Send me a link:

*Only U.S. numbers are accepted. Text messaging rates may apply.

Investing

InPlay


1:54PM COMEX Metals Closing Prices (COMDX) :

  • June gold rose $3.50 to $1303.40/oz 
    • Gold traded in positive territory for most of today's pit session. Prices advanced as high as $1307.10 and dipped to a session low of $1297.90 in mid-morning action. The yellow metal eventually settled with a 0.3% gain. 
  • May silver rose $0.16 to $19.64/oz 
    • Silver rose to a session high of $19.81 shortly after floor trade opened. It then chopped around near the $19.60 level and settled with a 0.8% gain. 
  • May copper rose 4 cents to $3.03/lbs

1:47PM iPass announces it has joined the WifiForward coalition to lobby for the release of unlicensed spectrum in order to alleviate the Wi-Fi spectrum crunch (IPAS) 1.63 +0.02 : iPass joins companies such as Microsoft (MSFT), Motorola, Comcast (CMCSA) and Google (GOOG) in lobbying the U.S. government and the FCC to expand access to unlicensed spectrum.

1:24PM Astellas Pharma U.S. subsidiary reaches agreement with U.S. Department of Justice to resolve civil claims regarding the marketing of MYCAMINE (micafungin sodium) for injection; co will pay $7.3 mln to the settling parties (ALPMY) 10.96 +0.24 : Astellas Pharma US, a U.S. subsidiary of Tokyo-based Astellas Pharma, announced that it has reached an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice to resolve civil claims regarding the marketing of MYCAMINE (micafungin sodium) for injection. Under the agreement, Astellas will pay $7.3 million to the settling parties. The Department of Justice had investigated Astellas for alleged off-label promotion of MYCAMINE for pediatric use, a claim the company has consistently denied. MYCAMINE is an injectable drug used to treat or prevent certain serious fungal infections and, at the time of the investigation, had not yet been approved for pediatric use in the United States. MYCAMINE received approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in June, 2013 for use in children four months and older.

1:05PM Charles Schwab cuts expense ratios in target date collective trust funds for large retirement plans (SCHW) 26.75 +0.63 : To meet increasing demand for target date funds in large retirement plans, Charles Schwab Bank is introducing a new unit class for its Schwab Managed Retirement Trust Funds ("SMRT Funds") with a lower 0.35 percent operating expense ratio. The SMRT Funds are collective trust funds offered exclusively to qualified retirement plans. Beginning July 1, 2014, the new unit class will be available to retirement plans with $300 million or more in SMRT Fund assets.

12:59PM Midday Market Summary: Nasdaq Leads at Midday (WRAPX) : At midday, the major averages hover just below their best levels of the session. The Nasdaq (+0.8%) leads, while the S&P 500 trades higher by 0.7% with all ten sectors showing gains.

The stock market began the session on a modestly higher note after overnight action did little to upset the sentiment. China reported its Q1 GDP, but the announcement was a bit of a mixed bag as the annual reading of 7.4% year-over-year beat estimates (7.3%), while the quarter-over-quarter growth of 1.4% was a bit below expectations (1.5%).

Since the news out of China was largely in line with expectations, global equity investors breathed a sigh of relief after many expected a disappointing growth report.

In the U.S., equity indices climbed out of the gate, with the Nasdaq (+0.9%) making a brief appearance in the red before assuming the lead. The early weakness was brought on by losses among chipmakers as the PHLX Semiconductor Index traded lower by as much as 1.4% before halving its loss.

Even though the semiconductor space remains weak, the relative strength of biotechnology (IBB +2.2%) and other momentum names has overshadowed those losses. Also of note, Intel (INTC 26.81, +0.04) holds a slim gain of 0.2% after beating the Capital IQ consensus estimate by one cent. Elsewhere, Yahoo! (YHOO 36.33, +2.12) sports an advance of 6.2% after it too announced a one-cent beat alongside strong results from its Alibaba unit.

Technology notwithstanding, other top-weighted sectors are somewhat mixed with respect to the broader market. Health care (+0.5%) and financials (+0.5%) lag, while consumer discretionary (+1.0%) outperforms. Furthermore, other cyclical sectors like energy (+0.9%), industrials (+1.1%), and materials (+1.3%) also trade ahead of the broader market.

Treasuries display slim losses with the benchmark 10-yr yield up one basis point at 2.65%.

Reviewing today's data:

  • Housing starts increased 2.4% in March to 946,000 from an upwardly revised 920,000 in February. The Briefing.com consensus expected 955,000 new starts. Overall, the residential construction report was encouraging, but did not provide any evidence that the weakness in January and February was weather related. Starts remained well below 1.00 million, which was the average in the fourth quarter. Had weather factored into the weakness, then there should have been a much stronger bounce from delayed starts. Single-family construction, which languished below 600,000 in January and February, rebounded 6.0% to 635,000. That was more in-line with the trends over the last 12 months. Multifamily starts fell 3.1% to 311,000 in March from 321,000 in February. That was a typical decline from a normally volatile sector. 
  • Industrial production increased 0.7% in March after increasing an upwardly revised 1.2% (from 0.6%) in February. The Briefing.com consensus expected industrial production to increase 0.5%. Manufacturing production increased 0.5% in March, down from an upwardly revised 1.4% (from 0.9%) in February. The March gain was in-line with the ISM production index. Despite a 0.8% decline in motor vehicles and parts production, durable goods manufacturing production increased 0.5%. Nondurable goods manufacturing production increased 0.7%, which was mostly the result of a 3.3% increase in petroleum and coal products production. 
Also of note, the Federal Reserve will release its April Beige Book at 14:00 ET.

12:37PM Notable movers of interest (SCANX) : The following are some of today's most notable movers of interest, categorized by market capitalization (large cap over $10 billion and mid cap between $2-10 billion) and ranked by % change (all stocks over 100K average daily volume).

Large Cap Gainers

  • IEP (98.3 +8.31%): Mentioned positively in Barron's article
  • YHOO (36.44 +6.50%): Beat quarterly EPS by $0.01 ($0.38 vs $0.37 estimate), revs rose 1.2% yoy to $1.09 bln vs $1.08 bln estimate; Alibaba revs rose 66% yoy to $3.05 bln, gross profit rose 73% yoy to $2.37 bln; upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Wells Fargo; upgraded to Buy from Hold at Gabelli & Co
  • WFT (17.85 +4.75%): Mentioned positively at Barclays
Large Cap Losers
  • ASML (81.25 -4.57%): Missed quarterly EPS by EUR 0.04 (EUR 0.57 vs EUR 0.53 estimate), revs rose 56.6% yoy to EUR 1.4 bln vs EUR 1.42 bln estimate; sees Q2 revs of EUR 1.6 bln vs EUR 1.69 bln estimate
  • LLTC (45.24 -4.01%): Beat quarterly EPS by $0.02 ($0.48 vs $0.46 estimate), revs rose 10.6% yoy to $348.01 mln vs $350.02 mln estimate; sees Q4 revs +2-6% sequentially (~$355-368.9 mln) vs $365.41 mln estimate
  • BAC (16.05 -2.07%): Missed quarterly EPS by $0.10 (-$0.05 vs $0.05 estimate), revs fell 2.7% yoy to $22.77 bln vs $22.1 bln estimate
Mid Cap Gainers
  • NMBL (33.73 +8.60%): Upgraded to Buy from Neutral at UBS; initiated with a Market Perform at Raymond James
  • NPSP (25.13 +7.49%): Assumed with a Buy at Canaccord Genuity, target $42
  • ATHL (41.9 +6.26%): Announced Q1 average daily production volumes for the first quarter 2014 reached a record high of 16,987 BOE/d as compared with 9,959 BOE/d produced in the first quarter 2013, representing a 71% increase y/y; announced 11 mln share public offering of common stock and launched proposed $500 mln senior notes offering
Mid Cap Losers
  • AEM (28.36 -6.99%): Co and Yamana Gold (AUY) entered into agreement to jointly acquire Osisko Mining in transaction valued at C$3.9 bln, or C$8.15 per common share of Osisko
  • HK (5.01 -2.81%): Downgraded to Reduce from Hold at KLR Group
  • HBAN (9.33 -1.48%): Reported Q1 EPS of $0.17 (in-line), revs rose 0.8% yoy to $691.9 mln vs $676.74 mln estimate

12:35PM Relative Sector Strength (TECHX) : Sectors that have displayed relative strength as the indices set minor new session highs include: Software IGV, Internet FDN, Biotech IBB, Industrial XLI, Materials XLB, Casino BJK, Transports IYT, Airline, Defense PPA.

12:11PM Floor Talk (TALKX) : So far, it has been a "controlled" rally effort on Wall Street.  Gains range from 0.7% for the Russell 2000 to 1.0% for the Nasdaq.

The continuation of yesterday's afternoon reversal has seen market participants emphasizing the good over the not so good to this point.  To wit:

  • China's first quarter annual GDP growth was 7.4%.  That was down from 7.7% in the fourth quarter, but above the 7.3% consensus growth forecast.  On a linked basis, first quarter GDP was up 1.4% quarter-over-quarter, which translates into a less robust 5.7% annualized rate.
  • March housing starts and building permits were weaker than expected, but were offset by growth indications for starts and permits for the more influential single-family units
  • CSX Corp. (CSX 27.54, -0.75), Yahoo (YHOO 36.51, +2.30), Intel (INTC 26.92, +0.15), Abbott Labs (ABT 38.19, +0.22), and PNC Bank (PNC 84.04, +1.89) didn't achieve any EPS growth compared to the year-ago period, yet they all surpassed Capital IQ consensus estimates for the first quarter
  • Bank of America (BAC 16.01, -0.38) reported a first quarter loss that was attributed to a big litigation expense, yet other financial names are not being pulled materially lower on the basis that BAC's disappointment has a company-specific angle to it
The financial sector (+0.6%) is trailing the broader market with BAC weighing heavily, but it has still contributed positively to the S&P 500 today and has been gathering some strength over the last hour or so.  The same can be said for the technology sector (+0.8%), which had been moving fitfully earlier with semiconductor weakness holding it back.

At present, the major indices are at their best levels of the session, aided by gains in all ten sectors and leadership from the cyclical groups.

The Treasury market is taking the stock market recovery effort in stride so far.  Remarkably, it is little changed with the 10-yr note down just three ticks, yielding 2.641%.  With a market holiday coming up on Friday, it stands to reason that geopolitical risk over the extended weekend is lending a measure of support to Treasuries.   As an aside, Fed Chair Janet Yellen is set to deliver remarks in the next few minutes to the Economic Club of New York.   

12:07PM Stocks/ETFs that traded to new 52 week highs/lows this session - New highs (107) outpacing new lows (35) (SCANX) : Stocks that traded to 52 week highs: AA, AAV, ADM, AEP, AGRO, ANDE, ATHL, ATI, ATO, AVA, AXAS, BAM, BUD, BXP, CCK, CJES, CL, CLB, CLR, CMS, CPE, CQP, CRK, CXO, DEJ, DIOD, DTE, DVCR, DVN, E, EDE, EDGW, EGY, EIX, EPD, EQM, ERF, ETR, FANG, FNHC, FTK, FTR, GA, GAS, GLNG, GLOG, GXP, HAL, HCSG, HES, HIL, HP, HSKA, HST, INTC, ITC, JFBI, JNJ, KNX, LFUS, LNT, LYB, MCS, MPLX, MRH, MRTN, MYE, NEE, NFX, NU, NWE, ORM, PNM, PPC, PTEN, RDS.B, REI, RHP, RMBS, RNR, RRC, RUBI, RUSHB, SAFM, SCS, SE, SEM, SEP, SGY, SLB, SLCA, SLG, SPN, SRE, ST, STO, STS, TRGP, TSLX, UHAL, VLP, VOCS, VVC, WEC, WFT, WLL, WR

Stocks that traded to 52 week lows: AMBT, AMSC, ANTH, ARQL, AUY, AXGN, DMD, DRNA, EGLT, EVRY, FMD, GMAN, IGC, IMI, LEI, LINC, LUB, MBII, NCQ, NRX, OIBR, OIBR.C, OVRL, PBPB, PMFG, PRAN, QURE, RSH, SPEX, SQBK, STRL, TEAR, TEDU, TRVN, ZNH

ETFs that traded to 52 week highs: DIG, DJP, FXB, IEO, IXC, IYE, JJA, RJA, XLE, XLU, XOP

ETFs that traded to 52 week lows: none

12:04PM Major averages back hovering near opening highs -- Dow +117, S&P +13, Nasdaq Comp +36 (TECHX) :  

12:00PM Humana reaches agreement that provides its members access to Dignity Health facilities in Arizona (HUM) 108.99 -0.66 : Co has reached an agreement that provides its members access to Dignity Health facilities in Arizona. The new network agreement, which takes effect May 1, 2014, includes Humana's Medicare Advantage (including PPO, HMO and Private Fee for Service plans), employer groups and individual plan members.

11:57AM European Markets Closing Prices (SUMRX) : European markets are now closed; stock markets across Europe performed as follows:

  • UK's FTSE: + 0.7%
  • Germany's DAX: + 1.6%
  • France's CAC: + 1.4%
  • Spain's IBEX: + 1.6%
  • Portugal's PSI: + 2.2%
  • Italy's MIB Index: + 3.4%
  • Irish Ovrl Index: + 1.1%
  • Greece ATHEX Composite: + 2.6%

11:50AM Cantel Medical announces retirement of Chief Financial Officer and transition process (CMN) 33.45 +0.13 : Co announced that its Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer, Craig Sheldon, will retire after 20 years with the co in January 2015. In order to ensure a smooth transition, a search process for a new Chief Financial Officer will commence immediately.

11:40AM Sonoco Products increases quarterly dividend 3.2% to $0.32 from $0.31 per share (SON) 41.88 +0.23 :  

11:40AM WTI crude oil futures extend losses, May contract hits a new LoD of $103.42/barrel. May crude is now -0.3% at $103.48/barrel (COMDX) :  

11:27AM Penn Natl Gaming and Cordish announced earlier that they are combining efforts to seek a gaming facility and resort in Orange County, New York (PENN) 12.68 +0.15 : Under the terms of an agreement being finalized by Cordish and Penn National, a Hudson Valley-Catskills Region facility would be owned and managed by a new 50/50 joint venture (JV) between the companies and would feature Cordish's Live! brand. Cordish and Penn National are also weighing the feasibility of several potential sites in and around Albany in the Capital Region, which would feature Penn National's Hollywood Casino brand.

