Lars Larson

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Lars Larson

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U.S. stocks traded close to the flat line yesterday, with afternoon gains driven by a rally in the health-care and biotechnology sectors.  Health-care stocks led the gains, up 1.4%, as lawmakers released a “discussion draft” of the health-care bill that is aimed at repealing and replacing Obamacare. The plan includes cutting Medicaid and eliminating penalties for people who don’t buy insurance among other changes.

Oil finished modestly higher yesterday, with a second weekly decline in U.S. crude supplies helping prices recoup some of their recent losses.  But prices were still stuck in a bear market, defined as a decline from a recent peak of at least 20%, on lingering worries about strong domestic production growth.

Shares of Oracle are up over 8% after reporting earnings that topped Wall Street expectations after the bell yesterday.  Better-than-expected results were driven by its cloud business; revenue in that segment soared 58% to $1.4 billion.

American Airlines is in focus after receiving an unsolicited notice from Qatar Airways indicating that it wants to make a “significant” investment in the US airline, amounting to about a 10% stake.  Shares of American Airlines are higher on the news.

And Staples shares are moving higher following a Reuters report that private equity firm Sycamore Partners is in advanced talks to buy the office-supply retailer.  The deal could be worth more than $6 billion.


 

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