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Stock Market & Financial Investment News

News Breaks
February 27, 2014
06:38 EDTTW, AONAT&T picks AON retiree exchange over Towers Watson, says Deutsche
Deutsche Bank says AT&T (T) has picked AON Hewitt’s (AON) retiree exchange based on a letter from the CWA union to its retirees. Deutsche believes Towers Watson (TW) is no longer the clear leader in retiree exchanges, but points out AON Hewitt has strong existing relationships with AT&T. The firm lowered its price target for Towers Watson shares to $120 from $125 to reflect reduced estimates for exchange services and keeps a Buy rating on the stock.
News For TW;AON From The Last 14 Days
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July 2, 2015
16:37 EDTTWStocks end holiday shortened week lower after Greece defaults
Stocks on Wall Street began with a slide on Monday, but not as precipitous a drop as may have been feared, after Greece shut down its banks and announced it will put the concession deal offered by its creditors, and essentially its continued inclusion in the eurozone, up for a popular vote. The major averages regained a bit of their losses in the next two sessions as news regarding the Greek situation continued to dominate the headlines. U.S. markets are closed on Friday in observance of Independence Day, but investors will be returning to big news, for better or worse, following the referendum that is scheduled to occur on July 5. MACRO NEWS: In the U.S., the monthly nonfarm payrolls report showed the addition of 223,000 jobs, versus expectations for 233,000 jobs to have been added last month. The unemployment rate fell to 5.3% from the prior month’s 5.5% rate. Factory orders fell 1.0% in May, which was larger than the expected 0.5% decline. The Conference Board's consumer confidence index rose to 101.4 in June from a revised 94.6 reading for May, beating expectations for a reading of 97.4. Markit's manufacturing purchasing managers' index for June came in at 53.6, narrowly above the 53.4 forecast. ISM's manufacturing index rose to 53.5 in June, topping May's 52.8 reading and the 53.2 consensus forecast. Construction spending rose 0.8% in May, versus the expected growth of 0.5%. Additionally, Puerto Rico's Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla, in an interview published by the New York Times, warned that the commonwealth's "debt is not payable" and a report warned that the territory's crisis was even worse than previously thought... In Europe, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called a surprise referendum on the terms put forth by the country’s creditors in exchange for additional rescue funds and the country shut down its banks until after this Sunday's vote. Standard & Poor's Ratings lowered its sovereign credit ratings on Greece, stating that the probability of the country exiting the eurozone is now about 50%, in its view. Greece officially missed its $1.7B payment to the International Monetary Fund, as expected. Greece's government requested a third bailout from the eurozone, but the request was dismissed by European officials. Eurogroup president Jeroen Dijsselbloem said Wednesday that he saw no need for further talks on Greece at that point as he awaits the result of its referendum... In China, the People’s Bank cut the one-year lending rate by 25 basis points to 4.85% and lowered the amount of reserves certain banks are required to hold by 50 basis points, but the same day the Shanghai Composite entered bear market territory, meaning the index was down more than 20% from its peak in mid-June. Chinese manufacturing PMIs came in short of expectations, as the HSBC/Markit PMI slipped to a final 49.4 in June from the flash reading of 49.6, while the government's official manufacturing PMI fell to 50.1 in June from 50.9 in May. COMPANY NEWS: Shares of BP (BP) advanced after the oil major announced it has reached agreements in principle to settle all U.S. federal and state claims arising from the Deepwater Horizon accident and spill in 2010. BP said it will pay up to $18.7B to settle the claims and that the expected impact of its agreements would be to increase the cumulative pre-tax charge associated with the accident and spill by around $10B from $43.8B at the end of the first quarter... In a blockbuster deal in the insurance industry, ACE Limited (ACE) agreed to acquire Chubb (CB) in a cash and stock transaction valued at over $28B. The combination will create the number one global Property and Casualty insurance company by P&C underwriting income and the number two U.S. public P&C insurer by market cap. Elsewhere on the M&A front, managed healthcare company Centene (CNC) announced a definitive agreement to acquire managed health care services rival Health Net (HNT) in a cash and stock deal valued at approximately $6.8B, including the assumption of approximately $500M of debt. Additionally, Willis Group (WSH) agreed to combine in an all-stock merger of equals with Towers Watson (TW) and Chambers Street Properties (CSG) announced a merger agreement with Gramercy Property Trust (GPT)... U.S. airline stocks dropped after the Associated Press reported that the Justice Department is investigating potential "unlawful coordination" between companies attempting to artificially limit growth to keep fares high... Juno Therapeutics (JUNO) advanced after the company announced a ten-year global collaboration for the development and commercialization of immunotherapies with Celgene (CELG). As part of the deal, Celgene will make an initial payment of approximately $1B, which includes the purchase of approximately 9.1M shares of Juno stock at $93 per share... Pentair (PNR) gained after Nelson Peltz's Trian Group confirmed it has taken a 7.24% stake. Trian urged the company to consider acquisitions and other industrial parts makers, including SPX Corp. (SPW), Flowserve (FLS), Xylem (XYL) and Colfax (CFX), also advanced following the activist's disclosure of its position... In a ruling with implications for coal miners and electric utilities, the Supreme Court overturned the EPA's Mercury Admissions and Toxic Standard, or MATS, rule, stating that the regulator did not properly take into account the costs to utilities and others in the sector in implementing a national standard for the reduction of power plant emissions of mercury and other air toxins... General Motors (GM) reported its U.S. sales fell 3% in June compared to the same month of last year, while Ford (F) said its sales grew 1.6% last month compared to last year. FCA US, the parent of the Chrysler and Jeep brands, reported U.S. sales increased 8% compared with sales in June 2014... Bond insurers MBIA (MBI) and Assured Guaranty (AGO) declined amid the worries about the debt situation in Puerto Rico. INDEXES: The Dow fell about 1.25% to close at 17,730.11, the Nasdaq declined about 1.43% to close at 5,009.21, and the S&P 500 dropped about 1.22% to close at 2,076.78.
