InPlay from Briefing.com

Briefing.com

5:23 pm This week's biggest % gainers/losers (:SCANX) : The following are this week's top 20 percentage gainers and top 20 percentage losers, categorized by sectors (over $300 mln market cap and 100K average daily volume).

This week's top 20 % gainers

  • Healthcare:GWPH (114 +24.84%),SNTA (2.93 +22.59%),ZIOP (11.92 +17.62%),SAGE (59.92 +16.55%)
  • Materials:RBY (1.13 +21.64%),KOP (22.97 +16.84%),AUQ (3.49 +16.72%)
  • Industrials:BLDR (12.99 +88.26%)
  • Consumer Discretionary:NFLX (571.55 +25.73%),JMEI (22.01 +25.13%),SHAK (61.67 +23.86%),SWHC (15.21 +18.09%)
  • Information Technology:WUBA (70.5 +30.24%)
  • Energy:CRR (38.98 +22.04%),PWE (2.44 +22%),NADL (1.62 +20.9%),CLNE (7.05 +18.09%),BXE (3.14 +18.05%),GTE (3.52 +17.33%),EVEP (16.42 +15.72%)
This week's top 20 % losers
  • Healthcare:PFNX (15.12 -20.34%),PTX (8.35 -17.24%),HTWR (80.41 -14.88%),NVDQ (13.75 -11.69%),OTIC (31.86 -10.91%),HRTX (13.3 -10.56%),ARWR (7.08 -10.49%),AMRN (2.33 -10.04%)
  • Materials:TC (1.29 -10.42%)
  • Industrials:ZNH (46.53 -11.51%)
  • Consumer Discretionary:CORE (55.62 -13.89%),MPEL (22.03 -10.63%),PBY (8.6 -10.51%)
  • Information Technology:SMI (5.2 -13.76%),COUP (12.41 -11.36%),NOW (73.29 -10.99%)
  • Financials:OCN (7.7 -19.37%),ASPS (17.39 -15.29%)
  • Energy:YZC (10.3 -11.66%)
  • Consumer Staples:FWM (6.02 -12.88%)

5:16 pm Dominion: Dominion Virginia Power to close all ash ponds in Virginia (D) : Dominion Virginia Power will close all of the ash ponds at its Virginia power stations in compliance with standards established by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ.V) and the Environmental Protection Agency's (:EPA) Coal Combustion Residuals rules. The company will close ponds at four locations in Virginia. Dominion Virginia Power is a subsidiary of Dominion (D).

5:15 pm MGIC Investment expects that its Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Company subsidiary will be in compliance with private mortgage insurer eligibility requirements when they become effective (MTG) : Co announced that the Federal Housing Finance Agency (:FHFA) released the final version of the private mortgage insurer eligibility requirements (PMIERs) that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (GSEs) will use to approve private mortgage insurers that provide mortgage insurance on loans acquired by the GSEs. The effective date of the PMIERs is December 31, 2015 and mortgage insurers are required to certify that they are in compliance with the PMIERs by March 1, 2016. The PMIERs require that an insurer have "Available Assets" (generally, only the most liquid assets of an insurer) equal to or greater than "Minimum Required Assets" (which are calculated from tables of factors with several risk dimensions and are subject to a floor amount).

  • "We expect that Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Company (MGIC), which is the principal subsidiary of MGIC Investment Corporation (MTG), will be in compliance with the PMIERs, including their revised financial requirements, when they become effective."
  • "We estimate that as of March 31, 2015, MGIC's Available Assets are approximately $5.12 billion and its Minimum Required Assets are approximately $5.35 billion, resulting in a shortfall of approximately $230 million."
  • "As we have previously disclosed, we would not have received full credit under the PMIERs for our existing reinsurance transaction. Therefore, we have reached agreement to restructure that transaction in a way that we believe will result in MGIC receiving the maximum benefit under the PMIERs. The effectiveness of this restructured transaction will be subject to approval by the Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance and the GSEs. In addition, in April 2015, we received regulatory approval to transfer $45 million of assets from regulated insurance affiliates of MGIC that will increase the Available Assets of MGIC. Furthermore, we believe a portion of MTG's $491 million of cash and investments at December 31, 2014, may be available for future contribution to MGIC."

5:07 pm N Amer Palladium receives notice of non-compliance from NYSE MKT; to be delisted from the NYSE MKT (PAL) : The staff of NYSE Regulation have determined to commence proceedings to delist the common shares of the Company from the NYSE MKT. The Company's common shares continue to trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol PDL, and on the OTC Market under the symbol PALDF.

5:04 pm Costco announces reauthorization of $4 bln stock repurchase program; increases quarterly dividend 12.7% to $0.40 from $0.355 per share (COST) : Co announced that its Board of Directors has reauthorized a common stock repurchase program of up to $4 billion. This program will expire in April 2019 and replaces the current $4 billion program (expiring this month), which has unused authorization of approximately $2.5 billion. The Board of Directors also declared a quarterly cash dividend on Costco common stock and approved a quarterly increase from $.355 to $.40 per share, or $1.60 per share on an annualized basis. The dividend is payable May 15, 2015, to shareholders of record at the close of business on May 1, 2015.

4:52 pm Radian Group announces ability to comply with final Private Mortgage Insurer Eligibility Requirements (RDN) : Co commented on the final Private Mortgage Insurer Eligibility Requirements (PMIERs) developed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (GSEs) and issued by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (:FHFA) earlier today. The PMIERs provide revised requirements for private mortgage insurers (MIs), including Radian Guaranty, to remain eligible insurers of loans purchased by the GSEs. The PMIERs effective date for existing approved insurers is December 31, 2015. As of March 31, 2015, Radian Guaranty would be able to immediately comply with the financial requirements of the PMIERs by utilizing approximately $330 million of existing holding company liquidity.

  • This estimate includes the net proceeds of $789 million from the recent sale of Radian Asset and assumes that the company converts approximately $130 million of existing liquid assets into PMIERs-compliant Available Assets (as defined in the PMIERs) and receives full PMIERs benefit of approximately $145 million for its outstanding quota-share reinsurance arrangements, following any necessary amendments needed to facilitate GSE approval. 
  • Radian Group maintains approximately $695 million of currently available liquidity, with no significant holding company cash needs before June 2017.

4:49 pm AbbVie extends exchange offer to acquire Pharmacyclics (PCYC) to May 1, 2015 (ABBV) : As of 4:00 p.m., New York City time, on April 17, 2015, a total of approximately 47,465,978 shares of Pharmacyclics common stock were validly tendered and not properly withdrawn in the exchange offer.

4:45 pm GAMCO Investors affiliate GAMCO Asset Management announces ISS and Glass Lewis recommend shareholders of Myers Industries (MYE) vote in favor of GAMCO's three director nominees (GBL) :  

4:40 pm Alpha Natural Resources announces it has been notified by the NYSE that its common stock does not currently satisfy one of the NYSE's standards for continued listing and trading on the exchange (ANR) : In response, as required by the NYSE's rules, the Company plans to notify the NYSE of its intent to cure the deficiency and restore its compliance, and it will submit a plan outlining the actions it intends to take to do so. Under the NYSE's rules, the Company has six months to regain compliance with the listing standards.

4:37 pm Radio One announces closing of private offering of $350 mln of senior secured notes, new $350 mln credit facility and purchase of membership interests In TV One (ROIAK) : The co announced that it has closed its previously announced private offering of $350.0 million aggregate principal amount of 7.375% senior secured notes due 2022 . The Notes were offered at an original issue price of 100.0% plus accrued interest from April 17, 2015 and will mature on April 15, 2022. Interest on the Notes accrues at the rate of 7.375% per annum and is payable semiannually in arrears on April 15 and October 15, commencing on October 15, 2015. The Notes are guaranteed, jointly and severally, on a senior secured basis by the Company's existing and future domestic subsidiaries, including TV One, LLC, that guarantee any of its new $350 million senior secured credit facility entered into concurrently with the closing of the Notes, other syndicated bank indebtedness or capital markets securities. The New Credit Facility matures on December 31, 2018. 

  • The Company used the net proceeds from the private offering, along with term loan borrowings under the New Credit Facility, to refinance its existing senior secured credit facility, refinance $119.0 million in outstanding indebtedness of TV One and TV One Capital Corp., finance the previously announced purchase of the membership interests of an affiliate of Comcast Corporation (CMCSA) in TV One and pay the related accrued interest, premiums, fees and expenses associated therewith. 
  • As a result of the Company's acquisition of Comcast's membership interests in TV One, the Company now owns a 99.6% interest in TV One.

4:33 pm Gulf Resources announces 2014 results on a pro-forma basis following acquisition of Shouguang City Rongyuan Chemical Co. (GURE) : On a pro-forma basis, Gulf Resources would have ended 2014 with

  • Revenues of $160,625,493, 41% higher than the $113,660,331 reported in the 10-K. 
  • Net Income of $29,675,079, 66% higher than the $17,871,795 reported in the 10-K. 
  • Basic Pro-Forma Earnings Per Share of $0.65, 41% higher than the $0.46 reported in the 10-K. 
  • Cash of $104,764,959 
  • Stockholders' equity of $325,446,553.

4:33 pm Essent Group comments on final private mortgage insurer eligibility requirements (ESNT) : The co reports that the Federal Housing Finance Agency publicly released the final Private Mortgage Insurer Eligibility Requirements. The PMIERs represent the standards by which private mortgage insurers are eligible to provide mortgage insurance on loans owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and are designed to ensure that approved mortgage insurers maintain sufficient, high-quality assets to pay claims in a stressful environment. As of March 31, 2015, Essent had sufficient assets in its insurance companies to meet the total risk-based required asset amount of the final PMIERs as published.

  • "We have been very supportive of the risk-based capital framework underlying the PMIERs and strongly believe that sound standards which are transparent and consistently enforced strengthen our industry. Now that they are final, the PMIERs will serve as an important set of national standards that give industry counterparties more transparency into the claims paying capacity of private mortgage insurance companies, including Essent."

4:31 pm Baxter presents additional data from the Phase III clinical trial of BAX 111, the first highly-purified recombinant von Willebrand Factor in clinical development as a treatment for patients with von Willebrand disease (BAX) : The data were presented as an Abstract of Distinction during an oral session at the 2015 Scientific Symposium of the Hemostasis and Thrombosis Research Society (:HTRS) in New Orleans, La. and expand on the topline data first disclosed in 2014. The trial met its primary efficacy endpoint defined by the number of patients who achieved treatment success for control of bleeding episodes.

  • All patients treated in the full analysis set (N=22) experienced a 100 percent treatment success rating based on a 4-point efficacy rating scale, comparing estimated number of infusions needed to treat the bleeding episodes to the actual number of infusions administered. Efficacy for all treated bleeds (N=192) was rated excellent (96.9%) or good (3.1%), including major bleeds (6 excellent and 1 good). The median number of infusions required to treat bleeding events in the trial was 1 and the majority of events (81.8%) were resolved with a single infusion. 
  • ''These positive data, which formed the basis for our recent regulatory filing in the US, support the potential role for BAX 111 to become the first recombinant replacement treatment for managing bleeding episodes among these patients.'' 
  • The data support the application Baxter submitted to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in late 2014 for approval of BAX 111. Both the European Commission and the FDA have granted orphan-drug designation for BAX 111. 

4:30 pm GAMCO Investors announces that CFO Robert S. Zuccaro has indicated that he will be resigning as of July 1, 2015 (GBL) : Mario J. Gabelli commented that, "Bob has served us well as our Chief Financial Officer and he has contributed significantly to our firm. We are delighted that he will assist us in finding a replacement for himself as well as serve with us as a consultant through the end of 2015."

4:17 pm Zions Bancorp declares quarterly dividend of $0.06 per share, 50% increase from previous dividend of $0.04 per share (ZION) : The dividend is payable May 28, 2015 to shareholders of record on May 21, 2015.

4:16 pm Centrus Energy announces that Chief Operating Officer Robert Van Namen will be stepping down from his position, effective May 29, 2015 (LEU) :  

4:11 pm Exactech sees Q1 revs of $61.4 mln vs $63.8 mln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate, EPS of $0.29-0.30 vs $0.30 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate (EXAC) : Co attributed the shortfall to foreign currency pressure and softer than expected sales.

4:10 pm OFG Bancorp subsidiary Oriental Bank announces that it will place its $200 mln participation in a fuel purchase line of credit with the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority on non-accrual status (OFG) : Related to the line of credit, the co will take a $24.0 million provision. Co indicated that it is forced to take the provision because PREPA, despite its increasing ability to meet contractual obligations with creditors, has signaled an unwillingness do so.

  • The provision will impact OFG's earnings per share net of tax by $0.35 for the first quarter ended March 31, 2015. 
  • It will impact tangible book value per common share by the same amount, not considering 1Q15 earnings. 
  • OFG and Oriental's regulatory capital ratios remain significantly above requirements for a well-capitalized institution

4:10 pm Closing Market Summary: S&P 500 Ends Week Below 50-Day Average (:WRAPX) : The major averages ended Friday with a broad-based retreat that caused the market to turn negative for the week. The S&P 500 lost 1.1%, ending the week lower by 1.0%, while the Russell 2000 (-1.6%) underperformed today, but ended the week in-line with the benchmark index.

