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Top Stock Market News, April 11, 2014
- Exit Stage Right: After the disastrous rollout of Obamacare, multiple exemptions, delay after delay, and little explanation about how Obamacare is actually going to work, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will resign on Friday. U.S. President Barack Obama accepted Sebelius’ resignation this week, marking an end to her error-filled, five-year stint. The President will nominate Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the current director of the Office of Management and Budget, to fill the position according to CNN. Prior to joining the Obama administration, Sebelius was the governor of Kansas and a state insurance commissioner. In a fitting exit, Sebelius testified this week that HHS still has no idea how many Affordable Healthcare Act enrollees were previously uninsured.
- It’s Tax Time, America: Tax-preparation behemoth H&R Block Inc. (NYSE: HRB) agreed to sell its banking assets to BofI Holding Inc. (Nasdaq: BOFI) for an undisclosed amount. Shares of H&R Block surged after hours by 7.3% to $30.50. Shares of BOFI jumped by 10% after the deal’s announcement. By selling the bank, H&R Block will free between $200-$250 million in capital. It represents excess funds the company could use to raise its dividend, buy back its own shares, or invest in business operations.
- Today in Bitcoin: Three stories emerged yesterday on Bitcoin. First, Bitcoin dipped below the $400 threshold on Thursday on growing concerns about forthcoming Chinese regulation. In early December, the Chinese central bank ruled that Bitcoin is not currency. Then it allegedly banned domestic banks from conducting transactions in the electronic currency or using bitcoin exchanges. According to PCWorld, the popular bitcoin exchange BTCChina has seen trading volumes slump by more than 80% in recent months. Second, though famed Legg Mason investor Bill Miller has lost more than 20% on his Bitcoin investment, he told CNBC on Thursday that he remains bullish on the crypto-currency. Miller dismissed Warren Buffett’s view on Bitcoin that the currency is “flawed.” And third, a group of investors offered to purchase the now-bankrupt bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox for one bitcoin, or $400, according to the Wall Street Journal. It’s not clear if this offer was made as a joke.
- Are You Ready to Buy New Glasses: Some Americans may actually like Tax Day this year. That’s because Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG) announced plans to accept online orders for its Glass wearable product on April 15 for one day only. This will be the largest release of the $1,500 gadget to Americans. The company will add on free frames or sunglasses. Supply is very limited and sales are limited to first-time customers only. The sales start at 9 a.m. EDT on Tuesday.
- An Output Slash: OPEC said its production levels slipped to its lowest levels for the year in March. The volume slid by more than half a million barrels per day last month to daily volumes of 29.6 million barrels, according to its monthly oil market report. OPEC members supply roughly 40% of the oil consumed each year. The drop was primarily driven by a sharp decline in Iraq’s oil output by about 300,000 barrels a day, while output also fell in Angola, Libya and Saudi Arabia. Despite the drop, Iraq is aggressively attempting to ramp up its production, after it hit a 35-year record in February.
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U.S. Economic Calendar April 11, 2014 (all times EDT)
- PPI-FD at 8:30 a.m.
- Consumer Sentiment at 9:55 a.m.
Key Companies Reporting Earnings April 11, 2014
- Consensus earnings per share for Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is $0.97.
- Consensus earnings per share for JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM) is $1.41.
- Consensus earnings per share for Fastenal Company (Nasdaq: FAST) is $0.37.
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