InPlay from Briefing.com

6:07 pm Qihoo 360 Tech. beats by $0.09, reports revs in-line (QIHU) :

Reports Q2 (Jun) earnings of $0.82 per share, $0.09 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.73; revenues rose 37.9% year/year to $438.33 mln vs the $438.09 mln consensus.

  • Total monthly active users of Qihoo 360's PC-based products and services reached 514 million in June 2015, compared to 496 million in June 2014
  • As previously announced, the Company's board of directors received a preliminary non-binding "going-private" proposal from a group of investors led by Mr. Hongyi Zhou, chairman and chief executive officer of the Company in June. The Company's board of directors formed a special committee to consider the non-binding "going private" proposal. The Board cautions the Company's shareholders and others considering trading in the Company's securities that no decision has been made on the response to the proposal.

5:55 pm General Growth increases quarterly dividend to $0.18/share from $0.17/share (GGP) :  

5:41 pm Cross Country completes the sale of its Education Business for ~$8 mln, revises Q3 guidance (CCRN) :

The Company intends to use the net proceeds from the transaction to finance further investments for revenue growth including future acquisitions, to implement and finance its strategic objectives, to reduce debt and for general business purposes. The Company revised its guidance range for the quarter to reflect the impact of the divestiture.

  • The co now sees Q3 revenues of $190-195 mln (vs. prior guidance of $192-197 mln), adjusted-EPS of $0.10-0.12 (unchanged from prior guidance). Co also lowered its gross profit margin to $24.9-25.4% from prior guidance of 25.2-25.7%. Adjusted EBITDA margin remain unchanged at 4.2-4.7%

5:36 pm Baxalta files for a $1.45 bln common stock offering on behalf of Baxter (BAX) (BXLT) : The co filed a Registration Statement on Form S-1 with the SEC in connection with the proposed secondary offering of up to $1.45 billion of common stock of the company currently held by Baxter International Inc. (BAX). Baxalta is not selling any shares in the offering and will not receive any proceeds from the offering.

5:31 pm Vantage Drilling receives termination notice from Petrobras for the Provision of Services Contract for the Titanium Explorer, files arbitration challenging the termination (VTG) : The Notice alleges that Vantage has breached its obligations under the Drilling Contract. The Notice does not provide any explanation as to the facts and conduct that constitute a breach by Vantage of its obligations under the Drilling Contract. Vantage has filed for arbitration to challenge the assertions made in the Notice and to assert that the Notice is a wrongful attempt to terminate the Drilling Contract.

5:29 pm CBOE Holdings reports August 2015 trading volumes; average daily volume +26% y/y, +23% m/m (CBOE) : The co reported that total trading volume in August for options contracts on Chicago Board Options Exchange and C2 Options Exchangeand futures contracts on CBOE Futures Exchange was 125.2 million contracts, an increase of 18 percent from July 2015 and an increase of 26 percent from August 2014. Numerous trading records were set at CBOE Holdings in August, including new single-day volume highs for CBOE, C2, total index options and S&P 500 Index options, and new monthly average daily volume records in CBOE Volatility Index options and S&P 500 Index options. Total options and futures ADV at CBOE Holdings for August was 6.0 million contracts, an increase of 23 percent from July 2015 and an increase of 26 percent from August 2014. 

5:04 pm Manitowoc announces the initial filing of a Form 10 Registration Statement with the SEC in connection with its plan to separate its Cranes and Foodservice businesses; expects spin-off to be completed in 1Q16 (MTW) :  

4:49 pm ION Geophysical announces PPMA contract to acquire 8,000 kilometers of seismic data covering the entire Somalia Puntland offshore margin (IO) :  

4:46 pm WPX Energy completes the divestiture of its remaining mature coalbed methane properties in Wyoming's Powder River Basin, targeting another $400-$500 mln in asset sales in 2016 (WPX) :  

4:45 pm WTI crude oil prices pull back some in electronic trade following the API oil storage data, which showed a build of 7.6 mln barrels (last week showed a draw of 7.3 mln) (:COMDX) :  

4:44 pm SPX Corp announces new Board members, effective upon the spin-off of SPX FLOW, which is expected to be completed near end of Q3 (SPW) : The co announced David A. Roberts and Dr. Ruth G. Shaw as new members of the Board of Directors for SPX Corporation, effective upon the previously announced spin-off of SPX FLOW, Inc. which is expected to be completed near the end of the third quarter. In addition, Mr. Roberts has been elected to serve as Chair of the Compensation Committee and Dr. Shaw has been elected to serve as Chair of the Nominating and Governance Committee.

4:42 pm Advanced Emissions Solutions to wind down its manufacturing operations at its fabrication facility in McKeesport, PA (ADES) :

The co announced that it is realigning its Dry Sorbent Injection system manufacturing offerings to meet the needs of the future market. The Company will wind down its manufacturing operations at its fabrication facility in McKeesport, PA later this year in order to focus on its engineering, design, onsite installation and ongoing product support. To supply DSI systems in the future, the Company will use outside firms for the fabrication, which is how the Company produces its Activated Carbon Injection Systems

  • In connection with these actions, the Company currently expects to record an aggregate restructuring charge related to one-time termination benefits in the range of approximately $0.7 million to $0.9 million. The Company also expects to incur additional charges as a result of the Restructuring Plan, including facility-related charges in the range of approximately $0.9 million to $1.2 million.
  • The Company expects that the Restructuring Plan will result in future aggregate cash expenditures in the range of approximately $1.6 million to $2.1 million.

4:39 pm Tronox comments on S&P ratings change, says plan to fulfill its debt service obligations and dividend payments remains on track (TROX) :

Citing continued softness in TiO2 pigment pricing, Standard & Poor's lowered the company's debt rating by one notch. The company believes the impact of this action will be to increase its annual interest cost by approximately $3.7 million. Tronox believes there is no incremental risk to its debt or the company as a whole after this rating change than there was before it.

  • Tronox says it remains confident that its plan to fulfill its debt service obligations and dividend payments, while achieving free cash flow positive status in 2016, remains on track and believes there is no risk associated with the full satisfaction of its obligations under any of its debt facilities.

4:33 pm Gray Television reaches an agreement withThe Gazette Company to acquire KCRG-TV, the ABC affiliate for the Cedar Rapids, Iowa, for ~$100.0 million in cash (GTN) :  

4:32 pm Amgen enters into neuroscience collaboration with Novartis (NVS) for Alzheimer's disease and migraine programs (AMGN) :

Amgen (AMGN) announced a neuroscience collaboration with Novartis (NVS) in the areas of Alzheimer's disease and migraine. The collaboration accelerates Amgen's potential entry into Alzheimer's disease by teaming up with Novartis on a differentiated and genetically validated Alzheimer's disease program directed at genetically predisposed individuals at risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. The collaboration also enables Amgen to focus on the commercialization of its migraine programs in the U.S., Canada and Japan, while leveraging Novartis' strong commercial capabilities in neuroscience throughout Europe and other markets worldwide.

  • The agreement combines each company's BACE (beta-site APP-cleaving enzyme-1) programs targeting Alzheimer's disease into a global co-commercialization and co-development arrangement. Novartis' Phase 1/2a BACE inhibitor (CNP520) will be the lead molecule and each company's pre-clinical BACE inhibitor programs will be potential follow-ons. Amgen will make upfront and milestone payments, and will be responsible for disproportional research and development (R&D) costs for an agreed-upon period followed by a 50/50 cost and profit share arrangement.  
  • As part of the collaboration, Novartis receives global co-development rights and commercial rights outside of the U.S., Canada and Japan to the investigative molecules in Amgen's migraine portfolio program. In exchange for territory rights, Novartis will fund disproportional amounts of global R&D expenses for an agreed-upon period on the migraine programs and pay Amgen double-digit royalties on sales.

4:31 pm CEL-SCI Corp announces that it enrolled 19 patients in its ongoing Phase 3 trial of its investigational immunotherapy Multikine in August, totaling 540 (CVM) : A total of 880 patients are expected to be enrolled, through approximately 100 clinical centers in over 20 countries.

4:31 pm FTI Consulting issues a redemption notice for ~$207.1 mln of its 6.75% Senior Notes due 2020 (FCN) :  

4:20 pm MiMedx Group Correction: MTF reconfirms favorable ruling from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (MDXG) : The Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation (:MTF) reconfirms that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board of the United States Patent and Trademark Office has ruled in favor of MTF's inter partes review challenge to the EpiFix patent (U.S. Patent No. 8,372,437) asserted in the related lawsuit brought by MiMedx (MDXG) against MTF, Liventa Bioscience, Inc., and Medline Industries, Inc. The '437 Patent is the initial patent in a family that includes two other EpiFix patents involved in the MiMedx lawsuit (i.e., US Patent Nos. 8,597,687 and 8,709,494).

Briefing.com note: Earlier we incorrectly indicated that MDXG rather than MTF confirmed the ruling, when in fact MTF issued the related announcement. Our prior comment has been removed.

4:16 pm Integra LifeSciences expands credit facility to $1.1 bln from $900 mln (IART) : Integra LifeSciences does not expect this increase in credit facility to have a material impact on 2015 financial performance.

4:16 pm Nevro submits its preliminary response to the Patent Trial and Appeals Board, in response to two petitions for inter partes review filed by a unit of Boston Scientific Corporation (BSX) (NVRO) : Co announced that the company has submitted its preliminary response to the Patent Trial and Appeals Board in response to two petitions for inter partes review, filed by a unit of Boston Scientific Corporation (BSX), challenging the validity of certain claims with regard to its '102 patent

4:16 pm HeartWare International to acquire Valtech Cardio, Ltd. (HTWR) :

Valtech is a privately held company that specializes in the development of innovative surgical and transcatheter valve repair and replacement devices for the treatment of the most prevalent heart valve diseases -- mitral valve regurgitation (MR) and tricuspid valve regurgitation

  • According to the terms of the agreement, Valtech shareholders will receive an up-front consideration of 4.4 mln shares of HeartWare common stock; 800,000 shares of HeartWare common stock, contingent upon CE Mark approval for Cardioband; and 700,000 shares of HeartWare common stock upon the earlier of first-in-man implants for either Cardioband tricuspid or CardioValve. The transaction also includes warrants to purchase 850,000 shares of HeartWare common stock at an exercise price of $83.73 per share (based on a volume weighted average price of HeartWare shares) exercisable upon attainment of $75 mln in net sales (trailing 12 months) of Valtech products, and an earn-out payment of $375 mln (payable in cash or stock, at the discretion of HeartWare), upon attainment of $450 mln of net sales (trailing 12 months) of Valtech products.

4:15 pm The Fresh Market names Richard Anicetti as new CEO effective September 1 (TFM) : Anicetti joins The Fresh Market with more than 30 years of experience across all key retail functions at Hannaford Brothers Co. and Food Lion LLC. He served for eight years as CEO of Food Lion grocery stores, a subsidiary of Delhaize Group (DEG) with more than 1,300 locations primarily in the southeastern US.

4:14 pm AeroVironment misses by $0.08, misses on revs; guides FY16 revs in-line (AVAV) : Reports Q1 (Jul) loss of $0.24 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.08 worse than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of ($0.16); revenues fell 9.3% year/year to $47.1 mln vs the $53.9 mln consensus. Co issues in-line guidance for FY16, sees FY16 revs of $260-280 mln vs. $269.5 mln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate.

4:10 pm Guidewire Software beats by $0.09, beats on revs; guides Q1 EPS midpoint below consensus, revs below consensus; guides FY16 EPS below consensus, revs below consensus (GWRE) :

Reports Q4 (Jul) earnings of $0.35 per share, $0.09 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.26; revenues rose 6.5% year/year to $125.9 mln vs the $122.2 mln consensus.

  • Co issues downside guidance for Q1, sees EPS of $0.01-0.05 vs. $0.05 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate; sees Q1 revs of $78.5-82.5 mln vs. $85.05 mln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate.
  • Co issues downside guidance for FY16, sees EPS of $0.54-0.63 vs. $0.64 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate; sees FY16 revs of $405-415 mln vs. $416.39 mln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate. 
  • Total license revenue, including term and perpetual licenses, for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2015 was $73.4 mln, an increase of 11% from the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2014. Term license revenue was $68.6 mln, a 16% increase from the comparable period in fiscal year 2014, while revenue from perpetual licenses was $4.8 mln, a decrease of 27%.

4:09 pm Bob Evans beats by $0.21, reports revs in-line; guides FY16 EPS in-line, revs in-line; board authorizes pursuit of a $200 mln sale-leaseback transaction (BOBE) :

Reports Q1 (Jul) earnings of $0.51 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.21 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.30; revenues fell 1.4% year/year to $321.7 mln vs the $324.1 mln consensus. Co issues in-line guidance for FY16, sees EPS of $1.85-2.00, excluding non-recurring items, vs. $1.85 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate; sees FY16 revs of $1.33-1.39 bln vs. $1.36 bln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate.

  • "At Bob Evan's Restaurants, we are implementing our strategy of improving the quality of our food offerings; significantly lowering discounting that was historically utilized to drive transactions; and optimizing our investments in labor to deliver a better guest experience. We are continuing our CEO search..."
  • Co says it has completed its review of alternatives concerning a transaction for its owned restaurant properties and determined, along with our external advisors, that a sale-leaseback transaction of up to $200 million is the most appropriate path. Co anticipates net proceeds of $165-170 mln from such a transaction. The sale-leaseback of the restaurant properties would be in addition to the previously announced pursuit of a sale-leaseback of its headquarters building and select industrial properties for which co expects net proceeds of $85-90 mln. Co expects to complete such transaction(s) in 2H of fiscal 2016.

4:09 pm Exa beats by $0.02, reports revs in-line; guides Q3 revs in-line; guides FY16 revs in-line (EXA) :

Reports Q2 (Jul) loss of $0.06 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.02 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of ($0.08); revenues rose 4.7% year/year to $15.5 mln vs the $15.53 mln consensus.

  • Co issues in-line guidance for Q3, sees Q3 revs of $16.4-17.2 mln vs. $16.98 mln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate.
  • Co issues in-line guidance for FY16, sees FY16 revs of $64.7-67.0 mln vs. $65.68 mln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate.

4:09 pm BofI Holding closes the purchase and assumption transaction with H&R Block Bank (HRB) (BOFI) : At the time of closing, BOFI received $419 million of cash and assumed an equal amount of deposit liabilities from H&R Block Bank. The Bank also acquired a de-minimis amount of non-cash assets at zero cost.

4:09 pm Shoe Carnival beats by $0.06, reports revs in-line; guides FY16 EPS, reaffirms FY16 revs guidance (SCVL) :

Reports Q2 (Jul) earnings of $0.24 per share, $0.06 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.18; revenues rose 2.6% year/year to $227.8 mln vs the $228.27 mln consensus. Comparable store sales increased 0.5 percent, in-line with the Company's guidance. Comparable store sales were in-line with our expectations as the solid start to the quarter was muted by an anticipated shift in tax-free holidays to the third quarter of this year from the second quarter of fiscal 2014.We believe our assortment of branded, family footwear, favorable inventory position, and our multi-channel initiatives positioned us well to capture the robust back-to-school sales with our August comparable store sales up high single digits."  

  • Co sees FY16 EPS of $1.42-1.48 vs. $1.48 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate; sees FY16 revs of $977-991 mln vs. $986.07 mln Capital IQ  Consensus Estimate. Sees comparable store sales increase in the range of 1.5-3.0%.

4:08 pm Closing Market Summary: Persistent Growth Concerns Send Stocks Lower (:WRAPX) :

The stock market began September on a defensive note with a broad-based retreat that sent the S&P 500 lower by 3.0%. The benchmark index widened its Q3 loss to 7.0% while the Dow (-2.8%) and Nasdaq Composite (-2.9%) spent the day just ahead of the S&P 500.

Equity indices slumped at the start, responding to the overnight weakness in the futures market. To that point, index futures began retreating shortly after yesterday's closing bell and extended their losses during the Asian session with disappointing manufacturing data from China contributing to the cautious posture. Specifically, the official Manufacturing PMI slipped to 49.7 from 50.0 while the Caixin Manufacturing PMI ticked up to 47.3 from 47.2, but both readings came in below 50.0, which signifies contraction. The Shanghai Composite began the month with a 1.2% slide while the disappointing data from China reminded global investors about the persistent growth concerns.

Investor sentiment saw little improvement during the European session as Germany's DAX, France's CAC, and UK's FTSE retreated throughout the day, posting losses between 2.4% and 3.0%. Once the U.S. session got going, equity indices retreated with dip-buyers showing little willingness to step into the fold. The second-largest sector by weight-financials (-3.5%)-underperformed throughout the day, which short-circuited any and all attempts at a rebound.