For background on today's retreat, we must start with the overnight session when a widespread outage took all Bloomberg terminals offline, which prevented large investors around the globe from communicating with their peers. The outage was followed by a plunge in Hang Seng and China-linked futures after China Regulatory Commission announced plans to ban margin financing for over-the-counter trades while also increasing the number of stocks eligible for short selling to 1,100.

In all likelihood, participants saw the big slide in Asia with little news to account for the move at that time and responded by reducing their risk exposure. Interestingly, S&P futures hit their overnight low around the time when access to Bloomberg terminals was restored and large investors could communicate with others once again.

That being said, the cautious posture persisted through the European session with Greece-related concerns keeping investors on the defensive. To that point, overseas units of Greek banks have been asked to divest their Greek sovereign debt holdings to avoid contagion in the event of a default. The request was reportedly issued by various central banks with backing from the European Central Bank. As a result, investors showed increased demand for German bunds with the 10-yr yield ticking down to 0.08% after dropping as low as 0.05%. 

Meanwhile, U.S. Treasuries endured a volatile session. The 10-yr note rallied overnight, but that was followed by a morning retreat, which was followed by an intraday climb to a fresh high, dropping the benchmark yield three points to 1.86%.

As for stocks, the S&P 500 dropped below its 50-day moving average (2,085) during late-morning action and distanced itself from that level into the afternoon. Taking a look at the bigger picture, this week's retreat placed the benchmark index smack dab in the middle of a range (2,040-2,120) that has held since early February even though earnings estimates for Q1 have been reduced during that stretch.

Speaking of earnings, most of the reports released since yesterday's closing bell surpassed bottom-line estimates, but revenue growth and guidance left a lot to be desired. General Electric (GE 27.25, -0.03) was a good example as the industrial conglomerate reported what has become a customary one-cent beat while revenue fell 3.1% year-over-year. Similarly, Honeywell (HON 101.70, -2.22) reported a bottom-line beat, but lower guidance and below-consensus revenue sent the stock lower by 2.1%.

Moving to other cyclical sectors, financials (-1.3%) finished near the bottom of the barrel with American Express (AXP 77.32, -3.59) contributing to the relative weakness. The Dow component lost 4.4% after its earnings beat was overshadowed by light revenue.

Elsewhere, the consumer discretionary sector (-1.5%) also finished among the laggards with media names extending their losses during the afternoon after Bloomberg reported that federal regulators are leaning in favor of opposing the proposed merger between Time Warner Cable (TWC 149.61, -8.59) and Comcast (CMCSA 58.42, -1.25). The two names ended lower by 5.4% and 2.1%, respectively. On the flip side, toymaker Mattel (MAT 26.74, +1.48) escaped the broad pressure, climbing 5.8% after reporting better than expected results.

All in all, the six cyclical sectors lost between 0.8% and 1.5% while the countercyclical side was treated to a lighter shade of red with the four defensively-oriented groups falling between 0.3% and 0.9%.

Today's trading volume surpassed recent averages thanks to a boost from options expiration with more than 865 million shares changing hands at the NYSE floor.

Economic data included CPI, Leading Indicators, and Michigan Sentiment:

  • Consumer prices increased 0.2% for a second consecutive month in March while the Briefing.com consensus expected an increase of 0.3% 
    • Energy prices rose 1.1% in March after increasing 1.0% in February 
      • Gasoline prices, one of the main drivers of the increase in energy costs, rose 3.9% in March after increasing 2.4% in February 
    • Food prices declined 0.2% in March after increasing 0.2% in February 
    • Excluding food and energy, core CPI increased 0.2% for a third consecutive month in March while the consensus expected an increase of 0.1% 
  • The Conference Board's Leading Economic Index increased 0.2% in March after increasing a downwardly revised 0.1% (from 0.2%) in February while the Briefing.com consensus expected an increase of 0.3%. 
  • The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index increased to 95.9 in the preliminary April reading from 93.0 in March while the Briefing.com consensus expected an increase to 94.0 
    • Consumer sentiment recovered the entire decline from February (95.4) despite relatively higher gasoline costs and a significant weakening in the latest payrolls data. 
    • The Current Conditions Index increased to 108.2 in April from 105.0 in March. The Expectations Index increased to 88.0 from 85.3. 
Monday's session will be free of economic data.
  • Nasdaq Composite +4.1% YTD 
  • Russell 2000 +4.0% YTD 
  • S&P 500 +1.1% YTD 
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average UNCH YTD 
Week in Review: S&P 500 Maintains Narrow Range

The major averages began the week on a lower note. The S&P 500 surrendered 0.5% after spending the day in a steady retreat from its opening high while the Nasdaq Composite shed 0.2% after showing relative strength throughout the day. All in all, the Monday session was very quiet with the S&P 500 spending the day inside a 15-point range. The S&P 500 appeared to be on track for its fourth consecutive advance, but the index hit resistance during the opening hour and retreated into the afternoon. A handful of heavily-weighted sectors displayed early strength, but the financial sector (+0.3%) was the only group left in the green when the session ended.

Equity indices ended Tuesday on a mixed note after spending the day near their flat lines. The S&P 500 added 0.2% while the Nasdaq settled lower by 0.2%. The market slipped during the opening hour after the March Retail Sales report (+0.9%; Briefing.com consensus +1.0%) came in below expectations, but the S&P 500 found support just above its 50-day moving average (2,081) and made a swift return into the green. The index received significant support from the energy sector (+1.8%), which ended well ahead of other groups. Crude oil contributed to the considerable strength, climbing 2.7% to $53.31/bbl.

The stock market ended the midweek session on an upbeat note after climbing throughout the day. The S&P 500 gained 0.5% while the Russell 2000 (+0.7%) spent the day in the lead. The market rallied out of the gate, all but ignoring news that China's GDP growth (+7.0% year-over-year) has slowed to a six-year low. The news was followed by a small uptick in the greenback, but the Dollar Index (98.36, -0.37) surrendered its overnight advance, posting its second consecutive decline. In turn, the dollar weakness provided a measure of support to crude oil, helping the energy component jump 5.6% to $56.25/bbl. Understandably, the big spike in oil boosted the energy sector (+2.3%), placing the cyclical group in the lead. Thanks to the gain, the energy space extended its April gain to 6.8%. Meanwhile, the remaining cyclical groups settled a bit closer to the broader market. Technology (+0.9%) endured a slight struggle early, but the sector ended among the leaders with help from chipmakers after Linear Technology (LLTC) reported better than expected results and Intel (INTC) delivered an in-line report. The two names spiked 1.6% and 4.3%, respectively, while the PHLX Semiconductor Index gained 1.6%.

Thursday ended on a modestly lower note, but the key indices were able to climb off their opening lows. The S&P 500 shed 0.1% after spending the day in a 12-point range. Stocks struggled in the early going after an overnight report from the Financial Times indicated that Greek officials have asked the International Monetary Fund to reschedule debt repayments that will be due in May. The report was denied by Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, but European investors displayed caution, which contributed to the lower start in the U.S. However, a batch of better than expected earnings in the U.S. offset the Greece-related news. The S&P 500 ranged near its low during the opening hour and climbed into the afternoon. The index spent about an hour in the green, but slipped back into the red before the close.

4:07 pm Coeur d'Alene Mines announces that its stockholders have approved the acquisition of Paramount Gold and Silver Corp (PZG), and that the transaction has closed (CDE) : In connection with the closing of the transaction, approximately 32.7 million shares of Coeur common stock were issued to Paramount stockholders and approximately $10 million in cash was contributed to Paramount Gold Nevada Corp., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Paramount in which Coeur has retained a 4.9% interest. Coeur expects to complete a mineral reserve and resource estimate for its Palmarejo mine in Mexico during the second quarter of 2015.

4:06 pm FARO Techs sees Q1 revs below consensus (FARO) : Co sees Q1 revs -5% to $70 mln vs $85.29 mln Capital IQ Consensus.

This decrease is principally due to the following negative effects, which were partially offset by strong units sold growth in the Europe/Africa region of Laser Tracker and Laser Scanner:

  • negative foreign exchange impact of ~$7 million driven primarily by the decline in the Euro and Yen relative to the U.S. dollar; 
  • weaker macro-economic conditions in Japan combined with the limited release of manufacturing stimulus funds which, in turn, decreased industrial demand in Japan for capital purchases; and 
  • weaker industrial demand in Brazil due to recent macro-economic events.

4:05 pm Tecumseh Products announces the delay of a presentation on its restructuring plan (TECU) : Co stated: "While we continue to focus on new product introductions and to aggressively drive improvements in our commercial and operational processes, we are also finalizing the remaining critical elements which will enable us to communicate our longer term plan. We appreciate your continued interest and commitment to Tecumseh and to our Board and management team, and we look forward to presenting our plan soon."

4:05 pm Ethan Allen reschedules Q3 2015 results to Thursday, April 23, 2015 after the market close; Co earlier this week had announced it would report its results on Monday April 27 (ETH) :  

4:01 pm Procter & Gamble increases quarterly dividend 3% to $0.6629/share (PG) :  

4:00 pm Daegis announced that it received a NASDAQ staff determination letter indicating its non-compliance with the $1.00 minimum closing bid price requirement (DAEG) :  

3:57 pm ForceField Energy announces that it has requested a regulatory agency review its common stock trading after MoxReports report (FNRG) : Co stated that it had: "requested that a regulatory agency review the trading activity in its common stock subsequent to the issuance of a lengthy "opinion" published by MoxReports on April 15, 2015; in addition to any relationships, arrangements and commonalities between short sellers and others. The opinion was written by an individual investor, not a registered financial advisor, who has disclosed owning a short position in the Company's common stock. The Company maintains that the article contains material inaccuracies about its management, business and prospects."

  • "Further, we will provide our shareholders and investment community a business update in a release pre-market on Monday, April 20, 2015."

3:36 pm Dow -273 pushes as much as 90 points off low -- S&P -23, Nasdaq Comp -75 (:TECHX) :  

3:31 pm Earnings Preview for the week of April 20 - 24 (:SUMRX) : Of the companies reporting earnings for the week of April 20 - 24 some of the bigger names include:

  • Monday:
    • Pre Market - MS, HAL, STIl RCL, MTB, LII, HAS, CHKP
    • After Hours - IBM, RCI, CNI, STLD, SANM, PKG, LRCX, ZION, IEX, WWD, HXL, BRO, FTNT, MBFI, HLX
  • Tuesday:
    • Pre Market - VZ, UTX, LMT, WIT, DD, CS, TRV, BHI, KMB, MAN, SAP, GPC, OMC, ITW, SAH, DOV, CP, HOG, GCI, ABG, PNR, FITB, CLS, RF, NTRS, ATI, NVR, AMTD, UA
    • After Hours - AMGN, ACE, YUM, SYK, DFS, BRCM, FTI, VMW, NBR, URI, CMG, YHOO, ISRG, ILMN, CREE, IBKR, DLB, IRBT
  • Wednesday:
    • Pre Market - BA, KO, MCD, EMC, ABT, AN, TMO, BK, TEL, DHI, ALV, LAD, R, NLSN, STJ, APH, OC, CFG, TROW, NS, WAB, HBAN, TDY, TUP, ANGI, SIX
    • After Hours - T, QCOM, EBAY, FB, TXN, AMP, WFT, ORLY, USTR, TSCO, RJF, TMK, CCI, OII, AWH, CTXS, VMI, SKX, AHL, PLXS, CAKE, FFIV
  • Thursday:
    • Pre Market - ERIC, GM, PG, NVS, DOW, CAT, PEP, JCI, UAL, MMM, AVT, UNP, RTN, ABBV, DHR, AEP, NUE, LLY, LUV, MO, FCX, BAX, IR, SWK, RS, BBT, CMS, CAM, HSY, WCC, DGX, JAH, DAN, BTU, DPS, ORI, ALK, PHM, MJN, FAF, BMS, HP, NDAQ, DPZ, DNKN
    • After Hours - AMZN, MSFT, GOOG, COF, SBUX, CBI, CB, PFG, RGA, RSG, NEM, TRN, HBI, RHI, FSL, JNPR, SWN, HUBG, BCR, LSTR, UIS, SFG, DV, ETFC, P, N
  • Friday:
    • Pre Market - INFY, AAL, LYB, AZN, XRX, LEA, DTE, STT, BIIB, TYC, IPG, SPG, AJG, VTR, AAN, BGG

3:17 pm Minor extension of push off afternoon lows -- Dow -300, S&P -26, Nasdaq Comp -82 (:TECHX) :  

3:05 pm Ignite Restaurant completes sale of Romano's Macaroni Grill, announces organizational restructuring; Brad Leist named CFO (IRG) : The co announced that it has completed the previously announced sale of its Romano's Macaroni Grill subsidiary to Redrock Partners, LLC. In addition, the Company also announced the following organizational and senior management changes

  • Brad Leist has been promoted to Chief Financial Officer. He will replace Michael Dixon, President and Chief Financial Officer, who will be formally leaving the Company, effective April 17, 2015, but will continue working on a consulting basis through May 15, 2015. Ray Blanchette, Chief Executive Officer, will resume the title of President
  • David Catalano has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer, overseeing operations for both Joe's Crab Shack and Brick House Tavern + Tap; 
  • Jim Mazany, President of Joe's Crab Shack, will be leaving the Company, effective April 17, 2015. 
  • "In effect, we are returning to an organizational structure that closely resembles the structure in place prior to the acquisition and reduces annual corporate overhead by over $14 million."

