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May 27, 2014
09:28 EDTSPLS, ARO, PFE, PPC, JKS, SDRL, AZN, HSH, FRO, BCRX, PFOn The Fly: Pre-market Movers
HIGHER: Pilgrim's Pride (PPC), up 5% after proposing to acquire Hillshire Brands (HSH) for $45.00 per share cash. Hillshire up 21% following the news, while Pinnacle Foods (PF), which has agreed to be acquired by Hillshire, is down 6.4%... BioCryst (BCRX), up 19% after announcing "positive" results from OPuS-1, a trial of BCX4161... Seadrill (SDRL), up 2.6% after signing investment and cooperation pact with Rosneft and North Atlantic... Aeropostale (ARO), up 11% after $150M financing transaction with Sycamore. LOWER: AstraZeneca (AZN), down 1.7% after downgraded at Societe Generale following Pfizer (PFE) confirming it won't bid for AstraZeneca after rejection of proposal. Pfizer shares are up 1% after the news... Staples (SPLS), down 1% after downgraded at Goldman... Frontline (FRO), down 7.4% after saying it sees weaker Q2 operational results... JinkoSolar (JKS), down 7.8% after reporting lower than expected Q1 earnings results.
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September 23, 2015
08:25 EDTSPLSVeidekke subsidiary to build commercial warehouse for Staples
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07:04 EDTSPLSJefferies still thinks Staples, Office Depot merger gets approved
Jefferies analyst Daniel Binder still expects the merger between Staples (SPLS) and Office Depot (ODP) to win regulatory approval after the New York Post reported yesterday that Deborah Feinstein, the Federal Trade Commission Bureau of Competition head, is seeking to block the deal. Admitting he's in the minority, Binder says his work indicates that economic data for the deal "may not be damning," customer complaint activity is low and key industry player WB Mason is not in talks to be part of a solution for an FTC remedy requirement. The proposed merger could still get approved without a remedy requirement, the analyst told investors last night in a research note. He views the risk/reward on shares of Staples as favorable. The stock closed yesterday down 79c to $12.75. If approved, enthusiasm around deal synergies could push the stock to $20, Binder writes. If regulators deny the merger, the shares of Staples could trade between $11 and $12, the analyst adds.
05:32 EDTPFEViiV Healthcare announces Triumeq Phase IIIb study met primary endpoint
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05:20 EDTSPLSStocks with implied volatility movement; X SPLS
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September 22, 2015
20:02 EDTPFEClinton vows $250 cap on monthly drug costs in blast against biotechs, insurers
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton railed against biotech companies as well as health insurers at a community health care forum in Iowa on Tuesday. Clinton began her speech by praising the Affordable Care Act, but quickly noted that she wants to strengthen it due to what she called the rising cost of prescription drugs. She explained, "Our pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries deserve credit... [But] too often, these drugs cost a fortune. Now, sometimes there is a good reason for that. Scientific breakthroughs are often the result of major investment... so it may makes sense, for a short period of time, to have to charge a lot of money for a drug. But when a drug has no competition, when there aren't any other treatments that can do what it does, pharmaceutical companies can charge astronomical fees far beyond anything that it would take to recoup their investment, and far beyond what they charge consumers anywhere else in the world outside of America." Referencing the recent criticism against Turing Pharmaceuticals, Clinton went on to say that "pharmaceutical companies that acquire an existing affordable drug that people rely on, and then turn around and charge a fortune for it, [are just betting] on the fact that desperate people will find some way to pay for it." Preemptively responding to questions of whether greater regulation will dampen investment, Clinton commented that "some people worry that my proposals will threaten innovation, but I have designed a plan that will do exactly the opposite... Under my plan, drug companies that want to keep getting federal support will have to redirect more of their profits into meaningful investments in research and development." Clinton also criticized incremental drug improvements, saying that "too often, so-called new drugs are really old drugs that have just been tweaked a little bit, but then they're marketed as breakthrough drugs and they're sold for high prices." The Democratic candidate went on to condemn advertising in the drug industry, remarking that "I also want to tackle direct to consumer advertising... Other countries ban these ads because they are so often misleading. But at the very least, we shouldn't be encouraging them with corporate write-offs... Under my plan, we will instead use that taxpayer money to fund innovation... I would also like to make sure any ads the drug industry does run are approved by the FDA." Moving more broadly onto Medicaid and health insurers, Clinton stated, "I believe Medicare should be able to negotiate for lower prices for its members... I will require drug companies to provide higher rebates for prescription drugs to low income Medicare patients, just like they have to do for Medicaid patients... I think the insurance companies need to be put on notice." Providing more concrete details of her plan, Clinton concluded, "I will cap out of pocket drug costs for working families. You won't have to pay more than $250 a month for covered medications... Particularly for people who have a chronic illness. Also under my plan, you will be able to import cheaper drugs from other countries legally. If the medicine you need costs less in Canada, you should be able to buy it from Canada or any other country that meets our safety standards... I will also make sure we have more generics on the market [by boosting funding for] the FDA's office of generic drugs."
