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Stock Market & Financial Investment News

News Breaks
August 14, 2014
19:59 EDTWMT, AMZN, DISWal-Mart sees rise in DVD orders following Disney, Amazon feud, Bloomberg says
Wal-Mart's (WMT) online division has capitalized on a feud between Disney (DIS) and Amazon (AMZN) by offering discounted pre-orders on Walt Disney DVDs, according to Bloomberg. Wal-Mart pre-orders of "Captain America" have increased by 90%, while orders of other Disney DVDs have increased by 40%, Bloomberg added, citing an e-mail from Wal-Mart spokesman Dan Toporek. Reference Link
News For WMT;DIS;AMZN From The Last 14 Days
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November 12, 2014
13:47 EDTWMT, AMZNEarnings Preview: Wal-Mart sees FY15 net sales up 2%-3% vs. last year
Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) is scheduled to report third quarter earnings before the market open on Thursday, November 13, with a conference call scheduled for 7:00 am ET. Wal-Mart, a member of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, operates retail stores in various formats under 69 different banners in 27 countries with its "everyday low price" philosophy. EXPECTATIONS: Analysts are looking for earnings per share of $1.12 on revenue of $118.35B, according to First Call. The consensus range for EPS is $1.08-$1.17 on revenue of $115.17B-$119.67B. LAST QUARTER: Wal-Mart reported second quarter EPS of $1.21, in line with estimates, on revenue of $119.3B, against estimates of $119B. Walmart U.S. comp sales were flat for the 13-week period ended August 1, and U.S. net sales increased $1.9B, or 2.7%, to over $70B. Currency exchange rate fluctuations negatively impacted net sales by approximately $700M, the company said. Wal-Mart forecast Q3 EPS of $1.10-$1.20, with U.S. comp store sales relatively flat and Sam's Club comp sales, excluding fuel, slightly positive. and increased investments in Sam's Club membership programs. The company lowered its fiscal year 2015 EPS view to $4.90-$5.15 from $5.10-$5.45, against estimates at that time of $5.15. The new full year guidance reflects incremental investments in e-commerce and higher U.S. health-care costs than previously anticipated. The annual effective tax rate is projected to be between 32%-34%. NEWS: On its Q2 earnings conference call, Wal-Mart lowered its FY15 e-commerce sales growth forecast to 25%. In mid-October, Wal-Mart said that as a result of a tougher sales environment than it anticipated a year ago, it now expects to grow net sales for FY15 between 2%-3% on last year’s $473.1B. The company indicated in February that it expected net sales growth to be at the low end of its guidance provided last October of 3%-5%. The company sees fiscal year 2016 net sales growth of 2%-4%, or approximately $10B-$20B of net sales growth. The company said FY16 operating expenses will grow at a rate "somewhat faster" than sales growth and operating income will be flat to slightly down. Chief Executive Officer Doug McMillon said the company will invest less in stores and more in e-commerce. Wal-Mart sees FY15 capital investments of $12.5B-$13B and FY16 capital investments $11.6B-$12.9B. Wal-Mart also sees FY16 e-commerce and digital spending of $1.2B-$1.5B. Ahead of a holiday shopping season that may be fiercely promotional, Wal-Mart is testing a program to match online prices from rivals including Amazon.com (AMZN), reported the Wall Street Journal. The company announced the "New Black Friday" will include five days of deals. STREET RESEARCH: Cleveland Research said Wal-Mart's trends softened in September and October following a strong August driven by soft traffic and less promotional activity. The firm believes Wal-Mart is positioned to maintain share during the holidays, but sees "growing caution" on the consumer spending outlook. Baird said expectations for Wal-Mart appear to be muted into the Q3 report. The firm believes sales may remain lackluster and margins may slip in the near-term, but sees international as an opportunity. During the quarter, shares were initiated with a Neutral rating at Sterne Agee. PRICE ACTION: Wal-Mart shares are up 6.9% over the last three months but are only up 0.8% year-to-date. In early afternoon trading, Wal-Mart shares are up 0.4% to $79.35.
