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Dollar Trees profit, sales beat estimates

´╗┐Dollar Tree Inc (DLTR. O), the biggest U.S. dollar-store chain, reported better-than-expected quarterly profit and sales on Wednesday, helped by lower costs and higher customer spending in its stores. Shares of the retailer, which also owns the Family Dollar chain, rose 5 percent to $80.05 in premarket trading. Dollar stores such as Dollar Tree and rival Dollar General Corp (DG. N) have expanded rapidly in recent years, taking market share from Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT. N) and others, thanks to smaller store sizes, a wider variety of products and prices starting at $1.00. However, Wal-Mart and peer Target Corp (TGT. N) are fighting back and seeking to cut food prices. Target on Tuesday signaled it would rely more on low prices at the cost of margins to better compete with rivals.

Sales at Dollar Tree stores open for more than a year rose 2.3 percent on a constant-currency basis in the fourth quarter ended Jan. 28, slightly above the 2.1 percent that analysts polled by research firm Consensus Metrix had expected. Net income rose to $321.8 million, or $1.36 per share, from $229 million, or 97 cents per share, a year earlier.

Net sales rose 5 percent to $5.64 billion, as more customers visited its stores and also spent more on average.

Snap to price long-awaited IPO on Wednesday amid signs of brisk demand Snap Inc, owner of popular messaging app Snapchat, will price its initial public offering after the U.S. stock market closes on Wednesday in the most eagerly awaited technology IPO since Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba went public in 2014.

Generic drugmaker Mylan's profit benefits from Meda buy Generic drugmaker Mylan NV reported better-than-expected quarterly profit and revenue on Wednesday, helped by strong demand for drugs it acquired through its purchase of Sweden's Meda last year.

Lowe's forecasts 2017 sales ahead of estimates; shares up Lowe's Cos Inc forecast 2017 sales ahead of analysts' estimates and reported better-than-expected quarterly comparable-store sales as consumers continued to spruce up their homes or buy new ones.

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Feds Yellen March rate hike appropriate if data holds up

´╗┐The Federal Reserve is set to raise its benchmark interest rate later this month as long as economic data on jobs and inflation holds up, Fed Chair Janet Yellen said on Friday, in comments that likely cement a rate hike at its next meeting. Several of Yellen's U.S. central bank colleagues in recent days had also put a rise at the next rate-setting meeting on March 14-15 of the committee firmly in view."At our meeting later this month, the committee will evaluate whether employment and inflation are continuing to evolve in line with our expectations, in which case a further adjustment of the federal funds rate would likely be appropriate," Yellen said in prepared remarks to a business luncheon in Chicago. In her comments, Yellen also said rates are likely to rise faster this year as the economy for the first time in her tenure appears clear of any imminent hurdles at home or abroad.

"On the whole, the prospects for further moderate economic growth look encouraging, particularly as risks emanating from abroad appear to have receded somewhat," Yellen said. The Fed's employment goal has largely been met, Yellen said, and inflation is perking up.

Inflation data on Wednesday showed consumer prices in January posted their biggest monthly gain in four years and left the 12-month increase in prices at 1.9 percent, just below the Fed's 2 percent target. The next monthly jobs report is scheduled for March 10. The Fed raised interest rates for only the second time in a decade at its policy meeting last December, but has forecast three rate increases this year on the back of the low unemployment rate - currently 4.8 percent - and rising inflation.

Fed policymakers have also been buoyed in their economic outlook by a surge in business and consumer confidence since Republican Donald Trump was elected U.S. president. Since the Nov. 8 election, the S&P 500 has risen 11 percent. Yellen did not directly address the likely impact of the Trump administration's economic policies in her remarks.