InPlay from Briefing.com

6:14 pm ZaZa Energy reports mid-year 2015 proved reserves increased by 487% from prior year to 5.9 MMBOE (ZAZA) : Co provides a reserves and operations update on the Company's activities in the Eagle Ford East, where it has approximately 140,000 gross (35,000 net) acres within an Area of Mutual Interest with EOG Resources. Highlights:

  • Mid-year 2015 proved reserves increased by 487% to 5.9 MMBOE from year-end 2014
  • Proved developed reserves increased by 46% to 1.0 MMBOE
  • Pre-tax present value of the future net revenues of proved reserves increased by 238% to $48.8 million
  • 3P reserves of 21.5 MMBOE with 270 drilling locations

6:01 pm Celanese announces it will increase list and off-list selling prices for ethyl acetate and butyl acetate in view of the recent rapid increase and continued volatility in China methanol prices (CE) : Ethyl Acetate: $30 USD/MT, Butyl Acetate $30 USD/MT

6:01 pm ONEOK Partners announces it sold ~7.2 mln common units totaling ~$277 mln through its at-the-market equity program in the first half of 2015 (OKS) : As of June 30, 2015, ONEOK Partners had approximately $237.6 million of registered common units available to issue through its $650 million ATM program.

5:55 pm Hewlett-Packard confirms filing the Form 10 registration statement in regards to its planned split; separation remains on track for November (HPQ) :  

5:41 pm Fluor selected for six-year position on the Air Force Contract Augmentation Program IV beginning October 1, 2015; now eligible to compete for task orders with a combined value not to exceed $5 bln (FLR) : Co announces that the Air Force Installation Contracting Agency awarded the company and its joint venture partner, AMEC Foster Wheeler, a position on the Air Force Contract Augmentation Program IV (AFCAP IV) for six years beginning October 1, 2015. As one of eight companies selected for a position on the AFCAP IV indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract, Fluor-AMEC II, LLC, is now eligible to compete for specific task orders with a combined value not to exceed $5 billion during the contract period of performance.

5:34 pm Huntington Ingalls announces its subsidiary has received a contract with a period of performance of two years and a max value of $75 mln to provide maintenance work on two aircraft carriers (HII) : Co announces that its its Newport News Shipbuilding division has received an indefinite-delivery-indefinite-quantity contract award to assist Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility with maintenance work on the aircraft carriers USS Nimitz (CVN 68) and USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). Puget Sound Naval Shipyard is the awarding agency. The contract has a period of performance of two years and a maximum value of $75 million.

5:32 pm Range Resources announces redemption of 6.75% senior subordinated notes due 2020 (RRC) : Co announces that it has called for redemption all $500 million in outstanding principal of its 6.75% Senior Subordinated Notes due 2020 at a price of 103.375% of the unpaid principal amount plus accrued interest. The notes will be redeemed on August 3, 2015.

5:32 pm Xoom to be acquired by Paypal (:PYPL) for $25/share, or ~$890 mln (shares halted) (XOOM) : Upon closing of the acquisition, Xoom will operate as a separate service within PayPal. The acquisition is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2015 

  • Due to anticipated one-time integration costs, the completion of the transaction is expected to be slightly dilutive to PayPal's non-GAAP earnings per share for FY 2016. PayPal intends to fund the transaction with cash on its balance sheet. 
  • Holders of approximately 18% of Xoom's outstanding shares, including all executive officers and directors of Xoom and certain entities affiliated with Sequoia Capital, have entered into voting and support agreements with PayPal pursuant to which they have agreed to vote in favor of the transaction.

5:26 pm Asta Funding announces it has regained compliance with Nasdaq reporting requirements (ASFI) :  

5:22 pm Columbia Property Trust announces the sale of 11 suburban and principally single-tenant office properties totaling 2.9 mln square feet for total gross proceeds of $433.3 mln (CXP) : Co announces the sale of 11 suburban and principally single-tenant office properties totaling 2.9 million square feet for total gross proceeds of $433.3 million to an unnamed real estate private equity fund. The proceeds from this sale will be used to reduce outstanding borrowings. The Company will repay amounts outstanding on its revolving credit facility, which was recently used to pay off a $206.5 million loan secured by 333 Market in San Francisco, and pay off a $21.0 million mortgage loan on one of the disposition properties. Proceeds from this sale will also be used to pay off a $105.0 million loan secured by 100 East Pratt in Baltimore, Maryland. Proceeds from 10 of the properties are available immediately, and the remaining proceeds are expected to be available approximately 30 days later. The transaction is expected to result in a net gain of approximately $17 million that will be recognized in the Company's third quarter 2015 results.

5:20 pm National Fuel Gas announces launch of consent solicitation with respect to its 7.395% medium-term notes, Series B due 2023 and 7.375% medium-term notes, Series C due 2025 (NFG) :  

5:17 pm Capital Product Partners announces the delivery of the M/T 'Amadeus' (CPLP) : Co announces the successful acquisition of the M/T 'Amadeus'. "Pursuant to the Master Vessel Acquisition Agreement we entered into on July 24th, 2014, the Partnership took delivery on June 30th, 2015 of the M/T 'Amadeus' (50,000 dwt, IMO II/III Eco Chemical/Product Tanker built 2015, Samsung Heavy Industries (Nigbo) Co. Ltd.), the third of five vessels (the 'Dropdown Vessels') that we have agreed to acquire from our sponsor, Capital Maritime & Trading Corp. ('Capital Maritime'). In connection with the acquisition of the Dropdown Vessels, we paid to Capital Maritime in September 2014 the amount of $30.2 million as an advance payment for all five vessels...The M/T 'Amadeus' is chartered to Capital Maritime for a minimum charter term of 24 months (+/- 30 days) at a gross daily charter rate of $17,000 plus 50/50 profit share on actual earnings settled every six months."

5:15 pm Peabody Energy appoints Amy Schwetz to Chief Financial Officer (BTU) : Co announces that it has named longstanding financial executive Amy Schwetz to Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Schwetz replaces Michael Crews, who has announced plans to step down by the end of July to take the top financial position at a major industrial firm.

5:13 pm Integra completes spin-off of its orthobiologics and spinal fusion hardware business, renamed SeaSpine Holdings (SPNEV) (IART) :  

5:11 pm Gray Television announces four transactions as well as the closing of three previously announced acquisitions (GTN) : The four new transactions included: 1) An agreement with Davis Television, LLC, to acquire certain non-license assets of WFXS, which had served as the Fox affiliate for the Wausau-Rhinelander television market. 2) An agreement with Eagle Creek Television, Inc. to acquire certain non-license assets of KVTV, which had served as the CBS affiliate for the Laredo television market. 3) An agreement with Cordillera Communications, LLC to sell Gray's KBGF, the NBC affiliate for the Great Falls market, and KTVH, the NBC and CW affiliate for the Helena market. 4) An agreement to donate KMTF in Helena to Montana State University 

  • The purchase price, net of anticipated proceeds from dispositions, for all seven separate transactions that Gray has announced in 2015 is $81.35 million.  This net purchase price represents a composite multiple of approximately 6.0 times blended 2014-2015 anticipated pro forma broadcast cash flow including expected synergies.

5:08 pm Luxfer declares interim dividend of $0.10 per ADS (LXFR) : The dividend will be payable on August 5, 2015, to shareholders of record at close of business on July 17, 2015.

5:05 pm National American University announces the retirement of Dr. Jerry L. Gallentine, President effective July 1, 2015 (NAUH) : Effective July 1, 2015, Dr. Gallentine will retire from his position as president but will continue to serve as chairman of National American University's Board of Governors and as the vice chairman of the Company's Board of Directors.

5:05 pm Qunar confirms final judgment in dispute with eLong (LONG) (QUNR) : Co announces that it has received the final judgment from the Beijing High People's Court with respect to the contract dispute relating to an Inventory Distribution Agreement for hotels with eLong (LONG), which was previously described in the Company's annual report on Form 20-F for the fiscal year of 2014. The Company does not believe that the Final Judgment will have any material impact on its future business, results of operations or financial condition.

"In the Final Judgment, the Court upheld the prior judgment of the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People's Court from January 1, 2015 that (i) our subsidiary, Beijing Qunar Software Technology Co., Ltd. shall credit to the advertisement account opened at Beijing Qunar by eLongNet Information Technology (Beijing) Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of eLong, the amount of RMB52,335,369 (approximately US$8.5 million) corresponding to the period up to September 30, 2014; and RMB36,450,000 (approximately US$6.0 million) for the period from October 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015; (ii) eLongNet shall pay Beijing Qunar a commission of RMB8,127,400 (approximately US$1.3 million) due under the Inventory Distribution Agreement; and (iii) the Inventory Distribution Agreement shall continue to be performed by both parties. The Court also ordered Beijing Qunar to pay eLongNet RMB227,599 (US$37 thousand) in legal fees, and apportioned court fees between the parties."

5:02 pm RigNet awarded multi-year contract to deliver high quality remote offshore communications services to a major operator of offshore drilling and production assets in Southeast Asia (RNET) :  

5:01 pm WestRock (formed through merger between Rock-Tenn (RKT) and MeadWestvaco (MWV)) announces its dividend and share repurchase authorization (:WRK) : The Board has set an initial quarterly dividend rate of $0.375 per share, which is equivalent to an annual rate of $1.50 per share. The annualized rate represents an initial yield of ~2.40% and a 17% increase to the most recent combined dividend rates of MeadWestvaco and RockTenn. 

  • The Board has also authorized a repurchase program of up to 40.0 million shares of common stock, representing approximately 15 percent of the outstanding common stock of the company as of July 1, 2015. Based on the equity market value of the company on July 1, 2015, this repurchase program equates to approximately $2.5 billion in current stock market value.  
  • WestRock is currently in an earnings blackout period. As such, the company is not permitted to make any repurchases. The company may commence repurchases, if so inclined, two business days after its fiscal third quarter 2015 results conference call, which is scheduled for July 30, 2015.
  • Today the co closed on a financing package and has more than $3.5 billion in available liquidity and credit commitments to support its capital allocation and shareholder return strategies.

4:46 pm Sears Hometown and Outlet names William A. Powell as CEO and President, effective immediately (SHOS) : Powell succeeds W. Bruce Johnson, who as previously announced is stepping down as the Company's Chief Executive Officer and President. The Board of Directors also has elected Mr. Powell as a member of the Board of Directors. 

  • The Company also announced that the Board of Directors has elected E.J. Bird as the Chairman of the Board. Mr. Bird has been a member of the Board of Directors since the Company's separation from Sears Holdings.

