InPlay from Briefing.com

Briefing.com

5:30 pm Vale S.A. announces that its Executive Board has approved and will submit to the Board a proposal for the distribution of a minimum dividend of $ 2billion in 2015, equivalent to $0.388095186 per share (VALE) : The Board of Directors will evaluate the proposal for each tranche in the meetings scheduled for April 14 and October 15, 2015.

5:27 pm GFI Group announces exploration of strategic alternatives (GFIG) : Co announced that the Company's Board of Directors will explore strategic alternatives with any and all interested parties to maximize shareholder value for all shareholders. These alternatives could include, among others, joint ventures, mergers and/or acquisitions.

  • Earlier today, the Company announced that it has determined to terminate the CME merger agreement. Mr. Michael Gooch, GFI Group's Executive Chairman, stated: "During the past year the Company, its Board and its management have focused on a transaction that it believed would maximize value for all shareholders. While we are disappointed that the CME merger was not approved by our shareholders, we appreciate their view and will work tirelessly to find a strategic alternative that offers the Company's shareholders the chance to maximize the value of their investment. We are pleased that over the past year we have been successful in demonstrating the value of the Company's assets and increasing substantially the Company's capitalization. We look forward to returning value to shareholders."

5:20 pm ARC Document Solutions announces the appointment of Jorge Avalos to succeed John Toth in the role of CFO (ARC) : Mr. Toth, the company's current CFO, is leaving the company to pursue other business interests.

5:18 pm This week's biggest % gainers/losers (:SCANX) : The following are this week's top 20 percentage gainers and top 20 percentage losers, categorized by sectors (over $300 mln market cap and 100K average daily volume).

This week's top 20 % gainers

  • Healthcare:ABMD (51.74 +31.05%),RDUS (48.19 +24.68%),ZIOP (8.95 +23.62%),ICPT (201.03 +21.28%),IMGN (7.63 +20.54%),CSII (34.09 +16.91%)
  • Materials:X (24.44 +18.76%)
  • Consumer Discretionary:HAR (129.63 +27.64%),HZO (25.51 +25.67%),LRN (14.22 +23.22%)
  • Information Technology:COMM (28.11 +29.82%),IIVI (17.19 +24.03%),FSL (32.09 +23.47%),SIMG (7.26 +23.47%),GIMO (18.41 +18.01%),SYNA (76.81 +15.3%)
  • Energy:CRC (5.12 +26.11%),BBEP (6.56 +21.48%),ALDW (15.66 +17.66%),ARP (9.82 +15.53%)
This week's top 20 % losers
  • Materials:ADES (10.61 -46.06%),SID (1.5 -21.47%),EGO (4.78 -15.7%)
  • Industrials:HA (19.44 -27.03%)
  • Consumer Discretionary:CNV (5.5 -27.73%)
  • Information Technology:DSKY (10.78 -28.66%),UIS (21.93 -19.2%),SGI (9.43 -18%),DHX (8.27 -16.97%),RDWR (19.24 -16.31%)
  • Financials:NBG (1.1 -34.52%),GDOT (15.25 -23.64%),EZPW (10.31 -15.7%)
  • Energy:FRO (2.31 -24.76%),PBR.A (6.15 -19.19%),BXE (2.03 -18.8%),PBR (6.01 -17.1%)
  • Consumer Staples:PPC (27.15 -23.41%)
  • Telecommunication Services:PT (0.72 -31.14%),OIBR (1.97 -29.64%)

5:14 pm Norfolk Southern and Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen reach new 5-year collective bargaining agreement (NSC) : Co and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen today reached a new collective bargaining agreement that continues to link engineer compensation to corporate performance through 2019.

  • The agreement, which covers approximately 4,600 locomotive engineers, provides engineers with an annual bonus opportunity based on corporate performance and for the first time includes individual incentive opportunities based on personal performance. The agreement also includes changes to improve engineer work scheduling, which will help ensure that NS has a more stable and available workforce while providing employees with more predictable schedules.

5:13 pm GFI Group and CME Group (CME) confirm termination of merger agreement (GFIG) : CME Group (CME) and GFI Group (GFIG) announced that they have each determined to terminate their previously announced merger agreement following today's special meeting of GFI shareholders. Preliminary results from the GFI shareholder meeting held earlier today in New York indicate that GFI shareholders did not approve the proposed merger. As a result, the parties each determined that terminating the merger agreement and related transactions was in the best interest of their respective companies and shareholders at this time. The related merger agreement by and among CME and Jersey Partners Inc. and their affiliates and purchase agreement by and among GFI Brokers Holdco Ltd., CME, Jersey Partners Inc. and their affiliates, were also terminated.

See 16:36 and 12:40 comments for background.

5:00 pm Celestica announces that it completed a program share repurchase under its Normal Course Issuer Bid (CLS) : Pursuant to an agreement between the Company and Citibank, N.A., Canada Branch (the Bank) and the terms and conditions of an exemptive relief order of the Ontario Securities Commission, the Company has cancelled 4,391,782 subordinate voting shares purchased from the Bank at a price of approximately US$11.38 per share, being the arithmetic average of the volume-weighted average price per share of the Company's subordinate voting shares on the New York Stock Exchange for each trading day during the term of the PSR, less a negotiated discount.

4:46 pm US Cellular: Advantage Spectrum is high bidder for 124 licenses in recent FCC AWS-3 spectrum auction; US Cellular subsidiary is a limited partner in Advantage Spectrum (USM) : Advantage Spectrum, LP was the high bidder for 124 licenses in the recent Federal Communications Commission (:FCC) AWS-3 spectrum auction (No. 97) that concluded on Jan. 29, 2015. United States Cellular's wholly owned subsidiary, USCC Wireless Investment, is a limited partner in Advantage Spectrum, LP, a Delaware limited partnership. The net license cost for the 124 licenses acquired by Advantage Spectrum amounted to $338.3 million.

4:36 pm Sysorex Global announces appointment of Wendy Loundermon as interim CFO (SYRX) : Co announced a management change. The Company has appointed Wendy Loundermon as its interim Chief Financial Officer. Ms. Loundermon replaces Will Frederick, who has resigned to pursue other interests, and management has begun the search for a permanent successor. Ms. Loundermon joined the Company in 2002 and had been the CFO until October 2014. Prior to her re-appointment as Chief Financial Officer, Ms. Loundermon was serving as the Company's Vice President of Finance and Secretary and continues to serve as President, Chief Financial Officer and Secretary of its Sysorex Government Services subsidiary.

4:36 pm GFI Group: BGC Partners (BGCP) issues statement following GFI shareholder's rejection of CME (CME) merger proposal, urges GFI shareholders to tender their shares into BGC's $6.10 per share offer (GFIG) : "We remain fully committed to completing our all-cash tender offer of $6.10 per share, which remains open to GFI shareholders. Since a rejection by GFI shareholders would end any possibility of the CME-GFI management merger being completed, our tender offer is the only viable option for GFI stockholders seeking to maximize the value for their shares. We therefore strongly urge them to tender their shares into our clearly superior offer and we are prepared to move quickly to complete this transaction."

4:35 pm Magellan Midstream extends open season to February 27 for Saddlehorn Pipeline (MMP) : Co announced today an extension of the open season for commitments on the Saddlehorn Pipeline to transport various grades of crude oil from the Niobrara play in northeast Colorado to Magellan's storage facilities in Cushing, Oklahoma. Binding commitments are now due by 5:00 p.m. Central Time on Feb. 27, 2015. The Saddlehorn Pipeline includes construction of an approximate 600-mile, 20-inch diameter pipeline capable of transporting up to 400,000 barrels per day of crude oil from Platteville, Colorado to Magellan's storage facilities in Cushing. Subject to sufficient support, Magellan could also add more origin points.

4:33 pm Western Refining Logistics increases its quarterly dividend 4.7% to $0.3325 from $0.3175 (WNRL) :  

4:31 pm Canadian Natl Rail announces plan to buy back 1.2 mln shares through a private agreement (CNI) : Co announced that it intends to purchase for cancellation up to 1.2 million of its common shares pursuant to a private agreement between CN and an arm's-length third-party seller. The purchase will form part of CN's repurchase program for up to 28 million shares announced on Oct. 21, 2014.

4:19 pm Lexmark disclosed that on January 27, 2015, it entered into an accelerated share repurchase agreement with Citibank to purchase $30 mln of the outstanding shares of its Class A Common Stock (LXK) :  

4:16 pm OCI Partners has completed all pre-turnaround and pre-shutdown works on its Beaumont facility (OCIP) : The Partnership also announced that it has shut down its facility to commence its planned turnaround and complete its debottlenecking project that will increase its methanol and ammonia production capacities by 25% and 15% respectively. Methanol and ammonia production capacities are expected to be 912,500 metric tons and 304,775 metric tons per annum after completion of the project.

4:16 pm Closing Market Summary: Stocks End January on Defensive Note (:WRAPX) : The stock market ended a down month on a sharply lower note. The Dow (-1.5%) and S&P 500 (-1.3%) widened their respective January losses to 3.7% and 3.1% while the Nasdaq Composite (-1.0%) lost 2.1%. Furthermore, this marked the first time since early 2012 that the market registered losses in two consecutive months.

The key indices struggled at the start after a disappointing GDP report for the fourth quarter introduced a new wrinkle into a deteriorating outlook for global growth. Overnight, Japan and the eurozone saw a slowdown in their respective inflation data while a handful of U.S. companies joined a growing chorus of names that have reduced their guidance for the first quarter. On that note, consensus Q1 earnings growth has contracted to just 0.2% from 8.6% on December 1, according to S&P Capital IQ.

Equities followed their lower open with another slip, but the S&P 500 turned around just north of the 2,000 level and spent the afternoon working back to its flat line. The rebound coincided with a Der Spiegel report indicating Germany is ready to back EUR20 billion in aid for Greece, but the package would be contingent on Greece accepting reform conditions imposed by the troika. This contrasted with earlier comments from Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis who said Greece will no longer negotiate with the troika. Furthermore, Germany's government was quick to deny the report from Der Spiegel.

The afternoon rebound also featured a surge in crude oil, which spiked to end the day higher by 8.0% at $48.17/bbl. However, crude notched its high just ahead of the 14:30 ET pit close and inched away from that level in electronic trade while the S&P 500 slumped back below its 100-day moving average (2,010) to a new low.

Nine of ten sectors registered losses while energy (+0.7%) benefitted from the spike in crude. However, today's surge was a small victory considering the sector lost 4.9% in January. Dow component Chevron (CVX 102.53, -0.47) shed 0.5% after its plans to cut capital expenditures by 13.0% overshadowed better than expected results.

Speaking of the Dow, the index stayed near the S&P 500, but a 2.8% spike in the shares of Visa (V 254.91, +6.91) masked the fact that 15 of 30 Dow members lost more than 2.0% while four of the 15 tumbled 3.0% or more. As for Visa, the payment processor spiked after beating estimates and announcing a 4:1 split, which will become effective March 19 and remove some of Visa's influence over the price-weighted index.

In other earnings of note, Amazon.com (AMZN 354.53, +42.75) soared 13.7% after beating operating income estimates and issuing cautious guidance for the first quarter. The stock helped the consumer discretionary sector (-1.1%) finish a few steps ahead of the broader market.

Although the market endured a whipsaw session, that was not the case with Shake Shack (SHAK 45.90, +24.90), which made its public debut today. Shares of the hamburger chain rocketed higher by 118.6% after pricing the IPO at $21.

Treasuries spiked, ending near their highs with the 10-yr yield down eight basis points at 1.67%.

Today's participation was well ahead of average with more than a billion shares changing hands at the NYSE floor.

Economic data included Q4 GDP, Employment Cost Index, Chicago PMI, and Michigan Sentiment:

  • According to the advance estimate, GDP increased 2.6% in Q4 2014 (Briefing.com consensus 3.2%), down from a 5.0% increase in the third quarter 
    • Real final sales increased 1.8% in the fourth quarter after increasing 5.0% in the third quarter 
    • Much of the GDP gain was the result of lower prices adding a boost to the "real" economy. Nominal GDP growth was anemic (2.5%), which was down by more than 50% from both second (6.8%) and third quarter (6.4%) growth levels 
    • Consumption spending was a bright spot, increasing 4.3%, which was the largest jump since 2006 
  • The Employment Cost index Increased 0.6% in Q4, down from a 0.7% increase in Q3 while the Briefing.com consensus expected an increase of 0.5% 
    • Wages and salaries decelerated, up 0.5% after increasing 0.8% in Q3 2014 
    • Benefits spending growth increased 0.6% for a second consecutive quarter 
  • The Chicago PMI for January increased to 59.4 from 58.8 while the Briefing.com consensus expected a drop to 58.0 
    • Production levels accelerated as the related index increased to 64.1 in January from 62.7 in December 
  • The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index was virtually unchanged in January, ticking down to 98.1 from 98.2 (Briefing.com consensus 98.2) 
    • Lower gasoline prices and improvements in the labor market were key for overall sentiment growth in January 
On Monday, December Personal Income, Personal Spending, and Core PCE Prices will be reported at 8:30 ET while the ISM Index for January and December Construction Spending will be released at 10:00 ET.
  • Nasdaq Composite -2.1% YTD 
  • S&P 500 -3.1% YTD 
  • Russell 2000 -3.4% YTD 
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average -3.7% YTD
Week in Review: Stocks Slide to End January

The stock market began the week on a quiet note with the Dow (unch), Nasdaq (+0.3%), and S&P 500 (+0.3%) settling near their flat lines. The small-cap Russell 2000 (+1.0%) outperformed, but the action took place against the backdrop of anemic trading volume as the East Coast braced for Winter Storm Juno. The intraday lack of trading activity masked the fact that the weekend featured an important election in Greece. As expected, the anti-bailout Syriza party came away victorious, and despite failing to secure absolute majority, the party was able to form a coalition with Independent Greeks-a party that also opposes EU bailouts. So far, Syriza officials have been very careful when discussing the future of Greece with Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis saying a euro exit is not in the plans and that talks of a 'Grexit' should not be sensationalized.

The major averages stumbled on Tuesday with the S&P 500 (-1.3%) returning below its 50-day moving average (2,047). The benchmark index settled ahead of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (-1.7%), but behind the Russell 2000 (-0.5%). Stocks careened lower at the start of the session after several large companies cautioned that dollar strength will present a headwind to their future earnings. Most notably, Caterpillar (CAT), DuPont (DD), Microsoft (MSFT), and Procter & Gamble (PG) lost between 1.3% and 9.3% while Pfizer (PFE), and United Technologies (UTX) held up relatively well despite their warnings. However, cautious guidance from six Dow components was not the only issue as investors had to digest a disappointing Durable Orders report while Consumer Confidence and New Home Sales beat expectations.

Equities finished the midweek session on a lower note despite showing considerable strength in the early going. The S&P 500 (-1.4%) lost its 100-day moving average (2,010) and settled behind the Nasdaq Composite (-0.9%) while the Russell 2000 (-1.7%) lagged throughout the day. The key indices appeared to be on solid footing at the start with the Nasdaq up 1.0% after Apple (AAPL) reported better than expected results for the quarter and issued strong guidance. The stock surged 5.7% and helped the technology sector (-0.1%) finish near its flat line while most of the remaining sectors struggled. The benchmark index traded little changed ahead of the afternoon release of the latest policy statement from the Fed, but slumped into the close. Once again, the policy directive reiterated the Fed's intent to remain patient in determining the appropriate timing for the first rate hike, which helped send Treasuries to new highs. The 10-yr yield fell ten basis points to 1.73% while the 30-yr yield dropped 11 basis points to register its lowest close on record (2.28%). The Fed described U.S. economic growth as 'solid' while categorizing job growth as 'strong.' The central bank did not spend much time discussing overseas developments, which could help explain some of the selling that developed after the statement was released. Furthermore, the FOMC showed little concern over low inflation, saying that while the price level is expected to decline in the near term, a gradual return to 2.0% should follow once the 'transitory effects of lower energy prices and other factors dissipate.'

