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September 30, 2015
13:14 EDTFBFacebook unveils mobile-friendly features for Facebook profiles
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12:10 EDTWDCOn The Fly: Top stock stories at midday
Stocks on Wall Street were higher at midday as the unquestionably hard quarter looks like it will end on an up note. Relief, as well as end of the quarter window dressing, may be the main drivers of this morning's rebound as investors are certainly ready to turn the page on the third quarter with the monthly non-farm payrolls report and the start of earnings season on the horizon. ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., payroll processor ADP reported that 200,000 jobs were added this month, topping expectations for 190,000 job additions. The Chicago PMI business barometer index fell to 48.7 in September, missing expectations for a reading of 53.6. Additionally, the Senate passed a continuing resolution, officially funding the government through December 11. COMPANY NEWS: Shares of two clothing companies moved in opposite directions after an executive for one left to take over for an icon at the other. Last night, Gap (GPS) announced that Stefan Larsson will step down as global president of Old Navy effective October 2. Larsson is leaving Gap to become the new Chief Executive Officer of Ralph Lauren (RL), replacing the man who founded the company that bears his name. At least three research firms downgraded Gap shares to sell or equivalent ratings and the stock fell 7% in the wake of the executive shake-up, while Ralph Lauren shares were upgraded to Buy at UBS and the stock advanced 12% near noon. MAJOR MOVERS: Among the notable gainers were Rentrak (RENT) and comScore (SCOR), which gained 20% and 9%, respectively, after the companies agreed to a stock-for-stock merger. Also higher were shares of Western Digital (WDC), which rallied 14.5% after Unisplendour, a unit of China's Tsinghua Holdings, struck a deal to buy a 15% stake in the U.S. data storage company. Among the noteworthy losers was Barracuda Networks (CUDA), whose shares plunged 35% after the IT security and storage solutions company reported lower than expected revenue and provided weaker than expected guidance. Also lower were shares of Mellanox (MLNX), which were down 9% after the company agreed to acquire EZchip (EZCH) in a transaction implying a value of approximately $811M, or roughly $620M net of cash. Potentially overshadowing the deal was the fact that the company failed to reiterate its guidance despite being asked repeatedly by analysts on today's acquisition conference call, Summit Research analyst Srini Nandury told investors in a research note. EZchip, which will be bought for a cash purchase price of $25.50 per share, rose 14% following the deal announcement. INDEXES: Near midday, the Dow was up 128.64, or 0.8%, to 16,177.77, the Nasdaq was up 56.46, or 1.25%, to 4,573.78, and the S&P 500 was up 18.68, or 0.99%, to 1,902.77.
11:09 EDTMSFTMicrosoft to open flagship stores in Manhattan, Syndey
Microsoft announced that it plans to open a flagship store in Manhattan on Fifth Avenue and 53rd Avenue on October 26 and one at Westfield Sydney on Pitt Street Mall on November 12. On the company's blog, it said the flagship stores have been in the making for six years. Reference Link
11:07 EDTFBFacebook calls active on speculation of potential entry to China
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10:49 EDTWDC, STX, HPQWestern Digital surges on $3.78B investment from China's Unisplendour
Shares of Western Digital (WDC) surged in morning trading after the company said it Unisplendour will take a 15% stake in the U.S. data storage company. WHAT'S NEW: Western Digital and Unisplendour, a unit of China's Tsinghua Holdings, said they entered into a pact under which a Unis subsidiary will invest $3.78B in Western Digital, the companies said. Under the terms of the agreement, Unis will buy the shares at $92.50 each. Unisplendour will own 15% of Western Digital's outstanding shares after the purchase, and have the right to nominate one representative to Western Digital's board of directors, a right that terminates if Unis' ownership falls below 10%. Unis also agreed not to sell any of its Western Digital shares for five years. WHAT'S NOTABLE: In July, the Wall Street Journal reported that Tsinghua Unigroup, which is majority-owned Tsinghua Holdings, offered to buy Micron Technology (MU) for $23B. After several talks and meetings over the matter, Reuters reported on August 28 that Zhao Weiguo, chairman of Tsinghua Unigroup, met with Micron in an attempt to revive takeover talks, but a deal did not come to fruition. Tsinghua Holdings chairman Jinghong Xu said that his company was open to a partnership with Micron if an acquisition deal could not be reached, dealReporter said. Separately, in May, Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) announced that it would sell a 51% stake in its H3C business to Unisplendour for roughly $2.3B. PRICE ACTION: In morning trading, Western Digital shares are up 16.06% to $79.91. OTHERS TO WATCH: Micron, which reports quarterly earnings on Thursday, is up 5.25% to $15.10, HP is up 2.56% to $25.28, SanDisk (SNDK) is up 9.2% to $53.63, Intel (INTC) is up 3.56% to $30.28, and Seagate (STX) is up 5.5% to $44.10.
