InPlay from Briefing.com

Briefing.com

1:52 pm Ocwen Fincl resumes trading (OCN) :  

1:45 pm Ocwen Fincl addresses letter from NYDFS; says 'inadvertently sent improperly dated letters to some borrowers... believe that we have resolved the letter dating issues ' (OCN) : "Ocwen regrets that, due to software errors in our correspondence systems, we inadvertently sent improperly dated letters to some borrowers. As always, our goal is to avoid foreclosure. In the case of the 283 borrowers in New York who received letters with incorrect dates, 281 are currently borrowers with us. We are continuing to review the rest of the cases. We believe that we have resolved the letter dating issues that have been identified to date, and we continue our investigation as to whether there are additional letter dating issues that need to be resolved. We are working with and fully cooperating with DFS and the Monitor to address their concerns."

OCN is halted (down 19.8% on the day). ASPS -16.3%, RESI -6.5%, WAC -5%, HLSS -4%, NSM -3.5%, ELLI -1.1% have also pulled back today in sympathy.

1:21 pm Eureka Financial annoucnes special cash dividend of $0.10/share paid on Nov. 30 to shareholders of record as of Nov. 15 (EKFC) :  

1:11 pm Noble Energy elected David Stover as President/CEO, succeeding Charles Davidson as CEO (NBL) : Stover's election is consistent with the management succession plan disclosed in April of this year when it was announced that Mr. Davidson would be retiring on May 1, 2015. Davidson will continue to serve as the Company's Chairman until the 2015 Annual Meeting at which time he will be leaving the Board of Directors. The Board also announced that it intends to elect Mr. Stover as Chairman of the Board immediately following the 2015 Annual Meeting.

1:01 pm Comtech Telecom awarded $2.3 mln Advanced VSAT and Premium Services order to support satellite network in Asia (CMTL) : Co announced that its Tempe, Arizona-based subsidiary, Comtech EF Data Corp., was awarded a $2.3 mln order for its industry-leading Advanced VSAT satellite networking platform, including the NetVue Integrated Management System and the premium service package, ESS Prime.

  • A systems integrator will deploy the platform to support both fixed and mobile sites in Asia for an end user that requires mission-critical, high throughput bi-directional connectivity.

12:58 pm Midday Market Summary: Cyclical Sectors Lead (:WRAPX) : The major averages hold solid midday gains with the Nasdaq Composite (+1.7%) pacing the advance. The S&P 500 (+1.4%) follows right behind with all ten sectors trading in the green, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.9%) underperforms for the second day in a row.

Equity indices opened with solid gains following reports from Reuters suggesting the European Central Bank will look to begin buying corporate bonds. However, a later report from the Financial Times said the ECB has no plans to implement the aforementioned buying program at this time.

Yesterday, the Dow could not catch up to the broader market amid significant weakness in the third-largest index component. Today, IBM (IBM 162.23, -6.87) has once again pressured the price-weighted index with Big Blue extending yesterday's losses. IBM notwithstanding, the Dow has also faced weakness in the shares of Coca-Cola (KO 40.61, -2.68) and McDonald's (MCD 90.87, -0.72). The two names hold respective losses of 6.2% and 0.8% after both missed revenue estimates and issued cautious guidance.

On the flip side, investors have cheered better than expected results and guidance from Apple (AAPL 101.94, +2.18), which trades higher by 2.2%. Most other large cap names have also shown strength, but the technology sector (+1.2%) trails the broader market due to IBM's weakness.

Chipmakers, however, have taken part in the advance with better than expected results from Texas Instruments (TXN 46.03, +1.62) providing a measure of support. The stock has added 3.7% while the broader PHLX Semiconductor Index (+2.2%) has extended this week's gain to 3.8%.

Staying on the high-beta theme, biotechnology has displayed significant strength with the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB 274.30, +4.71) up 1.8%. The industry group has underpinned the health care sector (+1.9%) while the remaining countercyclical groups trail with gains between 0.2% (consumer staples) and 0.5% (telecom services).

Treasuries have held slim losses since this morning with the 10-yr yield up one basis point at 2.20%.

Economic data was limited to the Existing Home Sales report for September. After declining for the first time since March, existing home sales rebounded, rising 2.4% to 5.17 million SAAR from an unrevised 5.05 million SAAR. The Briefing.com consensus expected an increase to 5.11 million SAAR.

  • Sales in the Midwest declined 5.6% in September while all of the other regions--Northeast (1.5%), South (5.0%), and West (7.1%)--saw increased demand 
  • A portion of the increase in sales resulted from more investor demand with all-cash sales accounting for 24% of all transactions, up from 23% in August. 
  • Individual investor demand grew to 14% from 12%

12:52 pm Acxiom announced a strategic partnership with Weibo Corporation (WB) (ACXM) : As part of the relationship, Weibo (WB) will leverage the Acxiom Audience Operating System to deliver greater digital marketing efficiency to its advertisers.

12:46 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

  • ILMN (179.82 +9.33%): Beat by $0.22, beat on revs; guided FY14 EPS above consensus, revs above consensus; Upgraded at Janney.
  • HOG (62.02 +6.24%): Beat by $0.09, missed on revs; reaffirmed 2014 shipments, op margin and CapEx guidance.
  • AAL (37.43 +6.27%): Strength attributed to positive Knighthead's Wagner mention at Robin Hood conference.
Large Cap Losers
  • CMG (609.98 -6.59%): Beat by $0.31, beat on revs; reiterated 2014 SSS guidance, warned comp improvement will decline in 2015.
  • KO (40.75 -5.87%): Reported EPS in-line, missed on revs; sees FY14 and FY15 results below long term targets (lowers top line target); expanded restructuring program.
  • LMT (171.87 -2.09%): Beat by $0.05, missed on revs; guided FY14 ~in-line; FY15 sales below estimates.
Mid Cap Gainers
  • WAT (106.54 +9.23%): Beat by $0.09, beat on revs; Maxim recommended investors buy shares following the strong results.
  • SBNY (116.29 +8.68%): Reported Q3 EPS of $1.52 vs. consensus estimates of $1.46; Upgraded to Outperform at Boenning & Scattergood, PT $125.
  • LXK (42.79 +7.99%): Beat by $0.13, beat on revs; guided Q4 EPS in-line, revs in-line.
Mid Cap Losers
  • OCN (22.56 -14.09%): Reports out that the NY AG says the co sent backdated letters to mortgage borrowers (ASPS also lower on the news).
  • XRS (30.45 -9.64%): Beat by $0.04, missed on revs; guided Q3 revs below consensus.
  • GPK (10.93 -6.62%): Missed by $0.03, missed on revs; adjusted EBITDA increased 8.8% y/y to $190.6 mln

12:27 pm Chiquita Brands reiterates value of the Chiquita/Fyffes (FYFFF) combination; 'Cutrale / Safra appears only interested in acquiring Chiquita for the lowest possible price without adequately compensating Chiquita shareholders' (CQB) : Co reiterated the value of Chiquita's combination with Fyffes plc (FYFFF) and set the record straight regarding the inaccurate and misleading statements made by the Cutrale Group and the Safra Group in an attempt to support its inadequate $14.00 per share offer to acquire Chiquita.

  • Edward Lonergan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Chiquita said, "Chiquita's Board of Directors is solely focused on maximizing value for all Chiquita shareholders. In contrast, Cutrale / Safra appears only interested in acquiring Chiquita for the lowest possible price without adequately compensating Chiquita shareholders."
  • In addition, Chiquita remains on track to achieve its 2014 EBITDA profit forecast, benefitting in the fourth quarter from balanced bananas supply and demand, the elimination of startup costs at its Midwest salads facilities and benefits from third quarter-deployed salads pricing actions.

12:21 pm Honeywell responds to European Commission statement of objections (HON) : The allegations outlined in the Statement of Objections are baseless and conflict with the EU's own laws that encourage collaboration on development. Honeywell is confident that our practices are consistent with the law and that the Commission will conclude that we acted in full compliance with European Union competition rules.

  • By collaborating on expensive and risky development, Honeywell and DuPont (DD) were able to develop HFO-1234yf in time to meet the MAC Directive's 2017 deadline. 
  • Thanks to that swift development, HFO-1234yf is currently being used in nearly 2 million cars around the world, reducing the global warming potential of those cars' air conditioning systems by more than 99.9%. 
  • Honeywell's and DuPont's work also ensured a competitive market for HFO-1234yf. 
  • Honeywell and DuPont are marketing HFO-1234yf independently and in direct competition with one another.

12:12 pm Floor Talk (:TALKX) : It has been an all-around good day for the stock market so far.  Each of the major indices has gained at least 1.0%, supported by broad-based buying interest that has all ten sectors trading higher at this juncture.

Catalyst for the bullish bias include:

  • Yesterday's resilience in the wake of IBM's (IBM 163.15, -5.95) dreadful earnings report and stock performance
  • Apple (AAPL 101.87, +2.11) demonstrating with its earnings report and outlook that companies with the right products and services can still enjoy strong consumer demand in a challenging global economic environment
  • Faith in the central bank put, evidenced by the strong showing among European bourses following speculation the ECB may buy corporate bonds as early as December and the positive bias after China reported third quarter GDP growth (7.3%) that was the slowest in nearly six years
  • A fear of missing out on further rebound efforts, bolstered by the following:
    • The S&P 500 blowing past resistance in the 1900-1905 area
    • A collapse in the CBOE Volatility Index (16.55, -2.02), which is down 10.8% today and down 47% from the high it reached on October 15
    • The outperformance of the cyclical transport, energy, industrials, materials, and consumer discretionary sectors
    • The continued run by the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index, which is up 8.6% over the last six sessions
One would have reason to assume that some short-covering activity may also be playing a part in today's trade.  In turn, there has been a diminution of Ebola contagion concerns that has helped boost sentiment while a pleasing Existing Home Sales report for September has helped stem some of the economic contagion concerns that were so prominent just a week ago.

12:09 pm MiMedx Group provides update on outstanding patent litigation; fully expects that one or more parties may request review of one or more of the patent claims (MDXG) : Co issued an update on its outstanding patent litigations. The co fully expects that one or more parties in the pending litigations may request an inter partes review of one or more of the co's patent claims. Even if one or more of the co's patent claims were invalidated, it would not affect the co's ability to market its products.

To avoid this higher standard, many defendants are attempting to challenge the validity of a plaintiff's patent claims outside of court through a more recent process known as "inter partes review."

An inter partes review is a request for a specialized group within the USPTO to review the validity of plaintiff's patent claims.

  • In order to petition the USPTO for an inter partes review, the challenger must allege that the challenged patent claims are invalid as anticipated or obvious under Sections 102 or 103 of the Patent Act (35 U.S.C. sections 102 and 103) based on prior art patents or printed publications.
  • In some circumstances, the litigation may be "stayed" until the inter partes review is complete, which means that, in the interim, the defendant does not have to incur expenses to defend the lawsuit, which is another reason this process is often favored by many defendants -it can be an effective delaying tactic. 
  • An inter partes review proceeding can take as long as 18 months from start to finish. 
  • Historically, a majority of requests for inter partes review have been granted, but the results of such reviews vary. A decision could uphold all of the patent claims, invalidate some claims but uphold other claims, or invalidate all of the challenged patent claims. In some cases, the patent holder can even amend its claims to avoid invalidity or more particularly capture infringement.

12:02 pm American Electric increases quarterly dividend 6% to $0.53 from $0.50/share (AEP) :  

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

  • UK's FTSE:+1.7%
  • Germany's DAX:+1.9%
  • France's CAC:+2.3%
  • Spain's IBEX:+2.4%
  • Portugal's PSI:+2.6%
  • Italy's MIB Index:+2.8%
  • Irish Ovrl Index:+2.9%
  • Greece ASE General Index: +5.6%

11:48 am Chiquita Brands: Wynnefield Capital alerts Chiquita Brands shareholders to warning signs on Chiquita-Fyffes (FYFFF) proposal (CQB) : Wynnefield Capital, a long-term holder of Chiquita Brands, owning 1,646,103 shares or 3.5% of the company, alerted fellow Chiquita Brands shareholders to further warning signs about the proposed Chiquita-Fyffes (FYFFF) transaction, including:

  • Today, the proxy advisory firm of Glass Lewis recommended that shareholders vote AGAINST the Chiquita-Fyffes transaction, saying that it believes that "...the board's case continues to leave more than a reasonable degree of doubt as to whether the revised Fyffes combination is the best option available to Chiquita investors -- a position highlighted by, but not dependent upon, the presence of an interested third party bidder" and that, "... under the present conditions, we believe the best option available to shareholders is to reject the current arrangement and provide maximum flexibility to the board to conduct a more circumspect analysis of the potentially superior alternatives available to Chiquita."

11:47 am Stocks/ETFs that traded to new 52 week highs/lows this session - New highs (65) outpacing new lows (37) (:SCANX) : Stocks that traded to 52 week highs: AAP, AAT, AFSI, AGIO, AHS, AKR, AKRX, ALX, AMRE, ANAC, ARE, AWK, BAH, BPY, BSET, CCI, CHD, CHDN, CLX, CMS, CNSL, CSX, CVGW, DPLO, DPZ, EIX, ELS, ENTA, EXR, FIZZ, FNHC, GPC, HAS, HCT, HNI, HSNI, HTLD, IBCA, ICUI, INN, KITE, KNX, KRC, LB, LSTR, MERC, MIK, MKL, MNST, NLS, NTES, ORC, RCPT, RDI, SFST, SHW, SONC, TE, UHT, UNH, UUU, VAC, VVC, WRB, ZOES

Stocks that traded to 52 week lows: ACUR, ALCS, ARMH, AXU, BGI, BNK, CASS, CFRX, CSGS, DDE, EGAN, EMITF, ENVI, EPAX, ESCR, FIVN, GBSN, GGB, GPRC, IBM, OIBR, OIBR.C, PSTR, PT, QEPM, RNO, SBS, SID, SMLR, STRM, SVT, TAOM, TEAR, VALE, VRNS, WF, XTLB

ETFs that traded to 52 week highs: none

ETFs that traded to 52 week lows: none

11:46 am Another minor extension for major averages, Dow +164 probes unchanged for the year at 16576 -- session high 16577 (:TECHX) : S&P +28, Nasdaq Comp +77.

11:31 am Mead Johnson Nutrition announced it's expanding its production capacity at its Evansville, Ind. facility (MJN) :  

11:10 am Stock indices continue to grind way steadily higher -- S&P +24, Nasdaq Comp +71, Dow +109 (:TECHX) :  

11:04 am United Continental, Hertz (HTZ) upgrade partnership and elevate perks for a richer travel experience; Hertz, Dollar, Thrifty to become United's exclusive car rental partners (UAL) :

  • Co announced the airline is expanding its partnership with Hertz (HTZ) to offer elevated travel benefits to members of the airline's MileagePlus loyalty program, as Hertz and its Dollar and Thrifty brands become United's exclusive car rental partners beginning Nov. 1. Special perks are also in store for MileagePlus Club and Presidential Plus Card members.

