InPlay from Briefing.com

Briefing.com

5:12 pm Manhattan Bridge Capital prices 1.015 mln share offering at $4.39 per share (LOAN) : Co announced the pricing of an underwritten public offering of 1,015,000 common shares, par value $0.001 per share, at a price to the public of $4.39 per share. The Company intends to use the net proceeds of the offering primarily to expand its loan portfolio, and also for working capital and general corporate purposes. Aegis Capital Corp. is acting as sole book-running manager for the offering.

5:03 pm Liquid Holdings Group announces receipt of NASDAQ notification letter relating to quarterly report on Form 10-Q (LIQD) : Co received a similar letter from NASDAQ when it failed to timely file its annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2014 (the "2014 10-K"). The Company intends to submit to the Staff a plan as to how it plans to regain compliance with NASDAQ's continued listing requirements. The NASDAQ notice specifies that this plan must be submitted by June 15, 2015.

5:02 pm Skystar Bio Pharmaceutical announces receipt of non-compliance letter due to delay in filing Form 10-Q (SKBI) :  

5:01 pm Foresight Energy provides update on elevated carbon monoxide readings at the Deer Run Mine: No estimate of timeline in which mine will resume normal underground operations (FELP) : Co reported that its efforts to restore operations at its Deer Run Mine are ongoing. Foresight's company personnel continue to coordinate with federal and state authorities to examine and monitor the mine, address the cause of the elevated carbon monoxide levels, and safely resume operations. Foresight does not have an estimate of the timeline on which Deer Run Mine will resume normal underground operations To date, the company has met all of its coal supply obligations from inventory and expects to continue to do so through the foreseeable future.

4:55 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:SRPT (26.22 +72.39%),SGYP (4.35 +23.58%),ONCE (67.53 +18.77%),SAGE (68.98 +18.04%),BLUE (178.38 +15.52%),ADXS (23.16 +15.34%)
  • Industrials:EHIC (15.99 +49.57%),DY (58.96 +24.86%)
  • Consumer Discretionary:SHAK (92.86 +33.82%),CVC (24.98 +22.27%),ANN (46.97 +21.34%),RRGB (85.88 +17.87%),CTRP (84.63 +17.59%),DANG (10.71 +16.03%),SGMS (14.97 +14.94%)
  • Information Technology:MOMO (17.9 +44.47%),DSKY (10.54 +25.93%),RENN (3.7 +24.58%),HDP (26.52 +14.71%)
  • Energy:ERN (7.85 +43.25%)
This week's top 20 % losers
  • Healthcare:OTIC (24.86 -21.3%),UNIS (2.47 -17.39%),ICPT (261.46 -14.62%),DRNA (16.76 -14.14%),RIGL (3.56 -12.96%)
  • Materials:BAK (8.54 -12.59%)
  • Industrials:UAL (53.69 -12.84%)
  • Consumer Discretionary:EVLV (3.69 -35.04%),LL (21.04 -19.88%),DL (16.3 -18.62%),ETSY (17.17 -14.36%)
  • Information Technology:VHC (5.04 -16.97%),JASO (8.71 -13.85%),CSIQ (33.71 -13.23%)
  • Financials:CISG (8.5 -17.87%),EJ (5.74 -14.58%),BBD (9.4 -12.56%)
  • Energy:BTU (3.63 -15.38%),CHKR (7.44 -12.88%),ARP (7.51 -12.57%)

4:48 pm Arch Coal receives continued listing standard notice from NYSE; taking steps to regain compliance with minimum share price standard (ACI) : Co announced that it received notice on May 21, 2015 from the New York Stock Exchange that it does not presently satisfy the NYSE's continued listing standard requiring the average closing price of a listed company's common stock to be at least $1.00 per share for any period of 30 consecutive trading days. In accordance with NYSE rules, the Company will respond to the NYSE within 10 business days of receipt of the notification with its intent to resolve the deficiency.

4:45 pm Nevada Gold and Casinos to acquire Club Fortune Casino in Henderson, Nevada for $14.2 mln in cash and 1.2 mln shares of common stock, exclusive of working capital adjustments (UWN) : It is anticipated that the acquisition, which should be immediately accretive to earnings, will be financed with an expansion of the Company's existing credit facility. Closing is subject to customary contingencies, including approval by the Nevada Gaming Commission.

4:23 pm Amgen has commenced termination of its participation in the co-development and commercialization of brodalumab with AstraZeneca (AZN) (AMGN) : Brodalumab, an investigational IL-17 inhibitor, is in development for patients with moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, and axial spondyloarthritis. 

  • The decision was based on events of suicidal ideation and behavior in the brodalumab program, which Amgen believes likely would necessitate restrictive labeling. 
  • After Amgen transitions the program to AstraZeneca (AZN), future decisions on the clinical development and submission of marketing applications for brodalumab will be at the sole discretion of AstraZeneca for all territories, except for certain Asian territories, including Japan, where Kyowa Hakko Kirin has rights to brodalumab. 
  • The co has decided to focus its efforts and resources on other key molecules that address unmet medical needs and does not expect any meaningful impact from this decision on its ability to meet them.

4:19 pm American Water Works subsidiary Missouri Americna Water acquires City of Arnold's sewer system; adds 8,800 sewer customers (AWK) :  

4:10 pm Closing Market Summary: Stocks End Quiet Week on Flat Note (:WRAPX) : The stock market endured a range-bound Friday, which was a fitting end to a quiet week. The S&P 500 settled lower by 0.2% after spending the day in a six-point range while the Nasdaq Composite (unch) outperformed slightly. For the week, the S&P 500 added 0.2% while the Nasdaq gained 0.8%.

Equity indices began the day with slim losses after the Core CPI for April (+0.3%; Briefing.com consensus 0.2%) showed the largest monthly increase since January 2013. The hotter than expected reading invited speculation that an uptick in inflation could provide ammunition for an argument favoring a rate hike in the near term, which kept a lid on equities today.

Furthermore, Fed Chair Janet Yellen spoke at the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce and reiterated that the central bank is ready to begin raising rates later this year. Once again, Ms. Yellen stated that in order to begin normalizing policy, the Fed needs to see continued improvements in labor market conditions and there needs to be reasonable confidence that inflation will move back toward the 2.0% target over the medium term.

Treasuries hit their session lows after Ms. Yellen's speech crossed the wires, but they returned to their intraday levels shortly thereafter. The 10-yr note settled in the middle of its intraday range, pushing the benchmark yield higher by two basis points to 2.21%.

Nine sectors ended the day in negative territory while technology (+0.02%) avoided a lower close by a hair and contributed to the daylong outperformance of the Nasdaq Composite. Shares of Apple (AAPL 132.54, +1.15) climbed 0.9%, underpinning the move, while Hewlett-Packard (HPQ 34.76, +0.93) gained 2.8% after reporting a one-cent beat and guiding Q3 earnings below consensus. Most other large cap sector members registered losses, but high-beta chipmakers offset some of that weakness with the PHLX Semiconductor Index adding 0.2%.

Elsewhere, industrials (-0.4%) lagged throughout the day with transport stocks responsible for the weakness. As a result, the Dow Jones Transportation Average fell 0.8%, extending this week's decline to 2.3%. The underperformance among transport names overshadowed a 4.3% spike in the shares of Deere (DE 93.33, +3.87) after the company beat bottom-line estimates on light revenue.

Similar to industrials, the energy sector (-0.4%) lagged throughout the day. Crude oil kept the sector under pressure, falling 1.7% to $59.66/bbl. For the week, WTI crude lost 1.5% while the energy sector fell 0.8%.

True to recent form, today's participation was well below average with just 604 million shares changing hands at the NYSE floor, which represented the lowest total observed so far in 2015.

Economic data was limited to the Consumer Price Index:

  • The CPI index increased an in-line 0.1% in April after increasing 0.2% in March 
    • After two consecutive months of increases, energy prices again turned negative in April with total energy prices falling 1.3% after increasing 1.1% in March 
    • Food prices were flat in April after declining 0.2% in March 
    • Excluding food and energy, core CPI increased 0.3% in April after increasing 0.2% in March while the consensus expected an increase of 0.2% 
      • That was the largest monthly increase in core prices since a 0.3% gain in January 2013 
Bond and equity markets will be closed on Monday in observance of Memorial Day.

On Tuesday, April Durable Orders (Briefing.com consensus -0.6%) will be reported at 8:30 ET while the Case-Shiller 20-city Index for March (consensus 4.6%) and March FHFA Housing Price Index will both be released at 9:00 ET. The day's data will be topped off with the 10:00 ET release of April New Home Sales (consensus 510K) and the Consumer Confidence report for May (consensus 94.0).
  • Nasdaq Composite +7.5% YTD 
  • Russell 2000 +4.0% YTD 
  • S&P 500 +3.3% YTD 
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average +2.3% YTD 
Week in Review: Stocks Inch to Fresh Records

The stock market kicked off the trading week on an upbeat note. The Nasdaq Composite led the way, climbing 0.6%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.1%) and S&P 500 (+0.3%) underperformed, but still registered new record closing highs. The first session of the week featured a range-bound opening hour that was followed by a steady advance. Heavily-weighted financials (+0.5%) and health care (+0.5%) displayed relative strength from the start while another influential group-technology (+0.4%)-climbed ahead of the market during the early afternoon.

The major averages ended the Tuesday session on an unchanged note after spending the entire day near their flat lines. The S&P 500 settled lower by 0.1% while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.1%) outperformed slightly, edging up to another record closing high. Overall, the Tuesday session was a snoozer that saw the benchmark index bounce inside a five-point range that was expanded to nine points by the close. The index was able to set a fresh intraday record high at 2,133.02 during the afternoon, but returned near its session low by the close. For the second day in a row, heavily-weighted health care (+0.5%) and financials (+0.7%) outperformed throughout the day and kept the benchmark index from dipping too far below its flat line. The health care sector outperformed even as biotechnology struggled to keep pace with the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB 360.60, +0.30) adding just 0.1%.  

The market finished the midweek session on a flat note. The S&P 500 shed 0.1%, but still marked a fresh intraday record high at 2,134.72 while the Nasdaq Composite (unch) outperformed. Equity indices spent the first half of the session near their flat lines with the S&P 500 maintaining a seven-point range that was violated to the upside during afternoon action once the Federal Open Market Committee released the minutes from its April policy meeting. The index could not hold its afternoon gain and returned to the flat line by the close. Above all, the minutes revealed that some participants believed that the weakness observed in the first quarter could extend into Q2 with many officials characterizing a rate hike in June as "unlikely." However, the minutes did not rule out a near-term rate hike in its entirety. Treasuries retreated immediately following the release, but they returned to their afternoon levels shortly thereafter. The 10-yr note settled near its high with the benchmark yield slipping four basis points to 2.25%.