4:43 pm Family Dollar misses by $0.07, reports revs in-line -- being acquired by Dollar Tree (DLTR) (FDO) : Reports Q3 (May) earnings of $0.74 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.07 worse than the Capital IQ Consensus of $0.81; revenues rose 2.6% year/year to $2.73 bln vs the $2.73 bln consensus. 

  • Comparable store sales for the 13-week period increased 0.7% as a result of an increase in the number of customer transactions, which was partially offset by a decrease in the average customer transaction value.

4:41 pm Elec For Imaging announces acquisition of Reggiani Macchine in cash and stock transaction (EFII) : Co announces the strategic acquisition of Reggiani Macchine. Based in Bergamo, Italy, Reggiani is a technology provider with a lineup of industrial inkjet printers utilizing water-based inks in printing on fabric - recently identified as the industry's most exciting growth application by a new, global survey from industry association FESPA and analyst firm InfoTrends.

  • To acquire all of Reggiani's outstanding shares, EFI will repay Reggiani debt of about 20.1 million ($22.6M USD), pay the former Reggiani shareholders up to about 27.4 million ($30.8M USD) of cash, and issue the former Reggiani shareholders up to about 27.4 million ($30.8M USD) of EFI stock, and will pay up to 50 million ($56.2M USD) over as long as the next 30 months based on the achievement of revenue and profitability targets by the EFI Reggiani business. Under certain circumstances, EFI is required to pay in cash some or all of the amount described above that is payable in EFI stock. Reggiani's work force of approximately 190 employees joins EFI, further expanding EFI's growing worldwide presence.

4:38 pm Quicksilver Resrcs (KWKAQ) receives approval from the Canadian National Energy Board to export up to 20 mln tons per annum of liquefied natural gas from its Discovery LNG site for a period of 25 years (:KWKA) :  

4:36 pm Herzfeld Caribbean Basin Fund promotes Erik M. Herzfeld to Co-President (CUBA) : Additionally, the Firm announced the promotions of Brigitta Herzfeld to Managing Director of the Firm, and Ryan Paylor to Co-Portfolio Manager for the Firm's separately managed accounts.

4:36 pm JBS SA to acquire Cargill's U.S.-based pork business for $1.45 bln (JBSAY) : PPC, SAFM, TSN, HRL.

4:34 pm Blue Square-Israel announces that the District Court in Lod, Israel has approved the request of Mega Retail, to convene meeting with suppliers, debtors and lessors (BSI) : Co announced that the District Court in Lod, Israel has approved the request of the Company's subsidiary, Mega Retail, to convene meeting of its debtors, suppliers, service providers and lessors to consider a proposed plan of recovery and arrangement pursuant to Section 350 of the Israel Companies Law.

  • The meetings are scheduled for July 12, 2015, at which time the relevant creditors will vote on the proposed plan of recovery and arrangement submitted by Mega Retail to the court
  • The Company agreed that if any supplier is not fully paid by Mega Retail for the products or services it provides to Mega Retail during the interim period, the Company will pay the supplier the amount owed, and any such amounts paid by the Company exceeding NIS 60 million will be considered as recovery administrative expenses under Section 350 of the Companies Law

4:34 pm Global Eagle completes acquisition of Western Outdoor Interactive as well as the Airline Media Network Business from RMG Networks (RMGN); terms not disclosed (ENT) :  

4:34 pm IDEX Corp acquires CIDRA Precision Services for $19.5 mln in cash with an earn-out of up to $5.5 mln; expected to be accretive to earnings in first full year after closing (IEX) : Co announced the acquisition of CIDRA Precision Services, a firm that designs, manufactures and sells of microfluidic components serving the life science, health and industrial markets. CIDRA has revenues of ~$9 million and will operate in the Scientific Fluidics platform, and as part of the Health & Science Technologies segment.

  • CIDRA was acquired for a cash consideration of $19.5 million with an earn-out up to $5.5 million contingent on the achievement of financial objectives in the 12-month period following closing. The transaction is expected to be accretive to IDEX earnings in the first full year after closing.

4:31 pm Hansen Medical receives FDA 510(k) clearance for its Magellan 10Fr Robotic Catheter for use in the peripheral vasculature (HNSN) : The FDA clearance enables the company to initiate clinical use of the 10Fr catheter with its customers in the United States.

4:31 pm Alpha Natural Resources subsidiary Pennsylvania Services Corporation, acquires an additional 50% interest in Pennsylvania Land Resources Holding Company for $126 mln (ANR) : Co announced today that its subsidiary, Pennsylvania Services Corporation, has acquired the 50% interest in its natural gas exploration and production joint venture, Pennsylvania Land Resources Holding Company, owned by EDF Trading Resources. The $126 million transaction makes PSC the sole owner and operator of the venture. Co also stated: "We expect drilling on the first pad to begin in the next 30 days, with an estimated 4 wells completed by the first quarter of next year."

4:31 pm HomeTrust Bank authorized new stock repurchase program of up to 971,271 shares of common stock (5% of currently outstanding shares) (HTBI) : In addition, the Company is nearing completion of its previous 5% stock repurchase program, which began in November 2014. Of the 1,023,266 shares that were authorized for repurchase, 60,023 remain outstanding as of June 30, 2015.

4:31 pm WPCS Intl completes a series of transactions resulting in the elimination of all of its $1,703,000 principal amount of Unsecured Promissory Notes (WPCS) : The $1,703,000 of Notes previously outstanding were eliminated as follows: on June 30, 2015, (i) holders of $1,299,000 principal amount of Notes each converted their respective Notes into 8,435 shares of a new Series H preferred stock with each share of Series H preferred stock currently convertible into 100 shares of the Company's common stock; and (ii) two holders cancelled the aggregate of $400,000 principal amount of Notes as part of a Section 16 settlement. Then, on July 1, 2015, the Company paid the only remaining holder $4,000 in cash to retire such Note. 5,805 of the newly issued Series H preferred stock shares are eligible, for purposes of Rule 144 under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, to tack the holding period back to the acquisition date of the exchanged Notes.

4:31 pm Gilead Sciences announces it has submitted a New Drug Application to the FDA for single tablet regimen for HIV containing Rilpivirine, Emtricitabine and Tenofovir Alafenamide (GILD) : Co announced that it has submitted a New Drug Application (:NDA) to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (:FDA) for an investigational, once-daily single tablet regimen that combines Gilead's emtricitabine 200 mg and tenofovir alafenamide (:TAF) 25 mg with rilpivirine 25 mg (R/F/TAF) from Janssen Sciences Ireland UC, one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, for the treatment of HIV-1 infection in adult and pediatric patients 12 years of age and older. The data submitted in the NDA support the use of R/F/TAF among patients who are HIV treatment-nave or who are virologically suppressed and want to replace their current antiretroviral treatment regimen. Priority Review voucher acquired from Knight Therapeutics in November 2014 was submitted to the FDA along with the R/F/TAF NDA. Under the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (:PDUFA), the anticipated target action date for the R/F/TAF NDA is six months after the FDA's acceptance of the filing.

4:25 pm Enterprise Products executes a long-term agreement, for incremental ethane transportation capacity on its Aegis pipeline (EPD) : With the agreement, total capacity commitments for the Aegis pipeline will ramp up over the next four years to more than 300,000 barrels per day

4:22 pm Progress Software beats by $0.03, beats on revs; guides Q3 ~in-line; raises FY15 EPS, reaffirms rev; appoints Jerry Rulli COO (PRGS) :

  • Reports Q2 (May) earnings of $0.35 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.03 better than the Capital IQ Consensus of $0.32; revenues rose 24.9% year/year to $100.9 mln vs the $99.15 mln consensus. 
  • Co issues in-line guidance for Q3, sees EPS of $0.35-0.38, excluding non-recurring items, vs. $0.35 Capital IQ Consensus; sees Q3 revs of $101-104 mln, excluding non-recurring items, vs. $103.15 mln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate. 
  • Co issues guidance for FY15, raises EPS to $1.45-1.52, excluding non-recurring items, from $1.35-1.45 vs. $1.42 Capital IQ Consensus; reaffirms FY15 revs of $415-425 mln, excluding non-recurring items, vs. $419.14 mln Capital IQ Consensus. 
  • Jerry Rulli, president, OpenEdge Business Unit, has been appointed Chief Operating Officer.

4:16 pm Installed Building Products acquires EcoLogic Energy Solutions; terms not disclosed, expected to be immediately accretive (IBP) : EcoLogic is primarily an installer of spray foam and fiberglass insulation serving the Connecticut, New York and Northern New Jersey markets. Approximately half of EcoLogic's sales are in the new residential end market with the remainder split largely between commercial and repair and remodel activity. EcoLogic's sales for the trailing twelve month period ending April 30, 2015 were approximately $6.0 million.

4:11 pm Franklin Covey Company misses Q3 estimates -- impacted by orders pushed out to Q4 and FY16, FX (FC) :

  • Reports Q3 (May) earnings of $0.07 per share, including a tax benefit, $0.07 worse than the Capital IQ Consensus of $0.14; revenues rose 2.5% year/year to $48.3 mln vs the $51.65 mln consensus.  
  • The co obtained some large contracts later than expected which were expected to generate revenue in both the third and fourth quarters. Due to the timing of the execution of these contracts, the revenue will be recorded primarily in the fourth quarter, with some revenue spread across future quarters, well into fiscal 2016. The Company's prospective business pipeline for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2015 and the first quarter of fiscal 2016 improved significantly over the prior year. 
    • The co anticipates that the conversion of a portion of the leads in the prospective business pipeline will produce strong revenue growth in Q4 (consensus +10%) and beyond.

4:09 pm Closing Market Summary: Financial Sector Leads Stocks Higher Amid M&A Activity (:WRAPX) : The major averages spent the Wednesday session in a slow retreat from their opening highs, but they were able to keep more than half of their opening gains. The S&P 500 climbed 0.7% while the Nasdaq Composite (+0.5%) underperformed.

Equities surged out of the gate amid reports from Europe indicating Greece is now ready to accept all conditions in order to secure a bailout. The report sparked a rush to risk assets, but the Greek offer was met with a cool reception from Eurozone leaders. Most notably, Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel reiterated that talks will not resume until after Sunday's referendum, adding that "a compromise at any price" is not worthwhile. Similarly, Eurogroup Chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem said he does not see the need for a resumption of talks ahead of Sunday's referendum.

Despite charging at the start, stocks began inching away from their highs about 30 minutes into the session after Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras reiterated his call for a 'no' vote during Sunday's referendum. A small pullback ensued as Mr. Tsipras' comments cast doubt on earlier speculation that the referendum could be cancelled altogether.

