1:55PM Ford Motor European sales rose 11.6% in February, outpacing the industry's 8% improvement YoY (F) 77.00 -2.93 : Ford European sales rose 11.6 percent in February, outpacing the industry's 8 percent improvement year over year. It was Ford of Europe's ninth straight month of year-over-year sales increase Ford increased total market share, retail market share and commercial vehicle market share in February Ford's commercial vehicle (CV) sales volume rose 15.8 percent in February; Ford's CV market share at 9.7 percent for the first two months of the year was its highest in 16 years New Transit two-tonne now on sale -- one of 10 new Ford vehicles being launched in 2014.
1:40PM Merck: FDA approves NOXAFIL (posaconazole) Injection for intravenous use (MRK) 5.77 -0.02 : Co announced that the FDA has approved NOXAFIL (posaconazole) injection (18 mg/ mL), a new formulation of NOXAFIL for intravenous (IV) use. Merck's antifungal agent is also marketed as NOXAFIL (100 mg) delayed-release tablets and NOXAFIL (40 mg/mL) oral suspension. NOXAFIL injection, delayed-release tablets and oral suspension are indicated for prophylaxis of invasive Aspergillus and Candida infections in patients who are at high risk of developing these infections due to being severely immunocompromised, such as hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) recipients with graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) or those with hematologic malignancies with prolonged neutropenia (low white blood cell counts) from chemotherapy. NOXAFIL injection is indicated in patients 18 years of age and older. NOXAFIL delayed-release tablets and oral suspension are indicated in patients 13 years of age and older. With this approval, Merck now provides an IV formulation and two oral formulations of NOXAFIL for prophylaxis against invasive Aspergillus and Candida infections in high-risk patients. NOXAFIL injection is expected to be available at wholesalers in mid-April.
1:01PM Central European Media announces the resignation of Chairman Ronald S. Lauder from Board of Directors (CETV) 3.99 -0.02 : Mr. Lauder served as the non-executive Chairman of the Company's Board of Directors for the past 20 years.
1:01PM Bristol-Myers and Pfizer (PFE) announce the FDA approved a sNDA for Eliquis (apixaban) for the prophylaxis of deep vein thrombosis (BMY) 53.97 -0.21 : Co and Pfizer (PFE) announced that the FDA approved a Supplemental New Drug Application (sNDA) for Eliquis (apixaban) for the prophylaxis of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which may lead to pulmonary embolism in patients who have undergone hip or knee replacement surgery.
12:59PM Midday Market Summary: Stocks Hold Modest Gains With Ukraine Remaining In Focus (WRAPX) : At midday, the major averages hold slim gains after enduring a choppy first half of the session. The S&P 500 (+0.1%) hovers just north of its flat line.
Stocks began the day in the red, but jumped out of negative territory as most sectors displayed strength out of the gate. One group that sat out the early advance was the health care sector (-0.1%) as biotechnology weighed.
Meanwhile, the other two top-weighed groups-financials (-0.3%) and technology (-0.3%)-took part in the early rally, but were quick to surrender those gains, which led the broader market back into the red.
Given the upcoming Sunday referendum on Crimea's annexation to Russia, the market was expected to remain sensitive to any headlines related to the situation. That sensitivity was on full display when equity indices jumped back into positive territory after Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Russia has no intentions of invading Eastern Ukraine. Mr. Lavrov's comments, however, did not end there. He also said U.S. and Russia remain at odds regarding Ukraine and that Russia does not need any international structure to mediate in Russia-Ukraine relations. Judging by the market's reaction to the press conference, one could speculate that maybe the more negative-sounding portions got lost in translation.
Despite returning into the green, the major averages were pressured back near their flat lines as top-weighted sectors continued showing relative weakness.
Not long ago, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry conducted a press conference of his own, saying that despite prolonged discussions with his Russian counterpart, not much has changed and that the Sunday referendum remains on schedule.
In all likelihood, market participants will remain on a lookout for headlines for the remainder of the session, which could lead to more choppy action.
Choppy has been the theme across most markets as the dollar yen pair slid to 101.20 ahead of the New York open before jumping to the 101.55 area. Currently the pair hovers near 101.40. The dollar/yen pair deserves close attention as the return of yen strength would signal an increase in risk-off sentiment.
Elsewhere, Treasuries display modest losses with the 10-yr yield up one basis point at 2.65%.
Volatility protection has been in demand as indicated by the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX 16.83, +0.61), which is higher by 3.9% after marking its session best (17.29%) around levels last seen on February 6.
Looking back at today's data:
- Producer prices declined 0.1% in February after increasing 0.2% in January while the Briefing.com consensus expected producer prices to increase 0.2%. The drop in producer prices was the result of a sharp drop in producer services costs. Final demand for goods rose 0.4% for a third consecutive month whereas final demand for services declined 0.3% in February. Excluding food and energy, overall core prices declined 0.2% in February after increasing 0.2% in January. The consensus expected these prices to increase 0.1%.
- The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index slipped to 79.9 in the March preliminary reading from 81.6 in February. The Briefing.com consensus expected the index to increase to 82.0. The Current Conditions Index increased to 96.1 from 95.4 in February. The Expectations Index fell to 69.4 in March from 72.7.
12:58PM European Markets Closing Prices (SUMRX) : European markets are now closed; stock markets across Europe performed as follows:
- UK's FTSE:
- Germany's DAX:
- France's CAC:
- Spain's IBEX:
- Portugal's PSI:
- Italy's MIB Index:
- Irish Ovrl Index:
- Greece ATHEX Composite:
12:36PM 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
Large Cap Losers
- GMCR (115.36 +8.67%): Co and Starbucks (SBUX) amended terms of existing five-year agreement to continue to expand Starbucks range of K-Cup pack offerings; co and Peet's Coffee & Tea also announced a partnership
- LMCA (136.8 +8.45%): Co announced the creation of tracking stock structure; says offer for SiriusXM (SIRI) is no longer applicable
- BSX (13.14 +3.14%): Announced CE Mark approval and first implants of INGEVITY MRI pacing leads
Mid Cap Gainers
- CELG (150.74 -3.37%): UK's NICE issuing new draft guidance on the use of Revlimid (lenalidomide); stock was defended at ISI Group
- GILD (75.55 -3.15%): Idenix Pharmaceuticals (IDIX) filed patent infringement lawsuits against the company in Europe
- UBS (20.38 -2.63%): Bloomberg reporting UBS traders were found to have tried to rig Hong Kong's benchmark interest rate from 2006-2009
Mid Cap Losers
- ULTA (96.42 +7.71%): Beat quarterly EPS by $0.02 ($1.09 vs $1.07 estimate), revs rose 14.4% yoy to $868.1 mln vs $855.25 mln estimate; comps +9.2%; sees Q1 EPS of $0.70-0.75 vs $0.79 estimate, revs of $693-704 mln vs $695.86 mln estimate
- NSM (33.21 +6.19%): Kyle Bass' Hayman Capital disclosed 5.3% passive stake
- ALK (91.23 +4.37%): Target raised to $100 from $95 at Cowen
- ITMN (32.5 -2.29%): Priced 7.5 mln share offering of common stock at $32.75 per share
- CXP (25.91 -1.93%): Mentioned negatively by Jim Cramer
- X (24.12 -1.15%): Downgraded to Underperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse
12:31PM Almost Family enters into agreement to acquire assets of Medicare-certified home health agency owned by Caldwell Medical Center located in Princeton, Kentucky; financial terms not disclosed (AFAM) 24.64 0.00 :
12:30PM Liberty Global acquires remaining 20% of VTR, Chile's largest cable operator (LBTYA) 43.39 -0.05 : Co announced that it has acquired the remaining 20% of the outstanding shares in both VTR GlobalCom SpA and VTR Wireless SpA (collectively "VTR"). Liberty Global purchased these shares in Chile's largest cable operator from a subsidiary of Corp Group Holding Inversiones Limitada in exchange for 10.1 million Liberty Global Class C ordinary shares ("LBTYK"). The share consideration had a market value of approximately $422 million, based on the closing price of LBTYK of $41.80 per share on Thursday, March 13, 2014.1 It should also be noted that as a result of this transaction, VTR Finance B.V., the parent entity of our recently created Chilean credit pool, will now own 100% of both the Chilean broadband communications and wireless businesses.
12:06PM Crown Hldgs announces the European Commission has approved its pending acquisition of Mivisa Envases (CCK) 44.86 +0.60 : The approval of the Commission is subject to Crown entering into final binding agreements, with purchasers to be approved by the Commission, for the sale of Crown's Spanish food can business and Mivisa's facility in Horst, Netherlands. The impact of the divestitures would have been to reduce net sales by ~ EUR113 million in 2013.
12:01PM Shire plc initiates voluntary nationwide recall of one batch, packaged into three lots of VPRIV (velaglucerase alfa for injection) (SHPG) 153.97 -0.87 : Co announced the initiation of a voluntary recall in the United States of one batch, packaged into three lots, of VPRIV due to the presence of visible particulate matter, identified as stainless steel and barium sulfate. The particulate matter was found in a small number of vials in the three packaged lots of VPRIV. A Shire investigation identified the particulate matter root cause as the third party supplier fill finish process. Shire believes the safety risk to patients is very low. Importantly, there have been no reported adverse events or customer complaints associated with the use of these lots.
12:01PM Baxano Surgical announces Time Shannon has been appionted CFO, effective March 14, 2014 (BAXS) 1.21 +0.01 : Co announced that Tim Shannon has been appointed Chief Financial Officer effective March 14, 2014. Tim Shannon joined Baxano Surgical in 2013 and has served as Interim Chief Financial Officer since September 2013.
12:00PM Hudbay Minerals extends offer to acquire all of the outstanding shares of Augusta Resource (AZC) not already owned by Hudbay until 5:00 p.m. (Toronto time) on April 2, 2014 and waived the Offer's minimum tender condition (HBM) 7.42 -0.04 : Augusta (AZC) shareholders who tender will be entitled to receive 0.315 of a Hudbay common share for each Augusta common share held, which represents a 62% premium based on the 20-day volume weighted average share prices of Hudbay and Augusta for the period ending February 7, 2014, the last trading day before Hudbay's announcement of its intention to make the Offer.
12:00PM Sirius XM Radio resumes stock repurchase; reaffirms guidance (SIRI) 3.44 +0.07 : Co intends to resume its common stock repurchase program. Yesterday, Liberty Media announced that its January 3, 2014 proposal to acquire all outstanding shares of SiriusXM common stock not owned by Liberty Media is no longer applicable. SiriusXM had previously suspended its stock repurchase program in connection with Liberty Media's proposal.
Co also reffirmed FY14 guidance:
Net subscriber additions of 1.25 million,
Revenue of over $4.0 billion,
Adjusted EBITDA of ~$1.38 billion, and Free cash flow approaching $1.1 billion.
