InPlay from Briefing.com

7:04 pm Hortonworks selected by Yahoo! JAPAN to provide data platform (HDP) : Co announced it has expanded its customer base in Asia with the addition of Yahoo! JAPAN. Yahoo! JAPAN will launch a comprehensive data platform based on the Hortonworks Data Platform, building one of the largest Hadoop clusters in Japan. In addition, Yahoo! JAPAN will engage in deep joint engineering with Hortonworks, ultimately contributing back to the Apache Software Foundation community to strengthen Hadoop's performance and functionality. Based on this partnership, Yahoo! JAPAN expects to fortify its various web services.

6:59 pm Callidus Software prices follow-on offering of 4.6 mln shares at $13 per share (CALD) : Co announced the pricing of its underwritten registered public offering of 4,600,000 shares of its common stock at a price to the public of $13.00 per share. CallidusCloud intends to use the net proceeds from the offering for working capital and other general corporate purposes. Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC is acting as Sole Bookrunner for the offering.

6:47 pm Laredo Petroleum prices $350 mln offering of 6.25% senior notes due 2023 (LPI) : Co announced the pricing of $350 million in aggregate principal amount of 6 1/4% senior notes due 2023. The Company intends to use the net proceeds of the offering, if completed, together with a portion of the net proceeds from its previously announced common stock offering expected to close on or about March 5, 2015, to redeem all of its 9 1/2% senior notes due 2019. BofA Merrill Lynch, BMO Capital Markets, Goldman, Sachs & Co., Wells Fargo Securities and Societe Generale have acted as joint book-running managers for the offering.

6:45 pm Zayo Group Holdings prices $730 mln of 6.00% senior notes due 2023 (ZAYO) : Co announced today that it has priced its previously announced offering of $730 million aggregate principal amount of its 6.00% Senior Notes due 2023, through an add-on to its existing issue in a private offering. Zayo intends to use the net proceeds from the offering to redeem its $675 million 8.125% Senior Secured Notes due 2020, including the required make whole premium and accrued interest.

6:42 pm Comstock prices $700 mln of 10% secured notes due 2020 (CRK) : Co announced today that it has priced $700 million in aggregate principal amount of its 10% senior secured notes due 2020 to be sold to purchasers in a private offering. Comstock intends to use the net proceeds of the proposed offering to retire its existing bank credit facility, with remaining proceeds for general corporate purposes. In connection with the pricing of the notes, the Company has entered into a new $50 million bank revolving credit facility. 

6:35 pm Merck and Eisai (ESALY) enter collaboration to explore novel combination regimens of Anti-PD-1 therapy with multi-targeting RTK inhibitor and microtubule dynamics inhibitor in multiple types of cancer (MRK) : Co announced a clinical trial collaboration to evaluate the safety, tolerability and efficacy of Merck's anti-PD-1 therapy, pembrolizumab (marketed in the U.S. under the brand name KEYTRUDA), in combination with Eisai oncology compounds lenvatinib mesylate (a multi-targeting RTK inhibitor marketed in the U.S. under the brand name LENVIMA, "lenvatinib") and eribulin mesylate (a microtubule dynamics inhibitor marketed in nearly 60 countries including Japan, the U.S., and Europe under the brand name HALAVEN, "eribulin") in multiple clinical trials. 

  • The planned studies include a multicenter, open-label Phase 1b/2 study of lenvatinib plus pembrolizumab in select solid tumors and an open-label, single-arm, multicenter Phase 1b/2 study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of eribulin in combination with pembrolizumab in metastatic triple-negative breast cancer. Eisai and Merck will establish a Joint Development Committee to oversee clinical development activities. The studies are expected to begin in the second half of 2015. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

6:13 pm Ensco prices $1.1 bln offering of senior notes (ESV) : Co announced that it has priced an underwritten offering of $1.1 billion principal amount of senior unsecured notes consisting of two series:

  • $700 million principal amount of 5.20% senior unsecured notes due 2025 priced at 99.622% of par; and 
  • $400 million principal amount of additional 5.75% senior unsecured notes due 2044 priced at 95.335% of par.
Ensco intends to use a portion of the net proceeds from the notes offering to fund the purchase price and accrued interest payable with respect to the 2016 notes and to fund the redemption of any 2016 notes outstanding after completion of the tender offer. Ensco also intends to use the remaining net proceeds to redeem all of its outstanding government guaranteed MARAD obligations with approximately $65.3 million aggregate principal amount maturing through 2020 and for general corporate purposes. Citigroup Global Markets Inc., Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. and HSBC Securities (USA) Inc. are acting as joint book-running managers in connection with the offering.

6:11 pm W&T Offshore misses by $0.12, misses on revs; Board suspends regular quarterly dividend (WTI) : Reports Q4 (Dec) loss of $0.53 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.12 worse than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of ($0.41); revenues fell 19.7% year/year to $196.68 mln vs the $200.07 mln consensus.

  • Production for the fourth quarter of 2014 averaged approximately 50,000 Boe per day (4.6 million Boe in total for the quarter), 52% of which was oil and liquids.
  • Proved reserves as of December 31, 2014 increased to 120.0 MMBoe, or 720.0 Bcfe, with 65% comprised of liquids (52% crude oil and 13% NGLs) and 35% natural gas.
  • In light of current market conditions, the Board of Directors has elected to suspend the regular quarterly dividend. 
Guidance:
  • The 2015 capital expenditure budget is set at approximately $200 million, with approximately $169 million allocated to the deepwater Gulf of Mexico and the remainder dedicated to the Gulf of Mexico shelf and our Permian Basin operations. The substantial majority of the budget is for the completion or development of previous discoveries. 
  • Co sees Q1 total production of 4.2-4.7 MMBoe, FY15 total production of 16.6-18.4 MMBoe

6:07 pm Eclipse Resources misses by $0.03, misses on revs (ECR) : Reports Q4 (Dec) loss of $0.13 per share, $0.03 worse than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of ($0.10); revenues rose 565.4% year/year to $50.37 mln vs the $53.55 mln consensus.

  • Fourth quarter 2014 adjusted net production increased to 130.7 MMcfe per day, representing a 52% increase in production as compared to the third quarter of 2014
  • Fourth quarter 2014 average daily net liquids production was 5,480 barrels per day, or 27% of total net production, and represented an increase of 78% compared to the third quarter of 2014
  • Proved reserves at the end of 2014, increased by 353% to approximately 355.8 Bcfe (28% liquids) with a pre-tax PV-10 of $509.4 million
  • "The Company has aggressively undertaken a process to reduce all service company related expenses on its drilling and completion activities, and has made significant progress on this effort. These cost cutting measures, along with the Company's significant efficiency gains over the year, have reduced the Company's expected well costs by 15-20% from its previously issued type curve expectations. While significant pricing reductions are being achieved currently, there appears to be potential for further cost reductions. Additionally, the Company is currently in negotiations with certain financial partners regarding a potential joint venture to accelerate drilling on its assets without burdening the Company's balance sheet."

6:01 pm Stratasys subsidiary MakerBot partners with Alloys in Australia to expand distribution of MarkerBot 3D printers and scanners (SSYS) :  

5:56 pm Mead Johnson Nutrition announces CFO Peter G. Leemputte will step down; Charles Urbain to serve as interim CFO (MJN) : Co announced that Peter G. Leemputte, its Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, has decided to leave the company for personal reasons. Effective March 13, 2015, he will transition his responsibilities to Charles Urbain. Mr. Urbain, currently Mead Johnson's Chief Development Officer, will serve as Interim CFO until a permanent replacement is named. Mr. Leemputte will be available to assist in the transition through June 30, 2015.

5:55 pm PetroQuest Energy beats by $0.03, misses on revs (PQ) : Reports Q4 (Dec) GAAP earnings of $0.03 per share, $0.03 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.00; revenues fell 9.7% year/year to $47.99 mln vs the $52.61 mln consensus.

  • Co reports Q4 daily production of 122.3 MMcfe vs 111.1 MMcfe in the prior year; average sales price of $4.27 per Mcfe vs $5.20 per Mcfe in prior year
Co sees Q1 production volumes (MMcfe/d) of 113-117

5:46 pm Actavis confirms district court ruling in Atelvia patent litigation; plans to consider an appeal (ACT) : Co confirmed that the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey has found that United States Patent Nos. 7,645,459 and 7,645,460 protecting Atelvia (risedronate sodium delayed-release tablets, 35 mg) in the U.S., are invalid.

  • "We are disappointed in today's ruling and strongly disagree with the Court's decision," said Brent Saunders, CEO and President of Actavis. "We are reviewing the decision and will evaluate all available options to defend our intellectual property rights on Atelvia, including an appeal."
  • Atelvia is a prescription medicine indicated for the treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis.

5:44 pm Handy & Harman extends tender offer for shares of JPS Industries (JPST) until March 23, 2015 due to continuing discussions with the company (HNH) :  

5:37 pm Lumos Networks reports EPS in-line, beats on revs; guides FY15 revs slightly above consensus; Board approves suspension of dividend in favor of FTTC and network expansion opportunities (LMOS) : Reports Q4 (Dec) earnings of $0.15 per share, in-line with the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.15; revenues fell 0.6% year/year to $50.69 mln vs the $49.51 mln consensus.

  • Lumos Networks achieved total data sales bookings of over $2.5 million in monthly recurring revenue in 2014, up over 30% versus 2013. The vast majority of 2014 sales involved advanced data products like carrier Ethernet, MPLS and wavelengths. FTTC and Carrier End User sales grew over 100% in 2014. Lumos sold 735 FTTC connections in 2014 versus guidance of 500-700.
  • On March 4, 2015, the Board of Directors of Lumos Networks suspended the quarterly dividend, with an annual cash impact of $12 to $13 million, in favor of FTTC and network expansion opportunities.
Co issues upside guidance for FY15, sees FY15 revs of ~$202 mln vs. $200.97 mln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate. Co sees FY15 adjusted EBITDA of ~$92 mln and CapEx of ~$112 mln.

5:17 pm Lifemark announces acquisition of 81 tenant sites located in 21 states from its sponsor, Landmark Dividend LLC, for total consideration of $25.2 mln; reiterates guidance (LMRK) : Co announced that it has acquired 81 tenant sites located in 21 states from its sponsor, Landmark Dividend LLC, for total consideration of $25.2 million. The acquisition is expected to be immediately accretive to the Partnership's distributable cash flow, and the Partnership's management expects to recommend that the Board increase the Partnership's second quarter 2015 cash distribution by 3.5% to $0.2975 per unit, which will be paid in August 2015.

Co has reiterated its guidance. Including this asset drop-down of approximately $1.5 million in annual rents, Landmark intends to offer the Partnership the right to purchase assets with $15.0 to $18.0 million in annual rents over the next 12 months (from February 26, 2015). These drop-downs, combined with organic portfolio growth expected from contractual rent escalators, leasing activity and revenue sharing arrangements, are expected to drive distribution growth of 10% to 15% over the minimum quarterly distribution ("MQD") of $0.2875 per unit ($1.15 per unit on an annualized basis) by the end of 2015.

5:16 pm Alliant Energy has filed a prospectus supplement under which it may offer and sell shares of its common stock having an aggregate gross sales price of up to $150 mln through an at-the-market offering program (LNT) : The Company intends to use the proceeds from any offering for general corporate purposes, which may include repayment or refinancing of debt, working capital, construction and acquisition expenditures, investments and repurchases and redemptions of securities

5:14 pm Grupo Aeroportuario reports that terminal passenger traffic at its 13 airports increased 17.0% in February 2015, as compared to February 2014 (OMAB) : Domestic traffic increased 17.1%, and international traffic increased 16.6%.

  • Of total February traffic, 97.6% was commercial aviation and 2.4% was general aviation. 
  • The number of flight operations (takeoffs and landings) in February increased 8.1% as compared to the same month of 2014. The number of domestic operations increased 7.1%, and international operations increased 14.5%.

5:09 pm Communications Systems announces that its Board has appointed Roger H.D. Lacey as CEO, effective immediately (JCS) : Mr. Lacey was appointed Interim Chief Executive Officer in June 2014 and has served as the Company's Vice Chair since September 2013, a post he will continue to hold.

5:01 pm Korn/Ferry declares a quarterly cash dividend of $0.10/share; first dividend declared under the Company's recently adopted quarterly dividend policy (KFY) :  

5:01 pm Olin is lifting the force majeure declared on February 10, 2015 for chlorine and chemically pure salt from its McIntosh, Alabama facility (OLN) : Normal production of chlorine and chemically pure salt from that plant has now resumed. Olin remains on order control for chlorine due to supply tightness in its overall system.

4:55 pm Generac announces its newest product line of clean water and semi-trash pumps (GNRC) :  

4:45 pm TD Ameritrade announces the pricing of an underwritten public offering of $750 mln of the Co's senior notes due 2022 (AMTD) : Co intends to use the net proceeds from the sale of the notes for general corporate purposes including liquidity for operational contingencies.

4:44 pm Sprouts Farmers Market announces the launch of a public offering of 15,847,800 shares of its common stock held by affiliates of Apollo Global Management (APO) (SFM) : The Company will not issue shares in the offering and will not receive any proceeds from the sale of the shares by Apollo in this offering.

4:44 pm WellCare Group company Missouri Care Health Plan awarded contract to continue serving MO HealthNet Managed Care (WCG) : The new contract begins July 1, 2015 and is for one year with two renewal options.

4:37 pm Darling Ingredients beats by $0.21, beats on revs (DAR) : Reports Q4 (Dec) earnings of $0.42 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.21 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.21; revenues rose 123.3% year/year to $1 bln vs the $0.96 bln consensus.

4:35 pm FCB Financial announces early termination of all FDIC loss share agreements; made a payment of $14.8 mln (FCB) : "We anticipate, as a result of this early termination of the FDIC loss share agreements, that we will realize an immediate improvement to earnings in future periods. In 2014, non-cash Loss Share Indemnification Asset amortization expense totaled $26.7 million and the total impact from loss sharing agreement activity was an expense of $21.4 million. The Bank will no longer recognize amortization expense associated with the Loss Share Indemnification Asset and accretion associated with the FDIC Clawback Payable. As a result of the termination of the loss share agreements, we will eliminate future projected Loss Share Indemnification Asset amortization expense of approximately $24.0 million in 2015, $14.0 million in 2016 and $17.0 million thereafter, resulting in an overall incremental benefit of $0.36 to $0.42 in 2015 core earnings per share. "

4:34 pm Abraxas Petroleum beats by $0.01, misses on revs (AXAS) : Reports Q4 (Dec) earnings of $0.06 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.01 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.05; revenues rose 40.5% year/year to $31.19 mln vs the $33.48 mln consensus.

  • Production of 624 MBoe (6,785 Boepd); 626 MBoe (6,808 Boepd) inclusive of discontinued Canadian operations
  • "After a tremendous 2014 for Abraxas, we now enter a very tumultuous 2015 from a commodity price perspective. We remain focused on preserving our abundant liquidity and strong balance sheet, which we endeavor to use to our advantage in a distressed environment. We are also blessed with an attractive asset base that presents numerous opportunities to expand our capital program should commodity prices and service costs dictate. Although we significantly reduced LOE costs on a $/Boe basis in 2014, we look to continue that trend in 2015 by optimizing our operations in the current downturn."

4:33 pm Spok beats by $0.10, misses on revs; guides FY15 revs in-line (SPOK) : Reports Q4 (Dec) earnings of $0.31 per share, $0.10 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.21; revenues fell 6.2% year/year to $51.3 mln vs the $52.49 mln consensus.

  • Co issues in-line guidance for FY15, sees FY15 revs of $183-201 mln vs. $197.69 mln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate. 
  • 2015 operating expenses (excluding depreciation, amortization and accretion) are expected to range from $145-154 mln, and capital expenses to range from $5.5-7.5 mln.

4:33 pm Semtech beats by $0.01, reports revs in-line; guides Q1 below consensus (SMTC) :

  • Reports Q4 (Jan) earnings of $0.34 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.01 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.33; revenues rose 3.1% year/year to $130.4 mln vs the $130.09 mln consensus. 
  • Co issues downside guidance for Q1, sees EPS of $0.27-0.30, excluding non-recurring items, vs. $0.37 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate; sees Q1 revs of $130-136 mln vs. $136.36 mln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate.

4:32 pm Vanda Pharma announces Tradipitant Phase II proof of concept study results for Chronic Pruritus in Atopic Dermatitis; No significant effect differences seen between treatment groups due to high placebo effect (VNDA) : The co announced that despite a highly significant and clinically meaningful improvement from baseline by tradipitant (40.5mm improvement from baseline, p

  • However, subsequent analysis of population PK samples across all patients in the study revealed significant and clinically meaningful responses across multiple outcomes evaluated in individuals with higher levels of tradipitant exposure at the time of their pruritus assessments.
  • Due to high placebo effect, there was no significant difference from placebo on this pre-specified endpoint, however, Vanda believes this proof of concept study was informative, in that through subsequent analyses, it has discovered an exposure response relationship and further observed a significant and clinically meaningful response across several pruritus related outcomes evaluated in individuals with higher blood plasma levels of tradipitant.  
  • The co notes that this is not unexpected given that all the assessments related to pruritus are significantly associated with the itch sensation the patient is experiencing at that time. Based on the data Vanda examined across the study, lower blood plasma levels of tradipitant may be below a threshold of efficacy to ameliorate the itch sensation in patients 
  • In conclusion, while the study failed to show an overall effect of the predefined dose of tradipitant for this study, primarily due to the large placebo effect, the study demonstrated a PK-response relationship as well as significant benefits in the group of patients that were evaluated at the time of higher blood concentrations of tradipitant.  However, given the exploratory nature of these analyses in this proof of concept study, additional studies may be required to further confirm these findings.  In this study tradipitant 100 mg was well-tolerated and the adverse event profile was mild and similar to placebo.

4:31 pm Douglas Dynamics declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.2225/share from $0.2175/share, representing a 2.30% increase Q/Q (PLOW) :  

4:31 pm Huntsman announces its plan to restructure its Color Pigments business; initial changes to Color Pigments business to contribute $20 mln in synergies (HUN) : The restructuring of Color Pigments includes an expected headcount reduction of 120 positions and will deliver $20 million by mid-2016 toward the total synergies expected of the global Pigments and Additives restructuring plan announced in December 2014. 