12:55 EDTAMZNAmazon to expand its R&D in Cambridge, UK, TechCrunch reports
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12:15 EDTWMTWal-Mart November weekly 79 straddle priced for 2% move into Q1
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11:58 EDTWMTWal-Mart weekly volatility elevated into Q3 and holiday outlook
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11:44 EDTDISSeaWorld sinks to 52-week low after Q3 profit, attendance fall
Shares of theme park and entertainment company SeaWorld (SEAS) are plunging after the company’s profit, attendance and adjusted EBITDA all fell significantly on a year over year basis. The also forecast fiscal year 2014 revenue and adjusted EBITDA to be down from last year. WHAT'S NEW: This morning, SeaWorld reported Q3 adjusted earnings per share of $1.01, missing analysts' $1.13 consensus by 12 cents. Revenue for the quarter was $495.84M, compared to analysts' consensus estimates of $495.4M. Adjusted EBITDA in the quarter was $209.1M, a decrease of $45.3M, or 18%, compared to the third quarter of 2013. Attendance in Q3 ws 8.4M, down from 8.9M a year ago. The company believes the decline in attendance results from a combination of factors including negative media attention in California along with a challenging competitive environment, particularly in Florida. The competitive challenges in Florida relate to significant new attraction offerings at competitor destination parks, along with a delay in the scheduled opening of one of the company's new rides at its Busch Gardens Tampa park. The decrease in total revenue in the third quarter was primarily driven by a 5.2% decline in attendance, along with a 2.9% decline in total revenue per capita from $60.74 in the third quarter of 2013 to $58.99. WHAT’S NOTABLE: Looking ahead, SeaWorld forecast FY14 revenue and adjusted EBITDA to be down 6%-7% and 14%-16%, respectively. The FY14 revenue consensus ahead of the company's report was $1.37B. The company also said it expects to take a restructuring charge of up to $13M in Q4 related to its cost reduction initiatives. The company sees FY14 capital expenditures to be in the range of $155M-$165M and fiscal year 2015 CapEx to be in the range of $185M-$195M. Jim Atchison, the company's Chief Executive Officer, noted that the attendance trends the company experienced in the latter part of the second quarter continued into Q3. He called 2014 a “challenging year,” and said the company was executing a cost savings plan that is expected to deliver approximately $50M of annual cost savings by the end of 2015. He also said the company was adjusting its attraction and marketing plans to address immediate top-line concerns. PRICE ACTION: In late morning trading, SeaWorld fell $2.24, or 12.04%, to $16.36 on more than twice its average daily trading volume. Earlier in the session, the stock hit a fresh 52-week low of $16.53. Including today's pull back, the shares have lost approximately 48% over the past 12 months. OTHERS TO WATCH: Other companies in the theme park space include Disney (DIS), up 0.03%, Six Flags (SIX), down 0.16%, and Cedar Fair (FUN), up 0.76%.
10:43 EDTDISBernstein downgrades Discovery, Viacom, citing 'structural decline' in TV
Research firm Bernstein sees strong evidence that audiences of ad-supported TV have entered a period of "structural decline." The firm cut its rating on Discovery (DISCA), the owner of the Discovery Channel and Animal Planet cable stations, and Viacom (VIA,VIAB), which owns MTV and and Nickelodeon. The firm also cut its price target on CBS (CBS). WHAT'S NEW: Noting that audiences for ad-supported TV have fallen by unprecedented amounts for four months, Bernstein analyst Todd Juenger added that consumption of subscription video on demand, or SVOD, services continue to grow. Meanwhile, TV networks are seeing increased competition from Internet websites for ad dollars, limiting the ability of the networks to raise ad prices, Juenger stated. The profit margins and return on investment of content owners are likely to decline over time, the analyst believes. He downgraded Discovery to Market Perform from Outperform and set a $37 price target on the stock, and cut Viacom to Underperform from Market Perform, placing a $71 price target on that stock. Juenger reduced his price target on CBS to $55 from $60 and kept a Market Perform rating on the shares. He kept Outperform ratings on 21st Century Fox (FOXA), Disney (DIS), and Time Warner (TWX), saying that those are least affected by the trend, as they are less dependent than their peers on the American TV ad market and have a large amount of sports programming. PRICE ACTION: In mid-morning trading, Discovery lost 0.6% to $31.81, Viacom class A shares gained 0.6% to $70.09, CBS fell 0.7% to $51.48, Twenty-First Century Fox class A shares lost 0.5% to $34.75, Time Warner fell 0.5% to $77.69 and Disney was flat near $90 per share.
