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Stock Market & Financial Investment News

News Breaks
August 5, 2014
16:09 EDTFOX21st Century Fox announces $6B share repurchase program
News For FOX From The Last 14 Days
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February 9, 2016
13:25 EDTFOXFox, Viacom drop on earnings as Bernstein says linear TV still 'doomed'
21st Century Fox (FOX, FOXA) and Viacom (VIA, VIAB) are trading lower after issuing their latest quarterly reports, with some Wall Street analysts reiterating doom-and-gloom views on the linear TV programming upon which the two media giants have traditionally relied. RESULTS: Fox reported second quarter adjusted earnings per share of 44c, in-line with analyst consensus estimate. Revenue was $7.38B against expectations for $7.51B, with film revenue slowing to $2.36B from last year's $2.75B. During the company's Q2 earnings conference call, 21st Century Fox said it sees its fiscal 2016 EBITDA to be flat to up by a low single digits percentage. Viacom reported first quarter adjusted EPS of $1.18, also in-line with estimates. Revenue was $3.15B against expectations for $3.26B, with domestic ad revenue declining 4%. UBS SEES GROWTH COMING FOR FOX: UBS analyst Meghan Durkin said Tuesday that, despite Fox once again cutting its outlook for 2016 earnings before expenses, growth looks set to lift off for the company through 2019. Current headwinds appear less worrisome than the previous operational issues in the company's broadcast unit; cable subscriber trends have been improving, likely due to a lessening impact from skinny bundles; and U.S. ad results are also improving and should see further boosts from the upcoming presidential elections, the analyst noted. That said, Durkin conceded that few investors will have confidence in her team's bullish growth outlook, but Fox's potential 11% compounded annual growth rate is worth the wait, she argued. Durkin reiterated her Buy rating on the shares while lowering her 2016 earnings per share outlook by 12c to $1.68, noting that Fox's film release schedule for the year "appears much better positioned," though impacts from unfavorable foreign currency exchange remains a "minor swing factor." STILL POSITIVE ON VIACOM: Shifting focus to Viacom, Evercore analyst Vijay Jayant noted today that the company's Q1 ad sales saw sequential improvement, driven by higher prices and moderated ratings declines on the back of investments in content and marketing initiatives. Affiliate fees were lighter than expected, however, which the analyst pinned on the timing of Viacom's digital distribution agreements and presumably its rate reset with AT&T (T). Viacom also announced a global partnership with the popular video messaging service Snapchat, which Jayant said fits well with Viacom's strategy of targeting millennials. The analyst kept a Buy rating and $60 price target on the shares. VALUE TRAP: Taking the more negative outlook, Topeka analyst David Miller said he still struggles to get more constructive on Viacom in the wake of today's results, which missed not just the Street's forecast but also the company's own predictions. Viacom's Paramount film division contracted 15% and the company still faces a "host" of secular challenges, leading Miller to cut his price target to $44 from $45 and caution that the stock continues to be a value trap for investors. Even more bombastic was research firm Bernstein, which reiterated its view that Viacom's old business of serving kids and teens through linear programming is "doomed," while new efforts to grab that demographic through digital outlets is "unlikely" to be won by Viacom. Even if the company succeeds in its on-demand, digital efforts, the margins offered by that business line are "vastly inferior," and today's deal with Snapchat doesn't appear to change that. PRICE ACTION: Shares of Viacom have crashed 15% to $35.51 in afternoon trading, while Fox has slipped 3% to $23.83.