08:50 EDTTWWillis Group upgraded to Neutral from Sell at Goldman
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06:44 EDTTWInvestors underestimating Towers, Willis merger value, says Piper Jaffray
Piper Jaffray says its analysis on the Towers Watson (TW), Willis Group (WSH) merger indicates investors are underestimating the value creation arising from the deal given its complicated structuring. Piper calculates equity value per Towers share of $152 being offered to existing shareholders in the transaction, and that the deal should generate 2016 earnings accretion of 18% to Towers holders. The firm lowered its price target for Towers shares to $152 from $157 and keeps an Overweight rating on the name.
July 1, 2015
10:00 EDTTWOn The Fly: Analyst Downgrade Summary
Today's noteworthy downgrades include: Autoliv (ALV) downgraded to Underperform from Outperform at Exane BNP Paribas... Baxter (BAX) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse... Carter's (CRI) downgraded to Buy from Conviction Buy at Goldman... Fiat Chrysler (FCAU) downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Exane BNP Paribas... H&E Equipment (HEES) downgraded to Sector Weight from Overweight at KeyBanc... L'Oreal (LRLCY) downgraded to Sell from Neutral at Citi... Marchex (MCHX) downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight at Stephens... NASDAQ (NDAQ) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Keefe Bruyette... Starbucks (SBUX) downgraded to Buy from Conviction Buy at Goldman... Towers Watson (TW) downgraded to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank... Tuesday Morning (TUES) downgraded to Accumulate from Buy at Johnson Rice... United Rentals (URI) downgraded to Sector Weight from Overweight at KeyBanc.
08:02 EDTTWTowers Watson should be bought on weakness, says Stifel
After Towers Watson (TW) agreed to merge with Willis Group (WSH), Stifel says that the decline in Towers' stock was overdone. The firm says that some investors are worried that the move signals that Towers Watson is worried about its exchange business. However, the firm believes that Towers Watson made the deal in order to acquire the distribution channel in the hottest part of the exchange business. Stifel thinks that the combined company can generate $10+ in EPS by 2018. It trimmed its price target on Towers Watson to $143 from $148 but keeps a Buy rating on the shares.
07:33 EDTTWTowers Watson selloff yesterday a buying opportunity, says Jefferies
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06:55 EDTTWTowers Watson downgraded to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank
Deutsche Bank downgraded Towers Watson (TW) to Hold following the company's planned merger with Willis Group (WSH). Deutsche views shares as fairly valued at current levels.
June 30, 2015
09:26 EDTTWOn The Fly: Pre-market Movers
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05:19 EDTTWWillis Group holder ValueAct Capital agrees to vote its shares in favor of deal
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05:18 EDTTWTowers Watson holders will receive 2.65 shares of Willis per share of TW
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05:15 EDTTWTowers Watson CEO McCann to be CEO of new company Willis CEO to be Deputy CEO
Upon closing of the transaction, James McCann will become chairman, John Haley, chairman and CEO of Towers Watson (TW), will be CEO and Dominic Casserley, CEO of Williw Group (WSH), will be president and Deputy CEO. The new company’s board will consist of 12 directors total – six nominated by Willis and six by Towers Watson, including Towers Watson’s and Willis’ current CEOs. Additionally, Roger Millay will be CFO.
05:11 EDTTWWillis Group, Towers Watson to merge in transaction valued at $18B
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05:08 EDTTWWillis Group, Towers Watson to merge in transaction valued at $18B
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