Equity indices posted modest gain on Thursday, but the trading day was very quiet once again. The S&P 500 added 0.2% and settled at a new record high while the Nasdaq Composite (+0.4%) outperformed. The market spent the initial minutes of the session near its flat line, but climbed to highs after the Existing Home Sales report for April (5.04 million; Briefing.com consensus 5.24 million) and the May Philadelphia Fed Survey ( 6.7; Briefing.com consensus 8.0) missed estimates. The ensuing advance was accompanied by a rally in Treasuries, suggesting increased expectations that the Federal Reserve will maintain its current dovish stance. Treasuries continued climbing into the afternoon (10-yr yield -6 bps to 2.19%) while the major averages spent the day near their late-morning highs.

4:08 pm Actavis confirms that a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals has issued a ruling upholding a December 15, 2014 preliminary injunction requiring the Company to continue distribution of NAMENDA immediate-release tablets. (ACT) : Actavis noted that it will continue to manage sales and R&D expenses to ensure that the Appeals court's decision will have minimal to no impact on its 2015 NAMENDA franchise contribution to earnings and longer term company earnings aspirations.

4:06 pm Nevro announces that the first commercial case has been performed in the United States of the Senza spinal cord stimulation system, which delivers Nevro's HF10 therapy (NVRO) :  

4:05 pm ERBA Diagnostics announces receipt of a notice from the NYSE MKT, for non-compliance of timely filing regarding its Form 10-Q (ERB) :  

4:03 pm Alamos Gold and AuRico Gold (AUQ) announce an interim order from the Ontario Superior Court, authorizing a special meetings of shareholders to consider their proposed combination (AGI) :  

4:02 pm Jack Henry receives anticipated letter from Nasdaq related to its noncompliance as a result of its filing of a Notification of Late Filing on Form 12b-25 on May 11, 2015 (JKHY) : The Company expects to file its Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the three months ended December 31, 2014 and March 31, 2015 as soon as practicable. The Company presently expects that the filings will be made by June 30, 2015.

3:55 pm Marcus & Millichap announces it has sold a nine-building, 401K sq ft medical office portfolio for $131 mln (MMI) :  

3:33 pm Treasury Market Summary (BONDX) : Governments Drop on Core CPI Beat

  • Treasuries declined today in a curve-flattening trade after higher-than-expected Core CPI data was released for the month of April
  • Yield check:
    • 2-yr: +3 bps to 0.61%
    • 5-yr: +5 bps to 1.56%
    • 10-yr: +2 bps to 2.21%
    • 30-yr: unch at 2.98%
  • News:
    • The Core CPI rose 0.3% m/m in April, greater than the Briefing.com consensus of +0.2%. The increase in March was only 0.2%. 
      • Headline CPI rose 0.1%, in line with expectations and lower than the +0.2% from March
      • There were no outlying components in the core CPI data. Price growth was fairly universal across all consumption sectors. That included a 0.3% increase in shelter costs and a 0.7% increase in medical care prices, which was the largest monthly increase since January 2007
    • Fed Chair Janet Yellen spoke in Providence, RI
      • She said that the first rate hike would come this year if the economy performs as the FOMC expects
      • After the first increase, Yellen expects the pace to be gradual
      • She said that the economy still faces headwinds from persistently low business investment and energy sector weakness and that it will be several years before Fed funds is back to normal level
  • Commodities:
    • WTI crude: -1.53% to $69.79/bbl
    • Gold: +0.11% to $1,205.40/troy oz.
    • Copper: -1.67% to $2.801/lb.
  • Currencies:
    • EUR/USD: -0.87% to $1.1013
    • USD/JPY: +0.40% to 121.54
  • Week Ahead:
    • Monday: Cleveland Fed President Mester (non --FOMC voter) speaks on "The Influence of Research on Financial Stability Policy" (09:10 ET); Fed Vice Chair Fischer (FOMC voter) speaks on "Global Economic Developments" (11:30 ET)
    • Tuesday: April Durable Goods Orders and Durable Goods Orders ex transportation (08:30 ET); March Case-Shiller 20-City Index (09:00 ET); March FHFA Housing Price Index(09:00 ET); April New Home Sales (10:00 ET); May Consumer Confidence (10:00 ET);F ed Vice Chair Fischer speaks on "The Federal Reserve and the Global Economy"( 12:30 ET); $26 billion 2-year note auction (13:00 ET); Richmond Fed President Lacker (FOMC voter) gives speech, "From Country Banks to SIFIs: The 100-Year Quest for Financial Stability" (20:10 ET)
    • Wednesday: MBA Mortgage Index for the week of 5/23 (07:00 ET); $35 billion 5-year note auction (13:00 ET)
    • Thursday: San Francisco Fed President Williams (FOMC voter) speaks at Banking Supervision and Regulation joint conference (02:20 ET); Initial Jobless Claims for the week of 5/23 and Continuing Jobless Claims for the week of 5/16 (08:30 ET); April Pending Home Sales (10:00 ET); Natural Gas Inventories for the week of 5/23 (10:30 ET); Crude Inventories for the week of 5/23 (11:00 ET); $29 billion 7-year note auction (13:00 ET); Minneapolis Fed President Kocherlakota (non-FOMC voter) speaks on monetary policy (14:45 ET) 
    • Friday: Q1 GDP -- Second Estimate and GDP Deflator -- Second Estimate (08:30 ET); May Chicago PMI (09:45 ET); May Michigan Sentiment -- Final (10:00 ET)

3:31 pm Earnings Preview for the week of May 25 - 29 (:SUMRX) : Of the companies reporting earnings for the week of May 25 - 29 some of the bigger names include:

  • Tuesday:
    • Pre Market - AZO, CAE, WUBA, SKYS, CYRN
    • After Hours - TDW, ZPIN, WDAY, FWM, VNET, TIVO, NMBL
  • Wednesday:
    • Pre Market - BMO, VAL, KORS, TIF, TOL, CHS, DSW, BWS, MOV, ROLL, THR
    • After Hours - COST, SPTN, ANW, UHAL, CPRT, PANW, SMTC, TLYS, PLKI, RENT
  • Thursday:
    • Pre Market - RY, TD, TECD, SIG, SDRL, FLO, OA, ANF, SAFM, FRED, EXPR, MOD, JKS, DANG, TITN, MIXT, CMCO, XCRA, IKGH, AMSC
    • After Hours - GME, AVGO, ULTA, DECK, OVTI, PSUN, SPWH, SPLK, BOOT, VEEV, BLOX, EXA
  • Friday:
    • Pre Market - BNS, BIG, GCO, DXLG, CCG, GHM

3:00 pm Wi-LAN provides an update on ongoing litigation; A judge ruled that various patents were not infringed by Ericsson (ERIC) (WILN) : On October 2, 2013, the co announced that it had commenced two separate litigations against Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) and against Ericsson (ERIC), among other parties, claiming infringement of WiLAN's U.S. Patent Nos. 8,229,437, 8,027,298 and 8,249,014 related to LTE technologies. Alcatel-Lucent has signed a license and settlement agreement to resolve this litigation. The litigation involving remaining defendant, Ericsson, is being tried in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. In March 2015, Ericsson moved for summary judgment on non-infringement and invalidity defenses.

  • Today, Judge Donald M. Middlebrooks issued a ruling that grants Ericsson's motion for summary judgment on the three patents at issue. The Court ruled that two of the patents were not infringed by Ericsson and the third patent was invalid.
  • WiLAN is currently reviewing the ruling with trial counsel, Tensegrity Law Group LLP. The preliminary view of trial counsel is there are grounds to appeal this ruling to the United StatesCourt of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. 

2:50 pm Webster Financial announces exercise of its conversion option for its 8.50% Series A Non-Cumulative Perpetual Convertible Preferred Stock, effective June 1, 2015 (WBS) : On the conversion date, holders of Preferred Stock will be entitled to receive 36.8046 shares of Common Stock for each share of Preferred Stock converted, reflecting a conversion price of ~$27.17 per share based on the initial issuance price of $1,000 per share of Preferred Stock.

  • There are currently 28,939 shares of Preferred Stock outstanding, and a total of approximately 1,065,088 shares of Common Stock will be issued upon conversion of the Preferred Stock

2:34 pm Currency Market Summary (BONDX) : Dollar Gains 3% on Week

  • The U.S. Dollar Index jumped by a full percentage point this morning after the Core Consumer Price Index for April rose 0.3%. The Briefing.com consensus called for +0.2%. The Headline CPI grew 0.1%, in line with the Briefing.com consensus but lower than the +0.2% in March
    • Higher prices mean sooner and higher (rather than lower and slower) rate hikes and therefore greater returns to owning dollars relative to other currencies
    • The Dollar Index is currently trading up 1.05% to 96.26
  • EUR/USD: -0.93% to 1.1006
    • Germany's Ifo Business Climate Index fell to a better-than-expected 108.5 in May from 108.6 in April
  • GBP/USD: -1.23% to 1.5470
    • The Bank of England's Deputy Governor, Minouche Shafik, said that the headwinds to inflation and economic growth in the U.K. are transitory and will subside over the next few years
  • USD/JPY: +0.42% to 121.56
  • USD/CHF: +0.82% to 0.9444
  • USD/CAD: +0.90% to 1.2309
  • AUD/USD: -1.05% to $0.7812
  • NZD/USD: -0.67% to 0.7302

2:02 pm CoStar Group announces filing a lawsuit against RealMassive, alleging its 'systematic theft and improper use of copyrighted photographs of commercial properties' (CSGP) :  

1:59 pm Industrial Services announces the sale of the second of two non-essential properties (IDSA) : On May 18, 2015, ISA sold a 1-acre parcel of non-essential real estate for an aggregate purchase price equal to independent third-party appraisal amount of $350,000. This is the second of two sales of non-essential property that the Company has announced recently. On April 30, 2015, the Company sold a non-essential parcel of real estate for a purchase price of $1.0 million. The Company expects to use the proceeds from both sales for debt reduction and working capital.

