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Stock Market & Financial Investment News

News Breaks
January 27, 2014
12:35 EDTDB, RHI, CAT, CRARY, GERN, GAME, CRZBY, XRX, MRKOn The Fly: Midday Wrap
Stocks on Wall Street were lower at midday as a decline in new home sales last month more than offset any positive momentum built in the early hours by Caterpillar's (CAT) better than expected earning report. Stocks began the week in positive territory, briefly bouncing back from last week’s sell-off, but the market resumed its downward trend by the time the larger than expected drop in new home sales was reported near 10 am ET. As the lunch hour approached, the averages were all in the red and stood near session lows. ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., new home sales dropped 7% to a 414K rate in December from a downwardly revised 445K rate in November, missing expectations. However, the report may have been somewhat discounted as largely due to the extreme weather seen in many markets during the month. In Europe, the Ifo institute’s German business confidence measure beat economists’ forecasts and rose to its highest level in more than two years with a 110.6 reading in January. Also, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development reportedly estimated that European banks have a combined capital shortfall of about 84 billion euros, with Credit Agricole (CRARY), Deutsche Bank (DB) and Commerzbank (CRZBY) listed among the banks having significant gaps. COMPANY NEWS: Dow component Caterpillar advanced about 4% after its quarterly earnings easily beat the consensus expectation of analysts. The company also gave a forecast for revenue in the new fiscal year that surpassed expectations and approved a program to repurchase up to $10B of its shares. MAJOR MOVERS: Among the notable gainers was Chinese online game maker Shanda Games (GAME), which gained 13% after its controlling shareholder proposed to acquire the company in a "going private" transaction for $6.90 per American depositary share. Also higher was Robert Half (RHI), which rose 3% following an upgrade to Buy from Neutral at research firm Northcoast, which cited the valuation of its shares and expectations for top-line trends to accelerate due to easier comparisons and improving end markets. Also higher following an upgrade were shares of Merck (MRK), which gained nearly 3% after Morgan Stanley upgraded the stock two notches to Overweight from Underweight. Among the noteworthy losers was Geron (GERN), which fell 19% after disclosing that an investigator-sponsored clinical trial to evaluate imetelstat in patients with myelofibrosis and other myeloid malignancies has been closed to new patient enrollment and that the company believes approximately 20 patients have discontinued from the study since its inception. Also lower were shares of Xerox (XRX), which were downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at BMO Capital and slid almost 5% near noon. INDEXES: Near midday, the Dow was down 76.11, or 0.48%, to 15,803.00, the Nasdaq was down 69.13, or 1.67%, to 4,059.04, and the S&P 500 was down 15.10, or 0.84%, to 1,775.19.
News For CAT;MRK;GAME;RHI;XRX;GERN;DB;CRZBY;CRARY From The Last 14 Days
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February 3, 2016
08:17 EDTMRKMerck sees growing Januvia franchise in 2016 ex-exchange
Merck said it expects to grow the Januvia franchise in 2016 ex-exchange despite increased pricing pressure. The company said it has maintained a high market share of about 75% in the U.S. and 65% globally. Merck said that, while still early, customer feedback is very positive on Bridion. Merck said it believes its pricing strategy for hepatitis C treatment Zapatier will "maximize revenue and market share" as well as broaden and accelerate patient access. Comments from Merck's Q4 earnings conference call.
07:38 EDTRHIRobert Half price target lowered to $54 from $63 at Baird
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06:48 EDTMRKMerck sees FY16 non-GAAP marketing and administrative expenses below 2015 levels
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06:48 EDTMRKMerck reports Q4 Animal Health sales $830M
06:47 EDTMRKMerck reports Q4 Januvia/Janumet sales $1.45B
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06:46 EDTMRKMerck sees FY16 non-GAAP EPS $3.60-$3.75, consensus $3.72
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06:46 EDTMRKMerck reports Q4 non-GAAP EPS 93c, consensus 91c
Reports Q4 revenue $10.22B, consensus $10.35B.
