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Stock Market & Financial Investment News

News Breaks
October 16, 2012
12:14 EDTAUO, JNJ, RATE, UNH, C, S, FOSL, KO, CLWROn The Fly: Midday Wrap
Stocks on Wall Street were higher at midday as quarterly results from three Dow members provided hope that this earnings season may not be as bad as feared. Stocks began the session in positive territory and continued to move higher throughout the early part of the session. The premarket economic reports had little impact on the market but better than expected earnings from some of the country’s largest corporations did push the averages higher. The NAHB homebuilder sentiment index, which was released after the open, also helped as the measure hit its highest level since June 2006 and added credence to the belief that a housing market recovery is progressing... ECONOMIC EVENTS: Domestically, the headline consumer price index rose 0.6% in September, versus expectations of an increase of 0.5%. The core CPI reading, which excludes food and energy components, indicated prices inched up 0.1%, versus expectations for an increase of 0.2%. Industrial production rebounded 0.4% in September, versus consensus expectations for a 0.2% rise. The NAHB homebuilder sentiment index rose to 41, which was in line with expectations. Internationally, the Wall Street Journal reported that Spain is considering a request for a line of credit from the EU's new bailout mechanism... COMPANY NEWS: One day after Citigroup (C) reported stronger than expected third quarter earnings, the bank's board shocked Wall Street by announcing that Chief Executive Officer Vikram Pandit had stepped down, effective immediately. John Havens, Citi’s President and Chief Operating Officer, also resigned. Pandit will be replaced by the current head of the European and Middle Eastern unit, Michael Corbat. Citigroup shares, which initially sold off, recovered and were up nearly 1% at midday... Among Dow members reporting earnings, Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) and UnitedHealth (UNH) both beat expectations and raised their full year views, while Coca-Cola (KO) shares moved down fractionally after its results were roughly in line with analysts' forecasts... MAJOR MOVERS: Among the notable gainers were AU Optronics (AUO), up 9% after being upgraded to Buy from Sell at CLSA, and Fossil (FOSL), up 8% following an upgrade to a Buy rating at Citigroup. Among the noteworthy losers was Bankrate (RATE), down 24% after the company gave weaker than expected guidance for its Q3 results. Also lower was Clearwire (CLWR), down 13% after Bloomberg said sources indicate that Sprint (S) has no immediate plans to acquire its smaller partner, as has been speculated... INDICES: Near noon, the Dow was up 123.01, or 0.92%, to 13,547.24; the Nasdaq was up 36.34, or 1.19%, to 3,100.52; and the S&P 500 was up 14.90, or 1.03%, to 1,455.03.
News For C;JNJ;KO;UNH;AUO;FOSL;RATE;CLWR;S From The Last 14 Days
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April 7, 2015
16:00 EDTCOptions Update; April 7, 2015
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11:02 EDTCAmerican Express slips after analyst, columnist highlight challenges
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10:23 EDTUNHMedicare Advantage 2016 rates set above expectations
The U.S. yesterday announced higher than expected 2016 Medicare Advantage reimbursement rates. The news is seen as benefiting managed care companies with large exposure to the Medicare Advantage program. WHAT'S NEW: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, yesterday afternoon announced that Medicare Advantage reimbursement rates would rise 1.25% in 2016 from 2015 levels. In February, CMS proposed a 0.95% reduction in Medicare Advantage reimbursement rates for 2016. This year, reimbursement rates have fallen 4%. WHAT'S NOTABLE: Humana (HUM) said this morning in a regulatory filing that based on its review of the Final Rate Notice, the company expects an average Medicare Advantage funding increase for its business of approximately 0.8% from CMS for 2016, versus a funding decline of 1.25%-1.75% previously expected based on the Advance Notice. Humana’s estimated year-over-year funding increase as it affects the company is projected to be less than the CMS estimate for the MA program primarily due to Humana’s view of the projected impact associated with CMS’ 2016 adjustment to the risk model calculation, the company explained. ANALYST REACTION: In a note to investors earlier today, Deutsche Bank analyst Scott Fidel wrote that this is the first time in seven years that CMS has implemented an increase in Medicare Advantage rates. However, noting that CMS said it had raised its estimates for Medicare costs, Fidel added that this forecast tempered the positive outlook created by the reimbursement increase. The analyst kept Buy ratings on the following stocks in the sector: Aetna (AET), Anthem (ANTM), Cigna (CI), Magellan Health (MGLN), and UnitedHealth (UNH). Stifel analysts said that the results were modestly better than expected, except for the agency's decision not to make a Star rating adjustment for plans with certain higher acuity populations. The firm thinks that more diversified managed care companies with Medicare Advantage products could be boosted by CMS' decision, identifying Aetna, Humana, and UnitedHealth as being among the companies in that category. PRICE ACTION: In early trading, Aetna was little changed at $107.40, Anthem was flat near $155 per share, Cigna slipped 0.4% to $131.34, Magellan was flat at $71, UnitedHealth added 0.5% to $118.31 and Humana gained fractionally to $178.54.
