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Stock Market & Financial Investment News

News Breaks
June 9, 2014
12:42 EDTDG, PPC, GILD, ERIC, FDO, TSN, ACHN, NSR, PF, HSH, MRK, IDIXOn The Fly: Midday Wrap
Stocks on Wall Street were higher at midday, pushing the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average toward new milestone levels. The market began the session just slightly below the flat-line, but within minutes had moved into positive territory where it has remained all morning. The averages have moved in a very narrow range, but the slow drift higher has the Dow within striking distance of 17,000 and the S&P edging closer to 2,000. ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., no significant economic data was reported. In Asia, data released over the weekend showed that China's trade surplus widened in May to $35.92B, as the nation's exports accelerated more than forecast and imports fell more than expected. COMPANY NEWS: Shares of several companies that have developed hepatitis C, or HCV, treatments were active after one such company, Idenix (IDIX), agreed to be acquired by pharmaceutical giant Merck (MRK) for $24.50 per share in cash. The purchase price is more than triple the company's closing price on Friday and Idenix shares rose more than 230% to trade near $24.09 after the announcement. Shares of Achillion Pharmaceuticals (ACHN), which has developed its own HCV drugs, were up 40% as investors speculate it could be the next takeover target in the space, while shares of Gilead (GILD) fell about 4% after an analyst wrote that Merck bought Idenix partly to strengthen its hand in patent litigation against Gilead... Food processor and distributor Hillshire Brands (HSH) advanced another 5% after Tyson Foods (TSN) increased its offer to acquire the company to $63 per share, prompting rival Pilgrim's Pride (PPC) to withdraw its own takeover proposal. However, Tyson's new offer is still subject to Hillshire being released from its existing agreement to acquire Pinnacle Foods (PF) and Hillshire said it does not have the right to break its merger pact with Pinnacle on the basis of the Tyson offer or enter into an agreement with Tyson prior to the termination. MAJOR MOVERS: Among the notable gainers was Family Dollar (FDO), which climbed 14% after well-known activist investor Carl Icahn disclosed that he had obtained a significant stake in the company. Also higher were shares of peer Dollar General (DG), which gained nearly 10% after Icahn reportedly told Fox Business that he may push for a merger between the two dollar store operators. Among the noteworthy losers was Neustar (NSR), which dropped 7.5% after acknowledging a copy of a confidential email was posted in the FCC docket and made available to the public. Deutsche Bank noted that shares of NeuStar traded down just before the close on Friday after the posting, which suggested the North American Numbering Council has recommended selecting iConectiv, the Telcordia unit of Ericsson (ERIC), as the vendor for the Number Portability Administration Center in place of incumbent Neustar. INDEXES: Near midday, the Dow was up 31.57, or 0.19%, to 16,955.85, the Nasdaq was up 22.30, or 0.52%, to 4,343.70, and the S&P 500 was up 3.92, or 0.2%, to 1,953.36.
News For IDIX;MRK;ACHN;GILD;HSH;TSN;PPC;PF;FDO;DG;NSR;ERIC From The Last 14 Days
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June 25, 2015
08:01 EDTDGDollar General names John Garratt as interim CFO, effective July 1
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June 24, 2015
10:38 EDTERICEricsson announces deal with SaskTek to provide M2M connectivity
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09:07 EDTMRKCAR-T cancer drug researchers seen as M&A targets, Bloomberg says
Juno Therapeutics (JUNO), Kite Pharma (KITE) and Bluebird Bio (BLUE) are trading well above their IPO levels as takeovers predictions have spurred interest and share increases for the developers of CAR-T gene therapies, said Bloomberg's "Real M&A" column, quoting Dimo Dimov, a professor at the University of Bath’s School of Management, as having said that companies such as Pfizer (PFE), Merck (MRK), Roche (RHHBY) and AstraZeneca (AZN) are "closely watching" the firms. Cellectis (CLLS), which is working with Pfizer on its own approach to CAR-T therapy, has said it wants to bring its therapy to market and doesn’t anticipate a sale, the report noted. Reference Link
05:31 EDTERICEricsson provides update on cost and efficiency program
The global cost and efficiency program, announced at Ericsson's Capital Markets Day on November 13, 2014, is progressing according to plan. The ambition is to achieve savings of approximately SEK 9B., with full effect during 2017. As part of the global program, on March 11, 2015, Ericsson announced that 2,200 positions in Sweden, mainly in R&D and Supply, were subject to notice. As the next step of this activity, individuals on different locations in Sweden have been given notice during June. In total, there will be a reduction of approximately 2,100 positions, with some 1,700 employees leaving the company.For Q2, restructuring costs of approximately SEK 2.5B are expected. These estimated costs include normal ongoing restructuring as well as charges related to the cost and efficiency program, this quarter primarily driven by changes in Sweden. Savings related to this specific activity will start to impact results towards the end of 2015.
June 23, 2015
14:10 EDTGILDGilead price target raised to $150 from $130 at Argus
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07:36 EDTACHNJMP Securities to hold a conference
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June 22, 2015
09:40 EDTGILDActive equity options trading on open
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June 21, 2015
13:14 EDTMRKMerck shares could return 25%, Barron's says
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June 19, 2015
16:17 EDTPFOn 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.