11:02 am Net Element releases open letter to shareholders (NETE) : Co releases the following letter to Shareholders from the Company's Chief Executive Officer, Oleg Firer:

  • We kicked off a series of milestones in the month of September by announcing that we will integrate the Apple (AAPL) Pay service offering into our point-of-sale payment acceptance hardware and software via Apple iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch devices. Aligning Net Element's services with one of the most reputable companies in the world is an achievement from which we expect to have long-term benefit. 
  • For the rest of 2014 and moving into 2015 we intend to explore opportunities and the application of our technologies that will continue to propel Net Element toward its potential in the exciting global mobile payments market. 
  • My expectation is that 2014 will unlock additional opportunities that will undoubtedly serve to benefit all who are connected to the success of our Company. On behalf of the entire Net Element family, thank you for sharing in our success and being a partner in our future.

11:00 am Currency Commentary: Euro Slips on ECB Stimulus Chatter (:SUMRX) :

  • The Dollar Index slid to 84.75 in overnight trade but has been able to rally off that level. The dollar saw a pick up in bids during early European trade as stories that the ECB was looking to purchase corporate bonds made their way around desks. This led to selling pressure in the euro and bids on the dollar that would drive the DXY back above 85. The DXY has been able to extend above 85 to hit 85.30 as U.S. markets open for trade. Existing Home Sales data came out slightly above expectations. This continues to provide market participants more confidence in housing. 
  • The euro was trading at 1.2840 as news of the ECB's plan to expand its ABS to corporate bonds starting to make the rounds. The reaction was immediate selling in the euro as it fell through the key 1.2750 level and is now trading at 1.2729. The move highlights how week the recent euro recovery is and will keep investors cautious on the single currency. 1.2750 remains a key technical level for participants to watch. 
  • The pound is holding above the 1.61 level. Trading in sterling has been much more subdued as it has held the 1.6140-1.6180 area. Public Sector Net Borrowing was slightly higher than expected. The Japanese yen is testing 107 for support. 
  • The yen remains in an upward trend but is seeing some resistance at its 50 sma (106.40) that bears watching (BONDX, FOREX). 

10:49 am Dow +103 finally joins S&P +24 and Nasdaq Comp +69 at new session high (:TECHX) :  

10:40 am Minor extension for S&P +21 and Nasdaq Comp +63 -- Dow +81 range trading slightly under highs (:TECHX) : The S&P has extended up to its early Oct range low/20 day ema at 1925/1926 in recent trade (session high 1925).

10:25 am DuPont statement regarding European Commission investigation; 'We are disappointed in the European Commission and in the process leading up to this point' (DD) : Co president, DuPont Chemicals & Fluoroproducts, said the following about the European Commission's Statement of Objections:

  • "DuPont has complied at all times with applicable laws in its development and commercialization of HFO-1234yf, and we plan to defend vigorously against the Commission's allegations and preliminary conclusions. This is one step in a long process, and while it may take years to be resolved, we are confident that the Commission will ultimately conclude that actions taken by DuPont complied with applicable laws. We will fight this every step of the way, as it has no basis in law or fact. 
  • "We are disappointed in the European Commission and in the process leading up to this point. DuPont and Honeywell (HON) developed HFO-1234yf jointly in response to the European Union's Mobile Air Conditioning Directive. This regulation requires automakers to use a refrigerant with very low global warming potential (low-GWP) for vehicle air-conditioning systems. The regulatory timeframe was short considering the significant challenges of developing and commercializing a refrigerant that meets all the automotive industry's needs. This short timeframe was a primary reason for DuPont and Honeywell working jointly to develop HFO-1234yf.

10:21 am Anheuser-Busch InBev extends recovery to four days to probe underside of its 200 sma at 107.75 -- session high 107.79 (BUD) :  

10:13 am McDonald's rebounds back near early session high at 91.45, Monday's initial recovery high off the Oct low is at 91.59 (MCD) :  

10:11 am Phoenix Cos partners with Credit Suisse (CS) to launch CS Tactical Multi Asset Index (PNX) :  

10:02 am Compuware announces distribution ratios for spin-off of Covisint (COVS) (CPWR) : Co announced that it has determined the final distribution ratio relating to its previously announced distribution of all of its 31,384,920 shares of Covisint (COVS) common stock on October 31, 2014, the distribution date, as a pro rata dividend on shares of Compuware common stock, and on shares of Compuware common stock deliverable under restricted stock units relating to Compuware common stock, outstanding on October 20, 2014, the record date.

Based on the number of Compuware shares outstanding and shares deliverable under RSUs as of October 20, 2014, the record date for the distribution, holders of Compuware common stock will receive 0.14025466 shares of Covisint common stock in the distribution with respect to each outstanding share of Compuware common stock they own at the close of business on the record date, and holders of RSUs will receive 0.14025466 shares of Covisint common stock in the distribution with respect to each share of Compuware common stock deliverable under the RSUs they hold at the close of business on the record date.

  •  The spin-off is expected to be taxable for U.S. federal income tax purposes. 
  • When the distribution is complete, Compuware will no longer own shares of Covisint common stock.

9:55 am Coca-Cola aggressive slide after reporting, stabilizes near its 200 sma at 40.43 -- session low 40.45 (KO) :  

9:53 am Minor follow through for major averages -- S&P +18, Dow +77, Nasdaq Comp +52 (:TECHX) : Relative sector strength has been noted in: Oil Service OIH, Energy XLE, Housing XHB, Retail XRT, Semi SMH, Materials XLB, Telecom IYZ, Discretionary XLY, Industrial XLI, Steel XLB, Transports IYT, Casino.

9:53 am Pitney Bowes advances long-term growth strategy in Europe; co implements go-to-market changes and focuses product offerings to unlock greater value (PBI) : Co announced that several recent actions in Europe have advanced its long-term strategy to grow client and shareholder value.

  • The company exited a non-core product line in Norway, transitioned to a dealer sales network for its mailing businesses in six European markets where it had a smaller presence, and continued to shift additional client accounts to inside sales channels in major European markets. These moves enable the Company to simultaneously improve client service for its entire portfolio throughout Europe in markets it serves directly and those it serves indirectly through partners.

9:48 am Royal Gold acquires Gold Stream on Euromax's Ilovitza Project for $175 mln (RGLD) : Co announces that its wholly owned subsidiary, RGLD Gold AG has entered into a $175 million gold stream transaction with Euromax Resources Ltd that will finance a significant portion of the construction of the Ilovitza gold-copper project in Macedonia.

  • Royal Gold will make two advance deposit payments totaling $15 million towards completion of the definitive feasibility study on the Ilovitza project, followed by a third payment of $160 million towards project construction, subject to certain conditions; 
  • Euromax will deliver 25% of any gold produced from the Ilovitza project until 525K ounces have been delivered, and 12.5% thereafter; and 
  • Royal Gold's purchase price per ounce will be 25% of the spot price at time of delivery.

9:44 am Opening Market Summary: Cyclical Sectors Pace Opening Advance (:WRAPX) : The major averages began the session with broad-based gains that have placed the S&P 500 (+0.8%) back above its 200-day moving average (1906.39) for the first time since October 10. Eight of ten sectors display early gains with energy (+1.6%) in the lead.

The growth-sensitive energy sector has rallied alongside crude oil, which trades higher by 1.4% at $83.02/bbl. The energy component has been able to advance despite a 0.3% uptick in the Dollar Index (85.17, +0.22). Elsewhere among cyclical sectors, materials (+1.1%) and industrials (+1.0%) trade ahead of the broader market while technology (+0.7%) lags.

IBM
(IBM 164.45, -4.68) and Google (GOOGL 531.94, -0.44) are among the early laggards contributing to the underperformance of the sector while Apple (AAPL 102.25, +2.49) trades higher by 2.6% after beating earnings estimates.

Treasuries remain in the red with the 10-yr yield up two basis points at 2.21%.

The Existing Home Sales report for September (Briefing.com consensus 5.11 million) will be released at 10:00 ET.

9:43 am CEL-SCI Corp to raise $1 million in registered direct offering (CVM) : Co has agreed to sell common stock and warrants in a registered direct offering to European investors at a combined price of $0.76 for aggregate gross proceeds of a little over $1 million. For every four shares sold, we will issue to investors in this offering one warrant to purchase a share of common stock. The warrants are immediately exercisable, expire October 11, 2018, have an exercise price of $1.25 and trade on the NYSE MKT under the symbol "CVM WS". The offering is expected to close on or about October 24, 2014, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions.

  • CEL-SCI intends to use the net proceeds of the offering for its Phase III clinical trial, other research and development, and general and administrative expenses.

9:42 am Strong follow through in early trade with S&P cutting the Sep-Oct slump in half (:TECHX) : The index built of the gap higher start to reach the 50% retracement of the Sep-Oct decline at 1919.96 (session high 1920).

9:40 am Apple gaps higher to probe its Mid-Sep highs in the 103 area before pausing (AAPL) : Its 52-wk close high from early Sep comes into play at 103.30 (52-wk intraday high 103.74).

9:31 am Generex Biotech announces publication of Ebola Vaccine white paper by Antigen Express (GNBT) : Co announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Antigen Express has issued a white paper outlining the advantages of its Ii-Key technology in the development of an effective Ebola vaccine. Antigen Express has a proprietary technology platform focused on specific activation of critical components of the immune system. As purely synthetic means are employed, more rapid development of new vaccines, at a lower cost, and with fewer manufacturing obstacles than traditional vaccines, is possible. The Antigen Express vaccines can be generated quickly to meet the demands of new threats, with one of the most recent threats being the Ebola virus.

  • Experimental studies with Ebola virus vaccines have highlighted the need for efficient CD4+ T cell responses during immunization to yield an effective vaccine. 
  • The Antigen Express Ii-Key Hybrid technology specifically and efficiently activates CD4+ T cell responses and is capable of both stimulating efficient immune responses on its own as well as boosting the efficacy of other vaccines to generate more robust humoral and cellular immunity. 
  • Ii-Key Hybrids have been shown to be safe, well-tolerated, and to generate the desired specific immune response in humans in Phase I and II cancer vaccine trials as well as in a Phase I trial of Ii-Key hybrid vaccines targeted to the H5N1 (avian) and H1N1 (swine) influenza strains.

9:27 am Lockheed Martin follow up: LMT -3.7% at 2 month low in the premarket (LMT) : Co guided for low single digit sales decline in FY15 vs. -1% consensus; LMT has reported YoY sales decline nine quarters in a row.

  • Our earnings comment originally said FY15 sales guidance was above estimates; it has been edited.

9:20 am On The Wires (:WIRES) :

  • Gevo (GEVO) announced that it is selling renewable isooctane to Total for formulation into Formula 1 racing fuel.
  • Planar Systems, (PLNR) announced two new ultra-narrow bezel LCD models in its line of Clarity Matrix LCD Video Wall System with G2 Architecture.
  • CBD Energy Limited (CBDE) announced that its Westinghouse Solar unit has completed installation of the Company's first U.S.- based residential solar system.
  • Flextronics (FLEX) announced that Michael Mendenhall has been appointed to lead the Company's worldwide marketing, branding and communications initiatives.
  • Hanwha SolarOne (HSOL) signed a deal with O2 Energies to supply 17 megawatts of solar PV modules for three solar projects in North Carolina. The supply deal will include Hanwha SolarOne's new S Series modules. Co also introduced the new S Series PV modules at Solar Power International. The new modules are available immediately to customers worldwide.
  • Actuate Corporation (BIRT) and innovator in document accessibility technology, Braille Works announced a collaboration to deliver Cloud508, the industry's first cloud-based document accessibility service for U.S. federal government agencies.
  • Insperity (NSP) announced the launch of OrgPlus RealTime Express, a Software-as-a-Service offering of the industry's leading Insperity OrgPlus workforce planning and data visualization software.
  • Honeywell (HON) and the U.S. Green Building Council announced they are working together to deepen facility sustainability by integrating USGBC's new LEEDDynamic Plaque, a near-real-time monitoring tool with integrated building automation technology from Honeywell to measure and provide performance feedback to help optimize operations.
  • Chevron Corporation (CVX) announced the launch of the Appalachia Partnership Initiative, a $20 million effort, designed to address education and workforce development in 27 counties across southwest Pennsylvania, northern West Virginia and eastern Ohio.
  • Analog Devices (ADI) introduced a digital audio bus technology capable of distributing audio and control data together with clock and power over a single, unshielded twisted-pair wire.
  • NewBridge Bancorp (NBBC) announced that NewBridge Bank has established its first banking office in Charleston, South Carolina, and plans to develop a full-service flagship branch to open in the first quarter of 2015.

9:18 am Magnegas has entered into definitive agreements with an institutional investor for a financing of $5 million in total gross proceeds (MNGA) :

  • Under the terms of the agreements and pursuant to effective shelf, MagneGas will issue 3 mln shares of its common stock at a per share purchase price of $1. MagneGas will also issue, pursuant to an effective shelf registration statement, 1,060 shares of Series D-1 Convertible Preferred Stock at a per share purchase price of $1K convertible into 1.06 mln shares of common stock at a conversion price of $1.00. In addition to these issuances resulting in $4.06 mln in gross proceeds, the Company will issue 940 unregistered shares of Series D-2 Convertible Preferred Stock in a private placement at a per share purchase price of $1K, convertible into 940K shares of common stock at a conversion price of $1.00 for an additional $940K in gross proceeds. 
  • The transaction also provides for the issuance by the Company of unregistered warrants to purchase up to 5 mln shares of common stock of the Company with an initial exercise price of $1.31. 
  • MagneGas plans to use $3 mln of the net proceeds from the transaction for the acquisition of a regional gas distributor in Florida and the balance of the net proceeds for general corporate purposes, including working capital and potential acquisitions.

9:16 am CEL-SCI Corporation prices $6 million public offering of common stock and warrants at $0.76 per share (CVM) : The warrants are immediately exercisable, expire October 11, 2018, have an exercise price of $1.25

9:12 am S&P futures vs fair value: +12.40. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: +44.00. (:WRAPX) : The stock market is on track for a higher open with the S&P 500 futures trading 12 points above fair value. Index futures spiked, and were up as much as 17 points, at the start of the European session after reports from Reuters suggested the European Central Bank will look to begin buying corporate bonds. However, futures on the benchmark index have backtracked to the tune of about eight points after the Financial Times said the ECB has no plans to implement the aforementioned buying program.

Interestingly, futures continue holding gains despite the refuted reports. Corporate news has factored into the pre-market strength with the likes of Apple (AAPL 102.96, +3.20), Texas Instruments (TXN 45.45, +1.04), United Technologies (UTX 103.44, +1.96), and Travelers (TRV 93.62, +0.42) on track to register early gains after reporting better than expected earnings.

On the flip side, Coca-Cola (KO 41.07, -2.21), Lockheed Martin (LMT 170.33, -5.20), McDonald's (MCD 89.90, -1.69), and Verizon (VZ 48.00, -0.48) are on course to begin the session in the red in reaction to disappointing results and/or guidance.

Treasuries are on their lows with the 10-yr yield up almost three basis points at 2.22%.

