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News Breaks
January 23, 2014
Today's noteworthy upgrades include: AMAG Pharmaceuticals (AMAG) upgraded to Hold from Underperform at Jefferies... Allegheny Technologies (ATI) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse... Concur (CNQR) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank... ExlService (EXLS) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Goldman... F5 Networks (FFIV) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Janney Capital... General Dynamics (GD) upgraded to Outperform from Perform at Oppenheimer... LinnCo (LNCO) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at RW Baird... Microsoft (MSFT) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank... Norfolk Southern (NSC) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at BofA/Merrill... Oracle (ORCL) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank... Phillips 66 (PSX) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Raymond James... Rambus (RMBS) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Citigroup... Total System (TSS) upgraded to Neutral from Sell at Goldman... Varian Medical (VAR) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Cantor... Pinnacle Financial (PNFP) upgraded to Outperform from Sector Perform at Portales... Agnico-Eagle (AEM) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Sterne Agee... Microsemi (MSCC) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Drexel Hamilton... Rockwell Collins (COL) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank... Motorola Solutions (MSI) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Nomura... Norfolk Southern (NSC) upgraded at BofA/Merrill... Dillard's (DDS) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Buckingham... Western Digital (WDC) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Craig-Hallum... American States Water (AWR) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Janney Capital.
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September 30, 2015
12:26 EDTNSCRails advance after Goldman says rate of volume declines improving
Shares of railroad operators are advancing after Goldman Sachs moved its Rails coverage view to Attractive from Neutral. WHAT'S NEW: In a note to investors, Goldman Sach's Tom Kim and team said while rail volumes continue to contract, the rate of change has begun to improve and the firm sees this as an early inflection indicator. The negatives in the rail sector appear to be well known as the sector has been under "significant" selling pressure since peaking in the fourth quarter of 2014, added Goldman Sachs. The firm sees structural improvement in the profitability of the rail sector as operating margins for 2015 are estimated to have expanded to 35% from 29% in 2010. Goldman thinks the negative earnings per share revisions cycle for rails is over and that investor expectations are achievable. The firm sees earnings as a catalyst for sector performance and believes carloads will grow again in 2016 with 4% year-over-year growth in intermodal. WHAT'S NOTABLE: Kim upgraded Canadian Pacific (CP) to Buy from Neutral and reiterated its Buy rating on Union Pacific (UNP). The firm sees upside potential for Canadian National Railway (CNI), CSX (CSX), Kansas City Southern (KSU), and Norfolk Southern Corporation (NSC), but it maintained its Neutral ratings on those names as the firm expects these stocks to trade in-line with its broader Transportation coverage universe. PRICE ACTION: In afternoon trading, shares of Canadian Pacific are up nearly 3%, while Union Pacific is higher by almost 1%. CSX is advancing 2.2%, while Canadian National Railway, Kansas City Southern, and Norfolk Southern Corporation are each up over 1%.
12:10 EDTWDCOn The Fly: Top stock stories at midday