17:35 EDTPFEHillary Clinton vows to cap out-of-pocket drug costs at $250 per month
Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said in a tweet that, "Under my plan, I'll cap out-of-pocket drug costs for families. You won't have to pay more than $250/month for covered medications." Reference Link
16:36 EDTSPLSOn The Fly: Top stock stories for Tuesday
Stocks on Wall Street began the session sharply lower and remained that way throughout the session. There was little in the way of buying as each of the major equity indexes slid over 1% and the market internals were decidedly negative. The auto industry and biotech sector were both notably weak, after the French government called for an investigation into the entire auto industry in the wake of the Volkswagen (VLKAY) emissions scandal and Democratic Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton presented a plan to limit the cost of drugs for consumers. ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., the FHFA home price index rose 0.6% to 224.5 in July, which was better than the 0.4% rise that was expected. The Richmond Fed factory index fell to -5 in September, versus the reading of 2 that was expected. In Asia, the Asian Development Bank cut its growth forecast for the region, citing a weaker outlook for China and India and a delayed recovery in the world's advanced economies. The bank now sees the Chinese economy growing 6.8% this year and 6.7% next year, down from its previous forecasts of 7.2% and 7%, respectively. COMPANY NEWS: Lloyd Blankfein, Goldman Sachs (GS) Chairman and CEO, disclosed that he was diagnosed with lymphoma. "Fortunately, my form of lymphoma is highly curable and my doctors' and my own expectation is that I will be cured," Blankfein stated in an open letter that was shared by the bank... Bank of America (BAC) shareholders approved a proposal to ratify the 2014 amendments to the company's bylaws that permitted the board of directors to determine its leadership structure, meaning Brian Moynihan can retain his dual role as both Chairman and CEO... Shares of several fertilizer companies slid after Mosaic (MOS) announced it will reduce its potash production in response to current crop nutrient market conditions, primarily related to delayed fertilizer purchases in Brazil and North America. Shares of Mosaic finished the day down 7% at $33.87 following last night's announcement, while Potash (POT) fell 6.5% and Agrium (AGU) dropped 3.5%. MAJOR MOVERS: Among the notable gainers was Ashland (ASH), which advanced $2.78, or 2.6%, to $108.50 after announcing it will proceed with a plan to separate into two independent, publicly traded companies. Also higher was Weatherford (WFT), which gained 90c, or 10.7%, to $9.31 after cancelling plans for a public share offering, after which research firms Jefferies and Iberia both reiterated Buy-equivalent ratings on the stock. Among the noteworthy losers were Office Depot (ODP) and Staples (SPLS), which declined a respective 4% and 5.8% after the New York Post quoted a source as saying the FTC may move to block their merger plan. Also lower was Groupon (GRPN), which slipped 2.2% to $4.08 after announcing plans to cut 1,100 jobs related primarily to its international operations. ConAgra (CAG), Carnival (CCL), and CarMax (KMX) fell 7%, 5.5%, and 4.65%, respectively, following their quarterly earnings reports. INDEXES: The Dow fell 179.72, or 1.09%, to 16,330.47, the Nasdaq lost 72.23, or 1.5%, to 4,756.72, and the S&P 500 dropped 24.23, or 1.23%, to 1,942.74.