The Existing Home Sales report for September (Briefing.com consensus 5.11 million) will be released at 10:00 ET.

9:08 am WTI crude oil futures rally as pit trading begins. Dec crude rose over $1 in the past 15 min. Crude is now +1.3% at $83.01/barrel (:COMDX) :  

9:08 am InterOil provided update on its exploration drilling program in Papua New Guinea; Raptor-1 has intersected 200m of the Kapau Limestone target zone (IOC) : Co provided an update on its exploration drilling program in Papua New Guinea.

RAPTOR-1, PPL 475

  • Raptor-1 has intersected 200m of the Kapau Limestone target zone, with wireline logs indicating the presence of hydrocarbons. InterOil now plans to conduct well testing to determine the hydrocarbon type, column, flow rate and reservoir quality. Raptor-1 is about 12km west of InterOil's Elk-Antelope gas field. InterOil holds a 65.208174% interest in Raptor-1 and is operator. Pacific Rubiales Energy Corp. has a 12.903226% interest in the well. Minority interests hold 21.8886%. 
BOBCAT-1, PPL 476
  • Bobcat-1 has successfully drilled through the Orubadi seal section and into the Kapau Limestone. After running and cementing a 5 inch liner, InterOil is preparing to drill further into the target zone. Bobcat-1 is about 30km north-west of Elk-Antelope. InterOil holds a 78.1114% interest in the well and is operator. The remaining 21.8886% interest is held by minority interests. InterOil will keep the market informed of material developments.

9:04 am Boston Scientific receives FDA And CE Mark approval for new CoverEdge Surgical Leads For The Precision Spectra Spinal Cord Stimulator System (BSX) : Co announced it has received U.S. Food and Drug Administration and CE Mark approval for the CoverEdge 32 and CoverEdge X 32 Surgical Leads, the world's first 32-contact surgical leads designed to blanket the spinal cord for unprecedented pain coverage.  Designed for use with the Precision Spectra Spinal Cord Stimulator System, the CoverEdge Surgical Leads are powered by the Illumina 3D Software, a proprietary, anatomy-based computer model for precise pain targeting. Boston Scientific is introducing the CoverEdge Surgical Leads at the Congress of Neurological Surgeons this week in Boston.

9:04 am Reinsurance Group of America to acquire Aurora National Life Assurance Company; terms not disclosed (RGA) : Aurora, which is part of Swiss Re's (SSREY) Admin Re business in the U.S., has approx 82,000 policies in force and statutory policyholder liabilities of $2.7 bln. The underlying business is comprised of approx two-thirds annuities, primarily payout annuities, and one-third interest-sensitive life products.

9:02 am Xplore Technologies wins another major U.S. telecommunications deal (XPLR) :

  • Co announced that it received more than $6 million in purchase orders for the deployment of its fully-rugged Bobcat Windows tablet. The tablets will be used by field service technicians in the telecommunications provider's construction and engineering divisions.
  • "This order reaffirms Xplore's decision to expand its product line of ultra-rugged tablets and include fully-rugged products," said Mark Holleran, president and chief operating officer for Xplore Technologies. "The Bobcat was chosen because the simultaneous availability of so many features means the customer doesn't have to compromise on functionality. These orders are the first in what we expect to be a project that will run into the tens of millions of dollars."

9:02 am SunCoke Energy and SunCoke Energy Partners (SXCP) promoted Fay West to Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of both companies (SXC) : Co announced that Fay West has been promoted to Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of both companies. Fay was previously Vice President and Controller. This appointment is effective October 27, 2014.

9:00 am CenturyLink and Switch SUPERNAP ink strategic agreement (CTL) : Co and Switch SUPERNAP announce a strategic agreement to establish a new CTL data center presence through Switch's Las Vegas campus while offering Switch customers access to CTL's data center and portfolio of colocation, cloud, managed services and network services.

The strategic agreement includes: 

  • CTL adds the Switch SUPERNAP data center campus to its sellable portfolio, allowing its customers to add hosting and colocation space in the Las Vegas market, where CTL employs about 700 people and operates a network services business.
  • Switch customers access CTL Cloud services or deploy colocation and managed services through CenturyLink's 57 data centers.

8:57 am S&P futures vs fair value: +12.60. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: +39.20. (:WRAPX) : The S&P 500 futures trade 13 points above fair value.

Markets ended mixed across Asia. China's GDP (7.3%; expected 7.2%) beat expectations, but the reading represented a multi-year low. China's Statistics Bureau said the slowdown in GDP growth resulted from a high base that was set last year, but employment and inflation remained stable. Elsewhere, Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's cabinet has lowered its economic assessment for the second month in a row.

  • In economic data: 
    • China's Q3 GDP rose 1.9% quarter-over-quarter (expected 1.8%; previous 2.0%) while the year-over-year reading increased 7.3% (consensus 7.2%; prior 7.5%). Separately, Industrial Production rose 8.0% year-over-year (expected 7.5%; previous 6.9%), Fixed Asset Investment increased 16.1% year-over-year (consensus 16.3%; prior 16.5%), and Retail Sales climbed 11.6% year-over-year (expected 11.8%; previous 11.9%). 
    • Japan's All Industries Activity Index slipped 0.1% month-over-month (expected -0.3%; previous -0.4%) 
    • Hong Kong's CPI jumped 6.6% year-over-year (expected 3.6%; previous 3.9%), but the number has been declared a one off because of a low base for comparison due to public housing payments. 
------
  • Japan's Nikkei was rejected by the 200-day moving average and lost 2.0% after the minister responsible for Japan's Government Pension Investment Fund suggested he did not know anything about the weekend reports suggesting the fund would increase its equity exposure to 25% from 12%. Exporters outperformed despite the stronger yen as Toyota Motor and Honda Motor lost 1.6% and 1.5%, respectively. 
  • Hong Kong's Hang Seng eked out a small gain of 0.1%, but was unable to reclaim the 200-day moving average. Heavyweight Tencent Holdings provided support, rising 1.0%. 
  • China's Shanghai Composite lost 0.7%, sliding to a one-month low. Pharma was a drag with China Resources Double-Crane Pharmaceutical giving up 5.4%. 
  • India's Sensex rose 0.6% to reclaim the 50-day moving average. IT service providers finished mixed as Wipro climbed 3.0% and Infosys fell 1.0%. 
Major European indices trade higher across the board with Italy's MIB (+2.2%) in the lead. European equities surged after Reuters reported the European Central Bank is seeking to buy corporate bonds on the secondary market. The news weighed on the euro, sending the single currency from 1.2815 into the 1.2750 area against the dollar. However, the news was followed by reports from Financial Times, indicating the ECB has not put corporate bond purchases on its agenda. The euro trimmed a portion of its earlier decline, climbing to 1.2775.

In other news of note, Germany's Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said France and Germany will present a common position paper on investment and reform in December.
  • Economic data was limited: 
    • Great Britain's Public Sector Net Borrowing came in at GBP11.07 billion (expected GBP9.20 billion; previous GBP10.96 billion) 
    • Swiss trade surplus expanded to CHF2.45 billion from CHF1.33 billion (expected surplus of CHF2.65 billion) 
------
  • Great Britain's FTSE is higher by 1.0% with financials providing leadership. Hargreaves Lansdown, Old Mutual, and Standard Life are all up between 2.4% and 3.1%. ARM Holdings is the weakest performer, down 5.2%. 
  • Germany's DAX has added 1.2% amid broad strength. Commerzbank leads with a gain of 4.2% while K+S and ThyssenKrupp follow not far behind. The two producers of basic materials hold respective gains of 3.5% and 3.1%. 
  • In France, the CAC trades up 1.7% with 39 of 40 names in the green. Growth-sensitive names lead with ArcelorMittal, Cie de St-Gobain, and Lafarge up between 2.1% and 4.5%. Electricite de France is the weakest performer, down 0.6%. 
  • Italy's MIB leads with a gain of 2.2%. Financials have paced the rally with BMPS, Banca di Milano Scarl, UBI Banca, Unicredit, and Intesa Sanpaolo up between 3.3% and 8.9%.

8:56 am Drone Aviation receives order for aerial and ground based equipment to support activities at Eglin Air Force Base; no financial terms disclosed (DRNE) :

8:56 am Centrus Energy's United States Enrichment Corporation completes return of Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant to DOE (LEU) : United States Enrichment, a subsidiary of Centrus Energy returned full control of the 750-acre uranium enrichment complex near Paducah, Ky. to the DOE. The transfer of control occurred at 7:00 a.m. CT and followed a year-long process to prepare the plant for a return to full DOE control.

  • United States Enrichment Corporation had leased the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant from DOE since it was privatized by the U.S. Government in 1998 and enriched uranium there for the global nuclear fuel market until May 2013. 
  • Castellano noted that the turnover of the Paducah plant to DOE will have no effect on customers or their deliveries.

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

  • USA Tech (USAT) and On Track Innovations (OTIV) confirm that oti's NFC contactless Saturn 6500 readers deployed in the U.S. with USAT's ePort solutions are compatible with Apple (AAPL) Pay.
  • Agios Pharma (AGIO) announced the initiation of a Phase 1/2 multicenter study of AG-221 in patients with advanced solid tumors, including gliomas, as well as angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma that carry an isocitrate dehydrogenase-2 mutation.
  • Texas Instruments (TXN) is adding signal processing functionality to its new DRA75x processors to enable customers to augment infotainment and pair informational advanced driver assistance systems features.
  • Mellanox Technologies (MLNX) announced that the National Supercomputer Centre at Link ping University and Meteo France have selected Mellanox's FDR 56Gb/s InfiniBand solutions for mission critical, high-performance computing applications.
  • Enphase Energy (ENPH), announced its Enphase AC Battery, an advanced energy storage solution with a modular, plug-and-play storage device fully integrated with the just-introduced Enphase Energy Management System. 
  • CyberArk (CYBR) introduced comprehensive Secure Shell key management with the release of version nine of CyberArk Privileged Account Security Solution.
  • Koss (KOSS) announced the release of the evolutionary SP Series. The SP540 and SP330 both feature the natural fitting "D-profile" earcup first featured on the ergonomically designed Koss Pro4AAA.
  • Blackstone (BX) announced a partnership with a highly experienced management team, led by Matthew Rosenblum, the Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Solops, LLC, to create Onyx Renewable Partners.
  • Intuit's (INTU) QuickBooks Connect opens this week, attracting thousands of accounting professionals, small businesses, entrepreneurs and developers looking to take their business to the next level.
  • Medidata (MDSO) announced that Bryan Spielman, Medidata's executive vice president of strategy and corporate development, and Takeru Yamamoto, Medidata's managing director of the Asia-Pacific region, will join U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker on her first trade mission to Asia since taking office in June 2013.
  • Hansen Medical (HNSN) announced the completion of the first robot-assisted Uterine Fibroid Embolization in the United States. 
  • Texas Instruments (TXN) is introducing the newest member of the automotive system-on-chip family, the TDA3x solution. The TDA3x processor family is designed to help car manufacturers develop sophisticated advanced driver assistance systems applications that meet or exceed NCAP requirements, reduce collisions on the road and enable a more autonomous driving experience in entry- to mid-level automobiles.

8:50 am Agria announces EBITDA guidance for PGG Wrightson subsidiary (GRO) : Co announced that its New Zealand-listed subsidiary, PGG Wrightson Limited (NZSE: PGW), has confirmed that it believes it can increase Operating EBITDA(1) for the current year and improve on the NZ$58.7 mln Operating EBITDA achieved in the fiscal year ended June 30, 2014.

8:48 am ACE Limited received all regulatory approvals needed for closing its acquisition of Ita Seguros, S.A. from Ita Unibanco (ITUB) (ACE) : The acquisition, announced in July 2014 and valued at ~$630 mln at current exchange rates, is now expected to close on October 31, 2014, well ahead of the previously announced timeframe. The transaction is expected to be accretive to earnings immediately.

8:40 am Tonix Pharmaceuticals receives IND Clearance for TNX-201 in episodic tension-type headache (TNXP) : The co announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has cleared its Investigational New Drug  application to study TNX-201 for the treatment of episodic tension-type headache. Tonix will evaluate the safety, tolerability, and pharmacokinetics of TNX-201 in a healthy volunteers study to be completed before the end of 2014.

8:36 am European Markets Update: FTSE +0.9%, DAX +1.1%, CAC +1.6%, MIB +2.1% (:SUMRX) : Major European indices trade higher across the board with Italy's MIB (+2.1%) in the lead. European equities surged after Reuters reported the European Central Bank is seeking to buy corporate bonds on the secondary market. The news weighed on the euro, sending the single currency from 1.2815 into the 1.2750 area against the dollar. However, the news was followed by reports from Financial Times, indicating the ECB has not put corporate bond purchases on its agenda. The euro trimmed a portion of its earlier decline, climbing to 1.2775.

In other news of note, Germany's Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said France and Germany will present a common position paper on investment and reform in December.

  • Economic data was limited: 
    • Great Britain's Public Sector Net Borrowing came in at GBP11.07 billion (expected GBP9.20 billion; previous GBP10.96 billion) 
    • Swiss trade surplus expanded to CHF2.45 billion from CHF1.33 billion (expected surplus of CHF2.65 billion) 
------
  • Great Britain's FTSE is higher by 0.9% with financials providing leadership. Hargreaves Lansdown, Old Mutual, and Standard Life are all up between 2.4% and 3.1%. ARM Holdings is the weakest performer, down 5.2%. 
  • Germany's DAX has added 1.1% amid broad strength. Commerzbank leads with a gain of 4.2% while K+S and ThyssenKrupp follow not far behind. The two producers of basic materials hold respective gains of 3.5% and 3.1%. 
  • In France, the CAC trades up 1.6% with 39 of 40 names in the green. Growth-sensitive names lead with ArcelorMittal, Cie de St-Gobain, and Lafarge up between 2.1% and 4.5%. Electricite de France is the weakest performer, down 0.6%. 
  • Italy's MIB leads with a gain of 2.1%. Financials have paced the rally with BMPS, Banca di Milano Scarl, UBI Banca, Unicredit, and Intesa Sanpaolo up between 3.3% and 8.9%.

8:35 am Urstadt Biddle Properties announces offering of 2.45 mln shares of Series G Preferred Stock (UBP) : Co announced the commencement of a public offering of 2,450,000 shares of its Series G Cumulative Redeemable Preferred Stock.BMO Capital Markets is the sole book-running manager for the offering. Deutsche Bank Securities and Stifel are acting as joint lead managers for the offering. J.J.B. Hilliard, W.L. Lyons, LLC, Wunderlich Securities and BNY Mellon Capital Markets, LLC are acting as co-managers for the offering. The Company intends to use a portion of the net proceeds from this offering in connection with the redemption of all of the outstanding shares of its existing Series D preferred stock.

8:34 am IHS announces offering of $500 mln of senior notes (IHS) :

  • Co announced that it intends to offer, subject to market and other conditions, $500 mln in aggregate principal amount of senior notes due 2022 in a private placement transaction pursuant to Rule 144A and Regulation S under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended.
  • IHS intends to use the net proceeds from the offering of the notes to repay all amounts outstanding under its existing $250 mln unsecured term loan and to repay a portion of the $850 mln of outstanding borrowings under its new $1.3 bln senior unsecured revolving facility.

