What's moving markets today: April 11, 2019

12:10 p.m. ET, April 11, 2019

Bed Bath and Beyond drops after posting first annual loss

Bed Bath and Beyond (BBBY) shares are down 9% Thursday after the retailer reported its earnings after the bell yesterday.

The company posted a loss $132.7 million for the fiscal year. This is Bed, Bath and Beyond’s first annual loss in the nearly 27 years it has been public.

Bed Bath and Beyond is also under pressure from activist investors. The company is reviewing its corporate governance structure and nominating a new lead director to its board.

12:31 p.m. ET, April 11, 2019

Caesars reportedly inches closer to a sale

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn's wish of getting Caesars Entertainment (CZR) to put itself up for sale is reportedly coming closer to reality.

The New York Post reports that the resort company "plans to announce within days" that it's for sale. A potential suitor includes Tilman Fertitta, the billionaire owner of the Houston Rockets, a restaurateur and owner of Golden Nugget Casino.

Icahn has slowly been increasing his stake in Caesars and has revamped its board. He's previously said he thinks a sale is the "best path forward."

Caesars shares are up nearly 3% in early trading. The stock is up 37% for the year.

10:05 a.m. ET, April 11, 2019

Stocks inch higher ahead of earnings season kicking off

US stocks opened marginally higher on Thursday, as investors were gearing up for the first quarter earnings season to get under way.

  • The Dow Jones rose 30 points.
  • The S&P 500 was up 2 points.
  • The tech-heavy Nasdaq slipped 5 points.

In individual stocks, Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY), which reported results after Wednesday’s market close, was down nearly 11% in early trading.

Elsewhere, ride-sharing app Lyft (LYFT) will remain in focus, as investors are awaiting the S-1 filing of its competitor Uber.

Earlier, US jobless claims dropped below 200,000 for the first time in more than 49 years, stressing the robustness of the US labor market in the face of global economic growth worries.

10:05 a.m. ET, April 11, 2019

Weight Watchers plunges on bearish analyst call

Oprah Winfrey's magic touch is no longer helping Weight Watchers. Shares of the company, now known as WW (WTW), plummeted 10% in early trading Thursday after J.P. Morgan analyst Christina Brathwaite cut her price target from $14 a share to $12. That's more than 35% below the stock's current price.

Brathwaite noted in a report that daily active users -- as tracked by analytics company SimliarWeb -- for the Weight Watchers web site plunged in the first quarter. As such, Brathwaite now thinks WW subscribers fell 18% to about 2.5 million this year, a drop "which would put significant pressure" on the company's sales.

WW recently launched a new "It Works" ad campaign that features Oprah, who owns 8% of the company. Brathwaite said this could help recruit new members. But she is still worried about falling profits and what that may mean for the company's sizable debt load.

We believe that the significantly negative start to the year will be extremely difficult for WTW to overcome, despite marketing investments," Brathwaite wrote. 

The stock has lost more than half its value so far in 2019.

9:03 a.m. ET, April 11, 2019

US jobless claims drop below 200,000 for the first time since 1969

US jobless claims dropped to their lowest level since October 1969 last week, the Labor Department reported. Only 196,000 people filed for unemployment benefits in the week ended April 6. The four-week average was 207,000.

The data stressed the strength of the US labor market in the face of worries about economic slowdown.

US stock futures were mostly unchanged Thursday, pointing at a flat to slightly higher open. The dollar, measured by the ICE US Dollar Index, was up 0.2% at 97.108.

In other economic data, the producer price index for March rose 0.6% on the month and 2.2% year-over-year, beating expectations. 

12:13 p.m. ET, April 11, 2019

Rite Aid is splitting its stock to avoid being delisted

Rite Aid's (RAD) board has approved a reverse stock split at a ratio of 1-for-20 to keep the struggling company from being delisted on the New York Stock Exchange.

The split was approved at a March 21 meeting and stock will begin trading on a split-adjusted bases on the NYSE on April 22.

"Once effective, the reverse stock split will reduce the number of shares of common stock issued and outstanding from approximately 1.08 billion to approximately 54 million," it said in a filing.

The stock is down 10%, hitting a ten-year low.

6:58 a.m. ET, April 11, 2019

Tesla shares slide after it reportedly halts battery plant expansion

Tesla (TSLA) and its partner Panasonic (PCRFY) have reportedly halted their plans to build the world's largest electronic vehicle battery plant.

The stoppage is because of financial problems, according to the Nikkei Asian Review.

Panasonic is one of the world's biggest producers for the batteries that power Tesla's green fleet. "These companies are shifting their strategy reflects the EV industry's thin profits," Nikkei said.

The report has sent Tesla's shares down more than 4% in premarket trading.