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Stock Market & Financial Investment News

News Breaks
February 7, 2014
09:51 EDTRCII, AAN, CONNAaron's jumps following buyout offer despite weak outlook
Shares of Aaron's (AAN), which offers consumer electronics, computers, furniture, and household appliances to customers via leases and lease-to-own arrangements, are surging despite the company's weak quarterly results and gloomy outlook after a shareholder made a $30.50 per share takeover offer. WHAT'S NEW: This morning, Vintage Capital, which holds about a 9.5% stake in Aaron's, disclosed that it sent a letter to the company's board containing a non-binding proposal to acquire the company for $30.50 per share of common stock. In its letter, the investor wrote that on three separate occasions since 2011, Vintage privately submitted "bona fide offers" to acquire 100% of the outstanding common stock of Aaronís at "significant premiums" to the then-current market prices. "Each of our offers was summarily ignored by the Board of Directors at the expense of your unknowing stockholders," Vintage stated, adding that it is the firm's "strong belief that Aaronís is at a crossroads that will culminate with a sale of the company." WHAT'S NOTABLE: Aaron's reported fourth quarter adjusted earnings per share of 30c, which fell within the company's lowered guidance of 27c-31c that it had issued in January. Aaron's also reported that is same-store sales in the quarter fell 0.9% and that its customer count grew 'only slightly' in 2013. For the fourth quarter, revenues decreased 2% to $553.9 million and the company said it will take several quarters of increasing the customer base to significantly grow revenue and earnings. Aaron's CEO Ronald Allen stated that 2013 was "a year of challenges and change" for the company, adding that growing revenues and adding customers has been "difficult with the ongoing economic pressures on low to middle income consumers." Aaron's guided to an earnings range for the new year that also fell below the consensus estimate at its midpoint. PRICE ACTION: In early morning trading, Aaron's jumped more than 16% to trade at $31.50, which is $1.00 above the offer made by Vintage Capital. OTHERS TO WATCH: Other retailers competing with Aaron's include Rent-A-Center (RCII) and Connís (CONN), both of which are lower on the session.
News For AAN;RCII;CONN From The Last 14 Days
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December 17, 2014
13:46 EDTRCIIRent-A-Center initiated with a Buy at BB&T (pre-open)
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10:02 EDTAANOn The Fly: Analyst Upgrade Summary
Today's noteworthy upgrades include: Google (GOOG) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Pivotal Research... Twitter (TWTR) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Pivotal Research... Aaron's (AAN) upgraded to Buy from Hold at KeyBanc... Calpine (CPN) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank... Check Point (CHKP) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank... Columbia Sportswear (COLM) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Goldman... Dakota Plains Holdings (DAKP) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Canaccord... SunCoke Energy (SXC) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse... Taylor Morrison (TMHC) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Evercore ISI... Teck Resources (TCK) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at UBS... VeriFone (PAY) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Barclays... Motorola Solutions (MSI) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Argus... Approach Resources (AREX) upgraded to Neutral from Reduce at Global Hunter... HealthSouth (HLS) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Raymond James... QLogic (QLGC) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley... Baker Hughes (BHI) upgraded to Focus List from Outperform at Howard Weil... Kansas City Southern (KSU) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Stephens... BlackBerry (BBRY) upgraded to Buy from Hold at BGC Financial.
06:25 EDTAANAaron's upgraded to Buy from Hold at KeyBanc
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December 11, 2014
16:12 EDTRCIIRent-A-Center raises quarterly dividend by 1c to 24c per share
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December 10, 2014
09:31 EDTCONNConn's still 'somewhat undervalued,' says SunTrust
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December 9, 2014
16:28 EDTCONNOn The Fly: Closing Wrap
Stocks on Wall Street opened in the red on the heels of a sharp sell-off in China and amid continued concern over tumbling oil prices. The domestic economic calendar offered little in the way of a catalyst and the market moved in a narrow range throughout the morning. However, the averages began to pare their losses once the European markets closed. By mid-afternoon the averages had turned mixed with the Nasdaq higher, the S&P flat, and the Dow the laggard, which is the way the trading day closed. ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., the National Federation of Independent Business' optimism index rose to 98.1 from a prior reading of 96.1. The JOLTS report showed job openings increased 149K to 4.83M in October, which was above the expectation for 4.795M openings. Wholesale sales increased 0.2% in October and inventories grew 0.4%, both of which were better than expected. In Asia, China's Shanghai composite index plunged 5.4%, making for the stock market's sharpest selloff in years, after the countryís securities clearing house raised the threshold for the type of collateral used for short-term loans and policymakers warned about potentially slower economic growth. In Europe, Greek stocks and bonds also tumbled after a move to bring forward presidential elections, which could potentially derail Greeceís bailout and austerity efforts. COMPANY NEWS: Verizon (VZ) was among the Dow's worst performers, sinking $1.98, or 4.05%, to $46.92 after the company warned that Q4 impacts of its promotional offers, together with the strong customer volumes this quarter, will put short-term pressure on its earnings per