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Stock Market & Financial Investment News

News Breaks
January 2, 2013
16:24 EDTSKUL, CAR, MRK, DOLE, ZIP, UNH, X, JNJ, HPQOn The Fly: Closing Wrap
Stocks on Wall Street were significantly higher after U.S. lawmakers agreed on a deal to prevent falling off the fiscal cliff late last night. Several issues, including the debt ceiling, were pushed off by the agreement, but the stop-gap measure provided investors with enough temporary stability to send the market sharply higher at the open. The averages did not move far from their early levels and closed at the highs of the session... ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., Markit's final reading for December's purchasing managers' index came in at 54.0, which was up from 52.8 a month ago and beat expectations for a downward revision to 53.6. The ISM's December manufacturing PMI had a reading of 50.7, versus the expected 50.5, while the prices paid index came in at 55.5, versus the expected 50.8. A separate report showed construction spending fell 0.3% in November, versus an expected increase of 0.6%... COMPANY NEWS: Every member of the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained on the session, though UnitedHealth (UNH) rose only 30c, or 0.55%, to $54.54 and fellow healthcare companies Merck (MRK) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) were the average's other laggards. Shares of Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) lead the index, gaining 77c, or 5.4%, to $15.02... MAJOR MOVERS: Among the notable gainers was Zipcar (ZIP), which rose $3.94, or 47.82%, to $12.18 following its agreement to be acquired for $12.25 per share in cash by Avis Budget (CAR). Avis shares also gained 95c, or 4.79%, to $20.77. Also higher were shares of U.S. Steel (X), up $2.04, or 8.55%, to $25.89 after an upgrade to Outperform and a price target raise to $30 from $20 per share at Credit Suisse. Among noteworthy losers were shares of Dole Food (DOLE), which fell $1.54, or 13.43%, to $9.93 after the company said its fresh fruit business continues to experience declining earnings. Also lower was Skullcandy (SKUL), down 99c, or 12.71%, to $6.80 after Jefferies downgraded the stock two notches, to Underperform from Buy... INDICES: The Dow was up 308.41, or 2.35%, to 13,412.55; the Nasdaq was up 92.75, or 3.07%, to 3,112.26; and the S&P 500 was up 36.23, or 2.54%, to 1,462.42.
News For HPQ;UNH;MRK;JNJ;ZIP;CAR;X;DOLE;SKUL From The Last 14 Days
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February 3, 2016
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.
February 2, 2016
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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08:53 EDTJNJPiper Jaffray biopharma analyst holds an analyst/industry conference call
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08:47 EDTJNJAduro Biotech shares undervalued, says Roth Capital
After Aduro (ADRO) received a $22.4M payment from Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Roth Capital says that Aduro's valuation does not adequately reflect its opportunities. The firm thinks the company has several "broad business development opportunities." It keeps a $68 price target and Buy rating on the shares.
07:42 EDTJNJPressure mounts on big pharma names to shrink, sharpen focus, FT says
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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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06:32 EDTJNJGSK, J&J back Index Ventures' $1B biotech business spinoff, Reuters says
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) will back a new spinoff from Index Ventures, which is spinning off its biotech portfolio into a new $1B entity, Reuters reports. The New Medicxi Ventures business will be helmed by the existing life sciences team from Index and will include all the current biotech portfolio firms, the report says. Medicxi raises $229M for a new fund in Europe with GSK and J&J each putting in 25%, Reuters reports. Reference Link
February 1, 2016
10:02 EDTXOn 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.
08:13 EDTJNJAduro Biotech receives $20M milestone payment from Janssen Biotech
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07:07 EDTXU.S. Steel downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Macquarie
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January 31, 2016
11:39 EDTJNJ, XS&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.
January 29, 2016
17:12 EDTMRKOn The Fly: Top stock stories for Friday
Stocks began the session in positive territory and remained there throughout the day. The early strength was attributed to the surprise cut in interest rates by the Bank of Japan that put the country in a negative interest rate scenario. The market gained strength throughout the day and put in gains of almost 2.5% in what was a broad based advance for the major averages. January closed out with two winning weeks, but the month was still a very bad one for stocks, as the S&P lost over 5% even after today's strong showing. ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., 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 Chicago PMI business barometer bounced to 55.6 in January, topping forecasts for a 45.3 reading. 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 surprise 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: Shares of Amazon (AMZN) declined 7.6% to $587 after the company's fourth quarter results came in below expectations. Meanwhile, Microsoft (MSFT), which reported better than expected earnings after last night's closing bell, gained 5.8% to $55.09... Confirming a news report that broke late in the day yesterday, 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... 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. MAJOR MOVERS: Among the notable gainers was Axiall (AXLL), which jumped 83% to $17.94 after it came to light that the company received, and rejected, an unsolicited proposal from Westlake Chemical (WLK) offering to acquire the company for $20 per share in cash and stock. Also higher were Visa (V) and Mastercard (MA), which gained 7% and 6.4%, respectively, after reporting quarterly earnings. Among the notable losers was Gilead (GILD), which fell 5.5% to $82.70 after rival Merck (MRK) received FDA approval for its own hepatitis C drug. Also potentially weighing on Gilead shares was the fact that competitor AbbVie (ABBV) announced financial results for the fourth quarter, including sales of Viekira Pak, its own hep C treatment, that fell short of estimates. AbbVie fell 2.3% to $54.58 following its quarterly report. INDEXES: The Dow rose 396.66, or 2.47%, to 16,466.30, the Nasdaq gained 107.28, or 2.38%, to 4,613.95, and the S&P 500 added 46.88, or 2.48%, to 1,940.24.
