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November 18, 2015
05:40 EDTRADStocks with implied volatility below IV index mean; YUM RAD
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05:11 EDTGNCGNC Holdings issues statement regarding federal enforcement actions
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November 17, 2015
16:42 EDTGNC, VSIJustice Department announces criminal charges against supplement maker USPlabs
The U.S. Department of Justice, along with partners at the Food and Drug Administration, Federal Trade Commission, Postal Inspection Service, and Internal Revenue Service, announced a "nationwide sweep" targeting more than 100 makers and marketers of dietary supplements. The agencies noted, "The actions discussed today resulted from a year-long effort, beginning in November 2014, to focus enforcement resources in an area of the dietary supplement market that is causing increasing concern among health officials nationwide. In each case, the department or one of its federal partners allege the sale of supplements that contain ingredients other than those listed on the product label or the sale of products that make health or disease treatment claims that are unsupported by adequate scientific evidence." Among the cases announced Tuesday is a criminal case charging USPlabs and several of its corporate officers with various counts associated with the unlawful sale of dietary supplements, obstruction of an FDA proceeding, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. The Department also filed in the past week five civil cases seeking injunctive relief against a number of businesses and individuals that allegedly sold supplements as disease cures or that were otherwise in violation of the law. The cases involve various entities, including Vibrant Life, Viruxo, Optimum Health, Bethel Nutritional, VivaCeuticals, and Regeneca, said the agency. Note that shares of GNC (GNC), Herbalife (HLF), Vitamin Shoppe (VSI), and Natural Health (NHTC) all slipped Tuesday following early reports of criminal charges in the dietary supplement space. Reference Link
16:26 EDTGNC, VSIOn The Fly: Top stock stories for Tuesday
Stocks on Wall Street see-sawed throughout the day and eventually finished the day mixed, with solid earnings reports from both Wal-Mart (WMT) and Home Depot (HD) helping the Dow notch a small gain while the S&P recorded a small loss. The averages looked to be set to extend yesterday's advance, but weakened during the afternoon following news of a stadium evacuation in Europe that unsettled investors and put a halt to the rally. The market struggled into the close but avoided a big selloff as headlines crossed that police in Germany found no explosives at the site of the game cancellation in Hanover. ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., the consumer price index rose 0.2% in October, as expected. When food and energy prices are stripped out, the "core" CPI also rose 0.2%, also matching the consensus forecast. Industrial production slid 0.2% in October, versus expectations for it to have risen 0.1%. Capacity utilization came in as expected at 77.5%. NAHB's home builder sentiment index fell 3 points to 62 in November, versus expectations for a reading of 64. COMPANY NEWS: Shares of Wal-Mart advanced 3.5% to $59.92 after the world's largest retailer reported better than expected quarterly earnings and gave a fiscal year profit outlook that was higher than expected at the midpoint of the company's range. Another retail giant and fellow Dow member, Home Depot, gained 4.4% to $126.18 while TJX (TJX), owner of the TJ Maxx and HomeGoods brands, rose nearly 4% to $68.18 after their own better than expected quarterly reports. Missing out on the retail rally, however, was Dick's Sporting Good (DKS), which tumbled 9.4% to $36.96 after giving guidance for the holiday quarter and fiscal 2015 that missed consensus estimates. MAJOR MOVERS: Among the notable gainers was Airgas (ARG), which jumped $31.17, or 29.39%, to $137.35 after agreeing to be acquired by Air Liquide for $143 per share. Also higher was Syngenta (SYT), which advanced $6.69, or 9.24%, to $79.06 after Monsanto (MON) Chief Operating Officer Brett Begemann told reporters the company is weighing another attempt at acquiring the Swiss firm. Among the noteworthy losers were GNC (GNC), Vitamin Shoppe (VSI), and Natural Health (NHTC), which dropped a respective 6.4%, 5%, and 15.4% after the Department of Justice said in a media advisory that it would announce actions related to dietary supplements sales and unlawful ads. Shares in the publicly traded companies came off their lows, but did not fully recover heading into the close, after the agency announced that its criminal case was charging USPlabs and that its five civil cases were against a number of smaller businesses. Also lower was SunEdison (SUNE), which fell $1.54, or 33.74%, to $3.02, with Oppenheimer attributing the selloff to "unsubstantiated rumors" regarding its liquidity and Deutsche Bank saying language in Vivint Solar's (VSLR) quarterly filing around SunEdison debt financing could concern some investors who are focused on the balance sheet. Additionally, Adeptus (ADPT) declined 22.3% to $46.50 after an NBC affiliate published an investigative report scrutinizing billing practices at freestanding emergency rooms in Colorado. INDEXES: The Dow rose 6.49, or 0.04%, to 17,489.50, the Nasdaq gained 1.40, or 0.03%, to 4,986.02, and the S&P 500 slipped 2.75, or 0.13%, to 2,050.44.
15:10 EDTGNC, VSIDOJ files indictment against USPLabs over Supplements, FDA Law Blog says
Shares of GNC Holdings (GNC), Vitamin Shoppe (VSI), and Herbalife (HLF) were all weak this afternoon on concerns that they would be the target of the FDA's action. Reference Link
13:44 EDTVSIFollow-up: Vitamin Shoppe downgraded on potential DOJ actions at Baird
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13:32 EDTVSIVitamin Shoppe downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Baird
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12:54 EDTVSIVitamin Shoppe volatility spikes into DOJ briefing on supplement actions
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12:52 EDTGNCGNC Holdings volatility spikes on headlines of DOJ briefing on supplement action
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12:28 EDTVSI, GNCGNC, Vitamin Shoppe, Herbalife at lows following DOJ supplement advisory
The Department of Justice said in a media advisory that it plans to announce at 3:30 pm today its actions related to dietary supplements sales and unlawful ads. Following the press advisory, shares of GNC Holdings (GNC), Vitamin Shoppe (VSI) and Herbalife (HLF) are at session lows, though none of the companies were named in the advisory.
12:24 EDTVSIVitamin Shoppe puts active on headlines of DOJ briefing on supplement actions
Vitamin Shoppe November 25 and 30 puts are active on total put volume of 1,200 contracts (320 calls) following Bloomberg headlines of DOJ briefing on supplement actions. November put option implied volatility is at 166, December is at 90; compared to its 52-week range of 29 to 72. Active put volume suggests traders taking positions for wide price movement.
12:22 EDTGNCGNC Holdings puts active on headlines of DOJ briefing on supplement actions
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12:19 EDTGNCGNC down 12% following headlines of DOJ breifing on supplement actions
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12:15 EDTVSI, GNCDOJ to announce criminal, civil actions related to dietary supplement sale
Reported by Bloomberg. Shares of GNC Holdings (GNC) and Vitamin Shoppe (VSI) are down 9% and 3.5%, respectively, following the headlines.
12:12 EDTGNCGNC Holdings halted for volatility after dropping 9% to $28.33
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07:52 EDTTUP, GNCMorgan Stanley to hold a conference
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November 16, 2015
11:43 EDTBUDAB InBev upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Nomura
09:06 EDTRADDiplomat 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%.
08:06 EDTENREnergizer should be bought on weakness, says RBC Capital
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06:57 EDTBUDAB InBev may have to sell $7B in beer brands, Telegraph reports
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