Stocks on Wall Street were higher at midday as the unquestionably hard quarter looks like it will end on an up note. Relief, as well as end of the quarter window dressing, may be the main drivers of this morning's rebound as investors are certainly ready to turn the page on the third quarter with the monthly non-farm payrolls report and the start of earnings season on the horizon. ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., payroll processor ADP reported that 200,000 jobs were added this month, topping expectations for 190,000 job additions. The Chicago PMI business barometer index fell to 48.7 in September, missing expectations for a reading of 53.6. Additionally, the Senate passed a continuing resolution, officially funding the government through December 11. COMPANY NEWS: Shares of two clothing companies moved in opposite directions after an executive for one left to take over for an icon at the other. Last night, Gap (GPS) announced that Stefan Larsson will step down as global president of Old Navy effective October 2. Larsson is leaving Gap to become the new Chief Executive Officer of Ralph Lauren (RL), replacing the man who founded the company that bears his name. At least three research firms downgraded Gap shares to sell or equivalent ratings and the stock fell 7% in the wake of the executive shake-up, while Ralph Lauren shares were upgraded to Buy at UBS and the stock advanced 12% near noon. MAJOR MOVERS: Among the notable gainers were Rentrak (RENT) and comScore (SCOR), which gained 20% and 9%, respectively, after the companies agreed to a stock-for-stock merger. Also higher were shares of Western Digital (WDC), which rallied 14.5% after Unisplendour, a unit of China's Tsinghua Holdings, struck a deal to buy a 15% stake in the U.S. data storage company. Among the noteworthy losers was Barracuda Networks (CUDA), whose shares plunged 35% after the IT security and storage solutions company reported lower than expected revenue and provided weaker than expected guidance. Also lower were shares of Mellanox (MLNX), which were down 9% after the company agreed to acquire EZchip (EZCH) in a transaction implying a value of approximately $811M, or roughly $620M net of cash. Potentially overshadowing the deal was the fact that the company failed to reiterate its guidance despite being asked repeatedly by analysts on today's acquisition conference call, Summit Research analyst Srini Nandury told investors in a research note. EZchip, which will be bought for a cash purchase price of $25.50 per share, rose 14% following the deal announcement. INDEXES: Near midday, the Dow was up 128.64, or 0.8%, to 16,177.77, the Nasdaq was up 56.46, or 1.25%, to 4,573.78, and the S&P 500 was up 18.68, or 0.99%, to 1,902.77.
11:16 EDTGDGeneral Dynamics awarded $358M for 150 M1A1 SA Abrams tanks
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11:09 EDTMSFTMicrosoft to open flagship stores in Manhattan, Syndey
Microsoft announced that it plans to open a flagship store in Manhattan on Fifth Avenue and 53rd Avenue on October 26 and one at Westfield Sydney on Pitt Street Mall on November 12. On the company's blog, it said the flagship stores have been in the making for six years. Reference Link
10:49 EDTWDCWestern Digital surges on $3.78B investment from China's Unisplendour
Shares of Western Digital (WDC) surged in morning trading after the company said it Unisplendour will take a 15% stake in the U.S. data storage company. WHAT'S NEW: Western Digital and Unisplendour, a unit of China's Tsinghua Holdings, said they entered into a pact under which a Unis subsidiary will invest $3.78B in Western Digital, the companies said. Under the terms of the agreement, Unis will buy the shares at $92.50 each. Unisplendour will own 15% of Western Digital's outstanding shares after the purchase, and have the right to nominate one representative to Western Digital's board of directors, a right that terminates if Unis' ownership falls below 10%. Unis also agreed not to sell any of its Western Digital shares for five years. WHAT'S NOTABLE: In July, the Wall Street Journal reported that Tsinghua Unigroup, which is majority-owned Tsinghua Holdings, offered to buy Micron Technology (MU) for $23B. After several talks and meetings over the matter, Reuters reported on August 28 that Zhao Weiguo, chairman of Tsinghua Unigroup, met with Micron in an attempt to revive takeover talks, but a deal did not come to fruition. Tsinghua Holdings chairman Jinghong Xu said that his company was open to a partnership with Micron if an acquisition deal could not be reached, dealReporter said. Separately, in May, Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) announced that it would sell a 51% stake in its H3C business to Unisplendour for roughly $2.3B. PRICE ACTION: In morning trading, Western Digital shares are up 16.06% to $79.91. OTHERS TO WATCH: Micron, which reports quarterly earnings on Thursday, is up 5.25% to $15.10, HP is up 2.56% to $25.28, SanDisk (SNDK) is up 9.2% to $53.63, Intel (INTC) is up 3.56% to $30.28, and Seagate (STX) is up 5.5% to $44.10.