Nine sectors were able to end the day with gains while energy (-1.3%) struggled amid daylong weakness in crude oil that sent the energy component to levels not seen since late May. WTI crude settled lower by 4.2% at $56.94/bbl with greenback strength contributing to the move as the Dollar Index (96.25, +0.76) rose 0.8%.

Today's plunge in crude oil failed to boost airlines as the industry group was hit with broad-based selling interest after the Department of Justice confirmed a probe into potential collusion in the industry. Delta Air Lines (DAL 40.27, -0.81) and JetBlue (JBLU 20.04, -0.71) lost 2.0% and 3.4%, respectively, while the Dow Jones Transportation Average eked out a slim gain of 0.2% thanks to gains among shipping and railroad names.

Elsewhere among cyclical sectors, consumer discretionary (+1.0%) and financials (+1.3%) outperformed throughout the session. The financial sector held the lead into the close with Chubb (CB 119.99, +24.85) soaring 26.1% after agreeing to be acquired by ACE Limited (ACE 102.49, +0.81) for roughly $124.13/share in cash and stock. The acquisition boosted other insurers with Dow component Travelers (TRV 99.30, +2.64) jumping 2.7%.

Also of note, the technology sector (+0.6%) was among the early leaders, but the top-weighted group slipped behind the broader market during afternoon action. The retreat from early highs was paced by chipmakers with the PHLX Semiconductor Index narrowing its gain to 0.2% after being up 1.5% at the start.

Treasuries ended the day not far above their lows with the 10-yr yield climbing six basis points to 2.42%.

Today's participation was ahead of average as more than 840 million shares changed hands at the NYSE floor.

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

  • The ADP National Employment Report revealed that employment in the nonfarm private business sector rose by 237K in June, which was above the increase of 200K expected by the Briefing.com consensus 
    • The May reading was revised up to 203,000 from 201,000 
  • The ISM Manufacturing Index increased to 53.5 in June from 52.8 in May while the Briefing.com consensus expected an increase to 53.2 
    • A small acceleration in new orders growth (56.0 from 55.8) was not enough to keep the Production Activities index from falling to 54.0 in June from 54.5 in May 
  • Construction spending increased 0.8% in May after a downwardly revised 2.1% (from 2.2%) increase in April while the Briefing.com consensus expected an increase of 0.3% 
    • Typically, construction spending naturally pulls back after an outsized 2.0% monthly gain. Not only did construction spending remain on a positive track, but it easily topped what we considered to be inflated expectations. 
  • The weekly MBA Mortgage Index fell 4.7% to follow last week's 1.6% increase 
Tomorrow, weekly Initial Claims (Briefing.com consensus 273K) and June Nonfarm Payrolls (consensus 230K) will both be reported at 8:30 ET while the Factory Orders report for May (consensus -0.5%) will cross the wires at 10:00 ET.
  • Nasdaq Composite +5.9% YTD 
  • Russell 2000 +4.4% YTD 
  • S&P 500 +0.9% YTD 
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average -0.4% YTD

4:09 pm CBOE Holdings reports June trading volume of 99.2 mln contracts, -1% Y/Y (CBOE) : Co reported that total trading volume in June for options contracts on Chicago Board Options Exchange and C2 Options Exchange, and futures contracts on CBOE Futures Exchange was 99.2 million contracts, an increase of 16 percent from May 2015 and a decrease of 1 percent from June 2014.

  • Total options and futures average daily volume (:ADV) at CBOE Holdings for June was 4.5 million contracts, an increase of 6 percent from May 2015 and a decrease of 5 percent from June 2014.

4:09 pm SIFCO Industries, Inc. completes acquisition of C*Blade; executes a new $45 mln Credit and Security Agreement (SIF) :  

4:08 pm Echelon receives bid deficiency notice from Nasdaq (ELON) : The Company has until December 22, 2015 to regain compliance.

4:07 pm SunPower announces a redemption call for all $79K of its 0.75% Senior Convertible Debentures due in 2027: will use available funds to redeem them (SPWR) :  

4:06 pm Natl Hlth Investors announce a $67 million purchase, of three senior living communities from affiliates of East Lake Capital Management (NHI) : The 413-unit portfolio is 86% occupied and comprised of 205 independent living, 137 assisted living and 71 memory care units. The purchase was funded with borrowings on NHI's revolving credit facility. NHI has committed to fund up to $8 million of incentive payments based upon the financial performance of the communities. 

4:06 pm Tangoe appoints Michael Pray as Chief Revenue Officer (TNGO) : Pray joins Tangoe from IBM, where he spent 14 years in various positions in IBM's software group, most recently as Vice President, Worldwide Analytic Solution Sales

4:05 pm Elec For Imaging acquires Matan Digital Printers for $29 mln; expected to be slightly accretive to FY 2015 earnings (EFII) : Under the purchase agreement, EFI also assumed ~$5 million of Matan's debt, and deposited $14 million into escrow to serve as security for EFI's benefit for the indemnification obligations of the Matan shareholders.

  • Subject to EFI's claims against the escrow, portions of the escrow may be released to the sellers in 2017 and 2022. 
  • The transaction is expected to be slightly accretive to FY 2015 earnings. 
  • The Company will provide selected financial information about its anticipated Q3 2015 results including the impact of this transaction during its regular Q2 2015 earnings call scheduled for July 21, 2015.

4:05 pm Ambarella acquires VisLab S.r.l., a privately held Italian company based in Parma, Italy for $30 million in cash (AMBA) : Co announced the acquisition of VisLab S.r.l., a privately held Italian company based in Parma, Italy for $30 million in cash. VisLab,is  the Vision and Intelligent Systems Laboratory at the University of Parma. The company has developed computer vision and intelligent control systems for automotive and other commercial applications, including Advanced Driver Assistance Systems and several generations of autonomous vehicle driving systems. 

4:05 pm Cincinnati Bell unit announces sale to CyrusOne (CONE) of ~5.99 mln operating partnership units in CyrusOne's operating partnership for $28.41/operating partnership unit (CBB) :

  • Co announces that its subsidiary has consummated the sale to CONE of ~5.99 mln operating partnership units in CyrusOne's operating partnership, CyrusOne LP, for $28.41 per operating partnership unit. On July 15, 2015, Cincinnati Bell will receive a distribution on its operating partnership units of $0.315 per unit. 
  • As a result of the OP Units Sale and of CyrusOne LP's issuance of operating partnership units to CyrusOne in exchange for the remaining net proceeds from CyrusOne's public offering, Cincinnati Bell effectively owns ~11.3% of CyrusOne through its interests in the outstanding shares of common stock of CyrusOne.

4:05 pm Clovis Oncology initiates rolling NDA submission to the FDA for Rociletinib (CLVS) : Co announces that it has commenced the submission of a New Drug Application (:NDA) with the FDA for rociletinib for the treatment of patients with mutant epidermal growth factor receptor (:EGFR) non-small cell lung cancer (:NSCLC) who have been previously treated with an EGFR-targeted therapy and have the EGFR T790M mutation as detected by an FDA approved test. Clovis agreed with FDA that the submission would be a rolling NDA and has filed the first component for potential accelerated approval of rociletinib in the US. The rolling NDA allows completed portions of an NDA to be submitted and reviewed by the FDA on an ongoing basis. "We look forward to completing the NDA by the end of July, and are actively preparing for our first commercial launch." In addition, the co intends to complete the Marketing Authorization Application (MAA) for rociletinib to the European Medicines Agency at the end of July.

4:04 pm Sovran Self Storage raises quarterly dividend by 13% from $0.75/share to $0.85/share (SSS) :

  • The increase is effective with the quarterly dividend to be paid on July 27, 2015 to shareholders of record on July 17, 2015.

4:04 pm Monolithic Power signs distribution agreement with Digi-Key Electronics for the promotion and sale of MPS products worldwide (MPWR) :  

4:03 pm Box Ships reaches agreement with ABN AMRO Bank N.V. to extend for a period of two years the secured loan facility dated June 27, 2012, which was originally scheduled to mature in July 2015 (TEU) : Following this extension, the balloon amount of $10 million is repayable in 8 equal quarterly installments of $250,000 plus a balloon payment of $8.0 million payable together with the final installment in July 2017. Pursuant to this agreement, certain financial covenants and undertakings were amended or waived for the period commencing on June 30, 2015 and ending on June 29, 2016.

4:02 pm Meadowbrook Ins: Fosun Intl (FOSUF) receives approval from the Ohio Department of Insurance for its acquisition of MIG (MIG) : The closing of the acquisition remains subject to the fulfillment or waiver of certain other customary closing conditions that have not yet been satisfied, including receipt of the remaining required insurance regulatory approval for Meadowbrook's insurance company domiciled in the state Missouri

4:02 pm Agree Realty announces that during the six months ended June 30, 2015, it acquired 44 net lease properties for an aggregate purchase price of $123.2 mln (ADC) : As a result of the recent acquisition activity, Co has now surpassed $500 mln of retail net lease properties acquired since the inception of its acquisition platform in April 2010.

4:02 pm STAG Industrial reports acquisition activity and leasing activity for June and Q2, showing the co acquired buildings worth $84 mln in Q2 (STAG) : Co stated that it has acquired four distribution warehouse buildings and one manufacturing building containing a total of 691,216 square feet, for $41 million. The acquired buildings are 100% occupied. For the quarter ended June 30, 2015, the Company acquired 12 industrial buildings consisting of approximately 1.6 million square feet for $84 million.

