat analysts' expectations and guided for 2019 earnings and revenue above Wall Street forecasts.

 

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