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Stock Market & Financial Investment News

News For S;MSFT From The Last 14 Days
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January 28, 2016
09:38 EDTMSFTActive equity options trading on open
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08:50 EDTMSFTUBS trims Microsoft estimates for second half on macro uncertainty
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08:04 EDTMSFTHarman CEO: On track to deliver full year plan
"I am pleased to announce our 11th consecutive quarter of top and bottom line growth. Our strong first half results were in-line with our expectations. While we are closely monitoring macroeconomic developments, at this time, we are on track to deliver on our full year plan," said Dinesh C. Paliwal, Harman (HAR) Chairman, President and CEO. "HARMAN continues to innovate and bring industry-first solutions to market. We are also partnering with key technology leaders such as Google (GOOG), Microsoft (MSFT) and Under Armour (UA) to capitalize on the opportunities presented by IoT for automotive, enterprise and consumer electronics. In addition, our acquisition of TowerSec will strengthen our cybersecurity leadership position for automotive."
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
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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10:07 EDTMSFTMicrosoft announces launch of News Pro app
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10:00 EDTSOn The Fly: Analyst Upgrade Summary
Today's noteworthy upgrades include: American Airlines (AAL) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at UBS... Armstrong World (AWI) upgraded on valuation at BB&T... Autoliv (ALV) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Baird... BHP Billiton (BHP) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley... BorgWarner (BWA) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Baird... Boyd Gaming (BYD) upgraded on valuation at Sterne Agee CRT... CF Industries (CF) upgraded to Outperform from Underperform at CLSA... Deutsche Boerse (DBOEY) upgraded to Neutral from Underperform at Credit Suisse... Diamond Offshore (DO) upgraded to Neutral from Sell at Clarksons Platou... Exelon (EXC) upgraded to Neutral from Sell at Citi... FCB Financial (FCB) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Guggenheim... Flushing Financial (FFIC) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Sandler O'Neill... Hawaiian Holdings (HA) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank... Huntington Bancshares (HBAN) upgraded to Neutral from Underperform at Macquarie... Imperva (IMPV) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at JMP Securities... Lockheed Martin (LMT) upgraded to Outperform from Peer Perform at Wolfe Research... McDonald's (MCD) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Argus... Munich Re (MURGY) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley... NextEra Energy (NEE) upgraded to Conviction Buy from Buy at Goldman... PG&E (PCG) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Goldman... Panera Bread (PNRA) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at BTIG... Raptor Pharmaceuticals (RPTP) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Citi... Siemens (SIEGY) upgraded to Equal Weight from Underweight at Barclays... Sprint (S) upgraded to Perform from Underperform at Oppenheimer... Stryker (SYK) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Brean Capital... Super Micro Computer (SMCI) upgraded to Positive from Neutral at Susquehanna... Talmer Bancorp (TLMR)upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Keefe Bruyette... Terex (TEX) upgraded to Neutral from Underweight at JPMorgan... Transocean (RIG) upgraded to Neutral from Sell at Clarksons Platou... Washington Trust (WASH) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Compass Point... Yara (YARIY) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Berenberg.
07:59 EDTMSFTMicrosoft volatility elevated into Q2 and outlook
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06:34 EDTSSprint upgraded to Perform from Underperform at Oppenheimer
Oppenheimer analyst Timothy Horan upgraded Sprint to Perform citing the company's improved network and lower expenses following its Q4 results. The company appears solvent, Horan tells investors in a research note.
January 26, 2016
18:35 EDTMSFTMicrosoft executive: Surface glitch during NFL game caused by stadium error
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16:20 EDTSOn The Fly: Top stock stories for Tuesday
Stocks began Tuesday in positive territory, once again trading in tandem with oil prices. The Dow led today's gains thanks in part to earnings reports from 3M (MMM), Proctor & Gamble (PG) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), though the Nasdaq struggled early in the day. Following a better than expected reading on consumer confidence and a rip in oil prices, stocks continued to pile on gains in the afternoon, with the major indexes all going out near their highs. ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., the S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose 5.8% from the prior year in November, topping expectations for a 5.7% year-over-year increase. The separate FHFA house price index showed a monthly gain of 0.5% in November, matching the consensus forecast. Markit's services PMI for January came in at 53.7, missing the 54.0 forecast. The preliminary reading of the Conference Board's consumer confidence index for January came in at 98.1, topping the 96.5 reading that was expected. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei index fell 2.35% while China's Shanghai composite slid 6.4%. COMPANY NEWS: Earnings season accelerated Tuesday as major members of the bluechip Dow Jones Industrial Average posted results before the opening bell. 3M lead the pack with a gain of 5.16% to $144.79, while Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble and DuPont (DD) added 4.86%, 2.55% and 0.89%, respectively, following their reports... AIG (AIG) provided its much-anticipated strategy update, committing to return at least $25B to shareholders over the next two years and announcing the sale of AIG Advisor Group to Lightyear Capital and PSP Investments. The company, under ongoing pressure from activist investors including Carl Icahn, also said it will publicly offer a portion of its United Guaranty unit, though it expressly rejected a full company breakup. MAJOR MOVERS: Among the notable gainers was Terex (TEX), which surged 36.5% to $20.48 after receiving a $30 per share acquisition offer from China's Zoomlion. Terex peers Manitowoc (MTW), Joy Global (JOY) and Oshkosh (OSK) also saw respective gains of 16%, 9.5% and 5.5% after the news. In other M&A news, FirstMerit (FMER) jumped 18.35% after a merger agreement with Huntington Bancshares (HBAN). Also higher was Weight Watchers (WTW), which rose nearly 20% to $13.32 after noted shareholder and partner Oprah Winfrey tweeted a video detailing her progress and weight loss using the company's program. In addition, Sprint (S) soared 18.65% to $2.99 after reporting losses for the quarter that were not as steep as expected and raising its fiscal year EBITDA forecast. Among the noteworthy losers was Leidos (LDOS), which declined 9% to $48.83 after reaching an agreement with Lockheed Martin (LMT) to combine with the company's realigned Information Systems & Global Solutions unit in a Reverse Morris Trust transaction. Also lower was Centene (CNC), which lost 2.26% to $59.99 after revealing it has potentially misplaced six hard drives containing personal data on nearly 1M individuals. Meanwhile, Polaris (PII) dipped 9.15% to $72.99 after its fourth quarter report. INDEXES: The Dow rose 282.01, or 1.78%, to 16,167.23, the Nasdaq gained 49.18, or 1.09%, to 4,567.67, and the S&P 500 advanced 26.55, or 1.41%, to 1,903.63.