09:37 EDTAMZNActive equity options trading
Active equity options trading according to Track Data: AAPL CLSN TWTR BABA NFLX TSLA AMZN CSIQ C
07:51 EDTDISDisney trades at a premium despite low forward growth, says Cowen
Cowen raised its price target on Disney shares to $83 from $75, but reiterated its Market Perform rating on Disney shares, citing the stock's premium trading valuation despite the lowest forward earnings growth of its peer group. The firm also cited higher sports programming costs, as well as difficulty envisioning outperformance to current estimates.
06:46 EDTWMTWal-Mart reminds stores to display fresh grocery products, NY Times says
Wal-Mart last month issued a memo to managers around the U.S., telling them to discount older meat and baked goods to ensure that they sell before they reach their expiration dates, according to The New York Times. The memo also reminds managers to remove expired dairy products and eggs, as well as moldy or rotting produce, from shelves, and reduce inventory, the newspaper stated. Reference Link
05:24 EDTWMTWal-Mart announces 'New Black Friday' event, holiday pay for associates
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November 11, 2014
18:19 EDTDISCBS, Disney look to block FCC Comcast merger disclosures, Bloomberg says
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16:01 EDTAMZNOptions Update; November 11, 2014
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09:37 EDTAMZNeBay October SSS up 4.4%, Amazon SSS up 32.4%, ChannelAdvisor says
ChannelAdvisor released October same-store sales data for eBay (EBAY) and Amazon (AMZN) in a blog post. The research company reported eBay's October SSS growth came in at 4.4%, down from September's 8.9% and below the e-commerce growth rate of about 15% reported by ComScore. Amazon's October SSS growth came in at 32.4%, which was a decrease compared to August's 37.9% rate, ChannelAdvisor stated. Reference Link
06:03 EDTAMZNQ4 global tablet shipments estimated at 74.5M units, DigiTimes reports
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November 10, 2014
16:00 EDTWMTOptions Update; November 10, 2014
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15:57 EDTDISWorldwide Business Research to hold a conference
ProcureCon for Digital & Marketing Services 2014 is being held in San Antonio on November 11-13.
15:44 EDTAMZNAmazon Web Services to hold a conference
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12:36 EDTWMTAbercrombie, American Eagle sink after analyst downgrades
Shares of specialty teen apparel retailers Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) and American Eagle Outfitters (AEO) are falling after a number of analysts issued negative notes on the companies. WHAT'S NEW: Oppenheimer analyst Anna Andreeva downgraded Abercrombie & Fitch to Perform from Outperform. The company's earnings outlook has become less clear as its U.S. brand has not yet become popular, and retail brand turnarounds usually take awhile, Oppenheimer analyst Anna Andreeva wrote in a note to investors. Additionally, Abercrombie's international business, which has deteriorated further this year, faces "mounting uncertainty,” the analyst stated. The analyst slashed her price target on the name to $30 from $50. Meanwhile, Barclays analyst Matthew McClintock downgraded American Eagle Outfitters to Equal Weight from Overweight. McClintock has become more pessimistic about the outlook for American Eagle's comparative store sales in the second half of 2014, given recent data points from a number of retailers, including Abercrombie & Fitch, Kohl's (KSS), Wal-Mart (WMT), J.C. Penney (JCP), and Ann Inc. (ANN). The analyst said he saw no reason why American Eagle should significantly outperform the overall apparel sector. McClintock cut his price target on the name to $11 from $15. Meanwhile, the analyst lowered his rating on the Softline Retail sector to Negative from Positive, as he believes that the sector, which includes companies that sell products like apparel, towels, and jewelry - is facing structural difficulties that are likely to persist for the next several years. Separately, research firm Janney Capital downgraded Abercrombie to Neutral from Buy in a note to investors today. PRICE ACTION: In early afternoon trading, Abercrombie & Fitch sank 3.5% to $28.50 and American Eagle dropped 4% to $12.40.
09:00 EDTWMTWal-Mart weekly volatility increases into Q3 and holiday outlook
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08:23 EDTWMTWal-Mart expectations appear muted heading into earnings, says RW Baird
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