  • As of July 1, 2015, the Company has entered into contracts to acquire 15 industrial buildings for $115 million. 
  • As of July 1, 2015, the pipeline of potential acquisitions is approximately $1.9 billion and 196 industrial buildings

3:36 pm Earnings Calendar (:SUMRX) : Today after the close look for the following companies to report:

  • PRGS, FC
Tomorrow before the open look for the following companies to report:
  • ISCA

3:31 pm Dominion Virginia Power requests a certificate of public convenience and necessity from the Virginia State Corporate Commission, to build a $1.3 bln natural gas-fired power station (D) : The station is proposed to be located in Greensville County in Southside Virginia

3:20 pm Treasury Market Summary (BONDX) : Treasuries Slide on Better U.S. Data

  • Treasuries gave back more ground as the economic data released today showed continued momentum in the U.S. economic recovery. The complex has now given back over 70% of Sunday night's flight-to-quality rally in every maturity as investors continue to use bounces as selling opportunities. Tomorrow morning, we will see June's Employment Situation Report
  • Yield Check:
    • 2-yr: +4 bps to 0.69%
    • 5-yr: +5 bps to 1.70%
    • 10-yr: +6 bps to 2.42%
    • 30-yr: +6 bps to 3.19%
  • News:
    • Overnight, Greece failed to make its 1.55 bln euro payment to the IMF
    • The ADP Employment Change for June was +237K from an upwardly-revised +203K in May. The Briefing.com consensus had called for a gain of 220K 
      • That was the best month for job creation (according to this metric) since December 2014
    • The ISM Manufacturing Index increased to 53.5 in June from 52.8 in May. The Briefing.com consensus expected the index to increase to 53.2 
      • A small acceleration in new orders growth (56.0 from 55.8) was not enough to keep production growth from slowing or to restock manufacturer backlogs
    • Construction Spending climbed 0.8% in May, more than the Briefing.com consensus of 0.3% but less than the downwardly-revised 2.1% growth seen in May
    • Overnight, St. Louis Fed President Bullard said that the Greek debt crisis was unlikely to take a rate hike off the table at the September meeting
      • Bullard is a non-FOMC voter and a monetary hawk
    • Greece is slated to hold a referendum on July 5th (Sunday) to decide whether or not the country should agree to the official creditors' most recent demands
      • Current polling indicates that 46% of Greek voters would vote "no" and 37% would vote "yes" (lots of undecided voters?)
      • Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis has posted this argument as to why voters should vote "no"
  • Commodities:
    • WTI Crude: -4.30% to $56.91/bbl
    • Gold: -0.40% to $1,167.10/troy oz.
    • Copper: +0.57% to $2.63/lb.
  • Currencies:
    • EUR/USD: -0.71% to $1.1051
    • USD/JPY: +0.60% to 123.17
  • Data out Thursday:
    • Initial Jobless Claims for the week ending 6/27 and Continuing Jobless Claims for the week ending 6/20
    • June Employment Situation Report (08:30 ET)
    • May Factory Orders (10:00 ET)
    • Natural Gas Inventories for the week ending 6/27 (10:30 ET)

3:16 pm Archer-Daniels and Quality Liquid Feeds Inc. announce entrance into a 50/50 joint venture for the production and sale of liquid feed supplements for livestock (ADM) : The joint venture consists of four liquid feed production facilities formerly owned by ADM-in Twin Falls, Idaho; Billings, Montana; Fremont, Nebraska; and Johnstown, Colorado-as well as the Loomix brand. The new venture, which will be called Alliance Liquid Feeds, will serve portions of the Western United States

3:08 pm Major averages edge higher off afternoon pullback levels -- Dow +103, S&P +10, Nasdaq Comp +17 (:TECHX) : Relative sector strength in recent trade has been noted in: Bank KBE, Reg Bank KRE, Retail XRT, Housing XHB, Staples XLP.

2:52 pm General Electric confirms and responds to the DOJ initiating court proceedings seeking to enjoin the sale of GE Appliances to Electrolux (GE) : Co stated that "Electrolux and GE intend to vigorously defend the proposed acquisition as pro-competitive and pro-consumer. Our goal remains to close the deal this year. GE continues to believe that GE Appliances' customers, consumers and employees will benefit from Electrolux's commitment to the appliance business and its ability to compete with global competitors."

2:33 pm CME Group announces that record trading volume in Agricultural products was achieved on June 30, 2015 at ~2.87 mln contracts (CME) :  

2:30 pm Index Changes Reminder: Columbia Pipeline (:CPGX) will replace Allegheny Tech (ATI) in the S&P 500, ATI will replace Unit (UNT) in the S&P MidCap 400, and UNT will replace PetroQuest Energy (PQ) in the S&P SmallCap 600 after the close of trading (:INDXCH) :  

2:30 pm Index Changes Reminder: S&P SmallCap 600 constituent Cracker Barrel (CBRL) will replace Dresser-Rand (:DRC) in the S&P MidCap 400, and Marten Transport (MRTN) will replace CBRL in the S&P SmallCap 600 after the close of trading (:INDXCH) :  

2:24 pm Currency Market Summary (:FOREX) : Dollar Gains Against All Majors

  • The U.S. Dollar Index jumped 0.81% to 96.26 today on global uncertainty and better-than-expected economic growth in the United States
    • The U.S. economy added 237K jobs in June according to ADP, better than the Brieifing.com consensus of 220K
    • The ISM Index rose to 53.5 in June versus expectations for 53.2 and 52.8 in May
    • China's HSBC Manufacturing Survey missed expectations in June
  • EUR/USD: -0.68% to 1.1054
    • Both German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Eurogroup have said that negotiations with Greece are on hold until the July 5th referendum
    • The eurozone's Manufacturing PMI for June was in line with expectations and the prior month's reading at 52.5
    • Within the eurozone, the Manufacturing PMI readings for June were Italy 54.1, Spain 54.5, Germany 51.9, and France 50.7
  • GBP/USD: -0.53 to $1.5602
    • In the U.K., the Manufacturing PMI for June fell to a worse-than-expected 51.4 from 51.9 in May
  • USD/JPY: +0.60% to 123.16
    • Industrial sentiment improved as the Tankan Large Manufacturers Index rose to 15 in the second quarter, ahead of expectations and the reading of 12 from Q1
  • USD/CHF: +1.30% to 0.9475
    • The Swiss National Bank has been selling Swissy this week to prevent a flight to quality into francs on Greece's failure to repay the IMF
    • The SNB got a new board member today. She will be taking charge of the SNB department that manages currency-market intervention
  • USD/CAD: +0.84% to 1.2588
    • Today was a holiday for Canada Day
  • AUD/USD: -0.60% to 0.7653
  • NZD/USD: -0.46% to 0.6751

1:44 pm Kia Motors America reports June 2015 US sales increased 6.9% YoY to 54,137 vehicles : Kia Motors America release

1:43 pm MBIA confirms, through its National Public Finance Guarantee subsidiary, that PREPA and all other Puerto Rico-related obligors with National-insured debt service payments due July 1, 2015, made such payments as scheduled (MBI) : In order to strengthen PREPA's liquidity position while negotiations continue, the forbearing bond insurers, including National, have agreed to provide $128 million of short-term bridge financing through the execution of a Bond Purchase Agreement and committing to purchase interest-bearing securities scheduled to mature on January 1, 2016. National's share of the total $128 million of short-term financing is $45 million. These securities are being issued under PREPA's existing Power Revenue Bond Trust Agreement as parity indebtedness with the same terms and rights to repayment as PREPA's existing revenue debt. The forbearing bond insurers have also agreed to extend the forbearance agreement to September 15, 2015 subject to certain milestones that creditors and PREPA have agreed upon.

  • Excluding National's commitment to provide $45 million in short-term financing to PREPA, its total Puerto Rico exposure declined by $250.2 million as a result of the July 1 payments. These credits include the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico ($128.0 million of principal reduction), PREPA ($68.4 million of principal reduction), the Puerto Rico Highway and Transportation Authority ($48.8 million of principal reduction), the Puerto Rico Industrial Development Company ($2.7 million of principal reduction) and the University of Puerto Rico ($2.2 million of principal reduction).

1:43 pm Amyris update and correction to media reports regarding SMA Industria Quimica JV with Usina Sao Martinho; existing Brotas facility is exceeding targets and provides adequate capacity to meet near and mid-term business needs (AMRS) :

  • Co announced an update and clarification with respect to media reports regarding its inactive manufacturing joint venture with Usina So Martinho, noting that, at present, its existing Brotas facility is exceeding targets and provides adequate capacity to meet its near and mid-term business needs. Amyris has been in discussions with So Martinho and is considering how the joint venture could best benefit Amyris's future production capacity and achieve investment returns comparable to or better than Amyris's best-in-class fermentation plant in Brotas. 
  • Based on these discussions, Amyris and So Martinho have agreed to explore, over the next 60 days, the best options for the joint venture. Amyris noted that the flexibility at the Brotas plant and space available potentially allows the company to double the capacity of this plant when required. In addition, the company is evaluating with So Martinho the best investment options available to determine which scenario would provide the best returns and balanced economics for both parties.

1:41 pm BMW Group U.S. unit reports June 2015 US sales increased 6.5% YoY to 32,176 vehicles (BAMXY) : BMW Group U.S. unit release

1:31 pm Level 3 acquires the privately held, DDoS mitigation firm Black Lotus in an all cash transaction; financial terms not disclosed (LVLT) :  

1:29 pm Hyundai Motor America unit reports June 2015 US sales increased 0.1% YoY to 67,502 units (HYMTF) : Hyundai Motor America reported its best June sales ever of 67,502 units, up less than one percent, surpassing the record-setting month of June 2014. Year-to-date sales of 371,150 represents a two percent increase and marks Hyundai's best opening six months ever.

1:16 pm Daimler AG Mercedes-Benz unit reports June 2015 US sales increased 5.8% YoY to 28,044 vehicles (DDAIF) : As a whole, first-half sales of Mercedes-Benz passenger cars totaled 101,212, increasing 3.5% from the same period in 2014. The brand's light truck lineup, which will see the addition of several all-new or redesigned models over the course of the next year, posted an 18.5% increase from the first half of 2014, reflecting the growing demand for SUVs in the U.S. market.

1:15 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

  • CB (122.49 +28.75%): To be acquired by Ace Limited (ACE) ~$124.13/share in cash and stock or ~$28.3 bln, based on ACE's closing price yesterday.
  • HIG (43.78 +5.32%): Outperforming on the heels of the ACE/CB deal as well as notable call activity in the name.
  • TSO (87.59 +3.77%): Refiners strong amid the beneficial spread between WTI crude/Brent crude prices as WTI (-3.5%) is far underperforming Brent crude (-1.8%) (MPC, VLO also higher).
Large Cap Losers
  • EC (12.57 -5.2%): Widespread weakness in oil & gas names with WTI crude -3.5%, as mentioned above (SSL, CLR, HAL, STO, NBL, NOV among many others lower).
  • MKC (79.1 -2.29%): Beat Q2 consensus EPS estimates by $0.07, missed on revs; guided Q3 EPS in-line; guided FY15 EPS in-line.
Mid Cap Gainers
  • DY (63.06 +7.15%): Raised its Q4 EPS guidance, raised bottom end of Q4 revenue guidance; announced an additional $40 mln to its share repurchase program.
  • SC (26.3 +2.85%): Announced that its June assets sales reached $1.9 bln
  • CRTO (49.33 +3.48%): Price tgt raised to $65 at Pacific Crest.
Mid Cap Losers
  • ENTG (13.54 -7.1%): Downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Sidoti.
  • ROL (26.95 -5.54%): Downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Macquarie.
  • GRUB (32.25 -5.34%): Cautious commentary from ITG suggesting market share loss at the name.

