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Stock Market & Financial Investment News

News Breaks
August 8, 2014
07:59 EDTUNH, BNFTBenefitfocus price target raised to $45 from $41 at Canaccord
Canaccord raised its price target on Benefitfocus (BNFT) to $45 from $41 following its better than expected Q2 results. The firm cited continued momentum, its United Health (UNH) win, and its potential to establish itself as one of the premier vendors in the benefits administration space. Canaccord keeps a Buy rating on Benefitfocus.
News For BNFT;UNH From The Last 14 Days
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February 26, 2015
10:19 EDTBNFTHigh option volume stocks
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February 25, 2015
16:38 EDTBNFTOn The Fly: Closing Wrap
The Wall Street averages had a relatively quiet open and remained in a tight range for most of the session. The market moved to the high end of its range by mid-afternoon, which pushed the Dow and S&P to new highs and the Nasdaq ever closer to its 5,000 level. There was little momentum behind the move and the averages eventually faded, closing nearly unchanged for the session. ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., new home sales slipped 0.2% to a 481K annual pace in January, which was better than the expected 2.3% decline to a 471K rate. The DOE petroleum inventory report showed crude stockpiles grew by 8.4M barrels in the week of February 20, versus expectations for a 4M barrel increase. In China, HSBC and Markit's flash purchasing managers' index for February came in at 50.1, which was above the consensus outlook of 49.7 and represented a four month high. COMPANY NEWS: Shares of Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) dropped $3.82, or 9.92%, to $34.67 after the PC, printer and server maker reported lower than expected Q1 revenue and cut its FY15 EPS view and free cash flow outlook, citing separation costs and foreign exchange headwinds. However, analysts at Citigroup, Bernstein, and Brean Capital all recommended buying the stock on weakness in separate notes to investors today. Later in the day, Bloomberg reported, citing sources, that HP is in talks to make its biggest acquisition in several years by potentially acquiring Aruba Networks (ARUN), sending shares of the WiFi equipment maker up $3.86, or 21.0%, to $22.24. Shares of Aruba competitor Ruckus Wireless (RKUS) also gained 66c, or 5.89%, to $11.86 after Bloomberg's report on potential M&A in their space... Chesapeake Energy (CHK) slid $1.90, or 9.56%, to $17.98 after reporting worse than expected earnings amid the recent plunge in energy prices and announcing lower capital spending plans for 2015. MAJOR MOVERS: Among the notable gainers was Benefitfocus (BNFT), which jumped $10.85, or 47.24%, to $33.82 after reporting Q4 earnings and disclosing that Marsh & McLennan (MMC) subsidiary Mercer took a 9.9% stake in the company. Also higher was SFX Entertainment (SFXE), which gained $1.09, or 29.46%, to $4.79 after the company’s Chairman and CEO, Robert Sillerman, offered to acquire all of the outstanding shares of common stock of the company not already owned by him for $4.75 per share in cash. SFX Entertainment confirmed that it received the proposal and established a special committee to review and negotiate the nonbinding offer. Among the noteworthy losers was Lumber Liquidators (LL), which plunged $18.15, or 26.39%, to $50.63 after reporting Q4 earnings per share and revenue that missed consensus expectations, warning on its associated call that an upcoming "60 Minutes" piece may cast the company in an unfavorable light, and disclosing in its annual report that the Department of Justice indicated in recent communications that it is contemplating seeking criminal charges under the Lacey Act. Also lower following their earnings reports were shares of Republic Airways (RJET), which fell $2.17, or 14.49%, to $12.81, and LendingClub (LC), which dropped $3.14, or 13.28%, to $20.51. INDEXES: The Dow added 15.38, or 0.08%, to 18,224.57, the Nasdaq slipped 0.98, or 0.02%, to 4,967.14, and the S&P 500 dropped 1.62, or 0.08%, to 2,113.86.