The market endured a volatile session on Thursday, but a steady rebound off morning lows helped the major averages register their first gain in three days. The Dow Jones Industrial Average paced the advance (+1.3%) while the S&P 500 (+1.0%) reclaimed its 100-day moving average (2,010). Equities faced some selling pressure at the start amid continued weakness in crude oil. The energy component set a fresh January low in the $43.60/bbl area, but was able to charge back to unchanged by the pit close. That rebound improved the overall risk tolerance and helped the S&P 500 find support just a point above its January low (1988.12). Dip buyers entered the picture about 90 minutes after the start of the session, which helped all ten sectors rebound off their lows. The materials space (+1.4%) finished in the lead thanks to better than expected earnings from Dow Chemical (DOW). The stock spiked 4.6% and gave a boost to its peers. Meanwhile, the other commodity-related sector-energy (+0.2%)-was the weakest performer.

4:16 pm Alpha Natural Resources subsidiaries announce plan to downsize West Virginia mining operations (ANR) : The co announced that two of its operating affiliates have notified their employees today that certain West Virginia coal mines are being idled due to sustained weak market conditions and federal government regulations that have challenged the entire Central Appalachian mining industry. The mines that are being idled produced 1.5 million tons of thermal coal in 2014.

4:06 pm GNC Holdings increases quarterly dividend 12.5% to $0.18 from $0.16 per share (GNC) :  

4:05 pm Donaldson promotes Tod Carpenter to President and CEO (DCI) : Carpenter was named COO last February, and since joining the Company in 1996, has held various operations, sales, and managerial roles in the U.S. and Europe

4:03 pm Fannie Mae updates December 2014 monthly summary; Book of Business increased at a compound annualized rate of 1.6 percent in Decembe (FNMA) :

  • Fannie Mae's Book of Business increased at a compound annualized rate of 1.6 percent in December. 
  • Fannie Mae's Gross Mortgage Portfolio declined at a compound annualized rate of 26.4 percent in December. 
  • The Conventional Single-Family Serious Delinquency Rate fell two basis points to 1.89 percent in December; the Multifamily Serious Delinquency Rate remained flat at 0.05 percent in December. 
  • The Effective Duration Gap on Fannie Mae's portfolio averaged zero months in December. 
  • Fannie Mae completed 8,951 loan modifications in December for a total of 122,823 loan modifications for the year ended December 31, 2014.

4:03 pm DCP Midstream announces corporate restructuring: co executed a reduction in force affecting ~20% of its employees in corporate staff functions (DPM) : DCP Midstream will close its Oklahoma City regional office and reduce its workforce in its Tulsa and Midland offices, relocating functions in those locations primarily to its Denver headquarters and Houston regional office. Co commented that such a decision was done proactively to reorganize the company, to ensure its focus is on improving its operational reliability and efficiency.

4:03 pm Sucampo Pharma appoints Andrew Smith as CFO (SCMP) : Mr. Smith previously served as Sucampo's Vice President, Operations & Finance

4:02 pm Concord Medical Services announces adoption of resolution to create a super voting class of shares (CCM) : Upon the special resolution being passed by the shareholders:

  • (i) each share issued and outstanding immediately prior to the adoption of the Amended M&A was re-designated as a Class A Ordinary Share 
  • (ii) a new class of convertible shares was created, B Shares. The Amended M&A provides that each Class B Ordinary Share entitles the holder thereof to 10 votes on any ordinary resolution or special resolution.
  • Also, under the Amended M&A, all of the issued and outstanding Class B Ordinary Shares shall automatically convert into Class A Ordinary Shares, at a ratio of one Class A Ordinary Share for each Class B Ordinary Share, in the event that the total number of issued and outstanding Class B Ordinary Shares is less than 5% of the total number of Shares issued and outstanding.

3:51 pm Lucas Energy announces failure to make a required principal payment due on December 13, 2014; the ~$7.7 mln owed will accrue at a default annual interest rate of 18%. (shares halted) (LEI) : Company received notice from a representative of its lender that it had defaulted on a payment.

  • Consequently, the amount owed under the loan agreement of ~$7.7 mln will accrue at a default annual interest rate of 18%.
  • No further action has been taken by the lender, who has also waived a required interest payment, which the company also failed to pay, that was due in January 2015. 
  • The lender has also reserved the right to enter into an amended agreement with Lucas at any time or to enforce other rights under the agreement as a result of such default.
  • Co stated "The plunge in crude oil prices has required us to reconsider all alternatives. We are actively and aggressively pursuing options to secure funding through a corporate combination or project financing arrangement."

3:47 pm Cincinnati Fincl declared a $0.46/share quarterly cash dividend payable in April 2015, up from $0.44/share announced for January 2015 (CINF) :  

3:45 pm Daxor Corporation this morning announced research study results regarding its BVA-100 product (DXR) : Co this morning noted that a study on 50 patients with severe sepsis published in the journal Critical Care Medicine, Volume 42, No. 12, December 2014 analyzed whether central venous pressure is an accurate reflection of intravascular blood volume status. The authors of the study found 17% of the patients who developed a normal or high central venous pressure can still be hypovolemic (low blood volume) and, therefore, would be under treated utilizing this common procedure. Correct volume replacement is essential to avoid inadequate treatment as well as to avoid over treatment with saline which may flood the lungs with sterile salt water. Direct blood volume measurement with the BVA-100 blood volume analyzer avoids these complications.

3:31 pm Earnings Preview for the week of February 2 - 6 (:SUMRX) : Of the companies reporting earnings for the week of February 2 - 6 some of the bigger names include:

  • Monday:
    • Pre Market - XOM, SSY, TEN, AVY, PBI, LII, FLWS
    • After Hours - HIG, APC, RGA, OI, MDU, CLF, XL, AFG, TMK, RCII, BKH, AGNC, APAM
  • Tuesday:
    • Pre Market - BP, UPS, AET, LYB, HCA, NOV, ETN, EMR, AN, CNC, AGCO, PNR, GCI, AXE, R, SPR, JLL, ARG, SC, MNK, CHD, ACI, BHE, ST, IMS, HRC, NYT, 
    • After Hours - DIS, GILD, AFL, CHRW, UNM, WRB, FISV, ATO, AJG, WYNN, CMG, SLGN, IACI, TTWO, EQR, AXS, EW, ATW
  • Wednesday:
    • Pre Market - SNE, GM, MPC, HUM, MRK, WHR, SO, ADP, CTSH, RL, LVLT, BSX, MSI, SE, ABG, CLX, TMHC, NJR, HAIN, ARCB, LG, STE, SMG
    • After Hours - BSAC, PRU, PAA, PAGP, SU, ALL, FOXA, MUSA, YUM, WFT, LNC, CBG, UGI, ORLY, NXPI, GMCR, BGC, CNW, RE, PRE, GAS, BKD, CINF, FMC, SPB, APU, FBHS, UA, NE, DATA, OSUR
  • Thursday:
    • Pre Market - ABB, CI, PM, AZN, ARW, BCE, TEVA, CMI, DLPH, PPL, EL, ETR, GPI, CHTR, BDX, BLL, FIS, ADS, KORS, COTY, CFX, PRGO, SIRI, XYL, GPK, SBH, USG, BCO, TW, PTEN, ICE, TDC, VMC, NUS, DNKN, GRUB
    • After Hours - MCK, ATVI, SYMC, EXPE, YRCW, ONNN, CME, LGF, TPX, TBI, MTD, SRCL, LNKD, OUTR, GPRO, DV, TWTR, BWLD, P, YELP
  • Friday:
    • Pre Market - ALU, AON, MMC, BPL, UFS, HRS, AXL, MCO, AAN, BECN, CAE, MSG, FLIR, SIRO, STRA
    • After Hours - D, CCJ

3:22 pm Major averages break below morning lows -- Dow -183, S&P -19, Nasdaq Comp -37 (:TECHX) :  

3:07 pm NVIDIA slides back near its early session low at 19.26 (NVDA) : Note that this week's low is at 19.23 with its 200 sma and Jan/three month low at 19.11/19.07 (200 ema and Oct Gap 18.97/18.84). 

2:59 pm Slide off afternoon highs extended -- Dow -121 has pulled back roughly 120 points, S&P -12, Nasdaq Comp -16 (:TECHX) :  

2:53 pm Lucas Energy trading halted, news pending (LEI) :  

2:52 pm Petrobras Brasileiro discloses Moody's rating change in its global foreign currency debt from Baa2 to Baa3; rating still on review and reflects concerns with the ongoing investigation of improper payments and possible liquidity pressures (PBR) :  

2:48 pm Index Changes Reminder: S&P SmallCap 600 constituent Akorn (AKRX) will replace Protective Life (PL) in the S&P MidCap 400, and United Insurance (UIHC) will replace AKRX in the S&P SmallCap 600 after the close of trading (:INDXCH) :

  • Dai-ichi Life Insurance Company Limited is acquiring PL in a deal expected to be completed on Feb. 1.

2:40 pm Energy price action; WTI crude oil soars in afternoon trade on no news (:COMDX) :

  • Mar crude oil futures rose $3.58/barrel (or +8%) to $48.17/barrel
  • Mar natural gas fell $0.03 cents to $2.69/MMBtu
  • RBOB Gasoline closed $0.09 higher (or +6.5%) at $1.48/gallon
  • Heating oil closed $0.10 higher (or +6.3%) at $1.70/gallon

2:36 pm Agricultural price action (:COMDX) :

  • Mar corn closed $0.02 lower at $3.71/bushel
  • Mar wheat closed $0.05 lower at $5.03/bushel
  • Feb soybeans ended $0.07 lower at $9.61/bushel
  • Ethanol closed $0.10 higher at $1.48/gallon
  • Sugar #11 closed $0.06 lower at 14.85 cents/gallon

2:31 pm AT&T spectrum auction statement (T) : Co stated "AT&T's winning bids for this spectrum totaled $18.2 billion. The spectrum to be awarded to the company includes 57 percent of MHz POPs covered by the valuable J-block of AWS-3 spectrum. We anticipate putting this spectrum into service as a supplemental downlink to deliver additional mobile Internet capacity."

2:20 pm WTI crude surges further, now +6.9% at $47.61/barrel (:COMDX) :  

2:12 pm Magna announces validation-testing results on its multi-material lightweight vehicle; tests show design offers 16% improvement over 2013 Ford Fusion in terms of total, cradle-to-grave primary energy use (MGA) :  

2:11 pm CTPartners Executive Search increases offering price of previously announced $5 mln public offering of shares to $3.44/share from $3/share (stock halted) (CTP) :

  • Earlier today, co announced that the public offering price per share would be $3.00. As a result of the increased price per share, the number of shares to be sold by the co will be reduced to 1,454,059 shares from the previously announced 1,666,667 shares, which will reduce the dilution to existing stockholders of the Company. The expected proceeds from the offering will not be affected by the re-pricing. The changes in the terms of the offering were made to assure that the offering would not require stockholder approval under NYSE MKT rules. The offering is expected to close on February 4, 2015.   
  • Craig-Hallum Capital Group is acting as sole managing underwriter for the offering.

2:11 pm Metals price action (:COMDX) :

  • Feb gold ended today's session $24 higher at $1278.90/oz
  • Mar silver ended $0.45 higher at $16.76 /oz
  • Mar copper closed $0.04 higher to $2.49/lb

2:03 pm PhotoMedex lenders agreed to waive certain forbearance defaults (PHMD) : On January 26, 2015, the Company entered into a Waiver with respect to the Credit Agreement and the Amended Forbearance Agreement under which the Administrative Agent and the Lenders agreed to waive certain forbearance defaults, specifically a delay in delivery of a cash on hand certificate for the period ending January 2, 2015, the Company's non-delivery on December 17, 2014, of an indication of interest from a third party with respect to a refinancing of the Facilities, and its non-delivery on January 23, 2015 of a commitment letter for such refinancing.

  • The Company continues to engage in negotiations with potential lenders and to explore other options with regard to such a refinancing. 
  • The Waiver also contains customary provisions, including the Company's representation as to the absence of other defaults and requirements that the Company pay the reasonable and documented out-of-pocket costs and expenses of the Administrative Agent's counsel and advisors.

2:02 pm WTI crude oil surges higher, rising as high as $46.96/barrel... now +4.7% at $46.60/barrel (:COMDX) :  

2:00 pm Stock indices work back near midday range highs -- Dow -71, S&P -5.7, Nasdaq Comp -1.8 (:TECHX) : Relative sector strength on the latest push has been noted in Energy XLE, OIl Service OIH, Crude Oil USO, Finance/Bank XLF/KBE.

1:53 pm NF Energy Saving signed $1.12 mln sales contract with Gansu Coal Group to deliver valve products before the end of 2015 (NFEC) :  

1:48 pm Verizon on the AWS-3 auction results; confirms prior release results (VZ) :

  • Co announced it has won a total of 181 licenses with an aggregate bid price of $10.4 bln. The licenses are in markets covering 192 million POPs, or 61% of the United States.

1:25 pm DISH Network statement on AWS-3 auction results (DISH) : Co stated "As part of the auction process, we publicly filed an application to participate as a potential bidder, and DISH invested in two entities that also publicly applied to participate in the auction as designated entities."

1:06 pm Baker Hughes US oil rig count down 90 to 1543, as of January 30, 2015 (BHI) : See BHI Document

1:03 pm Public Service Submits Three-Year Rate Plan for 2016; three-year rate plan requests increases of 2%(ex-distribution) of aggregate revenues (PEG) :  

12:59 pm Midday Market Summary: S&P 500 Fights 100-Day Average (:WRAPX) : The major averages trade lower at midday with the Nasdaq Composite (-0.2%) staying ahead of the Dow (-0.7%) and S&P 500 (-0.7%).

Equities have faced selling pressure since the opening bell amid continued concerns about the pace of global growth and a devolving outlook for first quarter earnings. To that latter point, cautious guidance for the first quarter has slashed the consensus Q1 earnings growth to 0.2% from 8.6% on December 1, according to S&P Capital IQ. In addition, the advance GDP report for the fourth quarter indicated growth of 2.6% which was below the 3.2% expected by the Briefing.com consensus.

The market retreated through the first hour of today's session and spent the next hour near its low before charging off that level. The move coincided with a Der Spiegel report indicating Germany is ready to back EUR20 billion in aid for Greece, but the package would be contingent on Greece accepting reform conditions imposed by the troika. This contrasted with earlier comments from Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis who said Greece will no longer negotiate with the troika. Furthermore, Germany's government was quick to deny the report.

In any case, the S&P 500 was able to claw back above its 100-day moving average (2,010), where it currently trades. Only two sectors sport gains, but neither materials (+0.1%) nor telecom services (+0.1%) hold much sway over the broader market. The two groups comprise just 5.5% of the entire market.

As for heavily-weighted sectors, financials (-0.8%), industrials (-0.9%), and consumer staples (-1.0%) lag while consumer discretionary (-0.2%) and technology (-0.2%) outperform. Furthermore, the Dow trades in-line with the S&P 500, but that is largely due to a 4.6% spike in its top component-Visa (V 259.47, +11.47). Shares of Visa have rallied in reaction to better than expected results while 27 of the remaining 29 Dow components hold losses with 16 names down more than 1.0%.

Visa's strength has provided the technology sector with a measure of support while Google (GOOGL 536.89, +23.66) has chipped in despite missing earnings estimates.

Elsewhere, the discretionary sector has stayed ahead of the broader market with help from Amazon.com (AMZN 353.55, +41.77). The online retailer has soared 13.5% after beating operating income estimates and guiding lower.