1:18 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

  • CTRP (84.65 +17.59%): Announced has acquired a 37.6% stake in eLong (LONG) for ~$400 mln; Upgraded to Strong Buy at Raymond James.
  • DE (92.97 +3.92%): Beat Q2 consensus EPS estimates by $0.47, missed on revs; guided Q3 revs just above consensus; raised FY15 net income guidance slightly, lowered rev guidance; Upgraded at BofA/Merrill 
Large Cap Losers
  • ROST (97.98 -3.52%): Beat Q1 consensus EPS estimates by $0.05, beat on revs; guided Q2 EPS below consensus; raised FY16 EPS, in-line.
  • LNG (75.14 -2.42%): Select weakness in various oil & gas names with crude oil futures down 1.6% (CPG, UGP also lower). 
Mid Cap Gainers
  • YOKU (30.42 +12.79%): Strong performance from Chinese ADR's after a rally in the Chinese exchanges, notably Shanghai Index +2.8% (SFUN, MOMO, WB, ATHM also higher).
  • SUNE (30.46 +3.43%): Initiated with an Outperform at Wolfe Research; $44 tgt. 
Mid Cap Losers
  • ESPR (103.07 -9.4%): Initiated with a Sell at Chardan Capital Markets; tgt $55.
  • MRVL (13.18 -8.28%): Beat Q1 consensus EPS estimates by $0.02, reported revs in-line; guided Q2 EPS below consensus, revs below consensus; announced planned retirement of CFO Mike Rashkin. 

1:09 pm ITT Educational President and COO Gene Feichtner issues statement in response to recent 'piling on' (ESI) : Highlights from statement by Gene Feichtner, President and Chief Operating Officer:

  • "The ITT Technical Institutes have been under scrutiny for years - and still have yet to have a day in court. In recent news, the piling on continues by the Miami Herald who chastises the state education board for allowing ITT Tech to continue to enroll students instead of shutting it down based on allegations."
  • "To date, not a single finding of fact has occurred in the light of a public arena where ITT Tech has been able to defend its reputation in courtroom or anywhere else. We've produced hundreds of thousands, if not millions of paper documents, to federal and state authorities."
  • "Let there be no presumption here that we believe we'll be treated fairly, but we'll continue to do what we can for our students despite all the unsupported regulatory and litigation roadblocks being put in place."

1:04 pm Stock indices edge to new bounce highs -- Dow -10, S&P +1, Nasdaq Comp +11 (:TECHX) :  

1:00 pm Alpha Natural Resources announces the expected idling of the mining and processing operations at its Rockspring Development's Camp Creek Underground Mine and Plant in West Virginia (ANR) : Co is idling those facilities based on the mine operator's current assessment of market conditions. Co also announced that three other affiliated mine operators would be seeing reductions in force; specifically at

  • Enterprise Mining's EMC #9 underground mine in Knott County, KY and Roxana Prep plant in Letcher County, KY. 
  • Knox Creek Coal's Tiller #1 underground mine in Tazewell County. 
  • Mill Branch Coal's Dorchester and North Fork underground mines in Wise County, VA and Letcher County, KY

12:54 pm Midday Market Summary: Nasdaq Leads (:WRAPX) : The major averages are little changed at midday with the Nasdaq Composite (+0.1%) trading slightly ahead of the S&P 500 (-0.1%).

The first half of the Friday session has been very quiet, which makes for a fitting end to a range-bound week. Given its current level, the S&P 500 is on track to add 0.3% for the week while the Nasdaq has added 1.0% since last Friday.

Eight of ten sectors hold midday losses while financials (+0.2%) and technology (+0.2%) hover just above their flat lines. The financial sector has extended its weekly gain to 0.8% while technology has received support from a one-cent beat reported by Hewlett-Packard (HPQ 34.78, +0.95). Shares of HPQ have added 2.8% while many other large cap tech names like Google (GOOGL 556.11, -0.70), Intel (INTC 33.42, -0.12), and Microsoft (MSFT 47.10, -0.32) hold losses between 0.1% and 0.7%. That being said, the top-weighted sector component-Apple (AAPL 132.53, +1.14)-has gained 0.9% while chipmakers have also shown relative strength. The PHLX Semiconductor Index is higher by 0.3%.

On the downside, the telecom services sector (-0.7%) is the weakest performer while energy (-0.4%) trades behind the remaining cyclical groups amid weakness in oil. WTI crude is currently lower by 1.7% at $59.68/bbl.

Also of note, the industrial sector (-0.3%) has struggled amid renewed weakness in transport stocks. The Dow Jones Transportation Average has given up 0.8% today, extending this week's loss to 2.3%.

Treasuries hover on their lows with the 10-yr yield higher by three basis points at 2.22%.

Economic data was limited to the Consumer Price Index:

  • The CPI index increased an in-line 0.1% in April after increasing 0.2% in March 
    • After two consecutive months of increases, energy prices again turned negative in April with total energy prices falling 1.3% after increasing 1.1% in March 
    • Food prices were flat in April after declining 0.2% in March 
    • Excluding food and energy, core CPI increased 0.3% in April after increasing 0.2% in March while the consensus expected an increase of 0.2% 
      • That was the largest monthly increase in core prices since a 0.3% gain in January 2013

12:18 pm Nasdaq Comp +2.6 climbs back into positive territory, Dow -50, S&P -2.8 (:TECHX) : Relative sector strength on the push off the low (outperformed the S&P) has been noted in Bank KBE, Reg Bank KRE, Biotech IBB, Medical Supplies, Housing XHB, Retail XRT.

12:08 pm P.A.M. Transport announces a modified dutch auction tender offer, for up to 80K shares of common stock, between $59 and $63/share (PTSI) :  

12:02 pm Shutterfly releases statement to shareholders; asking for a universal proxy card, and shareholder votes in favor of its Board nominees at it's upcoming annual meeting (SFLY) :  

12:00 pm Stocks/ETFs that traded to new 52 week highs/lows this session - New highs (122) outpacing new lows (74) (:SCANX) : Stocks that traded to 52 week highs: ABT, ABTL, ACET, AEC, AET, AGO, AHS, ALN, ALR, ANTM, AOS, ATRI, AVID, AZZ, BANC, BLOX, CASH, CBPO, CDNS, CF, CFG, CMRX, CMT, CORI, CRUS, CTRP, CVC, CYNI, DGX, DLPH, DY, EBIX, EFX, EGBN, EGRX, EL, ERN, ESRX, EXL, EXPE, FIX, FL, FOMX, FPXI, FRS, GAME, GEVA, GRBK, GS, GT, GTN, GTN.A, HMST, HNT, HUBS, IACI, IDTI, IMAX, IMPV, INTU, IRMD, KWEB, LBTYA, LBTYK, LEA, LONG, LTM, LVNTA, LYTS, MBTF, MENT, MFLX, MGA, MGPI, MOH, MSBF, NDAQ, NEP, NTT, NVMI, OLED, OUTR, PANW, PBIB, PCYC, PLAB, PLL, PLXS, PMC, PTC, PZZA, RDVY, REGN, RENN, RHT, ROP, SAGE, SBCP, SCOR, SHAK, SIEN, SIRO, STRZA, SUNE, SWKS, SYNA, TCX, TECH, TFX, TMK, TNK, TNP, TTC, TWC, USPH, VC, VOD, VOYA, VRX, XLS, YOKU, ZSPH

Stocks that traded to 52 week lows: ACI, ACST, AMBR, ARLP, BLIN, BOOM, BPK, CCD, CDI, CIM, CKP, CLI, CLTX, CRD.B, DAVE, DEST, DGSE, DSCI, DTF, DXM, ESIO, FELP, FHCO, FNRG, FPT, FTR, FXCM, HGG, HGT, HH, HYGS, INF, IO, JOE, LL, LPTN, MBII, MCF, MUH, MUJ, NDLS, NPF, NQP, NTX, NUM, NVET, NYRT, OESX, OMEX, QRHC, RFP, RGSE, RSO, RST, RXII, RYN, SGNL, SHLO, SKBI, SPEX, SRT, TC, TDC, THS, TROX, USAP, USEG, VPCO, VPV, WHZ, WILC, WIN, WPG, WTW

ETFs that traded to 52 week highs: HAO, IHF, XLK

ETFs that traded to 52 week lows: FUD, FXY, JJA, JO, VXX, VXZ

11:55 am PartnerRe: EXOR notes PartnerRe's 'unwillingness to engage properly'; confident $137.5 all-cash binding offer will ultimately prevail (PRE) : EXOR, one of Europe's leading listed investment companies and the largest shareholder of PartnerRe (PRE), notes today's announcement by PartnerRe which, "Continues to mischaracterize our proposal. Further, PartnerRe remains unwilling to engage with EXOR according to the terms provided in their agreement with AXIS Capital Holdings Limited (AXS). EXOR therefore welcomes the announcement that the Board of PartnerRe is finally taking steps to allow its shareholders to vote on the AXIS transaction. EXOR is confident that PartnerRe shareholders will vote in their best interest and that EXOR's $137.50 per share all-cash Binding Offer will ultimately prevail as it provides superior value and certainty. EXOR urges the Board of PartnerRe to announce a record date and a date for a shareholder meeting without delay."

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

  • UK's FTSE:+0.3%
  • Germany's DAX:-0.4%
  • France's CAC:-0.1%
  • Spain's IBEX:-0.4%
  • Portugal's PSI:0.0%
  • Italy's MIB Index:+0.2%
  • Irish Ovrl Index:+0.2%
  • Greece ASE General Index: -0.7%

11:46 am Fractional new low S&P -3.6, Nasdaq Comp -3.3 holds slightly above its morning low -- Dow -53 (:TECHX) :  

11:35 am The Eastern Company: Barington Shareholder group states that preliminary voting results indicate that its nominees will be elected to the Board (EML) :  

11:20 am EARLY CLOSE FOR CASH BONDS AND INTEREST RATE FUTURES (BONDX) : The cash bond market will close at 2:00 ET and the CME will close interest rate futures at 16:15 ET.

11:10 am PartnerRe: Sandell issues open letter to PRE chairman; Calls on PartnerRe to immediately and publicly acknowledge that latest EXOR Offer from May 12 would 'reasonably be likely' to result in a superior proposal (PRE) : Highlights of the letter include:

  • "We believe that PartnerRe should immediately and publicly acknowledge this, and follow the process outlined in Section 5.8 of the merger agreement with Axis - a process which was specifically negotiated by PartnerRe. Based on our understanding of the Axis merger agreement, such a determination would not jeopardize the potential merger with Axis. We fail to understand how the Board's decision to ignore the merger agreement's fair and well-defined provisions that specifically contemplate the Company's current scenario is consistent with the Board's stated desire to maximize value for all shareholders. While we understand the importance of maintaining a cordial relationship with Axis, we would once again like to remind the Board that its first and foremost duty is to the Company's shareholders, its true owners. Consistent with our own duties to our investors, we will not hesitate to exercise the rights available to us to hold the Board accountable."

