InPlay from Briefing.com

Briefing.com

12:50 pm Armco Metals popping on news co met with China Recycling Development Corporation for potential cooperations on steel scrap business (AMCO) : Chairman Yao Paid a visit to China Recycling Development Corporation Ltd. on Monday and Tuesday this week for potential cooperations on steel scrap business.

  • As the largest resource recycling company in China, CRDC has nearly 50 branches and eleven national resource recycling industry demonstration bases as well as 5000 recycling stations nationwide.
  • CRDC highly agrees our proposal on business model update and the two parties are seeking for the most efficient way to put the proposal into practice.

12:44 pm Utilities SPDR continues to lag, drops to new session low (XLU) : The recent downside extension to 43.08 brings its May and March/eight month lows into play at 43.10/43.01.

12:40 pm CBS: Showtime to offer stand-alone service over the internet with Apple for $10.99/month (CBS) : SHOWTIME will be offered over the internet as a stand-alone streaming service launching in early July, with Apple (AAPL) as its first partner. The launch of SHOWTIME will coincide with the new seasons of the critically-acclaimed, hit series RAY DONOVAN and MASTERS OF SEX, premiering on Sunday, July 12thiPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Apple TV users will be able to subscribe to SHOWTIME as a stand-alone service on the SHOWTIME app anywhere in the U.S., for one monthly price ($10.99) to view on all Apple devices.

12:29 pm Willbros Group awarded a contract from Enterprise Products Partners (EPD) to construct a 15.5 mile 24-inch ethane pipeline (WG) : The Ethane Export 24" Pipeline will be constructed in one segment and will have multiple drilled crossings including the Houston Ship Channel. The project begins in June 2015 and is planned to be complete in November 2015.

12:23 pm Dow +51 slides more than 100 points off morning high -- S&P +2.2, Nasdaq Comp +17 (:TECHX) :  

12:13 pm Steel Dynamics confirms that it and five other US steel producers have petitioned the DOC and US ITC to apply antidumping and countervailing duties to steel from other nations (STLD) : The co and AK Steel (AKS), ArcelorMittal USA (MT) , California Steel Industries, Nucor (NUE), and United States Steel (X), petitioned the Department of Commerce and the U.S. International Trade Commission to apply antidumping and countervailing duties against imports of corrosion resistant steel from China, India, Italy, South Korea, and Taiwan.

  • Co CEO stated: "The surge of unfairly traded imports of corrosion-resistant steel has materially impacted our shipments, pricing and profitability. Corrosion-resistant flat rolled steel is one of our more important products, and the restoration of fair trade will benefit our customers, our employees and our communities." 
  • Under the unfair trade statutes, the ITC must make a preliminary injury ruling within 45 days and the DOC will issue preliminary duty rulings by the end of 2015 with final rulings by both agencies completed by mid-2016.

11:52 am European Markets Closing Prices (:SUMRX) : European markets are now closed; stock markets across Europe performed as follows:

  • UK's FTSE:+0.3%
  • Germany's DAX:+0.8%
  • France's CAC:+0.6%
  • Spain's IBEX:-0.1%
  • Portugal's PSI:+1.0%
  • Italy's MIB Index:+0.1%
  • Irish Ovrl Index:+0.1%
  • Greece ASE General Index: +4.1%

11:42 am Major averages extend slide off morning highs -- Dow +93, S&P +5.8, Nasdaq Comp +26 (:TECHX) : Relative sector weakness in recent trade (underperforming the S&P) has been noted in: Energy XLE, Crude Oil USO, Oil Service OIH, Materials XLB, Semi SMH.

11:20 am CBS expected to announce OTT Showtime offering (app) this afternoon, along with pricing - CNBC (CBS) :  

11:17 am Currency Commentary: Euro Climbs Following ECB (:SUMRX) :

  • The Dollar Index has fallen back to the 95 level and has no given up approx half of its late May bounce. The DXY has slipped back below its 50 sma (96.50) and 100 sma (96.00). The 20 sma (95.37) is attempting to provide support. Economic data was on the lighter side this morning as the MBA Mortgage Index showed a 7% decline from the prior week while the May ISM Services numbers missed expectations. The ADP number was in line which will set the stage for a potential goldilocks jobs number on Friday. Later today we will get a glimpse at the Fed Beige Book which will help set the tone for its June 17 meeting. 
  • The euro is seeing a rally today following the latest ECB meeting. A slight uptick to the inflation forecasts by ECB staff has garnered attention. As has a slight change to the QE language which appears to have moved from the September 2016 date to something more data dependent. Making the move all the more impressive is it comes as EU creditors have presented a final offer to the Greek government on the current bailout package. A meeting between the EUs Juncker and Greece's Tsipras is set for tonight. Markets are hoping for some sort of a deal reached at the meeting. 
  • The pound is seeing some weakness today as the country's Services PMI number came in light. The 50 and 100-sma area (1.5168) remains a key level of support that will remain in play in coming sessions. 
  • The yen continues to see a pause in its recent selling as 124 is holding support at the moment. Yesterdays multi-year low of 125.02 will remain a key area to watch if the yen is to stabilize (BONDX, FOREX).

11:00 am Yahoo! selected by the NFL as its exclusive partner to deliver the first-ever live stream of an NFL game (YHOO) : The NFL announces that it has selected Yahoo! (YHOO) as its exclusive partner to deliver the first-ever live stream of an NFL game to a global audience across devices and for free.

  • This partnership will bring the NFL's International Series game in London, between the Buffalo Bills and Jacksonville Jaguars on October 25, to Yahoo properties globally, including Yahoo, Yahoo Sports, Yahoo Screen and Tumblr, which attract more than one billion monthly users.

10:47 am CSX reaffirms Q2, FY15 EPS guidance at Detusche Bank Conf.; Q2-to-date volume slightly lower YoY (CSX) :

  • "While overall volume is tracking slightly below the levels in the second quarter of last year, service is improving steadily and we remain on track to deliver second quarter earnings per share that are flat to slightly up." Consensus $0.54 vs. $0.53 last year.
  • Key service measures continue to improve in the second quarter, as resources come on line in critical areas of the network. On-time originations and arrivals, dwell time and velocity have all improved during the quarter, and more meaningful improvements are expected in the second half of the year. 
  • The company's intermodal traffic, its main growth market, as well as its construction sector are producing volume growth quarter-to-date. 
  • At the same time, CSX sees increasing headwinds in its coal markets. Full-year domestic coal volume is expected to be down at least five percent reflecting low natural gas prices, and export coal volumes are expected to decline to 30 million tons for the year as the stronger U.S. dollar and overseas commodity prices reduce global demand for U.S. coal. 
  • For 2015, CSX continues to expect earnings per share growth in the mid-to-high single digit range (consensus +6.3%) and meaningful margin expansion as it progresses toward a mid-60s operating ratio longer-term.

10:42 am Mack-Cali Realty announces the appointment of Mitchell Rudin as CEO, and Michael DeMarco as COO of the company (CLI) : Most recently, Rudin served as the president and chief executive officer of U.S. Commercial Operations at Brookfield Office Properties and prior to that he served as the president and chief executive officer of the New York Tri-State Region for CBRE. DeMarco's background is in the areas of investment banking, capital markets, and restructuring of operations, which includes his time as a senior managing director at Lehman Brothers, a managing director at Fortress Investment Group, and an executive vice president at Vornado Realty Trust

10:25 am S&P +10 joins Dow +142 and Nasdaq Comp +33 at new highs for the week (:TECHX) : Sectors outperforming the S&P in recent trade include: Technology XLK, Retail XRT, Oil Service OIH, Telecom IYZ, Bank KBE, Reg Bank KRE, Housing XHB, Transports IYT, Casino, Medical Supplies, Software IGV.

10:17 am S&P +9 extends to test this week's high at 2119 (:TECHX) :  

10:12 am Dow +88 and Nasdaq Comp +25 notch new session highs, S&P +6.9 is holding just under its early peak (:TECHX) :  

10:09 am PartnerRe issues a statement on the lawsuit filed against it by EXOR S.p.A (PRE) : The lawsuit regards Exor's request for PartnerRe to disclose information related to PartnerRe's shareholder base, particularly its non-objecting beneficial owners. Co stated: "EXOR's claims are without merit. We have complied with our obligations regarding the disclosure of shareholder information under applicable Bermuda and U.S. laws. We intend to vigorously defend ourselves and are confident that their claim will be rejected."

10:06 am Comtech Telecom announces an order for $4.3 million in solid-state power amplifiers to be used in an airborne, in-flight entertainment and communications application (CMTL) :  

10:04 am IBM acquires managed private cloud provider Blue Box Group; financial terms not disclosed (IBM) : Blue Box is a privately held company based in Seattle that provides businesses with a simple, private cloud as a service platform, based on OpenStack.

10:01 am Stock indices slip slightly after data -- Dow +39, S&P +2.4, Nasdaq Comp +14 (:TECHX) :  

10:01 am Apple announces a voluntary recall of its Beats Pill XL speakers (AAPL) : Apple has determined that, in rare cases, the battery in the Beats Pill XL may overheat and pose a fire safety risk. The recall does not affect any other Beats or Apple products.

9:50 am Ocean RIG UDW priced its offering of 28,571,428 shares of its common stock at $7.00/share (ORIG) :  

9:49 am Early relative sector weakness (:TECHX) : Sectors that have underperformed in the early going include: Silver SLV, Utility XLU, REITs IYR, Gold Miners GDX, Crude Oil USO, Disk Drive.

9:45 am OncoSec Medical announces a $13.6 million registered direct offering, of ~2.47 mln shares of common stock at $5.50/share (ONCS) : Co intends to use proceeds from the offering for general corporate purposes, including clinical trial expenses and research and development expenses

9:44 am Relative sector strength (:TECHX) : The major averages slipped off opening highs but have maintained a positive bias. Sectors providing early leadership include: Coal KOL, Reg Bank KRE, Bank KBE, Trucking, Retail XRT, Restaurant, Social Media SOCL, Discretionary XLY, Networking IGN.

9:39 am Intel down for third session in a row, tests 50 ema (INTC) : Early weakness for the stock leaves it lower for the third session in a row for a loss of roughly 5% off of last week's peak. It has declined to 32.94 bringing its 50 day ema into play at 32.94 (last week's low 32.84). 

9:39 am Opening Market Summary: Technology Displays Early Strength (:WRAPX) : Equity indices began the day in positive territory, but they were quick to slip from their opening highs. The S&P 500 remains just above its flat line with seven sectors showing early gains.

That being said, the technology sector (+0.3%) is the only group with an early gain of more than 0.2%. Elsewhere, financials (+0.2%) and consumer discretionary (+0.1%) also trade just ahead of the broader market while energy (-0.2%) and consumer staples (-0.2%) lag.

Also of note, Treasuries have slid to fresh lows, pushing the 10-yr yield up to 2.33% (+7 bps).

The ISM Services Index for May (Briefing.com consensus 57.1) will be released at 10:00 ET.

9:38 am Grupo Aeroportuario Del Sureste announced that total passenger traffic for May 2015 increased by 12.9% when compared to May 2014 (ASR) :  

9:36 am BioLife Solutions +87% after reporting several new customer disclosures on the use of its CryoStor and HypoThermosol biopreservation media products in pre-clinical validation projects and clinical trials (BLFS) : The co reported several new customer disclosures on the use of the Company's CryoStor and HypoThermosol biopreservation media products in pre-clinical validation projects and clinical trials at the recent International Society for Cellular Therapy conference. Several posters citing the use of BioLife products included. At the ISCT conference, BioLife also presented and demonstrated the evo smart, precision thermal shipper and it's connected, cloud hosted biologistex application which enables customers to pack, ship, and track high-value biologic based payloads including starting material for cell and tissue based products and manufactured cellular and regenerative medicine products and therapies.