2:46 pm Mylan Labs comments on recent media speculation; 'We have studied the potential combination of Mylan and Teva (TEVA) for some time and we believe it is clear that such a combination is without sound industrial logic or cultural fit' (MYL) : The co noted it is fully committed to its stand-alone strategy, including its proposal to acquire Perrigo (PRGO), and that today's speculation has no impact whatsoever on this strategy.

  • "We have studied the potential combination of Mylan and Teva for some time and we believe it is clear that such a combination is without sound industrial logic or cultural fit. Further, there would be significant overlap in the companies' businesses and we believe that it is unlikely that any such combination could obtain anti-trust regulatory clearances."
  • "Of course, should any party make an actual offer to acquire Mylan, the Board would carefully consider it in exercising its fiduciary duties in the best interests of the company, our stockholders and other stakeholders."
  • "We do not intend to comment further on media speculation and will maintain our unwavering focus on executing on our business plan and concluding a successful transaction with Perrigo."

2:34 pm Sprouts Farmers Market announces the completion of a new five year, $450 mln revolving credit facility (SFM) : Co will utilize the initial drawing of $260 million under the new credit facility to pay off its existing $258 million term loan and transaction costs associated with the refinancing. The revolver has an initial drawn pricing of LIBOR plus 1.75 percent, as compared with LIBOR plus 3.00 percent under the previous term loan

2:31 pm Newstar Financial prices its $300 mln of 7.25% senior notes offering due 2020, expecting $294.1 mln in net proceeds (NEWS) : Co intends to use the proceeds of this offering, after the payment of fees and expenses, to repay in full its corporate credit facility agented by Fortress Credit Corp. and use the remainder, if any, for general corporate purposes

1:49 pm Dow -280 sets fractional new session low, S&P -23 and Nasdaq Comp -75 hover just above their lows (:TECHX) :  

1:08 pm Notable movers of interest (:SCANX) : The following are some of today's most notable movers of interest, categorized by market capitalization (large cap over $10 billion and mid cap between $2-10 billion) and ranked by % change (all stocks over 100K average daily volume). 

Large Cap Gainers

  • STX (58.29 +4.16%): Beat Q3 consensus EPS estimates by $0.04, missed on revs, guided for Q4 rev of $3.2-3.3 bln vs. $3.43 bln with margin of ~28.5%; Price tgt raised to $70 at Maxim Group.
  • BMY (65.55 +2.94%): Announced that its CheckMate -057, a Pivotal Phase III Opdivo lung cancer trial was stopped early after Opdivo demonstrated superior overall survival compared to Docetaxel in patients with previously-treated non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer.
Large Cap Losers
  • NOW (70.78 -14.56%): Beat Q1 consensus EPS estimates by $0.02, reported revs in-line; guided Q2 revs below consensus; raised low end of FY15 rev, in-line; Price tgt lowered at Brean Capital.
  • AXP (77.57 -4.13%): Beat Q1 consensus EPS estimates by $0.12, missed on revs; Price tgt lowered at RBC Capital Mkts.
Mid Cap Gainers
  • CE (67.09 +15.39%): Beat Q1 consensus EPS estimates by $0.41, missed on revs; raised FY15 EPS above consensus.
  • SUM (23.62 +6.93%): Announced a definitive agreement to acquire cement assets from Lafarge (LFRGY); initiated with a Positive at Susquehanna, tgt $28.
  • IGTE (44.63 +5.41%): Outperforming following reports the company may be an acquisition target.
Mid Cap Losers
  • AMD (2.49 -13.41%): Missed Q1 consensus EPS estimates by $0.03, missed on revs; guided Q2 revs below consensus; Downgraded at Ascendiant Capital Markets.
  • W (32.06 -7.15%): Downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Goldman.
  • MTW (20.35 -6.48%): Guided Q1 below consensus; lowered Foodservice rev guidance; reaffirmed Crane guidance.

1:03 pm Southern subsidiaries announce five solar projects in three states (SO) : Co Subsidiaries Georgia Power, Gulf Power and Southern Power are contributing to the company's 3,100-megawatts of announced or completed renewable energy generating capacity with more than 160 MW of photovoltaic solar. This week:

  • Gulf Power received Florida Public Service Commission approval to develop 120 MW of utility-scale solar at three military installations: Eglin Air Force Base in Fort Walton Beach, and Navy facilities Holley Field in Navarre and Saufley Field in Pensacola. 
  • Southern Power announced the acquisition of a controlling interest in the 32-MW Lost Hills-Blackwell Solar Facility in California from First Solar, Inc. 
  • Georgia Power and U.S. Army officials held a groundbreaking of a 30-MW solar installation at Fort Benning near Columbus, Ga.
    • The project is one of three solar installations totaling 90 MW being developed at military bases through a partnership between Georgia Power and the Army.

1:00 pm Ford Motor confirms a $2.5 bln investment for new engine and transmission plants in Chihuahua and Guanajuato, Mexico (F) : The new engine facility is being built within Ford's Chihuahua Engine Plant, where the company will produce a new gasoline-powered engine. The $1.1 billion investment  will allow Ford to export engines to the U.S., Canada, South America and the Asia-Pacific region. An additional $200 million dollar investment  is tied to the expansion of Ford's current I-4 and Diesel engines production in Chihuahua. As a result of these investments, the Ford Engine Plant in Chihuahua will become the biggest engine plant in Mexico. In addition, Ford is building a new transmission plant within the premises of transmission supplier and longtime partner Getrag, which is based in the City of Irapuato in the State of Guanajuato

12:56 pm Midday Market Summary: S&P 500 Trolls Below 50-Day Average (:WRAPX) : The major averages hover near their lows at midday with the S&P 500 down 1.1%.

Overnight, a widespread outage took all Bloomberg terminals offline, which prevented large investors around the globe from communicating with their peers. The outage was followed by a plunge in Hang Seng futures after China Regulatory Commission announced plans to ban margin financing for over-the-counter trades while also increasing the number of shares available for short selling to 1,100.

In all likelihood, participants saw the big slide in Asia, with little news to account for the move at that time, and responded by reducing their risk exposure. Furthermore, S&P futures hit their overnight low around the time when access to Bloomberg terminals was restored.

The cautious sentiment persisted through the European session with Greece-related concerns contributing to the weakness. To that point, overseas units of Greek banks have been asked to divest their Greek sovereign debt holdings to avoid contagion in the event of a default in Greece. The request was reportedly issued by various central banks with backing from the European Central Bank.

Meanwhile, U.S. indices opened amid broad pressure, which sent the S&P 500 below its 50-day moving average (2,085), where the index remains at midday and is on track to surrender 0.9% for the week.

All ten sectors trade in the red with heavily-weighted groups showing losses between 0.9% and 1.3%. On that note, three of the four largest sectors by weight-technology (-1.3%), financials (-1.3%), and consumer discretionary (-1.3%)-sit at the bottom of the leaderboard.

The consumer discretionary space has suffered from broad weakness, but Mattel (MAT 26.84, +1.57) represents a small pocket of strength with the stock up 6.1% in reaction to a one-cent beat.

Moving to the top-weighted tech sector, chipmakers underperform with the PHLX Semiconductor Index down 1.4%. The smallest index component-Advanced Micro Devices (AMD 2.50, -0.38)-has tumbled 13.1% after missing earnings/revenue estimates and cutting its revenue guidance.

Staying on the earnings theme, Dow component American Express (AXP 77.09, -3.82) has surrendered 4.7% after reporting a bottom-line beat on below-consensus revenue.

Elsewhere, Treasuries hold slim gains after surrendering a portion of their overnight advance with the 10-yr yield down a basis point at 1.88%.

Economic data included CPI, Leading Indicators, and Michigan Sentiment:

  • Consumer prices increased 0.2% for a second consecutive month in March while the Briefing.com consensus expected an increase of 0.3% 
    • Energy prices rose 1.1% in March after increasing 1.0% in February 
      • Gasoline prices, one of the main drivers of the increase in energy costs, rose 3.9% in March after increasing 2.4% in February 
    • Food prices declined 0.2% in March after increasing 0.2% in February 
    • Excluding food and energy, core CPI increased 0.2% for a third consecutive month in March while the consensus expected an increase of 0.1% 
  • The Conference Board's Leading Economic Index increased 0.2% in March after increasing a downwardly revised 0.1% (from 0.2%) in February while the Briefing.com consensus expected an increase of 0.3%. 
  • The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index increased to 95.9 in the preliminary April reading from 93.0 in March while the Briefing.com consensus expected an increase to 94.0 
    • Consumer sentiment recovered the entire decline from February (95.4) despite relatively higher gasoline costs and a significant weakening in the latest payrolls data. 
    • The Current Conditions Index increased to 108.2 in April from 105.0 in March while the Expectations Index increased to 88.0 from 85.3

12:55 pm Mylan Labs announces that a Federal Circuit has upheld its Perforomist Inhalation Solution U.S. patents (MYL) : The Court summarily affirmed the previous decision by the district court against Teva.Today's decision prevents Teva from receiving final approval of its ANDA from the FDA prior to expiration of several U.S. patents. Those patents cover Perforomist until they expire in June 2021.

12:49 pm Eros International announces the launch of a broadband movie streaming service partnership, Broadband Movies, between ErosNow and Asianet Broadband (EROS) :  

12:22 pm Lorillard beats by $0.05, beats on revs -- awaiting regulatory approval to merge with RAI, expected in 1H15 (LO) : Reports Q1 (Mar) earnings of $0.82 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.05 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.77; revenues rose 5.5% year/year to $1.21 bln vs the $1.18 bln consensus, due to a 6.4% increase in net sales of cigarettes, partially offset by a decrease in net sales of electronic cigarettes. 

  • Newport retail market share for the first quarter 2015 was a record 13.3%, increasing 0.3 share point YoY.

12:03 pm Stocks/ETFs that traded to new 52 week highs/lows this session - New lows (47) outpacing new highs (41) (:SCANX) : Stocks that traded to 52 week highs: ADPT, ANAC, ARIA, ATRA, BCV, BLMT, CCK, CE, CHKE, COWN, CRC, CYT, DCM, DSGX, ESLT, EVM, FRP, GSH, HZNP, ICEL, IFV, ISL, JTPY, MFLX, MHLD, MIFI, MTU, NECB, NFLX, NWBO, PMD, QTM, RIGL, SAGE, SPPR, SUM, TASR, TREE, TROV, UWN, WUBA

Stocks that traded to 52 week lows: ACTG, AHC, AKBA, ATHX, AXP, CANF, CHCI, CHEK, CPAC, CRDC, CVSL, ERJ, FNRG, FORD, FREE, FTEK, GDDY, GLRI, HTR, ICLD, IDSA, IGT, INOV, IPDN, IRG, LPTN, LXP, MERU, MNI, MPV, NATH, OCRX, ORN, PERF, PESI, PFL, PFMT, PTNT, RESN, RLJE, ROVI, STRM, UCTT, VRS, WOWO, WPG, ZEUS

ETFs that traded to 52 week highs: none

ETFs that traded to 52 week lows: none

11:51 am European Markets Closing Prices (:SUMRX) : European markets are now closed; stock markets across Europe performed as follows:

  • UK's FTSE:-0.9%
  • Germany's DAX:-2.6%
  • France's CAC:-1.6%
  • Spain's IBEX:-2.2%
  • Portugal's PSI:-2.3%
  • Italy's MIB Index:-2.4%
  • Irish Ovrl Index:-1.3%
  • Greece ASE General Index: -3.0%

11:29 am Relative sector strength (:TECHX) : Sectors that have outperformed the S&P on a relative basis on the bounce attempt include: Housing XHB, Bank KBE, Reg Bank KRE, Restaurant, Transports IYT.

11:22 am S&P -21 holding at range mid-point (:TECHX) : As noted earlier the S&P was flirting with the mid-point of the Feb - April narrowing trade range at 2079. It set a fractional new session low at 11:05 of 2079 and has edged slightly off the low.

11:19 am Vivendi confirms that at the Shareholders' Meeting, held today with a quorum of 59% compared to 57.4% last year, approved by a majority vote all the ordinary resolutions 1 to 13 (VIVHY) : In particular, it approved the distribution of a 1 euro dividend to be paid on April 23, 2015, and appointed Tarak Ben Ammar and Dominique Delport as members of the Supervisory Board by respectively 97% and 94%.

  • Extraordinary resolutions 15 and 16, concerning authorization to the Management Board to increase the share capital of the company, were rejected since the positive votes of respectively 65.28% and 63.87% did not meet the two-thirds majority required. Extraordinary resolutions 14, and 17 to 20, were approved. 
  • Resolution A, concerning the non-application of double voting rights for registered shares held for more than two years, was rejected by 401.6 million votes. To be approved, the resolution should have obtained 803.2 million votes; however, it only obtained 402.5 million votes in its favor. The "Florange" law will therefore be applied to Vivendi.

