Stocks closed the week on a low note after disappointing economic data from both China and Europe sparked fresh concerns about slowing global economic growth. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 2% and the S&P 500 fell 1.9%.
XPO stands its ground
Shares of XPO Logistics popped 15.8%, rebounding from a nearly 30% decline earlier this week caused by the company's reduced guidance and a scathing short-seller's report.
There were two primary catalysts for today's recovery. First, XPO responded to yesterday's short-selling report from Spruce Point Capital, calling it "intentionally misleading, with significant inaccuracies [that fail] to reflect that XPO has delivered strong performance for its long-term shareholders."
Noting Spruce Point Capital cited "financial irregularities" and questioned the reliability of its accounting, XPO added, "Of particular note, our accounting practices are based on Generally Accepted Accounting Principles and are audited annually and reviewed quarterly by our independent auditors. XPO's long-term financial outlook remains positive."
Second, this morning XPO announced that its board has authorized a new $1 billion share repurchase program, effective immediately. Of course, XPO isn't obligated to act on that authorization if it finds a better use for its cash. But investors definitely seem to like the vote of confidence it represents.
Wheaton settles its tax dispute
Wheaton Precious Metals stock jumped 14.2% after the precious metals streaming leader announced it has reached a settlement in its tax dispute with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
First, Wheaton says foreign income on earnings generated by its wholly owned subsidiary, Wheaton International, will not be subject to tax in Canada. In addition, service fees charged by the company to Wheaton International will be adjusted both to include capital-raising costs, and to increase the markup applied to its cost of providing services to the international subsidiary to 30% (from 20% currently). These higher service fees will result in higher income generated by Wheaton that will be subject to Canadian taxes.
But perhaps most encouraging, Wheaton also says it doesn't expect additional taxes for its 2005 to 2010 taxation years stemming from the settlement.
CEO Randy Smallwood called it an "excellent outcome for Wheaton and its shareholders," adding, "With the clarity provided by this settlement, I look forward to our company again being valued solely based on the virtues of its excellent portfolio of high-quality assets and strong growth profile over the coming years."
Sealed Air shakes things up
Finally, shares of Sealed Air climbed 4.8% after the packaging solutions company announced a new three-year restructuring plan dubbed "Reinvent SEE."
Sealed Air says it will focus on four primary restructuring initiatives, including focusing investments on speeding innovation to capture high-growth markets, simplifying its business structure, identifying cost efficiencies, and optimizing its distribution channels and customer-service capabilities.
The company expects to incur total cash costs in the range of $190 million to $220 million (primarily recognized in 2019 and 2020) to implement these initiatives. But by the end of 2021, that should yield annualized cost savings of $215 million to $235 million.