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August 6, 2014
Stocks on Wall Street began the session in negative territory in what appeared to be a continuation of yesterday’s sell-off. However, by mid-morning the averages crossed into positive territory where they have remained into the lunch hour. Events from abroad continue to move U.S. markets, as European stock markets responded unfavorably to weaker than expected economic data in Italy and Germany, and investors keep an eye on the unfolding stand-offs in Russia and Israel. ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., the trade deficit narrowed to $41.5B in June from a revised $44.7B in May. In Europe, Italian GDP unexpectedly contracted 0.2% in Q2, putting the country into a technical recession, while German manufacturing orders surprised with a 3.2% June drop. COMPANY NEWS: Shares of Time Warner (TWX) declined nearly 12% despite the company reporting quarterly earnings that surpassed the consensus expectation, as its results were overshadowed by other news, namely 21st Century Fox (FOXA) withdrawing its offer to buy the company. Fox Chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch said Time Warner management and its board refused to engage and that the reaction in its own share price since its initial proposal was made "undervalues our stock and makes the transaction unattractive to Fox shareholders." Meanwhile, class A shares of 21st Century Fox, which also authorized the repurchase of an additional $6B of its stock, rose 5%... Another deal being abandoned drove shares of another prominent company lower, as Sprint (S) dropped 18% after replacing CEO Dan Hesse with Marcelo Claure and reportedly gave up on its plans to try to combine with the fourth largest U.S. mobile carrier, T-Mobile (TMUS). Shares of T-Mobile also sunk nearly 7%, though The Wall Street Journal, citing a source, said that Iliad (ILIAF) will continue to pursue its bid for T-Mobile, though the French company sees no immediate need to boost its own offer after Sprint and parent Softbank (SFTBF) appear to have walked away... Bank of America (BAC) increased its quarterly dividend to 5c per share from 1c per share, marking the bank’s first quarterly common stock dividend increase in seven years. MAJOR MOVERS: Among the notable gainers was brewer Molson Coors (TAP), which rose 6% after the company's second quarter profits topped expectations. Also higher following their earnings reports were Enphase Energy (ENPH), which gained 20%, and WPX Energy (WPX), which advanced 12%. Among the noteworthy losers was Walgreen (WAG), which dropped 12% after the company exercised its option to acquire the remaining 55% of Alliance Boots that it does not already own but said its purchase of the rest of Boots will not be a "tax inversion" deal, as many had been expecting. Walgreen also authorized a $3B share repurchase program and raised its dividend by 7.1%, though the capital return plans did not appear to be enough to offset investor disappointment over the lack of an inversion pursuit. Also lower following their earnings reports were Groupon (GRPN), which fell 16%, Rocket Fuel (FUEL), which plunged 27%, and Nu Skin (NUS), which declined 24%. INDEXES: Near midday, the Dow was up 53.37, or 0.32%, to 16,482.84, the Nasdaq was up 25.50, or 0.59%, to 4,378.34, and the S&P 500 was up 6.91, or 0.36%, to 1,927.12.
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September 29, 2015
14:00 EDTTMUST-Mobile October weekly calls active
T-Mobile October weekly 41 and 41.50 calls are active on total call volume of 2,600 contracts (260 puts). October weekly call option implied volatility is at 52, October is at 47; compared to its 52-week range of 25 to 49 contracts. Active call volume suggests traders taking positions for large near term price movement.