11:09 am Stock indices slip back in recent trade with Dow -44 setting a new low -- S&P -2, Nasdaq Comp +4 (:TECHX) : Relative sector weakness on the recent slide has been noted in: Bank KBE, Reg Bank KRE, Retail XRT, Housing XHB, Telecom IYZ, Steel SLX.

11:05 am State Street has been selected by Security Benefit to provide custody, investment accounting and reporting services for its General Account assets (STT) : Security Benefit is a provider of retirement savings and income vehicles, with nearly $30 billion in total assets under management.

11:05 am Currency Commentary: DXY Hits May High (:SUMRX) :

  • The Dollar Index was able to rally back to the 96 level for the first time since April 29. The move came following the release of April CPI data which showed the Core number come in slightly hotter than expectations (+0.3% vs +0.2% Briefing.com consensus). The higher inflation figure has the market once again looking at a potential rate hike in 2015. Expectations have moved to the potential for a September hike but that outlook had been weakening in light of some weaker economic data.
  • The euro slipped to 1.1030 in the face of the dollar rally. Adding to the pressure on the single currencies was rumors that the EU is looking into the potential for a parallel currency for Greece. In addition comments from ECB President Mario Draghi that economic growth remains weak has added to expectations for an uptick in bond purchases by the central bank. 1.0942 stands as the 50-sma for the euro and will set up as a key support area moving forward. 
  • The pound continues to straddle the 200 sma (1.5573). Cable had moved back above the level yesterday but the strong dollar is forcing it lower at the moment. 1.54 will set up as a key level for support if selling continues. 
  • The yen remains one of the key currencies in markets as it slides to multi-month lows and closes in on a test for the current multi-year low of 122.02 set back on March 10. What makes this move all the more interesting is that the country posted better than expected GDP and PMI numbers earlier in the week. And then followed it up last night with its central bank leaving rates and purchases programs unchanged, as wifely expected. But also raising its economic outlook and having BoJ Governor Kuroda saying that further easing as unlikely at the moment. All these factors would point to an increase in yen strength. Yet it still has been forced lower against greenback (FOREX, BONDX).

11:04 am Blackstone announces that Doug Ostrover will step down as a Senior Managing Director and will become a Senior Adviser to the firm (BX) : Ostrover was, along with Bennett Goodman and Tripp Smith, one of the founders of GSO, Blackstone's alternative credit platform.

10:39 am Shopify (+14%) makes new highs -- surging on its second day of trade (SHOP) : Shop opened at $28 yesterday but quickly sold off. SHOP priced 7.7 mln shares at $17.

10:24 am The Children's Place announces a settlement with Macellum and Barington shareholder groups, by appointing their nominee Robert Mettler and one indep. director to the Board (PLCE) : Parties announced that they have reached an agreement to resolve their proxy contest, under which The Children's Place will appoint Macellum and Barington nominee Robert L. Mettler as a new independent member of its Board of Directors immediately following the Company's 2015 Annual Meeting of Stockholders. The Board also has committed to appoint an additional, mutually agreeable independent Director to the Board.

  • Under the agreement, the Company has agreed to reimburse Macellum and Barington for up to $500,000 of out-of-pocket expenses.

10:22 am Select Comfort shareholders elect all the company's nominees at today's annual meeting (SCSS) :  

10:22 am Exxon Mobil releases statement on reports that it is lobbying on Iran sanctions; states that they are innacurate and that it is not lobbying with regard to any Iranian sanctions (XOM) :  

10:21 am Marathon Patent Group announces that its MedTech Development Deutschland subsidiary has entered into a settlement and license agreement with Direct Flow Medical; terms not disclosed (MARA) :  

10:13 am Minor new session highs from Nasdaq Comp +11 and S&P -0.09 -- Dow -13 (:TECHX) : Relative sector strength in recent trade (outperforming the S&P) has been noted in Retail XRT, Biotech IBB, Health XLV, Medical Supplies, Networking IGN, REITs IYR

10:00 am Hewlett-Packard aggressively extends gap (HPQ) : Gap higher start after reporting was aggressively extended near its early Feb low and late Feb gap between 35.44/35.69 (session high 35.49).  The next level of note above its at its 200 sma at 35.90.

9:43 am Opening Market Summary: Nasdaq Composite Displays Early Strength (:WRAPX) : The major averages began the day with slim losses, but the Nasdaq Composite (+0.2%) has been quick to make it into the green. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 hovers right below its flat line with six sectors showing early losses.

The energy sector (-0.6%) is the weakest performer in the early going with crude oil pressuring the growth-sensitive group. Currently, WTI crude is lower by 1.9% at $59.59/bbl. Elsewhere, the remaining cyclical groups hover closer to their flat lines.

On the upside, the consumer discretionary space (+0.2%) leads with help from apparel retailers after Foot Locker (FL 64.42, +0.42) reported better than expected results. Also of note, the technology sector (+0.2%), and the Nasdaq, has received a boost from Hewlett-Packard (HPQ 34.85, +1.02).

Treasuries hover near their lows with the 10-yr yield higher by two basis points at 2.21%.

9:39 am Nasdaq 100 / Comp hovering near weekly highs -- Dow -8, S&P -1.2 (:TECHX) :  

9:35 am Dow -31 and S&P -4.1 extend opening slide, Nasdaq Comp -0.6 slips back off initial bounce high (:TECHX) :  

9:33 am Slightly weaker start with Nasdaq Comp +3 quickly rotating back above flat line -- Dow -15, S&P -2.5 (:TECHX) :  

9:30 am Amira Nature Foods announces that Amira branded rice will be available in Jewel-Osco stores across Illinois, Indiana and Iowa as early as August 2015 (ANFI) :  

9:27 am On the Wires (:WIRES) :

  • Exelis (XLS), UrsaNav, the Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate, and the U.S. Coast Guard have entered into a cooperative research and development agreement for testing and demonstration at former LORAN-C sites. Under the CRADA, Exelis will use the former LORAN-C assets to put eLORAN signals in space for research, test and demonstration of the ability of eLORAN to meet precise positioning, navigation and timing requirements of government and privately-owned critical infrastructure
  • Tyler Technologies (TYL) has signed an agreement with the city of Waco, Texas, to replace its current legacy systems with an integrated suite of Tyler software solutions. The agreement includes implementation, professional services and support.

9:22 am Exelis shareholders approve acquisition by Harris (HRS), DOJ terminates waiting period under HSR Acts; deal expected to close on May 29 (XLS) :  

9:17 am Cellular Biomedicine announces 'encouraging' clinical data from its Chimeric Antigen Receptor CD30-positive Hodgkin's lymphoma immuno-oncology clinical development program (CBMG) : The results of this trial to date demonstrated that five out of seven patients responded to the treatment. CD30-directed CAR-T cell therapy was demonstrated in this trial to be safe, feasible and efficient. 

  • "We are very encouraged by the efficacy and toxicity profile of our CAR-T CD30 technology, given that the cancer patients in the trials were diagnosed with Stage III and IV Hodgkin's lymphoma. The patient selection criteria of our CAR-T studies are very stringent, as the participants enrolled are advanced, relapsed, and refractory to other standard-of-care therapies. The results of this study has led us to move forward with this protocol into the treatment of relapsed/refractory CD30 positive lymphoma patients."

9:12 am S&P futures vs fair value: -4.00. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: -2.60. (:WRAPX) : The stock market is on track for a modestly lower open as futures on the S&P 500 trade four points below fair value.

Futures on the benchmark index spent the night inside a narrow range, but they slid to lows following today's CPI report for April, which showed an in-line 0.1% increase on the headline level, while core CPI, rose 0.3% (Briefing.com consensus 0.2%). The hotter-than-expected core reading led to some concerns that an uptick in inflation could provide ammunition for an argument favoring a rate hike in the near term. However, even with the recent slide, futures have maintained an eight-point range throughout the night.

On the corporate front, Deere (DE 92.00, +2.54) is on track to open higher by 2.8% after beating bottom-line estimates on light revenue. The company raised its net income guidance, but lowered its sales forecast for the fiscal year. Elsewhere, Hewlett-Packard (HPQ 34.16, +0.33) has added 1.0% in pre-market after reporting a one-cent beat and guiding Q3 earnings below consensus.

9:05 am MCG Capital: HC2 (HCHC) responds to statements made by PennantPark Floating Rate Capital (PFLT) in a proxy statement filed on May 18 (MCGC) : HC2 Holdings (HCHC) notes that the PennantPark (PFLT) Proxy Statement states that "while it was unclear" whether MCG or HC2 would pay the termination fee that would be owed to PennantPark under the Agreement and Plan of Merger, if MCG pursues a transaction with HC2, the stated value of the proposed consideration would be less than HC2's actual offer. They go on to note that the termination fee would not reduce the per share stock or cash component of HC2's proposal. "While HC2 has increased its proposed consideration by $0.50 per share since its initial proposal, PennantPark's proposal, on the other hand, has remained the same."

9:05 am CEL-SCI Corp prices its best efforts, common stock offering at $0.79/unit, expecting proceeds of up to $16 mln (CVM) : Each unit consists of one share of common stock and one warrant to purchase one share of common stock.

  • Co intends to use the net proceeds of the offering for its Phase III clinical trial, an ongoing Phase I study in HIV/HPV co-infected patients other research and development, repayment of a $1.1 million note due in July 2015 and general and administrative expenses

8:54 am S&P futures vs fair value: -4.10. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: -2.60. (:WRAPX) : The S&P 500 futures trade four points below fair value.

The good times were rolling for most of the markets in the Asia-Pacific region on Friday, which followed the lead of the Shanghai Composite (+2.8%) to further gains. With Friday's rally effort, the Shanghai Composite increased 8.1% for the week. The Nikkei for its part closed at a 15-year high on Friday as the Bank of Japan left its main policy rate unchanged at 0.10%.