Also of note, crude oil has charged off its morning low and now trades higher by 2.2% at $45.51/bbl while the energy sector (-0.6%) trades near the S&P 500. Chevron (CVX 100.66, -2.34) has tumbled 2.3% after the company's plans to cut capital expenditures by 13.0% overshadowed better than expected results.

Treasuries hold solid gains with the 10-yr yield down nine basis points at 1.66%.

Economic data included Q4 GDP, Employment Cost Index, Chicago PMI, and Michigan Sentiment:

  • According to the advance estimate, GDP increased 2.6% in Q4 2014 (Briefing.com consensus 3.2%), down from a 5.0% increase in the third quarter 
    • Real final sales increased 1.8% in the fourth quarter after increasing 5.0% in the third quarter 
    • Much of the GDP gain was the result of lower prices adding a boost to the "real" economy. Nominal GDP growth was anemic (2.5%), which was down by more than 50% from both second (6.8%) and third quarter (6.4%) growth levels o Consumption spending was a bright spot, increasing 4.3%, which was the largest jump since 2006 
  • The Employment Cost index Increased 0.6% in Q4, down from a 0.7% increase in Q3 while the Briefing.com consensus expected an increase of 0.5% 
    • Wages and salaries decelerated, up 0.5% after increasing 0.8% in Q3 2014 
    • Benefits spending growth increased 0.6% for a second consecutive quarter 
  • The Chicago PMI for January increased to 59.4 from 58.8 while the Briefing.com consensus expected a drop to 58.0 
    • Production levels accelerated as the related index increased to 64.1 in January from 62.7 in December 
  • The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index was virtually unchanged in January, ticking down to 98.1 from 98.2 (Briefing.com consensus 98.2) 
    • Lower gasoline prices and improvements in the labor market were key for overall sentiment growth in January

12:49 pm 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

  • AMZN (353.68 +13.44%): Reported Q4 (Dec) earnings of $0.45 per share, $0.29 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.16; revenues rose 14.6% year/year to $29.33 bln vs the $29.63 bln consensus and $27.3-30.3 bln guidance; guided Q1 below consensus; price target raised at Oppenheimer, Deutsche Bank, Piper Jaffray, others.
  • BIIB (393.74 +11.46%): Beat Q4 consensus EPS estimates by $0.32, reported revs in-line; guided FY15 EPS above consensus, revs in-line; Price target raised at RBC Capital Mkts, Stifel, others.
  • V (259.53 +4.65%): Beat Q1 consensus EPS estimates by $0.04, beat on revs; reaffirmed FY1515 outlook; announced 4:1 stock split.
Large Cap Losers
  • PCAR (61.14 -4.54%): Reported Q4 (Dec) earnings of $1.11 per share, $0.01 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $1.10; revenues rose 12.0% year/year to $4.82 bln vs the $4.85 bln consensus.
  • CX (9.02 -3.84%): Downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Longbow.
  • GMCR (123.98 -3.13%): Initiated with a Underperform at Credit Agricole; tgt $130.
Mid Cap Gainers
  • ICPT (207.69 +21.68%): Announced that It had received Breakthrough Therapy Designation from FDA for Obeticholic Acid for Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis with liver fibrosis.
  • MAN (72.99 +12.47%): Beat Q4 consensus EPS estimates by $0.04, reported revs in-line; guided Q1 EPS below consensus including unfavorable currency impacts.
  • MTX (64.76 +9.76%): Reported Q4 (Dec) earnings of $1.22 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.15 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $1.07; revenues rose 101.1% year/year to $516 mln vs the $526.93 mln consensus; announced it has entered into agreement with Glencore (GLNCY) in South Africa.
Mid Cap Losers
  • EGO (4.49 -19.39%): Weakness being attributed to reports that Greece's new government opposes Canadian gold mine.
  • DECK (66.79 -18.82%): Missed Q3 consensus estimates by $0.02, missed on revs; lowered Q4 EPS guidance; downgraded at Telsey.
  • CBI (32.87 -14.56%): Weakness attributed to Georgia Power updated forecast for completion of Plant Vogtle Units 3 and 4; would incrementally delay the previously disclosed estimated in-service dates by 18 months.

12:43 pm Lydall announces the completion of the sale of Charter Medical to a subsidiary of Fenner PLC for a purchase price of $29.9 mln (LDL) :  

12:32 pm Rock-Tenn declares a dividend of $0.320525, which reflects the current quarterly dividend in addition to the absolute dividend between RKT and MeadWestvaco Corporation (MWV) per the terms of the proposed business combination (RKT) :  

12:16 pm Slow midday bounce extended -- Nasdaq Comp +4, Dow -66, S&P -6.9 (:TECHX) :  

12:16 pm AOL Canada confirmed 'extensive investment' in video with the plans to launch a full-service in-house video studio (AOL) :  

12:16 pm JPS Industries releases letter to stockholders; 'Steel Partners Holdings L.P. (SPLP) recently issued a public letter that contains inaccurate and misleading information' (JPST) : The letter from CEO and President Mikel Williams goes on:

  • "Among other things, Steel Partners accused me and the Company's nominees for director of seeking to take control of your Company with corporate assets. This accusation is false. The Special Committee members, Alan Howe and Robert Capozzi, have worked diligently on your behalf to try to reach an agreement with Steel Partners that reflects a fair value for your shares. As your CEO, I would support the sale of your Company to any credible buyer who is willing to pay fair value, a value that reflects the great financial progress we have made in the last two years, including a sale to Steel Partners at fair value.  I commit to you that I will always be open to a fair value sale as we go forward and will nonetheless seek opportunities to provide our shareholders with financial returns and liquidity."

12:10 pm Alleghany Corporation announced its subsidiary has acquired the historic Teapot Dome Oilfield for $45.2 mln (Y) : Co stated "We are pleased to add NPR-3 to our portfolio, as the purchase is aligned with our core strategy of acquiring and redeveloping mature oil fields. By targeting properties with known characteristics, we reduce the uncertainty and risk generally associated with oil exploration. NPR-3 was used for a variety of research and development projects while under the ownership of the U.S. government and the quantity and quality of the data on the field is impressive."

12:10 pm Goldcorp and Wabauskang First Nation sign collaboration agreement (GG) : The new Agreement, which marks Goldcorp's sixth First Nation partnership in Canada, provides a framework for strengthened collaboration in the development and operations of Red Lake Gold Mines.

12:08 pm Tecogen discloses a common stock purchase agreeement with an accredited investor for ~210K shares of common stock at $4.75/share (TGEN) :  

12:02 pm Market pressure dissipates -- Dow -99, S&P -11, Nasdaq Comp -4 (:TECHX) : Steady pressure developed this morning but has we headed into midday trade the downside momentum dissipated. This was noted in the new low for the Dow at 11:40 that was not confirmed by the S&P, Nasdaq Comp or the A/D Line.

11:58 am Opko Health announces the submission of an IND to the FDA to conduct a Phase 2a study of its long-acting version of coagulation Factor VIIa for the treatment of bleeding episodes in hemophilia A or B patients with inhibitors to Factor VIII or Factor IX (OPK) :  

11:56 am Con Edison announced a rate increase filing with the New York State Public Service Commission, to begin January 1, 2016 which seeks revenue increases of $368 mln. (ED) :  

11:53 am European Markets Closing Prices (:SUMRX) : European markets are now closed; stock markets across Europe performed as follows:

  • UK's FTSE:-0.7%
  • Germany's DAX:-0.4%
  • France's CAC:-0.6%
  • Spain's IBEX:-1.2%
  • Portugal's PSI:-1.6%
  • Italy's MIB Index:-0.4%
  • Irish Ovrl Index:-0.6%
  • Greece ASE General Index: -1.6%

11:51 am American Airlines pilots approve five year contract; includes pay raise of 23% and raises of 3% annually (AAL) :  

11:45 am Stocks/ETFs that traded to new 52 week highs/lows this session - New highs (194) outpacing new lows (175) (:SCANX) : Stocks that traded to 52 week highs: AAPL, ABAX, ABCD, AFB, AINC, AKP, ALKS, ANAC, AYN, BAF, BBF, BBK, BBN, BDL, BFK, BFY, BFZ, BIIB, BLE, BLJ, BNJ, BNY, BRX, BSE, BSX, BTA, BTT, BX, BYM, CDXS, CEA, CEMP, CMS, CPHD, CPRX, CXE, CXH, DGX, DLX, DMB, DMF, EBSB, EIA, EIM, EIO, EMI, ENFC, ENL, ENX, EOT, EVM, EVN, GBAB, GFF, HAR, HBI, HLIT, HPF, HPS, HQH, HSKA, HZO, ICB, IIM, IIVI, IMMU, IQI, IR, JBLU, KSM, KSM, LEO, LFUS, LJPC, MANT, MCA, MD, MEN, MFL, MFM, MFT, MHD, MIY, MJI, MMD, MNE, MNP, MQT, MQY, MTT, MUA, MUC, MUE, MUH, MUI, MUJ, MUS, MVF, MVT, MYC, MYD, MYI, MYJ, MYM, MYN, MZF, NAC, NAD, NBB, NBD, NBIX, NCA, NEA, NEU, NHC, NID, NIM, NIO, NIQ, NKX, NMA, NMO, NMY, NMZ, NNC, NNP, NOC, NOM, NPI, NPM, NPP, NPT, NPV, NQI, NQM, NQP, NQS, NQU, NRK, NTC, NUV, NUW, NVCN, NVG, NVX, NWL, NXJ, NXN, NXQ, NXR, NXZ, NZF, NZH, OCUL, OPK, PCQ, PCYC, PFD, PFO, PFPT, PMF, PML, PMM, PMO, PMX, PNF, PNI, PSCH, PYN, PZC, QLGC, RDUS, RIF, RLGT, RUK, SBI, STOR, SWKS, TAST, TSRA, UA, UHT, UTL, VCLT, VCV, VFL, VGLT, VGM, VKI, VKQ, VMO, WD, WEN, WX

Stocks that traded to 52 week lows: AAMC, ABB, ACI, ADES, AEGN, AES, AKO.A, ALB, ALLY, AMCC, AMFW, ANF, ANGI, ANR, ANY, APPY, AR, ARR, ATV, AWAY, AXE, BDE, BIS, BNS, BOX, BRS, BSPM, BXE, CALL, CBB, CBD, CBI, CCJ, CEL, CIG.C, CLD, CLNE, CLNT, CM, CNV, CNX, CPSI, CRK, CRNT, CRRS, CVX, CX, DANG, DECK, DRWI, ECPG, EGLE, EGO, ELRC, EMN, ETJ, FBNC, FMSA, FORTY, FREE, FTGC, FXEN, GBCI, GDOT, GDP, GEF, GEF.B, GES, GHM, GLBS, GLNG, GPRK, GSOL, HEB, HEES, HSC, ICA, IGC, IMO, IVAN, IX, JEC, JMI, KOF, KOP, KRO, LBRDA, LF, LFL, LXFR, MBI, MBVT, MCC, MDLY, MET, MFC, MFG, MGIC, MNI, MPET, MRC, MRIN, MVC, NAV, NFG, NRIM, NVFY, OCLS, OHGI, ONDK, OPWR, OPXA, OPY, PACD, PB, PBA, PDBC, PIM, PKX, PPT, PQ, PRGN, PRU, PRXI, PT, QLTY, RCI, RCMT, RDS.A, REE, RGSE, RIVR, ROSE, ROYL, RRC, RS, RY, RYAM, SBS, SFUN, SID, SIM, SLF, SMFG, SPE, SQNS, STB, STRL, SXC, TAPR, TCBI, TD, TGB, TGE, TICC, TMST, TOO, TRC, TRMB, TZOO, UBSH, ULTR, VALE, VRTS, WABC, WILN, WK, WRES, WRN, WTW, XIN, YNDX, ZION, ZSAN, ZU

ETFs that traded to 52 week highs: AGG, BND, FLAT, HYD, IEF, IEI, LQD, MUB, TLH, TLT

ETFs that traded to 52 week lows: DBA, EPU, EWC, FXC, RJA, SLX, TBT, UNG, USCI, VNM

11:31 am Cooper Tire announces executive leadership changes; Brad Hughes named Chief Operating Officer (CTB) : Hughes has been with the company for five years, beginning in 2009 as Chief Financial Officer. 

11:19 am Currency Commentary: DXY Pushing Toward 95 (:SUMRX) :

  • The Dollar Index has shook off a lower than expected GDP number to move back toward the high end of 94. The DXY continues to hold 94.40 support following the generally hawkish FOMC statement from Wednesday. The Q4 GDP printed at +2.6% which was below the Briefing.com consensus of +3.2%. Wages also remained relatively tame as the Employment Cost Index was in line. But it is still running above the recent trend and was not enough to shake investors out of the dollar. 
  • The euro is testing the 1.13 level for support following a round of poor economic data. The Eurozone CPI came in lower than expected. But this should not come as a major surprise given the ECB plan to potentially pump over a trillion euro into the system in order to spur prices higher. The new Greek government met with EU officials and said it would not accept an extension of the Greek bail out (ends Feb 28) and that it would not work with the Troika. The headlines appear worse than the actual talks though as the two sides continue to talk and move toward an amicable settlement. 
  • The pound is testing the key 1.50 psyche level for support. Net Lending, Money Supply, and Mortgage Apps all were weak today. Coupled with a strong dollar and we are seeing cable bid.
  • The yen continues to straddle the 118 area but is pushing higher on some risk off trade at the months end. Economic data from the region was weak as Household Spend, Industrial Production and CPI data all missed expectations. 117 has set up as a key resistance level for yen over the past week so investors will be closely watching to see how it reacts to another test. 
  • The Russian ruble has tumbled back to test 70 support after the central bank surprised markets with a rate cut. The central bank cut its rates to 15% from 17% as fears of an economic slow down are trumping the ruble valuation worries. The move comes a little over a month after the bank hiked rates 6.5 points. The ruble is still off from the December spike low of 79 but remains in a firm downward trend and has little support at the current levels (BONDX, FOREX).

11:19 am Goldman Sachs notches new session low of 173.15 (GS) : This week's low is at 172.97 with the Jan/three month low just below at 172.82.  

11:14 am Dow -155 and S&P -19 slip to minor new session lows -- Nasdaq Comp -28 (:TECHX) : Relative sector weakness (underperforming the S&P) in recent action has been noted in: Energy XLE, Oil Service OIH.

11:10 am Chevron breaks below its multi-year intraday low from Dec at 100.15 and attempts to stabilize -- session low 100.08 (CVX) :  

11:08 am National Bank and Pine River Bank announce merger agreement in all cash transaction, expected to result in nominal dilution to tangible BV of National Bank. (NBHC) :

  • Under the terms of the merger agreement, National Bank Holdings will acquire all of the outstanding common stock of Pine River Bank Corporation in exchange for all cash consideration 
  • The transaction values Pine River Bank Corporation at approximately $14 million and is subject to a purchase price adjustment related to the disposition of a single asset. National Bank Holdings expects the transaction to result in nominal dilution to tangible book value per share, with an earnback period of less than 2 years. 
  • The transaction is expected to be completed during the third quarter of 2015

10:48 am Stock indices attempting to stabilize after flirting with supports -- S&P -11, Dow -83, Nasdaq Comp -17 (:TECHX) : Choppy, mixed action for the major average in the early going with the uniform slide into mid-morning probing supports from The Technical Take at 2002/2000 S&P (session low 2002), 17275/17265 Dow (session low 17275) and 4660/4650 Nasdaq Comp (session low 4650). 

10:32 am Huntington Ingalls acquires Engineering Solutions division from The Columbia Group; financial details not disclosed (HII) :  

10:31 am Commerce Bancshares Declares Quarterly Dividend of $0.225 compared to $0.214 (adjusted), a 5% increase Q/Q (CBSH) :  

10:30 am Sector Watch (:TECHX) : Relative sector weakness in recent trade has been noted in Retail XRT, Housing XHB, Discretionary XLY, Semi SMH.

