InPlay from Briefing.com

Briefing.com

12:56 pm Marathon Petroleum increases quarterly dividend 19% to $0.50 from $0.42/share (MPC) :  

12:32 pm Gogo obtains $75 mln credit facility addition (GOGO) : Co announced that it has obtained a $75 mln increase to its existing $248 mln credit facility arranged by Morgan Stanley. Gogo intends to use the proceeds of the debt financing for general corporate purposes.

12:20 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

  • TWTR (46.9 +21.53%): Beat quarterly EPS by $0.03 ($0.02 vs -$0.01 estimate), revs rose 124.0% yoy to $312 mln vs $283.3 mln estimate; Q3 average monthly active users rose 24% yoy to 271 mln vs 256.64 mln Briefing.com consensus; sees Q3 revs of $330-340 mln vs $323.72 mln estimate; sees FY14 revs of $1.31-1.33 bln (raised from $1.20-1.25 bln) vs $1.27 bln estimate; upgraded at BofA/Merrill, Cowen, UBS, CRT Capital, and FBN Securities
  • ASML (95.24 +14.36%): Co confirmed that one customer has exposed more than 500 wafers on an NXE:3300B extreme ultra-violet (:EUV) system winthin 24 hours; seeing reports that co is ahead of scheduled with tests for EUV machines
  • YPF (38.56 +8.34%): Reuters reporting that Argentine banks will offer to buy out the country's debt held by holdout investors to avert default
Large Cap Losers
  • ROK (111.68 -6.91%): Missed quarterly EPS by $0.06 ($1.49 vs $1.55 estimate), revs rose 1.6% yoy to $1.65 bln vs $1.68 bln estimate; sees FY14 EPS of $6.10-6.25 vs $6.19 estimate, organic sales growth of 4-6%
  • HUM (119.85 -6.01%): Reported Q2 EPS of $2.19 (in-line); reaffirmed FY14 EPS guidance of $7.25-7.75 vs $7.82 estimate
  • TOT (66.29 -4.50%): Missed quarterly Eps by $0.02 ($1.38 vs $1.40 estimate), revs $56.2 bln vs $52.9 bln estimate; Hydrocarbon production was 2,054 kboe/d in the second quarter, down 10% from last year; Liquids production declined 15% and gas production fell 5% from the prior year
Mid Cap Gainers
  • X (32.8 +18.54%): Reported Q2 adjusted EPS of $0.17, revs fell 0.7% yoy to $4.4 bln vs $4.2 bln estimate; co expects operating income for its reportable segments and other businesses to increase significantly over the second quarter, as it returns to normal operating levels
  • EW (93.57 +10.81%): Beat quarterly EPS by $0.11 ($0.88 ex items vs $0.77 estimate), revs rose 11.2% yoy to $575.1 mln vs $544.3 mln estimate; sees Q3 EPS of $0.66-0.72 ex items vs $0.74 estimate, revs of $530-570 mln vs $525.9 mln estimate; sees FY14 EPS of $3.24-3.34 ex items vs $3.17 estimate, revs at high end of $2.05-2.25 bln vs $2.17 bln estimate
  • ICLR (52.28 +9.14%): Beat quarterly EPS by $0.06 ($0.64 vs $0.58 estimate), revs rose 12.5% yoy to $376 mln vs $374.88 mln estimate; sees FY14 EPS of $2.62-2.68 (raised from $2.30-2.40) vs $2.36 estimate, revs of $1.49-1.53 bln vs $1.5 bln estimate
Mid Cap Losers
  • PWE (7.61 -16.83%): Disclosed that the company's Audit Committee is conducting a voluntary, internal review of certain of the company's accounting practices; reported Q2 average production of 108,130 barrels of oil equivalent per day, maintained guidance of 101,000-106,000 boe per day
  • BWLD (143.2 -14.33%): Beat quarterly EPS by $0.05 ($1.25 vs $1.20 estimate), revs rose 20.0% yoy to $366.0 mln vs $359.6 mln estimate; same store sales increased 7.7% at company-owned restaurants and 6.5% at franchised restaurants
  • GNW (14.22 -12.56%): Missed quarterly EPS by $0.02 ($0.34 vs $0.36 estimate), revs rose 1.9% yoy to $2.42 bln vs $2.36 bln estimate; downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Macquarie, target lowered to $17 from $20

12:11 pm Nasdaq Comp +3 joins Dow -87 and S&P -6.7 at new low (:TECHX) : Nasdaq Comp/100 and small-caps still holding on to slightly positive bias.

12:01 pm Fractional new lows for Dow -85 and S&P -5.9, Nasdaq Comp +5 hovering slightly above its morning low (:TECHX) :  

12:01 pm Superior Ind: Proxy advisory firm ISS recommends that Superior Industries shareholders vote the white proxy card for all of Superior's director nominees (SUP) : Co announced that ISS Proxy Advisory Services has recommended to its clients that Superior shareholders vote the white proxy card for all four of Superior's director nominees at Superior's 2014 Annual Meeting of Shareholders, to be held on August 15, 2014. In recommending that Superior shareholders vote the white proxy card for all four of the director-nominees recommended by the Superior Board, ISS concluded that GAMCO had not made a compelling case that additional change to Superior's Board is needed and that votes for the Superior Board's nominees on the WHITE proxy card are warranted.

11:46 am Stocks/ETFs that traded to new 52 week highs/lows this session - New highs (94) outpacing new lows (78) (:SCANX) : Stocks that traded to 52 week highs: AIV, AMGN, AMID, AMP, AMRE, AMT, APC, APD, ARLP, AUO, AVB, BABY, BFR, BMA, CHE, CHKE, CHRW, CLMS, CMG, COO, CORE, DEJ, DHX, DLR, DMLP, ECF, EMC, EQR, EW, FLT, FSRV, GAGA, GB, GFIG, GGAL, GILD, GLNG, GLP, HCA, HES, HIW, HNRG, HOLX, HSKA, HSP, ICLR, IDIX, INGR, IPHI, IRWD, KEP, KTWO, LAZ, LEJU, NTRS, NUVA, NVEC, PEIX, PMBC, PPS, PTRY, PTSI, Q, QRE, RFMD, SBAC, SEM, SFBC, SHG, SKM, SKX, SLCA, SLF, SLI, SNP, SRCL, SUMR, SWC, TCX, TFX, TKC, TMH, TOUR, TQNT, TRN, TV, UFI, UNTY, WDC, WEX, WLB, WLP, X, YPF

Stocks that traded to 52 week lows: ACPW, ACXM, AGCO, ALLY, AMCC, AOI, ATNY, AVHI, BAA, BAK, BDR, BECN, BGFV, BODY, BPI, BRP, CAS, CBDE, CERU, CGA, CGG, CKH, CMCT, CNHI, COT, CPWR, CREG, CS, DAR, DCTH, DEST, DORM, DWA, EDMC, ESI, FRAN, GEOS, HOV, IKAN, IOSP, ISSC, JEC, KBR, KIOR, LPX, MGAM, MMSI, MTZ, NILE, NKSH, NPK, NPTN, PED, PGEM, PIKE, PSTI, PSUN, PT, QLGC, QRM, RSH, SPAR, SSE, TAXI, TCCO, TEU, TGE, TNAV, TR, TRGT, TSE, UBS, UUU, VII, VNOM, WMS, WSH, ZQK

ETFs that traded to 52 week highs: EPP, EWH, EWY, IHF, XLV

ETFs that traded to 52 week lows: BAL, FXS, RJA

11:43 am IBM slip to fractional new session/weekly low (IBM) : The stock has recently edged under the low of this week's multi-month high bar from Monday at 193.65 (session low 193.59).

11:34 am Currency Commentary: DXY Hits 10-month Highs (:SUMRX) :

  • The Dollar Index continues to rally as the first glance at Q2 GDP came in higher than expected. The beat was driven by a rise in inventories but it has helped increase market expectations for a rate hike sooner than currently anticipated. This has led to more buying in the dollar as it presses to fresh multi-month highs. The last time that the dollar traded in this area was September of 2013. The market now prepares for the FOMC this afternoon but it is generally expected to be a non event. Expectations are for another $10 bln taper. The primary focus will be ion language around the economy, inflation, and potential dissenters. 
  • The euro has fallen to a ten month low as the divergence between the FOMC and the ECB gets priced into the currencies. CPI data from Germany came in slightly higher than expected while Spain saw a miss. This will lead to mixed expectations ahead of tomorrow's region wide inflation report. But the primary focus remains on the dollar, the Fed, and U.S. jobs. 
  • The pound has also pulled back against the dollar as it slides back to 1.69. The dollar has been closing the gap as the expectations for timing of rate hikes from the Bank of England and the Fed tightens. Sterling is also seeing a flattening out of its rise against the euro as the pair settle in the 0.79 area following a steady 3-month rally. 
  • The yen has broken out of its recent range as it falls to 102.84 against the dollar. This move has been a pure pair trade though and not risk on as equities have been selling off despite the yen selling (BONDX, FOREX). 

11:31 am Carnival subsidiary, Princess Cruises to add new ship to fleet; cost of ~ 600 mln euros (CCL) : Princess Cruises, a subsidiary of Carnival Corporation & plc, announced that it has reached an agreement with the Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri to build a new ship, which will enter service in 2017.

  • The as-yet unnamed 143K-ton vessel, which will be built at an all-in cost of approximately 600 million euros, will carry 3,560 passengers, and feature the successful design platform introduced by sister ships Royal Princess in 2013 and Regal Princess which entered service this past May.
  • Specific features and amenities for the ship, along with deployment details, will be revealed in the coming months.

11:20 am Floor Talk (:TALKX) : Second quarter GDP increased at a much better than expected annual rate of 4.0%.  Twitter (TWTR 46.79, +8.20) wowed with its latest earnings report and traded up as much as 35% with the initial reaction.  American Express (AXP 90.54, -1.17), Amgen (AMGN 130.09, +6.78), and WellPoint (WLP 109.75, -2.80) all topped consensus EPS expectations.  What more could be asked for to produce a bullish bias?

Things certainly started on a bullish note, but they didn't last -- and that has been the problem for the market.  There have been plenty of positive catalysts, yet the stock market isn't capitalizing on those catalysts like many might have thought it would -- at least not to this point anyway.

The trading action itself then has been a negative focal point for participants, perhaps driving some added selling interest by new holders of long positions who may feel trapped near the highs with those positions as they see a market not responding intuitively to good news.

Another element hanging over today's trading is the jump in long-term rates following the GDP report.  The 10-yr note has been under some notable selling pressure since its release.  It is currently down 18 ticks, pushing its yield up six basis points to 2.53%.  Some will be inclined to suggest that is a function of concerns the Fed may need to hike rates sooner than expected, although the front end of the curve is little changed, so that reasoning is a bit dubious.

Separately, the geopolitical card continues to be wild with nothing good being reported as of yet on the diplomatic front with Russia.

In sum then, the disappointing action appears couched in the following factors:

  • The inability to sustain gains on good news
  • Worries about rising interest rates; and
  • Geopolitical angst
We would offer an additional factor of weak leadership in general and the continued underperformance of the industrials sector (-0.2%) in particular.  For what it's worth, the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX 13.84, +0.56) is up 4.1% in front of the FOMC decision later today (2:00 p.m. ET).

11:18 am Dow -55 and S&P -2 slip to new lows for the week, Nasdaq 100/Comp and small-caps remain in positive territory (:TECHX) :  

11:04 am Major averages slide to new session lows -- Dow -81, S&P -4.8, Nasdaq Comp +5.9 (:TECHX) :  

11:00 am Square 1 Financial announces partnership with Novasentis; provided a $2 mln debt facility to new client Novasentis (SQBK) : Co announced that it has provided a $2 mln debt facility to new client Novasentis, a leading developer of haptic actuators and sensory technology. Proceeds of the credit facility will support the company's continued growth and operations while it further develops its Electro-Mechanical Polymer technology platform.

10:45 am Dow -57 sets new session low, hovering near its 50 ema/sma at 16865/16872 -- S&P -2.4, Nasdaq Comp +9 (:TECHX) :  

10:34 am Pfizer: InnoPharma announces launch of Olanzapine for injection, 10mg/vial in Canada (PFE) : Co announced the first generic launch of Olanzapine for Injection, 10mg/vial (the generic equivalent of Zyprexa injection), in Canada. Olanzapine is indicated for the rapid control of agitation and disturbed behaviors in patients with schizophrenia or bipolar I mania.

  • As the developer of this generic injectable drug, InnoPharma has entered into an agreement with Sandoz Canada Inc., pursuant to which Sandoz Canada will make, use, sell, market and distribute Olanzapine Injection in Canada.
  • On July 16, 2014, Pfizer and InnoPharma announced that they have entered into an agreement under which Pfizer will acquire InnoPharma. The closing of the transaction is subject to U.S. regulatory approval and is expected to occur during the third quarter.

10:32 am ALCO Stores Annual Meeting of Stockholders adjourned until August 29, 2014 (ALCS) :

  • No vote was taken regarding the proposals before the co's stockholders. 
  • The Company is adjourning the Annual Meeting to provide the Board of Directors with additional time to complete its inquiry into whether any individual, entity or group became an "Acquiring Person" under the terms of the Company's Amended and Restated Rights Agreement. 
  • Once the Board of Directors has completed that inquiry and determined its course of action with respect to the Rights Agreement, and made appropriate disclosure to the co's stockholders regarding the Rights Plan and any other material developments that may occur during the adjournment of the Annual Meeting, the co's stockholders will be in a position to cast their ballots on the important matters before the Annual Meeting on a fully informed basis.

10:31 am Sep crude oil rises slightly on inventory data; now up 0.6% at $101.56 (:COMDX) :  

10:27 am Western Digital jumps to new session high intraday takes out Mid-July peak (WDC) : Stock scheduled to report earnings after the close.

10:23 am Magal Security: FIMI Opportunity Fund entered into an agreement to acquire 40% of the co's shares at a price of $3.50 per share (stock halted, resumes 10:45 ET) (MAGS) : Magal Security Systems announced that FIMI Opportunity Fund entered into an agreement with Ki Corporation, to acquire from Ki ~40% of Magal's outstanding shares at a price of $3.50 per share. In addition, FIMI will pay Ki an additional consideration subject to the occurrence of certain conditions. Following consummation of the transaction, FIMI will be the largest shareholder of Magal. Consummation of the transaction is subject to certain conditions, including the approval of the Israeli Controller of Restrictive Trade Practices.

10:16 am Innophos Holdings increases quarterly dividend by 20% to $0.48 from $0.40/share (IPHS) :  

10:08 am Relative sector weakness (:TECHX) : Sectors that have underperformed the S&P as it recently dropped to a new session low include: Oil Service OIH, Energy XLE, Industrial XLI, Defense PPA, Casino

10:02 am Cardtronics to redeem its 8.250% senior subordinated notes due 2018 (CATM) : Co announced that it has called for redemption on September 1, 2014 all of its 8.250% Senior Subordinated Notes due 2018 then outstanding at a redemption price of 104.125% of the principal amount of the Notes, plus accrued and unpaid interest to September 1, 2014. Because September 1, 2014 is a federal holiday, the actual redemption will occur on the next business day, September 2, 2014.

  • Cardtronics will fund the redemption with part of the proceeds from the Company's private offering of $250 mln of 5.125% Senior Notes due 2022, which closed on July 28, 2014.

10:00 am Major averages pull back after solid start, set new session lows -- Dow +1, S&P +3.1, Nasdaq Comp +22 (:TECHX) :  

10:00 am Kinder Morgan Partners announces initial anchor shippers for Northeast Energy Direct Project (KMP) : Co announced it has reached agreement, subject to customary approvals, with key local natural gas distribution companies throughout New England to transport ~ 500,000 dekatherms per day (Dth/d) of long-term firm transportation on the market path component of Tennessee Gas Pipeline's (TGP) Northeast Energy Direct Project. Included in this key group are: The Berkshire Gas Company, Columbia Gas of Massachusetts, Connecticut Natural Gas, Liberty Utilities (EnergyNorth Natural Gas), National Grid, Southern Connecticut Gas and three other LDCs. Negotiations with additional customers on both the market path and supply path components of the Northeast Energy Direct Project are continuing and agreements are expected to be announced soon.

9:54 am Sapiens Int'l acquires KPI, owner of 'The Decision Model' Patent and a leading decision management consultancy firm (SPNS) : Co announced it has acquired Knowledge Partners International, a pioneer and recognized leader in decision management consultancy, services and training.

The Sapiens decision management technology portfolio now includes:

  • Sapiens DECISION, an enterprise-scale decision management technology designed and developed using The Decision Model as its foundation 
  • KPI's STEP and QuickSTEP consulting programs, which integrate Agile methods of business process modeling, decision modeling and business rule mining into a comprehensive business requirements management approach 
  • An established and highly-respected consulting and educational practice to offer training, knowledge transfer, mentorship and certification to support enterprises in developing their own centers of excellence in Agile decision, process and requirements management

9:52 am Cellcom Israel announces partial dismissal of purported Class Actions; litigation will not have a material effect on the co (CEL) : Co provided an update today on positive developments in two purported class actions. The lawsuits were filed against the Company in May 2010 and June 2011 (and heard together) and included allegations relating to non-ionizing radiation and network quality.

  • The Court dismissed the motions to certify the class actions with prejudice except in respect of certain claims that it determined it would hear on the basis of settlements of similar class action claims made against other cellular operators (Pelephone Communications Ltd. and Partner Communications Ltd.) and approved by the court, which the Company was willing to adopt as well. 
  • The class settlement agreements include the cellular operators undertaking to provide certain information regarding non-ionizing radiation, sell certain accessories at a discount and conduct certain tests to handsets at certain circumstances.

9:50 am Alexco Resources announces increase to previously announced bought deal unit financing; Underwriter to increase the Underwritten Offering from CAD5,002,500 to CAD7,015,000 (AXU) : Co announcd that in connection with its previously announced short form prospectus offering, it has entered into an amended agreement with the Underwriter to increase the Underwritten Offering from CAD5,002,500 to CAD7,015,000. The net proceeds from the Offering are expected to be used by the cofor exploration and development of the Company's projects and for general working capital purposes.

9:46 am Home Bancshares and Broward Financial Holdings, Inc. announce signing of definitive agreement; shareholders of Broward will receive proceeds from the transaction between $33,060,001 and $33,960,001 as a combination of both Home common stock and cash split 90% and 10%, respectively (HOMB) : Cos announced the signing of a definitive agreement for Home to acquire Broward.

  • Under the terms of the agreement, Broward Bank will merge into Centennial and shareholders of Broward will receive proceeds from the transaction between $33,060,001 and $33,960,001 as a combination of both Home common stock and cash split 90% and 10%, respectively. 
  • This purchase price includes the conversion of currently outstanding Broward stock warrants into $3.0 mln of Broward common equity before closing. 
  • As a result, the purchase price is priced between 1.645 and 1.649 of pro forma tangible common equity as of June 30, 2014. 
  • Broward currently operates two banking locations in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. As of June 30, 2014, Broward had ~ $168.5 mln in total assets, $110.8 mln in loans, and $143.8 mln in deposits. Broward Bank has recently been ranked 12th in the DepositAccounts.com Top 200 Healthiest Banks 2014.