10:30 EDTGOOGGoPro spike attributed to Google stake speculation
The move higher in shares of GoPro (GPRO) is being attributed to speculation that Google (GOOG, GOOGL) may take a stake in the name. Shares of GoPro are up 5%, or $1.46, to $31.32 in morning trading.
10:23 EDTFBPhoto sparks speculation of potential Facebook entry to China
After Chinese president Xi Jinping allowed a picture of him meeting Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to be posted on the country's social networking sites, Chinese-language newspaper Want Daily said the photo has driven speculation that the social networking giant may soon be allowed to operate in the Asian country, according to Want Daily's English-language sister site, Want China Times. Teng Jianqun, a researcher with the China Institute of International Studies, believes the Chinese government has no more reason to restrict Facebook's access to China, but declined to estimate when an entry may be allowed, the report added. In early trading, Facebook shares are up 3.5% to $89.68.
10:12 EDTFBChina president seen as more open to Facebook, Want China Times reports
China's president Xi Jinping permitted a picture of him meeting Facebook (FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg to be posted on the country's social networking sites, Want China Times reports, citing its Chinese-language sister paper Want Daily. The picture suggests Xi is willing to accept Facebook or allow the social networking site to operate in China, said Teng Jianqun, a researcher with the China Institute of International Studies, the only paper notes. Reference Link
10:08 EDTFBFacebook may be allowed in China, Want China Times reports
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09:59 EDTFBActive equity options trading on open
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09:35 EDTFBActive equity options trading on open
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09:25 EDTHPQJefferies more positive on EMC, more negative on IBM
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09:13 EDTWDCOn The Fly: Pre-market Movers
HIGHER: Mediwound (MDWD), up 25.5% after being awarded a BARDA contract valued up to $112M... Novavax (NVAX), up 8.4% after RSV F vaccine meets safety endpoints in its Phase 1 clinical trial... Western Digital (WDC), up 11.7% after receiving a $3.78B equity investment by Unisplendour Corporation... Esperion Therapeutics (ESPR), up 9.9% after being upgraded to Neutral from Sell at Chardan and after JPMorgan said they still see longer-term upside in the shares... Pericom Semiconductor (PSEM), up 6.5% after Montage Technology proposes to acquire the company for $18.50 per share... Fiat Chrysler (FCAU), up 5.2% after CNBC reported that the company could launch Ferrari's IPO as soon as Friday. NOTABLE: Ralph Lauren (RL), up 6.4% after appointing Gap's (GPS) global president of Old Navy, Stefan Larsson as CEO... Gap is down 7.4%. DOWN AFTER EARNINGS: Barracuda Networks (CUDA), down 28.5%... Costco (COST), down a half a percent.
08:57 EDTWDCWestern Digital receives $3.78B equity intestment by Unisplendour Corporation
Western Digital and Unisplendour Corporation have entered into an agreement under which a subsidiary of Unis will make a $3.78B equity investment in Western Digital. Under the terms of the investment, Unis has agreed to purchase newly issued Western Digital common stock at a price of $92.50 per share. Immediately following the closing of the investment, Unis will hold approximately 15% of Western Digital's issued and outstanding shares of common stock. Unis will have the right to nominate one representative to the Western Digital board of directors and will be subject to a five-year position standstill and voting restrictions. In addition, Unis has agreed to a five-year lock-up on its shares, with a limited number of shares becoming available for transfer each year. Proceeds from the investment will go toward strengthening Western Digital's balance sheet.
08:45 EDTMSFTNVIDIA price target raised to $30 from $28 at JMP Securities
JMP Securities increased its price target on NVIDA (NVDA) after Microsoft's (MSFT) cloud platform began offering NVIDIA's Grid 2.0 GPU virtualization solutions, JMP says that Microsoft's move "paves the way for broader Cloud adoption and further entrenchment of Nvidia Quadro solutions." The firm reiterates an Outperform rating on the stock.
08:05 EDTGOOGOrange Business Services announces collaboration with Google Cloud Platform
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07:47 EDTWDCWestern Digital volatility flat into receives $3.7B equity investment
Western Digital October weekly call option implied volatility is at 39, October is at 41, November is at 43; compared to its 52-week range off 21 to 46, suggesting non-directional price movement after receives $3.7B equity investment by Unisplendour Corporation.
06:31 EDTGOOGGoogle open to self-driving cars with manual option, WSJ reports
Google co-founder Sergey Brin said that the company is open to self-driving cars that can also be driven manually, the Wall Street Journal reports. The car may be able to switch between the two modes, the report says. Reference Link
06:15 EDTGOOGGoogle secretive about self-driving car business plan, Re/code says
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06:14 EDTMSFTRackspace expected to partner with Amazon, WSJ reports
Rackspace Hosting (RAX) is expected to partner with Amazon (AMZN) to make it easier for corporate customers to move computing operations to Amazon Web Services from their own facilities, The Wall Street Journal reports. According to two sources, the partnership, which is similar to an agreement Rackspace signed with Microsoft (MSFT) in July, will be announced at a conference for AWS users next week. Reference Link
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