10:05 EDTKOOn The Fly: Analyst Initiation Summary
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09:35 EDTKOActive equity options trading on open
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07:57 EDTUNHManaged care companies likely to rise on CMS news, says Oppenheimer
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07:44 EDTUNHSome managed care stocks could be boosted by CMS decision, says Stifel
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07:41 EDTUNH2016 MA rates positive for first time in seven years, says Deutsche Bank
Deutsche Bank notes that for the first time since 2009, Medicare Advantage rates will be positive after the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced yesterday that final 2016 rates will rise by 1.25%, representing a 220 basis points favorable swing from the preliminary proposed cut of 0.95%. Deutsche says the positive surprise is "somewhat tempered" by the more cautious view on Medicare cost trends provided by the CMS actuaries in the final 2016 rate announcement. The firm expects Humana (HUM), Health Net (HNT) and UnitedHealth (UNH), Aetna (AET) and Anthem (ANTM) to experience Medicare Advantage rate increases.
07:16 EDTCRising competition may make AmEx targets hard to achieve, WSJ says
Though American Express recently reaffirmed its long-term targets for growing revenue 8% per year or better and earnings per share by 12%-15% per year while increasing operating expenses by less than 3% per year, there are good reasons to be skeptical about its ability to hit those targets, according to The Wall Street Journal's "Heard on the Street" column. Competition from peer Visa (V) as well as big banks such as Citi (C) and Bank of America (BAC) may put pressure on AmEx’s margins and it is not safe to assume that the company will always fare as well on the Fed's stress tests as it just did, the report stated. Reference Link
06:12 EDTKOCoca-Cola initiated with a Hold at Evercore ISI
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05:48 EDTUNHCatamaran downgraded to Hold from Buy at Jefferies
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April 6, 2015
19:33 EDTCRegulators enter headquarters of Citibank Argentina, Reuters says
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16:00 EDTKOOptions Update; April 6, 2015
iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures down 51c to 24.53. Option volume leaders: AAPL TSLA VZ TWTR BIDU RIG NFLX AMZN KO PBR according to Track Data.
14:34 EDTJNJDepomed price target raised to $30 from $27 at Roth Capital
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13:12 EDTUNHCatamaran purchase expected to clear antitrust hurdles, CT Financial News says
Optum, a unit of UnitedHealth (UNH), is expected to face close scrutiny by regulators over its proposed acquisition of Catamaran (CTRX) and its pharmacy benefits management unit, but the deal is likely to be approved by regulators, CT Financial News reports, adding that the prospective deal could start a wave of consolidation among PBMs. Norm Smith, president and founder of health care research firm Viewpoint Consulting, believes the ultimate beneficiaries of the OptumRx/Catamaran deal will be consumers and health insurers. Reference Link
09:36 EDTJNJActive equity options trading on open
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07:57 EDTUNHLeerink healthcare services analyst holds analyst/industry conference call
Healthcare Services Analyst Gupte discusses the leverage Anthem likely has in its Pharmacy Benefit Manager (PBM) contract with Express Scripts and how it changes after the Catamaran-Optum Rx deal, the synergy potential for the deal between Catamaran and Optum Rx and the likelihood of Cigna-HS remaining with the newly merged Optum Rx-CTRX on an Analyst/Industry conference call to be held on April 6 at 2 pm.
06:45 EDTSQualcomm downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at FBR Capital
FBR Capital downgraded Qualcomm (QCOM) to Market Perform, removed the stock from its Top Picks list and dropped its price target for shares to $72 from $80. FBR said the moves were prompted by a posting on AT&T's (T) website which said the carrier’s version of the GS6 smarphone is powered by the Samsung Exynos 7420 processor with a Shannon 333 modem as opposed to Qualcomm's Snapdragon platform. FBR still expects the Verizon (VZ) and Sprint (S) GS6 versions to sport Qualcomm modems, but it believes the change at AT&T signals Samsung’s "clear intent to utilize proprietary baseband whenever and wherever possible." Shares of chip maker Qualcomm closed Thursday down $1.46 to $67.97.
06:21 EDTJNJJohnson & Johnson CEO comments on Asia expansion, WSJ reports
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April 5, 2015
09:06 EDTUNHUnitedHealth looks expensive, Barron's says
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