  • The initial phase of restructuring will include site closures, cost reduction initiatives and a move to centralized shared services, in addition to investment in customer focused R&D to secure future growth.

4:31 pm Amerisafe announces G. Janelle Frost, the Co's President and COO, has been appointed to CEO of the Company effective April 1, 2015 (AMSF) :  

4:26 pm Semtech has completed the acquisition of Triune Systems for ~$45 mln; deal expected to be slightly accretive for FY2016 (SMTC) : Triune Systems is a privately-held supplier of wireless charging and power management platforms targeted at high and low power, high efficiency applications.

  • Under the terms of the purchase agreement, Semtech acquired all of the outstanding equity interests of Triune Systems for an aggregate purchase price of $45 million consisting of $35 million cash paid at closing, with an additional cash consideration of $10 million to be paid in six months and additional contingent consideration subject to achieving certain future financial goals. 
  • In conjunction with the transaction, Semtech expects to fund the aggregate purchase price using its revolving line of credit. 
  • The co expects the deal to be slightly accretive for its fiscal year 2016.

4:24 pm Neustar releases statement on the LNPA Vendor Selection (NSR) : Co stated:

  • "The LNPA vendor selection process has been botched procedurally. Awarding the contract to manage an essential U.S. telecommunications infrastructure to a foreign manufacturing and telecommunications concern that is not neutral and has substantial commercial arrangements with certain telecommunications carriers would compound the significant errors made in a process that has violated the Federal Advisory Committee Act and the Administrative Procedures Act. Neustar will continue to raise important questions about this process, and will review all of its options."

4:24 pm Commscope announces sale of 20 mln shares of common stock an affiliate of the Carlyle Group (CG) (COMM) : Co announced today the sale of 20 million shares of its common stock on an underwritten basis by an affiliate of The Carlyle Group. CommScope will not receive any of the proceeds from the offering of shares by Carlyle. Goldman, Sachs & Co. is acting as the sole underwriter for the offering. Following the offering, Carlyle will continue to beneficially own 81,216,970 shares, or approximately 43%, of CommScope's outstanding common stock.

4:22 pm OM Group: FrontFour Capital Group files presentation explaining its belief that urgent change is needed to OM Group's Board of Directors; outlines plan to create value for all shareholders (OMG) : FrontFour's presentation is available on the SEC's website and can be viewed by clicking the following link.

4:22 pm Greif misses by $0.08, misses on revs; reaffirms FY15 EPS in-line (GEF) : Reports Q1 (Jan) earnings of $0.30 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.08 worse than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.38; revenues fell 9.9% year/year to $902.3 mln vs the $945.83 mln consensus.

  • Co reaffirms guidance for FY15, sees EPS of $2.25-2.35, excluding non-recurring items, vs. $2.35 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate.
  • The co continues to anticipate the overall global economy to reflect a modest recovery in FY15, with positive aspects of the improving economy in the United States being offset by the negative trends in other regions, particularly in Europe and Latin America.
  • Co anticipates that foreign currency matters will continue to present challenges for the co, as the strengthening of the United States dollar against other currencies will continue to impact the co's revenues and net income. In addition, an expected approximately two-week shutdown of the company's Riverville mill during Q3 for the installation of upgrades will negatively impact its 2015 net income.
  • Co is continuing to execute restructuring plans and facility closures and pursuing the sale of select non-core assets as part of its overall strategic transformation, which are expected to result in significant impairment and restructuring charges in the remainder of 2015. SG&A cost savings actions are being implemented throughout 2015 and beyond

4:20 pm General Dynamics increases quarterly dividend 11.3% to $0.69/share from $0.62/share (GD) :  

4:19 pm GSI Group beats by $0.05, misses on revs; guides Q1 & FY15 revs below consensus (GSIG) : Reports Q4 (Dec) earnings of $0.24 per share, $0.05 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.19; revenues rose 14.4% year/year to $94.01 mln vs the $95.02 mln consensus.

  • Co issues downside guidance for Q1, sees Q1 revs of $88-90 mln vs. $92.53 mln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate; sees adj EBITDA of approx $10.5-11.5 mln
  • Co issues downside guidance for FY15, sees FY15 revs of $380 mln vs. $392.64 mln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate; sees adj EBITDA of approx $60 ml
"We achieved solid results despite the impact of significant foreign exchange headwinds that emerged in Q4. In the quarter, we achieved higher than expected profitability with $15.3 million of Adjusted EBITDA, as our productivity initiatives enabled us to expand gross margins and offset the currency impact on our U.S. dollar heavy cost structure. Our Q4 revenue growth of 14%, with organic growth of 1%, was in line with our expectations."

4:19 pm EnCana announces agreement with underwriters syndicate, for bought deal purchase of ~85.62 mln common shares of its common stock for C$14.60/share; ~C$1.25 billion in gross proceeds expected (ECA) : Encana intends to use the net proceeds from the Offering, along with cash on hand and, if required, other sources of funds including under its credit facilities, to redeem all of its US$700 million aggregate principal amount of 5.90% Notes due 2017 and all of its C$750 million aggregate principal amount of 5.80% Medium Term Notes (Series 4) due 2018, pursuant to the terms of their respective indentures.

4:18 pm Heritage Insurance beats by $0.23, Net premiums earned increased 157% to $81.6 mln (HRTG) : Reports Q4 (Dec) earnings of $0.66 per share, $0.23 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.43. Net premiums earned increased 157% to $81.6 mln.

  • 116% increase in gross premiums written for Q4 2014 as compared with Q4 2013.
  • 64% increase in policy count compared to end of Q4 2013.
  • NOI increased 1,220% increase compared to Q4 of 2013. 

4:18 pm Alon USA Partners beats by $0.09, reports revs in-line (ALDW) : Reports Q4 (Dec) earnings of $0.67 per share, $0.09 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.58; revenues fell 8.9% year/year to $800.2 mln vs the $800.18 mln consensus. 

  • "The Big Spring refinery ran well during the quarter, achieving record quarterly total throughput of 77,000 barrels per day and liquid recovery of approximately 101%. The fourth quarter throughput surpassed the previous record throughput set in the third quarter as we continue to benefit from investments made during the turnaround completed earlier in the year."
  • "We expect total throughput at the Big Spring refinery to average ~71,000 barrels per day for the first quarter of 2015 and 72,000 barrels per day for FY15"

4:17 pm Cross Country Healthcare misses by $0.01, misses on revs; guides Q1 revs in-line (CCRN) : Reports Q4 (Dec) earnings of $0.03 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.01 worse than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.04; revenues rose 72.3% year/year to $188.1 mln vs the $190.9 mln consensus. Co issues in-line guidance for Q1, sees Q1 revs of $185-190 mln vs. $185.8 mln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate.

4:16 pm Mercury announces receipt for $3.1 million order for radar subsystems (MRCY) : The $3.1 million in follow-on orders was from a leading defense prime contractor for radar subsystems, specifically for a missile defense application. The orders were booked in the Company's fiscal 2015 third quarter and are expected to be shipped over the next several quarters.

4:15 pm Horace Mann increases quarterly dividend 9% to $0.25/share (HMN) :  

4:13 pm Jones Energy beats by $0.07, misses on revs (JONE) : Reports Q4 (Dec) earnings of $0.20 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.07 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.13; revenues rose 7.5% year/year to $75.6 mln vs the $86.3 mln consensus.

  • "2015 is off to a great start for Jones Energy. We are well-hedged, well-capitalized, and well-positioned with an operating plan that maximizes returns for our invested capital and provides us with the opportunity to grow the company via multiple avenues."
  • "We have resolved our production issues that negatively impacted our fourth quarter production and as a result, have seen production increase by roughly 3,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in January 2015. In addition, we are continuing to see drilling and completion costs come down in our core Cleveland play and are prepared to ramp activity from three rigs to five rigs assuming we achieve additional targeted cost savings by mid-year."

4:13 pm Sequenom beats by $0.20, reports revs in-line (SQNM) : Reports Q4 (Dec) earnings of $0.14 per share, $0.20 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of ($0.06); revenues rose 12.5% year/year to $36.8 mln vs the $37.06 mln consensus. 

  • Cash burn for the fourth quarter of 2014 was $7.5 million, compared to $12.7 million in the same period of 2013.
  • Cash receipts and payments related to the Illumina patent pool agreement and purchase of the patent from Isis Innovation are not included in cash burn.
  • Unrecorded accounts receivable for tests performed are estimated to be $31 to $34 million as of December 31, 2014. This range has declined from the prior quarter due to collections in the fourth quarter and additional amounts recorded as accounts receivable using accrual accounting.
  • As of December 31, 2014, total cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities were $93.9 million. This includes the $44.0 million in cash received from Illumina during the fourth quarter.

4:12 pm Polypore Intl misses by $0.06, misses on revs (PPO) :

  • Reports Q4 (Dec) earnings of $0.39 per share, $0.06 worse than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.45; revenues fell 2.5% year/year to $165.2 mln vs the $175.89 mln consensus. 
  • Note that on Feb 23 the co announced it will be acquired by Asahi Kasei.

4:11 pm Closing Market Summary: Stocks Register Second Consecutive Decline (:WRAPX) : The stock market registered its second consecutive retreat on Wednesday with the S&P 500 losing 0.4%. The benchmark index managed to cut its loss in half by the closing bell while the Nasdaq Composite (-0.3%) outperformed. The tech-heavy Nasdaq remains higher by 0.1% week-to-date while the S&P 500 is down 0.3% since the end of last week. 

For the second day in a row, the market opened amid broad pressure, but heavily-weighted health care and technology sectors hit their lows during the opening hour and climbed off those lows into the afternoon. The health care sector (+0.4%) registered a modest gain while technology (-0.3%) finished ahead of most other cyclical sectors.

Biotechnology contributed to the outperformance of the health care sector with the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB 340.09, +2.17) climbing 0.6%. In addition, the high-beta group helped the Nasdaq stay ahead of the broader market while chipmakers also displayed relative strength with the PHLX Semiconductor Index shedding 0.1%. Meanwhile, large cap components of the tech sector ended on a mixed note. Apple (AAPL 128.54, -0.82) lost 0.6% while Facebook (FB 80.90, +1.30) added 1.6%.

Elsewhere among cyclical sectors, energy (-0.2%) settled among the outperformers despite a late-morning slide to lows after the EIA storage report showed that crude inventories increased by 10.3 million barrels from the prior week. Like the sector, crude oil fell to lows on the news, but came back roaring to end the pit session higher by 1.9% at $51.50/bbl.

Also of note, the consumer discretionary sector (-0.6%) lagged throughout the session with Lumber Liquidators (LL 35.64, -5.14) tumbling 12.6% after the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation took interest in the company following reports it imported laminate flooring containing significant amounts of formaldehyde.

Over on the countercyclical side, the health care sector represented the lone outperformer while consumer staples (-0.8%), telecom services (-1.2%), and utilities (-0.6%) lagged throughout the trading day.

Treasuries notched their highs in the morning, but surrendered those gains in the early going, and spent the afternoon near the unchanged level. The 10-yr note ended flat with its yield at 2.12%.

Today's participation was in-line with recent trends as roughly 705 million shares changed hands at the NYSE floor.

Economic data included ADP Employment, ISM Services, and MBA Mortgage Index:

  • The ADP National Employment Report revealed that employment in the nonfarm private business sector rose by 212K in February while the Briefing.com consensus expected an increase of 220K 
    • The January reading was revised up to 250,000 from 213,000 
  • The ISM Non-Manufacturing Index increased to 56.9 in February from 56.7 while the Briefing.com consensus expected a drop to 56.5 
    • The improvement in the headline index comes despite weakness in production and orders. The Business Activities/Production Index fell to 59.4 from 61.5 while the New Orders Index declined to 56.7 from 59.5 
  • The weekly MBA Mortgage Index ticked up 0.1% to follow last week's 3.5% decline 
Tomorrow, the Challenger Job Cuts report for February will be released at 7:30 ET while weekly Initial Claims (Briefing.com consensus 295K) and Q4 Productivity (consensus -2.3%)/Unit Labor Costs data (consensus 2.9%) will be released at 8:30 ET. The day's data will be topped off with the 10:00 ET release of the January Factory Orders report (consensus 0.6%).
  • Nasdaq Composite +4.9% YTD 
  • Russell 2000 +2.3% YTD 
  • S&P 500 +1.9% YTD 
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average +1.5% YTD

4:10 pm Semtech announces it has successfully gone live with the implementation of its SAP Enterprise Resource Planning system (SMTC) :  

4:10 pm Hercules Tech announces $50 million share repurchase program (HTGC) :  

4:10 pm RCM Tech reports Q4 EPS $0.14 vs. ($0.13) last year; rev +8% to $49.3 mln (no estimates); sees FY15 operating income and FCF improvement (RCMT) :  

4:09 pm Biolase misses by $0.02, misses on revs (BIOL) : Reports Q4 (Dec) loss of $0.06 per share, $0.02 worse than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of ($0.04); revenues fell 13.1% year/year to $13.24 mln vs the $15.43 mln consensus.

4:08 pm Vivint Solar beats by $0.16, beats on revs; guides Q1 revs below consensus (VSLR) : Reports Q4 (Dec) loss of $0.36 per share, $0.16 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of ($0.52); revenues rose 248.2% year/year to $6.86 mln vs the $6.01 mln consensus.

  • Co issues downside guidance for Q1, sees Q1 revs of $8.0-8.5 mln vs. $9.08 mln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate. 
  • Sees Q1 MW Installed: 40 to 42 MWs 
  • Sees FY15 MW Installed: 290 - 310 MWs

4:07 pm Pacific Ethanol beats by $0.23, reports revs in-line (PEIX) : Reports Q4 (Dec) adjusted earnings of $0.41 per share, $0.23 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.18; revenues rose 19.0% year/year to $256.2 mln vs the $258.12 mln consensus.

  • Gross profit was $18.4 million for the fourth quarter of 2014, compared to $21.6 million for the fourth quarter of 2013. The decline in gross profit was due to particularly strong production margins in the fourth quarter of 2013.

  • Operating income for the fourth quarter of 2014 was $13.6 million, compared to $17.2 million for the same period in 2013.

4:07 pm H & R Block beats by $0.02, misses on revs (HRB) : Reports Q3 (Jan) loss of $0.13 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.02 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of ($0.15); revenues rose 154.5% year/year to $509 mln vs the $526.6 mln consensus. Increase in revenue due to earlier open of IRS e-file system.

4:06 pm Roundy's beats by $0.04, beats on revs; reaffirms Q1 and FY15 guidance from mid-January (RNDY) : Reports Q4 (Dec) earnings of $0.07 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.04 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.03; revenues rose 26.1% year/year to $1.08 bln vs the $1.06 bln consensus.

  • Same-store sales from continuing operations declined 2.3%, which was due to a 3.7% decrease in the number of customer transactions, partially offset by a 1.4% increase in average transaction size. Same-store sales continue to be negatively impacted by competitive store openings in our Wisconsin markets. 
Co reaffirms guidance for Q1, sees EPS of ($0.05)-0.00, excluding non-recurring items, vs. ($0.03) Capital IQ Consensus; sees Q1 revs of $980-990 mln vs. $983.34 mln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate.

Co reaffirms guidance for FY15, sees EPS of ($0.18)-(0.07), excluding non-recurring items, vs. ($0.11) Capital IQ Consensus; sees FY15 revs of $4.00-4.08 bln vs. $4.03 bln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate.

4:06 pm Tyco increases quarterly dividend 14% to $0.205/share from $0.18/share (TYC) :  

4:05 pm Third Point Reinsurance announces appointment of Lead Independent Director, Steven Fass (TPRE) :  

4:05 pm Consolidated-Tomoka Land intends to offer $75 mln aggregate principal amount of Convertible Senior Notes due 2020 through a private placement (CTO) : The Company expects to use the net proceeds from the sale of the notes to repay borrowings under its credit facility, to fund future investments in income-producing assets and for general corporate purposes, which may include the repurchase of Company common stock under the Company's share repurchase program.

4:05 pm Alder BioPharmaceuticals misses by $0.06, beats on revs (ALDR) :

  • Reports Q4 (Dec) loss of $0.22 per share, $0.06 worse than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of ($0.16); revenues rose 33.3% year/year to $6.4 mln vs the $4.25 mln consensus. 
  • As of December 31, 2014, co had $55.9 million in cash and cash equivalents and short-term investments.
  • "2014 was a very exciting year for Alder as we became a public company in May and advanced our lead clinical candidate, ALD403, into a Phase 2b trial for the preventative treatment of chronic migraine. After completing a follow-on financing in January this year, we are in a position to expedite development of ALD403 and to advance earlier programs in our pipeline. We plan to initiate a second Phase 2b trial for ALD403 for the treatment of frequent episodic migraine sufferers in the first half of the year and to report primary endpoint data from our ongoing Phase 2b trial in chronic migraine sufferers in the second half of the year. In addition, following the announcement of positive Phase 2b data for Clazakizumab in patients with active psoriatic arthritis last year, we are actively seeking a partner to continue the development of this promising treatment for patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. Lastly, we announced the advancement of a new clinical candidate, ALD1613, into IND-enabling studies, and we plan to initiate a Phase 1 trial in Cushing's disease in 2016."

4:04 pm Craft Brew Alliance beats by $0.03, beats on revs (BREW) : Reports Q4 (Dec) earnings of $0.04 per share, $0.03 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.01; revenues rose 7.8% year/year to $50.99 mln vs the $46.81 mln consensus. 

2015 Outlook

  • Owned beer shipment growth between 6% and 8%. [Note: The Company is adjusting its guidance in response to analyst feedback and to align with industry practices. It will not provide annual depletion guidance in financial press releases but will share actuals on analyst calls and in 10-K and 10-Q filings.] 
  • Average price increase of 1% to 2%. 
  • A growth of 10% to a decline of 10% in contract brewing revenue.
  • Gross margin rate of 30.5% to 31.5%; Continue to expect gross margin expansion to 35% in 2017. 
  • Capital expenditures of approximately $17 million to $21 million.