11:52AM Relative sector strength (TECHX) : Sectors that are outperforming the S&P on the push off the low include: Internet FDN, Retail XRT, Discretionary XLY, Industrial XLI, Finance/Bank XLF/KBE,
11:47AM Stocks/ETFs that traded to new 52 week highs/lows this session - New highs (81) outpacing new lows (51) (SCANX) : Stocks that traded to 52 week highs:
AAN, ACU, ASRV, AWK, BFAM, CBOE, COLB, CPE, CPK, CRL, DOX, EA, EGLT, EMES, ENZ, EVER, FCNCA, FMI, FSM, GFN, GROW, GSAT, GXP, HTM, ICGE, ITC, JACK, JVA, KIN, KNOP, KRNY, LHO, LLTC, LNT, LSG, MANH, MDRX, MFRM, MPC, MPWR, MUX, NEE, NG, NJR, NRF, NVDQ, OZRK, PFSW, PHX, PLM, PNM, PPP, PRI, PSXP, PZZA, QADA, QUMU, RCAP, RFMD, RGLD, RLYP, SAAS, SOHO, SRE, SSRI, STO, SWC, SYN, TQNT, TRNS, TSN, UBSH, UGI, USAP, UTL, VLCCF, VNDA, WEC, WES, WGP, WIBC
Stocks that traded to 52 week lows:
ADT, AH, AHP, AKO.A, ARO, AVNW, BCS, BIOC, BODY, BWP, CCCL, CERE, CHL, CHRW, COBK, CONN, COVS, CTCM, CYH, CZZ, DO, ELNK, EROC, FST, FSYS, GGS, HELI, IGC, KOF, LAQ, LMNS, MTL, MTU, NE, NIHD, PBR, PBR.A, PGEM, RELL, RIG, RLOC, SC, SDR, SUNS, SYMC, TEU, VALE, VHC, WRLD, XOXO, ZNH
ETFs that traded to 52 week highs:
ETFs that traded to 52 week lows:
11:41AM Infosys subsidiary Infosys Public Services signs agreement with U.S. District of Columbia (INFY) 55.21 +0.71 : The U.S. District of Columbia has extended its contract with Infosys Public Services, a U.S. based subsidiary of Infosys (INFY). Earlier, the District signed a $49.5 million agreement with Infosys Public Services in January 2013 to develop its Health Insurance Marketplace, the DC Health Link. One of the first state-based marketplaces to be operational on schedule on October 1, 2013, DC Health Link offers health insurance options to over half a million residents and small businesses. Under the new agreement, Infosys Public Services will modernize the legacy eligibility system and additional federal and local health and social programs for the U.S. District of Columbia. Infosys Public Services will leverage the foundational capabilities developed in 2013 to enable the District's agencies to collaborate with their constituents to achieve sustainable health and social benefit outcomes.
11:38AM Gold, silver, crude oil and natural gas futures are inching lower here (COMDX) : Prices are as follows:
- Apr crude oil+0.5% at $98.69/barrel
- Apr nat gas +0.2% at $4.39/MMBtu
- Apr gold +0.7% at $1382.60/oz
- May silver +1.9% at $21.59/oz
11:36AM New weekly lows for major averages but attempting to recover -- Dow -22, S&P -2.4, Nasdaq Comp -7.2 (SPY) :
11:34AM Currency Commentary: DXY Hit Following Weak PPI Data (SUMRX) :
- The Dollar Index remains week but it does continue to hold the 78.20-30 area. The DXY was trading along the 79.50 area but came under selling pressure after PPI data came in below expectations. This would drive the greenback down until it was finally able to stabilize at 79.35. Market focus remains on geopolitical events in the Ukraine and China weakness but it will slowly turn next week as we prepare for the Wednesday Fed meeting. This will be a two day meeting and also be new Fed Chair Janet Yellen's first meeting that includes a press conference and updated projections.
- The euro was able to rally as the dollar sold off. The single currency had been trading at the 1.3880 area as it failed to find bids following yesterday's cautious comments by ECB President Mario Draghi. But the euro was able to catapult back to the 1.39 level as the dollar came under selling pressure.
- The pound saw a weak attempt to rally on the dollar weakness, pushing up approx 60 pips before rolling back over and giving up some of this squeeze. The pound was unable to break above key multi-year resistance levels and is now seeing some added pressure of concerns about the U.K. current account deficit given the strength in sterling. 1.66 is setting up as a key test of support for the currency.
- The yen is up for the fifth day in a row as it continues to see safe haven buying via the carry trade unwind. The move comes ahead of the Crimea referendum on Sunday. China concerns are also providing a push toward yen.
- The Russian ruble continues to slide lower as Ukraine tensions mount. The ruble has been sliding in the 36 area for the past three weeks and hit fresh lows of 36.70 against the dollar this morning (FOREX, BONDX).
11:33AM Lifepoint Hospitals joint venture Duke LifePoint to partner with Conemaugh Health System (LPNT) 51.29 +0.03 : The board of directors of Conemaugh Health System has selected Duke LifePoint Healthcare as its partner to position West Central Pennsylvania's largest health system to thrive in the coming decades, officials announced today. Founded in 2011, Duke LifePoint, a national leader with an excellent reputation for quality care, education, operations excellence and financial strength, is an innovative joint venture of Duke University Health System and LifePoint Hospitals (LPNT). The board and Duke LifePoint have signed a letter of intent under which Duke LifePoint will acquire the health system. Under the terms of the letter of intent, Duke LifePoint has agreed to invest more than half a billion dollars over the next ten years to strengthen and grow Conemaugh Health System.
11:32AM Las Vegas Sands slides back toward morning low (LVS) 81.19 -1.00 : The sector ETF (BJK -1.5%) has been a laggard today with LVS recently sliding back to the vicinity of its early low (81.03). This approximates the 38% retrace of the Feb/March rally (80.97) with the next levels of interest if follow through develops at its 50 ema/sma at 80.60/80.35.
11:13AM New session lows for major averages -- Dow -32, S&P -4, Nasdaq Comp -15 (TECHX) : The Dow has slipped under the previous day's low, the S&P/Nasdaq Comp are hovering just above.
11:00AM Keurig Green Mtn and Peet's Coffee & Tea Announce Partnership; financial terms not disclosed (GMCR) 109.04 +2.88 : Co announced a multi-year manufacturing and distribution agreement for Peet's-branded packs for the Keurig brewing system. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
- The companies plan to launch a selection of Keurig licensed Peet's coffee and tea varieties in K-Cup packs for Keurig brewers produced by Keurig by the end of the summer. Peet's will continue to hand roast the beans for its Peet's K-Cup packs at its LEED-Gold certified roasting facility in Alameda, Calif. and the roasted beans will be transported to Keurig for grinding and packaging in K-Cup packs.
- The new, licensed Peet's K-Cup packs will be distributed by Peet's proprietary nationwide direct delivery system to grocery stores, mass merchandisers, club stores, Peet's retail stores, and online at www.peets.com. Keurig will distribute Peet's K-Cup packs to specialty and department stores and away from home channels, as well as via its U.S. consumer direct site, www.keurig.com.
10:59AM S&P -1 continues to chop on both side of flat line for the year (TECHX) : While the index has held up relatively well this morning given the overnight weakness, it has continued to stall at first level resistance (1852/1854, session high 1852) with it merely chopping on both sides of the flat line for the year at 1848.36. This type of choppy price pattern off yesterday's late day low thus far has the look of a corrective bounce.
10:55AM AK Steel announces stainless steel price increase (AKS) 6.11 +0.02 : Co said that it will increase prices for all of its stainless steel products, effective with shipments on April 1, 2014. AK Steel said the increase will be achieved through a discount reduction of two percentage points. For all products priced using net prices, including automotive exhaust products, the increase will be achieved by adding $.02 per pound to the existing prices.
10:26AM Major averages again pause near first level resistances -- Dow +13, S&P +1.7, Nasdaq Comp +3.2 (TECHX) : Noted resistance in The Technical Take and 09:59 with these levels probed a second time this morning.
10:17AM Boston Scientific announces CE Mark approval and first implants of INGEVITY MRI pacing leads (BSX) 13.02 +0.28 : Co announces CE Mark approval and European market launch of the INGEVITY family of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) compatible pacing leads. Pacing leads are insulated wires that connect an implantable pacemaker to the heart for treatment of bradycardia, a condition in which the heart beats too slowly. Pacemakers work in conjunction with leads to sense and stimulate (or pace) the heart.
10:17AM WTI crude oil pops about $0.55/barrel to a new HoD. Apr crude is now +1% at $99.16/barrel (COMDX) :
10:12AM Minor new session highs for major averages -- Dow +45, Nasdaq Comp +7.2, S&P +5 (TECHX) :
10:02AM Sprint expands no-contract plan offers with Sprint Prepaid; offers smartphone plans as low as $45 per month; Sprint LTE and Sprint Spark devices included (S) 8.55 -0.07 : Co is launching Sprint Prepaid, a new branded offer for those customers who want the control that comes with prepaying for their wireless service each month, the savings that come with paying for the device up front with no long-term commitment contracts, and the benefit of being with the Sprint brand. Sprint Prepaid expands on the "As You Go" no-contract plan introduced last year with new pricing, including smartphone plans for as low as $45 per month, expanded merchandising and a stronger device lineup that includes LTE and Sprint Spark-capable options.
9:59AM Major averages test/pause at first level resistances -- Dow +10, S&P -0.1, Nasdaq Comp -9 (TECHX) : The indices held up relatively well in early trade and were able to edge into positive territory but thus far they has stalled at first level resistance from The Technical Take at 1852/1854 S&P (session high 1851), 4268/4275 Nasdaq Comp (session high 4268) and 16150/16158 Dow (session high 16154).
9:52AM Aeropostale (-17.5%) hits fresh 11 year low after disappointing earnings/guidance, Sycamore deal (ARO) 6.02 -1.28 :
9:46AM Opening Market Summary: Stocks Reclaim Opening Losses (WRAPX) : The major averages began the day with modest losses before climbing out of the red thanks to early strength among most sectors. Utilities (+0.4%), materials (+0.5%), and consumer discretionary (+0.4%) paced the early climb while the health care sector (-0.2%) lags amid weakness in biotechnology.
The iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB 253.11, -1.69) is lower by 0.7%, which is also contributing to the early underperformance of the Nasdaq (+0.1%).
Treasuries have slipped from their highs, but remain in positive territory. The benchmark 10-yr yield is lower by one basis point at 2.64%.
9:44AM Relative sector strength (TECHX) : Sector that outperforming in the early going include: Silver SLV, Copper JJC, Coal KOL, Defense PPA, Gold GLD, Home Const ITB, Steel SLX, Gold Miners GDX, Semi XSD, Solar TAN.
9:41AM Stock indices rotate higher after only limited opening weakness -- Dow +30, S&P +2.7, Nasdaq Comp +3 (TECHX) :
9:32AM Vivendi announced it has received two offers that the Supervisory Board considers relevant; it has decided to enter into exclusive negotiations with Altice (VIVHY) 27.42 +0.00 :
- Vivendi's Supervisory Board met today and examined the two offers received from Altice and Bouygues.
- The Supervisory Board has now decided to enter into exclusive negotiations with Altice for a period of three weeks. It considers their offer to be the most pertinent for the Group's shareholders and employees, with the opportunity for effective execution.
- The offer also achieves Vivendi's objective to rapidly become a leading European media and content player and develop SFR as a dynamic leader in high speed fixed and mobile telephony.
- The Altice offer comprises an EUR 11.75 billion payment to Vivendi and a 32% share in the equity of the combined listed entity.
- It also provides Vivendi with pre-determined exit conditions.
- At the end of the three weeks, the Supervisory Board will meet again to examine the next steps and to decide if it should put an end to the other options envisaged.
9:31AM Mechel Steel and Vnesheconombank sign agreements for second and third credit lines to finance Elga Coal Complex development (MTL) 1.66 0.00 : Co announces that project company Elgaugol OOO, which is part of Mechel Group, and State Corporation "Bank for Development and Foreign Economic Affairs (Vnesheconombank)" signed agreements for the second and third credit lines of project financing for developing Elga Coal Complex's first phase, for 2.085 billion US dollars and 418.7 million US dollars respectively.
- The second credit line, totaling 2.085 billion US dollars, will be used to finance construction of Elga Coal Complex's facilities until the complex's coal mining and processing capacity reaches 11.7 million tonnes of run-of-mine coal a year, as well as completion of works aimed at increasing the Ulak-Elga railway's capacity.
- The third credit line totaling 418.7 million US dollars will be used to fund expenses on paying Vnesheconombank's interest and fees for the second credit line until Elga Coal Complex's first-phase facilities are launched, as well as to repay the 150-million-dollar bridge loan - the first credit line granted Elgaugol OOO in October 2013.