9:46 am Firmer start little follow through as minor new Nasdaq Comp +29 high was not confirmed by Dow +42 and S&P +6.4 (:TECHX) :  

9:42 am Opening Market Summary: Stocks Rally Out of the Gate (:WRAPX) : As expected, the major averages displayed early strength thanks to a better than expected GDP report for Q2 (4.0% versus Briefing.com consensus 3.2%) and a set of upbeat quarterly earnings. The S&P 500 trades higher by 0.4% with seven sectors showing gains.

All six cyclical groups trade In the green with gains between 0.3% and 0.7%, while countercyclical sectors are bit more mixed. The health care space (+0.8%) sits atop the leaderboard, whereas consumer staples (-0.4%), telecom services (-0.1%), and utilities (-0.1%) lag. Notably, the health care sector has drawn strength from biotech names after Amgen (AMGN 130.52, +7.21) reported better than expected results. On a related note, the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB 260.20, +5.42) is higher by 2.1%.

The broad strength in equities has translated into weakness for Treasuries. The 10-yr note is now down half a point with its yield up six basis points at 2.52%.

9:41 am Kroger ratifies agreement with UFCW 75 for Cincinnati and Dayton Associates (KR) : Co Cincinnati/Dayton Division associates have ratified a new labor agreement with UFCW Local 75. It merges the formerly separate Cincinnati and Dayton contracts.

The contract covers 12,766 associates working in 76 stores in Cincinnati and 4,945 associates working in 32 stores in Dayton.

9:34 am iShares NASD Biotech gaps higher off the open, nears last week and mid-month highs at 259/260 (IBB) : REGN +8.3, AMGN +5.3, ICPT +4.5%, SGEN +1.8%, BMRN +1.3%, BIIB +1.3%, CELG +1.2%, ALXN +1.6%.

9:26 am On The Wires (:WIRES) :

  • Activision Publishing, a subsidiary of Activision Blizzard (ATVI), and Bungie confirmed millions of people have played their upcoming game Destiny during their beta test to gather vital information in preparation for launch. The beta began first on SNE PlayStation4 and PlayStation3 on July 17 and came to a close Sunday evening, with 4,638,937 unique players participating.
  • Accuride (ACW) has retained the services of Specialty Sales and Marketing, a Canadian sales and marketing agency in the commercial vehicle market. 
  • SS&C Technologies (SSNC) announced that RCI, part of the Wyndham Worldwide family of brands (WYN), will begin a strategic development project with SS&C's TimeShareWare to incorporate RCI Connect platform web-services to establish an automated interface between TSW property management systems and the RCI web servers. 
  • Hill International (HIL) has been awarded a contract from the Cairo Airport Company to provide project management consultancy services in connection with the renovation and development of Terminal Building No. 2 at Cairo International Airport in Egypt. The 15-month contract has an estimated value to Hill of ~ $1.9 mln. 
  • Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide (HOT) announced plans to introduce its Element brand to Basalt, Colorado.

9:25 am On The Wires (:WIRES) :

  • The Hartford (HIG) announced it is investing in its property & casualty insurance policy management systems to drive efficiency and better serve customers and agents. Co has selected Guidewire (GWRE) PolicyCenter as its new underwriting and policy administration platform, replacing multiple systems currently in place. 
  • Saratoga Harness Racing and Churchill Downs (CHDN) have executed a binding term sheet and are close to finalizing a five-year management contract wherein CDI will manage Saratoga Casino and Raceway in Saratoga Springs, NY and Saratoga Casino Black Hawk in Black Hawk, CO. Once finalized, the management contract will become effective as soon as CDI obtains necessary licenses and approvals in New York and Colorado. 
  • Dealertrack Technologies (TRAK) announced a partnership with Element Payment Services, a Vantiv (VNTV) co, to seamlessly integrate electronic payment processing into Dealertrack DMS 2.0. 
  • Enphase Energy (ENPH) and Technology Credit are working together to offer financing packages for installer-integrators and customers in the small to medium commercial solar photovoltaic market. 
  • Exelis (XLS) has successfully delivered to the U.S. Navy the first nine full rate production, next-generation electronic self-protection systems for F/A-18 fighter aircraft.
  • Kyocera (KYO) Solar announced that Sundance Power Systems has installed 650 kilowatts of high-quality Kyocera solar modules on Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.'s new Mills River, North Carolina brewery.
  • GSE Systems (GVP) announced that GSE Systems, the co's wholly-owned subsidiary, has renewed its membership to NOF Energy. The membership provides GSE Systems with the opportunity to take an active role in the UK energy industry. 
  • CenturyLink (CTL) has signed a multi-megawatt data center deal with CoinTerra to host CoinTerra's rapidly growing Bitcoin-mining operations in CenturyLink data centers.

9:23 am Overland Storage enters into strategic partnership with BDT and settles patent lawsuit (OVRL) : Co announced that it has settled all claims in its patent infringement litigation filed against BDT Media Automation GmbH. As part of the settlement agreement, Overland Storage has entered into a patent cross-license agreement with BDT Media Automation GmbH and a strategic investment in Overland Storage by BDT.

  • The settlement and cross-license agreement effectively concludes Overland Storage's 2012 lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, and with the United Stated International Trade Commission, against BDT AG; BDT Products, Inc.; BDT-Solutions GmbH & Co. KG; BDT Automation Technology (Zhuhai FTZ) Co., Ltd.; and BDT de Mexico, S. de R.L. de C.V.
  • In addition, Overland Storage agreed to dismiss with prejudice Case Number 12-cv-1598-JLS brought by Overland against PivotStor, LLC.

9:19 am S&P futures vs fair value: +6.90. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: +23.00. (:WRAPX) : The stock market is on track for an upbeat open after index futures received a boost from a better than expected GDP report. According to the preliminary report, GDP increased 4.0% during the second quarter. This was well ahead of the Briefing.com consensus estimate, which expected an increase of 3.2%. Also of note, the Q1 reading was revised up to -2.1% from -2.9%.

Accordingly, the better than expected economic report has sparked some selling in the Treasury market. The 10-yr note is lower by 13 ticks with its yield up five basis points at 2.51%. Elsewhere, the U.S. dollar has received a boost with the U.S. Dollar Index (81.46, +0.25) spiking to a session high.

In addition to the GDP report, market participants have received another round of quarterly earnings. Most notably, Twitter (TWTR 48.26, +9.67) is indicated to open higher by 25.0% in reaction to its better than expected results and guidance.

In other earnings news, Amgen (AMGN 129.00, +5.66) is expected to underpin the biotech space after reporting better than expected results.

With Fed Chair Janet Yellen's two favorite industry groups showing early strength, it is fitting that the latest policy decision from the Federal Open Market Committee will cross the wires at 14:00 ET.

9:18 am GFI Group: CME Group (CME) to acquire all of the outstanding shares of GFI Group in exchange for $4.55/share in CME Group Class A Common Stock (GFIG) : Co announced that they have entered into definitive agreements to create value for their respective stockholders through a two-step transaction through which:

  • CME Group will acquire Trayport and FENICS. CME Group will purchase these businesses by first acquiring all of the outstanding shares of GFI Group in exchange for $4.55/share in CME Group Class A Common Stock which represents a 46% premium above yesterday's closing price of $3.11/share of GFI Group common stock. 
  • Immediately following the acquisition of GFI Group, a private consortium of GFI Group management, led by current Executive Chairman Michael Gooch, CEO Colin Heffron and Managing Director Nick Brown, will acquire GFI Group's wholesale brokerage and clearing businesses for $165 mln in cash and the assumption, at closing, of ~$63 mln of unvested deferred compensation and other liabilities. After completion of the transaction, the wholesale brokerage business, including the Kyte Group, will continue as a private company with its management and operations largely unchanged. The continuing GFI Group brokerage business will maintain its commitment to both Trayport and FENICS by entering into long-term commercial agreements.
  • GRIG's Board of Directors approved the merger agreement and recommends that GFI Group's stockholders vote to approve the merger agreement. 
  • In addition, CME Group will assume $240 mln in outstanding debt, for a total value of ~$820 mln.  

9:11 am Galectin Therapeutics issues statement on GR-MD-02 Development Program; co believes negative market reaction 'was fueled in part by certain commentary on social media sites and the Internet and we strongly disagree with these interpretations of our data' (GALT) :

  • Co announced yesterday results of cohort 2 of its phase 1 clinical trial in patients with NASH with advanced fibrosis. While the results of the clinical trial were positive, the market reacted negatively to this report. We believe the reaction was fueled in part by certain commentary on social media sites and the Internet and we strongly disagree with these interpretations of our data. Our goal in commenting further at this juncture is to provide clarity and a helpful framework for investors on the long-term outlook of the company and our work toward developing potential therapies for NASH and liver fibrosis.
  • GR-MD-02 is a complex carbohydrate molecule derived from apple pectin material that binds to galectin-3 protein thereby inhibiting its activity. There is a large amount of scientific literature showing galectin-3 is a critical protein in fibrosis. While certain commentators on social media sites have dubbed it a "non-mechanism of action," this view contradicts many peer reviewed published studies. The phase 1 clinical trial was the first time this molecule was infused into man. Comments on social media about the drug being a "sugar placebo" are misguided and anti-intellectual. GR-MD-02 has been shown to be effective in treating NASH and fibrosis when infused in several animal models, results of which have been reported in peer review scientific journals and presented at international scientific meetings. Based on the pre-clinical data and the enormous need for drugs in an area where there is no therapy, the FDA gave development of GR-MD-02 for NASH with advanced fibrosis Fast Track designation. The importance of galectin-3 in fibrosis and the mechanism of action and the drug action are on a firm scientific foundation.
  • Certain commentators on social media labeled the second cohort results, "a flop." This is simply not accurate. The primary endpoints for the phase 1 trial have always been safety and pharmacokinetics and have been successfully met for each cohort completed. The dose of 4 mg/kg was safe and well tolerated and drug levels showed that the drug acted predictably and with a linear increase from the 2 mg/kg dose. While the phase 1 trial is still ongoing, we deem the phase 1 clinical trial a success up to this point.
  • Certain commentators on social media dubbed the drug a "failure" because galectin-3 levels in the blood did not change. This is an incorrect interpretation of our data. As we explained in our webcast when we announced the results of cohort 1 and 2, we do not expect galectin-3 levels in the blood to change with the extent of liver disease. We have shown in animals that there are high levels of galectin-3 in diseased livers, but there is no change in blood levels. 

9:09 am Blackhawk Network and Amazon (AMZN) offer new mobile wallet capabilities; customers can store, redeem and lookup balances for major brands with Amazon Wallet (HAWK) : Co and Amazon have teamed up to bring customers a better way to manage and spend their gift cards. Using the new Amazon Wallet app, customers can more easily store, redeem and check the balance of gift cards from dozens of major retailers and restaurants.

  • Amazon customers can now load information from their existing physical and digital gift cards into their Amazon Wallet. Once the information is saved, card balances can be viewed from the app or online. Customers can redeem their cards online, or present them in-store right from their phones.

9:05 am PDC Energy agrees to sell its 50% interest in the PDCM Marcellus jv for ~$250 mln; PDC increases its Utica shale leasehold to ~67,000 net acres (PDCE) : Co announced that it agreed to sell its fifty percent interest in PDC Mountaineer LLC, to Mountaineer Keystone Energy, LLC for approximately $250 million

  • The cos net pre-tax proceeds from the sale, after its share of JV debt repayment and other working capital adjustments, is expected to be approximately $190 million comprised of $150 million in cash and a $40 million note.
    • The effective date of the transaction is January 1, 2014 and it is expected to close on or about October 15, 2014
  • Through a series of transactions, the co recently added approximately 13,000 net acres for approximately $35 million
    • Total acreage position in the Utica Shale increased from approximately 54,000 to 67,000 net acres
  • The company intends to provide updated production and financial guidance for 2014 along with an updated outlook for 2015 and 2016 on its Q2 conference call currently scheduled for August 8, 2014.

9:04 am McKesson extends pharmaceutical distribution agreement with CVS Caremark (CVS) (MCK) : Co announced a three-year extension of its existing distribution agreement with CVS through June, 2019.

9:04 am Scorpio Bulkers misses by $0.03 (SALT) : Reports Q2 (Jun) loss of ($0.11) per share, $0.03 worse than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of a loss of ($0.08); revenues were reported at $13.2 mln vs the $13.3 mln consensus.

  • TCE revenue was $13.0 million for the three months ended June 30, 2014, associated with chartering in 19 vessels, for which the time charter equivalent revenue per day was $8,867.
  • Time charter equivalent revenue per day was adversely affected by a depressed rate environment for dry bulk carriers as well as the integration of the time chartered vessels into our fleet which required significant time and fuel as they had to be repositioned for certain of their first voyages.
  • Charterhire expense was $19.9 million for the three months ended June 30, 2014 relating to the time chartered-in vessels described above. See the Company's Fleet List below for the terms of these agreements.

9:04 am Biolase sends letter to stockholders; says 'We urge you to support the Board's five recommended director candidates on the White Proxy Card' (BIOL) : Co sent a letter to its stockholders:

  • Co's annual meeting of stockholders will be held on August 27, 2014, and, as a stockholder, you have a critical decision to make about the future of your investment. We urge you to support the Board's five recommended director candidates on the White Proxy Card. 
  • We recommend that you vote for all five board recommended director candidates. In addition to Messrs. Clark and Nugent, we also urge you to support Fred Moll, Jim Talevich and Jonathan Lord.

9:03 am Superior Ind to close manufacturing facility in Rogers, Arkansas; anticipated to generate a net $15 million labor cost savings (SUP) :

  • Co announced it will close its manufacturing facility in Rogers, Arkansas, as part of an initiative to reduce costs and enhance its global competitive position. The company said it expects to cease operations at Rogers by the end of this year. 
  • The closure will result in scheduled production being shifted to other Superior manufacturing facilities, including those in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and Chihuahua, Mexico, and is anticipated to generate a net $15 mln labor cost savings year-over-year, resulting from a workforce reduction of ~500 employees. As a result of the closure, Superior expects to incur severance costs estimated to be $2.0-2.5 mln. 
  • At June 29, 2014, the close of Superior's second quarter, the net book value of fixed assets and manufacturing equipment at the Rogers location was ~$22 mln. Asset related charges in connection with the closing have yet to be determined, but are expected to be recorded primarily in the third and fourth quarters of 2014. Other costs to be incurred as part of the closure also have not yet been determined.

9:03 am Aon names Bruno as Executive Vice President of Enterprise Innovation and Chief Information Officer (AON) : Co announced the appointment of John G. Bruno as Executive Vice President of Enterprise Innovation and Chief Information Officer for Aon.

  • Bruno joins Aon from NCR Corporation (NCR), where he worked since 2008. At NCR Bruno held several positions with increased responsibility, most recently as Executive Vice President, Industry and Field Operations, and Corporate Development. From 2007 to 2008, Bruno served as Managing Director and Vice President of Information Technology at Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS).

9:02 am American Spectrum Realty announces subsidiaries' successful emergence from Chapter 11 (stock has been halted since April 16) (AQQ) : The co announced the approval of a Joint Plan of Reorganization for three of its subsidiaries, ASR-8 Centre LP, ASR-Parkway One & Two LP, and ASR-Fountainview Place LP.

  • The subsidiaries filed voluntary petitions for reorganization in response to foreclosure proceedings instituted by creditors of debt secured by the subsidiaries' assets, consisting of four real property assets, in order to preserve the value of the assets which the company believed to be in excess of the outstanding secured debt. 
  • During the pendency of the bankruptcy proceedings, the co completed the sale of the property held by ASR-Fountainview Place and restructured the indebtedness secured by the assets of the other Subsidiaries. The plan will pay all creditors (including vendors) in full. 
No news yet as to when AQQ will resume trading

9:02 am Cullen/Frost reports EPS in-line (CFR) : Reports Q2 (Jun) earnings of $1.02 per share, in-line with the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $1.02. 

  • Net interest income on a taxable-equivalent basis increased $25.0 million, or 14.3 percent, to $198.9 million, from the $174.0 million reported a year earlier. This increase primarily resulted from an increase in the average volume of interest earning assets. Strong deposit growth helped to fund the increase in the volume of earning assets. 
  • The net interest margin was 3.48 percent for the second quarter, up from 3.43 percent for the second quarter of 2013 and 3.42 percent for this year's first quarter. 
  • "Thanks in part to our disciplined calling effort and the WNB acquisition, average loans exceeded $10 billion for the first time, increasing to $10.1 billion, a 9.5 percent increase over the same quarter in 2013. This quarter also included $4.8 million in transaction-related expenses associated with the acquisition."

9:02 am Heartland Payment Systems to acquire TouchNet Information Systems for $375 mln; expects the transaction to be slightly accretive in 2014, and to add at least $0.30 per share in 2015 (HPY) :

  • Co announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire TouchNet Information Systems a commerce solutions provider to higher-education institutions.
  • Heartland is paying $375 million to acquire TouchNet and, on a non-GAAP basis, expects the transaction to be slightly accretive in 2014, and to add at least $0.30 per share in 2015
  • In addition, Heartland expects that this transaction will add over $60 million to 2015 net revenue. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2014, subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions.

9:01 am Quantum Fuel awarded follow on $1.0 million contract for natural gas storage and fuel system development (QTWW) : Co announced that it recently was awarded a follow on $1.0 million software development contract by ZHRO Solutions LLC, under a strategic development program. 

  • The new contract, which is in addition to the $6.0 million in development contracts previously awarded to the co by ZHRO, is to advance the fuel system control software and oversee the development and integration of the engine control software system.

9:00 am Cousins Prop prices public offering of 18.0 million shares of common stock (CUZ) : Co announced that it priced an underwritten public offering of 18.0 million shares of its common stock for expected gross proceeds of $224.1 million.

  • The co intends to use the net proceeds of the offering to fund the purchase price of Fifth Third Center, a 698,000 square feet Class-A office building located in the Uptown submarket of Charlotte, North Carolina. Any remaining proceeds will be used for general corporate purposes, including the acquisition and development of office properties, other opportunistic investments and the repayment of debt.

8:56 am Suffolk Bancorp reinstates quarterly dividend $0.06/share (SUBK) :  

8:56 am Mueller Water calls for partial redemption of its 7 3/8% senior subordinated notes (MWA) : Co announced that it has delivered a notice to redeem a principal amount of $55.0 million of its 7 3/8% senior subordinated notes due 2017 (the "Notes"), CUSIP No.624758AB4. The redemption price is 101.229% of the principal amount redeemed, plus accrued and unpaid interest. The redemption date will be August 29, 2014.

8:55 am S&P futures vs fair value: +7.20. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: +23.00. (:WRAPX) : The S&P 500 futures trade seven points above fair value.

