By Tess Stynes
Signet Jewelers Ltd.’s (SIG, SIG.LN) board authorized the repurchase of as much as $350 million of the jewelry retailer’s stock.
Chief Executive Mike Barnes said the move reflects Signet’s continuing “commitment to build long-term value for our shareholders, the continued confidence we have in the strength of our business, and our ability to generate free cash flow after investment in our growth initiatives.”
The board also approved Signet’s quarterly dividend of 15 cents a share.
The owner of mall-based Kay Jewelers and the higher-end Jared the Galleria of Jewelry has posted stronger revenue in recent quarters as domestic sales growth has largely helped offset weaker demand in Europe. The company expects its $57 million acquisition of Ultra Stores Inc. late last year will help broaden its customer base with its outlet-center chain.
Signet last month reported that its fiscal first-quarter earnings rose 11% amid a double-digit percentage increase in its revenue.
Shares were up 38 cents at $68.35 in premarket trading. Through Monday’s close, the stock was up 57% in the past 12 months.
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By Greg Robb, MarketWatch
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — Construction of new U.S. homes rebounded in May on the back of more apartment construction, according to government reports released Tuesday that signal continued healthy activity in the building sector despite higher mortgage rates.
Housing starts rose 6.8% in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 914,000 — after a big drop in the volatile apartment segment had pushed down starts in April, according to data from the U.S. Commerce Department.
Starts for single-family homes increased 0.3% in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 599,000, while starts for structures with at least five units rebounded 21.6% to a rate of 315,000.
Economists had expected a greater rebound in May. The consensus forecast of analysts polled by MarketWatch had forecast overall home-construction starts in May to increase to a rate of 953,000 from a prior April estimate of 853,000. See MarketWatch’s comprehensive economic calendar.
Starts had pushed above the one-million-unit mark in March for the first time since June 2008.
Also Tuesday, the government reported that building permits, a sign of future demand, fell 3.1% in May to a rate of 974,000. Economists had expected the decline which comes after a strong 12.9% gain in the prior months.
But the key single-family-home permits rose 1.3% in May to 622,000 units.
Longer-term trends pointed to rebounding activity, with overall home-construction starts in May up 28.6% from the same period in the prior year. Permits were up 20.8% from the same period in the prior year.
On Monday, data signaled that home builders are growing more confident. The National Association of Home Builders index of home builder sentiment rose to a post-recession high of 52 in June from 44 in May.
Higher mortgage rates may slow down building permits later in the summer. But new home construction may ride the tide of higher mortgage rates, because the inventory of new homes available for sale is running well below average, said Michael Gregory, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets in Toronto.
Home building is an important economic driver, and residential investment is expected to continue to contribute to growth this year. The housing market has strengthened over the past year, benefiting from high affordability and an economy that is adding jobs. In fact, with greater demand, builders have been able to raise prices.
In a separate report, the Labor Department said consumer prices rose 0.1% in May and core prices, excluding food and energy costs, rose 0.2%.
Greg Robb is a senior reporter for MarketWatch in Washington. Follow him on Twitter @grobb2000.Read More
By Natali Schwab
HERZOGENAURACH, Germany–Sports equipment maker Adidas AG expects to generate 2 billion euros ($2.67 billion) in revenue in 2014 because of interest in the soccer World Cup in Brazil.
In 2012, the year of the last European soccer cup, Adidas’ revenue with soccer balls, shoes and clothes was EUR1.7 billion. In 2010, when the World Cup took place in South Africa, revenues were EUR1.6 billion.
Adidas is a sponsor and licensee of the Brazil World Cup and provides the official soccer ball and additional equipment to the tournament
The German sportswear maker’s revenue in Latin America has been growing at significant double-digit percent rates annually since 2002 and the company expects further solid double-digit growth in the years to come. This year’s Confederations Cup should also provide cues, said the company.Read More
By Shawn Langlois
- Steel yourself against the Fed!
Today could mark the sixth consecutive session of 100-point swings on the Dow, which has only happened six other times. The record was set back in October 2008, when the index endured such fluctuations for 10 straight days, according to Bespoke Investment Group.