9:35 am Early bias firmer but major averages stall near yesterday highs and slip back -- Dow +7.7, S&P +0.7, Nasdaq Comp +11 (:TECHX) :  

9:32 am Acadia Realty Trust announces the sale of its remaining residential development rights to City Point in Brooklyn, NY to Extell Development Company for $115.5 million (AKR) :  

9:26 am Uranium Resources and Anatolia Energy announce a merger, expecting an entity with a combined market cap of ~$68.1 million (URRE) : The transaction will provide a potential avenue for accelerated recommencement of uranium production for Uranium Resources, and is expected to provide benefits to both companies' shareholders, including the potential for significant capital cost savings (up to $11 million in potential capital savings identified), and operational efficiencies.

  • The Creation of a larger, international uranium development company is expected to have a combined market capitalisation of ~$68.1 million. Upon completion of the Merger, Anatolia shareholders are expected to own approximately 40.6% of the merged company, and current Uranium Resources shareholders are expected to own approximately 59.4%. 
  • Following the Merger becoming effective, two of Anatolia's current directors will be invited to join the Board of Uranium Resources, one of which will include Anatolia's Managing Director and CEO, Mr. Paul Cronin. 
  • It has been agreed that the total Uranium Resources board size will be comprised of no more than seven directors in total, including the two appointees from Anatolia. Anatolia expects to provide the Scheme booklet to Anatolia securityholders in early August, with the shareholders, option holders and performance shareholders meetings expected to be held in September, followed by implementation in early October 2015
  • On the date of execution of the Scheme Implementation Agreement, Anatolia and URI have also agreed to the terms of a convertible loan from URI to Anatolia for up to A$2 million, to provide Anatolia with working capital to ensure it can continue to progress the Temrezli Project towards development, and to cover costs associated with the Merger

9:23 am On the Wires (:WIRES) :

  • Tecogen (TGEN) announced it will hold a conference call to review the company's status to commence after business adjournment of its annual meeting next Thursday, June 11, 2015 at 1:30pm ET.
  • MCG Capital Corporation (MCGC) announced that in response to a letter from counsel to Philip Falcone and Harbinger Capital Partners, it yesterday filed a revised investor presentation discussing in detail the material factors considered by MCG's Board of Directors in determining that the proposal made by HC2 Holdings
  • Worthington Industries (WOR) announced that its tailor welded blanking joint venture, TWB Company is opening a new facility in Nashville, Tenn. The new facility will include next generation fiber lasers and curvilinear welding technology.
  • InterCloud Systems (ICLD) announces the launching of a new cloud service, "Airwave as a Service." Airwave as a Service allows InterCloud's enterprise clients the ability to deploy wireless networks with low or no touch, with the elasticity of the cloud, and anytime systems management
  • L-3 Communications (LLL) announced that Mark Von Schwarz has been appointed senior vice president and president of the company's Aerospace Systems business segment effective immediately
  • Aspen Insurance Holdings Limited (AHL) announced two senior management appointments in its insurance segment, Aspen Insurance. Bob Rheel has been appointed President of Aspen U.S. Insurance with effect from August 1, 2015. Also Cliff Hope, EVP Chief Property Insurance Underwriter, has been appointed Head of U.S. Property & Casualty Insurance
  • Nasdaq (NDAQ) and Pico, a provider of multi- asset electronic trading technologies, announced that Pico will provide market data infrastructure to its clients to access Nasdaq Futures
  • Varian Medical Systems (VAR) announced that it is expanding in the Middle East with the creation of a strategic operating entity in Saudi Arabia. Varian Medical Systems Arabia, the result of a joint venture with El Seif Development Group, has been officially launched for co use.

9:21 am Adept Tech announces a direct offering of 1.39 mln shares of common stock at $5.75/share, for expected gross proceeds of $8 mln (ADEP) : The shares were offered and are expected to be sold to existing shareholders and institutional investors. Co plans to use the net proceeds of the offering for working capital and general corporate purposes

9:16 am Selectica announces appointment of Patrick Stakenas as President and CEO (SLTC) : Stakenas joined the Company as Chief Strategy Officer, from Gartner, after driving ForceLogix Technologies through its IPO and sale to CallidusCloud. As part of the transition, Blaine Mathieu has resigned as President and Chief Executive Officer and member of the Board of Directors of the Company

9:14 am Flextronics announces its intention to offer senior notes; size and price details not disclosed (FLEX) :  

9:14 am S&P futures vs fair value: +5.10. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: +22.70. (:WRAPX) : The stock market is on track for a higher open as futures on the S&P 500 trade five points above fair value.

Index futures have climbed throughout the night, hitting their highs shortly after the European Central Bank announced no changes to its policy stance. Similarly, markets across Europe marked their best levels of the day following the ECB decision.

Also of note, the spokesman for Greece's Syriza party said Greece will not make the June 5 debt payment to the International Monetary Fund if there is no prospect of a deal within the next few days, according to Kathimerini.

Domestically, the ADP Employment Report came in just ahead of expectations (201K; Briefing.com consensus 200K) while the April trade balance showed a deficit of $40.90 billion while the Briefing.com consensus expected the deficit to come in at $44.00 billion.

Treasuries have spent the night in negative territory and they remain lower with the 10-yr yield up three basis point at 2.30%.

Things have been very quiet on the corporate front, but Synchronoss Technologies (SNCR 50.39, +7.86) has soared 18.5% after the Wall Street Journal reported the company is exploring a sale.

The ISM Services Index for May (Briefing.com consensus 57.1) will be released at 10:00 ET.

9:09 am Drone Aviation announces it has closed a $1 mln offering of its Series G Convertible Preferred Stock (DRNE) : The Company sold an aggregate of 4,000,000 shares of its Series G Convertible Preferred Stock, each of which is convertible into one (1) share of the Company's Common Stock, in a private placement to accredited investors at a purchase price of $0.25 per share for an aggregate purchase price of $1,000,000

  • The Company intends to utilize a portion of the proceeds of this capital raise to accelerate the commercialization and production of its new WATT line of electronic tethered drones.

9:05 am MCG Capital acknowledges receipt of an unsolicited letter dated June 2, 2015, from HC2 Holdings, Inc. (HCHC), revising the prior offer; says it will review the terms of the revised proposal (MCGC) : The co says its Board of Directors has not changed its recommendation in support of the merger with PennantPark Floating Rate Capital (PFLT). MCGC will have no further comment on HC2 Holdings' revised proposal until the Board has completed its review.

9:05 am Marathon Patent Group's subsidiary, Selene Communication Technologies, announces a settlement and license agreement with Thomson Reuters; settlement financial terms not disclosed (MARA) :  

9:03 am McClatchy gives outlook ahead of presentation today; sees 2015 digital-only ad revenues to grow in the double-digit range, expects growth in direct marketing revenues (MNI) : Co will provide an update on the company's strategies and outlook for 2015 in a presentation today at the 2015 East Coast IDEAS Investor Conference at the Boston Park Plaza in Boston at 10 a.m. Eastern.

  • For 2015 the company expects digital-only advertising revenues to grow in the double-digit range (on a gross basis) and expects growth in direct marketing revenues. 
    • Audience revenues are expected to grow in the low single-digit range. 
    • Cash expenses are expected to decline in the low-to-mid single-digit range. 
    • Cash flow performance in the second quarter of 2015 will be challenging as a result of continued declines in print advertising. 
    • Through revenue and cost reduction efforts, cash flow is expected to flatten in the second half of 2015 on a year-over-year basis. 
  • Co says cost initiatives are focused on reducing legacy costs, primarily in production and distribution, including substantial savings in newsprint costs. We expect to achieve $25 million to $30 million of cost savings in 2015 from these specific initiatives.

9:03 am Vail Resorts announces the planned retirement of Chief Accounting Officer Mark Schoppet (MTN) :  

9:02 am Aviat Networks announces a multi-year agreement for equipment and services with Globe Telecom, a telecommunications service provider in the Philippines (AVNW) : Globe has chosen to upgrade and expand its network with the Aviat CTR 8540 microwave networking solution

9:02 am I.D. Systems' announces that Toyota Motor Manufacturing Texas has purchased its PowerFleet Vehicle Management System for its San Antonio production facility (IDSY) : The system being deployed at TMMTX will include I.D. Systems' VAC4 fourth-generation Vehicle Asset Communicator on material handling equipment, PowerFleet Vision software remotely hosted by I.D. Systems, and a service and support contract over a five-year term.

9:01 am Build-A-Bear Workshop at Stephens Conf. sees Q2 comp growth in the low single digits (BBW) : Co expects Q2 comparable store sales to increase in the low single digit range (consensus +1.4%) and expects to report its tenth consecutive quarter of improved operating performance in the second quarter of fiscal 2015.

  • The Company reported an operating loss of $3.9 million in the 2014 second quarter. 
  • Build-A-Bear Workshop will participate in The Stephens 2015 Spring Investment Conference today at 10:00am ET.

9:01 am Farmland Partners announces a 10% increase in quarterly dividend to $0.1275/share in connection with the closing of Southeast Farms and an increase in the Farmer Mac Facility (FPI) : Co announces the closing of its acquisition of eight row crop farms in S.C, N.C and Virginia comprising an aggregate of 15,042 acres for $49.8 mln and an aggregate of 2.8 mln shares of common stock and units of limited partnership interest in Co's operating partnership.

  • Co also entered into a five-year lease agreement with the seller for all eight farms with an initial annual cash rent of ~$4.3 mln, including for the 2015 crop year.
  • In connection with the closing of the Farms, the Co's BoD has approved 10% increase in its quarterly dividend to $0.1275 per share. 
  • Co also expanded the secured note purchase facility with the Federal Agricultural Mortgage Corp (AGM) from $150 mln to $165 mln.

8:56 am Shutterfly: Marathon Partners Equity Management shareholder group announces that proxy advisory firm Glass Lewis supports its call for change at the co; group urges a Blue proxy vote (SFLY) :  

8:52 am S&P futures vs fair value: +6.90. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: +25.80. (:WRAPX) : The S&P 500 futures trade seven points above fair value. 

Major markets in the Asia-Pacific region were mostly lower on Wednesday as buyers lacked conviction. China's Shanghai Composite cooled off and ended with a fractional loss. Meanwhile, Australia S&P/ASX 200 dropped 0.9% after a stronger than expected Q1 GDP report.