12:18 EDTFOXOn The Fly: Top stock stories at midday
Stocks have moved in a fairly wide range, with the Dow beginning the session with triple digit losses, moving briefly into positive territory, and now hovering near the flat line. Oil prices continue to dictate the equity market's direction, as each move of oil prices toward the plus side is followed by a subsequently positive move for stocks. With oil back below $30 per barrel, the major averages have found it hard to maintain any upward momentum. ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., wholesale sales dipped 0.3% in December, while inventories fell 0.1%. The Labor Department's Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey showed job openings rose 261,000 in December to about 5.61M. In Asia, most major markets remain closed for Chinese New Year, but one of the exceptions, Japan, saw its main indexes plunge, as the Nikkei dropped 5.4% and the Topix fell 5.5%. COMPANY NEWS: Class A shares of 21st Century Fox (FOXA) declined 3% after the company reported lower than expected second quarter revenue, while peer Viacom (VIAB) tumbled 15% following its own revenue miss. The results of the two media conglomerates weighed on the largest name in the space, Disney (DIS), which fell 1% near noon ahead of its own earnings report, which is due after the closing bell today. MAJOR MOVERS: Among the notable gainers was Salesforce (CRM), which rose 5% after it was upgraded to Hold from Underperform at Jefferies. Also higher was Boston Scientific (BSX), which gained 4% after it announced that Medicare will cover its Watchman LAAC device. In addition, Belden (BDC) and Goodyear Tire (GT) were up 20% and 5%, respectively, after reporting quarterly earnings. Among the noteworthy losers was ITC Holdings (ITC), which fell 2% after it agreed to be acquired by Fortis in a cash and stock deal valued at $11.3B. Also lower were Plains All American (PAA), Bristow Group (BRS) and HCP (HCP), which were down 14%, 24%, and 15%, respectively, after reporting quarterly earnings. INDEXES: Near midday, the Dow was down 75.85, or 0.47%, to 15,951.20, the Nasdaq was down 16.69, or 0.39%, to 4,267.06, and the S&P 500 was down 8.08, or 0.44%, to 1,845.36.
09:25 EDTFOXOn The Fly: Pre-market Movers
UP AFTER EARNINGS: Wendy's (WEN), up 3.5%. ALSO HIGHER: ITC Holdings (ITC), up 1.1% after being acquired by Fortis for in a deal valued at $11.3B... Kinross Gold (KGC), up 2.9% after being upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse... Boston Scientific (BSX), up 3.1% after announcing that Medicare will cover Watchman left atrial appendage closure Device. DOWN AFTER EARNINGS: Regeneron (REGN), down 7.2%... Twenty-First Century Fox (FOXA, FOX), down 6.7% and 2.6%, respectively... CVS Health (CVS), down 3.5%... Viacom (VIAB), down 3.2%. ALSO LOWER: Constant Contact (CTCT), down 3.3% after Bloomberg reported that Endurance International (EIGI) withdrew a $735M loan Monday that was intended to help fund its $1.1B takeover of the company... Paypal (PYPL), down 2.4% after announcing a Chief Technology Officer transition.
February 8, 2016
19:07 EDTFOXOn The Fly: After Hours Movers
HIGHER: Silver Spring (SSNI), up 22.2% after giving fourth quarter and fiscal 2016 guidance... Gap (GPS), up 2.8% after reporting January Same-Store Sales and giving guidance for Q4 as well as FY15. DOWN AFTER EARNINGS: Qualys (QLYS), down 6.7%... Twenty-First Century Fox (FOXA, FOX), down 4.4% and 2.3%, respectively... Compass Minerals (CMP), down 3.5%... Bristow Group (BRS), down 2.5%.
17:28 EDTFOX21st Century Fox says 'Martian' offset by weaker results from other films
Speaking earlier during the company's Q2 earnings conference call, executive co-chairman Lachlan Murdoch said the strong box office performance of "The Martian" was more than offset by less than anticipated results from several of the company's other films. That said, Murdoch remarked that he and the company "feel good about our releases moving forward," with "The Revenant" and "Kung Fu Panda 3" already performing well, and "Dead Pool," "X-Men: Apocalypse" and "Independence Day: Resurgence" slated for release later in the year. The co-chairman also took care to highlight the company's new "X-Files" and "The People v. O. J. Simpson" television series, with "O. J." premiering last week to the highest ratings ever on FX.
17:19 EDTFOX21st Century Fox sees FY16 EBITDA flat to up low single digits
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16:08 EDTFOX21st Century Fox reports Q2 Cable Network Programming revenue $3.7B
Reports Q2 Cable Network Programming revenue $3.7B, up from $3.38B in prior year quarter. Reports Television revenue $1.72B, up from $1.62B. Reports Filmed Entertainment revenue $2.36B, down from $2.75B. Reports Cable Network Programming OIBDA up 8% to $1.25B, driven by 9% revenue increase on strong affiliate revenue growth and higher advertising revenues partially offset by a 10% increase in expenses. Domestic affiliate revenue increased 10%, reflecting continued strong growth at FS1 and Fox News and sustained growth across all of the other domestic cable networks.