11:23AM S&P +9 continues to drift above intraday support (SPY) : Noted earlier the S&P stall near the 50% retrace of the April decline (1855.82) and that a continued posture above 1845/1844 would leave the door open to a follow through attempt. It dipped only as low as 1847 thus far in mid-morning action keeping the constructive pattern in place. The next short term resistance above the high is in the 1858/1860 zone.

11:17AM Diamond Foods expands partnership with Transplace for full logistics services (DMND) 31.60 +0.01 : Transplace announced the expansion of its partnership with Diamond Foods. Diamond will expand its use of Transplace's software-as-a-service transportation management system and engineering capabilities to further improve operational efficiencies and achieve greater supply chain visibility.

11:01AM Hemp's Industrial Hemp and Medical Marijuana Consulting receives multiple inquiries regarding consultant agreement with Strategic Global Investments (HEMP) 0.09 0.00 : Co's wholly owned subsidiary, The Industrial Hemp and Medical Marijuana Consulting Company, announced that it has received multiple inquiries regarding the services offered by Strategic Global Investments (STBV), a diversified company with ventures in online media, digital advertising, social media and emerging technologies. Per the recent partnership with IHMMCC, Strategic Global hopes to use IHMMCC's expertise and resources to gain access to and develop a growing number of jointly beneficial business relationships.

10:55AM Technology Select Sector SPDR slides back near unchanged (XLK) 35.74 +0.01 : Early strength in the XLK saw it test its 50 sma and 50% retrace of the April slide at 36.01/36.02 (session high 36.00) and pause. Weakness in Semi SMH -1.5% and the pullback in Networking -0.03% and Software IGV -0.02% have weighed.

10:52AM Currency Commentary: Dollar Lurking Below 80 Ahead of Yellen Speech (SUMRX) :

  • The Dollar Index continues to trade in a narrow range in the upper 79 area. Economic Data was relatively upbeat as Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization came in better than expected. MBA Mortgage Applications also saw a bounce back following five straight weeks of declines. However, Housing Starts & Building Permits underperformed, pointing to the continued shaky housing recovery. The market will now prepare for Fed Chair Janet Yellen's speech at 12:45pm as well as the latest Beige Book comments due out at 2pm. 
  • The euro continues to hold the 1.38 level. Overnight the euro rallied to 1.3840 before seeing resistance and rolling back toward the 1.38 support. The main selling came in reaction to the U.S. Industrial production number.  
  • The pound was able to break through the 1.6740 level and push toward 1.68. Sterling hit 1.6818 which was just shy of the multi-month highs of 1.6822 set back in February. This 1.6820 level has proven to be stiff resistance for the pound and will be closely monitored.
  • The yen has slipped back below the 102 level as U.S. equity markets saw a flurry of risk on trading yesterday and overnight. However it has settled and is now attempting to push back for a test of the 102 level. BoJ Governor Kuroda spoke overnight but reiterated his stance that the economy is improving and inflation is on the rise. This would suggest that any further QE is likely here in the short term. 
  • The Bank of Canada left its interest rate unchanged at 1.00% as widely expected.  From the BoC statement- In sum, the Bank continues to see a gradual strengthening in the fundamental drivers of growth and inflation in Canada. This view hinges critically on the projected upturn in exports and investment. With underlying inflation expected to remain below target for some time, the downside risks to inflation remain important. At the same time, the risks associated with household imbalances remain elevated. The Bank judges that the balance of these risks remains within the zone for which the current stance of monetary policy is appropriate and therefore has decided to maintain the target for the overnight rate at 1 per cent. The timing and direction of the next change to the policy rate will depend on how new information influences the balance of risks. The Canadian dollar fell approx 40 pips on the news but has stabilized at the 1.10 area (FOREX, BONDX). 

10:34AM Interactive Brokers (+9%) at 3 month high after beating Q1 estimates (IBKR) 23.33+ 1.77 : ETFC, AMTD, SCHW

10:31AM Wi-LAN acquires irrigation technology patents and revenue stream (WILN) 2.94 +0.04 :

  • Co's subsidiary has entered partnership agreement with inventors of patented technologies that relate to operation of irrigation control systems.
  • Under the terms of the agreement, WiLAN has assumed responsibility for licensing a patent portfolio. The portfolio has already been licensed and pursuant to the partnership agreement, WiLAN will receive the future revenue stream generated by all existing running royalty agreements. WiLAN will share, with the vendor, future revenues generated by new licenses to the portfolio. The Company did not pay any money up front for rights to the portfolio. Revenues from this agreement are expected to begin contributing to WiLAN's revenue stream in the second quarter of 2014.

10:31AM May crude oil falls to new session low on inventory data; now up 0.6% at $104.33 (COMDX) :  

10:18AM TASER announces 3,279 in new TASER orders; the orders either shipped in Q1 or are expected to ship in Q2 (TASR) 17.48 +0.18 :  

10:11AM Stock indices stall after opening run, pullback limited thus far -- Dow +87, S&P +7.3, Nasdaq Comp +19 (TECHX) : As noted earlier the S&P cut the April breakdown in half off the open and stalled. The slide off the high (1856) has been limited thus far with a continued posture above 1845/1844 during this move leaving the door open for an extension attempt.

9:50AM S&P +8 cuts the April breakdown in half (TECHX) : The solid follow through gains in early trade lifted the S&P up to the 50% retracement of the sharp April breakdown at 1855.82 (session high 1856.49) with some minor slippage noted. 

9:45AM iShares DJ Real Estate modestly firmer, hovering near six week highs (IYR) 68.81 +0.32 : The IYR is firmer but underperforming the S&P this far this morning. However, it has approached its six week highs from Mid-March and last week at 68.85/68.88 (session high 68.82). Its nine month close/intraday highs from early March are at 69.24/69.33.

9:43AM Opening Market Summary: Nasdaq Paces Opening Rally (WRAPX) : As expected, the major averages began the day on an upbeat note. The Nasdaq trades higher by 0.8%, while the S&P 500 sports an early advance of 0.6% with all ten sectors showing gains.

The energy sector (+0.9%) is an early leader as the group carries yesterday's strength into today's session. Crude oil, meanwhile, is higher by 0.8% at $104.58/bbl. Outside of energy, consumer discretionary (+0.8%) and technology (+0.8%) are also among the early leaders, while telecom services (+0.3%) and utilities (+0.3%) lag.

Notably, the tech sector has received a boost from above-consensus earnings reported by Intel (INTC 27.04, +0.27) and Yahoo! (YHOO 36.45, +2.24); however, it is worth mentioning neither company reported year-over-year earnings growth.

On the fixed income side, Treasuries continue holding slim losses with the 10-yr yield up two basis points at 2.65%.

9:38AM Energy Select Sector breaks above early month high at 91.30 to set a new multi-year high of 91.69 (XLE) 91.47 +0.61 : CVX, COP, DVN, XOM, MRO, OXY, SLB, APA ,APC. 

9:35AM S&P +11 clears 50 day and pushes back into positive territory for the year -- Dow +107, Nasdaq Comp +32 (TECHX) : Early relative sector strength has been noted in: Solar TAN, Copper JJC, Internet FDN (YHOO +8.4%), Broker IAI, Biotech IBB, Pharma PPH, Discretionary XLY, Retail XRT, Medical Supplies, Crude Oil USO.

9:31AM Harvard Apparatus Regenerative Tech names Saverio La Francesca, MD as its Chief Medical Officer (HART) 9.10 +0.14 : Co has hired Saverio La Francesca, MD, a veteran cardiothoracic surgeon and leading organ transplant physician, as the Company's first Chief Medical Officer, effective April 14. He joins HART from the Department of Cardiovascular Surgery and Transplantation at the DeBakey Heart and Vascular Center at the Houston Methodist Hospital.

9:30AM China Digital TV announces strategic partnership agreement with Beijing Gehua (STV) 3.08 +0.05 :

  • Co announced that it has reached an agreement with Beijing Gehua CATV Network to establish a strategic partnership on cloud computing technology and related businesses, to cooperate on overseas business expansion, and to enter into an equity investment agreement. 
  • Pursuant to the agreement, Gehua will make an equity investment in the co and hold a 10% stake in Cyber Cloud, a subsidiary of China Digital TV. Meanwhile, China Digital TV will help Gehua build and improve its full media cloud computing platform. As part of this effort the two sides will aim to integrate the content from various media, cross-platform applications, streaming application platforms, cloud gaming and other relevant service offerings. Leveraging this cloud-computing platform, the two companies will integrate content resources and establish a cloud-based content platform. In addition, China Digital TV and Gehua will also strengthen cooperation for multi-end interaction, mobile business and other key areas that will allow them to explore further mobile Internet business opportunities.

9:28AM On The Wires (WIRES) :

  • Concurrent (CCUR) has been awarded U.S. Patent entitled "System, Device, and Method for Delivering Multimedia." The patent defines a process for coordinating the retrieval of multimedia content such as video files, advertisements, and metadata over a public or private network in support of live, video-on-demand, and time-shifted streaming services.
  • Kodak (KODK) and manroland web systems GmbH have signed an agreement to integrate the KODAK PROSPER S20 and S30 Imprinting Systems into webpress lines.
  • Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) and Elisa announced a significant network upgrade that will give Elisa the ultra-broadband capacity needed to meet the demands of next-generation bandwidth-hungry services and applications.
  • Vince (VNCE) announced that its Board of Directors has appointed Eugenia Ulasewicz as a new director, effective immediately. This appointment will bring the total number of directors to seven.
  • GE's Digital Energy business (GE) will provide series compensation capabilities to three of SP Power Systems' facilities in southern Scotland. 
  • RDA Microelectronics (RDA) announced sampling of its RDA5880N, a fully integrated RF front-end tuner IC supporting all worldwide terrestrial and cable TV standards, including DVB-T/T2, ISDBT, ATSC, DTMB, and DVBC. 
  • SGI (SGI) announced a partnership with GIS Federal and NVIDIA (NVDA). The partnership will power a GAIA distributed database for the United States Army Intelligence and Security Command to rapidly render complicated geospatial features and heat maps, providing real-time actionable insights with the goal of saving lives during military operations.
  • SS&C Technologies (SSNC) announced the addition of SS&C PORTIA to SS&C's newly expanded facility in Evansville, Indiana.
  • Vuzix (VUZI) and Evolar introduced smartpick, a solution to provide a more simplified and efficient method for order picking. smartpick utilizes the Vuzix M100 Smart Glasses to offer an easy and affordable way to enable product pickers in warehouses, factories and retail operations to work faster, smarter and with less errors.
  • ANADIGICS (ANAD) is shipping production volumes of its ALT6735 ProEficient-Plus power amplifier to Samsung Electronics (SSNLF) for the new GALAXY S 5.
  • ZAGG (ZAGG) has introduced ZAGG Auto-Fit, a line of Bluetooth keyboards designed to fit most Android tablets.
  • Medbox (MDBX) announced creation of a shareholder due diligence and Q&A page on the co's website. 
  • Carmike Cinemas (CKEC) announced that the co is ready to re-open its newly redesigned 6-screen entertainment complex in Mount Lebanon, PA.
  • Zhone Technologies (ZHNE) announced a new FiberLAN deployment with Aljabr Group at its Alfarouq Residential Compound, located in Jubail Industrial City, Saudi Arabia.
  • Estee Lauder (EL) launched the Jo Malone London brand in Mainland China, at the Mitsukoshi store in Beijing. 
  • Bio-Reference Laboratories (BRLI) has hired Robert Daber to assume the dual role as Director of Research and Development and Director of Cancer Genetics at its Elmwood Park international headquarters.

9:22AM Aaron's receives strong support from franchisees in connection with the co's acquisition of Progressive Finance (AAN) 29.25 : Co announces that it has received strong support from its franchisees in connection with the Company's acquisition of Progressive Finance Holdings, and Aaron's new strategic plan. 

9:21AM Osisko Mining announces acquisition agreement with Yamana Gold (AUY) and Agnico Eagle (AEM); CAD8.15 per share offer provides superior shareholder value (OSKFF) 6.76 :

  • The cos have entered into an agreement pursuant to which Yamana and Agnico Eagle will jointly acquire 100% of Osisko's issued and outstanding common shares for a total consideration of approximately C$3.9 bln or C$8.15 per share. The total offer consists of ~C$1.0 bln in cash, ~C$2.33 bln in Yamana and Agnico Eagle shares, and shares of a new company with an implied value of ~C$575 mln. 
  • Under the Agreement, Yamana and Agnico Eagle will form a joint acquisition entity (with each company owning 50%) which will acquire, by way of a plan of arrangement, all of the outstanding common shares of Osisko. Upon closing of the transaction, Yamana and Agnico Eagle will each own 50% of Osisko, and will form a joint committee to operate the Canadian Malartic mine in Quebec. The partners will also jointly explore and potentially develop the Kirkland Lake assets, and continue the exploration at the Hammond Reef, Pandora, and Wood-Pandora properties. 
  • The total value of the transaction is C$3.9 bln, or C$8.15 per common share of Osisko on a fully diluted basis. Following the completion of the transaction, Osisko shareholders will own approximately 14.4% of Yamana and approximately 16.7% of Agnico Eagle.

9:17AM S&P futures vs fair value: +12.00. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: +27.20. (WRAPX) : The stock market is on track to begin today's session on a strong note as futures on the S&P 500 trade 12 points above fair value. Overnight, China reported its GDP for the first quarter, which was a bit mixed as the annualized reading of 7.4% surpassed estimates (7.3%), while the quarter-over-quarter increased of 1.4% was a bit below expectations (1.5%).

Elsewhere, Japan's Nikkei rallied 3.0% after yesterday's reports from Nikkei indicated Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's cabinet will downgrade its economic assessment in an upcoming report, which would likely invite more easing from the Bank of Japan. Strikingly, the market seemed to ignore comments from BoJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda, who pushed back against the idea of more easing during his appearance before the parliament, saying the country's economy is 'firmly on path to the 2.0% inflation target.'

Domestically, participants received a handful of quarterly reports, including results from Intel (INTC 26.77, 0.00) and Yahoo! (YHOO 37.06, +2.85). Although both companies beat their estimates, it is worth mentioning neither reported year-over-year earnings growth.