8:34 am ChemoCentryx announces Phase I data suggesting CCX507 shown to be well tolerated and effective (CCXI) : Co announced Phase I data with CCX507, a next-generation potent and specific inhibitor of the chemokine receptor known as CCR9, which showed that CCX507 is safe and well tolerated in healthy volunteers at all doses tested, and effectively blocked CCR9 on circulating leukocytes. 

8:33 am EDAP TMS SA announced the sale of a Focal One system to Nantes-Atlantis urology clinic, the top-ranked private prostate cancer clinic in France, and the country's only private clinic exclusively dedicated to urology (EDAP) : Co announced the sale of a Focal One system to Nantes-Atlantis urology clinic, the top-ranked private prostate cancer clinic in France, and the country's only private clinic exclusively dedicated to urology.

  • The clinic performs more than 5K urological procedures per year, including more than 1K prostate cancer treatments.

8:31 am LiveDeal CEO to purchase up to 250K Shares of co's common stock in open-market transactions (LIVE) : The purchases may commence as early as Thursday, October 23 and may continue thereafter for an indeterminate period of time. Once complete, Mr. Isaac may consider the purchase of additional shares in subsequent open-market transactions.

8:31 am Gladstone Investments acquires Old World Christmas; terms not disclosed (GAIN) : Co announced that on October 14, 2014 it acquired the assets of O.W.A., Inc. Co, together with certain members of the executive management team of Old World Christmas, provided preferred and common equity, senior debt and a revolving credit facility to complete the transaction. Old World Christmas, founded in 1979 and headquartered in Spokane, WA, is a designer and distributor of an extensive collection of blown glass Christmas ornaments, table top figurines, vintage-style Light Covers and nostalgic greeting cards into the independent gift channel. Gladstone Investment is partnering with new CEO and industry executive Doug Lauer on the transaction.

8:31 am VOXX Intl announced that its Board of Directors has reaffirmed its stock repurchase programs originally authorized in May 1999 and July 2006, and as a result the co plans to purchase up to $4.5 mln of its Class A Common Stock over the next six months, effective immediately (VOXX) :

  • As of February 28, 2014, the remaining authorized share repurchase balance pursuant to the Board authorized May 1999 and July 2006 programs was 1,738,243 shares of Class A Common Stock.

8:30 am Eli Lilly: FDA accepts filing of new drug application for empagliflozin/metformin fixed-dose combination (LLY) : Co announces that the FDA has accepted the filing of a New Drug Application for empagliflozin plus immediate-release metformin hydrochloride fixed-dose combination, an investigational compound being studied for the treatment of adults with type 2 diabetes. Empagliflozin plus metformin is part of the Boehringer Ingelheim and LLY Diabetes alliance portfolio.

  • Empagliflozin is a sodium glucose co-transporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitor, which removes excess glucose through the urine by blocking glucose reabsorption in the kidney. Metformin, a commonly prescribed initial treatment for T2D, decreases the production of glucose in the liver and its absorption in the intestine and improves the body's ability to utilize glucose.
  • The filing includes data from multiple clinical trials examining the co-administration of empagliflozin and metformin in the treatment of 4,740 adults with T2D.
  • Empagliflozin, marketed as Jardiance tablets in the U.S., was approved by the FDA in Aug 2014 as an adjunct to diet and exercise to improve glycemic control in adults with T2D.

8:29 am S&P futures vs fair value: +9.80. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: +32.50. (:WRAPX) : U.S. equity futures continue holding gains, but have slipped from their highs after Financial Times reported that corporate bond buying is not on the ECB's agenda. The recent report contrasted with the early morning headline that sparked a rally in U.S. futures and European markets. The S&P 500 futures have surrendered about seven points in reaction to the news.

The euro perked up in reaction to the Financial Times report, but has since returned near its earlier low (1.2750). Meanwhile, the Dollar Index (85.14, +0.19) continues holding a slim gain of 0.2%.

8:28 am Alibaba Group will announce Q2 (Sept) results on the morning of Tuesday, November 4, 2014; call 7:30 AM (BABA) :  

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

  • Cancer Genetics (CGIX) has received a formal Notice of Allowance from the USPTO for its genomic probe set used to detect biomarkers indicative of HPV-associated precancer and cancer of the cervix, anus, vulva, vagina, penis, oropharynx, and pharynx.
  • Dot Hill Systems (HILL) announced a patented technology that more efficiently ejects drive carriers in certain AssuredSAN storage system chassis.
  • Nissan Motor (NSANY) has chosen Hertz Global (HTZ) to become its exclusive mobility partner.
  • Actions Semi (ACTS) debuted its latest innovative 28nm process based quad-core application processor offering for the tablet and OTT set-top box markets at Global Sources' China Sourcing Fair - Electronics & Components held October 11 - 14 at the Asia World-Expo in Hong Kong.
  • Crocs (CROX) announced the appointment of Bob Munroe to general manager of Crocs Americas region; Greg Sullivan to the new role of senior vice president of global business transformation; Scott Yuan to general manager of Greater China; and Michelle Poole to senior vice president of global product creation and merchandising.
  • Rosetta Genomics Ltd. (ROSG) announces the initiation by the European Infrastructure for Translational Medicine, of a new public-private translational research project between Rosetta Genomics and the Institute of Molecular Translational Medicine at Palacky University, Olomouc, Czech Republic. The new partnership will work towards the validation and development of a new thyroid cancer diagnostic tool. 
  • Marvell (MRVL) announced a comprehensive suite of gigabit-ready access platforms for fiber, phoneline and coaxial cable networks, enabling service providers to address the needs of subscribers who demand gigabit-class broadband services.
  • Cardica (CRDC) announced the availability of the curved tip cartridge for its MicroCutter XCHANGE 30 surgical stapling device.
  • Extreme Networks (EXTR) announced key additions to its Unified Edge portfolio of access layer products, building on its innovative Software Defined Architecture.

8:26 am Gapping down (:SCANX) : Gapping down
In reaction to disappointing earnings/guidance
: GLF -8%, RMBS -6.9%, KALU -6.8%, UCTT -6.3%, ARMH -5.9%, APOL -5.4%, CMG -5.2%, XRS -3.3%, KO -3.1%, PKG -2.5%, CYS -1.6%, RCII -1.6%, LMT -1.6%, MCD -1.5%, IHG -1%, ZION -0.9%, BRO -0.9%, VZ -0.8%, .

Select Brazil related names showing weakness: OIBR -8.2%, PBR -7.7% SID -3.5%, VIV -2.8%, ELP -2.5%, GGB -2.2%, SBS -2.1%, VALE -1.7%, ABEV -1.4%.

Other news: RNO -42.8% (announces Q3 distribution of $0.05 per unit, lowered from previous quarter distribution of $0.445 per unit; co redoubling its cost cutting efforts due to weak coal markets), IBIO -20.2% (cont volatility), CVM -17.6% (announces proposed public offering of Common Stock; terms not disclosed), OMER -15% (provides update on PDE10 inhibitor program; enrollment in Huntington's Trial suspended pending further assessment of preclinical data), PT -8.3% (still checking, but Oi SA announces liquidation of assets will have no impact on the business combination with Portugal Telecom), LAKE -2.9% (cont weakness), TLLP -2% (prices upsized public offering of 20 mln common units at $57.47 per unit), SPLS -1.8% (spokesman has indicated company is investigating possible data breach, according to reports), ENTA -1.7% (provides update on its collaboration agreement with AbbVie (ABBV); co-development option on next-generation Protease Inhibitor ABT-493 Not Exercised, net sales allocations for ABT-450-containing regimens finalized),  REN -1.4% (provides operation update: Three Permian Basin horizontal wells averaged 1,300 Boe per day on peak 24-hour IP tests), GSK -1.3% (still checking), TRN -1.2% (late sell-off on guardrails ruling; confirms $175 mln in damages at jury trial)

Analyst comments: PHG -1.7% (downgraded to Neutral from Buy at UBS), IBM -0.7% (downgraded to Hold from Buy at Evercore; target lowered to $170 at RBC Capital Mkts), IRC -0.6% (downgraded to Underperform from Neutral at BofA/Merrill), ED -0.4% (downgraded to Underweight at Morgan Stanley)

8:25 am On The Wires (:WIRES) :

  • ResMed (RMD) announced a significant improvement to U-Sleep, its premium patient management platform, which allows home medical equipment providers to quickly and effectively manage patients with sleep apnea and respiratory conditions.
  • Inogen (INGN) announced that it has released to market its innovative home oxygen concentrator called the Inogen At Home.
  • TIBCO Software (TIBX) announced that it has been chosen by Rail Europe 4A, a worldwide leader in the distribution of European rail products, to provide centralized and reliable data analytics and automated reporting capabilities.
  • Seagate Technology (STX) announced that its Nytro family of PCIe-based flash acceleration cards have been selected by Rackspace (RAX) for use with its new OnMetal family of cloud server solutions.
  • Hilton Worldwide (HLT) made its debut in Myanmar with the opening of Hilton Nay Pyi Taw, in the country's capital city.
  • United Technologies (UTX) unit UTC Aerospace Systems' WINSLOW LifeRaft Company will be displaying Greatland Laser's Rescue Laser Flare Magnum in booth 3840 at the National Business Aviation Association conference in Orlando, Florida from October 21-23.
  • Simulations Plus (SLP) announced that it has expanded its product portfolio with the release of version 1.0 of its MembranePlus simulation software. 
  • API Technologies (ATNY) announced that its RF/Microwave facility in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania has achieved AS9100 Rev C Certification. 
  • McAfee, part of Intel (INTC) Security, announced a new line of security suites that provide small and medium-sized businesses with a simple, flexible and cost-effective way to safeguard both their data and devices.
  • eHealth (EHTH) announced the launch of its new Subsidy Help Center, a dedicated consumer resource center providing educational information, videos, and tools designed to help subsidy-eligible consumers navigate open enrollment and get the health insurance subsidies they may be due next year. 
  • Microchip Technology (MCHP) announced its latest Digitally Enhanced Power controllers-the MCP19118 and MCP19119 (MCP19118/9), which provide simple yet effective analog PWM control for DC-DC synchronous buck converters up to 40V, with the configurability of a digital MCU. 
  • Lantronix (LTRX) announced the worldwide availability of its xPico Wi-Fi SMT embedded device server -- a certified, compact Wi-Fi surface mount module which enables quick and easy serial-to-Wi-Fi connectivity.
  • Motorola Solutions (MSI) unveiled the Symbol TC70 touch computer - the industry's first enterprise-class mobile computer running the Android KitKat operating system - combining the ease of use of a smartphone with the purpose-built durability, reliability and performance that businesses demand.
  • Five9 (FIVN) announced Fast Fix 123, a worldwide provider of technical support services for home users and businesses, has successfully grown its business from a three founder start-up, to a more than 200 employee enterprise with Five9.
  • Aruba Networks (ARUN) announced that Illinois State University, ranked among the top universities in the nation by U.S. News and World Report, is deploying a campus-wide Aruba 802.11ac-based network.

8:22 am Shenandoah Telecom increases quarterly dividend to $0.47 from $0.36/share (SHEN) :  

8:20 am Gapping up (:SCANX) : Gapping up
In reaction to strong earnings/guidance
: LXK +11%, ILMN +8.8%, HOG +7.8%, WERN +4.6%, CE +4.1%, CSL +3.7%, HLX +3.6%, WAT +2.5%, TXN +2.4%, AAPL +2.3%, AOS +2.3%, MBCN +2.2%, UTX +2%, STLD +1.9%, CDNS +1.1%, TRV +1.1%, ELS +0.9%, KMB +0.9%, CP +0.8%

M&A news: ACT +1.5% (Actavis and Sanofi (SNY) may be among bidders for Omega Pharma, according to reports).

Select EU financial related names showing strength: LYG +2.7%, RBS +2.5%, ING +2.3%, DB +0.8%.

Select metals/mining stocks trading higher: X 2.3%, MT 1.8%, AG 1.5%, GFI -0.5%.

Select oil/gas related names showing strength: STO +2.7%, SDRL +2.6%, BP +1.6%

Other news: NEON +22% (signs technology development agreement with global tier one printer OEM ),SGYP +13.1% (presents positive Phase 2b study results for Plecanatide in patients with irritable bowel syndrome),SCOK +5.6% (cont momentum), NXPI +2.6% (following TXN / AAPL results),GSAT +2.6% (co reiterated value of its spectrum assets; believes Kerrisdale continues to 'distort facts in attempt to undermine the benefits of TLPS'),TKMR +2.4% (cont momentum),CRUS +2.2% (following AAPL results),ABBV +2% (announced new $5 bln stock repurchase and increases dividend),BRCM +1.9% (following TXN results),RCL +1.9% (cont strength following yday's advance),TSL +1.7% (still checking),RFMD +1.5% (following AAPL results - component supplier),ACT +1.5% (Actavis and Sanofi (SNY) may be among bidders for Omega Pharma, according to reports),MU +1.4% (following TXN results),SUNE +1.4% (still checking),CCL +1.3% (cont strength following yday's advance),MGM +1.3% (still checking), MPW +1% (announced more than $1 billion in new real estate investments; expected to be accretive to normalized FFO by $0.09 -- $0.12 per share),JEC +1% (awarded remediation task order for Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska worth ~$18.7 mln)

Analyst comments: POST +3.2% (upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Goldman),KITE +1.7% (target raised to $45 at Stifel),PANW +1.5% (target raised to $115 at Oppenheimer),COG +1.2% (upgraded to Outperform from Mkt Perform at Bernstein),HAL +1.2% (upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Guggenheim),EOG +0.5% (upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Guggenheim)

8:18 am Cintas announces special dividend of $0.85, in addition to $0.85 annual dividend, which represents a 10.4% increase of last year's annual dividend, is payable on Dec 5, 2014 (CTAS) : Due to the transaction that occurred on April 30, 2014 related to the combination of the company's Document Shredding business with Shred-It International Inc., the company Board of Directors approved an additional 85 cents per share special dividend. The total dividend of $1.70 per share is payable on December 5, 2014, to shareholders of record as of November 7, 2014.

8:18 am Liberty Prop beats by $0.02, misses on revs; guides Q4 FFO in-line (LPT) : Reports Q3 (Sep) funds from operations of $0.64 per share, $0.02 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.62; revenues rose 27.8% year/year to $198.4 mln vs the $202.32 mln consensus.

  • Co issues in-line guidance for Q4, sees FFO of $0.63-0.66 vs. $0.64 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate. 
  • Property level operating income for same store properties decreased by 0.4% on a cash basis and by 0.9% on a straight line basis for the third quarter of 2014 compared to the same quarter in 2013.