Similar to financials, the energy sector (-3.7%) displayed relative weakness since the opening bell. Crude oil continued its wild ride, which contributed to the daylong underperformance in the sector. The energy component plunged 7.7% to $45.41/bbl on Tuesday after soaring nearly 30.0% during the previous three sessions.

Elsewhere, the top-weighted technology sector (-3.4%) traded ahead of the broader market during morning action, but slipped behind the S&P 500 during the final hour as stocks headed to new lows for the day. The late selling was met with new highs in the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX 32.29, +3.86), which climbed into the 32.0% area as investors piled into downside protection.

With the key indices losing close to 3.0% apiece, more than 2700 NYSE-listed stocks ended the day with losses while only 428 issues registered gains.

The sell-off invited above-average trading volume as more than a billion shares changed hands at the NYSE floor.

Interestingly, Treasuries set their highs during overnight action and spent the day just below those highs while equities retreated. As a result, the 10-yr yield fell five basis points to 2.17%.

Economic data was limited to Construction Spending and ISM:

  • Construction spending increased 0.7% in July after increasing an upwardly revised 0.7% (from 0.1%) in June while the Briefing.com consensus expected an increase of 0.5%
    • Private residential construction increased 1.1% in July, up from a 0.9% increase in June
    • Private nonresidential construction spending rebounded in July, rising 1.5% after declining 0.7% in June
      • Big reversals were recorded in the manufacturing (4.7% from -0.5%) and power (2.1% from -0.7%) sectors while spending on lodging (-1.1%) and commercial (-1.0%) buildings declined
  • The ISM Manufacturing Index declined to 51.1 in August from 52.7 in July while the Briefing.com consensus expected a decline to 52.6
    • The August decline came during a period where multiple regional Federal Reserve manufacturing surveys showed sizable contractions in manufacturing activities

Tomorrow, the weekly MBA Mortgage Index will be released at 7:00 ET while the August ADP Employment Change survey (Briefing.com consensus 203K) will cross the wires at 8:15 ET. Q2 Productivity and Unit Labor Cost data will follow at 8:30 ET while the Factory Orders report for July (Briefing.com consensus 0.9%) will be reported at 10:00 ET. The day's data will be topped off with the 14:00 ET release of the Federal Reserve's September Beige Book.

  • Nasdaq Composite -2.1% YTD
  • S&P 500 -7.0% YTD
  • Russell 2000 -6.5% YTD
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average -9.9% YTD

4:07 pm Ambarella beats by $0.07, beats on revs (AMBA) :

Reports Q2 (Jul) earnings of $0.88 per share, $0.07 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.81; revenues rose 79.1% year/year to $84.2 mln vs the $81.73 mln consensus.

  • Gross margin on a non-GAAP basis for the second quarter of fiscal 2016 was 65.3%, compared with 65.1% for the same period in fiscal 2015.

  • Commentary: "Revenue from our existing wearable, IP security and automotive video recorder camera markets grew significantly in the quarter, and we saw solid growth from drones or flying cameras. We also closed on the purchase of VisLab S.r.l., which adds a strong development team as well as advanced intellectual property in computer vision technology..."

4:07 pm H & R Block beats by $0.04, beats on revs (HRB) :

Reports Q1 (Jul) loss of $0.35 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.04 better than the Capital IQ Consensus of ($0.39); revenues rose 3.0% year/year to $138 mln vs the $136.1 mln consensus. 

  • Tax Services rev increased 2.7% to $133 million, due primarily to higher Peace of Mind (POM) revenues and royalties, partially offset by the negative impact of foreign currency rates.

4:06 pm Synopsys announces that its Board has replenished its existing stock repurchase authorization back to $500 mln (SNPS) :  

4:06 pm Zosano Pharma completes enrollment in its Phase 1 clinical study for a novel method, to deliver treatments for migraine headaches; expects data by the end of the year (ZSAN) :  

4:05 pm Shake Shack to open first Tokyo location this winter (SHAK) :  

4:04 pm EnteroMedics announces that analyses of the ReCharge Study demonstrated Excess Weight Loss of 34% and significant improvements in obesity-related risk factors for vBloc Therapy treated, moderately obese patients who had at least one comorbidity (ETRM) : Mean EWL at 12 months in the per-protocol group (defined as subjects with 12 month data, correct treatment randomization who received treatment within 45 days of implant) was 34+26% (95% CI, 26 to 41) in vBloc group and 19+18% (95% CI, 12 to 27) in sham group. 87% of the subjects remained in both groups at the end of the 12 months. No serious device-related complications were observed in the first year.

4:03 pm Check Point Software separates the position of Chairman and CEO; appoints Marius Nacht as non-executive Chairman of the Board (CHKP) :  

4:03 pm Amgen and UCB announce positive top-line results from their open-label phase 3 study of Romosozumab, showing the study met its primary endpoint (AMGN) :

Cos announced top-line results from the STRUCTURE trial (STudy evaluating effect of RomosozUmab Compared with Teriparatide in postmenopaUsal women with osteoporosis at high risk for fracture pReviously treated with bisphosphonatE therapy). The study met the primary endpoint, demonstrating a statistically significant difference in favor of romosozumab in the percent change of total hip bone mineral density through month 12.

  • Adverse events in patients treated with romosozumab were similar to those previously reported and no new safety signals were detected. Adverse events reported in the romosozumab arm in more than five percent of patients were nasopharyngitis, arthralgia, back pain, headache and fall.

4:03 pm Ardelyx announces that Sanofi (SNY) has notified the company of its termination of the option and license agreement for Ardelyx's portfolio of NaP2b inhibitors, effective September 30 (ARDX) :

  • Co announced that Sanofi notified Ardelyx of its termination of the option and license agreement for Ardelyx's portfolio of NaP2b inhibitors effective September 30, 2015.
  • There was no payment associated with termination and the return of rights.

4:03 pm H & R Block announces bank divestiture transaction now closed; announces new a $3.5 billion share repurchase program, modified Dutch auction (HRB) :

Co announced that it has closed its transaction to divest H&R Block Bank.

  • Co reaffirms it expects the ongoing annual net financial impact to be dilutive by approximately $0.08 to $0.10 per share beginning in fiscal year 2016. The company also expects to incur one-time charges for transaction and related costs of approximately $0.02 to $0.03 per share in fiscal year 2016.
  • Co also announced a $3.5 billion share repurchase program, a new committed line of credit ("CLOC"), and incremental debt. 
  • Under the new share repurchase program, the company announced today that it plans to launch a "modified Dutch auction" tender offer to purchase up to $1.5 billion of its common stock, at a price per share of not less than $32.25 and not greater than $37.00.

4:03 pm Horsehead Holding provides update on operations at its Mooresboro, North Carolina zinc production facility (ZINC) : The Company reported that the facility produced approximately 3,200 tons of zinc metal in August, bringing the quarter-to-date production to over 7,000 tons after two months. Production in August was limited by two primary factors: (1) equipment downtime primarily related to plugging of lines carrying feedstock, gypsum and lime which forced us to idle the plant for several days while these issues were being addressed and (2) lower than expected current efficiency in the cell house which resulted in reduced production for a given power input. Modifications were made to reduce the frequency of the plugging issues and the current efficiency improved during the month and is expected to continue to improve in September.

4:02 pm WEX acquires remaining 49% stake in UNIK S.A; terms not disclosed (WEX) : UNIK is a provider of salary payment and freight cards in Brazil. UNIK's cards are accepted at over 1.8 million commercial establishments in Brazil.

4:02 pm Intra-Cellular Therapies announces the publication of previously announced positive results from its ITI-007 Phase 2 clinical trial in patients with schizophrenia (ITCI) :

In the trial, ITI-007 significantly improved symptoms in patients experiencing an acute exacerbation of schizophrenia at a dose of 60 mg daily, as demonstrated by a statistically significant separation from placebo on the PANSS total score at 4 weeks, the primary endpoint. Additionally, ITI-007 was found to be comparable to placebo on measures of safety and tolerability. 

  • Based on the positive Phase 2 results, the Company initiated the Phase 3 ITI-007 program in schizophrenia in late 2014 and data from the first Phase 3 trial (ITI-007-301) are expected late in the third quarter or early in the fourth quarter of this year. A second phase 3 schizophrenia trial (ITI-007-302) is ongoing.

4:01 pm Flexion Therapeutics announces FDA fast track designation for its FX006 candidate, to help treat patients receiving IA injections for osteoarthritis of the knee (FLXN) : Co is currently studying FX006 in a Phase 2b pivotal trial, with top-line data expected to be announced soon, as well as in a Phase 3 clinical trial for which it expects to share data in the first quarter of 2016.

4:01 pm EVERTEC to purchase 65% of the share capital of Processa S.A.S for ~$5.4 mln (EVTC) : Co announced that it entered into an agreement on August 28, 2015 to purchase 65% of the share capital of Processa S.A.S., a Colombian company that is based in Bogot and engaged in the business of payment processing and supply of related services and equipment in Colombia. The aggregate purchase price for the shares equals approximately COP 16,728 million, or approximately US$5.4 million at current exchange rates, and is subject to customary adjustments.

4:00 pm Wright Medical announces FDA approval for its Premarket Approval Application of its Augment Bone Graft (WMGI) :

  • Co announced that its BioMimetic subsidiary has received an approval order from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (:FDA) for its Premarket Approval Application (:PMA) for AUGMENT Bone Graft.
  • The approval order indicates that FDA determined that AUGMENT Bone Graft is safe and effective as an alternative to autograft for ankle and/or hindfoot fusion indications. Wright can now initiate commercial sale and distribution of AUGMENT Bone Graft in the U.S.
  • The co continues to anticipate AUGMENT revenue in the U.S. to be in the range of $10-12 mln in the first seven to eight months post-approval.
  • The revenue ramp is expected to build gradually during the first six months following the launch of the product as launch activities, such as review by hospital value analysis committees and physician education, are initiated.
  • The co expects to begin selling product in the U.S. in the next several weeks once inventory is moved into its U.S. distribution network

3:54 pm Floor Talk (:TALKX) :

Just an ugly start to the month of September, which has compounded an ugly trading week that is just two days old.  The significant reaction to the weaker than expected manufacturing PMI readings around the globe, China and the US included, underscored a recognition that last week's major rebound was shallow in its conviction.

This roller-coaster action within a new, lower trading range (roughly 1870-2000) is likely something market participants will have to get used to.  Even with today's losses, the S&P 500 isn't cheap on a valuation basis.  It is trading at roughly 16x forward twelve month earnings, which is in-line with its 15-year historical average, according to data from S&P Capital IQ.

In other words, it still has a full valuation in an environment that is riddled with angst about slowing economic growth, falling earnings estimates, and rising interest rates.

The kicker today is that the broad-based, and material, losses came after a spate of data that presumably lessened the chances of the Federal Reserve raising the fed funds rate later this month.

The market of course still has its eye on Friday's employment report, and the average hourly earnings number in particular, yet the concern about a policy mistake being made has clearly gone up as stock prices have continued to come down.

With that in mind, the market could have an even bigger mess on its hands if economic data continues to lean to the softer side of things and the data-dependent Federal Reserve still talks its way into rationalizing a rate hike in September.

3:46 pm Earnings Calendar (:SUMRX) :

Today after the close look for the following companies to report:

  • QIHU, BOBE, SCVL, HRB, GWRE, AMBA, AVAV, EXA, PRGN

Tomorrow before the open look for the following companies to report:

  • NAV, GIII, ISLE, VRA

3:31 pm New session lows for major averages in late trade -- Dow -459, S&P -57, Nasdaq Comp -133 (:TECHX) :  

3:22 pm Hill International acquires an additional ownership stake in its Brazilian subsidiary Engineering S.A., increasing ownership from ~72% to ~91% (HIL) :  

3:12 pm Porsche Cars North America reports August 2015 sales increased 10.3% YoY to 5,008 vehicles (POAHY.PK) :

  • The Cayman model line, supported by deliveries of the GT4, had a successful month with sales up 77.5 percent compared with August 2014.
  • The Macan and Panamera model lines also achieved increases compared to the same month last year, up 38.3 and 8.6 percent respectively.
  • Year-to-date, PCNA has delivered 34,876 Porsche vehicles, yielding a sales increase of 9.8 percent year-over-year.

2:36 pm New afternoon/session lows for the market averages followed by a limited bounce -- Dow -387, S&P -46, Nasdaq Comp -105 (:TECHX) :  

2:19 pm Hyundai Motor America reports August 2015 sales increased 2.9% YoY to 72,012 units (HYMTF) :  

1:37 pm Press Ganey announced the acquisition of Healthcare Performance Improvement, a patient safety and reliability consulting and coaching firm; no financial terms disclosed (PGND) :  

1:34 pm Tsakos Energy announces the charter renewal of a handysize product carrier to a major state oil company for a period of twenty-four months (TNP) : This charter, commencing in September 2015, is at a 20.0% premium to the previous rate and is expected to generate approximately $13.0 million in total gross revenues. As a result, this latest fixture along with the five charters announced last month, for a suezmax crude tanker and four MR product carriers, increases the total minimum charter revenues of the fleet under secured employment to over $750.0 million.

1:24 pm Stock indices continue to grind slowly lower -- Dow -437, S&P -53, Nasdaq Comp -118 (:TECHX) : Following the lateral chop in the S&P on both sides of the 50% retrace of last week's recovery (1930) for the first few hours the index has drifted slowly lower. The 62% retrace and congest is in the 1915/1913 zone (session low 1918).

1:16 pm EMC announces that its XtremIO all flash array business, has achieved $1 billion in aggregate bookings since its commercial debut (EMC) :  

1:01 pm Stock indices extend slide under first hour lows -- Dow -417, S&P -51, Nasdaq Comp -112 (:TECHX) :  

12:59 pm Midday Market Summary: Defensive Start to September (:WRAPX) :

The major averages trade broadly lower at midday with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (-2.5%) and S&P 500 (-2.6%) trailing the Nasdaq Composite (-2.3%).

Equity indices slumped out of the gate after index futures retreated throughout the night. The futures market began seeing weakness shortly after yesterday's cash close with disappointing manufacturing data from China contributing to the cautious posture. Specifically, the official Manufacturing PMI slipped to 49.7 from 50.0 while the Caixin Manufacturing PMI ticked up to 47.3 from 47.2, but both readings came in below 50.0, which signifies contraction.

The cautious posture displayed during Asian trade carried over to Europe where major regional indices ended with losses between 2.4% and 3.0%.

Once the U.S. market opened, the key indices slumped, and they have languished near their early lows since then. Dip-buyers have been unwilling to step into the fold so far today as the second-largest sector-financials (-3.2%)-trades at the bottom of the leaderboard.

Elsewhere among influential sectors, technology (-2.5%) has kept pace with the broader market while health care (-2.2%) trades a bit ahead after surrendering 8.1% in August. Also of note, the energy sector (-3.2%) is among the weakest performers as crude oil pulls back after spiking nearly 30.0% in three days. Currently, WTI crude trades down 6.7% at $45.91/bbl, returning into the bottom half of yesterday's trading range.

Once again, with the market enduring another large swing, stock-specific news has been of second mind. Investors received just a handful of quarterly earnings this morning with Dollar Tree (DLTR 70.72, -5.54) trading lower by 7.3% after missing estimates and guiding lower.

Treasuries have held gains since the early going, but they have backed away from their highs, leaving the 10-yr yield lower by four basis points at 2.18%.

Economic data was limited to Construction Spending and ISM:

  • Construction spending increased 0.7% in July after increasing an upwardly revised 0.7% (from 0.1%) in June while the Briefing.com consensus expected an increase of 0.5%
    • Private residential construction increased 1.1% in July, up from a 0.9% increase in June
    • Private nonresidential construction spending rebounded in July, rising 1.5% after declining 0.7% in June.
      • Big reversals were recorded in the manufacturing (4.7% from -0.5%) and power (2.1% from -0.7%) sectors while spending on lodging (-1.1%) and commercial (-1.0%) buildings declined
  • The ISM Manufacturing Index declined to 51.1 in August from 52.7 in July while the Briefing.com consensus expected a decline to 52.6
    • The August decline came during a period where multiple regional Federal Reserve manufacturing surveys showed sizable contractions in manufacturing activities

12:55 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

  • VMW (79.81 +0.83%): Upgraded to Outperform at Robert W. Baird; $95 tgt.
  • BIIB (297.35 +0.02%): Initiated with a Strong Buy at Raymond James.