  • In economic data: 
    • China's May HSBC Services PMI 53.5 (expected 53.3; prior 52.9) 
    • Australia's Q1 GDP +0.9% quarter-over-quarter (expected +0.7%; prior +0.5%); +2.3% year-over-year (expected +2.1%; prior +2.5%). Separately, Q1 GDP Chain Price Index 0.0% (prior -0.2%) 
    • Hong Kong's May Manufacturing PMI 47.6 (prior 48.6) 
    • India's May HSBC Services PMI 49.6 (prior 52.4) 
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  • Japan's Nikkei declined 0.3%, led by weakness in the utilities (-1.5%), technology (-0.9%), and consumer non-cyclical (-0.7%) sectors. Chubu Electric Power (-3.5%), Screen Holdings Co (-2.9%), and Nitto Denko Corp (-2.8%) paced declining issues while Nisshin Seifun Group (+5.0%), Nippon Sheet Glass (+4.5%), and Fujitsu (+4.4%) led advancing shares. Out of the 225 index members, 98 ended higher, 119 finished lower, and 8 were unchanged. 
  • Hong Kong's Hang Seng increased 0.7% behind the strength of the energy (+1.3%) and communications (+1.0%) sectors. Individual standouts included China Shenhua Energy (+2.8%), CNOOC (+1.8%), and China Mobile (+1.8%). Hong Kong & China Gas Co (-10.1%) was the worst-performing issue. Out of the 49 index members, 23 ended higher, 25 finished lower, and 1 was unchanged. 
  • China's Shanghai Composite had a roller coaster session, ending basically flat after a late burst of buying interest. An influx of new listings reportedly acted as a drag on the market, which also digested a better than expected HSBC Services PMI reading for May. Strength in the financial (+0.5%) and basic materials (+0.2%) sectors helped offset weakness in most other areas. The utilities (-1.3%) and technology (-1.2%) sectors were the weakest sectors in the Chinese market on Wednesday. 
Major European indices trade higher across the board with France's CAC (+1.6%) in the lead. The European Central Bank made no changes to its monetary policy following today's meeting. Elsewhere, the spokesman for Greece's Syriza party said Greece will not make the June 5 debt payment to the International Monetary Fund if there is no prospect of a deal within the next few days, according to Kathimerini.
  • Economic data was plentiful: 
    • Eurozone May Services PMI 53.8 (expected 53.3; prior 53.3), April Retail Sales +0.7% month-over-month (expected 0.7%; prior -0.6%), and April Unemployment Rate 11.1% (consensus 11.2%; last 11.2%) 
    • Germany's May Services PMI 53.0 (expected 52.9; prior 52.9) 
    • UK's May Services PMI 56.5 (expected 59.2; previous 59.5) while May Nationwide HPI +0.3% month-over-month, as expected (prior 1.0%) 
    • France's May Services PMI 52.8 (consensus 51.6; last 51.6) 
    • Spain's May Services PMI 58.4 (expected 59.3; last 60.3) 
    • Italy's May Services PMI 52.5 (consensus 52.7; prior 53.1) 
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  • UK's FTSE is higher by 0.7% with consumer names in the lead. WM Morrison Supermarkets, Unilever, Imperial Tobacco, and J Sainsbury are up between 2.3% and 3.0%. Miners lag with Antofagasta, BHP Billiton, and Fresnillo all down near 0.5%. 
  • Germany's DAX has climbed 1.5% with most components on the rise. Growth-sensitive names like BASF, BMW, and Linde are up between 1.6% and 2.0% while Fresenius SE represents the lone decliner, down 0.1%. 
  • In France, the CAC trades up 1.6% amid broad strength. Financials lead with BNP Paribas and Societe Generale both up near 2.2%. Meanwhile, utilities are mixed with Electricite de France down 2.5% while Veolia Environnement has added 2.1%.

8:51 am On the Wires (:WIRES) :

  • Orbital ATK (OA) has been awarded a production order from the U.S. Army to fulfill additional U.S. Air Force requirements for the DSU-33D/B proximity sensor. This order, valued at ~$27 mln, is a follow-on award to the full-rate production contract signed in 2013
  • InterDigital (IDCC) will combine its knowledge and support with EvoNexus' pro bono tech incubator to form InterDigital@EvoNexus and become a strategic funding partner. As a strategic funding partner of EvoNexus, InterDigital will look to build relationships with innovative startups and entrepreneurs in their strategic areas of interest
  • Nova LifeStyle (NVFY) announced the development of its mobile app, that allows customers to request the delivery and installation of furniture and furnishings purchased online.
  • Orient Paper (ONP) has begun commercial production of tissue paper products at its production facility in the Wei County Industrial Park in China's Hebei Province.

8:50 am Chembio's DPP HIV 1/2 assay receives CE Mark approval for rapid Point-of-Care detection of HIV (CEMI) :

  • Co announced that it has received approval for a CE Mark for its DPP HIV 1/2 Assay. The Chembio DPP HIV 1/2 Assay for rapid, POC detection of HIV is now cleared for commercialization and sale within the 28 member states of the European Union.
  • Chembio's DPP HIV 1/2 Assay detects HIV antibodies in oral fluid or blood and uses the Company's patented Dual Path Platform technology, which offers excellent sensitivity and specificity.

8:45 am Phoenix Cos announces two subsidiaries have executed a settlement agreement, formalizing a resolution to the co's class action lawsuit regarding cost of insurance rate adjustments (PNX) :  

8:41 am New Media Investment announces agreement to purchase the The Columbus Dispatch publication (NEWM) : Co intends to fund the acquisition with a combination of cash on the balance sheet and an incremental $25.0 million on the Company's existing term loan. New Media anticipates the deal will close in the second quarter of 2015

8:40 am Gapping down (:SCANX) : Gapping down
In reaction to disappointing earnings/guidance
: VMEM -7%, NCS -3.8%, GWRE -3%, MIND -1.2%, GES -0.5%, FAST -0.5%, (reports May sales +0.3% to $314.4 mln; daily sales +5.3%)

Select metals/mining stocks trading lower: GFI -2.5%, BHP -1.8%, BHP -1.8%, RIO -0.8%, GDX -0.7%, SLV -0.7%, VALE -0.6%, .

Other news: CDTI -11.5% (Clean Diesel Technologies and AP Exhaust Partner to commercialize next-generation catalysts), GEVO -5.6% (announces entrance into an agreement with FCStone Merchant Services to originate and supply corn for Gevo's plant in Luverne, Minn), ORIG -5.2% (Ocean Rig UDW Inc. announces offering of common stock), NOR -4.4% (disclosed receipt of a notice of termination from Ameren advising that, effective June 1, 2020, it is terminating the December 14, 2004 Agreement), INXN -4.2% (reports a 18.6 mln share distribution by Baker Communications Fund II), FGP -3.8% (prices offering of 6,325,000 common units representing limited partner interests in FGP at a price to the public of $23.00 per unit), CTLT -1.7% (prices secondary offering of 14 mln shares of common stock by certain of its stockholders at $29.00 per share), ENDP -1.2% (announced proposed public offering of $1.75 bln of ordinary shares), .

Analyst comments: GCO -2.5% (downgraded to Sell from Neutral at Goldman), CVC -1.9% ( initiated with a Underperform at Credit Suisse), NUVA -1.6% (downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Goldman), DF -1.1% (downgraded to Equal-Weight from Overweight at Morgan Stanley)

8:37 am Village Super Market Q3 net income ~$5.9 mln ex-tax benefit vs. $2.95 mln last year; sales +4% to $387 mln (no estimates); comps +2.2% (VLGEA) :  

8:34 am Gapping up (:SCANX) : Gapping up
In reaction to strong earnings/guidance
: GIII +8.2%, WEN +4.5%, (guidance and announces $1.4 bln buyback program), NVMI +3.3%, AMBA +2.3%, BSM +1.7%

M&A news: SNCR +21.8% (reports the company is exploring a sale)

Select Bio/pharma names showing strength: OCLS +3.1%, OCLR +2.7%, GALE +2.4%, RGLS +2%, OXGN +2%, ONTY +1.5%, STEM +1.4%, .

Other news: LPTH +10% (provided update on its new infrared product line),SYN +9.6% (announces initial data that support the development of a platform of therapeutics designed to protect the microbiome from carbapenems),ARDX +7.5% (entered into a termination agreement with AstraZeneca (AZN)),MNOV +5.3% (FDA has granted it orphan drug designation to MN-166 for Krabbe Disease),OPXA +4.5% (disclosed that it has requested an additional 180-day grace period to regain compliance with NASDAQ's minimum bid price requirement), ORIG-5.1% (announced offering of common stock), AGEN +4.3% (announces that Merck has extended its collaborative research term),BIOC +4.2% (Enters Clinical Collaboration with Sarah Cannon Research Institute ),RDHL +3.3% (provides update on development pipeline),TASR +3.1% (body camera stories out overnight; London to roll out 20k body cameras),RXII +3% (granted notice of allowance for patent covering lead compound, RXI-109, for use in the eye),HRTX +2.8% (Chairman Kevin C Tang discloses purchase of 150k shares at average price of $20.62),RYAAY +2.8% (rpted May traffic),PSTI +2.2% (receives grant from Israel's MOE to market PLX Cell Therapy in Japan),RMTI +1.7% (filed for $200 mln offering of common stock),DENN +1.1% (favorable commentary on Tuesday's Mad Money)

Analyst comments: ZLTQ +3.7% (upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Goldman),GPRO +3.3% (target raised to $75 from $70 at JP Morgan),LNKD +2.8% (added to U.S. Equity Analyst Focus List at JP Morgan),NICE +1.7% (upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at JP Morgan),FTR +1.7% (upgraded to Buy from Neutral at DA Davidson),CIEN +1.1% (initiated with a Buy at Nomura),BX +1% (initiated with an Overweight at Piper Jaffray),TWX +0.9% (initiated with an Outperform at Credit Suisse),CAT +0.8% (initiated with a Buy at Societe Generale),AMZN +0.8% (initiated with a Outperform at Credit Suisse),SGNT +0.6% (initiated with a Strong Buy at Raymond James),ANET +0.5% (initiated with a Buy at Nomura)

8:33 am Premier: Lafayette General Health extends and expands 20-Year partnership with Premier, Inc. (PINC) : Co announces Lafayette General Health has extended its nearly 20-year partnership for an additional five years, as well as expanded access to Premier performance services across all of its hospitals. The extended agreement between LGH and Premier is effective through March 2020.

8:31 am Groupon names Rich Williams as COO; CFO Jason Child will be leaving the company at the end of July; approved $200 mln increase to its previously announced $300 mln share repurchase program; reaffirmed guidance (GRPN) :

  • Williams currently serves as President of North America and will continue in that capacity while adding responsibility for Groupon's international regions. Brian Kayman, VP of Tax and Treasury, will serve as interim CFO effective immediately while the Board of Directors selects a permanent replacement. Chief Accounting Officer Brian Stevens will continue to oversee the company's accounting and financial reporting. 
  • The company also announced its Board of Directors has approved a $200 million increase to its previously announced $300 million share repurchase program. The additional authorization will commence immediately and continue through August of 2017. Share repurchases are subject to market conditions and other factors. 
  • Reaffirmed guidance: The guidance for the second quarter and full year 2015 remains unchanged. Prior guidance for Q2 (Jun): EPS of $0.01-0.03 vs. $0.03 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate; sees Q2 (Jun) revs of $700-750 mln vs. $739.61 mln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate and FY15 revs of 3.15-3.30 bln vs. $3.21 bln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate. Sees Adjusted EBITDA for the full year 2015 of greater than $315 million.

8:31 am S&P futures vs fair value: +8.70. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: +29.20. (:WRAPX) : The S&P 500 futures trade nine points above fair value.

The ADP National Employment Report revealed that employment in the nonfarm private business sector rose by 201K in May. That was just above the increase of 200K expected by the Briefing.com consensus. The April reading was revised down to 165,000 from 169,000.

Separately, the April trade balance showed a deficit of $40.90 billion while the Briefing.com consensus expected the deficit to come in at $44.00 billion.

8:31 am IntercontinentalExchange reports ICE and NYSE volume for May 2015 (ICE) : ICE's May 2015 futures and options average daily volume declined 8% compared to May 2014.

  • Commodity ADV increased 16% led by Brent, Gasoil, Other Oil, Nat Gas and Sugar up 19%, 12%, 28%, 15% and 24% respectively, from the prior May. 
  • Financials ADV declined 25% from the previous May primarily due to continued low volatility in Continental European short-term interest rates and single stock equities. 
  • ADV for NYSE's U.S. cash equities increased 14%, while U.S. equity options ADV declined 26% over the prior May. NYSE's U.S. cash equities market share was 23.9% and NYSE's U.S. options market share was 18.0%.