05:10 EDTDBEmpresas ICA confirms sale of OMA shares pledged as collateral
Empresas ICA (ICA) confirmed that Deutsche Securities, S.A. de C.V., Casa de Bolsa foreclosed on collateral in the form of OMA Series B shares pledged to secure a loan to ICA's wholly-owned subsidiary, Aeroinvest, after a Mexican federal judge granted Deutsche Bank (DB) a suspension of the injunctions sought by ICA related to the pledged shares. In connection with the foreclosure on the pledged shares, Deutsche Bank sold a total of 33,162,600 OMA Series B shares, representing 8.29 % of OMA's equity capital in the form of Series B and Series BB shares. Excluding the shares referenced above, ICA holds a 17.23 % ownership interest in OMA in the form of Series B and Series BB shares, directly and indirectly, through Aeroinvest and SETA. ICA is not in default under any other loan agreement subject to a pledge of OMA shares.
February 2, 2016
17:13 EDTRHIRobert Half sees Q1 EPS 61c-67c, consensus 66c
Sees Q1 revenue $1.27B-$1.33B, consensus $1.3B. Guidance taken from company Q4 earnings conference call.
16:21 EDTRHIRobert Half reports Q4 EPS 71c, consensus 70c
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14:32 EDTMRKNotable companies reporting before tomorrow's open
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13:54 EDTMRKMerck technical comments ahead of earnings news
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13:35 EDTMRKEarnings Watch: Merck down over 5% since last earnings report
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07:24 EDTMRKSanofi, Merck mulling exiting vaccine JV, Bloomberg reports
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06:44 EDTMRKMerck volatility elevated into Q4 and outlook
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February 1, 2016
11:27 EDTXRXFitch downgrades Xerox to BBB-; maintains Rating Watch Negative
Fitch Ratings has downgraded the ratings for Xerox Corporation, including the long-term Issuer Default Rating, to 'BBB-' from 'BBB' following the company's announcement it will separate into two publicly traded companies. Fitch maintains the Rating Watch Negative pending further details around the ultimate corporate and capital structure of the remaining company. Fitch's actions affect $9.4B of total debt including the undrawn $2B revolving credit facility. The downgrade reflects Fitch's belief that the separation reduces diversification, scale and top line growth prospects even as DT continues facing significant long-term secular headwinds and BPO is amidst a multi-year restructuring. The downgrade also reflects Fitch's belief that alternative scenarios -- including a leveraging recapitalization, business sale, straight separation of the DT and Services segment or nothing -- would be less credit friendly or intensify event risk, were Xerox to not complete the separation. Fitch's maintenance of the Watch Negative reflects the current lack of certainty around which of the two public companies will constitute Remainco, as well as the Remainco's ultimate structure and capitalization. Fitch believes legacy Xerox is more likely to be Remainco, given legacy Xerox could be capitalized with the majority of debt, including all financing business related debt and modest share of core debt aimed at preserving an investment grade rating. Fitch anticipates resolving the Watch Negative upon formalization of Remainco's ultimate structure and capitalization. Were legacy Xerox to constitute Remainco, the Watch Negative could be removed and ratings affirmed at 'BBB-' if Fitch believes the operating profile will strengthen from investments in DT markets that yield legitimate prospects for the resumption of top line growth in the intermediate term.