Large Cap Losers

  • FCX (9.81 -7.85%): Downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Citigroup.
  • NFLX (106.46 -7.45%): Underperforming following reports Apple (AAPL) is in talks with various TV producers to create original content, and exclusive shows for Apple TV.
  • DLTR (70.77 -7.2%): Missed Q2 consensus EPS estimates by $0.01, missed on revs; guided Q3 revs below consensus; guided FY16 revs below consensus.

Mid Cap Gainers

  • SUNE (10.85 +4.37%): Point72 Asset Management disclosed an increased 5.1% passive stake.
  • ALKS (60.88 +2.22%): Upgraded to Overweight at Morgan Stanley.
  • CAB (45.69 +1.6%): Announced a new $500 mln share repurchase program.

Mid Cap Losers

  • SAIC (43.94 -9.91%): Reported Q2 (Jul) earnings of $0.66 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.01 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.65; revenues rose 15.4% year/year to $1.1 bln vs the $1.12 bln consensus.
  • GPRO (42.21 -9.4%): Cautious commentary from Cleveland Research indicating supply chain tracking for Sept. qtr shipments looks below expectations.
  • OII (40.75 -7.01%): Speaking at a Morgan Stanley conference, EVP Marvin J. Migura spoke on business trends and current industry conditions and admitted their second half outlook by business segment may have been a bit optimistic.

12:49 pm Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz unit reports August 2015 sales increased 3.2% YoY to 31,250 units (DDAIF) :

  • The Mercedes-Benz brand tallied 28,373 units sold, a 4.8% increase over August 2014.
  • Sprinter delivered 2,260 sales for the month of August, up 15.3% for the year, while smart recorded 617 units in August.
  • On a year-to-date basis, Mercedes-Benz retails totaled 220,870, up 7.3%.
  • Adding year-to-date sales of 17,957 for Sprinter Vans and 4,682 for smart, MBUSA posted a grand total of 243,509 units through August.

12:47 pm Slow slide slightly under first hour lows -- Dow -409, S&P -49, Nasdaq Comp -105 (:TECHX) :  

12:42 pm Narrow trade near lows persists -- Dow -412, S&P -49, Nasdaq Comp -106 (:TECHX) : The S&P set a new session low by less than one point while the Dow and Nasdaq Comp continued to drift. The lateral consolidation that has formed in the wake of the early decline continues to reflect little interest despite the sizeable early retreat.

12:35 pm BMW Group reports August 2015 sales which increased 2.0% YoY to 27,755 vehicles; total including MINI was also up 2.0% YoY (BAMXY) :

  • In total, the BMW Group in the U.S. (BMW and MINI combined) reportedAugust sales of 32,864 vehicles, an increase of 2.0 percent from the 32,219 vehicles sold in the same month a year ago.
  • Year-to-date, BMW Group sales are 263,908 vehicles, a 7.3 percent increase from the same period last year.
  • For August, MINI USA reports 5,109 automobiles sold, an increase of 2.1 percent from the 5,006 sold in the same month a year ago.

12:31 pm The Medicines Co confirms NEJM has published results from the antithrombin program of the MATRIX trial (MDCO) :

  • Co announced that The New England Journal of Medicine (:NEJM) has published results from the antithrombin program of the MATRIX trial, a large international, open label, multicenter clinical trial comparing the Company's anti-thrombotic agent Angiomax/ Angiox (bivalirudin) against heparin in 7,213 acute coronary syndrome (ACS.V) patients undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI).
  • The results were presented today at a Hot Line Session of ESC Congress 2015 held in London. MATRIX -- or Minimizing Adverse haemorrhagic events by TRansradial access site and systemic Implementation of angioX -- showed that Angiomax/Angiox was associated with similar rates of the primary outcome of composite major ischemic and net adverse events compared with heparin, but with significantly lower rates of the secondary outcomes of death and major bleeding. The results of the MATRIX access site program comparing femoral to radial access in 8404 ACS patients were published earlier this year in The Lancet.
  • New MATRIX insights from ESC - MATRIX did not show a statistical difference between Angiomax/Angiox and heparin on the primary outcome measures of MACE (Major Adverse Cardiovascular Events) and NACE (Net Adverse Clinical Events) due to high rates of myocardial infarction that were not different between the two treatment groups. However, the trial demonstrated a 29% reduction in the secondary endpoints of all-cause mortality and a 45% to 50% reduction in major bleeding according to the established BARC and TIMI bleeding scales respectively. There were no differences noted on stroke rates between the two study treatments. Consistent with the observations from previous multicenter trials (EUROMAX, BRIGHT), MATRIX reported that prolonged infusions at the full PCI dose may mitigate the risk for acute stent thrombosis without any excess in bleeding, while low dose prolonged infusions were not protective against stent thrombosis.

12:31 pm Rocket Fuel receives and rejects another unsolicited, conditional acquisition proposal from Gravity4; says August 30 proposal is identical to prior (shares halted for volatility) (FUEL) :

Consistent with its fiduciary duties, the Rocket Fuel Board of Directors, in consultation with its independent advisors, has evaluated the proposal and concluded that the proposal, which is highly conditional and inconsistent with customary public company transactions, is not credible. In May 2015, the Rocket Fuel Board of Directors rejected a previously submitted unsolicited, conditional proposal from Gravity4 to acquire Rocket Fuel. Highlights from the response letter sent to Gravity4 include:

  • "We are in receipt of your letter dated August 30, 2015 regarding your unsolicited proposal to acquire Rocket Fuel ("August 30th Proposal"). The August 30th Proposal is identical, except for the date and proposed "purchase price", to Gravity4's May 7, 2015 proposal to Rocket Fuel. Our Board of Directors evaluated the May 7, 2015 proposal with its independent advisors and concluded at that time that the highly conditional and non-customary nature of the proposal did not constitute a credible offer. Rocket Fuel's Board of Directors has reviewed your August 30th Proposal in consultation with its independent advisors, and concluded that the highly conditional and non-customary nature of the August 30th Proposal does not constitute a credible offer."

12:29 pm Kia Motors America reports August 2015 sales increased 7.7% YoY to 58,897 vehicles :

  • Soul sales spiked to an all-time high single nameplate monthly sales total of 17,108 units, while other top movers in August included Optima and Sorento with 13,980 and 10,211 units sold, respectively. Kia is up 5.4 percent year-to-date.

12:27 pm Stock indices are slipping back to lower end of morning ranges/session lows -- Dow -374, S&P -43, Nasdaq Comp -91 (:TECHX) :  

12:27 pm Mitsubishi Motors America reports August 2015 sales increased 22.1% YoY to 8,289 units :

This is the brand's 18th consecutive month of year-over-year sales increases.

  • Year-to-date sales are up 24.4 percent over the same period in 2014.
  • Featuring over 100 engineering and design improvements, the 2016 Outlander seven-passenger crossover vehicle went on sale in August and showed strong results.
  • Total August sales for the Outlander were 2,188, which accounted for its best August sales in 12 years; an increase of 92.9 percent over August 2014.

12:26 pm Subaru of America reports August 2015 sales increased 4.9% YoY to 52,679 vehicles :

August marks the best-ever sales month in company history, breaking the previous record set in July 2015 (50,517). The company also reported year-to-date sales of 375,632 vehicles, a 12.5 percent gain over the same period in 2014.

  • August marked the 18th consecutive month of 40,000+ vehicle sales for the company which continues to outpace the industry.
  • XV Crosstrek, Forester, Impreza, and WRX/STI sales were notably strong as each carline achieved its best August ever.
  • The Impreza posted a 19 percent increase, while the WRX/STI posted a 128 percent sales increase in August.
  • The XV Crosstrek continued to bring in strong sales with an increase of 6.7 percent, while Forester sales increased 7 percent, representing new monthly records for both carlines.

12:21 pm Interactive Brokers reports Aug metrics; DARTs +49% y/y and +13% m/m (IBKR) :

Highlights for the month included:

  • 737 thousand Daily Average Revenue Trades (DARTs), 49% higher than prior year and 13% higher than prior month.
  • Ending client equity of $62.9 bln, 13% higher than prior year and 4% lower than prior month. Ending client margin loan balances of $16.3 bln, 2% lower than prior year and 10% lower than prior month. Ending client credit balances of $35.6 bln, 21% higher than prior year and 3% higher than prior month.
  • 317 thousand client accounts, 18% higher than prior year and 1% higher than prior month. 529 annualized average cleared DARTs per client account.
  • Average commission per cleared client order of $4.15 including exchange, clearing and regulatory fees.

12:18 pm Market Internals (:MKTIN) :

The Dow is down 355 points (-2.15%) to 16173, the S&P 500 is down 42 (-2.12%) to 1930, and the Nasdaq is down 86 (-1.80%) to 4690. Action has come on higher than average volume (NYSE 402 mln vs. avg. of 325; NASDAQ 860 mln vs. avg. of 805), with decliners outpacing advancers (NYSE 471/2682, NASDAQ 603/2177) and new lows outpacing new highs (NYSE 5/58, NASDAQ 9/44).

Relative Strength:

Vix Short-Term-VXX +9.6%, Japanese Yen-FXY +1.1%, Cocoa-NIB +0.9%, Swiss Franc-FXF +0.5%, Sugar-SGG +0.5%, Indian Rupee-ICN +0.3%, 20+ Yr. Treas Bond-TLT +0.3%, Gold-GLD +0.3%, Chinese Yuan-CYB +0.2%.

Relative Weakness:

US Oil-USO -5.9%, Russia-RSX -5.7%, US Gasoline-UGA -5.6%, Clean Edge-GRID -5.6%, Copper Miners-COPX -5.2%, US Diesel/Heating Oil-UHN -5.0%, S. Africa-EZA -4.4%, Emrg. Mkts. M. East&Africa-GAF -4.2%, Australia-EWA -4.1%.

12:18 pm Argo Group announced that Alex Hindson has been appointed as chief risk officer (AGII) : Hindson joins Argo Group from Amlin AG where he served as chief risk officer for the company's Bermuda and Zurich operations.

12:15 pm Huaneng Power announces that the 660 MW coal-fired generation unit No. 2 of the project of Jiangxi Huaneng Anyuan Power Plant has recently put into operation (HNP) : The 24x2 MW wind turbines (totaling 48 MW) at Hunan Guidong Hankou Wind Farm have also recently put into operation. To-date, the Company's controlled generation capacity has increased from 80,424 MW to 81,132 MW, and the equity generation capacity has increased from 71,667 MW to 72,375 MW.

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

  • UK's FTSE:-3.0%
  • Germany's DAX:-2.4%
  • France's CAC:-2.4%
  • Spain's IBEX:-2.8%
  • Portugal's PSI:-2.6%
  • Italy's MIB Index:-2.2%
  • Irish Ovrl Index:-2.4%
  • Greece ASE General Index: -0.4%

11:41 am Mazda Motor North America reports August 2015 US sales declined 4.4% YoY to 29,938 vehicles (MZDAY) :

  • MX-5 had its best August since 2006 (1,451 units) with 1,344 vehicles, an increase of 254.6 percent YOY (379 in August 2014). This is the first whole month of sales for the all-new 2016 MX-5.
  • Mazda's all-new CX-3 sold 698 vehicles. It began arriving in dealers in mid-August.
  • Mazda CX-5 had its second-best August with 10,033 vehicles sold.
  • Mazda3 sales in August 2015 achieved 10,161 vehicles.
  • August Mazda6 sales reached 5,402 units.
  • Mazda's outstanding sixth-generation vehicles (Mazda3, Mazda6, MX-5, CX-3 and CX-5) have combined YTD sales up 6.4 percent.

11:28 am Neonode signs a multi-year, multi-device license agreement with a leading Japanese printer OEM (NEON) : The signing of the license agreement comes as follow-on from the development agreement which was the first step in the process of technology validation by this printer OEM.

11:17 am Volkswagen AG of America reports August 2015 sales declined 8.1% YoY to 32,332 units (VLKAY) : Volkswagen AG of America release

11:17 am S&P -36 continues to chop near the 50% retrace level (:TECHX) : Noted pre-market (The Technical Take) that futures suggested potential for a move to the 50% retracement of the recovery off last week's low. The index vacillated near this level (1930) during the first half hour with a non-confirmation for the averages (new low S&P, Nasdaq did not confirm) allowing for a bounce attempt (session low 1925, bounce high 1940). Since then the index has chopped on both sides of 1930. The obvious key for the morning is whether the index can form a higher low and breakout above the rebound high. Thus far we have a potential higher low at 1929.

11:16 am Churchill Downs announces an $18 mln capital project to modernize the Turf Club and several other premium areas (CHDN) :  

11:11 am Toyota Motor U.S.A. unit reports August 2015 sales declined 8.8% YoY to 224,381 units (TM) : Toyota Motor U.S.A. unit release

11:01 am NTT DoCoMo subsidiary PacketVideo, announced the sale of its NA and European Connected Home business operations to Lynx Technology; terms not disclosed (DCM) :  

10:58 am Stock indices slipping back after minor push off lows -- Dow -371, S&P -42, Nasdaq Comp -81 (:TECHX) : Noted a non-confirmation of new lows at 10:17 and the S&P was able to tack on another eight points to the recovery but over the last 15 minutes the indices have slipped back to the lower end of the day range.

10:53 am Nissan Motor reports August 2015 US sales declined 1% YoY to 133,351 units (NSANY) :

  • Overall sales of Nissan crossovers, trucks and SUVs set an August record, up 6 percent.
  • Sales of the Nissan Rogue crossover had its best month ever with 27,665 sales, an increase of 29.2 percent.
  • Sales of the Murano crossover increased 4 percent to 5,800.
  • Nissan's best-selling vehicle -- Altima -- set an August record with 32,327 sales, up 1 percent.

10:49 am Honda Motor reports August 2015 US sales down 6.9% to 155,491 vehicles (HMC) : Honda Motor release

10:43 am WTI crude oil now -6% (:COMDX) :

  • Oct WTI crude oil extending losses here and just hit another new LoD
  • Oct crude is now -6% at $46.27/barrel

10:38 am Further upticks off lows with Nasdaq Comp -56 and Nasdaq 100 -47 setting new session highs -- S&P -33, Dow -299 (:TECHX) : Earlier (10:17) noted the non-confirmation of new lows (Nasdaq 100/Comp, Mid-Caps did not set new lows) which suggests slowing momentum and is a heads up for possible upticks.

10:30 am Xerox acquires inVentiv Patient Access Solutions; terms not disclosed (XRX) : iPAS serves as a patient access and reimbursement services hub for more than 17 major pharmaceutical companies.

10:26 am Oct WTI crude oil futures just hit a new low for today at $46.50/barrel and are now -5.3% at $46.59/barrel, which comes after rising over $10/barrel in the past three sessions (:COMDX) :  

10:17 am Nasdaq 100/Comp and Mid-Caps did not confirm the new S&P and Dow lows (:TECHX) : The non-confirmation at this juncture merely suggests a slowing of the downside momentum.  This is not a reversal signal but a possible heads-up for some upticks while the non-confirmations remain intact.  

10:04 am Stock indices edge back off limited bounce highs -- Dow -372, S&P -42, Nasdaq Comp -86 (:TECHX) : The S&P has set a new low to hit the 50% retracement at 1930 (session low 1928.78). The Dow has also set a new session low while the Nasdaq Comp has thus far held above its low

9:52 am S&P -33 attempts to stabilize after probing 50% retrace -- Dow -290 held at 38% retrace, Nasdaq Comp -60 (:TECHX) : The index pulled back to a support of note at the 50% retrace of the recovery at 1930 (session low 1931).  An economic report (Mfg PMI) rolled in slightly higher that its previous which appeared to provide a boost.  The index reached 1942 but thus far no follow through interest has been seen. 

9:51 am Fuel Systems Solutions to be acquired by Westport Innovations (WPRT) in an all-stock deal valued at ~$7.54/share (shares halted) (FSYS) :

Westport Innovations (WPRT), and Fuel Systems Solutions announced they have entered into a merger agreement. The transaction will result in a combined equity value of $351 million based on the closing trading prices for the shares of both companies on August 31, 2015 and combined annual revenues ranging from $380 to $405 million projected for 2015.