11:17 am Currency Commentary: Dollar Offered (:SUMRX) :

  • The Dollar Index fell to its lowest levels of the week as it touched 97.00. The level is currently holding support with the 50 sma (96.92) sitting just below. 96.17 is the multi-week, post FOMC lows and will be a key level on radars. At the end of the day the dollar is trading in a consolidation area between 96-100. That looks like it will stay in play until there is greater clarity on the next Fed move.
  • The euro is running into some resistance at its 20-sma. The region continues to see the Greek situation take the top headlines. Today, the EU's top economic adviser Pierre Moscovici said that the mid-May finance ministers meeting was setting up as a key date for the negotiations. Neither side has stepped down from their positions and it appears that there may be some sort of finality on the horizon.
  • The pound is testing the 1.50 level for the first time since the March FOMC meeting. Sterling was able to hit 1.5054 which is also its 50-sma. 
  • The yen saw an early bid to 118.57 as there was some overnight risk off trade dominating. Yen hit that level but quickly gave up gains to slide back to 119.20. It is now trying to hold the 119 level for support (BONDX, FOREX).

11:04 am Floor Talk (:TALKX) : It has been a rough start to the day and a lot of causal factors are being cited for the abrupt turn in sentiment:

  • Chinese securities regulators working to curtail market speculation with a ban on margin financing for over-the-counter stocks and allowing the increased use of short-selling
  • Worries about a Greek debt default
  • The discombobulation of the German bund yielding just 0.05% and inching closer to a negative yield
  • A network outage for Bloomberg terminals in overnight action that restricted liquidity
  • A slight uptick in the year-over-year rate for core CPI (to 1.8% from 1.7%).  It's still below the Fed's inflation objective, but movement toward that objective has reawakened some rate-hike angst.
Today is an options expiration day and that has even reportedly been used as an excuse for the selling.

One item that isn't getting a lot of attention is the simple idea that global equity markets got ahead of themselves with their bullish enthusiasm that was disconnected from underlying fundamentals.  Markets in China, Japan, and the eurozone have skyrocketed in 2015, not on reports of economic strength but more so on policy stimulus expectations and momentum trading.

The U.S. market hasn't skyrocketed but it has certainly held up well when taking into account that earnings and economic growth estimates have been cut dramatically since the start of the year.  To wit, the S&P 500 was up 2.2% year-to-date entering Friday's trading even though the first quarter consensus EPS growth estimate had fallen to -3.3% from +5.6% on January 1, according to S&P Capital IQ.  Meanwhile, the Atlanta Fed's GDPNow forecasting model is now estimating first quarter real GDP growth at a scant 0.1% versus 2.0% at the start of February.

Headlines like those mentioned above have worked in unison to expose the extended nature of global equity markets and to drive some de-risking from the equity markets.  This could all turn around again come Monday, or even later today (after all, there hasn't been any change in monetary policy), yet the early selling in the U.S. today has a reality check factor to it that has prevented a breakout from the upper end of this year's trading ranges for thee major indices. 

10:35 am S&P -20 attempting to stabilize (:TECHX) : The S&P set a new low for the week and took out its 50 day sma but is attempting to stabilize after flirting with the mid-point of the narrowing Feb - April trade range at 2079 (session low 2080)

10:30 am TrovaGene announces that clinical data presented at the 2015 European Lung Cancer Conference demonstrate that its urine-based Precision Cancer Monitoring platform outperformed tissue biopsy for the detection and monitoring of EGFR T790M mutations in metastatic lung cancer patients (TROV) : In an interim analysis of 34 patients from an ongoing clinical study, Trovagene's PCM platform detected the T790M mutation in all patients who were positive for the mutation in tissue biopsy. The Company's urine-based assay identified additional patients as T790M-positive, including those who had clinical suspicion of T790M-progressive disease, but were either negative by tissue biopsy or had not yet undergone tissue biopsy for confirmation. Trovagene's PCM platform detected EGFR T790M resistance mutations months earlier than radiologic detection of progression in patients.

  • Early pharmacodynamic events occurring within hours or days of anti-EGFR drug treatment were evaluated in the study by implementing daily monitoring of urinary ctDNA. Initial results demonstrated that immediate changes in EGFR mutational load using a urine specimen may identify patients who respond to anti-EGFR therapy much earlier than with follow-up CT-scans. This new clinical utility of urinary ctDNA is being further validated in a larger patient cohort.

10:11 am Fidelity Southern increases quarterly dividend to $0.10/share from $0.09/share (LION) :  

10:08 am Anika Therapeutics reports on Cingal 13-01 study clinical trial top line data and announces the completion of Cingal 13-02 study's patient enrollment (ANIK) : The co announced the completion of enrollment in the Cingal 13-02 study, an open-label, follow-on study to the Cingal 13-01 study, to evaluate the safety of a repeat injection of cross-linked sodium hyaluronate combined with triamcinolone hexacetonide (Cingal) intended to provide symptomatic relief of osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee. A total of 242 subjects, all of whom participated in the Cingal 13-01 study, were enrolled and re-treated with an additional Cingal injection. Study results will be available mid-year, and they will be used to support labeling for repeat injections with Cingal. 

  • In the Cingal 13-01 study, Cingal met the primary endpoint by demonstrating superiority over saline for the change in WOMAC Pain Score over baseline levels through 12 weeks after treatment in the Intent to Treat (ITT) population (-40.2 mm vs. -31.0 mm, p=0.0099). The benefits proved long lasting as Cingal delivered a 72% improvement (-42.4 mm, p
  • Cingal also met all secondary endpoints relative to saline in the ITT analysis. Over 92.0% of Cingal subjects met the definition of OMERACT- OARSI Responders through 26 Weeks (p=0.01 vs. saline). Global Assessments (Patient and Evaluator) show the strong clinical benefit of Cingal through 26 weeks, with improvements over saline of 10.6 mm and 9.1 mm respectively (p

10:04 am New session low for S&P -20 and Nasdaq Comp -66 -- Dow -252 fractionally above its morning low (:TECHX) :  

10:04 am Biglari Holdings: Groveland Capital LLC comments on the final results from the 2015 annual meeting of shareholders (BH) : Goverland commented, "The 2015 Biglari Holdings election results has sent a strong message from many BH shareholders that the Company needs to chart a different course and improve its corporate governance. I'd like to thank all of the shareholders who thoughtfully considered the issues, and our plans for reform and positive change at Biglari Holdings."

10:01 am Stock indices drift back near, drifting just above early lows after data -- Dow -228, S&P -18, Nasdaq Comp -60 (:TECHX) :  

9:49 am Relative sector weakness (:TECHX) : Sectors that continue to weigh on the market have been led by: Software IGV (CRM, ADSK, ADBE, CTXS, MSFT, SAP, INTU), Social Media SOCL, Internet FDN, Semi XSD, Coal KOL, Retail XRT, Steel SLX, Biotech IBB, Defense PPA, Trucking, Ag/Chem MOO.

9:46 am S&P -20 continues to weaken, pulls back near its 50 day sma at 2084 (SPY) : Note that the mid-point of the narrowing Feb-April trade range is at 2079 with its 50 ema at 2077. 

9:43 am Major averages extend opening slump -- Dow -208, S&P -16, Nasdaq Comp -48 (:TECHX) :  

9:39 am Opening Market Summary: Cyclical Sectors Pace Opening Decline (:WRAPX) : As expected, the major averages began the day under pressure with the Russell 2000 (-0.8%) trading behind the S&P 500 (-0.5%).

Nine of ten sectors display early losses with heavily-weighted technology (-0.8%), consumer discretionary (-0.7%), financials (-0.7%), and energy (-0.7%) exerting pressure on the broader market. Meanwhile, countercyclical groups have fared a bit better with utilities trading little changed while consumer staples, health care, and telecom services display losses close to 0.4% apiece.

Elsewhere, Treasuries remain near their lows after sliding in reaction to today's CPI report (+0.2%; Briefing.com consensus +0.3%). The 10-yr yield is higher by a basis point at 1.90%.

March Leading Indicators (expected 0.3%) and the preliminary reading of the Michigan Sentiment Index for April (expected 94.0) will be released at 10:00 ET.

9:32 am New York Times announces that Meredith Kopit Levien has been promoted to the position of Chief Revenue Officer, effective immediately (NYT) : Kopit Levien, joined The New York Times Company in August 2013 as executive vice president of advertising.

9:30 am LiveDeal announces the initiation of an acquisition strategy to help continue its revenue growth (LIVE) : The company's new growth strategy is designed to target revenue positive acquisition companies, with the intent of expanding LiveDeal's presence beyond its current business lines of local restaurant deals and consumer and home products via its e-commerce platform. In addition, LiveDeal believes that based on a favorable debt financing climate, it will fund near-term acquisitions using this traditional methodology.

9:24 am Atwood Oceanics has entered into an amendment to its contract for its semisubmersible drilling unit, the Atwood Osprey (ATW) : As previously disclosed, the Atwood Osprey parted several mooring lines and drifted approximately three nautical miles from its original position during Cyclone Olwyn, which impacted the northwest coast of Australia on March 12, 2015. The duration of the force majeure event and resultant repairs necessitated by the damage incurred from the cyclone have triggered termination rights in relation to which the parties have agreed to a reduction in the term of the contract by one year with contractual rates remaining unchanged. It is expected that repairs for damage sustained by the rig and required regulatory approvals will be completed by April 30, 2015.

9:22 am Star Bulk Carriers announces that following the delivery of M/V Star Jennifer, it completed the acquisition of 34 vessels from Excel Maritime Carriers Ltd under the en bloc transaction (SBLK) : Pursuant to the completion of the Excel Vessel Fleet acquisition, the Company has currently 162,684,541 shares of common stock outstanding. In addition, the co announced it is expected to take delivery of twenty eight fuel-efficient vessels built at high quality shipyards in Japan and China, including twelve Newcastlemax, seven Capesize and nine Ultramax vessels with expected deliveries in 2015 and 2016.

9:19 am Prologis announces the issuance of EUR 300 mln in unsecured PEPF II Eurobonds (PLD) : The notes, due 2025 with a coupon rate of 1.876 percent, are guaranteed by PEPF II. Net proceeds from the issuance will be used for repayment of debt, asset acquisitions and general working capital requirements

9:15 am Urban Edge Properties announces that Herbert Eilberg has been appointed as Chief Investment Officer (UE) : Eilberg was previously Senior Vice President, Acquisitions at Acadia Realty Trust

9:10 am S&P futures vs fair value: -11.60. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: -33.60. (:WRAPX) : The stock market is on track for a modestly lower open as futures on the S&P 500 trade 12 points below fair value.

Overnight, a widespread outage took all Bloomberg Terminals offline, which prevented large investors around the globe from communicating with their peers. The outage was followed by a plunge in Hang Seng futures after China Regulatory Commission announced plans to ban margin financing for OTC trades while also increasing the number of shares available for short selling to 1,100.

In all likelihood, participants saw the big slide in Asia, with little news to account for the move at that time, and responded by reducing their risk exposure. Furthermore, S&P futures hit their lows around the time when access to Bloomberg Terminals was restored. Since then, futures have erased about a third of the original decline.

Meanwhile, European markets have pushed to new lows amid continued concerns surrounding Greece. According to reports, regional central banks have asked overseas units of Greek banks to divest their Greek sovereign debt holdings to avoid contagion in the event of a default in Greece. The request was reportedly backed by the European Central Bank.

Domestically, investors have received a modest batch of earnings with most companies beating on the bottom line; however, revenue growth and guidance have been mixed.

American Express
(AXP 78.90, -2.01) is on track to open lower by 2.5% after reporting a bottom-line beat on below-consensus revenue while General Electric (GE 27.40, +0.12) has added 0.3% in pre-market after its customary one-cent beat was coupled with below-consensus revenue.

On the economic front, CPI increased 0.2% for a second consecutive month in March while the Briefing.com consensus expected an increase of 0.3%.

March Leading Indicators (expected 0.3%) and the preliminary reading of the Michigan Sentiment Index for April (expected 94.0) will be released at 10:00 ET.  

Treasuries have surrendered their overnight gains with the 10-yr yield higher by a basis point at 1.90%.

9:04 am Synchrony Financial beats by $0.02 (SYF) : Reports Q1 (Mar) earnings of $0.66 per share, $0.02 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.64. 

  • Total platform revenue increased 5% from the first quarter of 2014 to $2.6 bln.
  • Loan receivables grew $4 bln, or 7%, from the first quarter of 2014 to $58 bln. 
  • Net interest margin declined 304 basis points to 15.79%.
  • Efficiency ratio increased to 32.2%. Period-end loan receivables growth remained strong at 7%.

9:04 am Manitowoc announces a favorable final determination in its Sany patent infringement lawsuit (MTW) : Co announced the US ITC has issued a favorable final determination in the patent infringement and trade secrets case filed by Manitowoc Cranes against Sany Heavy Industries and Sany America.

