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Lazard Ltd LAZ stock is up nearly 5% after the investment bank said it’s more optimistic about macroeconomic conditions; it also beat its fourth-quarter revenue target but missed on adjusted profit. “Although the near-term outlook remains uncertain, we are cautiously optimistic regarding an improvement in the macroeconomic environment going into the second half of this year,” CEO Kenneth Marc Jacobs said on a call with analysts. Recent data shows that price increases are beginning to moderate, he said. “Since the beginning of the year, we’ve noted an increase in M&A dialogue while market sentiment seems to be improving.” Jacobs said that as the M&A market picks up, “we are well-positioned to capitalize on the recovery and gain market share.” The bank’s fourth-quarter net income dropped by 80% to $42 million, or 44 cents a share, from $210 million, or $1.86 a share, in the year-ago quarter. Adjusted profit fell to 69 cents a share from $1.92 a share and missed the estimate of 80 cents a share in a survey of analysts by FactSet. Lazard’s fourth-quarter revenue fell 31% to $671 million, but beat the Wall Street target of $670 million.
Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders will give the Republican response to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy announced on Thursday. Sanders, a former White House press secretary in the Trump administration, took office in January and said in a statement: “I am grateful for this opportunity to address the nation and contrast the GOP’s optimistic vision for the future against the failures of President Biden and the Democrats.”