  • Under the terms of the merger, Westport will acquire all of the outstanding shares of Fuel Systems common stock in a stock-for-stock transaction under which Fuel Systems shareholders will receive 2.129 Westport shares for each share of Fuel Systems common stock they own at closing, representing a 10% premium to Fuel Systems shareholders based on the closing trading prices of Westport's and Fuel Systems' shares on August 31, 2015 or an implied value to Fuel Systems shareholders of $7.54 per share.
  • The co's believe there is significant potential for improved profitability even in current volatile market conditions, including untapped savings and merger synergies in excess of $30 million per year starting in 2016 and fully realized by calendar year 2018, excluding one-time costs.
  • For the year ended December 31, 2015, both Westport and Fuel Systems are reiterating their respective revenue outlooks.
  • The new entity will conduct business in more than 70 countries, represent a combined 100 years of experience and will trade on both the TSX and Nasdaq under the Westport Fuel Systems name, ticker symbol Nasdaq: WPRT and TSX: WPT, with a new business unit called Fuel Systems Automotive and Industrial Group.

9:43 am Market remains under heavy pressure with small-/mid-caps slightly outperforming thus far -- Dow -352, S&P -40, Nasdaq Comp -86 (:TECHX) : As noted earlier have been watching how the S&P responds near the 50% retracement at 1930. This level is currently being probed (session low 1931).

9:43 am Opening Market Summary: Energy Sector Paces Opening Retreat (:WRAPX) :

The major averages began the trading day with losses close to 2.0% apiece amid early weakness in all ten sectors.

The S&P 500 trades lower by 2.0% with the energy space (-2.7%) opening behind the remaining nine groups amid continued volatile action in crude oil. The energy component is lower by 3.9% at $47.23/bbl after soaring more than 27.0% over the past three days.

Elsewhere among cyclical sectors, financials (-2.2%) trade behind the broader market while technology (-1.9%), consumer discretionary (-1.7%), and industrials (-1.8%) have spent the early action just ahead of the broader market.

Treasuries remain in the green, but they have retreated from their highs with the 10-yr yield down three basis points at 2.19%.

July Construction Spending (Briefing.com consensus 0.5%) and the ISM Index for August (expected 52.6) will both be reported at 10:00 ET.

9:42 am Audi reports August US sales rose 9.9% to 18,794 vehicles : August results were bolstered by sales of Audi luxury SUVs, with a 40.9% increase for the Audi Q3, Q5 and Q7 models combined. The Q5 posted a 34.4% increase from last year, marking its best-ever sales month in the U.S. The Q7 posted an 8.4% increase from last August.

9:38 am Relative sector weakness (:TECHX) : Sectors that have weighed on the action thus far include: Oil Service OIH, Social Media SOCL, Steel SLX, Energy XLE, Crude Oil USO, Broker IAI, Restaurant, Coal KOL, Rail, Staples XLP, Finance XLF.

9:34 am Stock indices sharply lower -- Dow -329, S&P -35, Nasdaq Comp -92 (:TECHX) : The S&P has dropped back to the vicinity of the 50% retracement of the recovery off last week's low (1930, session low 1935).

9:30 am Total S.A. to sell its service station network and commercial sales, supply and logistics assets located in Turkey to Demirren for ~$356 mln (TOT) : Total will, however, maintain a petroleum product marketing presence in Turkey through its lubricant activities, including a blending plant in Menemen and odorless LPG operations. The two businesses will be transferred to a separate company prior to completion of the sale.

9:29 am On the Wires (:WIRES) :

  • RedHill Biopharma Ltd. (RDHL) announced that the last patient has completed the final scheduled follow-up visit in the Phase I study evaluating YELIVA, the Company's orally-administered first-in-class sphingosine kinase-2 selective inhibitor, for the treatment of advanced solid tumors. The analysis of the study is currently ongoing and top-line results are expected to be announced early in the fourth quarter of 2015. A full analysis and the final Clinical Study Report (:CSR) are expected by the end of the year or early 2016
  • Ocata Therapeutics, Inc. (OCAT) announced that it has been awarded a Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Eye Institute to fund Investigational New Drug (IND)-enabling preclinical development of Ocata's proprietary photoreceptor progenitor product for the treatment of retinal degenerative diseases, such as retinitis pigmentosa and photoreceptor dystrophies
  • SkyPeople Fruit Juice, Inc. (SPU) announced that its Board of Directors has approved and authorized its management to start the preparatory work for the listing of SPU's PRC operating subsidiary, SkyPeople Juice Group Co on the National Equities Exchange and Quotations in Beijing, China
  • Rubicon Project (RUBI) detailed the success of its rapidly growing direct order automation business. Managed Revenue from the overall Orders business (which comprises Guaranteed Orders + Non-Guaranteed Orders) grew more than 150% year-over-year in the second quarter of 2015. Rubicon Project's burgeoning Mobile Orders business also experienced significant growth during that time period increasing by nearly 200%.
  • ConocoPhillips (COP) announced that it has safely delivered first oil at its Surmont 2 in-situ oil sands facility in Canada, marking a significant milestone for the megaproject

9:29 am On the Wires (:WIRES) :

  • Honeywell company (HON) announced that Egypt's Alexandria National Refining & Petrochemicals Company will use its technology and equipment as part of a $300 million, multi-year project to expand an existing, state-of-the-art gasoline production facility to meet growing domestic demand for high-octane gasoline.
  • Digi International (DGII) and Arrow Electronics (ARW) announced an expanded global distribution agreement. Under the expanded agreement, Digi's complete product and services portfolio has been made available through Arrow's global network
  • Western Gas Partners, LP (WES) announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Delaware Basin Express is holding a non-binding open season to identify interest in a new pipeline project serving portions of Reeves, Loving and Ward Counties, TX
  • Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) announced a new partnership with Tapingo, in which Chipotle will be available for delivery through Tapingo at 40 college campuses nationwide this fall, and at more than 100 campuses by spring 2016.
  • Amazon (AMZN) announced that Prime members in the U.S., U.K., Germany and Austria will now be able to download movies and TV episodes to iPhones, iPads and Android phones and tablets for offline viewing, at no additional charge.
  • Insperity, Inc. (NSP) announced that it has extended its arrangement for medical and dental coverage through 2019 with UnitedHealthcare, a UnitedHealth Group company (UNH)
  • Cree (CREE) announced that the U.S. Air Force has awarded it a follow-on contract of $4.1 mln. This new funding will enable the qualification of a high-performance power electronic module developed for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter in the company's Fayetteville, Ark. facilities.

9:29 am Ultragenyx Pharma announces the presentation of open-label data from five infants with cardiomyopathy due to long-chain fatty acid oxidation disorders treated with triheptanoin (RARE) :

All patients demonstrated an improvement in ejection fraction, a measure of cardiac function evaluated by echocardiogram, after treatment with triheptanoin. The improvements in EF began between two days and three weeks following initiation of treatment with triheptanoin and were associated with stabilization of the clinical signs of cardiomyopathy in these patients. Additionally, EF continued to improve or was maintained with further treatment. In patients with known EF values before and after treatment (n=4) the mean EF prior to triheptanoin was 32% (range: 21% to 44%) and after treatment at last assessment was 66% (range: 55% to 71%).

  • The most common adverse events were gastrointestinal distress, including loose stools. One patient discontinued treatment after approximately 14 weeks due to gastrointestinal symptoms. 
  • Ultragenyx is conducting a separate Phase 2 study of triheptanoin in patients with LC-FAOD. The musculoskeletal and liver manifestations of the disease represent the most prevalent symptoms in the patients enrolled in the Phase 2 study. Data from the study are expected by the end of 2015.

9:19 am Netflix gapping down 5% around $109 in pre-market; move comes amid broad market weakness as well as reports of Apple discussions on its own original programming (NFLX) : As mentioned earlier, there were reports out indicating some TV producers are in discussions with Apple (AAPL) for original programming, potentially adding to competition for NFLX.

9:18 am Ultralife awarded a contract valued at ~$8.2 mln to supply its Soldier Radio Waveform Vehicle Installed Power Enhanced Rifleman Appliqu systems to Thales Defense & Security (ULBI) :  

9:18 am Viavi: Sandell Asset Management sends a letter to the company, insisting upon conducting a thorough review of strategic alternatives (VIAV) :

Sandell Asset Management sent a letter to the Company's Board of Directors. In the letter, Sandell outlines a number of actions it believes the Company must undertake in order to "enhance value and reverse the poor governance and performance that has plagued its shareholders." These actions included:

  • "Refreshing and materially enhancing the quality of Viavi's Board of Directors
  • Conducting a thorough review of strategic alternatives
  • Retaining an independent financial advisor and operational consulting firm
  • Identifying a new management team with the experience necessary to maximize the value of the Company's deferred tax assets, which include its $4 billion to $4.5 billion of federal net operating losses."

9:16 am Solar Power to invest RMB30 mln for a 60% stake in Beijing Yiwei New Energy Technology Development Company (SOPW) :  

9:16 am Perseon announces that CFO William Barth will retire, has initiated search for a replacement (PRSN) :  

9:15 am Pengrowth Energy approves a decrease in its quarterly dividend to $0.01/share, down from $0.015/share prior as a result of the continued weakness in commodity prices (PGH) : With the macro environment continuing to deteriorate and given the outlook for a prolonged weakness in commodity prices, the Company believes that it is prudent to preserve capital and accelerate its efforts to reduce overall indebtedness. In addition, Pengrowth's Board has also approved the suspension of the Company's Dividend Reinvestment and Optional Common Share Purchase Plan, effective with the quarterly dividend payable on December 15, 2015. The Company does not believe that it is in the best interest of shareholders to issue further equity in this low share price environment.

9:09 am Cesca Therapeutics raises $15 mln in senior secured convertible debentures and warrants from one institutional investor (KOOL) :

The debentures bear no interest, may be convertible into shares of the Company's common stock at a conversion price of $0.68 per share and are secured by all of the Company's assets. In connection with the transaction, the Company also issued Series A warrants to purchase up to 22,058,823 million shares of the common stock at $0.68 for a period of five and one-half years and Series B warrants to purchase up to 12,132,353 million shares of common stock at $0.68 for a period of eighteen months

9:07 am S&P futures vs fair value: -54.20. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: -121.70. (:WRAPX) :

The stock market ended August on a lower note and September is set to begin in similar fashion as S&P 500 futures trade 54 points below fair value. Due to the sharply lower indication, the New York Stock Exchange has implemented Rule 48, which is aimed at smoothing the market open during periods of heightened volatility.

Index futures began their retreat shortly after yesterday's closing bell and saw continued weakness through the Asian session, which featured disappointing manufacturing data from China. The official Manufacturing PMI slipped to 49.7 from 50.0 while the Caixin Manufacturing PMI ticked up to 47.3 from 47.2, but both readings came in below 50.0, which signifies contraction.

Things did not get much better by the start of the European session where the Eurozone Manufacturing PMI ticked down to 52.3 from 52.4; however employment data surprised to the upside as the July Unemployment Rate declined to 10.9% from 11.1%.

The renewed weakness in global equities has been met with demand for Treasuries, pressuring the 10-yr yield lower by six basis points to 2.16%.

Today's economic data will be limited to the 10:00 ET release of the July Construction Spending report (Briefing.com consensus 0.5%) and the ISM Index for August (expected 52.6).

9:06 am Stereotaxis issed a patent entitled 'Management of Live Remote Medical Display' by the USPTO (STXS) : This patent allows for the future development of features within the Odyssey Information Management Solution that optimize data transmission across a network to a high-resolution display facilitating the management of medical procedures.

9:05 am PostRock Energy announces the retirement of CEO Terry Carter, and the appointment of Clark Edwards as Interim President and CEO (PSTR) : Co announced that Terry W. Carter has retired from his position as the Company's President and Chief Executive Officer effective September 1, 2015. The Board has elected Clark Edwards, PostRock's current Vice President of Operations, as Interim President and Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Edwards has served as PostRock's Vice President of Operations since February 2012.

9:03 am Pacific Energy Development successfully restructures its ~$35 mln senior debt facility and its ~$8.35 mln subordinated debt facility (PED) :

The restructuring includes the following changes:

  • Discontinuation of  principal repayments for six months under all the Company's senior debt
  • On ~ $5 million of the Company's senior debt, change the frequency of interest payments from monthly to semi-annually, with the next interest payment due February 2016. on ~ $24 million of the Company's senior debt, reduce the monthly cash pay portion of interest to 5% from 15%.
  • On ~ $6 million of the Company's senior debt, eliminate the cash pay portion and defer until maturity (March 2017) all interest payments.
  • On the ~ $8.35 million subordinated debt, defer until maturity (December 2017) all interest payments accruing at 12%

9:03 am Northern Dynasty Minerals signs a definitive agreement to acquire Cannon Point; terms not disclosed (NAK) :

  • Co announces it entered into a definitive arrangement agreement with Cannon Point Resources with respect to the acquisition of 100% of the outstanding securities of Cannon Point.
  • The transaction will be implemented by way of a statutory plan of arrangement and is subject to customary closing conditions, including approval by the securityholders of Cannon Point by at least 2/3 of the votes cast, court approval and regulatory approval.
  • Assuming the timely receipt of such approvals, the transaction is expected to close in October 2015.
  • Co has also entered into standard lock-up agreements with certain security holders of Cannon Point, including with holders of approximately 21% of the outstanding common shares of Cannon Point to vote in favour of the transaction.

9:03 am Entertainment Gaming Asia announces that Chief Accounting Officer Andy Tsui has served notice to resign effective as of September 30, 2015 to pursue another career opportunity (EGT) : Traci Mangini, the Company's Senior Vice President Corporate Finance, has been appointed the interim Chief Financial Officer effective as of October 1, 2015. Mr. Tsui has agreed to continue to assist the Company on an as needed basis for a period following his departure to best ensure a seamless transition. 

9:02 am Regeneron Pharms and Sanofi (ANY) announce new positive Praluent Phase 3 data will be presented at ESC Congress 2015 (REGN) :

Cos announced today that in a new pooled analysis of heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia patients included in the ODYSSEY clinical trial program, Praluent (alirocumab) significantly reduced bad cholesterol, known as low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. The analysis included 1,257 HeFH patients, the largest group of HeFH patients ever studied in a Phase 3 program.

  • At week 24, when the primary efficacy endpoint was assessed, patients treated with Praluent had an average 56 percent greater reduction in LDL-C compared to placebo (p
  • Across the pooled analysis, the most common adverse events (occurring in at least 5 percent of patients in any Praluent group) were nasopharyngitis, injection site reaction, influenza, headache, upper respiratory tract infection, arthralgia, back pain, urinary tract infection, and myalgia. Across all primary and secondary endpoints assessed, there were statistical differences in favor of Praluent compared to placebo. Patients treated with Praluent achieved average LDL-C levels of less than 85 mg/dL at week 12, and maintained reductions through 78 weeks of therapy.
  • In July, the European Medicines Agency's (EMA's) Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use recommended the approval of Praluent in certain adult patients with hypercholesterolemia, and a final decision from the European Commission is anticipated in September.

9:01 am InterNAP announces it is exploring strategic alternatives (INAP) :

  • Co announces that the Company is exploring strategic alternatives to maximize shareholder value. The Board of Directors created a Strategy Committee of independent directors early this year

8:59 am On the Wires (:WIRES) :

  • Cemtrex, Inc. (CETX) announced that the company plans to venture into the emerging renewable energy sector in India to participate in a market that is expected to grow from 1,500 Megawatts in 2014 to 100,000 Megawatts in 2022. Co is in preliminary discussions with several state agencies in India who are giving incentives to independent developers for procurement of energy in phased manner over a 25 year period
  • ION Geophysical Corporation (IO) and the Tanzanian Petroleum Development Corporation announced that the TPDC has awarded ION a contract to acquire 4,058 km of 2D seismic, gravity and magnetic data over offshore blocks 4/1B and 4/1C in the Rovuma Delta region. The award follows an international tender for a 2D multi-client survey, to be known as 'TPDC Phase I 2015', that is planned to be acquired in fourth quarter 2015
  • Electro Scientific Industries, Inc. (ESIO) and Tian Zheng Precision Machinery announced a partnership to design and manufacture a new set of multi-layer ceramic capacitor testing solutions specifically designed to address the large-chip testing market. The new platform will offer a lower-cost solution to MLCC manufacturers processing 0402 and larger MLCCs. The new testing solution, to be marketed under the ESI name, will incorporate ESI's handling and contacting technology but will be built by TZI, drawing on their local design and manufacturing capabilities. It will be sold and serviced through LaserTek's Chinese and Taiwanese distribution channels
  • GOL Linhas Aereas Inteligentes S.A. (GOL) subsidiary Gol LuxCo S.A. has entered into a five year term loan with an aggregate principal amount of U.S.$ 300,000,000 and a remuneration of 6.5%
  • CGI (GIB) announced that it has won a five-year (one base plus four option years) contract with the U.S. Army Sustainment Command for software development and support of the Integrated Materiel Management Operations Systems application suite. The base year has been incrementally funded at $3.1 million. If all options are exercised, the contract value will be $55.8 million with a completion of date July 31, 2020
  • Willis Group Holdings (WSH) and American International Group (AIG) have announced the launch of Evergreen, a new approach to insurance that removes the need for annual policy renewal. Evergreen is the first UK mid-market offering with no renewal date that covers major insurance classes under one contract

8:59 am S&P futures vs fair value: -53.80. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: -120.20. (:WRAPX) :

The S&P 500 futures trade 54 points below fair value.