12:22 EDTPFConAgra falls after Q1 revenue significantly misses estimates
Shares of packaged food company ConAgra (CAG) are falling after the company's first quarter revenue fell significantly short of analysts' consensus estimates. WHAT'S NEW: This morning, ConAgra reported Q1 adjusted earnings per share of 45c, ahead of the consensus of 40c, and revenue of $2.79B, well short of expectations of $3.67B. ConAgra reported Q1 Consumer Foods sales of approximately $1.7B and Commercial Foods segment sales of $1.1B. The divestiture process for the private label operations is proceeding as planned, and the company expects to have an announcement on the outcome of this process later this fall. The company will assess opportunities to increase the dividend after it is further along with the strategic plan outlined at the end of fiscal 2015. WHAT'S NOTABLE: Looking ahead to Q2, the company expects diluted EPS, adjusted for items impacting comparability, to be approximately in line with year-ago comparable amounts, compared to consensus of 63c. Despite strong fundamentals and expectations for continued margin expansion, comparable operating profits for the Consumer Foods segment in the fiscal second quarter are expected to be negatively impacted by foreign exchange, as well as a planned increase in marketing investment. Profits for the Commercial Foods segment are expected to post an increase in profitability year-over-year in the fiscal second quarter. Expected contribution from the private label operations, which are now in discontinued operations, is included in this guidance. On its Q1 conference call, ConAgra said its private brands divestiture was "on track" and there was "a lot of interest" in it. Management noted that they were "aggressively" pursuing maximizing actions and making "good progress" on margin improvement efforts. They said they were committed to an investment grade rating, marketing investments will increase throughout the year, and results from the last six months indicate positivity going forward. They said the company took a $1.95B charge on private label business in Q1, but remain confident that they will realize a tax benefit from the capital loss. PRICE ACTION: In early afternoon trading, ConAgra fell $2.39, or about 5.64%, to $40.01 on heavy trading volume. Despite the pull back, the shares have gained approximately 19% over the past 12 months. OTHERS TO WATCH: Other companies in the packaged foods space include Boulder Brands (BDBD), down 0.5%, Pinnacle Foods (PF), down 2.5%, General Mills (GIS), up 0.6%, JM Smucker (SJM), down 3%, and TreeHouse Foods (THS), down 0.4%.
12:14 EDTSPLSOn The Fly: Top stock stories at midday
Stocks began the session deep in negative territory and have remained there throughout the morning. There has been little in the way of buying as the downward pressure in the market has not shown any sign of letting up. There is also little in the way of explanation as to why the market is so weak other than continued disappointment in the Fed's interest rate decision and the ongoing concern over China's economic growth. ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., the FHFA home price index rose 0.6% to 224.5 in July, which was better than the 0.4% rise that was expected. The Richmond Fed factory index fell to -5 in September, versus the reading of 2 that was expected. COMPANY NEWS: Shares of Groupon (GRPN) slumped 2.5% after the online and mobile deal provider said it plans to cut more than 1,000 jobs relating primarily to the company's international operations. The news is the latest in a recent run of job cut announcements, after HP Enterprise said last week that it expects 25,000-30,000 people to leave the company and Johnson Controls (JCI) recently announced plans to reduce its global salaried workforce by as many as 3,000 people... Lloyd Blankfein, Goldman Sachs (GS) chairman and CEO, disclosed that he was told by doctors that he has lymphoma. "Fortunately, my form of lymphoma is highly curable and my doctors' and my own expectation is that I will be cured," Blankfein stated in an open letter that was shared by the bank. MAJOR MOVERS: Among the notable gainers was Weatherford (WFT), which rose 9.6% after stating that it has decided not to pursue its previously announced concurrent public offerings of ordinary shares of the company and mandatorily exchangeable subordinated notes. Also higher was Vascular Biogenics (VBLT), which gained 15% to around $9.30 per share after the stock was initiated with a Buy rating and $25 price target at Chardan. Among the noteworthy losers following their earnings reports were ConAgra (CAG) and Carnival (CCL), which each fell more than 5%, and Red Hat (RHT), which slid 2%. Also lower were shares of Staples (SPLS) and Office Depot (ODP), which fell 7% and 8%, respectively, after the New York Post said a top FTC regulator may be leaning toward recommending against approving their merger agreement. INDEXES: Near midday, the Dow was down 263.77, or 1.6%, to 16,246.42, the Nasdaq was down 99.52, or 2.06%, to 4,729.44, and the S&P 500 was down 32.51, or 1.65%, to 1,934.46.
10:04 EDTSPLSStaples falls, levels to watch
An earlier story from the NY Post said that the FTC may block the Staples, Office Depot merger. Shares are down 4.5% to $12.93. At that price next support would be at $12.51, the August 24th low. Resistance is at $13.27, the session high.