10:12 am Procter & Gamble slides back near early low at 84.53 (PG) : The next area of note below if follow through develops is at its Oct gap and 200 sma at 84.33/84.27

10:09 am Nasdaq Comp/100 join Dow -72 and S&P -10 in the red (:TECHX) : Relative sector weakness has been noted in Software IGV, Retail XRT, Home Const ITB, Bank KBE, Reg Bank KRE, Airline, Casino, Medical Supplies, Paper, Broker IAI, Semi SMH.

10:00 am Outperforming Nasdaq Comp -3 edges back off high, Dow -46 and S&P -7.3 range trade below flat line (:TECHX) : The Nasdaq Comp test and thus far has stalled at first level resistance from The Technical Take at 4697/4708 (session high 4703).

9:43 am Opening Market Summary: Nasdaq Displays Relative Strength (:WRAPX) : Equity indices began the day in mixed fashion. The S&P 500 (-0.3%) has been pressured by losses in eight of ten sectors while the Nasdaq Composite (+0.3%) has received support from the likes of Amazon.com (AMZN 348.37, +36.59), Biogen Idec (BIIB 394.33, +41.04), and Google (GOOGL 524.44, +11.21). The three names are up between 2.2% and 12.0% in the early going.

Meanwhile, eight sectors trade in negative territory with economically-sensitive financials (-0.9%) and energy (-0.8%) showing the largest losses. The two groups are on track to end January well behind their peers with respective losses of 6.2% and 6.1%.

On the upside, health care (+0.1%) and technology (+0.1%) hold slim gains with the health care sector looking to defend its January gain of 2.9%.

9:40 am Relative sector strength (:TECHX) : Relative sector strength in Biotech IBB (ICPT, BIIB, CELG, VRTX, REGN, MDVN, GILD), Internet FDN (AMZN, GOOG, TWTR, JNPR) has helped to underpin Nasdaq.  Also firmer are Crude Oil USO, Gold GLD, Copper JJC. 

9:36 am Ashford Hospitality Trust has priced its follow-on public offering of 9.5 mln shares of common stock at $10.65 per share (Halted) (AHT) : Co intends to use the net proceeds of the offering to fund a portion of the cost of its pending acquisitions of the Memphis Marriott East hotel, the Lakeway Resort & Spa and its joint venture partner's interest in PIM Highland JV and, any remaining funds, for general corporate purposes, including hotel-related investments, capital expenditures, working capital, and repayment of debt or other obligations.

9:35 am Stock indices recover off opening lows led by Nasdaq Comp +8.6, S&P -8, Dow -38 (:TECHX) :  

9:26 am Unilife Corporation priced its underwritten public offering in the United States of 11 mln shares of its common stock to the public at $3.75/share. (UNIS) : The net proceeds from the offering are expected to be $38,792,500. Co expects to use the net proceeds of the offering for investments in plant, equipment, systems and personnel to further develop its manufacturing and operational capabilities to satisfy current and future customer orders and general corporate purposes, including working capital, acquisitions and other business opportunities.

9:21 am Minerals Tech has entered into agreement with Glencore (GLNCY) in South Africa (MTX) : Underthe agreement, Glencore (GLNCY) will supply chromite products from the Glencore-Merafejoint venture that will be exclusively distributed by Minerals Technologies incertain territories, including the Americas.

9:17 am Praxair has priced $400 mln of 2.650% notes due February 5, 2025, $200 mln of 3.55% notes due November 7, 2042 and $150 mln of floating rate notes due February 3, 2017 (PX) :  

9:15 am L-3 Communications announces it National Security Solutions business has been awarded two National Security Agency contracts worth a total of $367.3 mln (LLL) : The five-year contracts provide systems engineering, acquisition planning, program management and financial management for two of NSA's major mission areas. Together, the maximum ceiling value of both contracts over five years is approximately $1 bln

9:14 am S&P futures vs fair value: -16.70. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: -5.50. (:WRAPX) : The stock market is on track for a lower open with futures on the S&P 500 trading 17 points below fair value. Index futures have faced selling pressure throughout the night, notching their pre-market lows within the past 30 minutes after the advance reading of Q4 GDP missed estimates. According to the report, GDP rose 2.6% while the Briefing.com consensus expected an increase of 3.2%.

Despite the slowdown in overall growth, consumption spending was relatively strong, increasing 4.3%, which was the largest jump since 2006.

The GDP report was followed by a downtick in futures and a spike in the Treasury market that sent the 10-yr yield lower by eight basis points to 1.68%.

More data remains with the Chicago PMI report for January (consensus 58.0) set to cross the wires at 9:45 ET while the final reading of the January Michigan Sentiment Index will follow at 9:55 ET (consensus 98.2).

In addition to disappointing GDP data, investors have had to deal with cautious guidance for the first quarter that has slashed the consensus Q1 earnings growth to 0.2% from 8.6% on December 1, according to S&P Capital IQ. On that note, Amazon.com (AMZN 351.31, +39.53) beat operating income estimates, but was the latest large name to issue cautious guidance.

9:09 am On The Wires (:WIRES) :

  • eBayEnterprise, an eBay Inc. (EBAY) company, and IBM (IBM) announced that eBay Enterprise has selected IBM as a leading enterprise hybrid cloud platform to enhance its Magento Hosting Partner ecosystem to further expand its global scope and reach. This agreement is designed to introduce Magento's ecommerce clients in every industry to IBM's enterprise-proven cloud platform while also expanding global infrastructure options for Magento's retailers and brands.
  • Abbott (ABT) announced that two new intraocular lenses that restore vision to people with cataracts are now available in the United States. The new TECNIS Multifocal IOLs, developed by Abbott, provide people with cataracts options to have a full range of near, intermediate and distance vision, while customizing their treatment based on their personal vision needs and lifestyle.
  • DTE Energy (DTE) issued a Request for Proposal to solicit bids for the company to acquire operational natural gas simple-cycle generating plants for up to 350 megawatts. DTE is pursuing the RFP process to address its future resource adequacy requirements. The power plants must be in Michigan's Lower Peninsula.
  • CTS Corporation (CTS) announced the addition of tactile switches to our product portfolio of DIP switches, mechanical encoders, optical encoders, precision potentiometers, position sensors and rotary switches.
  • Jumei International (JMEI) welcomed Max Factor and OPI Products to the Authentic Beauty Product Alliance and signed a cooperation agreement with Jill Stuart.
  • TrueCar (TRUE) confirms that January ranks as the lowest-volume month for U.S. auto sales based on 15 years of data. This year, however, TrueCar expects new light vehicle sales to jump 13.2% compared with last January.

9:08 am PPG Industries submits offer to acquire majority stake in Le Joint Francais' aerospace and automotive sealants businesses; financial terms not disclosed (PPG) : LJF's aerospace and automotive sealants businesses would be spun-off to form a new, separate entity, of which PPG would be the majority owner. PPG anticipates closing the transaction in the second half of 2015. 

9:03 am Command Security announces that on January 29, 2015, the U.S. Postal Service issued a stay of the transition of the two contracts recently awarded to the company pending the resolution of a dispute over the award of such contracts (MOC) : On January 27, 2015, the Company was notified by the USPS that ABM Security Services had lodged a protest with the USPS seeking to overturn the contracts that were awarded to the Company. Also on January 27, 2015, the Company learned that the USPS denied ABM's protest on January 20, 2015, ruling that ABM's grounds for its protest are all without merit.  ABM has appealed USPS's ruling. On January 29, 2015, the Company was notified that ABM had filed an action with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims seeking an injunction to stop the transition of such contracts to Command Security. 

  • The Company strongly disagrees with ABM's assertion that the contracts were improperly awarded to the Company, and intends to vigorously defend its rights with respect to the contracts awarded to it. 
  • Until the USPS issued its stay on January 29, 2015, the Company was to assume operational responsibility for these contracts on February 1, 2015 and March 1, 2015, respectively. The Company cannot determine how long the stay of the transition of the contracts to the Company will remain in effect or predict the outcome of the dispute, including whether the transition will occur. 

9:02 am Calithera Biosciences appointed Keith Orford, M.D. Ph.D., as Vice President of Clinical Development. (CALA) : He joins the company following a career in oncology pharmaceuticals development, including senior clinical roles with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Merck (MRK).

9:02 am Rock Creek Pharma announces that the United Kingdom's Medicines Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency has approved a clinical trial application to commence a Phase I study of the Co's lead compound, Anatabine Citrate (RCPI) : The Company's Phase I trial is comprised of a three-part study to determine the pharmacokinetic profiles of selected modified release formulation prototypes, and to evaluate safety and tolerability in healthy subjects. Quotient Clinical, the Company's UK-based outsourced partner will immediately begin  recruitment of healthy volunteers, with dosing to commence in February 2015, and with initial formulation PK data to emerge shortly after. Although study data management and analysis are expected to continue into August 2015, the Company anticipates having a substantial amount of data by mid-year. 

9:01 am Intl Game Tech receives recommendations from all three proxy advisory firms that shareholders vote for GTECH (GTKYY) merger to be considered at February 10 Special Meeting (IGT) : (ISS, Glass Lewis and Egan-Jones)

9:01 am Mercantile Bank announces new $20 mln stock repurchase program (MBWM) :  

9:00 am HCA announces the appointment of Sam Hazen as the company's COO, effective immediately (HCA) : A 32-year veteran of HCA, Hazen had served as President of Operations for HCA since 2011

8:56 am On The Wires (:WIRES) :

  • TubeMogul (TUBE) and WideOrbit announced that Mondelez International (MDLZ) will be the first-ever marketer to programmatically buy broadcast TV advertising during the Big Game.
  • Daxor Corporation (DXR) announced a study on 50 patients with severe sepsis published in the journal Critical Care Medicine, Volume 42, No. 12, December 2014, entitled Central Venous Pressure: Is It An Accurate Reflection of Intravascular Volume Status? analyzed whether central venous pressure is an accurate reflection of intravascular blood volume status. Another study titled Persistently High albumin Leak is Associated With Mortality by Scott Harvey, Mihae Yu, et al., also appearing in the journal Critical Care Medicine, and also involving 50 people, demonstrated that patients with a high albumin leak have an increased mortality rate. Significantly higher death rates were observed in patients on days 3 to 5 of their admission to the intensive care unit. The BVA-100 was utilized in this study also. Daxor Corporation manufactures and markets the only FDA approved Blood Volume Analyzer, the BVA-100, which is used in conjunction with Volumex, Daxor's single use diagnostic kit.

8:54 am NuStar Energy beats by $0.06, misses on revs (NS) : Reports Q4 (Dec) earnings of $0.54 per share, $0.06 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.48; revenues fell 13.2% year/year to $681.7 mln vs the $810.61 mln consensus. 

  • EBITDA from continuing operations were $136.0 million, compared to fourth quarter 2013 negative EBITDA of $192.3 million. 
  • FY15 Guidance: "First quarter 2015 EBITDA results for our pipeline and storage segments should be higher than last year's first quarter. Both segments should continue to benefit from increased throughput volumes from Phase 1 of our South Texas Crude Oil Pipeline System, which came online in the second quarter of 2014...Our pipeline segment EBITDA should be $25 to $45 million higher than 2014, and storage segment EBITDA should be $10 to $30 million higher than 2014, while EBITDA in our fuels marketing segment is expected to be in the range of $20 to $30 million. Based on these projections, we expect to once again cover our distribution for the full-year 2015."

8:53 am S&P futures vs fair value: -18.30. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: -15.00. (:WRAPX) : The S&P 500 futures trade 18 points below fair value.

Asian markets finished the week on a mostly lower note. The yen strengthened after Japan's inflation data did not jive with the upbeat outlook provided by the country's government. The dollar/yen pair trades near 117.75 after sliding from 118.30. 

  • In economic data: 
    • Japan's Housing Starts fell 14.7% year-over-year (expected -14.8%; prior -14.3%) while Industrial Production rose 1.0% month-over-month (expected 1.3%; prior -0.5%). Separately, National CPI rose 2.4% (consensus 2.3%; prior 2.4%) while National Core CPI increased 2.5% (expected 2.6%; previous 2.7%). Also of note, Household Spending rose 0.4% month-over-month (forecast 0.3%; last 0.4%) while the Unemployment Rate ticked down to 3.4% from 3.5% (expected 3.5%) 
    • Australia's PPI ticked up 0.1% quarter-over-quarter (expected 0.3%; prior 0.2%) while Private Sector Credit increased 0.5%, as expected 
    • Singapore's Unemployment Rate ticked down to 1.9% from 2.0% (expected 2.0%) 
------
  • Japan's Nikkei (+0.4%) outperformed with help from technology companies. Advantest and Sumco jumped 9.3% and 8.1%, respectively. 
  • Hong Kong's Hang Seng (-0.4%) slipped into the close. Casino and gaming names continued their recent woes with Galaxy Entertainment and Sands China both losing near 3.0%. 
  • China's Shanghai Composite (-1.6%) ended on its session low. Technology names underperformed with China National Software, Linewell Software, and Yonyou Network Technology losing between 8.0% and 9.5%. 
  • India's Sensex (-1.7%) retreated after a series of record closes. Financials lagged with State Bank of India and ICICI Bank down 5.5% and 5.2%, respectively, after ICICI's earnings showed a spike in provisions for bad loans. 
Major European indices trade lower with France's CAC (-0.6%) leading the way. Investors in Europe are anxious to receive an update from the ongoing talks between Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Eurogroup Chair Jeroen Dijsselbloem.
  • Economic data was plentiful: 
    • Eurozone CPI fell 0.6% year-over-year (expected -0.5%; prior -0.2%) while Core CPI rose 0.5% (consensus 0.6%; last 0.7%). Separately, the Unemployment Rate ticked down to 11.4% from 11.5% (consensus 11.5%) 
    • Germany's Retail Sales ticked up 0.2% month-over-month (expected 0.3%, prior 0.9%) while the year-over-year reading increased 4.0% (consensus 3.5%; last -1.0%)
    • UK's BoE Consumer Credit expanded by GBP578 million (expected GBP1.20 billion; prior GBP1.23 billion) while Mortgage Lending came in at GBP1.60 billion (expected GBP2.00 billion) 
    • French Consumer Spending increased 1.5% month-over-month (expected 0.2%; prior 0.2%) 
    • Italy's PPI fell 1.8% year-over-year (prior -1.2%) 
    • Spain's GDP rose 0.7% quarter-over-quarter (expected 0.6%; prior 0.5%) while CPI fell 1.4% year-over-year (expected -1.2%; last -1.0%) 
------
  • UK's FTSE is lower by 0.3% with energy and consumer names on the defensive. Diageo, J Sainsbury, and Royal Dutch Shell are down between 1.3% and 2.4%. 
  • Germany's DAX has given up 0.4% with heavyweights Bayer, Siemens, and Volkswagen dragging the index down. The three names are down between 0.7% and 2.7%. Lanxess outperforms, trading higher by 0.4%. 
  • In France, the CAC is lower by 0.6%. Consumer names are among the laggards with Carrefour, Pernod Ricard, L'Oreal, and Danone down between 0.6% and 1.7%.

8:41 am On The Wires (:WIRES) :

  • Blackstone (BX) announced the formation of a new utility and heavy equipment platform, Utility One Source, in partnership with three family-run businesses, Custom Truck & Equipment, Utility Fleet Sales and Forestry Equipment of Virginia. Through this partnership, private equity funds managed by Blackstone will provide growth capital for significant additional investment in equipment, innovation and an expanded geographic footprint, which will ensure Utility One Source has the customer-focused solutions the industry requires.
  • ANI Pharmaceuticals (ANIP) announced the launch of Etodolac 300mg oral capsules, indicated for use in the management of the signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and acute pain. The US market for Etodolac 300mg capsules totals $9 million on a trailing 12 month basis, per IMS Health.  Prior to today's announcement, only two companies marketed the product.
  • Prosensa Holding (RNA) announced that it intends to voluntarily delist the registered shares of the Company from the NASDAQ Global Select Market.
  • AB Acquisition LLC and Safeway (SWY) announced that they have completed their proposed merger. The merger will create a diversified network that includes 2,230 stores, 27 distribution facilities and 19 manufacturing plants with over 250,000 employees across 34 states and the District of Columbia.

