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While you were sleeping: GE leads Wall St drop

Wednesday 15th November 2017

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Wall Street declined, as shares of General Electric sank for a second day and energy stocks slid with oil prices.

In 1.08pm trading in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.3 percent, while the Nasdaq Composite Index shed 0.7 percent. In 12.52pm trading, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index declined 0.3 percent. 

A slump in shares of General Electric, down 7.9 percent recently, led the Dow lower. Shares of DowDuPoint, down 1.8 percent, posted the second-largest percentage decline in the Dow. Bucking the trend were shares of Coca-Cola and those of Home Depot, recently up 1.3 percent and 1.2 percent respectively, for the largest percentage advances in the Dow.

General Electric shares retreated for a second day amid concern about the company’s turnaround plan, announced on Monday. 

"We attribute the sharply negative stock reaction to the Nov-13 unveiling of new CEO John Flannery's turnaround plan to a number of disappointments and unsettling disclosures," RBC Capital Markets analyst Deane Dray wrote in a note to clients Tuesday, CNBC reported. 

”Turnaround plan fell short of the sweeping reset of the business model/portfolio many had hoped for,” noted Dray, who downgraded his rating as well as his price target for GE shares. There are “few reasons to believe the stock bottoms here.”

Meanwhile, the White House is considering economist Mohamed El-Erian as one of several candidates to potentially serve as the Federal Reserve’s vice chairman, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing a person familiar with the matter. 

President Donald Trump earlier this month nominated Jerome Powell, currently serving as a Fed governor, to succeed Fed Chair Janet Yellen when her terms ends in February. 

In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index finished the session with a 0.6 percent fall from the previous close. Germany’s DAX Index fell 0.3 percent, while France’s CAC 40 Index retreated 0.5 percent.

The UK’s FTSE 100 Index edged 0.01 percent lower, as a rally in shares of Tesco and those of Vodafone offset a decline in mining stocks, which followed commodity prices lower.

Shares of Tesco jumped after Britain’s biggest retailer earned provisional approval for its 3.7 billion pound (US$4.9 billion) takeover of Booker, the country’s top grocery wholesaler, from the UK competition regulator.

After an in-depth review, the Competition and Markets Authority has provisionally concluded that Tesco's purchase of Booker does not raise competition concerns, the regulator said in a statement.

Shares in Tesco closed 6.2 percent higher in London while those of Booker ended 6.8 percent stronger amid bets the surprise clearance could prompt Booker shareholders to demand Tesco to increase its bid.

Meanwhile, analysts expect more M&A activity as supermarkets seek to use excess capacity within their supply chains, Reuters reported.

"The wholesale trade in particular will be wondering why on earth it ever bothered engaging at all with the CMA, an organisation that seemingly lives in a different universe,” Shore Capital analyst Clive Black told Reuters. "If Tesco and Booker can merge with unconditional approval, then the scope for further large-scale consolidation cannot be ruled out.”


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