- 49% of Elgaugol OOO's shares, as well as the project company's movable and real property will be offered as security on these credit lines. Vnesheconombank will also acquire 0.01% of Elgaugol OOO's equity capital with following repurchase.
9:23AM On The Wires (WIRES) :
- Sterling Construction (STRL) announced that a JV, comprised of its Myers & Sons Construction and Ralph L. Wadsworth Construction subsidiaries, was selected by the California Department of Transportation as the contractor on a CMGC project with a potential value of ~ $52 mln.
- AudienceXpress, a subsidiary of Visible World, and Neustar (NSR) announced a partnership to provide better insight into consumer preference while watching television.
- Fortinet (FTNT) moved its global headquarters to a new and larger facility in Sunnyvale, California.
- Perfect World Entertainment, a subsidiary of Perfect World (PWRD), announced Swordsman, a new free-to-play martial arts-inspired MMORPG based off the famed novels from Louis Cha.
9:18AM S&P futures vs fair value: -0.60. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: +1.20. (WRAPX) : The stock market is on track to begin today's session on a flat note as futures on the S&P 500 less than a point below fair value. All things considered, U.S. equity futures have held up relatively well so far this morning despite broad losses overseas.
In Asia, the Nikkei led the regional decline with a 3.3% slide, exacerbated by the yen strength, which manifested itself during the New York session. The yen has continued its climb against all major currencies, pushing the dollar/yen pair below 101.50. Currently, the pair hovers near 101.30 after notching a low of 101.22. Considering the impact of the yen-based carry trade on risk assets, the currency pair deserves close attention during today's session.
Elsewhere, European indices trade broadly lower with Spain's IBEX (-1.8%) displaying the largest decline after being down as much as 2.3%. Interestingly, Germany's DAX was down near 1.0%, but has trimmed its loss to 0.5%. It is worth mentioning the index is lower by 6.2% so far this year.
Treasuries hold modest gains with the 10-yr yield down two basis points at 2.63%.
With the Crimean referendum on joining the Russian Federation scheduled for Sunday, participants are likely to remain sensitive to any and all headlines related to the situation. Earlier, the Estonian defense minister was quoted as saying Russia is preparing to invade eastern Ukraine. This followed yesterday's remarks from Ukraine's acting President Oleksandr Turchynov who voiced the same concern.
The preliminary reading of the Michigan Sentiment Survey for March will cross the wires at 9:55 ET.
9:17AM RLJ Lodging Trust increases quarterly dividend by ~ 7.3% to $0.22 per share from $0.205 per share (RLJ) 26.45 :
9:06AM Dyax prices public offering of 8 mln shares of its common stock at $9.25 per share (DYAX) 10.15 :
9:02AM Chembio Diagnostics announces appointment of John Sperzel as President and CEO, effective March 13, 2014 (CEMI) 3.42 : Co announced the appointment of John Sperzel as President and CEO, effective March 13, 2014. Most recently, Mr. Sperzel served as President and CEO of International Technidyne, a privately-held POC diagnostic company.
9:01AM Amazon.com announces plans to open a nearly 1 million-square-foot fulfillment center in Kent, Wash (AMZN) 371.51 : This will be the company's fourth fulfillment center in the state. Amazon's other Washington fulfillment centers are located in Sumner and Bellevue, and a DuPont site is near completion.
8:59AM S&P futures vs fair value: +0.70. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: +5.00. (WRAPX) : The S&P 500 futures trade less than a point above fair value after climbing off their lows.
The major Asian bourses ended mostly lower. The latest Bank of Japan minutes showed the central bank believes growth and inflation remain on track with its targets and that the planned consumption tax due in April will not impede the progress that has been made. India's Wholesale Price Index eased to 4.68% year-over-year from 5.05%.
- Japan's Nikkei tumbled 3.3% to a one-month low as the strong yen weighed. Exporters were hit hard as Sharp fell 3.8% and Sony gave up 4.2%.
- Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 1.0%, falling for the fifth time in six sessions. The index closed at its lowest level since early February. Tencent Holdings sank 4.1% after mobile payments were halted by the PBoC due to security concerns.
- China's Shanghai Composite slipped 0.7%, ending near its lowest levels since late-July as trade managed to hold the 2000 level. Shares of Citic Bank tumbled 8.3% following the suspension of virtual card payments.
Major European indices trade lower across the board with Spain's IBEX (-1.9%) displaying the largest decline. Participants received several data points. Eurozone employment ticked up 0.1% quarter-over-quarter (0.0% expected, 0.0% prior) while the year-over-year reading decreased 0.5% (-0.8% last). Germany's CPI increased 0.5% month-over-month while the annualized reading pointed to 1.2% rise. Both figures met expectations. Great Britain's trade deficit widened to GBP9.79 billion from GBP7.66 billion (expected deficit of GBP8.60 billion). Separately, CB Leading Index rose 0.7% month-over-month (-0.1% last). Spain's trade deficit widened to EUR2.80 billion from EUR1.83 billion (EUR2.00 billion expected). Swiss PPI slipped 0.4% month-over-month (-0.1% expected, 0.0% last) while the year-over-year reading fell 0.8% (-0.5% consensus, -0.3% prior).
Among news of note, according to Germany's Bild, the European Union and United States plan to implement visa bans targeting Russian individuals with close ties to Vladimir Putin in the event the Crimean referendum on joining the Russian Federation proceeds as planned.
- Great Britain's FTSE trades lower by 0.6% as financials weigh. Aberdeen Asset Management and Royal Bank of Scotland are both down near 2.2%. Consumer names outperform with J Sainsbury and IMI up 2.4% and 1.8%, respectively.
- Germany's DAX holds a loss of 0.6% with exporters on the defensive. BMW is lower by 1.9% and Daimler trades down 1.5%. Countercyclical names display strength with Bayer and Fresenius SE up 1.1% and 2.0%, respectively.
- In France, the CAC trades down 1.2%. Industrials Bouygues and Lafarge lead the retreat with losses close to 3.2% apiece. Steelmaker ArcelorMittal and beverage producer Pernod Ricard outperform with respective gains of 1.0% and 0.3%.
- Italy's MIB is lower by 1.8%. Financials Mediobanca and UnipoSai hold respective losses of 3.3 and 4.3%.
- Spain's IBEX holds a loss of 1.9%. Banco de Sabadell, Banco Popular, Bankia, and Bankinter are down between 3.8% and 4.4%.
8:57AM Martin Midstream and its subsidiary, Martin Midstream Finance, intend to offer $150 mln in aggregate principal amount of 7.250% senior unsecured notes due 2021 in a private offering (MMLP) 42.53 :
- Co announced that it and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Martin Midstream Finance, intend to offer $150 million in aggregate principal amount of 7.250% senior unsecured notes due 2021 in a private offering. The additional notes are being offered as an additional issue of our outstanding 7.250% senior notes due 2021, originally issued in an aggregate principal amount of $250 million on February 11, 2013 in a private offering and later exchanged into registered notes. The additional notes will be issued under the same indenture as the existing notes and are part of the same series and will have identical terms, other than the issue date and issue price, except that the additional notes will initially be subject to restrictions on transfer under applicable securities laws.
- The Partnership intends to use the net proceeds from this offering to repay borrowings under its revolving credit facility that it will borrow to pay the redemption price of ~ $182.8 million on its 8.875% notes due 2018 that have been called for redemption.
8:55AM Scorpio Tankers enters into agreement whereby the co will sell its seven Very Large Crude Carriers under construction for cash and record a gain of ~ $50 mln (STNG) 9.70 : Co announced that it has entered into an agreement whereby it will sell its seven Very Large Crude Carriers ("VLCCs") under construction for cash and record a gain of ~ $50 million. This transaction is subject to the execution of definitive agreements and satisfaction of customary closing conditions and is expected to close by the end March 2014.
8:50AM Aaron's: Vintage Capital Management sends letter to Aaron's independent directors; urges independent directors to reject any financial engineering by Ron Allen (AAN) 32.08 : Vintage Capital Management, the second largest shareholder of Aaron's, announced that it has delivered a letter to the independent directors of Aaron's. Among other things, the letter urges the independent directors to reject any plan proposed by Ron Allen, Aaron's Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, that would utilize short-term financial engineering to temporarily increase earnings per share and mask the ongoing declines in system-wide profitability. Further, the letter asks the independent directors to bring in a new management team to stabilize and improve Aaron's business or sell the company to someone who is better able to run it.
8:48AM European Markets Update: FTSE -0.6%, DAX -0.7%, CAC -1.3%, MIB -1.9%, IBEX -2.0% (SUMRX) : Major European indices trade lower across the board with Spain's IBEX (-2.0%) displaying the largest decline. Participants received several data points. Eurozone employment ticked up 0.1% quarter-over-quarter (0.0% expected, 0.0% prior) while the year-over-year reading decreased 0.5% (-0.8% last). Germany's CPI increased 0.5% month-over-month while the annualized reading pointed to 1.2% rise. Both figures met expectations. Great Britain's trade deficit widened to GBP9.79 billion from GBP7.66 billion (expected deficit of GBP8.60 billion). Separately, CB Leading Index rose 0.7% month-over-month (-0.1% last). Spain's trade deficit widened to EUR2.80 billion from EUR1.83 billion (EUR2.00 billion expected). Swiss PPI slipped 0.4% month-over-month (-0.1% expected, 0.0% last) while the year-over-year reading fell 0.8% (-0.5% consensus, -0.3% prior).
Among news of note, according to Germany's Bild, the European Union and United States plan to implement visa bans targeting Russian individuals with close ties to Vladimir Putin in the event the Crimean referendum on joining the Russian Federation proceeds as planned.
- Great Britain's FTSE trades lower by 0.6% as financials weigh. Aberdeen Asset Management and Royal Bank of Scotland are both down near 2.2%. Consumer names outperform with J Sainsbury and IMI up 2.4% and 1.8%, respectively.
- Germany's DAX holds a loss of 0.7% with exporters on the defensive. BMW is lower by 1.9% and Daimler trades down 1.5%. Countercyclical names display strength with Bayer and Fresenius SE up 1.1% and 2.0%, respectively.
- In France, the CAC trades down 1.3%. Industrials Bouygues and Lafarge lead the retreat with losses close to 3.2% apiece. Steelmaker ArcelorMittal and beverage producer Pernod Ricard outperform with respective gains of 1.0% and 0.3%.
- Italy's MIB is lower by 1.9%. Financials Mediobanca and UnipoSai hold respective losses of 3.3 and 4.3%.
- Spain's IBEX holds a loss of 2.0%. Banco de Sabadell, Banco Popular, Bankia, and Bankinter are down between 3.8% and 4.4%.
8:48AM Gold and silver futures just spiked to new session highs (gold popped about $8)... Apr gold is now +0.7% at $1382.20, May silver is +2.6% at $21.75/oz (COMDX) :
8:46AM Ixia receives notice regarding non-compliance with Nasdaq Listing Rule (XXIA) 13.40 :
- Co announced that, as expected and due to the previously announced delay in the filing of the co's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended Dec 31, 2013, on March 10, 2014, the co received a notice from The NASDAQ Stock Market notifying the co that it does not comply with Nasdaq Listing Rule 5250(c)(1). The co previously received a notice from Nasdaq regarding non-compliance with Listing Rule 5250(c)(1) following its failure to timely file its Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the fiscal quarter ended September 30, 2013.
- The co has until March 18, 2014 to submit to Nasdaq an update to Ixia's original plan to regain compliance with Listing Rule 5250(c)(1) as submitted to Nasdaq in connection with the Form 10-Q. The co intends to submit an updated plan to Nasdaq by the specified deadline. Nasdaq previously granted the co an exception until March 18, 2014 to file the Form 10-Q, and the co expects that in the updated plan it will request an extension of that exception.