8:41 am European Markets Update: FTSE -0.3%, DAX -0.4%, CAC -0.5% (:SUMRX) : Major European indices trade lower with France's CAC (-0.5%) leading the way. Investors in Europe are anxious to receive an update from the ongoing talks between Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Eurogroup Chair Jeroen Dijsselbloem.

  • Economic data was plentiful: 
    • Eurozone CPI fell 0.6% year-over-year (expected -0.5%; prior -0.2%) while Core CPI rose 0.5% (consensus 0.6%; last 0.7%). Separately, the Unemployment Rate ticked down to 11.4% from 11.5% (consensus 11.5%) 
    • Germany's Retail Sales ticked up 0.2% month-over-month (expected 0.3%, prior 0.9%) while the year-over-year reading increased 4.0% (consensus 3.5%; last -1.0%) 
    • UK's BoE Consumer Credit expanded by GBP578 million (expected GBP1.20 billion; prior GBP1.23 billion) while Mortgage Lending came in at GBP1.60 billion (expected GBP2.00 billion) 
    • French Consumer Spending increased 1.5% month-over-month (expected 0.2%; prior 0.2%) 
    • Italy's PPI fell 1.8% year-over-year (prior -1.2%) 
    • Spain's GDP rose 0.7% quarter-over-quarter (expected 0.6%; prior 0.5%) while CPI fell 1.4% year-over-year (expected -1.2%; last -1.0%) 
------
  • UK's FTSE is lower by 0.3% with energy and consumer names on the defensive. Diageo, J Sainsbury, and Royal Dutch Shell are down between 1.3% and 2.4%. 
  • Germany's DAX has given up 0.4% with heavyweights Bayer, Siemens, and Volkswagen dragging the index down. The three names are down between 0.7% and 2.7%. Lanxess outperforms, trading higher by 0.4%. 
  • In France, the CAC is lower by 0.5%. Consumer names are among the laggards with Carrefour, Pernod Ricard, L'Oreal, and Danone down between 0.6% and 1.7%.

8:37 am Chevron beats by $0.20, beats on revs; CVX cuts 2015 CapEx by 13%: (CVX) : Reports Q4 (Dec) earnings of $1.85 per share, $0.20 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $1.65; revenues fell 17.9% year/year to $46.09 bln vs the $44.89 bln consensus. 

CEO says, "Our 2014 earnings were down from the previous year, largely due to the sharp decline in crude oil prices," said Chairman and CEO John Watson. "Improved downstream results and higher gains on asset sales related to our divestment program partially offset the effect of lower crude prices."

"In 2014, we continued to fund investments in key major capital projects under construction and raised the dividend payout on our common shares for the 27th consecutive year," Watson added. "We enter 2015 with the financial strength to meet the challenges of a volatile crude price environment and with significant efforts underway to manage to a lower cost structure and capital spend rate."

Upstream: Worldwide net oil-equivalent production was 2.58 million barrels per day in fourth quarter 2014, unchanged from the 2013 fourth quarter. Production increases from project ramp-ups in the United States, Argentina, Brazil, Nigeria and Bangladesh were offset by normal field declines, and the effect of asset sales.

Downstream: U.S. downstream operations earned $889 million in fourth quarter 2014 compared with earnings of $265 million a year earlier. The increase was mainly due to higher gains on asset sales in fourth quarter 2014 compared to the year-ago period. Higher margins on refined product sales also contributed to the increase.

CVX cuts 2015 CapEx by 13%:
Co  announced a $35.0 billion capital and exploratory investment program for 2015. Included in the 2015 program are $4.0 billion of planned expenditures by affiliates, which do not require cash outlays by Chevron. The 2015 budget is 13% lower than total investments for 2014.

8:37 am Gapping down (:SCANX) : Gapping down
In reaction to disappointing earnings/guidance
: COOL -23.9%, DECK -14.9%, HA -11.8%, TUES -9.9%, ALGN -9.7%, CPSI -5.6%, JDSU -4.9%, GDOT -4.3%, HBI -3.3%, INVN -3.2%, TYC -2.8%, SCSC -2.5%, CTCT -1.8%, BT -1.6%, NVO -1.4%, RHI -1.2%, MO -1.2%, XRX -1.2%, PKI -0.9%, KT -0.9%, MCHP -0.8%

M&A news: DKS -5.3% (co states it is not for sale, according to reports)

Select Brazil related names showing weakness:SBS -8.3%, CIG -6.7%, PBR -6.1%, VIV -4.7%, BBD -4.2%, GOL -4.1%, ABEV -3.5%, VALE -2.7%, ITUB -2.4%

Other news: ADES -18.6% (provides accounting update, announces KPMG has resigned as the Company's independent accounting firm; expects its shares to be delisted by Nasdaq), GENE -15.5% (pulling back from yesterday's advance), UNIS -8.6% (announces public offering of common stock), CTP -8.5% (priced a $5.0 mln registered underwritten offering of its common stock at a price of $3.00/share to one institutional investor), OIBR -7.6% (announces cancellation of its shareholder compensation policy), NBG -6.6% (cont vol following Greek elections last weekend), RGEN -3.8% (Pfizer (PFE) issued to it a notice of termination for convenience under the License Agreement dated December 28, 2012 for the development of compounds to treat spinal muscular atrophy), GM -2.7% (following HMC earnings), AHT -1.6% (announces offering of 9.5 million shares of common stock ), GSK -1.4% (in sympathy with NVO), NVS -1.4% (in sympathy with NVO), ENDP -1.3% (Endo Health announces it has completed the acquisition of Auxilium Pharmaceuticals (AUXL) in a transaction valued at $2.6 billion), CVC -1.2% (Cablevision sues Verizon (VZ) for false and misleading advertising claims about WiFi service), MU -1.1% (prices $1 bln of its 5.25% senior notes due 2023), TOT -1% (plans to lower exploration costs by 30% in 2015, according to reports)

Analyst comments: RDY -2.9% (downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse), RDS.A -1.9% (downgraded to Neutral at HSBC Securities), ECA -1.4% (downgraded to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank), WSTC -1.1% (downgraded to Sector Perform from Outperform at RBC Capital Mkts), CRH -1% (downgraded to Mkt Perform at Raymond James), GMCR -0.8% (initiated with a Underperform at Credit Agricole ), ARR -0.6% (initiated with a Neutral at Nomura; tgt $3.25)

8:36 am Berry Plastics beats by $0.01, misses on revs; reaffirms FCF guidance (BERY) : Reports Q1 (Dec) earnings of $0.27 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.01 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.26; revenues rose 7.0% year/year to $1.22 bln vs the $1.23 bln consensus.

  • "We will continue to focus on our four key strategic initiatives including our primary goal of reducing our overall debt leverage by 0.5x per year. We are reaffirming our fiscal 2015 adjusted free cash flow guidance of $320 million assuming no impact from resin cost changes. This estimate includes $589 million of cash from operating activities and $230 million of additions to property, plant, and equipment. Although not factored into our guidance, just as raw material price increases have negatively impacted our cash flow from operating activities over the past two years, we expect that the trend of decreasing resin prices, to the extent it continues, should have a favorable impact on cash from operating activities beginning in the March 2015 quarter." 
  • "In the December 2014 quarter we reported both record sales and Operating EBITDA for any December ending quarter in the Company's history. Operating EBITDA improved by $10 million or 6 percent over the same prior year quarter, primarily as a result of improved operational productivity and cost savings from our previously announced restructuring activities, along with contributions and synergies from our recent acquisitions,"

8:34 am Franklin Resources misses by $0.02, misses on revs (BEN) : Reports Q1 (Dec) earnings of $0.91 per share, $0.02 worse than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.93; revenues fell 2.1% year/year to $2.06 bln vs the $2.11 bln consensus. 

  • AUM were $880.1 billion at December 31, 2014, down $17.9 billion or 2% during the quarter primarily due to $12.1 billion of market depreciation and other, which includes a $4.6 billion decrease due to the impact of foreign exchange revaluation, and net new outflows of $3.5 billion.

8:33 am Gapping up (:SCANX) : Gapping up
In reaction to strong earnings/guidance
: IMGN +19%, GIMO +18.4%, SYNA +12.1%, AMZN +11.8%, MITK +8.3%, MTW +8.1%, (announces intent to separate into two independent publicly-traded companies), QLGC +7.2%, NGVC +6.8%, BIIB +5.9%, PFPT +5%, LEA +4%, MA +3.8%, V +3.7%, (also announces 4:1 split), AVNW +2.2%, EMN +2%, TSN +2%, CPHD +1.7%, GOOG +1.4%, BRCM +1.4%, LLY +1.2%, MNRK +1.2%, IDXX +1%, BZH +0.9%, NBN +0.8%, NWL +0.8%, CPLP +0.8%

M&A news: BAMM +49% (Anderson Family proposes transaction to acquire 100% of public interest in Books-A-Million; purchase price of $2.75 per share)

Other news: ICPT +34.7% ( receives Breakthrough Therapy Designation from FDA for Obeticholic Acid for Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis with liver fibrosis),GURE +22% (announced that it has found natural gas resources under its bromine well in Sichuan area.),PFMT +18.8% (decided to withdraw its proposed public offerings of convertible senior notes and common stock),INUV +16.9% (disclosed that its wholly owned subsidiary Vertro and Google (GOOG) entered into a Google Services Agreement effective as of February 1, 2015),XGTI +14.3% (xG Technology announced that the xMax CN1300 Access Point has received certification from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission ),MTL +10.3% (may be related to Russia Cent Bank rate cut),VIP +7.9% (and its subsidiary Global Telecom Holding announce the closing of the sale of a 51% interest in Omnium Telecom Algeria),MNOV +3.4% (received new patent convering MN-029 (denibulin) di-hydrochloride in Japan),FXCM +3.1% (Board has adopted a Stockholder Rights Plan and declared a dividend distribution of one right on each outstanding share of the Company's Class A common stock),OCN +2.3% (following 10%+ move lower yesterday),SPWR +2% (International Court of Arbitration declared a binding partial award in the matter of an arbitration between First Philippine Electric Corporation and First Philippine Solar Corporation against SunPower Philippines Manufacturing),PAH +1.5% (announces pricing of $100 million tack-on offering of 6.500% senior notes due 2022),TRP +1.4% (Senate passed Keystone),COST +1% (reports special cash dividend of $5.00 per share)

Analyst comments: RMTI +5.5% (initiated with a Buy at BofA/Merrill),JASO +4% (upgraded to Outperform from Sector Perform at RBC Capital Mkts),TSL +2.7% (upgraded to Outperform from Sector Perform at RBC Capital Mkts),GRPN +2.2% (upgraded to Buy from Sell at Ascendient),FL +1.2% (upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Barclays),ALV +0.7% (target raised to $99 at RBC Capital Mkts)

8:32 am S&P futures vs fair value: -14.80. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: -7.30. (:WRAPX) : The S&P 500 futures trade 15 points below fair value.

The advance estimate of fourth quarter GDP pointed to an expansion of 2.6%, while the Briefing.com consensus expected a reading of 3.2%. Meanwhile, the fourth quarter GDP Deflator came in at 0.0%, while the consensus expected an increase of 1.0%.

Separately, the Q4 Employment Cost Index rose 0.6%, while the Briefing.com consensus expected an increase of 0.5%.

8:32 am OM Group issues statement regarding FrontFour Capital announcement; committed to maintaining a sophisticated, engaged and independent Board (OMG) : The co notes that "under the direction of our Board of Directors, OM Group is focused on creating a high-performing investment for shareholders through operating improvements, growth platform build-outs, and responsible returns of capital to shareholders. The Corporate Governance Committee of OM Group's Board will evaluate the notice and proposed director nominees based on established criteria and make a recommendation in due course that is in the best interest of all shareholders. OM Group shareholders are not required to take any action at this time. We take seriously the views of all shareholders and look forward to further constructive dialogue with FrontFour about OM Group's future."

8:31 am Stemline Therapeutics announces SL-701 granted Orphan Drug Designation for the treatment of glioma (STML) : Co noted that SL-701 is an enhanced immunotherapy designed to activate the immune system to kill malignant gliomas, which are aggressive malignancies of the brain that arise in both adults and children. A multicenter Phase 2 clinical trial is currently evaluating the antitumor activity of SL-701 in adult patients with second-line glioblastoma multiforme , a particularly aggressive type of glioma

  • Co stated "Instead of targeting a single component of the cancer, SL-701 is designed to activate and direct the immune system against multiple targets overexpressed on glioma cells. We are very pleased about the high level of interest in the study from patients and clinicians alike."

8:30 am Fidelity Nat'l Info approves an 8% increase in the quarterly dividend of $0.26 per share from $0.24 per share (FIS) :  

8:19 am Asian Markets Close: Nikkei +0.4%, Hang Seng -0.4%, Shanghai -1.6% (:SUMRX) : Asian markets finished the week on a mostly lower note. The yen strengthened after Japan's inflation data did not jive with the upbeat outlook provided by the country's government. The dollar/yen pair trades near 117.75 after sliding from 118.30

  • In economic data: 
    • Japan's Housing Starts fell 14.7% year-over-year (expected -14.8%; prior -14.3%) while Industrial Production rose 1.0% month-over-month (expected 1.3%; prior -0.5%). Separately, National CPI rose 2.4% (consensus 2.3%; prior 2.4%) while National Core CPI increased 2.5% (expected 2.6%; previous 2.7%). Also of note, Household Spending rose 0.4% month-over-month (forecast 0.3%; last 0.4%) while the Unemployment Rate ticked down to 3.4% from 3.5% (expected 3.5%) 
    • Australia's PPI ticked up 0.1% quarter-over-quarter (expected 0.3%; prior 0.2%) while Private Sector Credit increased 0.5%, as expected 
    • Singapore's Unemployment Rate ticked down to 1.9% from 2.0% (expected 2.0%) 
  • Japan's Nikkei (+0.4%) outperformed with help from technology companies. Advantest and Sumco jumped 9.3% and 8.1%, respectively. 
  • Hong Kong's Hang Seng (-0.4%) slipped into the close. Casino and gaming names continued their recent woes with Galaxy Entertainment and Sands China both losing near 3.0%. 
  • China's Shanghai Composite (-1.6%) ended on its session low. Technology names underperformed with China National Software, Linewell Software, and Yonyou Network Technology losing between 8.0% and 9.5%. 
  • India's Sensex (-1.7%) retreated after a series of record closes. Financials lagged with State Bank of India and ICICI Bank down 5.5% and 5.2%, respectively, after ICICI's earnings showed a spike in provisions for bad loans. 
  • Australia's ASX (+0.3%) outperformed with help from miners. BHP Billiton gained 1.1% and Rio Tinto advanced 0.9%. 
  • Regional Advancers: Indonesia +0.5%, Philippines +1.0% 
  • Regional Decliners: Malaysia -0.1%, Singapore -0.8%, South Korea -0.1%, Taiwan -0.7%, Thailand -0.3%, Vietnam -1.2% 
  • FX: USDCNY rose to 6.2510, USDINR is higher near 62.02, USDJPY is down near 117.67, AUDUSD has climbed to 0.7778

8:08 am On The Wires (:WIRES) :

  • Dot Hill Systems (HILL) announced that the company's Ultra48AssuredSAN high density storage system has been deployed by JBKnowledge, Inc., a provider of technology solutions for construction, risk management and insurance enterprises in North America, the Caribbean and the Middle East.
  • Centura Health and DaVita HealthCare Partners (DVA) unveiled FullWell, the brand name of the two partners' recently announced joint venture, a company that aims to bring greater value to health care and lower costs for consumers in Colorado and Kansas.
  • Buckeye Partners (BPL) announced that one of its operating subsidiaries, Buckeye Pipe Line Transportation, launched a binding open season to solicit commitments for its Michigan/Ohio Pipeline Expansion Project. Once complete, the Project will allow Buckeye Transportation to offer expanded transportation service of refined petroleum products from origin points in Woodhaven and Detroit, Michigan, and Toledo and Lima, Ohio to destination points in Ohio and Western Pennsylvania.  
  • SolarCity (SCTY) announced the completion of the largest solar installation at any brewery in the U.S. The 3.2 megawatt array consists of more than 10,000 solar panels installed across ten acres of the famed brewery's grounds in Irwindale, northeast of downtown Los Angeles. The solar system is expected to produce enough energy to brew more than 7 million cases of beer annually.
  • IPC Healthcare (IPCM) announced that it has acquired selected assets of Hospitalists Now, Inc. in the Jacksonville, Florida market. The patient encounters for the practice are estimated at approximately 61,000 on a combined annualized basis.
  • KBR (KBR) announced that it has been selected by BG Group (BRGYY) as their Global Upstream Alliance Partner. The six-year contract, includes an option for two two-year extensions, and will provide capability support, services and project management services across all of BG Group's Global Upstream Portfolio.

