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November 19, 2015
14:26 EDTHUMHumana volatility increases after UnitedHealth lowered FY15 guidance
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12:19 EDTHUMOn The Fly: Top stock stories at midday
Stocks have struggled for direction since the open and spent the morning moving in a narrow range. The Dow has held up fairly well considering the weakness seen in UnitedHealth (UNH), which has declined after the insurer cut its fiscal 2015 profit guidance, citing weakness in individual health insurance policies it markets through exchanges. Oil prices remain under pressure, with benchmark U.S. crude trading back below $42 per barrel. ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., initial jobless claims continued to hover around four-decade lows, with 271,000 first-time claims filed in the week ended November 14. The Philly Fed index rose 6.4 points to 1.9 in November, better than the forecast for a -0.5 reading. In Europe, minutes from the most recent European Central Bank policy meeting showed that some participants called for more stimulus amid deflation risks, weak oil prices and a sluggish recovery in the euro-area. In Asia, the Bank of Japan maintained its current pace of monetary stimulus, as widely expected. COMPANY NEWS: The shares of health insurer UnitedHealth and a number of other companies in the sector are falling after the Dow member lowered its profit outlook for this fiscal year, citing weakness in individual health insurance policies it markets through exchanges. UnitedHealth said it has pulled back on its marketing efforts for individual exchange products in 2016 and is "evaluating the viability of the insurance exchange product segment." Near noon, UnitedHealth fell about 5%, while Aetna (AET) declined nearly 6%, Humana (HUM) droped more than 3.5%, Anthem (ANTM) declined over 6% and Cigna (CI) slid 4%... Press reports indicate that talks between Pfizer (PFE) and Allergan (AGN) are heating up and that a deal is nearing, but simultaneously the U.S. government's rhetoric around the type of "inversion" deal the two pharmaceutical giants are discussing is getting ratcheted up as well. Last night, Bloomberg reported that Pfizer is nearing an agreement to acquire Allergan for $370 to $380 per share, citing people familiar with the matter. The two companies are aiming to announce a deal as early as Monday, sources told the publication. However, CNBC's David Faber reported, citing sources, that a deal will not be announced on Monday, but Pfizer and Allergan are in the "final innings" of merger talks. The deal will consist of all stock and Pfizer is likely to offer 11-plus shares per Allergan share, Faber noted. Amid the reports, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said that his department will release "targeted guidance" later this week meant to "deter and reduce further the economic benefits of corporate inversions" like the one being contemplated by the drugmakers... Square (SQ) completed its initial public offering of stock and rose about $4 per share to trade near $13 around noon after pricing last night at $9 per share. CEO Jack Dorsey, who leads both Square and Twitter (TWTR) as CEO, said in an interview following the opening that the teams behind him make him able to simultaneously hold both positions. Twitter rose about 1.4% to $26.25 in midday trading following Square's entry to the public markets. MAJOR MOVERS: Among the notable gainers was Keurig Green Mountain (GMCR), which rallied 22% after it reported better than expected quarterly earnings and guided for fiscal 2016. Also higher was (CTRP), which gained 19% after no fewer than three analysts raised their price target on the company's stock following upbeat fourth quarter earnings. Among the noteworthy losers was Kirkland's (KIRK), which fell 30% after the company reported downbeat quarterly earnings and provided lower than expected guidance. Also lower was AMAG Pharmaceuticals (AMAG), which lost over 8.5% after it received a complete response letter from the FDA for a single-dose vial of Makena, a treatment to reduce the risk of preterm birth in at-risk patients. In addition, Best Buy (BBY) fell 3% after it reported better than expected third quarter earnings but worse than expected same-store sales growth and also guided toward "near-flat" revenue for its domestic business in the holiday quarter. INDEXES: Near midday, the Dow was down 17.44, or 0.1%, to 17,719.72, the Nasdaq was up 2.36, or 0.05%, to 5,077.57, and the S&P 500 was down 3.67, or 0.18%, to 2,079.91.