8:46AM Charles Schwab reports new assets brought to the co by new and existing clients in Feb 2014 totaled $10.9 bln (SCHW) 26.35 : Co released its Monthly Market Activity Report. Company highlights for the month of Feb 2014 include:
- Net new assets brought to the co by new and existing clients in Feb 2014 totaled $10.9 billion.
- Total client assets were a record $2.29 trillion as of month-end Feb, up 13% from Feb 2013 and up 3% compared to Jan 2014.
- Clients' daily average trades were 556.4 thousand in Feb 2014, up 10% compared to Feb 2013 and down 5% compared to Jan 2014. Feb 2014 trading activity included a 3% sequential decrease in daily average revenue trades.
8:42AM Apr crude oil just spiked above $99/barrel to a new session high of $99.05/barrel.... Apr contract is now +0.8% at $99.01/barrel (COMDX) :
8:34AM Omeros prices offering of 3,043,479 shares of its common stock at $11.50 per share (OMER) 12.30 :
8:33AM Kinder Morgan Partners: Kinder Morgan reconfirms its 2014 financial dividend and distribution guidance for Kinder Morgan (KMI), Kinder Morgan Energy Partners (KMP), Kinder Morgan Management (KMR) and El Paso Pipeline Partners ( EPB); KMP expects to generate distributable cash flow per unit nicely in excess of its budget targets (KMP) 73.80 :
- "2014 is off to a great start and the future outlook for the Kinder Morgan companies remains very bright. We have identified approximately $14.8 billion in expansion and joint venture investments that we are confident will contribute to our growth, and we are pursuing customer commitments for many more projects. Since our 2014 budget was announced in early December of 2013, KMP has completed an approximately $962 million acquisition of crude oil tankers that are engaged in marine transportation for U.S. domestic trade through the Jones Act, and Tennessee Gas Pipeline completed a successful binding open season for incremental, north to south natural gas transportation capacity totaling 500,000 dekatherms per day, which will move gas from the Marcellus and Utica shales to multiple delivery points on the Gulf Coast."
- As previously announced, KMI expects to declare dividends of $1.72 per share for 2014. This represents an 8 percent increase over its 2013 declared dividend of $1.60 per share. Growth at KMI in 2014 is expected to be driven by continued strong performance at KMP and contributions from EPB.
- KMP expects to declare cash distributions of $5.58 per unit for 2014, a 5 percent increase over its 2013 distribution of $5.33 per unit. KMP expects to exceed its distributable cash flow per unit target primarily as a result of the positive impact of the previously noted tanker acquisition, TGP's incremental north to south firm transportation contracts, which are expected to begin service in April 2014, and additional long-term contracts on its El Paso Natural Gas pipeline system.
- KMR also expects to declare distributions of $5.58 per share for 2014 and the distribution to KMR shareholders will be paid in the form of additional KMR shares. EPB expects to declare cash distributions of $2.60 per unit for 2014, a 2 percent increase over its 2013 distribution of $2.55 per unit.
8:33AM Keurig Green Mtn and Starbucks (SBUX) announced amended terms to the companies' existing five-year agreement; updated their agreement to continue to expand Starbucks range of K-Cup pack offerings (GMCR) 106.16 :
- The companies have updated their agreement to continue to expand Starbucks range of K-Cup pack offerings and to promote expanded consumer choice as Keurig continues to build its Keurig brewing system.
- In exchange for eliminating the super-premium coffee exclusivity terms of the existing agreement Starbucks will receive improved business terms, including significantly expanded Starbucks K-Cup pack and variety types.
8:32AM NewLead announces agreements to acquire two eco-type 2012-built Handysize vessels (NEWL) 2.93 :
- Co announced that it has executed definitive agreements for the acquisition of two eco-type 31,800 dwt, Handysize bulk carriers built in 2012 for a total acquisition price of $37.0 million.
- The two eco-type vessels are expected to be delivered in NewLead by the end of June and July this year. Upon completion of this acquisition, NewLead will own five dry-bulk vessels, consisting of three Handysize and two Panamax vessels.
8:32AM Rand Logistics announces vessel acquisition to support new business awards beginning in the 2015 sailing season (RLOG) 7.37 : Co announced the acquisition of a Danish flagged chemical tanker that will be converted to a Canadian flagged river class self-unloader vessel. The new vessel will support recent new long-term contract awards which begin in April 2015. The acquisition and conversion of this vessel is consistent with Rand's strategy of remaining the leader in both the U.S. and Canadian river class markets on the Great Lakes and reaffirms the Co's commitment to support the growth of its customers.
8:31AM S&P futures vs fair value: -2.90. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: -2.80. (WRAPX) : The S&P 500 futures trade three points below fair value. Index futures fell to pre-market lows during the past 30 minutes following comments from Estonia's defense minister who said Russian President Vladimir Putin is readying to invade eastern Ukraine.
Just released, February producer prices slipped 0.1% while the Briefing.com consensus expected an uptick of 0.2%. Core producer prices fell 0.2% while the consensus expected an uptick of 0.1%.
8:31AM iGATE announced that it intends to offer, subject to market and other customary conditions, $325 mln in aggregate principal amount of senior notes due 2019 (IGTE) 32.60 :
- Co announced that it intends to offer, subject to market and other customary conditions, $325 mln in aggregate principal amount of senior notes due 2019. The Notes will be the senior obligations of iGATE and will be guaranteed by certain of iGATE's existing and future wholly-owned U.S. subsidiaries. iGATE intends to use the net proceeds of the Offering, together with cash, the proceeds from its 2013 term loan and a draw on its revolving credit facility, to redeem its $770 mln 9.0% senior notes due 2016.
8:31AM Market View: Front-month Jun. E-mini index futures trade blow fair values, see some downside follow-through following the 8:30 am ET Feb. PPI data (TECHX) :
- ESm4 currently trades @ 1835.50 -4.25
- NQm4 currently trades @ 3638.25 -6.25
8:31AM TICC Capital prices public offering of 6 mln shares of its common stock at $10.14 per share (TICC) 10.43 :
8:30AM ZBB Energy prices offering of 5.5 mln registered shares of its common stock at $2.25 per share (ZBB) 3.18 :
8:20AM On The Wires (WIRES) :
- Salesforce.com (CRM) announced the appointment of General Colin Powell to its Board of Directors. The appointment was effective as of Mar 13, 2014 and increases the size of the Board of Directors to 11 members.
- ValueVision Media (VVTV) announced the appointment of Landel C. Hobbs and Lowell W. Robinson to its Board of Directors, effective immediately. With the appointment of Messrs. Hobbs and Robinson, the Board now consists of eight directors, seven of whom are independent.
- Rawlings Sporting Goods, a subsidiary of Jarden (JAH), announced a new, 6-year agreement with the Chinese Baseball Association, establishing Rawlings as the Official Apparel and Equipment Sponsor for the national governing body.
8:17AM Leap Wireless provided notice of a make-whole fundamental change to holders of its 4.50% convertible senior notes due 2014 (LEAP) 17.52 :
- The Make-Whole Fundamental Change resulted from the merger of a wholly owned subsidiary of AT&T (T) a Delaware corporation, into Leap, pursuant to which Leap became a wholly owned subsidiary of AT&T. The Merger was completed pursuant to the Agreement and Plan of Merger, dated as of July 12, 2013.
- Pursuant to Section 11.01 of the Indenture, each Noteholder has the right, subject to certain conditions, at such Noteholder's option, to require Leap to repurchase all of such Noteholder's Notes, or any portion thereof that is a multiple of $1,000 principal amount, on March 28, 2014, at a price equal to 100% of the principal amount thereof, plus any accrued and unpaid interest thereon to, but excluding, the Fundamental Change Purchase Date.
8:06AM E*TRADE reports Daily Average Revenue Trades for February were 201,223, a 3% increase from January and a 32% increase from the year-ago period (ETFC) 23.26 : Co released its Monthly Activity Report for February 2014. Daily Average Revenue Trades ("DARTs") for February were 201,223, a three percent increase from January and a 32 percent increase from the year-ago period.
The Co added 40,932 gross new brokerage accounts in February, ending the month with ~3.0 million brokerage accounts -- an increase of 28,242 from January. Net new brokerage assets were $1.6 bln in the month.
During the month, customer security holdings increased by six percent, or $10.0 bln, and brokerage-related cash increased by $1.3 bln to $40.2 bln. Bank-related cash and deposits ended the month unchanged, at $6.3 bln. Customers were net buyers of ~$0.3 bln in securities during the month.
8:05AM CommonWealth REIT Board sends letter to shareholders highlighting its business plan and governance progress; Highlights the real and substantial risks presented by related/Corvex's Consent solicitation and takeover attempt without paying shareholders a control premium (CWH) 26.87 : Fourth quarter 2013 results:
- 89.6% occupancy vs. 83.4% for the nationwide office market.
- + 8.1% higher rents for space leased vs. prior leases for the same space.
- $0.63/share normalized funds from operations (FFO)1 vs. $0.54 consensus expectation...
Co believes removing the entire Board without cause will expose CWH to real and substantial risks:
- Co states ratings downgrades and debt defaults are likely.
- Co believes it would be out of compliance with SEC and NYSE requirements for publicly traded securities.
- Co believes it's dividends would not be declared or paid at least until a new Board can be elected at a special meeting which will not occur for 60-90 days.
8:04AM Great Panther Silver announces that the Co has regained possession of its administration building and plant facility at its Guanajuato Mine Complex (GPL) 1.19 : Co announces that it has regained possession of its administration building and plant facility at its Guanajuato Mine Complex. On March 9th, approximately 60 people gained unauthorized entry to the Company's main administration building and plant facility in Guanajuato and occupied it until approximately 3:30pm Thursday March 13th. At that time, the authorities gained entry and removed the people who had been illegally occupying the Company's facilities.
8:04AM Amdocs commences cash offer in connection with holders' put rights for 0.50% convertible senior notes due 2024 (DOX) 45.26 :
- Co announced it has commenced a cash offer for its 0.50% Convertible Senior Notes due 2024.
- Pursuant to the indenture for the notes, each holder of the notes has the right to require Amdocs to repurchase on March 17, 2014 all or any part of such holder's notes at a price equal to 100% of the principal amount plus accrued and unpaid interest. Under the terms of the notes, Amdocs had the option to pay for the notes with cash, ordinary shares, or a combination of cash and ordinary shares, and has elected to pay for the notes solely with cash.
- As of March 12, 2014 there was $1,020,000 aggregate principal amount of notes outstanding.
8:03AM Hurco Companies names Sonja K. McClelland Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer (HURC) 24.92 : HURC announced the promotion of Sonja K. McClelland to Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer.
- This decision was approved by Hurco's Board of Directors on March 13, 2014.
- Most recently Ms. McClelland served as Corporate Controller, Assistant Secretary and Principal Accounting Officer.
8:02AM Peregrine Pharma updates progress in investigator-sponsored Phase i/ii trial of Bavituximab in combination with Sorafenib in liver cancer at annual society of surgical oncology meeting; results support potential of Bavituximab in combination with Sorafenib; investigator is encouraged by promising results as Phase II enrollment nears completion (PPHM) 2.23 : PPHM announced the presentation of an update to the ongoing Investigator-Sponsored Trial (IST) of its immunotherapy bavituximab in combination with the chemotherapy sorafenib (Nexavar) in patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) or liver cancer. The oral presentation was given at the 67th Society of Surgical Oncology (SSO) Annual Cancer Symposium being held March 12-15, 2014 at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Arizona.
- "The Phase II portion of this trial is ongoing with 34 of the 38 intended patients currently enrolled, 10 of which are currently on treatment with the longest one on treatment for 18 months," said Dr. Yopp. "This open-labeled trial is almost complete and while the results are preliminary, they are promising. I am excited about this potential combination given the new understandings about bavituximab's mechanism and I look forward to sharing the full set of data from this Phase II trial later this year."
