The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 ended the first quarter of 2018 in the red, breaking a nine-quarter streak for the two indices. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq suffered its worst month of trading since January 2016.
U.S. stock markets will be closed Friday, March 30, for Good Friday.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 324 points, or 1.65%, to 24,160, the S&P 500 was up 1.64% and the Nasdaq rose 1.64% after stocks finished to the downside on Wednesday, March 28.
Sears CEO Received Raise in 2017
Sears (SHLD) CEO Eddie Lampert saw his 2017 bonus increase by $850,000, a 24% raise over the previous year.
Lampert gets a salary of only $1, but he also gets a stock bonus. Lampert was given 606,000 shares in 2017 more than double the 265,000 that he received in 2016.
The value of the options fell precipitously last year, however, as Sears stock tumbled 60%.
Shares of Sears were having a strong performance this week, rising nearly 40% at its peak over the past five sessions. However, the stock is down 5.5% in afternoon trading Thursday.
McDonald's Triples Employee Scholarship Program
McDonald's (MCD) is using the benefits from its tax cuts to triple its tuition assistance program to $150 million.
Previously, employees had to be on the job for at least nine months before being eligible for the tuition assistance, the company now requires that employees be on the job for just 90 days.
"By tripling tuition assistance, adding education benefits for family members and lowering eligibility requirements to the equivalent of a summer job, we are sending a signal that if you come work at your local McDonald's, we'll invest in your future," David Fairhurst, McDonald's chief people officer, said in a statement.
Snap Inc. to Layoff 100 More Workers
Snap Inc. (SNAP) announced another round of 100 layoffs Thursday mainly affecting the company's sales department.
This round of layoffs follows the reconstruction of the company's content teams in January and the layoffs off about 120 engineers earlier this month.
"These changes reflect our view that tighter integration and closer collaboration between our teams is a critical component of sustainably growing our business," Chief Strategy Officer Imran Khan said in a statement. "While this process has required us to make some really tough decisions, we believe that rigorously ensuring our team structure always aligns with our goals will make us stronger."
Snap shares were down 0.7% Thursday afternoon.
Barclays to Pay $2 Billion Fine Over Mortgage-Backed Securities Fraud
The Justice Department announced that British bank Barclays (BCS) agreed to pay a $2 billion fine over claims of fraud in the sale of residential mortgage-backed securities.
The Justice Department charged Barclays with fraud in conduct related to the underwriting and issuance of the RMBS between 2005 and 2007 in the run-up to the financial crisis.
The settlement comes following a three-year investigation in which Barclays was found to have caused billions of dollars in investor losses by engaging in a scheme to sell 36 RMBS deals while misleading investors about the quality of the mortgages underlying those contracts.
"The substantial penalty Barclays and its executives have agreed to pay is an important step in recognizing the harm that was caused to the national economy and to investors in RMBS," said U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue.
Volkswagen to Offer Buybacks for Diesel Vehicles If German Cities Ban Them
German automaker Volkswagen (VLKAY) announced that it will offer buybacks for diesel vehicles should German cities choose to ban the vehicles.
Volkswagen's announcement follows a German court ruling that cities could issue the ban if they so choose. Volkswagen is offering to buy back diesel vehicles purchased between April 1 and the end of the year if the city a buyer lives in chooses to ban the vehicles.
Diesel car sales plunged 19% in Germany last year thanks to fears over the ban, even though diesel vehicles emit less CO2 than their gasoline engine counterparts.
Jobless Claims Fall to Lowest Level Since 1973
Initial jobless claims in the U.S. fell by 12,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted mark of 215,000, according to data released by the Labor Department.
The current unemployment benefits level is the lowest its been since January 1973. Data from last week was also revised down by 2,000 claims.
Analysts polled by Reuters were expecting claims to fall to 230,000 last week.
Claims have been below the 300,000 threshold, considered to be a sign of a healthy job market, for 158 consecutive weeks. It is the longest such stretch since 1970 when the labor market was much smaller.
Amazon Is in the President's Sights, Scaring Investors Away
Amazon (AMZN) shares continued their downward trajectory Thursday after President Trump took to Twitter to denounce the company's avoidance of state and local taxes.
I have stated my concerns with Amazon long before the Election. Unlike others, they pay little or no taxes to state & local governments, use our Postal System as their Delivery Boy (causing tremendous loss to the U.S.), and are putting many thousands of retailers out of business!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 29, 2018
Amazon shares were falling 1.3% in early market trading Thursday after falling more than 4% Wednesday.
Boeing Hit by WannaCry Malware, Attack Caused Little Damage
Boeing (BA) says that its computer network was infected by the WannaCry computer virus, but the attack only caused minimal damage.
The attack initially caused widespread alarm within the company that its vital airplane-production equipment might be affected, but the company quickly realized that the attack was contained.
"We've done a final assessment," said Linda Mills, the head of communications for Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "The vulnerability was limited to a few machines. We deployed software patches. There was no interruption to the 777 jet program or any of our programs."
WannaCry first surfaced during a global attack in May last year. The virus attacks Windows systems and infects them with ransomware.
Airbnb Grants Chinese Authorities Access Guest Info
Room-booking service Airbnb has capitulated to Chinese authorities, allowing them access to guest information like passport details and the dates of bookings.
Airbnb said that it is cooperating with the Chinese government, "like all businesses operating in China."
In China, Airbnb users have to provide their passport information while booking. It is not like this in other countries.
"The information we collect is similar to information hotels in China have collected for decades," an Airbnb spokesperson told the BBC. "[It is] one step we are taking as we explore ways to help our hosts and guests follow the appropriate rules and regulations [in China]."
U.S futures were once again showing signs of life Thursday, however, markets have not followed the futures' lead for the previous two sessions, closing the day lower after strong premarket trading.
Dow futures were rising 0.29%, indicating an open 69 points higher, while Nasdaq futures gained 0.66%, indicating an open 42.5 points higher, and S&P futures were rising 0.34%, indicating an open 9 points higher.
World markets were able to rebound. In Asia, the Shanghai Composite led the way, rising 1.22% while the Hang Seng rose 0.24% and the Nikkei closed the day up 0.61%.
In Europe, the DAX was rising 0.71%, the CAC 40 climbed 0.6%, and the FTSE 100 rose 0.4% with about four hours left in trading.