16:05 EDTFOX21st Century Fox chairmen 'encouraged' by progress at FOX Broadcast Network
"During the quarter, our cable business continued to drive our growth, delivering sustained increases in domestic affiliate fees and gains in advertising revenue... In addition, we are encouraged by progress at the FOX Broadcast Network, which delivered significant advertising gains from both our sports and entertainment programming. At our television production business, we deliberately invested in a higher number of new original series this quarter in support of the network's new primetime schedule and in creating valuable long-term assets for the company," remarked executive chairmen Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch
16:03 EDTFOX21st Century Fox reports Q2 adjusted EPS 44c, consensus 44c
Reports Q2 revenue $7.38B, consensus $7.51B.
14:28 EDTFOXNotable companies reporting after market close
Notable companies reporting after the market close, with earnings consensus, include Twenty-First Century Fox (FOX, FOXA), consensus 44c... Plains All American Pipeline (PAA), consensus 46c... Waste Connections (WCN), consensus 47c... Molina Healthcare (MOH), consensus 61c.
11:01 EDTFOXTV networks seen beating expectations thanks to strong ad market
The outlook for television networks is positive and investors should overweight the sector, research firm Pacific Crest wrote in a note to investors today. WHAT'S NEW: Pacific Crest analyst Andy Hargreaves recommended that investors own the shares of TV network owners 21st Century Fox (FOXA), Time Warner (TWX) and AMC Networks (AMCX). The companies' results should beat expectations, driven by a strong U.S. advertising market and stable pay TV subscriptions, he forecast. Moreover, given their "low elasticity, limited exposure to emerging markets and credit-fueled funding, and historically low valuations," the networks look "highly defensible," the analyst stated. Based on viewership data, 21st Century Fox, AMC and Scripps Networks (SNI) are best positioned to increase their ad revenue going forward, Hargreaves believes. Meanwhile, Fox and Scripps should benefit from strong viewership trends for sporting events, contended the analyst, who kept Overweight ratings on 21st Century Fox, Time Warner and AMC Networks, but maintained a Sector Weight rating on Scripps. WHAT'S NOTABLE: Hargreaves also kept a Sector Weight rating on CBS (CBS), but he recommended owning the stock in the near-term. The company's ad revenue should rise this year, driven by the Super Bowl and political spending, and its fourth quarter results could beat expectations on the back of strong ad revenue and content sales, the analyst predicted. Furthermore, CBS's content is well-positioned to be part of any significant bundle, and the stock's risk/reward ratio is positive, he wrote. PRICE ACTION: In late morning trading, Class A Fox shares slid 3%, AMC gave back 4.4%, Time Warner retreated 2.7%, and CBS and Scripps each fell about 4%.
06:17 EDTFOXCBS' Moonves eyeing bigger move to digital content, Reuters says
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February 7, 2016
17:27 EDTFOX'Kung Fu Panda' defends top spot as undead Jane Austen misses
"Kung Fu Panda 3" missed analyst forecasts for its second week at the box office but still staved off newcomers "Hail, Caesar!" and "Pride And Prejudice And Zombies," with the latter coming in sharply below estimates. WEEKEND LEADER: "Kung Fu Panda 3," produced by DreamWorks (DWA) and distributed by Fox (FOX, FOXA), grossed $21M domestically for the weekend of February 7. The film dipped roughly 49% from its $41M debut, missing expectations for $23M-$24.7M. BOX OFFICE RUNNERS-UP: Universal's (CMCSA, CMCSK) "Hail, Caesar!" debuted at $11.4M versus expectations for $10M-$11M. Directed by the Coen brothers, the comedy film features an ensemble cast of Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Ralph Fiennes, Jonah Hill, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton and Channing Tatum. Meanwhile, Fox's "The Revenant" took in another $7.1M for a U.S. total of $149.7M, while Disney's (DIS) "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" added $6.9M to its domestic tally. Rounding out the top five was Lionsgate's (LGF) "The Choice" with $6.1M against a reported budget of $10M. "Pride And Prejudice And Zombies," Sony's (SNE) undead take on the Jane Austen classic, shambled to just $5.2M despite predictions of a possible $10M-$11M open.