- In his presentation, Dr. Yopp reviewed preclinical data demonstrating that sorafenib induces PS exposure on endothelial cells in vitro and in vivo and that antibody-mediated PS blockade revitalizes the immune response in murine HCC xenografts and enhances the activity of sorafenib. Researchers determined that the combination of bavituximab and sorafenib is superior to sorafenib alone at treating C3A HCC in mice.
- Dr. Yopp then reviewed results from the Phase I portion of this Phase I/II trial which enrolled 10 patients with advanced liver cancer. Results demonstrated that the combination of bavituximab and sorafenib was well-tolerated with common toxicities at all grades related to sorafenib and that no dose-limiting toxicities were reached for bavituximab at any of the treatment levels (0.3, 1.0, and 3.0 mg/kg). This supported the progression into the Phase II portion with the 3.0 mg/kg dose.
8:02AM Nationstar Mortgage: Kyle Bass' Hayman Capital discloses 5.3% passive stake in 13G filing (NSM) 31.27 :
8:01AM Theravance and GlaxoSmithKline plc (GSK) announce positive results; In each of the studies UMEC/VI achieved a statistically significant improvement in lung function (THRX) 33.94 :
- Co announced positive results from three phase III studies. Two studies comparing the efficacy and safety of the combination anticholinergic / long-acting beta2-adrenergic agonist, Anoro Ellipta with inhaled corticosteroid / long-acting beta2-adrenergic agonist combination, Advair Diskus and the third comparing the efficacy and safety of Anoro Ellipta with Seretide Diskus 'FSC 500/50' in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and no history of moderate to severe COPD exacerbations in the last year.
- In each of the studies UMEC/VI achieved a statistically significant improvement in lung function, measured as weighted mean forced expiratory volume in one second (wm FEV1) over 0-24 hours at the end of the 12 week study (day 84), compared to either dose of FSC.
- In this study (116134) the most frequently reported (greater than or equal to 3% in any treatment group) adverse events were headache (9% UMEC/VI and 7% FSC), nasopharyngitis (3% UMEC/VI and 3% FSC), back pain (2% UMEC/VI and 3% FSC) and dysphonia ( < 1% UMEC/VI and 3% FSC). The incidence of any cardiovascular adverse events of special interest was similar in the two treatment groups (2% UMEC/VI and < 1 % FSC). There was no incidence of pneumonia in the UMEC/VI group and < 1% in the FSC group. The incidence of lower respiratory tract infections excluding pneumonia was < 1% in the UMEC/VI group and none in the FSC group. The incidence of on-treatment non-fatal serious adverse events (SAEs) was similar across the treatment groups (2% in the UMEC/VI group and < 1% in the FSC group). There was one patient with an on-treatment fatal SAE in the UMEC/VI treatment group and none in the FSC group.
8:01AM Ares Commercial Real Estate closes new $50 mln facility (ACRE) 13.41 :
- Co announced that, through a wholly owned subsidiary, it closed a $50 million secured revolving funding facility with City National Bank. The CNB Facility will be used to finance new investments and for other working capital and general corporate needs. Draws from the CNB Facility may be used as capital to allow ACRE to obtain additional leverage under its other funding facilities.
- The initial maturity date of the CNB Facility is March 11, 2016 and is subject to one 12-month extension option if certain conditions are met.
- In addition to the new CNB Facility, ACRE continues to utilize three secured funding facilities totaling $450 million in capacity.
8:01AM CommonWealth REIT: Corvex and related urge CommonWealth shareholders to act now to remove Board Of Trustees (CWH) 26.87 : Corvex Management LP and Related Fund Management, LLC, whose separately managed investment funds collectively own approximately 9.6% of the outstanding shares of CommonWealth REIT (CWH) today reminded CommonWealth shareholders that the deadline to support the consent solicitation and remove the entire Board of Trustees is approaching. There is no internet voting, so shareholders are urged to sign, date and return their GOLD consent card in the pre-paid envelope today.
8:01AM Simulations Plus announces success in COX-2/COX-1 drug design project; three of four molecules hit both targets (SLP) 5.90 :
- Co announced that its second NCE initiative, which involved using Simulations Plus software to design molecules to inhibit COX-2, has been a success as determined by synthesis and testing by a third-party lab.
- Three of the four molecules it has designed are potent inhibitors of both cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and COX-1 enzymes. The fourth inhibits COX-2 but only weakly inhibits COX-1.
7:59AM S&P futures vs fair value: +0.80. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: +4.00. (WRAPX) : U.S. equity futures display slim gains despite cautious action overseas. The S&P 500 futures trade one point above fair value.
Reviewing overnight developments:
- Asian markets ended lower. China's Shanghai Composite -0.7%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng -1.0%, and Japan's Nikkei -3.3% with the stronger yen weighing on the index. The dollar/yen pair spent the Tokyo session near Thursday lows before slipping into the 101.50 area.
- Economic data was limited:
- Japan's Industrial Production increased 3.8% month-over-month (4.0% expected, 4.0% prior) while Capacity Utilization increased 5.9% month-over-month (2.2% last).
- India's Wholesale Price Index came in at 4.68% (4.99% expected, 5.05% previous).
- Singapore's unemployment rate held steady at 1.8% (2.0% expected) while retail sales increased 1.0% year-over-year (1.0% expected, -5.5% prior).
- New Zealand's Business NZ PMI ticked down to 56.2 from 56.3.
- In news:
- The minutes from Bank of Japan's latest policy meeting were fairly neutral with most members agreeing the country's economic recovery remains on the appropriate path.
- Major European indices have spent the first half of action in the red. Great Britain's FTSE -0.3%, Germany's DAX -0.6%, and France's CAC -0.9%. Elsewhere, Italy's MIB -1.3% and Spain's IBEX -1.6%.
- Participants received several data points:
- Eurozone employment ticked up 0.1% quarter-over-quarter (0.0% expected, 0.0% prior) while the year-over-year reading decreased 0.5% (-0.8% last).
- Germany's CPI increased 0.5% month-over-month while the annualized reading pointed to 1.2% rise. Both figures met expectations. Great Britain's trade deficit widened to GBP9.79 billion from GBP7.66 billion (expected deficit of GBP8.60 billion). Separately, CB Leading Index rose 0.7% month-over-month (-0.1% last).
- Spain's trade deficit widened to EUR2.80 billion from EUR1.83 billion (EUR2.00 billion expected).
- Swiss PPI slipped 0.4% month-over-month (-0.1% expected, 0.0% last) while the year-over-year reading fell 0.8% (-0.5% consensus, -0.3% prior).
- Among news of note:
- According to Germany's Bild, the European Union and United States plan to implement visa bans targeting Russian individuals with close ties to Vladimir Putin in the event the Crimean referendum on joining the Russian Federation proceeds as planned.
In U.S. corporate news:
- Aeropostale (ARO 6.25, -1.05): -14.4% after missing on earnings and revenue. The company issued below-consensus guidance.
- Ebix (EBIX 17.30, +1.02): +6.3% after beating earnings estimates on in-line revenue.
- General Mills (GS 49.60, -1.41): -2.8% in reaction to lowered third-quarter earnings guidance.
February PPI will be released at 8:30 ET while the preliminary reading of the Michigan Sentiment Survey for March will cross the wires at 9:55 ET.
7:57AM Clayton Williams announces sale of Austin Chalk and Eagle Ford Shale wells and acreage for $71 mln (CWEI) 91.39 :
- Co announced that it had closed the sale of selected wells and leases in Wilson, Brazos, La Salle, Frio and Robertson Counties, Texas for $71 mln, subject to customary closing adjustments. The sold properties, which are situated outside the co's core block of Austin Chalk and Eagle Ford acreage, accounted for ~ 5% of the co's oil and gas production for the quarter ended December 31, 2013 and ~ 2% of its total proved reserves at December 31, 2013.
- Net proceeds from the sale will be used to repay the outstanding balance on the co's revolving bank credit facility and to fund a portion of its planned capital expenditures for 2014. The current borrowing base under the credit facility is unchanged at $415 million pending a scheduled redetermination to take effect on or prior to May 1, 2014.
7:50AM Derma Sciences beats by $0.11; co affirms 2014 revenue guidance (DSCI) 13.54 : Reports Q4 (Dec) loss of ($0.31) per share, $0.11 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of ($0.42); revenues rose 3% year/year to $20.7 mln vs the $21.5 mln consensus.
- Derma Sciences affirms guidance for 2014 revenues to be ~$92 mln vs $93.1 mln consensus.
- "We are expecting Q1 revenues to be largely consistent with Q4 revenues due primarily to two factors," commented Mr. Quilty. "First, the inclement weather in much of the country negatively impacted sales as patient visits to wound care clinics were down. In addition, realigning sales territories as we continue to add sales representatives is temporarily impacting growth. Importantly, our current cash and equivalents and investments are ~$100 million, which is more than adequate to fund our planned development and growth initiatives," Mr. Quilty concluded.
7:46AM Asian Markets Close: Nikkei -3.3%, Hang Seng -1.0%, Shanghai -0.7% (SUMRX) :
- The major Asian bourses ended mostly lower.
- The latest Bank of Japan minutes showed the central bank believes growth and inflation remain on track with its targets and that the planned consumption tax due in April will not impede the progress that has been made.
- India's Wholesale Price Index eased to 4.68% YoY (5.05% YoY previous).
- Japan's Nikkei (-3.3%) tumbled to a one-month low as the strong yen weighed. Exporters were hit hard as Sharp fell 3.8% and Sony gave up 4.2%.
- Hong Kong's Hang Seng (-1.0%) fell for the fifth time in six sessions and closed at its lowest level since early February. Tencent Holdings sank 4.1% after mobile payments were halted by the PBOC due to security concerns.
- China's Shanghai Composite (-0.7%) slipped to near its lowest levels since late-July as trade managed to hold the 2000 level. Shares of Citic Bank tumbled 8.3% as virtual card payments have been suspended.
- India's Sensex (+0.2%) held near record highs as the tame Wholesale Price Index sparked rate cut hopes. Auto shares were among the top performers with Tata Motors and Hero MotoCrop gaining 1.4% and 1.1%, respectively.
- Australia's ASX (-1.5%) slumped to a one-month low with action ending on the 50 and 100 dma. Heavyweight miners were pressured with Rio Tinto sliding 2.5% and BHP Billiton losing 2.0%.
- Indonesia's Jakarta Composite (+3.2%) was a notable outperformer after Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo was nominated as a presidential candidate in April's election.
- Regional Decliners: South Korea -0.8%...Taiwan -0.7%...Philippines -0.6%...Singapore -0.3%
- Regional Advancers: Thailand +0.1%...Malaysia +0.2%...Vietnam +0.3%
- Fx: USDCNY climbed to 6.1500...USDINR ticked up to 61.18...USDJPY -40 pips @ 101.45...AUDUSD -5 pips @ .9030
7:39AM ANN beats by $0.03; guides Q1 revs below consensus; guides FY15 revs just below consensus; announces restructuring to optimize omni-channel opportunity, eliminating ~100 corporate positions (ANN) 34.87 : Reports Q4 (Jan) earnings of $0.10 per share, $0.03 better than the Capital IQ Consensus of $0.07; revenues rose 2.6% year/year to $623.3 mln, in-line with the Feb 6 preannouncement (consensus was $636 mln), vs the $625.27 mln consensus.
- Total Company comparable sales for the quarter increased 2.9% versus a decrease of 0.7% in the fourth quarter of 2012. At Ann Taylor, total brand comparable sales declined 1.1%, reflecting an increase of 0.9% at Ann Taylor, which includes sales results at Ann Taylor stores and anntaylor.com, and a decline of 6.1% in the Ann Taylor Factory channel. At LOFT, total brand comparable sales increased 5.7%, reflecting an increase of 7.6% at LOFT, which includes sales results at LOFT stores and LOFT.com, and a decrease of 3.5% in the LOFT Outlet channel.
