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Stock Market & Financial Investment News

News Breaks
June 24, 2014
20:25 EDTAPOL, APOL, BKS, BKS, GIS, GIS, LNN, LNN, MON, MONNotable companies reporting before tomorrow's open
Notable companies reporting before tomorrow's market open, with earnings consensus, include Apollo Group (APOL), consensus 66c; Barnes & Noble (BKS), consensus (59c); General Mills (GIS), consensus 72c; Lindsay Corporation (LNN), consensus $1.43; and Monsanto (MON), consensus $1.56.
News For APOL;BKS;GIS;LNN;MON From The Last 14 Days
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May 20, 2015
19:22 EDTMONMonsanto pursuing 'really clean' Syngenta deal, says offer is 'very attractive'
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09:41 EDTMONSyngenta says Monsanto statement contains nothing new, Bloomberg reports
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07:33 EDTMONMonsanto 'confident in ability' to address regulatory concerns in Syngenta deal
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07:33 EDTMONMonsanto says on track in five-year plan to at least double ongoing EPS by 2019
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07:31 EDTMONMonsanto says on track in five-year plan to at least double ongoing EPS by 2019
07:30 EDTMONMonsanto, Scotts Miracle-Gro expand long-standing agreement
Monsanto Company (MON) and The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company (SMG) announced the two companies have extended their nearly two-decade long partnership in the lawn and garden consumer market. Since 1999, Scotts Miracle-Gro, through one of its subsidiaries, has served as Monsanto's exclusive agent for the marketing and distribution of Roundup® non-selective herbicides in the consumer lawn and garden market within the United States and select international markets. Today’s agreement will unlock additional value in the Roundup brand in the lawn and garden segment by providing Scotts with an extended license to use the Roundup brand in new lawn and garden product categories and broaden their marketing rights into new geographies. As part of the extension, Monsanto also renewed and expanded the terms of its marketing agreement with Scotts and provided preferred access to Monsanto’s R&D pipeline for lawn and garden. Under the agreement, Scotts will pay Monsanto a one-time upfront payment of $300M in exchange for a Roundup® brand license, extended agency agreement and technology agreement.
07:07 EDTMONBMO Capital to hold a conference
10th Annual Farm to Market Conference is being held in New York on May 20-21 with webcasted company presentations to begin on May 20 at 8 am; not all company presentations may be webcasted. Webcast Link
07:06 EDTMONScotts Miracle-Gro announces agreement with Monsanto to extend Roundup brand
Scotts Miracle-Gro (SMG) announced an agreement with Monsanto (MON) that offers opportunities to extend the Roundup brand into new lawn and garden categories and geographies. The two companies also have reached a technology sharing agreement and have made amendments to the existing Roundup Agency Agreement that provide greater long-term security for ScottsMiracle-Gro. Key highlights to the agreements provide ScottsMiracle-Gro with enhanced security, as termination of the agreement no longer includes specific performance criteria. In the event Monsanto terminates the agreement, in certain circumstances, the company would receive a termination fee of no less than $200M and would retain its agency rights for at least 5 years. ScottsMiracle-Gro has agreed to pay Monsanto $300M in connection with these and other amendments to the current Agency Agreement and the brand extension and joint technology agreements. Financing will be accommodated under the company's existing credit facility. Because the ability to introduce new products and enter new geographies could take several years, the amended agreement modifies the existing commission structure. The result of the new structure is expected to offset financing costs and the expenses required for the development of new Roundup products and services.