It was a sea of red across equity markets in the Asia-Pacific region as a round of weaker than expected economic data, highlighted by China's official manufacturing PMI report for August showing a contraction for the first time in six months, triggered a wave of selling interest.

  • Economic data was plentiful:
    • China's August Manufacturing PMI 49.7 (expected 49.7; prior 50.0), August Non-Manufacturing PMI 53.4 (prior 53.9), August Caixin Manufacturing PMI revised to 47.3 (expected 47.2; prior 47.1), and August Caixin Services PMI 51.5 (expected 53.9; prior 53.8)
    • Japan's August Manufacturing PMI 51.7 (expected 51.9; prior 51.9) and Q2 Capital Spending +5.6% year-over-year (expected +9.0%; prior +7.3%)
    • South Korea's August Nikkei Manufacturing PMI 47.9 (prior 47.6), August CPI +0.2% month-over-month (expected +0.2%; prior +0.2%); +0.7% year-over-year (expected +0.7%; prior +0.7%), and August Trade Balance KRW 4.30 bln (expected KRW 6.07 bln; prior 7.70 bln) as Exports -14.7% year-over-year (expected -10.0%; prior -3.4%) and Imports -18.3% year-over-year (expected -14.9%; prior -15.3%)
    • India's August Nikkei Manufacturing PMI 52.3 (prior 52.7) and Q2 GDP +7.0% (expected +7.4%; prior +7.5%)
    • Australia's August AIG Manufacturing Index 51.7 (prior 50.4), July Building Approvals +4.2% month-over-month (expected +2.5%; prior -5.2%), Q2 Current Account AUD -19.0 bln (expected AUD -15.8 bln; prior AUD -13.5 bln), Q2 Net Exports Contribution -0.6% (expected -0.3%; prior +0.5%), July Private House Approvals -3.0% (prior +3.7%), and Commodity Prices -20.9% year-over-year (prior -19.1%)

------

  • Japan's Nikkei dropped 3.8% and finished on its lows for the day following some weaker than expected capital spending and manufacturing PMI data. In turn, disappointing manufacturing PMI data out of China ignited concerns about Japan's economic prospects. Losses were paced by the health care (-5.8%), consumer staples (-5.1%), consumer discretionary (-4.4%), and materials (-4.0%) sectors. Tosoh Corp (-10.1%), Yokohama Rubber Co. (-9.1%), and Eisai Co. (-7.5%) topped a very long list of losers. Out of the 225 index members, only two -- Pioneer Corp (+2.7%) and Meidensha Corp (+1.3%) -- ended the day higher.
  • Hong Kong's Hang Seng declined 2.2%, pulled lower by the disappointment surrounding weaker than expected economic data throughout the region. The Hang Seng closed near its lows for the day after falling 1.4% in the final hour of trading. China Mengniu Dairy (-6.8%), Tingyi Cayman Islands Holding Corp (-5.5%), and BOC Hong Kong Holdings (-5.5%) led the losers. Out of the 50 index members, only two -- Hang Lung Properties (+0.9%) and Link REIT (+0.4%) -- ended the day higher.
  • China's Shanghai Composite declined 1.2%, recovering a significant portion of an early 4.8% loss. The decline followed on the heels of the government's official manufacturing PMI report showing a drop into contraction territory for the month of August. That's the first drop below 50 in six months and the weakest reading since August 2012, according to reports. Separately, the Caixin manufacturing PMI for August, which covers smaller-sized firms, was revised up to 47.3 from 47.1, yet that still the weakest reading since March 2009.

Major European indices trade lower across the board with Germany's DAX (-3.0%) leading the slide. Elsewhere, Greece has extended a short-selling ban on stocks for another month, but lifted its ban on shorting derivatives.

  • In economic data:
    • Eurozone July Unemployment Rate 10.9% (expected 11.1%; prior 11.1%) while August Manufacturing PMI 52.3 (expected 52.4; prior 52.4)
    • Germany's August Manufacturing PMI 53.3 (expected 53.2; prior 53.2) while Unemployment Rate held at 6.4%, as expected
    • UK's August Manufacturing PMI 51.5 (expected 52.0; prior 51.9) while July Mortgage Approvals 68,760 (expected 68,000; prior 67,070)
    • France's August Manufacturing PMI 48.3 (expected 48.6; prior 48.6)
    • Italy's Q2 GDP +0.3% quarter-over-quarter (expected 0.2%; prior 0.3%); +0.7% year-over-year (consensus 0.5%; last 0.7%). Separately, July Monthly Unemployment Rate 12.0% (expected 12.6%; prior 12.5%) and August Manufacturing PMI 53.8 (expected 54.8; last 55.3)
    • Spain's August Manufacturing PMI 53.2 (expected 53.2; last 53.6)
    • Swiss August SVME PMI 52.2 (expected 49.7; last 48.7)

------

  • UK's FTSE is lower by 2.8% with miners pacing the retreat. Anglo American, BHP Billiton, and Glencore are down between 5.0% and 5.7%. On the upside, Meggitt is the lone advancer, trading higher by 1.5%.
  • In France, the CAC has surrendered 2.8% amid broad weakness. Financials are among the weakest performers with AXA, BNP Paribas, and Societe Generale down between 2.9% and 3.7%. Energy-related names have held up relatively well with Technip up 0.7% and Total lower by 0.3%.
  • Germany's DAX underperforms with a loss of 3.0%. Exporters BMW, Daimler, and Volkswagen are all down near 3.0% while Deutsche Bank has surrendered 2.5%.

8:48 am Imperial Holdings announces Board authorization for a $10 million share and note repurchase program (EMG) :  

8:47 am LVMH confirms the appointment of Ian Rogers as Chief Digital Officer of the LVMH Group, effective October 2015 (LVMUY) : Last year Rogers joined the iTunes team at Apple (AAPL) as Senior Director pursuant to their acquisition of Beats Music. Ian contributed to the recent launch of Apple Music including Beats1, their digital streaming channel.

8:41 am Patrick Industries, Inc. completes acquisition of North American Forest Products for ~$85 mln, expands existing credit facility (PATK) :

North American is a major manufacturer and distributor, primarily for the recreational vehicle industry, of profile wraps, custom mouldings, laminated panels and moulding products which together represent one of Patrick's existing core product lines. The Company estimates North American's trailing 12-month revenues through July 2015 at approximately $165 million, which when combined with Patrick's consolidated revenues for the same time period approximates $1.0 billion. The total cash consideration paid for North American was approximately $85 million, and the Company expects the acquisition to be immediately accretive to 2015 net income per share, with one-time transaction specific pretax charges incurred of approximately $0.3 million or $0.01 per diluted share. 

  • In conjunction with the North American acquisition, the Company entered into a first amendment, dated August 31, 2015, to its current credit agreement.  The first amendmentexpands the existing five-year $250 million senior secured credit facility to $300 million and replenishes the capacity under the credit agreement to continue to make permitted acquisitions.       

8:37 am CRH Medical (CRMMF) shares have been approved for listing on the NYSE MKT, LLC; co anticipates trading will commence on Thursday, September 3 (:CRHM) :  

8:36 am Lucas Energy enters into a Line of Credit and an amendment of its senior secured note, effective on August 28, 2015 (LEI) : Pursuant to the Line of Credit, and subject to various closing conditions, including the Company's common stock continuing to trade on the NYSE MKT exchange, the Company has the right to $2.4 million in funding ($200,000 per month for 12 months). Any funding raised pursuant to the Line of Credit is to be evidenced by Convertible Promissory Notes accruing interest at the rate of 6% per annum, with a conversion price of $1.50 per share. The exercise of the Conversion Option is subject to Lucas' shareholder approval. Should the facility be fully drawn and conversion approved, the Note will convert into 1.6 million common shares, or approximately 52.4% of the outstanding shares.

The Company also entered into an amendment of its senior secured note to extend the due date to October 31, 2016. The amendment also provided that the senior lender waive all prior defaults under the senior loan to date.

8:35 am Gapping down (:SCANX) :

Briefing note: With US futures down ~2%, most stocks are trading lower; the following are some of the more notable movers 

Gapping down
In reaction to disappointing earnings/guidance
: ADEP -9.7%, DLTR -5.6%, QIWI -4.8%, DANG -3.7%

Select fan favorites showing weakness: MBLY -5.9%, NFLX -4.3%, FIT -4%, TSLA -3.2%, FEYE -3.1%, FB -2.5%, SBUX -2.4%, AMZN -2.3%, TWTR -2.1%, AAPL -2%

Select China related names after release of PMI data lower: BHP -5.9%, SFUN -4.9%, QIHU -4.4%, EJ -4.4%, RIO -4.4%, CSIQ -3.8%, WUBA -3.2%, NQ -2.9%, JD -2.8%, JMEI -1.5%


Select energy names showing weakness: SDRL -6.2%, MRO -4.6%, PBR -4.4%, RIG -3.7%, STO -3%, RDS.A -2.8%

Other news: AVGO -4.7% (presented at investor conf yesterday), MGM -4% (Macau gaming revs down 35.5% YoY), WYNN -2.5% (Macau gaming revs down 35.5% YoY), LVS -2.4% (Macau gaming peer), MPEL -2.1% (Macau gaming peer)

Analyst comments: FCX -4.7% (downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Citigroup)

8:33 am Volvo reported August US sales +18.3% YoY to 5870 units (VOLVY) :

  • The United States reported 5,870 retail sales which represents a 18.3 per cent increase versus the same month last year. The growth was driven mainly by the new Volvo XC90 as well as the XC60 model, which was the best-selling Volvo model. 
  • Volvo Cars posted a 3.2 per cent increase in retail sales for the month of August, selling 30,195 cars globally.

8:32 am Nektar Therapeutics receives a $40 million cash payment under a license agreement with AstraZeneca (AZN), for the first commercial sale of Moventig (NKTR) : Co announces that it has received a $40 mln cash payment under a license agreement with AstraZeneca (AZN). The payment was triggered by the first commercial sale of MOVENTIG (naloxegol) in Germany. MOVENTIG is the first once-daily, oral peripherally-acting mu-opioid receptor antagonist (:PAMORA) medication approved in the European Union for the treatment of opioid-induced constipation (:OIC) in adult patients who have had an inadequate response to laxative(s). In addition to the $40 million milestone payment announced today, Nektar received a $100 million milestone payment upon first commercial sale of MOVANTIK in the US in March 2015. Nektar is also entitled to royalties on worldwide net product sales and up to $375 million in sales milestones. The royalty rate in the US starts at 20% and escalates. The royalty rate in Europe and the rest of the world starts at 18% and escalates.

8:32 am MobileIron hires new CFO (MOBL) : Co announced that Simon Biddiscombe has been named Chief Financial Officer. Simon has served as interim CFO since May 2015. Most recently he served as Chief Strategy Officer and previously as Interim Chief Financial Officer at ServiceSource International, Inc.(SREV). He has also served as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Executive Officer at QLogic Corp. and as Chief Financial Officer at Mindspeed Technologies.

8:31 am Vapor acquires two retail vape stores in Gainesville, Florida; terms not disclosed (VPCO) :  

8:30 am FuelCell Energy announces the selection for negotiation, of a $23.7 million cost share carbon capture project with the support of the US Dept. of Energy (FCEL) : The project is to install and operate a two-megawatt Direct FuelCell (:DFC) system configured for carbon capture in addition to power generation. The Company expects to finalize the award with the DOE by the end of September 2015.

8:30 am Iteris Holdings awarded a $5.8 mln task order from the U.S. Department of Transportation (ITI) :

  • Co awarded a $5.8 million task order from the U.S. Department of Transportation (:USDOT) for continued support and evolution of the National Intelligent Transportation System (:ITS) Architecture and the Connected Vehicle Reference Implementation Architecture through 2018.
  • This award extends Iteris' working relationship with the USDOT to over 20 years.
  • This new task order continues the evolution of the National ITS Architecture and supports its application at the regional, state and local agency levels for the planning and development of ITS projects. The work defined in the task order covers architecture content and software tool maintenance, ITS standards support, and technical support for architecture application.

8:30 am Micronet Enertec Technologies awarded $2 million in purchase orders for its rugged tablets (MICT) : Co announces that its Mobile Resource Management (:MRM) subsidiary, Micronet, has recently received purchase orders in an aggregate amount of $2 million from three leading fleet and workforce management solutions companies, for its rugged Android tablets. Management expects follow on orders in the near future.

8:27 am S&P futures vs fair value: -43.20. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: -96.70. (:WRAPX) :

U.S. equity futures remain near their pre-market lows with S&P 500 futures trading 43 points below fair value.

Global growth concerns have been known to weigh on investor sentiment as of late and that is the case once again this morning. Overnight, China reported its official Manufacturing PMI (49.7, as expected) and the Caixin Manufacturing PMI (47.3; last 47.2) with both readings coming in below 50.0, which signifies contraction. Disappointing data has also contributed to broad-based weakness in Europe after the Eurozone Manufacturing PMI ticked down to 52.3 from 52.4 (expected 52.4).

The continued worries have resulted in strength for Treasuries with the 10-yr yield down six basis points at 2.16%.

8:25 am Gapping up (:SCANX) :

Briefing noteWith US futures down ~2%, most stocks are trading lower. 

Gapping up 

In reaction to strong earnings/guidance: MTRX +2.3%, BV +2.1%


Other news: TRVN +35% (announced positive results from its Phase 2b study of TRV130 in acute postoperative pain, showing that the novel mu-opioid receptor modulator achieved its primary endpoint), DRD +19.7% (still checking),MNOV +1.7% (still checking),WTI +1.4% (to sell all of its interest in its Yellow Rose field in the Permian Basin to Ajax Resources for ~$376 mln),SUNE +0.5% (Point72 Asset Management discloses 5.1% passive stake)

Analyst comments: ALKS +3.2% (upgraded toupgraded to Overweight at Morgan Stanley)

8:25 am European Markets Update: FTSE -2.2%, CAC -2.3%, DAX -2.7% (:SUMRX) :

Major European indices trade lower across the board with Germany's DAX (-2.6%) leading the slide. Elsewhere, Greece has extended a short-selling ban on stocks for another month, but lifted its ban on shorting derivatives.

  • In economic data:
    • Eurozone July Unemployment Rate 10.9% (expected 11.1%; prior 11.1%) while August Manufacturing PMI 52.3 (expected 52.4; prior 52.4)
    • Germany's August Manufacturing PMI 53.3 (expected 53.2; prior 53.2) while Unemployment Rate held at 6.4%, as expected
    • UK's August Manufacturing PMI 51.5 (expected 52.0; prior 51.9) while July Mortgage Approvals 68,760 (expected 68,000; prior 67,070)
    • France's August Manufacturing PMI 48.3 (expected 48.6; prior 48.6)
    • Italy's Q2 GDP +0.3% quarter-over-quarter (expected 0.2%; prior 0.3%); +0.7% year-over-year (consensus 0.5%; last 0.7%). Separately, July Monthly Unemployment Rate 12.0% (expected 12.6%; prior 12.5%) and August Manufacturing PMI 53.8 (expected 54.8; last 55.3)
    • Spain's August Manufacturing PMI 53.2 (expected 53.2; last 53.6)
    • Swiss August SVME PMI 52.2 (expected 49.7; last 48.7)

------

  • UK's FTSE is lower by 2.2% with miners pacing the retreat. Anglo American, BHP Billiton, and Glencore are down between 5.0% and 5.7%. On the upside, Meggitt is the lone advancer, trading higher by 1.5%.
  • In France, the CAC has surrendered 2.3% amid broad weakness. Financials are among the weakest performers with AXA, BNP Paribas, and Societe Generale down between 2.9% and 3.7%. Energy-related names have held up relatively well with Technip up 0.7% and Total lower by 0.3%.
  • Germany's DAX underperforms with a loss of 2.7%. Exporters BMW, Daimler, and Volkswagen are all down near 3.0% while Deutsche Bank has surrendered 2.5%.

