CSX (CSX) +0.9% AH after Q1 earnings fell 14% Y/Y, caused largely by harsh winter weather across much of its railroad network, but beat expectations, and revenue rose 2% to $3.01B as it hauled 3% more freight.
CSX says the early 2014 weather difficulties cost it $0.08-$0.09/share in increased expenses and lost revenue.
Coal volume declined 1%, intermodal shipments rose 5%, and merchandise volume added 2%, driven by growth in agricultural products and chemicals shipments.
Expects modest FY 2014 earnings growth on the strength of broad-based merchandise and intermodal gains and an improving domestic coal environment.
Approves a 7% increase in the quarterly dividend to $0.16/share.
Wal-Mart (WMT -0.8%) shares are lower, partly due to a William Blair downgrade to Underperform from Market Perform, mostly on concerns about the company's size which slows growth and dynamism, competition from online retailers, and the possibility that investors will rotate out of retailers in general at this stage of the economic cycle.
Given the downgrade, the firm cuts its annual EPS estimates for this year and next by a dime each, to $5.15 and $5.50, and cites sluggish retail sales in Q1 and weak consumer confidence among low-income households, as many of them face the expiration of benefits from the federal SNAP program and higher healthcare costs.
Herbalife (HLF +2.8%) shares bounce back after NY Times' Dealbook reports that the federal inquiry into the company shows no signs of developing into criminal case at this point, no grand jury subpoenas appear to have been issued, and FBI agents have not started interviewing witnesses.
Reports earlier today suggested NY's AG threw his hat into the ring of investigations over pyramid scheme allegations around HLF.
Aereo gets its day in the Supreme Court next week as it takes on a powerful group of broadcasters (DIS, CMCSA, CBS, FOXA) and the U.S. Solicitor General's office.
Legal experts are deeply divided on which direction the court will rule in what could be a landmark case for the media industry. Justice Ginsburg is expected to side with the broadcasters and agree that Aereo violates copyright law, while Justice Breyer is tapped to side with Aereo. The other 7 justices are considered a bit of a tossup.
What to watch: A win by Aereo could lead to a pricing war in the pay-TV industry (CHTR, TWC, CVC, DISH, DTV) due to the low monthly fee ($8-$12/month) it charges to customers. A thriving Aereo could also prompt one of the major providers to unbundle its network packages to move to a la carte pricing. Content providers (DISCA, AMCX, VIAB, SNI, TWX, CRWN,MSG) will be watching the developments closely.
MasterCard (MA -0.5%) and Visa (V -0.6%) are both lifted to a Buy rating by Janney Montgomery Scott.
Both payments companies have a lower litigation risk due to a recent appeals court hearing that leaned in their favor and the move to Brooklyn from Arkansas of Wal-Mart's appeal to the anti-trust settlement sets up well for the pair, reasons the investment firm.
MasterCard's deal for the co-branded Sam's Club credit card portfolio and Visa's new fixed acquirer network fee setup could also provide a boost.
Best Buy (BBY -2.6%) has replaced the executive in charge of its U.S. retail stores after he held the position for only seven months, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Shawn Score was a 29-year veteran at the company.
Shari Ballard will take over the role on a permanent basis and keep her current duties as head of human resources.
Shares of BBY are lower for the day on above-average volume. Weak guidance from hhgregg earlier this morning could be a factor.
Shares of Under Armour (UA +3.6%) are racing higher after the stock split 2-for-1 today.
The stock is outpacing all its peers in early action.
UA trend watch: The company saw low single digits sales growth for its running shoes in March, according to industry analyst Matt Powell. His tracking shows apparel sales fared better, rising at a 18% clip during the month.