- Gross margin as a percentage of net sales was 49.3%, an increase of 20 basis points compared with the 49.1% gross margin rate achieved in Q4. This gross margin performance primarily reflected effective planned promotional activity at both Ann Taylor and LOFT during the fourth quarter of 2013, partially offset by a higher level of promotional activity in the factory/outlet channel, versus the fourth quarter of 2012.
Co issues downside guidance
for Q1, sees Q1 revs of approach $600 mln vs. $614.39 mln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate.
Co issues downside guidance
for FY15, sees FY15 revs of $2.615 bln vs. $2.64 bln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate.
Co announced a strategic realignment of its organization to support an integrated stores/ecommerce structure and position the co for accelerated growth and efficiency. "Today, we are taking the next critical step, by realigning our organization to support an integrated stores/e-commerce structure to accelerate our strategic growth agenda and overall financial performance in 2014 and beyond." The realignment is expected to result in ongoing annualized pre-tax operating savings of ~$25 million, of which ~$15 mln is expected to be realized in fiscal 2014. As a result of the strategic realignment, the co has streamlined its operations, eliminating ~100 positions from its corporate workforce. The Company expects to record a pre-tax restructuring charge of ~$15 million in connection with the realignment, the vast majority of which is expected to be incurred in the fiscal first quarter of 2014.
7:33AM Ebix beats by $0.08, reports revs in-line (EBIX) 16.28 : Reports Q4 (Dec) earnings of $0.40 per share, $0.08 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.32; revenues fell 5.9% year/year to $50.8 mln vs the $50.75 mln consensus.
- The quarter over quarter Exchange revenue drop was primarily due to the considerable strengthening of the US dollar as compared to the Australian dollar and the Brazilian Real. The BPO channel's quarter over quarter revenue from its core certificate tracking and creation business increased.
- The overall decline in BPO business was due to the non-recurring nature of certain third party software development activities undertaken a year ago.
- Ebix Chairman, President & CEO Robin Raina said, "From my perspective, the year 2013 was a good test of the inherent fundamental strength of Ebix's strong network of clients, products and client relationships. We did extremely well on all these fronts. We are cautiously optimistic about the future as we continue to build momentum in terms of growing our business."
7:32AM KCG Holdings releases Feb 2014 trade volumes; in Market Making, co averaged $27.4 bln dollar volume traded, 20.0 bln shares traded, and 3.9 mln trades per day in U.S. equities (KCG) 11.99 :
- Agency-based algorithmic and EMS trade volumes through Knight Direct and GETAlpha averaged an aggregate 285.2 million shares traded per day in U.S. equities
- KCG Hotspot averaged $30.4 billion per day in notional foreign exchange dollar volume
- KCG BondPoint averaged $143.5 million per day in fixed income par value
- As for the overall market conditions in February, consolidated U.S. equity volume averaged $286.1 billion in dollar volume and 7.0 billion shares traded per day.
- The realized volatility for the S&P 500 was 13.0.
7:31AM ANN announces strategic realignment; company evolves organization to optimize omni-channel opportunity - expects to generate ~ $25 mln in annualized pre-tax savings (ANN) 34.87 :
7:30AM Navidea Biopharma announces presentation of Lymphoseek three-year recurrence and survival outcomes after sentinel lymph node biopsy in patients with breast cancer and melanoma; results presented at Society of Surgical Oncology Cancer Symposium indicate low regional recurrence and high disease-specific survival rates (NAVB) 2.01 :
- Co announced results of a three-year, voluntary follow-up study of Lymphoseek (technetium Tc 99m tilmanocept) Injection conducted in patients who participated in a Phase 3 clinical trial (NEO3-05) of the product. The primary objective of the follow-up study was to determine the regional recurrence-free rate (RRFR) after sentinel lymph node biopsy with Lymphoseek.
- Results of the follow-up study indicated that in patients who were confirmed to be node-negative (N0) after sentinel lymph node biopsy (n=88; 49 breast cancer, 39 melanoma) the RRFR was 98.8% (100% in breast cancer; 97.4% in melanoma) and the disease-specific survival rate (DSSR) was 98.6% (97.8% in breast cancer; 100% in melanoma) at three years.
- A study reported in the New England Journal of Medicine which evaluated the use of sentinel node biopsy or nodal observation node-negative (N0) melanoma patients1 showed a DSSR at three years of 90.1%. In another study published in Lancet Oncology2, node-negative (N0) breast cancer patients had an estimated disease-free survival rate at five years of 88.6%.
- In a second presentation at the meeting, Dr. Jennifer Baker of the University of California, San Diego presented results from combined efficacy analyses of three Phase 3 Lymphoseek clinical trials in breast cancer, melanoma and head and neck cancer patients. The data showed that Lymphoseek demonstrated high sensitivity, as well as high negative predictive value and accuracy in identifying tumor-draining lymph nodes, and that it is likely to be predictive of pathological staging.
7:26AM On The Wires (WIRES) :
- Carlyle (CG) announced that former General Motors (GM) Chairman and CEO Daniel F. Akerson rejoined the firm on March 1, 2014 as Vice Chairman and Special Advisor to the Board of Directors.
- Trina Solar (TSL) announced its Trinasmart product has received IEC 61215/61730 certification from TUV Rheinland. Trinasmart is the first smart module to receive certification from TUV Rheinland in Greater China.
- Golden Star Resources (GSS) filed a technical report, prepared in accordance with National Instrument 43-101, regarding its Bogoso Mine in Ghana. The Mineral Resources and Reserves reported in this Technical Report are the same as, and in support of those stated in co's news release dated Feb 10, 2014.
- AppData.com, a provider of Facebook (FB) app analytics from Mediabistro (MBIS), reported that King Digital Entertainment (KING) has the top three apps on Facebook ranked by Monthly Active Users.
7:23AM Coronado Biosciences reports larger-than-expected Q4 loss (CNDO) 2.53 : Reports Q4 (Jan) loss of ($0.27) per share, $0.04 worse than the Capital IQ Consensus of ($0.23); no revs.
- Research and development expenses were $25.7 mln for the year ended Dec 31, 2013, compared to $17.5 mln for 2012. General and administrative expenses totaled $10.1 mln for the year ended Dec 31, 2013, compared to $8.7 mln for 2012. In 2013, the increase in research and development expenses was due to expenses related to the TSO clinical program and the increase in general and administrative expenses related to incremental personnel-related costs from the elimination of certain executive positions and the departure of Coronado's previous CEO.
- At Dec 31, 2013, Coronado's cash and cash equivalents totaled $99.5 mln.
7:19AM Dollar Slips in Early Trade: 10-yr: -02/32..2.647%..USD/JPY: 101.44..EUR/USD: 1.3884 (SUMRX) :
- The Dollar Index presses session lows near 79.50.
- The early weakness has the Index on track for its lowest close since late-October, but action remains well above yesterday's low mark of 79.30.
- EURUSD is +20 pips @ 1.3890 as trade fights to recover yesterday's losses. The single currency probed 1.3950 early on in yesterday's session before seeing a sharp drop in response to ECB head Mario Draghi warning of deflation risks in the region. Early action provided a test of 1.3850 support, but that level was able to hold as it has in each of the previous five sessions. All eyes will be on this weekend's referendum in Crimea to see if the region remains a part of Ukraine or is annexed by Russia.
- GBPUSD is -15 pips @ 1.6610 as trade slips following the wider than anticipated British trade deficit (GBP9.8 bln actual v. GBP8.7 bln expected, GBP7.7 bln previous). Early action has been lackluster as trade holds near 1.6600 support and has seen just a 30 pip range.
- USDCHF is flat @ .8740 as a sleepy trade takes hold. The pair has seen little response to the cooler than expected Swiss PPI (-0.4% MoM actual v. 0.3% MoM expected) with trade trapped in a tight 25 pip range amid today's session.
- USDJPY is -35 pips @ 101.50 as sellers hold control for a fourth session. The latest Bank of Japan minutes crossed the wires overnight, suggesting growth and inflation remain on track with the central bank's targets and that the upcoming consumption tax, due in April, will not impede the progress that has been made. A breakdown of 101.00 puts the 200 dma (100.32) and parity in play. Click here to see a daily USDJPY chart.
- AUDUSD is -5 pips @ .9030 as trade holds near the highs. Some early selling caused the hard currency to probe the .9000 level, but buyers emerged to defend minor support in the area. The .9050/.9100 level, which is helped by the 100 dma, remains key. USDCNY climbed to 6.1500.
- USDCAD is +10 pips @ 1.1080 amid a lackluster overnight trade. Traders continue to watch the 1.1050 pivot.
7:17AM Ply Gem Holdings misses by $0.02, reports revs in-line; guides Q1 revs below consensus; with adj. EBITDA break even to slightly down (PGEM) 12.03 : Reports Q4 (Dec) loss of $0.26 per share, $0.02 worse than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of ($0.24); revenues rose 23.9% year/year to $332.9 mln vs the $332.61 mln consensus.
- Net sales in Windows and Doors segment increased 31.5% while the Siding, Fencing and Stone segment increased 17.7%. Excluding the impact of the acquisitions of Gienow and Mitten, net sales increased $8.9 million or 3.3%. Our organic sales were relatively stable for the fourth quarter despite all businesses experiencing a decline in demand during the last five weeks of the year. We believe the decrease in demand was largely driven by severe winter weather and a pull-back in the new construction housing market.
Co issues downside guidance
for Q1, sees Q1 revs of -15-20% QoQ to ~$266.3-283.0 mln vs. $318.88 mln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate.
"As we look ahead and our volumes recover, we expect to generate meaningful operating leverage. However, we certainly do not expect a linear recovery, and there will continue to be some growing pains as our operations scale, but this is to be expected and we view it as a normal and healthy part of the recovery process. What is clearly outside of our control is the adverse weather that we experienced in recent months and the resulting market pullback. We expect weather to have an adverse impact on our first quarter operating results with net sales expected to be down by 15% to 20% on a sequential basis with our first quarter Adjusted EBITDA being breakeven to slightly down. As a reminder, the first and fourth quarters are our seasonally weakest periods with our lowest profitability, so we do expect a typical pick up as we move through the more important second and third quarters. The opportunity ahead of us is really about recapturing margin in our Windows and Doors segment as that continues to scale as volume expands, regional builders become more active in the market, and pricing discipline returns. We are confident in recapturing those margins and we are making progress in many areas including on the pricing front and in January 2014 we announced our third price increase over the past 12 months for our Windows & Doors segment as well as price increases in our Siding, Fencing and Stone segment. We expect to largely maintain full year gross profit margins in our Siding, Fencing and Stone segment in the mid-to-high 20% range, while delivering the $15 to $20 million of cost savings and synergies from our Gienow and Mitten acquisitions.
7:08AM Brown Shoe beats by $0.04, misses on revs; guides FY15 EPS below consensus, revs below consensus (BWS) 25.39 : Reports Q4 (Jan) earnings of $0.14 per share, $0.04 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.10; revenues fell 3.0% year/year to $600 mln vs the $622.59 mln consensus.
- Famous Footwear fourth quarter 2013 sales of $347.4 million were down 8.6% year-over-year, with same-store-sales down 1.8%.
- Performance in the quarter was impacted by severe winter weather, which hurt running shoe sales while helping to drive boot sales.
- During the quarter, 13 stores were closed or relocated and nine new stores were added.
- Wholesale sales of $196.3 million were up 13.5% in the fourth quarter. For the Healthy Living platform, wholesale sales of $107.2 million were up 4.3%, led by a double-digit improvement in Naturalizer. The co's Contemporary Fashion wholesale sales of $89.1 million were up 28.2% in the fourth quarter, with double-digit growth from key brands Sam Edelman and Franco Sarto.