10:58 EDTHUMAnalysts say possible exchange exit positive for battered UnitedHealth
The shares of health insurer UnitedHealth (UNH) and a number of other companies in the sector are falling after the Dow member lowered its fiscal 2015 profit guidance, citing weakness in individual health insurance policies it markets through exchanges. WHAT'S NEW: UnitedHealth lowered its fiscal 2015 earnings per share guidance to $6 from $6.25-$6.35. Analysts' consensus estimate was $6.31. The company identified policies sold to individuals through exchanges as the culprit. UnitedHealth said it expects to lose 26c per share on these policies in 2015 and 2016. The insurer stated that its other businesses were performing in-line with expectations and showing strength. UnitedHealth said it has pulled back on its marketing efforts for individual exchange products in 2016 and indicated that it would consider offering fewer individual policies through exchanges in 2017. UnitedHealth provided fiscal 2016 EPS guidance of $7.10-$7.30, versus the consensus outlook of $7.28. ANALYST REACTION: Any weakness in UnitedHealth and other health insurers today on the news from UnitedHealth creates a strong buying opportunity, Leerink Swann analyst Ana Gupte wrote in a note to investors today. The government will either reform the exchanges to make them more profitable for the insurers or they will exit the market, Gupte predicted. Moreover, the downside risk for health insurers Aetna (AET), Anthem (ANTM), Humana (HUM), and Cigna (CI) from today's news are low, since their Q3 and 2016 outlooks already incorporated the negative trends cited by UnitedHealth, the analyst stated. Mizuho Securities analyst Sheryl Skolnick was more cautious, predicting that the news would "rattle" the health insurance sector. United Health is more "insulated" than its peers from the weakness of the exchanges because its exposure to the market is relatively limited and its business is more diversified than that of its peers, according to Skolnick, who kept a $150 price target and Buy rating on the stock. Meanwhile, Piper Jaffray analyst Sean Wieland says UnitedHealth reducing its exchange exposure should be accretive to shareholder value. The company's participation in exchanges is not essential to its growth strategy, according to Wieland. The issues cited for the guidance cut likely applies to all Managed Care companies, therefore UnitedHealth should outperform peers given its limited exposure to exchanges, contends Wieland, who reiterated an Overweight rating on the stock with a $149 price target. PRICE ACTION: In morning trading, UnitedHealth fell 4% to $112.49, Aetna declined 4.4% to $102.18, Humana gave back 2.4% to $167, Anthem fell 6.6% to $128.20, and Cigna slid 3.8% to $130.
10:23 EDTHUMUnitedHealth selloff on guidance presents buying opportunity, says Leerink
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07:46 EDTHUMOptions expected to be active; UNH AET ANTM CI WCG HUM HNT CNC
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November 18, 2015
14:05 EDTORCLOracle continues to believe Cloud will become bigger part of software offering
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10:29 EDTORCLOptions with increasing implied volatility
Options with increasing implied volatility: TERP CSC SGMS RH BBRY ULTA SNDK ORCL NKE VNET
November 17, 2015
16:42 EDTHLFJustice Department announces criminal charges against supplement maker USPlabs
The U.S. Department of Justice, along with partners at the Food and Drug Administration, Federal Trade Commission, Postal Inspection Service, and Internal Revenue Service, announced a "nationwide sweep" targeting more than 100 makers and marketers of dietary supplements. The agencies noted, "The actions discussed today resulted from a year-long effort, beginning in November 2014, to focus enforcement resources in an area of the dietary supplement market that is causing increasing concern among health officials nationwide. In each case, the department or one of its federal partners allege the sale of supplements that contain ingredients other than those listed on the product label or the sale of products that make health or disease treatment claims that are unsupported by adequate scientific evidence." Among the cases announced Tuesday is a criminal case charging USPlabs and several of its corporate officers with various counts associated with the unlawful sale of dietary supplements, obstruction of an FDA proceeding, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. The Department also filed in the past week five civil cases seeking injunctive relief against a number of businesses and individuals that allegedly sold supplements as disease cures or that were otherwise in violation of the law. The cases involve various entities, including Vibrant Life, Viruxo, Optimum Health, Bethel Nutritional, VivaCeuticals, and Regeneca, said the agency. Note that shares of GNC (GNC), Herbalife (HLF), Vitamin Shoppe (VSI), and Natural Health (NHTC) all slipped Tuesday following early reports of criminal charges in the dietary supplement space. Reference Link
15:10 EDTHLFDOJ files indictment against USPLabs over Supplements, FDA Law Blog says
Shares of GNC Holdings (GNC), Vitamin Shoppe (VSI), and Herbalife (HLF) were all weak this afternoon on concerns that they would be the target of the FDA's action. Reference Link
14:22 EDTRCLRoyal Caribbean initiated with an Outperform at Wolfe Research
Target $113.