Asian markets ended the day on a mostly higher note. Japan's weak preliminary Industrial Production report (-3.3% month-over-month versus expected -1.0%) prompted the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry to lower its industrial assessment.

  • In other data: 
    • South Korea's Industrial Production rose 2.9% month-over-month (expected 0.7%, previous -2.8%), while the year-over-year reading increased 0.6% (consensus 0.8%, previous -2.1%). Separately, Retail Sales ticked up 0.3% month-over-month (forecast 0.6%, prior 1.4%) 
    • New Zealand's Building Consents increased 3.5% month-over-month (previous -4.4%) 
------
  • Japan's Nikkei added 0.2%, closing at its best level in more than six months. Solid earnings reports provided support with Mitsubishi Electric rallying 3.4% following its beat and Honda Motor gained 3.1% after providing upbeat guidance. 
  • Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.4%, gaining for a seventh straight day as trade contends with its best levels in more than six years. Property stocks continued to see strength as Hang Lung Properties and Sun Hung Kai Properties jumped 3.4% and 3.2%, respectively. 
  • China's Shanghai Composite slipped 0.1% for the first time in seven sessions. Real estate giant Poly Real Estate was a laggard, tumbling 5.5%. 
Major European indices trade in mixed fashion with Spain's IBEX (+0.9%) showing relative strength. The European Central Bank released its quarterly lending survey, which indicated that lending standards eased during the second quarter with positive loan demand observed in all loan categories.
  • Participants received several data points: 
    • Eurozone Business and Consumer Survey ticked up to 102.2 from 102.1 (expected 101.8) as Business Climate held steady at 0.2, as expected, while Consumer Confidence slipped to -8.0 from -7.5, as expected. Separately, Industrial Sentiment ticked up to -4.0 from -4.3 (consensus -5.0) 
    • French Consumer Confidence held steady at 86, as expected 
    • Spain's GDP rose 0.6% quarter-over-quarter (expected 0.5%, previous 0.4%), while the year-over-year reading increased 1.2% (consensus 1.1%, prior 0.5%). Separately, CPI slipped 0.3% year-over-year (expected 0.2%, prior 0.1%) 
------
  • Great Britain's FTSE is lower by 0.1% with miners showing weakness. Antofagasta is lower by 2.9% and BHP Billiton holds a loss of 1.3%. Barclays leads with a gain of 4.3% after providing an upbeat on its cost-cutting efforts. 
  • In France, the CAC holds a loss of 0.1%. Industrials Legrand and Schneider Electric underperform with respective losses of 1.4% and 2.9%. Airbus is the top performer, up 4.3%. 
  • Germany's DAX is higher by 0.2% with support from drug makers. Bayer and Merck are higher by 2.9% and 2.2%, respectively. Infineon Technologies has tumbled 4.3% despite reporting strong results. 
  • Spain's IBEX outperforms with an increase of 0.9% with banks showing strength. Bankinter, BBVA, and Caixabank are up between 1.5% and 1.9%. 
Also of note, trading in Russian equities has been suspended with the MICEX index up 2.0% at the time of the halt.

8:52 am On The Wires (:WIRES) :

  • CIT Group (CIT) announced that CIT Aerospace provided a $27 mln senior secured credit facility to Virgo Investment, a private investment management firm, to finance its acquisition of four Boeing (BA) 737-700 aircraft leased to GOL. 
  • FIS (FIS) has been selected by India's Shivalik Mercantile Cooperative Bank to provide a completely outsourced "bank in a box" solution for the bank. 
  • UQM Technologies (UQM) PowerPhase electric motor and controller systems are being used to power an all-electric mini bus built by Inter Tan-ker in Hungary.
  • Ixia (XXIA) announced a partnership agreement with Empowered Networks, a Canadian value-added reseller, to offer service providers, enterprises and network equipment manufacturers more comprehensive and complete solutions to address complex network requirements.
  • Virgin Mobile USA, part of Sprint's (S) Prepaid business unit, introduced Virgin Mobile Custom, a no-annual-contract offer with parental controls and the ability for customers to build personally tailored rate plans. Virgin Mobile Custom will be available exclusively to Walmart (WMT) customers at select stores beginning Aug. 9.
  • NASDAQ (NDAQ) Private Market announced the launch of ExactEquity, an integrated stock plan administration and capitalization table tracking solution for private co clients that was acquired from Pretty Simple Solutions. 
  • Insight (NSIT) announced the launch of Insight ON: Healthcare, a news and digital information resource created to help the healthcare community navigate myriad IT challenges.
  • UBIC (UBIC) and Air Co., an IT solution vendor, have formed an alliance to provide a data archiving solution service called "ESI Manager". The service commenced on July 21, 2014.

8:50 am Precious metals pop to new session highs; Aug gold now up 0.2% at $1300.70, Sep silver now up 0.7% at $20.72 (:COMDX) :  

8:47 am Phillips 66 Partners beats by $0.02, beats on revs; increases quarterly distribution 10% QoQ (PSXP) : Reports Q2 (Jun) earnings of $0.41 per share, $0.02 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.39; reports revenues of $56.9 mln, vs the $52.85 mln consensus. 

  • Earnings before interest, income taxes, depreciation and amortization were $37.6 million in the second quarter, and distributable cash flow was $34.3 million, both up significantly from previous quarters' results. 
  • Dividend Increase: On July 23, 2014, the board of directors of the general partner declared a quarterly cash distribution of $0.3017 per limited partner unit. This distribution represents a 10 percent increase over the first-quarter 2014 distribution of $0.2743 per unit and is 42 percent above the partnership's minimum quarterly distribution.

8:39 am NQ Mobile announces receipt of $9.80 per share buyout offer from Bison Capital Holding Company Limited (NQ) : Co announced that its board of directors has received a non-binding proposal from Bison Capital Holding Company Limited to acquire all of NQ's outstanding ordinary shares and American Depositary Shares.  

  • Bison has proposed a fixed cash consideration of US$9.80 per ADS. 
  • The Board is reviewing the proposed transaction, and may retain independent advisors, including an independent financial advisor, to assist it in its work. 
  • No decisions have been made by the Board with respect to its response to Bison's proposal. There can be no assurance that any definitive offer will be made, that any agreement will be executed or that this or any other transaction will receive necessary approvals or be consummated.

8:39 am eGain Comm. to acquire Exony for ~ $16.1 mln (EGAN) : Co announced a definitive agreement to acquire Exony Limited, an innovative contact center software provider.

  • Pursuant to the terms of the share purchase agreement, the co will acquire Exony for a purchase price of approximately $16.1 million, consisting of approximately $8 mln payable in cash and $8 mln payable through the issuance of approximately 1,209,000 shares of the cos common stock 
  • The co intends to provide further details with the release of its fiscal 2014 financial results on September 3, 2014.

8:39 am NQ Mobile announces receipt of non-binding proposal from Bison Capital Holding Company Limited to acquire all outstanding shares of NQ (NQ) :  

8:37 am Dynex Capital beats by $0.01 (DX) : Reports Q2 (Jun) core net operating earnings of $0.26 per share, $0.01 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.25.

  • "We had another solid quarter. Book value per common share increased by $0.25, or 2.8%, to $9.12, reflecting the continued strong bid for MBS. Our leverage declined to 5.7 times shareholders' equity in part reflecting the increase in asset values and in part reflecting the net decline in our borrowings. Core earnings per share of $0.26 was positively impacted by an increase in our adjusted net interest spread of 0.04% to 1.92%, as we benefited from a continued shift in the investment mix to CMBS assets and lower borrowing costs. Our duration exposure is unchanged from the first quarter, and we feel comfortable with our risk posture in this complex investment environment."

8:36 am Goodyear Tire reports EPS in-line, misses on revs; reaffirms FY14 guidance (GT) : Reports Q2 (Jun) earnings of $0.80 per share, excluding non-recurring items, in-line with the Capital IQ Consensus of $0.80; revenues fell 4.9% year/year to $4.66 bln vs the $4.75 bln consensus. 

  • Tire unit volumes totaled 40.6 million for the second quarter of 2014, up 3% from 2013. Replacement tire shipments were up 6% with growth in all four regions. Original equipment unit volume was down 4%, primarily in Latin America. 
Outlook
  • The company reaffirmed its 2014-2016 financial targets, which include: 
    • Segment Operating Income growth of between 10%and 15% per year
    • Annual positive Free Cash Flow from Operations and
    • An Adjusted Debt to EBITDAP ratio of 2.0x to 2.1x. 
  • Additionally, the co continues to expect a 2% to 3% increase in unit volumes for 2014 over 2013.

8:34 am Market View: Sep. stock-index futures jump to new pre-market highs on the heels of Q2 Advance GDP (:TECHX) :

  • ESu4 now +10.00
  • NQu4 now +25.50

8:34 am Standard Motor misses by $0.05, misses on revs (SMP) : Reports Q2 (Jun) earnings of $0.76 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.05 worse than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.81; revenues rose 0.9% year/year to $272.5 mln vs the $286.53 mln consensus. 

  • Engine Management gross margin continues to improve-a result of increased manufacturing, savings in purchasing, and the benefits of recent acquisitions. This increase has been offset by a decline in Temperature Control gross margin, as we have scaled back production to bring inventories into line. We look for Temperature Control gross margins to improve in the second half of the year."

8:33 am Cynosure appoints COO/CFO Timothy Baker as President effective August 1, 2014 (CYNO) : Baker will continue to serve as CFO and will take the title of President from Michael Davin, who remains Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

8:33 am Liquidity Services awarded new surplus contract with the U.S. Department of Defense for usable, non-rolling stock surplus property (LQDT) : Co announced the award of its new Surplus Contract with the Defense Logistics Agency Disposition Services of the U.S. Department of Defense to manage the receipt, storage, marketing and sale of all usable non-rolling stock surplus property generated by DoD installations in the United States and its territories. The contract has a 24-month base term with four 12-month renewal options, including the option to add international locations and other commodity categories upon mutual agreement.

  • There is a six-month ramp up period prior to the effective date of the new Surplus Contract during which time the Company will adjust its operations to conform to the requirements of the new contract. Liquidity Services expects to commence operations under the new contract during the first half of its fiscal year 2015.
  • Under the terms of the new contract, Liquidity Services will pay DLA approximately 4.35% of DoD's original acquisition value for all items referred, including an upfront payment of 0.5% of the OAV and a backend payment of 3.85% of the OAV after 120 days.

8:32 am Franklin Resources misses by $0.03, misses on revs (BEN) : Reports Q3 (Jun) earnings of $0.92 per share, $0.03 worse than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.95; revenues rose 2.2% year/year to $2.13 bln vs the $2.17 bln consensus.

8:32 am S&P futures vs fair value: +8.80. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: +25.00. (:WRAPX) : The S&P 500 futures trade nine points above fair value.

The advance second quarter GDP report indicated growth of 4.0%, which was better than the 3.2% increase that had been expected by the Briefing.com consensus. Meanwhile, the second quarter GDP Deflator came in at +2.0%, while the Briefing.com consensus expected a reading of +2.1%.

Separately, today's ADP National Employment Report revealed that employment in the nonfarm private business sector rose 218K in July. That was a bit above the increase of 215K expected by the Briefing.com consensus. The June reading was left unrevised at 281,000.

8:32 am Williams Partners adds another fully contracted Transco Pipeline expansion to projects under construction or in regulatory review (WPZ) : Co announced a fully contracted expansion project designed to deliver 180,000 dekatherms a day of additional natural gas capacity for local distribution along the Eastern Seaboard.

  • The $150 million project would provide firm transportation from Transco's Zone 6 Station 210 Pooling Point in Somerset County, N.J. to a new interconnection on Transco's Trenton Woodbury Lateral in Burlington County, N.J.
  • The co plans to place the project into service in phases with the first phase in 2016 and the second in 2017, assuming timely receipt of necessary regulatory approvals.

8:31 am Durata Therapeutics enters into an exclusive license and supply agreement with Angelini to commercialize dalbavancin in certain European territories, Russia and Turkey; ~$80 mln in upfront and milestone payments (DRTX) :

  • Co announced that its Dutch subsidiary, Durata Therapeutics International B.V., has entered into a license and supply agreement with Angelini, an international group leader in the pharmaceutical and mass-market sectors, to commercialize dalbavancin in 36 countries, which include Italy, Spain, Poland, Portugal, many Eastern European countries, Russia, Turkey, and Commonwealth of Independent States.
  • Durata will receive an upfront payment from Angelini of $15 million and another $10 million upon European Medicines Agency approval. The Co will also receive payments upon the achievement of certain countries' pricing approvals and sales milestones, as well as royalties on sales.
  • Durata's Marketing Authorization Application for dalbavancin is under review with the European Medicines Agency and anticipates a decision in 1H 2015.

8:31 am CEL-SCI Corp: France becomes 17th country to clear CEL-SCI for patient enrollment in its global Phase III head and neck cancer trial (CVM) : Co announced that the French Agency for the Safety of Health Products has cleared the co to commence patient enrollment for its Phase III Head and Neck Cancer clinical trial of its investigational cancer immunotherapy treatment Multikine in France.

  • The Multikine Phase III study is enrolling patients with advanced primary, not yet treated, head and neck cancer.

8:27 am European Markets Update: FTSE -0.1%, CAC -0.1%, DAX +0.1%, IBEX +0.7% (:SUMRX) : Major European indices trade in mixed fashion with Spain's IBEX (+0.7%) showing relative strength. The European Central Bank released its quarterly lending survey, which indicated that lending standards eased during the second quarter with positive loan demand observed in all loan categories.

  • Participants received several data points: 
    • Eurozone Business and Consumer Survey ticked up to 102.2 from 102.1 (expected 101.8) as Business Climate held steady at 0.2, as expected, while Consumer Confidence slipped to -8.0 from -7.5, as expected. Separately, Industrial Sentiment ticked up to -4.0 from -4.3 (consensus -5.0) 
    • French Consumer Confidence held steady at 86, as expected 
    • Spain's GDP rose 0.6% quarter-over-quarter (expected 0.5%, previous 0.4%), while the year-over-year reading increased 1.2% (consensus 1.1%, prior 0.5%). Separately, CPI slipped 0.3% year-over-year (expected 0.2%, prior 0.1%) 
------
  • Great Britain's FTSE is lower by 0.1% with miners showing weakness. Antofagasta is lower by 2.9% and BHP Billiton holds a loss of 1.3%. Barclays leads with a gain of 4.3% after providing an upbeat on its cost-cutting efforts. 
  • In France, the CAC holds a loss of 0.1%. Industrials Legrand and Schneider Electric underperform with respective losses of 1.4% and 2.9%. Airbus is the top performer, up 4.3%. 
  • Germany's DAX is higher by 0.1% with support from drug makers. Bayer and Merck are higher by 2.9% and 1.8%, respectively. Infineon Technologies has tumbled 4.4% despite reporting strong results. 
  • Spain's IBEX outperforms with an increase of 0.7% with banks showing strength. Bankinter, BBVA, and Caixabank are up between 1.2% and 1.7%.

8:26 am On The Wires (:WIRES) :

  • Aruba Networks (ARUN) has been named the official wireless network provider at Black Hat USA.
  • Eisai (ESALY) and Arena Pharma (ARNA) announced that an article based on post-hoc analyses from the three pivotal Phase 3 trials of lorcaserin entitled, "Early Weight Loss While on Lorcaserin, Diet, and Exercise as a Predictor of Week 52 Weight-Loss Outcomes," was recently published in the online issue of Obesity, the official peer reviewed journal of The Obesity Society.
  • Chromatin announced a collaborative sorghum feedstock program with Pacific Ethanol (PEIX), Calgren Renewable Fuels, and Aemetis. The California Energy Commission announced on July 18, 2014 that it had awarded the ethanol coms with a total of $9 mln in grants.
  • Hyatt Hotels (H) and Grupo Eco announced the opening of Hyatt Place La Paz in Baja California Sur, Mexico.
  • REC Solar has completed a 102 kilowatt array for The Hampton Inn & Suites Bakersfield North-Airport, a subsidiary of Hilton Hotels (HLT), in Bakersfield, California.
  • UTC Aerospace Systems', a unit of United Technologies (UTX), Landing Systems business marked a major milestone recently when it delivered its 5,000th set of landing gear for a Next-Generation 737 to Boeing (BA).
  • The Royal Australian Air Force successfully tested a Raytheon (RTN) Joint Standoff Weapon C against a hardened wall target at the RAAF Woomera Test Range.
  • ARRIS (ARRS) announced that Izukyu Cable has selected the ARRIS E6000 Converged Edge Router to enhance its high-speed broadband services.
  • ForceField Energy (FNRG) entered into a cross-marketing agreement with Branchburg, New Jersey based Noveda Technologies to deliver advanced solutions for energy and water efficiency to customers worldwide. As part of the agreement, both cos will offer an extended and complimentary line of solutions to their respective customers including LED lighting solutions, advanced lighting controls, real-time monitoring and SaaS. 
  • Lion Biotechnologies (LBIO) has entered into a clinical trial grant agreement with Moffitt Cancer Center to expand an ongoing Phase 1 study of TILs combined with ipilimumab in patients with metastatic melanoma. 
  • LiveDeal (LIVE) experienced a 277% spike in Android app downloads, compared to the prior week, which is due, in part, to the expansion of its ad campaign to 50 cities.
  • TeleCommunication Systems (TSYS) has entered into a contract with Planet Labs to supply a global network of X/Y Tracking Antenna Systems.

8:19 am Gapping down (:SCANX) : Gapping down
In reaction to disappointing earnings/guidance
: MMSI -12.5%, NTRI -11.2%, BWLD -9.1%, DWA -7.5%, GPRE -7.4%, CAP -5.1%, RGR -4.6%, AMCC -4.3%, IACI -4.1%, AFL -4%, MOVE -3.6%, CRAY -3.5%, GNW -3.4%, RT -3.1%, NVMI -2.6%, CUZ -2.5%, ROG -2.4%, ROK -2.2%, ACHC -2.1%, USNA -1.6%, CHMT -1.6%, VRTX -1.6%, TOT -1.3%, QGEN -1.2%, NFX -1.8.

M&A news: TRQ -3.4% (announces sale of 29.95% stake in SouthGobi resources), RIO -0.6% (agrees to sell coal assets in Mozambique for $50 mln).

Select metals/mining stocks trading lower: IGLD -1.8%, BHP -1.0%, ACH -1.0%.

Other news: LVLT -2.5% (announced pricing of private offering of $1 bln of 5.375% senior notes due 2022), SWHC -1.7% (following RGR results), PT -1.3% (still checking), BIOF -0.8% (on GPRE results), PWE -7.1% (accounting review; production news)

Analyst comments: UFS -1.5% (downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Goldman), KORS -1.4% (downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Robert W. Baird), ALK -1.3% (downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at JP Morgan ), ETN -1% (downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at JP Morgan, downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Goldman), EMN -0.9% (downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Sun Trust Rbsn Humphrey).