With investor hypersensitivity in full pulse-pounding bloom, we could eclipse that mark by next week. Stocks are setting up for a pop to the upside as the Fed meeting gets underway. For better or worse, that’s all that seems to matter at this point.
“Gone, at least for now, are the days when economic and corporate fundamentals dictate market performance,” says investment adviser Eric Parnell. “Instead, the outlook for financial markets in the months ahead essentially comes down to the verbiage and potential policy actions resulting from a single a policy meeting.”
For those of you paralyzed by fear of the Fed’s next move, I offer the comforting embrace of Nouriel Roubini and Ian Bremmer. The two penned a piece in which they said the Fed’s exit “will be treacherous” either way. “Exiting too fast will crash the real economy, while exiting slowly will first create a huge bubble and then crash the financial system.” In other words, crash if they do, crash if they don’t.
There. Isn’t that better?
Key market gauges: Futures on the Dow YMM3 +0.11% and the S&P ESM3 +0.05% are are moving higher in the wee hours, after the Nikkei JP:NIK -0.20% couldn’t find its footing in yet another choppy session. Europe XX:SXXP -.00% is mostly range-bound, with the FTSE 100 UK:UKX +0.85% the biggest winner among the major indexes.
Gold GCQ3 -0.66% is pushing fractionally lower early as investors take a cautious stance ahead of the Fed meeting. Crude oil CLN3 +0.55% is also in stall mode for the most part, hovering around flat territory. On the currency front, the euroEURUSD -0.09% breached its highest level since back in February.
The economy: U.S. consumer prices rose a seasonally adjusted 0.1% in May, mainly because of higher costs of housing, electricity and natural gas. The core CPI, which excludes volatile food and energy costs, rose 0.2%. Economists had forecast a 0.2% increase in the broad CPI and a 0.1% uptick in the core rate. Construction on new U.S. houses rebounded 6.8% in May to a an annual rate of 914,000 after a large drop in the previous month. Economists were looking for a rate of 953,000 from a prior April estimate of 853,000
Keep an eye on the SPDR Homebuilders ETF XHB for any reaction to the housing data. The gauge has been on fire amid the housing recovery, surging more than 50% in the past year. The sector got another boost on Monday as home-builder confidenceturned positive for the first time in seven years.
The buzz: Dan Loeb is a hot topic on Google after the hedge-fund investor penned another letter to Sony Corp. SNE +4.05% as part of his ongoing campaign to push the company toward IPOing its entertainment division.
Netflix NFLX +0.82% holds the top spot on the StockTwits trending list. The stock tacked on more than 7% after the company, in a shot across the bow of rival AmazonAMZN +0.30%, announced a new deal with DreamWorks Animation DWA +0.51%.
The chart of the day: Bill Luby from the VIX and more blog offers up historical hints of what to expect from the volatility gauge VIX -2.04% in the days surrounding the Fed meeting. “There is no reason to expect that patterns which have persisted for the past 33 years to magically reappear for each FOMC announcement going forward, but I do believe that the historical pattern does say something about human nature, uncertainty and perceptions of risk,” he wrote. If these trends hold any water, there are worse ideas than going long the VIX on Monday.
- VIX and more
The call of the day: Japan is stealing all the headlines from Asia lately, but the smart money should take a hard look at South Korea KR:SEU +0.93%, according to Goldman Sachs. “The inevitable jitters regarding QE tapering are not likely to impact Korean equities as much,” the strategists wrote. ”Note the outperformance of Korea during the recent selloff.” Aside from China, Goldman says Korea is the cheapest market from a P/E and price-to-book perspective. Further proof that South Korea could be the “it” country came from Mark Zuckerberg. The Facebook FB +0.53% boss ditched the hoodie and donned a suit to meet with President Park Guen Hye.
Happy birthday to me, here’s your copy of “Mein Kampf”.
A glimpse into Vladimir Putin’s thug life, including the time he stole Bob Kraft’s Super Bowl ring after saying “I could kill someone with this.”
TechCrunch on “nerds and underdogs” and why “Silicon Valley is suffering from an acute fallacy of composition.”
A shark attack… in Texas?
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