Just reported, March industrial production increased 0.7%, which was above the 0.5% increase expected by the Briefing.com consensus. Industrial production for February was revised up to show a 1.2% increase versus an originally reported increase of 0.6%. Separately, capacity utilization hit 79.2% while the Briefing.com consensus called for a reading of 78.8%.

Treasuries hold modest losses with the benchmark 10-yr yield up two basis points at 2.65%.

9:16AM Neuralstem spinal cord injury stem cell trial approved to commence at University Of California, San Diego (CUR) 3.55 : Co announced that the Institutional Review Board of the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine has approved the Phase I safety trial to treat chronic spinal cord injury (cSCI) with its NSI-566 stem cells. "Moving our spinal cord cells into human trials for a second indication in the U.S. is a major step forward for the company."

9:16AM 3D Systems to acquire Robtec; financial terms not disclosed; expected to be immediately accretive to 3DS' cash generation and to contribute to its non-GAAP earnings per share within the first 12 months after closing (DDD) 47.31 :

  • Co announced that it entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Robtec.
  • Under the terms of the definitive agreement, 3DS will acquire 70% of the shares of Robtec at closing and the remainder of the shares on the 5th anniversary of the closing. 
  • The terms of the transaction have not been disclosed. 
  • The transaction provides 3DS with the strongest possible platform for its Quickparts fast-turn, custom manufacturing expansion plans in Latin America and multiplexes its in-region 3D printing and additive manufacturing reseller coverage.

9:12AM Armco Metals to acquire 100% of Draco Resources via a stock exchange valued at ~ $46 mln (AMCO) 0.34 : Co announced that it entered into a stock purchase agreement to acquire 100% of Draco Resources, Inc. ("Draco Resources"), a California-based corporation engaged in the exploration, mining, and trading of iron ore and minerals, via a stock exchange valued at approximately $46 million at the closing price of Armco Metals as of April 15, 2014.

Currently, Draco Resources owns exclusive rights of management, operation, distribution and sale of approximately five million metric tons of iron ore fine in the state of Alabama. Draco Resources commenced its first shipment of 55,000 metric tons on a vessel bound for China in March 2014 and plans to ship out 1 to 3 vessels of that same size to China on a monthly basis or a total of 55,000 to 165,000 metric tons per month over the course of the next four years or until such time as the total 5 million metric ton shipment is completed. Draco Resources expects to generate gross profit of approximately $20 to $30 per metric ton based on the current spot price of iron ore, CFR China.

9:11AM Cesca Therapeutics announces sales & marketing organizational restructuring (KOOL) 1.40 :

  • Co announced the restructuring of its sales, marketing and technical support organization and the appointment of Tim Lee as Director of International Sales. 
  • The restructuring is aimed at further strengthening its cord blood business and new point of care and clinical commercial programs by providing more dedicated resource leadership to each discipline. 
  • The restructuring will realign Hal Baker from his current role as Vice President of Commercial Operations, to an external consulting and advisory role, which will ensure an orderly and seamless transition of his existing responsibilities with specific attention given to cord blood sales and marketing initiatives. 

9:10AM Impax Labs launches generic version of Renvela (IPXL) 24.03 : Co announces that it is commencing shipment of authorized generic RENVELA, which is indicated for the control of serum phosphorus in patients with chronic kidney disease on dialysis. Under the terms of a settlement agreement, Genzyme, a Sanofi company, agreed to grant Impax a license to sell an allotment of a specified number of bottles of an authorized generic version of RENVELA tablets commencing on April 16, 2014.

Impax continues to pursue approval of its pending Abbreviated New Drug Application for generic RENVELA with the FDA. According to IMS Health, U.S. sales of RENVELA Tablets, 800 mg, were approximately $907 million for the 12 months ended February 2014.

9:10AM Higher One announces Marc Sheinbaum has been appointed as President and Chief Executive Officer effective today (ONE) 6.02 : Sheinbaum succeeds Company Co-Founder Mark Volchek, who will work closely with Mr. Sheinbaum to ensure a smooth transition. Mr. Volchek will remain on the Board of Directors and Mr. Sheinbaum will join the Board as an additional member.

Sheinbaum joins Higher One after leading JPMorgan Chase's (JPM) auto and student loan business as President and Chief Executive Officer for six years. Prior to this, Mr. Sheinbaum spent 15 years at GE in its consumer finance business, ultimately serving as President and Chief Executive Officer of GE Money Services (GE unit)

9:05AM General Employment Ent. continues to make progress on its business plan; extension of NYS mkt impairment plan period; completed planned stock sale (JOB) 0.20 :

  • Co to announcd that NYSE MKT has granted the Company an extension of its Impairment Plan Period from March 31, 2014 to June 6, 2014 related to its non-compliance with continued listing standards as set forth in the NYSE MKT Company Guide. 
  • The Company's non-compliance relates to Sections 1003 and 1003 of the NYSE MKT's Company Guide: Specifically, stockholders' equity is less than $4 million and the Company has sustained losses from continuing operations and/or net losses in three of its four most recent fiscal years; and, in the opinion of the NYSE MKT, it is questionable as to whether the Company will be able to continue operations and/or meet its obligations as they mature based on its current overall financial condition.

9:04AM Ecopetrol reports that it has obtained authorization from the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit to arrange for debt emissions in international capital markets in an aggregate amount of up to $2 bln until year 2016. (EC) 41.16 : Co reports that, as part of the procedures required for keeping available different debt alternatives to finance its long-term investment plan, it has obtained authorization from the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit, pursuant to Resolution 1174 of April 9, 2014, to arrange for debt emissions in international capital markets in an aggregate amount of up to $2 bln until year 2016. 

9:04AM WellPoint named Martin Silverstein as chief strategy officer, effective April 28 (WLP) 96.47 : Dr. Silverstein joins WellPoint from The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) where he was a Senior Partner and Managing Director.

9:03AM Bloomin' Brands Announces Proposed Refinancing of Senior Secured Credit Facilities (BLMN) 22.88 : The existing Credit Facilities provide for senior secured financing of up to $1.225 bln, consisting of a $1.0 bln Term Loan B and a $225.0 mln revolving credit facility, which mature in October 2019 and October 2017, respectively. The new facilities are expected to consist of a $200.0 mln Term Loan A and a $400.0 mln revolving credit facility, each maturing five years after the closing date.

9:03AM Five Star Quality Care files restated financial statements for 2011, 2012 and the first and second quarters of 2013 (FVE) 4.74 : Co announces that it has filed restated financial results for 2011, 2012 and the first and second quarters of 2013. 
The net effects of correcting errors during the restatement process compared to the previously published financial statements are as follows: 

  • Increases to shareholders' equity of $6.7 mln and $8.1 mln at December 31, 2012 and 2011, respectively. 
  • A decrease to net income of $1.4 mln (~$0.04 per share) for the year ended December 31, 2012 and an increase to net income of $6.6 mln (~$0.14 per share) for the year ended December 31, 2011. 
  • An increase to shareholders' equity of $6.9 mln at March 31, 2013. 
  • An increase to net income of $205,000 (less than $0.01 per share) and $103,000 (less than $0.01 per share) for the three months ended March 31, 2013 and 2012, respectively. 
  • An increase to shareholders' equity of $7.0 mln at June 30, 2013. 
  • A decrease to net income of $27,000 (less than $0.01 per share) and an increase to net income of $178,000 (less than $0.01 per share) for the three and six months ended June 30, 2013, respectively. 
  • Increases to net income of $272,000 (less than $0.01 per share) and $375,000 (less than $0.01 per share) for the three month and six months ended June 30, 2012, respectively. 

9:02AM Orbitz refinances term loans and upsizes revolving credit facility (OWW) 7.42 :

  • Co ahas successfully completed the refinancing of its $440 mln outstanding senior secured term loans with a new $450 mln term loan maturing April 2021. Proceeds of the refinancing were used to repay the $93 mln Tranche B term loan maturing September 2017 and the $348 mln Tranche C term loan maturing March 2019. The $450 mln term loan accrues interest at LIBOR, subject to a floor of 1.0 percent, plus 3.5 percent. The previous term loans carried a weighted average interest rate of LIBOR, subject to the same floor, plus 4.49 percent at March 31, 2014. The refinancing reduces the weighted average interest rate of the company's senior secured debt as of March 31, 2014 by approximately one percentage point and extends the weighted average life to maturity by more than two years. 
  • The company also achieved more flexible financial covenants and improved other terms in the amended credit agreement. 
  • Additionally, the company secured an $80 mln revolving credit facility that matures in April 2019, replacing its $65 mln revolving credit facility which was to mature in March 2017. The revolving credit facility will be used for letters of credit and general corporate purposes.

9:01AM Albany Molecular realigns discovery and development services to support customer demand; co estimates that it will incur certain one-time cash and non-cash charges related to the reduction in force and other transition activities between $5.75-6.50 mln (AMRI) 15.91 : Co announced that it will be transitioning Discovery and Development Services (DDS) activities at its Syracuse, N.Y. site to other sites within AMRI and will cease operations in Syracuse by the end of June 2014. The actions taken today are consistent with AMRI's ongoing efforts to consolidate its facility resources to more effectively utilize its discovery and development resource pool and to further reduce its facility cost structure.

-AMRI estimates that it will incur certain one-time cash and non-cash charges related to the reduction in force and other transition activities between $5.75-6.50 mln

8:59AM Banco Santander issues JPY$27.3 bln in the Japanese Pro-Bond Market (BSAC) 23.42 : Co launched a new bond issue, this time in the Tokyo Pro-Bond Market for an amount of JPY$27.3 billion. This issue was just the second globally in the TPBM and the first from Latin America. Additionally, it was the largest issue by a Chilean firm in Japan to date.

8:58AM Hartford Financial signs $500 mln agreement with IBM to move IT to the cloud; (HIG) 33.96 : HIG and IBM announced a new six-year technology services agreement to implement a new service model that includes a private cloud infrastructure. The partnership supports The Hartford's strategy to drive profitable growth and increase operational effectiveness as it continues to focus on its property and casualty, group benefits and mutual funds businesses.

The Hartford will move to a private cloud-based infrastructure on IBM's PureFlex System. Under the $500 million agreement, IBM will also provide a number of other services related to mainframe, storage, backup and resiliency. The Hartford will define the services it requires, and IBM will be responsible for the solution and delivery of those services.

8:56AM S&P futures vs fair value: +10.40. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: +25.00. (WRAPX) : The S&P 500 futures trade ten points above fair value.

Markets across Asia ended mostly higher, buoyed by yesterday's Nikkei report suggesting Japan is set to downgrade its economic assessment in the upcoming April 17. If a downgrade were to occur, it would raise expectations the central bank would boost its QE program; however, it should be noted Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda spoke overnight, indicating the Japanese economy is strengthening and wage inflation is beginning to take hold.

Data out of China showed a GDP beat in the year-over-year reading (7.4% versus expected 7.3%), while the quarter-over-quarter reading increased 1.4% (consensus 1.5%). Also of note, Industrial Production (8.8% year-over-year versus expected 9.1%) and Fixed Income Investment (17.6% year-over-year versus expected 18.1%) both missed, while Retail Sales beat (12.2% versus expected 12.1%).

  • Japan's Nikkei surged 3.0% off six-month lows. Heavyweight Softbank provided support, soaring 8.5% in response to the strong quarterly results from its affiliate Alibaba Group.
  • Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.1%, holding its 100-day moving average. Exporter Li & Fung outperformed, climbing 1.0%. 
  • China's Shanghai Composite ticked up 0.2% and held both its 100- and 200-day moving averages. Brokerage shares continued to see gains with Industrial Securities rising 1.3%.
Major European indices trade higher across the board with Italy's MIB (+2.4%) pacing the rally. Participants received several data points this morning. Eurozone current account surplus narrowed to EUR21.90 billion from EUR25.40 billion (expected EUR22.30 billion). CPI increased 0.9% month-over-month (consensus 1.0%, prior 0.3%), while the annualized reading rose 0.5%, as expected. Also of note, core CPI increased 0.7% year-over-year (expected 0.8%, prior 1.0%). Elsewhere, Great Britain's Claimant Count decreased 30,400 (expected -30,000, previous -37,000) and the Unemployment rate ticked down to 6.9% from 7.1% (expected 7.1%). Separately, Average Earnings Index + Bonus rose 1.7% (expected 1.8%, prior 1.4%). Also of note, Italy's trade surplus expanded to EUR2.62 billion from EUR360 million (consensus EUR1.27 billion).
  • Great Britain's FTSE is higher by 0.5% with consumer names in the lead. Burberry, ITV, and Sports Direct International hold gains between 2.6% and 6.3%. Sports Direct is the top performer of the bunch after Bank of America/Merrill Lynch hiked its price target for the stock. 
  • In France, the CAC trades up 1.0%. Financials AXA and Credit Agricole are among the leaders, up 1.8% and 2.0%, respectively. Danone underperforms with a loss of 0.6%. 
  • Germany's DAX holds an advance of 1.1%. Exporters BMW, Daimler, and Volkswagen are contributing to the strength with gains between 1.0% and 1.9%. Adidas is the weakest index component, down 0.2%. 
  • Italy's MIB trades higher by 2.4% Banca Popolare di Milano, Mediobanca, and UniCredit hold gains between 3.4% and 4.1%.

8:56AM xG Technology priced an underwritten public offering of 5.265 mln shares of common stock at a public offering price of $1.90/share (XGTI) 2.17 :  

8:55AM Morgans Hotel Group sends letter to stockholders and files definitive proxy materials; states Kerrisdale's proposed slate could permanently impair company's value (MHGC) 7.32 :

  • Key Points of the letter: 
    • Letter highlights board's oversight of significant improvement and continued commitment to maximizing value for all stockholders 
    • States Kerrisdale's proposed slate could permanently impair company's value 
    • Recommends Stockholders vote "for" company's nine highly qualified director nominees at annual meeting to be held on May 14, 2014.
"The Morgans' Board of Directors also sent a letter today to stockholders highlighting the significant progress underway at the Company and the value this Board is responsible for creating since being elected to replace the Company's prior board at the 2013 annual meeting.  The letter also urges stockholders to vote "FOR" the Company's nine highly qualified, experienced nominees."