  • Participants received just one data point: 
    • Japan's May Reuters Tankan Index rose to 13 from 12 
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  • Japan's Nikkei increased 0.3% and finished at a 15-year high. The modest gain was underpinned by strength in the energy (+1.9%) and basic materials (+1.1%) sectors and followed the BOJ's decision to leave its main policy rate unchanged at 0.10%. Individual standouts included Tokai Carbon Co (+4.3%), NH Foods (+3.8%), and Sumco Corp (+3.6%). MS&AD Insurance Group (-2.8%) and Pioneer Corp (-2.2%) were the worst-performing issues. Out of 225 index members, 122 ended higher, 91 finished lower, and 12 were unchanged. For the week, the Nikkei increased 2.7%. 
  • Hong Kong's Hang Seng jumped 1.7%, which saved it from having a losing week. Gains were paced by the energy (+2.0%), financial (+1.9%), and consumer cyclical (+1.8%) sectors. Belle Intl. (+12.6%), BOC Hong Kong Holdings (+8.2%), and Ping An Insurance (+5.5%) led all gainers. Lenovo Group (-4.4%), which reported its earnings, MTR Corp (-2.5%), and Li & Fung Ltd. (-2.3%) were the biggest laggards. Out of the 50 index members, 45 ended higher and 5 finished lower. For the week, the Hang Seng gained 0.6%. 
  • China's Shanghai Composite surged 2.8% and finished at its highs for the day in another momentum-based rally. The financial sector (+3.3%) was an influential leader in the Chinese market on Friday along with the basic materials (+3.1%) and energy (+3.3%) sectors. For the week, the Shanghai Composite increased 8.1%. 
Major European indices trade mostly lower while UK's FTSE (+0.6%) outperforms.
  • In economic data: 
    • Germany's Q1 GDP was left unrevised at 0.3% quarter-over-quarter, as expected, while the year-over-year held at 1.1% (consensus 1.0%). Separately, Ifo Business Climate Index ticked down to 108.5 from 108.6 (expected 108.3) as Business Expectations declined to 103.0 from 103.4 (expected 103.1) while Current Assessment improved to 114.3 from 114.0 (consensus 113.5) 
    • UK's April Public Sector Net Borrowing GBP6.04 billion (expected GBP7.80 billion; prior GBP6.06 billion) 
    • France's Business Survey rose to 103 from 102 (expected 101) 
    • Italy's March Retail Sales -0.1% month-over-month (expected 0.2%; last -0.1%) while March Industrial New Orders -0.3% month-over-month (consensus 0.7%; prior 0.8%) 
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  • Germany's DAX is lower by 0.3% amid broad weakness. Financials and exporters are among the laggards with Deutsche Bank, BMW, and Volkswagen down between 0.7% and 2.6%. On the upside, utility name, RWE, is higher by 1.0%. 
  • France's CAC has given up 0.1% with Airbus Group, Societe Generale, and Unibail-Rodamco down between 0.4% and 0.6%. On the upside, select consumer names have shown strength with Essilor International, and Vivendi up 0.6% and 1.5%, respectively. 
  • UK's FTSE outperforms with a gain of 0.6%. Vodafone is the top performer, up 4.0%, following upgrades at Citigroup and Deutsche Bank. Miners also outperform with Anglo American, BHP Billiton, and Randgold Resources showing gains between 1.7% and 2.0%.

8:52 am American Tower increased its quarterly distribution to $0.44/share from $0.42/share (AMT) :  

8:51 am Gapping down (:SCANX) : Gapping down
In reaction to disappointing earnings/guidance
ACXM -9.5%, BRCD -3%, MRVL -2.8%, HIBB -2.7%, TFM -0.8%,


Other news: OTIC -16.6% (reports Phase 2b topline data for OTO-104 in Meniere's Disease; 'Narrowly missed primary endpoint of reduction in vertigo frequency during Month 3 following treatment compared to a one month baseline period', Achieved statistical significance on multiple prospectively defined secondary endpoints), VGGL -15.9% ( announces proposed public offering of common stock; size not disclosed ), CVM -12.8% ( commenced an offering of common stock and warrants; terms not disclosed ), NVEE -6% (announces a public offering of common stock; size and price details not disclosed ), EHIC -2.8% (announces definitive agreements to sell up to ~22.34 mln common stock shares, at $12.00/ADS ), HAWK -1.1% (shareholders approved conversion into single class of common stock), .

Analyst comments: ESPR -3.3% (initiated with a Sell at Chardan Capital Markets; tgt $55), CONN -1.5% (downgraded to Perform from Outperform at Oppenheimer), LL -0.9% (target lowered to $18 from $30 at Piper Jaffray)

8:48 am On the Wires (:WIRES) :

  • Taylor Morrison Home (TMHC) announced that it has formed a joint venture with funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management and DMB Pacific Ventures to purchase Pacifica San Juan. Previously owned by Lehman Brothers Holdings the community commenced development in the early 2000's and has lay dormant for years with only 98 of the anticipated 416 homes being built. Pacific Point Development Partners, the joint venture between Taylor Morrison, Oaktree and DMB Pacific Ventures, now intends to restart the community and complete the development plan 
  • Energy Recovery (ERII) announced that it has appointed Eric Siebert as Vice President of Corporate Strategy, effective June 8, 2015.
  • PFSweb (PFSW) announced it has been engaged by Gaiam, to provide eCommerce services to the co in support of its Gaiam and SPRI consumer division brands

8:46 am Viggle prices its ~3.63 mln share public offering at $2.50/share, for estimates proceeds of ~$9.07 mln (VGGL) :  

8:43 am ATA Inc says it is exploring the idea of restructuring its testing services business into a subsidiary to be listed separately (ATAI) : The co announced that it is exploring the idea of restructuring its testing services business into a subsidiary to be wholly owned by ATA and listing it separately on the National Equities Exchange and Quotations, an emerging over-the-counter market in China. The Company expects that, after the proposed New Third Board listing of its testing services business, the Company's American depositary shares will continue to be traded on Nasdaq, and its common shares will continue to be registered.

  • The Company notes it does not have any current plan or intention to pursue any "going-private" transaction or any other transactions having the purpose or effect of causing its ADSs to no longer be traded on Nasdaq or its common shares to no longer be registered under the Exchange Act.

8:43 am Gapping up (:SCANX) : Gapping up
In reaction to strong earnings/guidance
: TNP +4.3%, FL +2.4%, MENT +2.4%, BORN +2.3%, DE +2.1%, JMEI +1.7%, HPQ +1.1%

M&A news: EROC +17.1% (to merge with subsidiary of Vanguard Natural Resources (VNR) for total consideration of $474 mln in Vanguard Common units and Eagle Rocks net debt of $140 mln; Consideration valued at ~$3.05 per share),FRS +13.6% (to be acquired for $34.00 per share in cash),VOD +1.4% (comments from Goldman indicating that asset sales are more likely)

Other news: LONG +33.7% (Expedia sells its majority stake in eLong),NSPR +18.3% (announced that its CGuard Embolic Prevention System reported positive results in PARADIGM, at the EuroPCR conference),ABTL +17.2% (acquires Dealix Corporation and Autotegrity for $25 mln; expects the acquisition to be accretive to net income in 2015; Raises FY15 guidance ),AAU +11.1% (announced significant silver mineralisation in Ixtaca Infill Drilling Program, hits 31.50 Meters of 0.39 G/T Au, 117.0 G/T Ag),CTRP +5.6% (CTRP acquired a 37.6% for ~$400 mln from EXPE),HIMX +2.8% (Digitimes indicated Samsung (SSNLF) is ramping up IC related purchases),BBRY +2.7% ( authorized a share repurchase program to purchase for cancellation up to 12 mln BlackBerry common shares, or ~2.6% of the outstanding public float),TWC +2.6% (Charter (CHTR) is in discussions to purchase TWC for more than $170/share & FCC Chair may not reject any cable deal, according to WSJ),PTCT +2.3% (announces that the benefit assessment by Germany's Federal Joint Committee, indicates that Translarna proivdes a benefit for ambulatory patients with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy),HSBC +1.3% (confirms that it is exploring various strategic options for its operations in Brazil),OMER +1.3% (announces that the EMA's Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use has adopted a positive opinion for Omidria 1%/0.3%),GLBS +1.2% (announced sale of a Panamax Vessel for a gross price of $5.5 mln),MT +1.1% (MT and and Steel Authority of India Limited, sign an MoU to set up an automotive steel manufacturing facility),CNHI +0.8% (DE peer)

Analyst comments: RWLK +8.5% (upgraded to Buy at Canaccord Genuity),SGYP +5.4% (initiated with a Buy at Canaccord Genuity),QURE +5.1% (initiated with an Outperform at Oppenheimer),STEM +4.4% (initiated with a Buy at Cantor Fitzgerald),CLLS +3.1% (initiated with an Outperform at Oppenheimer),QRVO +1.6% (initiated with a Buy at Goldman )

8:35 am European Markets Update: DAX -0.4%, CAC -0.1%, FTSE +0.5% (:SUMRX) : Major European indices trade mostly lower while UK's FTSE (+0.5%) outperforms.

  • In economic data: 
    • Germany's Q1 GDP was left unrevised at 0.3% quarter-over-quarter, as expected, while the year-over-year held at 1.1% (consensus 1.0%). Separately, Ifo Business Climate Index ticked down to 108.5 from 108.6 (expected 108.3) as Business Expectations declined to 103.0 from 103.4 (expected 103.1) while Current Assessment improved to 114.3 from 114.0 (consensus 113.5) 
    • UK's April Public Sector Net Borrowing GBP6.04 billion (expected GBP7.80 billion; prior GBP6.06 billion) 
    • France's Business Survey rose to 103 from 102 (expected 101) 
    • Italy's March Retail Sales -0.1% month-over-month (expected 0.2%; last -0.1%) while March Industrial New Orders -0.3% month-over-month (consensus 0.7%; prior 0.8%) 
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  • Germany's DAX is lower by 0.4% amid broad weakness. Financials and exporters are among the laggards with Deutsche Bank, BMW, and Volkswagen down between 0.7% and 2.6%. On the upside, utility name, RWE, is higher by 1.0%. 
  • France's CAC has given up 0.1% with Airbus Group, Societe Generale, and Unibail-Rodamco down between 0.4% and 0.6%. On the upside, select consumer names have shown strength with Essilor International, and Vivendi up 0.6% and 1.5%, respectively. 
  • UK's FTSE outperforms with a gain of 0.5%. Vodafone is the top performer, up 4.0%, following upgrades at Citigroup and Deutsche Bank. Miners also outperform with Anglo American, BHP Billiton, and Randgold Resources showing gains between 1.7% and 2.0%.

8:31 am S&P futures vs fair value: -0.70. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: +2.40. (:WRAPX) : The S&P 500 futures trade one point below fair value.

Total CPI rose 0.1% (Briefing.com consensus +0.1%) in April while Core CPI, which excludes food and energy, rose 0.3% (Briefing.com consensus +0.2%). On a year-over-year basis, total CPI is down 0.2% and core CPI is up 2.3%.