08:23 EDTPFEAnalysts say buy select biotech stocks ahead of Clinton drug plan
Ahead of Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton laying out her plan to tackle "price gouging" in the specialty drug market at an event in Iowa later today, analysts at research firms Jefferies and Piper Jaffray are recommending select biotech stocks that they view as buys amid the weakness in the space. DEBATE: Biotech stocks broadly declined yesterday, with the NASDAQ Biotechnology index (IBB) sliding roughly 4.4%, after privately-held Turing Pharmaceuticals made headlines by enacting a 5,000% price increase on a 62-year-old drug that fights complication of AIDS and cancer. Furor around the sudden price hike for Turing's Daraprim reignited a debate around drug prices that previously embroiled costly Hepatitis C drugs including AbbVie's (ABBV) Viekira Pak and Gilead's (GILD) Sovaldi and Harvoni. The news also follows Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders issuing a letter in August to Valeant (VRX) and Pfizer's (PFE) Hospira, in which he requested information on the "enormous" price increases of two drugs Valeant acquired earlier in the year. Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton sent the debate to center stage yesterday by criticizing the "outrageous" prices of specialty drugs and promising to lay out a plan today to tackle "price gouging" in the specialty drug market. Clinton's proposal, which she'll outline in a speech in Iowa later today, would force pharmaceutical companies to reinvest their profits into research, allow for more generic and imported drugs and allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug costs and cap out-of-pocket expenses, according to details of the plan shared with USA Today. Zeke Emanuel, chair of medical ethics and health policy at the University of Pennsylvania, appeared on Nightly Business Report to discuss the problem of high drug prices and his suggested solutions. During his interview, Emanuel contended that giving Medicare the ability to negotiate drug prices may drive up prices for everyone else. DEFENSES: The Jefferies Biotechnology research team, led by Brian Abrahams, Eun Yang and Biren Amin, say their Washington D.C. consultants indicate the recent political rhetoric around drug pricing is unlikely to result in any substantive future policy changes that would impact biotech sector fundamentals. As such, they recommend using yesterday's selloff to buy select companies including Celgene (CELG), BioMarin (BMRN) and Alkermes (ALKS). Pricing concerns are nothing new, and will likely continue to be a headwind for the sector, the analysts tell investors in a research note. Hillary Clinton's proposal to combat drug pricing is likely to include "some combination of old and tried policies that have been out there for a few years," they write. The analysts also like shares of AMAG Pharmaceuticals (AMAG), Alder Biopharmaceuticals (ALDR) and Cempra (CEMP). Meanwhile, Piper Jaffray analyst Edward Tenthoff recommends buying shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX) following yesterday's selloff. Tenthoff believes that drugs like Vertex's Orkambi will maintain premium pricing because of the disease modifying value to patients and payors. Orkambi is approved to treat cystic fibrosis in patients 12 years and older. The analyst reiterates an Overweight rating on Vertex with a $163 price target. DOWNGRADE: Brean Capital analyst Difei Yang downgraded Horizon Pharma (HZNP) to Hold saying "unsettling recent developments" make the stock's premium valuation no longer justified. The public discussion on high drug prices is a negative for the company while its attempt to acquire Depomed (DEPO) is unlikely to result in a completed deal, Yang tells investors in a research note. Further, Horizon's prescription trends are showing weakness, said Yang, who views the stock as more risky than in the past. PRICE ACTION: Horizon closed yesterday down $2.93, or 9.2%, at $28.99, while Vertex dropped $5.97, or 4.8%, to $118.19. A number of the biggest stocks in biotechnology were also weak yesterday, with Gilead sliding about 2.5%, Amgen (AMGN) dropping 2.3%, Celgene declining 2.8% and Biogen (BIIB) falling more than 5.5%.
08:02 EDTAZNAstraZeneca to present 33 abstracts from respiratory disease portfolio at ERS
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07:43 EDTAZN, PFEDrug stocks could be hurt by focus on pricing, says Oppenheimer
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07:17 EDTAZNAstraZeneca eyes crowd sourcing for better cancer drug cocktails, Reuters says
AstraZeneca's decision release preclinical data from over 50 of its medicines is "unprecedented" in scale and will speed up the hunt for tumor-fighting drug combinations, Reuters says. The company is aiming for a crowd sourcing initiative to help mix the future's cancer drug cocktails, the report says. Reference Link
06:19 EDTAZN, PFEClinton to roll out plan to rein in prescription drug costs, USA Today reports
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06:19 EDTSPLSFTC may end Staples, Office Depot merger, NY Post reports
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September 21, 2015
14:28 EDTPFE, AZNTuring CEO says will not change Daraprim price despite criticism
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11:24 EDTPFE, AZNHillary Clinton vows to take on 'outrageous' specialty drug pricing
Hillary Clinton, on the heels of a Wall Street Journal report detailing Turing Pharmaceuticals' price hike to $750 from $13.50 per pill of a drug called Daraprim which treats a life-threatening parasitic infection, vowed to lay out a plan tomorrow to take on what she calls "price gouging" of specialty drugs. The presidential nominee stated in a tweet, "Price gouging like this in the specialty drug market is outrageous. Tomorrow I'll lay out a plan to take it on." The iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology Index (IBB) moved lower following Clinton's tweet.
08:03 EDTPFEPfizer says two Phase 3 tofacitinib 10mg trials met primary endpoints
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05:09 EDTSPLSStocks with implied volatility movement; BMY SPLS
Stocks with implied volatility movement; Bristol-Myers (BMY) 39. Staples (SPLS) 50 according to iVolatility.
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