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Stock Market & Financial Investment News

News Breaks
May 3, 2012
14:01 EDTMSFT, STXMicrosoft adds Seagate CEO Stephen Luczo to its board
Microsoft (MSFT) announced that Stephen J. Luczo, chairman, president and CEO of Seagate Technology (STX), has been appointed to the company's board of directors, bringing the board's size to 11 members.
News For MSFT;STX From The Last 14 Days
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January 28, 2016
06:32 EDTMSFTMicrosoft volatility elevated into Q2 and outlook
Microsoft January weekly call option implied volatility is at 97, February is at 38; compared to its 52-week range of 15 to 39, suggesting large near term price movement into the expected release of Q2 results today after the market close.
January 27, 2016
15:10 EDTSTXEarnings Watch: Western Digital deal update focus of SanDisk report
SanDisk (SNDK) is expected to report fourth quarter earnings after the close on Wednesday, January 27. SanDisk will not hold a conference call to discuss its financial results in light of the pending acquisition by Western Digital (WDC). SanDisk manufactures data storage solutions, including removable and embedded Flash memory and solid-state drives. EXPECTATIONS: Analysts are looking for earnings per share of 89c on revenue of $1.44B. The consensus range is 83c-$1.00 for EPS on revenue of $1.4B-$1.47B, according to First Call. Along with its last earnings report, SanDisk guided to Q4 revenue of $1.4B-$1.475B and a non-GAAP gross margin 40%-43%. LAST QUARTER: On October 21, SanDisk reported third quarter earnings per share of $1.09 and revenue of $1.45B, compared to expectations of 80c and $1.4B, respectively. NEWS: Along with releasing its earnings report, SanDisk announced a definitive agreement under which Western Digital will acquire all of the outstanding shares of SanDisk for a combination of cash and stock that values SanDisk common stock at $86.50 per share, or a total equity value of approximately $19B. If the investment in Western Digital by Unisplendour Corporation closes prior to this acquisition, Western Digital will pay $85.10 per share in cash and 0.0176 shares of Western Digital common stock per share of SanDisk common stock; and if the Unisplendour transaction has not closed or has been terminated, $67.50 in cash and 0.2387 shares of Western Digital common stock per share of SanDisk common stock. The companies said at the time that the transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2016. STREET RESEARCH: On December 28, Brean Capital analyst Ananda Baruah said the combined Western Digital-SanDisk company, post an expected merger close in September of this year, can generate FY17 earnings per share of $13-$15. He kept a $150 standalone Western Digital target price and believes that the combined company's shares should trade in a range of $154-$256 post close. On January 6, Pacific Crest analyst Monika Garg called Western Digital her best idea for 2016, stating that the company's pending acquisition of SanDisk "would create a formidable company" and bring significant earnings and cash flow generation. On January 25, CLSA analyst Mark Heller downgraded SanDisk to Underperform due to weakening NAND fundamentals and higher deal risk. The analyst does not believe Western Digital can walk away from the deal due to weakening fundamentals, but is more cautious on Unisplenour's investment in Western Digital. Heller lowered his price target to $70 from $86 on SanDisk shares. The same day, Jefferies analyst James Kisner lowered his estimates for Western Digital and Seagate (STX), citing the weak results and guidance from Nidec and a more conservative approach following the recent selloff in the shares. Western Digital's current valuation fully prices in an "extreme bear case" for the combined Western Digital and SanDisk, Kisner told investors in his research note. The analyst cut his price target for Western Digital to $82 from $95 but kept a Buy rating on the stock. Noting that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States would not grant regulatory clearance for Philips (PHG) to sell an 80.1% interest in Lumileds to China's GO Scale Capital, Summit Research analyst Srini Sundararajan said on January 26 that he thinks that the Unisplendour investment in Western Digital is more than likely to be stalled, if not blocked, given the current political climate. However, he also believes Western Digital planned for this contingency and that its deal with SanDisk should still go through. This morning, Citi analyst Stanley Kovler initiated coverage of Western Digital with a Buy rating, as the firm is relatively bullish on the company's acquisition of SanDisk. Conversely, Citi started coverage of Seagate (STX) with a Sell rating, saying that actions it has taken to cope with the decline of the sector "may only help so much." Kovler set an $82 price target on SanDisk, a $53 price target on Western Digital and a $23 price target on Seagate. PRICE ACTION: In afternoon trading, SanDisk rose 0.75% to $64.57 per share. Since October 21, shares of SanDisk have declined about 14%. Since that same day, Western Digital shares are down over 41%.