10:02 EDTXRXOn The Fly: Analyst Downgrade Summary
Today's noteworthy downgrades include: AIG (AIG) downgraded at BMO Capital... ARMOUR Residential (ARR) downgraded to Underweight from Equal Weight at Barclays... Abraxas Petroleum (AXAS) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at SunTrust... Anchor BanCorp Wisconsin (ABCW) downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at Stephens... Ashford Hospitality Prime (AHP) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Canaccord... Ashford Hospitality (AHT) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Canaccord... Axiall (AXLL) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Citi... Boston Private Financial (BPFH) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at SunTrust... Colliers International (CIGI) downgraded to Sector Perform from Outperform at RBC Capital... Companhia Brasileira de Distribuicao (CBD) downgraded to Neutral at Credit Suisse... Connecticut Water (CTWS) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Wells Fargo... Duke Realty (DRE) downgraded on valuation, growth outlook at BMO Capital... EP Energy (EPE) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at SunTrust... Eastman Chemical (EMN) downgraded at SunTrust... Equity Residential (EQR) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Mizuho... Genuine Parts (GPC) downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at JPMorgan... Hersha Hospitality (HT) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Canaccord... Jones Energy (JONE) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at SunTrust... Mondelez (MDLZ) downgraded to Neutral from Positive at Susquehanna... Nokia (NOK) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Canaccord... Ollie's Bargain Outlet (OLLI) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse... Oshkosh (OSK) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Drexel Hamilton... Outerwall (OUTR) downgraded on Redbox weakness at Roth Capital... PACCAR (PCAR) downgraded to Underperform from Peer Perform at Wolfe Research... Restoration Hardware (RH) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Cowen... Rex Energy (REXX) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at SunTrust... Sanchez Energy (SN) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at SunTrust... SandRidge Energy (SD) downgraded to Neutral from Buy at SunTrust... Santander Consumer (SC) downgraded to Underperform from Neutral at BofA/Merrill... Tiffany (TIF) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Cowen... Trex Company (TREX) downgraded to Hold from Buy at BB&T... U.S. Steel (X) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Macquarie... United Community Financial (UCFC) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Boenning & Scattergood... Xerox (XRX) downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at Morgan Stanley.
06:53 EDTXRXXerox downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at Morgan Stanley
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January 31, 2016
20:15 EDTXRXXerox CEO: Company split wasn't about panic, WSJ says
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11:39 EDTXRXS&P falls 5% in January despite second straight winning week to close month
Stocks finished the month of January with two straight winning weeks, but investors are still glad to see the calendar flip as those winners only cut the S&P's loss to 5% for the month. With growth worries abounding amid troubling signs from China and as oil languishes below $35 per barrel, the manufacturing readings from China, Europe, and the U.S. due out on Monday will be essential to whether the new month continues the uptrend of the end of January or the dour tone that dominated the early half of the month. MACRO NEWS: The Federal Reserve kept interest rates unchanged following its policy meeting this week, as almost universally expected. In its accompanying statement, the central bank said its committee members expect that economic conditions will "evolve in a manner that will warrant only gradual increases in the federal funds rate." The group added that inflation is expected to "remain low in the near term, in part because of the further declines in energy prices, but to rise to 2% over the medium term as the transitory effects of declines in energy and import prices dissipate and the labor market strengthens further"... In other domestic economic news, the Commerce Department's first read on fourth quarter gross domestic product came in at 0.7% annualized growth, below the already anemic 0.8% growth forecast. The S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose 5.8% from the prior year in November, topping expectations for a 5.7% year-over-year increase. The separate FHFA house price index showed a monthly gain of 0.5% in November, matching the consensus forecast. Markit's services PMI for January came in at 53.7, missing the 54.0 forecast. The preliminary reading of the Conference Board's consumer confidence index for January came in at 98.1, topping the 96.5 reading that was expected. New home sales surged 10.8% to a 544,000 annualized pace in December, topping expectations and hitting their highest level in 10 months. Initial jobless claims fell to 278,000 last week, versus the expected 281,000 first-time claims. Durable goods orders dropped 5.1% in December, versus expectations for a decrease of 0.7%. The core