ESPN Names Disney Veteran James Pitaro New President: LIVE MARKETS BLOG

 | Mar 05, 2018 | 4:02 PM EST
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Closing Bell

U.S. markets closed a volatile day of trading on a high note, with all three major indices finishing trading up at least 1%. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average led the way, rising 1.37%, or 337 points, to 24,875 while the Nasdaq gained 1%, or 73 points, to 7,331 and the S&P 500 gained 1.1%, or 30 points, to 2,721. 

Disney Exec James Pitaro Named New President of ESPN

The Walt Disney Co. (DIS) named former Chairman of Disney Consumer Products and interactive Media James Pitaro as the new President of its sports entertainment arm ESPN. 

Pitaro will report directly to Disney CEO Robert Iger. 

"Jimmy is a talented and dedicated leader with the right strategic vision, relentless drive and passion for sports required to lead the stellar ESPN team at this incredibly dynamic time," Iger said. "Jimmy forged his career at the intersection of technology, sports and media, and his vast experience and keen perspective will be invaluable in taking ESPN into the future."

Pitaro takes over for George Bodenheimer who has served as acting chair of the network for the past three months following the resignation of former CEO John Skipper in December. 

Martin Shkreli Ordered to Forfeit Cash and Assets Totaling $7.36 Million

Former pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli was ordered to forfeit $7.36 million in cash and assets by the federal government as part of his criminal sentence for defrauding investors in two hedge funds he used to run. 

Judge Kiyo Matsumoto ruled that to satisfy the forfeiture amount Shkreli must forfeit his $5 million in cash in an E-Trade brokerage account, his stake in drug company Vyera Pharmaceuticals, and a one-of-a-kind recording of the Wu-Tang Clan album "Once Upon a Time in Shaolin" that was never released to the public. 

Shkreli became infamous after he raised the price of the life-saving anti-parasite drug Daraprim to $750 pill from its previous price of $13.50 per pill. 

United Scraps Quarterly Bonuses for $100,000 Lottery 

United Airlines (UAL) has dissension in the ranks after the company decided to scrap its performance-based quarterly bonus for a $100,000 lottery that only has one winner. 

In addition to the lottery, qualified employees would also receive quarterly prizes that would include luxury vacations, smaller cash awards and a new Mercedes.

"No team-oriented reward should be dictated by lottery," Craig Symons, the president of United's flight dispatchers union, said to Bloomberg.

Google Sells Zagat to Review Site The Infatuation

Google (GOOGL) is planning to sell its restaurant review service Zagat to review site The Infatuation, the New York Times reported Monday. 

Zagat has reportedly decreased as a priority at Google and the company has been looking for a buyer since earlier this year, Reuters reported. 

The Infatuation uses a team of in-house reviewers to review restaurants in major cities around the country. Google purchased Zagat for $151 million seven years ago. 

Pennsylvania AG Sues Uber Over Data Breach

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro filed a lawsuit against Uber because the company allegedly failed to notify authorities in the state of a breach that potentially exposed the information of as many as 57 million passengers and drivers. 

Uber did not disclose the breach until last November after reportedly knowing about it for more than a year, a potential violation of Pennsylvania's data breach notification law. 

Uber violated Pennsylvania law by failing to put our residents on timely notice of this massive data breach," Shapiro said. "Instead of notifying impacted consumers of the breach within a reasonable amount of time, Uber hid the incident for over a year - and actually paid the hackers to delete the data and stay quiet. That's just outrageous corporate misconduct, and I'm suing to hold them accountable and recover for Pennsylvanians."

Markets Turn Positive as Worries Over Brewing Trade War Decline

The three major U.S. stock indices were trading in the green Monday morning, reversing course after starting the day off in the red across the board. 

Fear of a brewing trade ware following tweets over the weekend from President Trump had weighed on the market to start the day. 

We are on the losing side of almost all trade deals. Our friends and enemies have taken advantage of the U.S. for many years. Our Steel and Aluminum industries are dead. Sorry, it's time for a change! MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 5, 2018

We have large trade deficits with Mexico and Canada. NAFTA, which is under renegotiation right now, has been a bad deal for U.S.A. Massive relocation of companies & jobs. Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum will only come off if new & fair NAFTA agreement is signed. Also, Canada must..

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 5, 2018

Ford to Layoff 2000 Workers Temporarily as it Retools Factories

Ford (F) announced plans to temporarily layoff 2,000 workers at its assembly and stamping plants in Wayne, MI in an effort to retool the plants to be able to build pickup trucks and SUVs. 

Ford wants to build Ranger pickup trucks and Bronco SUVs at the plant. 

The layoffs will begin in early May and last through October, but Ford guaranteed that "the affected employees all will return to work - either at Michigan Assembly or at another Ford facility," according to an email to Reuters

Walmart to Expand Meal Kits to More Than 2,000 Stores This Year

Walmart (WMT) announced plans to expand the presence of its in-house meal kits to more than 2,000 stores this year from its current distribution at about 250 stores. 

The kits are assembled in the stores daily and are available in the deli section of the retailer. The meal kits range in price from about $8 to $15. 

Meal-kit delivery company Blue Apron (APRN) faced a sell-off Monday morning following the announcement, falling 4.4% in the morning session. 

Amazon in Talks to Offer Checking Account Products Through Big Banks

Amazon (AMZN) could be disrupting a checking account near you soon.

The e-commerce giant is in talks with big banks, including JPMorgan Chase (JPM) , to create a checking-account-like product, sources told the Wall Street Journal.

The talks are still in the early stages but the discussions are focused on a product that would appeal to younger customers and those who do not currently have bank accounts. 

AXA to Purchase American Insurance Company XL Group for $15.3 Billion

French insurance giant AXA SA (AXAHY) announced plans to purchase American-based XL Group (XL) for $15.3 billion, speeding up the company's plan to exit volatile financial markets and double down on its core business. 

AXA plans to accelerate existing plans to spin off its large U.S. life-insurance business into a publicly listed entity. 

XL shares were up 31% premarket on the news, while AXA shares were down nearly 9%. 

U.S. Tells Qualcomm to Push Back Shareholder Meeting to Review Broadcom Bid

The U.S. government has ordered chipmaker Qualcomm (QCOM) to delay its shareholder meeting this week in order to give the company more time to review an unsolicited $117 billion takeover bid from rival Broadcom (AVGO) .

The move will also delay Broadcom's proxy fight for Qualcomm's board. Qualcomm shareholders were set to vote on six of the company's 11 board members. 

Broadcom said that Qualcomm requested a government review that will delay the vote in January. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., which reviews foreign acquisitions of U.S. assets involved in industry tied to national security concerns, will review the merger.


U.S. futures were falling Monday morning as investors await word from Washington on whether the President will follow through on threats of tariffs. 

Dow Jones futures were falling 0.26%, indicating an opening 65 points lower, while Nasdaq futures were basically flat and S&P 500 futures were down 0.3%, indicating a nearly 8 point drop. 

World markets were mixed. In Asia, the Shanghai Composite was the lone major index to rise while the Hang Seng dropped 2.28% and the Nikkei declined 0.66%. 

In Europe, markets were rising across the board as the DAX in Germany rose 0.66%, while the CAC 40 and FTSE 100 both rose 0.24% and 0.19% respectively. 

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