What's moving markets today
A trio of blue-chip companies carried the Dow 171 points higher Wednesday.
Dow component IBM (IBM) surged 8.5% on upbeat results and guidance. It was IBM’s second-best day in the past decade.
Software giant Oracle, the company co-founded by billionaire Larry Ellison, has been sued again by the Department of Labor and its Office of Federal Contact Compliance Programs for allegedly paying its women, black and Asian workers less than white men.
The Labor Department said in its suit that women and minorities lost more than $400 million in wages from 2013-2016 because of Oracle's discriminatory practices.
The government first filed a complaint against Oracle in January 2017 but the two sides agreed in October of that year to mediate the case.
But the Labor Department said in its amended lawsuit filed late Tuesday that Oracle has refused to provide the government with key data it needed and also "destroyed records related to its hiring process as the case was ongoing."
Oracle (ORCL) shot back: "This meritless lawsuit is based on false allegations and a seriously flawed process within the OFCCP that relies on cherry picked statistics rather than reality," said Oracle general counsel Dorian Daley in a statement.
"We fiercely disagree with the spurious claims and will continue in the process to prove them false. We are in compliance with our regulatory obligations, committed to equality, and proud of our employees," Daley added.
So much for that market rebound.
The Dow turned slightly negative midday on Wednesday, erasing a rally of as much as 297 points.
The Dow fell 302 points Tuesday.
There didn't appear to be an obvious catalyst for Wednesday's fade, other than a sharp drop in oil prices. US crude tumbled nearly 2% to $52 a barrel.
But IBM (IBM) was still up nearly 8%, on track for its best day in more than a year.
Amazon might soon disrupt the shipping industry and that's causing a minor sell-off for the old guard of companies, including UPS and FedEx.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Amazon (AMZN) is trying to poach customers from the two companies. It's luring them with incentives like reduced fees for services and weekend delivery, that UPS and FedEx typically charge for.
"The end-to-end service is part of Amazon’s quest to build up its own delivery network and handle more of the millions of items sold through its site," the newspaper said.
In September, Amazon added 20,000 vans to its delivery fleet.
Could Papa John's (PZZA) finally have a new ... papa? Shares of the troubled pizza were 5% higher following a report of a potential buyer.
The Dealreporter story says Restaurant Brands, which owns Burger King and Tim Hortons, might be looking to add a pizza chain to its portfolio.
Rumors have been swirling for months about potential buyers for Papa John's. Without a buyer, the chain will have to find a way to convince investors that it can solve its problems on its own, and beat out competitors Domino's and Pizza Hut.
The Dow climbed 258 points, or 1.1%, at market open Wednesday as several companies posted solid earnings results.
IBM was up nearly 9% after the tech conglomerate said demand is growing for hybrid cloud, AI, analytics and security services.
Shares of United Technologies rose 7% after the company reported booming demand for jet engines and other aircraft parts.
And P&G’s stock increased 6% after the company reported strong sales in its beauty, fabric and home care divisions.
United Technologies reported earnings and sales that topped Wall Street's forecasts. The reason: booming demand for jet engines and other aircraft parts. Shares of the Dow component company rose 5% in early trading on the news.
United Technologies (UTX) owns the Pratt & Whitney engine maker as well as Collins Aerospace, the company formerly known as Rockwell Collins that United Technologies bought for $30 billion last year.
CEO Gregory Hayes said strong orders from Boeing (BA) and Airbus were a boost. He said he expected that trend to continue this year.
United Technologies is increasingly dependent on aerospace for its sales and profits. The company in November said it would split into three separate publicly traded firms — one for aviation, another for its Carrier air conditioning unit, and one for its Otis elevator businesses.