16:00 EDTMSFT, SOptions Update; January 26, 2016
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12:16 EDTSOn The Fly: Top stock stories at midday
Stocks began the session in positive territory moved cautiously in the opening segment, before shooting higher following the better than expected consumer confidence reading. The Dow is the biggest winner and is up more than 1.5% while the Nasdaq has been lagging but is up more than 0.6%. ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., the S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose 5.8% from the prior year in November, topping expectations for a 5.7% year-over-year increase. The separate FHFA house price index showed a monthly gain of 0.5% in November, matching the consensus forecast. Markit's services PMI for January came in at 53.7, missing the 54.0 forecast. The preliminary reading of the Conference Board's consumer confidence index for January came in at 98.1, topping the 96.5 reading that was expected. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei index fell 2.35% while China's Shanghai composite slid 6.4%. COMPANY NEWS: The volume of earnings reports took a step up, with four members of the bluechip Dow Jones Industrial Average posting results before the opening bell this morning. All four advanced on the heels of their reports, with 3M (MMM) leading the pack with a gain of 4.5% despite earnings, excluding restructuring charges, that missed the consensus forecast. The industrial conglomerate did, however, affirm its performance expectations for the new fiscal year. Meanwhile, Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) rose 3%, Procter & Gamble (PG) gained 2.7% and DuPont (DD) added 1.6%... AIG (AIG) provided its much-anticipated strategy update, committing to return at least $25B to shareholders over next two years and announcing that it has agreed to sell AIG Advisor Group to private equity firm Lightyear Capital and Canadian pension investment manager PSP Investments. AIG also said it will pursue an initial public offering of United Guaranty in mid-2016 to sell up to 19.9% of the outstanding shares as a first step towards a full separation. However, the insurer said it believes a full breakup, as espoused by investor Carl Icahn, would detract from shareholder value, arguing that a lack of diversification benefits would reduce capital available for distribution and there would be a loss of tax benefits. MAJOR MOVERS: Among the notable gainers was Avis Budget (CAR), which rallied 7% after the company raised its share repurchase authorization by $300M and after SRS Investment reported a 9.5% stake in the company. Also higher were Sprint (S) and Coach (COH), which gained 20% and 11%, respectively, after reporting quarterly earnings. In addition, FirstMerit (FMER) rose 16% after reporting quarterly earnings and announcing that it will merge with Huntington Bancshares (HBAN) in a deal valued at $3.4B. Huntington Bancshares fell 10% after the FirstMerit merger agreement was announced. Also lower was Stratasys (SSYS), which dropped 6% after JPMorgan downgraded the shares to Neutral from Overweight. In addition, Polaris (PII) and Waters Corporation (WAT) were down 11% and 4.5%, respectively, after reporting quarterly earnings. INDEXES: Near midday, the Dow was up 273.66, or 1.72%, to 16,158.88, the Nasdaq was up 49.20, or 1.09%, to 4,567.69, and the S&P 500 was up 25.96, or 1.38%, to 1,903.04.
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
09:15 EDTSOn The Fly: Pre-market Movers
UP AFTER EARNINGS: Sprint (S), up 19.5%... Rambus (RMBS), up 8%... Freeport-McMoRan (FCX), up 11.3%... Sanmina (SANM), up 9.9%... Coach (COH), up 4.9%. ALSO HIGHER: Firstmerit (FMER), up 21.5% following the merger announcement with Huntington Bancshares (HBAN). DOWN AFTER EARNINGS: Polaris (PII), down 4.2%. ALSO LOWER: Huntington Bancshares, down 6.8% after announcing a merger with Firstmerit. Stratasys (SSYS), down 3.7% after being downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at JPMorgan.
08:40 EDTSSprint CEO says executing on improved network despite press reports
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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..
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