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February 19, 2013
Stocks on Wall Street were higher at midday despite the day’s lone domestic economic report, the National Association of Home Builders' reading on builder confidence, being a disappointment. With a light weekly data calendar and earnings season largely over except for a few big names, like Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), AIG (AIG), and Wal-Mart (WMT) that report this week, the next catalyst may need to come from Washington. On the political front, Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles proposed a new plan for tax code changes and spending cuts, while President Obama campaigned for compromise as Democrats and Republicans remain far apart as "the sequester" deadline approaches... 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 rose over 22% and Office Depot advanced nearly 15%, while their chief rival, Staples (SPLS), gained 11% after several research firms, including Citigroup and Jefferies, 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... Managed care stocks slid, led by Humana (HUM), after the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced preliminary 2014 Medicare Advantage benchmark payment rates late Friday. Humana said it believes the preliminary base rates in the notice would result in a mid-single-digit decline in its benchmark payment rates and shares fell about 7%. A number of Humana's peers and other healthcare names fell also, including WellCare (WCG), UnitedHealth (UNH), Cigna (CI), Wellpoint (WLP), Aetna (AET) and DaVita (DVA)... MAJOR MOVERS: Among the notable gainers was Red Robin Gourmet Burgers (RRGB), which rose 19% after its earnings and revenue beat Street expectations. Also higher after its earnings report and guidance was Sealed Air (SEE), which jumped over 12%. Among the noteworthy losers was Digital Generation (DGIT), which fell 24% after the company reported its quarterly results and said its special committee concluded its review of strategic alternatives without recommending any transaction. Also lower after its earnings report were shares of Russian search engine company Yandex (YNDX), which declined nearly 12%... INDICES: Near noon, the Dow was up 52.13, or 0.37%, to 14,033.89; the Nasdaq was up 12.14, or 0.38%, to 3,204.17; and the S&P 500 was up 7.96, or 0.52%, to 1,527.75.
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November 17, 2015
08:04 EDTWCGStifel to hold a conference
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07:39 EDTSPLSStaples volatility elevated into Q3 and outlook
Staples November call option implied volatility is at 87, December is at 68, January is at 60; compared to its 52-week range of 22 to 78, suggesting large near term price movement into the expected release of Q3 results on November 18.
November 16, 2015
09:59 EDTCIOmega bought Valeant in Q3, sold some SuneEdison
Leon Cooperman's Omega Advisors gave a quarterly update on its stakes in a filing this morning, disclosing its positions as of September 30. NEW STAKES: Pfizer (PFE), Valeant (VRX) Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA), TerraForm Global (GLBL), Cigna (CI). INCREASED STAKES: Google Class A (GOOGL), Facebook (FB), Delta Air Lines (DAL). DECREASED STAKES: SunEdison (SUNE), Shire (SHPG), Citi (C), KAR Auction (KAR), LyondellBasell (LYB). LIQUIDATED STAKES: McKesson (MCK), 21st Century Fox (FOXA), General Motors (GM), QEP Resources (QEP), eBay (EBAY).
09:06 EDTUNHDiplomat seen as compelling amid specialty pharmacy fallout
Shares of specialty pharmacy operator Diplomat Pharmacy (DPLO) and pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts (ESRX) have each been knocked down by the negative news surrounding the sector amid the troubles faced by Valeant (VRX) and others, but an analyst at Leerink contends in a note to investors that the pullbacks in both stocks provide buying opportunities. BACKGROUND: Drugmaker Valeant and its prior specialty pharmacy partner, Philidor Rx Services, have been at the center of the firestorm engulfing the sector. Following claims that Philidor urged its employees to modify prescriptions to ensure more orders of Valeant-branded drugs rather than generics, as well as other allegations of wrongdoing, Express Scripts (ESRX) and peer CVS Health (CVS) terminated Philidor from their networks. The day after those termination announcements, Valeant said that it was severing all ties with Philidor and that the pharmacy planned to shut down operations as soon as possible, consistent with applicable laws. Valeant has subsequently said that Philidor has committed to cease operations by January 30, 2016, at the latest. More recently, Express Scripts, the nation's largest pharmacy benefit manager, announced that it stopped doing business with Linden Care, accusing it of being a "captive" pharmacy that dispenses mostly products made by Horizon Pharma (HZNP). In turn, Horizon called the idea that Linden Care is a captive pharmacy "entirely false," stating that "at best Express Scripts is being reckless in its allegations and at worse it is intentionally attempting to mislead investors." Express Scripts' move also impacted shares of Insys Therapeutics (INSY), which