8:07 am MasterCard beats by $0.02, beats on revs; co will update top and bottom line guidance on the call at 9:00 (MA) : Reports Q4 (Dec) earnings of $0.69 per share, $0.02 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.67; revenues rose 13.6% year/year to $2.42 bln vs the $2.39 bln consensus, a 17% increase adjusted for currency.

  • Net revenue growth was driven by the impact of the following: An increase in cross-border volumes of 19%; A 13% increase in gross dollar volume, on a local currency basis, to $1.2 trillion; and An increase in processed transactions of 11%, to 11.6 billion. 
  • These factors were partially offset by an increase in rebates and incentives. Acquisitions contributed 3 percentage points to total net revenue growth.
  • Operating income for the fourth quarter of 2014 was flat or increased 3% adjusted for currency versus the year-ago period, excluding the special item, and the company delivered an operating margin of 42.1%.  
  • Worldwide purchase volume during the quarter was up 12% on a local currency basis versus the fourth quarter of 2013, to $858. 
  • "Despite a mixed global economy, we delivered solid results for the quarter and for the full year in 2014," said Ajay Banga, president and CEO, MasterCard. "This year is off to a good start with several new wins, as well as renewals of some important customer agreements, with more in the pipeline. 
  • During Q4, MasterCard repurchased ~2.1 million shares of Class A common stock at a cost of ~$155 million. Quarter-to-date through January 23rd, the co repurchased an additional 2.5 million shares at a cost of ~$215 million, with $3.8 billion remaining under the current repurchase program authorizations. billion.
MA will give top and bottom line guidance on the call at 9:00.
  • Co previously guided for FY13-15 net rev CAGR +11-14% with EPS +20%. Consensus calls for FY15 EPS to grow 16% to $3.08 with rev up 11%.

8:03 am Provident Finl reports EPS in-line (PFS) : Reports Q4 (Dec) earnings of $0.34 per share, in-line with the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.34. 

  • The net interest margin for the quarter ended December 31, 2014, compared with the quarter ended December 31, 2013, increased 4 basis points to 3.30%. 
  • "Our fourth quarter results were extremely positive despite the flattening yield curve and aggressive competition."

8:03 am Moog misses by $0.01, misses on revs; lowers FY15 guidance, sees EPS and revs below consensus (MOG.A) : Reports Q1 (Dec) earnings of $0.86 per share, $0.01 worse than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.87; revenues fell 2.0% year/year to $630.5 mln vs the $642.97 mln consensus.

  • Co lowers guidance for FY15, sees EPS of $3.85-3.95 vs. $4.21 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate, down from $4.25; lowers FY15 revs guidance at $2.57 bln vs. $2.66 bln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate, down from $2.67 bln.
  • The $3.85 updated guidance does not include the impact of additional share repurchases. The completion of the Company's previously authorized 9 million share repurchase program during FY'15 would result in earnings per share guidance of $3.95.

8:02 am PACCAR beats by $0.01, reports revs in-line (PCAR) : Reports Q4 (Dec) earnings of $1.11 per share, $0.01 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $1.10; revenues rose 12.0% year/year to $4.82 bln vs the $4.85 bln consensus.

8:02 am New Gold announces it has received key environmental approvals for its Rainy River project located in Ontario, Canada (NGD) : The Federal Environmental Assessment approval was granted on January 12, 2015 and the Provincial approval was granted on January 29, 2015. Receipt of these approvals now enables the company to apply for other permits through the development and operational phases of the project and to begin its preliminary development work at site in the coming weeks.

8:01 am Biomarin Pharm announces final results of tender offer for Prosensa's (RNA) shares and completion of subsequent offering period (BMRN) : The subsequent offering period related to the tender offer expired at 6:00 p.m., New York City time, yesterday. Based on information provided by the depositary for the offer, a total of 34,970,514 shares, representing approximately 96.76% of the aggregate number of shares outstanding, had been accepted for payment and paid for (including shares accepted for payment and paid for in the initial offering period relating to the offer) as of the expiration of the subsequent offering period. Purchaser immediately accepted for payment and has promptly paid for or will promptly pay for any shares that were tendered during the subsequent offering period for the same form and amount of offer consideration as in the initial offering period relating to the offer.

7:59 am S&P futures vs fair value: -11.50. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: -5.30. (:WRAPX) : U.S. equity futures are under pressure amid cautious action overseas. The S&P 500 futures hover 12 points below fair value after a steady retreat throughout the night. However, more volatility is expected around 8:30 ET when the advance reading of Q4 GDP crosses the wires. The Briefing.com consensus expects the report to indicate growth of 3.2%. The Q4 Employment Cost Index (consensus 0.5%) will also be reported at 8:30 ET while the Chicago PMI report for January (consensus 58.0) will cross the wires at 9:45 ET and the final reading of the January Michigan Sentiment Index will follow at 9:55 ET (consensus 98.2).

Treasuries hold gains with the 10-yr yield down four basis points at 1.71%.

In U.S. corporate news of note:

  • Amazon.com (AMZN 346.50, +34.72): +11.1% after beating operating income estimates and issuing cautious guidance. 
  • Biogen Idec (BIIB 374.52, +21.27): +6.0% in reaction to better than expected results and upbeat guidance. 
  • Deckers Outdoor (DECK 70.00, -12.27): -14.9% following disappointing results and lowered guidance. 
  • Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS 52.00, -3.14): -5.7% after the New York Post reported the retailer is not for sale. This follows reports from Reuters that suggested the company could go private. 
  • Google (GOOGL 520.35, +7.12): +1.4% despite missing estimates. 
  • Visa (V 257.59, +9.59): +3.9% after beating expectations and announcing a 4:1 stock split, effective March 19. 
Reviewing overnight developments:
  • Asian markets ended mostly lower. China's Shanghai Composite -1.6%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng -0.4%, and Japan's Nikkei +0.4% 
    • In economic data: 
      • Japan's Housing Starts fell 14.7% year-over-year (expected -14.8%; prior -14.3%) while Industrial Production rose 1.0% month-over-month (expected 1.3%; prior -0.5%). Separately, National CPI rose 2.4% (consensus 2.3%; prior 2.4%) while National Core CPI increased 2.5% (expected 2.6%; previous 2.7%). Also of note, Household Spending rose 0.4% month-over-month (forecast 0.3%; last 0.4%) while the Unemployment Rate ticked down to 3.4% from 3.5% (expected 3.5%) 
      • Australia's PPI ticked up 0.1% quarter-over-quarter (expected 0.3%; prior 0.2%) while Private Sector Credit increased 0.5%, as expected 
      • Singapore's Unemployment Rate ticked down to 1.9% from 2.0% (expected 2.0%) 
    • In news: 
      • The yen strengthened after Japan's inflation data did not jive with the upbeat outlook provided by the country's government. The dollar/yen pair trades near 117.70 after sliding from 118.30
  • Major European indices trade mostly lower. UK's FTSE -0.4%, France's CAC -0.4%, and Germany's DAX -0.3%. Elsewhere, Spain's IBEX +0.1% and Italy's MIB -0.1% 
    • Economic data was plentiful: 
      • Eurozone CPI fell 0.6% year-over-year (expected -0.5%; prior -0.2%) while Core CPI rose 0.5% (consensus 0.6%; last 0.7%). Separately, the Unemployment Rate ticked down to 11.4% from 11.5% (consensus 11.5%) 
      • Germany's Retail Sales ticked up 0.2% month-over-month (expected 0.3%, prior 0.9%) while the year-over-year reading increased 4.0% (consensus 3.5%; last -1.0%) 
      • UK's BoE Consumer Credit expanded by GBP578 million (expected GBP1.20 billion; prior GBP1.23 billion) while Mortgage Lending came in at GBP1.60 billion (expected GBP2.00 billion) 
      • French Consumer Spending increased 1.5% month-over-month (expected 0.2%; prior 0.2%) 
      • Italy's PPI fell 1.8% year-over-year (prior -1.2%) 
      • Spain's GDP rose 0.7% quarter-over-quarter (expected 0.6%; prior 0.5%) while CPI fell 1.4% year-over-year (expected -1.2%; last -1.0%) 
    • Among news of note: 
      • Investors in Europe are anxious to receive an update from the ongoing talks between Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Eurogroup Chair Jeroen Dijsselbloem

7:54 am AbbVie beats by $0.03; reaffirms FY15 EPS guidance (ABBV) : Reports Q4 (Dec) earnings of $0.89 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.03 better than the Capital IQ Consensus of $0.86; revenues rose 6.7% year/year to $5.45 bln (:GAAP), $5.37 bln adj -- vs the $5.35 bln consensus; sales grew 10% operationally.

  • On an operational basis, adjusted sales increased 8.9 percent, excluding a 3.8 percent unfavorable impact from foreign exchange rate fluctuations. 
  • Fourth-quarter sales growth was driven primarily by the continued strength of HUMIRA. 
    • Global HUMIRA sales increased 10.6 percent, or 14.4 percent on an operational basis, excluding the impact of foreign exchange rate fluctuations. Total company sales growth was also driven by operational growth from Synagis, Creon and Duodopa. 
  • The adjusted gross margin ratio in the fourth quarter was 81.2 percent, excluding intangible asset amortization and other specified items, up 410 basis points vs. fourth-quarter 2013.
Co reaffirms guidance for FY15, sees EPS of $4.25-4.45, excluding non-recurring items, vs. $4.45 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate.

7:50 am Rice Midstream Partners approved a prorated cash distribution of $0.0204 per common unit (RMP) : This is the first distribution declared by RMP and the prorated amount corresponds to the minimum quarterly distribution of $0.1875 per unit, or $0.75 per unit on an annualized basis.

7:36 am Tyson Foods beats by $0.04, beats on revs; reaffirms FY15 guidance (TSN) : Reports Q1 (Dec) earnings of $0.77 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.04 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.73; revenues rose 23.5% year/year to $10.82 bln vs the $10.36 bln consensus.

Co reaffirms guidance for FY15, sees EPS of $3.30-3.40, excluding non-recurring items, vs. $3.40 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate; sees FY15 revs of $42 bln vs. $42.31 bln Capital IQ Consensus. 

  • In fiscal 2015, we expect overall domestic protein production (chicken, beef, pork and turkey) to increase approximately 1% from fiscal 2014 levels. Grain supplies are expected to increase in fiscal 2015, which should result in lower input costs as well as decreased costs for cattle and hog producers. 
  • Co raises FY15 chicken segment margin guidance; sees beef segment profitability slightly below FY14. 
"We achieved $60 million in synergies in the first quarter, and we are confident we will exceed the $225 million synergy target for this fiscal year."

7:36 am On The Wires (:WIRES) :

  • Exterran Holdings (EXH) announced that it has signed two agreements related to projects in Bolivia and Brazil. The first, signed on Oct. 31, 2014, is a six-year compression services contract with Petrobras (PBR) Bolivia S.A. including construction and installation of a compressor station for two fields near Tarija, Bolivia.
  • TUMI (TUMI) announced its new sponsorship of The MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team.

7:35 am MSCI has agreed to appoint three new independent directors, Wayne Edmunds, D. Robert Hale, and Wendy E. Lane to its Board of Directors, effective March 10, 2015; enters into a Cooperation Agreement with ValueAct Capital (MSCI) : With these additions, MSCI's Board will increase from nine to twelve directors, eleven of whom are independent. The three new directors will be included with the company's nominees for election at its 2015 Annual Meeting of Shareholders. ValueAct Capital has agreed to vote for the company's entire slate of director nominees at MSCI's upcoming annual meeting.

7:33 am Saia beats by $0.04, misses on revs (SAIA) : Reports Q4 (Dec) earnings of $0.49 per share, excluding a $0.04 tax credit, $0.04 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.45; revenues rose 10.8% year/year to $310 mln vs the $314.23 mln consensus. 

  • Operating ratio was 93.4 compared to 94.7 in prior year period.
  • LTL tonnage increased 4.3% as LTL shipments were up 7.2% and average weight per LTL shipment fell by 2.7% 
  • LTL revenue per hundredweight increased by 6.0%. 
  • Total debt was $83.0 million at December 31, 2014. Net of the Company's $4.4 million cash balance at quarter end, net debt to total capital was 17.7%. This compares to total debt of $76.9 million and net debt to total capital of 20.1% at December 31, 2013. 

7:31 am OFG Bancorp reports EPS in-line (OFG) : Reports Q4 (Dec) earnings of $0.36 per share, in-line with the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.36. Tangible book value per common share increased 2.9%, to $15.25, from the prior quarter. Book value per common share rose 2.6% to $17.40.

7:31 am Vista Gold has agreed to amend the payment terms of its sale of the Los Cardones gold project in Baja California Sur, Mexico to Invecture Group and RPG Structured (VGZ) : Under the Amendment, the Company will receive a payment of $3.0 million cash from the Purchasers as full and final payment for 100% of the Company's debt and equity participation in the Los Cardones gold project. 

7:18 am Ingersoll-Rand beats by $0.11, beats on revs; guides Q1 EPS below consensus; guides FY15 EPS below consensus, revs below consensus (IR) : Reports Q4 (Dec) earnings of $0.82 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.11 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.71; revenues rose 4.6% year/year to $3.24 bln vs the $3.19 bln consensus.

  • Co issues downside guidance for Q1, sees EPS of $0.29-0.33, excluding non-recurring items, vs. $0.42 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate; Q1 2015 reported revenues are expected to increase in the range of 4-5%.
  • Co issues downside guidance for FY15, sees EPS of $3.66-3.81, excluding non-recurring items, vs. $3.87 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate; based on a forecast of slow-to-moderate growth in global industrial and construction markets for the year, the co sees FY15 revs growth at +4-5%, which equates to ~$13.4-13.5 bln vs. $13.61 bln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate.

7:15 am CTPartners Executive Search has priced a $5.0 mln registered underwritten offering of its common stock at a price of $3.00/share to one institutional investor (CTP) :  

7:10 am Altria reports EPS in-line, beats on revs; guides FY15 EPS in-line; CFO Howard Willard will replace retiring COO David Beran; Billy Gifford promoted to CFO (MO) : Reports Q4 (Dec) adj. earnings of $0.66 per share, excluding non-recurring items, in-line with the Capital IQ Consensus of $0.66; revenues rose 4.7% year/year to $4.61 bln vs the $4.54 bln consensus.

