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September 29, 2015
15:19 EDTDISDiscovery drops as investor day fails to dispell cord-cutting fears
Shares of Discovery Communications (DISCA) have dropped today as the company held its first-ever investor day amid ongoing concerns about the potential decline of pay TV. NEW GUIDANCE: Discovery Chief Financial Officer Andrew Warren updated the company's full year 2015 outlook, saying he expects constant currency adjusted earnings per share to grow in the low double digits. The company expects revenue for the year to grow 9%-10%, with free cash flow up in low single digits. Meanwhile, year over year currency headwinds were seen deducting $460M from revenue and 24c-29c from adjusted EPS. Discovery also established long-term guidance, saying it sees its adjusted EPS compound annual growth rate up in low double digits from 2015 to 2018, on a constant currency basis. "Third quarter results are on track, highlighted by strong U.S. advertising growth," Warren added. THREE BILLION SUBSCRIBERS: CEO David Zaslav commented during the investor day that the company is "confident in the long-term outlook for our business," adding that Discovery expects to reach 3B cumulative worldwide subscribers by year's end. The Chief Executive highlighted what he called five differentiators for Discovery's growth potential, including its ownership of a growing and diverse portfolio of content and IP "that uniquely positions Discovery for the changing media landscape." CORD CUTTING: Multiple Discovery executives showcased the company's European products, including Eurosport and the Eurosport Player OTT service, as well as the company's apparent first-mover advantage in Latin America. The seemingly increased attention on foreign initiatives comes as U.S. cord-cutting trends continue generating headlines, with Citi analyst Jason Bazinet arguing as recently as September 18 that Disney (DIS) would be the only cable network to make more money in a bundle-free world. According to media reports of today's Discovery event, Chief Executive Zaslav said "it's not rational" that media companies are selling so much of their content to streaming services like Netflix (NFLX) that threaten the appeal of cable bundles. The CEO added that Discovery has assumed a 1%-2% decline in pay TV over "the next couple of years," though he reassured investor day attendees that the company's adjusted operating income should be roughly flat even in a worst-case scenario. PRICE ACTION: Shares of Discovery crashed as much as 7% in early morning trading before seeing hesitant moves higher. The stock is down just under 4% to roughly $26.70 heading towards session close.
07:11 EDTTGTWal-Mart expands pick-up service to new markets, Fortune says
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September 28, 2015
19:57 EDTTGTRetailers urge courts to reject Visa, MasterCard settlement, Reuters says
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10:18 EDTMJ.C. Penney rises after CEO meeting prompts upgrade
Shares of J.C. Penney (JCP) are rising in morning trading after a Sterne Agee CRT analyst upgraded the retailer to Buy with a $13 price target following a meeting with the company's new chief executive officer. WHAT'S NEW: Sterne Agee CRT analyst Charles Grom upgraded J.C. Penney this morning to Buy from Neutral with a $13 price target after recently spending time with new CEO Marvin Ellison at the company's headquarters. Grom said he came away from the meeting "more confident" in the company's turnaround plan, adding that Ellison has the "right demeanor" and business sense to lead the company and "right the ship." Ellison took over as CEO of the retailer on August 1, replacing previous CEO Myron "Mike" Ullman. Sterne's Grom said that while the firm has previously been critical of the retailer's strategy, he believes the initiatives, led by Ellison, are "refreshing" and could boost the company's EBITDA. Grom thinks Ellison is the right person to help revive J.C. Penney and believes the company can surpass its long-term EBITDA target of $1.2B by 2017, saying that this goal "may prove to be a floor rather than a ceiling." Additionally, the analyst sees "multiple levers" to drive same-store sales higher. Despite his optimism in J.C. Penney's recovery story, the analyst notes that U.S. consumer spending is shifting away from traditional items in department stores toward move service-oriented products, traditional mall traffic trends remain "suppressed" and weather trends across the U.S. in August and September were not "ideal" for mall-based retailers. WHAT'S NOTABLE: J.C. Penney recently named John Tighe as executive vice president and chief merchant, effective October 1. Tighe, most recently senior vice president and senior general merchandise manager for the men's, children's, footwear, handbag and intimate apparel divisions, will succeed Elizabeth "Liz" Sweney, the company said. On August 31, Deutsche Bank analyst Paul Trussell upgraded J.C. Penney to Buy from Hold and raised his price target on the stock to $12 from $10, calling the company a "self-help story." Trussell noted that the company has already improved its merchandise mix and is now moving toward better pricing and fewer markdowns. Trussell said that the company's target of mid-single digit same-store sales growth looks "achievable" and its brands and assortment "look right." OTHERS TO WATCH: Other department store operators include Macy's (M), Kohl's (KSS) and Sears Holdings (SHLD). PRICE ACTION: J.C. Penney is up 1.5% to $9.57 in morning trading and is up nearly 50% year-to-date.
