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Stock market news today, September 12, 2014: A light economic schedule that includes an update on U.S. retail prices is in store today (Friday). In Europe, gold prices were down a little more than $1 per ounce, while Brent crude prices were up more than $1 a barrel.
U.S. markets were mixed in the last trading session. Investors grow cautious ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve meeting next week – many have suggested the central bank will take a more hawkish approach toward interest rates at the Federal Open Market Committee meeting. Despite the concern, the U.S. dollar is at a six-year high against the yen.
Here's a list of the top stories in Friday's stock market news:
- Pre-market Earnings: Darden Restaurants Inc. stock (NYSE: DRI), the company behind brands such as Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Yard House, and more, was up more than 2% this morning on news the company reported stronger first-quarter results than expected. Darden's earnings of $0.32 per share beat Wall Street estimates by a penny. Meanwhile, shares of Ulta Salon Cosmetics & Fragrance (Nasdaq: ULTA), were up more than 16% this morning on news the company reported strong second-quarter earnings and raised its 2014 outlook.
- Centralized Planning: The gifts keep giving to electric automaker Tesla Motors Inc. (Nasdaq: TSLA). According to reports, the company will receive more than $1.3 billion in tax breaks and financial incentives to build its massive Gigafactory in Nevada. The state legislature passed a resolution, and it was signed by the governor. The Tesla battery plant will cost between $4 billion and $5 billion to construct.
- In Your Face: Online auction giant eBay Inc. (Nasdaq: EBAY) announced the company will begin selling ads that will appear in its mobile app. The ad strategy will allow the company to maximize its profitability off the growing trend toward mobile use.
- Merger Mania: Shares of Alliance Data Systems Corp. (NYSE: ADS) were up 2.5% this morning on news the company plans to purchase Conversant Inc. (Nasdaq: CNVR). The credit card loyalty company will acquire the digital ad firm for roughly $2.3 billion. Shares of Conversant were up nearly 32% in pre-market hours.