09:08 EDTBNFTOn The Fly: Pre-market Movers
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05:47 EDTBNFTBenefitfocus price target raised to $36 from $33.50 at Jefferies
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February 24, 2015
18:15 EDTBNFTOn The Fly: After Hours Movers
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17:31 EDTBNFTMercer bought 2.8M shares of Benefitfocus for $26.50 per share
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17:04 EDTBNFTMarsh & McLennan unit takes 9.9% stake in Benefitfocus
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16:58 EDTBNFTBenefitfocus sees FY15 EPS ($2.10)-($2.24), consensus ($2.17)
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16:56 EDTBNFTBenefitfocus sees Q1 EPS (53c)-(51c), consensus (55c)
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16:54 EDTBNFTBenefitfocus reports Q4 EPS (39c), consensus (62c)
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February 23, 2015
19:40 EDTUNHLeerink healthcare services analyst holds an analyst/industry conference call
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16:27 EDTUNHOn The Fly: Closing Wrap
Stocks on Wall Street began the session in negative territory and remained there for most of the session, with the Nasdaq the lone index to post a small gain. The Dow was weighed down by shares of Boeing (BA), which slid after the stock received a downgrade. There was little in the way of positive economic news, as the most notable report showed existing homes were lower than expected due to a shortage of inventory. The averages drifted for most of the session, as investors may be waiting on the sidelines ahead of tomorrow’s banking panel testimony by Fed Chair Janet Yellen. ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., the Chicago Fed national activity index rebounded to 0.13 in January, which was nearly in-line with expectations. Existing home sales dropped 4.9% to a 4.82M rate in January, which was much worse than the expected 1.8% drop to a 4.95M unit rate. In Europe, the Ifo Institute’s measure of German business confidence rose to 106.8 in February, which was up a tenth of a percentage point from the previous month but below the 107.7 consensus forecast. Also, the Bank of Israel became the latest central bank to cut rates this year, lowering its main interest rate to 0.1% from 0.25%. COMPANY NEWS: The shares of a number of health insurers rose after the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, issued preliminary 2016 Medicare Advantage rates. According to Credit Suisse, the rates were favorable for the insurers. Following the CMS announcement made late Friday, Humana (HUM) climbed $8.40, or 5.38%, to $164.52, UnitedHealth (UNH) rose $3.78, or 3.36%, to $116.40, and WellCare (WCG) gained $4.68, or 5.53%, to $89.30. MAJOR MOVERS: Among the notable gainers was PTC Therapeutics (PTCT), which jumped $9.77, or 17.7%, to $64.96 after Reuters said the company is working with financial advisers to explore a potential sale after receiving takeover interest from several companies including Shire (SHPG) and BioMarin (BMRN). Also higher was Valeant (VRX), which rose $25.49, or 14.71%, to $198.75 after the company agreed to buy Salix (SLXP) for $158 per share and also reported better-than-forecast earnings. Salix shares, however, fell $2.09, or 1.32%, to $155.76, as a report Friday from CNBC's David Faber telegraphed the deal and suggested Valeant could value Salix around $160 per share. Among the noteworthy losers was Spectrum Pharmaceuticals (SPPI), which dropped $1.18, or 15.82%, to $6.28 after a judge ruled that a drug which could compete with the company's Fusilev treatment does not infringe on the company's intellectual property. Also lower were shares of Boeing, which fell $3.57, or 2.26%, to $154.74 after the stock was downgraded to Sell from Neutral at Goldman Sachs. INDEXES: The Dow fell 23.60, or 0.13%, to 18,116.84, the Nasdaq gained 5.01, or 0.1%, to 4,960.97, and the S&P 500 slipped 0.64, or 0.03%, to 2,109.66.
12:21 EDTUNHOn The Fly: Midday Wrap
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11:23 EDTBNFTBenefitfocus added to short-term buy list at Deutsche Bank
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11:10 EDTUNHHealth insurers rise after CMS releases preliminary Medicare Advantage rates
The shares of a number of health insurers are rising after the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, issued preliminary 2016 Medicare Advantage rates. According to Credit Suisse, the rates were favorable for health insurers. WHAT'S NEW: On Friday after the market closed, CMS issued a proposal for 2016 Medicare Advantage rates. The rates are preliminary and could change when CMS announces the final 2016 rates on April 6 of this year, the agency noted. In a note to investors earlier today, Credit Suisse analyst Ralph Giacobbe estimated that, under CMS' initial proposal, insurers would see rate changes of between -1% and +1%, depending on the risk that each insurer faces. The preliminary rates were "favorable" for insurers, since the rates were "in-line if not slightly better" than investors had expected, the firm stated. Moreover, CMS decided not to restrict at-home health risk assessments, as had been feared, and agreed to reduce the weighting of certain risk factors that had hurt previously certain plans with a higher proportion of low-income beneficiaries, acceding to a request by insurers. Insurers with the highest exposure to Medicare Advantage include Humana (HUM), UnitedHealth (UNH), and WellCare (WCG), the analyst stated. WHAT'S NOTABLE: After analyzing CMS' proposal, health insurer Aetna (AET) estimated that the proposal would cause government funding for its Medicare Advantage business to decline by about 1% in 2016. Aetna added that it is continuing to evaluate the changes outlined in the Advance Notice and their impact on the company and its Medicare Advantage members. OTHERS TO WATCH: Other publicly traded health insurance companies include Anthem (ANTM), AMERIGROUP (AGP), Centene (CNC), Cigna (CI), Health Net (HNT), Healthspring (HS), and Molina Healthcare (MOH). PRICE ACTION: In mid-morning trading, Humana climbed 5.3% to $164.43, UnitedHealth rose 2.6% to $115.56, WellCare gained 6.3% to $90, Aetna advanced 2% to $99.91, and Centene added 3.4% to $61.93.
08:05 EDTUNHCMS releases preliminary Medicare Advantage rates for 2016
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February 20, 2015
08:41 EDTUNHInsurers should be bought on weakness related to MA rates, says BMO Capital
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February 18, 2015
06:56 EDTUNHObamacare enrollment exceeded goal, Politico reports
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February 17, 2015
05:03 EDTBNFTBenefitfocus valuation compelling into Q4 results, says Piper Jaffray
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