The services sector has expanded at its fastest pace in eight months, bumping stocks a little higher. The escalating violence in Ukraine is keeping gains in check, however. A late Friday warning from JP Morgan Chase (JPM) put financial stocks under pressure. But, for the first time since October 2012, Apple (AAPL) closed above $600 per share.
Target (TGT) is still under a big shakeup with its Chairman and CEO Gregg Steinhafel’s departure, in light of the tragic data breach that hit Target’s profits over the holiday shopping season.
Jim Finkle, Reuters Cyber Security Correspondent, says: “What they haven’t done yet is name a new chief information security officer. A lot of companies have chief information security officers and have had them for some time, and the fact that Target, being such a large company, didn’t have one to begin with is seen as a failing of the CEO and may be one of the reasons he is leaving.”
What’s more, the retailer’s financial results have been short of great for some time. And Target’s investors have lost faith in a major turnaround, sending its shares down by more than 3%.
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Speaking of faulty systems, General Motors (GM) just added to its list of recalls. GM sent out 52,000 new model SUVs that incorrectly measure their fuel count. Therefore, GM is reeling the defected vehicles back in – totaling seven million vehicles on its recall list so far this year. And Target isn’t the only one saying “Goodbye” to a top game player, because GM is losing another top engineer. GM’s shares finished lower on the day.
While Target and GM may be fine cutting the chords, Pfizer (PFE) is not. It refuses to take a “No” from AstraZeneca (AZN). So far, AZN has rejected three offers from its suitor. After reviewing Pfizer’s results, it’s become quite apparent why this drug maker won’t let go of AZN. Its sales hit 2.5% below forecasts.
Overseas news: Markets were closed in London, but other major indexes were mixed. Worries over Ukraine and the Chinese economy played a big role in Europe’s markets.