  • In its Final Determination, the ITC determined that at least one Sany crane product infringed one of Manitowoc's patents and that six trade secrets of Manitowoc were both protectable as trade secrets and misappropriated. As a result of these findings, the ITC has issued a limited exclusion order that prohibits importation by Sany of cranes that infringe one of Manitowoc's patents or that use any of six of Manitowoc's trade secrets for a period of ten years. 
  • The ITC also issued a cease and desist order that prohibits Sany America from importing, selling, marketing, advertising, or distributing cranes that were manufactured using any of the six Manitowoc trade secrets found to be misappropriated.

9:03 am Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacifico announces agreement for the acquisition of The Spanish Company DCA for $190.8 mln (PAC) : The co announced that, as the result of a competitive bidding process, it has been selected and has reached an agreement with the Spanish entity, Abertis Airports, S.A. for the acquisition of its 100% stake in Spanish company Desarrollo de Concesiones Aeroportuarias, S.L., for $190.8 mln. The Transaction is expected to close on Monday, April 20, 2015.

8:56 am S&P futures vs fair value: -9.30. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: -29.30. (:WRAPX) : The S&P 500 futures trade nine points below fair value.

It was a weak showing for most markets in the Asia-Pacific region on Friday, with the notable exception of one market. China's Shanghai Composite bucked the regional trend and increased another 2.2%. For the week, the Shanghai Composite was up 6.3% with policy stimulus speculation feeding the move.

  • In economic data: 
    • Japan's March Household Confidence rose to 41.7 from 40.9 (expected 41.4) 
    • Singapore's March Trade surplus expanded to SGD8.63 billion from SGD5.18 billion (expected SGD 5.63 billion) 
------
  • Japan's Nikkei declined 1.2% and closed near its low for the day in what was a steady and broad-based sell-off. The consumer non-cyclical (-1.3%), industrial (-1.2%), and consumer cyclical (-1.1%) sectors paced the retreat. Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings (-9.2%), Alps Electric Co (-6.1%), J Front Retailing (-5.9%), Sharp Corp (-5.8%, and Taiyo Yuden (-5.7%) were the biggest decliners. Out of the 225 index members, 72 ended higher, 145 finished lower, and 8 were unchanged. For the week, the Nikkei was down 1.3%. 
  • Hong Kong's Hang Seng sported modest gains for most of the session, but coughed them up in a late-day slide that left it down 0.3% for the session. The basic materials (-1.3%) and utilities (-1.3%) sectors were the weakest areas and the influential financial sector fell 0.2%. Bank of China (-2.5%), China Construction Bank (-2.4%), and China Resources Power Holdings (-2.4%) topped the list of decliners while China Overseas Land & Investment (+2.7%), AIA Group (+2.2%), and China Mobile (+2.1%) led advancing issues. Out of the 50 index members, 17 ended higher, 29 finished lower, and 4 were unchanged. For the week, the Hang Seng was up 1.4%. 
  • China's Shanghai Composite increased another 2.2%, paced by a strong showing from the energy (+4.5%) and industrial (+3.0%) sectors. Real estate development company Beijing North Star (+10.1%), train maker China CNR Corp (+10.0%), and shipbuilding company China Shipbuilding Industry (+10.0%) were among the stocks that increased by the daily maximum allowable. For the week, the Shanghai Composite increased 6.3%. 
Major European indices trade lower across the board with Germany's DAX (-1.9%) showing the largest decline. Overseas units of Greek banks have been asked to divest their Greek sovereign debt holdings to avoid contagion in the event of a default in Greece. The request was reportedly issued by various central banks with backing from the European Central Bank.
  • Economic data was limited: 
    • Eurozone March CPI +1.1% month-over-month; -0.1% year-over-year. Both figures matched expectations. Core CPI +0.6% year-over-year, as expected. Separately, Current Account surplus narrowed to EUR26.40 billion from EUR30.40 billion (expected surplus of EUR29.40 billion) 
    • UK's February Average Earnings Index + Bonus +1.7% (expected 1.8%; prior 1.9%) while Claimant Count fell 20,700 (expected -29,500; prior -29,100) 
    • Swiss Retail Sales -2.7% year-over-year (consensus 0.7%; last -0.3%) 
------
  • UK's FTSE is lower by 1.0% with all but four names in the red. Consumer names and miners are among the weakest performers with Tesco, InterContinental Hotels, Anglo American, and Antofagasta down between 1.6% and 2.5%. 
  • In France, the CAC trades down 1.3% amid broad weakness. Financials BNP Paribas and Credit Agricole have both given up close to 2.3%. Hotel operator Accor is the only advancer, up 0.5%. 
  • Germany's DAX has given up 1.9% with all 30 names trading in the red. Financials Commerzbank and Deutsche Bank sit at the bottom of the barrel with losses close to 2.7% apiece. Utility provider E.On outperforms with a slim loss of 0.1%, but industry peer RWE has tumbled 2.3%.

8:56 am Bristol-Myers announces that its CheckMate -057, a Pivotal Phase III Opdivo (nivolumab) lung cancer trial was stopped early after Opdivo demonstrated superior overall survival compared to Docetaxel in patients with previously-treated non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer (BMY) : The co announced that an open-label, randomized Phase III study evaluating Opdivo (nivolumab) versus docetaxel in previously treated patients with advanced non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer (:NSCLC) was stopped early because an assessment conducted by the independent Data Monitoring Committee (:DMC) concluded that the study met its endpoint, demonstrating superior overall survival in patients receiving Opdivo compared to the control arm. The company looks forward to sharing these data with health authorities soon.

  • CheckMate -057 investigators are being informed of the decision to stop the comparative portion of the trial. Bristol-Myers Squibb is working to ensure that eligible patients will be informed of the opportunity to continue or start treatment with Opdivo in an open-label extension as part of the company's commitment to providing patient access to Opdivo, and characterizing long-term survival. The company will complete a full evaluation of the final CheckMate -057 data and work with investigators on the future presentation and publication of the results.

8:50 am Gapping down (:SCANX) : Gapping down
In reaction to disappointing earnings/guidance
: PRO -15.4%, AMD -10.5%, NOW -9.3%, STRM -9.3%, MTW -5.8%, TC -4.5%, AXP -1.8%, CCK -1.2%, HON -0.6%, DB -2.9%, ING -2.6%, SAN -2.5%, BBVA -2.1%

Other news: ATHX -52.2% (interim results from its MultiStem study in which the therapy failed to meet primary or secondary endpoints), DSCO -21.7% (completes enrollment of AEROSURF Phase 2a Clinical Trial and restructures its business to focus on development of AEROSURF and Aerosolized KL4 Surfactant pipeline ), MNGA -7.1% (provides statement regarding accident at its Tarpon Springs, Florida facility), WPCS -5.2% (following a Special Meeting the Board determined it was in the best interests of the Company to effect a reverse split of the issued and outstanding common stock at a ratio of 1-for-22), AKBA -5.2% (prices 7,272,727 shares of common stock at $8.25 per share), SNE -4.8% (following NPD data), TC -4.5% (reported Q1 total concentrate production for Mount Milligan was 30.3 thousand dry tonnes, with 15.4 mln pounds of payable copper and 46.k ounces of payable gold), WUBA -4.5% (acquires strategic stake in Ganji.com and announces additional investment by Tencent (TCEHY)), ASND -3.5% ( discloses that its collaboration partner, Sanofi (SNY) has decided to cease development of TransCon Insulin ), PTX -1.7% (priced its private offering of $130 mln aggregate principal amount of the Company's 4.25% Convertible Senior Notes due 2021 ), PBR -1.6% (announces that its oil and natural gas output in Brazil), QGEN -1.5% (still checking), WYNN -1.5% (Steve Wynn responds to recent press release by Elaine Wynn)

Analyst comments: MT -3.7% (downgraded to Underperform from Neutral at Exane BNP Paribas), HAIN -3.5% (downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Longbow ), ZUMZ -2.5% (downgraded to Neutral from Buy at B. Riley & Co), FLS -1.4% (downgraded to Perform from Outperform at Oppenheimer), LION -1.2% (downgraded to Mkt Perform from Outperform at Keefe Bruyette), FUL -1.1% (downgraded to Equal-Weight from Overweight at First Analysis Sec), RGA -1% (downgraded to Mkt Perform from Outperform at Raymond James), TRV -0.8% (downgraded to Equal Weight from Overweight)

8:44 am European Markets Update: FTSE -0.9%, CAC -1.4%, DAX -2.0% (:SUMRX) : Major European indices trade lower across the board with Germany's DAX (-2.0%) showing the largest decline. Overseas units of Greek banks have been asked to divest their Greek sovereign debt holdings to avoid contagion in the event of a default in Greece. The request was reportedly issued by various central banks with backing from the European Central Bank.

  • Economic data was limited: 
    • Eurozone March CPI +1.1% month-over-month; -0.1% year-over-year. Both figures matched expectations. Core CPI +0.6% year-over-year, as expected. Separately, Current Account surplus narrowed to EUR26.40 billion from EUR30.40 billion (expected surplus of EUR29.40 billion) 
    • UK's February Average Earnings Index + Bonus +1.7% (expected 1.8%; prior 1.9%) while Claimant Count fell 20,700 (expected -29,500; prior -29,100) 
    • Swiss Retail Sales -2.7% year-over-year (consensus 0.7%; last -0.3%) 
------
  • UK's FTSE is lower by 0.9% with all but four names in the red. Consumer names and miners are among the weakest performers with Tesco, InterContinental Hotels, Anglo American, and Antofagasta down between 1.6% and 2.5%. 
  • In France, the CAC trades down 1.4% amid broad weakness. Financials BNP Paribas and Credit Agricole have both given up close to 2.3%. Hotel operator Accor is the only advancer, up 0.5%. 
  • Germany's DAX has given up 2.0% with all 30 names trading in the red. Financials Commerzbank and Deutsche Bank sit at the bottom of the barrel with losses close to 2.7% apiece. Utility provider E.On outperforms with a slim loss of 0.1%, but industry peer RWE has tumbled 2.3%.

8:41 am Greif announces that its Board has formed a special committee to provide strategic input on the company's ongoing transformation initiative (GEF) : Board member and former Global CEO of DHL Supply Chain Bruce A. Edwards will chair the committee. The other board members serving on the committee are Vicki L. Avril, former CEO and President of TMK IPSCO; Mark A. Emkes, former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Bridgestone Americas and Bridgestone Americas Holdings; John F. Finn, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Gardner Inc.; and Patrick J. Norton, former Executive Vice President and CFO, The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company.

8:31 am S&P futures vs fair value: -10.40. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: -29.80. (:WRAPX) : The S&P 500 futures trade ten points below fair value.

Total CPI rose 0.2% (Briefing.com consensus +0.3%) in March while Core CPI, which excludes food and energy, also rose 0.2% (Briefing.com consensus +0.1%). On a year-over-year basis, total CPI is down 0.1% and core CPI is up 1.8%.

8:31 am Surgical Care Affiliates: Tom De Weerdt will join SCA as EVP and CFO (SCAI) : Tom De Weerdt will join SCA as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, effective May 19, 2015. Mr. De Weerdt currently serves as Corporate Controller of Mead Johnson Nutrition (MJN), prior to which he held multiple leadership roles at Whirlpool (WHR).

  • Pete Clemens, SCA's current Chief Financial Officer, announced his planned retirement earlier this year and will continue to serve SCA as Senior Advisor.

8:31 am Market View: Jun. stock-index futures remain below fair values following the 8:30 am ET Mar. CPI reading (:TECHX) :

  • ESm5 now trades @ 2088.00 -12.75

  • YMm5 now trades @ 17914 -127

  • NQm5 now trades @ 4381.75 -33.50

8:31 am A.M. Castle announces the Board of Directors appointed Steven Scheinkman to the position of President and Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately (CAS) : Scheinkman was added to A. M. Castle's Board of Directors earlier this month and he is the former President and CEOr of Transtar Metals, which A. M. Castle acquired in late 2006.

8:31 am Raytheon has been awarded a contract worth over $2 bln to deliver the combat-proven Patriot Air and Missile Defense System to an undisclosed international customer (RTN) : The contract, awarded on April 2, 2015 and booked in the second quarter as a direct commercial sale, includes fully digitized new-production Patriot fire units with the latest technology for improved threat detection, identification and engagement. The contract also includes a full training package and support equipment. 

  • "Including this most recent contract, Raytheon has booked more than $5 billion in international Patriot orders since late December 2014."

8:30 am Mobile Mini Announces the strategic divestiture of its North American wood mobile office fleet for $92 mln in cash and authorizes an increase in its share repurchase program to $175 mln (MINI) : Mobile Mini's North American wood mobile office fleet generated approximately $46 million in revenue and $14 million in adjusted EBITDA for 2014, and has a current net book value of approximately $158 million.

  • Due to shared costs and infrastructure, the Company estimates the divestiture would have resulted in an approximately $19 million reduction in 2014 adjusted EBITDA, had it occurred prior to the beginning of that year. 
  • Following the divestiture, Mobile Mini expects to incur approximately $2 million of costs related to exiting the wood mobile office business, and further expects the transaction, excluding the loss upon sale of the fleet, to be modestly dilutive to net income and earnings per share for the balance of 2015. 
  • The companies expect to close the transaction by mid-May 2015

8:30 am Fed Investors finalizes arrangement with Reich & Tang Asset Management to transition ~$7 bln in money market fund shareholder assets (FII) :

  • Co announced that they have reached a definitive agreement for Federated to transition shareholder assets from Reich & Tang's money market funds. 
  • In connection with the transition, ~$7 bln in shareholder accounts from six Reich & Tang money market funds will be transitioned into Federated strategies.