8:18 am On The Wires (:WIRES) :

  • General Electric (GE) Board of Directors has named Beth Comstock company vice chair leading GE Business Innovations. Comstock will be in charge of building out GE as a Service, along with her current GE Business Innovations responsibilities leading GE Lighting, GE Ventures and Licensing, corporate marketing, sales and communications.
  • Chanticleer Holdings (HOTR) announces that its Board has elected to proceed with its rights offering and offer all of its shareholders of record the right but not the obligation to exercise their non-transferable basic subscription rights, which will allow its shareholders of record to acquire additional shares of common stock. The rights offering is being made through a dividend in the form of non-transferable subscription rights to purchase one share of common stock per each share of common stock owned on the record date at an exercise price of $1.35.
  • NxStage Medical (NXTM) announced online publication in the American Journal of Kidney Disease of results from the largest study of its kind that assessed relative mortality on frequent home hemodialysis versus peritoneal dialysis as well as relative all-cause hospitalization. The data show that frequent HHD patients have a lower risk of death, hospitalization and therapy attrition than PD patients.
  • ZIOPHARM Oncology (ZIOP) announced the publication of a preclinical study in Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, demonstrating the preferential targeting of solid tumor cells over healthy cells using engineered chimeric antigen receptor T cells.
  • Villa Medical Clinic in Newburg, Ore., selected Allscripts (MDRX) Chronic Care Management Program to establish ongoing monthly outreach to hundreds of patients who suffer from two or more chronic conditions without adding staff or increasing workloads for current employees.
  • Scorpio Bulkers (SALT) announced that Scorpio Services Holding Limited has purchased an aggregate of 552,481 common shares of the Company at an average price of $1.61 per share in the open market since the Company's previous announcement on August 24, 2015. The Company currently has 336,107,741 common shares outstanding, of which SSH owns 19,222,421, or 5.7%.
  • HubSpot (HUBS) announced that its Marketing Platform's user interface is now available in 6 of the world's most commonly used languages: French, German, Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish, as well as English.

8:13 am On The Wires (:WIRES) :

  • Eleven Biotherapeutics (EBIO) announced the promotions of Gary Sternberg, MD, MBA, to Chief Business Officer and John McCabe, CPA, to Senior Vice President, Finance. Mr. McCabe is also Eleven's Principal Financial and Accounting Officer.
  • Teva Pharmaceutical (TEVA) announced that ZECUITY, the first and only patch system designed to provide relief from migraine, is now available by prescription through specialty pharmacies. ZECUITY is a single-use, disposable patch system that delivers sumatriptan through the skin. The device is designed to be worn for a four-hour period either on the upper arm or thigh.
  • CoreLogic (CLGX) released its July 2015 CoreLogic Home Price Index which shows that home prices nationwide, including distressed sales, increased by 6.9 percent in July 2015 compared with July 2014. On a month-over-month basis, home prices nationwide, including distressed sales, increased by 1.7 percent in July 2015 compared with June 2015
  • Corporate Office Properties Trust (OFC) announced that the ownership of two operating properties, 15000 & 15010 Conference Center Drive, in Northern Virginia has been transferred to the lender. As a result of this transfer, COPT will remove $150 million of non-recourse secured indebtedness from its balance sheet. In the third quarter of 2015, the Company expects to recognize a non-cash accounting gain estimated to be approximately $83 million.
  • Hilton Worldwide (HLT) announced a partnership with Uber, to offer expanded digital features that will further simplify and streamline the travel experience for Hilton guests. Through the partnership, Hilton guests around the world can set Uber 'Ride Reminders,' automated notifications to request Uber rides to and from the hotel. (UBER)
  • Oracle (ORCL) announced that Oracle Service Cloud has received an Authority to Operate from the U.S Department of Defense under the DoD Cloud Security Model at security impact Level 4. Level 4 security impact refers to Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) or other critical mission data that requires protection from unauthorized disclosure.

8:09 am On The Wires (:WIRES) :

  • HMS Inc, a wholly owned subsidiary of HMS Holdings Corp. (HMSY) announced that the Company has commenced work as the prime contractor for the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration to provide coordination of benefits services for the State's Medicaid population. Under the new contract, awarded in June pursuant to a competitive bid process, HMS will provide the following services: Medicare and other third party payer recovery, cost avoidance, the health insurance premium payment program, casualty recovery, estate recovery, trust and annuity recovery, and other cost containment services. The five-year contract runs through August 2020 and includes an extension option of up to five additional years
  • Engility Holdings, Inc. (EGL) announced it has been awarded a $14 million contract to provide technical, policy and program management support for the Army's Product Director Automated Movement and Identification Solutions program
  • MediWound Ltd. (MDWD) announced that it has completed the enrollment of its second Phase 2 clinical trial evaluating EscharEx for the treatment of chronic and other hard-to-heal wounds. EscharEx is based on MediWound's propriety proteolytic enzyme technology. The Company expects to report top-line results around year-end 2015
  • Aehr Test Systems (AEHR) announced that it has shipped the FOX-15 Multi-Wafer Test and Burn-In System, the WaferPak Aligner and the first batch of WaferPak contactors for the production test and burn-in order announced on April 27th, 2015. The shipment occurred in the first quarter of Aehr Test's fiscal 2016. The remaining WaferPak contactors included in the order are expected to ship in the second quarter of Aehr Test's fiscal 2016.
  • JacobsEngineering (JEC) announced that it was awarded a contract fromthe New Jersey Turnpike Authority to provide resident engineering andconstruction inspection services for roadwide guide sign improvements on theNew Jersey Turnpike. Officials estimate the construction value to be $26 million.
  • NexPoint Advisors announced that it hasenhanced its management proposal to the Board of TICC Capital (TICC). As previously announced, NexPoint submitted its originalproposal to the Board on August 11, 2015, which included an estimated $35 million in savings on advisory fees (based on theCompany's March 31, 2015 AUM), and a $10 million dollar investment in the Company's shares through openmarket purchases, together with a willingness to manage the Company accordingto investment objectives set by the Board.

8:05 am Tata Motors reports August 2015 total commercial and passenger vehicle sales (including exports) were flat at 40,680 vehicles sold (TTM) : Tata Motors release

8:04 am CB&I awarded contracts of $70+ mln for the engineering, procurement and fabrication of eight storage spheres that will be used for the storage of petroleum gas in the Midwest and NE U.S (CBI) :  

8:03 am Fiat Chrysler reports total August 2015 US sales increased 2% to 201,672 units (FCAU) :

  • Jeep brand sales increased 18%, the brand's best sales month ever and its 23rd-consecutive month of YoY sales gains.
  • Sales of the Chrysler 200 were up 30% in August, the mid-size sedan's best August sales since 2012.

8:03 am NetEase's approves $500 mln share repurchase program (NTES) : Co announced that its board of directors has approved a new share repurchase program of up to US$500 million of the company's outstanding American Depositary Shares (ADSs) for a period not to exceed 12 months. NetEase plans to fund repurchases made under this program from available working capital.

8:02 am Unique Fabricating acquires molded polyurethane component manufacturer, Great Lakes Foam Technologies; expects the acquisition to generate revenues of ~$12 million and be accretive to earnings (UFAB) :

Co has acquired the business and substantially all of the assets of Great Lakes Foam Technologies, Inc., a Michigan based manufacturer of molded polyurethane components. Great Lakes manufactures components for applications in a wide range of end-markets including the automotive, off-road vehicle, industrial equipment, medical and office equipment industries.

  • Great Lakes generated ~$10.0 million in revenues for the 12 month period ending December 31, 2014, with net income of ~$1.2 million (assuming a federal tax rate of 34% and a state tax rate of 3%) and EBITDA of ~$1.3 million. In consideration for the acquisition, Unique paid $12 million in cash at closing. The transaction was funded under the Company's existing $19.5 millionrevolving line of credit.
  • Co stated: "In the first 12 months, we expect the acquired business and assets to generate revenues of approximately $12 million and be accretive to our earnings."

8:02 am Exelon announces that all of the Illinois nuclear plants in PJM cleared in the transition capacity auction for the 2016-17 planning year (EXC) :

  • Co announces that all of the Illinois nuclear plants in PJM cleared in the transition capacity auction for the 2016-17 planning year. The auction results take effect in June 2016. This is the first of two transitional auctions that PJM is holding to supplement its prior base capacity auctions for the 2016-17 and 2017-18 planning years with the new capacity performance product, which is designed to strengthen electric grid reliability.

8:01 am General Electric announces over $1 billion in orders from Asia Pacific customers (GE) : Co announces more than $1 billion in orders from customers across Asia. "Customers in this region are challenged to generate high-efficiency power and reduce emissions...With GE technology, they have the opportunity to add power to the grid as quickly as possible, safeguard the environment and still realize critical life cycle cost savings." GE's current Asia Pacific gas turbine fleet consists of more than 1,000 units across 15 countries, comprising the largest gas turbine portfolio in the region. In Thailand, GE is announcing six new LM6000-PF+ aeroderivative gas turbines for Gulf Energy Development.

8:01 am IPC Healthcare acquires post-acute provider Mid-Atlantic ElderCare; terms not disclosed (IPCM) : Co has acquired Mid-Atlantic ElderCare, PLLC, a Woodlawn, Va.-based post-acute provider dedicated entirely to providing medical care to patients of skilled/long-term care facilities and assisted living/retirement communities. This acquisition will broaden IPC's presence in Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee, adding more than 64,000 encounters on a combined annualized basis to IPC's post-acute operations.

8:01 am Denbury Resources hires Chris Kendall as COO (DNR) :

  • Co announced the hiring of Chris Kendall as Chief Operating Officer. Kendall's appointment to COO will take effect upon his joining the Co on Sept 8, 2015, a role he is assuming from Phil Rykhoek, President and CEO, who has been serving in that capacity on an interim basis.
  • Kendall joins Denbury from Noble Energy, where he most recently served as a member of Noble's executive management and as part of its operations leadership team as Senior Vice President, Global Operations Services.
  • Prior to that, Mr. Kendall served as Vice President, Gulf of Mexico (2011-2014), and as Business Unit Manager and Vice President, Noble Energy Mediterranean Ltd (2007-2011), having been with Noble since 2001. Kendall began his career with Mobil Oil Corporation in 1989.

8:01 am Restaurant Brands Int' announces Board authorization for a 150K share repurchase program (QSR) : Co authorizes the repurchase of up to 150,000 shares on the open market in connection with a recently established employee stock purchase plan for the benefit of certain employees of enumerated RBI entities.

8:01 am Cabela's announces $500 million share repurchase program (CAB) : Co announced today that its Board has approved a share repurchase program authorizing the Company to repurchase up to $500 million of its common stock over a two-year period. This authorization is in addition to the two million share repurchase authorization approved in April 2015 and the standing annual authorization to repurchase shares to offset dilution resulting from equity-based awards issued under the Company's equity compensation plans. The Company has completed its repurchases under the April 2015 authorization.

7:55 am S&P futures vs fair value: -40.10. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: -93.00. (:WRAPX) :

U.S. equity futures trade sharply lower amid cautious action overseas. The S&P 500 futures hover 40 points below fair value after spending the entire night in negative territory.

Meanwhile, Treasuries have rallied, sending the 10-yr yield lower by five basis points to 2.16%.

Today's economic data will be limited to the 10:00 ET release of the July Construction Spending report (Briefing.com consensus 0.5%) and the ISM Index for August (expected 52.6).

In U.S. corporate news of note:

  • Dollar Tree (DLTR 73.00, -3.26): -4.3% after missing estimates and guiding lower.
  • Qiwi (QIWI 24.80, -1.35): -5.2% despite beating expectations and guiding higher.

Reviewing overnight developments:

  • Asian markets ended lower. China's Shanghai Composite -1.2%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng -2.2%, and Japan's Nikkei -3.8%
    • Economic data was plentiful:
      • China's August Manufacturing PMI 49.7 (expected 49.7; prior 50.0), August Non-Manufacturing PMI 53.4 (prior 53.9), August Caixin Manufacturing PMI revised to 47.3 (expected 47.2; prior 47.1), and August Caixin Services PMI 51.5 (expected 53.9; prior 53.8)
      • Japan's August Manufacturing PMI 51.7 (expected 51.9; prior 51.9) and Q2 Capital Spending +5.6% year-over-year (expected +9.0%; prior +7.3%)
      • South Korea's August Nikkei Manufacturing PMI 47.9 (prior 47.6), August CPI +0.2% month-over-month (expected +0.2%; prior +0.2%); +0.7% year-over-year (expected +0.7%; prior +0.7%), and August Trade Balance KRW 4.30 bln (expected KRW 6.07 bln; prior 7.70 bln) as Exports -14.7% year-over-year (expected -10.0%; prior -3.4%) and Imports -18.3% year-over-year (expected -14.9%; prior -15.3%)
      • India's August Nikkei Manufacturing PMI 52.3 (prior 52.7) and Q2 GDP +7.0% (expected +7.4%; prior +7.5%)
      • Australia's August AIG Manufacturing Index 51.7 (prior 50.4), July Building Approvals +4.2% month-over-month (expected +2.5%; prior -5.2%), Q2 Current Account AUD -19.0 bln (expected AUD -15.8 bln; prior AUD -13.5 bln), Q2 Net Exports Contribution -0.6% (expected -0.3%; prior +0.5%), July Private House Approvals -3.0% (prior +3.7%), and Commodity Prices -20.9% year-over-year (prior -19.1%)
    • In news:
      • The Reserve Bank of Australia held its key interest rate steady at 2.00%, as expected
  • Major European indices trade lower across the board. Germany's DAX -2.5%, UK's FTSE -2.3%, and France's CAC -2.2%. Elsewhere, Italy's MIB -1.7% and Spain's IBEX -2.1%
    • In economic data:
      • Eurozone July Unemployment Rate 10.9% (expected 11.1%; prior 11.1%) while August Manufacturing PMI 52.3 (expected 52.4; prior 52.4)
      • Germany's August Manufacturing PMI 53.3 (expected 53.2; prior 53.2) while Unemployment Rate held at 6.4%, as expected
      • UK's August Manufacturing PMI 51.5 (expected 52.0; prior 51.9) while July Mortgage Approvals 68,760 (expected 68,000; prior 67,070)
      • France's August Manufacturing PMI 48.3 (expected 48.6; prior 48.6)
      • Italy's Q2 GDP +0.3% quarter-over-quarter (expected 0.2%; prior 0.3%); +0.7% year-over-year (consensus 0.5%; last 0.7%). Separately, July Monthly Unemployment Rate 12.0% (expected 12.6%; prior 12.5%) and August Manufacturing PMI 53.8 (expected 54.8; last 55.3)
      • Spain's August Manufacturing PMI 53.2 (expected 53.2; last 53.6)
      • Swiss August SVME PMI 52.2 (expected 49.7; last 48.7)
    • Among news of note:
      • Greece has extended a short-selling ban on stocks for another month, but lifted its ban on shorting derivatives

7:41 am Heat Biologics enrolls the first patient in a Phase 1b clinical trial investigating the combination of its HS-110 therapeutic vaccine and the Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) PD-1 inhibitor nivolumab (Opdivo) in non-small cell lung cancer (HTBX) :

HS-110 is the Company's first product candidate in a series of proprietary ImPACT based immunotherapies designed to stimulate patient's own T-cells to attack cancer.

  • Additionally, as the FDA approval of nivolumab and anticipated approval of other checkpoint inhibitors is dramatically changing the standard of care in lung cancer treatment, Heat is winding down its ongoing Phase 2 trial with HS-110, which does not include a checkpoint inhibitor combination, to instead focus on combinations with checkpoint inhibitors.
  • "We expect to release top-line objective response rate and 6-month progression free survival (PFS) data on these first 18 patients by the end of 2016, which should enable us to reach a clinical readout for HS-110 with a checkpoint-focused clinical trial, on the same schedule that we had forecasted for our previous trial."

7:36 am Dollar Tree misses by $0.01, misses on revs; guides Q3 revs below consensus; guides FY16 revs below consensus (DLTR) :

Reports Q2 (Jul) earnings of $0.67 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.01 worse than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.68; revenues rose 48.3% year/year to $3.01 bln vs the $3.31 bln consensus.

  • The increase in revenue was the result of $811.6 million in sales from the Family Dollar segment since closing on the acquisition, and a same-store sales increase of 2.7% on a constant currency basis for the Dollar Tree segment.
  • Co reaffirms estimate of $300 million in run-rate synergies by end of third year
  • Company is progressing on Family Dollar integration plan 
  • Co issues downside guidance for Q3, sees Q3 revs of $4.78-4.87 bln vs. $4.89 bln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate.
  • Co issues downside guidance for FY16, sees FY16 revs of $15.3-15.5 bln vs. $16.46 bln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate.