8:16 am Market View: Sep. stock-index futures hold a bid vs. fair values following the 8:15 a.m. ET Jul. ADP figure (:TECHX) :

  • ESu4 now @ 1968.75 +5.75

  • YMu4 now @ 16890 +45

  • NQu4 now @ 3969.25 +17.00

8:13 am Perrigo confirms first to file patent challenge for generic version of Topicort topical spray 0.25% (PRGO) : Co announced that it has filed with the FDA an Abbreviated New Drug Application for desoximetasone topical spray 0.25% and that it has notified Taro Pharmaceuticals U.S.A., Inc., (TARO) the owner of the Reference Listed Drug of its filing.

  • On July 28, 2014, Taro filed suit against Perrigo in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware, alleging patent infringement. This action formally initiates the process under the Hatch-Waxman Act. Perrigo believes that it is a first filer for this opportunity, entitling it to 180 days of generic exclusivity.
  • Topicort Topical Spray 0.25% (desoximetasone topical spray 0.25%) is a topical corticosteroid indicated for the treatment of plaque psoriasis in patients 18 years of age or older. Annual sales were approximately $29 million, as measured by Symphony Health Solutions.

8:12 am Scans (:SCANX) : Gapping up
In reaction to strong earnings/guidance
: ZLTQ +26.6%, TWTR +24.7%, RUBI +17.4%, OPTT +13.8%, AEGR +12.8%, XPO +12.6%, RNG +11.1%, ECYT +11.1%, X +9.5%, CETV +9.1%, EXAM +8%, ADT +7.3%, EW +7.2%, AUO +6.9%, CLD +6.6%, GRMN +6.5%, PAL +6.5%, PBI +5.8%, NUVA +5.7%, ASTI +5.7%, SODA +5.6%, SQNM +5.1%, HES +5.1%, (formation of master limited partnership) INVN +4.6%, PAG +4.6%, INAP +4.5%, SLCA +4.5%, AMGN +4.2%, BCS +4.2%, ICLR +3.9%, SONS +3.8%, NCR +3.5%, MGAM +3.4%, TRN +3.2%, CPWR +3.1%, ESRX +2.6%, CVE +2.6%, AMT +2.3%, PLT +2.1%, APC +2.1%, HUN +2.1%, WILN +1.9%, HUM +1.9%, CHRW +1.8%, SEE +1.7%, UMC +1.7%, BLDP +1.6%, S +1.6%, RRD +1.6%, UGI +1.5%, LO +1.5%, AMED +1.5%, PROV +1.3%, IPHI +1.2%, MAR +1.2%, CG +1%, PNRA +0.9%, EQR +0.9%, VLO +0.9%, ASX +0.7%.

M&A news: IPHI +1.2% ( to acquire Cortina Systems; will acquire Cortina's High-Speed Interconnect and Optical Transport product lines for $52.5 mln in cash and $73.5 mln in stock).

Other news
: YPF +5.9% (still checking),JKS +5.8% (to receive $225 mln private equity investment led by China Development Bank International and Macquarie for downstream solar power project business),SQNM +5.1% (entered into license agreement with Mayo Medical Laboratories for noninvasive prenatal testing patents and applications; terms not disclosed),LOCO +4.8% (continued pre-mkt vol, post ipp),MEET +4.2% (engages MKR Group for investor relations),XXII +4.2% (patents granted For 22nd Century Group's technology to virtually eliminate nicotine in tobacco plants),TXMD +4.1% (prices public offering of ~ 8.6 mln shares of its common stock at $4.67 per share),CENT +4.1% (retained Lazard as financial advisor and Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP as legal advisor to assist the Board in its review of two proposals recently received from Harbinger Group),DEJ +3.7% (co's Roan Creek recoverable resource estimate pegged at 67.5 BCFe gas),YELP +3.6% (on TWTR results),HNSN +3.5% (announces publication of Uterine Artery Embolization results; publication states UAE procedures are feasible and appear to be safe with Magellan robotic system),LNKD +1.8% (on TWTR results),SINA +1.7% (on TWTR results),OLED +1.6% (co continues Philips relationship with commercial material supply agreement for OLED lighting),RSH +1.5% (opened 21 interactive remodel stores in San Francisco Bay Area),MT +1.4% (following X results),FB +0.9% (on TWTR results),NUE +0.8% (following X results),AZN +0.8% (agrees to strategic transaction with Almirall in respiratory disease).

Analyst comments: HIVE +16.6% (initiated with an Outperform at Pacific Crest),ICPT +2.6% (upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Nomura),UAL +2.6% (upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at JP Morgan),OSK +1.7% (upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Robert W. Baird),RESI +1.7% (upgraded to Outperform from Mkt Perform at Keefe Bruyette ),RKUS +1% (initiated with an Outperform at Pacific Crest)

8:10 am Celldex Therapeutics announces senior leadership promotions (CLDX) : Co announced three promotions in the Company's clinical and research departments:

  • Tibor Keler PhD promoted to Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer 
  • Thomas Davis MD promoted to Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer
  • Elizabeth Crowley promoted to Senior Vice President, Product Development

8:10 am Gulfport Energy provides midstream update, reports Q2 2014 production (GPOR) :

  • Gulfport produced oil and natural gas sales volumes of 2,431,955 barrels of oil equivalen, or 26,725 barrels of oil equivalent per day, in line with the company's previously estimated guidance of approximately 27,100 BOEPD. For the second quarter of 2014, net production was 709,484 barrels of oil, 8,972,137 thousand cubic feet of natural gas and 9,538,843 gallons of natural gas liquids, or 2,431,955 BOE. Net production for the second quarter of 2014 by region was 1,930,139 BOE in the Utica Shale, 483,910 BOE in Southern Louisiana and an aggregate of 17,906 BOE in the Bakken, Niobrara and other areas. 
  • Gulfport's 2014 second quarter realized prices include an aggregate non-cash gain of $2.2 million due to a hedge ineffectiveness. Before the impact of derivatives, realized prices for the second quarter of 2014 were $99.40 per barrel of oil, $4.43 per MCF of natural gas and $1.14 per gallon of NGL, for a total equivalent of $49.81 per BOE. Gulfport's second quarter natural gas realized price before the impact of derivatives of $4.43 per Mcf represents a price realization of approximately 95% of the NYMEX settlement prices for the second quarter.

8:07 am Emcore Awarded Long-Term Supply Contract by Lockheed Martin (LMT) (EMKR) : Co announced that it has entered into a new, long-term supply agreement with Lockheed Martin Space Systems (LMT) to design and manufacture high-efficiency, multi-junction Coverglass Interconnected Cells (CICs) for Lockheed Martin's satellite program requirements. The CICs will be produced at EMCORE's state-of-the-art manufacturing facility located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA.

  • EMCORE has been a supplier of CICs for many previous space missions featuring satellites and spacecraft developed by Lockheed Martin. The CICs to be delivered under this new long-term supply agreement are based on EMCORE's latest generation ZTJ triple-junction solar cells.

8:06 am Orexigen Therapeutics receives CHMP day 180 list of outstanding issues (OREX) :

  • Co announced it has received the Day 180 List of Outstanding Issues (LOI.V) from the European Medicines Agency's Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) for the NB32 Marketing Authorization Application (MAA).
  • NB32 (naltrexone sustained release (SR) / bupropion SR) is an investigational drug candidate being evaluated for weight loss.
  • The key questions of the earlier Day 120 time point were adequately addressed by the Company based in part on the interim analysis of the Light Study cardiovascular outcomes trial. However, the Day 180 LOI raised new issues.
  • Specifically, the CHMP requested further justification of the balance of benefits and risks of NB32 treatment as well as additional information regarding post-approval risk minimization measures and pharmacovigilance activities.
  • Details were also requested of the Co's third-party suppliers of bupropion related to their starting materials. The Co believes the CHMP's requests are addressable.
  • However, in regards to the third-party suppliers, in order to have the time to coordinate responses from these suppliers, Orexigen has requested an extension of one month and plans to submit its response to the Day 180 LOI in September.

8:06 am Aegerion Pharma appoints Craig Fraser as COO (AEGR) :

  • Co announced that Craig Fraser has been appointed as Chief Operating Officer.
  • Co also announced the appointment of Carolina Alarco to President, International and Johanna Sealscott to Vice President, U.S. Sales.

8:06 am Dr. Reddy's reports JunQ results, revs up 24% YoY (RDY) : Co reports Q1 (Jun) net income of Rs.5.5 billion while revenue rose 24% YoY to Rs.35.2 billion. There are no analyst estimates. Gross margin came in at 59.3% vs 52.8% as in the year ago period.

8:05 am Ampio Pharma announces the FDA has issued a written response and accepted the Ampio plan for beginning production of Ampion in the new facility (AMPE) : Co announced a positive written response from the FDA in regards to the company's plans to begin production of Ampion in our new drug manufacturing facility.

  • Mr, Macaluso, Ampio's CEO, noted that,"This decision by the FDA was greatly encouraging to our management team as it supports the quality of our efforts to develop and implement a comprehensive plan to manufacture AmpionTM in our new facility, fully compliant with all FDA regulations. This plan requires no additional clinical trials to bring our manufacturing facility online. Our Colorado facility will be a show piece as well as a significant asset to the company."

8:03 am Varian Medical: Study shows that rapidarc radiosurgery substantially more efficient and comparable in quality to gamma knife in the treatment of multiple brain metastases (VAR) :

  • The research team found that the RapidArc Radiosurgery treatment plans for treating multiple tumors in a single fraction are comparable to Gamma Knife plans in terms of how precisely they can conform high doses to match the shape of the targeted tumors, as well as the extent to which RapidArc plans can minimize exposure of normal brain tissue outside the treatment area. 
  • "These findings show that it is possible to deliver radiosurgery to multiple brain metastases with precision comparable to a Gamma Knife treatment, but with far greater efficiency," said researcher Evan Thomas, PhD, primary author of the paper."

8:03 am Baxter announces divestiture of commercial vaccines business to Pfizer (PFE); Baxter expects the transaction to be modestly dilutive to Q4 2014 adjusted earnings and dilutive to 2015 adjusted earnings by ~$0.15 per diluted share (BAX) :

  • Co announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to sell its two commercially marketed vaccines and related production facilities to Pfizer Inc. for a total cash consideration of $635 million, subject to certain adjustments.
  • The sale includes the company's commercial vaccines business, which is comprised of NeisVac-C, a vaccine which helps protect against meningitis caused by group C meningococcal meningitis (MenC), and FSME-IMMUN, which helps protect against tick-borne encephalitis (TBE.TO), an infection of the brain transmitted by the bite of ticks infected with the TBE-virus.
  • Both vaccines are currently available outside the United States, primarily in a number of European markets. Baxter continues to explore strategic options, including the potential for partnering or divesting its R&D development programs focused on influenza and Lyme disease.

8:02 am BOK Financial beats by $0.07 (BOKF) : Reports Q2 (Jun) earnings of $1.10 per share, $0.07 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $1.03.

  • Net interest revenue totaled $166.1 million for the second quarter of 2014, up $3.5 million over the first quarter of 2014
  • Net interest margin was 2.75% for the second quarter of 2014 and 2.71% for the first quarter of 2014.
  • No provision for credit losses was recorded in the second or first quarter of 2014.
  • Average loans increased by $317 million over the previous quarter due primarily to growth in commercial loans.
  • Average deposits increased $262 million over the previous quarter.
  • The Company's Tier 1 common equity ratio, as defined by banking regulations, was 13.46% at June 30, 2014 and 13.59% at March 31, 2014. The Company and its subsidiary bank continue to exceed the regulatory definition of well capitalized.

8:02 am Phillips 66 misses by $0.18 (PSX) : Reports Q2 (Jun) earnings of $1.51 per share, $0.18 worse than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $1.69.

8:02 am Penn West Energy shares fall 7%; co announced last night Audit Committee conducting review of accounting practices; reported Q2 avg production of 108,130 barrels of oil equivalent per day; reaffirms production guidance (PWE) :

  • Q2 average production of 108,130 barrels of oil equivalent per day (64% oil and liquids) and maintained 2014 production guidance of 101,000 - 106,000 boe per day. Penn West also reported other key operating results for the second quarter of 2014 and provided a preliminary report on third quarter 2014 operated development activity. 
  • Operations were limited during the second quarter of 2014 due to spring break-up, allowing us to further assess performance from our first quarter drilling program and evaluate additional opportunities to continue reductions in our cost structures and cycle times. In the second quarter, Penn West drilled 10 (10 net) light oil wells with a success rate of 100 percent, eight (8.0 net) wells were drilled in the Viking and one each was drilled in the Cardium (1.0 net) and the Slave Point (1.0 net). 
  • Accounting Review: 
    • Audit Committee is conducting a voluntary, internal review of certain of the Company's accounting practices. 
    • While this review is not yet completed, the Board of Directors of Penn West has concluded that certain of the Company's historical financial statements and related management's discussion and analysis must be restated, which may result in the release of second quarter 2014 financial results being delayed. 
    • The preliminary findings from the review to date are as follows: 
    • For the fiscal year 2013, the Audit Committee and its independent advisors have identified ~$70 mln in operating expenses that were reclassified to property, plant and equipment as capital expenditures without adequate support. For the fiscal year 2012, approximately $111 mln in operating expenses were reclassified to property, plant and equipment as capital expenditures without adequate support.  As a result, the property, plant and equipment balances recorded on the Company's balance sheets in those fiscal years appear to be overstated.  
    • (b)  For each of the fiscal years 2012 and 2013, the Audit Committee and its independent advisors have identified approximately $100 mln in operating expenses that were incorrectly reclassified as royalty expenses.  This reclassification had no impact on net income or funds flow.  

8:01 am Integrys Energy: Exelon's (EXC) Constellation business acquiring Integrys Energy Services for $60 mln plus adjusted net working capital to grow competitive retail energy supply business (TEG) : The co and Exelon (EXC) announced they have entered into a definitive agreement for EXC to purchase Integrys Energy Services Inc.

  • EXC will pay $60 million for the Integrys retail operations, plus adjusted net working capital at the time of closing. 
    • Integrys Energy Services had adjusted working capital of about $183 million as of May 31, 2014. 
  • The transaction does not include Integrys' energy assets -- primarily solar -- which will remain a part of the co. 
  • The companies expect to close in fourth quarter 2014 or first quarter 2015.

8:01 am Sanofi-Aventis and Regeneron (REGN) report positive top-line results from nine Phase 3 trials of Alirocumab in people with hypercholesterolemia (SNY) : Co announced that nine new Phase 3 ODYSSEY trials of alirocumab in people with hypercholesterolemia met their primary efficacy endpoint of a greater percent reduction from baseline in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol at 24 weeks compared to placebo or active comparator. 

  • In the nine ODYSSEY trials, the mean percent reduction in LDL-C from baseline at 24 weeks in alirocumab-treated patients was consistent with results seen in previous alirocumab trials.
  • The trial met its primary efficacy endpoint at 24 weeks.  
  • A pre-specified interim safety analysis was performed when all patients reached one year and approximately 25 percent of patients reached 18 months of treatment.
  • A lower rate of adjudicated major cardiovascular events was observed in the alirocumab arm compared to placebo in a post-hoc analysis. 
  • The potential of alirocumab to demonstrate cardiovascular benefit is being prospectively assessed in an ongoing 18,000-patient ODYSSEY OUTCOMES trial.
  • The ODYSSEY clinical trial program remains ongoing. 
    • This includes three additional studies, CHOICE I, CHOICE II and OUTCOMES, which are expected to report primary endpoints in 2015 and beyond.

7:59 am Liberty Interactive update on QVC Group tracking stock; still plans to create the QVC Group tracking stock (LINTA) : Co still plans to create the QVC Group tracking stock, which will be comprised of its interests in QVC and HSN. In light of the pending Provide Commerce transaction, and other factors, Liberty is reevaluating the optimal structure and best alignment of the Liberty Digital Commerce Group assets. As a result, the timing of the transition to the QVC Group has been delayed.

7:59 am j2 Global Acquires Contactology; financial terms not disclosed (JCOM) : Co announced it acquired the business and assets of Contactology, Inc., a provider of email marketing services. 

  • This is the cos first acquisition in the email marketing space since it entered the market with the 2010
  • Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed and the financial impact to the co is not expected to be material. 

7:58 am S&P futures vs fair value: +5.40. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: +17.20. (:WRAPX) : U.S. equity futures trade near their pre-market highs amid cautious action overseas. The S&P 500 futures trade five points above fair value, while Nasdaq futures outperform (+17 pts v fair value) after Twitter (TWTR 48.47, +9.88) reported better than expected results and guidance. The social media stock sports a pre-market advance of 25.6%.

Reviewing overnight developments:

  • Asian markets ended mixed. China's Shanghai Composite -0.1%, Japan's Nikkei +0.2%, and Hong Kong's Hang Seng +0.4% 
    • In economic data: 
      • Japan's Industrial Production fell 3.3% month-over-month (expected -1.2%, previous 0.7%) 
      • South Korea's Industrial Production rose 2.9% month-over-month (expected 0.7%, previous -2.8%), while the year-over-year reading increased 0.6% (consensus 0.8%, previous -2.1%). Separately, Retail Sales ticked up 0.3% month-over-month (forecast 0.6%, prior 1.4%) 
      • New Zealand's Building Consents increased 3.5% month-over-month (previous -4.4%) 
    • In news: 
      • Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry lowered its assessment of industrial output to "growth has weakened" in response to the disappointing Industrial Production report
  • Major European indices trade in mixed fashion. Germany's DAX +0.2%, while France's CAC and Great Britain's FTSE are flat. Elsewhere, Spain's IBEX +0.8% and Italy's MIB is flat 
    • Participants received several data points: 
      • Eurozone Business and Consumer Survey ticked up to 102.2 from 102.1 (expected 101.8) as Business Climate held steady at 0.2, as expected, while Consumer Confidence slipped to -8.0 from -7.5, as expected. Separately, Industrial Sentiment ticked up to -4.0 from -4.3 (consensus -5.0) 
      • French Consumer Confidence held steady at 86, as expected 
      • Spain's GDP rose 0.6% quarter-over-quarter (expected 0.5%, previous 0.4%), while the year-over-year reading increased 1.2% (consensus 1.1%, prior 0.5%). Separately, CPI slipped 0.3% year-over-year (expected 0.2%, prior 0.1%) 
    • Among news of note: 
      • The European Central Bank released its quarterly lending survey, which indicated that lending standards eased during the second quarter with positive loan demand observed in all loan categories
In U.S. corporate news:
  • AU Optronics (AUO 4.65, +0.30): +6.9% in reaction to a bottom-line beat on revenue that matched estimates 
  • Amgen (AMGN 127.95, +4.64): +3.8% following its strong results and better than expected guidance 
  • Buffalo Wild Wings (BWLD 151.00, -16.15): -9.7% made all-time highs ahead of earnings, but is down despite beating earnings expectations. In all likelihood, the results have disappointed high expectations that were baked into stock going into the earnings release. Same-store sales increased 7.7% at company-owned restaurants and 6.5% at franchised restaurants 
  • Garmin (GRMN 61.45, +3.87): +6.7% following its above-consensus results and upbeat guidance 
  • Humana (HUM 130.00, +2.48): +1.9% after reporting results in line with expectations 
  • Express Scripts (ESRX 69.00, +1.72): +2.6% after beating the Capital IQ consensus estimate by one cent on above-consensus revenue 
  • Sprint (S 8.09, +0.09): +1.1% after beating bottom-line estimates by six cents 
  • United States Steel (X 30.15, +2.63): +9.5% following its better than expected revenue 
The weekly MBA Mortgage Index fell 2.2% to follow last week's increase of 2.4%.

