NEW: Brightline adds safety features at crossings

Brightline has placed electronic signs at some of the intersections of the FEC tracks. This sign on Lucerne in Lake Worth warns pedestrians to “stay off train tracks” and that there are “more & faster trains.”

Brightline has positioned large electronic signs at several busy rail crossings along its route to warn the public that its new express trains move faster than other rail traffic and to urge people to stay off the tracks when the guard gates go down.

Brightline officials said they plan to put 20 signs at crossings between the company’s two stations in West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale. Those signs will be periodically moved to other crossings along the Florida East Coast Railway tracks as part of a new safety awareness campaign launched by Brightline on Friday following two recent deaths involving the private rail venture’s trains.

The company also plans to deploy a team of “safety ambassadors” to key intersections in the coming days to remind pedestrians and motorists to stay off the tracks when a train is approaching. During the weekend, officials said the ambassadors visited a number of grocery stores, community events and other gathering places to pass out safety information.

Since Jan. 12, the day before the company began shuttling paying passengers, Brightline’s trains have hit three people. In all three incidents, police said those struck did not heed warning lights and crossing gates positioned at the intersections.

On Friday, a pedestrian was hit by the train after attempting to cross the train tracks at Northeast Third Avenue and North Flagler Drive in Fort Lauderdale when the gates were down. The person’s injuries were not life-threatening, police said.

The accident occurred just hours after Brightline’s President and Chief Operating Officer Patrick Goddard, during a press conference to announce new safety and public education initiatives, urged the public to stay off the tracks.

It is illegal to go around railroad guard gates or to stop a car on the train tracks.

Drivers who maneuver around railroad barriers could be fined $166 and receive three points on their license. Pedestrians who ignore railroad warning signals can be fined $64.50, regardless of their age or whether they have a license.

It is also illegal to walk along the railroad tracks. Those who do can be charged with a misdemeanor for trespassing.

Messages placed on Brightline’s signs during the weekend warned the public that there are “more & faster trains” along the Florida East Coast Railway line and urge drivers and motorists to “stay off train tracks.”

During the week,Brightline runs 10 round-trip trains a day between its stations in West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale. There are nine round-trip trains on the weekends.

The company’s trains operate at speeds up to 79 mph on the FEC tracks, much faster than the freight locomotives that travel on the same line.

In the coming months, Brightline plans to extend its service to downtown Miami.

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Beware the ‘black hole’ that is GE, market watcher warns

From CNBC Trading Nation

The stock market is in the midst of one of the hottest bull run’s ever, but General Electric is being left out in the cold.

The Dow’s oldest component has had a rough go at it. On Wednesday, it suffered its worst three-day decline since mid-November.

For one market watcher, the reason for the sell-off is clear: GE’s opaque finances across its portfolio of businesses.

“I would not be rushing to go buy it simply because of the black hole of the financials side,” Boris Schlossberg of BK Asset Management told CNBC’s “Trading Nation” on Wednesday. To Schlossberg, the uncertainty of what liabilities hide on its balance sheet is worrisome.

Is there any relief in sight for GE? Is there any relief in sight for GE?
4:29 PM ET Wed, 17 Jan 2018 | 02:59
The stock market is in the midst of one of the hottest bull run’s ever, but General Electric is being left out in the cold.

The Dow’s oldest component has had a rough go at it. On Wednesday, it suffered its worst three-day decline since mid-November.

For one market watcher, the reason for the sell-off is clear: GE’s opaque finances across its portfolio of businesses.

“I would not be rushing to go buy it simply because of the black hole of the financials side,” Boris Schlossberg of BK Asset Management told CNBC’s “Trading Nation” on Wednesday. To Schlossberg, the uncertainty of what liabilities hide on its balance sheet is worrisome.

GE’s troubled finances were made a little more transparent to investors on Tuesday after the company announced plans to book a $6.2 billion after-tax charge for its insurance business in its fourth quarter. John Flannery, CEO of GE since August, told investors he was “disappointed” in the charge stemming from its “legacy portfolio.”

“There’s still a lot of unknowns right now and, if anything, these write-offs actually highlight just how much wasn’t known up until now,” said Gina Sanchez of Chantico Global, who also holds a pessimistic outlook on GE.

The GE Capital subsidiary said it will suspend its dividend to GE for the foreseeable future. GE’s financials businesses are expected to be a red mark on GE’s balance sheet over the next few years. Analysts forecast a drop in year-over-year revenue and earnings in the GE Capital core segment in 2017 and 2018.

Even a recent surge in crude oil is not enough for Sanchez to change her view on GE shares. Oil’s gains, which should be “wind in their sails” for GE’s oil and gas operations, will not give enough of a lift to the company as a whole, Sanchez said. GE’s oil and gas operations make up roughly one-tenth of the company’s total revenue and earnings.

GE’s recent operational performance should become a little clearer when the company reports earnings. Fourth-quarter earnings are expected to dip for the third year in a row, falling to 30 cents a share, roughly one-third lower than in 2016. Sales are expected to rise by 2 percent. GE is set to report on its fourth quarter on Wednesday.

Until then, GE shares are taking a hit — over the past three days, its stock has plummeted almost 9 percent. GE’s shares have not seen such a weak performance since mid-November with news the company would cut its dividend shocked markets. That marked just its second dividend cut since the Great Depression.

The majority of brokers surveyed by FactSet have a hold rating on the stock and a price target average of $20.71 a share, implying nearly 20 percent upside from Wednesday’s levels. Morningstar Equity Research has one of the highest price targets at $26 and Deutsche Bank one of the lowest at $15.

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