13:55 EDTTMUST-Mobile could be eventual target for Altice, dealReporter says
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12:12 EDTBACAB InBev taps BofA, Santander for SABMiller offer financing, Bloomberg says
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10:37 EDTBACBofA to announce layoffs as trading revenue slows, WSJ says
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09:40 EDTFOXA21st Century Fox, ValueAct Capital enter into agreement regarding ownership
Twenty-First Century Fox announced that it entered into a Nomination Agreement dated September 28 with ValueAct Capital Master Fund L.P., VA Partners I, LLC, ValueAct Capital Management, L.P., ValueAct Capital Management, LLC, ValueAct Holdings, L.P., ValueAct Holdings GP, LLC, Volpe Velox, L.P., Volpe Velox, LLC and Jeffrey W. Ubben. The ValueAct Group currently beneficially owns approximately 5.9% of the company's outstanding Class B Common Stock. Pursuant to the Nomination Agreement, and subject to the conditions set forth therein, the company agreed to nominate Ubben, the Founder, CEO and CIO of ValueAct Capital, for election to the company's Board at the company's annual meeting of stockholders to be held in 2015.Subject to certain exceptions, if at any time the ValueAct Group ceases to own at least 5% of the outstanding Class B Common Stock of the company, the company will no longer be required to nominate Ubben for election at the 2015 Annual Meeting and, if he previously joined the Board, Ubben will be required to resign from the Board. Under the Nomination Agreement, in the event that Ubben no longer serves as a company director prior to the Company's 2016 annual meeting of stockholders due to his death or disability, the company and the ValueAct Group shall work together to nominate a mutually acceptable replacement so long as the ValueAct Group continues to own at least 5% of the company's outstanding Class B Common Stock. For the duration of the Standstill Period, the ValueAct Group has agreed, among other things, that it will not: (i) in any way participate in any "solicitation" of proxies; (ii) in any way participate in any group with any persons who are not ValueAct affiliates with respect to the company's securities; (iii) acquire any beneficial or other ownership interest of (A) 7% or more of the company's Class B Common Stock outstanding at such time or (B) 7% or more of the company's Class A Common Stock outstanding at such time; (iv) knowingly sell the securities of the company to any person or entity that would own more than 4.9% of the outstanding shares of the Company's Class B Common Stock or 4.9% of the outstanding shares of the company's Class A Common Stock following such transaction; (v) effect or seek to effect any tender or exchange offer, merger, consolidation, acquisition, scheme, arrangement, business combination, recapitalization, reorganization, sale or acquisition of material assets, liquidation, dissolution or other extraordinary transaction involving the Company, or frustrate or seek to frustrate any extraordinary transaction proposed or endorsed by the company; (vi) engage in any short sale or similar derivative transaction related to the market price or value of the company's securities.
09:35 EDTBACActive equity options trading on open
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09:31 EDTFOXAValueAct agrees to 7% equity cap in standstill with 21st Century Fox
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08:38 EDTFOXA21st Century Fox, ValueAct Capital enter into agreement regarding ownership
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08:37 EDTFOXA21st Century Fox nominates ValueAct CEO Jeffrey Ubben for election to board
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September 28, 2015
16:00 EDTBACOptions Update; September 28, 2015
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13:42 EDTTMUS, SVerizon offers annual upgrade plan for iPhone users
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September 27, 2015
20:20 EDTSSprint says will not participate in 600 MHz spectrum auction
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19:39 EDTFOXA, TWX'Hotel Transylvania 2' bites down in record-setting debut
Animated children's film "Hotel Transylvania 2" set a domestic record for September while "Maze Runner" and "Black Mass" dropped in their second weekends at the box office. WEEKEND LEADER: Sony's (SNE) computer animated comedy "Hotel Transylvania 2" grossed $47.5M during its domestic open for the weekend of September 27, beating expectations for $35M-$40M and setting a new record for September box office debuts. Adam Sandler, Selena Gomez, and others returned to provide voice acting for the monster-themed movie, which saw the biggest open yet for Sony Pictures Animation. BOX OFFICE RUNNERS-UP: With Robert DeNiro and Anne Hathaway in leading roles, Time Warner (TWX) subsidiary Warner Bros.' "The Intern" opened at $18.2M against estimates sales of $15M-$20M. Fox's (FOX, FOXA) "Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials" came in third with $14M after grossing $30.3M domestically during last weekend's debut. Meanwhile, Comcast (CMCSA, CMCSK) subsidiary Universal's "Everest" jumped to $13.1M after significantly expanding its screen count, while Warner Bros.' "Black Mass" rounded out this weekend's Top 5 at $11.5M.
13:50 EDTBACBank of America likely to increase dividend, buyback plans, Barron's says
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September 25, 2015
16:35 EDTGRPNStocks end week lower as biotechs sink, Volkswagen crashes