reportedly also used Linden Care to fulfill prescription for its drugs. DIPLOMAT LIKELY TO STAY IN-NETWORK: Leerink analyst David Larsen acknowledged that recent events indicate that Express Scripts appears to be evaluating certain retail pharmacies and their relationships with manufacturers, but he believes Diplomat's mix of drugs for diseases like multiple sclerosis, HIV, hepatitis C and cancer differentiate it as a "true" specialty pharmacy. Larsen does not think Diplomat is at risk of being excluded from the pharmacy networks of Express Scripts, CVS or UnitedHealth's (UNH) Optum, he tells investors. Larsen expects limited distribution agreements to stay an important channel strategy for drugmakers and believes these agreements are appropriate for high cost specialty drugs that require special handling and additional services to manage patient adherence. The analyst, who thinks Diplomat remains well positioned to deliver annual growth of over 30% in the next several years, keeps an Outperform rating on its shares. EXPRESS BUYING OPPORTUNITY: Larsen also thinks concerns around manufacturer and pharmacy relationships have put unwarranted pressure on shares of Express Scripts. He does not expect Express Scripts to disclose new lawsuits around rebate dollars owed over other manufacturer disputes and keeps an Outperform rating on the stock, which he views as having an "attractive" valuation. WHAT'S NOTABLE: Larsen also thinks that the specialty channel remains an opportunity for Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) and believes its proposed acquisition of Rite Aid (RAD) can strengthen its specialty offering. The analyst keeps an Outperform rating on Walgreens shares as well. PRICE ACTION: Over the last three months, Diplomat Pharmacy shares have declined 28%, Express Scripts has fallen 6% and Walgreens has dropped 14%.
06:27 EDTYNDXYandex extends Google antitrust battle to EU, Bloomberg reports
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06:02 EDTCIAnthem announces ISS recommends shareholders vote "For" Cigna acquisition
Anthem (ANTM) announced that Institutional Shareholder Services has issued a report recommending that Anthem shareholders vote to approve the issuance of Anthem stock in the proposed acquisition of Cigna (CI) at the company's special meeting of shareholders to be held on Thursday, December 3, 2015. Anthem's board unanimously recommends that Anthem shareholders vote "FOR" the proposal to issue Anthem common stock to acquire Cigna, which is necessary to complete the transaction.
05:30 EDTODPStocks with implied volatility above IV index mean; ODP CRM
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November 13, 2015
17:09 EDTODPStarboard reports 8.9% stake in Office Depot
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17:04 EDTSEEThird Point gives quarterly update on stakes
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15:22 EDTODP, SPLSOffice Depot, Staples offer tranfer of corporate contracts, WSJ says
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15:07 EDTSPLS, ODPStaples, Office Depot in talks to transfer contracts to Essendant to appease FTC
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05:24 EDTODPStocks with implied volatility above IV index mean; ODP CRM
Stocks with implied volatility above IV index mean; Office Depot (ODP) 108, Salesforce (CRM) 48 according to iVolatility.
November 12, 2015
11:35 EDTODP, SPLSEU extends Staples, Office Depot investigation to March 2, Reuters says
Antitrust regulators in the European Union have extended their investigation into office suppler Staples' (SPLS) offer to acquire rival Office Depot (ODP) by a few weeks to March 2, says Reuters. Reference Link
07:01 EDTMOHMolina Healthcare acquires Medicaid Assets of CUP in Washington
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05:27 EDTODPStocks with implied volatility above IV index mean; ODP NBG
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November 11, 2015
14:34 EDTCI, AET, HUMAMA voices 'significant concerns' with insurers' proposed mergers
The American Medical Association, in a letter to the Assistant Attorney General of the Department of Justice's Antitrust Division, stated that its analyses of the proposed health insurance mergers, namely Aetna's (AET) proposed acquisition of Humana (HUM) and Anthem's (ANTM) proposed acquisition of Cigna (CI), "reveal significant concerns with respect to the impact on consumers in terms of health care access, quality, and affordability." Accordingly, the AMA urges the Department of Justice to block the proposed mergers, the group stated.
14:25 EDTAET, HUMAMA urges DOJ to block Humana, Aetna deal, Bloomberg says
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13:02 EDTODPOptions with increasing call volume; TAP SPNC NBG ANF XRX ASNA ODP
11:02 EDTODPOffice Depot: Office Depot, OfficeMax stores to open 6-9pm on Thanksgiving Day
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05:50 EDTODPStocks with implied volatility above IV index mean; ODP NBG
Stocks with implied volatility above IV index mean; Office Depot (ODP) 103, National Bank of Greece (NBG) 520 according to iVolatility.
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