8:31 am Halozyme Therapeutics announces a collaboration and license agreement with AbbVie (ABBV) to develop and commercialize products combining ABBV's compounds with HALO's Enhanze platform (HALO) : Under the terms of the agreement, Halozyme will receive an initial $23 million payment, followed by milestone payments totaling approximately $130 million for each of up to nine collaboration targets. These payments are subject to AbbVie's (ABBV) achievement of specified development, regulatory and sales-based milestones. In addition, AbbVie will pay Halozyme tiered royalties if products under the collaboration are commercialized.

8:31 am Capstone Turbine announces an order for 25 microturbines (CPST) : Co announces it received an order for 25 C65 microturbines to fulfill the continual expansion of existing oil and gas customer fleets in shale plays across the western United States.

8:27 am On the Wires (:WIRES) :

  • IGATE Corporation (IGTE) announced its partnership with Solix Technologies. Under the partnership IGATE and Solix will provide enterprise data management solutions to their clients, aimed at helping manage growing data opportunities
  • Following the successful completion of on-orbit testing, the U.S. Navy has accepted the third Lockheed Martin (LMT)-built Mobile User Objective System satellite.
  • Atmel Corporation (ATML) announced ASUS has selected Atmel's maXTouch controllers to power the touchscreen and active stylus pen of its newly launched 10.1" Z300 tablet.
  • Galectin Therapeutics Inc. (GALT) announces that Marc Rubin, M.D. has been elected by the independent members of the board of directors as the lead independent director
  • MeetMe, Inc. (MEET) announced that it has terminated its agreements with Beanstock Media, Inc. pursuant to which Beanstock managed the majority of MeetMe's web and mobile ad inventory. Effective yesterday, MeetMe has resumed managing its advertising inventory in-house.
  • Clean Diesel Technologies, Inc. (CDTI) announced it has launched a commercialization program with market-leading AP Exhaust Technologies. The collaboration is CDTi's next step in bringing to market its catalyst technologies, which include MPC, BMARS and Spinel, across portions of AP's extensive aftermarket catalytic converter product line. The initial drive to commercialization will target the North American aftermarket for light duty replacement catalytic converters
  • VBI Vaccines (VBIV) delivered a presentation entitled Enveloped Virus-Like Particles: Third-generation VLPs for the Development of a Broadly Neutralizing Hepatitis C Vaccine, at the World Vaccine Congress Asia. Co stated: "Based on data, we believe our HCV vaccine candidate has the potential to be a promising and safe component of HCV treatment regimens, especially in areas where the transmission of Hepatitis C has not yet been adequately addressed by the existing field of approved and available drugs."
  • Bacterin International Holdings, Inc. (BONE) announced the release of ArthroFuse, a patent pending allograft specifically designed for the treatment of hammertoe deformities.

8:27 am On the Wires (:WIRES) :

  • Varian Medical Systems (VAR) announced that it has been selected to equip and service the new multi-room HollandPTC in Delft with the Varian ProBeam proton therapy system. The company will book the equipment part of the order in its fiscal 2015 third quarter.
  • Paratek Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (PRTK) announced the hiring of two pharmaceutical executives to the company's senior leadership team. Yulii Bogatyrenko joins Paratek as Senior Vice President, Business Development, and Randall Brenner joins as Senior Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and Quality.
  • GenVec (GNVC) announced a multi-faceted collaboration with Dr. David Curiel and his team from the School of Medicine at Washington University at St. Louis. Under the collaboration, GenVec and the WUSTL team will create modified versions of GenVec's gorilla adenovectors that incorporate specialized targeting antibodies on the surface of the vectors. The ultimate goal of this collaboration will be to create highly targeted therapeutics and vaccines.
  • Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (BMY) announced that 14 abstracts on Orencia have been accepted for presentation at the 2015 annual meeting of the European League Against Rheumatism, to be held June 10-13 in Rome, Italy. Several of the abstracts will focus on the safety and efficacy of Orencia in rheumatoid arthritis (:RA) patients with anti-citrullinated protein antibodies
  • OSI Systems, Inc. (OSIS) announced that its Security division, Rapiscan Systems, has received an order of ~$5 million for service and maintenance of Rapiscan inspection systems utilized at a major international airport in Asia.
  • Harmonic (HLIT) announced that Indonesian cable TV operator PT Link Net, a subsidiary of First Net, has deployed a suite of Harmonic solutions to power its First Media branded pay-TV and video-on-demand (VOD) platform
  • Ilios Dynamics, a subsidiary of Tecogen (TGEN) announced the sale of (2) Ilios HEWH-500-AS natural gas engine driven, air-source heat pump water heaters. The units are being purchased and installed by American DG Energy and are to be installed in a large hotel on Oahu's Waikiki Beach

8:25 am PartnerRe: Exor says it has filed a definitive proxy statement with the SEC in opposition to the proposed merger transaction between PartnerRe and Axis Capital (AXS) (PRE) : Exor notes that this enables it to communicate directly with PartnerRe shareholders with regards to EXOR's superior all-cash $137.50 per share binding offer for PartnerRe and to solicit them to vote AGAINST the AXIS transaction. In addition, on June 1, 2015 EXOR filed a lawsuit in the Supreme Court of Bermuda seeking to obtain customary beneficial ownership information from PartnerRe in order to facilitate direct communication with PartnerRe shareholders so that they are "fully and correctly informed of their options."

8:25 am European Markets Update: FTSE +0.7%, DAX +1.3%, CAC +1.4% (:SUMRX) : Major European indices trade higher across the board with France's CAC (+1.4%) in the lead. The European Central Bank made no changes to its monetary policy following today's meeting. Elsewhere, the spokesman for Greece's Syriza party said Greece will not make the June 5 debt payment to the International Monetary Fund if there is no prospect of a deal within the next few days, according to Kathimerini.

  • Economic data was plentiful: 
    • Eurozone May Services PMI 53.8 (expected 53.3; prior 53.3), April Retail Sales +0.7% month-over-month (expected 0.7%; prior -0.6%), and April Unemployment Rate 11.1% (consensus 11.2%; last 11.2%) 
    • Germany's May Services PMI 53.0 (expected 52.9; prior 52.9) 
    • UK's May Services PMI 56.5 (expected 59.2; previous 59.5) while May Nationwide HPI +0.3% month-over-month, as expected (prior 1.0%) 
    • France's May Services PMI 52.8 (consensus 51.6; last 51.6) 
    • Spain's May Services PMI 58.4 (expected 59.3; last 60.3) 
    • Italy's May Services PMI 52.5 (consensus 52.7; prior 53.1) 
------
  • UK's FTSE is higher by 0.7% with consumer names in the lead. WM Morrison Supermarkets, Unilever, Imperial Tobacco, and J Sainsbury are up between 2.3% and 3.0%. Miners lag with Antofagasta, BHP Billiton, and Fresnillo all down near 0.5%. 
  • Germany's DAX has climbed 1.3% with most components on the rise. Growth-sensitive names like BASF, BMW, and Linde are up between 1.6% and 2.0% while Fresenius SE represents the lone decliner, down 0.1%. 
  • In France, the CAC trades up 1.4% amid broad strength. Financials lead with BNP Paribas and Societe Generale both up near 2.2%. Meanwhile, utilities are mixed with Electricite de France down 2.5% while Veolia Environnement has added 2.1%.

8:23 am Elbit Medical Imaging announces that Novartis (NVS) does not intend to exercise its option to purchase Gamida Cell, an indirect subsidiary of Elbit (EMITF) : In discussions held between the Novartis (NVS) representative and the CEO of Gamida Cell, the Novartis representative notified Gamida Cell that, although Gamida Cell has successfully met all of the determined milestones, Novartis does not intend to exercise the Option. At the same time, it was further stated that Novartis was interested in continuing to collaborate with Gamida Cell in the development of its products, and will soon explore suitable alternatives with Gamida Cell. Gamida Cell is examining the implications of the notice. In accordance with Loan Agreements between the Company and Elbit Medical, in the event that Novartis were to exercise the Option, the proceeds to Elbit Medical from such transaction were to be used in 2016 for the prepayment of shareholder loans of the Company extended to Elbit Medical, in a total amount of approximately 142 million, subject to certain conditions set forth in such Loan Agreements.

8:21 am MeetMe terminates advertising agreements with Beanstock Media, resumes managing advertising inventory in-house; reaffirms FY15 guidance; lowers Q2 guidance (MEET) : Co has terminated its agreements with Beanstock Media, pursuant to which Beanstock managed the majority of MeetMe's web and mobile ad inventory.

  • Effective yesterday, MeetMe has resumed managing its advertising inventory in-house. 
  • "We do not expect to incur any additional operating costs as a result of this change and continue to expect to achieve our previously provided revenue guidance for the full year 2015 of $47 to $53 mln (consensus $49.3 mln). Additionally, we expect to achieve adjusted EBITDA within our previous guidance range of $8 to $11 million for the full year. 
  • However, due to the transition back to our own internal mgmt of our mobile and web advertising inventory during the quarter, we are revising our second quarter revenue and adjusted EBITDA guidance to reflect this change. We now expect revenue for the second quarter to be in the range of $9.0 to $9.5 mln (consensus $10.5 mln), with an adjusted EBITDA range of $250,000 to $750,000." 
    • "Beanstock represents ~$5.8 million in accounts receivable, of which ~$2.25 million is overdue. None of these amounts is in dispute."

8:20 am Clean Diesel Technologies drops 13% to $2.20/share initially following offering (see 08:15 post) (CDTI) :  

8:19 am Futures see little reaction to in-line ADP Employment Change report; ADP was +201K vs +200K Briefing.com consensus (SPY) :

  • S&P futures remain higher by 10 points. 
  • Earlier, the ECB left rates and purchase program unchanged, as expected; ECB President Draghi's conference call starts at 8:30 ET.  

8:18 am European Yields (BONDX) : Rotation into Peripheral Debt

  • German Bunds and French OATs declined today while the PIGS (Portugal, Italy, Greece, and Spain) rallied after markets became less concerned about contagion from Grexit. As we said after the eurozone CPI beat on Tuesday, stronger growth and inflation in the single currency bloc could be expected to reduce the credit risk premium that is still 201 basis points for Portuguese 10-years over German Bunds. This is not to say that we are reliable market forecasters, but simply that higher growth and inflation will have two countervailing effects on peripheral debt and it's an interesting dynamic
  • The eurozone Services PMI rose 0.7% m/m in May and unemployment in the eurozone fell 130K in April
  • The Financial Times is reporting that Greece's creditors are becoming more lenient on the primary surplus issue (the primary surplus is the surplus before interest payments). The creditors are reportedly asking for 1% in 2015, 2% in 2016, 3% in 2017, and 3.5% in 2018. The current program requires 3% this year and 4.5% next year, a level that many economists find unrealistic given the state of Greece's economy
  • Yield Check:
    • France, 10-yr OAT: +1 bp to 1.02%
    • Germany, 10-yr Bund: +1 bp to 0.73%
    • Greece, 10-yr note: -40 bps to 10.76%
    • Italy, 10-yr BTP: -9 bps to 2.03%
    • Portugal, 10-yr note: -9 bps to 2.74%
    • Spain, 10-yr Bono: -5 bps to 1.99%
    • U.K., 10-yr Gilt: +1 bp to 2.00%

8:16 am 8x8 announces award of a new US patent related to contact center technologies (EGHT) : The patent relates to, among other things, a networked contact center organized as layers including a telephony layer to receive communications, a platform layer to support multiple tenants and a storage layer to store tenant data, such as a list of agents, agents' skills, voice response data, etc. for the multiple tenants

8:16 am Market View: Jun. stock-index futures hold a firm bid above fair values immediately following the 8:15 am ET May ADP Employment Change print (:TECHX) :

  • ESm5 +10.00

  • YMm5 +92

  • NQm5 +31.50

8:15 am Clean Diesel Technologies to raise ~$5.1 mln, issuing 2.5 mln shares at $2.05/share (CDTI) :

  • Co announced that it is raising approximately $5.1 million in gross proceeds in an underwritten public offering of 2,500,000 common stock units at a purchase price of $2.05 per unit.
  • Each unit will consist of one share of the Company's common stock and 0.2 of a warrant to purchase one share of common stock. The warrants are exercisable six months and one day after the date of issuance at an exercise price of $2.65 per share and will expire, unless exercised, five years from the date they first become exercisable.