The ADP Employment Change for July (Briefing.com consensus 215K) will be reported at 8:15 ET, the advance reading of Q2 GDP will be released at 8:30 ET (consensus 3.2%), and the FOMC will reveal its latest policy statement at 14:00 ET.

7:50 am Valero Energy beats by $0.02 (in line with pre-announcement), beats on revs (VLO) : Reports Q2 (Jun) earnings of $1.22 per share, $0.02 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $1.20 (in line with pre-announcement of $1.10-1.25); revenues rose 2.6% year/year to $34.91 bln vs the $31.17 bln consensus. 

  • Second quarter 2014 refining throughput volumes averaged 2.7 million barrels per day, an increase of 115,000 barrels per day from the second quarter of 2013. 
  • The increase in volumes was due primarily to less turnaround activity and higher utilization rates spurred by the availability of discounted North American light crude oil on the U.S. Gulf Coast. 
  • Valero expects 2014 capital expenditures, including turnarounds and catalyst, to be $3 billion, including approximately $870 million allocated to logistics investments -- most of which are expected to be eligible for drop-down into Valero Energy Partners LP in the future.
  • , "We increased North American crude oil consumption at our Quebec City refinery to 83 percent in the second quarter of 2014 from 8 percent in the second quarter of 2013, so we are progressing well toward our previously stated goal of reaching 100 percent by year-end. We also began processing Canadian bitumen through our new crude-by-rail unloading facility at our St. Charles refinery."

7:50 am Leidos awarded $44 mln contract by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (LDOS) : Co was awarded a prime task order by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to provide development, support and maintenance of the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN). The single-award time and materials task order has a one-year base period of performance, four one-year options and a total contract value of ~ $44 mln if all options are exercised. Work will be performed in Atlanta, Ga.

7:49 am 22nd Century Group: patents granted For 22nd Century Group's technology to virtually eliminate nicotine in tobacco plants (XXII) : Co announced that the USPTO on July 29, 2014 and the Korean Intellectual Property Office on July 23, 2014, each granted a patent to the Company for its NBB technology that virtually eliminates nicotine in the tobacco plant.

  • The resulting tobacco plants are planted, grown, harvested, cured, processed, and made into tobacco products, including cigarettes, exactly the same as conventional tobacco. U.S. Patent 8,791,329, Reducing Levels of Nicotinic Alkaloids in Plants, contains 33 claims. South Korean Patent 10-1413122, also titled, Reducing Levels of Nicotinic Alkaloids in Plants, contains 15 claims. 
  • These two patents and related International Patent Application PCT/IB2006/001741, cover methods for producing tobacco plants with decreased nicotine levels and the resulting tobacco plants and products produced therefrom. There are various continuation and divisional patent applications related to these granted patents pending in both patent offices.
  • Patent applications for the NBB technology have been filed by 22nd Century worldwide and patents are currently issued to 22nd Century in the U.S., China, Europe, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Mexico, Australia and South Africa. 

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

  • Lumos Networks (LMOS) announced that the Board of Directors of the co has appointed Brian C. Rosenberg and Michael T. Sicoli to serve on the co's Board of Directors. Mr. Rosenberg is succeeding Michael A. Huber who is resigning from the Board. Additionally, James A. Hyde has tendered his resignation and will leave the Board before the end of 3Q2014. 
  • Ideal Power (IPWR) has signed a multi-year purchase agreement with Sharp Electronics (SHCAY) whereby Sharp will utilize Ideal Power's 30kW battery converter in its SmartStorage systems. Ideal Power has received an initial order from Sharp under this agreement, and it expects order volumes to scale along with Sharp's SmartStorage business.
  • Texas Instruments ((TXN) announces that more than 15 mln of TI's advanced driver assistance systems System-on-Chip devices are on the road.
  • Zix (ZIXI) announced that Central Technology Services has signed a four-year contract to protect sensitive information in email using Zix Email Encryption.

7:43 am Dril-Quip beats by $0.12, reports revs in-line; guides Q3 EPS below consensus; guides FY14 EPS below consensus (DRQ) : Reports Q2 (Jun) earnings of $1.27 per share, $0.12 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $1.15; revenues rose 3.7% year/year to $230.3 mln vs the $228.09 mln consensus.

  • Co issues downside guidance for Q3, sees EPS of $1.20-1.30 vs. $1.33 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate.
  • Co issues downside guidance for FY14, sees EPS of $4.70-4.90 vs. $4.95 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate.
  • Q2 2014 results were unfavorably impacted by an after-tax foreign exchange loss of $1.5 mln, or $0.04 per diluted share, as compared to an after-tax foreign exchange loss of $700,000, or $0.02/diluted share during Q2 of 2013.

7:43 am FTD Companies provides guidance in light of the acquisition of Liberty Interactive's Povide Commerce business, shares halted (FTD) : FTD provides guidance following the announcement earlier today (see 7:34 comment) that FTD is acquiring Liberty Interactive's Provide Commerce business.

  • FTD expects to report Q2 revenue of approximately $166-168 million vs single est of $184 mln. Co says Q2 was negatively impacted by lower consumer order volume in the US, offset by increases in consumer segment average order values, increased consumer order volume in the U.K. and favorable foreign currency exchange rates. Adjusted net income for Q2 is expected to be in the range of $10.7-11.2 mln.
  • For the full year 2014, the co is also providing guidance, which does not include the impact of the planned acquisition of Provide Commerce, but do reflect an estimated $13-15 mln in transaction-related costs. Co guides to FY14 revenue of $640-650 mln vs single est of $655 mln and adjusted net income of $40.8-43.3 mln.

7:43 am Hospira beats by $0.15, beats on revs; raises FY14 guidance (HSP) : Reports Q2 (Jun) earnings of $0.72 per share, $0.15 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.57; revenues rose 10.7% year/year to $1.14 bln vs the $1.06 bln consensus. Net sales benefited from continued strong global sales of Specialty Injectable Pharmaceuticals (SIP.V) products, which were driven mainly by favorable pricing and our continued supply recovery in the United States.

Co issues upside guidance for FY14, sees EPS of $2.30-2.50, excluding non-recurring items, from $2.00-2.25 vs. $2.22 Capital IQ Consensus. 

  • Based on favorable performance during the first half of 2014, Hospira now expects net sales growth for full-year 2014 to range between 6 to 9 percent on a constant-currency basis (up from -2 to +3%), with minimal impact from foreign currency.Net sales benefited from continued strong global sales of Specialty Injectable Pharmaceuticals (SIP.V) products, which were driven mainly by favorable pricing and our continued supply recovery in the United States.

7:43 am Asian Markets Close: Nikkei +0.2%, Hang Seng +0.4%, Shanghai -0.1% (:SUMRX) :

  • Markets gained across most of Asia. 
  • Japan's weak preliminary industrial production (-3.3% MoM actual v. -1.0% MoM expected) data prompted the Ministry of Economy to lower its industrial assessment. 
  • Japan's Nikkei (+0.2%) closed at its best level in more than six months. Solid earnings reports provided support as Mitsubishi Electric rallied 3.4% following its beat and Honda Motor gained 3.1% after providing upbeat guidance. 
  • Hong Kong's Hang Seng (+0.4%) gained for a seventh straight day as trade contends with its best levels in more than six years. Property stocks continued to see strength as Hang Lung Properties and Sun Hung Kai Properties jumped 3.4% and 3.2%, respectively. 
  • China's Shanghai Composite (-0.1%) slipped for the first time in seven sessions. Real estate giant Poly Real Estate was a laggard, tumbling 5.5%. 
  • India's Sensex (+0.4%) ended just shy of all-time highs. Telecom provider Bharti Airtel rallied 5.4% after announcing solid quarterly results. 
  • Australia's ASX (+0.6%) finished at its best levels since June 2008. All of the 'big four' banks gained with CAB up 1.0% to lead the way. 
  • Regional Decliners: Vietnam -0.5%...Thailand -0.1%...Singapore -0.1% 
  • Regional Advancers: Malaysia +0.1%...Philippines +0.3%...Taiwan +0.6%...South Korea +1.0% 
  • Closed: Indonesia 
  • Fx: USDCNY eased to 6.1721, a four and a half-month low...USDINR slipped to 60.05...USDJPY +15 pips @ 102.25...AUDUSD -15 pips @ .9365

7:40 am MakeMyTrip beats by $0.01, beats on revs (MMYT) : Reports Q1 (Jun) net of breakeven, $0.01 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of ($0.01); revenues rose 36.5% year/year to $35.5 mln vs the $32.69 mln consensus. 

  • Gross Bookings reached $432.2 million in 1Q15, representing a YoY increase of 36.7%. Gross bookings for Hotels and packages increased by 85.0% in 1Q15. 
  • Transactions for Hotels and packages improved by 106.5% YoY in 1Q15. Transactions for air ticketing grew by 16.1% YoY in 1Q15. 
  • Revenue rose 31.3% YoY to $94.8 million in 1Q15. 
  • Revenue less service costs increased 43.8% YoY to $35.5 million in 1Q15. 
  • Revenue less service costs for Hotels and packages increased 70.9% YoY in 1Q15. 
  • Hotels and packages contribution increased to 49.6% in 1Q15 versus 41.7% in 1Q14.

7:39 am Dominion reports EPS in-line; guides Q3 EPS in-line; reaffirms FY14 EPS guidance (D) : Reports Q2 (Jun) earnings of $0.62 per share, in-line with the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.62.

  • Co issues in-line guidance for Q3, sees EPS of $0.90-1.05 vs. $1.00 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate. 
  • Co reaffirms guidance for FY14, sees EPS of $3.35-3.65 vs. $3.51 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate. 
  • "Our second-quarter results came in the upper half of our guidance range of $0.55 to $0.65 per share. Excluding the two cents per share impact of milder than normal weather, second quarter earnings would have been at the top of our range." 
  • Positive factors for the third-quarter of 2014 compared to the same period of the prior year include an expected return to normal weather in our electric service territory, higher weather-normalized kilowatt sales and higher revenues related to our electric transmission growth projects. Negative factors for the quarter include higher interest expense, the absence of a benefit from an asset contribution to Blue Racer last year and higher operating expenses. GAAP earnings for the third quarter of 2013 were 98 cents per share. A reconciliation between operating and GAAP earnings for the third quarter of 2013 can be found on Schedule 3 of this release. 
  • In providing its third-quarter and full-year 2014 operating earnings guidance, the company notes that there could be differences between expected reported earnings and estimated operating earnings for matters such as, but not limited to, divestitures or changes in accounting principles. At this time, Dominion management is not able to estimate the aggregate impact of these items on reported earnings. However, Dominion anticipates recording additional pre-tax charges of approximately $44 million in each of the third and fourth quarters of 2014 associated with the North Anna and offshore wind legislation.

7:38 am Public Service misses by $0.03, misses on revs; guides FY14 EPS in-line (PEG) : Reports Q2 (Jun) earnings of $0.49 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.03 worse than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.52; revenues fell 2.6% year/year to $2.25 bln vs the $2.36 bln consensus.

  • Co sees FY14 EPS at the upper end of $2.55-2.75 vs. $2.74 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate.

7:37 am Southern beats by $0.02, beats on revs (SO) : Reports Q2 (Jun) earnings of $0.68 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.02 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.66; revenues rose 5.2% year/year to $4.47 bln vs the $4.34 bln consensus.

  • Earnings were positively influenced by increased industrial sales, normal weather and retail revenue effects at Southern Company's traditional operating companies. Earnings were negatively influenced by increased non-fuel operations and maintenance expenses

7:36 am SodaStream beats by $0.13, reports revs in-line; guides FY14 revs below consensus (SODA) : Reports Q2 (Jun) earnings of $0.43 per share, $0.13 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.30; revenues rose 6.5% year/year to $141 mln vs the $140.53 mln consensus.

Gross margin for the second quarter 2014 was 50.5% compared to 54.3% for the same period in 2013. The decline was primarily due to unfavorable changes in foreign currency exchange rates, increased penetration of lower margin soda makers in the sales mix and inventory write offs, which were partially offset by a higher share of CO2 refills in product mix.

Regional Sales

  • The Americas $40.9 mln, -14% y/y
  • Western Europe $77.7 mln, +14% y/y
  • Asia Pacific $10.8 mln, +13% y/y
  • CEMA $6.1 mln, +71% y/y
Product Sales
  • Soda Makers $45.8 mln, -8%
  • Consumables $90.8 mln, +15%
Guidance
  • Co issues downside guidance for FY14, sees FY14 revs of approx $590 vs. $623.05 mln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate.
  • The Company now expects full year 2014 EBITDA to increase approximately 5% over 2013 EBITDA of $62.2 million. Excluding changes in foreign currency exchange rates compared to 2013, the Company expects 2014 EBITDA to increase approximately 17% over 2013. 
  • The Company now expects full year 2014 net income to decrease approximately 5% over 2013 net income of $42.0 million

7:36 am Sprint beats by $0.06, reports revs in-line; reaffirms FY14 adj. EBITDA guidance (S) : Reports Q2 (Jun) earnings of $0.01 per share, $0.06 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of ($0.05); revenues fell 1.0% year/year to $8.79 bln vs the $8.8 bln consensus. 

  • Adjusted EBITDA of $1.83 billion grew 30 percent over the prior year period and Adjusted EBITDA margin of nearly 24 percent was the company's best in six years. 
    • Wireless Adjusted EBITDA of $1.8 billion increased nearly 40 percent from the prior year period, driven mostly by lower expenses across several areas of the business, partially offset by declining wireless service revenues. Lower postpaid subsidy costs associated with impacts of the Sprint Easy Pay installment billing plan and device sales mix as well as lower customer care and cost of service expenses all contributed to year-over-year growth in Wireless Adjusted EBITDA of nearly $500 million. 
  • The Sprint platform reported a net loss of 220,000 customers in the quarter, compared to a net loss of 383,000 customers last quarter and 520,000 customers in the prior year period. Sprint platform postpaid net losses of 181,000 during the quarter were largely due to expected elevated churn levels related to service disruption associated with the company's ongoing network overhaul. However, Sprint platform postpaid gross additions grew by 16 percent compared to the year-ago quarter, and retail smartphone sales were nearly 5 million, representing a record 87 percent of total retail handset device sales in the quarter. Sprint platform prepaid net loss of 542,000 customers was primarily caused by the timing of the annual Lifeline program recertification process that impacted the Assurance Wireless subscriber base. Sprint added 503,000 wholesale and affiliate customers during the quarter. The Sprint platform served over 53 million subscribers at the end of the quarter. 
The co continues to expect calendar 2014 adj. EBITDA to be between $6.7 billion and $6.9 billion.

7:36 am InterActiveCorp misses by $0.02, misses on revs (IACI) : Reports Q2 (Jun) earnings of $0.79 per share, excluding $0.75 per share write-down of certain investments, $0.02 worse than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.81; revenues fell 4.3% year/year to $765.3 mln vs the $795 mln consensus. Consolidated revenue declined 5% year-over-year, as solid growth at The Match Group and HomeAdvisor and strong growth at Vimeo were more than offset by declines at Search & Applications, the closure and sale of Newsweek print and digital and the restructuring of CityGrid Media.

7:34 am Saia misses by $0.17, beats on revs (SAIA) : Reports Q2 (Jun) earnings of $0.53 per share, $0.17 worse than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.70; revenues rose 12.9% year/year to $330.39 mln vs the $323.03 mln consensus. Claims and insurance expense was $8.3 million higher than the second quarter last year due primarily to accident severity.

7:34 am Penske Auto beats by $0.03, beats on revs; Most profitable quarter in company history (PAG) : Reports Q2 (Jun) earnings of $0.89 per share, $0.03 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.86; revenues rose 21.4% year/year to $4.41 bln vs the $4.23 bln consensus.

  • The revenue increase was driven by a 10.4% increase in total retail unit sales, including a 5.3% increase on a same-store basis.
  • Gross profit improved 19.2% to $666.9 mln while operating income increased 21.5% to $136.2 mln.
  • Co remains confident in the strength of the auto retail market and its ability to continue growing the overall business."

7:34 am MeadWestvaco beats by $0.03, beats on revs (MWV) : Reports Q2 (Jun) earnings of $0.53 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.03 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.50; revenues rose 5.5% year/year to $1.47 bln vs the $1.45 bln consensus.

  • Co does not provide specific Q3 EPS guidance but says non-GAAP EPS should be above year-ago levels on a continuing operations basis. 
  • The principal benefits that are expected to drive the company's improvement in Q3 are: Increases in packaging volumes, especially bleached paperboard and plastic dispensing solutions across major end-markets; Ongoing value-based pricing initiatives across all packaging businesses; Productivity improvements and continued positive operating leverage from increased mill and plant utilization rates; Continuing cost reduction efforts, including growing benefits from the company's margin improvement program.
  • These principal benefits will be partially offset by: Continued soft economic conditions in Brazil; Continued demand challenges in frozen food markets; and Higher costs for freight and wood fiber.

7:34 am TASER beats by $0.01, reports revs in-line (TASR) : Reports Q2 (Jun) GAAP earnings of $0.07 per share, $0.01 better than the GAAP Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.06; revenues rose 15.6% year/year to $37.2 mln vs the $37.41 mln consensus. 

  • Gross margin in the second quarter of 2014 was 62.4%, compared to 61.4% in the same period last year. The improvement in gross margin in the second quarter of 2014 was driven by the 15.5% increase in net sales which resulted in better leverage of overhead expenses, increased sales prices and lower EVIDENCE.com depreciation costs. Adjusted EBITDA was $9.0 million for the second quarter of 2014, an increase from of $9.5 million in the second quarter of 2013.

7:34 am Liberty Interactive: FTD (FTD) to acquire Liberty's Provide Commerce floral and gifting businesses for $430 mln; expected to be accretive to FTD's 2015 cash EPS excluding transaction-related and integration costs (FTD shares halted) (LINTA) : Cos announced that they have executed a definitive agreement under which FTD will acquire Liberty's Provide Commerce floral and gifting businesses. Under the terms of the $430 mln transaction, Liberty will receive 10.2 mln shares of FTD common stock representing 35% of the combined co and $121 mln in cash. FTD and Liberty expect to complete the transaction by the end of 2014.