- Consolidated gross profit of $241.4 mln was down 2.4% in the fourth quarter, while gross margin increased by 20 basis points to 40.2%.
Co issues downside guidance
for FY15, sees EPS of $1.45-1.55 vs. $1.62 Capital IQ Consensus; sees FY15 revs of $2.58-2.60 bln vs. $2.61 bln Capital IQ Consensus. With: Famous Footwear same-store sales Up low-single digits; Specialty Retail net sales Down low-single digits; Wholesale Operations net sales Up low- to mid-single digits; Gross margin Up ~10 bps.
7:07AM Quicksilver Resrcs reports EPS in-line, misses on revs (KWK) 2.77 : Reports Q4 (Dec) loss of $0.03 per share, excluding non-recurring items, in-line with the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate consensus of ($0.03); revenues fell 49.0% year/year to $114.2 mln vs the $116.06 mln consensus.
- Fourth-quarter 2013 production was 24.5 Bcfe, or an average of 266 million cubic feet of natural gas equivalent per day (MMcfed) compared to 31.5 Bcfe, or an average of 342 MMcfed in the 2012 quarter. Full-year 2013 production was 108 Bcfe, or an average of 296 MMcfed.
- Outlook: The company intends to invest a total of $136 million in 2014, which includes $98 million for drilling and completion activities, primarily in the Fort Worth Basin and the Horseshoe Canyon, $15 million for leasehold and seismic, and approximately $23 million for overhead and interest expense that is expected to be capitalized in the ordinary course of business. Full-year production volume is expected to be 245 - 255 MMcfe per day.
- First-quarter 2014 average daily production volume is expected to be 240 - 245 MMcfe per day. Average daily production volumes are expected to consist of 85% natural gas and 15% natural gas liquids and crude oil. Hedging: The company's derivative portfolio is as follows: Natural gas swaps of 170 MMcfd for 2014 at a weighted average price of $5.08 per Mcf, 150 MMcfd for 2015 at $5.23 per Mcf, and 40 MMcfd for 2016-2021 at $4.48 per Mcf, and NGL swaps of 4,000 BBld at a weighted average price of $30.52 for January 2014 - September 2014.
7:06AM Uranium Energy receives additional non-dilutive $10 mln, extends loan facility to July 2016 and provides operations update (UEC) 1.66 :
- Co announced that the co, Sprott Resource Lending Partnership and CEF Capital Markets have agreed to extend the previously announced $20 mln senior secured credit facility by deferring required principal payments by two years and extending the Credit Facility by two years to now a full four years. The co has drawn down a further $10 mln, bringing the total principal amount outstanding under the Credit Facility Extension to $20 mln.
- The long-term fundamentals for both nuclear power and the uranium price are very strong however this strength is not currently reflected in uranium prices. The current spot price of uranium is below the average economic cost to produce uranium from currently operating mines globally, and is well below the average economic cost to develop new production.
- As a result of the status of the uranium market, the co's near-term growth strategy of its hub-and-spoke production platform will focus on permitting, resource expansion and pre-extraction activities at its satellite projects. Concurrently, operations will continue at the Hobson Processing Plant and the Palangana ISR Mine, maintaining our core operating team and personnel. This strategy will position UEC to scale its operations relatively quickly as the uranium price strengthens, enabling the co to realize additional cash flows and higher rates of return.
- In addition to the existing terms of the Credit Facility, an annual fee of 4.5%, payable in common shares of the co on the outstanding principal balance on such date, if any, plus $50,000 cash is payable by the co to the Lenders on each of July 31, 2015 and July 31, 2016 should any principal be outstanding at such time. The Extension Annual Fee Share Payment is to be payable (if at all) in such number of common shares of the co determined on the basis of a 10% discount to the five-trading-day volume-weighted average closing price of the co's common shares on the NYSE MKT immediately prior to the applicable date.
7:05AM Idenix Pharma files patent infringement lawsuits against Gilead Sciences (GILD) in Europe; granted European patent covering 2'-methyl-2'-fluoro nucleosides for treating hepatitis C virus (IDIX) 6.94 :
- Co announced that it has filed patent infringement lawsuits against Gilead Sciences (GILD) and/or certain of its subsidiaries in each of three countries - France, Germany and the United Kingdom. The lawsuits allege that Gilead infringes Idenix's recently-granted, co-owned European patent EP 1 523 489 that covers 2'-methyl-2'-fluoro nucleosides for treating the hepatitis C virus. In these lawsuits, Idenix is seeking remedies with respect to Gilead's marketing and sales of drugs containing sofosbuvir, which Idenix believes infringes its European patent.
- Gilead Sciences has also filed suit against Idenix in various jurisdictions outside the United States (Canada, Norway and Australia) to invalidate granted Idenix patents covering certain 2'-methyl-2'-fluoro nucleoside compounds and their use in treating HCV or other Flaviviridae viruses.
7:04AM Hologic appoints Eric Compton as Chief Operating Officer; Glenn Muir, Chief Financial Officer, to retire in November; company initiates CFO search (HOLX) 21.50 :
- Co announced that Eric Compton has been appointed to the newly-established role of Chief Operating Officer. He most recently served as Worldwide President of Ortho Clinical Diagnostics at Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) and previously held a number of senior positions at both Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble (PG).
- In addition, Glenn Muir, Executive Vice President, Finance and Administration and Chief Financial Officer, will retire. Mr. Muir will remain with Hologic through Nov 30, 2014 to help ensure a smooth transition. The co will immediately initiate a search process to identify a new CFO.
7:04AM Buckle beats by $0.03, rev in-line with Feb 6 downside preannouncement (BKE) 45.52 : Reports Q4 (Jan) earnings of $1.23 per share, $0.03 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $1.20; revenues fell 6.0% year/year to $339 mln, in-line with Feb 6 guidance, vs the $350.5 mln 'stale' consensus.
- Comparable store net sales for the 13-week period ended February 1, 2014 decreased 2.8 percent from comparable store net sales for the prior year 13-week period ended February 2, 2013.
- Online sales (which are not included in comparable store sales) increased 0.4 percent to $29.3 million for the 13-week period ended February 1, 2014, compared to net sales of $29.1 million for the 14-week period ended February 2, 2013.
7:04AM Herbalife: Carl Icahn is engaged in discussions with HLF regarding potentially adding additional Icahn nominees to the Board of Directors - amended 13D filing (HLF) 57.31 :
7:03AM Canadian Solar announces opening of Canadian Solar Microgrid Testing Centre (CSIQ) 33.07 : Co announced the opening of Canadian Solar Microgrid Testing Centre. The Centre will focus on micro-grid solution testing, and system solution design and smart grid assessment services.
7:02AM BioLineRx announces issuance of United States patent covering use of BL-8040 in immunotherapy; BL-8040 currently undergoing Phase 2 trial for acute myeloid leukemia and expected to commence Phase 1 trial in stem cell mobilization in Q2 2014 (BLRX) 2.51 : Co announced that an Issue of Notification has been received from the United States Patent and Trademark Office for U.S. Patent No. 8,663,651, which includes claims to protect the use of BL-8040's composition for enhancing immune responses to an antigen, such as a tumor-associated antigen. The issued patent has a term extending to October 2029. This patent is part of BL-8040's expanding patent portfolio, which includes 13 issued patents and 25 patent applications pending worldwide, providing a strong intellectual property estate around BL-8040.
"BL-8040 is currently undergoing a Phase 2 trial for the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia and is expected to enter a Phase 1 trial for stem cell mobilization in the 2nd quarter of 2014. We expect top-line results for both of these clinical studies towards the end of the year or early next year."
7:01AM Magnum Hunter provides operational update on its Marcellus and Utica Shale Plays; over the next 30 days, co anticipates production flowing to sales from 8 gross (7 net) wells in the Marcellus and Utica Shale Plays via its majority owned Eureka Hunter Pipeline System (MHR) 7.41 : Co announced certain updates on its drilling and completion activities in the Marcellus and Utica Shale Plays.
- Over the next 30 days, the co anticipates production flowing to sales from 8 gross (7 net) wells in the Marcellus and Utica Shale Plays via the co's majority owned Eureka Hunter Pipeline System. Of these wells, the co anticipates the three WVDNR Pad wells located in Wetzel County, West Virginia, in which the co owns a 100% working interest, will begin flowing to production sales over the next 17-20 days. The Stalder Pad wells, the Stalder #2MH and Stalder #3UH, will be turned into production over the next 10-12 days following the finalization of fracture stimulation of the Stalder Marcellus well which is nearing completion. In addition, the pipeline segment at the Ormet Pad is in the final stages of installation, and the co anticipates the three wells on this pad to flow to production over the next 45 days. Following the completion of the WVDNR Pad wells, Stone Energy (under its JV with the co) will then commence the completion of 4 gross (2 net to the co) wells, already drilled and cased, located in Wetzel County, West Virginia, over the next couple of weeks with production flowing to sales anticipated in the next 60 days. The co anticipates incremental production from the WVDNR, Stalder and Ormet Pad locations will be in the range of 6,000 - 8,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day net to the co.
- On the WVDNR Pad located in Wetzel County, West Virginia, the co has drilled and completed the fracture stimulation of the three 100% owned Marcellus Shale wells, the WVDNR #1207, #1208 and #1209. The wells were drilled and cased to an average vertical depth of 7,500 feet with a 4,000 foot average horizontal lateral. The co is currently cleaning up the location and anticipates production from the wells to begin flowing to sales over the next 17-20 days.
- On the Stewart Winland Pad located in Tyler County, West Virginia, the co has drilled and cased two Marcellus Shale wells, the Stewart Winland #1301 and #1302. The wells were drilled and cased to an average true vertical depth of 6,155 feet with a 5,750 foot average horizontal lateral. The co is currently drilling the lateral portion of the third Marcellus Shale well, the Stewart Winland #1303, to a true vertical depth of 6,155 feet with a 5,800 foot horizontal lateral. Following the completion of this third Marcellus well, the co will walk the robotic drilling rig over to the next location and drill the first horizontal Utica Shale well ever drilled in the State of West Virginia. The co expects to report initial production test rates from these four new 100% owned wells on the Stewart Winland Pad during mid-summer 2014.
- Production results from the group of wells are anticipated to almost double the co's current overall daily production volumes.
7:00AM Helen of Troy announces final results of its tender offer to repurchase up to $300 mln in value of its common shares; an aggregate of 3,693,816 common shares were properly tendered and not properly withdrawn at or below the final purchase price of $66.50 per share (HELE) 66.18 :
6:46AM Citi Trends beats by $0.01, misses on revs (CTRN) 16.11 : Reports Q4 (Jan) earnings of $0.10 per share, $0.01 better than the Capital IQ Consensus of $0.09; revenues fell 10.5% year/year to $157.2 mln vs the $168.14 mln consensus; comps -3.5%.
6:36AM Fuel Systems Solutions misses by $0.20, misses on revs; guides FY14 revs below consensus (FSYS) 11.97 : Reports Q4 (Dec) loss of $0.16 per share, $0.20 worse than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.04; revenues fell 5.5% year/year to $92.6 mln vs the $96.4 mln consensus
- Automotive revenue decreased $3.8 million primarily reflecting lower OEM volumes and the impact of the competitive aftermarket pressure offset slightly by an increase in DOEM and compressor sales. Industrial revenue decreased $1.7 million compared to the prior-year period, primarily as a result of lower volumes for heavy duty business in Asia and stationary engines. The impact of foreign exchange on the fourth quarter revenue was insignificant.
- Gross profit for the fourth quarter of 2013 was $17.6 million, or 19.0% of revenue, compared to $21.3 million, or 21.8% of revenue in the fourth quarter, of 2012. The lower gross profit primarily reflects the lower revenue discussed above and cost increases in Automotive primarily related to inventory and outside services.
