Wall St. pulls back from record; utilities slump

By Chuck Mikolajczak | NEW YORK

NEW YORK U.S. stocks fell on Tuesday as investors engaged in profit-taking to pull major indexes from record levels, while the trend of modest moves and low volume continued heading into the final trading day of the year.

The day's losses were broad, with each of the ten primary S&P 500 sectors in negative territory. Utilities .SPLRCU - 2014's best sector performer - led the decline with a drop of 2.1 percent.

Equities have enjoyed a solid rally of late, buoyed by strong economic data and the U.S. Federal Reserve's commitment to be "patient" about raising interest rates. The S&P 500 gained nearly 6 percent over the prior eight sessions and managed to score its 53rd record close of the year on Monday.

The speed and scale of the rally provided incentive to take profits, and amplified volatility is possible this week with many market participants out for the holiday, which dampens volume. The stock market will be closed on Thursday for the New Year's holiday.

"It wasn’t going to take much to prompt the decline, it’s probably more resting than anything else. We’ve had a pretty significant move higher," said Stephen Massocca, managing director at Wedbush Equity Management LLC in San Francisco.

"We’ve marched straight up from 1,970 or so to about 2,100 so it’s only natural that we are going to get a little bit of a pullback here."

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI fell 55.16 points, or 0.31 percent, to 17,983.07, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 10.22 points, or 0.49 percent, to 2,080.35 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 29.47 points, or 0.61 percent, to 4,777.44.

In the latest economic data, consumer confidence rose slightly less than expected in December, while U.S. single-family home price appreciation slowed less than forecast in October.

NeuroDerm Ltd (NDRM.O) soared more than 193 percent to $18.14 on heavy volume after it said data from a mid-stage study suggested that a higher dose of its Parkinson's drug could provide an alternative to treatments that require surgery.

Civeo Corp (CVEO.N), which provides temporary housing for oilfield workers and miners, late Monday slashed its workforce and forecast revenue could fall by one-third as slumping crude prices force oil producers to cut costs. The stock plunged 52.6 percent to $3.92 on volume of about 56.2 million shares, the most active day in its history.

Volume was light, with about 4.42 billion shares traded on U.S. exchanges, well below the 7.06 billion average so far this month, according to data from BATS Global Markets.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 1,806 to 1,262, for a 1.43-to-1 ratio; on the Nasdaq, 1,671 issues fell and 1,031 advanced for a 1.62-to-1 ratio favoring decliners.

The benchmark S&P 500 posted 25 new 52-week highs and 6 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 107 new highs and 39 new lows.

(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

Read more

One ticket has winning numbers in $421 million Powerball lottery

A lottery ticket sold in Tennessee had the winning numbers for a $421 million Powerball jackpot, one of the biggest on record, officials said after Saturday's draw.

The winning numbers selected were 17, 19, 21, 37, 44, with the Powerball 16. No one as yet had stepped forward to claim the prize, which grew in size since Sept. 17, the last time anyone matched all six numbers.

The jackpot soared from $403 million to a reported $420.9 million on Saturday due to a spate of late ticket-buying.

The prize is paid out over 30 years, with the option of a lump sum payment, which officials said would add up to about $254.7 million.

The odds of winning the Powerball jackpot are 1 in 292 million.

The largest ever U.S. lottery prize of $1.6 billion was split between three winning tickets in January.

Powerball, one of several games run by the Multi-State Lottery Association, a non-profit owned and operated by member states' lotteries, is played in 44 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Players can either buy $2 tickets using their own numbers or have them randomly generated by a computer.

The Mega Millions lottery, also offered by the association, produced the country's second-largest-ever prize, worth $656 million, in a 2012 drawing.

For every $1 worth of Powerball sales, half goes to prizes, 40 percent to state governments for causes such as education, and 10 percent to retailers who sell the tickets and other administrative costs.

(Reporting by Chris Michaud; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore and Jacqueline Wong)

Read more

Trump, without evidence, says illegal voting cost him U.S. popular vote

By Roberta Rampton and Dustin Volz | PALM BEACH, Fla./WASHINGTON

PALM BEACH, Fla./WASHINGTON U.S. President-elect Donald Trump said in a tweet on Sunday that he won the popular vote in the Nov. 8 election "if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally", though he provided no evidence of widespread voter fraud.

The allegation by Trump, who won the required votes in the Electoral College to secure the presidency, comes as Democratic rival Hillary Clinton's lead in the popular vote over Trump has surpassed 2.0 million votes and is expected to grow to more than 2.5 million as ballots in populous states such as California continue to be tallied.

Clinton's legal team said on Saturday it had agreed to participate in a recount of Wisconsin votes after the state's election board approved the effort requested by Green Party candidate Jill Stein, which Trump has called "ridiculous."

"In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally," the Republican Trump tweeted as reporters waited for him to leave his Mar-a-Lago golf resort in Florida to fly back to his residence in New York City.

The U.S. presidential race is decided by the Electoral College, based on a tally of wins from the state-by-state contests, rather than by the national vote. Trump has surpassed the 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House. The Electoral College results are expected to be finalized on Dec. 19. Trump takes office on Jan. 20.

