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  • Jan 29- The former controller of Contrarian Capital Management LLC pleaded guilty on Thursday to one count of wire fraud stemming from his embezzlement of more than $9 million from the Connecticut hedge fund, federal prosecutors said. Lawrence Herzing, 45, of Greenwich, Connecticut, entered his plea before U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Alker Meyer in Bridgeport,...

  • Jan 29- Growth-hungry investors snapped up shares offered by Shake Shack Inc, setting the stage for a sizzling debut for the New York- based burger chain when its stock starts trading on Friday. Shares of the company, which has won a cult following for its rich milkshakes and hormone- and antibiotic-free burgers, priced at $21 each, an underwriter said, valuing the...

  • Manitowoc says it will split into 2 companies in 2016 Thursday, 29 Jan 2015 | 5:43 PM ET

    NEW YORK— Crane-maker and food service company Manitowoc said Thursday it will split itself in two, a move encouraged by activist investors. Manitowoc said it plans to spin off the food service business, which had $1.6 billion in revenue in 2014 and makes equipment including ice, beverage, refrigeration, food preparation, and cooking for restaurants,...

  • MELBOURNE/ NEW YORK, Jan 29- Macquarie Group Ltd is in talks to buy Jefferies Group LLC's commodities and financial derivatives brokerage, three sources said, as the Australian bank continues to expand its commodities business while rivals retreat. News of the talks come just a month after the U.S. investment bank, owned by Leucadia National Corp, said it was...

  • Visa announces 4-to-1 stock split Thursday, 29 Jan 2015 | 5:17 PM ET

    NEW YORK— Payment processor Visa has announced a four-to-one stock split, effective March 18. Based on the close of Visa's stock Thursday at $248, the new shares will be worth $62 each. The Dow's calculation makes Visa, at $248 a share and a $164 billion market capitalization, a more influential stock than General Electric, which is $24.08 a share but has a $241...

  • Amazon's big spending pays off in 4th quarter Thursday, 29 Jan 2015 | 5:14 PM ET

    NEW YORK— It was a Prime quarter for Amazon. Amazon surprised investors on Thursday with a fourth-quarter profit that soundly beat expectations, despite a continued increase in spending and a slight sales miss, partly linked to the strong dollar. The results seem to indicate that areas in which Amazon has been investing in heavily for years, its $99 annual...

  • The credit and debit card processor said Thursday it earned $1.57 billion, or $2.53 per share. That compares with a profit of $1.41 billion, or $2.20 a share, in the same period a year ago. Revenue was $3.38 billion, compared with $3.16 billion a year ago.

  • NEW YORK, Jan 29- The Swiss franc dominated trade on major currency markets again on Thursday, weakening against both the euro and U.S. dollar on renewed speculation of intervention by the Swiss National Bank, while commodity-based currencies fell against the greenback. The euro gained broadly, even in the face of Greek political ructions with the European...

  • McDonald's and Yahoo are big market movers Thursday, 29 Jan 2015 | 4:29 PM ET

    NEW YORK— Stocks that moved substantially or traded heavily Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq Stock Market:. McDonald's Corp., up $4.49 to $93.27. Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., down $8.64 to $89.81.

  • McDonald's new CEO faces onslaught of competition Thursday, 29 Jan 2015 | 4:27 PM ET

    NEW YORK— McDonald's new boss must feel like a freshly crowned king under siege. Last year, visits to convenience stores for prepared foods rose 3 percent, while visits to supermarkets were up 1 percent, representing millions of visits, according to The NPD Group. After seeing its own customer visits decline at established U.S. locations for two straight years,...

  • NEW YORK— The U.S. stock market is closing sharply higher after investors received encouraging news on corporate earnings and the jobs market. The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 225 points, or 1.3 percent, to close at 17,416 Thursday. Ford, Harley-Davidson, Coach and Ally Financial were among the companies that reported quarterly results that exceeded...

  • TREASURIES-Bond prices back up on strong jobless data Thursday, 29 Jan 2015 | 4:16 PM ET

    *Treasury sells $64 billion of new debt. NEW YORK, Jan 29- U.S. Treasuries fell on Thursday, with long-term yields backing away from record lows as U.S. jobless claims figures shrank to a 15- year low and investors made room for $64 billion of new government debt.

  • Amazon shares spike as 4Q profit beats by a mile Thursday, 29 Jan 2015 | 4:09 PM ET

    Amazon's strategy always has been to spend a big chunk of the money it makes to grow and expand into new areas like cloud computing, streaming video and hardware— and that has affected profitability to investors' sometime chagrin. Amazon earned 45 cents per share for the three months ended in December, easily topping Wall Street expectations.

  • NEW YORK, Jan 29- Global oil prices firmed slightly on Thursday but not before U.S. crude hit a near six-year low and benchmark Brent pared gains on data showing fresh additions to already record-high U.S. oil inventories. But crude futures in New York fell to an April 2009 bottom by midmorning, and only rose toward the close on short-covering.

  • Decoding the jargon of mutual funds: a look from A to E Thursday, 29 Jan 2015 | 3:58 PM ET

    NEW YORK— Few industries slip into jargon as much as the investing world. As quickly as you can give your shoe size, mutual fund managers can rattle off their "active share" or "duration." Such terms have all the grace of a clog, but they can also give valuable information investors should consider before buying a fund.

  • NEW YORK, Jan 29- U.S. prosecutors said on Thursday they will drop charges against five men accused of insider trading ahead of an IBM Corp acquisition after an appellate court ruling limited the ability of authorities to pursue such cases. Attorney Preet Bharara in Manhattan said they would submit paperwork by Feb. 4 to drop the charges after U.S.

  • *Alibaba shares tumble after results, Yahoo follows. The S&P 500 index was up 0.9 percent in the afternoon after a decline of as much as 0.6 percent earlier in the session and oil futures turned positive on a day when strong job market data contrasted with disappointing reports from Alibaba and Qualcomm. The market has been advancing and retreating within a range...

  • PHILADELPHIA, Jan 29- Senior Democrats in the House of Representatives said on Thursday they would insist President Barack Obama provide hard evidence that proposed free trade deals will boost median U.S. incomes, laying out tough terms to support his trade agenda. Representative Chris Van Hollen, the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee, said each trade...

  • Revenue for the first quarter is expected to be worse, forecast to decline 2.0 percent from a year ago, according to Thomson Reuters data. On Jan. 1, S&P 500 first-quarter earnings were forecast to rise 5.3 percent, including energy companies, and 10.5 percent excluding energy companies. "Disappointing earnings, the Fed probably headed toward tightening in the...

  • Atlantic City casino workers demonstrated outside the New York City offices of billionaire investor Carl Icahn on Thursday to protest the elimination of benefits at a casino he is poised to acquire. He is taking over the bankrupt Trump Entertainment Resorts, which owns the Trump Taj Mahal casino. "I feel like we made our point," said Valerie McMorris, a cocktail...