4:04 pm Navigator Holdings announces conference call for Q4 earnings has been rescheduled to 10 a.m. ET on March 18 and not 9 a.m. ET as previously indicated (NVGS) :  

4:04 pm PowerSecure beats by $0.03, beats on revs (POWR) : Reports Q4 (Dec) earnings of $0.03 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.03 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of ($0.00); revenues rose 11.1% year/year to $81.75 mln vs the $70.83 mln consensus.

  • "We are pleased that our execution through the second half of 2014 has translated into a record backlog and strong fourth quarter results, driven by significant improvements in the profitability of our utility infrastructure business, record LED margins and contributions from our mission critical acquisition."
  • "We believe these results, combined with our record backlog, robust pipeline and strong operational focus, position PowerSecure for meaningful top and bottom line growth in 2015."

4:03 pm PDL BioPharma announces conversion rate adjustment for convertible note; 3.75% convertible senior notes due May 1, 2015 adj to 174.8506 shares from 171.1768 shares (PDLI) :  

4:03 pm Vaalco Energy announces that on March 2, 2015, it spudded the post-salt Kindele-1 well, its first exploration well on Block 5 offshore Angola (EGY) : The Kindele-1 well will test a fault block adjacent to the Mubafo discovery which tested oil from the Mucanzo sand section within the Pinda group formations. The Kindele-1 will be drilled to a depth of 1,800 meters to evaluate the Mucanzo sand section. The well will then be deepened to the salt to an estimated depth of 2,250 meters for geologic and geophysical correlation. The well is expected to take approximately six weeks to drill to total depth.

  •  Additionally, the Company is nearing finalization of the seismic processing in the outboard portion of Block 5. The seismic processing is being performed to image pre-salt structures as potential targets for future exploration wells on Block 5.

4:02 pm Interdigital Comm intends to offer $275 mln aggregate principal amount of Senior Convertible Notes due 2020 in a private offering (IDCC) : The co expects to use a portion of the net proceeds from the offering of the notes and the proceeds from the sale of the warrants to fund the cost of the convertible note hedge transactions.

4:02 pm Air Methods and Bell Helicopter reach agreement for 200 Bell 407GXP Helicopters; financial details not disclosed (AIRM) : The order marks one of the largest commercial sales in Bell Helicopter's history and one of the largest orders in the industry's history. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in 2016 with a 10 year contract term, which is subject to an early termination right by Air Methods.

4:01 pm Apollo Commercial Real Estate announces public offering of 10 mln shares of common stock (ARI) : Co announced it has commenced an underwritten public offering of 10,000,000 shares of common stock.

  • ARI intends to use the net proceeds from the offering to repay amounts outstanding under the Company's repurchase facility with JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. and the balance, if any, to acquire the Company's target assets, which include commercial first mortgage loans, subordinate financings, commercial mortgage-backed securities and other commercial real estate-related debt investments, and for general corporate purposes. 
  • BofA Merrill Lynch, J.P. Morgan and Citigroup are the joint book-running managers for the offering.

4:01 pm Horizon Pharma announces proposed offering of $300 mln of exchangeable senior notes (HZNP) : Co currently expects to use the net proceeds from the offering for general corporate purposes and to fund future acquisitions or investments in businesses, products and product candidates, although Horizon has no present commitments or agreements to do so. 

4:00 pm SK Telecom has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Saudi Telecom Company to collaborate on the development of the innovation capabilities in Saudi Arabia by benchmarking Korea's Creative Economy Concept (SKM) : In addition, both companies agreed to explore development of mutually rewarding business opportunities in Saudi Arabia and potentially the region, especially in areas including digital healthcare, education and Smart Cities.

3:31 pm Earnings Calendar (:SUMRX) : Today after the close look for the following companies to report:

  • PEIX, ALDR, GTY, PQ, BIOL, SQNM, ALSK, BREW, CCRN, CPE, ERJ, GSIG, HRTG, JONE, POWR, PPO, QEPM, RNDY, WTI, ALIM, DAR, LMOS, ECR, VSLR, OEC, TSE, SMTC, HRB, GEF, SPOK, MOMO
Tomorrow before the open look for the following companies to report:
  • SFE, CTCM, BTE, AXAS, GTN, AMRC, BKCC, CECE, CNQ, NAVB, PRFT, USPH, ACRE, EXK, CSIQ, ICD, ARES, DATE, KR, COST, CIEN, MEI, JOY, BRLI, CVGW

3:08 pm CME Group prices $750 million of senior unsecured notes due 2025 at 3% (CME) : The CME Group intends to use the net proceeds from the offering to redeem, repurchase or otherwise retire prior to maturity all $612.5 million aggregate principal amount of the outstanding 4.40% Senior Notes due 2018 issued by CME Group Index Services and for general corporate purposes.

3:01 pm Mesa Laboratories, Inc. announces universal shelf registration statement filing for securities worth up to $130 mln (MLAB) : Co stated: "Uses of capital may include funding for potential acquisitions or business combinations, as well as general working capital and the repayment or reduction of our outstanding debt. We have no immediate plans to issue securities under the Universal Shelf Registration Statement."

2:56 pm Bristol-Myers: BMY now +5.7% into new all-time highs @ 65.61, posting a high volume breakout following news (BMY) :

  • See BMY news & color here----->

2:46 pm Hain Celestial announces accretive acquisition of Empire Kosher Foods for $57.6 million (HAIN) :

  • The purchase price for Empire was $57.6 million and included net debt that was repaid at closing
  • Empire generated over $100 million in net sales in calendar year 2014 and is expected to be accretive to Hain Celestial's earnings in fiscal year 2016.

2:40 pm WebMD Health announces it recently received Patient-Oriented Disease Management Accreditation from the NCQA, for its disease management programs for asthma, coronary artery disease, heart failure, COPD and diabetes (WBMD) :  

2:36 pm Energy closing prices (:COMDX) :

  • Apr crude oil futures rose $0.96/barrel to $51.50/barrel 
  • Apr natural gas rose $0.06 to $2.77/MMBtu
  • RBOB Gasoline fell $0.01 to $1.93/gallon
  • Heating oil closed $0.05 lower at $1.90/gallon

2:31 pm Agricultural closing prices (:SCANX) :

  • Mar corn closed flat at $3.82/bushel
  • Mar wheat closed $0.15 lower at $4.93/bushel
  • Mar soybeans closed $0.20 lower at $9.90/bushel
  • Ethanol closed $0.02 higher at $1.51/gallon
  • Sugar #11 closed 0.11 cents lower at 13.34 cents/lb

2:25 pm S&P -12 cuts rebound off morning low in half at 2094 in recent trade (:TECHX) :  

2:24 pm Floor Talk (:TALKX) : For the second straight day, the stock market has relented to profit-taking activity.  While entrenched in negative territory still, the major indices jumped off their morning lows in a move that began with the S&P 500 holding support at its 20-day exponential moving average (2087/2086).

The latter defense aside, buyers have not rushed back into things, cognizant that the broader market is due for a period of consolidation after its big run in February and knowing there are some potentially big drivers on the near horizon in the form of the ECB meeting (Thursday) and the February Employment Report (Friday).

Where buyers have gotten aggressive is in the oil pit.  Earlier, WTI crude dropped below $50/bbl following an undeniably bearish inventory report from the Energy Information Administration, but it came screaming back in a surprising fashion that presumably got helped along by short-covering activity and new speculative longs embracing visions of a bottoming process.  WTI crude prices are now up 2.5% at $51.78/bbl.

The latest pop in crude prices followed the Fed's Beige Book report, which revealed economic activity continues to expand and that wage pressures remained moderate.  Nothing particularly new in that assessment.

The stock market has continued to labor after the report, weighed down by losses in every sector with the exception of health care (+0.3%).  The financial sector (-0.9%), which has borne the brunt of some caustic remarks from Fed Chair Yellen last night, is the most influential laggard along with the industrials sector (-1.0%).

2:21 pm Bristol-Myers confirms approval of an additional indication for Opdivo (nivolumab) by the FDA (BMY) :

  • See BMY at 13:36 for additional information

2:13 pm Chesapeake Lodging Trust reports amendments to revolving credit facility; increases facility amount to $300 mln (CHSP) : Co announced today that it has amended its credit agreement by:

  • Converting it from a secured to an unsecured credit facility, 
  • Increasing the maximum size of the facility, 
  • Lowering the interest rate spread over LIBOR charged on outstanding borrowings, and 
  • Extending the initial term 
  • The amended credit agreement increases the maximum amount the Trust may borrow under the unsecured revolving credit facility from $250.0 million to $300.0 million, and also provides for the possibility of further future increases, up to a maximum of $450.0 million, in accordance with the terms of the amended credit agreement

2:03 pm Limited reaction as Beige Book headlines cross the wires -- Dow -119, S&P -11, Nasdaq Comp -15 (:TECHX) :  

1:58 pm Stock indices slip back off midday rebound highs in front of Beige Book -- Dow -120, S&P -11, Nasdaq Comp -16 (TECH) :  

1:34 pm Metals closing prices (:COMDX) :

  • Apr gold ended today's session $3.00 lower at $1201.20/oz
  • Mar silver closed $0.12 lower at $16.17/oz
  • May copper closed flat at $2.66/lb 

1:00 pm Rackspace announces that Tinder is leveraging ObjectRocket by Rackspace to power its matching and moment rating capabilities (RAX) :  

12:54 pm Midday Market Summary: Cyclical Sectors Lag at Midday (:WRAPX) : The major averages trade lower across the board at midday with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (-0.4%) leading the retreat. The price-weighted index has been able to cut its early loss in half, but it is the Nasdaq Composite (-0.2%) that has paced the rebound off opening lows.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq has drawn strength from biotechnology, evidenced by a 0.9% gain in the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB 341.07, +3.15). Meanwhile, the broader health care sector (+0.5%) is the only group trading in the green at this time.

For its part, the S&P 500 trades down 0.4% with another countercyclical group-telecom services (-1.0%)-at the bottom of the leaderboard. Similarly, consumer staples (-0.6%) and utilities (-0.8%) also trail the broader market.

Over on the cyclical side, the top-weighted technology sector (-0.2%) has climbed ahead of the S&P 500 in recent action, but a few other influential sectors like financials (-0.5%), consumer staples (-0.5%), industrials (-0.7%), and energy (-0.5%) remain weak.

Notably, the energy sector trades just behind the S&P 500, but the sector was down in excess of 1.0% earlier when the EIA storage report showed that crude inventories increased by 10.3 million barrels from the prior week. Like the sector, crude oil fell to lows on the news, but has narrowed its decline to just 0.2% at $50.42/bbl.

Elsewhere, transport stocks have contributed to the underperformance of the industrial sector. The Dow Jones Transportation Average is lower by 0.5% with 15 of its 20 components in the red.

Treasuries notched their highs in the early morning before surrendering those gains. The 10-yr note holds a slim loss with its yield at 2.12%.

Economic data included ADP Employment, ISM Services, and MBA Mortgage Index:

  • The ADP National Employment Report revealed that employment in the nonfarm private business sector rose by 212K in February while the Briefing.com consensus expected an increase of 220K 
    • The January reading was revised up to 250,000 from 213,000 
  • The ISM Non-Manufacturing Index increased to 56.9 in February from 56.7 while the Briefing.com consensus expected a drop to 56.5 
    • The improvement in the headline index comes despite weakness in production and orders. The Business Activities/Production Index fell to 59.4 from 61.5 while the New Orders Index declined to 56.7 from 59.5 
  • The weekly MBA Mortgage Index ticked up 0.1% to follow last week's 3.5% decline

12:45 pm Norwegian Cruise Line announces Andy Stuart has been appointed COO of Norwegian Cruise Line, effective immediately (NCLH) : Stuart's appointment follows the resignation of Drew Madsen, and Stuart was most recently Executive Vice President of Sales for Norwegian Cruise Line

12:37 pm United Tech announces the European Aviation Safety Agency has approved the VIP Type Certificate for the S-76D helicopter, allowing for the aircraft's operation in Europe (UTX) :  

12:30 pm iShares NASD Biotech establishes new session high, eyeing near two week range top/multi-year high (IBB) : The sector opened the day on the defensive but noted that relative strength had begun to develop at 09:58. The steady turnaround has appreciably accelerated with the IBB reaching a new session high of 340.99 in recent trade. Its two week range top/multi-year high is slightly above at 341.49 -- GENE, ICPT, ABMD, CELG, BMRN, MYGN, PRGO, BLUE.

12:23 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

  • HCA (75.45 +6.58%): Healthcare names outperform as oral arguments on Obamacare are presented; a final decision is expected in June.
  • YHOO (43.34 +1.69%): Renewed Alibaba (BABA) for Yahoo chatter.
  • BBY (39.75 +1.45%): Wave of analyst rating changes following earnings, including price target increases to $45 at JP Morgan and Sun Trust Rbsn Humphrey, and a price target increase to $50 at BB&T Capital Mkts.
Large Cap Losers
  • AA (14.44 -4.9%): Downgraded to Neutral from Buy at BofA/Merrill.
  • RIO (45.93 -2.38%): Story in the Business Spectator downplaying the potential merger between Rio and Glencore (GLNCY).
  • KMX (64.91 -3.68%): Downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Robert W. Baird.
Mid Cap Gainers
  • ATHM (43.77 +13.99%): Beat Q4 consensus EPS estimates by $0.10, beat on revs; guided Q1 revs above consensus.
  • W (28.94 +14.61%): Beat Q4 consensus EPS estimates by $0.10, beat on revs; guided Q1 revs above consensus.
  • AEO (16.3 +9.99%): Beat Q4 consensus EPS estimates by $0.02 after raising guidance in January, beat on revs; guided Q1 EPS above consensus.
Mid Cap Losers
  • TNET (33.19 -12.38%): Reported Q4 (Dec) earnings of $0.26 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.11 worse than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.37; revenues rose 25.3% year/year to $603.7 mln vs the $573.37 mln consensus.
  • MIDD (100.47 -6.01%): Reported Q4 (Dec) earnings of $0.94 per share, $0.04 worse than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.98; revenues rose 15.3% year/year to $435 mln vs the $432.5 mln consensus.
  • ZAYO (28.04 -3.01%): Hearing initiated with a Sell at Drexel Hamilton; tgt $20.

12:18 pm Stocks/ETFs that traded to new 52 week highs/lows this session - New highs (96) outpacing new lows (85) (:SCANX) : Stocks that traded to 52 week highs: ABCD, ABM, ACHC, ADMP, AEO, AFAM, AMAG, AMBA, AMC, ANAC, APH, ASMI, AVG, BBC, BCV, BLRX, BOTJ, BRLI, BRP, BSQR, BURL, BX, CAPN, CBPO, CHE, CHEV, CLDX, CMCSA, CMCSK, CNC, CNDO, COLM, CPIX, CRI, CRMD, CSV, CSWC, DDS, DEPO, DLPH, FLKS, FMB, FNRG, FRC, GLOB, GMK, GWB, HAIN, HASI, HCA, HPI, HSP, IBP, INDY, INT, JRN, JTP, LARK, LBRDK, LBTYA, LBTYK, LH, LHCG, LLNW, LMCK, MKTX, MMU, MRCC, NBIX, NID, NLNK, NSP, OLN, OMER, PAM, PTLA, RHP, SBBX, SBFG, SMTC, SPTN, SSP, STMP, SYBT, TGT, TWC, UEPS, UHS, UNTD, VMC, WBB, WMS, WNS, WWAV, XON, ZIOP

Stocks that traded to 52 week lows: ADGE, AGYS, AHGP, AMZG, ANF, ASRV, ATNM, AVAL, AXU, BAK, BOCH, CACQ, CHK, CIB, COVR, CPL, CRRS, CTG, CWEI, DBVT, DSCI, DV, EHTH, EJ, ELRC, ENOC, FAST, FCTY, FIVE, FSTR, GAIA, GLDD, GLF, GLRI, GOL, HLX, HSBC, I, IGOV, JONE, KOF, MCF, MNI, MSM, MTLS, MX, NFG, NGG, NOR, NSPR, OESX, ORMP, PCO, PGN, PHIIK, PQ, PRAA, PRIM, PRXI, PSMT, QRHC, RCI, RNET, ROYL, RUSHA, SCHN, SFUN, SIF, SJR, SMTX, SNMX, STRL, TDW, TSU, TTF, UG, ULTR, VBLT, VRTS, WILN, WIN, WTW, XRA, ZSAN, ZU

ETFs that traded to 52 week highs: IHF, PSK, UUP, XBI

ETFs that traded to 52 week lows: BWX, DBA, EPU, FXE, JJA, SGG

12:15 pm New rebound highs for major averages -- Dow -89, S&P -8.6, Nasdaq Comp -9.6 (:TECHX) :  

12:03 pm IBM announces that SoftLayer will offer OpenPOWER-based servers as part of its portfolio of cloud-based services (IBM) : With the new offering, clients will be able to select OpenPOWER-based "bare metal" servers when configuring their cloud-based IT infrastructure from SoftLayer, an IBM company. Leveraging the OpenPOWER Foundation design concept, the servers were developed to help clients better manage data-intensive workloads on public and private clouds.

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

  • UK's FTSE:+0.4%
  • Germany's DAX:+1.0%
  • France's CAC:+1.0%
  • Spain's IBEX:+0.2%
  • Portugal's PSI:-1.5%
  • Italy's MIB Index:+0.7%
  • Irish Ovrl Index:+0.8%
  • Greece ASE General Index: -1.4%

11:40 am Fluor announces that the conversion rate applicable to its outstanding 1.5% Convertible Senior Notes due 2024 has been adjusted to 37.0997 from 36.6729, effective March 4, 2015 (FLR) :  

11:30 am Gogo will partner with Spafax to support the management and development of content for Gogo's wireless in-flight entertainment product, Gogo Vision (GOGO) :  

11:15 am Further recovery gains for major averages -- Dow -120, S&P -12, Nasdaq Comp -15 (:TECHX) : Intraday resistance for the S&P at 2095 is currently being probed with a more important barrier to break and hold above at 2098.

