Market Focus

Darden Restaurants 

Darden posted a loss amid pressure from an activist investor. The Olive Garden parent beat on the top and bottom lines, but Starboard Value, which owns a nearly nine percent stake in the company isn’t satisfied. The activist is pressuring the restaurant operator to increase its profit and stock price. It had 300-pages of slide of advice for the company, including salt the pasta water and go easy on the unlimited bread sticks. Shares slumped 1.5 percent to $47.58.

AT&T & DirecTV

AT&T’s deal to buy DirecTV is reportedly being examined by a number of state attorneys general. The investigation of the proposed $48 billion deal will look into possible anti-competitive issues. Shares of both companies were lower, AT&T fell one percent to $34.50. DirecTV was off slightly to $86.85.

Alliance & Conversant

Alliance Data is hoping to bolster its digital marketing business by buying Conversant for more than $2 billion. Alliance Manages credit cards and loyalty programs for retailers. Conversant offers online ad services. The deal is expected to close by the end of the year. Conversant soared 30 percent, closing at $34.80. Alliance rose two percent to $257.91.

J.P. Morgan

An update on that possible cyber attack at J.P. Morgan. The bank said it has yet to detect any unusual customer fraud related to the alleged attack. It reiterated that customers won’t be liable for unauthorized purchases. Shares of J.P. Morgan rose slightly to $60.03.

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