Closing Bell: LIVE MARKETS BLOG

 | Feb 26, 2018 | 4:02 PM EST
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Closing Bell

The major U.S. averages closed trading near session-highs Monday, starting the week off on a positive note. 

The Dow Jones Industrial average led the way higher, rising 1.57%, or 398 points while the Nasdaq gained 1.15%, or 84 points, and the S&P 500 rose 1.18%, or 32 points. 


Sanofi Accused of not Disclosing Dangers of Dengue Fever Vaccine

The Philippine Food and Drug Association says drugmaker Sanofi (SNY) knew that its dengue fever vaccine was dangerous to people who had never had the disease, since in 2015, but failed to inform the government when it applied for drug approval in Singapore.

Sanofi's drug was approved on Dec. 22, 2015, but the company only advised of the vaccine's limitations in November 2017.

The Philippine government suspended the school-based dengue fever immunization program in December 2017 after the French vaccine maker stated that the vaccine could cause more severe cases of dengue if administered to people who hadn't had the disease prior.

The program ended up costing the Philippine government $67 million. More than 700,000 children ages 9 and above were given their first dose of the vaccine as of November 2017.

A Philippine lawmaker estimated that 90% of patients who sought medical assistance at the drug's rollout turned out to be negative for the disease.


Uber, Lyft Are Adding to the Traffic Congestion Problem

Uber and Lyft are supposed to help cities decongest their streets, but the companies are having the opposite effect, according to numerous recent studies

Commuters are increasingly ditching unreliable public transportation fore rid hailing services. 

One study surveyed 944 ride-hailers and found that 60% of them had used the car services in lieu of public transportation. A separate study in December found that the increase in ride-sharing vehicles was contributing to slower traffic in Manhattan's central business district. 


Half of U.S. Adults Haven't Checked Credit Score Since Equifax Was Hacked

The Equifax (EFX) hack that exposed the personal information of at least 145.5 million Americans was big news when it happened, but half of U.S. adults haven't checked their credit score since the breach, according to a survey by CreditCards.com. 

"If the announcement of something that significant won't get people to act, then it raises the question of what will," Matt Schulz, senior industry analyst at CreditCards.com, said of the Equifax data breach. "I think people just feel that they have more pressing things to do."

About three in 10 of those surveyed who say they "heard a lot" about the breach hadn't checked their score in the past six months. Millennials were the most likely to have not heard about the breach, but millennials also checked their credit scores at a higher rate than any other generation in the past six months. 


U.S. New Home Sales Continue to Be in a Funk

Sales of single-family homes in the U.S. fell for the second consecutive month, falling 7.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 593,000 units in January. December's pace was revised up to 643,000 from the previously reported 625,000 amount. 

Economists expected new home sales to rise to a pace of 645,000 in January. 

Weakness in the Northeast and South drove the declines, with Northeast sales falling 33.3% and sales in the South dropping 14.2%. Sales rose 1% in the West and 15.4% in the Midwest. 


Goldman Says Watch Out if 10-Year Note Hits 4.5% Yield

The yield of the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note has spiked in 2018, resulting in increased market volatility. 

Analysts at Goldman Sachs say that if the yield hits 4.5% that the stock market could see a 20% dip. Yields on the 10-year note were down 0.3% to 2.82%.

Goldman's stress test scenario assumed a 3.25% yield by the end of this year.


BlackRock, Pamplona Acquire Cybersecurity Firm PhishMe for $400 Million

BlackRock (BLK) and Pamplona Capital, two of the private equity world's biggest firms, have reached an agreement to purchase Leesburg, VA-based cybersecurity firm PhishMe for $400 million. 

Pamplona hads a two-thirds stake in the company while BlackRock owns the remainder, sources told Fortune. PhishMe has changed its moniker following the transaction to "Cofense."

The company expects to break even in the fourth quarter of next year after bringing in $55 million in revenue last year. 


Qualcomm Proposes Price Talks With Broadcom

Qualcomm (QCOM) seems to be rethinking its rejection of multiple bids from rival Broadcom (AVGO) for its business, after urging the company to enter into price negotiations Monday. 

It is the first time the company has publicly issued comments on the matter since it rejected a $117 billion bid from Broadcom earlier this year. 

Qualcomm's view hasn't changed, however, as the company says Broadcom's bid, which was the largest acquisition offer in tech history, undervalued the company. 

During a Friday conversation between the two companies, Qualcomm proposed a reverse termination fee of 9% of enterprise value should regulators fail to approve the deal. 


NRA Backlash Deepens as Companies Cut Ties With Controversial Organization

The recent massacre of 17 people at a high school in Parkland, FL has resulted in more than a dozen companies severing ties with the National Rifle Association, which has become a lightning rod for backlash in the wake of the shooting. 

United Airlines (UAL) and Delta Air Lines (DAL) are two of the most recent companies to cancel special offers to NRA members, joining TruCar (TRU) , Avis, MetLife (MET) , Hertz (HTZ) , Symantec (SYMC) and others. 

Public pressure has mounted on the organization as high school students affected by the shooting have taken to the airwaves to air their grievances against the organization which lobbies for loose gun control laws. 

The NRA has struck back against the companies that have abandoned the organization, saying they "have decided to punish NRA membership in a shameful display of political and civic cowardice."

"In time, these brands will be replaced by others who recognize that patriotism and determined commitment to Constitutional freedoms are characteristics of a marketplace they very much want to serve," the NRA said.


UPS Sues EU Commission For Nixing TNT Merger

United Parcel Service (UPS) will sue the EU Commission, the European Union's antitrust regulator, for $2.15 billion over its decision to nix the company's merger with Dutch parcel-delivery company TNT Express NV. 

The EU Commission originally blocked the $7 billion deal in January 2013 due to competition concerns, but that decision was overturned by an EU court last year. The commission is appealing that judgment. 

"We feel strongly that the proposed acquisition would have constituted a good deal for logistics customers," said Gregg Svingen, a spokesman for UPS. "The compensation being sought corresponds to what we believe, through objective assessments verified by expert third parties, to be the value of the opportunity wrongly prohibited by the European Commission."


GE to Restate 2 years of Earnings Info

Shares of General Electric (GE) were up 0.35% premarket Monday after the company announced that it will restate two years of earnings. The affected years are 2016 and 2017, according to a Securities & Exchange Commission.

GE also restated its full-year earnings guidance between $1 and $1.07 per share. 

The restatement was first mentioned in the company's fourth-quarter earnings call as the company said that it was changing its accounting standards.


Premarket

U.S. futures were rising ahead of the market open Monday one session after markets rose across the board on Friday. 

Dow Jones futures were rising 0.61%, indicating an open 154 points higher, while Nasdaq futures were climbing 0.3%, indicating an open 20 points higher, and S&P futures rose 0.37%, indicating an open 10.25 points higher. 

World markets had a strong showing to start the week, led by the major markets in Asia which climbed across the board.

The Shanghai Composite gained 1.23% while the Hang Seng rose 0.74%. The Nikkei jumped 1.19% on the day. 

In Europe, the FTSE 100 led the way, climbing 0.55% while the Dax rose 0.32% and the CAC 40 gained 0.52% whit about four hours left in trading. 

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