MetLife shares lower as company misses EPS expectations

Shares of MetLife Inc. fell more than 2% late Tuesday after the insurer reported adjusted fourth-quarter per-share earnings below expectations. Metlife said it earned $2.1 billion, or $1.97 a share, in the quarter, versus a loss of $2.2 billion, or $2.03 a share, in the prior-year period. Net income includes a $70 million, after tax, charge related to policy reserves, and a $1.2 billion charge related to the U.S. tax overhaul. Adjusted for one-time earnings, the company earned $678 million, or 64 cents a share, compared with 95 cents a share a year ago. Revenue rose to $15.75 billion, from $12.62 billion a year ago. Analysts polled by FactSet had expected adjusted earnings of $1.08 a share on revenue of $15.52 billion. MetLife in January postponed its earnings report and said it would revise previous quarterly earnings because of pension benefits it had failed to pay. Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.

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Aflac’s board declares two-for-one stock split

Aflac Inc. said late Tuesday its board of directors has declared a two-for-one stock split in the form of a stock dividend payable March 16 to shareholders of record as of March 2. The move follows a year of “strong share price performance” and the split “enhances the liquidity of our shares, which is in addition to our efforts to increase shareholder value,” Aflac Chief Executive Daniel P. Amos said in a statement. Aflac shares have gained 21% in the last 12 months, compared with 14% gains for the S&P 500 index. Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.

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Baidu shares rise after earnings beat

Baidu Inc. U.S. shares rose in the extended session Tuesday after the Chinese internet company topped Wall Street estimates for the quarter. Baidu’s U.S. shares rose 4.2% to $235 after hours. The company reported fourth-quarter net income of $639 million, or $1.90 per U.S. share, on revenue of $3.62 billion. Adjusted earnings were $2.29 per U.S share. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had estimated $2.16 a share on revenue of $3.66 billion. For the first quarter, Baidu estimates revenue of $3.05 billion to $3.22 billion under new revenue accounting standards. Under the old standard, the forecast would have been $3.24 billion to $3,42 billion. Analysts expect revenue of $3.4 billion.Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.

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API data reportedly show a rise in U.S. crude supplies

The American Petroleum Institute reported Tuesday that U.S. crude supplies rose 3.947 million barrels for the week ended Feb. 9, according to sources. The API data also showed an increase of 4.634 million barrels in gasoline stockpiles while inventories of distillates rose 1.1 million barrels, sources said. Supply data from the Energy Information Administration will be released Wednesday morning. March crude fell to $58.87 in electronic trading from settlement of $59.19 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.

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Twilio shares rise on earnings beat

Twilio Inc. shares shot up in the extended session Tuesday after the company beat earnings expectations. Twilio shares surged 5.3% to $27.85 after hours. The company reported fourth-quarter net losses of $19 million, or 20 cents a share, compared with losses of $12.6 million, or 15 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Adjusted losses were 3 cents a share. Revenue rose to $115 million from $82 million in the year-ago period. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had estimated adjusted losses of 6 cents a share on revenue of $103.7 million. For the first quarter, analysts model adjusted losses of 5 cents a share on sales of $108.2 million. Twilio said it expects losses of between 6 cents and 7 cents a share, with revenue of $115 million to $117 million. Twilio stock has lost 24% in the past year, as the S&P 500 index rose 14%.Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.

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CafePress announces layoffs, CEO pay cut in effort to return to profit

CafePress Inc. said late Tuesday it had laid off about 5% of its workforce at its Louisville, Ky., headquarters and given chief executive and co-founder Fred E. Durham III a pay cut in seeking to return to profitability. The retailer said it reduced Durham’s annual base salary to $125,000, from $300,000. CafePress said it expects cost reductions around $4 million. CafePress said its revenue declined in the second and third quarters of 2017 thanks to what it believes were changes in search engine algorithms hampering the company’s search visibility and traffic on the current site. “The company remains focused on completing the modernization of CafePress.com and demolishing the old site and will roll out significant portions of the modernization in the first quarter of 2018,” CafePress said. Shares of CafePress were flat in late trading after ending the regular session up 14%. Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.

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Kemper to buy Infinity Property and Casualty in $1.4 billion cash and stock deal

Kemper Corp. said late Tuesday it has agreed to buy Infinity Property and Casualty Corp. in a cash-and-stock deal worth about $1.4 billion. Shares of Infinity rose 7% after the news, while shares of Kemper were flat. “The transaction creates a company with increased scale in nonstandard auto insurance and enhanced ability to serve policyholders,” the companies said in a statement. The combined company would have a portfolio of about $2.2 billion in nonstandard, or insurance sold to higher-risk drivers and other situations, auto insurance premiums. Under the terms of the merger agreement, Infinity shareholders will receive $51.60 in cash and 1.2019 Kemper common shares for each share of Infinity common stock. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter, subject to shareholder approval and other conditions. Kemper shares ended the regular trading day down 0.4% and Infinity shares ended it down 1%.Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.

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Chipotle chooses Taco Bell CEO as new leader, stock soars 12%

Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. named Taco Bell Chief Executive Brian Niccol as its new CEO on Tuesday, and shares jumped more than 10%. Chipotle chose Niccol to replace founder Steve Ells, who said in November that he would step down from the CEO role and become executive chairman. “At Chipotle’s core is delicious food, which I will look to pair up with consistently great customer experiences,” Niccol said in Tuesday’s announcement. “I will also focus on dialing up Chipotle’s cultural relevance through innovation in menu and digital communications.” Niccol had worked for Yum Brands Inc.’s Taco Bell since 2011, and was an executive at Pizza Hut Inc. before that. Chipotle has struggled to rebound from an e.coli scare at some of its restaurants, with shares down more than 39% in the past year as the S&P 500 index has gained 14.1%. Shares topped $280 in late trading following the announcement, after closing at $251.33.Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.

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