16:00 EDTGILDOptions Update; June 19, 2015
iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures up 11c to 18.21, Option volume leaders: AAPL TWTR BAC T FB GILD NFLX BABA AAL MU AMZN
06:40 EDTGILDPatent linked to Gilead's Solvadi rejected by China, Reuters reports
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June 18, 2015
07:36 EDTGILDReceptos remains an attractive takeover candidate, says Leerink
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June 17, 2015
17:00 EDTMRKOncoSec CEO expects 'to be in a better position to attract a strategic partner'
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10:00 EDTMRKOn The Fly: Analyst Initiation Summary
Today's noteworthy initiations include: AbbVie (ABBV) initiated with an Overweight at Piper Jaffray... Arista Networks (ANET) initiated with a Buy at Sterne Agee CRT... Astec (ASTE) initiated with a Buy at Maxim... Bristol-Myers (BMY) initiated with an Underweight at Piper Jaffray... Community Healthcare (CHCT) initiated with an Outperform at Oppenheimer... Eli Lilly (LLY) initiated with an Overweight at Piper Jaffray... Fitbit (FIT) initiated with a Buy ahead of IPO at Dougherty... Hortonworks (HDP) initiated with a Buy at Mizuho... II-VI (IIVI) initiated with a Buy at Benchmark Co.... J Sainsbury (JSAIY) initiated with an Underperform at Credit Suisse... McDermott (MDR) initiated with an Outperform at Cowen... Merck (MRK) initiated with a Neutral at Piper Jaffray... Molina Healthcare (MOH) initiated with a Buy at UBS... Pacific DataVision (PDVW) initiated with a Buy at Canaccord... Pfizer (PFE) initiated with an Overweight at Piper Jaffray... Quest Resource (QRHC) initiated with a Buy at Roth Capital... Regional Management (RM) initiated with a Buy at Janney Capital... Rofin-Sinar (RSTI) initiated with a Buy at Benchmark Co.... Salesforce (CRM) initiated with a Neutral at Exane BNP Paribas... Sprouts Farmers Markets (SFM) initiated with a Neutral at Cleveland Research... Tesco (TSCDY) initiated with an Underperform at Credit Suisse... WM Morrison (MRWSY) initiated with a Neutral at Credit Suisse... WWE (WWE) initiated with a Buy at BTIG... World Acceptance (WRLD) initiated with a Buy at Janney Capital... Zafgen (ZFGN) initiated with a Buy at SunTrust.
08:03 EDTMRKMerck Keytruda granted FDA orphan designation as gastric cancer treatment
The FDA granted Merck, Sharp & Dohme, a subsidiary of Merck, orphan status for Keytruda as a treatment of gastric cancer, including gastroesophageal junction adenocarcinoma. Reference Link
05:37 EDTERICEricsson selected by Smile Communications for 4G/LTE managed services
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05:31 EDTMRKMerck initiated with a Neutral at Piper Jaffray
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June 16, 2015
16:54 EDTFDODollar Tree, Family Dollar sign proposed FTC agreement, sees merger closing July
In a regulatory filing, Dollar Tree (DLTR) announced that in connection with its proposed acquisition of Family Dollar Stores (FDO), the two parties signed an agreement containing consent orders proposed by the staff of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. The agreement includes a draft decision and order, which remains subject to acceptance and final approval by the FTC commissioners and would permit Dollar Tree to acquire Family Dollar subject to an obligation to complete the divestiture of 330 Family Dollar stores within a specified period following the closing of the acquisition. As previously announced, Dollar Tree has entered into an agreement to divest these 330 Family Dollar stores to Sycamore Partners. Dollar Tree intends to close its acquisition of Family Dollar shortly after the FTC accepts the decision and continues to expect the closing to occur in early July 2015.
14:23 EDTGILDReceptos price target raised to $348 at Wedbush on M&A potential
Wedbush analysts Liana Moussatos and Kelechi Chikere said they'd interpreted Receptos (RCPT) comments with its earnings report in May about its ability to commercialize ozanimod on its own as a message to potential buyers that their bids were too low. Following a recent report from Proactive Investors, which claimed that Receptos had turned down bids of $200 per share from AstraZeneca (AZN) and $280 per share from Teva (TEVA) and Gilead (GILD), the analysts said they have reconsidered their valuation assumptions, as they believe these bid values could be accurate. Wedbush raised its fair value estimate on Receptos to $348 from $211, citing a belief in increased industry interest in ozanimod and the rest of Receptos’ pipeline, and maintains an Outperform rating on the stock.
10:07 EDTMRKAlkermes spike attributed to takeover speculation
The spike higher in shares of Alkermes (ALKS) is being attributed by traders to speculation of a takeover. Shares jumped 6% to $61.89 in morning trading. The Ireland based drugmaker focuses on treatments of central nervous system disorders, such as addiction, schizophrenia and depression. The speculative chatter has Merck (MRK) as a potential acquirer of Alkermes. The company’s June 60 and 65 calls are actively trading, according to The Fly's options specialist.
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