8:13 am PPG Industries announces the acquisition of Cuming Microwave Corporation and its subsidiary Cuming-Lehman Chambers; financial terms not disclosed (PPG) : Cuming Microwave is a global supplier of specialty coatings and materials that absorb microwaves and radio waves, such as radar. The company employs about 160 people, operates three manufacturing facilities in Avon. Transaction closure is expected in Q3 2015

8:10 am Nova Measuring raises Q2 revenue guidance to $37-39 mln vs $34.1 mln Capital IQ Consensus Est, up from $33-35 mln; sees EPS, ex items, at $0.14-0.18 vs $0.10 consensus (NVMI) :

  • Adjusted guidance suggests record quarterly revenue with sequential revenue growth of at least 35%.
  • CEO said, "Our efforts to further strengthen our position in the most advanced nodes appear to be successful with growing orders for advanced 10/16 FinFET nodes. In fact, the new quarterly guidance reflects more than $14 mln in aggregate revenues from our largest foundry customer. This guidance indicates record revenue quarter for Nova, and puts us on track for a third consecutive record-high revenue year in 2015."

8:07 am Vera Bradley misses by $0.02, misses on revs; guides Q2 below consensus; lowers FY16 guidance below consensus -- stock halted, will resume at 8:30 (VRA) :

  • Reports Q1 (Apr) net of breakeven, excluding non-recurring items, $0.02 worse than the Capital IQ Consensus of $0.02; revenues fell 9.8% year/year to $101.1 mln vs the $105.48 mln consensus. 
  • Co issues downside guidance for Q2, sees EPS of $0.10-0.13 vs. $0.17 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate; sees Q2 revs of $116-120 mln vs. $121.20 mln Capital IQ Consensus. 
  • Co issues downside guidance for FY16, lowers EPS to $0.64-0.74 from $0.82-0.92 vs. $0.84 Capital IQ Consensus; lowers FY16 revs to $480-495 mln from $510-525 mln vs. $512.67 mln Capital IQ Consensus.
  • "Excluding the previously outlined charges, we achieved first quarter diluted EPS at the low end of our guidance. Reduced promotional activity led to better-than-planned gross margin rate performance while revenues fell below our expectations. The progress we continue to make on our key initiatives is not yet reflected in our current financial results. We are not attracting enough new customers to the brand, and traffic and sales are still very challenging."
  • Stock halted, will resume at 8:30.

8:06 am E*TRADE says it topped $50 bln in retirement assets under management as of the end of May 2015 (ETFC) : Retirement assets have more than doubled since May 2010 - up from $24 billion. In the first quarter of this year, roughly one-fourth of net new assets were in retirement accounts. Assets in managed accounts reached $3.2 billion in Q1 2015, up an impressive 24 percent from a year ago.

8:05 am Packaging Corp appoints Robert Mundy SVP and CFO effective September 1, 2015 (PKG) : Mundy has served as Verso Corp's (VRS) Senior Vice President and CFO since 2006.

8:04 am DepoMed announces a settlement agreement in its ongoing patent litigation related to an Abbreviated New Drug Application seeking approval to market a generic version of its Zipsor 25mg tablets (DEPO) : The settlement permits defendant Watson Laboratories Inc. to begin selling generic Zipsor on March 24, 2022, or earlier under certain circumstances. The settlement concludes all ongoing ANDA litigation related to Zipsor. 

8:03 am MediciNova confirms the FDA has granted it orphan drug designation to MN-166 for Krabbe Disease (MNOV) : "As we already have an open IND, we plan to finalize a protocol and submit it to FDA in order to conduct a clinical trial of MN-166 in Krabbe Disease"

8:03 am American Science & Engineering awarded service and maintenance renewal contract in Latin America for $11.6 million (ASEI) : Co announced that it has received an $11.6 million multi-year contract from a Latin American government agency to continue servicing and maintaining its AS&E X-ray inspection systems in support of its counter-drug and anti-terrorism missions. The agency has deployed multiple AS&E systems throughout the country, including ZBV mobile vehicle and cargo inspection systems as well as fixed vehicle, cargo, and parcel screening systems.

8:02 am Celator Pharma announces enrollment is complete in a Phase 2 pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamics study evaluating the effects of CPX-351 (CPXX) : Co announced that enrollment is complete in a Phase 2 pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamics (PK/PD) study evaluating the effects of CPX-351 (cytarabine:daunorubicin) Liposome Injection on cardiac repolarization in adult patients with acute hematologic malignancies.

  • Co says an encouraging response rate achieved; including patients with high-risk (secondary) AML (the Phase 3 study population), de novo AML, relapsed AML, and relapsed ALL
  • Expects to report top-line results from this study by the end of the year.

8:02 am Clean Diesel Technologies and AP Exhaust Partner to commercialize next-generation catalysts (CDTI) : Co announced it has launched a commercialization program with market-leading AP Exhaust Technologies, Inc.. AP is a portfolio company of Audax Private Equity. The collaboration is CDTi's next step in bringing to market its latest catalyst technologies, which include MPC, BMARS and Spinel, across portions of AP's extensive aftermarket catalytic converter product line.

8:02 am Gevo announces entrance into an agreement with FCStone Merchant Services to originate and supply corn for Gevo's plant in Luverne, Minn (GEVO) :

  • Co announced that it has entered into an agreement with FCStone Merchant Services, LLC (INTL) to originate and supply corn for Gevo's plant in Luverne, Minn. Engaging FCStone to conduct Gevo's corn purchasing at Luverne is expected to free up more than $1 mln of working capital, which has previously been tied up in corn inventory.
  • This relationship leverages the strength and reputation of FCStone, one of the largest and most respected corn buyers in the United States.
  • By leveraging FCStone's scale and corn buying expertise, Gevo expects to significantly improve its corn purchasing capabilities by increasing the number of suppliers (farmers and elevators) from which Gevo will buy corn, and by extending the duration of its forward corn purchasing commitments, which should enable Gevo to take advantage of lower corn price environments.
  • As part of this arrangement, Gevo will pay an origination fee for every bushel of corn it purchases from FCStone. FCStone will pay Gevo an annual fee for leasing the corn storage bins at the Luverne plant.

8:02 am ON Semiconductor prices its private offering of $600 million in convertible senior notes at 1% (ON) : The initial conversion rate for the notes is 54.0643 shares of ON Semiconductor's common stock per $1,000 principal amount of notes.

  • In connection with the pricing of the notes, the co has entered into privately negotiated convertible note hedge transactions with one or more of the initial purchasers of the notes or their affiliates or other financial institutions. The convertible note hedge transactions will cover the same number of shares of common stock as those underlying the notes, and are expected to reduce the potential dilution to ON Semiconductor's common stock and/or offset potential cash payments upon conversion of the notes.

8:01 am Aqua America board appoints Christopher H. Franklin CEO, effective July 1 (WTR) : Co announces  its Board of Directors has appointed Christopher H. Franklin chief executive officer. Franklin will succeed current Chief Executive Officer Nicholas DeBenedictis effective July 1, 2015. Franklin most recently served as president and chief operating officer of regulated operations.

8:01 am Consolidated Comms Illinois announces intention to offer $300 mln in 6.50% senior notes due 2022 (CNSL) :

  • Co announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Consolidated Communications, Inc. (the "Issuer"), intends, subject to market and other customary conditions, to offer (the "Offering") $300 million in aggregate principal amount of 6.50% senior notes due 2022.
  • The New Notes are being offered as additional notes under an indenture pursuant to which the Issuer previously assumed the $200,000,000 aggregate principal amount of 6.50% Senior Notes due 2022 initially issued by Consolidated Communications Finance II Co.

8:01 am Enpro Industries announces agreement to acquire the Veyance North-American air spring business from Continental AG; no terms disclosed (NPO) : Co announced it has entered into an agreement to acquire the Veyance North-American air spring business from Continental AG subject to certain regulatory approvals. The air springs business unit is the manufacturer of Goodyear air springs which are used in the suspension systems of commercial vehicles. Terms were not disclosed.  

8:00 am Verso CFO resigns (VRS) : Co announces Robert P. Mundy, its Senior Vice President and CFO, has decided to leave the company to take a similar position with Packaging Corp of America (PKG).

8:00 am Cover-All Technologies announces agreement with an insurance carrier for Cover-All Policy with Bureau and Non-Bureau Products (COVR) : Co announced that it has signed an agreement with an insurance carrier for Cover-All Policy with Bureau and Non-Bureau Products. This new customer will be in addition to three new customer agreements announced in May 2015.

7:58 am S&P futures vs fair value: +10.50. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: +28.70. (:WRAPX) : U.S. equity futures trade higher amid upbeat action overseas. The S&P 500 futures hover 11 points above fair value after hitting their best levels of the morning within the past 30 minutes.

Elsewhere, U.S. Treasuries have extended yesterday's losses with the 10-yr yield rising one basis point to 2.28% while the Dollar Index (96.20, +0.36) is higher by 0.4%, retracing a portion of yesterday's decline.

The weekly MBA Mortgage Index fell 7.6% to follow last week's 1.6% decline.

May ADP Employment Change will be reported at 8:15 ET (Briefing.com consensus 200K) while the April Trade Balance (consensus -$44.00 billion) and May ISM Services (consensus 57.1) will be released at 8:30 ET and 10:00 ET, respectively. Also of note, the Fed's June Beige Book will cross the wires at 14:00 ET.