8:31 am Market View: Jun. stock-index futures see some initial down-ticks, remain in a tight trading range following the 8:30 am ET Apr. CPI print (:TECHX) :

  • ESm5 now @ 2126.50 -1.50

  • YMm5 now @ 18260 +2

  • NQm5 now @ 4530.75 +2.00

8:29 am Tsakos Energy beats by $0.03, misses on revs (TNP) : Reports Q1 (Mar) earnings of $0.42 per share, $0.03 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.39; revenues, net of voyage expense, rose 25.2% year/year to $114.3 mln vs the $118.26 mln consensus. TEN operated an average of 50.0 vessels in the first quarter of 2015, compared to 48.0 in the prior year's first quarter.

Some key info:

  • Time charter equivalent increase to $25,591 per day versus $21,569 per day in first quarter 2014
  • Operating expenses per ship per day decrease to $7,995 versus $8,449 per day in the first quarter of 2014
  • 73% of remaining days in 2015 available today for spot or spot related contracts
  • Fleet utilization of 99.3%
Looking ahead:
  • "The first quarter results and the continuous market strengths give us confidence for a very profitable 2015. Looking ahead, the existing supply-demand equilibrium together with the low price of oil enforces our belief that we are in the midst of, finally, a long term up-cycle in the tanker industry," stated Mr. Nikolas P. Tsakos, President and CEO of TEN and current Chairman of INTERTANKO. "If tanker owners refrain from the speculative newbuilding frenzy of the past, the current positive cycle will be prolonged and will substantially increase shareholder value for the long term."

8:21 am On the Wires (:WIRES) :

  • Michael Kors (KORS) announced  that it will soon break ground on a distribution center in Trade Port North in Venlo, Netherlands. The new European Distribution Center (EDC) will service all of its European and Middle Eastern retail, wholesale and, eventually, e-commerce operations
  • Volaris (VLRS) announced the arrival of a second Airbus A321 and with it, completed the first leasing agreements for two aircrafts in this class.
  • NetEase (NTES) announced that its subsidiary Lede Technology has signed a partnership agreement with HNA Group to form a joint venture company, in order to establish an Internet travel company. For the new joint venture, Lede Technology will provide the JV with technical and marketing support, while HNA Group will take charge of new products and initiatives

8:21 am European Yields (BONDX) : European Sovereign Debt Rallies

  • The German Ifo Business Climate Index fell to 108.5 in May from 108.6 in April, but beat consensus estimates
    • German GDP rose 0.3% m/m in the first quarter of 2015, in line with estimates and identical to the growth rate in Q4 2014
    • European Central Bank President Mario Draghi spoke in Portugal and expressed optimism about the outlook for the eurozone, while encouraging national politicians to pursue structural reform 
  • The Bank of England's Deputy Governor, Minouche Shafik, said that the headwinds to inflation and economic growth in the U.K. are transitory and will subside over the next few years
    • She also downplayed the sluggish productivity growth in the U.K.'s economy and said that it would pick up once the slack in the labor market was eliminated
  • Yield check:
    • France, 10-yr OAT: -4 bps to 0.88%
    • Germany, 10-yr Bund: -4 bps to 0.60%
    • Greece, 10-yr note: +10 bps to 11.20%
    • Italy, 10-yr BTP: -1 bp to 1.83%
    • Portugal, 10-yr note: -2 bps to 2.38%
    • Spain, 10-yr Bono: -3 bps to 1.75%
    • U.K., 10-yr Gilt: -7 bps to 1.92%

8:15 am NV5 Holdings priced its underwritten public offering of 1.43 mln shares of its common stock at a price of $19.50 per share (NVEE) :  

8:14 am Pacific Energy Development confirms that it and Dome Energy AB have entered into an Agreement and Plan of Reorganization; will issue a formal release early next week (PED) : Briefing.com note: Dome Energy announced the agreement, including the sale of its entire U.S. asset base. Structured as the sale of Dome's wholly owned subsidiary Dome Energy Inc., the proposed transaction, will see Dome Energy AB shareholders receive ~152.6 million shares of PEDEVCO common stock, representing ~64% of the total shares in the newly merged entity. The companies anticipate that combined production for the merged entity will be approximately 3,300 boepd with proven reserves of approximately 20 million barrels of oil equivalent. At closing, Dome Energy Inc.'s CEO and President, Paul Morch, will become CEO and President of the combined entity, with the current CEO of PEDEVCO, Frank Ingriselli, becoming Chairman of the Board. The Companies expect to complete the transaction no later than November 19, 2015.

8:09 am ArcelorMittal and Steel Authority of India Limited, sign an MoU to set up an automotive steel manufacturing facility, under a joint venture arrangement in India (MT) : The MoU is the first step of a process to establish a JV between the two companies. The proposed JV will construct a cold rolling mill and other downstream finishing facilities in India that will offer steel products to India's automotive sector

8:06 am Pharmacyclics confirms a CHMP of the European Medicines Agency positive opinion, for marketing authorization of Imbruvica (PCYC) :  

8:02 am Frisch's Restaurants to be acquired for $34.00 per share in cash, or ~$175 million (FRS) : Co announced an agreement with an affiliate of NRD Partners, to acquire all of its shares for $34.00 per share in cash, or ~$175 million. The transaction is expected to close before the end of September.

8:01 am Energizer adopted a limited duration shareholder rights plan (ENR) :

  • The limited duration rights plan will expire on December 31, 2015, approximately six months after the expected completion of the separation of Energizer's Personal Care and Household Products businesses. The rights plan is effective immediately for Energizer and will remain in effect until expiration on December 31, 2015 for the Personal Care business following the separation, which is expected to be finalized by July 1, 2015. The plan is designed to assist the Board in the period leading up to and immediately following the separation by protecting against creeping accumulations or other share acquisition activity that the Board believes would not be in the best interest of shareholders. The rights will be triggered by any accumulation of beneficial ownership of 10% or more of Energizer's outstanding common stock after May 21, 2015.
  • In addition, if Energizer is acquired in a merger or other business combination transaction after a person or group has acquired 10% or more of Energizer's common stock, each right will entitle its holder (other than such person or members of such group) to purchase, at the right's then-current exercise price, a number of the acquiring company's shares of common stock having a market value of twice the exercise price.

8:01 am InspireMD announced that its CGuard Embolic Prevention System reported positive results in PARADIGM, at the EuroPCR conference (NSPR) : During clinical presentations at the conference, co reported that in its PARADIGM evaluation, the CGuard Embolic Prevention System procedure success rate was 100%. Also, periprocedural complications were 0%, and remained at 0% at 30 days. Additionally, no MACNE occurred periprocedurally or at 30 days, by operator-independent neurologist and non-invasive cardiologist evaluation

8:01 am AbbVie announces today is the expiration of Hart-Scott-Rodino Waiting Period for AbbVie's Acquisition of Pharmacyclics (ABBV) :  

8:01 am Synergy Resources agreed to purchase the remaining 35% working interest in the DJ Basin Greenhorn owned by its non-operating partner, Foreland Investments (SYRG) :

  • Co agreed to purchase the remaining 35% working interest in the DJ Basin Greenhorn owned by its non-operating partner, Foreland Investments. This acquisition gives Synergy a 100% working interest in the AMI and increases its acreage position in the AMI by 15,789 net acres. 
  • Upon closing Synergy will have ~93,000 net acres in the Greater Wattenberg, including 36,643 net acres in the Core Wattenberg and over 56,000 net acres in the NE Wattenberg Extension Area. 
  • The purchase price of the conveyed interests is $250 per net acre, payable in 323,745 restricted shares of Synergy's common stock, equating to ~$3.95 mln based on $12.19/share.

7:57 am Overnight Treasury Summary (BONDX) : Yields Fall in Sympathy with European Sovereigns

  • Treasuries rallied overnight as European yields declined. The yield curve flattened with 2's/10's coming in by 2 bps to 160 bps and 5's/30's declining 3 bps to 145 bps
  • Yield check:
    • 2-yr: -1 bp to 0.57%
    • 5-yr:-1 bp to 1.50%
    • 10-yr: -3 bps to 2.17%
    • 30-yr: -4 bps to 2.95%
  • International News:
    • Germany's Ifo Business Climate Index fell to a better-than-expected 108.5 in May from 108.6 in April
    • German GDP came out in line with estimates at +0.3% m/m for Q1 2015
    • The Bank of Japan met and maintained its quantitative easing program. The BoJ's governor, Haruhiko Kuroda, said that the central bank is not concerned with soaring asset prices. One of the major Japanese stock exchanges surpassed its high from the Heisei bubble, which peaked in 1989 and left two lost decades in its wake
    • ECB President Mario Draghi spoke in Portugal. He expressed optimism about the economic outlook for the eurozone and encouraged politicians to pursue structural reforms
  • Data out Today:
    • April CPI (08:30 ET)April Core CPI (08:30 ET)

7:54 am Landstar System appoints Diana Murphy as its new non-exec. Chairman, and increases its authorized share buyback by 3 mln shares (LSTR) : Murphy joined the Landstar Board of Directors in 1998 and has served as Independent Lead Director of the Board since May 2012

7:54 am S&P futures vs fair value: +0.20. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: +3.70. (:WRAPX) : U.S. equity futures trade near their flat lines amid mixed action overseas. The S&P 500 futures hover within a point of fair value after respecting a four-point range throughout the night.  

Range-bound action has been the theme throughout the week, but that has not stopped the S&P 500 from setting fresh intraday and closing record highs with a chance to do that once again today.

Economic data will be limited to the 8:30 ET release of the Consumer Price Index for April (Briefing.com consensus 0.1%).

Treasuries hold gains with the 10-yr yield down two basis points at 2.17%.

