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Stock Market & Financial Investment News

News Breaks
July 16, 2014
06:56 EDTHSYHershey downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse
Credit Suisse downgraded Hershey to Neutral citing weak Q2 outlook and guidance. Price target lowered to $101 from $108.
News For HSY From The Last 14 Days
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June 19, 2015
16:24 EDTHSYStocks end week higher after Fed reassures on gradual pace of rate increases
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16:17 EDTHSYOn The Fly: Top stock stories for Friday
Stocks on Wall Street began the session in negative territory and remained there throughout the entire day. The economic calendar was quiet and the news flow was slow, leaving the averages to move in a narrow range until the final hour, when “quadruple witching” action kicked in and moved them a leg lower. The simultaneous expiration of futures and options can cause increased volatility, which occurred as the day’s volume was light. ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., Baker Hughes reported that the U.S. Rig Count declined 2 rigs from last week to 857. In Europe, the ECB agreed to raise the limit on Emergency Liquidity Assistance to Greek banks for the second time in a week, though there were contradictory reports about the size of the increase. Next, the eurozone's heads of government will meet for an emergency summit to discuss Greece on Monday. In Asia, China's Shanghai Composite index dropped 6.4%, bringing the benchmark's weekly loss to 13.3% and sending the index into correction territory. The Bank of Japan kept interest rates unchanged and maintained its asset purchases program, as expected. The BOJ also said it will reduce the number of policy meetings it holds each year to 8 from the current 14 meetings, putting it on par with other major central banks. COMPANY NEWS: Shares of ConAgra (CAG) advanced $4.31, or 11.02%, to $43.43 after activist investor Jana Partners reported that it has acquired a 7.2% stake in the packaged foods company. Jana suggested that the company should undertake a strategic review of its strategy and corporate structure to determine if its businesses are optimally positioned to succeed, as well as various potential alternative transactions and structures... Another food producer, Hershey (HSY), fell $3.38, or 3.66%, to $88.89 after lowering its outlook for this fiscal year. The chocolate maker said its North America confectionery business is on track to deliver on its 2015 financial objectives, but cited growth in China that was below expectations for its lowered outlook. Hershey also announced the implementation of a new productivity initiative that will result in the company cutting about 300 jobs by the end of this year. MAJOR MOVERS: Among the notable gainers following the activist involvement in ConAgra were a number of its peers, including Pinnacle Foods (PF), which rose 8.58% to $46.80, and Treehouse Foods (THS), which gained 4.86% to $75.55. Also higher was KB Home (KBH), which gained $1.41, or 9.43%, to $16.37 after the homebuilder reported better than expected results for its fiscal second quarter. Among the noteworthy losers was Healthways (HWAY), which sunk $3.13, or 20.15%, to $12.40 after the health management solutions provider lowered its revenue outlook for fiscal year 2015. Also lower were shares of Finisar (FNSR), which fell $2.27, or 10.25%, to $19.88 and were downgraded at Raymond James following the company's fourth quarter earnings report last night. INDEXES: The Dow dropped 101.56, or 0.56%, to 18,014.28, the Nasdaq fell 15.95, or 0.31%, to 5,117.00, and the S&P 500 lost 11.49, or 0.54%, to 2,109.75.