8:15 am Finjan provides litigation update - Markman order entered in blue coat case; markman ruling coincides with Finjan's infringement case (FNJN) :

  • Co announced an update in the Finjan vs Blue Coat Systems case that was filed on August 28, 2013 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. 
  • The Markman hearing was held on August 22, 2014. On October 20, 2014, the Honorable Beth Labson Freeman entered her Order construing disputed claim terms in U.S. Patents Nos. 6,154,844; 6,804,780; 6,965,968; 7,058,822; 7,418,731 and 7,647,633. ""
  • "We believe the Court's Order coincides with Finjan's infringement theories against Blue Coat allowing us to move forward without dropping any of our asserted patents, theories, or any of the accused products, thereby reinforcing our damages case against Blue Coat," 
  • A jury trial in this matter is set for July 20, 2015.

8:09 am Axcelis Tech 'Purion XE' High Energy System chosen by leading chipmaker in Asia Pacific region for DRAM manufacturing; scheduled to ship in Q4 (ACLS) : Co announced a new order for the Company's Purion XE single wafer, high energy implanter from a prominent chipmaker in the Asia Pacific region.

  • The Purion XE will be used in high volume production of DRAM devices. 
  • The system is scheduled to ship in Q4.

8:07 am McDonald's beats by $0.14 (ex-items), misses on revs; headwinds will continue into Q4; sees October comps negative; co is implementing new approach (MCD) : Reports Q3 (Sep) earnings of $1.51 per share, ex-$0.42 in unfavorable items from tax reserves ($0.26), supplier issues ($0.15) and Russia/Ukraine closures ($0.01), $0.14 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $1.37; revenues fell 4.6% year/year to $6.99 bln vs the $7.19 bln consensus. 

  • Global comparable sales decrease of 3.3%, reflecting negative guest traffic in all major segments and the impact of the previously-disclosed supplier issue in certain markets in APMEA. 
    • In the U.S., third quarter comparable sales decreased 3.3% driven by negative guest traffic amid sustained competitive activity. Operating income for the quarter declined 10% as initiatives to address the current market dynamics did not translate into improved financial results.
    • "McDonald's third quarter results reflect a significant decline versus a year ago, with our business and financial performance pressured by a variety of factors - from a higher effective tax rate, to unusual events in the operating environments in APMEA and Europe, to under-performance in the U.S., our largest geographic segment,"
  • The internal factors and external headwinds have proven more formidable than expected and will continue into the fourth quarter, with global comparable sales for October expected to be negative. 
  • The Company is implementing a new global approach designed to increase its relevance with customers and drive guest traffic.

8:06 am Atlantic Power comments on Clinton Group letter; co and its stakeholders are best served by continuing to operate as an independent company (AT) : Co disclosed on September 16, 2014 that the co's Board of Directors, with the assistance of its financial advisors, Goldman, Sachs & Co. and Greenhill & Co, conducted a thorough review of the options available to the co with respect to a possible sale or merger and concluded that a sale or merger of the co was not in the best interests of the co or its stakeholders at that time.

  • In light of the letter and enquiries from investors, the co wishes to provide the following additional detail to all shareholders concerning the process. The Company did not receive any offers that the Company's Board of Directors believed could be consummated at or above the closing share price of $3.04 on May 1, 2014, being the day prior to press rumors concerning a possible sale or merger of the Company. 
  • As such, the Company's Board of Directors reaffirms that, at the present time, the interests of the Company and its stakeholders are best served by continuing to operate as an independent company and executing the Company's business plan, including the objectives of enhancing the value of its existing assets through optimization investments and commercial activities, delevering its balance sheet to improve both its cost of capital and ability to compete for new investments, and utilizing the Company's core competencies to create proprietary investment opportunities.

8:06 am Northrop Grumman to supply new attitude and heading reference system for Airbus (EADSY) Helicopters (NOC) :  

8:06 am Clean Diesel Technologies issues downside Q3 guidance; sold assets of its Reno, Nevada-based standard exhaust and specialty parts business on October 20 for ~$1.3 mln (CDTI) :

  • Co reported Q3 revs from continuing operations was $9.3 mln and including discontinued operations revs was $10.3 mln vs. $13.30 mln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate. The lower revenue was largely due to a sharp downturn in retrofit demand at a time when DuraFit sales had not yet begun to ramp. As a result, co expects to report Q3 op loss from continuing operations of $2.0 -2.5 mln, including $0.8 mln related to severance and charges.
  • DuraFit, which addresses the growing diesel particulate filter (:DPF) replacement market, has experienced considerable interest since its soft launch in June 2014 and the official launch in August 2014, and co expects growing demand for this product.  In addition to DuraFit, co anticipates demand for retrofit products will be stronger in the Q4 ending December 31, 2014, but that demand will tail off in succeeding quarters. 
  • In response to the slowdown in its retrofit business, co has streamlined its staffing to better align its cost structure with the anticipated softening demand. Combined with measures taken earlier in the quarter, these actions will result in an estimated annual reduction in manufacturing and operating expense of ~$1.2 mln.

8:05 am Illinois Tool beats by $0.05, reports revs in-line; guides Q4 EPS in-line; guides FY14 EPS above consensus (ITW) : Reports Q3 (Sep) earnings of $1.28 per share, $0.05 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $1.23; revenues rose 3.5% year/year to $3.69 bln vs the $3.67 bln consensus. Co issues in-line guidance for Q4, sees EPS of $1.07-1.15, excluding non-recurring items, vs. $1.13 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate; co says expects Q4 revenues to be flat due to currency translation effects. Co issues upside guidance for FY14, sees EPS of $4.57-4.65, excluding non-recurring items, vs. $4.57 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate.

8:05 am Exceed announces amendment of merger agreement; increases the fee payable by Parent to the Company to $2.5 mln if the Merger Agreement is terminated; increases the amount guarantied by Lin under the Limited Guaranty from $2, mln to $2.5 mln (EDS) :

  • Co announced that on October 20, 2014, it entered into an amendment to the Agreement and Plan of Merger, dated December 2, 2013, by and among the Company, Pan Long Company Limited, an exempted company with limited liability incorporated under the laws of the Cayman Islands and wholly owned by Shuipan Lin, the Company's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, and Pan Long Investment Holdings Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Parent.
  • Under the terms of the Merger Agreement, either the Company or Parent could terminate the Merger Agreement without payment of a termination fee if the merger contemplated by the Merger Agreement  was not consummated by the termination date of September 2, 2014. 
  • The Merger Agreement Amendment extends the Termination Date to December 31, 2014. The Merger Agreement Amendment also (i) increases the fee payable by Parent to the Company to $2.5 mln if the Merger Agreement is terminated under circumstances where a termination fee of $2 mln would previously have been payable and (ii) provides that the Company is no longer obligated to pay a termination fee to Parent if the Merger 
  • Agreement is terminated under circumstances where a termination fee of US$1,000,000 would previously have been payable (although the Company would continue to be responsible for reimbursing Parent's expenses in connection with the transaction under certain circumstances).

8:05 am West's Vial2Bag DC device receives U.S. FDA 510(k) Clearance and CE Mark (WST) :

  • Co has received 510(k) clearance of the Vial2Bag DC device from the United States Food and Drug Administration, and also the CE Mark for the European Union.
  • The Vial2Bag DC device is produced by West's subsidiary, Medimop Medical Projects Ltd., and is a universal admixture device designed to enable safe, convenient, needle-free reconstitution and transfer of drug products between a vial and a standard IV bag or bottle.

8:04 am Kaman awarded LTA by Rolls-Royce (RYCEY) for Trent XWB composite a-frame fairings (KAMN) : Kaman Aerosystems, a division of the co, announced today at the 2014 National Business Aviation Association Convention and Exhibition that it has been awarded a Long Term Supply Agreement by Rolls-Royce to manufacture the Composite A-frame Fairings for the Trent XWB engine that will power the Airbus A350 XWB aircraft. Rolls-Royce and Kaman have entered into a multi-year contract for these parts, with a projected value in excess of $5 mln. The A-Frame Fairings will be manufactured at Kaman's facility in Bennington, Vermont.

8:04 am Zep awarded sole contract for fleet washing products and services from The Cooperative Purchasing Network (ZEP) : LogilityZep Government, a unit of Zep Inc. announced that it was the sole awardee of The Cooperative Purchasing Network Fleet Washing Products and Services Contract. TCPN members will be able to choose from the largest collection of professional car and fleet washing products and services in the industry delivered through Zep Inc.'s North American Sales and Service and Zep Vehicle Care business units

8:02 am MELA Sciences: Outcomes study reports use of MelaFind reduced benign biopsies by 61% in patients at risk for Melanoma (MELA) : Co announces that "highly favorable" results were obtained in a study using MelaFind to assess lesions in patients at risk for melanoma. In the study, an initial cohort of 166 pigmented lesions on 30 patients were identified as suspicious by visual inspection and dermoscopy.

  • Following the MelaFind data, 64 of those lesions were identified for biopsy and 102 were selected for continued observation. The report stated, "The results showed 61% of the clinically suspicious pigmented lesions in an at-risk population were deferred from biopsy, indicating that MelaFind analysis may prevent overly aggressive biopsy decisions. There may also be an overall improvement in biopsy risk."

8:02 am Ford Motor to terminate conversion rights on notes, intends to settle all conversions with shares of Ford common stock (F) : Ford Motor has elected to exercise its right to terminate the conversion rights with respect to its 4.25% Senior Convertible Notes due Nov. 15, 2016, effective Nov. 20, 2014, in accordance with the terms of the notes. Holders of the notes may elect to convert them until the close of business on Nov. 19, 2014. Ford intends to settle all conversions with shares of Ford common stock. The increase in outstanding shares resulting from this will be offset by share repurchases Ford made earlier this year. The share repurchases reduce the co's diluted shares by about 3%.

8:01 am BioSpecifics Tech announces FDA approval of sBLA for XIAFLEX for the concurrent treatment of Two Dupuytren's Contracture Cords (BSTC) : Co announced that the U.S. FDA has approved the supplemental Biologics License Application (sBLA) submitted by BioSpecifics' partner, Auxilium Pharmaceuticals (AUXL) for XIAFLEX for the treatment of up to two Dupuytren's contracture cords in the same hand during a single treatment visit.  

7:58 am S&P futures vs fair value: +14.90. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: +39.50. (:WRAPX) : U.S. equity futures trade sharply higher amid upbeat action overseas. The S&P 500 futures hover 15 points above fair value with the entire gain coming after the start of the European session. The increased risk appetite followed reports indicating the European Central Bank is looking to start buying corporate bonds on the secondary market. The S&P 500 futures have climbed more than 25 points off their lows, putting the benchmark index on track to begin the session above its 200-day moving average (1906.39).

Treasuries hover in the red after erasing their overnight gains. The 10-yr yield is higher by one basis point at 2.21%.

The Existing Home Sales report for September (Briefing.com consensus 5.11 million) will be released at 10:00 ET.

In U.S. corporate news of note:

  • Apple (AAPL 101.69, +1.93): +1.9% after beating earnings/revenue estimates and guiding higher. 
  • Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG 618.05, -34.98): -5.4% despite beating earnings and revenue expectations. 
  • Coca-Cola (KO 41.90, -1.39): -3.2% after missing revenue estimates and lowering full-year 2014 and 2015 forecast below long term targets. 
  • Lockheed Martin (LMT 173.00, -2.53): -1.4% following its bottom-line beat on below-consensus revenue. 
  • Texas Instruments (TXN 45.40, +0.99): +2.2% in reaction to upbeat results and guidance. 
  • Travelers (TRV 94.50, +1.30): +1.4% after beating earnings estimates. 
  • United Technologies (UTX 103.00, +1.52): +1.5% after reporting a one-cent beat and reaffirming its guidance. 
  • Verizon (VZ 48.33, -0.15): -0.3% after missing bottom-line estimates on in-line revenue. 
Reviewing overnight developments:
  • Asian markets ended mixed. Hong Kong's Hang Seng +0.1%, China's Shanghai Composite -0.7%, and Japan's Nikkei -2.0% 
    • In economic data: 
      • China's Q3 GDP rose 1.9% quarter-over-quarter (expected 1.8%; previous 2.0%) while the year-over-year reading increased 7.3% (consensus 7.2%; prior 7.5%). Separately, Industrial Production rose 8.0% year-over-year (expected 7.5%; previous 6.9%), Fixed Asset Investment increased 16.1% year-over-year (consensus 16.3%; prior 16.5%), and Retail Sales climbed 11.6% year-over-year (expected 11.8%; previous 11.9%). 
      • Japan's All Industries Activity Index slipped 0.1% month-over-month (expected -0.3%; previous -0.4%) 
      • Hong Kong's CPI jumped 6.6% year-over-year (expected 3.6%; previous 3.9%) 
    • In news: 
      • China's Statistics Bureau said the slowdown in GDP growth resulted from a high base that was set last year, but employment and inflation remained stable. 
      • In Japan, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's cabinet has lowered its economic assessment for the second month in a row. 
  • Major European indices trade higher across the board. Great Britain's FTSE +1.1%, Germany's DAX +1.4%, and France's CAC +1.8%. Elsewhere, Spain's IBEX +2.0% and Italy's MIB +2.2% 
    • Economic data was limited: 
      • Great Britain's Public Sector Net Borrowing came in at GBP11.07 billion (expected GBP9.20 billion; previous GBP10.96 billion) 
      • Swiss trade surplus expanded to CHF2.45 billion from CHF1.33 billion (expected surplus of CHF2.65 billion) 
    • Among news of note: 
      • European equities surged after Reuters reported the European Central Bank is seeking to buy corporate bonds on the secondary market. The news weighed on the euro, sending the single currency from 1.2815 into the 1.2750 area against the dollar. 
      • Germany's Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said France and Germany will present a common position paper on investment and reform in December.

7:58 am Neonode signs technology development agreement with OEM (NEON) : Co announced the signing of a technology development agreement with OEM. Neonode have already signed license agreements with printer OEM s controlling more than 40% of the market. "We believe the newly signed agreement will solidify Neonode's position as the preferred touch technology and grow the accessible market share within printer market segment."

7:50 am On The Wires (:WIRES) :

  • Textura (TXTR) announced that The Wieland-Davco Corporation certified construction company with national headquarters in Lansing, Michigan, has streamlined their construction administration process using Submittal Exchange on the majority of their projects in the past 18 months. 
  • Otonomy (OTIC) announced the appointment of Anthony Yost as chief commercial officer.
  • SolarWinds (SWI) announced multiple products are now certified under the Common Criteria for Information Technology Security Evaluation, an internationally recognized standard for computer security achieved through independent laboratory testing and evaluation.
  • Jacobs Engineering Group (JEC) was awarded a two year framework agreement from Saudi Industry Property Authority for design services to support the development of various industrial cities throughout Saudi Arabia. Company officials did not disclose the contract value. 

7:49 am Brinker reports EPS in-line, revs in-line (EAT) : Reports Q1 (Sep) earnings of $0.50 per share, excluding non-recurring items, in-line with the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.50; revenues rose 3.8% year/year to $711 mln vs the $709.14 mln consensus.