13:09 EDTHLFHerbalife says not aware of being named in DOJ supplement action, Bloomberg says
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12:35 EDTHLFHerbalife puts active on headlines of DOJ briefing on supplement actions
Herbalife November 47 and 50 puts are active on total put volume of 9,800 contracts (2,400 calls) following Bloomberg headlines of DOJ briefing on supplement actions. November put option implied volatility is at 113, December is at 55; compared to its 52-week range of 34 to 126. Active put volume suggests traders taking positions for wide price movement.
12:28 EDTHLFGNC, Vitamin Shoppe, Herbalife at lows following DOJ supplement advisory
The Department of Justice said in a media advisory that it plans to announce at 3:30 pm today its actions related to dietary supplements sales and unlawful ads. Following the press advisory, shares of GNC Holdings (GNC), Vitamin Shoppe (VSI) and Herbalife (HLF) are at session lows, though none of the companies were named in the advisory.
November 16, 2015
17:10 EDTHLFSoros took stake in Paypal, liquidated Herbalife stake
Soros Fund Management gave a quarterly update on its stakes in a filing this afternoon. NEW STAKES: Paypal (PYPL), CIT Group (CIT), Schlumberger (SLB), Kraft Heinz (KHC), and Amazon (AMZN). INCREASED STAKES: Allergan (AGN), Lions Gate (LGF), Energen (EGN), Southwest Airlines (LUV), and Qunar Cayman Islands (QUNR). DECREASED STAKES: LyondellBasell (LYB), YPF (YPF), Time Warner Cable (TWC), Dow Chemical (DOW), and Monsanto (MON). LIQUIDATED STAKES: Herbalife (HLF), Lennar (LEN), DR Horton (DHI), United Continental (UAL), and Nice Systems (NICE).
10:30 EDTSONSSonus management to meet with Drexel Hamilton
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10:00 EDTORCLOn The Fly: Analyst Upgrade Summary
Today's noteworthy upgrades include: Alliant Energy (LNT) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Wells Fargo... AmerisourceBergen (ABC) upgraded to Equal Weight from Underweight at Morgan Stanley... Amphenol (APH) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Goldman... CA Technologies (CA) upgraded to Neutral from Sell at Citi... Cempra (CEMP) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley... Edgewell Personal Care (EPC) upgraded to Neutral from Sell at Goldman... Eli Lilly (LLY) upgraded on improved growth outlook at BMO Capital... MiMedx (MDXG) upgraded to Strong Buy from Buy at Needham... NVIDIA (NVDA) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Canaccord... New York REIT (NYRT) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Evercore ISI... Oracle (ORCL) upgraded to Conviction Buy from Buy at Goldman... Perrigo (PRGO) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at UBS... Semtech (SMTC) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at B. Riley... Tullow Oil (TUWOY) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at UBS... Wabtec (WAB) upgraded to Outperform on valuatoin at Raymond James.
09:53 EDTORCLOracle rallies, levels to watch
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09:37 EDTORCLActive equity options trading on open
Active equity options trading on open: AAPL FB ORCL BAC SUNE FDX FCX EXPE NFLX MU AMZN INTC TSLA
07:23 EDTORCLOracle upgraded to Conviction Buy from Buy at Goldman
Goldman added Oracle to the Conviction Buy List and increased its price target to $47 from $45 on shares following checks that indicate cloud revenue growth will accelerate in second half 2016. Analyst Heather Bellini said investors continue to have concerns about management's cloud guidance but field work provides increasing confidence Oracle will be successful in achieving 2016 bookings targets and expects management to guide towards accelerating revenue growth and gross margin expansion in 2017. Bellini sees 2016 as a bottom in non-GAAP operating margins and expects the Street's focus to shift towards cloud execution, leading to multiple expansion.
06:46 EDTMOBISky-mobi reports Q3 EPS 7c, EPS per ADS 9c
Reports Q3 revenue $17.8M or RMB 113.3M vs. RMB 211.1M last year. Reports Q3 smartphone business revenue $17.1M.
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