7:32 am Viking Therapeutics initiates the clinical development program for VK5211, its lead program for muscle and bone disorders (VKTX) : VK5211 is an orally available, non-steroidal selective androgen receptor modulator being developed for the treatment of patients recovering from non-elective hip fracture surgery. Viking anticipates that the first patient in the efficacy study will be dosed in the fourth quarter of 2015.

7:31 am MediWound completes enrollment of its second Phase 2 clinical trial evaluating EscharEx for the treatment of chronic and other hard-to-heal wounds, expects to report top-line results around year-end 2015 (MDWD) :  

7:31 am Adaptimmune Therapeutics reports that the first patient has been dosed in its expanded Phase I/II trial of its TCR therapeutic, targeting the NY-ESO-1 cancer antigen (ADAP) :

Co stated that based on encouraging results in the first cohort of 10 patients, presented at the American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting in April 2015, the trial is being expanded to encompass an additional 20 patients in two further cohorts.

  • The expansion of Adaptimmune's trial also triggers two milestone payments from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). Adaptimmune is collaborating with GSK for the development of its NY-ESO TCR program through a strategic cancer immunotherapy partnership announced in June 2014. Under the terms of the agreement, GSK has an exclusive option to license Adaptimmune's NY-ESO TCR therapeutic and upon exercise would assume full responsibility for further development and commercialization of the therapeutic.

7:30 am Bristol-Myers announces the FDA has accepted for priority review the BLA for Empliciti, for the treatment of multiple myeloma as combination therapy in patients who have received one or more prior therapies (BMY) : Co announced the FDA has accepted for priority review the Biologics License Application (:BLA) for Empliciti (elotuzumab), an investigational Signaling Lymphocyte Activation Molecule (SLAMF7)-directed immunostimulatory antibody, for the treatment of multiple myeloma as combination therapy in patients who have received one or more prior therapies. Empliciti was previously granted Breakthrough Therapy Designation. The European Medicines Agency (EMA.TO) also recently validated for review the Marketing Authorization Application for Empliciti, granting it accelerated assessment. Bristol-Myers Squibb has proposed the name Empliciti which, if approved by health authorities, will serve as the brand name for elotuzumab.

7:29 am On The Wires (:WIRES) :

  • LifePoint Health (LPNT) and Watertown Regional Medical Center announced that they have finalized a joint venture to share ownership and operation of the hospital. The joint venture will invest $100 million in WRMC and the community over the next 10 years. Investments will include significant advancements in technology, the expansion of clinical services and initiatives-such as WRMC's Wellness Initiative, and facility improvements
  • Crescendo Bioscience, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Myriad Genetics (MYGN) announced that Elena Hitraya M.D., Ph.D., has joined the Company as the chief medical officer of Crescendo Bioscience, effective October 1, 2015
  • The Medicines Company (MDCO) announced that researchers at ESC Congress 2015 presented data from secondary analyses of the CHAMPION PHOENIX trial comparing cangrelor to oral clopidogrel in 11,145 patients undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention. Data demonstrated consistent reductions by more than 20% in the risk of primary endpoint ischemic events, which included a composite of death, myocardial infarction, stent thrombosis and repeat revascularization with cangrelor in patients treated by either the femoral or radial approach.
  • Alliance Data Systems Corporation (ADS) announced that its LoyaltyOne business, operator of its Canadian coalition loyalty business, signed a new multi-year agreement with Lowe's Canada, a division of Lowe's Companies (LOW) to become a sponsor in the AIR MILES Reward Program.
  • Apricus Biosciences (APRI) announced the launch of Vitaros in Italy by Bracco SpA
  • Husky Energy (HUSKF) announced it has commenced steam operations at the second of two processing plants at the Sunrise Energy Project in northeast Alberta. The first plant began bitumen production in mid-March 2015. The second plant is expected to commence production later this year as Sunrise continues to steadily ramp up towards full capacity of 60,000 barrels per day (30,000 bbls/day net to Husky) around the end of 2016.

7:26 am bwin.party digital confirmed it has also now received a revised proposal from 888 Holdings (EIHDF) (PYGMF) :

  • Further to its announcement on 27 August regarding a proposal from GVC Holdings the Board of bwin.party confirms it has also now received a revised proposal from 888 Holdings. This revised proposal is subject to a number of pre-conditions.
  • The Board of bwin.party is evaluating this proposal, together with that received from GVC, and intends to consult with its key shareholders in the coming days before making a final determination as to which proposal is in the best interests of shareholders. A further announcement will be made in due course.

7:06 am Donaldson beats by $0.03, beats on revs; guides FY16 EPS in-line, revs in-line (DCI) :

Reports Q4 (Jul) earnings of $0.45 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.03 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.42; revenues fell 11.4% year/year to $609.7 mln vs the $595.7 mln consensus.

  • Co issues in-line guidance for FY16, sees EPS of $1.57-1.77, excluding non-recurring items, vs. $1.75 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate; sees FY16 revs of $2.32-2.42 bln vs. $2.4 bln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate. 
  • Outlook Details: Based on a forecast of the euro at US$1.09 and 124 yen to the US$, foreign currency translation is expected to negatively impact FY16 sales by ~$85 million. FY16 AAP EPS is expected to be lower than adjusted EPS by ~1 cent. FY16 Engine Product sales are expected to be in a range between a 2 percent decline and a 2 percent increase compared with 2015.

7:06 am QIWI beats by RUB 0.23, beats on revs; raises; raises FY15 guidance to include Contact and Rapida acquisitions (QIWI) :

  • Reports Q2 (Jun) earnings of RUB 18.40 per share, excluding non-recurring items, RUB 0.23 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of RUB 18.17; revenues rose 19.6% year/year to RUB 2.52 bln vs the RUB 2.47 bln consensus. 
    • Total payment volume increased 31% to RUB 204.2 billion ($3.7 billion)
  • Total Adjusted Net Revenue is expected to increase by 18% to 22% over 2014 (from +12-16%)
  • Adjusted Net Profit is expected to increase by 18% to 22% over 2014 (from +12-16%)

7:04 am Asian Markets Close: Japan's Nikkei -3.8%; Hong Kong's Hang Seng -2.2%; China's Shanghai Composite -1.2% (:SUMRX) :

It was a sea of red across equity markets in the Asia-Pacific region as a round of weaker than expected economic data, highlighted by China's official manufacturing PMI report for August showing a contraction for the first time in six months, triggered a wave of selling interest.

Economic data

  • China
    • August Manufacturing PMI 49.7 (expected 49.7; prior 50.0)
    • August Non-Manufacturing PMI 53.4 (prior 53.9)
    • August Caixin Manufacturing PMI revised to 47.3 (expected 47.2; prior 47.1)
    • August Caixin Services PMI 51.5 (expected 53.9; prior 53.8)
  • Japan
    • August Manufacturing PMI 51.7 (expected 51.9; prior 51.9)
    • Q2 Capital Spending +5.6% year-over-year (expected +9.0%; prior +7.3%)
  • South Korea
    • August Nikkei Manufacturing PMI 47.9 (prior 47.6)
    • August CPI +0.2% month-over-month (expected +0.2%; prior +0.2%); +0.7% year-over-year (expected +0.7%; prior +0.7%)
    • August Trade Balance KRW 4.30 bln (expected KRW 6.07 bln; prior 7.70 bln)
      • Exports -14.7% year-over-year (expected -10.0%; prior -3.4%)
      • Imports -18.3% year-over-year (expected -14.9%; prior -15.3%)
  • India
    • August Nikkei Manufacturing PMI 52.3 (prior 52.7)
    • Q2 GDP +7.0% (expected +7.4%; prior +7.5%)
  • Australia
    • RBA holds interest rate steady at 2.00% (expected 2.0%)
    • August AIG Manufacturing Index 51.7 (prior 50.4)
    • July Building Approvals +4.2% month-over-month (expected +2.5%; prior -5.2%)
    • Q2 Current Account AUD -19.0 bln (expected AUD -15.8 bln; prior AUD -13.5 bln)
    • Q2 Net Exports Contribution -0.6% (expected -0.3%; prior +0.5%)
    • July Private House Approvals -3.0% (prior +3.7%)
    • Commodity Prices -20.9% year-over-year (prior -19.1%)

Equity Markets

  • Japan's Nikkei dropped 3.8% and finished on its lows for the day following some weaker than expected capital spending and manufacturing PMI data. In turn, disappointing manufacturing PMI data out of China ignited concerns about Japan's economic prospects. Losses were paced by the health care (-5.8%), consumer staples (-5.1%), consumer discretionary (-4.4%), and materials (-4.0%) sectors. Tosoh Corp (-10.1%), Yokohama Rubber Co. (-9.1%), and Eisai Co. (-7.5%) topped a very long list of losers. Out of the 225 index members, only two -- Pioneer Corp (+2.7%) and Meidensha Corp (+1.3%) -- ended the day higher.
  • Hong Kong's Hang Seng declined 2.2%, pulled lower by the disappointment surrounding weaker than expected economic data throughout the region. The Hang Seng closed near its lows for the day after falling 1.4% in the final hour of trading. China Mengniu Dairy (-6.8%), Tingyi Cayman Islands Holding Corp (-5.5%), and BOC Hong Kong Holdings (-5.5%) led the losers. Out of the 50 index members, only two -- Hang Lung Properties (+0.9%) and Link REIT (+0.4%) -- ended the day higher.
  • China's Shanghai Composite declined 1.2%, recovering a significant portion of an early 4.8% loss. The decline followed on the heels of the government's official manufacturing PMI report showing a drop into contraction territory for the month of August. That's the first drop below 50 in six months and the weakest reading since August 2012, according to reports. Separately, the Caixin manufacturing PMI for August, which covers smaller-sized firms, was revised up to 47.3 from 47.1, yet that still the weakest reading since March 2009.
  • India's Sensex declined 2.3%, reacting negatively to the report that Q2 GDP decelerated from the prior quarter. Losses were led by the financials (-3.8%), communications (-3.3%), and industrials (-3.0%) sectors. Punjab National Bank (-6.9%), Bank of Baroda (-6.6%), and Kotak Mahindra Bank (-5.8%) were the worst-performing issues. Bajaj Auto (+0.8%) led a short list of winners. Out of the 30 index members, 3 ended higher and 27 finished lower.
  • Australia's S&P/ASX 200 declined 2.1% on the heels of some weaker than expected current account data and in response to the disappointing data elsewhere in the region. Separately, the RBA held interest rates steady at 2.00%, as expected. Losses in the S&P/ASX 200, which closed near its low for the day, were led by the financials (-2.5%), information technology (-2.4%), and energy (-2.3%) sectors.
  • Regional advancers: None
  • Regional decliners: South Korea -1.4%, Taiwan -1.9%, Malaysia -0.2%, Indonesia -2.2%, Singapore -1.3%, Thailand -1.9%, Vietnam -0.4%, Philippines -0.2%

FX

  • USD/CNY -0.2% at 6.3642
  • USD/INR -0.3% at 66.3087
  • USD/JPY -0.9% at 120.14

7:01 am W&T Offshore to sell all of its interest in its Yellow Rose field in the Permian Basin to Ajax Resources for ~$376 mln (WTI) : Gross pre-tax proceeds from the transaction are expected to be approximately $376,100,000, subject to customary closing adjustments.  W&T also reserved a one to four percent sliding scale overriding royalty interest in the field. The transaction is expected to close during the third quarter of 2015, with an effective date of January 1, 2015. The co will use the proceeds from the transaction to pay down the outstanding balance under our secured revolving credit facility and provide additional liquidity for future operations and acquisitions. 

7:01 am XBiotech completes the first cohort in its Phase 1/2 clinical study of a novel True Human monoclonal antibody therapy, will advance to the next dose level (XBIT) : The dose will be increased by a factor of 5, and represents the second of three planned dosing cohorts.

7:00 am Kratos Defense and Security is awarded a $50 million, five-year, sole source contract from an international customer (KTOS) : Co recently received a $50 million, five-year, sole source single award contract from an international customer, with initial immediate funding of ~$20 million. Work under the contract will be performed at U.S. and international locations.

7:00 am On the Wires (:WIRES) :

  • Disguise, Inc., the Halloween costume division of JAKKS Pacific (JAKK) announced that it has secured a licensing agreement with Moose Toys to develop Shopkins costumes
  • Grizzly Discoveries provided an update on its progress with Kinross Gold Corporation (KGC) on a non-binding Letter of Intent to grant Kinross the sole and exclusive right and option to acquire an undivided 75% legal and beneficial interest in and to ~27,346 hectares of Grizzly's land holdings in southeastern British Columbia. Kinross may earn a 75% interest in Grizzly's interest by expending US$3 million including a minimum of 3,000 metres of diamond drilling up to the end of the fifth year of the Option Agreement. In addition, Kinross must spend a minimum of $750,000 and drill a minimum of 750 metres within the first two years of the option. Should Kinross not complete the terms of the option, all optioned lands would revert to Grizzly

6:33 am Science Applications beats by $0.01, misses on revs (SAIC) :

Reports Q2 (Jul) earnings of $0.66 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.01 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.65; revenues rose 15.4% year/year to $1.1 bln vs the $1.12 bln consensus.

  • Co reported EBITDA of of $70 mln (6.4% of revenues); adjusted EBITDA of $82 mln (7.5% of revenues) after excluding acquisition and integration costs.
  • SAIC's estimated backlog of signed business orders at the end of the quarter was approximately $7.1 bln of which $1.9 bln was funded.

6:26 am Whirlpool approaches AGA Rangemaster regarding a possible cash offer to acquire it (WHR) :

AGA Rangemaster announced that it has received an approach regarding a possible cash offer for the Company from Whirlpool Corporation. The announcement of a firm offer by Whirlpool is subject to the satisfaction or waiver of a number of conditions including due diligence. AGA detailed that given the conditionality of the Whirlpool offer, the Board of AGA believes it is in the best interests of AGA Shareholders, taken as a whole, to ensure that the Middleby Transaction continues to be executed on the current timetable to avoid any delay to completion of that transaction should a firm offer from Whirlpool not be forthcoming. Accordingly, the Board of AGA continues to recommend the offer made by Middleby (MIDD) to AGA Shareholders. The Court Meeting and AGA General Meeting to consider the Middleby Transaction will continue on 8 September 2015 and the Board recommends that all Scheme Shareholders vote in favour of the Scheme at the Court Meeting and AGA Shareholders vote in favour of the Special Resolution to be proposed at the AGA General Meeting, as each of the AGA Directors who holds AGA Shares has irrevocably undertaken to do in respect of his or her own beneficial holdings.

  • A further announcement by Whirlpool will be made in due course if appropriate

6:06 am On The Wires (:WIRES) :

  • Medidata (MDSO) announced a research collaboration with the Japan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association. JPMA's research initiative-which leveraged Medidata's cloud-based technology and proprietary database of industry benchmark costs-underscores the importance of streamlining clinical trial costs across Japan by focusing on the consistent budgeting of trial sites.
  • Heidrick & Struggles (HSII) announced the opening of an office in Perth. The new office will cover Australia's industrial sector, with a special focus on energy, natural resources, mining and infrastructure.
  • MetLife (MET) announced the appointment of Bharat Kannan to the position of Chief Distribution Officer for Asia. Kannan joined MetLife in March 2015 as Head of Employee Benefits Asia, from Aon where he spent over 11 years, in a number of senior management positions in Asia and the US
  • Applied DNA Sciences (APDN) announced that it has achieved ISO/IEC 17025:2005 Accreditation for the Examination and Analysis of CViT and Asset Protection products, utilizing Fragment Length Polymorphism from ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board.
  • TransUnion (TRU) announced it has been awarded a General Services Administration Schedule 520/FABS/Consolidated contract (GS-00F-226CA). The five-year contract enables federal government organizations, along with other entities authorized to utilize the GSA Schedule contracts, to acquire TransUnion services under pre-defined pricing and terms.
  • Pacific Exploration & Production Corp. (PEGFF) announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary Pacific Stratus Energy Del Peru S.A. has been awarded a two-year contract to operate Block 192 by Perupetro S.A.
  • International Game Technology PLC (IGT) announced that Ken Bossingham is joining the Company as Senior Vice President, Casino Core Product, on Sept.1. Bossingham most recently served as Chief Operating Officer for American Gaming Systems, where he led the Company's acquisition by Apollo Global Management
  • Lombard Medical (EVAR) announced that within a year of the Aorfix regulatory approval in Japan, physicians have completed approximately 400 cases -- or an estimated 5 percent of all AAA cases in Japan.