"In just ten months, your Board has made significant progress in restoring value at Morgans and positioning the Company for growth. However, in an effort to advance its own self-serving agenda, we believe Kerrisdale has misrepresented key facts about our business, as well as the critical corrective measures this Board has taken.  Either Kerrisdale simply doesn't understand the industry and situation, or it has failed to undertake basic due diligence."

"Kerrisdale's assertion that the reduction in Morgans' corporate expense structure and focus on profitability aren't of key importance demonstrates just how little it knows about how to sell a business or operate it efficiently. We've made substantial progress in mere months, and see a clear path to realizing continued efficiencies throughout the organization and at our properties."

8:48AM Baxter meets primary efficacy endpoint in Phase 3 trial of BAX 111, investigational stand-alone recombinant treatment for von Willebrand disease (BAX) 73.36 :

  • Co announced topline results from a Phase 3 clinical trial evaluating the safety, efficacy and pharmacokinetics (PK) of BAX 111. BAX 111 is a recombinant von Willebrand factor (rVWF) under investigation for the treatment of bleeding episodes in patients with von Willebrand disease, the most common type of inherited bleeding disorder. The study of BAX 111, the first recombinant treatment in clinical development for this condition, met its primary efficacy endpoint, as all patients achieved pre-specified success in the on-demand treatment of bleeding events (100%, 22 of 22 patients who experienced bleeds in the trial).
  • The primary endpoint was the number of patients experiencing successful treatment for bleeding episodes. Secondary endpoints included additional efficacy and safety measures, pharmacokinetics and health-related quality of life (HRQoL).
  • There were no reports of inhibitor development or thrombotic events in the study participants. 
  • Co intends to file for approval in the United States before the end of 2014 and, based on these results, intends to pursue a study of BAX 111 in a prophylaxis treatment setting before the end of the year.

8:48AM European Markets Update: FTSE +0.6%, CAC +1.0%, DAX +1.1%, MIB +2.4% (SUMRX) : Major European indices trade higher across the board with Italy's MIB (+2.4%) pacing the rally. Participants received several data points this morning. Eurozone current account surplus narrowed to EUR21.90 billion from EUR25.40 billion (expected EUR22.30 billion). CPI increased 0.9% month-over-month (consensus 1.0%, prior 0.3%), while the annualized reading rose 0.5%, as expected. Also of note, core CPI increased 0.7% year-over-year (expected 0.8%, prior 1.0%). Elsewhere, Great Britain's Claimant Count decreased 30,400 (expected -30,000, previous -37,000) and the Unemployment rate ticked down to 6.9% from 7.1% (expected 7.1%). Separately, Average Earnings Index + Bonus rose 1.7% (expected 1.8%, prior 1.4%). Also of note, Italy's trade surplus expanded to EUR2.62 billion from EUR360 million (consensus EUR1.27 billion).

  • Great Britain's FTSE is higher by 0.6% with consumer names in the lead. Burberry, ITV, and Sports Direct International hold gains between 2.6% and 6.3%. Sports Direct is the top performer of the bunch after Bank of America/Merrill Lynch hiked its price target for the stock. 
  • In France, the CAC trades up 1.0%. Financials AXA and Credit Agricole are among the leaders, up 1.8% and 2.0%, respectively. Danone underperforms with a loss of 0.6%. 
  • Germany's DAX holds an advance of 1.1%. Exporters BMW, Daimler, and Volkswagen are contributing to the strength with gains between 1.0% and 1.9%. Adidas is the weakest index component, down 0.2%. 
  • Italy's MIB trades higher by 2.4% Banca Popolare di Milano, Mediobanca, and UniCredit hold gains between 3.4% and 4.1%.

8:47AM On The Wires (WIRES) :

  • Mellanox Technologies (MLNX) announced its 10/40GbE adapters for rack servers and 10GbE mezzanine adapters for blades are now available with Dell Fluid Cache for SAN.
  • Verint Systems (VRNT) announced that a managed care health plan provider is implementing its Impact 360 Workforce Management in a number of its back-office and contact center operations.
  • Minnesota Power, an ALLETE (ALE) co, this week applied to state and federal regulators for permits to build the 500-kilovolt Great Northern Transmission Line from the Minnesota-Manitoba border to an electric substation on the Mesabi Iron Range. 
  • Apricus Biosciences (APRI) announced that Takeda Pharma International GmbH (TKPYY), the co's partner in the UK, has accepted the first shipment of Vitaros, Apricus' novel topical on-demand treatment for erectile dysfunction.
  • RPX (RPXC) launched a new insurance service for businesses facing patent infringement litigation with non-practicing entities. 
  • Edgewater Ranzal, a subsidiary of Edgewater Technology (EDGW), released Lightning Cloud for SG&A, a pre-built EPM application using Oracle (ORCL) Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service. 
  • Hooper Holmes (HH) and Clinical Reference Laboratory have entered into a Strategic Alliance Agreement under which CRL will become Hooper Holmes' exclusive provider of laboratory testing services and Hooper Holmes will become a member of CRL's preferred provider network for wellness programs. HH will also sell the assets and businesses comprising Heritage Labs International and Hooper Holmes Services to CRL for $3.7 mln.

8:45AM Syngenta reports Q1, revenue rises 5% YoY (SYT) 76.24 : Switzerland-based seed/crop protection play Syngenta reported earnings results overnight.

A few highlights:

  • Strong start to European season
  • Ongoing emerging market growth
  • North American season delayed by weather
  • On track to achieve full year sales growth target

SYT is a world agribusiness operating in the Crop Protection and Seeds business, which is involved in the discovery, development, manufacture and marketing of a range of products designed to improve crop yields and food quality, and in the Lawn and Garden business, which provides professional growers and consumers with flowers, turf and landscape products.

Some peers of SYT include MON, DD and DOW. In the quarter, 28% of SYT's revenue came from seed sales, while 72% came from crop protection services.

Sales in Q1 rose by 5% YoY at constant exchange rates. The increase in reported sales was 2% owing to the depreciation of a number of emerging market currencies against the dollar.

In Europe, Africa and the Middle East growth of 10% was driven primarily by crop protection, with an early start to the season and high weed, disease and insect pressure. Growth continued in the CIS despite political instability, with price increases partly offsetting local currency depreciation.

In North America, prolonged cold temperatures delayed the start to the US season across the corn belt, while drought in California reduced demand for insecticides and fungicides. Canada saw good growth with the continuing success of VIBRANCE seedcare and the expansion of canola and sugar beet seed sales.

In Latin America the pace of growth improved compared with the fourth quarter of 2013 despite dry conditions in Brazil and Argentina. High caterpillar pressure contributed to a significant increase in insecticide sales and in Venezuela business resumed following resolution of a payment delay. Sales of ELATUS progressed well in Paraguay and Bolivia; registration in Brazil was announced on February 28.

In Asia Pacific, growth was strong across both developed and emerging markets. In Australasia, herbicide sales in particular benefited from distributor support for our early season offers and from rainfall in March. In China, sales of AMISTAR technology doubled with expansion on rice and vegetables; South Asia saw strong demand for both crop protection and seeds in rice.

8:34AM LightPath announces private placement to Pudong Science and Technology; will result in Pudong beneficially owning 19.9% of the co's outstanding shares of Common Stock; initial per share purchase price is $1.62 (LPTH) 1.45 : Co announces that it executed a Securities Purchase Agreement with Pudong Science & Technology for a private placement of the Company's Class A Common Stock. LightPath will sell to Pudong a number of shares to be determined that will result in Pudong beneficially owning 19.9% of the Company's outstanding shares of Common Stock immediately after issuance of the shares of Company Stock pursuant to the SPA. 

  • The initial per share purchase price is $1.62, subject to adjustment at the closing of the sale pursuant to the terms of the SPA. As adjusted, the final per share purchase price may be higher or lower than the initial per share purchase price, but in no event shall the per share purchase price be less than $1.40.

8:33AM ChinaNet Online postpones FY13 earnings call (CNET) 1.33 : Co announced that it will not be able to file its 2013 Form 10-K within the prescribed time period previously communicated. The conference call originally scheduled at 8:30 am ET on Thursday, April 17, 2014 to discuss its fiscal year 2013 results will be rescheduled at a later date after the 10-K has been filed.

  • On April 15, 2014, the Company determined that it would not be able to file the 2013 Form 10-K by April 15, 2014 due to the fact that management of the Company was unable to timely finalize the Company's financial statements, footnotes and related disclosures without assistance and supervision of Mr. George Chu, the Company's Chief Operating Officer who has been hospitalized. The Company is working diligently to complete the 2013 Form 10-K and will file it as soon as practicable. 

8:33AM S&P futures vs fair value: +12.10. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: +29.70. (WRAPX) : The S&P 500 futures trade 12 points above fair value.

Housing Starts for March increased to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 946,000, which was worse than the Briefing.com consensus estimate of 955,000. The prior month's reading was revised up to 920,000 from 907,000. Building Permits fell to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 990,000, which was worse than the Briefing.com consensus estimate of 1,003,000. The February reading was revised down to 1,014,000 from 1,018,000.

8:32AM LiveDeal announces completion of livedeal.com Apple (AAPL) iOS mobile application submittal to the Apple's app store for approval (LIVE) 4.46 :

  • Co announced that it has completed the development of the livedeal.com iOS mobile App and has entered it into Apple's (AAPL) submission process. The Company anticipates Apple's approval shortly. 
  • After months of development and analyzing user trends and feedback, the Company has completed the first version of its iOS App which will allow avid iPhone users to enjoy the ability to find local restaurant deals in a very efficient way. Typically Apple approves apps for within two weeks and the Company is confident that it fully meets Apple's standards.

8:31AM Dehaier Medical Systems acquired multiple international players' authorization for Chinese government procurement (DHRM) 6.17 :

  • Co announced that it will serve as the exclusive product-appointed distribution agent for some of the world's leading medical equipment companies in bidding for multiple government procurement projects in China, the procurement projects we are bidding for are designated by these companies. 
  • The appointed products the co is authorized for the procurement include Harmonic System from Johnson & Johnson Medical (Shanghai), the MasterScreen pulmonary function testing system from CareFusion (Shanghai) Commercial and Trading, ventilator from Weinmann GmbH + Co. KG, infusion pump from B. Braun Medical (Shanghai) International Trading, spectrophotometer from Shimadzu (China) and portable color Doppler ultrasound, versatile anesthesia machine and multi-parameter monitor from Mindray Medical International Limited. The aggregate value of the procurement projects is expected to be ~ $21 million.

8:31AM RF Industries' Board of Directors announces stock repurchase program of up to 500K shares of the co's common stock (RFIL) 5.85 :

  • Co announced that its Board of Directors has authorized the repurchase of up to 500,000 shares of the Company's common stock. Share repurchases, if any, will be made in the open market. 
  • The Company intends to effect any share purchases in compliance with SEC Rule 10b-18. 
  • The timing and actual number of shares repurchased will depend on a variety of factors including price, market conditions and applicable legal requirements. 

8:31AM ATK announces $178 mln contract award from united launch alliance to build composite launch vehicle structures (ATK) 135.64 : Co announces it has reached agreement on a $178 mln contract award as part of the Air Force's Phase 1 Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle buy from United Launch Alliance. The order value includes hardware for both of the current United States Air Force EELV launch vehicles, the Atlas V and Delta IV. The initial contracting period includes large composite structures with deliveries commencing in AFY14 and continuing into early AFY18. The option period includes hardware deliveries in AFY17 through AFY19. 

8:30AM Market View: Front-month Jun. index futures remain bid above fair values following the 8:30 a.m. ET Mar. Housing Starts & Building Permits data- (TECHX) :

  • ESm4 currently trades @ 1847.00 +7.50

  • NQm4 currently trades @ 3507.25 +16.00

8:26AM On The Wires (WIRES) :

  • Grana y Montero (GRAM) was awarded with the Buena Pro for the project "1814 - PAD 1 Phase III - Cerro Verde", of the client Sociedad Minera Cerro Verde S.A.A. The project has a period of execution of 12 months and consists on earth movement and geosynthetic placement of PAD 1 Phase III, in Cerro Verde Mine located in the province of Arequipa.
  • Proofpoint (PFPT) announced that Brinker Capital implemented Proofpoint Archiver for Chatter to capture and archive content from the enterprise social platform. 
  • Cypress Semiconductor (CY) announced that American Semiconductor has chosen Cypress Foundry Solutions to develop and manufacture custom optical devices.
  • Invisalign, designed, manufactured and marketed by Align Tech (ALGN), announced availability of Invisalign G5, a collection of new features and technology innovations.
  • Broadcom (BRCM) announced that Lava International selected Broadcom's quad-core HSPA+ turnkey platform for Lava's newly released QPAD e704 tablet.
  • Exceed (EDS) has adjourned its extraordinary general meeting of shareholders. Mr. Lin has advised the co that he requires additional time to obtain his contemplated financing for the pending transaction. Apart from the motion to adjourn, no other business was conducted at the extraordinary general meeting of shareholders on April 16, 2014.
  • IFM Investments (CTC) is collaborating with The South China Morning Post to launch the SCMP-CTC Index, a price index for secondary homes in Beijing and Shanghai. 
  • iKang Healthcare (KANG) announced the launch of its new website, www.ikanggroup.com.
  • Accenture (ACN) has been selected by the Boston Children's Hospital to develop a strategy to help streamline the consumer experience, from scheduling an appointment to paying a bill.
  • Cognex (CGNX) has received purchase orders totaling more than $3 mln from a U.S.-based designer of logistics automation systems.

8:25AM On The Wires (WIRES) :

  • Textura (TXTR) announced that Saunders Construction selected Textura-CPM to improve the construction management process.
  • Qlik (QLIK) announced that Unicer has implemented QlikView across multiple areas of the business.
  • NCR (NCR) announced that Lloyds Banking (LYG) selected NCR SelfServ cash dispense and cash deposit ATMs to upgrade over 1,200 ATMs in the U.K.
  • Shoe Carnival (SCVL) announced its collaboration with Lifetime's Devious Maids to further promote the co's first national, integrated advertising campaign.
  • Yasheng (HERB) and Natural Capital Investment have now adjusted all the relevant documentation to reflect the change of name and the two companies are taking all the necessary steps to complete the relevant documentation to be able to start a joint operation to conduct the acquisition, development and commercialisation of land-based assets representing high value both in terms of income and positive eco-social impacts in the developing world, Latin America in particular.
  • Dyax (DYAX) announced the appointment of Todd Bazemore as Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer.
  • Novatel Wireless (NVTL) announced that the SA 2100 has received certification for Verizon Wireless' (VZ) network as well as certifications from Conformite Europeenne, the Global Certification Forum and PTCRB to operate in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. 
  • PROS (PRO) announced plans to showcase its Cameleon CPQ solution in nine cities of the Salesforce 1 World Tour.