Co issues in-line guidance for FY15, sees EPS of $2.75-2.80, excluding non-recurring items, vs. $2.77 Capital IQ Consensus. 

During Q4, Altria repurchased ~5.3 million shares of its common stock at an average price of $49.51 for a total cost of $260 million.

David Beran, 60, has decided to retire effective March 1, 2015, after 38 years of distinguished service to the company, including the past three years as President and Chief Operating Officer. Mr. Beran also previously served as Altria's Chief Financial Officer.

Upon Mr. Beran's retirement, Howard Willard, 51, will become Chief Operating Officer. Mr. Willard currently serves as Chief Financial Officer.

William (Billy) Gifford, Jr., 44, has been appointed Altria's Chief Financial Officer, effective March 1, 2015. Mr. Gifford previously served as President and CEO of Philip Morris USA Inc. (PM USA) and currently is Altria's Senior Vice President, Strategy & Business Development.

7:07 am Simon Properties reports FFO in-line; guides FY15 FFO below consensus; increases dividend (SPG) : Reports Q4 (Dec) funds from operations of $2.47 per share, in-line with the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $2.47.

  • Co issues downside guidance for FY15, sees FFO of $9.60-9.70 vs. $9.79 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate.
  • Co raised the quarterly common stock dividend by $0.10 to $1.40 per share.  

7:06 am Lear beats by $0.19, beats on revs; reaffirms FY15 revs guidance (LEA) : Reports Q4 (Dec) adj earnings of $2.27 per share, $0.19 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $2.08; revenues rose 6.9% year/year to $4.55 bln vs the $4.5 bln consensus.

  • Co reaffirms guidance for FY15, sees FY15 revs of $18.5-19.0 bln vs. $18.65 bln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate.  Guidance: core operating earnings are expected to be in the range of $1.175 to $1.225 billion. The increased earnings reflect higher sales and improving Company margins. Free cash flow in 2015 is expected to be approximately $575 million.
  • In the fourth quarter, global vehicle production increased 1% from a year ago, primarily reflecting growth in China and North America. Production was up 7% in China and up 4% in North America.  Production was flat in Europe & Africa and down 12% in South America.

7:06 am Nexstar increases quarterly dividend 26.7% to $0.19 from $0.15 per share (NXST) :  

7:05 am Park Sterling beats by $0.01 (PSTB) :

  • Reports Q4 (Dec) earnings of $0.09 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.01 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.08. 
  • Net interest margin was 3.87% in 2014Q4, representing an 11 basis point decrease from 3.98% in 2014Q3 and a 21 basis point decrease from 4.08% in 2013Q4.

7:05 am S&P futures vs fair value: -9.00. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: +2.00. :

7:05 am European Markets : FTSE...6,784.54...-26.10...-0.40%.  DAX...10,727.53...-10.80...-0.10%.

7:05 am Asian Markets : Nikkei...17,674.39...+68.20...+0.40%.  Hang Seng...24,507.05...-88.80...-0.40%.

7:03 am KCG Holdings beats by $0.04, reports revs in-line (KCG) : Reports Q4 (Dec) earnings of $0.23 per share, $0.04 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.19; revenues rose 7.0% year/year to $346.1 mln vs the $345.44 mln consensus. 

  • U.S. equity market making grew market share of SEC Rule 605 U.S. equity share volume 
  • Algorithmic trading and order routing established a new quarterly record for average daily U.S. equity share volume 
  • "During the fourth quarter, KCG generated solid financial results due in part to an improved operating environment. The U.S. equity market posted higher average daily share volume, dollar volume and realized volatility on both a sequential and annual basis. Amid the heightened activity, KCG recorded market share gains in U.S. equity market making as well as algorithmic trading and order routing from the third quarter. Also contributing to KCG's results were increased market volumes and volatility in select segments of the global equities, fixed income, currencies and commodities markets. Finally, during the quarter, management completed a strategic review of KCG Hotspot and initiated a sale process which ultimately proved successful."

7:02 am Xerox beats by $0.02, reports revs in-line; guides Q1 EPS below consensus; lowers FY15 EPS below consensus; increases quarterly div to $0.07 from $0.06/share (XRX) : Reports Q4 (Dec) earnings of $0.31 per share, $0.02 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.29; revenues fell 3.3% year/year to $5.03 bln vs the $5.07 bln consensus.

  • Co issues downside guidance for Q1, sees EPS of $0.20-0.22, excluding non-recurring items, vs. $0.25 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate. 
  • Co issues lowered guidance for FY15, sees EPS of $1.00-1.06 from $1.05-1.11, excluding non-recurring items, vs. $1.09 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate. 
  • Gross margin of 32.1% increased 0.1-percentage point as compared to fourth quarter 2013. Document Technology gross margin increased 2.0-percentage points and Services gross margin was flat year-over-year. 
  • The Xerox Board of Directors increased the company's quarterly cash dividend by 12 percent to 7 cents per share, beginning with the dividend payable on April 30, 2015.

7:02 am CytoSorbents announced its exclusive distribution agreement with Aferetica SRL to distribute CytoSorb in Italy for critical care applications; subject to minimum guaranteed orders of Cytosorb to maintain exclusivity (CTSO) :  

7:02 am Goodrich Petroleum announced year-end 2014 reserves and its revised preliminary 2015 capital expenditure budget; revises prelim capex budget for 2015 to $90-110 mln, (GDP) : Company previously guided capex at $150-200 mln in 4Q14.

  • Co reported proved reserves of 273.7 Bcfe as of December 31, 2014, with future net cash flow of $1.3 bln and present value of the future net cash flow before income taxes discounted at 10% of $650.6 mln 
  • Proved oil reserves grew by approximately 13 mln barrels of oil or 92% from December 31, 2013. 
  • Year-end reserves were comprised of 59.3% oil, 38.3% natural gas and 2.4% natural gas liquids, 
  • Capex budget comprised of $80 -- 100 mln of drilling and completion capital expenditures and ~$10 mln of leasehold and infrastructure expenditures.

7:01 am Legg Mason beats by $0.01, reports revs in-line; announces new $1 bln buyback (LM) : Reports Q3 (Dec) earnings of $0.98 per share, $0.01 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.97; revenues fell 0.2% year/year to $719 mln vs the $712.73 mln consensus. 

  • Assets Under Management were $709.1 billion as of December 31, 2014, up slightly from $707.8 billion as of September 30, 2014 and up 4% from $679.5 billion as of December 31, 2013.
  • The Legg Mason Board of Directors approved a new share repurchase authorization for up to $1 billion of common stock and declared a quarterly cash dividend on its common stock in the amount of $0.16 per share.
  • "The Company delivered long term inflows of $8.8 billion, led by nearly $10 billion in fixed income inflows partially offset by $1 billion in outflows from equity products. The strength of fixed income flows for the period reinforces our belief in a significant, long term opportunity for Legg Mason, as we enjoy a wide breadth of active investment capabilities with strong performance that address the needs of our clients globally.

7:01 am Epirus Biopharma priced offering of 9.6 mln shares of common stock at $5.00 per share (EPRS) :  

7:00 am MEDNAX announces the acquisition of MEMAC Associates; financial terms not disclosed, acquisition is expected to be immediately accretive to earnings (MD) :  

7:00 am Oxford Immunotec announces pricing of offering of ~4.25 mln ordinary shares at $11.75/share (OXFD) :  

7:00 am FXCM announces that its Board has adopted a Stockholder Rights Plan and declared a dividend distribution of one right on each outstanding share of the Company's Class A common stock (FXCM) : The co notes it is also designed to reduce the likelihood that any person or group would gain control of the Company by open market accumulation or other coercive takeover tactics without paying a control premium for all shares. The Rights Plan is not intended to deter offers that are fair and otherwise in the best interests of the Company's stockholders. 

  • Under the terms of the Rights Plan, rights to purchase one one-thousandth (1/1000) of a share of a new Series A Junior Participating Preferred Stock of the Company at a price of $11.20 per one one-thousandth (1/1000) of a share will be issued at the rate of one right for each outstanding share of the Company's common stock held of record on February 9, 2015. Under the terms of the Rights Plan, the Rights will initially trade together with the Company's Class A common stock and will not be exercisable.

6:58 am Scorpio Tankers has taken delivery of STI Veneto, an LR2 product tanker from Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries (STNG) : This vessel will begin a voyage for 60 days at ~$32,000 per day.

6:58 am Graham beats by $0.08, beats on revs; guides FY15 revs to upper end of prior range (GHM) : Reports Q3 (Dec) earnings of $0.39 per share, $0.08 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.31; revenues rose 43.6% year/year to $33.6 mln vs the $32.01 mln consensus.

  • Co updates guidance for FY15, sees FY15 revs in the upper half of the previously provided range of $125-130 mln vs. $128.68 mln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate. 
    • Expects sales to be Gross margin range continues to be expected to be between 30% and 31%. 
    • SG&A guidance as a percent of sales has been reduced to a range of 14% to 14.5% of sales from the Company's prior estimate of 15% to 15.5%, mostly as a result of varying sales commissions. 
  • "We continue to believe that we can organically double the size of our business from its last peak of just above $100 million. However, the recent severe decline in crude oil prices has slowed many customer order decisions, which in turn has affected our expectations for fiscal 2016. We continue to pursue nuclear, defense industry and aftermarket opportunities, which we believe provides a predictable base business, as we also work to take market share in our traditional refining and petrochemical markets."

6:56 am Nordic American Offshore has entered into two new contracts with a major oil company for 4 months firm periods with further options for each vessel. (NAO) : This will secure firm employment for two of our vessels from February/March this year. In the meantime they are operated in the spot market.

6:52 am On The Wires (:WIRES) :

  • Cos (COSI) announced that its franchisee, Sodexo Operations, LLC, opened a new Cos restaurant at The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. This newest Cos restaurant, the third developed by Sodexo, celebrated its grand opening on Monday, January 26, 2015.
  • Sucampo Pharmaceuticals (SCMP) announced the successful completion of the European Mutual Recognition Procedure for AMITIZA (lubiprostone) for the treatment of chronic idiopathic constipation in select European countries, resulting in a recommendation for marketing authorization. Based on the approval in the United Kingdom, a mutual recognition application was filed in Austria, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands and Spain. Following the positive MRP outcome, each member state is expected to issue a national marketing authorization.

6:49 am CONSOL Energy beats by $0.05, misses on revs (CNX) : Reports Q4 (Dec) earnings of $0.25 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.05 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.20; revenues rose 13.4% year/year to $935.7 mln vs the $959.34 mln consensus. 

  • During the fourth quarter, CONSOL's Coal Division produced 8.0 mln tons, which was in-line with previous quarter's guidance, despite a roof fall on a longwall at Bailey Mine and continued geological conditions at Enlow Fork, which ultimately resulted in 10 days of reduced production. 
  • In 2015, CONSOL expects to invest ~ $1.0 bln in its E&P Division, while maintaining its 30% year-over-year production growth targets for 2015 and 2016. In addition to E&P capital, in 2015 CONSOL also expects to invest $220 mln in the Coal Division: $160 mln in maintenance of production capital, and $60 mln in land, safety, water, terminal operations, and other miscellaneous categories. 
  • First quarter 2015 gas production, net to CONSOL, is expected to be ~ 70 -- 74 Bcfe, while annual 2015 production is expected to be between 300 -- 310 Bcfe, or 30% growth compared to 2014 total production. CONSOL Energy continues to expect 2016 annual gas production to grow by 30%.

6:39 am Immunogen beats by $0.21, beats on revs; reaffirms FY15 revs guidance (IMGN) : Reports Q2 (Dec) earnings of $0.16 per share, $0.21 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of ($0.05); revenues rose 60.5% year/year to $48.3 mln vs the $33.45 mln consensus.

  • Co reaffirms guidance for FY15, sees FY15 revs of $100-105 mln vs. $99.15 mln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate. 
  • FY15 Guidance: Co's operating expenses to be between $160 million and $165 million; its net loss to be between $60 million and $65 million; its cash used in operations to be between $55 million and $60 million; and its capital expenditures to be between $7 million and $9 million. Cash and marketable securities at June 30, 2015 are anticipated to be between $75 million and $85 million.

6:38 am Beazer Homes misses Q1 estimates; on track to meet 2016 goals (BZH) : Reports Q1 (Dec) loss from continuing operations, ex-$18 mln in unexpected warranty charges related to stucco installation issues, of $0.17 per share, may not be comparable to the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of ($0.09); revenues fell 9.3% year/year to $265.8 mln vs the $296.29 mln consensus. 

The co remains on track to meet its "2B-10" objectives to reach $2 billion in revenue with a 10% Adjusted EBITDA margin by the end of fiscal 2016. In the quarter ended December 31, 2014, orders were up 7.9 percent, average selling prices (:ASP) were up $16 thousand, or 5.8 percent, the quarter-end community count was up 13 percent and homebuilding gross margins (ex-items) improved by 60 basis points.

"Improvements in new home orders, ASP, community count and gross margins were all positive indicators of progress on our '2B-10' objectives," said Allan Merrill, CEO of Beazer Homes. "A lower-than-expected backlog conversion rate and unexpected charges adversely impacted quarterly revenue and profitability. However, with an improving sales environment and the largest December 31st backlog value since 2007 we remain optimistic about our ability to achieve a $20 million improvement in Adjusted EBITDA for fiscal 2015, excluding the unexpected charges taken this quarter."

6:35 am Newell Rubbermaid beats by $0.01, reports revs in-line; lowers FY15 EPS below consensus, revs mid point below consensus (NWL) : Reports Q4 (Dec) earnings of $0.49 per share, $0.01 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.48; revenues rose 4.1% year/year to $1.53 bln vs the $1.52 bln consensus.

  • Co issues downside guidance for FY15, lowers EPS to $2.10-2.18 from $2.16-2.22 vs. $2.19 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate; FY15 revs of 3.5-4.5% (prior 3.5-4.0%) to ~$5.93-5.98 bln vs. $5.98 bln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate. 
  • Normalized gross margin was 37.7 percent, a 70 basis point improvement versus prior year, as benefits from productivity, pricing and favorable segment mix more than offset input cost inflation and the impact of negative foreign currency.

6:35 am Ingredion misses by $0.21, misses on revs; guides FY15 EPS below consensus (INGR) : Reports Q4 (Dec) earnings of $1.30 per share, $0.21 worse than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $1.51; revenues fell 8.7% year/year to $1.37 bln vs the $1.41 bln consensus.

  • Co issues downside guidance for FY15, sees EPS of $5.40-5.90 vs. $5.99 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate. 
  • "Faced with a slowing world economy and volatile currencies, we concluded 2014 with significant progress on our strategic blueprint. Notably, specialty sales grew to 24 percent of full year net sales and overall volumes grew in each of North America, Asia Pacific, and EMEA." said Ilene Gordon, chairman, president and chief executive officer. 
  • "Asia Pacific and EMEA achieved record operating income for the full year. These positives were offset by soft demand and foreign exchange headwinds in South America, and weaker than expected performance in North America."
  • "As we look ahead to 2015, North America is expected to drive bottom-line growth as it returns to normal from adverse weather in the first quarter of 2014 and margins expand. South America, EMEA, and Asia Pacific are anticipated to improve modestly given expected continuing economic headwinds, slowing economies, and weaker foreign exchange rates resulting from a stronger U.S. dollar across the globe."

6:32 am Eli Lilly beats by $0.02, misses on revs; reaffirms FY15 EPS guidance, lowers FY15 revs guidance (LLY) : Reports Q4 (Dec) adj. earnings of $0.75 per share, $0.02 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.73; revenues -12% year/year to $5.12 bln vs the $5.19 bln consensus.