Stocks ended the week lower after concerns about drug prices were reignited, sinking biotech stocks, an emissions scandal engulfed Volkswagen (VLKAY), dragging down shares of automakers and their suppliers, and Caterpillar (CAT) announced that it may eliminate as many as 10,000 jobs in the next three years as commodity prices continue to slump. MACRO NEWS: Following the Federal Reserve's decision last week to wait before raising rates, the central bank made a concerted effort to give the market more clarity this week. Over last weekend, three Federal Reserve officials - San Francisco Fed President John Williams, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard and Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker - all argued that an interest-rate increase is still warranted this year. Then, on Thursday night, Fed Chair Janet Yellen said during a speech at UMass Amherst that the central bank remains inclined to hike rates this year. Yellen's remarks were incrementally hawkish, but welcomed by the market, since they helped clarify the message the Fed delivered a week ago... In the U.S., Markit's flash manufacturing purchasing manager's index was flat at 53.0 in September, which was slightly better than the expectation for it to dip to 52.8. Durable goods orders for August declined 2.0%, versus expectations for a drop of 2.3%. When transportation items were removed, the core reading was breakeven, versus expectations for a rise of 0.1%. The third estimate of second quarter GDP showed the economy grew 3.9% quarter-over-quarter, versus expectations for the GDP growth estimate to stay at 3.7%. Personal consumption in Q2 is now believed to have grown 3.6%, up from the prior estimate of 3.1%. The final University of Michigan consumer sentiment reading for September came in at 87.2, which was down from August's 91.9 but above the expected 86.2 reading... The Asian Development Bank cut its growth forecast for the region, citing a weaker outlook for China and India and a delayed recovery in the world's advanced economies. The bank now sees the Chinese economy growing 6.8% this year and 6.7% next year, down from its previous forecasts of 7.2% and 7%, respectively. Markit's flash manufacturing PMI for China fell to 47.0 in September from 47.3 last month. Meanwhile, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe unveiled new economic targets, including a goal for a 20% increase in the target size of the Japanese economy to 600T yen, though he gave no timeframe for achieving this aspiration... In Europe, Markit's composite PMI for the eurozone came in at 53.9 in the first look for September, down from 54.3 in August and below expectations for a reading of 54.1. COMPANY NEWS: Biotech stocks declined after privately-held Turing Pharmaceuticals made headlines by enacting a 5,000% price increase on its treatment for toxoplasmosis, reigniting a debate around drug prices that previously embroiled costly Hepatitis C drugs including AbbVie's (ABBV) Viekira Pak and Gilead's (GILD) Sovaldi and Harvoni. Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton sent the debate to center stage by criticizing the "outrageous" prices of specialty drugs and laying out a plan to tackle "price gouging" in the specialty drug market. The NASDAQ Biotechnology index fell roughly xxx% for the week amid the attention paid to Turing's drug and Clinton's response... Volkswagen (VLKAY) shares trading in New York fell sharply to begin the week and ended the week far from where they'd been last Friday before the EPA said it found manipulations that violate U.S. environmental standards while testing certain of the automaker's diesel cars. The EPA said Volkswagen may face civil penalties of $37,500 for each vehicle not in compliance with federal clean air rules, which could total as much as $18B, according to Reuters. In the wake of the scandal, Chief Executive Officer Martin Winterkorn resigned, with the company's supervisory board subsequently praising the decision and selecting Matthias Mueller, the former head of Porsche (POAHY), as Winterkorn's successor as the company's new CEO... Caterpillar (CAT) shares dropped after the heavy machinery maker announced plans for job cuts and lowered its revenue guidance for this year and next. Caterpillar said that it would lay off 4,000-5,000 of its employees between now and the end of 2016 and could lay off up to 10,000 employees by 2018. Caterpillar cut its fiscal year 2015 revenue forecast by $1B and said its sees its fiscal year 2016 revenue to be 5% below this year, adding that it expects revenue declines in all three large segments next year... Online and mobile deal provider Groupon (GRPN) said it plans to cut 1,100 jobs relating primarily to the company's international operations... Nike jumped after the athletic gear giant reported better than expected earnings and futures orders, prompting numerous price target hikes and at least one upgrade at Street research firms. Among other companies reporting earnings this week, BlackBerry (BBRY), ConAgra (CAG), Carnival (CCL), and CarMax (KMX) fell immediately following their quarterly reports... Apple (AAPL), which has previously been reported to be working on an electric car via its "Project Titan," is speeding up those efforts and setting 2019 as a target to ship its first vehicle, according to The Wall Street Journal... Against the backdrop of China's President Xi Jinping visiting the U.S., Boeing (BA) announced deals to sell 300 planes to three Chinese companies and set up an aircraft factory in in the Asian nation, while Cisco (CSCO) announced a partnership with Chinese server maker Inspur Group... Lloyd Blankfein, Goldman Sachs (GS) Chairman and CEO, disclosed that he was diagnosed with lymphoma. "Fortunately, my form of lymphoma is highly curable and my doctors' and my own expectation is that I will be cured," Blankfein stated in an open letter that was shared by the bank... GoPro (GPRO) finished the week about xxx% lower after Barron's contended in a feature article last weekend that the company's stock could plunge another 30% to $25 as Apple, Sony (SNE) and others pressure the company's "one-hit wonder" products... On the M&A front, Atmel (ATML) agreed to be acquired by German chipmaker Dialog Semiconductor in a deal valued at roughly $4.6B and Starwood Waypoint (SWAY) announced a stock-for-stock merger agreement with Colony American Homes. INDEXES: The Dow lost about 0.43% to close at 16,314.67, the S&P 500 fell about 1.35% to close at 1,931.34, and the Nasdaq declined about 2.89% to close at 4,686.50.