1:09 pm Subaru of America reports June 2015 US sales increased 7.2% YoY to 44,335 vehicles : June marked the 16th consecutive month of 40,000+ vehicle sales for the company. Forester, Outback, XV Crosstrek and WRX/STI sales were notably strong as each model line achieved its best June ever. Legacy sales for June 2015 increased 44.6 percent over the same month in 2014. Both the 2015 Legacy and WRX earned Best Retained Value Vehicle Awards from Edmunds.com. The awards recognize brands and new car models that have the highest projected residual values after five years based on their average True Market Value (TMV) price when sold new.

Subaru of America release

1:08 pm Small-Cap Russell 2000 reaches negative territory, top performing Dow +83 has dropped more than 100 points off its high (:TECHX) :  

12:56 pm Midday Market Summary: Financials Lead (:WRAPX) : The major averages sport midday gains with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.5%) and S&P 500 (+0.4%) trading ahead of the Nasdaq Composite (+0.3%).

Equities spiked out of the gate amid strength in European markets after it was reported that Greece is now ready to accept all conditions in order to secure a bailout. The report sparked a rush to risk assets, but the Greek offer has been met with a cool reception among Eurozone leaders. For instance, Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel reiterated that talks will not resume until after Sunday's referendum, adding that "a compromise at any price" is not worthwhile.

Stocks rallied through the initial 30 minutes of the session, but reversed from their highs after Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras reiterated his call for a 'no' vote during Sunday's referendum. A small pullback ensued as Mr. Tsipras' comments cast doubt on earlier speculation that the referendum could be cancelled altogether.

Nine sectors hold midday gains while energy (-0.9%) has retreated alongside crude oil, which is now down 3.2% at $57.55/bbl. On the upside, financials (+1.0%) trade ahead of the remaining sectors, largely thanks to a 28.9% surge in the shares of Chubb (CB 122.40, +27.26) after the company agreed to be acquired by ACE Limited (ACE 103.48, +1.80) for roughly $124.13/share in cash and stock. Furthermore, the acquisition has boosted other insurers with Dow component Travelers (TRV 99.00, +2.34) trading higher by 2.4% at this juncture.

Elsewhere, the technology sector (+0.3%) was among the early leaders, but the top-weighted group has slipped behind the broader market amid a pullback in chipmaker names. The PHLX Semiconductor Index has narrowed its advance to 0.3% after being up 1.5% at the start.

Over on the countercyclical side, telecom services (+0.4%) and utilities (+0.3%) trail the broader market while consumer staples (+0.7%) and health care (+0.5%) outperform. Interestingly, the health care sector continues showing relative strength even though biotech names have turned negative with the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB 368.78, -0.19) trading lower by 0.1%.

Treasuries have spent the entire day in negative territory and they currently trade near the middle of their trading range with the 10-yr yield higher by five basis points at 2.41%.

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

  • The ADP National Employment Report revealed that employment in the nonfarm private business sector rose by 237K in June, which was above the increase of 200K expected by the Briefing.com consensus 
    • The May reading was revised up to 203,000 from 201,000 
  • The ISM Manufacturing Index increased to 53.5 in June from 52.8 in May while the Briefing.com consensus expected an increase to 53.2 
    • A small acceleration in new orders growth (56.0 from 55.8) was not enough to keep the Production Activities index from falling to 54.0 in June from 54.5 in May 
  • Construction spending increased 0.8% in May after a downwardly revised 2.1% (from 2.2%) increase in April while the Briefing.com consensus expected an increase of 0.3% 
    • Typically, construction spending naturally pulls back after an outsized 2.0% monthly gain. Not only did construction spending remain on a positive track, but it easily topped what we considered to be inflated expectations. 
  • The weekly MBA Mortgage Index fell 4.7% to follow last week's 1.6% increase

12:55 pm Assured Guaranty confirmed participation in PREPA bond purchase agreement; says debt service payments to holders of Assured Guaranty-insured PREPA bonds remain protected by its guaranty (AGO) :

  • The participating bond insurers will fund the bond purchase on a pro rata basis, based on the par amount of the PREPA revenue bonds coming due on July 1, 2015 that each has insured, which is ~$113 mln for Assured Guaranty. Assured Guaranty's pro rata cost to purchase the new bonds before the impact of Assured Guaranty's ~35% reinsurance will be $72.6 mln. 
  • The final principal payment on the bonds, along with interest, is payable on January 1, 2016.

12:49 pm Nasdaq Comp +15 and S&P +9 extend slow grind lower off morning highs -- Dow +99 (:TECHX) :  

12:25 pm Interactive Brokers reports its Electronic Brokerage monthly performance metrics for June; daily average revenue trades up 21% y/y (IBKR) : Some highlights for the month included:

  • 600 thousand Daily Average Revenue Trades (DARTs), 21% higher than prior year and 3% lower than prior month.
  • Ending client equity of $66.0 billion, 22% higher than prior year and 1% lower than prior month.
  • Ending client margin loan balances of $19.0 billion, 23% higher than prior year and 2% lower than prior month.
  • Ending client credit balances of $33.4 billion, 18% higher than prior year and 1% lower than prior month.
  • 310 thousand client accounts, 18% higher than prior year and 1% higher than prior month.
  • 447 annualized average cleared DARTs per client account.
  • Average commission per cleared client order of $4.43 including exchange, clearing and regulatory fees.

12:19 pm Porsche N Am reports June sales +3% y/y to 4,223 (POAHY.PK) :  

12:19 pm Mitsubishi Motors North America reports June 2015 US sales increased 32.3% YoY to 7,963 units :  

12:17 pm Jack Henry acquires Bayside Business Solutions, a provider of portfolio management systems for commercial lenders; terms not disclosed (JKHY) :  

12:07 pm Nasdaq Comp +28 slightly extends pullback off morning high -- Dow +118 and S&P +12 holding just above mid-morning pullback levels (:TECHX) : Relative sector weakness (underperforming the S&P) in recent trade has been noted in: Semi SMH, Oil Service OIH, Energy XLE, Crude Oil USO, Coal KOL, Housing XHB, Internet FDN, Transports IYT.

12:05 pm MAM Software Group acquires Origin Software Solutions Ltd, a UK-based provider of e-commerce solutions for the automotive aftermarket; terms not disclosed (MAMS) :  

11:58 am Cree (-2%) extends last week's break down to a near three year low (CREE) :

  • Last week the co guided Q4 and FY16 sales below consensus, citing pricing pressure; co also announced restructuring and a $500 mln stock buyback.
    • CREE is approaching long term support near the $25 level
  • LED equipment stocks Veeco (VECO) and Aixtron (AIXG) have also continued to sell off. 
  • Lighting leader Acuity Brands (AYI) made a new all time high this morning following record Q3 results.

11:55 am Bank of the Ozarks increases quarterly dividend 3.7% to $0.14 from $0.135 per share (OZRK) :  

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

  • UK's FTSE:+1.2%
  • Germany's DAX:+2.2%
  • France's CAC:+1.9%
  • Spain's IBEX:+1.2%
  • Portugal's PSI:+1.5%
  • Italy's MIB Index:+2.2%
  • Irish Ovrl Index:+1.1%
  • Greece ASE General Index: Closed

11:47 am Stocks/ETFs that traded to new 52 week highs/lows this session - New lows (203) outpacing new highs (120) (:SCANX) : Stocks that traded to 52 week highs: ABCW, ACFC, ACGL, ACHC, ADPT, AF, AFG, AFMD, AFSI, AGII, AHL, AHS, ALDR, ALJ, ALR, ATTO, AWH, AYI, BIO, BNCN, BSET, BTO, CACC, CB, CENT, CENTA, CF, CFI, CMCSA, CMCSK, COKE, CTRV, DBVT, DCM, DMRC, DPZ, DST, DXCM, DY, EBF, ELECU, ELNK, EVI, FFIN, FL, FNB, GERN, GHC, GIG, GIL, GRBK, HALO, HCKT, HRTG, HSII, HSP, HTBI, HZNP, IBKR, IBP, ILMN, IMPV, IRMD, JOF, JRVR, LION, LJPC, LMAT, LPNT, MHLD, MIG, MORN, MRH, MTD, MTG, MTN, NGHC, NPK, NVEC, OCFC, OPB, ORIT, PAHC, PGR, PNFP, POST, PZZA, QABA, RDUS, RLH, RPTP, RUTH, SCLN, SFBS, SIVB, SRNE, STL, STRN, STS, SUBK, SWK, SYBT, TBNK, THG, TILE, TMK, TPX, TREE, TTPH, TWX, UBSI, UHS, USPH, VAC, VLY, VRTU, WRB, WSTG, WTFC, XNCR

Stocks that traded to 52 week lows: AA, ACAS, ACTG, ACV, AGNC, ALTV, AMID, AMTG, ANR, APIC, APOL, ARP, ATLS, ATW, BCX, BDN, BGR, BKH, BMR, BPK, BSI, BTU, CAMT, CBK, CECO, CEL, CHK, CIM, CLD, CNS, CNX, COP, CPPL, CRDS, CREE, CRK, CSAL, CSG, CVE, CVX, CXE, CYS, DDD, DDR, DELT, DMLP, DNN, DNR, DO, DPG, DPM, DRWI, DTLK, DX, EARN, ECT, EIA, ELTK, ENPH, EOX, EVEP, FHCO, FPL, FSC, FSFR, FXEN, GAI, GAS, GGB, GLF, GLRE, GLRI, GMCR, GMT, GOV, GRMN, GTY, HELI, HERO, HGT, HLX, HOV, HPJ, HR, HRZN, HTS, HTZ, I, IDE, IFT, IHD, IO, IRET, IRM, IRR, IVR, JMI, JOY, KEM, KODK, KYE, KYN, LECO, LINE, LPT, LSCC, MAV, MBSD, MDU, MEIL, MFA, MHE, MIND, MITT, MOLG, MTGE, MUJ, MUR, MVO, NETE, NIQ, NJV, NLY, NMA, NOR, NRG, NRP, NTIC, NXZ, NYLD, OFC, OFG, OHI, OII, OIS, ORIG, OUT, PAAS, PACD, PBI, PERI, PGH, PICO, PLG, PLPC, PLTM, PRTY, PSCF, QEP, RAIL, RGSE, RNWK, ROYL, RWT, SDPI, SE, SFM, SGI, SKBI, SKT, SLTC, SMRT, SNDK, SNH, SPNC, SRET, SRV, STAG, STR, STWD, STX, SVLC, SYNL, TAC, TAXI, TCK, TDC, THM, TRP, TRUE, TTHI, TUES, TUTT, UBA, UE, VCLT, VICL, VII, VJET, VKTX, VMEM, VPCO, WGBS, WLB, WMT, WRES, XCO, XENE, XOM, XONE, YLCO, YRCW, ZINC