12:29 EDTHSYOn The Fly: Top stock stories at midday
Stocks began the session in quiet fashion and trading has remained that way throughout the morning, despite a lack of a resolution in Greece and a steep slide in China's stock market. The averages spent the morning in negative territory, but the losses have been mild and the indexes have drifted in a narrow range. Of note, today is “quadruple witching,” which can create extra volatility toward the close. ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., no major data was reported. The latest count of U.S. oil and gas rigs by Baker Hughes is scheduled for 1:00 pm EDT. In Europe, the ECB held a call on the provision of Emergency Liquidity Assistance to Greek banks and agreed to raise the limit on the emergency funding for the second time in a week, though there were contradictory reports about the size of the increase. Next, the eurozone's heads of government will meet for an emergency summit to discuss Greece on Monday. In Asia, China's Shanghai Composite index closed the session down 6.4%, bringing the benchmark's weekly loss to 13.3% and sending the index into correction territory. The Bank of Japan kept interest rates unchanged and maintained its asset purchases program, as expected. The central bank also said it will reduce the number of its Monetary Policy Meetings to 8 per year from the current 14 meetings, putting it on par with other major central banks. COMPANY NEWS: Shares of ConAgra (CAG) advanced over 8.5% after activist investor Jana Partners reported that it has acquired a 7.2% stake in the packaged foods company. Jana suggested that the company should undertake a strategic review of its strategy and corporate structure to determine if its businesses are optimally positioned to succeed, as well as various potential alternative transactions and structures. Credit Suisse raised its price target on ConAgra to $42 from $34 following the announcement of Jana Partners' involvement, but the firm said ConAgra's enormous debt load from the Ralcorp acquisition limits upside potential from an all-out break up and doubts the board would consider this option. Deutsche Bank similarly said that the firm's sense is that the company's board is reluctant to break up the company's parts. Nonetheless, Deutsche laid out its "optimistic" sum-of-the-parts analysis, which yields a $47 potential value for the stock. The firm, however, raised its price target for ConAgra shares to only $38 from $36 and kept a Hold rating on the name. MAJOR MOVERS: Among the notable gainers was AirMedia Group (AMCN), which gained 42% after announcing receipt of non-binding "going private" proposal for a group led by its CEO to acquire all of the outstanding shares of AirMedia for $6.00 in cash per American depositary share. Also higher was KB Home (KBH), which gained nearly 10% after the homebuilder reported better than expected results for its fiscal second quarter. Among the noteworthy losers was Healthways (HWAY), which sunk 22% after the health management solutions provider lowered its revenue outlook for fiscal year 2015. Also lower following a guidance cut was Hershey (HSY), which fell 4%. The chocolate maker cited growth in China that was below expectations for its lowered outlook and also announced the implementation of a new productivity initiative that will result in the reduction of approximately 300 jobs by the end of 2015. INDEXES: Near midday, the Dow was down 54.34, or 0.3%, to 18,061.50, the Nasdaq was down 15.23, or 0.3%, to 5,117.72, and the S&P 500 was down 6.64, or 0.31%, to 2,114.60.
07:07 EDTHSYHershey drops 3% after cutting FY15 outlook, announcing productivity plans
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07:05 EDTHSYHershey cuts FY15 outlook, says China growth below expectations
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07:04 EDTHSYHershey lowers FY15 adjusted EPS view to $4.10-$4.18, consensus $4.31
Had seen FY15 adjusted EPS $4.30-$4.38. The company now sees FY15 net sales will increase around 2.5%-3.5%, including a net benefit from acquisitions and divestitures of about 1.5 percentage points and unfavorable foreign currency exchange of approximately 1.5 percentage points. Excluding unfavorable foreign currency exchange rates, full-year net sales are expected to increase about 4.0%-5.0%. This is less than the previous estimate of 6.0%-7.0%, primarily due to lower than expected confectionery category growth within the China modern and traditional trades that has impacted the company’s chocolate and SGM businesses. Consensus $7.77B.
07:02 EDTHSYHershey to cut approximately 300 jobs by end of 2015
07:02 EDTHSYHershey updates leadership team, announces productivity initiatives
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June 16, 2015
09:22 EDTHSYFDA gives food makers three years to remove partially hydrogenated oils
The FDA announced it has finalized its determination that partially hydrogenated oils, or PHOs, the primary dietary source of artificial trans fat in processed foods, are not “generally recognized as safe” or GRAS for use in human food. Food manufacturers will have three years to remove PHOs from products. In 2013, the FDA made a tentative determination that PHOs could no longer be considered GRAS and is finalizing that determination after considering public comments. The FDA has set a compliance period of three years. This will allow companies to either reformulate products without PHOs and/or petition the FDA to permit specific uses of PHOs. Following the compliance period, no PHOs can be added to human food unless they are otherwise approved by the FDA. Publicly traded food manufacturers include Mondelez (MDLZ), Kraft Foods (KRFT), General Mills (GIS), Hershey (HSY), PepsiCo (PEP), Kellogg (K), ConAgra (CAG) and Campbell Soup (CPB).

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