13:47 EDTMSFTVMware tanks after providing lower guidance amid Cloud transition
Shares of virtualization software maker VMware (VMW) are falling after providing guidance, confirming layoffs and announcing executive changes. WHAT'S NEW: After the close of trading on Tuesday, the software company that is 80% owned by EMC (EMC) and provides software for corporate data centers, announced fourth quarter financial results while confirming earlier reports of layoffs and announcing a new chief financial officer. VMware, along with parent company EMC, is in the midst of a proposed acquisition by Dell. The company's Q4 earnings per share and revenue came in at $1.26 and $1.87B, respectively, slightly better than analysts were expecting; however, the company's view for fiscal year 2016 EPS and revenue of $4.07-$4.16 and $6.8B-$6.9B, respectively, were well below the $4.20 and $7.21B analysts are expecting. VMware also guided first quarter EPS to 83c-85c, also below analysts' 92c consensus. Along with its results, the company confirmed earlier reports that it intended to reduce its workforce by 800 and plans to take a charge of between $55M-$65M related to this action over the course of the first half of 2016. The company also announced that its CFO Jonathan Chadwick is leaving and will be replaced by EMC CFO Zane Rowe. WHAT'S NOTABLE: On its quarterly conference call discussing its earnings, VMware company referred to its growth in "emerging" products and businesses including NSX and User Computing and Virtual SAN, all of which grew strongly over the quarter. The company said it hopes its newer products are picking up the slack due to the declining growth in its mature "compute products." Pat Gelsinger, VMware's chief executive officer, "We recognize that our blockbuster compute products are reaching maturity and will represent a decreasing portion of our business going forward." The company is upgrading its Cloud strategy to better compete with leaders like Amazon (AMZN) and Microsoft (MSFT), which provide Cloud services via the internet and make the corporate data center that VMware focuses on less necessary. ANALYSTS' VIEWS: Summit Research analyst Srini Nandury downgraded VMware to Hold and lowered his price target for the shares to $40 from $80 following the company's quarterly results. The company's business will get worse before it gets better, Nandury told investors in a research note. Another downgrade came from research firm Baird's analyst Jayson Noland, who cut his rating on VMware to Neutral and lowered his price target to $60 from $80. Noland said the core vSphere business is facing incremental public cloud headwinds and substantial uncertainty related to the Class V common stock being issued to finance the EMC acquisition. Providing a more constructive view was UBS who said the current valuation levels of VMware offer a significant opportunity for patient investors. The firm noted the company will temper spending and focus on leveraging public clouds, which should provide a tailwind to both capital and operating expenditures. UBS reiterated its Buy rating and $72 price target on VMware. PRICE ACTION: Shares of VMware are down approximately 40% since the Dell-EMC deal was announced last October and are down over 9% to $44.84 in afternoon trading. OTHERS TO WATCH. Other companies in the cloud computing space include Amazon, Microsoft and Citrix Systems (CTXS).
12:02 EDTMSFTBox, Microsoft expand alliance to deliver better cloud experiences
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11:13 EDTSTXCiti mixed on hard disk drive makers, says sell Seagate, buy Western Digital
Citi initiated coverage of hard disk drive, or HDD, maker Western Digital (WDC) with a Buy rating, as the firm is relatively bullish on the company's acquisition of flash memory developer SanDisk (SNDK). Conversely, Citi started coverage of the other major hard disk drive maker, Seagate (STX), with a Sell rating, saying that actions it has taken to cope with the decline of the sector "may only help so much." Stating that the sector has begun a decline that should last for quite some time, the firm believes that Western Digital's actions to cope with this situation are more effective than those taken by its competitor. WHAT'S NEW: Western Digital's pending acquisition of SanDisk makes the company more stable, and will raise its margins and profits, according to Citi analyst Stanley Kovler. The deal will increase Western Digital's earnings per share by a greater amount than if the company had continued its shares buybacks, the analyst added. Conversely, Seagate is trying to lower its costs and improve its products and execution, Kovler noted. The company also entered the solid state drive market, he stated. Given Seagate's limited exposure to markets other than HDD and the "malaise" in that market, the company may seek to make a "potentially transformative" acquisition, the analyst stated. But in light of its "limited financial flexibility," such a deal could limit its ability to return cash to shareholders, Kovler warned. Moreover, any acquisition made by the company may not be large enough to "fully transform" Seagate, according to Kovler, who set a $53 price target on Western Digital and a $23 price target on Seagate. PRICE ACTION: In late morning trading, Western Digital fell 1% to $44.83 and Seagate lost 1.6% to $27.29.