In U.S. corporate news of note:

  • Ambarella (AMBA 96.45, +4.24): +4.6% after beating earnings and revenue expectations. 
  • American Airlines (AAL 43.58, -0.20): -0.5% after Bank of America/Merrill Lynch downgraded the stock to 'Neutral.' 
  • Guess? (GES 18.73, +0.08): +0.4% after beating bottom-line estimates and guiding Q2 results below consensus expectations. 
  • Wendy's (WEN 11.69, +0.59): +5.3% after announcing a $1.40 billion buyback program. 
Reviewing overnight developments:
  • Asian markets ended mostly lower. Japan's Nikkei -0.3%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng +0.7%, and China's Shanghai Composite settled flat. 
    • In economic data: 
      • China's May HSBC Services PMI 53.5 (expected 53.3; prior 52.9) 
      • Australia's Q1 GDP +0.9% quarter-over-quarter (expected +0.7%; prior +0.5%); +2.3% year-over-year (expected +2.1%; prior +2.5%). Separately, Q1 GDP Chain Price Index 0.0% (prior -0.2%) 
      • Hong Kong's May Manufacturing PMI 47.6 (prior 48.6) India's May HSBC Services PMI 49.6 (prior 52.4) 
    • In news: 
      • According to HSBC, China's Services PMI showed the strongest monthly increase in May sentiment in three years, supporting stronger growth and employment
  • Major European indices trade higher across the board. UK's FTSE +0.8%, France's CAC +1.4%, and Germany's DAX +1.3%. Elsewhere, Italy's MIB +0.7% and Spain's IBEX +0.8%. 
    • Economic data was plentiful: 
      • Eurozone May Services PMI 53.8 (expected 53.3; prior 53.3), April Retail Sales +0.7% month-over-month (expected 0.7%; prior -0.6%), and April Unemployment Rate 11.1% (consensus 11.2%; last 11.2%) 
      • Germany's May Services PMI 53.0 (expected 52.9; prior 52.9) 
      • UK's May Services PMI 56.5 (expected 59.2; previous 59.5) while May Nationwide HPI +0.3% month-over-month, as expected (prior 1.0%) 
      • France's May Services PMI 52.8 (consensus 51.6; last 51.6) 
      • Spain's May Services PMI 58.4 (expected 59.3; last 60.3) 
      • Italy's May Services PMI 52.5 (consensus 52.7; prior 53.1) 
    • Among news of note: 
      • The European Central Bank made no changes to its monetary policy 
      • According to Kathimerini, the spokesman for Greece's Syriza party said Greece will not make the June 5 debt payment to the International Monetary Fund if there is no prospect of a deal within the next few days

7:49 am On the Wires (:WIRES) :

  • Celgene International Srl, a subsidiary of Celgene Corporation (CELG) announced that data from 11 abstracts evaluating Celgene investigational and marketed products will be presented at the European League Against Rheumatism Annual Congress in Rome, Italy. The data will include the latest research findings on Otezla, the Company's oral, selective inhibitor of phosphodiesterase 4, in psoriatic arthritis and plaque psoriasis, as well as CC-220, an investigational immunomodulatory compound for systemic lupus erythematosus
  • PAR Springer-Miller Systems, a subsidiary of PAR Technology Corporation (PAR) announces that Kiva Dunes has selected the SMS-Host Hospitality Management and Owner Fulfillment System for their luxury resort in Gulf Shores, Alabama
  • Alliance Data Systems Corporation (ADS) announced its Card Services business, a provider of branded private label, co-brand, and commercial credit programs, has signed a new multi-year agreement to provide private label credit card services for Cornerstone, a business unit of HSN (HSNI)
  • Alliqua BioMedical (ALQA) announced the appointment of Nino Pionati to the position of Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer.

7:46 am Valeant Pharma and Progenics Pharmaceuticals (PGNX) announce that the European Commission has approved Relistor subcutaneous injection to treat opioid-induced constipation in adults (VRX) :  

7:46 am Overnight Treasury Summary (BONDX) : Treasuries Drift Down

  • U.S. government notes and bonds are softer heading into the bond market open, tracking weaker core European sovereign debt and a stronger posture for the U.S. equity market. The Greek 10-year yield declined 36 basis points overnight to 10.80% and the European sovereign market seemed to show lower risk of contagion with Spanish and Italian notes significantly outperforming German Bunds at the 10-year maturity
  • Yield Check:
    • 2-yr: +1 bp to 0.66%
    • 5-yr: +1 bp to 1.63%
    • 10-yr: +2 bps to 2.28%
    • 30-yr: +2 bps to 3.04%
  • International News:
    • The ECB monetary policy meeting is this morning. The decision is expected to be a forgone conclusion, but the 08:30 ET press conference with Mario Draghi, ECB President, will be closely watched
    • Eurozone unemployment fell by 130K in April and the unemployment rate declined to 11.1% from 11.2% in March. The market had been looking for the UE rate to remain at 11.1%
    • Eurozone Retail Sales grew 0.7% m/m in April, in line with expectations but much better than the 0.6% decline in March
    • The eurozone Services PMI rose to a better-than-expected 53.8 in May versus 53.3 in April. On a national basis, Spanish and Italian services sectors missed expectations while the French and German ones surpassed estimates. Nonetheless, the Spanish reading was 58.4 in May and 60.3 in April, reflecting very rapid expansion
    • In the U.K., the Services PMI for May badly missed market expectations for a reading in the high 50's, instead showing 56.5 versus 59.5 in April
      • The pound sterling fell sharply after the release
    • Greece:
      • The nation owes the IMF 305 million euro on Friday, June 5th, which a spokesman has said will not be repaid unless a deal is close by then. There has also been talk that all of Greece's payments to the IMF could be lumped together at the end of the month to avoid a credit event
      • Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem is supposed to be meeting with Alexis Tsipras in Europe's evening hours
  • Data out Today:
    • MBA Mortgage Index for the week of 5/30: -7.6% vs. -1.6% in the prior week
    • May ADP Employment Change (08:15 ET)
    • April Trade Balance (08:30 ET)
    • May ISM Services (10:00 ET)
    • Crude Inventories for the week of 5/30 (10:30 ET)
    • Fed's Beige Book (14:00 ET)
  • Fed Speaker:
    • Chicago Fed President Evans (FOMC voter) speaks before the Chicago Banking Symposium (14:15 ET)  

7:38 am Black Stone Minerals reports Q1 revenue of $91.1 mln, Capital IQ consensus $79.8 mln; reports net income of $0.09 per share, Capital IQ consensus $0.12 (BSM) : Black Stone Minerals reported average daily production of 29.2 MBoe per day for the first quarter of 2015, an increase of 14.8% over average daily production of 25.4 MBoe per day for the corresponding period in 2014. The increase in production was primarily attributable to increased drilling activity in the Bakken/Three Forks, Eagle Ford, Haynesville/Bossier, and Wilcox plays.

7:35 am Brown-Forman reports EPS in-line, beats on revs; guides FY16 EPS in-line (BF.B) :

  • Reports Q4 (Apr) earnings of $0.66 per share, in-line with the Capital IQ Consensus of $0.66; revenues rose 6.0% year/year (+10% underlying) to $947 mln vs the $918.49 mln consensus. 
  • Co issues in-line guidance for FY16, sees EPS of $3.40-3.60 vs. $3.46 Capital IQ Consensus. 
    • In fiscal 2016, the company expects 6% to 7% growth in underlying net sales, driven by the continued global expansion of the Jack Daniel's trademark, including Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey and Jack Daniel's Tennessee Honey, as well as the roll-out of Jack Daniel's Tennessee Fire in the United States. The company also expects Woodford Reserve, Herradura, and Old Forester to contribute to full year sales growth. 
    • Co expects gross margins to expand modestly in fiscal 2016, with additional operating margin expansion driven by leveraging the SG&A investments made over the past few years, including last year's route-to-market change in France. 
    • The co believes that this should result in 8% to 10% growth in underlying operating income.

7:33 am Wendy's announces $1.4 bln buyback program; sees FY15 $0.31-0.33, excluding $0.02 of earnings from Bakery operations, vs $0.34 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate (WEN) : WEN announced a new $1.4 bln buyback program and updated outlook, ahead of this morning's conference call at 9:00 am ET.

  • Buyback program: Co announced that its Board of Directors has authorized a new $1.4 bln share repurchase program and that the company will commence $850 mln share repurchase program today, June 3, including a modified "Dutch Auction" tender offer to repurchase up to $639 mln of its common stock at a price range between $11.05 and $12.25 per share. The Company expects to use the remaining $550 mln of its $1.4 bln share repurchase authorization before the end of 2016.
  • Confirmed it closed on previously announced sale of bakery operations.
  • Updated 2015 outlook: Sees FY15 EPS of $0.31-0.33, excluding $0.02 of earnings from divested Bakery operations, vs $0.34 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate.
    • Reaffirmed that its business trends remain on track to achieve the 2015 outlook issued in its first-quarter earnings release on May 6. 
    • Now expects 2015 Adjusted EBITDA of approximately $375 mln to $385 mln.
    • Continues to expect same-restaurant sales growth of 2.5% to 3.0% at Company-operated restaurants.
  • Reaffirmed long-term outlook: Business trends remain on track to achieve the long-term outlook issued in its first-quarter earnings release on May 6. 
    • The Company expects high single-digit Adjusted Earnings Per Share growth in 2016 and Adjusted Earnings Per Share growth in the high teens in 2017. 
    • Due primarily to the expected benefit of the Company's share repurchase plans announced today, the Company now expects Adjusted Earnings Per Share growth of greater than 20% beginning in 2018.  
  • Trian to reduce stake from approximately 24.8% to between 17% and 19.68% through the sale to the Company pursuant to the purchase agreement, and through additional sales in the open market and / or privately negotiated transactions.

7:33 am KCG Holdings announces prelim results of its modified dutch auction tender offer, showing ~82.3 million shares tendered at below $14/share (KCG) :  

7:31 am Revance Therapeutics announces plans to move forward with two clinical studies for its candidate RT001 (RVNC) : Co announces plans to move forward with two key clinical studies for its investigational drug candidate RT001, a topical gel formulation of botulinum toxin type A.

  • In 2H15, RVNC plans to initiate a U.S. Phase 3 pivotal study to evaluate the safety and efficacy of a single topical application of RT001 on adults with moderate to severe crow's feet lines. Co also plans to begin a U.S. Phase 2 study to evaluate the safety and efficacy of a single application of topical RT001 on adults with moderate to severe axillary hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating. Revance plans to provide trial design details and timelines for these studies when each commences later this year.
  • "By eliminating the need for needles in aesthetic and therapeutic treatments, we believe our topical RT001 could significantly expand the estimated $3 bln neurotoxin market by removing many of the barriers that currently keep patients from adopting its use, including pain and bruising"

7:27 am On the Wires (:WIRES) :

  • Flotek Industries, Inc. (FTK) announced that James A. Silas, Ph.D. has been named Vice President, Research and Innovation, Keith Dismuke Ph.D. has been named Vice President, Chemistry Technologies and Randal Hill, Ph.D. has been named the inaugural Research Fellow in the Company's newly designed Flotek Fellows Program.
  • Macquarie Capital, the capital markets arm of Macquarie Group (MQBKY) announced the appointment of Scott Bruckner as Senior Managing Director in its U.S. Technology, Media & Telecom Group
  • Sapiens International Corporation (SPNS) announced that Craig Robinson has joined the organization as vice president of Sapiens' reinsurance practice.

7:26 am Sempra Energy executes non-binding MOU with an affiliate of Woodside Petroleum (WOPEY) to commence discussions and assessments for the potential development of Sempra LNG's proposed Port Arthur liquefaction project in Port Arthur, Texas (SRE) : The non-binding MOU is the initial step for Sempra LNG and Woodside to explore this opportunity and undertake due diligence for the potential development of the Port Arthur liquefaction project. The proposed Port Arthur liquefaction project would be located at a site previously permitted for an LNG regasification terminal and would be designed to include two natural gas liquefaction trains with a total export capability of approximately 10 million metric tons per annum, or 1.4 billion cubic feet per day, as well as LNG storage tanks and marine facilities for LNG ship berthing and loading.

7:22 am Market View: Jun. stock-index futures push to pre-market highs in recent trade; ESm5 +8.50, YMm5 +68, NQm5 +23.00 (:TECHX) :  

7:06 am Quanex beats by $0.07, reports revs in-line; reaffirms guidance, in-line with expectations (NX) : Reports Q2 (Apr) earnings of $0.07 per share, $0.07 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of ($0.00); revenues rose 5.2% year/year to $142 mln vs the $142 mln consensus.

  • Reaffirms full year guidance of 5 to 7 percent revenue growth and EBITDA of $57 to $63 million. Consensus calls for ~6% revenue growth.
  • "We are starting to see tangible improvements in our vinyl extrusion business, even though we do not expect to reap the full benefits of the capital investments until the fourth quarter."

7:06 am Westlake Chemical Partners issues statement on proposed new IRS Regulations; Believes proposed regulations unfair to WLKP and WLK; co is reviewing available alternative (WLKP) : Co issued a statement regarding the Internal Revenue Service's and U.S. Department of Treasury's recent issuance of Proposed Regulations which define qualifying income from the processing, refining and transportation of minerals or natural resources for purposes of being treated as a "publicly traded partnership" for U.S. federal tax purposes.

