INSURANCE STOCKS PLUNGE: Here's what you need to know

The major US stock-market indexes closed little changed on Thursday. But shares of insurers with business in Florida and other southeastern states got hammered as Hurricane Matthew approached the US.

First, the scoreboard:

  • Dow: 18,266.45, -14.58, (-0.08%)
  • S&P 500: 2,160.66, +0.93, (0.04%)
  • Nasdaq: 5,307.95, -8.07, (-0.15%)
  1. Snap Inc. is reportedly planning an IPO. The Wall Street Journal reported that the company formerly called Snapchat is working on a public offering at a $25 billion valuation. The Information previously reported that it was looking to go public this year or early in 2017.
  2. Initial jobless claims fell more than expected last week, by 5,000 to 249,000. That’s just 1,000 more than the lowest level of this economic cycle reached in April. The four-week moving average of claims, which evens out some of the week-by-week volatility, fell by 2,500, to 253,500, the lowest level since December 8, 1973.
  3. Insurance stocks tanked as Hurricane Matthew approached the Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina coasts. Shares of Universal Insurance Holding, a Florida-based company, fell by more than 15%. The firm holds licenses to operate in nearly every state the hurricane is expected to impact. Heritage Insurance, also Florida-based, fell by as much as 11%.
  4. Twitter shares cratered 19% after Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff indicated that his company is unlikely to bid for the social network. During an investor meeting on Wednesday, Benioff did not give a yes or no response around a Twitter acquisition,” but “we come away thinking a deal is not likely to happen,” said Cowen & Co. analyst Derric Wood in a note on Thursday.
  5. Pfizer is selling its global infusion therapy business to ICU Medical for $1 billion in cash and stock. Pfizer will receive $600 million in cash and nearly $400 million in newly issued shares of ICU Medical, giving the drugmaker ownership of about 16.6% in the company.


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