10:33 EDTFFIVBattleground: Analysts agree Barracuda shares 'cheap,' diverge on ratings
The shares of Barracuda Networks (CUDA) are falling after the company reported lower than expected revenue and provided weaker than expected guidance. Research firms Piper Jaffray and JPMorgan both said that the shares are cheap in the wake of their huge decline today, though Piper downgraded the shares and JPMorgan kept an Overweight rating on the stock. Barracuda provides IT security and storage solutions, primarily for small and medium businesses. WHAT'S NEW: Barracuda last night reported second quarter earnings per share of 10c, versus analysts' consensus estimate of 9c. The company's revenue, however, came in at $78.4M, below the consensus outlook of $78.7M. Moreover, the company lowered its fiscal 2016 EPS guidance to 34c-36c from 36c-41c. Analysts' consensus estimate was 39c. Barrcuda cut its full-year revenue guidance to $320M-$323M, from $325M-$330M. Analysts' consensus estimate was $325M. The company said that its Q2 results were negatively impacted by longer sales cycles in its Europe, Middle East, and Africa region and it warned that it "saw some evidence" of slowing growth in the storage market. It also stated that its gross billings came in below its expectations. ANALYST REACTION: Piper Jaffray analyst Andrew Nowinski responded to Barracuda's results by downgrading the stock to Neutral from Overweight. Although Barracuda blamed its lower than expected billings guidance on weakness in its storage business, its security billings increased only by high single digit percentage levels, the analyst stated. The shares are "cheap," but the valuation is not compelling enough to recommend the stock, contends Nowinski, who cut his price target for shares to $20 from $40. Barracuda was also downgraded at Macquarie and at Stephens this morning.Conversely, JPMorgan analyst Sterling Auty called Barracuda shares "too cheap to ignore." The company lowered its billings guidance partly due to worries about slowing storage market growth, as indicated by an industry report released last quarter, said Auty. However, the growth of Barracuda's storage business actually accelerated last quarter, reaching about 25%, the analyst stated. He believes that Barracuda's new guidance reflects the company's efforts to be "prudent." Auty cut his price target on the name to $30 from $42 but kept an Overweight rating on the shares. OTHERS TO WATCH: Other publicly traded companies in the IT security space include Check Point (CHKP), F5 Networks (FFIV), FireEye (FEYE), Fortinet (FTNT), Imperva (IMPV), Palo Alto (PANW), Proofpoint (PFPT), Qualys (QLYS) and Symantec (SYMC). PRICE ACTION: In early trading, Barracuda tumbled 33% to $15.90.
10:00 EDTATIBofa/Merrill global metals/mining analysts hold analyst/industry conference call
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09:13 EDTWDCOn The Fly: Pre-market Movers
HIGHER: Mediwound (MDWD), up 25.5% after being awarded a BARDA contract valued up to $112M... Novavax (NVAX), up 8.4% after RSV F vaccine meets safety endpoints in its Phase 1 clinical trial... Western Digital (WDC), up 11.7% after receiving a $3.78B equity investment by Unisplendour Corporation... Esperion Therapeutics (ESPR), up 9.9% after being upgraded to Neutral from Sell at Chardan and after JPMorgan said they still see longer-term upside in the shares... Pericom Semiconductor (PSEM), up 6.5% after Montage Technology proposes to acquire the company for $18.50 per share... Fiat Chrysler (FCAU), up 5.2% after CNBC reported that the company could launch Ferrari's IPO as soon as Friday. NOTABLE: Ralph Lauren (RL), up 6.4% after appointing Gap's (GPS) global president of Old Navy, Stefan Larsson as CEO... Gap is down 7.4%. DOWN AFTER EARNINGS: Barracuda Networks (CUDA), down 28.5%... Costco (COST), down a half a percent.
08:57 EDTWDCWestern Digital receives $3.78B equity intestment by Unisplendour Corporation
Western Digital and Unisplendour Corporation have entered into an agreement under which a subsidiary of Unis will make a $3.78B equity investment in Western Digital. Under the terms of the investment, Unis has agreed to purchase newly issued Western Digital common stock at a price of $92.50 per share. Immediately following the closing of the investment, Unis will hold approximately 15% of Western Digital's issued and outstanding shares of common stock. Unis will have the right to nominate one representative to the Western Digital board of directors and will be subject to a five-year position standstill and voting restrictions. In addition, Unis has agreed to a five-year lock-up on its shares, with a limited number of shares becoming available for transfer each year. Proceeds from the investment will go toward strengthening Western Digital's balance sheet.
08:45 EDTMSFTNVIDIA price target raised to $30 from $28 at JMP Securities
JMP Securities increased its price target on NVIDA (NVDA) after Microsoft's (MSFT) cloud platform began offering NVIDIA's Grid 2.0 GPU virtualization solutions, JMP says that Microsoft's move "paves the way for broader Cloud adoption and further entrenchment of Nvidia Quadro solutions." The firm reiterates an Outperform rating on the stock.
