U.S. markets dipped modestly in early afternoon trading Wednesday, with the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrials each down about 0.15%. The declines coincide with a slide in crude oil prices, which dipped 0.4% in afternoon trading to about $46.40 a barrel based on U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate.
Investors were bracing for the expected 2 p.m. release of the July minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee. The minutes are likely to shed light on the Federal Reserve's monetary policy agenda and its potential use of such levers as the federal funds rate and quantitative-easing programs.
Meanwhile, shares of CIT Group (CIT) climbed about 3% following news that the corporate lender's aircraft leasing business is receiving premium offers from some bidders, with first-round offers coming in above $4 billion, The Wall Street Journal said in a Wednesday report.
CIT noted in its quarterly filing with the SEC Monday that its commercial aircraft leasing business, which it is in the process of auctioning, constituted about two-thirds of the company's total operating lease equipment balance as of June 30.
The analysts with Morgan Stanley citing the likelihood that Valeant will be able to meaningfully pay down a significant portion of its roughly $31 billion debt load while reaching agreements with creditors over debt covenants. The analysts also cited the benefits of Valeant restating its 2016 EBITDA forecast earlier this month, which the drug maker expects to be in a range of $4.8 billion to $4.95 billion (EBITDA is a valuation metric that stands for earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.)
Buffalo Wild Wings (BWLD) shares were also up about 2% after hedge fund Marcato Capital, which owns more than 5% of the company's shares outstanding, released a letter to Buffalo Wild Wings Chairman James Damian urging the addition of new talent on the board and more focus on core restaurant operations.
"Suboptimal capital allocation behavior is symptomatic of a larger organizational deficiency: a tendency to favor gut feel and thematic proclamations without tangible evidence or appropriate analytical support," Marcato founder and managing partner Mick McGuire wrote in a letter obtained by Reuters.
Barnes & Noble (BKS) shares were down about 12% in midday trading after the bookstore chain announced it will be replacing CEO Ronald Boire, who served at the helm for less than a year, noting in a post-market statement Tuesday he "was not a good fit for the organization."
Barnes & Noble shares have climbed about 35% on the year, but are still down about 59% from mid-2015 highs as electronic readers begin to intrude on the bookseller's customer base. The company also announced on Wednesday that it will be working with Samsung in the distribution of the Samsung Galaxy Tab A Nook reader tablet, which will be available at Barnes & Noble stores nationwide as well as on the bookseller's website.