reading, which removes transportation items, was down 1.2%, versus expectations for a decline of 0.1%. The University of Michigan consumer sentiment index slipped to 92.0 in the final January print, missing the 93.0 reading that was forecast... In a surprising move in Asia, the Bank of Japan introduced a rate of minus 0.1% on certain excess holdings of cash while maintaining the pace of its asset purchases. Japan also reported data pointing to a softening economy, as total CPI grew 0.2% year-over-year in December, core CPI rose at only a 0.1% pace and industrial production fell a preliminary 1.4% month-over-month in December. COMPANY NEWS: McDonald's (MCD) advanced Monday after the fast food giant reported better than expected earnings and comparable sales growth for the fourth quarter, powered by the launch of All Day Breakfast in the U.S.... Earnings season accelerated Tuesday as four members of the bluechip Dow Jones Industrial Average posted results before the opening bell. 3M (MMM) was the top advanced on the index with a gain of over 5%, while Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Procter & Gamble (PG) and DuPont (DD) all notched gains that day following their reports as well... Apple (AAPL) declined more than 6.5% on Wednesday after the tech giant reported first quarter earnings that topped consensus estimates, but also issued revenue guidance for the new quarter that missed expectations. The company was noted by several analysts as taking a particularly downbeat tone in its earnings conference call, invoking the difficult macroeconomic environment and weakness it has recently seen in China. Apple was not the worst performer in the Dow that day, as Boeing (BA) shares plummeted nearly 9% after its profit outlook for the new fiscal year fell far short of the Street's consensus forecast... Facebook (FB) surged 15.5% on Thursday after the social media giant's fourth quarter earnings and revenue beat expectations. A number of Wall Street analysts increased their price targets for the stock following the report, including Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster, who hiked his target to a "Street-high" $170 per share. The same day, Caterpillar (CAT) reported better than expected quarterly earnings, excluding certain items, but its revenue came in below the consensus forecast and the heavy equipment maker warned that it does not anticipate an improvement in the world economy or commodity prices in 2016. The stock, which had declined almost 20% in the last three months prior to this morning's report, rebounded almost 5% after the company jumped over the lowered bar that had been set by bearish analysts... On Friday, shares of Amazon (AMZN) declined more than 7.5% after the company's fourth quarter results came in below expectations. Meanwhile, Microsoft (MSFT), which reported better than expected earnings, gained almost 6%. Chevron (CVX) reported a quarterly loss due to taking impairments and other charges of $1.1B. The company, which also reported that its average sales price per barrel of crude oil and natural gas liquids in the U.S. was $35 in fourth quarter, down from $66 a year ago, edged up 0.7% to $86.44... Among the many others reporting earnings this week, Visa (V), Mastercard (MA), Under Armour (UA), Sprint (S) and Biogen (BIIB) gained immediately following their reports, while Qualcomm (QCOM), eBay (EBAY), U.S. Steel (X), VMware (VMW) and Anthem (ANTM) all slid following their own... Xerox (XRX) announced plans to separate into two independent publicly-traded companies: one focused on Document Technology and another Business Process Outsourcing company. Xerox also announced an agreement related to the governance of the Business Process Outsourcing company under which six directors of the new company will be selected by Xerox and three will be selected by current Xerox shareholder Carl Icahn... Terex (TEX) surged more than 36% higher on Tuesday after receiving a $30 per share acquisition offer from China's Zoomlion. Terex peers Manitowoc (MTW), Joy Global (JOY) and Oshkosh (OSK) also gained after the offer was disclosed... Weight Watchers (WTW) shares soared nearly 20% Tuesday after noted shareholder and partner Oprah Winfrey tweeted a video detailing her progress using the company's program, indicating that she'd already lost 26 pounds thanks to its plan... AIG (AIG) provided its much-anticipated strategy update, committing to return at least $25B to shareholders over the next two years and announcing the sale of AIG Advisor Group to Lightyear Capital and PSP Investments. The company, under ongoing pressure from activist investors including Carl Icahn, also said it will publicly offer a portion of its United Guaranty unit, though it expressly rejected a full company breakup... SunEdison (SUNE) gained 18% during the week after agreeing to new corporate governance initiatives with David Einhorn's Greenlight Capital, including amending its bylaws to restrict equity issuances for two years without a supermajority board vote... Twitter (TWTR) slumped nearly 6% this week after CEO Jack Dorsey confirmed the departure of four company executives, leading research firm Stifel to downgrade the shares. INDEXES: The Dow gained about 2.2% to close at 16,466.30; the S&P 500 rose about 1.6% to close at 1,940.24; the Nasdaq advanced about 0.4% to close at 4,613.95.
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