8:29 am ZBB Energy confirms intention to enter into a supply agreement with Solar Power (SOPW) for energy storage systems with total combined power output of 40 megawatts over a period of four years (ZBB) :  

8:10 am United Stationers appoints Timothy Connolly to COO and Janet Zelenka to Chief Information Officer, effective immediately (USTR) : Connolly was most recently the company's president, business transformation and supply chain.  Zelenka joined the company in 2006 as vice president and general auditor

8:02 am Seagate Tech beats by $0.04, misses on revs (STX) : Reports Q3 (Mar) earnings of $1.08 per share, $0.04 better than the Capital IQ Consensus of $1.04; revenues fell 2.2% year/year to $3.33 bln vs the $3.42 bln consensus; gross margin 28.9%.

  • "Near-term macro uncertainty is affecting certain areas of our addressable market however we remain optimistic that market demand for exabytes of storage will continue to increase over the long-term."

8:02 am Solar Power announces entrance into a strategic partnership with ZBB Energy Corporation (ZBB) (SOPW) : As part of the proposed strategic partnership, the parties have executed today a Securities Purchase Agreement (SPA) valued at $33.4 million, consisting of a combination of newly issued common stock and convertible preferred stock of ZBB.

  • Under the terms of the SPA, SPI will purchase 8 mln shares of ZBB common stock for approximately $5.4 million at a price per share of $0.6678 and 28,048 shares of ZBB Series C Convertible Preferred Stock for approximately $28.0 million. 
  • The SPA also contemplates that ZBB will issue to SPI a warrant to purchase 50,000,000 shares of ZBB common stock for an aggregate purchase price of $36.7 million and a per share exercise price equal to $0.7346. 
  • In addition, the proposed strategic partnership includes a supply agreement pursuant to which ZBB will supply SPI with energy storage systems with total combined power output of 40 megawatts over a period of four years. The parties intend to enter into the supply agreement upon closing of the SPA.

8:01 am Hudson City Banc and M&T Bank (MTB) have agreed to extend the date after which either party may elect to terminate their Agreement and Plan of Merger from April 30, 2015 to October 31, 2015 (HCBK) : The extension, which has been approved by both the Hudson City and M&T (MTB) Boards of Directors, will provide additional time to obtain a regulatory determination on the applications necessary to complete the proposed merger.

  • Hudson City and M&T have been advised by the Federal Reserve Board that it intends to act on the merger application no later than September 30, 2015. 

8:01 am Sungy Mobile announces the resignation of COO Yingming Chang, effective April 17, 2015 to pursue entrepreneurial endeavors (GOMO) :  

8:00 am Tempur Sealy Int'l: H Partners sends letter to Tempur Sealy shareholders urges shareholders to vote the BLUE proxy card (TPX) :

  • "Tempur Sealy possesses all the components of a successful company: industry-leading products, iconic brands that have stood the test of time, and a talented team of dedicated employees. However, despite these positive attributes, we believe the Co's stock is significantly undervalued due to mismanagement by an entrenched and misaligned Board. Shockingly, over the past three years, the Board has paid the CEO $18 mln to oversee a $1.6 bln loss in equity value and 140% underperformance versus the Co's peers. Shareholders must now hold management and the Board accountable for their poor performance, and compel the Board to implement meaningful change." 
  • "Send a clear message to the Board that shareholders demand immediate leadership changes by voting the BLUE proxy card "AGAINST" directors Christopher A. Masto, P. Andrews McLane and Mark Sarvary." 

8:00 am Ares Management announces that a fund managed by its commercial finance platform has signed a definitive agreement to acquire the asset-based lending portfolio of First Capital Holdings (ARES) : Co announced that a fund managed by its commercial finance platform has signed a definitive agreement to acquire the asset-based lending portfolio of First Capital Holdings, Inc., a commercial finance company that provides asset-based loans and factoring to small and middle-market companies. The transaction is expected to close during the second quarter. The fund intends to fund the acquisition with a combination of debt and equity. With this transaction, the Ares Commercial Finance platform will have approximately $700 million of loan commitments.

8:00 am General Moly announces strategic partnership with AMER International Group to become a major shareholder (GMO) : Co announces what it calls a significant Investment and Security Purchase Agreement with AMER International, a private, Chinese-based multinational company that is one of the world's largest advanced materials, fine machining, and downstream metals refining providers. The agreement will also create a strategic partnership and equity investment to assist with General Moly's ability to secure full project financing for the Mt. Hope Project.

  • AMER entered into a private placement for 40 million shares of General Moly at $0.50 per share on April 17, 2015, the date the investment agreement was signed. General Moly anticipates the shares for this equity investment to be issued following approval of stockholders. In addition, AMER and General Moly will enter into a stockholder agreement allowing AMER to nominate directors. 
  • AMER has agreed to work with General Moly to procure and support a senior secured term loan of approximately $700 million from a major Chinese bank or banks for development of the Mt. Hope Project. AMER will guarantee the Bank Loan.
  • AMER and General Moly agreed on substantial terms of a definitive agreement that would provide a one-time option exercisable simultaneously with Bank Loan execution to purchase the balance of General Moly's share of Mt. Hope molybdenum production, estimated to be approximately 16.5 million pounds annually, for the first five years of production, and 70% of General Moly's annual share of Mt. Hope molybdenum production thereafter. 

7:55 am S&P futures vs fair value: -10.80. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: -34.10. (:WRAPX) : U.S. equity futures trade near their pre-market lows amid defensive action overseas. The S&P 500 futures hover eleven points below fair value after sliding to lows after the start of the European session. However, the source of the weakness appears to have originated from Asia with China Securities Regulatory Commission announcing plans to ban margin financing for over-the-counter trades. In a related move, China is expected to increase the number of stocks available for short selling to more than a 1,000.

Furthermore, continued concerns about a potential Greek default have added to the overnight weakness. As a result, Germany's 10-yr bund yield has dropped three basis points to 0.06% while the U.S. 10-yr yield has slid three basis points to 1.86%.

March CPI (Briefing.com consensus 0.3%) will be reported at 8:30 ET while March Leading Indicators (expected 0.3%) and the preliminary reading of the Michigan Sentiment Index for April (expected 94.0) will be released at 10:00 ET.

In U.S. corporate news of note:

  • American Express (AXP 79.10, -1.81): -2.2% after reporting a bottom-line beat on below-consensus revenue 
  • General Electric (GE 27.05, -0.23): -0.8% in reaction to its one-cent beat on light revenue. 
  • Honeywell (HON 102.70, -1.22): -1.2% after below-consensus revenue and lowered revenue guidance overshadowed better than expected earnings. 
  • Mattel (MAT 26.55, +1.28): +5.1% following its one-cent beat. 
  • Reynolds American (RAI 74.80, +0.56): +0.8% after beating estimates. 
  • Schlumberger (SLB 93.89, +2.00): +2.2% after beating earnings estimates and reducing its workforce by about 11,000. 
Reviewing overnight developments:
  • Asian markets ended mostly lower. Hong Kong's Hang Seng -0.3%, Japan's Nikkei -1.2%, and China's Shanghai Composite +2.2%. 
    • In economic data: 
      • Japan's March Household Confidence rose to 41.7 from 40.9 (expected 41.4) 
      • Singapore's March Trade surplus expanded to SGD8.63 billion from SGD5.18 billion (expected SGD 5.63 billion) 
    • In news: 
      • Hang Seng futures fell more than 4.0% after the close in reaction to the aforementioned regulatory changes
  • Major European indices trade lower across the board. UK's FTSE -0.9%, France's CAC -1.5%, and Germany's DAX -2.0%. Elsewhere, Spain's IBEX -2.0% and Italy's MIB -2.1%.
    • Economic data was limited: 
      • Eurozone March CPI +1.1% month-over-month; -0.1% year-over-year. Both figures matched expectations. Core CPI +0.6% year-over-year, as expected. Separately, Current Account surplus narrowed to EUR26.40 billion from EUR30.40 billion (expected surplus of EUR29.40 billion) 
      • UK's February Average Earnings Index + Bonus +1.7% (expected 1.8%; prior 1.9%) while Claimant Count fell 20,700 (expected -29,500; prior -29,100) 
      • Swiss Retail Sales -2.7% year-over-year (consensus 0.7%; last -0.3%) 
    • Among news of note: 
      • Overseas units of Greek banks have been asked to divest their Greek sovereign debt holdings to avoid contagion in the event of a default in Greece.

7:51 am RXi Pharma confirms its receives Orphan Drug Designation for Samcyprone from the FDA to treat malignant melanoma (RXII) :  

7:44 am OCI Resources announces an increase in its quarterly distribution to $0.538/share from $0.5315/share (OCIR) :  

7:36 am Ariad Pharm announces updated clinical data on Brigatinib to treate ALK+ non-small cell lung cancer (ARIA) : The data presented at ELCC focused on the 98 patients treated at doses of 90 mg/day, 90 mg/day for 1 week followed by escalation to 180 mg/day, and 180 mg/day in the Phase 2 portion of the trial. All patients receiving these doses were evaluated for safety, and patients with ALK+ NSCLC were evaluated for efficacy.

  • The most common adverse events of any grade, regardless of treatment relationship, were nausea, diarrhea, and fatigue and were similar in incidence across all three dose-cohorts. 
    • At 90 mg/day: nausea (44%), headache (44%), diarrhea (39%), fatigue (39%), cough (39%), and increased amylase (33%) 
    • At 90 mg to 180 mg/day: diarrhea (44%), nausea (41%), fatigue (38%), headache (28%), cough (28%), and increased amylase (28%) 
    • At 180 mg/day: nausea (63%), diarrhea (38%), fatigue (31%), headache (31%), cough (25%), and increased amylase (15%) 
  • Serious AEs, regardless of treatment relationship, occurring in 4% or more patients, were dyspnea, hypoxia, and pneumonia, as follows: 
    • At 90 mg/day: dyspnea (1 patient, 6%), hypoxia (2 patients, 11%), and pneumonia (2 patients, 11%) 
    • At 90 mg to 180 mg/day: dyspnea (2 patients, 6%), hypoxia (1 patient, 3%), and pneumonia (1 patient, 3%) 
    • At 180 mg/day: dyspnea (2 patients, 4%), hypoxia (2 patients, 4%), and pneumonia (2 patients, 4%) 
    • Objective response rate among the 14 evaluable ALK+ NSCLC patients dosed at 90 mg/day was 79% 
  • A separate, pivotal global Phase 2 trial of brigatinib in patients with locally advanced or metastatic ALK+ NSCLC who have progressed on crizotinib continues to enroll patients. The ALTA trial is designed to determine the safety and efficacy of AP26113 in refractory ALK+ NSCLC patients. The trial will enroll approximately 220 patients including those with brain metastasis

7:33 am Incyte announces that eleven abstracts detailing its emerging development pipeline will be presented at the 2015 American Association for Cancer Research (:AACR) Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, PA (INCY) : These abstracts include characterizations of Incyte's FGFR, BRD and PIM inhibitors as potential targeted therapies for cancer, as well as data supporting the potential immuno-therapeutic activity of the company's portfolio of JAK and PI3Kd inhibitors alone and in combination, including with epacadostat, Incyte's leading IDO1 inhibitor.

  • The Company also provided an updated presentation of its clinical portfolio, which now includes INCB54828, a potent and selective FGFR inhibitor and INCB50465, a PI3Kd inhibitor, which entered clinical trials in Q1 2015 for solid tumors and B-lymphoid malignancies. INCB54329, a bromodomain inhibitor, is expected to enter clinical trials in Q2 2015 in hematology oncology. Additional first-line pancreatic cancer patients are being recruited into the expansion cohort of JAK1-selective inhibitor INCB39110 in combination with gemcitabine and nab-paclitaxel to continue the dose optimization phase of this proof-of-concept trial. Incyte therefore no longer expects to initiate a pivotal trial of INCB39110 in first-line pancreatic cancer during 2015.

7:24 am First Horizon reports EPS in-line, beats on revs (FHN) : Reports Q1 (Mar) earnings of $0.18 per share, excluding mortgage loan settlement, in-line with the Capital IQ Consensus of $0.18; revenues fell 3.9% year/year to $286.6 mln vs the $280.26 mln consensus. 

  • Co saw solid loan and deposit growth at its First Tennessee regional bank, a rebound at its FTN Financial capital markets group and a settlement of a key issue related to the mortgage business the company sold in 2008. Capital levels remain very strong at First Horizon, and the company continued to smartly deploy capital through loan growth, share buybacks and dividend payments during the quarter.