09:36 EDTDIS Active equity options trading on open
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06:42 EDTTGT, MPerfume makers look to Wal-Mart, Target, WSJ reports
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September 25, 2015
17:02 EDTLQDTLiquidity Services to divest Jacobs Trading to Tanager Acquisitions for $17M
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08:53 EDTMFinish Line says September comps month to date up low single digits
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September 24, 2015
20:04 EDTDISFacebook virtual reality initiative picks up speed with $99 Samsung device
Thursday's Oculus Connect 2 event saw numerous announcements from Facebook (FB) virtual reality subsidiary Oculus VR, including content deals with major media players as well as a $99 VR headset developed in conjunction with Samsung (SSNLF). CONTENT OFFERINGS: The virtual reality firm will be partnering with Fox (FOX, FOXA) and Lionsgate (LGF) to bring more than 100 films to the Oculus Store at launch. Additionally, Netflix (NFLX), Amazon's (AMZN), TiVo (TIVO), and Hulu -- the joint venture of Disney (DIS), Fox, and Comcast's (CMCSA, CMCSK) NBCUniversal -- will be launching apps for the company's virtual reality products, bringing web TV and streaming content to early adopters of the new technology. MAINSTREAM DEVICE: Samsung joined with Oculus to reveal a new $99 "Gear VR" headset on Thursday. Standing in contrast to Oculus' own pricier devices, the Samsung headset will rely on the company's Galaxy line of smartphones to power its virtual reality experiences. Note that a major point of contention regarding the "blockbuster" potential -- or lack thereof -- of VR technology is whether consumers will be willing to pay upwards of $399 for the Oculus gadgets. Samsung's Gear VR tends more towards what Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster has called "medium immersion" devices, potentially allaying investor concern over adoption rates with its more attractive point of entry. PRICE ACTION: Facebook shares closed higher by 0.5% and continued to rise in after-hours trading, up another 0.2%.
13:44 EDTDISOculus says bringing Netflix, Huly to GearVR, company says in tweet
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12:12 EDTGPSGap management to meet with Jefferies
Meeting to be held in New York on October 1 hosted by Jefferies.
September 23, 2015
20:08 EDTTGTChinese president visits U.S. amid cybersecurity, copyright worries
As part of his first official U.S. visit, Chinese president Xi Jinping held a meeting with American business leaders on Wednesday to address concerns of copyright infringement and cybersecurity, among numerous topics. In attendance were corporate giants from both nations, including Microsoft (MSFT), Apple (AAPL), Amazon (AMZN), Cisco (CSCO), Alibaba (BABA), Tencent (TCEHY), and Baidu (BIDU), according to media reports. COPYRIGHT CONCERNS: Responding to oft-cited concerns of copyright infringement by Chinese companies, Xi said China will "stand firm to protect" the intellectual property rights of American companies, according to Wall Street Journal coverage of the event. Note that in late 2014, China began establishing specialized courts to deliberate on intellectual property rights cases, and Xi commented Wednesday that "the newly established IPR courts are working smoothly. This means there will be much stronger IPR protection which will serve the interests of foreign businesses as well as Chinese companies." Chinese consumer electronics company Xiaomi is perhaps the most talked-about firm when it comes to the matter, with media outlets frequently criticizing its alleged "copying" of Apple design sensibilities. In mid-July, Xiaomi VP of global operations Hugo Barra told Bloomberg that the company is preparing to enter U.S. markets, though he cautioned that the launch could be "much more" than a year away as it seeks to build up its patent portfolio. CYBERSECURITY TENSIONS: Wednesday's meeting comes in the wake of numerous high-profile "hack attacks," with Sony (SNE), American Airlines (AAL), Anthem (ANTM), United Airlines (UAL), and Target (TGT) all reporting digital security breaches in recent years. Xi has consistently denied the involvement of state-backed hackers, but tensions have nevertheless arisen as cybersecurity firms such as FireEye (FEYE) and Palo Alto Networks (PANW) backtrace connections to the country. Cybersecurity intrusions originating from China have recently slowed ahead of Xi's visit, according to Reuters, with Kevin Mandia of security firm Mandiant telling the publication, "In my gut, I feel like the Chinese and the U.S. over the next couple of years are going to figure this out."
09:18 EDTDISPaulson Institute and CCPIT to co-host U.S.-China Business Roundtable
The Paulson Institute and the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) provide an opportunity for U.S. and Chinese business leaders to discuss issues facing the two countries in a roundtable being held in Seattle, Washington on September 23.
08:18 EDTDISDisney volatility flat on tight one-month price movement
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