February 5, 2016
13:46 EDTFOXBox Office Battle: 'Kung Fu Panda 3' expected to remain on top
DreamWorks Animation's (DWA) "Kung Fu Panda 3," starring Jack Black, is expected to retain the top spot at the box office in its second weekend of release, with an estimated domestic gross of $23M-$24.7M. Second place is likely to be a toss-up between Comcast (CMCSA, CMCSK) subsidiary Universal's "Hail, Caesar!," directed by the Coen brothers and starring George Clooney, and Lionsgate's (LGF) Jane Austen parody "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies," which are both predicted to open in the $10M-$11M range. Expected to round out the top five are Fox's (FOX, FOXA) survival story and Oscar contender "The Revenant," which is expected to earn an additional $8M-$9M, and Disney's (DIS) "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," which is expected to gross another $7M in its eighth weekend at theaters -- pushing it past the $900M mark domestically and the $2B mark globally. Other publicly traded companies involved in filmmaking include Sony (SNE), Time Warner (TWX), and Viacom (VIA, VIAB).
February 3, 2016
06:16 EDTFOXHulu eyes Sundance film acquisitions, Bloomberg reports
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February 2, 2016
15:46 EDTFOXEarnings Watch: Media networks report amid shifts in streaming, TV landscape
Comcast (CMCSA), CBS (CBS), Time Warner (TWX), Viacom (VIA), and 21st Century Fox (FOX) are among media companies expected to report quarterly results over the next several weeks. EXPECTATIONS: Comcast is expected to report EPS of 82c on revenue of $18.77B, CBS is expected to report EPS of 93c, Time Warner is expected to report EPS of $1.00 on revenue of $7.53B, Viacom is expected to report EPS of $1.18 on revenue of $3.26B, and Fox is expected to report EPS of 44c on revenue of $7.54B. LAST QUARTER: Comcast, Fox, and viacom reported mixed results for the previous quarter, while CBS and Time Warner beat on both top and bottom lines. NEWS: On November 10, Comcast announced it expanded its advanced fiber network to Modesto, California as part of the company's ongoing response to Google (GOOG) Fiber. On November 12, the Wall Street Journal broke news that Hulu, a video streaming joint venture of Disney (DIS), Comcast and Fox, is in talks to sell a stake to Time Warner, though the Journal said on January 31 that the company has expressed dissatisfaction with Hulu's inclusion of current-season TV episodes, which it believes contributes to cord-cutting. On December 2, the Wall Street Journal reported that YouTube was holding talks with Hollywood studios and production companies to seek content licenses amid intensified competition with Netflix (NFLX), Amazon (AMZN), and Hulu. On December 9, Re/code reported that Apple (AAPL), rumored to be working on a subscription TV service, walked away from its negotiations with the major networks after being pressed to include "filler" channels in its hypothetical service. Speaking at a January 7 media conference, Time Warner CFO Howard Averill said the company was negotiating to make full seasons of TV shows available to pay-TV customers on demand, mirroring the "binge watching" offered by Netflix. On January 8, the New York Post reported that Corvex Management was considering an activist position in Time Warner. That same day, Benzinga reported that Twenty-First Century Fox remained interested in the company and had made a $105 per share acquisition offer, though Fox later denied the report. On January 14, the New York Post reported that Comcast has begun "ripping up" agreements with cable networks, moving them from basic cable onto digital tiers in response to consumer demand for smaller bundles. On January 27, Reuters reported that SpringOwl Asset Management is urging Viacom to seek outside investment from strategic partners. On January 30, the New York Post reported that Nelson Peltz is considering an activist position in Time Warner. On February 1, the National Football League announced a broadcasting agreement with CBS and Comcast's NBC which will see the two companies paying roughly $225M each for rights to the next two seasons of Thursday Night Football. Also on February 1, it was reported that Fox offered certain employees voluntary buyouts as part of a $250M cost cutting target. STREET RESEARCH: On November 5, Wells Fargo analyst Marci Ryvicker downgraded Time Warner to Market Perform after its "huge" guidance cut last quarter, with the shares also seeing downgrades at CLSA and Bank of America Merrill Lynch. On December 22, Morgan Stanley analyst Benjamin Swinburne called Comcast one of his top large cap picks for 2016, saying the company can use skinny bundles to take market share and potentially add net video customers for the first time since 2006. On January 8, research firm Stifel cut its price target on CBS to $54 from $66, citing a belief that industry syndication and SVOD revenues will significantly decelerate going forward, with CBS having more exposure to those areas than its peers. Meanwhile, JPMorgan added the company to its U.S. focus list on January 11, citing its heavily discounted stock and potentially strong EPS growth in 2016. On February 1, Pacific Crest argued that Comcast shares should be owned going into fourth quarter results, contending that the company's video and broadband investments will likely translate to increased market share and strong cash flows this year. PRICE ACTION: Comcast and Fox, the first of the media giants to report quarterly earnings, are down 2% and 3.6%, respectively, amid the broader market selloff.