7:15 am On the Wires (:WIRES) :

  • Prospect Capital Corporation (PSEC) announced that it has provided USG Intermediate with $48.5 million of first lien, floating-rate debt commitments comprised of term loans and a revolving credit facility.
  • Sigma-Aldrich Corporation (SIAL) announced the opening of its Asia Pacific headquarters and Cell Culture Technical Center in the Biopolis Research Park, in Singapore.
  • Ritchie Bros. (RBA) announced it sold more than $57 million of equipment and trucks at its unreserved public auction in Houston, Texas on April 15 -- 16, 2015
  • Medtronics (MDT) announced that two global trials published online in The New England Journal of Medicine (:NEJM) and presented at the European Stroke Organisation Conference found that the addition of the Solitaire device stent thrombectomy procedure to current pharmaceutical treatment significantly reduced disability in patients suffering stroke. The trials confirmed the findings of three previous trials also published in NEJM
  • CyrusOne (CONE) announced the availability of a complimentary case study featuring its data center solution for SmartVault, a provider of cloud-based online document storage and file-sharing services for tax preparation and accounting firms

7:07 am Honeywell beats by $0.02, misses on revs; raises low end of FY15 EPS; lowers rev guidance (HON) : Reports Q1 (Mar) earnings of $1.41 per share, $0.02 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $1.39; revenues fell 4.8% year/year to $9.21 bln vs the $9.5 bln consensus.

  • Aerospace sales -6% profit +7%... Automation and COntrol Systems sales -3% profit +10%... Performance Materials and Tech. sales -5% profit +6%.
Co issues guidance for FY15, raises EPS to $6.00-6.15 from $5.95-6.15 vs. $6.09 Capital IQ Consensus; lowers FY15 revs to down 2-3% to $39.0-39.6 bln from $40.5-41.1 bln (organic +3% from +5%) vs. $40.52 bln Capital IQ Consensus. 

"Each of our businesses grew on a core organic basis and generated significant margin improvement in the first quarter as a result of new product introductions, High Growth Region performance, other commercial excellence and prudent cost management."

7:05 am Reynolds American beats by $0.06, beats on revs; reaffirms FY15 EPS guidance (RAI) : Reports Q1 (Mar) adj earnings of $0.86 per share, $0.06 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.80; revenues rose 6.3% year/year to $2.06 bln vs the $1.98 bln consensus.

  • Co reaffirms guidance for FY15, sees EPS of $3.65-3.80 vs. $3.83 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate. 
  • RJR Tobacco's first-quarter adjusted operating income increased 16.3 percent from the prior-year quarter, to $645 million, benefitting from higher cigarette pricing and the completion of the federal tobacco-quota buyout.

7:01 am Novogen announces it signs an MOU with the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research to collaborate on developing treatments for brain cancers (NVGN) : At the heart of the collaboration is the co's super-benzopyran drug technology platform. The three key areas of research will be:

  • the development of lead SBP drug candidate, TRXE-009, as a treatment of both primary and secondary brain cancer in adults and children, including glioblastoma and medulloblastoma 
  • the potential ability of the SBP technology to deliver an entirely novel approach to chemotherapy by converting cancer stem cells into stem cells displaying normal stem cell behaviour 
  • and the development of drug candidates as radio-sensitizers designed to augment the effectiveness of radiotherapy in treating brain cancers.

7:01 am Horizon Pharma announces it received a Notice of Allowance from the USPTO for the U.S. patent application that covers Horizon's U.S. approved product PENNSAID 2% w/w (HZNP) : This Notice of Allowance concludes the substantive examination of the patent application and will result in the issuance of a U.S. patent after administrative processes are completed. The U.S. patent scheduled to issue from this application will expire in 2027. After issuance, Horizon plans to list the patent in the FDA's Approved Drug Products with Therapeutic Equivalence Evaluations, or Orange Book. This will be the eighth U.S. patent to be listed in the Orange Book for PENNSAID 2%.

7:00 am Pernix Therapeutics priced its private offering of $130 mln aggregate principal amount of the Company's 4.25% Convertible Senior Notes due 2021 (PTX) :  

7:00 am CAMAC Energy Announces it will change name to Erin Energy Corporation; announces a 1:6 reverse stock split (CAK) : Co stock split will be effective as of 5:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday, April 22, 2015

6:57 am Asian Markets Close: Japan's Nikkei -1.2%; Hong Kong's Hang Seng -0.3%; China's Shanghai Composite +2.2% (:SUMRX) : It was a weak showing for most markets in the Asia-Pacific region on Friday, with the notable exception of one market. China's Shanghai Composite bucked the regional trend and increased another 2.2%. For the week, the Shanghai Composite was up 6.3% with policy stimulus speculation feeding the move.

Economic data

  • Japan
    • March Household Confidence 41.7 (expected 41.4; prior 40.9)
  • Singapore
    • March Trade Balance SGD 8.63 bln (expected SGD 5.63 bln; prior SGD 5.18 bln)
      • Non-Oil Exports +23.0% month-over-month (expected 3.5%; prior -9.4%); +18.5% year-over-year (expected -0.7%; prior -9.7%)
Equity Markets
  • Japan's Nikkei declined 1.2% and closed near its low for the day in what was a steady and broad-based sell-off. The consumer non-cyclical (-1.3%), industrial (-1.2%), and consumer cyclical (-1.1%) sectors paced the retreat. Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings (-9.2%), Alps Electric Co (-6.1%), J Front Retailing (-5.9%), Sharp Corp (-5.8%, and Taiyo Yuden (-5.7%) were the biggest decliners. Out of the 225 index members, 72 ended higher, 145 finished lower, and 8 were unchanged. For the week, the Nikkei was down 1.3%.
  • Hong Kong's Hang Seng sported modest gains for most of the session, but coughed them up in a late-day slide that left it down 0.3% for the session. The basic materials (-1.3%) and utilities (-1.3%) sectors were the weakest areas and the influential financial sector fell 0.2%. Bank of China (-2.5%), China Construction Bank (-2.4%), and China Resources Power Holdings (-2.4%) topped the list of decliners while China Overseas Land & Investment (+2.7%), AIA Group (+2.2%), and China Mobile (+2.1%) led advancing issues. Out of the 50 index members, 17 ended higher, 29 finished lower, and 4 were unchanged. For the week, the Hang Seng was up 1.4%.
  • China's Shanghai Composite increased another 2.2%, paced by a strong showing from the energy (+4.5%) and industrial (+3.0%) sectors. Real estate development company Beijing North Star (+10.1%), train maker China CNR Corp (+10.0%), and shipbuilding company China Shipbuilding Industry (+10.0%) were among the stocks that increased by the daily maximum allowable. For the week, the Shanghai Composite increased 6.3%.
  • India's Sensex declined 0.8% and ended near its lows for the session. Losses in the communications (-2.9%), technology (-2.6%), consumer non-cyclical (-1.1%), and financial (-0.9%) sectors weighed on the proceedings. Sun Pharmaceutical (-4.6%), Tata Consultancy Services (-4.2%), and Axis Bank (-3.1%) were the biggest individual decliners while Sesa Sterlite (+3.5%), Tata Steel (+2.5%), and Hindalco Industries (+1.9%) topped the list of winners. For the week, the Sensex was down 1.5%.
  • Australia's S&P/ASX 200 declined 1.2% and also finished near its low for the day. The gold (-2.0%), REIT (-1.9%), and consumer discretionary (-1.6%) sectors were the weakest areas in Friday's trading. For the week, the S&P/ASX 200 declined 1.5%.
  • Regional advancers: South Korea +0.2%, Vietnam +0.01%
  • Regional decliners: Taiwan -0.9%, Singapore -0.2%, Malaysia -0.1%, Thailand -0.2%, Indonesia -0.2%, Philippines -0.02%
FX
  • USD/CNY unch at 6.1966
  • USD/INR +0.02% at 62.346
  • USD/JPY -0.3% at 118.66

6:52 am Rolls Royce PLC announced its largest ever award from Emirates, worth $9.2 bln (RYCEY) : The award of $9.2bn is to provide Trent 900 engines and TotalCare service support to Emirates. The engines will power 50 Airbus A380 aircraft that will enter service from 2016. The order announced today will result in an increase in the Group's order book of $6.1bn, in accordance with Group accounting policy

6:46 am Comerica also reaffirms FY15 guidance (CMA) :

  • Average full-year loan growth consistent with 2014, reflecting typical seasonality throughout the year and continued focus on pricing and structure discipline. 
  • Net interest income relatively stable, assuming no rise in interest rates, reflecting a decrease of about $30 million in purchase accounting accretion, to about $6 million, and the impact of a continuing low rate environment on asset yields, offset by earning asset growth. 
  • Provision for credit losses higher, consistent with modest net charge-offs and continued loan growth. 
  • Noninterest income relatively stable, excluding the impact of the change in accounting presentation for a card program.

6:43 am Comerica reports EPS in-line, revs in-line; reaffirms FY15 guidance (CMA) : Reports Q1 (Mar) earnings of $0.73 per share, in-line with the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.73; adj. net interest income and non interest income rose 1.1% year/year to $625 mln vs the $626.04 mln consensus. 

  • "Average loans were up $3.1 billion, or 7 percent, compared to a year ago. Relative to the fourth quarter, average loans grew $790 million, or 2 percent, with growth across all of our markets. Average loans in our Energy business line increased about $200 million, peaking in February, then declining as customers adjusted their cash flow needs and were able to access the capital markets. Average loan growth was also driven by increases in Technology and Life Sciences, National Dealer Services, general Middle Market and Small Business."

6:39 am General Electric beats by $0.01, misses on revs; reaffirms FY15 industrial earnings (GE) : Reports Q1 (Mar) earnings of $0.31 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.01 better than the Capital IQ Consensus of $0.30; revenues fell 3.1% year/year to $33.1 bln vs the $34.32 bln consensus.

  • Industrial segment revenue $24.4 billion, -1%, +3% organic; FX impact of ~$(950) million
    • Industrial segment profit +9%, with 5 of 7 segments growing earnings 
    • Industrial segment growth market revenue +6%, strength in Middle East, Latin America, Africa, China, India
  • Oil & Gas revenue flat and operating profit +11%, on organic basis.
  • Record backlog of $263 billion +7% vs. 1Q'14 GE Capital ENI (ex. liquidity) at $303 billion, -19% vs. 1Q'14
Co reaffirms FY15 Industrial operating EPS $1.10-1.20 plus ~$0.15 from retained GE Capital businesses
  • Industrial operating EPS up double digits + Segment organic growth of 2-5% & margin expansion; $10 -30 bln returned to investors.

6:30 am Oncolytics Biotech confirms its receipt of Orphan Drug Designation from the FDA for REOLYSIN (ONCY) : Co applied for an ODD for pediatric high grade gliomas, however the FDA granted an ODD for the broader indication of malignant glioma in patients of all ages

6:28 am Bank of East Asia signs strategic co-operation agreement with WeBank (BKEAY.PK) : The Bank of East Asia announces that it has entered into a strategic co-operation agreement with WeBank, a privately owned bank in Qianhai, Shenzhen established by its founding shareholders including Tencent (TCEHY), Baiyeyuan Investment, and Liye Group.

  • In accordance with the Strategic Agreement, BEA China and WeBank agree to fully explore their respective competitive advantages for mutually beneficial business development. 
  • The areas of co-operation include but are not limited to: customer referrals, credit card, micro and personal loans, wealth management, interbank lending, and internet finance.

6:22 am GigaMedia announces that it completed a disposal of securities investment during the period between April 13, 2015 and April 15, 2015 on Taiwan open market through block sales (GIGM) : The co noted the total selling price is slightly higher than the investment cost. The transaction has resulted in an increase of ~$18 million in the Company's cash position and has the effect of enhancing its working capital.

6:19 am Almaden Minerals announces results from its ongoing 2015 Ixtaca Zone exploration and development program at the 100% owned Tuligtic project, Mexico (AAU) : Recently the company released a positive PEA on the Ixtaca deposit (see news release dated September 3rd, 2014). The mineral resources incorporated into the PEA mine plan were comprised of 29% Measured, 55% Indicated and 16% Inferred. The results reported today are from drilling carried out subsequent to the 2014 resource update and PEA and designed to upgrade the Chemalaco Zone resources remaining in the inferred category to the higher confidence measured and indicated categories. Stepout hole TU-14-449 (located 125 meters north of last Chemalaco drilling) intersected 20.74 meters of 0.23 g/t gold and 55.9 g/t silver. This previously untested area of basement rock beneath volcanics is located within the confines of the PEA pit. Infill drilling is now complete and the Company's 2015 program is now focussed on engineering and environmental studies towards the completion of a Pre Feasibility Study

6:13 am Petrobras Brasileiro announces that its oil and natural gas output in Brazil and abroad, in March 2015, was 2,764,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boed), down 1.3% from February 2015 (PBR) : Of this total, 2,574,000 boed were produced in Brazil and 189,900 boed abroad. The output of 2,764,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boed) is 8.3% higher than the March 2014 output of 2,551,000 boed.

  • In March, total oil and natural gas output in Brazil was 2,574,000 boed, down 1.4% from February (2,612,000 boed), and up 10.4% year-on-year (2,331,000 boed). Total oil and natural gas output operated by Petrobras in Brazil, which includes the volume operated for partner companies, was 2,834,000 boed, down 0.7% from February (2,854,000 boed).
  • The drop in output in March is largely due to the temporary shutdown of platform P-58, which started-up on March 17, 2014 and is currently undergoing final tests and adjustments to its production systems.