ETFs that traded to 52 week highs: none

ETFs that traded to 52 week lows: AMJ, BND, EGPT, KOL, XME

11:39 am Currency Commentary- Greece Uncertainty Remains (:SUMRX) :

  • The Dollar Index has climbed back above the 96 level as it shows signs of holding its 20- and 50-smas. Yields are seeing a spike this morning as we prepare for tomorrow's jobs report. The June ADP number was released this morning and that outpaced expectations. This will help set the stage for a better than expected report tomorrow. In addition to the ADP report we saw the ISM Manufacturing, Construction Spending, and a revision to the Markit Manufacturing PMI number all out pace expectations.
  • The euro is trading in a state of confusion as markets try to wrap there heads around the latest news from Greece. Early indications were pointing towards the two sides coming to the table in a move that would avoid the Sunday referendum. This was viewed as a positive as it could avoid a potentially disruptive diplomatic scene. However a speech by Greek PM Alexi Tsipras suggested that the country would indeed move ahead with its vote. This has led the euro to give up some of its early gains. Manufacturing PMI data from the region was relatively mixed. This could be viewed as a better than feared number given the current environment in the region.
  • The pound has slipped to its to its lowest level in two weeks. Earlier today the country released its latest Financial Stability report. BoE Governor Cameron said that the report showed that banks were in a stronger financial position and that it remained insulated from a potential episode in Greece. But the commentary did little to sooth investors as we are seeing some profit taking drop cable lower. The 1.54-1.55 area will set up as a key test for support.
  • The yen saw some early selling. Risk off would be the easiest narrative to follow but it is difficult to say that the yen continues to be a good read on risk behavior as some of its carry trade funding power has been diminished given global bank accomodation. In general the currency continues to trade in its tight trading range recently established. Japan saw an uptick to its quarterly Tankan Manufacturing and Services surveys (BONDX, FOREX).

11:33 am Liberty Ventures: TSG Consumer Partners announces acquiring Backcountry.com from Liberty Ventures; financial terms not disclosed (LVNTA) :  

11:11 am Mazda Motor North America reports June 2015 US sales increased 3.9% YoY to 27,223 vehicles (MZDAY) :  

11:10 am Volkswagen AG of America unit reports June 2015 US sales increased 5.6% YoY to 30,436 units (VLKAY) :  

11:01 am Jones Lang LaSalle acquires hotel real estate tax services and consulting firm, LodgeTax; financial details not disclosed (JLL) :  

10:51 am New pullback / session lows for small-cap Russell 2000 +4, Nasdaq 100 +26 and Nasdaq Comp +26 (:TECHX) :  

10:51 am Novogen announces that Ian M. Phillips, MNZM, has been appointed Interim Chairman (NVGN) :  

10:48 am Cisco Systems extends June breakdown (CSCO) : The stock is down for the ninth session in a row bringing the slump off its Mid-June high to roughly 7.7%. Today's downside extension resulted in a penetration of its 200 day sma leaving it in the vicinity of its 4 1/2 month close low from March at 27.09 (session low 27.07). If follow through develops, its April and June intraday lows are at 26.84 and 26.62.

10:40 am CBS and AT&T (T) reach agreement to extend long-standing relationship (CBS) : The co announced that it and AT&T (T) have reached an agreement to continue their long-standing relationship, which includes carrying the CBS Owned TV Stations, Showtime Channels, CBS Sports Network, Smithsonian, and Pop (launching in 2016) on AT&T U-verse.

10:33 am Stock indices slip back off morning highs -- Dow +123 has dipped as much as 69 points, S&P +14, Nasdaq Comp +37 (:TECHX) :  

10:28 am Comcast is vacillating near its all time close high from last week at 61.27 (CMCSA) : The all time intraday high from last week is at 61.64.

10:20 am Glacier Bancorp increases quarterly dividend to $0.19/share from $0.18/share (GBCI) :  

10:06 am Enpro Industries announces acquisition of the Goodyear Air Springs Business through its STEMCO subsidiary; no terms disclosed (NPO) : The co's STEMCO subsidiary announced its acquisition of the manufacturer of Goodyear air springs, as well as Super Cushion and Spring Ride air springs, from ContiTech, a division of Continental Corporation. This business unit was part of the business called Veyance that was recently acquired by Continental.

10:04 am Dow +180 and S&P +19 edge to new session highs, Nasdaq Comp +49 is hovering just under its morning peak (TECH) :  

10:01 am Heidrick & Struggles closes a second amended and restated credit agreement (HSII) : Prior to the Agreement, the Company had a $75 million revolving credit facility and $26.5 million outstanding on a term loan facility. With this Agreement, the Company increases its revolving credit facility from $75 million to $100 million. The term loan facility has been terminated and the balance is now outstanding against the amended revolving credit facility. After closing the Agreement, approximately $73 million of availability remains. The revolving credit facility matures on June 30, 2020

10:01 am Audi of America unit reports June 2015 U.S. sales increased 8.3% YoY to 18,262 vehicles :  

10:00 am RADA Electronic Industries awarded contract from an Israeli defense contractor to upgrade a previously designed UAV avionics unit; order value is $1.5 mln with deliveries expected during the next 24 months (RADA) :  

9:54 am UIL Holdings confirms Connecticut PURA draft decision regarding Iberdrola-UIL change of control proceeding and is carefully reviewing (UIL) :

  • "Clearly we were disappointed with the Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority's (PURA) draft decision regarding the Iberdrola-UIL Change of Control proceeding (docket no. 15-03-45). As such, we are carefully reviewing the draft decision. While the current draft language would, if adopted as final, deny the change of control of UIL, the draft decision also provides an opportunity to UIL and Iberdrola to address the concerns that PURA expresses in the draft decision. We look forward to providing clarification and additional information to PURA quickly. We truly believe the proposed transaction can bring significant value to our customers, including tangible benefits, as we continue to deliver safe and reliable service. "

9:47 am Sito Mobile (SITO): Hearing initiated before the open with a Buy at Ladenburg Thalmann :  

9:47 am Relative sector weakness (:TECHX) : Sectors that are underperforming in early trade include: Crude Oil USO, Oil Service OIH, Gold Miners GDX, Silver SLV, Mining XME, Gold GLD, Copper JJC, Energy XLE.

9:42 am Nissan Motor North America unit reports June 2015 U.S. sales increased 13.3% YoY to 124,228 units (NSANY) :

  • Nissan Division finished June with 114,243 sales, up 13 percent and also a June record. 
  • Overall sales of Nissan crossovers, trucks and SUVs set a June record, up 30.3 percent. 
  • Sales of the Nissan Rogue crossover set a June record at 23,243, an increase of 54.3 percent. 
  • Sales the Murano crossover increased 73.8 percent to 5,314. Nissan Pathfinder SUV sales grew 12.7 percent to 7,168. 
  • Nissan's best-selling vehicle -- Altima -- set a June record with 29,418 sales, up 12.7 percent. 
  • The all-new, eighth-generation Nissan Maxima went on sale in June. With supply starting to ramp up at U.S. dealerships, sales were up 14.4 percent in the month.
Nissan Group release

9:41 am Opening Market Summary: Influential Sectors Pace Opening Advance (:WRAPX) : The major averages have charged out of the gate as global investors show hope for a swift resolution to the Greek debt crisis after overnight reports indicated Greece is now ready to accept all conditions in order to secure a bailout. For the time being, the market appears to have overlooked comments from German Chancellor Angela Merkel who said negotiations will not resume until after Sunday's referendum.

The S&P 500 trades higher by 0.9% with all ten sectors holding gains. Most notably, the heavily-weighted financial sector (+1.4%) leads while the top-weighted technology space (+1.0%) follows right behind. Elsewhere among influential groups, consumer discretionary (+1.0%) and health care (+0.9%) also trade ahead of the broader market.

Treasuries hover just above their recently-established lows with the 10-yr yield higher by seven basis points at 2.43%.

9:40 am Micronet Enertec is awarded a $1.4 million purchase order for its all-in-one rugged tablets, from a US public transportation provider (MICT) :  

9:35 am Solid start for market averages -- Dow +160, S&P +16, Nasdaq Comp +45 (:TECHX) : Early relative sector strength has been noted in Casino (MPEL, WYNN, LVS, IGT, MGM, MCRI, CZR), Finance XLF, Networking IGN (JNPR, BBRY, HRS, BRCD), Semi SMH, Bank KBE, Reg Bank KRE, Biotech IBB (GENE, JUNO, CELG, ILMN, ALXN, AMGN, VRTX, CLVS, GILD, PRGO).

9:32 am General Motors reports US June sales fell 3% YoY to 259,353 vehicles (GM) :

  • Retail deliveries climbed 7% YoY and they were up more than the industry for the third month in a row.  Industry sales continue to exceed expectations. GM estimates that the seasonally adjusted annual selling rate for light vehicles in June was 17.3 mln units.

9:31 am Harris to reorganize its business segments following the recent acquisition of Exelis (HRS) : Effective the beginning of fiscal 2016, July 4, the company will be organized in the following four business segments: 1) Communication Systems, led by Chris Young. The segment will serve markets in tactical and airborne radios, night vision technology, and defense and public safety networks. 2) Critical Networks, led by Carl D'Alessandro. The segment will provide managed services supporting air traffic management, energy and maritime communications, and ground network operation and sustainment, as well as high-value IT and engineering services. 3) Electronic Systems, led by Ed Zoiss. The segment will offer an extensive portfolio of solutions in electronic warfare, avionics, wireless technology, C4I, undersea systems and aerostructures. 4) Space and Intelligence Systems, led by Bill Gattle. The segment will provide complete earth observation, weather, geospatial, space protection, and intelligence solutions from advanced sensors and payloads, as well as ground processing and information analytics.

