What's moving markets today
Stocks fell on Thursday as investors worried that the United States and China would not be able to reach a trade deal before a March 2 deadline.
- The Dow fell 221 points, or 0.9%.
- The S&P 500 dipped 0.9%
- The Nasdaq declined 1.2%.
The declines followed comments by White House adviser Larry Kudlow that there was a “pretty sizable distance” between Beijing and Washington in trade negotiations. President Donald Trump also said he was unlikely to meet with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping before March, when a 90-day trade truce between the two sides is set to expire.
Chipotle (CMG) was up 11.4% after reporting strong quarterly results on Wednesday.
Who says traditional toys are dead?
Mattel on Thursday reported holiday sales that were much better than expected — and the company even posted a profit. Analysts were expecting a loss.
Mattel (MAT) shares surged nearly 15% after hours on the news.
Mattel said Barbie sales were up 12% compared to a year ago. And the company's iconic Hot Wheels line of cars posted a sales increase of 9%, hitting its highest level in the company's history.
The news is especially good considering the doom and gloom surrounding the industry following the demise of Toys "R" Us.
It also comes at a time when Mattel is trying to morph into an entertainment company. Mattel just named Disney Channel veteran Adam Bonnett to lead its own TV efforts. Mattel also has deals with Warner Bros. for a live action Hot Wheels film, along with a Barbie movie with Margot Robbie. (Warner Bros. and CNN are both owned by AT&T.)
Rival Hasbro (HAS) will report earnings Friday morning.
So much for a trade deal with China happening before next month?
Stocks fell sharply Thursday after Larry Kudlow, the director of the White House's National Economic Council, suggested that the US and China weren't close to a new trade pact. The Dow plunged more than 350 points in late morning trading.
"The president has indicated that he's optimistic with respect to a potential trade deal," Kudlow said on Fox Business. "But we've got a pretty sizable distance to go here."
It was the latest case of good cop-bad cop in the Trump administration with regards to China.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who will be heading to Beijing next week to conduct more trade talks, has been more optimistic about a deal getting done before a March 2 deadline. Mnuchin told CNBC on Wednesday that the administration has had "productive talks" with China.
With the Brexit deadline rapidly approaching, Mondelez CEO Dirk Van de Put said he's concerned about a potential "no deal" between the European Union and Britain.
He told First Move anchor Julia Chatterley if that happens, there will be a disruption to the flow of Mondelez's products because 50% of what it sells in the United Kingdom is produced in Europe and vice-versa.
"If it's a hard Brexit, that leads to tariffs and potentially the devaluation of the British pound," causing higher prices and inflation.
He also said that the middle class needs to be paid more because their unhappiness has led to disruptions like Brexit and the yellow jacket protests in France.
A potential economic slowdown isn't scaring Mondelez CEO Dirk Van de Put.
He told First Move anchor Julia Chatterley the US consumer is feeling "pretty good" and said the Oreo-maker's sales are strong, growing 7% last year.
Van de Put said he's a "little bit worried about the consumer not feeling that confident of the future." He said the company isn't currently seeing that and is "bullish" about the US economy.
Mondelez will increase the price of its products by 2% over the next year, but Van de Put doesn't expect that will hurt sales.
"We feel the consumer has a connection to the brand and a slight price increase is not going to break the confidence they have in us," he said.
He's also feeling "quite good" about Mondelez's business in China, pointing to the popularity of regional products like wasabi-flavored Oreos.
US markets all opened sharply lower Thursday.
- The Dow fell 165 points, or 0.7%.
- The S&P 500 was down 0.7%.
- The Nasdaq dropped 0.9%.
BB&T (BBT) and SunTrust (STI), two of the largest US regional banks, soared 6% and 12%, respectively, after they announced plans to merge. The $66 billion combination will make them the sixth largest bank in the country based on assets and deposits.
Tapestry (TPR), the fashion company that owns Coach and Kate Spade, plunged 17% after it missed Wall Street estimates.
Shares of Coach-owner Tapestry (TPR) are down 17%. The company, which also owns Kate Spade and Stuart Weitzman, missed on earnings and lowered its full-year guidance.
Declining sales at Kate Spade is a particularly big problem for Tapestry. Same-store sales sunk 11%, and the brand's revenue dropped slightly compared to the same period a year ago.
Sales at Coach rose 1% for the quarter, but missed analysts' expectations.
Today's losses wipes out the company's gains for the year:
Lyft and Uber are competing over who goes public first.
Lyft "will pull out all the stops to go before Uber," Christopher Zook, founder and chairman of CAZ Investments, told CNN Business from the sidelines of the Cayman Alternative Investment Summit in Grand Cayman.
Zook, whose Houston investment firm owns a $49 million stake in Lyft, said the company wants to score all of the media coverage that will surely accompany the first US ride-sharing company to pull off an IPO. He predicted Lyft will go public between April and June.
In December, Lyft filed a confidential IPO proposal to the SEC.
Zook is very impressed with Lyft's management, though he conceded there's always a risk of distraction when companies go public. "Will they keep their eye on the ball?" he asked.
The Uber-Lyft rivalry will be here for a long time to come, Zook predicted.
"This is going to be a Coke vs. Pepsi situation," he said.
Cool video games like Fortnite are incredibly popular -- and so are $100 headsets that deliver the best gaming audio experience.
Turtle Beach, the company that makes the popular Stealth line of high end headphones geared for the gaming market, said Thursday it was expecting its fourth-quarter sales to be up nearly 40% from a year ago. That's more than what Wall Street was expecting and it helped push shares of Turtle Beach (HEAR) up 6% in early trading.
The company said in a press release that it finished 2018 with a nearly 50% share of the North American headset market. That's a big reason why the stock soared more than 750% last year. And as long as gamers are still doing The Floss and other wacky dances on Fortnite, it looks like there may be no end in sight for the company's growth. Shares are already up another 20% this year.