8:24AM Carrol's Restaurant Group announced the launch of a public offering of up to $60 million of its common stock (TAST) 7.04 :

  • Co announced the launch of a public offering of up to $60 million of its common stock. All of the shares will be offered by the Company.
  • The Company intends to use the net proceeds of the Public Offering to accelerate the remodeling of the Company's restaurants to Burger King Corporation's 20/20 restaurant image, to acquire additional franchised Burger King restaurants, and, to a lesser extent, develop new restaurants and for other general corporate purposes.

8:21AM Gapping down (SCANX) : In reaction to disappointing earnings/guidance: ASML -5.7%, CS -3%, LLTC -1.9%, BAC -0.9% (and despite Barron's profiling positive view on Bank of America), INTC -0.1%, (also downgraded to Neutral from Buy at B. Riley & Co).

Metals/mining stocks trading lower: HMY -1.9%, AU -1.3%, ABX -0.5%, SLV -0.5%, GDX -0.5%, GLD -0.2%.

Other news: CRDC -9.6% ( priced an underwritten public offering of ~32.5 mln shares of its common stock, offered at a price to the public of $0.85/share), ATHL -1.2% (announces 11 mln share public offering of common stock, launches proposed $500 mln senior notes offering; announced first quarter 2014 production), HSBC -0.4% (following CS results).

Analyst comments: NTAP -1.3% (downgraded to Neutral from Buy at UBS), UNH -0.5% (downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Citigroup)

8:17AM LyondellBasell increases interim dividend to $0.70 per share, an increase of 17% from co's 1Q14 interim dividend; announces shareholders approved proposal to authorize the co to repurchase up to an additional 10% of the co's outstanding shares over the next 18 months (LYB) 89.55 : "The company has already repurchased ~ 46 million shares to date and expects to have repurchased the entire 10% of the original authority given by shareholders in 2013 by the end of May 2014."

8:16AM Denbury Resources announced that it has filed a registration statement with the SEC relating to the public offering of $1.1 bln of Senior Subordinated Notes due 2022 (DNR) 16.59 :

  • Co announced that it has filed a registration statement with the SEC relating to the public offering of $1.1 billion of Senior Subordinated Notes due 2022. 
  • Denbury intends to use the net proceeds from the offering to fund all or substantially all of the costs of its repurchase of all $996.3 million aggregate outstanding principal amount of its 8 % Senior Subordinated Notes due 2020, for which a tender offer and consent solicitation was announced earlier today.
  • To the extent the Company purchases less than all of the outstanding 2020 Notes in the Tender Offer or the Tender Offer is not consummated for any reason, pursuant to the make-whole provision in the indenture governing the 2020 Notes in connection with a satisfaction and discharge of such indenture, the Company intends to use the net proceeds from the offering to redeem the 2020 Notes not purchased in the Tender Offer.

8:14AM Gapping up (SCANX) : In reaction to strong earnings/guidance: YHOO +7.9% (also upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Wells Fargo), IBKR +6.2%, PNC +2% (light volume), CSX +0.6%, STJ +1.5% (light volume), USB +0.2%.

M&A related: ANN +0.2% (after late spike on Deal.com story suggesting LBO interest ),  ZLCS (Zalicus and Epirus Biopharmaceuticals enter into a definitive agreement under which Epirus will merge with a wholly-owned subsidiary of Zalicus in an all-stock transaction).

Select oil/gas related names showing strength: WFT +1.5% (positive Barclays comments suggesting potential upside), BP +0.9%, STO +0.8%, LPI +0.8% ( initiated with an Outperform at Robert W. Baird)

China internet names higher -- boosted by Alibaba results and near-term IPO: DANG +4.5%, YOKU +3.8% ( upgraded to Neutral from Sell at Goldman; removed from Asia Pacific Sell list ),  QIHU +2.2%, BIDU +1.6%, SINA +1.5%, YY +1.2%, WUBA +1.1%, VIPS +0%,  

A few large cap pharma/drug names modestly higher: TEVA +1.8% (positive MadMoney mention), NVS +1.4%, SHPG +0.9% 

Battery related names highsBLDP +6% (confirmed earnings release date on April 29 before the open), PLUG +2.7% ( will hold a business update call on April 21 at 10:00; Q1 call May 14 at 10:00), TSLA +2.2% (Tesla Motors and Sinopec to discuss charging station deal, according to reports), FCEL +2.2%

Other news: WAVX +21.4% (continued strength), CBLI +16.7% (Announces the Successful Completion of a Phase 1 Study of CBL0102; study successfully achieved both the primary and secondary objectives), ZGNX +13.2% (confirmed ruling preventing the implementation of Massachusetts Governor's order that prevented access to Zohydro ER), EGLE +11.8% ( announces extension to waiver and forbearance agreement), CANA +11.5% (appoints Munjit Johal Treasurer & Chief Financial Officer), SODA +8% ( speculation of stake sale), YGE +7.2% (Yingli Green Energy signs cooperation agreement with Sailing Capital to jointly form a one billion RMB Renewable Energy Fund), DXCM +5.4% (positive MadMoney mention), KING +5% (King Digital and and Tencent announce the launch of Candy Crush Saga in China), RGEN +3.3% (to join the S&P SmallCap 600), SPLK +2.5% (continued strength following yesterday's 6%+ move higher), WWE +2.2% (announced that WrestleMania launch update; reached record 1 mln households in the U.S.), ATRS +2.1% (Announces additional patent coverage for OTREXUP), JCP +1.5% (still checking), DAL +1.2% (positive MadMoney mention), JCI +1.1% ( to acquire Air Distribution Technologies for $1.6 billion; expected to close by the end of July), GOOG +1% (following YHOO results), TGA +0.9% (announces postponement of Annual and Special Meeting of Shareholders), NOK +0.9% (has increased on cell touch panel orders, according to reports), TM +0.9% (Japan automakers plan 30% increase in production, according to reports ), JNJ +0.5% (modestly higher following positive Barron's mention), BHP +0.4% (BHP Billiton reports 9-month operations update), HLF +0.3% (following late move higher on NY Times story that is a small defense of the investigation).

Analyst comments: VE +3.2% (upgraded to Neutral frpm Underperform at Exane BNP Paribas), YELP +3.1% (upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Citigroup), NMBL +3% (upgraded to Buy from Neutral at UBS), CREE +2.3% (upgraded to Buy from Hold at Needham), TWTR +1.5% (upgraded to Neutral from Underperform at Sterne Agee), AMZN +1.3% (upgraded to Buy from Hold at Argus , Dash getting positive early reviews, according to reports), CTRL +1% (Control4 upgraded to Strong Buy from Outperform at Raymond James), GPC +0.9% (upgraded to Neutral from Sell at Goldman), SBGL +0.8% (Sibanye Gold initiated with an Outperform at Imperial Capital)

8:12AM Denbury Resources commences offer for 8 1/4% senior subordinated notes due 2020 (DNR) 16.59 :

  • Co announced that it has commenced a cash tender offer to purchase any and all of its outstanding $996,273,000 aggregate principal amount of 8 % senior subordinated notes due 2020.
  • In conjunction with the Offer, and on the terms and subject to the conditions set forth in the Offer Documents, the Company is soliciting consents of holders of the Notes to, among other things, eliminate most of the restrictive covenants and certain events of default contained in the indenture governing the Notes. Holders that tender their Notes in the Offer will be considered to have validly delivered their Consents to the proposed amendments to the indenture governing the Notes.
  • The total consideration for each $1,000 principal amount of Notes purchased pursuant to the Offer will be $1,101.58. The total consideration for the Notes includes a consent payment of $30 per $1,000 principal amount of the Notes payable only in respect of Notes tendered with Consents at or before the Consent Payment Deadline.
  • Denbury has retained Wells Fargo Securities to serve as the Dealer Manager and Solicitation Agent in connection with the Offer and the Consent Solicitation.

8:06AM Sensient: FrontFour comments on discussions with SXT regarding the election of directors; notes Sensient Board was unwilling to consider the resignation of even 1 incumbent director (SXT) 52.78 : FrontFour Capital Group issued statement regarding discussions with Sensient Technologies (SXT) regarding the election of directors at the upcoming annual meeting of shareholders.  
(in summary)
"On the Company's first quarter 2014 earnings call held on April 15th, Sensient CEO, Paul Manning, claimed he initiated discussions with FrontFour to settle the current election contest.  Manning claimed that he had offered to appoint to the Company's board of directors (the "Board") after the Annual Meeting, a candidate mutually agreeable to the Company and FrontFour.  Manning claimed this offer was a "very reasonable, pragmatic and fair approach" and that "despite [his] best intentions," the offer was rejected by FrontFour...Mr. Manning's comments on governance directly contradict the view of two leading proxy advisory firms and confirms FrontFour's view that the CEO of Sensient will benefit from independent oversight.  Consider the following:

Institutional Shareholder Services, Inc. recently stated in their report relating to the Annual Meeting, "A litany of governance concerns and related party activities over the lengthy tenures of the incumbent directors... raise serious concerns about the board's oversight and the effectiveness of corporate governance at this company."   

Glass Lewis & Co., LLC also concluded, "the recently announced strategic initiatives, share repurchase and governance changes, appear to be a reaction to the Dissident's engagement, drawing into question the incumbent board's motivation to ensure shareholder value is being maximized in the absence of a direct threat to their tenure."  

With the two leading proxy advisory firms recommending that shareholder vote for ALL four of FrontFour's director nominees, FrontFour urges all shareholders to vote the GREEN proxy card today to elect FrontFour's highly qualified director nominees."

8:06AM Grana y Montero announces award of new contract (GRAM) 17.35 : Co announced it was awarded with the Buena Pro for the project "1814 - PAD 1 Phase III - Cerro Verde", of the client Sociedad Minera Cerro Verde S.A.A. The project has a period of execution of 12 months and consists on earth movement and geosynthetic placement of PAD 1 Phase III, in Cerro Verde Mine located in the province of Arequipa.

8:05AM Widepoint subsidiary iSYS has been approved by GSA's Managed Mobility Program Office as potential source for Mobile Lifecycle and Expense Management for the federal government (WYY) 1.37 :  

8:04AM Johnson Controls to acquire Air Distribution Technologies for $1.6 billion; expected to close by the end of July (JCI) 45.96 : Co announced it has reached a definitive agreement with the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board to acquire its Air Distribution Technologies business, one of the strongest and largest independent providers of air distribution and ventilation products in North America, for approximately $1.6 billion.   

8:03AM IntelGenx announces receipt of an additional U.S. Patent allowance related to proprietary technology (IGXT) 0.86 : Co announced that it has received a Notice of Allowance ("NOA") from the United States Patent and Trademark Office for U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 12/836,810 entitled "Oral mucoadhesive dosage form" which covers IntelGenx' proprietary AdVersa(TM) mucoadhesive drug delivery technology. This NOA concludes the examination of the U.S. patent application and will result in the issuance of a U.S. patent after the administrative process is completed.

8:02AM Amyris successfully restarts industrial production in Brazil; later this year will add patchouli for the fragrance industry (AMRS) 3.17 : "In 2013, we successfully scaled our Brotas plant with record volumes of farnesene produced, started contract manufacturing initial volumes of our first fragrance molecule, and significantly expanded our customer and product portfolio. In 2014, as I wrote in my letter to our stockholders in our Annual Report, we expect to build on this success as we plan deliver not just one -- but two -- high-value renewable molecules from our Brotas plant, demonstrating the benefits to our partners of industrializing synthetic biology. We are pleased with the successful scale-up of three fermentation molecules and the successful restart of our plant, as well as recently announced additions to and expansions of our collaboration portfolio."

8:02AM S&P futures vs fair value: +11.40. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: +28.20. (WRAPX) : U.S. equity futures hover near their pre-market highs amid upbeat action overseas. The S&P 500 futures trade 11 points above fair value.

Reviewing overnight developments:

  • Asian markets posted gains. Hong Kong's Hang Seng +0.1%, China's Shanghai Composite +0.2%, and Japan's Nikkei +3.0%. 
    • In economic data: 
      • China's Q1 GDP rose 7.4% year-over-year (expected 7.3%, prior 7.7%), while the quarter-over-quarter reading increased 1.4% (consensus 1.5%, previous 1.8%). Industrial Production rose 8.8% year-over-year (expected 9.0%, prior 8.6%), Retail Sales jumped 12.2% year-over-year (consensus 12.1%, last 11.8%), and Fixed Asset Investment increased 17.6% year-over-year (forecast 18.1%, previous 17.9%). 
      • Japan's Industrial Production fell 2.3% month-over-month, as expected, while capacity utilization decreased 2.6% (previous 5.9%). 
      • Australia's MI Leading Index was unchanged month-over-month (last -0.1%). 
      • New Zealand's CPI ticked up 0.3% quarter-over-quarter (consensus 0.5%, prior 0.1%), while the year-over-year reading increased 1.5% (expected 1.7%, previous 1.6%). 
    • In news: 
      • The release of data from China gave a boost to global risk assets while pressuring the yen. The dollar/yen pair rallied from 102.00 to its 50-day moving average in the 102.40 area before retreating from that level. Currently, the yen trades near 102.27 against the dollar.
  • Major European indices trade higher across the board. Great Britain's FTSE +0.4%, France's CAC +0.9%, and Germany's DAX +0.9%. Elsewhere, Spain's IBEX +1.2% and Italy's MIB +2.2%. 
    • Participants received several data points: 
      • Eurozone current account surplus narrowed to EUR21.90 billion from EUR25.40 billion (expected EUR22.30 billion). CPI increased 0.9% month-over-month (consensus 1.0%, prior 0.3%), while the annualized reading rose 0.5%, as expected. Also of note, core CPI increased 0.7% year-over-year (expected 0.8%, prior 1.0%). 
      • Great Britain's Claimant Count decreased 30,400 (expected -30,000, previous -37,000) and the Unemployment rate ticked down to 6.9% from 7.1% (expected 7.1%). Separately, Average Earnings Index + Bonus rose 1.7% (expected 1.8%, prior 1.4%). 
      • Italy's trade surplus expanded to EUR2.62 billion from EUR360 million (consensus EUR1.27 billion). 
    • Among news of note: 
      • Italy's MIB outperforms other regional indices amid strength in financial shares. Banca Popolare di Milano, Mediobanca, and UniCredit hold gains between 3.1% and 4.0%. 
In U.S. corporate news:
  • Bank of America (BAC 16.33, -0.06): -0.4% after missing earnings estimates on above-consensus revenue. 
  • Credit Suisse (CS 30.82, -0.94): -3.0% following its bottom-line miss on below-consensus revenue. 
  • Intel (INTC 26.65, -0.12): -0.5% despite beating the Capital IQ earnings estimate by one cent on in-line revenue. 
  • Yahoo! (YHOO 36.83, +2.62): +7.7% after beating on earnings. Also of note, strong results from the Alibaba unit gave a boost to shares of YHOO. 
The weekly MBA Mortgage Index rose 4.3% to follow last week's 1.6% decline.