  • Brinker International company sales increased 3.4% to $686.9 mln and comparable restaurant sales at company-owned restaurants increased 2.4%.
  • Brinker delivered positive comp sales and traffic during the quarter and the co continues to take market share.
  • Brinker provides annual guidance as it relates to comparable restaurant sales, earnings per diluted share, and other key line items in the comprehensive income statement and will only provide updates if there is a material change versus the original guidance.
  • Consistent with prior practice, management will not discuss intra-period sales or other key operating results not yet reported as the limited data may not accurately reflect the final results of the period or quarter referenced.

7:49 am Coca-Cola reports EPS in-line, misses on revs; sees FY14 and FY15 results below long term targets (lowers top line target); expands restructuring program (KO) : Reports Q3 (Sep) earnings of $0.53 per share, excluding non-recurring items, in-line with the Capital IQ Consensus of $0.53; revenues fell 0.4% year/year to $11.98 bln vs the $12.15 bln consensus. Excluding the impact of structural changes, comparable currency neutral net revenues grew 1%, reflecting 1% concentrate sales growth and 1% positive price/mix. Concentrate sales growth and unit case volume growth were in line during the quarter; global volume growth 1%.

  • Co sees 100-200 bps headwind on net rev and 200 bps headwind on operating income in Q4.
  • Company is maintaining its long-term high single-digit EPS growth target, adjusting its net revenue target to mid single-digit growth, and targeting profit before tax in place of operating income to account for increased equity income growth from its new partnership model. 
    • Going forward, the co will have a profit before tax target of 6% to 8%. 
  • The Company expects to be below its long-term EPS growth target in 2014 and, based on the current outlook, does not expect comparable currency neutral EPS growth in 2015 to be significantly different from 2014. Further, the Company expects fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates to have an unfavorable impact on its results in 2015.
  • Based on current spot rates, existing hedge positions, and the cycling of 2014 rates, the Company expects a mid single-digit headwind on profit before tax in 2015. 
  • Streamlining and simplifying its operating model to speed decision making and enhance local market focus. Expanding its current successful productivity program by targeting annualized savings of $3 billion per year by 2019 (via restructuring, etc). 
  • Longer term, the Company intends to return to delivering against its stated growth targets. 
  • Beginning in 2015, revenue growth will be added as a metric in the Company's incentive plans. The Company will adjust the relative importance of volume and price/mix in each market in order to drive the right behavior for each market type.

7:46 am Jacobs awarded remediation task order for Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska worth ~$18.7 mln (JEC) : Co announced that it received a Performance-Based Remediation task order from the U.S. Air Force Civil Engineer Center to address environmental cleanup requirements for Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Company officials estimate the value of this project to be $18.7 million.

  • The task order, awarded under Jacobs' existing Worldwide Environmental Restoration and Construction contract with the Air Force, covers a full range of construction and engineering services including investigation, design, remedial action, remedial construction and environmental remediation activities to achieve performance objectives at 79 Installation Restoration Program sites.

7:45 am Otonomy appoints of Anthony Yost as chief commercial officer (OTIC) : He joins Otonomy after serving as chief commercial officer for specialty pharmaceutical companies Prometheus Laboratories and EKR Therapeutics. Previously he served as general manager for the Western U.S. Operating Unit of Novartis Pharmaceuticals (NVS). 

7:39 am Verizon misses by $0.02, reports revs in-line (VZ) : Reports Q3 (Sep) earnings of $0.89 per share, $0.02 worse than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.91; revenues rose 4.3% year/year to $31.59 bln vs the $31.59 bln consensus.

  • Wireless Highlights: Added 1.53 million net retail connections; retail postpaid churn of 1.00%; 106.2 mln total retail connections; 100.1 mln total retail postpaid connections. Saw a 4.8% YoY increase in service revenues and a 4.6% YoY increase in retail service revenues; 31.9% operating margin; 49.5% segment EBITDA margin.
  • Wireline Highlights: Saw a 4.5% YoY increase in consumer revenues, the ninth consecutive quarter of more than 4% growth; consumer ARPU (average revenue per user) up 10.3%. Saw a 13.4% increase in FiOS revenues; 162,000 FiOS Internet and 114,000 FiOS Video net additions.
  • "We have great confidence heading into the fourth quarter, as Verizon continues to deliver consistently strong operating and financial results. We see continued, healthy customer demand for wireless and broadband services, and we are encouraged by the growth we are starting to see in the areas of video delivery and machine-to-machine. Our cash generation remains strong, and last month we were pleased to announce board approval of a quarterly dividend increase for the eighth consecutive year."

7:37 am Asian Markets Close: Nikkei -2.0%, Hang Seng +0.1%, Shanghai -0.7% (:SUMRX) :

  • Markets ended mixed across Asia. 
  • China's GDP slowed to 7.3% QoY (7.2% QoY expected), the weakest since Q1 2009, while industrial production jumped 8.0% YoY (7.5% YoY expected). 
  • The latest Reserve Bank of Australia minutes showed the central bank believes there will be "a period of stability in interest rates." 
  • Hong Kong's inflation rate surged to 6.6% YoY (3.9% YoY previous), but the number has been declared a one off because of a low base for comparison due to public housing payments. 
  • Japan's Nikkei (-2.0%) was rejected by the 200 dma after the minister responsible of Japan's GPIF pension fund suggested he did not know anything about the weekend reports suggesting the fun would increase its equity exposure to 25% (currently 12%). Exporters outperformed despite the stronger yen as Toyota Motor and Honda Motor shed 1.6% and 1.5%, respectively. 
  • Hong Kong's Hang Seng (+0.1%) eked out a small gain, but was unable to reclaim the 200 dma. Heavyweight Tencent Holdings provided support, tacking on 1.0%. 
  • China's Shanghai Composite (-0.7%) slid to a one-month low. Pharma was a drag with China Resources Double-Crane Pharmaceutical giving up 5.4%. 
  • India's Sensex (+0.6%) reclaimed the 50 dma. IT service providers finished mixed as Wipro climbed 3.0% and Infosys fell 1.0%. 
  • Australia's ASX (+0.1%) recorded a sixth day of gains. Financials saw a mixed session with Westpac falling 0.5% and ANZ adding 0.1%. 
  • Regional Decliners: South Korea -0.7%...Malaysia -0.4%...Indonesia -0.2%...Taiwan -0.1%...Thailand UNCH 
  • Regional Advancers: Philippines +0.2%...Singapore +0.7%...Vietnam +1.9% 
  • Fx: USDCNY fell to 6.1212, the lowest since March...USDINR ticked up to 61.24...USDJPY -15 pips @ 106.80...AUDUSD +30 pips @ .8810

7:36 am Apollo Group beats by $0.07, misses on revs; guides Q1 revs below consensus; guides FY15 revs in-line (APOL) : Reports Q4 (Aug) earnings of $0.34 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.07 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.27; revenues fell 15.2% year/year to $709.6 mln vs the $727.88 mln consensus.

  • Co issues downside guidance for Q1, sees Q1 revs of 720-730 mln vs. $764.92 mln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate.  Co sees Q1 Operating income of $70 to $75 million, excluding the impact of special items.
  • Co issues in-line guidance for FY15, sees FY15 revs of $2.80-2.85 billion vs. $2.81 bln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate. Co sees FY15 Operating income of $300 to $325 million, excluding the impact of special items.
  • Fourth quarter 2014 University of Phoenix New Degreed Enrollment was 38,600, down 5.9% from fourth quarter 2013, and Degreed Enrollment decreased 13.2% to 233,500, compared to the same period from the prior year.  

7:36 am Canadian Pacific misses by CAD$0.07, misses on revs (CP) : Reports Q3 (Sep) earnings of CC$2.31 per share, CAD$0.07 worse than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of CAD$2.38; revenues rose 8.9% year/year to CAD$1.67 bln vs the CAD$1.69 bln consensus.

7:34 am Graphic Packaging misses by $0.03, misses on revs; adjusted EBITDA increased 8.8% y/y to $190.6 mln (GPK) : Reports Q3 (Sep) earnings of $0.17 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.03 worse than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.20; revenues fell 9.7% year/year to $1.05 bln vs the $1.07 bln consensus.

  • Q3 Adjusted EBITDA increased to $190.6 mln vs $175.2 mln in the prior year. 
  • Q3 Adjusted EBITDA margin was 18.2% vs 15.1% in the prior year. 

7:34 am Sonic Automotive beats by $0.06, reports revs in-line (SAH) : Reports Q3 (Sep) earnings of $0.55 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.06 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.49; revenues rose 5.1% year/year to $2.36 bln vs the $2.37 bln consensus. 

Highlights:

  • All-time record new retail unit sales of 36,301 units, up 6.5% over the prior year quarter
  • All-time record pre-owned gross profit of $41.2 million, an increase of 5.8% over the prior year quarter 
  • Pre-owned unit sales per store per month were 90 units for Q3 2014

7:33 am Kimberly-Clark beats by $0.07, beats on revs; adjusts guidance and announces restructuring (KMB) : Reports Q3 (Sep) earnings of $1.61 per share, $0.07 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $1.54; revenues rose 3.4% year/year to $5.44 bln vs the $5.35 bln consensus.

  • Co issues guidance  for FY14, sees EPS of $5.93-6.03, may not be comparable to $6.06 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate. The company's previous target was $6.00 to $6.15 per share and assumed a full year of results for the health care business. The updated guidance includes a 10 cent per share impact from the spin-off of the last two months of 2014 health care earnings. 
  • Performance benefited from organic sales growth, cost savings and a lower share count, while comparisons were negatively impacted by input cost inflation, unfavorable foreign currency exchange rate effects, a higher adjusted effective tax rate and lower net income from equity companies. 
  • The company is initiating a restructuring program in order to improve organization efficiency and offset the impact of stranded overhead costs resulting from the spin-off of the company's health care business. The restructuring is expected to be completed by the end of 2016, with total costs anticipated to be $130 to $160 million after tax ($190 to $230 million pre-tax).

7:32 am UTStarcom announced that it has won an expansion of a contract to provide packet optical transport technology to Chunghwa Telecom (CHT) (UTSI) : Co announced that it has won an expansion of a contract originally awarded in 2013 to provide packet optical transport technology to Chunghwa Telecom (CHT).

  • Through this expanded contract, UTStarcom further strengthens its relationship with Chunghwa, a leading integrated telecommunications service provider in Taiwan, to enhance their mobile backhaul network. 
  • The 4G LTE infrastructure upgrade is part of CHT's continuing effort to utilize the most advanced technologies to launch better and faster broadband service experience for the growing mobile users in Taiwan.

7:32 am Finish Line appoints Samuel Sato as President (FINL) : Co announced today that Samuel M. Sato, formerly President, Finish Line Brand, has been named as President, The Finish Line, Inc. The Board of Directors also elected him to the board, filling the Class II director position previously held by Bill Kirkendall.

7:32 am Lockheed Martin beats by $0.05, misses on revs; guides FY14 ~in-line; FY15 sales below estimates (LMT) : Reports Q3 (Sep) earnings of $2.76 per share, $0.05 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $2.71; revenues fell 2.1% year/year to $11.11 bln vs the $11.27 bln consensus.

Co issues in-line guidance for FY14, raises EPS to ~$11.15 from $10.85-11.15 vs. $11.12 Capital IQ Consensus; sees FY14 revs of ~$45 bln from $44-45.5 bln vs. $44.82 bln Capital IQ Consensus. 

The Corporation expects 2015 net sales will decline at a low single digit rate from 2014 levels (consensus -1%) and that total business segment operating margin will be in the 11.5 percent to 12.0 percent range. The Corporation's preliminary outlook for 2015 assumes the U.S. Government continues to support and fund its key programs, consistent with the continuing resolution funding measure through Dec. 11, 2014, and the U.S. Government approves budget legislation for government fiscal year (GFY) 2015 consistent with the President's proposed budget.

7:31 am Manpower beats by $0.12, reports revs in-line; guides Q4 EPS in line (MAN) : Reports Q3 (Sep) earnings of $1.61 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.12 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $1.49; revenues rose 4.4% year/year to $5.42 bln vs the $5.46 bln consensus. Co sees Q4 EPS in the range of $1.47-1.55, which excludes an 8 cent charge for unfavorable currency impact, Capital IQ consensus is $1.48.

7:31 am Fidelity Nat'l Info announced Gary Norcross to be appointed as CEO effective January 1, 2015 (FIS) : Co announced the appointment of Gary Norcross as President and CEO effective January 1, 2015. Norcross, who currently serves as FIS President and Chief Operating Officer, will take over as CEO from Frank R. Martire, who has served as the company's CEO for five years. Martire will take on the role of Executive Chairman.

  • FIS also announced that Martire, current CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors, will assume a new role as Executive Chairman of the Board.

7:24 am MPLX LP increases quarterly distribution to $0.3575, a 4.4% increase over the previous distribution of $0.3425 (MPLX) :  

7:20 am Allegheny Tech beats by $0.06, misses on revs (ATI) : Reports Q3 (Sep) net of breakeven, excluding non-recurring items, $0.06 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of ($0.06); revenues rose 10.0% year/year to $1.07 bln vs the $1.14 bln consensus. 

  • "Segment operating profit improved to $70.6 million, or 6.6% of sales, an 8% increase compared to the second quarter 2014. "During the third quarter, ATI successfully reached a number of strategic long-term agreements (LTAs) that secure significant growth on next-generation and legacy single-aisle airplanes. In summary, we enhanced our position as a leading supplier of premium-quality nickel-based alloy and titanium-alloy billet; we significantly increased our closed-die forgings content; and we increased ATI's titanium investment casting content."

7:20 am On The Wires (:WIRES) :

  • NICE Actimize, a NICE Systems (NICE) business has partnered with Alacra to integrate Alacra's market leading customer onboarding and Know-Your-Customer tool, Alacra Compliance Enterprise and Alacra's Reference Data Platform, into NICE Actimize's Customer Due Diligence anti-money laundering solution.
  • Accenture (ACN) announced that Endurance Specialty Holding has gone into production with Accenture Duck Creek Policy and Rating software to support its diverse worldwide client portfolio.
  • Quest Resource Holding (QRHC) through its subsidiary Quest Resource Management Group announced that it has reached a new company milestone, by offering service to over 20,000 client locations across the United States. 
  • Main Street Capital (MAIN) announced that it recently led a financing totaling $12.0 mln of invested capital in East West Copolymer & Rubber, LLC to support East West's working capital and expansion needs.

7:18 am Susser Petroleum Partners announces public offering of 8 mln common units representing limited partner interests (SUSP) :

  • The Partnership intends to use the net proceeds from the offering, including any net proceeds from the underwriters' exercise of their option to purchase additional common units, to repay indebtedness under its revolving credit facility and for general partnership purposes.

7:12 am Synovus reports EPS in-line; NIM fell 4bps q/q to 3.37%; increases dividend and authorized a share repurchase program (SNV) : Reports Q3 (Sep) earnings of $0.37 per share, adjusted for one-time items, in-line with the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.37.