  • Under the terms of the transaction agreement Provide Commerce will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of FTD. 
  • The transaction is valued at $430 mln, comprising 10.2 mln shares of FTD common stock, valued at $309 mln, based on the volume weighted average price of FTD's shares for the 10 day period ended July 28, 2014, and $121 mln in cash. 
  • Upon closing, FTD will have ~ 29.2 mln shares outstanding (based on FTD shares outstanding as of July 29, 2014) and Liberty will own ~ 35 percent of FTD shares outstanding. Under the terms of the transaction agreement, Provide Commerce's RedEnvelope business will be excluded from the transaction and retained by Liberty.
Summary of Strategic and Financial Benefits
  • The combination of Provide Commerce's collection of respected and highly recognizable e-commerce brands, including ProFlowers, Shari's Berries and Personal Creations, with FTD's iconic brands, FTD and Interflora, and Mercury Man logo is expected to enhance FTD's already robust consumer floral and gifting category. 
  • The expected efficiencies and greater resources of this combination will enable FTD to further invest in new products, services and technology that are expected to directly benefit its vast network of florists and the floral industry as a whole. 
  • FTD will immediately be able to offer a wider selection of floral and gifting products, providing consumers with greater convenience and choice. 
  • The combination is expected to generate more than $25 mln in annual synergies within 36 months of closing, with a goal of creating incremental value for FTD stockholders over time. 
  • Liberty will own ~ 35 percent of FTD at closing, reflecting Liberty's commitment and belief in FTD. 
  • The transaction will increase FTD's market capitalization and shares outstanding, which is expected to enhance the ability to access the capital markets in the future.

7:32 am Belden beats by $0.03, beats on revs; guides Q3 EPS below consensus, revs in-line; guides FY14 EPS in-line, revs in-line (BDC) : Reports Q2 (Jun) earnings of $1.05 per share, $0.03 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $1.02; revenues rose 13.6% year/year to $605.1 mln vs the $597.08 mln consensus.

  • Co issues mixed guidance for Q3, sees EPS of $1.05-1.15 vs. $1.16 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate; sees Q3 revs of $605-625 mln vs. $620.18 mln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate. 
  • Co issues in-line guidance for FY14, sees EPS of $4.10-4.30 vs. $4.21 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate; sees FY14 revs of $2.30-2.35 bln vs. $2.32 bln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate.

7:32 am Hess beats by $0.20, beats on revs (HES) : Reports Q2 (Jun) earnings of $1.38 per share, $0.20 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $1.18; revenues fell 7.3% year/year to $2.85 bln vs the $2.49 bln consensus.

  • Oil and gas production was 319,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) in the second quarter of 2014, compared with 341,000 boepd in the year-ago quarter

7:32 am William Lyon Homes to privately offer $250 mln in aggregate principal amount of senior notes due 2022 through its subsidiary, WLH PNW Finance and $50 mln in aggregate principal amount of additional 5.75% senior notes due 2019 through its subsidiary, William Lyon Homes (WLH) : Co announced its intention to privately offer $250 million in aggregate principal amount of senior notes due 2022 through its wholly owned subsidiary, WLH PNW Finance Corp. and $50 million in aggregate principal amount of additional 5.75% senior notes due 2019 through its wholly owned subsidiary, William Lyon Homes, Inc. 

  • The co intends to use the proceeds from these offerings to finance a portion of the purchase price of its previously announced acquisition of the residential homebuilding business of Polygon Northwest Homes, which is expected to close on or before August 15, 2014

7:31 am Qualcomm further enhances commitment to 24/7 mobile learning with acquisition of Silicon Valley-based learning technology company EmpoweredU (QCOM) : Co announced that its subsidiary, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., has taken a further step towards the vision of demonstrating how technology innovations can help address some of the challenges the education sector faces, by completing the acquisition of EmpoweredU, a pioneer in the development of an intuitive, mobile-centric cloud-based learning environment that is both device and operating system agnostic.

  • The integration of EmpoweredU, with other education initiatives within Qualcomm, will allow Qualcomm Technologies to accelerate mobile innovation and 24/7 learning into education -- providing institutions, students and parents access to best-in-class education tools.

7:30 am Alliance Data increases liquidity by $600.0 million (ADS) : Co announced that they increased liquidity at the corporate level through the issuance of $600.0 million aggregate principal amount of 5.375% senior notes due 2022.  

  • The net proceeds will be used to repay existing debt outstanding under the co's revolving credit facility.

7:24 am Weak Japanese IP Data Propels USDJPY: 10-yr: -04/32..2.478%..USD/JPY: 102.26..EUR/USD: 1.3400 (:SUMRX) :

  • The Dollar Index holds on session highs near 81.30 as buyers look to remain in control for the seventh time in eight sessions. 
  • The early advance has the Index contending with its best close in ten months
  • EURUSD is -10 pips @ 1.3400 as trade dips to levels last seen around Veterans' Day. The single currency has been leaking lower over the course of the session, having seen little response to the mixed Spanish Flash CPI (-0.3% YoY actual v. 0.2% YoY expected) and Spanish Flash GDP (0.6% QoQ actual v. 0.5% QoQ expected). Current levels are likely to provide some support while 1.3300 lends additional help. 
  • GBPUSD is -15 pips @ 1.6930 as trade pushes lower for a ninth time in ten sessions. Today's weakness comes amid an absence of tradable news and data out of the UK, and has the pair trading down to levels last seen in mid-June. The 100 dma (1.6854) aids support in the 1.6900 area. 
  • USDCHF is +5 pips @ .9075 as action trade to its best level in over six months. Aiding the strength was the KOF Economic Barometer (98.1 actual v. 101.1 expected, 100.5 previous) miss, but action is likely attributable to the weakness in the euro. 
  • USDJPY is +15 pips @ 102.25 as trade climbs for a ninth straight day. Today's bid developed in response to the weak preliminary industrial production (-3.3% MoM actual v. -1.0% MoM expected) data, which caused the Ministry of Economy to lower its industrial assessment. The pair is looking at its best finish in seven weeks. Click here to see a daily USDJPY chart.
  • AUDUSD is -20 pips @ .9360 as trade slips for the fourth time in five days. Early selling has the hard currency testing support helped by the 50 dma. USDCNY eased to 6.1721, a four and a half-month low. 
  • USDCAD is +15 pips @ 1.0865 as action ticks to its best levels since the middle of June. The 1.0900 level and the 100 dma will be watched closely into this morning's Raw Materials Price Index release.

7:22 am On The Wires (:WIRES) :

  • Alkermes plc (ALKS) announced the initiation of FORWARD-5, the third of three core efficacy studies planned in the pivotal clinical program for ALKS 5461, a once-daily, oral investigational medicine with a novel mechanism of action for the adjunctive treatment of major depressive disorder. The study will evaluate the efficacy and safety of ALKS 5461 in patients suffering from MDD who have had an inadequate response to commonly prescribed drugs for depression. 
  • Actinium Pharma (ATNM) announced the addition of Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center as a clinical trial site for Actimab-A.
  • Callidus Software (CALD) announced that AppDynamics has selected CallidusCloud to help optimize and drive sales performance.
  • RXi Pharma (RXII) announced that their third Phase 2a study (RXI-109-1402) with RXI-109, for the reduction of recurrence of hypertrophic scars following elective scar revision surgery, has been initiated.

7:22 am United Micro beats by $0.04, revs in-line; Foundry Segment Wafer Shipments expected to increase by low single-digit percentage range (UMC) : Reports Q2 (Jun) earnings of $0.28 per share, $0.04 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.24; revenues rose 16.1% year/year to NT$35.9 bln vs the NT$35.9 bln consensus.

  • "In the second quarter of 2014, UMC recorded NT$32.57 billion in revenue from the foundry segment, with operating margin from foundry operations of 10.2%. Wafer shipments reached 1.426 million 8-inch equivalent wafers.
  • "Our 28nm business represented 1% of revenue, while 40nm accounted for 21%." Second quarter foundry revenue grew 13.4% sequentially, fueled by strong communication segment demand that lifted capacity utilization to 90%."
  • Market conditions also reflected a turnaround, with rising demand for portable computing devices helping to drive our 28nm shipments.
  • "We project continued 28nm revenue contribution growth in 3Q14 as a result of the sustained demand for mobile and tablet computing. We are optimistic in the long term that our 28nm production ramp will strengthen our overall product mix and generate abundant opportunities for UMC to win additional foundry market share."
Quarter-over-Quarter Guidance:
  • Foundry Segment Wafer Shipments: To increase by low single-digit percentage range
  • Foundry Segment ASP in US$: To remain flat
  • Foundry Segment Profitability: Gross profit margin will be in the mid-20 percentage range
  • Foundry Segment Capacity Utilization: Low-90% range
  • 2014 CAPEX for Foundry Segment: US$1.3bn
  • Guidance to New Business Segment: Revenue to be ~NT$1.2bn and net loss attributable to UMC parent company to be ~NT$760mn

7:18 am AllianceBernstein beats by $0.04, beats on revs (AB) : Reports Q2 (Jun) earnings of $0.45 per share, $0.04 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.41; revenues rose 5.5% year/year to $754 mln vs the $743.46 mln consensus. 

  • Higher base and performance-based fees and higher Bernstein Research Services revenues were partly offset by lower distribution revenues from non-US retail products and lower investment gains. Sequentially, net revenues increased 5%, driven by higher base and performance-based fees and higher distribution revenues from non-US retail products, partly offset by lower Bernstein Research Services revenues. Bernstein Research Services revenues increased 3% from the second quarter of 2013 due to higher trading activity in Europe and Asia and decreased 3% from the first quarter of 2014 due to a sequential slowdown in trading activity, particularly in the US. 
  • Operating expenses were $611 million for the second quarter, up 2% year-over-year, as higher employee compensation and benefits expense was partly offset by lower promotion and servicing and general and administrative expenses. Employee compensation and benefits expense increased from the prior-year period due to higher incentive and base compensation, partly offset by lower commissions.

7:16 am Lumber Liquidators reports EPS in-line with cons and pre-announcement, revs in-line; reaffirms FY14 EPS guidance, revs guidance, comp guidance (LL) : Reports Q2 (Jun) earnings of $0.60 per share, in-line with the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.60 (in line with pre-announcement); revenues rose 2.3% year/year to $263.1 mln vs the $262.87 mln consensus (in line with pre-announcement

  • Co reaffirms guidance for FY14, sees EPS of $2.65-3.00 vs. $2.72 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate; sees FY14 revs of $1.05-1.10 bln vs. $1.08 bln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate. Co reaffirms FY14 Change in comparable store net sales in the low single digits, either positive or negative.
  • In comparable stores, net sales decreased 7.1% in the second quarter of 2014 ( in line with pre-announcement). Gross margin was 40.4% in the second quarter of 2014 compared to 41.3% in the second quarter of 2013 due primarily to adverse net shifts in sales mix, greater discounting at the point of sale and higher net transportation costs.
  • "Our second quarter net sales and earnings per diluted share were in-line with our revised expectations communicated earlier this month. Despite the challenges we faced in the second quarter and results that were not at the level we would have hoped, our value proposition is as strong and relevant as ever to our customers. We remain focused on continuous improvement across our operations and implementing our multi-year strategic initiatives to position the Company for long-term growth." 

7:14 am Sagent Pharma beats by $0.09, beats on revs; guides FY14 revs in-line (SGNT) : Reports Q2 (Jun) earnings of $0.09 per share, $0.09 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of ($0.00); revenues rose 16.1% year/year to $69.2 mln vs the $67.14 mln consensus.

  • Co issues in-line guidance for FY14, sees FY14 revs of $270-290 mln vs. $279.08 mln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate.
  • Company anticipates reported net income for fiscal 2014 to be in the range of breakeven to $10 million in earnings.

7:13 am ACCO Brands beats by $0.03, beats on revs; guides FY14 EPS in-line, reiterates 2014 sales expectations to decline in the mid-single digits (ACCO) : Reports Q2 (Jun) earnings of $0.19 per share, $0.03 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.16; revenues fell 2.8% year/year to $427.7 mln vs the $409.66 mln consensus.

  • Co issues in-line guidance for FY14, sees EPS of $0.70-0.76 vs. $0.72 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate.
  • The co reiterates its expectations for 2014 sales to decline in the mid-single digits

7:13 am Huntsman beats by $0.11, beats on revs (HUN) : Reports Q2 (Jun) earnings of $0.59 per share, $0.11 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.48; revenues rose 5.6% year/year to $2.99 bln vs the $2.91 bln consensus.

  • "We saw strong earnings in the second quarter as a result of increased demand for key products such as MDI and amines and higher selling prices for many of our products. We also benefited from restructuring efforts in our Advanced Materials and Textile Effects businesses. These results are well in line with our earlier forecast of substantial earnings growth in the next two to three years."
  • "We are working closely with the European Commission in its review of the proposed acquisition of Rockwood Holding's Performance Additives and Titanium Dioxide businesses. We have proposed certain remedies we believe address the Commission's concerns and are confident that final approval will be secured by the end of the third quarter."

7:13 am Energizer misses by $0.09, reports revs in-line; reaffirms FY14 EPS guidance (ENR) : Reports Q3 (Jun) earnings of $1.46 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.09 worse than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $1.55; revenues rose 1.7% year/year to $1.13 bln vs the $1.12 bln consensus.

  • Co reaffirms guidance for FY14, sees EPS of $7.00-7.25 vs. $7.09 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate; Total company organic net sales are expected to decline in the low- to
    mid-single digits for the full 2014 fiscal year

7:11 am Booz Allen Hamilton beats by $0.08, reports revs in-line; reaffirms FY15 guidance (BAH) : Reports Q1 (Jun) earnings of $0.50 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.08 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.42; revenues fell 7.4% year/year to $1.32 bln vs the $1.31 bln consensus. Co reaffirms guidance for FY15, sees EPS of $1.50-1.60, excluding non-recurring items, vs. $1.56 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate; reaffirms FY15 revenue decline in mid-single digits, assuming that means down 4-6%, that computes to approximately $5.15-5.26 bln vs. $5.25 bln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate.

7:09 am Wisconsin Energy beats by $0.07, reports revs in-line (WEC) : Reports Q2 (Jun) earnings of $0.58 per share, $0.07 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.51; revenues rose 3.1% year/year to $1.04 bln vs the $1.03 bln consensus.

7:08 am KVH Industries beats by $0.01, misses on revs (KVHI) : Reports Q2 (Jun) earnings of $0.05 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.01 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.04; revenues fell 5.3% year/year to $40.9 mln vs the $43.39 mln consensus.

7:08 am Dice Holdings beats by $0.05, beats on revs; guides Q3 EPS in-line, revs above; guides FY14 EPS above consensus, revs in-line (DHX) :

  • Reports Q2 (Jun) earnings of $0.13 per share, $0.05 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.08; revenues rose 27.9% year/year to $66.5 mln vs the $62.78 mln consensus. 
  • Q3 guidance: Co sees Q3 EPS of $0.11 vs. $0.08 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate; sees Q3 revs of $65.5-66.5 mln vs. $63.38 mln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate. 
  • FY14 guidance: Co see FY14 EPS of $0.42-0.43 vs. $0.33 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate; sees FY14 revs of $258-262 mln vs. $252.27 mln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate.
  •  "Late in the quarter, we expanded the markets Open Web serves to include the UK - transforming the recruiting landscape. We've increased the number of information sources for Open Web to 130 from 50, with a continuing focus on our specialty areas. As we build our company, we work every day on making recruiting more efficient and helping professionals make the most of their careers....Our second quarter financial performance was better than we anticipated in April. In our Tech & Clearance segment, we saw signs of stabilization in our recruitment package customer count at Dice... Our performance in the second quarter again exhibited the strong cash flow nature of our business. Our financial model delivers for shareholders with strong levels of profitability and significant free cash flow, which provides us ample room to reinvigorate our operations by investing for growth and returning cash to shareholders."

7:08 am Lorillard misses by $0.04, misses on revs (LO) : Reports Q2 (Jun) earnings of $0.84 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.04 worse than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.88; revenues (excluding excise taxes) rose 0.7% year/year to $1.3 bln vs the $1.34 bln consensus. 

  • Total Lorillard wholesale cigarette unit volume, which includes Puerto Rico and U.S. Possessions, decreased 3.4% for the second quarter of 2014 compared to the corresponding period of 2013. Puerto Rico and U.S. Possessions declined 38.6% compared to a year ago period in which inventories were built by wholesale in advance of a July 2013 $1.00 per pack excise tax increase in Puerto Rico. Domestic wholesale cigarette unit volume, which excludes Puerto Rico and U.S. Possessions, decreased 2.8% for the second quarter of 2014 compared to the corresponding period of 2013. The Company estimates total cigarette industry domestic wholesale shipments decreased 5.5% for the second quarter of 2014 compared to the second quarter of 2013. 
  • Net sales for the Electronic Cigarettes segment were $88 million for the first half ended June 30, 2014, compared to $114 million for the first half ended June 30, 2013, respectively. The decline in sales of blu eCigs in the U.S. versus year ago reflects a decrease in unit volume as well as the estimated $11 million mix impact of a lower price on rechargeable kits that were introduced in the third quarter of 2013.

7:08 am Vertex Energy begins due diligence process in connection with Heartland Group operations in anticipation of potential acquisition and enters into consulting agreement with Heartland; deal valued at ~ $16.5 mln (VTNR) : Co announced that it has begun due diligence of Heartland Group under the terms of a letter of intent which contemplates Vertex acquiring substantially all of the assets of Heartland Group for ~ $16.5 million, which includes an ~ $8 million dollar earnout achievable during the first 2 years.

  • Along with the Letter of Intent, Vertex also entered into a consulting agreement with Heartland to provide consulting services, which include advice and guidance related to Heartland Petroleum's collection operations, Heartland's Re-refinery, the installation of new equipment there, and the implementation of operational changes at the re-refinery. The objective is to eventually facilitate the integration of all of Heartland's operations into Vertex's platform, allowing for a smooth transition upon the closing of the transaction.
  • Co has agreed to cover expenses throughout implementation of these changes and to reimburse Heartland for any operating losses recognized after July 16, 2014, subject to a cap of $500,000 if Vertex decides not to move forward with the closing, and which losses are reimbursable to Vertex if Heartland breaches the terms of the LOI.

7:08 am Amedisys beats by $0.08, reports revs in-line (AMED) : Reports Q2 (Jun) earnings of $0.25 per share, $0.08 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.17; revenues fell 3.5% year/year to $305 mln vs the $302.03 mln consensus. "While much work remains, our progress in this quarter reflects the focus of our entire Amedisys team. We believe we have reestablished a solid foundation which will allow us to concentrate on further improving our core business."

7:06 am ADT beats by $0.08, reports revs in-line (ADT) : Reports Q3 (Jun) earnings of $0.55 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.08 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.47; revenues rose 1.9% year/year to $849 mln vs the $848.16 mln consensus.

  • Recurring revenue growth was primarily driven by an increase in average revenue per customer, which rose 3.9% over last year to $41.85. Revenue attrition for the quarter was down 30 basis points sequentially to 13.9% and unit attrition for residential and small business was 13.5%, down 20 basis points sequentially. ADT closed the quarter with 6.4 million customer accounts.