March Housing Starts will be announced at 8:30 ET, while March Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization will both be reported at 9:15 ET. Today's data will be topped off with the Federal Reserve's Beige Book for April, which will be released at 14:00 ET.

8:01AM SMTC Corp appoints Jim Currie as interim CFO (SMTX) 1.54 :

  • Co announced the appointment of Jim Currie as its interim Chief Financial Officer effective April 16, 2014. With this appointment, Clarke Bailey will continue to serve as a Director and Chairman of the Board. 
  • Currie has provided services as a financial executive to a number of public and private companies. Most recently, Currie was with Kapsch Trafficcom IVHS  where he was employed from 2009 to 2012 as Vice President Finance and Chief Financial Officer.

8:01AM Cleveland Biolabs announces the successful completion of a Phase 1 study of CBL0102; study successfully achieved both the primary and secondary objectives (CBLI) 0.60 : Co announced the achievement of all objectives in a Phase 1 clinical trial of CBL0102, or quinacrine, an orally administered small molecule. The study was performed in patients with advanced cancers for which no standard care exists or which had become resistant to conventional therapies.

All patients had tumors involving the liver. CBL0102 is the first of a group of compounds identified by CBLI scientists that act by blocking activity of the chromatin remodeling complex, FACT (FAcilitates Chromatin Transcription), resulting in simultaneous modulation of several signal transduction pathways (p53, PI3K/AKT/mTOR, NF-kappaB and heat shock response) that are commonly deregulated in cancer (Guo et al., 2009 and Gurova et al., 2005).

A total of 32 patients enrolled. Participants had cancers of breast, gastric, hepatic, pancreatic, and colorectal origin. The study successfully achieved both the primary and secondary objectives. CBL0102 was generally well-tolerated and a recommended Phase 2 dose of 400 mg/day was established.

The most common adverse events were skin discoloration due to drug accumulation in skin, fatigue, upper abdominal pain, mild to moderate gastrointestinal disorders, and hepatic transaminase elevations, with most events being low grade. The analysis of pharmacokinetics showed that plasma exposures rose with increasing dose and that steady state had been achieved by 15 days of therapy. Liver biopsies were performed in two patients after four weeks of therapy and confirmed much higher liver concentrations of CBL0102 than were present in plasma.

7:53AM Abbott Labs beats by $0.05, reports revs in-line; reaffirms FY14 EPS guidance (ABT) 37.97 : Reports Q1 (Mar) earnings of $0.41 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.05 better than the Capital IQ Consensus of $0.36; co guided for EPS of $0.34-0.36; revenues fell 2.5% year/year to $5.24 bln vs the $5.29 bln consensus.

  • First-quarter 2014 worldwide sales of $5.2 billion increased 0.5% on an operational basis and decreased 2.5% on a reported basis, including an unfavorable 3.0% effect of foreign exchange. International sales, which comprise more than 70% of total Abbott sales, increased 1.8% on an operational basis and decreased 2.3% on a reported basis in the first quarter. The August 2013 sales disruption in International Nutrition and the timing of supply of key products in Established Pharmaceuticals, primarily related to an expected plant shutdown for capacity expansion purposes, are estimated to have reduced Abbott's international sales growth by ~2.6 % points.
  • Nutrition sales -4%; Diagnostics sales +2.6%; Established Pharma -6.6%; Medical Devices -1.2%.
Co reaffirms guidance for FY14, sees EPS of $2.16-2.26, excluding non-recurring items, vs. $2.19 Capital IQ Consensus. 

7:38AM W.W. Grainger beats by $0.11, reports revs in-line; reaffirms FY14 EPS guidance, revs guidance (GWW) 250.77 : Reports Q1 (Mar) earnings of $3.07 per share, $0.11 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $2.96; revenues rose 4.6% year/year to $2.39 bln vs the $2.39 bln consensus.
United States

  • Excluding acquisitions, organic sales increased 5% driven by 4 percentage points from volume, 1 percentage point from price and 1 percentage point from higher sales of seasonal products, partially offset by a 1 percentage point decline due to the extreme weather in January and February.  Strong sales growth to customers in the Heavy and Light Manufacturing, Natural Resources, Retail and Commercial customer end markets contributed to the sales increase in the quarter. 
Canada
  • First quarter 2014 sales for Acklands-Grainger decreased 10% in U.S. dollars and were down 2% in local currency.  
  • The 2% sales decline consisted of a 4 percentage points decline from volume partially offset by a 2 percentage points benefit from the timing of Good Friday, which occurred in March of 2013 but will fall in April this year.  
  • Growth during the quarter to customers in the Utilities, Forestry, Transportation and Reseller end markets was more than offset by declines in the Construction, Light and Heavy Manufacturing, Mining, Retail, Government, and Oil and Gas customer end markets.  Approximately two-thirds of revenue is generated in the western provinces with a concentration in natural resources.  
  • The business in Canada continues to be negatively affected by a weak macroeconomic environment, unfavorable currency exchange, lower commodity prices and a reduction of Canadian exports.  
Other Businesses
  • Sales for the Other Businesses, which includes operations primarily in Asia, Europe and Latin America, increased 11% for the 2014 first quarter versus the prior year.  
  • This performance consisted of 18 percentage points of growth from volume and price, partially offset by a 7 percentage points decline from unfavorable foreign exchange.  
  • Sales growth in the Other Businesses was driven by Zoro Tools and the businesses in Mexico and Japan.  
  • Strong sales growth in Japan was partially offset by the weakness in the Japanese yen versus the U.S. dollar. 
Guidance
Co reaffirms guidance for FY14, sees EPS of $12.10-12.85 vs. $12.63 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate; sees FY14 revs of +5-9% to ~$9.91-10.29 bln vs. $10.08 bln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate.

Additionally, In the 2014 first quarter, Grainger returned $215 million to shareholders through $65 million in dividends and $150 million to buy back 615,000 shares of stock.  

7:36AM St. Jude Medical beats by $0.01, reports revs in-line; guides Q2 EPS in-line, revs in-line; guides FY14 EPS in-line, revs in-line (STJ) 63.22 : Reports Q1 (Mar) earnings of $0.96 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.01 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.95; revenues rose 1.9% year/year to $1.36 bln vs the $1.36 bln consensus.

  • Co issues in-line guidance for Q2, sees EPS of $0.99-1.01, excluding non-recurring items, vs. $1.00 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate; sees Q2 revs of $1.38-1.46 bln vs. $1.44 bln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate.
  • Co issues in-line guidance for FY14, sees EPS of $3.95-4.00, excluding non-recurring items, vs. $3.97 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate; sees FY14 revs of $5.61-5.76 bln vs. $5.69 bln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate.

7:28AM CAD Flat Ahead of the Bank of Canada Rate Decision: 10-yr: -05/32..2.649%..USDJPY: 102.26..EUR/USD: 1.3837 (SUMRX) :

  • The Dollar Index holds slim losses as trade tests the 79.70 level. 
  • Today's early weakness has the current three-day win streak in jeopardy with trade struggling to retake 80.00. 
  • EURUSD is +25 pips @ 1.3835 despite today's data being disappointing to in-line. The eurozone current account surplus narrowed to EUR21.9 bln (EUR22.3 bln expected, EUR25.4 bln previous) while CPI held at 0.5% YoY (0.5% YoY expected), remaining well below the ECB's target. A push through 1.3850 puts the recent highs near 1.3900/1.3950 in play.
  • GBPUSD is +60 pips @ 1.6785 as buyers take control following today's UK jobs report. Britain's claimant count was in-line at -30.4K (-30.2K expected), but it was the drop in the unemployment rate to 6.9% (7.2% expected, 7.2% previous) that has sterling bears on the run. The unemployment reading is the lowest since February 2009, and is below the Bank of England's previous 7.0% threshold as to when they would have considered raising rates. However, the recent change of forward guidance to include a wider range of factors has likely put off any such action as the central bank will look for further signs of a strengthening economy. Any close above 1.6795 will be the best since November 2009.
  • USDCHF is -10 pips @ .8790 as sellers take the reins despite the disappointing ZEW Economic Expectations (7.0 actual v. 19.0 expected). Many traders continue to look elsewhere as this pair remains a derivative of the euro thanks the Swiss National Bank's EURCHF1.20 floor. 
  • USDJPY is +40 pips @ 102.25 as trade probes the 50 dma. Many attribute the early strength to yesterday's headlines indicating Japan would lower its economic forecast, leading to an increase in QE; however, comments from BOJ head Kuroda point to an economy that is strengthening as wage inflation picks up. 
  • AUDUSD is +5 pips @ .9360 amid a mostly uneventful trade. The hard currency has seen little reaction to the data out of China, which included a better than expected GDP print (7.4% actual v. 7.3% expected) and industrial production (8.8% YoY actual v. 9.1% YoY expected) and fixed income investment (17.6% YTDoY actual v. 18.1% YTDoY expected) misses. USDCNY was little changed @ 6.2211. 
  • USDCAD is flat @ 1.0980 as trade checks up near 1.1000 resistance ahead of the Bank of Canada rate decision. Expectations are for the central bank to hold its key rate steady at 1.00%. Before the announcement, the country's foreign securities purchases will be released. Click here to see a daily USDCAD chart.

7:22AM Emergent BioSolutions announces successful completion of the last licensure-enabling study in its BioThrax (Anthrax Vaccine Adsorbed) Post-Exposure Prophylaxis program; study met the prospectively defined success criteria for both the primary and secondary endpoints (EBS) 23.69 :

  • Co announced successful completion of the last licensure-enabling study in its BioThrax (Anthrax Vaccine Adsorbed) Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) program. This clinical study was designed to evaluate the pharmacokinetic profile of the antimicrobial ciprofloxacin when administered prior to and following the administration of a three-dose series of BioThrax. It was also designed to evaluate the immune response to BioThrax when administered with or without ciprofloxacin. The primary endpoints were the ratio of the maximum concentration (Cmax) and area under the curve (AUC) for ciprofloxacin and the secondary endpoint was the ratio of the geometric mean titer of the antibody response to BioThrax two weeks following the last dose. The study met the prospectively defined success criteria for both the primary and secondary endpoints. Data from this study show no interaction between ciprofloxacin and BioThrax. 
  • The co has submitted the final clinical study report to the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) and the FDA. Results from this study will be used to support a supplemental Biologics License Application seeking licensure of a PEP indication for BioThrax to be used in combination with antibiotics in people with suspected or confirmed exposure to anthrax spores. BioThrax is currently licensed for a pre-exposure prophylaxis indication only.

7:21AM U.S. Bancorp reports EPS in-line, revs in-line (USB) 41.01 : Reports Q1 (Mar) earnings of $0.73 per share, in-line with the Capital IQ Consensus of $0.73; revenues fell 1.2% year/year to $4.81 bln vs the $4.8 bln consensus. 

  • Net income attributable to U.S. Bancorp for the first quarter of 2014 was $31 million (2.2%) lower than the first quarter of 2013, and $59 million (4.1%) lower than the fourth quarter of 2013. The decrease in net income year-over-year was principally due to a decrease in mortgage banking revenue, partially offset by a favorable variance in the provision for credit losses. The decrease in net income on a linked quarter basis was principally due to a reduction in total net revenue, mainly due to seasonally lower fee revenue, partially offset by lower noninterest expense. 
  • Total net revenue on a taxable-equivalent basis for the first quarter of 2014 was $4,814 million; $60 million (1.2%) lower than the first quarter of 2013, reflecting a .1% decrease in net interest income and a 2.6% decrease in noninterest income. Net interest income was essentially flat year-over-year, as an increase in average earning assets was offset by a decrease in the net interest margin. Noninterest income declined year-over-year, primarily due to lower mortgage banking revenue. Total net revenue on a taxable-equivalent basis decreased on a linked quarter basis, as a 1.0% decrease in net interest income, reflecting the impact of two fewer days in the first quarter relative to the prior quarter and seasonally lower loan fees, was combined with a 2.2% decrease in noninterest income, mainly due to seasonally lower fee revenue. 
  • Growth in average total loans of 6.0% over the first quarter of 2013 (7.6% excluding covered loans) and 1.3% on a linked quarter basis (1.7% excluding covered loans)
    • Growth in average total commercial loans of 8.5% over the first quarter of 2013 and 2.8% over the fourth quarter of 2013 
    • Growth in average total commercial real estate loans of 7.6% over the first quarter of 2013 and 1.9% over the fourth quarter of 2013 
    • Growth in average commercial and commercial real estate commitments of 11.7% year-over-year and 3.4% over the prior quarter 
  • Return on average assets and return on average common equity were 1.56% and 14.6%, respectively, for the first quarter of 2014, compared with 1.65% and 16.0%, respectively, for the first quarter of 2013. 
  • The provision for credit losses was lower than net charge-offs by $35 million in the first quarter of 2014 and the fourth quarter of 2013, and $30 million lower than net charge-offs in the first quarter of 2013.