6:13 am AstraZeneca announces updated progression free survival data for its non-small cell lung cancer compound AZD9291 (AZN) : Co announced latest data from the ongoing AURA study of AZD9291 in patients with advanced epidermal growth factor receptor mutation positive non-small cell lung cancer, who also have the T790M resistance mutation.

  • The data demonstrated a median progression free survival of 13.5 months. The updated data also show an overall response rate with AZD9291 80mg of 54% and a median duration of response of 12.4 months. 
  • In patients treated with AZD9291 80mg, the most common all-cause adverse events of any grade were rash, 38%  and diarrhea, 36%. 
  • Investigator-determined treatment-related Grade =3 AEs occurred in 14% of patients.

6:10 am AstraZeneca confirms that the FDA has granted Orphan Drug Designation for the MEK inhibitor selumetinib, for the treatment of uveal melanoma (AZN) : Initial data from a combination study of selumetinib with other AstraZeneca pipeline molecules including AZD9291 (T790M-directed EGFR inhibitor) and MEDI4736 (anti-PD-L1) in non-small cell lung cancer will be presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (TATD) annual meeting 2015.

6:05 am Magnegas provides statement regarding accident at its Tarpon Springs, Florida facility (MNGA) : "The company today experienced an accident at its Tarpon Springs facility. Tragically, a member of our employee family was killed. We are working closely with responders and local officials to determine the cause and circumstances surrounding the accident."

6:01 am Magellan Petroleum announces update on its HH-1 project (MPET) : On April 9, 2015, UK Oil & Gas Investments PLC an approximately 31% indirect owner of HH-1, announced that HH-1 is estimated to have "a total oil in place of 158 million barrels per square mile, excluding the previously reported Upper Portland Sandstone oil discovery. The CEO of UKOG commented that "we're looking at between 50 and 100 billion barrels of oil in place in the ground."

  • In a separate announcement on April 15, 2015, UKOG clarified that these "OIP hydrocarbon volumes estimated should not be considered as either contingent or prospective resources or reserves" and that "Further development work in the form of appraisal drilling, well testing and assessment of recovery factors will be required to seek to quantify net resources in relation to licence areas and to prove its commerciality."
  • Also, On April 10, 2015, Magellan sold for nominal consideration its 40% interest in PEDL 126, the UK onshore exploration license that contains the Markwells Wood-1 wellbore . By the selling the license and the wellbore, Magellan will be able to remove a $0.4 million liability from its balance sheet related to site restoration of MW-1

6:00 am Athersys announces interim results from its exploratory Phase 2 clinical study of the intravenous administration of MultiStem cell therapy to treat patients who have suffered an ischemic stroke; With respect to the primary and secondary endpoints, the cell therapy did not show a difference at 90 days compared to placebo (ATHX) : The study results demonstrate favorable safety and tolerability for MultiStem, consistent with prior studies. With respect to the primary and secondary endpoints, the cell therapy did not show a difference at 90 days compared to placebo. However, MultiStem treatment was associated with lower rates of mortality and life threatening adverse events, infections and pulmonary events. Furthermore, post-hoc analysis shows that patients who received MultiStem treatment earlier in the treatment window had more robust recovery rates in comparison to placebo and relative to patients who received later MultiStem treatment.

  • Patients who received intravenous administration of MultiStem did not show a significant difference from placebo-treated patients for the primary endpoint (Global Stroke Recovery Assessment) and the related secondary endpoints -- which were defined as the proportion of patients achieving a modified Rankin Scale (mRS) value of 0-2, improvement in the NIH Stroke Scale (:NIHSS) by = 75% and achieving Barthel Index (:BI) = 95 at day 90

5:57 am S&P futures vs fair value: -1.80. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: -8.00. :

5:57 am European Markets : FTSE...7085.62...+25.20...+0.40%.  DAX...11983.27...-15.60...-0.10%.

5:57 am Asian Markets : Nikkei...19652.88...-232.90...-1.20%.  Hang Seng...27653.12...-86.60...-0.30%.

5:34 am Syngenta misses Q1 sales estimate (SYT) : Reports Q1 revs of $4.02 bln vs $4.42 bln Capital IQ consensus.

  • Reported sales impacted by currency; full year earnings guidance maintained
  • Robust performance in Europe: effective risk management in the CIS
  • Delayed start to North American season
  • Group sales of $4.0 billion including Lawn and Garden were unchanged at constant exchange rates compared with the first quarter of 2014. Reported sales were 14 percent lower, reflecting the strength of the dollar against the Euro and most other currencies, particularly in the CIS. 
First quarter integrated sales by region
  • Integrated sales of $3.8 billion rose by one percent at constant exchange rates. Volumes were seven percent lower. Prices were eight percent higher, driven largely by increases in the CIS to offset the impact of currency depreciation; excluding the CIS and glyphosate, prices were up one percent. 
  • Europe, Africa and the Middle East sales rose 15 percent at constant exchange rates with strong growth in crop protection offsetting weakness in seeds due to lower acreage for corn, sunflower and sugar beet in several territories. 
  • In North America sales were 16 percent lower; excluding glyphosate, where a deliberate reduction is underway, sales were 13 percent lower. A prolonged winter delayed the start of the season in the USA and Seedcare was sharply down in Canada owing to high channel inventories. Seeds sales reflected an expected further reduction in corn acres, lower royalty income and changes in Syngenta's distribution model to increase focus and profitability. 
  • In Latin America sales at the end of the season were 11 percent lower following a strong fourth quarter in 2014. Credit management in Venezuela caused a delay in sales. Insecticides sales were down across the region as a result of low pest pressure. ELATUS fungicide continued to make a positive contribution as remaining orders were fulfilled. Corn seed sales in Brazil were lower due to reduced acreage.

5:06 am Wm Morrison Supermarkets to recruit 5,000 new staff for in-store roles (MRWSY) : Co announced it is reshaping the way that its business is staffed, investing in new store jobs to deliver better customer service, while also proposing a reduction in Head Office jobs.In its supermarkets, Morrisons has begun recruiting 5,000 shop floor staff to further improve service, increase availability, and open more checkouts.At its Head Office, the company is beginning a consultation about a simplified management structure. The number of people employed there has increased by 50% since 2008.

4:39 am Renault Board of Directors requests that Carlos Ghosn ensures the Alliance remains sustainable and balanced (RNSDF) : Co announces A meeting of the Renault Board of Directors was called on Thursday April 16, 2015. On the agenda was the evolution in the composition of Renault's shareholders and consequences of this for the Alliance. The Board of Directors reaffirmed its support for Resolution No.12 which will be presented to the General Assembly meeting to be held on April 30, 2015, due to the specific situation of voting rights in the Alliance. (NSANY)

4:24 am 58.com acquires strategic stake in Ganji.com and announces additional investment by Tencent (TCEHY) (WUBA) : 58.com (WUBA) announced that it has acquired a strategic stake in Falcon View Technology, the holding company of the PRC entities operating Ganji.com, a major online local services marketplace platform in China. Concurrently, 58.com also announced an ~$400 million additional investment by Tencent Holdings (TCEHY).

  • Under the terms of the definitive agreement with shareholders of Ganji, and as part of an intended long-term, strategic combination transaction, 58.com has agreed to acquire an approximately 43.2% fully diluted equity stake in Ganji for a combination of share consideration and cash, including approximately 34 million newly issued ordinary shares of the Company and $412.2 million in cash. 
  • The two companies, which will continue to operate their respective brands, websites and teams, intend to maximize business synergies created by this new strategic relationship, and capitalize on opportunities to cooperate and further expand their businesses. 

3:55 am On The Wires (:WIRES) :

  • Northern Trust (NTRS) announced it has established an asset management sales and client servicing team in its Melbourne, Australia, office to offer its full range of customizable asset management solutions to institutional investors across Australia and New Zealand. 
  • Scania and Oshkosh (OSK) have agreed to enter into a partnership under which Scania will deliver low-emission engines for airport product vehicles produced by Oshkosh. The partnership will cover a range of products to be launched worldwide.

3:20 am Thoratec: ROADMAP study demonstrating benefits of HeartMate II Left Ventricular Assist Device presented at ISHLT Conference (THOR) : Co announced researchers presented one-year results from the ROADMAP Study (Risk Assessment and Comparative Effectiveness of Left Ventricular Assist Device and Medical Management in Ambulatory Heart Failure Patients). The study evaluated the effects of Thoratec Corporation's HeartMate II Left Ventricular Assist Device compared with optimal medical management patients. Results from the multi-center, non-randomized, controlled, observational study indicate that the HeartMate II enhanced the long-term outcomes of patients with advanced heart failure. One-year survival rate was 80 percent in the HeartMate II group, compared with 64 percent for medically managed patients on an as-treated basis.

2:46 am North Atlantic Drilling and Rosneft (OJSCY) agree to delay closing of planned transaction (NADL) : Co announced that it had entered into a Framework Agreement between NADL, Seadrill and Rosneft Oil Company. On November 7, 2014, the closing of the transaction was delayed until the end of May 2015. Today, all parties have mutually agreed to extend the termination date of the Framework Agreement until May 31, 2017, whereby any party can terminate the Framework Agreement and / or any offshore drilling contracts at any time prior to May 31, 2017 at no cost. Additionally, the parties have agreed to use reasonable efforts to renegotiate the terms and characteristics of the transactions contemplated in the Framework Agreement and the terms of the related offshore drilling contracts.

2:15 am Yara ASA proposes new buy-back program (YARIY) : Co's Board proposes that the existing buy-back program is replaced by a new program, authorizing the Board to acquire up to 5% of Yara's shares before the next Annual General Meeting. Shares may be purchased within a price range of NOK 10 to NOK 1,000. The shares may either be used for cancellation or as payment in commercial transactions. The company has entered into a new agreement with the Norwegian State to redeem shares on a pro-rata basis so that the State's ownership is unchanged in the event of a cancellation of the shares bought back.

2:08 am Summit Materials announces a definitive agreement to acquire cement assets from Lafarge (LFRGY) (SUM) : Summit Materials (SUM) announced it has signed a definitive agreement with Lafarge (LFRGY) North America to acquire Lafarge NA's 1.2 million short ton capacity Davenport, IA cement plant and seven cement distribution terminals for $450 million, subject to certain post-closing adjustments, plus Summit's Bettendorf, Iowa cement distribution terminal. The transaction is expected to close in July 2015, pending final regulatory approval and the closing of the Lafarge-Holcim global merger

2:04 am Uni-Pixel acquires Atmel's (ATML) XSense assets and operations (UNXL) : UniPixel (UNXL) has acquired, through its wholly owned subsidiary, Uni-Pixel Displays, Inc., the assets of Atmel Corporation's (ATML) XSense touch sensors group, and has concurrently entered into patent and intellectual property licenses with Atmel, exclusive for a period of two years, for the use of XSense-related technologies.

  • UniPixel also has acquired separate licenses for fine line technology from Atmel's partner, CIT Technology Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Carclo plc. The licenses with CIT Technology as to the products covered by the patents and intellectual property being licensed are also exclusive for a period of two years. 
  • As a result of the transaction, UniPixel will gain immediate access to Atmel's Tier 1 PC OEM customer base and technology partners, along with the associated sales and product development pipeline. 
Transaction Terms and Conditions
For the XSense assets, UniPixel has paid an initial consideration comprised of a $450,000 promissory note. In connection with the intellectual property licenses it has received, UniPixel has made a $9.3 million royalty prepayment to Atmel, and a $4.7 million royalty prepayment to CIT Technology.

1:58 am On The Wires (:WIRES) :

  • Immersion Corporation (IMMR) announced the emergence of a distinctive new gaming experience for mobile users -- games you can feel. 
  • Ecolab (ECL) has signed a purchase agreement to acquire the 17-story North Tower from Travelers in downtown St. Paul, Minn. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter, and by the end of 2018, Ecolab will relocate all associates from the three buildings that comprise its world headquarters in downtown St. Paul to the North Tower. Financial terms of the agreement are not being disclosed.

1:00 am Akebia Therapeutics prices 7,272,727 shares of common stock at $8.25 per share (AKBA) :  

12:58 am Wynn Resorts: Steve Wynn responds to recent press release by Elaine Wynn (WYNN) : Steve Wynn issued the following statement in response to Elaine Wynn's press release dated April 16, 2015:

"My comments on The Charlie Rose Show should not be misconstrued. Decisions about nominations and re-nominations of directors are the responsibility of independent directors of Wynn Resorts Limited. They have made the decision about the re-nomination of Elaine Wynn for the reasons which they have thoroughly and carefully explained to our stockholders. The Company's independent directors are focused on the best interests of our stockholders and fulfill their roles extremely well for our Company. Under the stockholders agreement (which Ms. Wynn seeks to invalidate through litigation), I am obligated to vote in favor of Ms. Wynn's re-election.

"It is very important that all stockholders know that I have nothing but the highest respect for the independent directors, their business judgment and their overriding sense of fiduciary responsibility to Wynn Resorts and its stockholders."

12:55 am Professional Delivery Network prices 1,670,000 shares of its common stock at $3.00 per share (IPDN) :  

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