share. After last night's commentary from the company, Robert W. Baird downgraded Verizon shares to Neutral from Outperform and lowered its price target on the stock to $50 from $54... Merck (MRK) also weighed on the Dow, as the drugmaker fell $1.87, or 3.02%, to $60.01 after a Delaware court denied Cubist's (CBST) bid to stop Hospira (HSP) from selling a generic version of Cubicin in 2016. Merck announced just yesterday morning that it had agreed to buy Cubist in a transaction with a total value of approximately $9.5B. The news is a "tough start" to Merck's takeover and makes the $9.5B buyout price look $2B to $3B too high, according to analysts at Leerink. Shares of Cubist also fell $xxx, or xxx%, to $xxx following the court ruling. MAJOR MOVERS: Among the notable gainers was bluebird bio (BLUE), which surged $35.39, or 72.39%, to $84.28 after the company announced data from eight subjects treated with its LentiGlobin drug product and Piper Jaffray more than doubled its price target for the shares to $112 from $52. Among the noteworthy losers was Conn's (CONN), which plunged $14.26, or 40.64%, to $20.83 after unexpectedly reporting losses for its third fiscal quarter, withdrawing its FY15 guidance and announcing the departure of its CFO. Also lower was Spirit Airlines (SAVE), which slid $10.70, or 12.67%, to $73.77 after the company said last night that since late October there has been compression in the fare structure for close-in bookings, believed to be driven by the industryís willingness to trade lower fuel prices for lower fares. Also, this morning, Raymond James downgraded Spirit Airlines to Market Perform from Outperform, citing valuation, European deflation headwinds, and earnings that are still being revised down. INDEXES: The Dow fell 51.28, or 0.29%, to 17,801.20, the Nasdaq rose 25.77, or 0.54%, to 4,766.46, and the S&P 500 slipped 0.49, or 0.02%, to 2,059.82.
12:37 EDTCONNConn's downgraded to Hold from Buy at Canaccord
Canaccord downgraded Conn's to Hold following the Q3 report citing credit deterioration and limited visibility. Price target is $21.
12:25 EDTCONNOn The Fly: Midday Wrap
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10:19 EDTCONNHigh option volume stocks
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10:08 EDTCONNHigh option volume stocks
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09:21 EDTCONNOn The Fly: Pre-market Movers
UP AFTER EARNINGS: AutoZone (AZO), up 3.8%... Burlington Stores (BURL), up 3.3%. ALSO HIGHER: bluebird bio (BLUE), up 56.5% after price target raised at Piper Jaffray and SunTrust... Camtek (CAMT), up 6.7% after being awarded a $2.8M order from a semiconductor manufacturer... PDC Energy (PDCE), up 5.8% after providing fiscal 2015 production guidance... Mast Therapeutics (MSTX), up 3.1% after reporting that it will begin recruiting patients for MST-188 study in first half of fiscal 2015... Idera Pharmaceuticals (IDRA), up 1.4% after announcing data for its lead product candidate, IMO-8400. DOWN AFTER EARNINGS: UTi Worldwide (UTIW), down 10.8%... CONN'S (CONN), down 35.9% after reporting third quarter results, withdrawing fiscal 2015 guidance, stating that there is no timetable set for completion of strategic alternatives, and announcing the departure of its CFO. ALSO LOWER: Apple (AAPL), down 1.6% after Pacific Crest says that weak iPad demand could cause Apple to miss estimates and following a Wall Street Journal report that a judge denied Apple's efforts to throw out iPod pricing lawsuit... Allied Nevada Gold (ANV), down 30.1% after announcing pricing of common stock and warrant offering... United Continental (UAL), down 2.7% after reporting November traffic.
07:09 EDTCONNConn's announces departure of CFO Brian Taylor
Connís announced the departure of Brian Taylor, the companyís CFO. Effective immediately, the company has appointed Mark Haley as Interim CFO. Prior to joining Connís as VP and Chief Accounting Officer in October 2014, Haley was Vice President and Chief Accounting Officer at Coldwater Creek, Inc. for four years. The company has engaged an executive search firm to identify qualified candidates for the permanent CFO position. The search process will include both internal and external candidates.
07:05 EDTCONNConn's sees Q4 SSS flat to up 3%
The following are the companyís expectations for its business for the fourth quarter: Same stores sales flat to up 3%; Retail gross margin between 39.0% and 40.0%; Opening of 2 new stores during the quarter; and Closure of 1 store during the quarter. Beginning with December results, the company will release, shortly after the end of the month, same store sales and greater than 60 days delinquency performance. The company believes this will provide investors with timely, relevant information about business trends and expects to continue this practice until the company experiences more stability in its results.
07:04 EDTCONNConn's withdraws FY15 guidance
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07:04 EDTCONNConn's says no timetable set for completion of strategic alternatives process
In October, the Company announced that its Board of Directors authorized management to explore a full range of strategic alternatives for the Company to potentially enhance value for stockholders. The Company has engaged an independent financial advisor to assist in this process and is actively engaged in preliminary discussions with multiple parties about a range of potential strategic alternatives. No timetable has been set for the completion of the process. Conn's does not expect to comment further or update the market with any further information on the process unless and until its Board of Directors has approved a specific transaction or otherwise deems disclosure appropriate or necessary. There can be no assurance that this strategic alternatives review will result in the Company changing its current business plan, pursuing a particular transaction or completing any such transaction.
07:03 EDTCONNConn's says initiating search for president
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07:03 EDTCONNConn's reports Q3 EPS (8c), may not compare to consensus 68c
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