Market Focus

Mastercard

Mastercard will launch a 10-for-1 stock split and will up its dividend. The world’s number 2 credit and debit card company will bump up its dividend by 83% and buyback 3.5 billion shares of common stock. The stock took off in after-hours trading on the news. Shares ended the day a fraction higher to $763.61. 

Toll Brothers

Toll Brothers was out with a big earnings beat. The luxury home builder reported an increase in new home deliveries last quarter and home prices. But its results were not as strong as a year ago, partly because of rising rates. Shares fell a fraction to $33.34. 

Autozone

Higher demand for repairs helped Autozone post quarterly earnings stronger than expected. The cold weather and increased wear and tear drove more customers to the largest retailers of the U.S. auto parts. Autozone has been focusing its sales on the commercial repair business to offset weakness in the do it yourself market. Shares revved higher up 3% to $471.86. 

Merck

Merck announced it will move its experimental Alzheimer’s drug into a late stage trial among patients with mild to moderate disease. A monitoring committee gave the drug maker the ok to go ahead with testing involving nearly 2,000 patients. The progress didn’t seem to impress investors. Shares fell a fraction to $49.43. 

Rambus

Shares of the chipmaker Rambus were on a tear today after news broke that it signed an agreement with Micron Technology. The two companies settled a 13 year legal dispute. Micron agreed to pay as much as $280 million over seven years to license Rambus patents it will use in selected products. Rambus was up 12% to $9.58. Shares of Micron rose a fraction to $23.14.

Burlington Stores

Shares of Burlington Stores caught a cold today. The discount retailer said third quarter losses widened because of costs related to its October IPO. Perhaps even more troubling, Burlington predicts slower growth in same-store sales for the holiday season. The stock plunged almost 8% to $25.92.

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