11:06 am Nielsen confirms it has acquired eXelate; terms not disclosed (NLSN) :  

11:01 am Relative sector strength (:TECHX) : Sectors displaying relative strength in recent action include: Biotech IBB (ICPT, JUNO, GENE, ABMD, OTIC, BLUE, BMRN), Pharma PPH, Health XLV, Housing XHB, Technology XLK.

10:43 am Currency Commentary: DXY Testing 96 (:SUMRX) :

  • The Dollar Index is hitting a fresh multi-year high as it touches 96 for the first time since 2003. The dollar remains bid as we await the latest Fed Beige Book (2pm) and the upcoming Friday jobs report. Markets are definitely acting like tightening is on the horizon and are driving the dollar and yields higher in anticipation. 
  • The euro has fallen below 1.11 and is now trading near session lows of 1.1073. The dollar strength is helping push the single currency lower. The market is preparing for tomorrow's ECB meeting. In general it is expected to be uneventful. The key items will be further information on the bond purchase program as well as an update on funding for Greece. 
  • The pound has dipped back to 1.5270 as the dollar rallies. The country's Services PMI number fell short of expectations but it is the strength in the dollar that is providing the weakness in sterling. 
  • The yen continues to test the 120 level for support. There has been a move to risk off trade in the U.S. in early trading activity but the yen has failed to see a bid. Markets will pay close attention to how the recent easing in Neighboring central banks (China and India) impact the Japanese economy. But it certainly appears as if the BoJ is on hold for the foreseeable future.  
  • The Swiss franc is once again being whipped around. Swiss Finance Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf was quoted as saying she would like to see a new minimum exchange rate for the franc. When the SNB surprised markets by removing its 1.20 peg against the euro the france dove to parity against the single currency. However it has slowly been sliding lower since the panic buy. Now it is at the 1.06 area. At the time it lifted the cap, Ms. Widmer-Schlumpf stated, "I think Swiss companies can adjust to an exchange rate of around 1.10 Swiss francs per euro". So that 1.10 level may be a target for investors to start to eye.
  • The Canadian dollar is seeing a small rally after the Bank of Canada left its rates unchanged. The Canadian dollar has been running in a tight trading range for the past five weeks, halting an approx 15% decline against the dollar. The BoC did provide commentary that suggests that it sees inflation as being transitory in nature. This may be viewed as slightly more hawkish and helping boost the Canadian dollar to 1.2440 against the dollar (BONDX, FOREX).

10:36 am Mountain Province Diamonds announces diamond recovery results from the 2014 Tuzo Deep drill program (MDM) : The 2014 Tuzo Deep drill program successfully confirmed the continuity of the Tuzo kimberlite to a depth of more than 740 meters below surface. Despite challenging drilling conditions, five holes were drilled resulting in the recovery of 434 kilograms of kimberlite, which was processed by caustic fusion at the Geoanalytical Laboratories Diamond Services of the Saskatchewan Research Council, which is accredited to the ISO/IEC 17025 standard by the Standards Council of Canada as a testing laboratory for diamond analysis. 

  • The Gahcho Ku joint venture will assess the results of the 2014 Tuzo Deep drill program to determine possible next steps to upgrade the Tuzo Deep resource further to depth. While construction of the Gahcho Ku mine is underway no further deep drilling will take place at Tuzo.

10:31 am Apr WTI crude drops to a new LoD, below $50/barrel, following a huge oil build, now -0.9% at $50.05/barrel (:COMDX) :  

10:22 am Oritani Financial announces ~2.21 mln share repurchase program (ORIT) :  

10:22 am S&P -17 and Nasdaq Comp -35 probe second level supports (:TECHX) : Noted second level supports in The Technical Take at 2086/2085 S&P (session low 2087) and 4945/4939 Nasdaq Comp (session low 4938.90) with these zones probed in recent trade. Limited interest has developed thus far.

10:11 am Minor new session lows for Dow -12 and S&P -17.7, Nasdaq Comp -35 hovering just above its low (:TECHX) :  

10:06 am CME Group, LOOP LLC, and NEO Markets have reached a definitive agreement to develop the first-ever physically delivered crude oil storage futures contract (CME) : The new LOOP Crude Oil Storage futures contract will begin trading on Sunday, March 29, 2015, for trade date Monday, March 30, 2015, pending all relevant CFTC regulatory review periods.

10:04 am McDonald's announces new menu sourcing initiatives including only sourcing chicken raised without antibiotics that are important to human medicine. (MCD) : In addition, the co's restaurants will also offer customers milk jugs of low-fat white milk and fat-free chocolate milk from cows that are not treated with rbST, an artificial growth hormone.

10:04 am Deutsche Bank announces it was selected by GT Nexus to management GT's global cash management needs (DB) :  

9:58 am Relative sector strength (:TECHX) : The S&P tested and has edged up off its 20 day ema (09:49) with relative sector strength on this move noted in Housing XHB, Bank KBE, Reg Bank KRE, Biotech IBB, Health XLV, Pharma PPH.

9:49 am Stock indices hovering near morning lows -- Dow -135, S&P -15, Nasdaq Comp -33 (:TECHX) : The S&P has quickly pulled back near its 20 ema (2090, session low 2091) with the next support zone in the 2086/2085 area.

9:45 am Opening Market Summary: Cyclical Sectors Pace Opening Retreat (:WRAPX) : The stock market began the day under broad pressure with all ten sectors showing opening losses. The S&P 500 trades lower by 0.7% with industrials (-0.9%) and materials (-0.9%) pacing the early decline.

Meanwhile, the remaining cyclical sectors trade a bit closer to the broader market with energy (-0.5%) staying ahead of the pack. The growth-sensitive sector outperforms as crude oil trades higher by 0.6% at $50.82/bbl.

Elsewhere, Treasuries hover near their highs that were notched following today's ADP Employment report. The 10-yr yield is lower by two basis points at 2.10%.

The ISM Services Index for February (Briefing.com consensus 56.5) will be released at 10:00 ET.

9:43 am Ensco has commenced a cash tender offer to purchase any and all of its outstanding 3.25% Senior Notes due 2016 (ESV) : As of March 4, 2015, the aggregate principal amount of the notes outstanding is $1.0 bln.

9:40 am Follow through pressure develops -- Dow -123, S&P -13, Nasdaq Comp -32 (:TECHX) :  

9:38 am Sector Watch (:TECHX) : The weakest performing sectors on a percentage basis include: Mining XME, Steel SLX, Biotech IBB, social Media SOCL, Materials XLB, Casino BJK, Paper, Rail, Ag/Chem MOO, Internet FDN, Software IGV, Health XLV.

9:34 am Early pressure with major averages vacillating near yesterday's lows -- Dow -74, S&P -9, Nasdaq Comp -18 (:TECHX) :  

9:33 am Staples: Starboard releases letter to Staples Board of Directors; States that Staples could be worth between $32.00-$37.00 per share once Office Depot (ODP) acquisition is completed (SPLS) : Starboard states:

  • "We believe that Staples' current stock price remains undervalued relative to the potential synergies and earnings growth for the combined company. We believe that management's current estimate of synergies will prove to be conservative and that the actual amount realized could be more than $2 billion
  • Given the substantial opportunities outlined above, we expect that when the announced merger is completed, Staples will raise its total synergy forecast as management gains increased visibility on cost savings. Based on our assumptions, we believe that Staples could be worth between $32.00 - $37.00 per share once the acquisition of Office Depot is completed and the combined company begins realizing synergies. This represents an increase of 88% to 118% relative to the current share price. 
  • We trust that you will seriously review and consider our suggestions for improving the Board and that we can work together to enhance oversight at Staples. We look forward to continuing our dialogue with you."

9:33 am DTE Energy and Vectorform announce a new joint venture (DTE) : The joint venture, to be called Powerley, was announced at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The partnership will combine Vectorform's expertise in inventing digital products and experiences with DTE Energy's expertise in delivering energy-efficiency programs. The Powerley platform is designed to allow utility companies to present real-time energy consumption information to their customers.

9:32 am Regal Entertainment has entered into an agreement with MovieTickets.com (RGC) : Through the deal, MovieTickets.com will offer its ticketing solutions across all 572 Regal Cinemas theaters with 7,356 screens, including its three main brands: Regal Cinemas, Edwards Theatres, and United Artists Theatres.

9:31 am Pangea Logistics Solutions has entered into a five-year Contract of Affreightment for the transportation of two million tons of steel-related products (PANL) : The COA is expected to generate approximately $20 million over its term. The performing vessels will be loading in the Gulf of Mexico and discharging in Central America.

9:30 am Oasis Petroleum has priced its upsized underwritten public offering of 32 mln shares of common stock for total gross proceeds of ~$409.6 million (OAS) : The offering was upsized from the original announcement of 25 mln shares

9:22 am On The Wires (:WIRES) :

  • NetSuite (N) announced that TubeMogul (TUBE) has gone live on NetSuite OneWorld. TubeMogul replaced other solutions with the NetSuite OneWorld global business management solution in the second quarter of 2014 to help manage global growth with capabilities for global financial consolidation, revenue recognition, billing, reporting and management of multiple subsidiaries that include Toronto, London, Tokyo, Singapore and Sydney.
  • Fiserv (FISV) announced the launch of four new solutions on its Financial Crime Risk Management platform. These new solutions bring to market unique capabilities for financial crime prevention professionals to more effectively detect, investigate and resolve the most significant crimes affecting financial services companies across the globe.
  • Rubicon Project (RUBI) launched its Mobile Native Ad Server. Armed with this technology, premium publishers and app developers can increase revenue by delivering direct-sold and in-house native advertising campaigns alongside their indirect deals.
  • Perry Ellis International (PERY) announced that it has entered into a license agreement with DreamKyds S.A., granting rights under the Grand Slam brand in the Caribbean, Central and South America for men's and boy's apparel and accessories. 
  • Yodlee (YDLE) unit Yodlee Interactive announced that it now provides data APIs to nearly 50 financial technology applications and services in the personal wealth management space, which are helping individuals make more informed financial planning decisions. 
  • United Airlines (UAL) announced it is transforming the customer experience in its United Clubs with upgrades including an overhauled, complimentary food menu launching this week, extensive club renovations and a hospitality-focused approach to customer service.
  • Alcoa (AA) announced that Jos Aur lio Drummond will join the Company as President of Latin America effective March 9, 2015.  Drummond currently serves on Alcoa's Brazil Advisory Board and previously held global leadership roles at Whirlpool Corporation for 14 years. 
  • Time Warner Cable (TWC) announced an agreement with Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) to bring its TWC TV app to the Xbox One video game and entertainment system.
  • Park City Group (PCYG) announced that a well-known regional dairy using Park City Group's automated ordering solutions to replenish a large, national retailer was able to reduce ordering costs over 36% and reduce product returns by 16%, while increasing same store unit sales by 5%.

9:21 am Grupo Aeroportuario Del Sureste announces total passenger traffic for February 2015 up 12.6% Y/Y; includes Total Domestic increase of 17.4% and Total International increase of 10.1% Y/Y (ASR) :  

9:21 am Standard Register confirms delisting from NYSE; announces shares will trade on the OTC Pink market under symbol SRCT (:SR) : While the Company has the right to appeal the NYSE determination, based upon the cost of appeal and the likelihood of success, the Company believes that it is in the best interest of its shareholders not to contest this action and has informed the NYSE that the Company will not appeal the NYSE's determination.

9:18 am Voya Financial announces that ING Group has agreed to sell ~32 mln shares of Voya Financial common stock at a price of $44.20 per share (VOYA) : In connection with the public offering, Voya Financial has also agreed to repurchase from ING Group an additional approximately 13.6 million shares of its common stock for an aggregate purchase price of $600 million. The per-share price to be paid by Voya Financial is $44.12

  • In total, ING Group is selling 45.6 million shares of Voya Financial common stock, and will thereby fully exit its approximately 19% stake in Voya Financial common stock immediately following the closing of the transactions.
  • ING Group will continue to hold warrants that are exercisable for 26,050,846 shares of Voya Financial common stock at an exercise price of $48.75, in each case subject to adjustments.
  • Following the completion of the direct share repurchase, Voya Financial will have approximately $161 million remaining under its current share repurchase authorization.

9:13 am S&P futures vs fair value: -8.00. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: -13.00. (:WRAPX) : The stock market is on track for a modestly lower open as futures on the S&P 500 trade eight points below fair value. Index futures held modest losses overnight, but they have slipped to lows at the start of the European session. Interestingly, European equities have climbed off their worst levels of the day while U.S. futures remain in the neighborhood of their lows.

Economic data released this morning was limited to the MBA Mortgage Index (+0.1%) and the ADP Employment report, which revealed that employment in the nonfarm private business sector rose by 212K in February, which was below the increase of 220K that was expected by the Briefing.com consensus.

The ADP report had little impact on equity futures while Treasuries climbed to new highs. The 10-yr yield is currently lower by two basis points at 2.10%.

More economic data remains with the February ISM Services Index (Briefing.com consensus 56.5) scheduled to be released at 10:00 ET while the Federal Reserve will release its March Beige Book at 14:00 ET.

On the corporate front, Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF 22.12, -1.87) is on track to open lower by 7.8% after missing estimates while American Eagle Outfitters (AEO 16.10, +1.28) has spiked 8.6% in pre-market after reporting a two-cent beat and guiding higher.

9:07 am PetSmart beats by $0.05, beats on revs; comps +2.6% (PETM) : Reports Q4 (Jan) earnings of $1.43 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.05 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $1.38; revenues rose 6.0% year/year to $1.91 bln vs the $1.87 bln consensus. Comps +2.6%.

  • BC Partners transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2015. In light of the pending transaction, the Company is not providing guidance for 2015. 
  • The Company believes it is on track to meet or exceed the run-rate pre-tax cost savings target of $200 mln under this program by the end of fiscal year 2016. Total savings of ~$6 mln were realized during the fourth quarter, due to lower overhead costs associated with the actions undertaken during the third quarter of 2014. For the fiscal year, total savings associated with these actions totaled ~$8 mln. 
  • The Company anticipates incurring a total of ~$30 mln in one-time charges associated with this program. For the fiscal year, the Company incurred one-time charges associated with the profit improvement program of ~$24.0 mln, including ~$7.9 mln during the fourth quarter.

9:05 am InfoSonics surging premarket: Q4 EPS $0.05 vs. $0.01 lsat year; rev +50% to $17.9 mln (no estimates) (IFON) :  

9:04 am Hill-Rom announces 2Q15 dividend increase of 5% to $0.16/share from $0.1525/share (HRC) :  

9:02 am Federated National announced the resignation of chairman of the board; appoints Michael Braun as interim chairman (FNHC) : Co announces that effective immediately, Bruce F. Simberg has resigned as Chairman and a member of the Co's Board of Directors for personal reasons. The Co and the Board are currently evaluating alternatives with respect to appointing a replacement. In the interim, Mr. Braun will step in as interim Chairman of the Board.

9:01 am Baxter has acquired SuppreMol for ~ $225 mln before working capital and other adjustments (BAX) : SuppreMol is a privately held biopharmaceutical company based in Martinsried, Germany developing treatment options for autoimmune and allergic diseases. SuppreMol's pipeline includes lead candidate SM101, an investigational immunoregulatory treatment that has completed Phase 2a studies in idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP, a disorder causing low platelet levels) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE, a disorder in which the immune system attacks healthy tissue).

9:01 am SkyWest appoints Robert J. Simmons as CFO, effective March 16, 2015 (SKYW) :  

9:00 am Xplore Tech prices its underwritten public offering of 2 mln shares public offering of common stock at $6.00 per share (XPLR) :  

8:57 am On The Wires (:WIRES) :

  • Eros International Plc (EROS) announced that its on-demand entertainment portal, ErosNow, has launched a broadband movie streaming service partnership with GTPL Hathway Pvt. Ltd. 
  • AstraZeneca (AZN) announced it will participate in the FDA Endocrinologic and Metabolic Drugs Advisory Committee meeting on 14 April 2015 to discuss the results of the Saxagliptin Assessment of Vascular Outcomes Recorded in Patients with Diabetes Mellitus trial for ONGLYZA and Kombiglyze XR.The topic of the Advisory Committee is based on an ongoing review of a previously submitted supplemental New Drug Application to the FDA for ONGLYZA and Kombiglyze XR.

8:54 am S&P futures vs fair value: -7.30. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: -11.50. (:WRAPX) : The S&P 500 futures trade seven points below fair value.

Markets in the Asia Pacific region were mixed on Wednesday. India provided the headline of the day as its central bank surprised the market by cutting its repo rate 25 basis points to 7.50%. That is the second cut by India's central bank this year.