  • Believes the original IRS Private Letter Ruling (PLR.V) on "Qualifying Income" for partnerships is correct and consistent with tax code 
  • Believes proposed regulations unfair to WLKP and Westlake Chemical Corporation's (WLK) investors 
  • Is actively participating in meetings with Treasury and IRS and is engaged in the comment process to seek revision of proposed regulations 
  • WLKP is reviewing available alternatives in light of IRS proposed regulations

7:06 am AutoNation May comp retail new vehicle sales +3% (AN) : Co reports May comp retail new vehicle sales +3%.

  • Retail sales +5% to 31.78K new vehicles; domestic +6%, import -1%; premium luxury +18%. 
  • AutoNation expects to announce June 2015 reported retail new vehicle unit sales on Thursday, July 2, 2015.

7:04 am RedHill Biopharma provides update on development pipeline (RDHL) : Key highlights and upcoming anticipated milestones include:

  • Phase III top-line results with RHB-105 for the treatment of H. pylori bacterial infection are expected during the third week of June 2015, subject to completion of review requirements Phase III top-line results with BEKINDA for gastroenteritis and gastritis are expected in Q4/15 - Q1/16 
  • Phase III interim analysis of MAP US Crohn's study with RHB-104 expected in H2/16; European applications submitted for a second Phase III Crohn's study with RHB-104 
  • Notice of Allowance received from the USPTO for two new U.S. patents covering RHB-104, expected to be valid until at least 2029 
  • Last patient screened in the Phase IIa Proof of Concept study with RHB-104 for multiple sclerosis, with interim results expected in Q4/15 - Q1/16 
  • Phase Ib/II study of ABC294640 for refractory/relapsed diffuse large B cell lymphoma, supported by the National Cancer Institute, expected to commence in Q2 - Q3/2015

7:04 am Asian Markets Close: Japan's Nikkei -0.3%; Hong Kong's Hang Seng +0.7%; China's Shanghai Composite -0.01% (:SUMRX) : Major markets in the Asia-Pacific region were mostly lower on Wednesday as buyers lacked conviction. China's Shanghai Composite cooled off and ended with a fractional loss. Meanwhile, Australia S&P/ASX 200 dropped 0.9% after a stronger than expected Q1 GDP report.

Economic data

  • China
    • May HSBC Services PMI 53.5 (expected 53.3; prior 52.9)
  • Australia
    • Q1 GDP +0.9% quarter-over-quarter (expected +0.7%; prior +0.5%); +2.3% year-over-year (expected +2.1%; prior +2.5%)
    • Q1 GDP Chain Price Index 0.0% (prior -0.2%)
  • Hong Kong
    • May Manufacturing PMI 47.6 (prior 48.6)
  • India
    • May HSBC Services PMI 49.6 (prior 52.4)
Equity Markets
  • Japan's Nikkei declined 0.3%, led by weakness in the utilities (-1.5%), technology (-0.9%), and consumer non-cyclical (-0.7%) sectors. Chubu Electric Power (-3.5%), Screen Holdings Co (-2.9%), and Nitto Denko Corp (-2.8%) paced declining issues while Nisshin Seifun Group (+5.0%), Nippon Sheet Glass (+4.5%), and Fujitsu (+4.4%) led advancing shares. Out of the 225 index members, 98 ended higher, 119 finished lower, and 8 were unchanged.
  • Hong Kong's Hang Seng increased 0.7% behind the strength of the energy (+1.3%) and communications (+1.0%) sectors. Individual standouts included China Shenhua Energy (+2.8%), CNOOC (+1.8%), and China Mobile (+1.8%). Hong Kong & China Gas Co (-10.1%) was the worst-performing issue. Out of the 49 index members, 23 ended higher, 25 finished lower, and 1 was unchanged.
  • China's Shanghai Composite had a roller coaster session, ending basically flat after a late burst of buying interest. An influx of new listings reportedly acted as a drag on the market, which also digested a better than expected HSBC Services PMI reading for May. Strength in the financial (+0.5%) and basic materials (+0.2%) sectors helped offset weakness in most other areas. The utilities (-1.3%) and technology (-1.2%) sectors were the weakest sectors in the Chinese market on Wednesday.
  • India's Sensex declined 1.3% and finished near its lows for the day. The weakest links were the utilities (-3.0%), basic materials (-2.1%), and consumer non-cyclical (-1.7%) sectors. Tata Power (-5.6%), ITC Ltd (-4.5%), and Oil & Natural Gas Corp (-3.9%) led declining issues. Coal India (+1.0%) led a small group of just five listings that ended higher for the day.
  • Australia's S&P/ASX 200 declined 0.9% following a stronger than expected Q1 GDP report, which presumably lessened the chances of further easing activity on the part of the Reserve Bank of Australia. Losses were led by the gold (2.0%), health care (-1.5%), and consumer discretionary (-1.5%) sectors. Virtus Health (-6.9%), Retail Food Group (-6.5%), and Syrah Resources (-5.8%) were the worst-performing issues. Bradken (+4.8%) led all gainers. Out of the 200 index members, 39 ended higher, 149 finished lower, and 12 were unchanged.
  • Regional advancers: Singapore +0.3%, Malaysia +0.5%, Thailand +0.4%, Philippines +0.1%
  • Regional decliners: South Korea -0.7%, Taiwan -0.6%, Indonesia -1.6%, Vietnam -0.4% 
FX
  • USD/CNY -0.01% at 6.1978
  • USD/INR +0.4% at 63.921
  • USD/JPY +0.3% at 124.48

7:04 am RXi Pharma granted notice of allowance for patent covering lead compound, RXI-109, for use in the eye; will be scheduled to expire in 2031 (RXII) : The patent, titled "RNA Interference in Ocular Indications," covers methods of use of RXi's VEGF-targeting and CTGF-targeting self-delivering rxRNAs, including RXI-109, for use in the eye.

7:03 am Goodrich Petroleum announces the appointment of Walter Goodrich as Chairman of the Board, following the retirement of Patrick Malloy (GDP) :  

7:02 am Amicus Therapeutics submits a marketing authorization application for Galafold to treat Fabry patients who have amenable genetic mutations (FOLD) : Co also plans to conduct a pre-NDA meeting with the US FDA and to submit a New Drug Application for Galafold in the United States under Subpart H1 in the second half of 2015.

7:02 am MEDNAX announces acquisitions of Neonatology practices in Virginia and Mississippi; terms not disclosed, expected to be immediately accretive to earnings (MD) : Co announced the acquisitions of Commonwealth Neonatology, a private neonatal physician group practice based in Richmond, Va., and Natchez Trace Neonatology, Inc., a private neonatal physician group practice based in Tupelo, Miss.

  • These practices were acquired for cash and the transactions are expected to be immediately accretive to earnings. No additional terms of these transactions were disclosed.

7:02 am Agenus announces that Merck has extended its collaborative research term, under the existing collaboration agreement for the discovery and development of therapeutic antibodies (AGEN) : Co announced today that Merck has extended its collaborative research term under its existing collaboration and license agreement with Agenus, for the discovery and development of therapeutic antibodies to Merck proprietary immune checkpoints for the treatment of cancer.

  • Under the terms of the original agreement, Agenus will discover and optimize fully human antibodies against two undisclosed Merck checkpoint targets using the Retrocyte Display platform. Merck will be responsible for the further development and commercialization of candidates generated under the collaboration. The discovery phase has been extended to April 2016. 
  • Under the terms of the agreement, Agenus is eligible to receive ~$100 million in milestone payments as well as royalties on worldwide product sales.

7:01 am Biocept announces a clinical collaboration with the Sarah Cannon Research Institute focused on screening estrogen positive breast cancer patients (BIOC) : Co announced that it has entered into a clinical collaboration with Sarah Cannon Research Institute (SCRI), the research arm of Sarah Cannon, the global cancer enterprise of Hospital Corporation of America. The collaboration seeks to determine the clinical utility of detecting biomarkers present in circulating tumor cell and circulating tumor DNA in blood samples for estrogen positive breast cancer patients using Biocept's OncoCEE technology.

  •  The collaboration is designed to demonstrate the utility of Biocept's liquid biopsy diagnostics to detect biomarker status in cancer patients, and for the assessment of tumor treatment response over time.

7:00 am UnitedHealth increases quarterly dividend 33% to $0.50/share from $0.375/share (UNH) :  

6:59 am On the Wires (:WIRES) :

  • Trimble (TRMB) announced that a SITECH Technology Dealer has been established in Wyoming
  • Thomson Reuters (TRI) announced it will offer increased depth of coverage in Canada's fixed income markets, from the electronic bond trading marketplace CBID

6:54 am Fastenal May sales +0.3% to $314.4 mln; daily sales +5.3% (FAST) :  

6:30 am Synthetic Biologics announces initial data that support the development of a platform of therapeutics designed to protect the microbiome from carbapenems (SYN) : Co stated: "As a result of received data we are now exploring the potential of our platform to protect the microbiome against carbapenems, the third class of beta-lactam antibiotics. Successful clinical development could maximize clinician acceptance of our product line upon commercialization. At the same time, we continue to enroll participants into a Phase 2a clinical trial of SYN-004, and we are on track to initiate a proof-of-concept Phase 2b clinical trial of SYN-004 during the third quarter of 2015."

  • Co also presented data supporting the SYN-004 program. The following conclusions were presented from the Phase 1a (40 participants) and Phase 1b (24 participants) clinical trials of SYN-004: 
    • SYN-004 was safe and well tolerated at a single dose of up to 750mg and at multiple doses of 300mg four times a day for seven days 
    • There were no identified safety or tolerability concerns attributable to SYN-004
    • No meaningful levels of SYN-004 were observed in the bloodstream at the clinical doses evaluated

6:20 am Ardelyx has entered into a termination agreement with AstraZeneca (AZN), and that it will raise $77.8 mln in a private placement to fund new product candidates (ARDX) : Co announced that it has entered into a termination agreement with AstraZeneca (AZN), such that all the rights to Ardelyx's portfolio of NHE3 inhibitors, including Ardelyx's lead product candidate, tenapanor, are returned to Ardelyx. Ardelyx has agreed to pay AstraZeneca $15 million upfront along with other future contingent payments. Concurrently, Ardelyx will pay an additional $10 million in R&D costs and for the acceleration of the transfer of the program back to Ardelyx.

  • With the acquisition, Ardelyx plans to accelerate the clinical development path for tenapanor in constipation-predominant irritable bowel syndrome (IBS-C) by initiating a Phase 3 clinical program in IBS-C patients in the fourth quarter of this year. Additionally Ardelyx is planning to begin a Phase 2b clinical trial in the fourth quarter of this year to evaluate the optimal dosing regimen for tenapanor for the treatment of hyperphosphatemia in dialysis patients.
  • Co also announced today a new product candidate, RDX022, for which it will be pursuing a 505b(2) regulatory pathway in the United States. Ardelyx is developing RDX022 for the treatment of elevated potassium, or hyperkalemia. Ardelyx expects to initiate clinical trials with RDX022 in mid-2015. Ardelyx also announced today that it has entered into an agreement to sell shares of common stock and warrants to purchase common stock for the aggregate gross proceeds of approximately $77.8 million in a private placement. Proceeds from the private placement will be used to develop both tenapanor and RDX022, two wholly-owned programs that are targeted to begin Phase 3 clinical trials in the fourth quarter 2015 and second half of 2016, respectively.

6:16 am Stock Building Supply Holdings and Building Materials Holding Corporation announce their merger, with accretion expected to STCK EPS in the first year following closing (STCK) : Stock Building Supply Holdings and Building Materials Holding Corporation  announced the signing of a definitive merger agreement under which the two companies will combine in an all-stock transaction. The combined company is expected to have an implied pro forma enterprise value of $1.5 billion.