  • Qtrly dividend on common shares increased 43% to $0.10 from $0.07 
  • The Board of Directors has authorized a share repurchase program of up to $250 mln of the company's common stock, to be executed over the next 12 months.
  • Total loans grew $132.8 million or 2.6% annualized compared to the second quarter of 2014. 
  • The net interest margin declined 4bps  to 3.37% compared to 3.41% in the 2Q14. The yield on earning assets was 3.81%, 5bps lower than the 2Q14, and the effective cost of funds declined 1bps to 0.44%

7:09 am Euro Weakens as ECB Considers Corporate Bond Purchases: 10Y: -04/32..2.206%..USD/JPY: 106.86..EUR/USD: 1.2755 (:SUMRX) :

  • The Dollar Index trades on session highs near 85.15. 
  • The greenback was lower in early trade, but reclaimed the 84.95 flat line as reports crossed the wires indicating the European Central Bank was considering a foray into corporate bond purchases as soon as December. 
  • EURUSD is -30 pips @ 1.2760 as trade presses session lows. Minor support in the 1.2760 area is being tested, and a breakdown would put the key 1.2600 level in play. Click here to see a daily 10Y chart.
  • GBPUSD is -5 pips @ 1.6155 as trade slips into the red. Sterling saw a run up to the 1.6200 before a disappointing public sector net borrowing (GBP11.1 bln actual v. GBP9.3 bln expected) figure brought out the sellers. A lower close would end the modest four-day win streak. 
  • USDCHF is +25 pips @ .9455 as action probes its best levels of the day. Switzerland's trade balance drew little reaction, posting an in-line CHF2.45 bln, causing traders to instead focus on the fluctuations of the euro. 
  • USDJPY is -5 pips @ 106.90. Heavy selling early in the session had the pair probing the 50 dma (106.42), but trade has rebounded sharply and is near the best levels of the day. A thrust through 107.00 sets up a potential move into 108.50 resistance. 
  • AUDUSD is +20 pips @ .8800 as trade moves towards the upper bound of the .8650/.8850 range that has been in place over the past month. Traders have had to grapple with the latest Reserve Bank of Australia minutes, which suggested the central bank saw "a period of stability in interest rates," and China's GDP slowing to 7.3% QoY (7.2% QoY expected), the weakest since Q1 2009. USDCNY slipped to 6.1209, the lowest since March.
  • USDCAD is -35 pips @ 1.1255 as trade eases off its best levels since July 2009. The 1.1300 mark has been tested several times over the past week, but action has been unable to put in a close above the level.

7:08 am Reynolds American beats by $0.04, beats on revs; reaffirms FY14 EPS guidance (RAI) : Reports Q3 (Sep) earnings of $0.95 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.04 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.91; revenues rose 4.9% year/year to $2.24 bln vs the $2.19 bln consensus. Co reaffirms guidance for FY14, sees EPS of $3.35-3.45, excluding non-recurring items, vs. $3.38 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate. 

Lorillard Update

Cameron said that RAI continues to diligently work to obtain the necessary regulatory, shareholder and other approvals for the company's proposed acquisition of Lorillard, Inc. and divestiture of select brands and assets to a subsidiary of Imperial Tobacco Group PLC ("the Proposed Transaction/s"). "RAI is currently responding to a second request for additional information from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, and the company recently filed its preliminary joint proxy statement/prospectus with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission," she said. "This process is proceeding smoothly, and we remain confident that the transaction will be completed by mid-2015."

7:07 am Astec Industries (halted) misses by $0.34, misses on revs (ASTE) : Reports Q3 (Sep) earnings of $0.08 per share, $0.34 worse than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.42; revenues rose 3.3% year/year to $220.2 mln vs the $234.09 mln consensus. 

  • "We are disappointed in our net income for the third quarter. Our Energy and our Aggregate and Mining Groups performed okay while our Infrastructure Group lagged due primarily to the lack of a federal highway bill, pricing pressure as a result, and product mix. As we've previously reported, we are still unable to recognize the revenue associated with our new $60 million pellet plant. This lack of recognition continues to hamper the Infrastructure Group's 2014 operating results. A 64% tax rate for the quarter was another challenge to our earnings in the quarter. Despite our third quarter results, we are encouraged about our overall business prospects for the remainder of the year and 2015." 
  • Total backlog increased 28% to $295.0 million at September 30, 2014 from $231.0 million at September 30, 2013.

7:07 am Omnicom beats by $0.05, beats on revs (OMC) : Reports Q3 (Sep) earnings of $0.95 per share, $0.05 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.90; revenues rose 7.4% year/year to $3.75 bln vs the $3.68 bln consensus.

  • Across its regional markets, organic revenue in Q3 of 2014 increased 8.9% in North America, 2.2% in Europe, 4.4% in Asia Pacific, 2.5% in Latin America and 18.1% in Africa/Middle East when compared to the same quarter of 2013.

7:04 am Pentair beats by $0.06, reports revs in-line; guides FY14 EPS in-line (PNR) : Reports Q3 (Sep) earnings of $1.00 per share, $0.06 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.94; revenues rose 2.6% year/year to $1.76 bln vs the $1.77 bln consensus. Co issues in-line guidance for FY14, sees EPS of $3.72-3.74 vs. $3.68 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate. 

Free cash flow in the quarter was over $260 million and $600 million for the first nine months of 2014. The company expects to deliver full year free cash flow greater than 110 percent of net income.

7:04 am Microsemi announces collaboration with Broadcom (BRCM) to expand broadband product portfolio for Next Gen xDSL applications (MSCC) :

  • Co introduced at the Broadband World Forum (:BBWF) 2014 its new reverse power feed (:RPF) technology, a critical technology for FTTdp and G.fast deployments.
  • G.fast, the new xDSL standard for 1gbps over copper, has a maximum expected range of 250 meters (m).
  • In order to achieve the highest data rates with G.fast, shorter loop lengths are required which leads to the need for fiber to the distribution point, or FTTdp.

7:03 am Harley-Davidson beats by $0.09, misses on revs; reaffirms 2014 shipments, op margin and CapEx guidance (HOG) : Reports Q3 (Sep) earnings of $0.69 per share, $0.09 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.60; revenues fell 4.2% year/year to $1.13 bln vs the $1.14 bln consensus. Third-quarter results reflect lower motorcycle shipments, as planned, compared to last year's third quarter.

  • Gross margin was 34.9% in the third quarter of 2014, compared to 35.3% year ago. Q3 op margin from motorcycles and related products was 12.9% vs 14.9% year ago.
  • Guidance: Co continues to expect to ship 270,000 to 275,000 motorcycles to dealers and distributors worldwide in 2014, an approximate 3-1/2 percent to 5-1/2 percent increase from 2013. The Company continues to expect full-year 2014 operating margin of 17.5 percent to 18.5 percent in the Motorcycles segment. The Company also continues to expect capital expenditures of $215 million to $235 million in 2014.

7:03 am United Tech beats by $0.01, reports revs in-line; reaffirms FY14 EPS guidance, revs guidance (UTX) : Reports Q3 (Sep) earnings of $1.82 per share, $0.01 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $1.81; revenues rose 4.6% year/year to $16.17 bln vs the $16.16 bln consensus, all driven by organic growth.

  • Excluding restructuring costs and net one-time items, segment operating profit grew 8 percent with 60 basis points of operating margin expansion to 17.2 percent.
Co reaffirms guidance for FY14, sees EPS of $6.75-6.85 vs. $6.85 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate; sees FY14 revs of ~$65 bln vs. $65.28 bln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate. UTC now expects share repurchase of $1.5 billion for the year, up from the previous expectation of $1.35 billion.

7:03 am Omeros provides update on PDE10 inhibitor program; enrollment in Huntington's Trial suspended pending further assessment of preclinical data (OMER) : The co provided an update on OMS824, the company's phosphodiesterase 10 (PDE10) inhibitor in development for the treatment of schizophrenia and Huntington's disease:

  • Omeros has suspended its Huntington's clinical trial as it further evaluates an observation from a nonclinical study in rats. 
  • Based on follow-up communications with FDA, Omeros has suspended the ongoing Huntington's disease trial, the only OMS824 trial actively enrolling. FDA has requested that Omeros further evaluate the nonclinical data from the 13-week rat study as well as nonclinical studies that did not yield the observation in order to characterize it more fully prior to reinitiating the clinical trial.

7:03 am Travelers beats on the bottom line; revs in line (TRV) : Reports Q3 (Sep) operating earnings of $2.61 per share, $0.33 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $2.28; revenues (premium's earned) rose 5.6% year/year to $5.98 bln vs the $5.93 bln consensus. 

  • Increases in book value per share of 9% to $76.42 and adjusted book value per share of 6% to $70.64 from year-end 2013.
  • The combined ratio increased 2.5 points to 95.2% as the benefit of lower catastrophe losses (0.9 points) was more than offset by a higher underlying combined ratio (1.7 points) and lower net favorable prior year reserve development (1.7 points). 

7:03 am A.O. Smith beats by $0.03, reports revs in-line; raised FY14 EPS in-line (AOS) : Reports Q3 (Sep) earnings of $0.59 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.03 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.56; revenues rose 8.5% year/year to $581.6 mln vs the $584.26 mln consensus.

  • Co raised guidance for FY14, sees EPS of $2.37-2.41, excluding non-recurring items, vs. $2.39 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate, up from $2.34-2.40.

7:02 am Salix Pharma's TARGET 3 Study examines the safety and efficacy of repeat treatment with Rifaximin 550 mg for irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea (SLXP) : Co announced that Dr. Anthony Lembo of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center will present the results of TARGET 3 in a late-breaking podium presentation at the American College of Gastroenterology meeting. In this phase, 42% of subjects responded based on the FDA-required composite endpoint of symptomatic relief in both abdominal pain and stool consistency. In regards to relapse following the initial treatment response, over one third of the subjects that responded to rifaximin never experienced relapse of their symptoms over the follow-up period. In addition to the 42% of the patients meeting the FDA-required composite endpoint, an additional 30% of open-label subjects obtained some relief as measured by meeting the responder criteria for either abdominal pain or stool consistency; however, these subjects did not qualify for further participation in the study and were not included in the double-blind phase evaluating the assessment of repeat treatment efficacy and safety. 

  • Rifaximin is not currently approved for use in IBS-D and is currently under review by the FDA. A prescription drug user fee goal date of February 28, 2015 has been assigned following Salix's August 29, 2014 response to the FDA's March 7, 2011 Complete Response Letter.

7:02 am SeaChange announces appointment of new CEO; digital media veteran Jay Samit named Chief Executive Officer (SEAC) : Co announced that the Board of Directors has unanimously appointed Jay Samit as Chief Executive Officer effective immediately. Samit will also become a member of the Board. Samit succeeds SeaChange's current CEO Raghu Rau.

  • Samit was most recently president at ooVoo, a social video chat service with more than 100 mln users.

7:01 am NJ Resources subsidiary NJR Clean Energy Ventures announces new 48 megawatt onshore wind project (NJR) : NJR Clean Energy Ventures, the unregulated distributed power subsidiary of NJR, announced the acquisition of its third onshore wind project. The Alexander Wind Farm will be located on 7,000 acres of land in Rush County, Kansas, ~120 miles northwest of Wichita. NJRCEV will invest ~$85 mln to construct, own and operate the wind farm with a total capacity of 48 megawatts. NJRCEV's expected in-service date is fall of 2015.

7:01 am Waters beats by $0.09, beats on revs (WAT) : Reports Q3 (Sep) earnings of $1.38 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.09 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $1.29; revenues rose 7.9% year/year to $493 mln vs the $486.58 mln consensus.

7:01 am Kamada announces study in support of Alpha-1 Antitrypsin for the Treatment of Type-1 Diabetes Published in the Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology (KMDA) : Co announces that a comprehensive review of the data available in the literature in support of the mechanism of action of Alpha-1 Antitrypsin for the treatment of Type-1 Diabetes, was published in the August 2014 edition of the peer-reviewed, Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology.

  • According to the study authors, "Protection of islets by AAT is consistent across multiple diabetes models. Findings from multiple experimental animal models provide clear evidence that AAT possesses broad anti-inflammatory and immune-regulatory activities, promoting tissue recovery processes in the context of immune-mediated cell destruction. The beneficial effect of AAT on diabetes was first demonstrated using virus-mediated gene delivery of AAT to non-obese diabetic mice."

7:01 am Henry Schein announces strategic relationship with Abaxis (ABAX) to bring diagnostic products to U.S. veterinary practices (HSIC) : The co announced that Henry Schein Animal Health has entered into a strategic relationship with Abaxis (ABAX). As part of the agreement, Henry Schein Animal Health will sell the full line of Abaxis veterinary products throughout the U.S., effective immediately.  This includes veterinary diagnostic products, in-clinic testing and diagnostic merchandise. 

6:55 am Astec Industries trading halted, news pending (ASTE) :  

6:51 am On The Wires (:WIRES) :

  • Trimble (TRMB) introduced a new, enhanced version of Trimble Work Management, a cloud-based solution that improves the productivity of mobile workforces through intelligent scheduling tools, mobile apps and state-of-the-art performance analytics.
  • Integrated Device Technology (IDTI) introduced the F2912 switch, the first in a line of new radio frequency switch products planned by the semiconductor company.

6:38 am Asbury Automotive reports EPS in-line, revs in-line (ABG) : Reports Q3 (Sep) earnings of $1.08 per share, in-line with the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $1.08; revenues rose 8.3% year/year to $1.51 bln vs the $1.51 bln consensus. 

  • New vehicle retail revenues up 8%; gross profit up 6%
  • Used vehicle retail revenues up 8%; gross profit up 2%
  • Finance and insurance revenues up 8% 
  • Parts and service gross profit up 12%
  • Total gross profit up 9% with increases from all business lines 
  • "While we did experience some pressure on new and used vehicle margins, our parts and service gross profit grew at 12% driven principally by growth in warranty and reconditioning."

6:35 am Customers Bancorp beats by $0.01; on track to meet or exceed earnings guidance for 2014 and 2015 (CUBI) : Reports Q3 (Sep) earnings of $0.42 per share, $0.01 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.41. 

"We are extremely pleased to report very strong core earnings growth during Q3 2014 and the first nine months of 2014. Our growth results from execution of our strategy to diversify and grow our loan and deposit portfolios to fully utilize the capital provided by our investors. We believe we are on track with our plans and remain confident we will meet or exceed the earnings guidance we have provided for 2014 and 2015. We again state our goals of reaching about a 1.0% return on assets and a 12.0% return on equity within two to three years. We expect that we will achieve these goals while reducing the rate of Customers' asset growth to a level supported by growth in retained earnings."

6:35 am Lexmark beats by $0.13, beats on revs; guides Q4 EPS in-line, revs in-line (LXK) : Reports Q3 (Sep) earnings of $1.05 per share, $0.13 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.92; revenues rose 3.1% year/year to $918 mln vs the $889.62 mln consensus.

  • Co issues in-line guidance for Q4, sees EPS of $1.10-1.20 vs. $1.18 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate; sees Q4 revs of -2-4% to ~$970.6-990.8 mln vs. $972.29 mln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate. The company expects the 2012 decision to exit inkjet to have a diminishing negative impact on revenue growth. Excluding Inkjet Exit revenue, fourth quarter 2014 revenue is expected to grow year to year.
  • Q3 Gross Non-GAAP profit margin was 40.4% versus 41.0% in 2013. 