  • In economic data: 
    • China's February HSBC Services PMI rose to 52.0 from 51.8 
    • Hong Kong's February Manufacturing PMI rose to 50.7 from 49.4 
    • India's February HSBC Services PMI climbed to 53.9 from 52.4 
    • Australia's Q4 GDP +0.5% quarter-over-quarter (expected 0.5%; prior 0.4%); +2.5% year-over-year (expected 2.5%; prior 2.7%). Separately, Q4 GDP Chain Price Index -0.2% (prior -0.3%) and February AIG Services Index rose to 51.7 from 49.9 
------
  • Japan's Nikkei declined 0.6%, weighed down by broad-based losses. Every sector finished in the red with the technology (-2.1%), communications (-1.3%), and financial (-1.1%) sectors leading the way. Sumco Corp. (-12.7%), Sharp (-5.3%), Tokyo Electron (-3.6%), NEC Corp (-3.4%), and Kawasaki Heavy Industries (-3.0%) led the list of individual losers. 
  • Hong Kong's Hang Seng tumbled 1.0%, finishing near its lows for the day. The consumer cyclical sector (-2.2%) was the biggest weak spot following Tuesday's disappointing retail sales data and reports of a near 50% decline in Macau gaming revenue in February. Other key laggards included the communications (-1.4%) and financial (-0.9%) sectors. China Resources Enterprise (-5.1%), China Resources Land Ltd. (-3.9%), Galaxy Entertainment (-2.9%), and China Life Insurance Co. (-2.3%) paced the losers. Bank of China wasn't far behind with a 2.1% loss. 
  • China's Shanghai Composite increased 0.5%, closing near its highs for the session after a 2.2% decline on Tuesday. The rebound was driven by strength in the communications (+3.0%), consumer non-cyclical (+2.6%) and consumer cyclical (+2.5%) sectors. VV Food and Beverage Co (+10.1%), Shanghai Broadband Technology (+10.0%), Shanghai Shibei Hi-Tech Co (+10.0%), and Wenfeng Great World Chain Development Corp (+10.0%) led all gainers. 
Major European indices trade mostly higher as participants await tomorrow's ECB meeting where President Mario Draghi is expected to reveal more details about the central bank's QE plan.
  • Participants received several data points: 
    • Eurozone Retail Sales +1.1% month-over-month (expected 0.1%; prior 0.4%); +3.7% year-over-year (consensus 1.9%; last 3.1%). Separately, February Services PMI ticked down to 53.7 from 53.9 (expected 53.9) 
    • Germany's February Services PMI fell to 54.7 from 55.5 (consensus 55.5) 
    • UK's February Services PMI slipped to 56.7 from 57.2 (expected 57.5) 
    • French February Services PMI held at 53.4, as expected 
    • Italy's February Services PMI fell to 50.0 from 51.2 (consensus 51.4) 
    • Spain's February Services PMI fell to 56.2 from 56.7 (expected 56.7) 
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  • UK's FTSE is lower by 0.1% with miners under pressure. Anglo American, Fresnillo, Glencore, and Rio Tinto are down between 2.2% and 5.0% after Fresnillo reported disappointing results. On the upside, ITV has jumped 5.6% following upbeat results and news of a special dividend. 
  • Germany's DAX trades up 0.2% with exporters BMW and Daimler in the lead. The two names are both up near 1.2%. Basic materials names lag with BASF, K+S, and ThyssenKrupp down between 0.5% and 0.7%. 
  • In France, the CAC has added 0.4% with help from financials. BNP Paribas is higher by 1.4% while Credit Agricole trades up 1.8%. Utilities Electricite de France and GDF Suez lag with respective losses of 2.9% and 0.7%. 
  • Italy's MIB trades higher by 0.1% amid strength in financials. BMPS, Banca di Milano Scarl, and Banco Popolare hold gains between 1.4% and 3.2%.

8:45 am Dataram announced it has begun executing its plan to consolidate strategies and operations of its four business entities under a single Dataram umbrella; aimed at reducing operating costs (DRAM) :  

8:44 am On The Wires (:WIRES) :

  • Insperity (NSP) announced a strategic alliance with UnitedHealthcare and its broker distribution partners. The rising costs associated with health care reform created an ideal opportunity to align forces and provide a greater value to companies facing substantial increases in health insurance cost.
  • SciQuest (SQI) announced a strategic partnership with Transcepta to automate and improve the quality of invoice capture processes for customers using SciQuest's Accounts Payable Director solution.
  • Global Payments (GPN) announced an agreement between its integrated solutions division, OpenEdge, and New West Technologies to integrate Microsoft Dynamics AX with payment processing for multi-location retail operations.
  • ADTRAN (ADTN) announced that MetTel, a communications solutions provider for enterprise businesses, is leveraging the ADTRAN Bluesocket virtual WLAN solution to expand and strengthen its managed services portfolio.
  • Zayo Group Holdings (ZAYO) announced it will offer a new route from the New York Stock Exchange data center at 1700 MacArthur Blvd. in Mahwah, New Jersey to the Equinix NY5 data center at 800 Secaucus Road, outside of New York City. The new route is anticipated to be 37.7 km and is expected to be completed during the second quarter of 2015.
  • Riverbed Technology (RVBD) announced that its SteelCentral UCExpert 5.0 is compliant with key unified communication solutions from Avaya.
  • Vuzix (VUZI) announced it will be showcasing its new IWear 720 video headphones running on the OSVR platform at the Game Developers Conference at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, CA, March 2-6, 2015.

8:40 am Zayo Group Holdings announces proposed senior notes offering of $730 mln at 6.00%, due 2023 (ZAYO) : Zayo intends to use the net proceeds from the offering to redeem its $675 million 8.125% Senior Secured Notes due 2020, including the required make whole premium and accrued interest.

8:37 am Scorpio Bulkers reports EPS in-line, misses on revs (SALT) : Reports Q4 (Dec) adj. loss of $0.11 per share, in-line with the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of ($0.11); rev $17.7 mln vs. $19 mln consensus, associated with 22 vessels time chartered-in and two vessel owned, for which TCE revenue per day was $8,660 (see the breakdown of daily TCE averages below). Time charter equivalent revenue per day was adversely affected by a depressed rate environment for dry bulk carriers.

8:37 am Exxon Mobil is on track to grow daily production to 4.3 million oil-equivalent barrels by 2017 (see our 08:08 and 08:20 comments for additional color) (XOM) :  

8:35 am Gapping down (:SCANX) : Gapping down
In reaction to disappointing earnings/guidance
: BOBE -21.2%, (will not pursue a sale or spin-off of the BEF Foods business segment at this time), TNET -13.5%, VEEV -13.5%, ( announces its intent to acquire Qforma CrowdLink; terms not disclosed), BONA -8%, ANF -7.9%, ASNA -5.5%, BV -4.6%, DARA -4.4%, MIDD -2.6%, RCPT -2.4%, GERN -2%, (conducting organization resizing ), TOUR -0.7%

Select Brazil related names showing weakness: GFA -4.3%, CIG -3.3%, ABEV -3%, CPL -3%, ITUB -2.9%, SBS -2.8%, PBR -2.7%, VIV -2.7%, BBD -2.7%

Select metals/mining stocks trading lower: RIO -4.0%, VALE -3.5%, GOLD -1.6%, MT -1.1%

Other news: NSPR -37.3% (announces that it has entered into a definitive agreement to sell up to ~34 mln shares of common stock at $0.40/share), NSPH -21.8% (co will conduct a special meeting of stockholders; stockholders will be asked to approve amendments to increase the authorized shares of its common stock from 150 mln to 250 mln shares, and to effect a reverse stock split with a ratio in a range of between 15-to-1 and 25-to-1), CYCC -19.7% (priced its previously announced public offering of 10 mln shares of its common stock, at a price to the public of $1.00 per share), SR -11.7% (shares to be delisted by NYSE), XPLR -9.1% (announces proposed public offering of common stock), EXXI -5.7% (commenced a private offering to institutional buyers of $1.25 bln principal amount of Senior Secured Second Lien Notes due 2020), OAS -5% (commenced an underwritten public offering of 25 mln shares of common stock), RATE -4.6% (filed to delay Form 10-K; co's Audit Committee concluded that previously issued financial statements should no longer be relied upon), FAST -3.4% (reported February net sales +8.6% Y/Y), TSRO -2.1% (prices 3,400,000 shares of common stock at a $51.00), GERN -2% (co is conducting organization resizing), NBG -2% (cont vol pre-mkt), STM -2% (still checking), APAM -1.4% (announces offering of ~3.83 mln shares of common stock), ABCO -1.2% (filed to delay Form 10-K), BABA -1.1% (cont weakness), YHOO -1% (in symp with BABA), CTLT -0.8% (upsize and pricing of secondary public offering of common stock by certain stockholders)

Analyst comments: ACHN -4.6% (initiated with an Underweight at Barclays), BV -4.6% (downgraded to Neutral from Buy at B. Riley & Co), CENX -4.2% (downgraded to Neutral from Buy at BofA/Merrill), AA -2.4% (downgraded to Neutral from Buy at BofA/Merrill), LEAF -1.1% (downgraded to Mkt Perform from Outperform at Keefe Bruyette), DKS -0.7% (downgraded to Hold from Buy at Needham)

8:33 am European Markets Update: FTSE -0.1%, DAX +0.3%, CAC +0.5%, MIB +0.2% (:SUMRX) : Major European indices trade mostly higher as participants await tomorrow's ECB meeting where President Mario Draghi is expected to reveal more details about the central bank's QE plan.

  • Participants received several data points: 
    • Eurozone Retail Sales +1.1% month-over-month (expected 0.1%; prior 0.4%); +3.7% year-over-year (consensus 1.9%; last 3.1%). Separately, February Services PMI ticked down to 53.7 from 53.9 (expected 53.9) 
    • Germany's February Services PMI fell to 54.7 from 55.5 (consensus 55.5) 
    • UK's February Services PMI slipped to 56.7 from 57.2 (expected 57.5) 
    • French February Services PMI held at 53.4, as expected 
    • Italy's February Services PMI fell to 50.0 from 51.2 (consensus 51.4) 
    • Spain's February Services PMI fell to 56.2 from 56.7 (expected 56.7) 
------
  • UK's FTSE is lower by 0.1% with miners under pressure. Anglo American, Fresnillo, Glencore, and Rio Tinto are down between 2.2% and 5.0% after Fresnillo reported disappointing results. On the upside, ITV has jumped 5.6% following upbeat results and news of a special dividend. 
  • Germany's DAX trades up 0.3% with exporters BMW and Daimler in the lead. The two names are both up near 1.2%. Basic materials names lag with BASF, K+S, and ThyssenKrupp down between 0.5% and 0.7%. 
  • In France, the CAC has added 0.5% with help from financials. BNP Paribas is higher by 1.4% while Credit Agricole trades up 1.8%. Utilities Electricite de France and GDF Suez lag with respective losses of 2.9% and 0.7%. 
  • Italy's MIB trades higher by 0.2% amid strength in financials. BMPS, Banca di Milano Scarl, and Banco Popolare hold gains between 1.4% and 3.2%.

8:32 am TG Therapeutics announces an agreement with Coronado Biosciences (CNDO) subsidiary Checkpoint Therapeutics to develop and commercialize Checkpoint's fully human anti-PD-L1 and anti-GITR antibody research programs in the field of hematological malignancies (TGTX) : Checkpoint will develop and commercialize these antibodies in solid tumors. The antibodies were generated in the laboratory of Dr. Wayne Marasco, MD, PhD, a Professor in the Department of Cancer Immunology and AIDs at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (Dana-Farber).  Both programs are currently in pre-clinical development and are anticipated to enter the clinic in 2016.  

  • Under the terms of the agreement, TG Therapeutics will make an up-front payment as well as make development and sales-based milestone payments and will pay a tiered single digit royalty on net sales.

8:32 am IntercontinentalExchange reported February 2015 futures and options ADV declined 6% Y/Y; Daily Oil Volume up 59% Y/Y (ICE) :

  • Co detailed that: 
    • Commodity ADV increased 11% led by Brent, Gasoil and Other Oil up 61%, 38% and 74%, respectively, from the prior February.
    • Financials ADV declined 25% from the previous February primarily due to continued low volatility in Continental European short-term interest rates.

8:32 am Plantronics announces new return of capital target and capital structure policy; BoDs approves 3 mln share additional stock buyback authorization and updates fourth quarter guidance (PLT) : Co announces it has updated its capital structure policy to increase its intended return of cash to stockholders to ~60% of total free cash flow, defined as total operating cash flow less capital expenditures. In addition to this new commitment, Co intends to opportunistically buy back common stock with the proceeds of future debt issuance. 

  • To facilitate PLT's anticipated increased stock buybacks pursuant to this new policy, its BoD announced it has approved a new 3 mln share repurchase authorization, increasing its total repurchase authorization to 4 mln. 
  • Co expects fourth quarter fiscal 2015 revenues and earnings to be close to the low end of guidance. A stop shipment on some EncorePro headsets will adversely impact revenues and guidance in the quarter. Co anticipates renewing shipments in the latter part of the first quarter of fiscal year 2016. 

8:30 am Capstone Microturbines announced receipt of an order to upgrade the Irvine Ranch Water District's Michelson Water Recycling Plant with five C200 microturbines (CPST) : Regatta Solutions Inc., Capstone's distributor in California, secured the order, which is expected to be commissioned in early 2016.

8:28 am Gapping up (:SCANX) : Gapping up
In reaction to strong earnings/guidance
: EFUT +35.6%, NPTN +19.4%, LXRX +19.4%, W +14.9%, CECO +12.9%, AMRN +11%, ATHM +10.1%, AEO +10.0%, SOL +9.9%, SWHC +9.6%, CDXS +9.5%, NHTC +8.1%, AMBA +7.5%, TIVO +6.5%, TSRI +5.3%, ARQL +4.3%, LRE +4.2%, SCMP +3.1%, AVAV +2.3%, CPIX +1.6%, CPTA +1.4%, ZLTQ +1.2%, TSL +1.1%, NSAT +1.0%, REGI +0.7%

M&A news: TKMR +3.7% (99.5% of Shareholders vote in favor of merger),TBK +1.6% (acquired Doral Money and assumed management of Doral CLO portfolio)

Other news: NVGN +45.8% (confirmed that one of its lead candidate products, TRXE-009, is showing the potential to become an important new therapy in the fight against adult and pediatric brain cancer),PHMD +7.1% (cont strength),EXAS +5.4% (announces Aetna Medicare Advantage healthcare plan will cover Cologuard),OREX +3.5% (still checking),AUY +2.2% (announced the annulment of award assessment in legal dispute),MBLY +2.2% (still checking),LL +2% (plans to host a conference call and audio webcast on March 12, 2015, at 10:00 AM ET to provide a business update; also cancels today's Raymond James conference appearance),CPIX +1.6% (announced positive top-line results from Phase 2 study of Hepatoren in patients with Hepatorenal Syndrome; sNDA for Caldolor (ibuprofen) injection submitted),SPPI +1.5% (has entered into a licensing agreement with Hanmi Pharmaceuticals for poziotinib, a drug being investigated for the treatment of cancer),CPTA +1.4% (declared a special distribution in the amount of $0.50 per share of the Company's common stock, to be paid monthly over the remainder of 2015; provides portfolio activity),ARMH +1.2% (ARM and Tencent (TCEHY) Games collaborate to advance mobile gaming),VOYA +1.1% (Voya Financial announces ING Group has entered into an agreement with a syndicate of underwriters to sell Voya Financial common stock in an underwritten public offering),CNI +0.8% (announces intent to purchase for cancellation up to 1.2 mln of its common shares in a private agreement between CN and an arm's-length third-party seller),GME +0.8% (increased quarterly dividend 9% to $0.36 per share),GRFS +0.8% (to make a major equity investment in Alkahest)

Analyst comments: WWAV +1% (initiated with a Outperform at Wedbush),TMUS +0.9% (upgraded to Buy from Neutral at BTIG Research)

8:26 am S&P futures vs fair value: -7.30. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: -13.00. (:WRAPX) : The S&P 500 futures trade seven points below fair value.

The ADP National Employment Report revealed that employment in the nonfarm private business sector rose by 212K in February. That was below the increase of 220K expected by the Briefing.com consensus. The January reading was revised up to 250,000 from 213,000.

8:24 am Diana Shipping misses by $0.03, beats on revs (DSX) : Reports Q4 (Dec) loss of $0.10 per share, $0.03 worse than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of ($0.07); revenues rose 16.7% year/year to $46.1 mln vs the $44.78 mln consensus.

  • Time charter revenues were $46.1 million for the fourth quarter of 2014, compared to $39.5 million for the same quarter of 2013.
  • This increase was mainly due to the increase in ownership days resulting from the enlargement of its fleet and was partly offset by decreased time charter rates.
  • Daily TCE rates rose 3.4% YoY to $12,090/day.
  • Daily vessel operating expenses rose 1.1% to $6,225/day.
  • Fleet utilization fell to 99.2% from 99.5% YoY.

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

  • Diplomat Pharmacy (DPLO) has been selected to the Novartis limited-distribution panel  to distribute COSENTYX (secukinumab), a drug approved in January by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat adults with moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis. 
  • Qlik (QLIK) and its partner Nevis-Horsa Group, announced that OVS has deployed Qlik Sense in the Sourcing and Supply Department to help streamline and coordinate the different purchasing departments across the organization.
  • Exelon Corporation (EXC) and Pepco Holdings (POM) have enhanced their proposed package of merger benefits in Maryland to provide even greater benefits to customers of Pepco and Delmarva Power, their communities and the state. The improved package of benefits was outlined in a filing made with the Maryland Public Service Commission. Exelon and Pepco Holdings have increased the value of the Maryland customer investment fund to $94.4 million from $40 million.
  • Comstock Homes of Washington, LC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Comstock Holding Companies (CHCI), announced that it has acquired 35 single family building lots in Loudoun County, Virginia. The 35 unit single family home project could generate up to $22 million in incremental revenue over project life
  • Cabela's Incorporated (CAB) announced plans to bring the company's unique retail experience and legendary customer service to Centerville, Ohio, and the greater Dayton area.
  • Splunk (SPLK) announced that Finanz Informatik GmbH & Co. KG, the IT service provider of the Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe, replaced its enterprise-wide security information and event management platform with Splunk Enterprise.
  • Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide (HOT) announced its Sheraton brand continues to power ahead across the globe with at least 20 new hotel openings expected by year's end. Sheraton will enter Sri Lanka and Romania this year, building upon the momentum of its 2014 debut in Tajikistan and last month's launch in Samoa. 
  • BroadSoft (BSFT) announced that it has surpassed 750,000 mobile unified communications lines deployed globally. 
  • Cisco (CSCO) announced it has established software resale agreements with Cloudera, Hortonworks and MapR for their industry leading Apache Hadoop Data Management capabilities and innovation.
  • eHealth (EHTH) published a white paper that outlines a proposed legislative solution in which private exchanges like eHealth can play a critical role in meeting the needs of consumers in the event of a finding for the plaintiffs in the King v. Burwell case.
  • Zillow (Z) announced that 25 new multiple listing services have joined the Zillow Partnership Platform over the month of February, bringing thousands of new listings directly to the site.
  • Dot Hill Systems (HILL) has further expanded its UK footprint with the installation of an AssuredSAN RealStor array featuring RealTier storage tiering software at National Trust for Scotland.
  • Drone Aviation Holding (DRNE) announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Drone Aviation Corp, has successfully completed a joint demonstration with a leading defense prime contractor at a U.S. Army facility. 

