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Stock Market & Financial Investment News

News Breaks
February 19, 2013
16:38 EDTYNDX, FNB, HUM, OMX, DGIT, PVFC, SPLS, RRGB, BBY, ODPOn The Fly: Closing Wrap
Stocks on Wall Street were higher despite a home builders confidence reading that fell a bit short of expectations. Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles proposed a new plan for deficit reduction via tax codes changes and spending cuts with the "sequester" deadline now less than two weeks away. In spite of the political tension and looming threat, the Dow and S&P remain at multi-year highs and near their all-time highs... ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., the NAHB Housing Market Index reading of 46.0 fell short of the forecast for a reading of 48.0. In Europe, the ZEW institute's index of German investor optimism rose to 48.2 points from 31.5 in January, beating analysts' expectations... COMPANY NEWS: OfficeMax (OMX) and Office Depot (ODP) both surged after the The Wall Street Journal said the companies are in advanced talks to merge. OfficeMax gained $2.25, or 20.93%, to $13.00, while shares of Office Depot gained 43c, or 9.37%, to $5.02. Their rival Staples (SPLS) also gained $1.70, or 13.13%, to $14.65 after several research firms predicted that the company would benefit significantly if such a merger goes through and as "going private" chatter about the office retailer continues to circulate... Humana (HUM) plunged $4.98, or 6.39%, to $73.01, bearing the brunt of a decline in managed healthcare stocks after the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced preliminary 2014 Medicare Advantage benchmark payment rates. Humana said it believes the preliminary base rates in the notice would result in a mid-single-digit decline in its benchmark payment rates, while the company added that it previously expressed confidence in membership and earnings growth while assuming the Medicare Advantage payment rate would be flat to slightly down... Best Buy (BBY) shares gained 46c, or 2.73%, to $17.33 following upgrades from Stifel Nicolaus and Barclays and a Bloomberg report that said the company would make its holiday price-matching policy permanent, effective March 3... MAJOR MOVERS: Among the notable gainers was PVF Capital (PVFC), which rose $1.33, or 52.78%, to $3.85 after agreeing to be acquired by F.N.B Corp (FNB) for $3.98 per share. Also higher was Red Robin Gourmet Burgers (RRGB), up $6.88, or 18.88%, to $43.33 after its earnings and revenue beat Street expectations. Among the noteworthy losers was Digital Generation (DGIT), down $2.52, or 28.06%, to $6.46 after the company reported its quarterly results and said its special committee concluded its review of strategic alternatives without recommending any transaction. Also lower were shares of Russian search engine company Yandex (YNDX), down $2.58, or 10.08%, to $23.01 after the company's Q4 report... INDICES: The Dow was up 53.91, or 0.39%, to 14,035.67; the Nasdaq was up 21.56, or 0.68%, to 3,213.59; and the S&P 500 was up 11.15, or 0.73%, to 1,530.94.
News For OMX;ODP;SPLS;HUM;BBY;PVFC;FNB;RRGB;DGIT;YNDX From The Last 14 Days
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April 15, 2015
10:00 EDTSPLSOn The Fly: Analyst Upgrade Summary
Today's noteworthy upgrades include: American Tower (AMT) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Macquarie... Ameriprise (AMP) upgraded at Morgan Stanley... Builders FirstSource (BLDR) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Sterne Agee... China Telecom (CHA) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Bernstein... China Unicom (CHU) upgraded to Outperform from Underperform at Bernstein... Discover (DFS) upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at JPMorgan... EV Energy (EVEP) upgraded on asset sale at RBC Capital... GoPro (GPRO) upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at Piper Jaffray... Intel (INTC) upgraded on valuation at RBC Capital... Nike (NKE) upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at Piper Jaffray... Nokia (NOK) upgraded to Market Perform from Underperform at Bernstein... Rice Energy (RICE) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Goldman... Staples (SPLS) upgraded to Buy from Hold at BB&T... Team (TISI) upgraded to Buy from Hold at BB&T... Ulta Salon (ULTA) upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at Piper Jaffray.
07:00 EDTSPLSStaples upgraded to Buy from Hold at BB&T
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April 13, 2015
16:07 EDTBBYBest Buy chairman retiring June 9, CEO Joly to take on chairman role
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11:28 EDTSPLS, ODPStarboard CEO says Staples, Office Depot merger 'likely to go through'
Says confident the potential merger will pass anti-trust scrutiny. Jeff Smith is speaking on CNBC.
10:58 EDTHUMCigna, Humana seen as potential takeover targets in Managed Care space
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07:33 EDTHUMJefferies sees low probability of WellCare, Centene buyouts
After running several acquisition scenarios for the Managed Care space, Jefferies says potential takeovers of WellCare (WCG) and Centene (CNC) are "hard to justify." The firm estimates acquirers will only be able to generate 1%-3% accretion from buying either company at a 20% premium to current share prices. The deal that makes the most financial sense is Aetna (AET) buying Cigna (CI), Jefferies says today in a note to investors. Also financially attractive would be a buyout of Humana (HUM) by either Anthem (ANTM) or Aetna, the firm adds. After analyzing the Managed Care space, it upgraded this morning shares of UnitedHealth (UNH) to Buy from Hold with a $141 price target. Jefferies also has Buy ratings on Aetna, Anthem, Health Net (HNT) and Molina Healthcare (MOH).
