CEO Daily: Friday, October 9
Alan Murray is sleeping in this morning, after a disastrous, diverted flight home from celebrating with Fortune’s 40 Under 40 in San Francisco (we won’t finger the guilty airline). This morning’s top story:
Stocks enjoyed a late-day rally on Thursday after the Federal Reserve’s latest policy meeting showed officials were hesitant to hike rates due to worries about global risk. That helped push the Dow Jones Industrial Average to another positive day – advancing for the fifth consecutive session, the longest winning streak for 2015. The DJIA also closed above 17,000 for the first time since August, while the S&P 500 index grew slightly. Even the Nasdaq Composite, weighed down by a poor performance for the biotech sector for much of the session, ended Thursday in positive territory.
More news below.
• Alcoa kicks off earnings season
Aluminum maker Alcoa kicked off the third-quarter earnings season with weaker-than-expected profit and steeper sales drop than analysts had anticipated, hurt by low commodity prices that have vexed firms across a variety of industrial sectors. Alcoa – which said it is still planning to move forward with a plan to split into two separate companies – has stressed the importance of cost cutting to combat commodity woes. CNBC
• Bill Gross sues Pimco
"Bond King" Bill Gross has filed a lawsuit against his former employer Pacific Investment Management Co. (commonly known as Pimco), seeking damages of at least $200 million over his dismissal last year. Gross helped found Pimco in 1971 but left the firm last year to join competitor Janus Capital, a move that surprised many on Wall Street. Gross says if he were to win any damages from the case, he will donate the funds to charity. Fortune
• Lyft teams up with Hertz, Shell
Ride-hailing provider Lyft – the main rival to Uber in the United States – on Thursday announced partnerships with car-rental firm Hertz and oil-and-gas giant Shell in moves that are meant to add incentives for drivers. The pact with Shell is for discounts on gas, while the Hertz partnership provides lower car rental rates for would-be drivers who don't own a car or whose car doesn't meet Lyft's standards. About 20% of Lyft's driver applicants are turned away because their cars aren't new enough. Hertz's shiny fleet could give the system a boost. Fortune
• Why the Fed delayed on rates
Global risks, mainly from China, are why Federal Reserve officials put off an interest-rate increase last month, according to the minutes of the Sept. 16-17 session that were released on Thursday. The Federal Open Market Committee said U.S. economic conditions have continued to improve, but the worries about China were deemed a concern, especially if it resulted in a further strengthening of the dollar. Bloomberg
• PE's latest target: Ascena Retail
Golden Gate Capital has amassed a 9% stake in Ascena Retail Group, saying the stock is significantly undervalued and announcing the private-equity firm is in the early stages of discussions with the apparel retailer about how to boost the market value of the company. Ascena's shares jumped on the news, perhaps because Golden Gate has a long track record working with retailers. WSJ (subscription required)
Around the Water Cooler
• Goldman Sachs to tweet its earnings
When Goldman Sachs issues earnings next week, the 146-year-old financial institution is taking a modern approach as to how it will release the results. Rather than issue the results via Business Wire, a press release service it has long used, Goldman will use a combination of social media and its own website. The announcement will come via Twitter with a link back to a press release on its own site. Fortune
• Clinton proposes Big Bank 'risk fee'
Hillary Clinton has proposed a "risk fee" on the largest financial institutions, meant to curb risk-taking not otherwise constrained by regulations. It would hit banks with assets of more than $50 billion, including J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Bank of America. The fee would be tailored to punish financial institutions with high levels of debt. But notably, Clinton stopped short of demanding a breakup of the "too big to fail" institutions. WSJ (subscription required)
• GoPro's shares slump on new camera concerns
Shares of action-camera maker GoPro have been sliding on a report that asserts the company's newest camera – the Hero4 Session – is a bust with consumers. The worry is that demand looks weak for the camera, which was initially priced at $399 over the summer but last week saw its price cut by $100. Morgan Stanley says revenue and gross margins will likely be weaker than expected in the coming quarters. The shares, which were flying high just a year ago, are now back near their IPO price. Fortune