8:18 am 8x8 announces new US patent award (EGHT) :

  • Co announced that it has been awarded a new patent related to its contact center technologies. On March 3, 2015, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued a United States Patent entitled "Networked Contact Center User Interface." 
  • The new patent relates to, among other things, a web-based user interface for a networked contact center that displays information related to voice calls, chats and emails

8:17 am Atossa Genetics has begun to launch the ForeCYTE Breast Aspirator and Collection Kit within the European Union, focusing initially on The Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom (ATOS) :  

8:16 am Market View: Mar. eMini stock-index futures continue to trade modestly below fair values following the 8:15 a.m. ET Feb. ADP number (:TECHX) :

  • ESh5 now @ 2099.00 -5.75

  • YMh5 now @ 18145 -41

  • NQh5 now @ 4446.25 -10.25

8:12 am Physicians Realty Trust beats by $0.01, beats on revs (DOC) : Reports Q4 (Dec) normalized funds from operations of $0.22 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.01 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.21; revenues rose 203.5% year/year to $19.69 mln vs the $18.84 mln consensus.

  • Co expects to acquire between $500-700 mln of real estate during 2015. This guidance is inclusive of any previously announced acquisitions.

8:09 am Cytori Therapeutics provides Q4 and FY15 guidance & business update (CYTX) : CYTX provided a business and financial performance update in its presentation at the Cowen and Company 35th Annual Health Care Conference. This included:

  • Preliminary cash and debt balances at December 31, 2014 of ~$14.6 mln and $25 mln. Preliminary Q4 op cash burn of ~$4.9 mln. Preliminary Q4 product revenue of ~$2.5 mln and prelim Q4 contract revenue of ~ $1.3 mln. The CapIQ Consensus for Q4 revenue is $2.38. Combined product revenue and contract revenue for Q4 is estimated to be $3.8 mln.
  • 2015 outlook: Estimation of 2015 operating cash burn of ~ $25 mln. Full-year 2015 product revenue of $5-8 mln and contract revenue $6-8 mln.

8:08 am Tribune Publishing reports Q4 revs declined 5.5% $457 mln, Adjusted EBITDA of $69 mln - no ests (TPUB) : Sees 2015 revenues of $1.65-1.67 bln and Adjusted EBITDA of $160-170 mln.

8:06 am American Eagle beats by $0.02 after raising guidance in January, beats on revs; guides Q1 EPS above consensus (AEO) : Reports Q4 (Jan) earnings of $0.36 per share, $0.02 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.34; revenues rose 2.9% year/year to $1.07 bln vs the $1.06 bln consensus.

  • Co raised EPS to $0.32-0.34 from $0.30-0.33 on Jan 8; reported holiday comps -2%.
  • Q4 comps flat vs. -2% ests.
Co issues upside guidance for Q1, sees adj. EPS of $0.09-0.12 (including $0.02 headwind from West coast port slowdown) vs. $0.07 Capital IQ Consensus, with positive mid single digit comps.

8:04 am Equinix announces it will open five new International Business Exchange data centers on four continents (EQIX) : In the coming weeks Equinix will bring five new data centers online across its global interconnection platform of more than 100 data centers, a total investment of $227M and representing an additional 4,200 new cabinets. In addition, these sites will add over one million square feet of new data center space at full build to the 10+ million square feet present in the existing global footprint, increasing the scale of Platform Equinix by more than 10 percent.

8:04 am Amarin announces the presentation of findings from a new in vitro study that the combination of eicosapentaenoic acid and the active metabolite of atorvastatin provided significantly increased nitric oxide bioavailability in an additive fashion (AMRN) : Co announces the presentation of findings from a new in vitro study that the combination of eicosapentaenoic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid, and the active metabolite of atorvastatin provided significantly increased nitric oxide bioavailability in an additive fashion. The study found that this effect was not observed with other triglyceride lowering agents or the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid.

  • This study demonstrated that oxidative stress induced by oxidized LDL decreased human umbilical vein endothelial cell release of NO by 22% as compared to untreated cells. In HUVECs first exposed to oxLDL and then treated with EPA or ATM separately, NO release increased by 45% or 64%, respectively, while the EPA and ATM combination treatment significantly increased NO release by two-fold as compared to the oxLDL plus vehicle control. The NO/peroxynitrite ratio, an indicator of normal endothelial cell function, significantly increased by approximately three-fold with the EPA and ATM treatment as compared to oxLDL plus vehicle control.

8:03 am Cormedix announces several strategic business updates; co has retained investment bank Evercore as financial advisor to explore strategic alternatives (CRMD) : The co announced that it has retained investment bank Evercore as financial advisor to explore strategic alternatives, in order to accelerate the global development of NeutrolinCatheter Lock Solution and maximize shareholder value.

  • Co also announced that it is extending to April 30, 2015 the expiration date for certain of its warrants for which the resale of the common stock underlying the warrants has not yet been registered.
  • In addition, CorMedix announced that Elliott Management has extended to the company a financing commitment to serve as a back stop in the event these warrants are not exercised; CorMedix also agreed it will amend certain warrants held by Elliott and issue 200,000 additional warrants at an exercise price of $7.00. Additionally, CorMedix granted Elliott the right to appoint two incremental board members. 
  • On Monday, March 2, 2015, the NYSE MKT notified CorMedix that the company has regained compliance with the NYSE MKT listing requirements

8:02 am Pilgrim's Pride announces $500.0 million senior unsecured notes offering to qualified institutional buyers, via Rule 144A (PPC) : The Company intends to apply $350.0 million of those proceeds against the payment of indebtedness outstanding under the term loan commitment of our U.S. credit facility. The balance of the net proceeds from the sale of the notes will be used for general corporate purposes.

8:01 am Citigroup and MasterCard (MA) have signed a new and expanded 10-year agreement; Citi will begin aligning its consumer proprietary credit and debit portfolios to the MasterCard network in 2015 (C) : Also, Citi will continue to work with other networks, including on consumer co-brands and commercial cards.

8:01 am NovaBay Pharma announces it has entered into a securities purchase agreement for the sale of ~$4.9 mln of its common stock and warrants to purchase common stock in a private placement (NBY) : Net proceeds from the sale of the shares and the related warrants, after deducting the underwriters' discounts and other estimated offering expenses payable by NBY, will be ~$4.6 mln. NBY intends to use the net proceeds from this offering for working capital and general corporate purposes, including research and development, clinical trials and selling, and general and administrative expenses, including sales and marketing expenses related to launching its Avenova product across the U.S. 

8:01 am Alaska Air Group reports Feb 2015 Operational Results; on a combined basis, Air Group reported a 7.9% increase in traffic on a 9.4% increase in capacity compared to February 2014. Load factor decreased 1.2 points to 83.4% (ALK) : Co announces February and year-to-date operational results on a consolidated basis, and for its subsidiaries, Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air.

  • On a combined basis, Air Group reported a 7.9% increase in traffic on a 9.4% increase in capacity compared to February 2014. Load factor decreased 1.2 points to 83.4%.
  • Alaska reported a 7.9% increase in traffic on a 9.7% increase in capacity compared to February 2014. Load factor decreased 1.5 points to 83.6%. Alaska also reported 85.1% of its flights arrived on-time in February, compared to 85.4% reported in February 2014. 
  • Horizon reported a 4.3% increase in traffic on a 2.9% increase in capacity compared to February 2014. Load factor increased 0.8 points to 79.6%. Horizon also reported 88.5% of its flights arrived on-time in February, compared to the 82.2% reported in February 2014.

8:00 am Laredo Petroleum announces offering of senior notes worth $350 million, due 2023 (LPI) :

  • The Company intends to use the net proceeds of the offering, if completed, together with a portion of the net proceeds from its previously announced common stock offering expected to close on or about March 5, 2015, to redeem all of its 9 1/2% senior notes due 2019. 
  • The new senior notes will be senior unsecured obligations of the Company and will be guaranteed on a senior unsecured basis by the Company's existing subsidiaries and all of its future subsidiaries, with certain exceptions.

7:59 am Quiksilver has postponed its 2015 first quarter earnings release and conference call as a result of a revenue cut-off issue identified by management and brought to the attention of the Audit Committee (ZQK) : The Audit Committee promptly commenced an investigation last week and has not yet reached any conclusions. Based on currently available information, the Company believes that the completion of the Audit Committee's investigation will have no material impact on its previously issued financial statements, its 2015 first quarter financial results, or its current guidance.

  • The Audit Committee plans to review progress regarding its investigation at a previously scheduled regular meeting of the Board of Directors on March 16th, after which the Company anticipates announcing a date for distribution of its first quarter 2015 financial results during March. 

7:55 am S&P futures vs fair value: -7.50. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: -13.00. (:WRAPX) : U.S. equity futures hold modest pre-market losses after slipping to lows in recent action. The S&P 500 futures hover eight points below fair value.

Yesterday's session did not feature any economic data, but that has changed today. The weekly MBA Mortgage Index ticked up 0.1% to follow last week's 3.5% decline. The ADP Employment Change for February (Briefing.com consensus 220K) will be reported at 8:15 ET while the ISM Services Index for February (consensus 56.5) will cross the wires at 10:00 ET. Lastly, the Federal Reserve's March Beige Book will be released at 14:00 ET.

Treasuries are little changed with the 10-yr yield just below 2.12%.

In U.S. corporate news of note:

  • Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF 24.50, +0.51): +2.1% despite reporting a one-cent miss. 
  • Alcoa (AA 14.77, -0.41): -2.7% after Bank of America/Merrill Lynch downgraded the stock to 'Neutral.' 
  • Bob Evans (BOBE 47.51, -12.13): -20.3% after missing estimates and guiding lower. In addition, the company said it will not pursue a sale of BEF Foods at this time. 
  • Smith & Wesson (SWHC 14.45, +1.40): +10.7% after beating estimates and guiding higher. 
Reviewing overnight developments:
  • Asian markets ended mostly lower. Japan's Nikkei -0.6%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng -1.0%, and China's Shanghai Composite +0.5% 
    • In economic data: 
      • China's February HSBC Services PMI rose to 52.0 from 51.8 
      • Hong Kong's February Manufacturing PMI rose to 50.7 from 49.4 
      • India's February HSBC Services PMI climbed to 53.9 from 52.4 
      • Australia's Q4 GDP +0.5% quarter-over-quarter (expected 0.5%; prior 0.4%); +2.5% year-over-year (expected 2.5%; prior 2.7%). Separately, Q4 GDP Chain Price Index -0.2% (prior -0.3%) and February AIG Services Index rose to 51.7 from 49.9 
    • In news: 
      • The Reserve Bank of India cut its repurchase rate 25-basis points to 7.5%, representing the second RBI cut of the year.
  • Major European indices trade mixed. UK's FTSE -0.2%, Germany's DAX +0.1%, and France's CAC +0.3%. Elsewhere, Italy's MIB +0.2% and Spain's IBEX -0.1% 
    • Participants received several data points: 
      • Eurozone Retail Sales +1.1% month-over-month (expected 0.1%; prior 0.4%); +3.7% year-over-year (consensus 1.9%; last 3.1%). Separately, February Services PMI ticked down to 53.7 from 53.9 (expected 53.9) 
      • Germany's February Services PMI fell to 54.7 from 55.5 (consensus 55.5) 
      • UK's February Services PMI slipped to 56.7 from 57.2 (expected 57.5) 
      • French February Services PMI held at 53.4, as expected 
      • Italy's February Services PMI fell to 50.0 from 51.2 (consensus 51.4) 
      • Spain's February Services PMI fell to 56.2 from 56.7 (expected 56.7) 
    • Among news of note: 
      • Markets in Europe have maintained narrow ranges as participants await tomorrow's ECB meeting where President Mario Draghi is expected to reveal more details about the central bank's QE plan.

7:55 am EXACT Sciences announces Aetna Medicare Advantage healthcare plan will cover Cologuard (EXAS) :

  • The plan has 967,000 members across the country, and the three year agreement will go into effect on April 1, 2015. 
  • The test will be available to Aetna's Medicare Advantage members through their physician without a co-payment or co-insurance.

7:55 am InspireMD announces that it has entered into a definitive agreement to sell up to ~34 mln shares of common stock at $0.40/share (NSPR) : Co expects to receive gross proceeds from the offering of ~$13.5 mln, before deducting placement agents' fees and estimated offering expenses. NSPR intends to use the net proceeds from this offering to commercially launch CGuard EPS, conduct sales activities related to MGuard Prime EPS, advance the development of its pipeline, and for general corporate purposes.

7:52 am IBM acquires AlchemyAPI; financial terms not disclosed (IBM) : Co notes the acquisition is intended to accelerate IBM's development of next generation cognitive computing applications, and significantly expands the Watson ecosystem, with 40,000 developers that have innovated on the AlchemyAPI platform, entering the IBM Watson developer community

7:52 am Brown-Forman beats by $0.01, misses on revs; lowers top end of FY15 EPS guidance, in-line, revs above consensus (BF.B) : Reports Q3 (Jan) earnings of $0.87 per share, $0.01 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.86; revenues rose 1.4% year/year to $1.09 bln vs the $1.12 bln consensus.

  • Co lowers EPS guidance for FY15, sees EPS of $3.15-3.25 vs. $3.23 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate, from $3.15-3.35; sees FY15 revs growth of 6-8%, which equates to ~$4.18-4.26 bln vs. $4.14 bln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate
  • The co also expects reported results to continue to be negatively impacted by the strong appreciation of the U.S. dollar compared to other currencies. After considering current spot rates versus the prior year rates, as well as the co's hedge positions, the co anticipates a mid-single digit currency headwind on reported operating income growth for the full year. This would negatively impact full year earnings per share by $0.20, compared to the $0.15/share impact expected at the time of the second quarter earnings call.

7:50 am ReneSola beats by $0.05, beats on revs; guides Q1 revs below consensus; guides FY15 revs below consensus (SOL) : Reports Q4 (Dec) loss of $0.08 per share, $0.05 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of ($0.13); revenues fell 11.8% year/year to $387 mln vs the $355.08 mln consensus. Total solar module shipments were 488.4 megawatts, exceeding previous guidance and representing an increase of 5.7% from Q3 2014. Total solar wafer and module shipments in Q4 2014 were 744.3 MW, representing an increase of 12.1% from 663.9 MW in Q3 2014, and a decrease of 5.1% from 784.1 MW in Q4 2013. 

  • Co issues downside guidance for Q1, sees Q1 revs of $360-380 mln vs. $392.30 mln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate; and gross margin to be in the range of 14% to 16%.
  • Co issues downside guidance for FY15, sees FY15 revs of $1.5-1.6 bln vs. $1.68 bln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate. For year 2015, the Company does not have any plans for internal capacity expansion.

7:42 am Abercrombie & Fitch misses by $0.01, misses on revs; 1H16 to remain challenging (ANF) : Reports Q4 (Jan) earnings of $1.15 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.01 worse than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $1.16; rev -14% to $1.12 bln vs. $1.17 bln consensus. 

  • Q4 comps -10% vs guidance for down mid-to-high single-digits and -9% estimate; US -10%; intl' -20%. 
"We expect the first half of 2015 to remain challenging, with declines in our logo business in 2014 persisting in the early part of 2015, but at reduced rates, as well as significant currency pressure. However, we believe that the benefits of all of the changes we have made will be reflected in improved performance in the second half of the year."

Outlook:
  • The co expects a significant headwind from FX in fiscal 2015. Recasting adjusted fiscal 2014 results using current exchange rates would have reduced sales by ~$135 million and operating income, net of hedging, by ~$60 million. 
  • With regard to comparable sales, the Company expects the negative impact from reduced logo sales to modestly abate in the first half of the fiscal year and neutralize in the second half of the fiscal year. 
  • The Company expects gross margin rate to be flat to slightly up for fiscal 2015, driven by average unit cost reductions, offset by the adverse effect from foreign currency exchange rates.

7:33 am On The Wires (:WIRES) :

  • Michaels (MIK) has launched online arts and crafts classes taught by top instructors and industry experts through an exclusive partnership with Creativebug. The classes with Creativebug, a subscription-based provider of online DIY instruction, will round out Michaels' robust arts and crafts educational programming. 
  • CGI (GIB) has been selected by efluid, a subsidiary of French energy supplier Groupe UEM, to participate in the maintenance of  the company's  client management and billing software package, also called efluid, which is dedicated to the utilities market. The contract with CGI has been renewed for 15 years.
  • Materialise (MTLS) and Renishaw announced the launch of the Renishaw Build Processor. Renishaw has collaborated with Materialise, a leading provider of additive manufacturing software and of sophisticated 3D printing solutions for medical and industrial markets. 

7:30 am Summer Infant announces Robert Stebenne appointed as President and COO (SUMR) : Stebenne previously acted as the lead independent director on Summer Infant's Board of directors from 2008 until 2013. He currently owns and manages Bob Stebenne Associates, a firm that provides consulting services in the areas of brand development, product development and strategic planning

7:21 am China Unicom reports 2014 revenue +3.5% YoY to RMB284.7 billion, roughly in-line with analyst ests (CHU) :

  • In 2014, the Chinese telecommunications industry fully implemented the VAT Reform. Leveraging on the VAT Reform, the Company deepened the transformation of its operational model, and improved its business structure as well as the quality of its business development.
  • During the year, the Company's service revenue reached RMB244.88 billion, an increase of 2.6% compared with the previous year, outpacing the industry average1 by 3.9 percentage points. Revenues generated from mobile business and non-voice business accounted for 63.3% and 61.9% of its total service revenue respectively. 
  • CHU's EBITDA reached RMB92.77 billion, up by 10.5% year-on-year. 
  • EBITDA as a percentage of service revenue reached 37.9%, up by 2.7 percentage points year-on-year. 

7:20 am AutoNation announces retail sales of 23,780 new vehicles in February 2015, an increase of 8% as compared to February of 2014 (AN) : February 2015 reported retail new vehicle unit sales for AutoNation's operating segments were as follows:

  • 7,331 for Domestic, up 7% versus February 2014,
  • 11,339 for Import, up 5% versus February 2014, and
  • 5,110 for Premium Luxury, up 18% versus February 2014.
  • On a same-store basis, reported retail new vehicle unit sales in February 2015 were up 7% as compared to February 2014. AutoNation expects to announce March 2015 reported retail new vehicle unit sales on Thursday, April 2, 2015.