14:24 EDTUNHEarnings Watch: Aetna down 9% since last report
Aetna (AET) is scheduled to report fourth quarter earnings before the market open on Monday, February 1, with a conference call scheduled for 8:30 am ET. Aetna, a diversified health care benefits company in the United States, operates in three segments: Health Care, Group Insurance, and Large Case Pensions. EXPECTATIONS: Analysts are looking for earnings per share of $1.21 on revenue of $14.93B, according to First Call. The consensus range for EPS is $1.16-$1.32 on revenue of $14.44B-$15.36B. LAST QUARTER: Aetna reported third quarter EPS of $1.90 on revenue of $14.97B against analyst estimates of $1.77 and $14.95B, respectively. The company raised its fiscal 2015 EPS view to $7.45-$7.55 from "at least $7.40." Operating earnings were $668.6M for Q315 compared with $638.6M for Q314. The increase in operating earnings was primarily due to higher underwriting margins in Aetna's Health Care segment, partially offset by an increase in general and administrative expenses and lower underwriting margins in Aetna's Group Insurance segment. On January 11, Aetna said it see FY15 EPS at the high end of the $7.45-$7.55 range. Consensus for FY15 EPS is $7.54. STREET RESEARCH: On January 15, Wells Fargo said it expects health insurers' stock to do well this year, as the firm expects M&A deals made the last years to increase profits this year, and it thinks investors should be attracted to what it sees as the defensive names in the sector. Wells does not believe that any changes to or replacements of the ACA will be worse for the sector than the status quo. It identified Aetna and HCA Holdings (HCA) as its favorite names in the sector. On January 25, Leerink analyst Ana Gupte said she believed the recent selloff has provided a "strong" buying opportunity in the Managed Care space. Valuations are attractive on multiple metrics, Gupte told investors in a research note. Her top picks are UnitedHealth (UNH), Aetna, Humana (HUM) and Molina Healthcare (MOH). The analyst also favors Anthem (ANTM) and Cigna (CI). PRICE ACTION: Shares of Aetna are down approximately 9% since its last earnings report. The stock is up 2.6% to $101.42 in Friday afternoon trading ahead of Monday morning's report.
09:44 EDTMRKGilead slips as another drug enters Hepatitis C virus space
Shares of Gilead (GILD), a leader in the hepatitis C virus treatment space, are sliding this morning after one competitor's hep C drug was granted FDA approval and another's sales disappointed. Additionally, Gilead reported its own news, announcing a shakeup of the roles held by its top executives. MERCK APPROVAL: Merck (MRK) announced last night that the FDA has approved Zepatier for the treatment of adult patients with chronic hepatitis C virus, or HCV, genotype, or GT, 1 or GT4 infection. Merck has established a list price of $54,600 for a 12-week regimen of Zepatier, which the company said it believes to "be in the range of net prices for other commonly used HCV direct-acting antiviral regimens at 12 weeks of therapy." In contrast, a 12-week regimen of Gilead's Sovaldi is reported to be priced at $84,000. Merck added that it anticipates that this price, as well as its "strategy to seek broad coverage across commercial and public segments," will help broaden and accelerate patient access to treatment. ABBVIE RESULTS: Meanwhile, Gilead competitor AbbVie (ABBV) announced financial results for the fourth quarter this morning. AbbVie announced Q4 sales of Viekira Pak, its own hep C treatment, of $554M, including U.S. sales of $197M and international sales of $357M. Analysts expected AbbVie to report Q4 Viekira sales of $568.5M, according to a Bloomberg consensus estimate that factored in four forecasts. EXECUTIVE CHANGES: Additionally, Gilead announced this morning that current chairman and CEO John Martin will assume the role of executive chairman, effective March 10. John Milligan, currently president and COO, will be promoted to CEO and appointed to the company's board. PRICE ACTION: In morning trading, Gilead shares slipped 3.5% to $84.50, while AbbVie fell 2.4% to $54.53 and Merck (MRK) gained 1% to $49.75.
05:33 EDTMRKStocks with implied volatility movement; VRX MRK
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