10:07 EDTMSFTMicrosoft announces launch of News Pro app
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07:59 EDTMSFTMicrosoft volatility elevated into Q2 and outlook
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06:41 EDTSTXSeagate initiated with a Sell at Citi
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January 26, 2016
18:35 EDTMSFTMicrosoft executive: Surface glitch during NFL game caused by stadium error
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16:00 EDTMSFTOptions Update; January 26, 2016
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11:13 EDTMSFTActive options; AAPL BAC FB NFLX C MSFT TWTR VALE FCX COH XOM AMZN
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10:34 EDTMSFTBattleground: BofA says sell NetSuite, DA Davidson still bullish
Over the last two days, analysts have issued mixed views on NetSuite (N), with Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Stephens downgrading the shares, while research firm DA Davidson argued in its own note to investors that the company should report better than expected fourth quarter results on January 28. NetSuite develops cloud based financial and enterprise resource planning, or ERP, tools for businesses. BEARISH TAKE: Bank of America Merrill Lynch analyst Kash Rangan downgraded NetSuite to Underperform, the firm's equivalent of a sell rating, from Neutral today. The company has increased its sales force by about 40%, but its billings are accelerating by only about 30%, the analyst stated. Moreover, NetSuite's operating margins are expected to come in at only about 4% in 2016, making it difficult for investors to value the stock on a price to earnings or enterprise value to free cash flow basis, Rangan believes. The stock may face obstacles if its billings growth doesn't accelerate significantly or if its operating margin doesn't increase to 10%-12%, Rangan wrote. Meanwhile, the company is facing tough competition from Microsoft (MSFT) in the mid-market and from other players at the lower end, according to the analyst, who cut his price target on the name to $80 from $95. Also writing that NetSuite is facing increased competition, Stephens analyst Alex Zukin yesterday downgraded the stock to Equal Weigh from Overweight. These competitive pressures along with changes to the company's organizational structure, the loss of a number of its "marquee" customers, and its premium valuation, led to the downgrade, Zukin stated. He slashed his price target on the stock to $75 from $100. BULLISH TAKE: NetSuite's Q4 results should beat expectations, with revenue coming in at $207.6M, above the company's guidance range of $202M-$205M and the consensus outlook of $204.4M, predicted DA Davidson analyst Jack Andrews. The company will report EPS of 5c, versus the consensus outlook of 4c, estimated Andrews. NetSuite can continue to increase its market share at the expense of mid-tier ERP vendors, believes the analyst, who reiterated a $130 price target and Buy rating on the shares. WHAT'S NOTABLE: In the same note to investors this morning, Merrill Lynch's Rangan also downgraded Paylocity (PCTY) and Marketo (MKTO) to Underperform from Neutral and it cut his rating on Red Hat (RHT) to Neutral from Buy. Paylocity provides payroll and human capital management software to medium businesses, while Marketo provides cloud-based marketing tools and Red Hat provides open source software solutions. PRICE ACTION: In early trading, NetSuite fell 3.6% to $65.45.
09:32 EDTMSFTActive equity options trading on open
Active equity options trading on open: FB PEP NFLX PM GM RMBS MSFT GLW AAPL
08:26 EDTMSFTTwitter in play after executive departures, says Cantor
Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Youssef Squali believes yesterday's news of several senior executives leaving Twitter (TWTR) puts the company in play and could encourage potential bidders to step forward. Twitter's current valuation and sizeable user base makes it a strategic asset for a number of potential buyers, Squali told investors last night in a research note. Potential suitors on the technology side include Alphabet (GOOG, GOOGL), Facebook (FB) and Microsoft (MSFT), the analyst contends. On the media side, Squali thinks 21st Century Fox (FOXA), Disney (DIS), Comcast (CMCSA) or Time Warner (TWX) could express interest in Twitter. No concentration of share ownership and no super-voting structure increase the odds of a buyout, Squali argues. The analyst, however, adds that the executive departures are not good news for a company in the midst of a turnaround. He maintains a Buy rating on the microblogging operator with a $45 price target. Twitter closed yesterday down 82c, or 5%, to $17.02..
January 25, 2016
17:25 EDTMSFTQualcomm Ventures chief heading to Microsoft, Fortune says
Qualcomm (QCOM) Ventures chief Nagraj Kashyap will join the venture capital division of Microsoft (MSFT), reports Fortune, citing a statement from Kashyap. Reference Link
16:00 EDTMSFTOptions Update; January 25, 2016
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09:32 EDTMSFTApple Active equity options trading on open
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08:22 EDTMSFTMajesco and Microsoft announce favorable court judgment
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07:10 EDTSTXWestern Digital pricing in 'extreme bear case,' says Jefferies
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05:21 EDTSTXStocks with implied volatility movement; STX SDRL
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