7:16 am On The Wires (:WIRES) :

  • NeuroMetrix (NURO) announced that on the day after launch it had exceeded its Quell pre-order thirty day campaign goal. The Company reported preorders for over 500 Quell devices. Demand exceeded company projections and the initial offer sold out in less than 6-hours.
  • AOL (AOL) Canada announced the launch of the newest international initiative from MAKERS, the global storytelling platform and largest collection of women's stories assembled online.
  • Coach (COH) announced the opening of its first flagship store in Paris, timed to coincide with the brand's 75th Anniversary. The store is located in one of the city's most prestigious shopping districts, and is expected to open this fall.
  • On Wed., March 4 at 12 p.m., sanitation workers who work for Republic Services (RSG) will hold an informational picket to educate the public on the company's human rights violations. Workers at Republic allege that Republic has broken federal laws that protect workers' rights, by unilaterally changing pay and working conditions without negotiating with their union.
  • Rentrak (RENT) announced an agreement with Lilly Broadcasting to provide local market TV ratings to the Lilly Broadcasting Group including; WSEE (CBS) and WSEE2 (CW) in Erie, Pa. and WENY (ABC) and WENY2 (CBS) in Elmira, N.Y. Lilly Broadcasting will have access to Rentrak's full suite of local services. 
  • Akorn (AKRX) announced it has adopted a comprehensive policy that endorses the use of its products to promote human health and wellness and condemns the use of its products - particularly midazolam and hydromorphone hydrochloride - in execution protocols. Akorn has adopted a policy not to accept direct orders from prison systems and also is working to ensure that its distributors and wholesalers agree to not resell midazolam and hydromorphone to departments of correction and secondary wholesalers.
  • Entergy (ETR) Louisiana, LLC has signed a five-year agreement to provide an additional 60 megawatts of electricity to power CF Industries' (CF) expanding nitrogen facility in Donaldsonville.
  • SolarCity (SCTY) is expanding to New Mexico this week and will make its MyPower solar loan available to New Mexico homeowners. SolarCity expects the unique solar loan to immediately become the most affordable residential solar power option in the state.

7:14 am Amedisys reports EPS in-line, revs in-line (AMED) : Reports Q4 (Dec) earnings of $0.27 per share, excluding non-recurring items, in-line with the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.27; revenues fell 1.0% year/year to $300.5 mln vs the $301.62 mln consensus.

7:11 am Lexicon Pharma beats by $0.03, beats on revs (LXRX) : Reports Q4 (Dec) net of breakeven, $0.03 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of ($0.03); revenues rose 1435.7% year/year to $21.5 mln vs the $10.31 mln consensus.

7:11 am Myriad Genetics announces data for myPath Melanoma test published in Journal of Cutaneous Pathology (MYGN) :

  • The Journal of Cutaneous Pathology published data both the verification and validation studies, showing that the myPath Melanoma test demonstrated a greater than 90 percent diagnostic accuracy at differentiating benign skin moles from malignant melanoma

7:09 am Installed Building Products reports EPS in-line, beats on revs (IBP) : Reports Q4 (Dec) earnings of $0.20 per share, excluding non-recurring items, in-line with the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.20; revenues rose 21.8% year/year to $145.3 mln vs the $141.18 mln consensus.

7:07 am InterXion misses by EUR $0.03, reports revs in-line; guides FY15 revs in-line -- reports good progress on merger discussions with TelecityGroup (INXN) : Reports Q4 (Dec) earnings of 0.10 per share, excluding non-recurring items, 0.03 worse than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of 0.13; revenues rose 15.0% year/year to 89.9 mln vs the 89.83 mln consensus.

Co issues in-line guidance for FY15, sees FY15 revs of 375-388 mln vs. 378.61 mln Capital IQ Consensus; adj. EBITDA $162-172 mln.

On 3 March 2015, Interxion and TelecityGroup plc announced that discussions relating to their proposed all-share merger remain ongoing and the companies continue to make good progress towards completing mutual due diligence and finalising transaction documentation reflecting the agreed transaction terms as announced on 11 February 2015. In connection with this announcement, TelecityGroup and Interxion have agreed to extend their agreement not to solicit or discuss alternative proposals until after 9 March 2015.

7:06 am Halyard Health beats by $0.82, beats on revs; guides FY15 mid point below consensus (HYH) : Reports Q4 (Dec) earnings of $1.59 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.82 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.77; revenues rose 1.9% year/year to $439.4 mln vs the $425.1 mln consensus.

  • Co issues guidance for FY15, sees EPS of $2.30-2.50 vs. $2.50 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate. 
  • Adjusted EBITDA for the fourth quarter, excluding pre- and post-spin related charges, depreciation and intangible asset amortization was $87 million compared to $74 million in the fourth quarter of 2013.

7:04 am Asian Markets Close: Japan's Nikkei -0.6%; Hong Kong's Hang Seng -1.0%; China's Shanghai Composite +0.5% (:SUMRX) : Markets in the Asia Pacific region were mixed on Wednesday. India provided the headline of the day as its central bank surprised the market by cutting its repo rate 25 basis points to 7.50%. That is the second cut by India's central bank this year. Altogether 20 central banks have cut rates in 2015.

  • Economic data
    • China
      • February HSBC Services PMI 52.0 (prior 51.8)
    • Hong Kong
      • February Manufacturing PMI 50.7 (prior 49.4)
    • India
      • February HSBC Services PMI 53.9 (prior 52.4)
    • Australia
      • Q4 GDP +0.5% quarter-over-quarter (expected 0.5%; prior 0.4%); +2.5% year-over-year (expected 2.5%; prior 2.7%)
      • Q4 GDP Chain Price Index -0.2% (prior -0.3%)
      • February AIG Services Index 51.7 (prior 49.9) 
  • Equity Markets
    • Japan's Nikkei declined 0.6%, weighed down by broad-based losses. Every sector finished in the red with the technology (-2.1%), communications (-1.3%), and financial (-1.1%) sectors leading the way. Sumco Corp. (-12.7%), Sharp (-5.3%), Tokyo Electron (-3.6%), NEC Corp (-3.4%), and Kawasaki Heavy Industries (-3.0%) led the list of individual losers. 
    • Hong Kong's Hang Seng tumbled 1.0%, finishing near its lows for the day. The consumer cyclical sector (-2.2%) was the biggest weak spot following Tuesday's disappointing retail sales data and reports of a near 50% decline in Macau gaming revenue in Febraury. Other key laggards included the communications (-1.4%) and financial (-0.9%) sectors. China Resources Enterprise (-5.1%), China Resources Land Ltd. (-3.9%), Galaxy Entertainment (-2.9%), and China Life Insurance Co. (-2.3%) paced the losers. Bank of China wasn't far behind with a 2.1% loss.
    • China's Shanghai Composite increased 0.5%, closing near its highs for the session after a 2.2% decline on Tuesday. The rebound was driven by strength in the communications (+3.0%), consumer non-cyclical (+2.6%) and consumer cyclical (+2.5%) sectors. VV Food and Beverage Co (+10.1%), Shanghai Broadband Technology (+10.0%), Shanghai Shibei Hi-Tech Co (+10.0%), and Wenfeng Great World Chain Development Corp (+10.0%) led all gainers.
    • India's Sensex surrendered early gains and ended its session 0.7% lower despite a surprise rate cut from India's central bank, which cut the repo rate for the second time this year by 25 basis points to 7.50%. The financial (-1.2%) and technology (-1.1%) sectors led the declines. Leading individual laggards included Sesa Sterlite (-4.4%), Hindalco Industries (-3.5%), Tata Power Co (-3.3%), Axis Bank (-3.0%), and State Bank of India (-2.9%).
    • Australia's S&P/ASX 200 declined 0.5% following an in-line Q4 GDP report. Weakness in the financial and resources sectors contributed to the loss. Commonwealth Bank of Australia fell 0.9% while Rio Tinto slipped 3.7%.
    • Regional advancers: Taiwan +0.2%, Malaysia +0.2%, Philippines +0.9%, Vietnam +0.6%
    • Regional decliners: South Korea -0.2%, Singapore -0.2%, Indonesia -0.5%
    • Holiday closure: Thailand (Makha Bucha Day)
  • FX
    • USD/CNY -0.05% at 6.2706
    • USD/INR +0.7 % at 62.260
    • USD/JPY -0.1% at 119.63 

7:03 am Wayfair beats by $0.10, beats on revs; guides Q1 revs above consensus (W) : Reports Q4 (Dec) loss of $0.18 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.10 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of ($0.28); revenues rose 38.4% year/year to $408.6 mln vs the $368.79 mln consensus.

  • Direct Retail revenue, consisting of sales generated primarily through the sites of Wayfair's five brands, increased to $346.7 million, up 55.2 % year over year 
  • Adjusted EBITDA was $(7.2) million.
Co issues upside guidance for Q1, sees Q1 revs of $375-390 mln vs. $352.50 mln Capital IQ Consensus, comprised of Direct Retail net revenue of $330 to $340 million and Other revenue of $45 to $50 million; Adjusted EBITDA margin of negative 3.5% to 4.0%. 

7:01 am Lumber Liquidators plans to host a conference call and audio webcast on March 12, 2015, at 10:00 AM ET to provide a business update; also cancels today's Raymond James conference appearance (LL) :  

7:01 am CASI Pharma appoints Rong Chen, MD, Ph.D. as Chief Medical Officer (CASI) : Prior to joining CASI, Chen was Area Medical Director and Chief Medical Governance Officer at GSK China/Hong Kong

7:01 am Spectrum Pharma has entered into a licensing agreement with Hanmi Pharmaceuticals for poziotinib, a drug being investigated for the treatment of cancer (SPPI) : Poziotinib (HM781-36B) is a novel, oral, quinazoline-based pan-HER inhibitor that irreversibly blocks signaling through the HER family of tyrosine-kinase receptors including HER1 (erbB1; EGFR), HER2 (erbB2), and HER4 (erbB4), as well as HER receptor mutations; this, in turn, leads to inhibition of the proliferation of tumor cells that overexpress these receptors. Mutations or overexpression/amplification of HER family receptors have been associated with a number of different cancers, including non-small cell lung cancer, breast cancer, gastric cancer, etc.

  • Under the terms of the agreement, Spectrum received exclusive license to develop, manufacture and commercialize worldwide excluding Korea and China. Hanmi shall remain responsible for the cost of the ongoing Phase 2 studies through completion.
  • "Poziotinib has shown promising early clinical activity with 60% (6/10) of patients with breast cancer having responses in Phase 1 clinical trials. These patients were heavily pre-treated, had previously received and failed multiple lines of treatment, and had been previously treated with the HER2-directed therapies, trastuzumab and lapatinib. In addition, tumor responses were also seen in patients with gastric cancer, colorectal cancer, and lung cancer. We are pleased to continue to work closely with Hanmi Pharmaceuticals and further our ongoing collaboration as we work together to bring more treatment options to cancer patients"

7:01 am Intra-Cellular Therapies announces proposed public offering of 4.25 mln shares of common stock (ITCI) : Co intends to grant the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 15% of the shares of common stock offered in the public offering

7:00 am Aecom Tech announces that its Board has appointed CEO Michael S. Burke to the additional position of Chairman of the Board (ACM) : The appointment, effective today, completes a planned succession following the retirement of John M. Dionisio as executive chairman.

6:58 am On The Wires (:WIRES) :

  • Ryanair (RYAAY) announced the purchase of an additional 3 Boeing 737-800 aircraft, for delivery in early 2016, valued at $280 million at current list prices, bringing its total order to 183 737 NGs, in addition to orders for 200 Boeing MAX 200 aircraft, which will allow Ryanair to grow its traffic to 160m customers p.a. by 2024.
  • Life Fitness announced that Brunswick Billiards will join the equipment manufacturer's family of products, creating a robust portfolio of recreational products for customers across the globe. Both Life Fitness and Brunswick Billiards are part of Brunswick Corporation (BC). With the reorganization, Life Fitness will now develop, manufacture and sell Brunswick Billiards game room and billiards tables, furnishings and accessories.
  • ENGlobal (ENG) announced the award of a new five-year Professional Services Agreement with Xcel Energy (XEL) in Denver. ENGlobal's ongoing scope of work is expected to consist of engineering, design, construction management and procurement support for Xcel Energy's natural gas pipeline and facility projects in all of its operating regions.

6:55 am Fastenal reported February net sales +8.6% Y/Y (FAST) :  

6:43 am Sucampo Pharma reports EPS in-line, misses on revs; guides FY15 EPS in-line (SCMP) : Reports Q4 (Dec) earnings of $0.21 per share, excluding non-recurring items, in-line with the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.21; revenues rose 54.3% year/year to $37.8 mln vs the $39.91 mln consensus.

  • Co issues in-line guidance for FY15, sees EPS of $0.55-0.65, excluding non-recurring items, vs. $0.62 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate. 
  • "In 2014, following a detailed review of our business and opportunities, Sucampo took significant steps to implement our corporate strategy by securing the foundation of our AMITIZA revenues, focusing the organization, strengthening our scientific capabilities, and prioritizing our development pipeline,"

6:40 am Materialise misses by $0.01, beats on revs; guides FY15 revs above consensus, will continue investing heavily in R&D and marketing (MTLS) : Reports Q4 (Dec) loss of $0.01 per share, $0.01 worse than the Capital IQ Consensus of ($0.00); revenues rose 21.0% year/year to $28.6 mln vs the $24.5 mln consensus, driven by a very strong gain in the software segment and solid double-digit growth in the medical and industrial production segments. Excluding revenue from OrthoView, total revenue for the quarter increased 16.1%.

  • Adjusted EBITDA, excluding stock-based compensation expenses, decreased from 2,315 kEUR to 927 kEUR, reflecting ongoing investments in both research and development, which increased by 1,758 kEUR to 19.8% of total revenue, and sales and marketing, which increased by 2,641 kEUR to 39.5% of total revenue.
Co issues upside guidance for FY15, sees FY15 revs of EUR 99-101 mln vs. EUR 98.15 mln Capital IQ Consensus. In executing its long-term growth plans, Materialise expects to continue investing heavily in research and development and sales and marketing initiatives in fiscal 2015, building on programs begun in fiscal 2014 and implementing new initiatives intended to strengthen the company's market leadership and take advantage of high-growth opportunities in the rapidly evolving 3D market. The new initiatives include the launch of new software solutions addressing the growing demand for manufacturing of end parts; the integration of the company's 3D planning solutions in the OrthoView product portfolio; and the launch of metal printing for industrial purposes. Reflecting the accelerated pace of investment planned for 2015, management expects consolidated Adjusted EBITDA for fiscal 2015 to be between 4,000 kEUR and 5,000 kEUR.

6:38 am Ryanair Hldgs reports February traffic grows 29% to 5.8 mln customers, load factor rises 11% points to 89% (RYAAY) :  

6:34 am On The Wires (:WIRES) :

  • Air Lease (AL) announced long term lease agreements with Travel Service (Czech Republic) for two new Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft. Both aircraft are from ALC's order book with Boeing and scheduled for delivery in spring 2018 and 2019.
  • Mobileye N.V. (MBLY) introduced its 4th generation system-on-chip, the EyeQ4. The EyeQ4 consists of 14 computing cores out of which 10 are specialized vector accelerators with extremely high utilization for visual processing and understanding.
  • Illumina (ILMN) announced the launch of TruSight HLA, a complete, end-to-end solution that produces a comprehensive view of the HLA region by sequencing 11 HLA genes for accurate HLA typing across thousands of known and novel HLA alleles. 

6:30 am S&P futures vs fair value: -8.90. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: -14.80. :

6:30 am European Markets : FTSE...6867.66...-21.50...-0.30%.  DAX...11245.57...-34.50...-0.30%.

6:30 am Asian Markets : Nikkei...18703.60...-111.60...-0.60%.  Hang Seng...24465.38...-237.40...-1.00%.

6:29 am On The Wires (:WIRES) :

  • Remy International (REMY) announced itnow offers a complete line of high-output alternators, ranging from 170 up to 430 Amps.
  • SeaChange International (SEAC) announced that Arqiva is using SeaChange software and professional services to create the metadata foundation for Freeview Play, the new subscription-free connected TV offer from the UK's most-watched television service. 

6:27 am Oasis Petroleum has commenced an underwritten public offering of 25 mln shares of common stock (OAS) : The co intends to use the net proceeds of this offering to repay outstanding borrowings under its credit facility and for general corporate purposes.

6:21 am Yamana Gold announced the annulment of award assessment in legal dispute (AUY) :

  • The company announced that the Commercial Court of Argentina has annulled the previously announced award granted to Ricardo Auriemma in the litigation between Auriemma and 0805346 B.C, a subsidiary of the Company which was formally known as Northern Orion Resources Inc. 
  • The effect of the annulment is that the previously announced award is cancelled and has no further effect. 
  • The annulment vindicates the Company's consistently maintained view that the award has no valid basis and is without merit.

6:18 am VWR Corp beats by $0.06, beats on revs; guides FY15 EPS below consensus, revs below consensus (VWR) : Reports Q4 (Dec) earnings of $0.43 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.06 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.37; revenues rose 4.0% year/year to $1.1 bln vs the $1.08 bln consensus.

  • Co issues downside guidance for FY15, sees EPS of $1.42-1.50 vs. $1.54 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate; sees FY15 revs of $4.24-4.31 bln vs. $4.43 bln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate. 
  • "Our fourth quarter results highlight the continued fundamental underlying strength of the VWR business, and our 2015 outlook contemplates a continuation of this trend. Our guidance also incorporates the impact of the recent strengthening of the U.S. dollar versus the euro and other major currencies, as approximately half of our revenues come from sales outside the United States. If current exchange rates were to remain stable for the remainder of 2015, the current strengthening of the U.S. dollar would represent an approximate 7% headwind to 2015 revenues, offsetting our expectation of solid organic revenue growth in the 3 to 4% range."