08:08 EDTNSCRails sector upgraded to Attractive from Neutral at Goldman
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07:47 EDTWDCWestern Digital volatility flat into receives $3.7B equity investment
Western Digital October weekly call option implied volatility is at 39, October is at 41, November is at 43; compared to its 52-week range off 21 to 46, suggesting non-directional price movement after receives $3.7B equity investment by Unisplendour Corporation.
06:58 EDTORCLOracle to furlough workers during holiday week, BI reports
Oracle has decided to close down during the holiday week between Christmas and New Year's, mandating that its employees pay for this furlough with paid vacation time, Business Insider reports, citing several sources. Some Oracle employees have been angered about this move that basically removes four days of paid time off from them, the report says. Reference Link
06:14 EDTMSFTRackspace expected to partner with Amazon, WSJ reports
Rackspace Hosting (RAX) is expected to partner with Amazon (AMZN) to make it easier for corporate customers to move computing operations to Amazon Web Services from their own facilities, The Wall Street Journal reports. According to two sources, the partnership, which is similar to an agreement Rackspace signed with Microsoft (MSFT) in July, will be announced at a conference for AWS users next week. Reference Link
September 29, 2015
11:19 EDTFFIVAnalyst rolls out coverage of IT security stocks with mixed view
Research firm Stifel initiated coverage of IT security company Barracuda Networks (CUDA) with a Buy rating and started coverage of another company in the sector, Imperva (IMPV), with a Hold rating in notes to investors this morning. WHAT'S NEW: Barracuda is "an emerging leader" in the small and medium business security and storage sectors and it's poised to replace legacy systems in those markets, Stifel analyst Gur Talpaz wrote. The lower than expected billings reported by the company for the first quarter was "an aberration," according to Talpaz, who predicts its billings growth should accelerate in Q2. Unlike legacy threat management systems, Barracuda's products can be bought individually, on an "as needed" basis, by small and medium businesses, Talpaz explained. More importantly, Barracuda's products allow a single administrator to view the majority of the company's security infrastructure from any location, Talpaz noted. Additionally, Barracuda's storage solutions can be implemented using appliance, cloud or hybrid systems, according to Talpaz, who set a $36 price target on the shares. Imperva is "the clear leader" in the small but fast growing Web Application Firewall, or WAF, market, the analyst stated. However, many companies still don't view WAF systems as necessary, reasoning that they do not have that many Web applications, according to Talpaz. Moreover, competition in the market is intense, as network vendors such as F5 Networks (FFIV) and cloud vendors such as Akamai (AKAM) are competing in the relatively small space, the analyst stated. Talpaz expects Imperva to report strong Q3 results, but heading into 2016, he believes that the company's future profitability is "limited,"while its competitive end markets will create challenges and its valuation leaves little room for error. WHAT'S NOTABLE: Talpaz also initiated coverage of another company in the sector, Qualys (QLYS), with a Hold rating. PRICE ACTION: In late morning trading, Barracuda slipped 1.2% to $24.33, Imperva dropped 3.6% to $63 and Qualys advanced 0.4% to $28.59.
10:36 EDTAEMAgnico Eagle management to meet with Canaccord
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10:00 EDTWDCOn The Fly: Analyst Initiation Summary
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09:14 EDTPNFPFIG Partners to hold a forum
11th Annual CEO Forum is being held in Atlanta on September 28-29.
08:39 EDTORCLOracle Health Sciences adds 93 biopharma customers
Oracle (ORCL) Health Sciences announced that 93 emerging biopharma organizations worldwide have become new customers in the past year, adopting Oracle Health Sciences solutions to succeed in this rapidly evolving market and deliver drugs to patients faster. Organizations, including Accera and NewLink (NLNK), selected Oracle Health Sciences solutions to manage their end-to-end clinical trial processes, boost clinical development productivity, facilitate compliance, and build scalable, affordable platforms for growth.
06:01 EDTMSFTMicrosoft to host conference call
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