Procter & Gamble’s stock falls after results

Shares of Procter & Gamble Co. fell 1.2% in premarket trade Friday, after the consumer products company reported fiscal first-quarter profit that rose above expectations but revenue that came up a bit shy. Net income for the quarter to Sept. 30 increased to $2.85 billion, or $1.06 a share, from $2.71 billion, or 96 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. Excluding non-recurring items, adjusted earnings per share came to $1.09, above the FactSet consensus of $1.08. Revenue grew 1% to $16.65 billion, just below the FactSet consensus of $16.69 billion. Of the company’s largest business segments, revenue from fabric & home care and beauty beat expectations, while baby, feminine & family care missed. The company affirmed its full-year guidance for organic sales growth of 2% to 3% and for core EPS growth of 5% to 7%. The stock has gained 8.9% year to date through Thursday, while the SPDR Consumer Staple Select Sector ETF has tacked on 4.5% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average has climbed 17.2%.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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Celgene downgraded to neutral at Baird for ‘increasing risks to long-term goals’

Celgene Corp. was downgraded to neutral at Baird Equity Research on Friday after the drugmaker abandoned three Crohn’s disease drug trials late Thursday. Baird analyst Brian Skorney also lowered the company’s price target by 16% to $136. Celgene shares, which closed at $135.96 on Thursday, dropped 5.9% in premarket trade Friday. Skorney said the downgrade was based on removing Celgene’s GED-0301 from his model and on lower “prospects for long-term growth, as pressure to succeed in [inflammation and immunology] is now almost exclusively on ozanimod,” which Celgene is developing for relapsing multiple sclerosis, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Celgene said late Thursday that is it still waiting to review full data from a mid-stage trial of GED-0301 in ulcerative colitis, but “we believe the drug’s target, SMAD7, has more mechanistic rationale in Crohn’s, not UC,” Skorney said, adding, that the “high-profile GED-0301 failure has potential to call into question the pipeline.” Celgene shares have dipped 0.3% over the last three months, compared with a 3.6% rise in the S&P 500 . 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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Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico could result in medical device shortages, FDA says

After warning that Hurricane Maria devastation in Puerto Rico could result in drug shortages, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said Friday that medical device shortages are a concern too, one that the regulator is working to minimize. Both industries have a large manufacturing presence in Puerto Rico. The FDA is watching 50 types of medical devices that are made in Puerto Rico and working with about 10 manufacturers to prevent shortages, especially for blood-related medical devices. In addition to helping get production back up and running and move important products in and out of Puerto Rico, the FDA said it is also considering importing ex-U.S. devices or shifting manufacturing of devices elsewhere. Obtaining materials, components and tools needed for production number among the manufacturing challenges for medical device makers, Gottlieb said. Medical device makers Medtronic plc , General Electric Company and Johnson & Johnson shares slumped 0.2%, 0.6% and 0.1% in afternoon trade, while Abbott Laboratories shares rose 0.3%. The iShares U.S. Medical Devices ETF rose 0.7% in Friday trade. 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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Baker Hughes reports a decline in U.S. oil-rig count for a third week in a row

Baker Hughes on Friday reported that the number of active U.S. rigs drilling for oil fell by 7 to 736 this week, marking a third-consecutive weekly decline. The total active U.S. rig count, which includes oil and natural-gas rigs, also dropped by 15 to 913, according to Baker Hughes. November West Texas Intermediate crude , which expires at the settlement, was up 14 cents, or 0.3%, from Thursday, at $51.43 a barrel. December WTI oil traded at $51.70 a barrel, up 19 cents, or 0.4%.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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Gold drops to 2-week low, suffers worst weekly decline in a month

Gold prices settled Friday at a two-week low, with a weekly loss of 1.9% their worst in about a month. Strength in the U.S. dollar and equities, following the Senate’s approval of a budget proposal for the next fiscal year, put pressure on dollar-denominated prices for the precious metal. December gold fell $9.50, or 0.7%, to settle at $1,280.50 an ounce-the lowest since Oct. 6, according to FactSet data.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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Wells Fargo fires foreign exchange bankers amid investigation: WSJ

Wells Fargo on Friday dismissed four foreign exchange-focused bankers on the back of an investigation into its investment banking division, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter and the bank. The investigation was carried out by Wells itself as well as regulators, and does not appear to be related to the negative headlines surrounding its sales practices, which were in focus over the summer. The bank’s shares were up 2.4% at $55.02 on Friday. Wells Fargo spokesperson Jessica Ong said the bank doesn’t comment on personnel matters in detail, but confirmed that Simon Fowles, Bob Gotelli, Jed Guenther and Michael Schauffler are no longer with the firm, while Sara Wardell-Smith has accepted a new position as Americas regional leader in the bank’s financial institutions group. The securities division’s foreign exchange business will be under the management of Ben Bonner.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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Trump indicates Taylor and Powell could be named together to top Fed roles

President Donald Trump identified three candidates he may choose to run the Federal Reserve, as a report said he may name Jerome Powell and John Taylor together, although it’s not clear who would be chairman and who would be vice chairman. “Well as you know, I’ve been seeing a number of people, and most people are saying it’s down to two — Mr. Taylor, Mr. Powell. I also met with Janet Yellen who I like a lot, I really like her a lot. So I have three people I’m looking at, and there are a couple of others,” Trump said in a clip from “Mornings with Maria” that aired on Fox Business Network. Asked specifically about Powell and Taylor together, Trump said: “it is in my thinking, and I have a couple of others things in my thinking, but I like talent and they’re both very talented people.” 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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Oil up for the session, little changed for the week

Oil settled modestly higher on Friday to end little changed for the week. Prices found some support from data showing a third weekly decline in the number of active U.S. oil rigs. November West Texas Intermediate crude , which expired at the settlement, rose 18 cents, or 0.4%, to finish at $51.47 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract ended about 2 cents higher for the week. December WTI crude , the new front-month contract, added 33 cents, or 0.6%, at $51.84. 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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Stocks close at records on tax cut hopes

U.S. benchmark stock indexes all rose on Friday to close at record levels after the Senate adopted a federal budget for next year, a key step on the road to tax cuts. The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 164 points to 23326, and was up 2.0% for the week. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 24 points at 6629. The S&P 500 was up 13 points to 2575, and 0.9% for the week. The Dow and the S&P 500 close out their sixth straight weekly gain, while the Nasdaq notched its fourth straight positive week. This is the longest stretch of weekly gains for the Dow since a seven-week rally that ended in December.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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