Here Are 3 Hot Things to Know About Stocks Right Now

  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled Thursday on concerns over slowing global growth and chances for a U.S.-China trade deal.
  • SunTrust Banks Inc. (STI) and BB&T Corp. (BBT)  agreed to merge in a $66 billion all-stock deal that will create the sixth-biggest commercial bank in the United States.
  • Twitter Inc. (TWTR)  posted stronger-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings but said expenses would rise notably in 2019. The stock tumbled 9.84%.

Wall Street Overview

Stocks fell on Thursday, Feb. 7 after declines in Europe and after White House adviser Larry Kudlow said there was a "pretty sizable distance" between the U.S. and China regarding a trade deal.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 221 points, or 0.87%, to end at 25,170, the S&P 500 was down 0.94%, and the Nasdaq fell 1.18%. 

Shares in Europe tumbled after the European Commission and the Bank of England slashed their growth forecasts for the $19 trillion European economy. The European Commission said it sees broader eurozone growth slowing to 1.3% this year, down from a prior forecast of 1.9% before rebounding modestly to a growth rate of 1.6% in 2020. The new forecasts are notably lower than the commission had estimated in November and also included softer projections for currency area inflation of 1.4% for this year, well shy of the European Central Bank's '"just below 2%" price stability target.

Kudlow, meanwhile, told Fox Business in an interview that the U.S. and China were still far apart in trade negotiations. It was confirmed earlier that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will travel to Beijing next week to re-start trade talks with China.

CNBC reported that Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping were "highly unlikely" to meet before a March 1 trade deal deadline. CNBC quoted a senior administration official.

An all-stock merger of SunTrust Banks Inc. (STI) and BB&T Corp. (BBT) valued at $66 billion did little to lift sentiment. The merger, announced Thursday, would create the sixth-largest U.S. commercial bank.

SunTrust said the deal would create a company with $442 billion in assets, as well as $324 billion in deposits with a customer base of around 10 million American households. The all-stock deal will see SunTrust investors receiving 1.295 shares of BB&T for each share they own, with BB&T owning 57% of the combined group to 43% for SunTrust.

"This is a true merger of equals, combining the best of both companies to create the premier financial institution of the future," said BB&T CEO Kelly King. "It's an extraordinarily attractive financial proposition that provides the scale needed to compete and win in the rapidly evolving world of financial services."

SunTrust rose 10.18% to $64.72, while BB&T rose 4% to $50.46. 

Twitter Inc. (TWTR) posted stronger-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings as the micro-blogging website held user growth steady but said expenses would rise notably this year as it moved to protect the integrity of its platform. The stock fell 9.84%.

Twitter said earnings for the three months ended in December were 31 cents per share, topping the Wall Street forecast of 25 cents per share. Revenue rose 24% to $909 million and beat the consensus forecast of $868 million.

Looking into 2019, Twitter said it sees first-quarter revenue in the region of $715 to $775 million, essentially in-line with the Refinitiv forecast of $765 million. Twitter also said GAAP and cash operating expenses would rise by 20% from last year "as we support our existing priorities of health, conversation, revenue product and sales, and platform."

Yum! Brands Inc. (YUM)  said U.S. store sales improved thanks to solid gains from its Taco Bell and KFC-branded stores. Yum! closed the day flat.

Yum! said earnings were $1.04 a share vs. expectations of 96 cents. Adjusted earnings were 40 cents a share. Sales slipped modestly from last year to $1.56 billion and narrowly missed the consensus forecast. However, worldwide same-store sales rose 3%, well ahead of the 2.48% Refinitiv forecast.

Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (CMG) rose 11.35% after the burrito chain posted adjusted fourth-quarter earnings that beat analysts' estimates.

Chipotle earned $1.72 a share on an adjusted basis with revenue rising 10% to $1.2 billion. Analysts had called for adjusted earnings of $1.40 a share on sales of $1.2 billion. Same-restaurant sales rose 6.1% in the quarter vs. analysts' expectations of an increase of 4.5%. Chipotle said it expects comparable-restaurant sales growth in the mid-single digit range in 2019.

Dunkin' Brands Group Inc. (DNKN) posted fourth-quarter adjusted earnings of 68 cents a share, beating forecasts of 61 cents, but revenue and same-store sales in the quarter came in below Wall Street forecasts. Shares declined 3%.  

T-Mobile U.S. Inc. (TMUS) posted better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings and added more than 1 million new customers to its post-paid wireless network. The stock rose 2%.

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