In U.S. corporate news of note:

  • Aeropostale (ARO 2.00, -0.59): -22.8% in reaction to disappointing results and cautious guidance. 
  • Deere (DE 91.49, +2.03): +2.3% after beating bottom-line estimates on light revenue. The company raised its net income guidance, but lowered its sales forecast for the fiscal year. 
  • Foot Locker (FL 65.55, +1.55): +2.4% after beating earnings expectations. 
  • Hewlett-Packard (HPQ 34.19, +0.36): +1.1% after reporting a one-cent beat and guiding Q3 earnings below consensus. 
  • Marvell (MRVL 13.97, -0.40): -2.8% after below-consensus guidance overshadowed its better than expected earnings. 
Reviewing overnight developments:
  • Asian markets ended higher. Japan's Nikkei +0.3%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng +1.7%, and China's Shanghai Composite +2.8% 
    • Participants received just one data point: 
      • Japan's May Reuters Tankan Index rose to 13 from 12 
    • In news: 
      • The Bank of Japan made no changes to its monetary policy, leaving its key interest rate at 0.1%, as expected. In addition, the central bank upgraded its economic assessment slightly. 
  • Major European indices trade in mixed fashion. UK's FTSE +0.5%, Germany's DAX -0.5%, and France's CAC -0.2%. Elsewhere, Italy's MIB +0.1% and Spain's IBEX -0.4% 
    • In economic data: 
      • Germany's Q1 GDP was left unrevised at 0.3% quarter-over-quarter, as expected, while the year-over-year held at 1.1% (consensus 1.0%). Separately, Ifo Business Climate Index ticked down to 108.5 from 108.6 (expected 108.3) as Business Expectations declined to 103.0 from 103.4 (expected 103.1) while Current Assessment improved to 114.3 from 114.0 (consensus 113.5) 
      • UK's April Public Sector Net Borrowing GBP6.04 billion (expected GBP7.80 billion; prior GBP6.06 billion) 
      • France's Business Survey rose to 103 from 102 (expected 101) 
      • Italy's March Retail Sales -0.1% month-over-month (expected 0.2%; last -0.1%) while March Industrial New Orders -0.3% month-over-month (consensus 0.7%; prior 0.8%) 
    • Among news of note: 
      • UK's FTSE trades ahead of other regional indices thanks to a 4.0% gain in Vodafone after the telecom stock was upgraded at Citigroup and Deutsche Bank

7:49 am ANN beats by $0.05, misses on revs; guides Q2 revs above consensus; guides FY16 revs in-line. Reminder: ascena retail group to acquire ANN; should close in 2H15 (ANN) : Reports Q1 (Apr) earnings of $0.37 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.05 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.32; revenues rose 1.2% year/year to $597.7 mln vs the $604.79 mln consensus.

  • Co issues upside guidance for Q2, sees Q2 revs of $660 mln vs. $658.67 mln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate.
  • Co issues in-line guidance for FY16, sees FY16 revs of $2.56 bln vs. $2.58 bln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate.
Update:
  • As previously reported on May 18, 2015, ascena retail group (ASNA) and ANN INC. (ANN) announced that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement under which ascena will acquire ANN INC. for a combination of cash and stock in an accretive transaction.
  • Upon closing, ANN INC. stockholders will receive $37.34 in cash and 0.68 of a share of ascena common stock in exchange for each share of ANN common stock. At closing of the transaction, ANN INC. stockholders will own ~16% of ascena. The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2015,

7:47 am On the Wires (:WIRES) :

  • Galena Biopharma (GALE) announced that data from the Company's Phase 2 clinical trial of GALE-401, or Anagrelide Controlled Release, will be presented at the upcoming European Hematology Association 20th Congress in Vienna, Austria
  • Proteon Therapeutics (PRTO) announced the acceptance of an abstract for poster presentation at the 52nd ERA-EDTA Congress taking place in London. The poster describes the results from the long-term analysis of more than three years of follow-up data from a Phase 2 study of vonapanitase.
  • Cancer Genetics (CGIX) announced the appointment of Mandar Kulkarni, PhD. as Chief Technology Officer of Cancer Genetics, India
  • ARIAD Pharmaceuticals (ARIA) announced that clinical data on Iclusig will be presented at the 20th conference of the European Hematology Association being held in Vienna, Austria
  • Philip Morris International (PM) filed suit in the English High Court to contest the UK government's recently introduced standardized packaging regulations for tobacco products. Co is seeking a decision that the regulations - which impose a wholesale ban on logos and visual trademark elements and require all cigarette packaging to look the same - violate English and European Union law.

7:47 am Mentor Graphics beats by $0.10, beats on revs; guides Q2 EPS below consensus, revs below consensus; guides FY16 EPS above consensus, reaffirms FY16 revs guidance (MENT) : Reports Q1 (Apr) earnings of $0.28 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.10 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.18; revenues rose 7.9% year/year to $272.1 mln vs the $260.74 mln consensus. Co issues downside guidance for Q2, sees EPS of approx $0.14, excluding non-recurring items, vs. $0.24 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate; sees Q2 revs of approx $250 mln vs. $269.36 mln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate. Co issues mixed guidance for FY16, sees EPS of approx $1.88, excluding non-recurring items (Prior $1.85), vs. $1.85 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate; sees FY16 revs of approx $1.282 mln vs. $1.28 bln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate.

7:33 am Bristol-Myers confirms it has received positive CHMP opinion in the European Union for Nivolumab (Opdivo, Nivolumab BMS) for the treatment of advanced squamous non-small cell lung cancer in previously-treated patients (BMY) : The CHMP positive opinion will now be reviewed by the European Commission, which has the authority to approve medicines for the European Union (EU).

7:31 am Thomson Reuters announces the annual renewal of its normal course issuer bid, for up to 30 mln common shares (TRI) :  

7:31 am Amgen receives positive CHMP opinion for use of Repatha for the treatment of high cholesterol (AMGN) : Co announces the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) of the European Medicines Agency has adopted a positive opinion for the marketing authorization of Repatha recommending approval for use in certain patients with high cholesterol. The Icelandic and Norwegian CHMP members have also agreed with the above-mentioned recommendation on granting of the marketing authorization.

  • The CHMP opinion is based on data from ~6,800 patients, including more than 4,500 patients with high cholesterol in 10 Phase 3 trials. The Phase 3 studies evaluated the safety and efficacy of Repatha in patients with elevated cholesterol.

7:30 am Berkshire Hills Bancorp to acquire privately held Firestone Financial Corp for ~$53 mln; acquisition expected to be accretive to co's 2016 EPS (BHLB) : Firestone is a commercial specialty finance company providing secured installment loan equipment financing for small and medium-sized businesses.

  • At March 31, 2015, Firestone had approximately $190 million in loans outstanding spread across multiple industries and market areas. 
  • The deal value is estimated to be approximately $53 million, with 75% of the consideration to be paid in BHLB common stock and 25% to be paid in cash. 
  • The acquisition is expected to be accretive to Berkshire's 2016 earnings per share and to generate a return on equity in excess of 15%. 
  • The transaction is expected to be $0.08 dilutive to Berkshire's tangible book value per share, with a related payback period of approximately 2.5 years. 
  • Closure expected in Q3 2015

7:25 am Campbell Soup beats by $0.10, misses on revs; sees FY15 EPS at high end, sales at low end of previous range (CPB) : Reports Q3 (Apr) earnings of $0.62 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.10 better than the Capital IQ Consensus of $0.52; revenues fell 3.6% year/year to $1.9 bln vs the $1.93 bln consensus, primarily due to the negative impact of currency translation and the impact of retailer inventory movements on our U.S. soup business.

  • Organic sales decreased 1 percent with lower volume, partly offset by lower promotional spending and higher selling prices.
  • Gross margin improved and adjusted EBIT and EPS were better than expected. Sales declined.
Co issues guidance for FY15, sees EPS closer to high end of $2.32-2.38 vs. $2.35 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate; sees FY15 revs closer to low end of $8.19-8.35 bln vs. $8.13 bln Capital IQ Consensus.  
  • "Our focus on gross margin performance began to pay dividends, as we expanded margins in a challenging environment. In addition to our productivity improvements and moderating inflation, we achieved net price realization by reducing promotional spending and taking pricing actions on the core businesses." 

7:16 am Merck confirms that the CHMP of the European Medicines Agency has adopted positive opinions for Keytruda and Pembrolizumab, to treat advanced melanoma (MRK) :  

7:10 am Deere beats by $0.47, misses on revs; guides Q3 revs just above consensus; raises FY15 net income guidance slightly, lowers rev guidance (DE) : Reports Q2 (Apr) earnings of $2.03 per share, $0.47 better than the Capital IQ Consensus of $1.56; net sales fell 20.0% year/year (vs. -19% guidance) to $7.4 bln vs the $7.54 bln consensus.

  • Slowdown in global farm economy leads to lower sales and earnings.
  • Sales included price realization of 2 percent for both periods and an unfavorable currency-translation effect of 5 percent for the quarter and 4 percent for six months.
  • Equipment net sales in the United States and Canada decreased 14 percent for the quarter and year to date. Outside the U.S. and Canada, net sales decreased 28 percent for the quarter and six months, with unfavorable currency-translation effects of 10 percent and 8 percent for the periods. 
  • Deere's construction and forestry and financial-services divisions had higher results for the quarter, and our agriculture and turf operations remained solidly profitable despite lower demand for large models of farm machinery. 
Co issues upside guidance for Q3, sees Q3 revs of -17% to ~$7.24 bln vs. $7.16 bln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate.

Co issues guidance for FY15, lowers FY15 revs to -19% (from -17%) to ~$26.7 bln vs. $27.21 bln Capital IQ Consensus; raises net income guidance to $1.9 bln from $1.8 bln.

7:04 am Foot Locker beats by $0.06, reports revs in-line; comps +7.8% vs. mid-single digit guidance (FL) : Reports Q1 (Apr) earnings of $1.29 per share, $0.06 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $1.23; revenues rose 2.6% year/year to $1.92 bln vs the $1.91 bln consensus. 

  • First quarter comparable-store sales increased 7.8% vs. mid single digit growth guidance.
  • The Company's gross margin rate improved to 35.0% of sales from 34.6% a year ago.
  • Company's merchandise inventories were $1.234 bln, 2.7% lower YoY.

7:03 am Cato provides highlights from annual meeting (CATO) : In discussing growth plans for 2015, the Company expects to open 42 new stores for the year. Confirmed the recent purchase of intellectual property of two well known brands that recently filed for bankruptcy, Cache and Body Central.  He noted that the Company is still developing plans for these brands and sees them as potential vehicles to grow the overall business in the future. Stated that after purchasing 1.4 mln shares in 2014, there is a remaining authorization to repurchase an additional 2 million shares. 

7:02 am Omeros announces that the EMA's Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use has adopted a positive opinion for Omidria 1%/0.3% (OMER) : The positive opinion adopted for Omidria by CHMP was supported unanimously by committee members and represents an intermediate step toward patient access to Omidria in Europe. No post-marketing follow-up studies or measures were recommended by CHMP for Omidria. Next, the CHMP opinion will be reviewed by the European Commission (EC), and the decision by the EC on approval of Omidria will be applicable to all European Union member states plus Iceland, Lichtenstein, and Norway. The EC decision is due approximately two months following CHMP's opinion. Decisions about price and reimbursement for Omidria occur on a country-by-country basis.

7:01 am Merus Labs acquires from Novartis Pharma (NVS), the rights to manufacture, market, and sell two specialty pharmaceutical products in Europe and other markets for $29.5 mln in cash (MSLI) : In 2014, the products had sales of approximately US$10 million in the applicable territories. Co will fund the acquisition with available cash.