May 19, 2015
12:47 EDTGISEarnings Watch: Target sees FY15 adjusted EPS $4.45-$4.65, 2%-3% sales growth
Target (TGT) is scheduled to report first quarter results before the market open on Wednesday, May 20, with a conference call scheduled for 10:30 am ET. Target offers merchandise at discounted prices through its retail stores and online business. EXPECTATIONS: Analysts are looking for earnings per share of $1.03 on revenue of $17.09B, according to First Call. The consensus range for EPS is 85c-$1.09 on revenue of $16.98B-$17.25B. LAST QUARTER: Target reported fourth quarter adjusted EPS of $1.50 on revenue of $21.75B, beating analysts' estimates for $1.46 and $21.63B, respectively. The company said comparable sales increased 3.8% in Q4, reflecting a 3.2% increase in comparable transactions. Target said digital channel sales contributed 0.9 percentage points to SSS growth. Target forecast Q1 adjusted EPS 95c-$1.05, SSS up about 2% and said its top priority is to drive digital sales growth. The company said it could be in a position to revisit stock buybacks later this year and noted that its workers' wages are "competitive." NEWS: At its Financial Community Meeting on March 3, Target forecast fiscal year 2015 adjusted EPS $4.45-$4.65, against estimates at that time for $4.50, on sales growth of 2%-3% for the fiscal year. The company also forecast 10% annual EPS growth for 2016 and beyond, as well as 5%-10% annual dividend growth. Target forecast $2B in savings in expenses and cost of goods over the next two years and 9.5%-10% EBITDA margins over the next five years. As for share repurchases, Target sees $2B this year, and said it continues to support the dividend and repurchase "billions." Looking to FY15, Target forecast FY15 capital expenditures of $2.1B and sees expected CapEx of $2B-$2.5B over the next five years. Target said its gross margin rate of 29.5% is "achievable." Target said it would focus on categories including style, baby, kids and wellness. As part of its $2B cost savings plan, Target said it will cut "several thousand jobs." Target said in a filing that on March 10, the company notified approximately 1,700 employees whose employment will be terminated as part of an overall plan to transform Target’s business. The company said it expects to incur severance costs of $10M. During the quarter, Target said it planned to raise its minimum pay for all workers to at least $9 an hour starting in April, according to The Wall Street Journal, and agreed to pay $10M to settle a class action lawsuit related to its 2013 data breach, Reuters reported. Target reached a settlement with MasterCard (MA) to resolve claims by MasterCard and its issuers related to the retailer’s 2013 data breach. Under the agreement, Target will make available up to $19M in alternative recovery offers to eligible banks and credit unions across the globe. Target Canada said it would close the last 133 retail stores by April 12. Target also announced plans to sell its Target Commercial Interiors subsidiary to Omni Workspace. The retailer launched the Lilly Pulitzer for Target collection in April, which rendered its website inaccessible for short time after it was overwhelmed by customer traffic, The WSJ said. The WSJ also reported that, according to sources, Target gave notice to Campbell Soup (CPB), General Mills (GIS), Kellogg (K), Kraft Foods (KRFT) and others that it will reduce their presence in Target circulars and in-store advertisements. STREET RESEARCH: Following Target's analyst meeting, Wells Fargo said it thinks the company's operating plan sets the stage for the company to potentially beat expectations in 2015 and beyond. The firm believes that"outsized digital growth" or new products could enable Target's results to beat expectations. Piper Jaffray views Target's long term earnings algorithm, which is based on a 1% store comp and 40% growth in digital sales annually, as realistic and the company's capital deployment as encouraging. BofA/Merrill upgraded Target to Buy from Neutral in April and increased its price target to $92 from $86. The firm believes Target is well positioned to benefit from an improving middle-income core customer base. The firm said customers are responding well to improved assortment and merchandising and expects Target to continue to see increased spending at stores and online as customers trade-up to more expensive items. PRICE ACTION: Target shares are up over 1.6% over the past three months. In early afternoon trading ahead of Wednesday's earnings report, shares are down 0.51% to $77.96.
07:15 EDTMONGoldman Sachs to hold a conference
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07:13 EDTGISBarclays to hold a conference
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05:38 EDTGISGeneral Mills backs FY15 adjusted EPS to grow at low single-digits
FY15 EPS consensus of $2.83. Backs FY15 net sales to grow at low single-digit rate, consensus $17.86B.
May 17, 2015
19:11 EDTGISTarget to reduce advertising space for certain large brands, WSJ says
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14:32 EDTMONSyngenta shares show promise even without Monsanto deal, Barron's says
Shares of Syngenta (SYT) could be "worth a bet" even if Monsanto's (MON) takeover efforts flounder, Barron's contends in its 'International Trader - Europe' column. Barron's notes that the company's cost reduction measures could yield $265M in savings this year, a figure which may jump to $1B by 2018. Reference Link
May 15, 2015
07:26 EDTMONBayer expecting crops and seeds industry consolidation, Reuters reports
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May 14, 2015
15:18 EDTMONMonsanto seeks buyer for Syngenta seeds ahead of takeover offer, Reuters says
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May 12, 2015
12:37 EDTAPOLFor-profit education stocks slide after SEC charges ITT with fraud
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May 11, 2015
05:35 EDTMONSyngenta upgraded to Buy from Neutral at UBS
UBS upgraded Syngenta (STY) to Buy saying Monsanto (MON) is likely to raise its takeover bid for the company. The firm views antirust issues as manageable and believes Monsanto could offer as much as CHF535 per share for Syngenta.

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