"It would have been much easier for me to win the so-called popular vote than in the Electoral College in that I would only campaign in 3 or 4 states instead of the 15 states that I visited," Trump added in follow-up tweets.

Several hours later, Trump tweeted, again without citing evidence: "Serious voter fraud in Virginia, New Hampshire and California - so why isn't the media reporting on this? Serious bias - big problem!" Clinton won all three states.

A spokesman for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

CRITICIZING RECOUNT EFFORT

Before the election, Trump made unsubstantiated allegations that the results of the election might be "rigged" against him but several studies have found no evidence of widespread or significant voter fraud in the United States.

Since the vote, his message has alternated between appealing for unity and railing against his opponents and the media.

In a video message released ahead of the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday, Trump said he hoped it would be a time for Americans "to begin to heal our divisions" following a "long and bruising political campaign."

In a tweet on Saturday, Trump derided the fundraising effort by Stein to launch recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania as a "scam" that is "is now being joined by the badly defeated and demoralized Dems."

Those states had voted Democratic in recent presidential elections but all voted narrowly in favor of the Republican Trump in this month's election. The recounts are not expected to change the results of the election.

Stein, who won about 1.0 percent of the national vote, has said she wants a recount to guarantee the integrity of the U.S. voting system, a push that came after some computer scientists and election lawyers raised the possibility that hacks could have affected the results.

Democratic President Barack Obama's administration has said there is no evidence of electoral tampering, but experts have said that the only way to verify the results are accurate is to conduct a recount.

(Reporting by Roberta Rampton and Dustin Volz; Writing by Peter Cooney; Editing by Clive McKeef)

Read more

One ticket has winning numbers in $421 million Powerball lottery

A lottery ticket sold in Tennessee had the winning numbers for a $421 million Powerball jackpot, one of the biggest on record, officials said after Saturday's draw.

The winning numbers selected were 17, 19, 21, 37, 44, with the Powerball 16. No one as yet had stepped forward to claim the prize, which grew in size since Sept. 17, the last time anyone matched all six numbers.

The jackpot soared from $403 million to a reported $420.9 million on Saturday due to a spate of late ticket-buying.

The prize is paid out over 30 years, with the option of a lump sum payment, which officials said would add up to about $254.7 million.

The odds of winning the Powerball jackpot are 1 in 292 million.

The largest ever U.S. lottery prize of $1.6 billion was split between three winning tickets in January.

Powerball, one of several games run by the Multi-State Lottery Association, a non-profit owned and operated by member states' lotteries, is played in 44 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Players can either buy $2 tickets using their own numbers or have them randomly generated by a computer.

The Mega Millions lottery, also offered by the association, produced the country's second-largest-ever prize, worth $656 million, in a 2012 drawing.

For every $1 worth of Powerball sales, half goes to prizes, 40 percent to state governments for causes such as education, and 10 percent to retailers who sell the tickets and other administrative costs.

(Reporting by Chris Michaud; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore and Jacqueline Wong)

Read more

Frida Kahlo painting, unseen for 60 years, sells for $1.81 million

By Walker Simon | NEW YORK

NEW YORK Mexican artist Frida Kahlo's "Nina con Collar," an early painting whose whereabouts had been a mystery for 60 years, has sold for $1.81 million at a Sotheby's Latin American art auction.

Works by Mexican Rufino Tamayo and Colombia's Fernando Botero topped sales at the auction.

"We saw a series of exceptional prices for the giants of Latin American modern art," said Axel Stein, Sotheby’s Latin American art chief, commenting on the $16.84 million in total sales on Tuesday evening in New York.

Leading the sale was Tamayo's "Sandías y naranja" (Watermelons and orange), a 1957 oil and sand on canvas once owned by film star Audrey Hepburn, Sotheby's said. It sold for $2.29 million.

A Botero bronze sculpture, "Man on a Horse," fetched $1.82 million, and his "Homage to Bonnard," a large-scale nude painting, went for $1.39 million.

Kahlo's "Nina con Collar," (Girl with Necklace), which had not been seen publicly for six decades, went to an unidentified European buyer. The 1929 oil on canvas is among the first 20 of the Mexican artist's 143 paintings, Stein said.

The work, whose subject is about 13 or 14, prefigures hallmarks of Kahlo's self-portraits, including winged eyebrows and a full frontal gaze.

Kahlo died at age 47 in 1954. The following year, her widower, the muralist Diego Rivera, gave "Nina con Collar" to one of her studio assistants, who hung it in her California home for 60 years, according to Stein.

The work came to light when the unidentified former studio assistant, now in her mid-90s, contacted Sotheby's last summer, Stein said.

In international art markets, works by Kahlo have fetched more than any other Latin American artist, according to Stein.

Last May, Christie's sold a 1939 Kahlo painting for $8 million, an auction record for her work.

Sotheby's has privately sold Kahlo works for more than $15 million each, said Dan Abernethy, an auction house spokesman.

One reason Kahlo's works are so valued in the international market is that Mexico barred their export for several decades under laws to conserve the country's cultural heritage, Stein said.

(Editing by Daniel Wallis and Jeffrey Benkoe)

Read more
Older Post