Co issues downside guidance
for FY14, sees FY14 revs of $340-360 mln vs. $388.15 mln Capital IQ Consensus. 2014 gross margin of 21% to 23%, and 2014 positive cash flow as defined by Adjusted EBITDA of between $14 million and $20 million.
- Based on: Automotive operations -- slower global transportation market given increasingly aggressive competition and the difficult economies in developing countries in Latin America and Europe, including the previously disclosed loss of certain OEM and DOEM programs in Asia and Europe, and the discontinuation of the Chevrolet brand in Europe. The slower markets will be partially offset by continued positive margin contributions from the US market and the anticipated maintenance of the Company's leading market share in the European aftermarket. Industrial operations -- the loss of a large customer is expected to be partially offset by new engine programs beginning in late 2014 and early 2015, and by modest growth in the APU and mobile markets. A comparable margin performance in 2014 relative to 2013 on lower volumes given the expected revenue mix as the Company continues to implement cost reductions and focus on achieving greater operational efficiencies.
- "Fuel Systems' fourth quarter results reflect the market challenges affecting the Company in terms of reduced volumes as alternative fuel programs end with specific automotive OEMs in Asia and Europe, a very competitive European automotive aftermarket, and transitions in our mobile industrial engine business. Looking out into 2014 and beyond, Fuel Systems continues to focus on execution and operational efficiency, on expanding the value of our product portfolio and trademarks in the market, and on extending and diversifying our technological expertise into new opportunities. We are examining all strategic opportunities for capital deployment before us, including new product development, opportunistic M&A, and are in discussions for a possible renewal of our credit facilities. We have set our 2014 outlook ranges to levels that incorporate near-term cost reductions, margin improvements and growth in selected areas, including the US Automotive and North American Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) markets."
6:33AM Dominion Diamond reports updated reserve and resource statement for the Ekati and Diavik Diamond Mines; resource model for Pigeon kimberlite pipe was updated in calendar 2013 after additional definition and geotechnical drilling was conducted which resulted in an increase of 1.4 mln tonnes of indicated resources to a total of 12 mln tonnes (DDC) 13.62 :
- Co release an updated reserve and resource statement for the Ekati and Diavik Diamond Mines.
- At the Ekati Diamond Mine, the resource model for the Pigeon kimberlite pipe was updated in calendar 2013 after additional definition and geotechnical drilling was conducted which resulted in an increase of 1.4 million tonnes of indicated resources to a total of 12 million tonnes. Included in this increase is an additional 600,000 tonnes being promoted to probable reserve status for a total of 7.3 million tonnes as a result of conducting these additional drilling programs and updating the open-pit design for the Pigeon kimberlite pipe.
- For the Diavik Diamond Mine, new data from the processing of samples from the 2012 deep drilling program on the A-154 North kimberlite pipe was incorporated into the latest reserve and resource models in calendar 2013. The updated A-154 North model has reclassified 2 million tonnes from probable to proven reserve status.
6:32AM BioDelivery Sciences provides business review and update in conjunction with filing of its 2013 Annual Report; BUNAVAIL PDUFA date June 7, 2014; Plans underway for potential Q3 2014 launch (BDSI) 9.01 : Co announced that it has filed its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended Dec 31, 2013 with the SEC and, in connection therewith, is providing a review of BDSI's 2013 financials and achievements as well as an update on business operations and upcoming milestones for 2014.
- A New Drug Application (NDA) for BUNAVAIL was submitted to the FDA in mid-2013 and has a Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) date of June 7, 2014. In Jan 2014, BDSI and Endo (ENDP) announced positive top-line results from the Phase 3 clinical trial of BEMA Buprenorphine in opioid naive patients. The trial successfully met its primary efficacy endpoint in demonstrating that BEMA Buprenorphine resulted in significantly (p<0.005) improved pain relief compared to placebo. Additional secondary endpoints supported the efficacy of BEMA Buprenorphine while the most commonly reported adverse events in patients treated with BEMA Buprenorphine compared to placebo in the double blind phase of the study were nausea (10% vs. 8%), vomiting (4% vs. 2%) and constipation (4% vs. 2%). A second Phase 3 pivotal study for BEMA Buprenorphine, which is ongoing and being conducted in opioid experienced patients, is expected to report top-line results in mid-2014.
- In addition to the progress on its two buprenorphine containing products, BDSI expanded its product portfolio in 2013 by in-licensing Clonidine Topical Gel, a proposed treatment for painful diabetic neuropathy. Following a positive end of Phase 2 meeting with FDA in November, BDSI will begin this quarter enrolling patients in the first of two Phase 3 studies.
- Anticipated 2014 Milestones: BDSI is focusing its resources on achievement of the following key milestones:
- BUNAVAIL for Opioid Dependence. Given the FDA action date of June 7, 2014, BDSI is currently working on the execution of the sales, marketing and other commercialization and product supply chain activities to support the anticipated third quarter 2014 launch of BUNAVAIL. Additionally, data from clinical studies of BUNAVAIL will be presented at the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) 45th Annual Medical-Scientific Conference, April 10-13, 2014 in Orlando, Florida.
- BEMA Buprenorphine for Chronic Pain. BDSI anticipates the second database lock from the Phase 3 trial for opioid experienced patients and subsequent $10 million milestone payment from Endo, to occur in mid-year 2014, and the potential filing of the NDA in late 2014 or early 2015.
- Clonidine Topical Gel for Painful Diabetic Neuropathy. A Phase 3 study will be initiated by the end of first quarter 2014 with the potential for interim data by year-end.
6:30AM Dynegy commences exchange offer of $500 mln aggregate principal amount of its 5.875% Senior Notes due 2023 registered under the Securities Act of 1933 for all $500 mln aggregate principal amount of its outstanding 5.875% Senior Notes due 2023 (DYN) 24.18 : Co commenced an exchange offer of $500 million aggregate principal amount of its 5.875% Senior Notes due 2023 registered under the Securities Act of 1933 for all $500 million aggregate principal amount of its outstanding 5.875% Senior Notes due 2023. The Exchange Offer was commenced in order to satisfy certain obligations of Dynegy pursuant to a registration rights agreement entered into in connection with the private offering. The terms of the Exchange Notes are identical in all material respects to the terms of the Notes, except that the Exchange Notes have been registered under the Securities Act of 1933. Dynegy will receive no proceeds from this Exchange Offer.
6:23AM Achillion Pharma announces oral presentations given at APASL 2014 detailing clinical activity of ACH-3102, second-generation NS5A inhibitor, against genotype 1b HCV; 100% SVR demonstrated in combination with sovaprevir, NS3/4A protease inhibitor, in late breaker oral presentation (ACHN) 3.17 :
- Co announced that two oral presentations were made at the 23rd Asian Pacific Association for the Study of the Liver (APASL) Conference 2014 in Brisbane, Australia.
- Updated Phase 2 clinical trial results evaluating a 150 mg loading dose followed by 50 mg once daily of ACH-3102 in combination with either once daily 200 mg or 400 mg of sovaprevir and twice daily ribavirin showed that 100% of patients achieved SVR12 (n=8) including subjects who had Y93 mutations at baseline.
- A second oral presentation on ACH-3102 was made at APASL 2014 that discussed clinical virology and the lack of virologic breakthrough that was observed in the novel Phase 2 clinical trial evaluating ACH-3102 with ribavirin for patients with treatment-na ve genotype 1b HCV. Despite the presence of up to six linked mutations identified at baseline in the NS5A protein, ACH-3102, without the co-administration of interferon or a second direct-acting antiviral, was able to suppress viral replication with no virologic breakthrough observed during 12 weeks of treatment.
6:18AM Castlight Health (CSLT) prices 11.1 mln share IPO at $16.00 per share, above the revised $13-15 expected range (IPOXX) : The co originally planned to price the IPO at $9-11 per share.
6:06AM S&P futures vs fair value: +5.50. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: +12.00. :
6:06AM European Markets : FTSE...20470.63...-121.20...-0.60%. DAX...8985.62...-32.20...-0.40%.
6:06AM Asian Markets : Nikkei...14327.66...-488.30...-3.30%. Hang Seng...21539.49...-216.60...-1.00%.
6:02AM China Information Tech announces resignation of Chief Financial Officer (CNIT) 5.01 : Co announced that Daniel Lee, its CFO has tendered his resignation as the Company's CFO for personal reasons. Lee will remain with the Company for a transition period till April 15, 2014. The Board of Directors of the Company will initiate a search for his successor immediately.
4:30AM On The Wires (WIRES) :
- Kilroy Realty (KRC) announced that it has acquired for $106.1 million, a four-story, LEED Gold-certified, life science property located at 401 Terry Avenue North in the heart of the South Lake Union submarket of Seattle.
- Admiral Group plc and Guidewire Software (GWRE) announced that Admiral has selected Guidewire PolicyCenter as its new policy administration solution, and Guidewire BillingCenter to manage its billing operations.
3:33AM American Homes 4 Rent misses by $0.01, misses on revs (AMH) 17.00 : Reports Q4 (Dec) funds from operations of $0.11 per share, $0.01 worse than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.12; revenues rose 31.1% year/year to $64.9 mln vs the $65.58 mln consensus.
- 9.4% increase in portfolio to 23,268 single-family properties from 21,267 as of September 30, 2013, and from January 1, 2014 through February 28, 2014, acquired an additional 1,533 homes, increasing the portfolio to 24,801
- 3,473 properties leased during quarter ended December 31, 2013, for a total of 17,328 leased properties as of December 31, 2013
- Continued growth in total portfolio occupancy to 74.5% as of December 31, 2013, which has improved to 79.5% since yearend
- Tenant renewal rate of 73.4%
2:42AM Carriage Services prices $125 mln convertible subordinated notes due 2021 (CSV) 17.03 :
2:08AM Kayne Anderson increases quarterly distribution by 2.5% to $0.625 per share from $0.61 per share prior (KYN) 35.88 :
2:03AM CatchMark Timber Trust to acquire timberlands in Georgia and East Texas for $74 mln (CTT) 13.16 : Co announces an agreement to purchase 36,340 acres of timberland (known as the Waycross-Panola properties) located in Southeast Georgia and East Texas from Hancock Timber Resource Group for ~$74 million.
- The transaction is expected to close during the second quarter and is anticipated to be accretive to cash flow for calendar year 2014.
1:55AM MakeMyTrip upsizes offering by 1 mln shares and prices 5.5 mln shares of common stock at $23 per share (MMYT) 23.50 : The size of the offering has been upsized to 5.5 mln ordinary shares from the original announced offering size of 4.5 mln ordinary shares. Of the total offering of 5.5 mln ordinary shares, the number of ordinary shares offered by the Company remains at 3 mln 0 ordinary shares and the number of ordinary shares offered by certain selling shareholders remains at 1.5 mln ordinary shares, while the additional 1 mln ordinary shares are offered by another shareholder.
1:49AM InterMune prices 7.5 mln shares of its common stock at $32.75 per share (ITMN) 33.26 :
1:44AM Checkpoint Systems announces intent to extend filing date of annual report (CKP) 12.07 : Co announces that it is completing the review of its financial results for the fourth quarter and full year 2013. The Company requires additional time to review matters identified during the preparation of the Company's 2013 financial statements, including a transaction previously reported in the Company's current report on Form 8-K filed on June 17, 2011. The Company is working to resolve these matters including review by its independent registered public accounting firm and is currently unable to predict the length of time necessary to complete this review.
As a result of these matters, the Company currently expects to file a Form 12b-25 with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, as the Company does not expect to file its annual report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 29, 2013 by the required filing date of March 14, 2014.
1:38AM Wynn Resorts prices $750.0 mln of Wynn Macau 5.25% Senior Notes due 2021 (WYNN) 232.23 :