  • The revenue decline was comprised of 9 percent due to lower volume and 4 percent due to the unfavorable impact of foreign exchange rates, partially offset 1 percent due to higher prices. The 9 percent decrease in worldwide volume was driven by the loss of U.S. patent exclusivity for Cymbalta in December 2013 and Evista in March 2014, partially offset by volume gains for several other products. 
    • Total revenue in the U.S. decreased 19 percent to $2.453 billion, driven by lower demand for Cymbalta and Evista following patent expirations as well as wholesaler buying patterns. Total revenue outside the U.S. decreased 3 percent to $2.669 billion, primarily driven by the unfavorable impact of foreign exchange rates, partially offset by higher volume, including the impact of products acquired from Lohmann Animal Health.
Co issues guidance for FY15, reaffirms EPS of $3.10-3.20, excluding non-recurring items, vs. $3.14 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate; lowers FY15 revs to $19.5-20.0 bln from $20.3-20.8 bln vs. $20.48 bln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate. 
  • The acquisition of Novartis Animal Health is expected to add significant revenue. The company now anticipates that gross margin as a percent of revenue will be approximately 75.0 percent in 2015 on a reported basis and 78.0 percent on a non-GAAP basis, reflecting the exclusion of inventory step-up costs associated with the acquisition of Novartis Animal Health as well as amortization of intangibles. 

6:30 am Magic Software misses by $0.01, reports revs in-line (MGIC) : Reports Q4 (Dec) earnings of $0.09 per share, $0.01 worse than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.10; revenues rose 3.2% year/year to $42.5 mln vs the $42.55 mln consensus. 

  • Revenues for the quarter were negatively impacted by an approximately $1.5 million devaluation of foreign currencies versus the US Dollar (mainly the Euro and Japanese Yen) and the appreciation of the New Israeli Shekel versus the US Dollar. 

6:29 am Oi SA announces cancellation of its shareholder compensation policy (OIBR) : OIBR announced to its shareholders and the market that the Board of Directors has approved the cancellation of the Shareholder Compensation policy for the fiscal years 2013-2016, that was previously disclosed in the Material Fact dated August 13, 2013. 

6:21 am On The Wires (:WIRES) :

  • Applied DNA Sciences (APDN) announced that the US Patent and Trademark Office issued the "Methods for Genotyping Mature Cotton Fibers and Textiles" patent #8,940,485 on January 27, 2015 for the company's pimaTyping authentication of extra long staple or pima cotton-based products.
  • ChipMOS (IMOS) announced that it has signed a Letter of Intent to cooperate on the development of new equipment and process automation with Tokyo Seimitsu Co., Ltd. at ChipMOS's Tainan fab. Under the agreement, ACCRETECH will be responsible for the equipment design and manufacturing. This is expected to include, but will not be limited to, probers for wafer testing and wafer dicing equipment.
  • In-Depth Test LLC, a subsidiary of Acacia Research Corporation (ACTG), entered into a settlement and license agreement with Intersil Corporation (ISIL). This agreement resolves patent litigation, Civil Action No. 14-cv-886-GMS, pending in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware.

6:05 am Tyco reports EPS in-line, revs in-line; guides Q2 and FY15 EPS below consensus (TYC) : Reports Q1 (Dec) earnings of $0.49 per share, excluding non-recurring items, in-line with the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.49; revenues fell 0.6% year/year to $2.48 bln vs the $2.5 bln consensus.

  • Revenue of $2.5 billion in the quarter decreased 1% versus the prior year due to the impact of the stronger U.S. dollar against foreign currencies. Organic revenue grew 2% in the quarter, led by Global Products with a 10% increase. Service revenue grew 1% organically and installation revenue was relatively flat. Acquisitions contributed one percentage point of growth, which was partially offset by the impact of divestitures. 
Guidance:
Co issues downside guidance for Q2, sees EPS of $0.48-0.50 vs. $0.56 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate. Co issues downside guidance for FY15, sees EPS of $2.30-2.40 vs. $2.43 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate.
  • Co states FY guidance accounts for incremental $0.09 headwind from foreign currency exchange rates, offset by $0.04 benefit from recent acquisitions and additional productivity 

6:05 am Mattel reports EPS & revs in line with pre-announcement and consensus (MAT) :

  • Reports Q4 (Dec) earnings of $0.52 per share, in-line with the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.52; revenues fell 5.6% year/year to $1.99 bln vs the $1.99 bln consensus (in line with pre-announcement of $0.52 and $1.99 billion).
  • North American Region gross sales down 2% and International Region gross sales down 5% (including an unfavorable impact from changes in currency exchange rates of 8%). 
  • Gross margin decreased 410 basis points of net sales.

6:02 am Performant Financial has decided to withdraw its proposed public offerings of convertible senior notes and common stock (PFMT) : "We continue to believe that Premiere Healthcare Exchange is an exceptional company, the acquisition has very compelling merits, and fits within our strategy of growing in healthcare technology. However, we are not going forward with the previously announced capital raise at levels that are not in the best interests of our stockholders."

6:00 am Cheetah Mobile and Tencent (:TCHEY) expand scope of strategic cooperation agreement (CMCM) : Co announced that it has entered into a supplemental agreement with Shenzhen Tencent Computer Systems Company Limited.  Under the new supplemental agreement, Tencent, through their products or platforms, would provide various promotional services to Cheetah. In addition, the annual cap with respect to the fees payable by Cheetah to Tencent for the year ending December 31, 2015 will be RMB100 mln

6:00 am Affymetrix announces that Founder and Chairman, Stephen Fodor, Ph.D., will retire from the Board effective January 30, 2015 (AFFX) : The Board of Directors elected Jami Nachtsheim as Chairwoman of the Company's Board of Directors, succeeding Dr. Fodor. Ms. Nachtsheim has served as a director of the Company since 2010 and the Company's lead independent director since 2013.

5:32 am MB Financial misses by $0.02 (MBFI) : Reports Q4 (Dec) earnings of $0.50 per share, $0.02 worse than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.52.

  • Net interest margin for Q4 was 4.01% vs 3.78% in Q3
  • Total loans grew 4.7% on an annualized basis in the fourth quarter of 2014, driven by growth in commercial related loans (+8.6% annualized, including +23.4% annualized for the commercial and industrial portfolio) and partially offset by declines in consumer related credits and purchased credit-impaired loans. 
  • Non-performing loans decreased by $13.2 million and potential problem loans increased by $4.0 million from September 30, 2014. 
  • Non-performing loans to total loans improved to 0.96% at December 31, 2014 from 1.12% at September 30, 2014. 
  • Coverage ratio of allowance for loan and lease losses to non-performing loans improved to 126.34% at December 31, 2014 compared to 102.54% at September 30, 2014.

5:08 am On The Wires (:WIRES) :

  • Alcoa (AA) officially opened its expanded wheels manufacturing plant in Hungary. The larger facility doubles Alcoa's capacity to produce its Dura-Bright EVO surface-treated wheels compared to 2014 production levels. Construction of the $13 million expansion was completed on schedule and will create 35 new permanent jobs in Hungary once the facility reaches full capacity.
  • IBM (IBM) announced a new services centre in the City of Leicester, UK that will create up to 300 new IT roles over the next three years for the next generation of workers, enabling IBM to extend its delivery of an industry leading range of technology services to UK based IBM clients.
  • The National Basketball Association and Tencent Holdings (TCEHY) announced a five-year expansion of their partnership that will create the league's largest international digital partnership. The new partnership will be effective on July 1, 2015.
  • Boeing (BA) and All Nippon Airways announced the airline's intent to purchase three 787-10 Dreamliners to add additional flexibility to the airline's 787 fleet. In addition, ANA announced an order for five Next-Generation 737-800s to bolster the airline's growing narrow-body fleet. This agreement, once all commitments are finalized, will be valued at approximately $1.4 billion at current list prices, and ANA will become the first airline in Asia to operate the entire family of 787 Dreamliners.

5:00 am VimpelCom and its subsidiary Global Telecom Holding announce the closing of the sale of a 51% interest in Omnium Telecom Algeria SpA to the Algerian National Investment Fund for $2.6 bln (VIP) : GTH will continue to exercise operational control over OTA and, as a result, both GTH and VimpelCom will continue to fully consolidate OTA.

  • At Closing, GTH terminated its international arbitration against the Algerian State initiated on April 12, 2012 and the parties to the arbitration settled the arbitration and all claims relating thereto.  At the same time, the foreign exchange and import restrictions put in place by the Bank of Algeria against OTA on April 15, 2010 were lifted, following the payment by OTA to the Algerian Treasury of the fine of ~$1.1 billion. In addition, OTA has written off the related tax receivable on its balance sheet.
  • Shortly prior to Closing, OTA and its wholly-owned subsidiary Optimum Telecom Algerie S.p.A. established credit facilities with a syndicate of Algerian and international banks in an amount of ~$0.9 bln.
  • GTH and Cevital S.p.A., a minority shareholder in OTA, amended their previously disclosed Framework Agreement. Pursuant to the amended Framework Agreement, following Closing, Cevital will continue to be a shareholder in OTA and will hold 3.43% of the share capital of OTA.
  • At Closing, the existing OTA shareholder arrangements to which Cevital was a party were terminated and Cevital dismissed all pending litigation against OTA in settlement for a dinar payment by OTA equating to approximately USD 50 million plus Cevital's entitled share of the pre-Closing dividend paid by OTA to its shareholders.

4:05 am On The Wires (:WIRES) :

  • MSCI (MSCI) has licensed the MSCI China A Index to China Asset Management for a new ETF, the ChinaAMC MSCI China A ETF, to be listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange in March. 
  • NTT Group (NTT) announced that it will test information sharing between smartphones and digital signage using communication technology based on the WebSocket and WebRTC protocols. 

3:12 am Weyerhaeuser beats by $0.02, misses on revs (WY) : Reports Q4 (Dec) earnings of $0.31 per share, $0.02 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.29; revenues rose 1.1% year/year to $1.79 bln vs the $1.81 bln consensus.

1Q 2015 Outlook

  • Weyerhaeuser expects significantly higher earnings from the Timberlands segment in the first quarter. In the West, the company anticipates improved domestic volumes and realizations, partially offset by lower export log volumes. Western logging and road building costs should decline seasonally. In the South, the company expects lower fee harvest volumes due to seasonally wet weather. The company anticipates higher earnings from the disposition of non-strategic timberlands in the first quarter of 2015 compared to the fourth quarter 2014.
  • Weyerhaeuser expects significantly higher earnings from the Wood Products segment in the first quarter. The company expects slightly improved average realizations for lumber and oriented strand board, and higher sales and production volumes across all product lines, partially offset by higher log costs.

3:07 am Costco reports special cash dividend of $5.00 per share (COST) : Co announced that its Board has declared a special cash dividend on Costco common stock of $5.00 per share, payable February 27, 2015, to shareholders of record as of the close of business on February 9, 2015.

  • The aggregate payment will be ~$2.2 billion. 
  • The special dividend will be funded through existing cash and additional borrowings. 
  • It will be in addition to the Company's regular quarterly cash dividend of $.355 per share that was declared on January 29, 2015. 

2:58 am Books-A-Million: Anderson Family proposes transaction to acquire 100% of public interest in Books-A-Million; purchase price of $2.75 per share (BAMM) : Co announced the receipt of a non-binding proposal from Clyde Anderson, Executive Chairman of the Company, on behalf of the Anderson family, to acquire certain outstanding shares of the common stock of Books-A-Million, at a cash purchase price of $2.75 per share. In the proposed potential transaction, the Anderson family would acquire all of the outstanding shares of common stock of the Company not currently owned by the Anderson family through a merger of the Company with a newly formed acquisition vehicle that the Anderson family would control. The Company intends to promptly review the proposal. 

2:57 am Valeant Pharma: Dendreon (DNDN, DNDNQ) reaches agreement for Valeant to serve as 'Stalking Horse Bidder' in court-supervised sales process (VRX) : Dendreon (DNDN) announced that it has reached an agreement with Valeant Pharmaceuticals International (VRX) pursuant to which, subject to bankruptcy court approval, Valeant will serve as the "stalking horse" bidder in conjunction with a court-supervised sales process. 

  • Under the terms of the agreement, Valeant would acquire the world-wide rights of PROVENGE and certain other Dendreon assets for $296 million, subject to higher and better bids. 

2:52 am NextEra Energy and Hawaiian Electric file joint application with the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission Outlining Benefits of proposed merger for advancing a more affordable clean energy future for Hawaii (NEE) : NextEra Energy (NEE) and Hawaiian Electric Company, Hawaii Electric Light Company and Maui Electric Company Limited (collectively referred to as Hawaiian Electric), subsidiaries of Hawaiian Electric Industries (HE) filed an application with the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission requesting approval of the proposed merger involving Hawaiian Electric. 

  • The filing details the companies' commitments to Hawaiian Electric's communities, employees and customers for enhancing service reliability, continuing community and charitable support, continuing to locally manage Hawaiian Electric's utilities from their existing operating locations, delivering savings and value for customers, and strengthening and accelerating a cleaner energy future. 
  • Highlights of the application include a commitment to not file a request with the PUC for a general base rate increase for at least four years post-transaction close and approximately $60 million in quantified customer savings, both subject to approval of certain conditions. 

2:44 am Unilife Corporation announces public offering of common stock (shares halted for regulatory concern) (UNIS) : Co announced it intends to offer and sell, subject to market conditions, shares of its common stock (which will be issued in the form of CHESS Depositary Interests to Australian investors) in an underwritten public offering in the United States and a private placement in Australia 

1:49 am Quotient and Ortho Clinical Diagnostics establish exclusive commercial partnership for MosaiQ in the global patient testing market and donor testing markets in the developing world and Japan (QTNT) : Quotient and Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics announced that they are entering into a broad strategic collaboration to sell and distribute Quotient's MosaiQ platform within the $2.8 billion global transfusion diagnostics market. 

  • Ortho Clinical Diagnostics to sell and distribute MosaiQ in the global patient testing market and the donor testing market in territories not addressed by Quotient 
  • Quotient retains all rights to additional applications for MosaiQ 
    OCD has provided $25 million of funding for MosaiQ, including a $10 million investment in new Quotient ordinary shares at an issue price of $22.50 per share 
  • Quotient to receive $59 million of additional funding upon successful achievement of certain agreed-upon regulatory and commercial milestones 
  • Quotient will manufacture and supply MosaiQ consumables for supply to OCD. The transfer price payable by OCD for consumables will "step up" based on agreed-upon revenue milestones 

1:46 am Micron prices $1 bln of its 5.25% senior notes due 2023 (MU) :  

12:42 am JP Energy Partners declares Q4 cash distribution of $0.3038 per unit (JPEP) : Co announced that the Board of its general partner has declared a prorated cash distribution for the fourth quarter of 2014 of $0.3038 per unit. This distribution is the first declared by the partnership and corresponds to the minimum quarterly distribution of $0.3250 per unit, or $1.30 per unit on an annualized basis, prorated for the partial quarter following the closing of the partnership's initial public offering on October 7, 2014. The distribution will be paid on February 13, 2015 to all unitholders of record on February 6, 2015. 

12:39 am Perceptron acquires two European metrology companies (PRCP) : Co announced that it has reached agreement to acquire two European metrology companies: 

  • Coord3 Industries a mid-market designer and manufacturer of a full range of high-quality and high-performance Coordinate Measurement Machines, based in Turin, Italy. 
  • Next Metrology Software, a CMM operating software and the developer of TouchDMIS, based in Prague, Czech Republic. 
The NMS acquisition closed on January 29. The Coord3 acquisition is expected to close in February 2015, subject to customary closing conditions. The total value of the transactions will be approximately $15.9 million, in a combination of cash and assumed debt. The combined companies have approximately $15 million in annual revenue. Management expects the transactions will be accretive by the end of fiscal 2016. 
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