  • Under the terms of the agreement, which has been unanimously approved by the Board of Directors of both companies, BMC shareholders will receive 0.5231 newly issued Stock Building Supply shares for each BMC share. Upon the closing of the transaction, BMC shareholders will own approximately 60% of the merged entity, with Stock Building Supply shareholders owning approximately 40%. The transaction is structured to be tax-free to the shareholders of both companies, and is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2015. 
  • The transaction expected to result in annual synergies of $30 to $40 million and to be accretive to stock building supply's earnings per share in the first year following closing 
  • In connection with the transaction, Stock Building Supply and BMC have received a joint commitment from Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. and Goldman Sachs Bank USA, contingent upon the closing of the transaction, to consolidate and upsize existing revolving Asset Based Loan facilities to $450 million for use by the combined company. Available funds will be used to refinance outstanding balances under the current revolving credit facilities, support up to $75 million in letters of credit, and fund transaction costs, general corporate purposes and working capital.

6:03 am RCS Capital announces that its wholesale broker-dealer subsidiaries raised ~$431 mln of total equity capital in May, 2015 (RCAP) : Co also noted that total equity capital raised for the last three months was $1.36 billion, representing a 57% increase from the prior three month period. Sales of direct investment programs totaled nearly $396 million for the month of May and $1.26 billion in the last three months, representing an over 65% increase from the prior three month period.

6:02 am U.S. Concrete has completed the sale, of the remaining assets of its U.S. Concrete Precast Group; terms not disclosed (USCR) :  

6:02 am Patterson-UTI announces that in May, it had an average of 122 drilling rigs operating in the US and one rig in Canada (PTEN) : For the two months ended May 31, 2015, the Company had an average of 126 drilling rigs operating in the United States and two rigs in Canada

6:01 am MiX Telematics issues cautionary statements, says it continues to investigate strategic alternatives relating to the company (MIXT) :  

6:00 am Ensign Group subsidiary Cornerstone Healthcare announces its acquisition of Managed Care at Home; expected accretion to earnings in 2015 (ENSG) : Managed Care at Home, a Medicare and Medi-Cal certified home health agency serving the San Jose area from an office in Milpitas, California. The acquisition was effective June 1, 2015. Co also affirmed that it expects the operations to be accretive to earnings in 2015.

5:48 am S&P futures vs fair value: +1.70. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: +2.10. :

5:48 am European Markets : FTSE...6923.78...-4.50...-0.10%.  DAX...11379.42...+50.30...+0.40%.

5:48 am Asian Markets : Nikkei...20473.51...-69.70...-0.30%.  Hang Seng...27657.47...+190.80...+0.70%.

5:13 am On The Wires (:WIRES) :

  • AMD (AMD) announced its 6th Generation A-Series Processor, the world's first high-performance Accelerated Processing Unit in a System-on-Chip design.
  • Publicis (PUBGY) announced the acquisition of Match Media, Australia's leading independent media agency. Match Media will be part of ZenithOptimedia Group's newly launched global media network, Blue 449.
  • Sierra Wireless (SWIR) announced a new milestone in its collaboration with PSA Peugeot Citron, with a next-generation design win for Sierra Wireless using AirPrime AR Series smart automotive modules, the Legato platform, and the AirVantage cloud. 
  • TomTom (TMOAY) launched the world's first NDS powered navigation portal giving users access to fresher maps. 
  • CGG (CGG) announced the launch of FALCON Plus, the newest release in the highly successful suite of FALCON airborne gravity gradiometer systems, halving the survey data noise of the world's best AGG and providing more effective exploration capabilities. 
  • MasterCard (MA) announced its partnership with Premier Bank, becoming the first international payments network to enter Somalia.
  • NTT (NTT) announced that it has agreed with 22 of its global telecommunications-carrier partners on a number of policies to further improve its Arcstar global network service quality 
  • Affimed N.V. (AFMD) announced today the formation of a Scientific Advisory Board of renowned scientists and physicians to provide scientific and clinical guidance on Affimed's advanced pipeline of immune cell engagers. 
  • Progress (PRGS) announced the appointment of Matt Robinson as Chief Technology Officer

5:04 am Softbank invests $1 bln in Korea's Coupang (SFTBY) : SoftBank and Coupang announced a definitive agreement under which a subsidiary of SoftBank will invest $1 billion in Coupang.

  • The investment is expected to close at the beginning of July, 2015 and will bring the total amount of funding raised by Coupang over the past year to nearly $1.5 billion.
  • Coupang will also expand its R&D offices in Silicon Valley, Seattle, Shanghai and Seoul.

4:35 am Shire receives EU approval for Resolor (SHPG) : Co announced that Resolor (prucalopride) has been approved by the European Commission for use in adults for the symptomatic treatment of chronic constipation in whom laxatives fail to provide adequate relief. Resolor is approved for use in women in Europe, so the new variation extends the use of this treatment to male patients.

4:25 am On The Wires (:WIRES) :

  • Microsoft (MSFT) demonstrated the latest Windows hardware innovations and detailed its new IoT agreement with Toshiba (TOSBF).
  • ArcelorMittal (MT) announced a 9 million investment at its Sagunto plant which will enable the plant to produce aluminium-silicon coated Usibor hot stamping steel, becoming ArcelorMittal's fourth European plant to produce Usibor Alusi and the second to produce large-width Usibor

4:11 am Pluristem Therapeutics receives grant from Israel's MOE to market PLX Cell Therapy in Japan (PSTI) : Co announced that it has been awarded a Smart Money grant from Israel's Ministry of Economy.

  • The Israeli government will grant Pluristem budget and resources for the marketing of its advanced cell therapy products in Japan and for regulatory activities there. 
  • Pluristem will also receive assistance from Israel's trade attachs stationed in Japan, and from experts appointed especially by the "Smart Money" program. 

4:08 am Ctrip.com states it is no longer interested in pursuing a potential M&A discussion with Qunar Cayman Islands (QUNR) (CTRP) : Co announced that it is no longer interested in pursuing a potential M&A discussion with Qunar Cayman Islands (QUNR), given Qunar's recent earnings performance and corporate actions.

  • After being approached by Qunar, Ctrip sent a confidential, non-binding, preliminary proposal to Qunar's board of directors in early May indicating its interest in pursuing a potential transaction with Qunar. 
  • Ctrip received a response from Qunar earlier this week stating that the proposal was not accepted and indicating that Qunar would be open to having further discussions.

3:58 am Ipsen authorizes share repurchase of 500K shares, or about 0.60% of the share capital (IPSEY) : This mandate begins on June 3 and will end on December 31, 2015. The purchased shares will be cancelled, mainly to compensate for the dilution resulting from the issuance of new shares within the free share plans.

3:46 am Toshiba acquires majority interest of its distributor, Tele Dynamics (TOSBF) : Co announced that it has acquired the majority shares of its distributor, Tele Dynamics Sdn. Bhd., and has changed its name to TOSHIBA TEC MALAYSIA SDN. BHD. on 13th May, 2015. Tele Dynamics have been a long-time distributor for Toshiba, and considering their know-how and contribution to the business, they are the most suitable company to enhance Toshiba Tec's BtoB business in Malaysia and Thailand.

3:18 am On The Wires (:WIRES) :

  • Polsteam, one of Europe's largest operators of bulk carriers, has selected the mini-VSAT Broadbandsm service from KVH Industries (KVHI) as its satellite communications solution. 
  • Micron Technology (MU) announced a new addition to its expansive portfolio of flash storage products, providing a purpose-built solution for cost-sensitive consumer applications seeking high performance and reliability. The new TLC NAND is built on their 16-nanometer process and delivers a balanced set of features for applications like USB drives and consumer solid state drives.

3:09 am Shutterfly: Glass Lewis & Co recommends that stockholders vote for Shutterfly's director nominees (SFLY) : Co announced that Glass Lewis & Co has recommended that Shutterfly stockholders vote for Shutterfly's director nominees Jeffrey Housenbold and James White on the WHITE proxy card at the Company's 2015 Annual Meeting, to be held on Friday, June 12, 2015. 

Glass Lewis stated:
"In our view, the Company's recent pronouncements appear to largely address what the Dissident has been asking for --namely, that the Company pursue organic growth, margin expansion and a decrease in capital intensity over the next few years. Further, we find that for at least each the past five fiscal years, the Company has generally met or exceeded analysts' consensus estimates relating to revenue and adjusted EBITDA..."

2:56 am Autodesk prices offering of $450 mln of 3.125% notes due 2020 and $300 million of 4.375% due 2025 (ADSK) :  

2:53 am Nevro upsizes offering and prices 4,705,880 shares of common stock at $51.00 per share; shares sold by co and selling stockholders (NVRO) : The offering consists of 1,764,705 shares to be sold by Nevro and 2,941,175 shares to be sold by certain of its stockholders

  • The original offering consisted of 1,475,506 shares to be sold by Nevro and 2,459,175 shares to be sold by certain of its stockholders

2:48 am Catalent prices secondary offering of 14 mln shares of common stock by certain of its stockholders at $29.00 per share (CTLT) :  

2:42 am Intersect ENT upsizes offering by 582K shares and prices 3,582,000 shares of common stock at $25.00 per share (XENT) :  

2:11 am On The Wires (:WIRES) :

  • ITG (ITG) announced the launch of its comprehensive hedge fund platform for Asia Pacific. The solution includes integrated execution, order and position management tools designed to improve operational efficiency and costs for hedge funds. 
  • CareTrust REIT (CTRE) announced that it has acquired Shoreline Health & Rehabilitation Center, a 105-bed skilled nursing facility located in Shoreline, Washington for $6.7 million. 

1:39 am Westmoreland Resource Partners files Registration Statement for a proposed public offering of common units (WMLP) : The proposed maximum aggregate offering size for the offering is $86,250,000

1:15 am LGI Homes reports May home closing increased 11.8% YoY (LGIH) : Co announced 255 homes closed in May 2015, up from 228 home closings in May 2014, representing year-over-year growth of 11.8%. As of the end of May 2015, the Company had 44 active selling communities.

1:08 am InterXion reports a 18.6 mln share distribution by Baker Communications Fund II (INXN) : Co announced that after the closing of the NYSE on Tuesday, Lamont Finance N.V. and Baker Communications Fund II, requested that Interxion instruct its Transfer Agent, American Stock Transfer & Trust Company, to remove the restrictive legend on all of the 18,657,592 Interxion shares held by Lamont Finance N.V. and Baker Communications Fund II

  • Baker Capital has informed Interxion that it intends to make a pro rata distribution-in-kind of these shares immediately to the partners of Baker Communications Fund II L.P. and Baker Communications Fund II, which funds had made their initial acquisition of Interxion shares in 2000.

12:59 am Tenet Healthcare upsizes offering and prices Senior Secured Notes and Senior Unsecured Notes (THC) : Co established today the pricing of the previously announced private offering of its floating rate senior secured notes maturing in 2020 and the senior unsecured notes of THC Escrow Corporation II maturing in 2023. A total of $900 million aggregate principal amount of senior secured notes, which represents an upsize from its previously announced amount of $500 million, will bear interest at a rate, reset quarterly, of LIBOR plus 3.50% per annum, and will be issued by Tenet.

  • A total of $1.9 billion aggregate principal amount of senior unsecured notes, which will bear interest at a rate of 6.75% per annum, will be issued by THC.

12:55 am Ferrellgas Partners prices offering of 6,325,000 common units representing limited partner interests in FGP at a price to the public of $23.00 per unit (FGP) :  

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