Market Focus

Office Depot & Staples

Shares of Office Depot and Staples surged on merger reports. The office suppliers are in advanced merger talks, according to those reports. Together the firms have around 4,000 stores and more than $35 billion in annual sales. This comes as activist hedge fund Starboard Value has publicly called on both chains to merge. Shares of Office Depot surged almost 22 percent to $9.28. Staples popped about 11 percent to $19.01.


Macy’s out with strong guidance and acquisition news after the close. The retailer hiked its 2014 earnings outlook, as it laid out plans to purchase the beauty products maker Bluemercury for more than 200-million-dollars. Shares popped initially after the close, but then fell back. Before the bell, the stock was up about three percent to $66.07.


UPS also out with a downbeat forecast. The package delivery company provided a disappointing  earnings forecast for 2015, because of a drop in fourth-quarter profits, caused by extra expenses during the holiday season. The company said it will control costs and raise prices this year. Still, shares finished higher at $100.57.


Aetna’s profit matched estimates and its revenue beat. The insurance company hiked its full-year profit outlook, but it’s still below the street’s forecast. This as it has seen membership and revenue increase.    Shares rose two percent to $94.18.

New York Times

Investors were pleased with the New York Times’ quarterlies. The Gray Lady beat on the top and bottom lines as digital growth offset continued weakness in its print business. Overall ad revenue for the year fell by the smallest amount since 2005. Shares jumped more than 7.5 percent to $13.73.

Gilead Sciences 

Gilead’s profits quadrupled  as its high-priced hepatitis c treatments helped lift the drug maker’s results. The company also initiated its first quarterly payout, a dividend of 43 cents a share, with a yield of about 1.5 percent and it approved a 15-billion-dollar buyback program.  Shares initially fell after hours. Before the close, the stock was up about one percent to $107.18.


Chipotle’s revenue jumped more than 25 percent, but that was not as much as wall street had hoped. The burrito maker’s earnings did meet estimates, as the chain raised menu prices by an average of 6-percent in the third quarter because of higher ingredients costs. Shares tumbled initially after the bell. Before the close, shares were up about two percent to $726.63.

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