16:00 EDTBACOptions Update; September 25, 2015
iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures up 66c to 25.09. Option volume leaders: AAPL NFLX BAC FB AU NKE PFE INTC AMZN TSLA
13:17 EDTTWX, FOXAFly Watch: 'Hotel Transylvania 2' expected to top weekend box office
Sony's (SNE) animated sequel "'Hotel Transylvania 2," which is opening in 3,600 theaters, is expected to win this weekend's box office with a domestic gross of $35M-$40M. The next bunch of films are all expecting similar grosses in the mid-to-high teens. Time Warner (TWX) subsidiary Warner Bros.' comedy "The Intern," starring Robert DeNiro and Anne Hathaway, is estimated to open in the $15M-$20M range in 3,305 theaters. Comcast (CMCSA, CMCSK) subsidiary Universal's "Everest," which opened last weekend on IMAX (IMAX), is expanding to over 3,000 theaters this weekend and is estimated to gross in the range of $15M-$17M. Fox's (FOX, FOXA) "Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials," which grossed $30.3M domestically for the weekend of September 20, is expected to earn an estimated $16M in its second weekend of release. Warner Bros.' Whitey Bulger biopic "Black Mass," which took in $23.4M in its domestic opening last weekend, is expected to gross $12.5M-$13M this weekend. Additionally, Lions Gate's (LGF) drug cartel drama "Sicario" is playing in about 50 theaters ahead of the film's wide release on October 2.
10:48 EDTTWX, FOXAMorgan Stanley cautious on media, but sees several stocks punished too hard
Morgan Stanley cut its price targets on a number of media companies, citing the impact of cord cutting and skinny bundles. The firm also reduced its outlook for the pay-TV sector due to its belief that the adoption of skinny bundles will accelerate, while the outlook for cable TV ads has deteriorated slightly, given macro pressures. The firm kept a Cautious view on the media sector, but also identified several stocks in the space that it thinks have been punished too harshly by investors recently. WHAT'S NEW: TV networks in general, and cable networks in particular, have the highest margins in media and are encountering increased top and bottom line competitive pressures, Morgan Stanley analyst Benjamin Swinburne believes. On the top line, they are being hit by ratings and ad pressures as well as cord cutting and distribution consolidation, the analyst stated. Meanwhile, their profit is being hurt by the increased need to obtain new content and intensified competition for content from new sources like Netflix (NFLX) and Google's (GOOG) YouTube, Swinburne said. However, the analyst thinks that media stocks are "starting to get" cheap, given the leverage that many of the companies carry. Swinburne cuts his price target on 21st Century Fox (FOXA) to $31 from $37, on AMC Networks (AMCX) to $86 from $88, on CBS (CBS) to $46 from $56, on Time Warner (TWX) to $72 from $87 and on Viacom (VIAB) to $48 from $60. He kept Overweight ratings on Fox, AMC and CBS, an Equal Weight rating on Time Warner and an Underweight rating on Viacom. OVERDONE DECLINES: Swinburne believes that the declines in three media stocks - CBS, 21st Century Fox, and AMC Networks - have been overdone, while the decline in Comcast's (CMCSA) stock has also been excessive. CBS and 21st Century Fox are "best positioned for the skinny bundle" and have the cheapest valuations relative to their growth rates, Swinburne believes. Meanwhile, AMC Networks has "content momentum" and its EPS can exceed expectations, the analyst believes. Comcast is gaining share in the broadband Internet market, could take share in video soon, and has sufficient scale and offerings to benefit from the increased popularity of skinny bundles, according to the analyst, who kept an Overweight rating on the stock. The media sector could benefit from consolidation going forward, added Swinburne, who recommended that investors interested in buying potential takeover targets in the space focus on AMC Networks, MSG Networks (MSG) and Dreamworks Animation (DWA). He kept Overweight ratings on all three of those stocks. OTHERS TO WATCH: Besides Comcast, other pay TV companies include DISH Network (DISH) and Charter Communications (CHTR). PRICE ACTION: In early trading, Fox A shares lost 0.5% to $25.83, AMC fell 0.3% to $73.29, CBS added 0.2% to $41, Time Warner was little changed at $67.66 and Comcast A shares added 0.6% to $57.17.
09:50 EDTTMUSOn Track says reaches agreement in principle with T-Mobile to settle claims
On Track Innovations (OTIV) announced in a regulatory filing that on September 24, it notified the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, jointly with T-Mobile (TMUS) that the parties have reached an agreement in principle to settle both of the company's claims against T-Mobile and the parties requested from the Court a 30-days stay of all deadlines pending in both actions to negotiate the terms of a settlement agreement. The company expects that the net proceeds from the settlement with T-Mobile, if such settlement is reached, should not be significant and under Company's initial expectations.
09:34 EDTBACActive equity options trading on open
Active equity options trading on open: AAPL BAC FB NKE NFLX PFE AU TSLA
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