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October 5, 2015
09:39 EDTMSFTeSports seen as next big growth opportunity in media
Competitive video game playing in organized leagues, or eSports, is on the verge of reaching mainstream adoption and moving from an engagement tool to a monetization opportunity for video game makers, according to Baird analyst Colin Sebastian, who calls the trend the "biggest media and sports growth opportunity you've never heard of." NEXT BIG THING: eSports could have 200M active and engaged participants as early as next year and can grow from about $200M this year to $1B in revenues by 2018, Sebastian tells investors this morning in a research note. Game publishers such as Activision Blizzard (ATVI), Electronic Arts (EA) and Take-Two Interactive (TTWO) are "natural beneficiaries," according to Sebastian, who believes that eSports has the potential to drive earnings growth and multiple expansion for the sector. eSports is still mainly a tool to help engage and keep core gamers, but Sebastian expects this to change quickly as game makers focus on incremental revenue opportunities and increasing average revenue per user. The analyst also sees "significant opportunities" from eSports for online streaming platforms, like Amazon's (AMZN) Twitch and Google's (GOOG) newer platform, as well as for Microsoft (MSFT), Sony (SNE) and PC and component makers. ANOTHER eSPORTS BULL: Jefferies analyst Mark Lipacis previously told investors that he believes the surging popularity of competitive video gaming on a global basis will benefit game publishers as well as hardware companies like NVIDIA (NVDA). In a note to investors last month, the analyst said that Activision Blizzard had five of the top fifteen most popular games on Twitch in July, and contended that the company looks best positioned among game makers to benefit from the eSports opportunity. On the date of his eSports note, Lipacis upgraded NVIDIA to Buy from Hold, saying secular growth in gaming will trump PC weakness. The company's Gaming Graphics Processing Unit is "under the radar" and has grown 23% annually over the past three years, noted Lipacis, who raised his price target for shares to $30 from $23. PRICE ACTION: In early trading, Activision Blizzard rose 1.4% to $31.90, Electronic Arts gained 1.04% to $67.18 and Take-Two Interactive advanced 0.85% to $29.64.
08:28 EDTAAPLCiti sees reasons for investors to exit Apple over near-term
Citi analyst Jim Suva dropped his September quarter earnings per share estimate for Apple to $9.06 from $9.14 after shifting some iPhone sales to the December quarter. Suva dropped his iPhone estimate for the quarter to 47M, below the consensus of 48M as only sales through Friday and Saturday of the weekend launch will be included in the quarter. He expects many sell-side analysts to follow suit and lower their September quarter iPhone estimates in the weeks ahead before Apple reports on October 27. Suva expects Apple share volatility to continue and thinks limited earnings and sales upside potential in the near term may cause some investors to exit the stock. The investment thesis for Apple is likely to shift from an iPhone "beat and raise" investment story to a gross margin upside story heading into a difficult comp year for iPhone 6S unit sales, Suva tells investors in a research note. He thinks any pullback will prove an attractive opportunity for long-term investors. The analyst keeps a Buy rating on Apple with a $145 price target. The iPhone maker closed Friday up 80c to $110.38.
08:07 EDTTAT&T and Viacom reach multi-year distribution agreement
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07:46 EDTTJuniper's Contrail Networking selected by AT&T for Integrated Cloud
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07:45 EDTTJuniper upgraded on positive checks at Stifel
As noted earlier, Stifel upgraded Juniper (JNPR) to Buy from Hold. The firm says that its checks show that the company's routers have "strong traction...with webscale customers." The firm adds that the company's dependency on Verizon (VZ) and AT&T (T) appears to be declining, while its checks on Juniper's new products have been positive. Target $32.