7:06 am Rockwell Automation misses by $0.06, misses on revs; guides FY14 EPS in-line (ROK) : Reports Q3 (Jun) earnings of $1.49 per share, $0.06 worse than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $1.55; revenues rose 1.6% year/year to $1.65 bln vs the $1.68 bln consensus.

  • Co issues in-line guidance for FY14, sees EPS of $6.10-6.25 vs. $6.19 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate; sees organic sales growth to 4 to 6 percent 
  • "Sales and earnings came in as expected this quarter. We experienced strong year-over-year growth in Architecture & Software, while sales in Control Products & Solutions declined modestly, primarily due to very strong sales in our solutions and services businesses last year. I was pleased to see solid sequential sales growth in both segments and across most regions. Free cash flow continued to be strong. Organic sales grew 5 percent for the first nine months of the fiscal year and total segment operating margin expanded by 70 basis points. These results reflect the ongoing execution of our growth and performance strategy."

7:05 am Garmin beats by $0.26, beats on revs; raises FY14 guidance above; announces intercompany restructuring (GRMN) : Reports Q2 (Jun) earnings of $1.02 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.26 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.76; revenues rose 11.7% year/year to $777.8 mln vs the $710.46 mln consensus.

Co issues upside guidance for FY14, sees EPS of $2.95-3.05, excluding non-recurring items, from $2.50-2.60 vs. $2.77 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate; raises FY14 revs to $2.75-2.85 bln from $2.6-2.7 bln vs. $2.71 bln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate. guidance anticipates promotional pricing for the holiday season, as well as higher spending in marketing and advertising to support new product categories resulting in margins that are lower than what we have experienced in the first half of the year. On July 24, 2014, Garmin's Board of Directors approved an intercompany restructuring that will move certain US subsidiaries out from under our Taiwanese subsidiary. This change in corporate structure will provide access to historical earnings that were previously permanently reinvested, and will allow us to efficiently repatriate future earnings to fund dividends, share repurchases, and acquisitions. In order to change our corporate structure and access historical earnings, Garmin will make one-time cash tax payments of approximately $300 million over the next year.

7:05 am Sonus Networks beats by $0.01, beats on revs; guides Q3 EPS in-line, revs below consensus; guides Q4 (Dec) EPS in-line, revs in-line; guides FY14 EPS above consensus, revs in-line (SONS) : Reports Q2 (Jun) earnings of $0.02 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.01 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.01; revenues rose 9.2% year/year to $75.6 mln vs the $73.88 mln consensus. Co issues mixed guidance for Q3, sees EPS of $0.01 vs. $0.01 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate; sees Q3 revs of $70-73 mln vs. $74.74 mln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate. Co issues in-line guidance for Q4 (Dec), sees EPS of $0.03 vs. $0.02 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate; sees Q4 (Dec) revs of $81-84 mln vs. $82.15 mln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate. Co issues mixed guidance for FY14, sees EPS of $0.05-0.07 vs. $0.05 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate; sees FY14 revs of approx $300 mln vs. $301.51 mln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate.

7:05 am Pitney Bowes reports EPS in-line, revs in-line; guides FY14 EPS in-line, raises revenue guidance growth range (PBI) : Reports Q2 (Jun) earnings of $0.46 per share, excluding non-recurring items, in-line with the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.46; revenues rose 0.8% year/year to $958 mln vs the $959.23 mln consensus.

  • Co issues guidance for FY14, sees EPS of $1.80-1.90 vs. $1.85 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate; sees FY14 revs growth of 1-3% or roughly $3.9-3.98 bln vs. $3.86 bln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate, prior guidance called for a declone of 1-2%.

7:04 am Primero Mining provides Cerro Del Gallo project update; construction decision delayed in order to allow 2014 drilling and metallurgical testing programs to be completed (PPP) : Co announced new drilling results and provided an update on its Cerro del Gallo development project located in Guanajuato, Mexico:

  • Construction decision delayed in order to allow 2014 drilling and metallurgical testing programs to be completed.
  • Project advanced including land acquisition, water rights, basic engineering and permitting.
  • Higher-grade mineralization identified with the Carmen Providencia epithermal vein returning 4.6 grams per tonne gold equivalent over 5.8 metres which is in addition to the previously released 5.4 g/t gold equivalent over 8.1 metres
  • The co has currently spent $3.9 million (with a total of $5.2 million committed) of its $12.9 million 2014 Cerro del Gallo budget. The total budget includes $2.5 million for 10,000  metres of exploration drilling. 
  • The Cerro del Gallo metallurgical testwork, which will be completed in Q3 2014, will be followed by column tests using composite samples chosen from an updated block model.
  • The co has not completed any drilling (regional or near mine-site) at Cerro del Gallo to date in 2014 due to a permit reclassification delay.
    • The company has therefore elected to postpone any decision until the 2014 drilling program and metallurgical testing programs can be completed.

7:04 am Dorman Products misses by $0.01, beats on revs (DORM) : Reports Q2 (Jun) earnings of $0.64 per share, $0.01 worse than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.65; revenues rose 20.9% year/year to $196.2 mln vs the $188.8 mln consensus.

  • Gross margin was 37.2% for Q2 vs 39.7% for the same period last year. The decline is primarily the result of competitive pricing pressures and mix shift that resulted in lower overall net selling prices, provisions for excess and obsolete inventory that were $1.5 mln higher during the quarter, and higher transportation costs.
  • "Our sales growth rate in the first half of 2014 is partially the result of large stocking initiatives from certain customers along with a larger than normal level of product line updates. We don't expect this pattern to continue in the second half of the year, and believe that sales growth for the remainder of the year will return to more historic low double digit rates."
  • Co also announces that its Board has authorized an increase to the existing share repurchase program from $30 mln to $50 mln.

7:04 am Multimedia Games misses by $0.06, misses on revs; reaffirms FY14 guidance (MGAM) :

  • Reports Q3 (Jun) earnings of $0.25 per share, $0.06 worse than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.31; revenues rose 4.6% year/year to $50.3 mln vs the $54.53 mln consensus. Total unit sales included the sale of 214 TournEvent units, bringing the Company's nationwide TournEvent installed base to over 4,000 units in approximately 275 casinos. 
  • Co reaffirms guidance for FY14, sees EPS of $1.23-1.27 vs. $1.29 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate; sees FY14 revs of $217.0-223.0 mln vs. $228.45 mln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate; expects to generate EBITDA of $110.0-$114.5 mln. 
  • The fiscal 2014 diluted EPS guidance of $1.23-$1.27 does not include the $0.01 per share negative impact for the severance related charges recorded in the fiscal 2014 third quarter or the $0.02 per share negative impact for insurance claims in excess of the previous two-year quarterly average that was recorded in the fiscal 2014 first quarter and highlighted in the fiscal 2014 first quarter press release on January 30, 2014. Similarly, the fiscal 2014 EBITDA guidance of $110.0-$114.5 mln does not include a cumulative impact of $1.4 mln related to the above noted non-recurring items. 

7:03 am Thomson Reuters beats by $0.04, beats on revs (TRI) : Reports Q2 (Jun) earnings of $0.51 per share, $0.04 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.47; revenues fell 0.1% year/year to $3.16 bln vs the $3.12 bln consensus. 

  • Reaffirms full-year business outlook for 2014 which was previously communicated in February 2014. The company continues to expect:
    • revenues to be comparable to 2013; 
    • adjusted EBITDA margin to range between 26% and 27%; 
    • underlying operating profit margin to range between 17.0% and 18.0%; 
    • free cash flow to range between $1.3 billion and $1.5 billion in 2014.
  • Today, the company announced that its board of directors approved plans to repurchase up to an additional $1.0 billion of its shares through the end of 2015 
  • "Our second-quarter results build upon the good start to the year and are consistent with our full-year expectations.... The actions we are taking are building a platform for sustainable growth, and we will continue to simplify our organization and position resources behind the most promising growth opportunities

7:03 am Astronics beats by $0.18, beats on revs; narrows 2014 revenue guidance, above consensus (ATRO) : Reports Q2 (Jun) earnings of $0.70 per share, $0.18 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.52; revenues rose 146.4% year/year to $174.6 mln vs the $155.0 mln consensus.

  • Co narrows 2014 revenue guidance to $640-665 mln vs $634.7 mln consensus, from $625-660 mln.

7:03 am PowerSecure adds $25 mln in new utility infrastructure business (POWR) : Co announced it has been awarded ~ $25 mln of new utility infrastructure business.

The new business awards include distribution work for a new utility customer in the Western United States, additional assignments to provide electric infrastructure for an existing energy customer to support their oil and natural gas operations and a variety of new projects with other new and existing customers.

This $25 mln in new business is expected to be recognized fairly evenly from the third quarter of 2014 through 2015.

7:02 am Teleflex beats by $0.17, beats on revs; guides FY14 EPS in-line (TFX) : Reports Q2 (Jun) earnings of $1.51 per share, $0.17 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $1.34; revenues rose 11.4% year/year to $468.1 mln vs the $447.76 mln consensus. Co issues in-line guidance for FY14, sees EPS of $5.45-5.60 vs. $5.51 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate; co sees rev growth of 7-9%.

7:02 am Crawford UK acquires Buckley Scott; terms not disclosed (CRD.A) : Co announced that it has finalized the purchase of Buckley Scott, a UK-based international construction and engineering adjuster. The acquisition of Buckley Scott will enable Crawford to significantly expand its construction and engineering business in the UK, the London Market and internationally.

7:02 am TherapeuticsMD prices public offering of ~ 8.6 mln shares of its common stock at $4.67 per share (TXMD) : The gross proceeds to the co from this offering are expected to be ~ $40.0 million, before deducting underwriting discounts, commissions and other estimated offering expenses payable by the co.

7:01 am Inphi to acquire Cortina Systems; will acquire Cortina's High-Speed Interconnect and Optical Transport product lines for $52.5 mln in cash and $73.5 mln in stock (IPHI) : The co announced they will acquire Cortina's High-Speed Interconnect and Optical Transport product lines for $52.5 million in cash and $73.5 million in stock.

  • Anticipates additional $20M in revenue per Q at higher gross margins than the co's; 
  • Expects 50% improvement in total quarterly operating income as a % of revenue on non-GAAP basis
  • The transaction is expected to close in late September or October subject to approval by the shareholders of Cortina, the receipt of regulatory approvals and other customer closing conditions. 

7:00 am Hess to pursue formation of master limited partnership (HES) : Co announced its intention to pursue the formation and initial public offering of a master limited partnership (MLP).

  • The co intends to use the MLP as the primary midstream vehicle to support its Bakken production growth.
  • The co will own the general partner of the MLP, all of its incentive distribution rights, and a majority of its limited partner interests following completion of the initial public offering.
  • The co expects the MLP to file a registration statement with the SEC in Q4 of 2014 and, subject to market conditions, expects to make an IPO of common units representing limited partner interests in the MLP in the Q1 of 2015.  

6:46 am AstraZeneca agrees to strategic transaction with Almirall in respiratory disease (AZN) : Co announced that it has entered an agreement to transfer to the co the rights to Almirall's respiratory franchise for an initial consideration of $875 mln on completion, and up to $1.22 bln in development, launch, and sales-related milestones. Co has also agreed to make various sales-related payments.

  • Upon completion of the transaction, AstraZeneca will own the rights for the development and commercialisation of Almirall's existing proprietary respiratory business, including rights to revenues from Almirall's existing partnerships, as well as its pipeline of investigational novel therapies. 
  • The franchise includes Eklira (aclidinium); LAS40464, the combination of aclidinium with formoterol which has been filed for registration in the EU and is being developed in the US; LAS100977 (abediterol), a once-daily long-acting beta2-agonist (:LABA) in Phase II; an M3 antagonist beta2-agonist (MABA) platform in pre-clinical development (LAS191351, LAS194871) and Phase I (LAS190792); and multiple pre-clinical programmes. 
  • Under the agreement, Almirall Sofotec, an Almirall subsidiary focused on the development of innovative proprietary devices, will also transfer to AstraZeneca.

6:41 am Merge Healthcare beats by $0.07, reports revs in-line (MRGE) : Reports Q2 (Jun) earnings of $0.05 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.07 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of ($0.02); revenues fell 5.9% year/year to $53.8 mln vs the $53.34 mln consensus.

6:39 am On The Wires (:WIRES) :

  • ICON (ICLR) announced that all resolutions at the Annual General Meeting of the co held on July 29, 2014 were all duly passed by shareholders. 
  • Unisys (UIS) announced that its Spanish subsidiary has been awarded an application managed services contract from Aena Navegacion Aerea, the national air traffic control services provider, to develop, implement and maintain the organization's business management applications.
  • ReneSola (SOL) announced the co's results in a series of reliability tests conducted by PV Evolution Labs. The co's modules achieved top performance rankings on PVEL's "PV Module Reliability Scorecard" for 2014 in four testing categories: Dynamic Mechanical Load, Damp Heat, Potential Induced Degradation, and Humidity-Freeze. 
  • Trimble (TRMB) is establishing a global network of distribution partners to serve the needs of the building construction industry. The growing BuildingPoint network will provide focused sales and services with a portfolio of software and hardware solutions for the Design-Build-Operate lifecycle of buildings. 
  • Alderon Iron Ore (AXX) reported that the nominees listed in the management information circular for the 2014 Annual and Special Meeting of shareholders were elected as directors of Alderon. Shareholders also approved the appointment of Alderon's auditors, the re-approval of Alderon's stock option plan, the co's Advance Notice Policy and the conversion option of the $22.0 mln loan from Liberty Metals & Mining, a subsidiary of Liberty Mutual Insurance.

6:38 am CGI Group reports EPS in-line, misses on revs (GIB) : Reports Q3 (Jun) earnings of CAD$0.72 per share, excluding non-recurring items, in-line with the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of CAD$0.72; revenues rose 3.9% year/year to CC$2.67 bln vs the CC$2.71 bln consensus. 

  • Adjusted EBIT for the three months was $342.2 million, an improvement of 17.5% compared with $291.2 million in the year ago period. Adjusted EBIT margin increased by 150 basis points to 12.8% from 11.3% in Q3-F2013.

6:38 am Carlyle misses by $0.01, beats on revs (CG) : Reports Q2 (Jun) economic net income of $0.73 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.01 worse than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.74; revenues rose 77.2% year/year to $900 mln vs the $781 mln consensus. 

  • $324 million of Distributable Earnings on a pre-tax basis in Q2 2014 and $1.0 billion over last twelve months; $0.93 per common unit on a post-tax basis in Q2 2014 
  • The Board of Directors has declared a quarterly distribution of $0.16 per common unit to holders of record at the close of business on August 11, 2014, payable on August 22, 2014. 
  • Co preannounced carry fund portfolio appreciation +5% on July 7.

6:36 am Wi-LAN beats by $0.04, beats on revs (WILN) : Reports Q2 (Jun) earnings of $0.14 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.04 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.10; revenues rose 32.5% year/year to $25.7 mln vs the $23.83 mln consensus. 

  • "Licensing partnerships signed recently have established WiLAN in many new markets including the automotive, data networking, medical and semiconductor markets. In particular, we are very excited about the quality and value of a patent portfolio that a WiLAN subsidiary acquired from an industry leading memory company in the second quarter. We are very pleased that the U.S. Patent Office, after conducting reexam proceedings at the urging of certain defendants in our cases, has confirmed the validity of WiLAN's 802 patent. The 802 patent was filed by the founders of WiLAN and has been licensed to many parties."

6:36 am Ingredion misses by $0.06, reports revs in-line; guides FY14 EPS in-line; announces accelerated share repurchase agreement (INGR) : Reports Q2 (Jun) earnings of $1.35 per share, $0.06 worse than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $1.41; revenues fell 9.2% year/year to $1.48 bln vs the $1.47 bln consensus.

  • Co issues in-line guidance for FY14, sees EPS of $5.40-5.70 vs. $5.52 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate. 
  • The guidance anticipates continued cost pressures in Argentina and softness in the Brazilian economy; ongoing strong performance in Mexico; and, an effective tax rate of 27 - 28 percent. In-line with previous guidance, operating income in Asia Pacific and EMEA is expected to be up, while North American operating income is expected to be flat to slightly up. South America is now expected to be slightly down. As a result of lower input costs, sales are expected to drop significantly for the total Company. 
  • Cash generated by operations is expected to be approximately $700 - 750 million in 2014. 
  • Capital expenditures in 2014 are anticipated to be approximately $300 million. These investments will support growth and cost reduction actions across the organization.
  • The Company also entered into an accelerated share repurchase agreement under which it will repurchase $300 million or up to 4 million shares of its common stock 
  •  "Volumes were up in all four regions. North America, Asia Pacific and EMEA delivered strong operating income results. In South America, operating income improved in Brazil and Colombia but was offset by anticipated year-over-year declines in Argentina."

6:33 am Littelfuse misses by $0.05, reports revs in-line; guides Q3 in-line; approved 14% increase in the quarterly cash dividend (LFUS) : Reports Q2 (Jun) earnings of $1.26 per share, excluding items, $0.05 worse than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $1.31; revenues rose 17.6% year/year to $220.9 mln vs the $220.19 mln consensus. In the second quarter, the company restructured its labor contracts at the Hamlin-Mexico plant. This resulted in a one-time charge of $2.0 million for severance, as employees had to be terminated and re-hired under a new contract. This is expected to result in savings of approximately $1.5 million annually beginning in the third quarter. 

  • Q3 guidance: Co issues in-line guidance for Q3, sees EPS of $1.29-1.43 vs. $1.36 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate; sees Q3 revs of $215 -225 mln vs. $222.98 mln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate. Capital expenditures are expected to be approximately $35 million for the year. Operating margin for the third quarter (excluding special items) is expected to improve by 150 to 200 basis points compared to the second quarter of 2014 due primarily to lower stock compensation expense and reduced scrap and obsolete inventory charges. 
  • The Board has approved a 14% increase in the quarterly cash dividend from $0.22 to $0.25.

6:33 am RR Donnelley & Sons beats by $0.07, beats on revs; reaffirms FY14 guidance (RRD) : Reports Q2 (Jun) earnings of $0.42 per share, $0.07 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.35; revenues rose 12.9% year/year to $2.9 bln vs the $2.87 bln consensus.

  • Co reaffirms guidance for FY14, sees FY14 revs of $11.5-11.8 bln vs. $11.61 bln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate. Reaffirms expectation for non-GAAP adjusted EBITDA margin 10.5% to 11.0%
  • "As we begin the second half of the year, our year-to-date performance, including the on-boarding and integration of our acquisitions that closed in the first quarter, keeps us on track to deliver our full-year guidance. Our expectation for free cash flow, in the range of $400 million to $500 million, allows us to continue to migrate toward our targeted gross leverage range of 2.25x to 2.75x on a long-term sustainable basis." 