9:29 am Kraft Foods shareholders approve merger with H.J Heinz to create the Kraft Heinz Company; Merger expected to close after the market close tomorrow (KRFT) :  

9:28 am On the Wires (:WIRES) :

  • Abeona Therapeutics (ABEO) announced additional financing of $4.6 million through warrant exercises, with a total of approximately $40 million raised-$26 million in Q2 2015-with financings from leading institutional investors and acquisition proceeds since December 2014
  • Digi International (DGII) announced that its XBee ZigBee modules will be used by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (:NASA) as part of a program to determine potential applications of wireless technologies in space. The launch is scheduled to take place from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia on July 7, 2015
  • Ruckus Wireless (RKUS) announced that it has been selected by Columbia Public Schools to supply next generation Ruckus Smart WiFi products and technology
  • RLHC (RLH) announced the company has signed franchise license agreements with two separate owners who intend to build Red Lion Inn & Suites properties in Bryan and Texas City
  • Avid (AVID) announced that VRT, the Flemish public broadcaster based in Brussels, Belgium, has installed a media asset management system designed and implemented by Avid Global Services as the first phase of the broadcaster's transition to an HD workflow
  • OPKO Health (OPK) announced that the Company's 3.0% Convertible Senior Notes due 2033 continue to be convertible by holders of such Notes through September 30, 2015. The Company has elected to satisfy its conversion obligation under the Notes in shares of the Company's Common Stock. This conversion right has been extended because the closing price per share of the Company's Common Stock has exceeded $9.19, or 130% of the applicable conversion price of $7.07

9:28 am On the Wires (:WIRES) :

  • CEL-SCI Corporation (CVM) announced that in June it has enrolled 25 patients in its ongoing Phase 3 trial of its investigational immunotherapy Multikine in just diagnosed, not yet treated patients with head and neck cancer. Total patient enrollment is now 488 as of June 30, 2015. A total of 880 patients are expected to be enrolled
  • Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) announced that Lynn Martin has been named President and COO of ICE Data Services. Also, David Goone, ICE's Chief Strategy Officer, has been appointed Chairman of ICE Data Services in addition to his current roles
  • Net 1 UEPS Technologies (UEPS) announced that its subsidiary, The Smart Life Insurance Company, has received a notice from the South African Financial Services Board, informing Smart Life that, with immediate effect, the FSB has withdrawn the prohibition to conduct new business it issued in February of 2013
  • Lionsgate (LGF) and Hasbro (HAS) announced they are partnering to bring the game Monopoly to the big screen via a film
  • Tata Motors (TTM) announcd that C Ramakrishnan has been appointed as Tata Motors' Group Chief Financial Officer w.e.f. July 1, 2015. He will continue as Chief Financial Officer and Key Managerial Personnel for Tata Motors Limited

9:25 am xG Technology receives order for ~$309k for xMax mobile broadband wireless equipment and services (XGTI) :  

9:25 am China Ming Yang Wind Power appoints Zhongmin Shen to the Board and as Vice Chairman effective immediately (MY) : Prior to joining the co, Zhongmin served as a managing director of Olympus Capital's Asia Environment Partners

9:18 am Summary of spin offs that went into effect today (BAX) : The following companies have spun off a business, effective today.

  • Baxter (BAX) spun off Baxalta (BXLT), its biopharmaceuticals business. BAX shareholders received one share of BXLT common stock for each share of BAX held. 
  • TriMas (TRS) spun off its Cequent business, Horizon Global (HZN), a designer, manufacturer and marketer of a broad range of accessories for light trucks. TRS shareholders received two HZN shares for every five shares of TRS held. 
  • Masco (MAS) spun off TopBuild (BLD), a distributor and servicer of insulation and other building products nationwide. MAS stockholders received one share of BLD common stock for every nine shares of MAS held. 
  • DuPont (DD) spun off Chemours (CC), which specializes in titanium technologies, fluoroproducts and chemical solutions, including Teflon. DD shareholders received one share of CC for every 5 shares of DuPont held. 
  • Energizer (ENR) changed its name to Edgewell Personal Care (EPC) after spinning off its household products business, mostly batteries, which will retain the Energizer (ENR) name and ticker. ENR shareholders received one share of ENR and once share of EPC. 
  • Graham (GHC) spun off its Cable ONE (CABO) business, a cable TV and internet service provider. GHC shareholders will receive one share of CABO for each share of GHC held. 
  • Babcock & Wilcox (BWC) changed its name to BWX Technologies (BWXT) and spun-off its Power Generation business, Babcock & Wilcox Enterprises (BW). BWC received one share of BW for every two shares held. 
  • Integra LifeSciences (IART) spun off SeaSpine (SPNE), a med-tech co focused on surgical solutions for the treatment of spinal disorders, which has a comprehensive portfolio of orthobiologics and spinal fusion hardware. IART received one share of SPNE for every three shares of IART held. 
  • NiSource (NI) will spun off Columbia Pipeline Group (CPGX), which owns and operated midstream natural gas pipeline assets. NI shareholders received one share of CPGX for each NI share held.

9:16 am Recro Pharma to issue and sell 1,379,311 shares of common stock in a private placement at $11.60/share (REPH) : Co intends to use the net proceeds of the financing to further fund the clinical development of Recro Pharma's lead candidates, IV/IM meloxicam and Dex-IN, in addition to general corporate purposes

9:15 am CPI Aerostructures is awarded a multi-year contract by Lockheed Martin Company (LMT) to manufacture lock assemblies for the F-35 aircraft (CVU) : Under this new contract with Lockheed Martin's Aeronautics division, CPI Aero will provide four lock assemblies for the arresting gear door on 289 F-35A CTOL aircraft, with deliveries beginning in 2017. The term of the contract is for a period of three years, with a single option for an additional three-year period, at which time CPI Aero would manufacture lock assemblies for an additional 459 F-35A CTOL aircraft. Co estimates the total value of the contract, including the option, to be ~$10.6 million

9:15 am Ford Motor reports June US sales rise 2% YoY to 225,647 vehicles (F) :

  • Ford brand SUVs sales up 10%
  • "The Ford brand's average transaction prices have increased $2,700 versus a year ago -- more than triple the industry average."

9:15 am S&P futures vs fair value: +17.70. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: +42.90. (:WRAPX) : The stock market is on track for a higher open as futures on the S&P 500 trade 18 points above fair value.

Index futures spiked to highs around 5:00 ET once it was reported that Greece is now ready to accept all conditions in order to secure a bailout. The report sparked a rush to risk assets, but the offer has been met with a cool reception among Eurozone leaders. For instance, Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel reiterated that talks will not resume until after Sunday's referendum, adding that "a compromise at any price" is not worthwhile. Adding another twist was the Council of Europe, which ruled that the conditions of the planned referendum fall short of international standards.

That being said, U.S. Treasuries have slumped to lows, pushing the 10-yr yield up seven basis points to 2.42%. To be fair, a portion of the decline in Treasuries followed today's ADP National Employment Report, which revealed that employment in the nonfarm private business sector rose by 237K in June (Briefing.com consensus 200K).

May Construction Spending (consensus 0.3%) and June ISM Index (expected 53.2) will both be reported at 10:00 ET.

On the corporate front, Chubb (CB 125.90, +30.76) has surged 32.4% in pre-market after agreeing to be acquired by ACE Limited (ACE 109.85, +8.17) for roughly $124.13/share in cash and stock.

9:13 am Female Health expects to report unit sales for the third quarter of FY2015 totaling ~14.4 mln units, up ~5% y/y (FHCO) : The Company will report its full financial results for the third quarter of FY2015 on July 30, 2015.

9:12 am U.S. Physical Therapy completes its third acquisition in 2015 (USPH) : In the most recent transaction, the Company acquired a 70% interest in a four location physical therapy practice. The business has approximately 50,000 patient visits per year and generates $5.5 million in annual revenue. The purchase price was $4.3 million.

9:05 am Knowles completes acquisition of Audience (ADNC) (KN) : Audience will be incorporated into Knowles with the integration expected to be accretive by Q4 of 2016 and generate annual cost synergies of approximately $25 million, primarily from efficiencies in the areas of manufacturing, procurement, logistics and general and administrative functions.

9:04 am SM Energy to sell its Ark-LA-Tex Assets to Aethon Energy and RedBird Capital (SM) : Terms of the negotiated transaction were not disclosed.

9:03 am Unilife Corporation amends its debt agreement with OrbiMed, removing a cash receipt convenant (UNIS) : Co announces its debt agreement with OrbiMed has been amended as of June 30, 2015. This amendment removed a covenant that required Unilife to generate at least $20 mln in cash receipts from customers during the six months ended June 30, 2015.Additionally, UNIS announces it recorded $5.5 mln and $14.4 mln in unaudited cash receipts for the three and six month periods ended June 30, 2015, respectively.

9:02 am Patterson Companies announces a definitive agreement to sell its medical business to Madison Dearborn Partners for $715 mln in cash; expected closure in Q2 2015 (PDCO) : Patterson Companies also announced that beginning with the fiscal 2016 first quarter, results of Patterson Medical will be classified and reported as discontinued operations. As such, current and historical results will be excluded from core EPS and organic sales trends.

  • Patterson Companies added that it plans to update fiscal 2016 guidance for core EPS on its fiscal first quarter earnings call scheduled for August 27, 2015.

9:01 am CAI Intl enters into an agreement to purchase 2,000 newly built railcars over a three year period (CAP) : Co enters into an agreement to purchase 2,000 newly built railcars over a 3-year period, beginning during 2Q16. The majority of the order will be for freight cars. The total investment under the equipment order is expected to be in excess of $200 million.

9:01 am Quantum Fuel announces a private placement of $2 mln in 2% senior secured convertible notes (QTWW) : Co intends to use a portion of the proceeds to design, develop and validate additional compressed natural gas ("CNG") virtual pipeline tanks and systems including packaging and design features that can be applied for ground storage use for CNG stations.

9:01 am Sysorex Global airpatrol contract valued at $2.5 mln (SYRX) :

  • Co announces that its AirPatrol mobile device locationing and analytics system has been chosen as the worker locationing and asset management platform to be used in a new community under development in the State of Qatar.
  • The total value of the contract to Sysorex is estimated at ~ $2.5 mln.

9:01 am INTL FCStone announces it will consolidate its US subsidiaries (INTL) : Co announces the completion of a merger of three of its regulated U.S. subsidiaries into INTL FCStone Securities as of July 1st. The combined firm will be known as INTL FCStone Financial and is registered as both a broker-dealer and a futures commission merchant.

9:00 am WPCS Intl announces $3.6 million in new contracts during the first two months of fiscal year 2016 (WPCS) :

  • Co announces that it was awarded $3.6 million in new contracts during the first two months of fiscal year 2016.