06:55 EDTFOXFox eyes cutting $250M in expenses mainly through buyouts, WSJ says
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February 1, 2016
12:58 EDTFOXDreamWorks falls after Piper says 'Kung Fu Panda 3' missed expectations
Shares of DreamWorks Animation (DWA) dropped in midday trading after an analyst from Piper Jaffray said that the studio's new film "Kung Fu Panda 3" slightly underperformed his expectations, despite having topped the U.S. box office in its opening weekend. WHAT'S NEW: DreamWorks' newest picture "Kung Fu Panda 3," starring Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman and Angelina Jolie, topped the U.S. box office this past weekend after its release Friday, grossing $41M domestically. The film was produced by DreamWorks and distributed by 21st Century Fox (FOX), which also distributed the weekend runner-up "The Revenant," which grossed $12.4M in the U.S. WHAT'S NOTABLE: The first two films in the "Kung Fu Panda" franchise took in $60.2M and $47.6M, respectively, in their opening weekends and grossed a total of nearly $1.3B worldwide. 'SLIGHT' UNDERPERFORMANCE: Commenting on the movie's performance over the weekend, Piper Jaffray analyst James Marsh said in a note to clients that the movie's $41M debut figure was "solid" but still slightly missed the firm's expectations of $45M-$50M. Marsh noted that the movie grossed an "impressive" $58M in China, which set a new opening record for an animated movie in that region. The analyst added that "Kung Fu Panda 3" should still have a solid run over the next few weeks due to good reviews, minimal competition, President's weekend domestically and a Chinese New Year holiday abroad. Marsh maintained an Overweight rating and $31 price target on DreamWorks Animation. RECENT DOWNGRADE: Last week, Topeka analyst David Miller downgraded DreamWorks Animation to Sell from Hold with a $19 price target ahead of the "Kung Fu Panda 3" release, citing valuation. Miller said that shares had already reflected expectations for the movie and recommended that investors trim their positions. PRICE ACTION: In afternoon trading, DreamWorks Animation fell 6.7% to $23.92.
January 31, 2016
20:11 EDTFOXTime Warner, Hulu talks heat up over issue of current seasons, WSJ says
Time Warner's (TWX) negotiations to potentially buy into Hulu, a joint venture of Comcast (CMCSA, CMCSK), Fox (FOX, FOXA) and Disney (DIS), have been heating up lately over the issue of Hulu subscribers being able to view current-season TV shows, reports the Wall Street Journal, citing sources. Though the feature is a differentiator for Hulu when compared to Netflix (NFLX) and Amazon (AMZN), Time Warner believes the presence of full, current seasons contributes to cord cutting, the report says. Reference Link
18:07 EDTFOX'Kung Fu Panda 3' swings to first, 'Finest Hours' lands in choppy waters
"Kung Fu Panda 3" topped the box office in its U.S. debut while nautical disaster drama "The Finest Hours" floundered. WEEKEND LEADER: "Kung Fu Panda 3," produced by DreamWorks (DWA) and distributed by Fox (FOX, FOXA), grossed $41M against expectations for $35M-$50M in its domestic debut during the weekend of January 31. The computer-animated action comedy, featuring the voices of Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman and Angelina Jolie, set a new box office record for January animated film openings but fell somewhat short of the $60.2M and $47.7M debuts seen by previous films in the franchise. BOX OFFICE RUNNERS-UP: "The Revenant," also from Fox, grossed $12.4M. Disney's (DIS) "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" took in an additional $10.8M and stands at $1.98B globally, while the company's "The Finest Hours" earned $10.3M in its domestic start despite an estimated $70M-$80M budget. Rounding out the top five was Universal's (CMCSA, CMCSK) "Ride Along 2" with $8.3M.
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