6:32 am Spectrum Brands beats by $0.01, misses on revs; guides Fy14 (SPB) : Reports Q3 (Jun) adj. earnings of $1.30 per share, $0.01 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $1.29; revenues rose 3.6% year/year to $1.13 bln vs the $1.14 bln consensus. 

  • The improvement was the result of higher net sales in the Company's home and garden, HHI and battery businesses. 
  • Gross profit and gross profit margin in the third quarter of fiscal 2014 was $417.0 million and 37.0 percent, respectively, compared to $382.7 million and 35.1 percent last year.
  • Spectrum Brands expects fiscal 2014 net sales, as reported, to increase ~at the rate of U.S. GDP growth compared to fiscal 2013 net sales, including HHI in the prior year on a pro forma basis. Fiscal 2014 free cash flow is expected to be at least $350 million and capital expenditures are projected to be ~$70 million to $75 million. Spectrum Brands has repaid approximately $125 million of term debt through July of fiscal 2014. The Company expects to use its strong free cash flow to make additional payments on its term debt in the remaining two months of the fiscal year for a total of ~$250 million, and thereby further delever its balance sheet, resulting in leverage (total debt to adjusted EBITDA) of ~4.2 times or less at the end of the fiscal year. 
  • Term debt reduced by $125 million to date and Company reiterates plan for total cumulative term debt paydown of ~ $250 million by the end of fiscal 2014 to delever the balance sheet.

6:31 am S&P futures vs fair value: +2.50. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: +10.50. :

6:30 am European Markets : FTSE...6806.02...-1.70...0.00.  DAX...9643.13...-10.60...-0.10%.

6:30 am Asian Markets : Nikkei...15646.23...+28.20...+0.20%.  Hang Seng...24732.21...+91.20...+0.40%.

6:28 am Airbus reports first half results (EADSY) :

  • Co reported 1H EPS of  1.45 while revenues increased 6% to 27.2 billion (H1 2013: 25.7 billion), driven by Airbus Commercial Aircraft and Airbus Helicopters with flat revenues at Airbus Defence and Space. 
  • Group order intake in the first half was 27.7 billion (H1 2013: 95.6 billion), with the order book  worth 677.4 billion on 30 June, 2014 (year-end 2013: 680.6 billion(1)).
  • Airbus received 290 net commercial aircraft orders (H1 2013: 722 net orders). 
  • Net order intake at Airbus Helicopters was 148 units (H1 2013: 167 units) while in July agreements were signed to supply 123 rotorcraft to China. 
  • Airbus Defence and Space's order intake by value was stable, with continued momentum in space activities and 17 light and medium transport aircraft orders received.

6:27 am Adeptus Health misses by $0.12, beats on revs (ADPT) : Reports Q2 (Jun) loss of $0.22 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.12 worse than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of ($0.10); revenues rose 80.4% year/year to $44.2 mln vs the $43.53 mln consensus. The increase was primarily attributable to the impact of increased patient volumes from the expansion of the number of freestanding facilities from 17 to 38.

  • The Company expects to have 53 freestanding emergency rooms in operation by year end and is well positioned to continue its growth into 2015 and beyond. 
  • "We are pleased with second quarter results as we continue to rapidly grow our First Choice Emergency Room network. Our freestanding emergency rooms, which provide high-quality service by board-certified physicians, are clearly filling a need for convenient, neighborhood access to emergency medical care. We are transforming the patient experience, with improved access and reduced wait times resulting in patient satisfaction scores in the top 1% of emergency departments nationally, as measured by Press Ganey." 
  • "Additionally, we are pleased to announce the completion of a funding and development agreement with Medical Properties Trust ("MPT") for an additional $150.0 million, which will further support our growth initiatives. Our previous agreement with MPT included $100.0 million to fund the development of freestanding emergency room projects."

6:15 am Cenovus Energy beats by CAD$0.14 (CVE) : Reports Q2 (Jun) earnings of CAD$0.62 per share, excluding non-recurring items, CAD$0.14 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of CAD$0.48. 

  • Co achieved strong second quarter results as the company benefited from increased oil production and higher commodity prices, contributing to a significant increase in cash flow compared with the same period a year earlier. 
  • Cenovus's oil sands production averaged almost 125,000 bbls/d net in the second quarter, up 33% from a year earlier, primarily driven by strong performance at the company's Christina Lake project. Christina Lake production increased 77% from the second quarter of 2013, averaging nearly 68,000 bbls/d net as phase E reached its design capacity and the company completed a planned partial turnaround with minimal impact to production. 
  • Foster Creek performed in line with expectations, achieving production that averaged almost 57,000 bbls/d net in the second quarter, up 3% from the same period in 2013. Through the remainder of the year, the company expects the steam to oil ratio (SOR) at Foster Creek to be at the upper end of its annual guidance range of 2.6 to 3.0 as steaming of the phase F expansion continues. First production from phase F wells is expected in the fourth quarter. 
  • Cash flow for the quarter was almost $1.2 billion, an increase of 37% from the same period in 2013.

6:15 am LPL Financial misses by $0.01, reports revs in-line (LPLA) : Reports Q2 (Jun) earnings of $0.61 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.01 worse than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.62; revenues rose 7.2% year/year to $1.09 bln vs the $1.09 bln consensus. 

  • "As expected, we saw positive momentum in recruiting as net new advisors grew to 114 in the second quarter and 431 over the past twelve months, which demonstrates the quality of our offering. Due to our compelling value proposition and ability to meet advisors' needs as their practices evolve, we retained 97% of our existing production, which we believe is industry leading. As we look ahead to the third quarter, our pipeline remains strong and we look forward to the benefit in our retirement plan business from our pending opportunity with Financial Telesis."

6:13 am Provident Fincl beats by $0.05 (PROV) : Reports Q4 (Jun) earnings of $0.22 per share, $0.05 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.17. 

  • Net interest income increased $74,000, or one percent, to $7.66 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014 from $7.58 million for the same quarter of fiscal 2013, attributable to a 26 basis point increase in the net interest margin, partly offset by a $99.7 million, or nine percent, decrease in average interest-earning assets. Non-interest income decreased $8.06 million, or 46 percent, to $9.56 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014 from $17.62 million in the same quarter of fiscal 2013. 
  • Non-interest expense decreased $3.31 million, or 19 percent, to $14.21 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014 from $17.52 million in the same quarter of fiscal 2013. The decreases in non-interest income and non-interest expense relate primarily to mortgage banking operations.
  • "We have made significant progress in adjusting our mortgage banking business model commensurate with the lower volume environment which is evidenced by this quarter's improved profitability. We believe the actions we took in fiscal 2014 have established the foundation for better mortgage banking financial results in fiscal 2015."

6:12 am Rio Tinto agrees to sell coal assets in Mozambique for $50 mln (RIO) : Co has reached an agreement to sell Rio Tinto Coal Mozambique, which comprises the Benga coal mine and other projects in the Tete province of Mozambique, to International Coal Ventures Private for $50 million.

  • The assets were acquired by Rio Tinto as part of its acquisition of Riversdale Mining in 2011. 
  • Co's other assets in the country are unaffected by this transaction.

6:11 am Haemonetics beats by $0.03, beats on revs; reaffirms FY15 EPS guidance, revs guidance (HAE) : Reports Q1 (Jun) adj earnings of $0.38 per share, $0.03 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.35; revenues rose 2.3% year/year to $224.5 mln vs the $216.25 mln consensus.

  • Co reaffirms guidance for FY15, sees EPS of $1.85-1.95 vs. $1.89 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate; sees FY15 revs of decline 0-2% reported to ~ $920-939 mln vs. $927.84 mln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate. 
  • FY15 Guidance Details: Overall fiscal 2015 revenue is affirmed at a decline of 0-2%, with $40-$50 million of revenue growth from identified growth drivers more than offset by $50-$55 million of revenue headwind from net volume and pricing declines in the U.S. blood center business and weakness in the Japanese Yen. The Company affirms its guidance for 7-9% growth in Plasma disposables, a decline in blood center revenue of 10-12%, hospital disposables growth of 4-6% and Software Solutions growth of 2-4%. The Company affirms its full year expectations for adjusted gross margin of approximately 50%, adjusted operating income of $140-$150 million, operating margin at approximately 16%, income taxes at approximately 26% of pre-tax adjusted income, adjusted earnings per share in the range of $1.85 to $1.95, and free cash flow of approximately $120-$130 million before funding restructuring and capital investment for transformation activities. 
  • FY16 Guidance: The Company expects to return to a mid-single digit revenue growth rate and double digit adjusted operating income and earnings per share growth rates in fiscal 2016.  The VCC investments are on track to be completed in fiscal 2016, with $10-$15 million of incremental investment remaining in that year.   

6:10 am ICON plc beats by $0.06, reports revs in-line; raises FY14 EPS, narrows FY14 rev (ICLR) : Reports Q2 (Jun) earnings of $0.64 per share, $0.06 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.58; revenues rose 12.5% year/year to $376 mln vs the $374.88 mln consensus. Gross business wins were $521 million, representing a gross book to bill of 1.38. Net business wins were $458 million, representing a net book to bill of 1.22. 

Co issues guidance for FY14, raises EPS to $2.62-2.68 from $2.30-2.40 vs. $2.36 Capital IQ Consensus; narrows FY14 revs to $1.49-1.53 bln from $1.48-1.54 bln vs. $1.5 bln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate.

6:02 am JinkoSolar Holding to receive $225 mln private equity investment led by China Development Bank International and Macquarie for downstream solar power project business (JKS) : Co announced that China Development Bank International, the Macquarie Greater China Infrastructure Fund and New Horizon Capital have agreed to invest a total of $225 million in the co's downstream solar power project business.

  • JinkoSolar Power Engineering, a wholly-owned subsidiary of JinkoSolar that develops and operates its downstream solar power project business, entered into separate definitive share purchase agreements with each of CDBI, MGCIF and New Horizon. Under the subscription agreements, CDBI, MGCIF and New Horizon have agreed to invest a total of $225 million in Jinko Power. Upon completion of the investment and the co's additional capital contribution to Jinko Power, the three investors will hold a total of ~ 45% of Jinko Power's equity interest.
  • The three investors are expected to provide support and additional resources to facilitate Jinko Power's business development in terms of project financing, project development, project operation and global green energy network.

6:02 am WellPoint beats by $0.18, reports revs in-line; raises FY14 EPS above consensus, reaffirms FY14 revs guidance (WLP) : Reports Q2 (Jun) earnings of $2.44 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.18 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $2.26; revenues rose 4.2% year/year to $18.23 bln vs the $18.21 bln consensus.

  • Co issues  guidance for FY14, raises EPS to more than $8.60 from greater than $8.40 prior guidance, excluding non-recurring items, vs. $8.59 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate; reaffirms FY14 revs of more than $73.5 bln vs. $73.43 bln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate. 
  • Medical enrollment totaled ~37.3 mln members at June 30, 2014, an increase of approximately 1.6 mln members, or 4.5 percent, from 35.7 mln at June 30, 2013. Commercial and Specialty enrollment increased by 1.3 mln members as the company experienced growth in the Local Group, National, and Individual markets. Enrollment also grew in the Medicaid and FEP business by 373,000 and 5,000, respectively, partially offset by a decline in the Medicare business of 51,000. 
  • The benefit expense ratio was 82.7 percent in the second quarter of 2014, a decrease of 120 basis points from 83.9 percent in the prior year quarter. For the full year 2014, the Company continues to expect that underlying Local Group medical cost trend will be in the range of 6.5 percent plus or minus 50 basis points. 
  • FY14: Medical membership is now expected to be in the range of 37,050,000 -- 37,150,000. Fully insured membership is now expected to be in the range of 14,550,000 -- 14,600,000 and self-funded membership is now expected to be in the range of 22,500,000 -- 22,550,000. Benefit expense ratio is now expected to be in the range of 83.5% plus or minus 30 basis points. SG&A ratio is expected to be in the range of 15.8% plus or minus 30 basis points. Operating Cash flow is now expected to be greater than $2.7 bln.

6:02 am Le Gaga enters into definitive merger agreement for going private transaction at $4.06 per ADS (GAGA) : Co announced that it has entered into a definitive Agreement and Plan of Merger with Harvest Parent Limited, a Cayman Islands exempted company with limited liability, and Harvest Merger Limited, a Cayman Islands exempted company with limited liability.

  • Pursuant to the Merger Agreement, Parent will acquire the Company for $0.0812 per ordinary share or $4.06 per American Depositary Share, each representing 50 ordinary shares. 
  • This represents a 21.56% premium over the closing price of $3.34 per ADS as quoted by the NASDAQ Global Select Market on May 21, 2013, and a 22.17% premium over the volume-weighted average trading price of the co's ADSs during the 30 trading days prior to, and including, May 21, 2013, the last trading day prior to the Company's announcement on May 22, 2013 that it had received a "going private" proposal.

4:07 am CoreSite Realty signs agreement with China Telecom (CHA) to support U.S. customer expansion (COR) : Co announces a multi-year contract with China Telecom (CHA) to expand the U.S. data center footprint of one of China Telecom's premier customers -- the first such agreement between CoreSite and China Telecom on behalf of this third party. 

With this expansion, China Telecom provides a larger network to its customer for delivering online and mobile marketplace solutions across the U.S. The deployment is located at CoreSite's Coronado data center campus in Santa Clara, Calif. 

3:55 am Nova Measuring beats by $0.02, misses on revs (NVMI) : Reports Q2 (Jun) earnings of $0.22 per share, $0.02 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.20; revenues rose 16.7% year/year to $32.8 mln vs the $33.46 mln consensus.

  • Gross margin for the second quarter of 2014 was 54%, compared with 55% in the second quarter of 2013 and 51% in the first quarter of 2014. 

3:09 am On The Wires (:WIRES) :

  • Boeing (BA) forecasts continued strong growth in demand for commercial aviation pilots and maintenance technicians as the global fleet expands over the next 20 years and projects the world's aviation system will require: 533,000 new commercial airline pilots 584,000 new commercial airline maintenance technicians
  • Kofax (KFX) announced that a leading global engineering firm based in Europe is now using Kofax CaptureTM, Kofax Transformation ModulesTM, Kofax e-TransactionsTM and Kofax Analytics for CaptureTM to automate the capture and processing of invoices and provide advanced analytics to monitor and meet internal key performance indicators
  • Evercore (EVR) announced that it is expanding its investment banking capabilities in London through the formation of a new European dedicated debt advisory business. 
  • Australia's National Broadband Network Company will continue its fixed wireless managed service partnership with Ericsson (ERIC) and has expanded the partnership to include operation of the ground component of the Long Term Satellite Solution and customer service activation. 
  • Infoblox (BLOX) announced that its Infoblox Automation Solutions Architect program has trained and certified more than 900 pre-sales engineers worldwide, less than two and a half years after the program's launch.

2:36 am Westlake Chemical Partners (NYSE: WLKP) prices 11.25 mln unit IPO at $24 per unit, above the $19-21 expected range (:IPOXX) :  

2:15 am AmeriGas Partners misses by $0.08, misses on revs (APU) : Reports Q3 (Jun) loss of $0.47 per share, $0.08 worse than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of ($0.39); revenues rose 5.4% year/year to $613.2 mln vs the $627.65 mln consensus.

  • For the three months ended June 30, 2014, retail propane volumes sold were 215.6 million gallons compared with retail propane volumes of 224.7 million gallons in the prior-year period. Weather for the quarter was 9.3% warmer than normal and 9.7% warmer than in the prior-year period, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 

1:54 am PG&E: U.S. Attorney's Office alters allegations against PCG, filing a new indictment that will replace an indictment filed in April (PCG) : According to a news release issued by United States Attorney Melinda Haag, the superseding indictment alleges that PG&E obstructed the NTSB's investigation that began immediately after the San Bruno explosion. Additionally, the superseding indictment charges PG&E with 27 counts of knowingly and willfully violating the Pipeline Safety Act, allegedly stemming from PG&E's record keeping and pipeline integrity management practices.

  • According to the government's news release, PG&E is charged with one count of obstruction of an agency proceeding in violation of 18 U.S.C. section 1505, and 27 separate counts of violations of the PSA. The maximum statutory penalty for each count is a $500,000 fine or a fine based on the twice the gross gain PG&E made as a result of the violations, or twice the losses suffered by the victims. The superseding indictment alleges that PG&E derived gross gains of $281 million, and victims suffered losses of approximately $565 million.
PG&E issued this reaction: 
"San Bruno was a tragic accident. We've taken accountability and are deeply sorry. We have worked hard to do the right thing for victims, their families and the community, and we will continue to do so. We are absolutely committed to re-earning the trust of all of the people we are fortunate to serve every day.

"We have not yet seen the superseding indictment. However, based on all of the evidence we have seen to date, we do not believe that the charges are warranted and that, even where mistakes were made, employees were acting in good faith to provide customers with safe and reliable energy.  

"We are confident the legal process will ensure all of the facts are fully reviewed. In the meantime, we want all of our customers to know that we will stay focused on transforming this 100-plus-year-old natural gas system into the safest and most reliable in the country."

1:47 am Turquiose Hill Resources announces sale of 29.95% stake in SouthGobi resources (TRQ) : Co announces that it has entered into a share purchase agreement with National United Resources Holdings providing for the sale to the Purchaser of a 29.95% stake in SouthGobi Resources, an integrated coal mining, development and exploration company operating in Mongolia. 

  • Under the terms of the agreement, which was effected in accordance with and in reliance upon the "private agreement" exemption under the Canadian takeover bid regime, Turquoise Hill has agreed to sell 56,102,000 common shares that it owns in the capital of SouthGobi to the Purchaser at a price of CAD0.455 per common share, following which Turquoise Hill would continue to hold 48,705,155 shares of SouthGobi, representing approximately a 26% stake in SouthGobi. 
  • Approximately CAD12.8 million in cash will be received by the Company at closing and deferred consideration of ~CAD12.8 million will be payable one year after the closing of the transaction.

1:41 am Cempressco Partners prices private offering of $350 mln of 7.25% Senior Notes due 2022 (GSJK) :  

1:35 am SunPower announces 29-Megawatt supply agreement with Nangoku Corp (SPWR) : Co announces it has signed a definitive agreement to supply Nangoku Corporation (Nangoku) with 29-MWdc of the high efficiency E20/327 Solar Panel by SunPower Corporation.  Nangoku, an independent power producer will build a mega solar plant in the Hioki, Kagoshima prefecture on the Island of Kyushu.  

1:30 am UGI Corp announces 3-for-2 stock split and increases annual dividend over 10% (UGI) : Co announces has approved a plan to issue three common shares for every two common shares outstanding. The new shares are distributable September 5, 2014 to shareholders of record as of August 22, 2014. 

  • In addition, UGI's board of directors has approved an increase of over 10% in the annual dividend rate on its common stock from $1.18 to approximately $1.30 on a pre-split basis, or from ~$0.79 to $0.87 per share, respectively, after the split. 
  • The new quarterly dividend of approximately $0.3263 per share on a pre-split basis, or $0.2175 per share after the split, is payable October 1, 2014 to shareholders of record on September 15, 2014. 

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