7:00 am PartnerRe responds to EXOR rejection of good faith invitation to engage in constructive discussions; will proceed to vote on AXIS (AXS) merger (PRE) :  

7:00 am NovaBay Pharma announced private placement of ~10.89 mln units at $0.63/unit (common stock and a warrant to purchase an additional one-half share of common stock) (NBY) : Co will also issue warrants for up to 5,446,824 shares. Co intends to use the net proceeds from this offering for working capital and general corporate purposes, including research and development, clinical trials and selling, and general and administrative expenses, including sales and marketing expenses related to launching its Avenova product across the U.S

7:00 am Aeropostale down 18% at 12+ year low in the premarket after missing Q1 estimates and guiding to a wider than exptected Q2 net loss (ARO) : Co missed Q1 EPS by a penny; sales fell 19.5% to $319 mln vs. $324 mln consensus and comps (-11%) were in-line with guidance but missed the 10% est; co guided Q2 EPS to ($0.60)-(0.52) vs. ($0.37) Capital IQ Consensus with a low to mid-single digit comp decline vs -7% estimate and margin contraction YoY.

6:57 am Asian Markets Close: Japan's Nikkei +0.3%; Hong Kong's Hang Seng +1.7%; China's Shanghai Composite +2.8% (:SUMRX) : The good times were rolling for most of the markets in the Asia-Pacific region on Friday, which followed the lead of the Shanghai Composite (+2.8%) to further gains. With Friday's rally effort, the Shanghai Composite increased 8.1% for the week. The Nikkei for its part closed at a 15-year high on Friday as the Bank of Japan left its main policy rate unchanged at 0.10%.

Economic data

  • Japan
    • Bank of Japan leaves main policy rate unchanged at 0.10% as expected 
    • May Reuters Tankan Index 13 (prior 12)
Equity Markets
  • Japan's Nikkei increased 0.3% and finished at a 15-year high. The modest gain was underpinned by strength in the energy (+1.9%) and basic materials (+1.1%) sectors and followed the BOJ's decision to leave its main policy rate unchanged at 0.10%. Individual standouts included Tokai Carbon Co (+4.3%), NH Foods (+3.8%), and Sumco Corp (+3.6%). MS&AD Insurance Group (-2.8%) and Pioneer Corp (-2.2%) were the worst-performing issues. Out of 225 index members, 122 ended higher, 91 finished lower, and 12 were unchanged. For the week, the Nikkei increased 2.7%.
  • Hong Kong's Hang Seng jumped 1.7%, which saved it from having a losing week. Gains were paced by the energy (+2.0%), financial (+1.9%), and consumer cyclical (+1.8%) sectors. Belle Intl. (+12.6%), BOC Hong Kong Holdings (+8.2%), and Ping An Insurance (+5.5%) led all gainers. Lenovo Group (-4.4%), which reported its earnings, MTR Corp (-2.5%), and Li & Fung Ltd. (-2.3%) were the biggest laggards. Out of the 50 index members, 45 ended higher and 5 finished lower. For the week, the Hang Seng gained 0.6%.
  • China's Shanghai Composite surged 2.8% and finished at its highs for the day in another momentum-based rally. The financial sector (+3.3%) was an influential leader in the Chinese market on Friday along with the basic materials (+3.1%) and energy (+3.3%) sectors. For the week, the Shanghai Composite increased 8.1%.
  • India's Sensex increased 0.5%, led by the technology (+1.1%), industrial (+0.9%), and energy (+0.8%) sectors. Top gainers included Housing Development Finance Corp (+2.6%), Tata Consultancy Services (+2.4%), and Sun Pharmaceutical (+1.9%). Hindalco Industries (-1.6%) and Vedanta (-1.3%) were the worst-performing issues and the only stocks to lose more than 1.0%. For the week, the Sensex was up 2.3%.
  • Australia's S&P/ASX 200 ended up 0.04%, surrendering the bulk of a 0.5% gain registered shortly after the start of trading. The gold (+2.0%), energy (+1.9%), and REIT (+1.1%) sectors helped the index stay above the unchanged mark. For the week, the S&P/ASX 200 declined 1.2%.
  • Regional advancers: Taiwan +0.6%, South Korea +1.1%, Singapore +0.3%, Indonesia +0.04%, Vietnam +1.7%
  • Regional decliners: Malaysia -0.4%, Thailand -0.2%, Philippines -0.3%
FX
  • USD/CNY +0.01% at 6.1974
  • USD/INR -0.1% at 63.526
  • USD/JPY -0.2% at 120.84

6:36 am HSBC Holdings confirms that it is exploring various strategic options for its operations in Brazil, including the potential sale thereof (HSBC) : The co cautions that at present no decision has been made to proceed with any transaction and HSBC will make a further statement if or when appropriate.

6:35 am Hibbett Sporting misses by $0.04, misses on revs; lowers FY16 guidance; Q1 comps -0.9% (HIBB) : Reports Q1 (Apr) earnings of $1.09 per share, $0.04 worse than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $1.13; revenues rose 3.0% year/year to $269.8 mln vs the $272.7 mln consensus. Comparable store sales decreased 0.9%. Gross profit was 37.0% compared with 37.5% last year.

  • Co issues guidance for FY16, lowers EPS to $2.95-3.04 from $2.95-3.09 vs. $3.04 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate. 
  • Guidance Details: FY16 Co sees comparable store sales in the low single-digit range, and a flat to slightly negative product gross margin rate compared to FY15. This compares with previous guidance of comparable store sales in the low-to-mid single digit range, and a slightly positive product gross margin rate compared to FY15.

6:24 am eHi Car Services announces definitive agreements to sell up to ~22.34 mln common stock shares, at $12.00/ADS (EHIC) : Also on May 22, 2015, two major shareholders of the Company, Ctrip Investment Holding and the Crawford Group, signed definitive agreements for the sale of 2,666,666 common shares. 

6:14 am On The Wires (:WIRES) :

  • Cainiao, the logistics affiliate of Alibaba Group (BABA), announced the establishment of its first supermarket distribution center in Chengdu, China, that will let users in southwestern China utilize next-day delivery services for Tmall supermarket products.
  • Northern Trust (NTRS) and Bank of Taiwan announce they have entered into a strategic collaboration to offer institutional investors in Taiwan access to a solution combining Bank of Taiwan's local expertise and Northern Trust's global custody and asset servicing capabilities.
  • ORBOTECH (ORBK) announced that Forewin FPC Co Ltd., a large Chinese Flexible Printed Circuit manufacturer has for a second time, selected Orbotech's production solutions for its high-end fine-line flex applications.
  • Philip Morris (PM) has filed suit in the English High Court to contest the UK government's recently introduced standardized packaging regulations for tobacco products. PMI is seeking a decision that the regulations - which impose a wholesale ban on logos and visual trademark elements and require all cigarette packaging to look the same - violate English and European Union law.

6:03 am U.S. Concrete acquires Colonial Concrete Company of Newark, NJ; financial terms not disclosed (USCR) : Colonial has three ready-mixed concrete batch plants and fleet of ~40 mixer trucks

5:56 am Central Valley Bancorp increases quarterly dividend to $0.06/share from $0.05/share (CVCY) :  

5:55 am Cathay Bancorp increases quarterly dividend to $0.14/share from $0.10/share (CATY) :  

5:51 am S&P futures vs fair value: -0.60. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: +2.90. :

5:51 am European Markets : FTSE...7043.44...+30.10...+0.40%.  DAX...11831.32...-33.30...-0.30%.

5:51 am Asian Markets : Nikkei...20264.41...+61.50...+0.30%.  Hang Seng...27992.83...+469.10...+1.70%.

5:46 am MeadWestvaco and Rock-Tenn (RKT) expect the previously announced merger to close on July 1, 2015 (MWV) :  

5:45 am WuXi PharmaTech: Consortium including WuXi acquires Ambrx; terms not disclosed (WX) : A consortium consisting of entities affiliated with Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group, HOPU Investments, China Everbright Limited's healthcare fund, and WuXi PharmaTech announced that the Consortium has signed a merger agreement pursuant to which the Consortium will acquire Ambrx Inc. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2015, subject to receipt of certain regulatory approvals and satisfaction of customary closing conditions. 

  • Ambrx is a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on discovering and developing first-in-class and best-in-class optimized protein therapeutics known as bio-conjugates.
  • The company's most advanced internally developed product is ARX788, a site-specific ADC targeting Her2-positive breast cancer that Ambrx expects to begin clinical trials on in 2015. 

5:29 am Ctrip.com confirms it has acquired a stake in eLong (LONG) from selling shareholders including Expedia (EXPE); CTRP acquired a 37.6% for ~$400 mln (CTRP) : In addition, Ctrip and Expedia (EXPE) have agreed to cooperate with each other to allow their respective customers to benefit from certain travel product offerings for specified geographic markets.

4:24 am eLong: Expedia sells its majority stake in eLong (LONG) : eLong (LONG) announced the sale by Expedia (EXPE) of its 62.4% ownership interest in the Company held through its wholly owned subsidiary.

  • Expedia informed eLong that, on May 22, 2015, all of the ordinary shares Expedia owned were sold at an average price of $14.63 per share (equivalent to an average price of  $29.27 per ADS) to several purchasers based in China, including C-Travel International,a wholly owned subsidiary of Ctrip.com (CTRP), Keystone Lodging Holdings, Plateno Group and Luxuriant Holdings

3:05 am China Nepstar Chain Drugstore CEO resigns for personal reasons (NPD) : Co announced the resignation of Fuxiang Zhang as the Company's Chief Executive Officer for personal reasons, effective immediately.

  • Rebecca Yingnan Zhang has been appointed as Chief Executive Officer by the Company's board of directors, effective immediately. Meanwhile, Ms. Zhang resigned from the position as Chief Operating Officer, effective immediately.

1:30 am China Lodging appoints Hui Chen as Chief Financial Officer (HTHT) : Ms. Chen has been Executive Vice President of Finance since January 2015

1:27 am LATAM Airlines commences cash tender offer and consent solicitation for 9.50% Senior Guaranteed Notes due 2020 Of TAM Capital 2 (LFL) :  

1:21 am Plantronics prices $500 mln aggregate principal amount of 5.500% senior notes due 2023 (PLT) :  

1:10 am Plantronics authorizes the repurchase of an additional 4 mln shares of its common stock (PLT) :  

1:09 am Healthstream upsizes offering and prices 3,365,000 shares of common stock at $26.75 per share (HSTM) : The 3,365,000 share offering represents a 265,000 share upsize to the originally proposed 3,100,000 share offering.

1:07 am Williams Cos raises its quarterly dividend by $0.01 to $0.59 (WMB) :  

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