6:32 am S&P futures vs fair value: +12.00. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: +27.00. :  

6:32 am European Markets : FTSE...6,323.75...+56.70...+0.90%.  DAX...8,847.07...+132.30...+1.50%.

6:32 am Asian Markets : Nikkei...14,804.28...-307.00...-2.00%.  Hang Seng...23,088.58...+18.30...+0.10%.

6:31 am U.S. Concrete's Eastern Concrete Materials, acquired New York Sand and Stone from Amboy Aggregates, a joint venture between Great Lakes Dredge & Dock's (GLDD) Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company, LLC, and Ralph Clayton and Sons Materials (USCR) : Co announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Eastern Concrete Materials, acquired New York Sand and Stone, from Amboy Aggregates, a joint venture between Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Corporation (GLDD) and Ralph Clayton and Sons Materials.

  • The acquisition includes the assignment of leases to operate two existing aggregate distribution terminals on the East River in Brooklyn, N.Y. 
  • In a concurrent, separate transaction, U.S. Concrete, Inc. has entered into an exclusive sales and marketing agreement with Inwood Materials Terminal, which includes a dock located in Inwood, N.Y., in Nassau County on the South Shore of western Long Island.

6:24 am U.S. Concrete enters Houston, San Antonio and Austin markets and expands product offerings with acquisition of CRH's (CRH) Custom-Crete; terms not disclosed (USCR) : Co announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Redi-Mix, LLC, acquired the assets of Custom-Crete from Oldcastle Architectural, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of CRH plc (CRH).

  • The acquisition includes 11 volumetric ready-mixed concrete facilities located primarily in Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio and Austin, as well as 61 volumetric ready-mixed concrete trucks.

6:21 am On The Wires (:WIRES) :

  • BioLife Solutions (BLFS) announced that Frederick based RoosterBio, has adopted the co's CryoStor clinical grade cryopreservation freeze media to commercialize RoosterBio's human bone marrow-derived, adult mesenchymal stem cell products.
  • Yingli Green Energy Holding Company Limited (YGE) has surpassed two gigawatts of cumulative solar panel deliveries in the Americas.
  • MEGA Brands, a member of the Mattel family of companies (MAT) announced a multi-year global licensing partnership with Universal Partnerships & Licensing to develop a new kids construction line based on the phenomenally successful Despicable Me franchise from Comcast's (CMCSA) Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment.

6:11 am On The Wires (:WIRES) :

  • Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) is launching the industry's first TWDM-PON (Time and Wavelength Division Multiplexed Passive Optical Networks) solution. 
  • Calix (CALX) has announced that its Calix E7-2 Ethernet Service Access Platform and P- and T-Series fiber services gateways have been chosen by enet for the rollout of the company's "fibredirect" superfast fiber broadband service that targets small and medium-sized businesses in towns and cities throughout Ireland. 
  • PDC Healthcare, a unit of Brady Corp (BRC), will unveil its expanded product offering for blood transfusion patient identification at the 2014 AABB Annual Meeting, from October 25 to 28, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. 
  • Qumu (QUMU) announced a new integration that brings the power of video to Jive's enterprise communication and collaboration solutions. 
  • Quality Systems (QSII) announced that its dental division has entered into an agreement with Patterson Dental Supply, a unit of global Patterson Companies (PDCO) family of businesses. 
  • BNY Mellon (BK) has been appointed trustee and paying agent for Estover Energy's 48m bond for a new Combined Heat and Power plant in Speyside, Scotland. 
  • SAP SE (SAP) together with the Women's Tennis Association announced a breakthrough technology innovation to allow coaches to bring a WTA-authorized mobile device onto the court during a coaching break and use real-time data insights to analyze player performance for WTA games. 
  • ADTRAN (ADTN) announced the NetVanta 8424 10G Multi-service Edge Switch has achieved Metro Ethernet Forum Carrier Ethernet 2.0 certification. 

6:08 am Regions Fincl beats by $0.01 (RF) : Reports Q3 (Sep) earnings of $0.22 per share, $0.01 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.21.
Key metrics:

  • Net interest margin from continuing operations~ 3.18 % vs 3.24 % in Q2
  • Tier 1 capital 12.7 % vs 12.5 % in Q2
  • Adjusted efficiency ratio improved to 63.6% 
  • Asset quality remained solid with a net charge-off ratio of 0.39% 

6:08 am Synergy Pharma presents positive Phase 2b study results for Plecanatide in patients with irritable bowel syndrome with constipation; plans to initiate phase 3 IBS-C clinical development program in Q4 (SGYP) : Data presented at ACG demonstrate that plecanatide, once-daily oral tablet, significantly improved complete spontaneous bowel movement frequency, bowel habits, treatment satisfaction and significantly reduced abdominal pain in patients with IBS-C throughout the 12 week treatment period. Notably, patients taking 3.0 and 9.0 mg plecanatide showed statistically significant improvement in the Overall Responder rate, a secondary analysis in this study and the endpoint required for FDA approval in IBS-C (41.9% and 40%, respectively, compared to 24.7% for placebo).

  • The co plans to initiate the pivotal phase 3 IBS-C clinical development program in the fourth quarter of this year.

6:06 am Adobe Systems and Nielsen (NLSN) to create industry's first comprehensive measurement platform for digital content (ADBE) : Adobe (ADBE) and Nielsen (NLSN) announce a strategic alliance that is expected to deliver the industry's first comprehensive, cross-platform system for measuring online TV, video and other digital content across the Web and apps. The collaboration will integrate Nielsen's digital audience measurement products with Adobe Analytics and Adobe Primetime. Customers will have comparable metrics to measure audiences accurately and consistently across every major IP device. Media cos and advertisers will be able to use the new Nielsen Digital Content Ratings, Powered by Adobe, starting in 2015.

6:04 am Carlisle Cos beats by $0.10, beats on revs (CSL) : Reports Q3 (Sep) earnings from cont ops of $1.31 per share, $0.10 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $1.21; revenues rose 13.5% year/year to $904.1 mln vs the $866.5 mln consensus. 

  • "We had a very strong third quarter with 13% sales growth and 22% growth in EBIT (earnings before interest and income taxes). Sales were up in all of our segments with exceptional organic sales growth at CCM and CIT. The double digit growth at both CCM and CIT demonstrate healthy market demand as well as solid execution on selling initiatives. We also increased EBIT margin in all of our segments and our consolidated EBIT margin rose 100 basis points to 14.8% reflecting favorable leverage of our sales growth."

6:04 am Almaden Minerals announces spin-out of mineral exploration assets and royalties (AAU) : Co announce that its Board of Directors has unanimously approved a strategic reorganization of its business. Almaden's early stage exploration projects, royalty interests and certain other non-core assets will be transferred to a newly incorporated co. Shareholders of the co will receive shares in Spinco in proportion to their shareholdings in Almaden. There will be no change to shareholders' existing interests in the co.

  • The co is undertaking the reorganization in order to focus on the development of its Ixtaca gold-silver deposit. 
  • The Ixtaca deposit is part of the Tuligtic project, comprising ~15K hectares, located in the state of Puebla, Mexico. 
  • The spin-out transaction should also maximize shareholder value by allowing the market to value the co's flagship Ixtaca gold-silver deposit independently of its early stage mineral exploration and royalty business.

6:02 am Materialise acquires OrthoView for 8.47 mln; expected to be accretive to earnings per share within 12 months (MTLS) : The co announced the acquisition of UK-based OrthoView Holdings Limited, theworld's leading provider of 2D digital pre-operative planning and templatingsolutions for orthopedic surgeons. Materialise acquired OrthoView for a cashpayment of 8.47 million, and a possible additional earn out payment of up to 0.36 million. At completion, OrthoView had an estimated 1.2 million in cashand cash equivalents on hand and no financial debt. The transaction, which wassigned and closed simultaneously, is expected to be accretive to earnings pershare within 12 months.

6:01 am Inovio Pharma announced DARPA has awarded $12.2 mln for a collaborative study that will be conducted by scientists from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Inovio Pharmaceuticals, and MedImmune (INO) : Co announced the DARPA has awarded $12.2 mln for a collaborative study that will be conducted by scientists from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania; Inovio Pharmaceuticals; and MedImmune, the global biologics research and development arm of AstraZeneca. The group will develop DNA-based monoclonal antibodies for infectious disease treatment. DARPA is an agency of the US Department of Defense that creates and supports novel technologies important for national security.

  • Together, the three organizations will develop and assess the DNA mAbs in preclinical studies using technology developed by Penn and licensed by Inovio. 
  • The collaboration will focus on three disease areas -- influenza virus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus.

5:54 am Intercontinental Hotels Group issues interim management statement; Global Q3 comparable RevPAR growth of 7.0% (IHG) :

  • Global Q3 comparable RevPAR growth of 7.0%
  • 6.3% in the first nine months 8k rooms opened in Q3
  • Net system size up 2.7% year on year to 697k rooms 16k rooms signed in Q3
  • Over 90% of year to date signings located in our priority markets High quality pipeline of 190k rooms at quarter end
  • RevPAR China was up 0.8% in the third quarter and 3.0% in the first 9 months.
  • "We also continued our track record of returning surplus funds to shareholders with the payment of a $2.93 per share special dividend and 25 interim dividend in the quarter, taking total returns to shareholders so far this year to $1bn."

4:17 am On The Wires (:WIRES) :

  • Qualcomm Incorporated (QCOM) announced that its subsidiary, Qualcomm Atheros, Inc., is putting high performance Wi-Fi connectivity in consumers' hands and homes with the only end-to-end ecosystem of 802.11ac 2.0 solutions with multi-user multi-input/multi-output 
  • Telef nica Germany selected Ericsson (ERIC) as main supplier to upgrade their network to support VoLTE. Telef nica is one of the first operators in Europe that has now completed the upgrade of their network to be ready for commercial VoLTE launch. 

4:08 am BAE Systems to acquire SilverSky to enhance commercial cyber growth strategy (BAESY) : BAE Systems announces it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Perimeter Internetworking Corp., which trades as SilverSky, a commercial cyber service provider, for $232.5 million (~ 144.4 million) on a cash free and debt free basis. 

  • SilverSky is largely focussed on the US market with a developing business in Asia and Europe.  
  • SilverSky is expected to generate sales for the 12 months ended 31 December 2014 of ~$75 million ( 46.6 million). 
  • The proposed acquisition is expected to be accretive to earnings in the third year following closing with post tax returns expected to exceed BAE Systems' cost of capital in the fourth year following closing.

3:37 am Pluristem Therapeutics advances its second major cell therapy product line from development to large-scale manufacturing (PSTI) : Co announced that it has completed development of its second major product line, and can now begin manufacturing the cells on a large-scale at its state-of-the art facility in order to meet demand for anticipated studies in a range of hematologic conditions. This second cell product candidate, called PLX-RAD, was created using Pluristem's proprietary three dimensional cell expansion technology platform. The Company's first product, PLX-PAD, is already in clinical trials for the treatment of peripheral artery disease, muscle injury and pulmonary arterial hypertension. 

3:32 am Paramount Gold and Silver expands San Francisco bulk tonnage potential (PZG) : Co announced today that new drilling at its 100%-owned San Miguel Project in northern Mexico is likely expanding the bulk minable resource in the San Francisco deposit. The first two holes have intersected wide zones of high silver values very close to surface. Paramount therefore initiated new drilling at San Francisco to add resources which would likely not have been economic previously. Holes SF-14-057 and 058 were drilled into the eastern portion of the San Francisco area to see if discontinuous mineralized zones found in limited drilling in 2011 could be connected into a larger body which could be mined more efficiently. 

2:25 am DISH Network: Turner Networks removes channels from DISH as contract deadline passes (DISH) : DISH Network announced that Monday night Turner Networks removed Boomerang, Cartoon Network, CNN, CNN en Espa ol, HLN, truTV and Turner Classic Movies from the DISH programming lineup. The two companies have been unable to negotiate the terms of a renewed distribution agreement, and Turner refused to extend the overall agreement. 

2:24 am ARM Holdings reports EPS in-line, revs in-line; guides Q4 revs above consensus (ARMH) : Reports Q3 (Sep) earnings of GBP0.06 per share, in-line with the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of GBP0.06; revenues rose 6.3% year/year to GBP195.5 mln vs the GBP197.23 mln consensus. Co issues upside guidance for Q4, sees Q4 revs of ~$350 mln vs. $345.00 mln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate.

Progress on key growth drivers in Q3

  • 43 processor licences signed across our target markets of mobile computing, enterprise infrastructure, and embedded intelligent devices
  • 7 ARMv8-A processor licences signed, including three more licences for next generation designs
  • 4 Mali multimedia processor licences signed, including another display processor license
  • 5 POP IP licences signed including 4 for Cortex-A53 processors
  • Growth in shipments of chips based on ARM processor technology
    • 3 billion ARM-based chips shipped, up 19% year-on-year
    • Strong growth in shipments of microcontrollers and enterprise infrastructure chips

2:02 am On The Wires (:WIRES) :

  • Tableau Software (DATA) announced that Turner & Townsend, the global programme management and construction consultancy, is powering success in huge infrastructure projects using Tableau. 
  • DSP Group (DSPG) announced the integration of its ULE-based chipset with home gateways based on Intel's Puma 6 SoC. The solution uses DSP Group's advanced DECT / ULE SoC integrated with the Intel Puma platform. 

1:11 am Total S.A. confirms the death of Chairman and CEO Christophe de Margerie (TOT) : Total confirms with deep regret and great sadness that Chairman and CEO Christophe de Margerie died on October 20 in a private plane crash at Vnukovo Airport in Moscow, following a collision with a snow removal machine.

12:45 am Constellation Brands prices $400 mln of 3.875% Senior Notes due 2019 and $400 mln of 4.750% Senior Notes due 2024 (STZ) : Additionally, co announced that it has given notice for full redemption of all of its outstanding 8 3/8% Senior Notes due 2014

12:43 am Rowan Cos provides fleet contract status update (RDC) : Co announces its monthly report of drilling rig status and contract information has been updated as of October 20, 2014.

  • For the third quarter and full-year of 2014, the Company continues to expect jack-up out-of-service time to be approximately 8% and 9-10%, respectively.  Except for the out-of-service days specified in the Monthly Fleet Status Report for the Rowan Renaissance, the Company does not currently expect any further drillship out-of-service days in 2014.  To provide more visibility, out-of-service time through 2015 has been included on the Monthly Fleet Status Report.  The Company continues to expect out-of service time for the full-year of 2015 to be approximately 3-6% for its jack-ups and drillships, subject to fleet repositioning and market conditions.  
  • No operational downtime is included in projected out-of-service days, but the Company estimates jack-up operational downtime to account for approximately 2.5% of in-service days in current and future quarters.  The Company continues to expect drillship operational downtime to be approximately 5% after a break-in period of approximately six months up to one year when drillship operational downtime could be somewhat higher.

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