6:02 am Penn West Energy announces further actions in response to current commodity price environment; states that it will limit capex, suspend dividend and reduce cost structure (PWE) :

Co stated:

  • "Going forward, our total capital expenditures will remain within our funds flow from operations. Over the last month, we have identified $75 million of planned 2015 capital activity that will be deferred, which is incremental to the $50 million capital spending reduction announced as part of our second quarter results. In finalizing plans for our 2016 capital program, we will limit our capital expenditures to estimated funds flow from operations on a full year basis. We will focus our development capital on our core Viking and Cardium light oil properties in 2016.
  • Our Board of Directors has decided to suspend our dividend until further notice following the payment on October 15, 2015 of the most recently declared dividend. We estimate this action will reduce annual cash outlays by approximately $20 million. The $0.01 per share dividend declared by our Board of Directors on July 30, 2015 will still be paid on October 15, 2015. In addition, effective today, our Board of Directors has voluntarily decreased the annual retainers payable to non-management directors.
  • We will reduce our total workforce by 35%, representing over 400 full time employees and contractors, with most of this reduction being effective immediately. The remainder of this workforce reduction is expected to be completed by the end of the year. The total cost savings associated with this workforce reduction are expected to be approximately $45 million per year. We continue to be in compliance with all of the financial covenants in our syndicated bank facility and senior notes. As a result of the reduction in our workforce, we anticipate recording a one-time charge related to severance costs during the third quarter. We expect that these costs will be excluded from our funds flow from operations and EBITDA metrics.
  • We have updated our guidance given the impact of the $414 million in asset dispositions to date and the further planned reductions in our capital programs. Our revised 2015 capital budget is $500 million, representing capital expenditures of approximately $245 million in the second half of 2015. Our revised 2015 production guidance range is 86,000 - 90,000 boe/d. Although we continue to view funds flow from operations to be an important metric, we will shift our focus to providing guidance on our controllable costs given the continuing volatility in commodity prices.

6:01 am Opexa Therapeutics enters into a stock purchase agreement with a private investor to fund its NMO program, including its planned Phase I/II trial, for up to $5 mln, upon achievement of certain pre-specified milestones. (OPXA) :

The funding is to be provided in five tranches, based on the successful completion of milestones, with the first tranche having been delivered today, the effective date of this agreement. For the first tranche, the company issued shares priced at $0.55 per share for a purchase amount of $500,000. The total number of shares delivered in the first tranche was 909,090. The first tranche also included a warrant to acquire an equal number of shares with an initial exercise price of $0.50 until June 30, 2016, and an exercise price of $1.50 through its expiration on April 9, 2018. 

  • Subsequent tranches totaling a possible $4.5 million are based on the completion of the ongoing preclinical activities and subsequent submission of an IND for OPX-212 in NMO no later than February 15, 2016; the review and acceptance of the IND by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) no later than May 15, 2016; enrollment of the first patient in a planned Phase I/II study no later than August 30, 2016; and enrollment of 30% of the patients in the same Phase I/II study no later than December 31, 2016.

6:00 am Forum Energy Tech. signs a contract with Egyptian Refining Company to engineer, design and build eight Edge II desalters (FET) : The units are scheduled for completion April 2016 and have a contract value of more than $20 million.

5:53 am S&P futures vs fair value: -43.10. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: -97.70. :

5:53 am European Markets : FTSE...6088.23...-159.70...-2.60%.  DAX...9960.47...-299.00...-3.00%.

5:53 am Asian Markets : Nikkei...18165.69...-724.80...-3.80%.  Hang Seng...21185.43...-485.20...-2.20%.

5:40 am United Comm Banks completes merger with Palmetto Bancshares (PLMT) (UCBI) :  

5:35 am Alexion Pharma announces that the EC has approved Strensiq for long-term enzyme replacement therapy in patients with pediatric-onset hypophosphatasia to treat the bone manifestations of the disease (ALXN) : Strensiq is the first therapy approved in the European Union (EU) for the treatment of patients with HPP, a life-threatening, ultra-rare metabolic disorder. Alexion expects to begin serving patients in Germany in October and is now commencing reimbursement processes with healthcare authorities in each of the major European countries.

5:30 am Trend Micro to sell its China business to AsiaInfo Technologies; terms not disclosed (TMICY) : AsiaInfo Technologies (China) Co., Ltd. and Trend Micro (China) Co., Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Trend Micro International, jointly announced that AsiaInfo intends to acquire all of Trend Micro China's business, including licensing of product and technology rights within the China market. This agreement will solely encompass business within China. The acquisition is expected to close by the end of 2015. Terms will not be disclosed.

5:26 am Pacific Exploration and Production enters into an agreement with ALFA and the O'Hara Group (PEGFF) : Pursuant to the terms of the Nomination Agreement, ALFA and the O'Hara Group will each be entitled to nominate two individuals to the Board of Directors. ALFA will nominate Messrs. Jos de Jess Valdez Simancas and Raul Millares and O'Hara will nominate Messrs. Alejandro Betancourt and Orlando Alvarado, as members of the Board of Directors, subject to applicable regulatory approvals. In this regard, Messrs. Miguel Rodriguez, Neil Woodyer, Victor Rivera and German Efromovich have resigned from the Board of Directors, effective immediately.

5:23 am Dangdang beats by $0.01; misses on revs (DANG) :

Reports Q2 EPS per ADS of ($0.04) vs ($0.05) Capital IQ consensus; revs increased 30% YoY to $373.0 mln vs $379.5 mln consensus.

  • Dangdang had approximately 9.7 million active customers, including approximately 3.5 million new customers, in the second quarter of 2015, representing increases of 15% and 19%, respectively, from the corresponding period in 2014. Total orders for the second quarter of 2015 were approximately 19.5 million, a 19% increase from the corresponding period in 2014.
  • Mobile orders accounted for 40% of total orders for the second quarter of 2015, compared to 17.0% for the corresponding period in 2014.

5:22 am Capital Bank announced that the operating agreement between its subsidiary, Capital Bank, and its primary regulator, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has been terminated effective immediately (CBF) : he operating agreement was entered into during August 2010 as part of Capital Bank's approval to operate as a denovo bank. The agreement required the Bank to maintain certain capital, placed restrictions on its ability to pay dividends and limited its ability to make certain other business decisions.

5:21 am General Electric completes sale of its U.S. fleet services business to Element Financial (ELEEF) (GE) : Separately, the previously announced sale of GE's Mexican, Australian and New Zealand fleet businesses to Element is expected to close at the end of the third quarter, and the sale of GE's European fleet businesses to Arval, a fully-owned subsidiary of BNP Paribas, is expected to close in the fourth quarter. GE Capital believes it is on track to deliver about $35 billion of dividends to GE under this plan, as previously announced

5:12 am On The Wires (:WIRES) :

  • Resource Capital (RSO) announced the effectiveness of its previously disclosed one-for-four reverse stock split of the Company's common stock. The reverse stock split was effective as of 5:00 PM Eastern time on August 31, 2015
  • National Health Investors (NHI) announced it has acquired senior living communities in Oregon and Michigan through two separate transactions for a combined purchase price of $12.7 million. These acquisitions expand the NHI-Chancellor Health Care relationship to five communities and establishes a new partner relationship with The Brook Retirement Communities.
  • ANZ has signed a five-year, AU$450 million strategic agreement with IBM (IBM). This partnership will provide ANZ with increased capability to drive productivity and innovation across the Group, as well as improving its capacity to deal with the rapidly growing number of customers and transactions across the bank's branch, digital and mobile channels and support ANZ's regional expansion.
  • Avnet (AVT) announced the availability of the MicroZed Carrier Card Kit for Arduino, a versatile Arduino-compatible carrier card for Avnet's MicroZed system-on-module.
  • NTT Communications Corporation (NTT) announced it will greatly expand Microsoft Dynamics AX on Enterprise Cloud, the cloud-based enterprise resource planning solution provided on NTT Com's Enterprise Cloud service.
  • Lenovo (LNVGY) announced its latest portfolio of laptops and desktops specifically designed for the small and medium business. Loaded with the latest technology and stylish designs, the portfolio includes the ThinkPad E Series, the updated Lenovo M, B and E line of laptops and S series desktops including elegant all-in-ones.

5:07 am On The Wires (:WIRES) :

  • WD, a Western Digital (WDC) company and Milestone Systems announced today a partnership to deliver video surveillance solutions to businesses and consumers.
  • Ericsson (ERIC) announced its next major software release, Ericsson Networks Software 16A, which will feature a new suite of LTE software upgrades targeting the indoor space.
  • NuVasive (NUVA) announced it will introduce its Integrated Global Alignment platform to select international markets at EUROSPINE 2015. 
  • CGG (CGG) announced in an ambitious transformation plan to adapt to the new environment and market conditions. A more centralized organization is now deployed to ensure we have the strongest possible foundation from which to operate and grow in the future. As from 1st September, the Corporate Committee (C-Com) is chaired by the CEO, Jean-Georges Malcor, and formed by the CFO, Stephane-Paul Frydman, the two COO's, Pascal Rouiller and Sophie Zurquiyah, and the EVP, Human Resources, David Dragone.

5:05 am Pretium Resources receives Environmental Management Act and Mines Act permits (PVG) :

Co announce that it has been issued all of the major regulatory permits required to begin development work towards commercial production at the Brucejack Project located in northern British Columbia.

  • The British Columbia Minister of Energy and Mines has issued a Mines Act Permit approving Pretivm's mine plan and reclamation program allowing commercial production at the Brucejack Project.
  • The Mines Act Permit allows for the construction of a 2,700 tonnes per day dore and flotation plant, development of an underground mine, and associated facilities and other infrastructure.

4:26 am Samsung Elect introduces Samsung Gear S2 smartwatch (SSNLF) :

Introduced in two different options -- the Gear S2 and the Gear S2 classic

  • The Gear S2 classic is made for users who prefer a more timeless watch design, offering an elegant Black finish with a matching genuine leather band.

4:25 am Abbott Labs reports First Absorb Trial in Japan meets primary endpoint (ABT) :

Co announced today positive one-year clinical results from ABSORB Japan, a multi-center, randomized trial comparing the safety and effectiveness of Abbott's fully dissolving Absorb heart stent to XIENCE, Abbott's market-leading, permanent drug eluting stent.

Key findings of ABSORB Japan include:

  • A primary endpoint of target lesion failure of 4.2% for Absorb and 3.8% for XIENCE. TLF is a composite of heart disease-related deaths, heart attacks attributed to the treated vessel, and repeat procedures within the treated lesion caused by ischemia (lack of oxygen in the treated vessel), powered for non-inferiority at one year.
  • The major secondary endpoint of angiographic in-segment late lumen loss, with 95% angiographic follow-up, at 0.13+0.30 mm for Absorb and 0.12+0.32 mm for XIENCE. LLL measures the difference in millimeters between the diameter of the treated vessel after a procedure compared to a follow-up angiogram, in this case at 13 months.
  • The rates of stent thrombosis for Absorb and XIENCE were both 1.5% for definite and probable ST.
    Rate of repeat procedures was infrequent for both devices at 2.6% with Absorb and 2.3% with XIENCE

3:57 am Valeant Pharma and AstraZeneca (AZN) to partner on Brodalumab; US and EU regulatory submission planned in moderate-to-severe psoriasis in Q4 2015 (VRX) :

Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX) announced that its affiliate has entered into a collaboration agreement with AstraZeneca under which Valeant was granted an exclusive license to develop and commercialize brodalumab.

  • Brodalumab is an IL-17 receptor monoclonal antibody in development for patients with moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Under the agreement, Valeant will hold the exclusive rights to develop and commercialize brodalumab globally, except in Japan and certain other Asian countries where rights are held by Kyowa Hakko Kirin under a prior arrangement with Amgen (AMGN), the originator of brodalumab.
  • Valeant will assume all development costs associated with the regulatory approval for brodalumab. Regulatory submission in US and EU for brodalumab in moderate-to-severe psoriasis is planned for the fourth quarter of 2015.
  • Under the terms of the agreement, Valeant will make an up-front payment to AstraZeneca of $100 million, as well as additional pre-launch milestones of up to $170 million and further sales-related milestone payments of up to $175 million following launch. After approval, AstraZeneca and Valeant will share profits.

3:51 am Novartis receives EU approval for Tafinlar and Mekinist (NVS) :

Novartis (NVS) announced that the European Commission has approved the combination of Tafinlar and Mekinist for the treatment of adult patients with unresectable or metastatic melanoma with a BRAF V600 mutation. This is the first targeted therapy combination approved in the EU to treat patients with the most aggressive form of skin cancer, demonstrating improved overall survival versus the current standard of care with BRAF inhibitor monotherapy in two Phase III studies.

  • Marketing authorization is based on results from the Phase III COMBI-d and COMBI-v studies, in which the Tafinlar/Mekinist combination demonstrated overall survival benefit compared to Tafinlar and Zelboraf monotherapies respectively in patients with BRAF V600 mutation-positive unresectable or metastatic melanoma

3:36 am NextEra Energy and Hawaiian Electric (HE) provide new details on NEE's plans for its merger with HEI; sees ~$1 bln in customer savings and economic benefits (NEE) :

NextEra Energy (NEE) and Hawaiian Electric (HE) provided additional extensive details on NextEra Energy's plans for its merger with HEI, including a comprehensive package of 85 commitments, of which more than 50 are new, that would accelerate the achievement of Hawaii's goal of an affordable, 100 percent renewable energy future by 2045.

  • New filings detail nearly $1 billion in customer savings and economic benefits
  • NextEra Energy estimates per residential customer savings of roughly $345-$475 for the first five years
  • The combination would accelerate the development of modern smart grids throughout the islands
  • NextEra Energy affirms its commitment to at least $2.2 million in charitable giving for a minimum of 10 years
  • NextEra Energy commits to keeping hawaiian electric locally managed

3:21 am Medtronic acquires Medina Medical (MDT) :

Co announced it has acquired Medina Medical, a Menlo Park, Calif.-based and privately-held medical device company focused on commercializing state-of-the-art treatments for vascular abnormalities of the brain including cerebral aneurysms.

  • The all-cash transaction included an initial payment of $150 million plus additional payments upon achievement of key milestones.
  • Medtronic had previously invested in Medina Medical and held an ownership stake in the company prior to completion of the acquisition, which will result in a pre-tax gain in the second quarter of fiscal year 2016.

2:59 am Euronav signs new $750 million facility (EURN) :  

2:59 am MSA Safety to acquire Latchways for $191 mln (MSA) :

MSA Safety (MSA) announced the terms of a proposed cash acquisition of United Kingdom-based Latchways, a provider of innovative fall protection systems and solutions, for 11 per share.
Transaction Highlights

  • Represents a key step in the execution of MSA's corporate strategy by expanding its investment in one of the largest and fastest growing product segments of the global safety market.
  • Doubles MSA's global fall protection business, positioning MSA as one of the largest fall protection providers globally.
  • Proposed acquisition is valued at ~124 million, or ~$191 mln, implying an enterprise value for Latchways of 114M, or ~$176 million.
  • Acquisition is consistent with MSA's well-balanced capital allocation strategy that includes an ongoing dividend, a recently announced share repurchase program, and investments in both organic and inorganic growth. The transaction will be funded with existing cash balances held outside the U.S. and incremental borrowing with an after tax cost of less than 2 percent.
  • Transaction is expected to be accretive to earnings in 2016, the first full year of ownership.
  • Investment is expected to return in excess of MSA's cost of capital by year three.

2:58 am Alexion Pharma European Commission Grants Marketing Authorization for Kanuma (ALXN) :

Co announced that the European Commission has approved Kanuma for long-term enzyme replacement therapy in patients of all ages with lysosomal acid lipase deficiency.

  • Alexion expects to begin serving patients in Germany in October and is now commencing reimbursement processes with healthcare authorities in each of the major European countries.

2:12 am Macquarie Infrastructure announces revolving credit facility upsized to $410 mln (MIC) :

Co announced the completion of a financing of its Bayonne Energy Center power generating business and an increase in the available capacity under its holding company revolving credit facility.

  • BEC, which had been debt free since mid-July 2015, entered into a new debt facility consisting of a seven-year, $275 million term loan bearing interest at an all-in rate of 3.91%. BEC also secured a seven-year, $25 million revolving credit facility.
  • The revolving facility is currently undrawn and will be used primarily as backing for letters of credit supporting collateral and reserve requirements.

2:05 am Cathay Bancorp authorizes new share repurchase program to repurchase up to 2 mln shares of common stock. (CATY) :  

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