April 9, 2015
09:18 EDTODP, BBYBofA/Merrill retail analysts hold an analyst/industry conference call
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April 8, 2015
08:09 EDTSPLSStaples management to meet with Deutsche Bank
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April 7, 2015
10:23 EDTHUMMedicare Advantage 2016 rates set above expectations
The U.S. yesterday announced higher than expected 2016 Medicare Advantage reimbursement rates. The news is seen as benefiting managed care companies with large exposure to the Medicare Advantage program. WHAT'S NEW: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, yesterday afternoon announced that Medicare Advantage reimbursement rates would rise 1.25% in 2016 from 2015 levels. In February, CMS proposed a 0.95% reduction in Medicare Advantage reimbursement rates for 2016. This year, reimbursement rates have fallen 4%. WHAT'S NOTABLE: Humana (HUM) said this morning in a regulatory filing that based on its review of the Final Rate Notice, the company expects an average Medicare Advantage funding increase for its business of approximately 0.8% from CMS for 2016, versus a funding decline of 1.25%-1.75% previously expected based on the Advance Notice. Humana’s estimated year-over-year funding increase as it affects the company is projected to be less than the CMS estimate for the MA program primarily due to Humana’s view of the projected impact associated with CMS’ 2016 adjustment to the risk model calculation, the company explained. ANALYST REACTION: In a note to investors earlier today, Deutsche Bank analyst Scott Fidel wrote that this is the first time in seven years that CMS has implemented an increase in Medicare Advantage rates. However, noting that CMS said it had raised its estimates for Medicare costs, Fidel added that this forecast tempered the positive outlook created by the reimbursement increase. The analyst kept Buy ratings on the following stocks in the sector: Aetna (AET), Anthem (ANTM), Cigna (CI), Magellan Health (MGLN), and UnitedHealth (UNH). Stifel analysts said that the results were modestly better than expected, except for the agency's decision not to make a Star rating adjustment for plans with certain higher acuity populations. The firm thinks that more diversified managed care companies with Medicare Advantage products could be boosted by CMS' decision, identifying Aetna, Humana, and UnitedHealth as being among the companies in that category. PRICE ACTION: In early trading, Aetna was little changed at $107.40, Anthem was flat near $155 per share, Cigna slipped 0.4% to $131.34, Magellan was flat at $71, UnitedHealth added 0.5% to $118.31 and Humana gained fractionally to $178.54.
08:57 EDTHUMHumana sees average Medicare Advantage funding from CMS up 0.8% for 2016
Humana noted that on Monday, April 6, after the market close, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, announced final 2016 Medicare benchmark payment rates and related technical factors impacting the bid benchmark premiums, as expected, following the February 20 release of the preliminary 2016 Medicare Advantage benchmark payment rates. Humana said in its regulatory filing that based on its review of the Final Rate Notice, Humana expects an average Medicare Advantage funding increase for its business of approximately 0.8% from CMS for 2016, versus a funding decline of 1.25%-1.75% previously expected based on the Advance Notice. The Final Rate Notice from CMS estimates an average funding increase of 1.25% for the MA program, versus its estimate of a funding decline of 0.95% per the Advance Notice. Humana’s estimated year-over-year funding increase as it affects the company is projected to be less than the CMS estimate for the MA program primarily due to Humana’s view of the projected impact associated with CMS’ 2016 adjustment to the risk model calculation. The company is completing more detailed analyses of the Final Rate Notice and the commensurate impacts on its 2016 Medicare benefit offerings, including geographic-specific impacts, and anticipates further discussion in its Q1 earnings call on April 29. Bid designs for the company’s 2016 Medicare Advantage offerings are due to CMS on June 1, the company noted.
08:20 EDTHUMCowen expects managed care stocks to outperform following CMS release
Cowen expects managed care stocks to outperform today following the CMS release outlining better than expected Medicare Advantage rates for 2016. The firm also sees improved FFS growth rates, maintained coding intensity adjustment, and continued HRA payments. Publicly traded companies in the space include Aetna (AET), Cigna (CI), Health Net (HNT), Humana (HUM), and WellCare (WCG).
07:57 EDTHUMManaged care companies likely to rise on CMS news, says Oppenheimer
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07:44 EDTHUMSome managed care stocks could be boosted by CMS decision, says Stifel
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07:41 EDTHUM2016 MA rates positive for first time in seven years, says Deutsche Bank
Deutsche Bank notes that for the first time since 2009, Medicare Advantage rates will be positive after the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced yesterday that final 2016 rates will rise by 1.25%, representing a 220 basis points favorable swing from the preliminary proposed cut of 0.95%. Deutsche says the positive surprise is "somewhat tempered" by the more cautious view on Medicare cost trends provided by the CMS actuaries in the final 2016 rate announcement. The firm expects Humana (HUM), Health Net (HNT) and UnitedHealth (UNH), Aetna (AET) and Anthem (ANTM) to experience Medicare Advantage rate increases.
April 6, 2015
07:57 EDTHUMLeerink healthcare services analyst holds analyst/industry conference call
Healthcare Services Analyst Gupte discusses the leverage Anthem likely has in its Pharmacy Benefit Manager (PBM) contract with Express Scripts and how it changes after the Catamaran-Optum Rx deal, the synergy potential for the deal between Catamaran and Optum Rx and the likelihood of Cigna-HS remaining with the newly merged Optum Rx-CTRX on an Analyst/Industry conference call to be held on April 6 at 2 pm.

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