06:34 EDTMSFTMicrosoft to launch two high-end Lumia smartphones, WSJ reports
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06:11 EDTAAPLApple iOS users in China, Taiwan targeted by ad-focused malware
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06:00 EDTAAPLReports: iPhone 6s & 6s Plus were weaker than iPhone 6 in Japan, DigiTimes says
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October 4, 2015
15:04 EDTOSKThales in talks to provide light armored vehicles for Australia, WSJ says
Australia is in advanced talks to purchase a number of Hawkei light armored vehicles from French defense firm Thales, reports the Wall Street journal, citing two people familiar with the matter. Companies in the space include BAE Systems (BAESY), Lockheed Martin (LMT), and Oshkosh (OSK). Reference Link
October 2, 2015
16:46 EDTAAPLStocks end week higher after Friday reversal following disappointing jobs data
U.S. markets fell sharply following a weaker than expected nonfarm payrolls report on Friday morning, but rallied back to finish the day, and the week, slightly higher. MACRO NEWS: In the U.S., 142,000 nonfarm jobs were added last month, missing expectations for 201,000 job additions. Average hourly earnings were flat month-over-month, compared to expectations for them to rise 0.2% in September. The unemployment rate held at 5.1%, as expected. Factory orders fell 1.7% in August, versus expectations for them to drop 1.2%. Personal income grew 0.3% in August, versus expectations for it to rise 0.4%. Personal spending rose 0.4% last month, versus expectations for growth of 0.3%. Consumer confidence unexpectedly rose in September, as a confidence reading strengthened to 103.0. Markit's manufacturing purchasing managers' index inched up to 53.1 in the final September reading, compared to the preliminary September figure of 53.0. ISM's manufacturing index fell to 50.2 in September, versus expectations for a reading of 50.6... Chinese markets will be closed for "Golden Week" from October 1 to October 7, but monthly manufacturing data was still released. The government's official manufacturing PMI ticked up to 49.8, beating expectations for a 49.6 reading, while the final Caixin/Markit PMI fell to 47.2 in September, though that was slightly improved from an earlier flash estimate of 47. In Japan, the central bank's quarterly tankan survey of large manufacturers for the September quarter came in at positive 12, compared with expectations for a positive 13 reading. Elsewhere in Asia, the Reserve Bank of India made a larger than expected cut to its interest rates, lowering its benchmark policy rate to 6.75% from 7.25%... In Europe, Markit's final Eurozone manufacturing PMI for September came in at 52.0, down from August's final 52.3 reading but still in expansion territory. COMPANY NEWS: Apple (AAPL) reported that it set a record by selling more than 13M new iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus models in the first three days after launch of the devices. However, shares of the tech giant slid following the announcement... Biotech stocks continued recent declines, with Valeant (VRX) dropping after a group of Democratic congressmen urged additional scrutiny of the company's "price hike" business model... Re/code's Kara Swisher and Kurt Wagner reported, citing sources, that Twitter (TWTR) founder and interim CEO Jack Dorsey was set to be named permanent Chief Executive, possibly as soon as Thursday, but no announcement had been made by the company by the end of the week. Shares of Gap (GPS) and Ralph Lauren (RL) moved in opposite directions after an executive for one left to take over for an icon at the other. At least three research firms downgraded Gap shares to sell or equivalent ratings and the stock fell after Stefan Larsson stepped down as global president of Old Navy in order to become the new Chief Executive Officer of Ralph Lauren, while the latter company's shares were upgraded and traded higher in the wake of the executive shake-up... On the M&A front, Reynolds American (RAI) announced that the international rights to the Natural American Spirit brand name and associated trademarks will be sold to the Japan Tobacco Group in an all-cash transaction with a value of about $5B. Nexstar (NXST) proposed to acquire Media General (MEG) for a combination of cash and shares that was valued at $14.50 per Media General share before the proposal was made public on September 28. Media General, which previously announced an agreement to buy Meredith Corporation (MDP), said it would "carefully review and consider the proposal" with the help of its advisors. Shares of Rentrak (RENT) and comScore (SCOR) both advanced after the companies announced a stock-for-stock merger agreement... General Motors (GM) reported its U.S. sales grew 12% in September compared to the same month of last year. Additionally, the auto giant hosted a global business update event, where it announced two new car- and ride-sharing projects and confirmed its plans to jointly develop a commercially viable fuel cell vehicle with Honda (HMC) in the 2020 timeframe. Meanwhile, Ford (F) said its U.S. sales rose 23% in September and Fiat Chrysler's (FCAU) U.S. sales increased 14% last month... FXCM (FXCM) disclosed that it was the victim of a cybersecurity attack involving "a small number of unauthorized wire transfers from customer accounts" and Experian (EXPGY) announced that one of its units experienced an attack by hackers that exposed data from its client T-Mobile (TMUS)... Wynn Resorts (WYNN), Las Vegas Sands (LVS), MGM Resorts (MGM) and Melco Crown (MPEL) all advanced at the end of the week following reports that the Chinese government may provide economic support to the gaming center Macau, where the companies operate casinos. INDEXES: The Dow gained about 0.96% to close at 16,472.37, the S&P 500 rose about 1.02% to close at 1,951.36, and the Nasdaq advanced about 0.43% to close at 4,707.77.