6:16 am Ryanair Hldgs issued an 8 year, EUR 850m Euro Bond at a fixed coupon of 1.125% (RYAAY) :  

6:13 am On The Wires (:WIRES) :

  • Ericsson (ERIC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with KT, South Korea's leading telecoms provider,  for collaboration on technologies related to next-generation networks, during Mobile World Congress 2015 in Barcelona, Spain. 
  • China Mobile Games and Entertainment Group (CMGE) announced that it has been authorized by North Stars Pictures to develop mobile games based on the famous Japanese comics Fist of the North Star. 
  • Wipro (WIT) and Orga Systems announced that their global strategic partnership has resulted in a pre-integrated BSS solution. 
  • Ericsson (ERIC)  and Telefonica (TEF) have announced that they will continue working together to transform the operator's global networks, extending an agreement originally made in 2013 and executing on the results that it provided. 
  • DSP Group (DSPG) and MitraStar Technology announced that DSP Group's DCX81 DECT/CAT-iq/ULE System on a Chip will be integrated in new gateways from MitraStar. 
  • NXP Semiconductors N.V. (NXPI) announced that the Barcelona Metropolitan Transport Authority will use MIFARE DESFire for their new mobility card, T-Mobilitat.  
  • Qorvo (QRVO) announced it has commenced volume production of Qorvo's RF Fusion complete front end solution in support of a flagship 4G smartphone from a top-five smartphone manufacturer. The flagship smartphone is expected to launch in the first half of calendar 2015. 

6:10 am Trina Solar reports Q4 EPS in-line, beats on revs (TSL) : Reports Q4 (Dec) earnings of $0.13 per share, in-line with the Capital IQ Consensus of $0.13; revenues rose 34.1% year/year to $705 mln vs the $642.92 mln consensus. 

  • Total module shipments were 1,098.8 MW (guidance of 1.045-1.095 MW), consisting of 1,070.5 MW of external shipments and 28.3 MW of shipments to the Company's own downstream power projects. This compares with total shipments of 1,063.8 MW, consisting of 936.8 MW of external shipments and 127 MW of shipments to the Company's own downstream power projects, in the third quarter of 2014. 
Q1 Guidance: The Company expects to ship between 840 MW to 870 MW of PV modules, of which 60 MW to 70 MW of PV modules will be shipped to the Company's downstream PV projects.

FY15 Guidance 2015: Manufacturing Capacity The Company expects to achieve annualized capacity at the end of 2015: Ingot production capacity of ~2.8 GW Wafer capacity of ~2.3 GW PV cell capacity of ~3.5 GW Module capacity of ~4.8 GW. The co expects total PV module shipments between 4.4 GW and 4.6 GW, of which 700 MW to 800 MW of PV modules will be shipped to the Company's downstream projects. The total shipment volume represents an increase of 20% to 26 % from 2014.

6:10 am RCS Capital reports over $326 mln in equity sales through 31 direct investment programs (RCAP) : Additionally, co continue to expect wholesale segment to be adjusted EBITDA Positive for Full Year 2015

6:06 am Standard Register shares to be delisted by NYSE (:SR) : NYSE Regulation reached its decision to delist the common stock pursuant to Section 802.01B of the NYSE's Listed Company Manual because the Company has fallen below the NYSE's continued listing standard requiring listed companies to maintain an average global market capitalization over a consecutive 30 trading day period of not less than $15,000,000.

6:02 am Novogen has confirmed that one of its lead candidate products, TRXE-009, is showing the potential to become an important new therapy in the fight against adult and pediatric brain cancer (NVGN) : The latest study looked at the ability of TRXE-009 to kill a library of patient-derived cell cultures from subjects with glioblastoma multiform. The cells were cultured under conditions that promote cancer stem cell growth. These stem-like cancer cells are believed to be responsible for chemotherapy resistance and tumor recurrence.

  • All patient derived cancer cells represented in the library responded to TRXE-009 at clinically relevant doses, suggesting a strong therapeutic potential. The studies were conducted by Drs John Boockvar and Marc Symons at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research (Feinstein) and with which Novogen is forging a strong collaboration to oversee advancing TRXE-009 into the clinic for adult and pediatric brain cancers.
  • The next step in this drug's development is to confirm it's ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, a key filtering mechanism that effectively blocks the majority of chemotherapic drugs from reaching brain tissue. 
  • In conjunction with Feinstein, alternative means of delivering TRXE-009 to the brain are under investigation including direct injection into the brain cancer by the process known as convection-enhanced delivery, and the use of lipid brain-targeting particles injected intravenously.

6:01 am Spherix provides update on litigation (SPEX) : Co provided the following updates regarding ongoing litigation with various telecom companies:

  • T-Mobile Inc: On January 29, 2015, the Court issued an Order requiring the parties to serve Initial Disclosures by February 26, 2015 and submit a Joint Status Report and Discovery Plan to the Court by March 12, 2015. 
  • VTech and Uniden: The Markman hearing for these cases was held on November 21 and 26, 2014. Both the Technology Tutorial for the educational benefit of the Court and the Markman hearing where held jointly for the VTech and Uniden cases. The court has not yet issued a Markman Order. 
  • Cisco Systems: On August 26, 2014, the Company filed an opposition to Cisco's motion to dismiss. On September 5, 2014, Cisco filed its reply brief regarding its motion to dismiss. 
  • Juniper Networks: On August 29, 2014, the Company filed its opposition to Juniper's motion to dismiss. On September 15, 2014, Juniper filed its reply brief regarding its motion to dismiss. 
  • Huawei: On January 20, 2015, the Court set the Markman hearing for July 17, 2015 and trial to begin on February 8, 2016. On January 28, 2015, the Court appointed a mediator for the parties. 
  • Verizon: The Markman hearing is currently scheduled for March 16, 2015 and a five day trial is scheduled to begin on May 18, 2015.

6:00 am Cyclacel Pharma priced its previously announced public offering of 10 mln shares of its common stock, at a price to the public of $1.00 per share (CYCC) :  

5:24 am SunEdison offers new solar energy saver plan To UK Homeowners (SUNE) : SunEdison (SUNE) announced the launch of the new SunEdison Energy Saver Plan, a way for UK homeowners to potentially save up to 15% on their electricity bill with zero upfront cost. SunEdison is the first company in the UK to offer this type of solar product to the residential market, and is unveiling the new solution at EcoBuild 

5:05 am Macquarie Group acquires portfolio of aircraft from AWAS Aviation Capital (MQBKY) : Macquarie Group Limited (MQBKY) announced that a Macquarie Bank Limited subsidiary has entered into an agreement to acquire an aircraft operating lease portfolio from AWAS Aviation Capital Limited. 

  • The portfolio comprises 90 modern, current-generation commercial passenger aircraft leased to 40 airlines. The weighted average age of the fleet is approximately 2 years with an average remaining lease term of 6.5 years. Narrowbody Airbus A320-200 and Boeing 737-800 aircraft comprise more than 90 per cent of the portfolio (by value). The remainder of the portfolio consists of Airbus A330 widebody aircraft. 

4:17 am Sony reports PS4 sales surpass 20.2 million units worldwide (SNE) :  

4:16 am Toyota Motor announces Executive changes in North America, diversifies global leadership team with new appointments (TM) : Toyota today announced executive changes across its North American operations, effective as of April 1. The appointments reflect Toyota's ongoing efforts to diversify its global leadership team and leverage talent from its biggest, most experienced market as it continues to evolve as a global, customer-focused company. Toyota is also further strengthening regional integration in North America so it can respond more quickly and effectively to its customers' needs.

3:59 am Boeing and Ryanair (RYAAY) announce order for three additional next-generation 737-800s (BA) : Boeing (BA) and Ryanair (RYAAY) have announced an order for three Next-Generation 737-800s. The order, previously unidentified on the Boeing Orders & Deliveries website, is valued at $280 million at current list prices. With this order the Irish low-cost carrier now has unfilled orders for 174 Next-Generation 737-800s and 100 737 MAX 200s. 

3:14 am Volvo sells holding in the listed Indian Company Eicher Motors (VOLVY) : The Volvo Group has sold 1,270,000 shares in the listed Indian automotive manufacturer, Eicher Motors Limited, for an amount totaling approximately SEK 2,5 billion. The divestment of shares has no effect on ownership or the development of the longstanding joint venture, VE Commercial Vehicles. The sale will have a positive impact on the Volvo Group's cash flow after net investments and net financial debt in a corresponding amount in the first quarter of 2015. The sale will also generate a capital gain of approximately SEK 2,4 billion, which will impact operating income in the Trucks segment in the first quarter of 2015. 

2:52 am On The Wires (:WIRES) :

  • NVIDIA (NVDA) introduced NVIDIA SHIELD, the world's first Android TV console, which delivers video, music, apps and amazing games to the home. 
  • TCL Communication Technology Holdings Limited and 4G specialist Sequans Communications (SQNS) have executed an agreement whereby the two companies will collaborate on the development of next-generation 5G wireless technologies. 
  • Skyworks Solutions (SWKS) announced that its SkyOne Mini front-end solution is enabling several new smartphone launches. 
  • ZAZOO, a business unit of Net 1 UEPS Technologies (UEPS) announced that it has partnered with UBER, the innovative  smartphone technology that connects riders with drivers, in South Africa. 
  • PCTEL (PCTI) announced the expansion of PCTEL's RF Solutions engineering services with the opening of a western United States regional office. 

2:36 am Grifols, S.A. to make a major equity investment in Alkahest (GRFS) : Co and Alkahest, a privately held biopharmaceutical company, announced that they have signed definitive agreements whereby Grifols will make a major equity investment in Alkahest, and the companies will work together to develop novel plasma-based products for the treatment of cognitive decline in aging and disorders of the central nervous system, including Alzheimer's.

  • Grifols will make a $37.5 million equity investment in the form of a cash payment in exchange for 45% of Alkahest's shares following the closing of the transaction. 
  • In addition Grifols will provide a further payment of $12.5 million and fund the development of plasma-based products, which may be commercialized by Grifols throughout the world. 
  • Alkahest will receive milestone payments and royalties on sales of such products by Grifols. 

2:30 am Bristol-Myers signs exclusive agreement with Bavarian Nordic for PROSTVAC, a prostate-specific antigen-targeting cancer immunotherapy (BMY) : Bavarian Nordic and Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) announced an agreement that provides Bristol-Myers Squibb an exclusive option to license and commercialize PROSTVAC, Bavarian Nordic's investigational Phase 3 prostate-specific antigen-targeting cancer immunotherapy in development for the treatment of asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer. 

  • Under terms of the agreement, Bavarian Nordic will receive an upfront payment of $60 million. Bristol-Myers Squibb can exercise the option in its sole discretion within a designated time after data is available from the ongoing Phase 3 trial. 
  • Bavarian Nordic would be entitled to a payment of $80 million upon exercise of the option plus additional incremental payments starting at $50 million, but with a potential to exceed $230 million should the median overall survival benefit of PROSTVAC exceed the efficacy seen in Phase 2 results. 
  • Furthermore, Bavarian Nordic could receive regulatory milestone payments of $110 million, up to $495 million in sales milestones as well as tiered double-digit royalties on future sales of PROSTVAC. 
  • The parties have also agreed to enter into a supply contract, under which Bavarian Nordic will undertake the future commercial manufacturing of PROSTVAC. 

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

  • SK Telecom (SKM) has introduced for the first time its 'Be-Me Platform,' an intelligent platform that provides smart personalized services by analyzing the user's situation, and 'Eggo-Mate' a personal digital assistant service developed upon this platform.  
  • Grupo Simec S.A.B. de C.V. (SIM) announces that it will start production of rebar and wire rod in its Brazilian facility this month
  • Nu Skin Enterprises (NUS) announced the upcoming introduction of Epoch Essential Oils in the United States, Canada and Latin America. Nu Skin also plans to introduce essential oils in China and Europe later this year. 
  • Aliyun, Alibaba's (BABA) cloud computing business, announced the opening of its first overseas data center in Silicon Valley, signifying an important move to serve clients globally. 
  • China Mobile's (CHL) fourth-generation telecom network has accumulated over 100 million domestic users since its launch in December 2013 and opened 4G international roaming services in 71 countries and regions 

1:59 am Pretium Resources provides FY drilling results (PVG) : Co announces final results from the 2014 surface drill program in the Valley of the Kings, following up on our announcements on July 3, 2014 and August 20, 2014. The surface drill program was successful in confirming both the grade and continuity of Indicated and Inferred gold mineralization 

  • The 2014 surface drill program consisted of infill drilling, exploration drilling at depth and condemnation drilling. The infill drill program, comprising 5,818 meters in three holes including 14 wedge holes, was successful in confirming the grade and continuity of Indicated and Inferred gold mineralization in an area defined by the 2013 Mineral Resource estimate block model. 
  • Our working capital as at December 31, 2014 was $33.77 million. With the recent financing and current working capital we believe we have sufficient funds to continue the advance of our Brucejack Project to development, including permitting and engineering and environmental activities. 

1:35 am Middleby misses by $0.04, reports revs in-line (MIDD) : Reports Q4 (Dec) earnings of $0.94 per share, $0.04 worse than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.98; revenues rose 15.3% year/year to $435 mln vs the $432.5 mln consensus.

  • Net sales increased 15.3% in the fourth quarter and 14.5% for the full fiscal year of 2014 over the comparative prior year periods. Excluding the impact of acquisitions, sales increased 7.4% during the fourth quarter and 8.4% for the full year. 
  • Net sales at the company's Commercial Foodservice Equipment Group increased 14.8% in the fourth quarter and 16.3% for the full fiscal year of 2014 over the comparative 2013 periods. During fiscal 2013, the company completed the acquisitions of Celfrost and Wunder-Bar. During fiscal 2014, the company completed the acquisitions of Market Forge and Concordia. Excluding the impact of these acquisitions, sales increased 9.0% in the fourth quarter and 8.9% for the full year. 

1:26 am Tesaro prices 3,400,000 shares of common stock at a $51.00 (TSRO) :  

1:25 am Cheniere Energy prices $625 mln of 4.25% Convertible Notes due 2045 (LNG) :  

1:24 am Brookfield Residential announces application to cease to be a reporting issuer (BRP) : Co announced that in connection with the proposed plan of arrangement pursuant to which 1927726 Ontario Inc, a wholly owned subsidiary of Brookfield Asset Management, will acquire all of the common shares of Brookfield Residential that are not already owned by Brookfield Asset Management and its affiliates for consideration of $24.25 per share, Brookfield Residential has applied to the securities regulatory authorities in each of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador for a decision deeming it to have ceased to be a reporting issuer in such jurisdictions, effective upon the closing of the Arrangement and the delisting of Brookfield Residential's common shares from the TSX and the NYSE. 

  • If the requested decision is made by the securities regulatory authorities, Brookfield Residential will cease being a reporting issuer in any jurisdiction in Canada and, as a result, will no longer be required to file financial statements and other continuous disclosure documents with Canadian securities regulatory authorities. 

1:22 am Gogo prices $340 Million Convertible Notes Offering due 2020 (GOGO) :  

1:20 am LGI Homes reports February 2015 home closings rose 41% YoY (LGIH) : Co announced 220 homes closed in February 2015, up from 156 home closings in February 2014, representing year-over-year growth of 41.0%. As of the end of February 2015, the Company had 42 active selling communities. 

1:18 am Catalent announces upsize and pricing of secondary public offering of common stock by certain stockholders (CTLT) : Co announced the pricing of an upsized secondary public offering of 23.7 million shares of its common stock by certain of its stockholders at a price to the public of $29.50 per share. 

12:16 am Farmers Capital Bank Corp announces termination of regulatory agreement at bank subsidiary (FFKT) : Co announced on March 3, 2015, United Bank & Trust Company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company, received written notification from the FDIC and the Kentucky Department of Financial Institutions that, as a result of their recent examination of the Bank, the Memorandum of Understanding entered into between the parties in January of 2014 has been terminated effective immediately. 

  • As a result of termination of the Memorandum, the requirement that United Bank maintain minimum Tier 1 (Leverage) Capital Ratio and Total Risk-Based Capital Ratio of 9.0% and 13.0%, respectively, no longer applies. United Bank had a Tier 1 (Leverage) Capital Ratio of 11.08% and Total Risk-Based Capital Ratio of 19.26% at December 31, 2014.

12:12 am Tekmira Pharma: 99.5% of Shareholders vote in favor of merger (TKMR) : Co announced the voting results from its Special Meeting of Shareholders. Shareholders voted 99.5% in favor of the Agreement and Plan of Merger, dated as of January 11, 2015, with OnCore Biopharma and the issuance of common shares of Tekmira pursuant to the terms of the Merger Agreement. 

12:11 am Actavis prices of public offering of Senior Notes in connection with pending acquisition of Allergan (AGN) (ACT) : Actavis (ACT) announced that it has priced an offering of $21 billion aggregate principal amount of senior unsecured notes in 10 tranches in a registered public offering to be issued by its indirect wholly-owned subsidiary, Actavis Funding SCS, and guaranteed by certain of its other subsidiaries, as follows: 

  • $500,000,000 Floating Rate Senior Notes due2016
  • $1,000,000,000 1.850% Senior Notes due2017
  • $3,000,000,000 2.350% Senior Notes due2018
  • $500,000,000 Floating Rate Senior Notes due2018
  • $3,500,000,000 3.000% Senior Notes due2020
  • $500,000,000 Floating Rate Senior Notes due2020
  • $3,000,000,000 3.450% Senior Notes due2022
  • $4,000,000,000 3.800% Senior Notes due 2025
  • $2,500,000,000 4.550% Senior Notes due 2035
  • $2,500,000,000 4.750% Senior Notes due 2045

12:00 am ARM Holdings and Tencent (TCEHY) Games collaborate to advance mobile gaming (ARMH) : ARM (ARMH) and Tencent Games today announced a strategic partnership aimed at enriching mobile gamers' graphic experiences. Through this partnership, Tencent mobile game developers will gain access to a wide range of leading-edge hardware, tools and expertise. This will enable the development of games that efficiently deliver superior 2D and 3D graphic experiences including the most complex geometries, richer textures and faster frame rates. As a result of the collaboration, gamers in China will benefit from an improved mobile gaming experience. 

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