Stocks Opened Lower; Dow and Dupont in Merger Talks

U.S. stocks opened lower on Wednesday as investors remained cautious in light of volatility in commodity markets. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately rose 68.22 points, or 0.39%, to 17,636.22. The S&P 500 was up 3.45 points, or 0.17%, to 2,067.04. The Nasdaq Composite was down 13.63 points, or
0.27%, to 5,084.61.

Yahoo’s (YHOO) board of directors announced on Wednesday a complete reversal of its prior plan to spin off its $30 billion stake in Alibaba (BABA). Instead, the shrinking online portal said it would consider spinning off its core businesses into a separately traded public company.

Dow Chemical Co and DuPont are in talks to merge, creating a chemicals giant with a market value of more than $120 billion that could then break up into different businesses, people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

Lululemon Athletica Inc. (LULU) on Wednesday reported a 12% decline in quarterly profit and lowered the top end of its yearly sales forecast. The yoga wear maker said fiscal third-quarter earnings were $53.2 million, or 38 cents a share, down from $60.5 million, or 42 cents a share, a year earlier. Sales,
however, climbed to $479.7 million from $419.4 million a year ago.

Costco Wholesale Corp. late Tuesday reported a surprising 3.2% decrease in first-quarter earnings, amid slowing growth in membership fees. In the latest period, membership fees rose 1.9% to $593 million, its slowest year-over-year growth in years.

Kinder Morgan Inc. is slashing its quarterly dividend payment by 75%. The company’s board on Tuesday signed off on the move to drop Kinder Morgan’s quarterly dividend of 51 cents to 12.5 cents, starting in the fourth quarter. The move will give company shareholders an annual dividend of 50 cents in 2016.

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