16:03 EDTNFLX, AAPLOptions Update; October 2, 2015
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14:09 EDTAAPLApple November weekly volatility elevated
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14:08 EDTAAPLApple acquires speech technology start-up VocalIQ, FT reports
Apple confirmed that it has acquired speech technology start-up VocalIQ, whose software helps computers and people communicate in a more natural dialogue, reported Financial Times. "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans," Apple stated. Reference Link
12:09 EDTMSFTMicrosoft acquires Havok from Intel, terms not disclosed
In a company blog post, Microsoft (MSFT) said, "Today, we are proud to announce that Microsoft has acquired Havok, the leading provider of 3D physics, from Intel (INTC). As we welcome Havok to the Microsoft family, we will continue to work with developers to create great gaming experiences, and continue to license Havok's development tools to partners." Reference Link
10:03 EDTAAPLTarget to begin selling Apple Watch at stores this week
Target (TGT) announced that the Apple (AAPL) Watch is coming to Target stores this week and all stores by October 25. At, Apple Watch will be available beginning Oct. 18. Reference Link
10:00 EDTAAPLOn The Fly: Analyst Initiation Summary
Today's noteworthy initiations include: Anthem (ANTM) initiated with a Buy at Citi... Apple (AAPL) initiated with a Buy at Drexel Hamilton... BioMarin (BMRN) initiated with an Outperform at Raymond James... Brookfield Property (BPY) initiated with a Buy at Evercore IS... Carbylan (CBYL) initiated with an Outperform at JMP Securities... Centene (CNC) initiated with a Buy at Citi... Cigna (CI) initiated with a Buy at Citi... Community Health (CYH) initiated with a Neutral at Citi... Diamondback Energy (FANG) initiated with a Buy at Evercore ISI... Domino's Pizza (DPZ) initiated with a Buy at Nomura... Envision Healthcare (EVHC) initiated with a Neutral at Citi... First Merchants (FRME) initiated with an Equal Weight at Stephens... FirstService (FSV) initiated with a Buy at Sidoti... HCA Holdings (HCA) initiated with a Neutral at Citi... Hibbett Sports (HIBB) initiated with a Market Perform at Barrington... Horizon Bancorp (HBNC) initiated with an Overweight at Stephens... LifePoint (LPNT) initiated with a Buy at Citi... MEDNAX (MD) initiated with a Neutral at Citi... Madison Square Garden (MSG) initiated with a Buy at BTIG... MainSource Financial (MSFG) initiated with an Overweight at Stephens... McDonald's (MCD) initiated with a Neutral at Nomura... MutualFirst Financial (MFSF) initiated with an Equal Weight at Stephens... Old Dominion (ODFL) initiated with a Buy at BofA/Merrill... PNC Financial (PNC) initiated with a Neutral at Hilliard Lyons... Papa John's (PZZA) initiated with a Buy at Nomura... Parsley Energy (PE) initiated with a Buy at Evercore ISI... PayPal (PYPL) initiated with a Sector Weight at Pacific Crest... RSP Permian (RSPP) initiated with a Buy at Evercore ISI... Radian Group (RDN) initiated with a Market Perform at Wells Fargo... Radius Health (RDUS) initiated with an Overweight at JPMorgan... Rogers Corporation (ROG) initiated with a Neutral at B. Riley... Smart & Final Stores (SFS) initiated with a Perform at Oppenheimer... Sprint (S) initiated with a Neutral at DA Davidson... State National (SNC) initiated with an Outperform at JMP Securities... T-Mobile (TMUS) initiated with a Buy at DA Davidson... Tenet (THC) initiated with a Neutral at Citi... UnitedHealth (UNH) initiated with a Buy at Citi... Universal Health (UHS) initiated with a Neutral at Citi... Wendy's (WEN) initiated with a Neutral at Nomura... Yum! Brands (YUM) initiated with a Buy at Nomura.
09:36 EDTNFLX, AAPLActive equity options trading on open
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09:18 EDTPGFutureFuel upgraded to Buy on raised 2016 visibility at Roth Capital
Roth Capital analyst Craig Irwin upgraded FutureFuel (FF) to Buy saying the renewal of a bleach activator supply agreement with Procter & Gamble (PG) raises visibility for 2016. He raised his price target for shares to $13 from $12.
07:26 EDTAAPLApple initiated with a Buy at Drexel Hamilton
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06:12 EDTAAPLPiper's Munster says reality of an Apple car is increasing
Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster says the reality of an Apple car is increasing after a Wall Street Journal article suggested a target ship date in 2019. Every 40,000 units at a $75,000 average selling price would add 1% to 2021 revenue, Munster tells investors in a research note titled "Car Would Yield Small Initial Revenue, But Big Enough To Move Needle Long Term." By comparison, Tesla (TSLA) produced 35,000 cars in 2014, he points out. If Apple in 20 years could become as successful as BMW, which produced 1.8M cars in 2014, it could yield $135B in revenue, Munster writes. He continues to view the car as positive for Apple's valuation multiple and keeps an Overweight rating on the name with a $172 price target. The iPhone maker closed yesterday down 72c to $109.58.
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