7:17AM On The Wires (WIRES) :

  • ARC Group Worldwide (ARCW) announced its division, 3D Material Technologies, launched an online quoting system for 3D printing on its website. 
  • CyrusOne (CONE) expanded its Houston West II data center, adding 42,000 square feet and 6 megawatts of power capacity.
  • TransEnterix (TRXC) announced the first human cases performed using its recently launched fully flexible advanced energy device. 
  • Rentrak (RENT) announced a StationView Essentials contract with WOW Factor Marketing, an advertising agency in Coral Gables, Fla. 
  • Texas Instruments (TXN) announced support for iBeacon technology across its Bluetooth low energy portfolio.
  • QVC, a subsidiary of Liberty Interactive (LINTA), announced plans to expand its European presence into France. With the launch of the new service scheduled for 2Q 2015, QVC will expand its global multimedia ecommerce business to seven operations reaching nine countries.
  • Accenture (ACN) announced the successful implementation of Accenture Duck Creek Policy and Accenture Duck Creek Billing software at Southern Trust. 
  • SES Broadband Services and Gilat Satellite Networks (GILT) announced the expansion of consumer Ka-band services to Germany and Italy over SES's ASTRA 2E satellite.

7:15AM Bank of America misses by $0.10, beats on revs; reaches settlement with FGIC and Bank of NY Mellon (BAC) 16.39 : Reports Q1 (Mar) loss of $0.05 per share, $0.10 worse than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.05; revenues fell 2.7% year/year to $22.77 bln vs the $22.1 bln consensus. Excluding the impact of net debit valuation adjustments (DVA) in both periods, revenue was down 4 percent from the year-ago quarter to $22.7 billion. 

  • The results for the first quarter of 2014 include $6.0 billion in litigation expense related to the previously announced settlement with the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), and additional reserves primarily for previously disclosed legacy mortgage-related matters. 
  • Net interest income, on an FTE basis, fell 5 percent from the year-ago quarter to $10.3 billion. The decline was driven by lower yields on debt securities due to an approximate $540 million swing in market-related premium amortization expense. Net interest margin, excluding market-related adjustments, was 2.36 percent in the first quarter of 2014, compared to 2.30 percent in the first quarter of 2013.
  • Noninterest income was flat compared to the year-ago quarter, as lower mortgage banking income and lower trading account profits were largely offset by year-over-year increases in investment and brokerage income, equity investment income and gains on the sale of debt securities. 
  • The provision for credit losses declined 41 percent from the first quarter of 2013 to $1.0 billion, driven by improved credit quality. Net charge-offs declined 45 percent from the first quarter of 2013 to $1.4 billion, with the net charge-off ratio falling to 0.62 percent in the first quarter of 2014 from 1.14 percent in the year-ago quarter. During the first quarter of 2014, the reserve release was $379 million, compared to a reserve release of $804 million in the first quarter of 2013.
  • Settlement with FGIC and BK
  • Bank of America reached a settlement with FGIC, as well as separate settlements with The Bank of New York Mellon (BK), as trustee, for certain second-lien residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) trusts for which FGIC provided financial guarantee insurance. The agreements resolve all outstanding litigation between FGIC and the company, as well as outstanding and potential claims by FGIC and the trustee related to alleged representations and warranties breaches and other claims involving second-lien RMBS trusts for which FGIC provided financial guarantee insurance. Seven of the trust settlements have already been completed, and the two remaining trust settlements are subject to additional investor approvals in a process that is expected to be completed within the next 45 days.
Consumer & Business Banking
  • Consumer and Business Banking reported net income of $1.7 billion, up $210 million, or 15 percent, from the year-ago quarter. Noninterest income of $2.5 billion increased $88 million primarily due to a portfolio divestiture gain.
    • Consumer Real Estate Services reported a net loss of $5.0 billion for the first quarter of 2014, compared to a net loss of $2.2 billion for the same period in 2013, reflecting a $3.8 billion increase in litigation expense. Revenue declined $1.1 billion from the first quarter of 2013 to $1.2 billion, driven primarily by a $548 million decline in servicing revenue, reflecting a smaller servicing portfolio and a $542 million decline in core production revenue due to lower loan originations. 
    • CRES first-mortgage originations declined 65 percent in the first quarter of 2014 compared to the same period in 2013, reflecting the decline in the overall market demand for refinance mortgages. Core production revenue decreased in the first quarter of 2014 to $273 million from $815 million in the year-ago quarter due to lower volume and a reduction in margins.
Global Wealth & Investment Management
  • Global Wealth and Investment Management reported net income of $729 million, up slightly from the first quarter of 2013, reflecting continued strong revenue performance and low credit costs. Revenue increased 3 percent from the year-ago quarter to a record $4.5 billion, driven by higher noninterest income related to improved market valuation and long-term AUM flows. Return on average allocated capital was 24.7 percent in the first quarter of 2014, down from 29.4 percent in the year-ago quarter, reflecting earnings stability coupled with increased capital allocations.
Global Banking
  • Total revenue, net of interest expense, on an FTE basis excluding net DVA, and net income (loss) excluding net DVA are non-GAAP financial measures. Net DVA gains (losses) were $112 million, $(617) million and $(145) million for the three months ended March 31, 2014, December 31, 2013 and March 31, 2013, respectively. 
  • Sales and trading revenue, excluding net DVA, remained relatively flat from the first quarter of 2013 at $4.1 billion. 
  • Equities sales and trading revenue, excluding net DVA was solid compared to the year-ago period. The company continued to increase market share compared to the year-ago quarter. 
  • Return on average allocated capital, excluding net DVA, was 14.8 percent in the first quarter of 2014, compared to 16.3 percent in the first quarter of 2013, reflecting stable net income combined with an increase in allocated capital compared to the year-ago quarter. 
Global Markets
  • Global Markets reported net income of $1.3 billion in the first quarter of 2014, compared to $1.1 billion in the year-ago quarter. Excluding net DVA, net income was $1.2 billion in the first quarter of 2014, an increase of 3 percent compared to the year-ago quarter. Global Markets revenue increased $235 million, or 5 percent, from the year-ago quarter to $5.0 billion. Excluding net DVA, revenue decreased $22 million to $4.9 billion as declines in Rates and Currencies were partially offset by stronger performance in Credit and Equities.
  • Fixed Income, Currency and Commodities sales and trading revenue, excluding net DVA, was $3.0 billion in the first quarter of 2014, a decrease of $51 million, or 2 percent, from the year-ago quarter, as credit markets remained strong but Rates and Currencies declined on lower market volumes and volatility. Adjusting the year-ago quarter to exclude this negative impact, FICC revenue, excluding net DVA, declined 15 percent from the first quarter of 2013.
    • Equities sales and trading revenue, excluding net DVA(H), was $1.2 billion, in line with results from the year-ago quarter. The current quarter benefited from continued gains in market share and higher client financing balances.
Capital
  • Tangible common equity ratio 7.00% compared to 7.20% in Q4; Common equity ratio 10.17% compared to 10.43% in Q4.
  • On March 26, the company announced that it plans to increase its quarterly common stock dividend to $0.05 per share, beginning in the second quarter of 2014. Also, the Board of Directors authorized a new $4.0 billion common stock repurchase program. This authorization, which covers both common stock and warrants, replaces the prior year's common stock repurchase program that expired on March 31, 2014. 
  • Tangible book value per share was $13.81 at March 31, 2014, compared to $13.79 at December 31, 2013 and $13.36 at March 31, 2013. Book value per share was $20.75 at March 31, 2014, compared to $20.71 at December 31, 2013 and $20.19 at March 31, 2013.

7:09AM WABCO Holdings wins $1 bln in new business in past four quarters, including $620 mln through 2018; confirms sales growth rate is expected long term to outperform market growth (WBC) 101.88 : Co announces announced that from Q2 2013 to Q1 2014 the company has entered into contracts with customers globally totaling $1 bln of expected cumulative incremental business, including $620 mln from 2014 through 2018, up from $548 mln reported a year ago for the period from 2013 through 2017. 

These contracts represent new incremental business, separate from replacement and renewal of existing contracts. It comprises orders for WABCO technologies and products that improve vehicle safety and efficiency, mostly in braking systems, air management and vehicle dynamics systems on commercial vehicles. 

Commentary:

"This new business significantly drives WABCO's ongoing ability to generate sales growth beyond expansion of the global market for new trucks and buses," said Jacques Esculier, WABCO Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "Economic conditions permitting, WABCO expects that its sales growth will continue to outperform market growth of truck and bus production by a compound annual growth rate of 8 to 10 percent through 2018 and beyond." 

7:04AM First Republic Bank misses by $0.02 (FRC) 52.36 : Reports Q1 (Mar) core earnings of $0.67 per share, $0.02 worse than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.69. 

  • Loans sold were $346.2 mln in the first quarter, compared to $1.2 bln for the same period a year ago. 
  • Book value per share was $26.21, up 14.1% from a year ago. 
  • Core net interest margin was 3.17%, compared to 3.06% for the prior quarter. 
  • Loan originations were $3.2 bln, down 9.1% from the first quarter of 2013 in the face of a substantial decline in the single family refinance market. Loans outstanding totaled $35.3 bln, up 3.0% for the quarter. 
  • Book value per common share was $26.21 at March 31, 2014, up 6.4% for the quarter and up 14.1% from a year ago.
  • In the first quarter, the Bank recorded a provision for loan losses of $7.1 mln.  This provision is related primarily to the continued growth in new loans.  The allowance related to loans originated since our independence on July 1, 2010 totaled $150.2 mln, or 0.52% of such loans outstanding.  
  • Mortgage banking sales volume and profitability were down compared to the first quarter of last year, which had the highest quarterly gain on sale in the Bank's history.  The Bank sold $346.2 mln of primarily longer-term, fixed-rate home loans during the quarter and recorded net gains of $2.8 mln, or 0.82% of loans sold.  Gain on sale contributed $0.01 to diluted EPS for the quarter, compared to $0.11 for the quarter a year ago.

7:04AM Oxford Resource Partners has sold additional Illinois Basin assets; Cash proceeds from the sale totaled $2 mln (OXF) 1.39 : The sale transaction, which closed on April 11, 2014, involved Oxford's Island river terminal and related equipment located on the Green River in western Kentucky. In the transaction, principally for the benefit of its remaining Illinois Basin reserves, Oxford retained assignable rights to coal loading throughput at the terminal facility for a period of seven years following the closing.

7:03AM Zalicus and Epirus Biopharmaceuticals to merge; current ZLCS stockholders will own ~19% of the combined co and current Epirus stockholders will own ~ 81% of the co (shares halted) (ZLCS) 1.03 : ZLCS and Epirus Biopharmaceuticals, announced today that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Epirus will merge with a wholly-owned subsidiary of Zalicus in an all-stock transaction.

  • Following closing, Zalicus will be re-named Epirus Biopharmaceuticals, Inc., and will operate under the leadership of the Epirus management team with Amit Munshi serving as the president and chief executive officer. 
  • The merger will create a Nasdaq-listed, publicly traded company
  • Epirus also announced today that it has closed a $36 million Series B financing round led by Livzon Mabpharm, Inc. 
  • On a pro forma basis, based upon the number of shares of Zalicus common stock to be issued in the merger, (i) current Zalicus stockholders will own approximately 19% of the combined company and current Epirus stockholders will own approximately 81% of the Company if Zalicus' net cash at closing is equal to or in excess of $12 million, (ii) current Zalicus stockholders will own approximately 17% of the combined company and current Epirus stockholders will own approximately 83% of the Company if Zalicus' net cash at closing is equal to or in excess of $9 million but less than $12 million, and (iii) current Zalicus stockholders will own approximately 14% of the combined company and current Epirus stockholders will own approximately 86% of the Company if Zalicus' net cash at closing is equal to or less than $9 million.

7:02AM Lucas Energy announces $2 million equity offering and is granted NYSE MKT compliance plan extension (LEI) 0.67 :

  • Co has entered into an agreement with funds managed by Ironman Energy Master Fund and John B. Helmers (associated with Long Focus Capital Management), pursuant to which the Company will sell up to 3,333,332 units at $0.60 per unit for total consideration of $2,000,000 to such entities. The units are each comprised of one share of common stock plus associated warrants to purchase 1,666,666 shares of common stock at an exercise price of $1.00 per share with a five-year term. The Company will use the net proceeds from the sale of the Units solely for oil and gas development and for general corporate purposes. 
  • Co also announced that the NYSE MKT which accepted the Company's plan of compliance dated March 28, 2014, and granted the Company until April 14, 2014 to regain compliance under its plan of compliance with Section 1003(a)(iv), extended the date the Company is required to regain compliance by to July 31, 2014.

7:01AM JinkoSolar Holding successfully connects two solar PV projects totaling 39MW to the grid in Jiangsu Province (JKS) 25.75 : Co announced that its 24MW solar PV power plant in Xinyi, Jiangsu Province and 15MW solar PV power plant in Lianyungang, Jiangsu Province were successfully connected to the grid. The company has so far successfully connected to the grid for more than 252 MW of solar PV power projects. The 24MW Xinyi and 15MW Lianyungang power plants were granted blended 20-year subsidies of 1.125 RMB/KWh and 1.1 RMB/KWh, respectively, including subsidies from the local government. Both locations are among areas with the highest insolation level in Jiangsu Province.

7:00AM Antares Pharma announces additional patent coverage for OTREXUP (ATRS) 2.91 : Co announces the issuance of U.S. Patents RE44846 and RE44847. These patents are reissued versions of U.S. Patents 7,744,582, and 7,776,015. Tracing back to inventions made in the late 1990's, the patents capture innovations in the field of auto injectors that originally established Antares Pharma's position as a leader and innovator in medical injection device technology. Importantly, these patents add protection to OTREXUP as well as Antares' pipeline products. Antares is taking steps to supplement the current Orange Book listings related to OTREXUP. 

  • The overall Antares patent portfolio coverage exemplifies the Company's intellectual property strategy of obtaining patents that are generally directed toward devices, combination products and methods for delivering injectable drugs, which the Company has earned on its filed inventions. 

6:54AM Daimler AG and Rolls-Royce (RYCEY) agree on valuation of Daimler's equity interest in Rolls-Royce Power Systems; total fair market value of Daimler's equity interest in Rolls-Royce Power Systems determined at EUR 2.43 bln (DDAIF) 88.47 : Co and Rolls-Royce plc (RYCEY) announced that they have agreed on the valuation of Daimler's 50% equity interest in the JV Rolls-Royce Power Systems (RRPSH). Both parties have determined the fair market value of Daimler's shares due to be acquired by Rolls-Royce at a total of EUR 2.43 billion. The transaction is expected to close within this year and is subject to the usual regulatory approvals. Daimler will recognize the financial impact at the time of closing.

