Closing Bell: LIVE MARKETS BLOG

 | Mar 21, 2018 | 4:03 PM EDT
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Closing Bell

Markets fell off a cliff Wednesday afternoon after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell answered questions during his first session with the media since he took the central bank's top job.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the session down 0.18%, or 45 points, to 24,682 while the Nasdaq fell 0.26%, or 19 points to 7,345, and the S&P 500 declined 0.18%, or 5 points to 2,11. 


Fed Raises Rates for the First Time in 2018, Banking Stocks Rally

The banking sector is set to benefit from rising interest rates and investors have responded by boosting the stock prices of the leading investment banks Wednesday. 

The Federal Reserve raised benchmark rates at a target between 1.5% and 1.75%, the sixth time the central bank has raised rates from near-zero since 2015. 

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) was up 1.25% to $116.08, while Goldman Sachs (GS) rose 0.8% to $265.23, Bank of America (BAC) climbed 1.16% to $32.35 and Citigroup (C) climbed 1.33% to $73.89. 


Dropbox Raises IPO Share Price Target

Dropbox changed the expected debut price of its shares to between $18 and $20 from its previous range between $16 and $18 in a securities filing Wednesday. 

The new range values the company at about $8.32 billion, up from its previous estimate of $7.44 billion, but well below the $10 billion it was valued at when it raised capital in 2014. 

The current valuation would make Dropbox's debut the largest in the tech sector since Snap Inc. (SNAP) went public last year with a valuation of $24 billion.

Dropbox's IPO is scheduled for March 21, 2018.


Tesla Shareholders Approve Elon Musk Pay Package

Elon Musk has $2.6 billion reasons to make sure Tesla Inc. (TSLA) reaches its full potential after shareholders voted to approve his incentive-laden pay package on Wednesday, March 21, CNBC reported, citing a source at the meeting.

The incentives start once Tesla hits a market cap of $100 billion and increase incrementally for every $50 billion in value the company adds over the next 10 years.

Tesla currently has a market cap just north of $50 billion. Shares were up 3.5% to $321.17 on Wednesday.


Steve Wynn to Sell Up to All of His Wynn Resorts Stake

Wynn Resorts (WYNN) co-founder Steve Wynn is planning to sell part or all of his $2.2 billion stake in the company, Wynn Resorts said in a regulatory filing. 

Wynn left the company following a January Wall Street Journal report that featured allegations of sexual misconduct from multiple women. 

Wynn's 12.1 million shares give him an 11.8% stake in the company. Wynn is Wynn Resorts largest shareholder. 


Tesla Shareholders to Vote on Elon Musk's $2.6 Billion Pay Package

Tesla Inc. (TSLA) shareholders will vote on whether to approve an incentive-laden $2.6 billion pay package for CEO Elon Musk Wednesday morning.

Musk will be paid the full amount of the package if he grows Tesla's market cap from $59 billion today to $650 billion within 10 years. The incentives kick in if Tesla's valuation reaches $100 billion and rise incrementally every $50 billion past that. 

The vote is scheduled to take place in Fresno, CA at 9 AM local time. 


Facebook Declines Further While Snap, Twitter Gain

The revelation that Facebook Inc. (FB) allowed the data of more than 50 million users to be compromised by a political consultancy firm has sent the stock tumbling more than 10% over the last two sessions.

Facebook continued to fall in early trading on Wednesday, March 21, slipping 1.6%, but unlike the previous two sessions, fellow social media companies Twitter Inc (TWTR) and Snap Inc. (SNAP) weren't getting dragged down in tandem with the space's dominant player.

Twitter shares were up 3% at the market open on Wednesday, gaining back some of the 10.38% that was shaved from its market price on Tuesday, March 20. Snap shares were rising 1.09% in early trading Wednesday after falling 2.6% in the previous session.


Bayer Wins EU Approval for $66 Billion Monsanto Bid

Bayer AG is one step closer to closing its $66 billion purchase of Monsanto (MON) after the company won European Union approval for the deal. 

Bayer agreed to bolster its sale of BASF SE by selling it seeds, pesticides and digital agriculture technology. The European Union also said that BASF needs to be a viable company on its own before it approves the deal. 

"We have made sure that the number of global players actively competing in these markets stays the same. That is important because we need competition to ensure farmers have a choice of different seed varieties and pesticides at affordable prices," European Union Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said. 


Amazon Is Now The Second-Most Valuable U.S. Listed Company

Move over Alphabet (GOOGL) , Amazon (AMZN) is now the second-most valuable publicly listed company in the U.S. based on market capitalization.

The e-retailer closed Tuesday's session up 2.69% to $1586.71, bringing its market cap to $768 billion. Meanwhile, Alphabet declined 0.39%, bringing its market cap down to $762 billion. 

Amazon has been moving up the charts all year, displacing Microsoft (MSFT) from the number three spot in February. Apple (AAPL) is still the world's most valuable publicly-listed company with a market cap of $889 billion.


Premarket

U.S. futures were showing volatility ahead of the market open, spending time in both positive and negative territory Wednesday morning.

Dow futures were down 0.1%, indicating an open 26 points lower while Nasdaq futures declined 0.44%, indicating an open 30 points lower and S&P futures fell 0.13% indicating an open 4 points lower. 

Markets around the world were having a tough session Wednesday. In Asia, all three major indices closed the day down, led by the Nikkei which fell 0.47%. 

In Europe, the FTSE 100 was leading indices lower, falling 0.51% with about four and a half hours left in trading. 

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