6:38AM PNC beats by $0.18, misses on revs (PNC) 82.15 : Reports Q1 (Mar) earnings of $1.82 per share, $0.18 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $1.64; revenues fell 4.5% year/year to $3.78 bln vs the $3.84 bln consensus. 

  • NIM fell 12 bps QoQ to 3.26%. 
  • Total loans grew $2.6 bln as of March 31, 2014 compared with December 31, 2013. Commercial lending increased $3.6 bln during the first quarter of 2014 primarily in real estate, corporate banking and business credit. Consumer lending decreased $1.0 bln due to lower home equity, residential mortgage and education loans as well as seasonal declines in credit card loans partially offset by growth in automobile loans.
  • Net interest income of $2.2 bln for the first quarter declined $71 mln, or 3 percent, compared with the fourth quarter reflecting fewer days in the quarter and lower purchase accounting accretion. 
  • Noninterest income of $1.6 bln decreased $225 mln, or 12 percent, compared with the fourth quarter. 
  • Provision for credit losses declined to $94 mln for the first quarter compared with $113 mln for the fourth quarter as overall credit quality continued to improve. 
  • Pro forma fully phased-in Basel III common equity Tier 1 capital ratio increased to an estimated 9.7 percent at March 31, 2014 from 9.4 percent at December 31, 2013
  • Nonperforming assets at March 31, 2014 decreased $153 mln compared with December 31, 2013 as a result of improvements in both consumer and commercial lending.
  • Provision for credit losses for first quarter 2014 decreased $19 mln compared with fourth quarter 2013 and $142 mln compared with first quarter 2013 as overall credit quality has continued to improve. 
  • Noninterest income for fourth quarter 2013 benefited from the release of reserves for residential mortgage repurchase obligations of $124 mln largely attributable to fourth quarter settlements with FNMA and FHLMC compared with a benefit of $19 mln in first quarter 2014. 

6:35AM Sony announces sale of SQUARE ENIX shares held by Sony Computer Entertainment; co also announces establishment of a JV with Hydro-Quebec to start development of a large-scale energy storage system for power grids (SNE) 18.55 :

  • Co announced that Sony Computer Entertainment, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sony, has entered into an agreement to sell all of the shares (9,520,000 shares) of SQUARE ENIX HOLDINGS owned by SCEI to SMBC Nikko Securities. As a result of the sale, Sony expects that a gain on the sale of ~ 4.8 billion yen would be recorded as other income in Sony's consolidated financial results, in the first quarter of the fiscal year ending March 31, 2015.
  • Separately, the co and Hydro-Quebec announced that they have agreed to establish a joint venture to research and develop a large-scale energy storage system for power grids. Sony and Hydro-Quebec plan to establish the new company in June, 2014.

6:25AM S&P futures vs fair value: +12.50. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: +33.00. :

6:25AM European Markets : FTSE...6564.56...+23.00...+0.40%.  DAX...9255.06...+81.40...+0.90%.

6:25AM Asian Markets : Nikkei...14417.68...+420.90...+3.00%.  Hang Seng...22969.01...+24.80...+0.10%.

6:22AM On The Wires (WIRES) :

  • Acacia Research (ACTG) announced that its Saint Lawrence Communications subsidiary has entered into a settlement and patent license agreement with Samsung Electronics (SSNLF). The agreement resolves litigation that was pending in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.
  • Gray Television (GTN) announced the launch of LocalX Marketing across all of its television markets. 
  • Spherix (SPEX) has retained Hayden IR, a national investor relations firm, to raise the visibility of Spherix and strengthen its relationships with the investment community. 
  • Eastern Bank has chosen Infosys (INFY) Finacle to enhance its online and mobile banking products.
  • IMAX (IMAX) and TCL Multimedia Technology announced a JV partnership with Wasu Digital TV Media as part of their IMAX TCL home theatre initiative. WASU will license and distribute IMAX-enhanced Hollywood and Chinese current theatrical and other content to the IMAX-TCL premium home theatre system. 
  • Resource Development International, a subsidiary of Capella Education (CPLA), has been granted degree-awarding powers.

6:06AM Huntington Banc reports EPS in-line, beats on revs (HBAN) 9.47 : Reports Q1 (Mar) earnings of $0.17 per share, in-line with the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate consensus of $0.17; revenues rose 0.8% year/year to $691.9 mln vs the $676.74 mln consensus. 

  • Tier 1 Common Ratio of 10.63%, up from 10.62%. 
  • Average loans and leases increased $2.6 billion, or 6%, from the prior year, driven by: $2.0 billion, or 40%, increase in average Automobile loans, as originations remained strong and our investments throughout the Northeast and upper Midwest continued to grow as planned. $0.7 billion, or 4%, increase in average Commercial and Industrial (C&I) loans and leases. This reflected the continued growth within the international specialty vertical, Business Banking, and dealer floorplan. 
  • 3.27% fully-taxable equivalent net interest margin down 15 basis points 
  • FY14 Outlook: "Our loan pipelines are strong, and we see signs that our customers are more confident in the economy...Our Midwestern markets are recovering with downward unemployment trends and ongoing investments by manufacturers and other businesses. Notwithstanding these tailwinds, we continue to face a challenging regulatory and competitive environment...Net interest income is expected to increase moderately. We anticipate an increase in earning assets as total loans moderately grow and investment securities remain near current levels. However, those benefits to net interest income are expected to be mostly offset by continued downward pressure on NIM. While we are maintaining a disciplined approach to loan pricing, asset yields remain under pressure but the continued opportunity of deposit repricing remains, albeit closer to current levels. "We anticipate the increase in total loans will outpace growth in total deposits modestly. This reflects our continued focus on the overall cost of funds, through the issuance of long-term debt as well as the continued shift towards low- and no-cost demand deposits and money market deposit accounts."

5:49AM On The Wires (WIRES) :

  • Yingli Green Energy (YGE) announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Yingli Energy Company has signed a cooperation agreement with Shanghai Sailing Capital Management Co, the manager of Shanghai Sailing Capital Investment Fund, to jointly form a renewable energy fund 
  • CUI Global (CUI) announced that, effective April 2, 2014, its wholly owned subsidiary, Orbital Gas Systems, has reached an agreement to expand its relationship to provide system integration capability to Yokogawa for its products. 
  • IntercontinentalExchange (ICE) announced management appointments and the Board of Directors for its Singapore-based exchange and clearing house, subject to regulatory approval. 
  • Vonage Holdings (VG) announced the initial launch of service in Brazil as part of its joint venture with Datora Telecom. 
  • Microsoft (MSFT) Advertising announced that it has been chosen by Emirates Airline and its media agency Havas Media Group as one of the key partners for its global brand campaign. 
  • Cellcom Israel (CEL)  announced that it selected Nokia (NOK) Solutions and Networks, a worldwide leading network manufacturer, for the supply of its 4G network.
  • Washington Banking Company (WBCO) announced its shareholders overwhelmingly approved the merger with Heritage Financial Corporation (HFWA). More than 97% of the shares voting at Washington Banking's special meeting of shareholders voted in favor of the merger, representing more than 80% of all outstanding shares.
  • Baytex Energy (BTE) supports the regulatory initiatives announced today by the Alberta Energy Regulator ("AER") governing heavy oil development in the Peace River region.
  • Kaman (KAMN) Aerospace announced today that the first New Zealand government NZ SH-2G(I) Super Seasprite helicopter began production flight testing at Kaman's Bloomfield, Connecticut facility. After production flight tests, this aircraft will be used for maintenance and aircrew training. The program is on track with deliveries of all ten aircraft scheduled to be complete in mid-2015
  • Technip (TKPPY) and Heerema Marine Contractors was awarded a major lump-sum contract by Total E&P Angola for the engineering, procurement, construction, installation and pre-commissioning for the SURF part of the Kaombo project, located in Block 32 offshore Angola in water depths up to 2,000 meters. The contract is valued at ~$3.5 billion with a Technip share of around 55% and a Heerema share of around 45%.. The project is scheduled for completion in the first half of 2018.
  • Mirantis and Ericsson (ERIC) entered into an initial five-year partnership to deploy Mirantis carrier-grade OpenStack software in the Ericsson cloud software platform used for telecommunications networks, internal data centers and cloud computing services that Ericsson will offer its customers.

5:43AM Pretium Resources provides Brucejack Project update (PVG) 5.67 : Co announces the following update on its activities underway and planned for 2014 at its high-grade gold Brucejack Project. 

Permitting 

  • Pretivm expects to file its Environmental Assessment Certificate application this quarter once it receives the final Application Information Requirements from the British Columbia Environmental Assessment Office, which is expected shortly. Once filed, the application will be evaluated for completeness over a 30-day period by BCEAO with the involvement of a working group including representatives of First Nations and local governments and other government agencies. Once the application has been accepted, the BCEAO has a maximum of 180 days to complete its review and prepare an assessment report for a decision by the Minister of Environment and the Minister of Energy and Mines. 
  • In coordination with the provincial permitting process, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency will review the Environmental Impact Statement ("EIS") which Pretivm will submit concurrently with the provincial EAC application. Provincial and federal approval of the EAC application and EIS, respectively, allow for the issuance of the statutory permits and authorizations to begin construction of a mine at Brucejack. 
Feasibility Study 
  • Work to update the Brucejack Project feasibility study has been ongoing, with the mine plan and mining stopes now updated to incorporate the revised economic parameters of $1,100/oz gold, $17/oz silver and $0.92 CAD:US exchange rate. Based on this work, the production rate of 2,700 tonnes per day has been confirmed. Other updates include equipment and materials pricing to the second quarter, and the update of labour rates, schedule and productivity. The amended Brucejack Project feasibility study is on track for completion in June. 
  • On completion of the amended feasibility study, basic engineering will commence in the third quarter, including the order of long-lead items to facilitate the start of construction once permits for the Project have been received. 

4:33AM ADTRAN beats by $0.02, misses on revs (ADTN) 24.67 : Reports Q1 (Mar) earnings of $0.21 per share, $0.02 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.19; revenues rose 2.8% year/year to $147 mln vs the $149.36 mln consensus.

Commentary: Co states - "...Lower sales in the US were offset by international sales which grew 56% over the same period last year. Operating income increased 72% buoyed by higher gross margins in both our US and international businesses."

4:03AM King Digital and and Tencent announce the launch of Candy Crush Saga in China (KING) 17.43 : King Digital Entertainment announces it will launch a Chinese version of its wildly popular Candy Crush Saga game for the Chinese market exclusively with Tencent Holdings.

  • This agreement further extends King's presence in key Asian markets. It follows the successful launches of Candy Crush Saga in Korea and Japan in 2013. The Chinese version will be available via Tencent's Mobile QQ and Weixin Game Centers.

3:13AM BHP Billiton reports 9-month operations update (BHP) 70.07 : BHP Billiton maintained strong momentum in the nine month period ended March 2014 with record production achieved for four commodities and at 10 operations. In total, production increased by 10% during the period and is expected to grow by 16% over the two years to the end of the 2015 financial year. Record production at Western Australia Iron Ore (WAIO) for the nine month period was underpinned by strong operating performance, the relatively limited impact of the wet season and the continued ramp-up of Jimblebar. Despite tie-in activities associated with the commissioning of the first replacement shiploader scheduled for the June 2014 quarter, we have raised production and sales guidance for the 2014 financial year to 217 Mt (100% basis). In total, we have raised production guidance for this high-margin business by 10 Mt (100% basis) during the course of the year. Metallurgical coal production for the nine month period increased by 24% to a record 33 Mt and included record production at all Queensland Coal operations3. As a result, total metallurgical coal production guidance for the full year has increased by 2.5 Mt to 43.5 Mt.

2:58AM Opus Bank (Nasdaq: OPB) prices downsized 5,125,864 share IPO (2,324,016 shares by selling shareholders) at $30 per share, below the $31-34 expected range (IPOXX) : Co originally planned to offer 5.8 mln shares.

2:48AM TriVascular Technologies (Nasdaq: TRIV) prices 6.5 mln share IPO at $12 per share, below the expected range of $13-15 per share (IPOXX) :  

2:03AM Dr. Reddy's launches Eszopiclone Tablets C-IV (RDY) 42.84 : Co announces that it has launched Eszopiclone Tablets 1 mg, 2 mg and 3 mg, a therapeutic equivalent generic version of LUNESTA tablets C-IV in the US market on April 15, 2014, following the approval by the United States Food & Drug Administration. The LUNESTA tablets C-IV brand and generic combined had U.S. sales of ~$887 mln MAT for the most recent twelve months ending in January 2014 according to IMS Health

1:53AM CONSOL Energy announces tenders and consents from holders of ~$583 mln, or 38.%, of the principal amount of its outstanding 8.00% senior notes due 2017 (CNX) 40.94 :  

1:42AM GrafTech Intl issues statement urges stockholders to vote FOR the GrafTech Director nominees on the WHITE Proxy Card (GTI) 7.57 : Co announces it issued a follow-up in response to the Daniel and Nathan Milikowsky Group's filing of its definitive proxy materials with the Securities and Exchange Commission in connection with the Company's May 15, 2014 Annual Meeting of Stockholders: 

"After announcing its intention to take control of the GrafTech Board at the 2014 Annual Meeting by nominating five director candidates, the Daniel and Nathan Milikowsky Group recently announced its plan to nominate only three candidates....Unfortunately, Nathan Milikowsky continues to include himself as a nominee, despite the Board's evidence-based conclusion that his prior governance breaches and conduct demonstrate that he is not a qualified candidate. Nathan Milikowsky's personal quest to reinstate himself to GrafTech's Board in spite of his clear breaches of good corporate governance and ethics is at the heart of the issue...As GrafTech also noted in its proxy statement, if all seven of GrafTech's Board nominees are elected, the Company intends to offer to add Board representation from the Daniel and Nathan Milikowsky Group after the 2014 Annual Meeting, choosing from among those candidates who meet GrafTech's corporate governance criteria...GrafTech reminds stockholders to protect their investment by voting the WHITE proxy card FOR GrafTech's seven highly qualified and experienced director nominees..."

1:35AM Sensient sends letter to shareholders urging to elect White proxy card (SXT) 52.79 : Co announces sent a letter urging shareholders to support the Company's highly qualified nominees by voting on the WHITE proxy card. 

The letter reviews the co's prior quarter and encourages investors to vote for current group of Directors.

1:32AM Northern Trust raises quarterly dividend by $0.02 per share to $0.33 (NTRS) 59.63 :