8:59 am Baxalta confirms successful completion of its spin-off from Baxter (BAX) (BXLT) :  

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

  • Teva Pharmaceutical Industries (TEVA) announced the launch of generic Aggrenox (aspirin/extended-release dipyridamole) capsules in the United States
  • XL Catlin, a unit of XL Group plc (XL) announced the appointment of Brendan Plessis to the newly created role of Head of Emerging Markets
  • VOXX International Corporation (VOXX) announced its first ever, multi-subsidiary OEM contract. VOXXHirschmann will be supplying dual DVD head restraints and Klipsch Image ONE headphones in all 2015 and 2016 model year Cadillac Escalade Platinum Edition vehicles
  • Collegium Pharmaceutical (COLL) announced that John Weet, Ph.D., has joined the company as its Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and Quality Assurance
  • Marathon Patent Group (MARA) announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary, MedTech Development Deutschland GmbH, has entered into a settlement and license agreement with Maxxspine Limited. The consideration to be paid to MedTech Development Deutschland GmbH involves a lump sum royalty payment for products already sold, as well as a running royalty rate for future sales
  • Fairwood Peninsula Energy, the parent company of Delfin LNG announced a strategic alliance with Enbridge (ENB), in which Enbridge has purchased an equity position in Fairwood LNG. Enbridge has made a five percent equity investment in Fairwood LNG. Enbridge has also entered into a Joint Development Agreement with Fairwood LNG to assist in the development of offshore LNG facilities in the Gulf of Mexico
  • Sarepta Therapeutics (SRPT) announced Henri Termeer, industry leader and former CEO of Genzyme, will be a key advisor to the Company
  • Apollo Commercial Real Estate Finance. (ARI) announced the Company closed two first mortgage and two subordinate loan transactions totaling $123 million, $107 million of which was funded at closing. The Company also funded an additional $35 million for previously closed transactions
  • Monotype Imaging Holdings (TYPE) announced it has appointed Ben Semmes to serve as the company's executive vice president of sales and market strategy

8:58 am S&P futures vs fair value: +15.00. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: +39.30. (:WRAPX) : The S&P 500 futures trade 15 points above fair value.

Equity markets in the Asia-Pacific region were mixed on Wednesday. China's rocky road continued with a 5.2% loss in the Shanghai Composite. Meanwhile, reports out of China indicate large investors with state backing helped the market stage a turnaround during yesterday's session; however, today's drop erased the bulk of Tuesday's advance.

  • In economic data: 
    • China's June Manufacturing PMI held at 50.2 (consensus 50.3) while Non-Manufacturing PMI rose to 53.8 from 53.2. Separately, HSBC Manufacturing PMI dropped to 49.4 from 49.6 (expected 49.6) 
    • Japan's Q2 Tankan Large Manufacturers Index 15 (expected 12; prior 12) and Large Non-Manufacturers Index 23 (consensus 22; prior 19). Separately, Manufacturing PMI rose to 50.1 from 49.9 (expected 49.9) 
    • South Korea's June trade surplus expanded to KRW10.20 billion from KRW6.30 billion (expected surplus of KRW8.15 billion) while June CPI +0.7% year-over-year, as expected 
------
  • Japan's Nikkei increased 0.5% on broad-based gains that were led by the consumer non-cyclical (+1.2%) and communications (+0.9%) sectors. Individual standouts included Shionogi & Co (+7.8%) and Nippon Paper Industries (+3.6%). Out of the 225 index members, 134 ended higher, 77 finished lower, and 14 were unchanged. 
  • Hong Kong's Hang Seng was closed for Special Administrative Region Establishment Day 
  • China's Shanghai Composite declined 5.2% shortly after the starting the day in positive territory. Financials were notable laggards with Ag Bank of China down 3.2% while Bank of China slid 2.9%. China Shipbuilding sunk 10%, outpacing the broader market. 
Major European indices trade higher across the board with France's CAC (+2.5%) in the lead. Elsewhere, Greece's proposal of returning to the original creditors' offer has been met with a cool reception among Eurozone leaders. For instance, Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel reiterated that talks will not resume until after Sunday's referendum, adding that "a compromise at any price" is not worthwhile.
  • Participants received several data points: 
    • Eurozone June Manufacturing PMI 52.5, as expected (prior 52.5) 
    • Germany's June Manufacturing PMI 51.9, as expected (prior 51.9) 
    • UK's June Manufacturing PMI 51.4 (consensus 52.5; prior 51.9) 
    • France's June Manufacturing PMI 50.7 (consensus 50.5; prior 50.5) 
    • Italy's June Manufacturing PMI 54.1 (expected 54.4; last 54.8) 
    • Spain's June Manufacturing PMI 54.5 (consensus 55.5; previous 55.8) 
------
  • UK's FTSE trades higher by 1.4% with consumer names in the lead. Barratt Developments, EasyJet, InterContinental Hotels, and TUI are up between 3.0% and 3.6%. Miners lag with Antofagasta and Randgold Resources both down near 0.8%. 
  • Germany's DAX has climbed 2.5% amid broad strength. Deutsche Bank leads with a gain of 4.0% while exporters Daimler and Volkswagen follow with gains close to 3.0% apiece. 
  • France's CAC has spiked 2.5% with all 40 components taking part in the advance. Peugeot and Renault are up close to 5.0% apiece while financials BNP Paribas, Credit Agricole, and Societe Generale show gains between 3.3% and 4.1%.

8:55 am Raytheon granted a five-year multiple-award vehicle with ceiling value of $634 million contract by the The U.S. Army Contracting Command - Warren (RTN) :  

8:49 am Tesla Motors will release Q2 deliveries in the coming days (TSLA) : Tesla will announce Q2 deliveries in the coming days.

  • Deliveries are expected to come in at or near the high end of 10-11K guidance
    • Co released Q1 deliveries on April 3 (Good Friday), so a release over the Fourth of July weekend would not be a surprise. 
  • Tesla will report Q2 results at the end of July/early August. 
  • The launch of Tesla's Model X SUV is expected at the end of Q3 (September). 
  • TSLA is +1% at a 10 month high in the premarket.

8:47 am Laboratory Corp announces the conversion ability of its zero coupon convertible subordinated notes due 2021 (LH) :  

8:47 am Gapping down (:SCANX) : Gapping down
In reaction to disappointing earnings/guidance
: GBX -1.8%, MKC -1.1%

Select China related names showing weakness: JMEI -3.4%, JRJC -2%, SFUN -1.9%, CEA -1.9%, CMCM -0.7%

Select metals/mining stocks trading lower: HMY -1.5%, NEM -1.1%, GOLD -1.1%, SLV -0.9%, RIO -0.8%


Other news: XENE -35% (Xenon Pharmaceuticals and Teva (TEVA) Provide Update on TV-45070 Phase 2b Study in Osteoarthritis Pain; TV-45070 4% and 8% did not demonstrate statistically significant difference from placebo in efficacy endpoints in Phase 2b study in pain due to osteoarthritis of the knee), BLDP -16.7% (prices its offering of 8,125,000 common shares at $1.60 per share), ACUR -11.4% (announces a private placement of 9.79 mln shares of common stock at $0.78/share), AXPW -2.3% (disclosed its 35-1 reverse split will be effective on July 14, 2015), WFD -0.9% (disclosed entry into an agreement to repurchase up to 711,733 shares of its common stock pursuant to its stock repurchase program)

Analyst comments: N/A

8:46 am Acuity Brands beats by $0.02, reports revs in-line (AYI) : Reports Q3 (May) earnings of $1.37 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.02 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $1.35; revenues rose 13.2% year/year to $683.7 mln vs the $686.47 mln consensus. 

  • Outlook Commentary: "We remain very bullish about our prospects for continued future profitable growth. Third-party forecasts as well as key leading indicators suggest that the growth rate for the North American lighting market, which includes renovation and retrofit activity, will be in the mid-to-upper single digit range for our fiscal 2015 with expectations that overall demand in our end markets will continue to experience solid growth over the next several years."

8:46 am Exelixis announces that the FDA has extended the Prescription Drug User Fee Act action date, for its review of Genentech's New Drug Application for Cobimetinib (EXEL) : Genentech is a unit of Roche (RHHBY), and the extension is for three months, from August 11, 2015 to November 11, 2015. 

8:40 am Gapping up (:SCANX) : Gapping up
In reaction to strong earnings/guidance
: AVAV +4.5%, STZ +2.6%, GIS +1.7%, SBLK +0.5%

M&A news: CB +31.9% (ACE (ACE) will acquire Chubb for ~$124.13/share in cash and stock),ACE +7.2%,GPT +3.3% (Gramercy Property Trust and Chambers Street Properties (CSG) to merge; combined company will have an enterprise value of $5.7 bln)

Other news: TLOG +45.3% (announced positive preliminary data from the ongoing Phase 2A study of birinapant in combination with azacitidine in first line higher risk myelodysplastic syndromes), BIOC +19.6% (announced the launch of its FGFR1 amplification testing utilizing a patient's blood sample),ESI +15.9% (disclosed submission of its audited consolidated financial statements to the U.S. Department of Education on June 26, 2015, ahead of the June 30 due date),PRAN +13.7% (cont strength),NBG +13.3% (optimism that Greece will accept latest terms),TBIO +7.8% (announces a private placement of 1.5 mln restricted common shares with Crede Capital Group for $1.42/share),PDEX +6.8% (still checking),MBI +6% (Reuters reporting that Puerto Rico's PREPA utility is close to a deal with creditors to avoid a default; MBI has exposure to Puerto Rican debt),GLNG +5.8% (reached an agreement with Perenco for the floating liquefied natural gas export project in Cameroon),FRO +5.3% (may be benefitting from Greece news),RDHL +5.2% (receives two notices of allowance from the USPTO for RHB-104),KITE +5% (Kite Pharma and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society announce a partnership to enhance the development of Kite's lead product candidate, KTE-C19),TRV +3.8% (CB, ACE peer),TTM +3.6% (reports June 2015 total commercial and passenger vehicle sales),WYNN +2.9% (Macau data),FIT +2.9% (cont vol post IPO),LVS +2.9% (Macau data),KMDA +2.9% (granted patent by the Israeli Patent Office that covers claims regarding the unique combination of Kamada's inhaled alpha-1 proteinase inhibitor with a customized eFlow nebulizer system),AIRT +2.6% (awarded contract in excess of $32 mln for the supply of 2200 aircraft deicing vehicles to American Airlines),IHG +2.5% (still checking),JUNO +1.9% (cont momentum),FEYE +1.6% (cont momentum),MRH +1.5% (Montpelier Re and Endurance Specialty shareholders vote in favor of the proposed merger)

Analyst comments: NVGN +8.5% (initiated with a Buy at H.C. Wainwright; tgt $8.50 ),VIP +4.6% (upgraded to Buy from Neutral at BofA/Merrill),CS +1.8% (upgraded to Overweight from Equal-Weight at Morgan Stanley ),Z +1.8% ( initiated with a Buy at Guggenheim),AINV +1.3% (initiated with a Buy at Jefferies ),FB +1.2% (raised to $100 from $92 at Cantor Fitzgerald)

8:39 am Paychex reports EPS in-line, revs in-line; guides FY16 net income in-line, service rev near high end of expectations (PAYX) :

  • Reports Q4 (May) earnings of $0.44 per share, in-line with the Capital IQ Consensus of $0.44; revenues rose 8.3% year/year to $692.2 mln vs the $690.35 mln consensus. 
    • Total service revenue increased 8% to $681.4 million for the fourth quarter.
  • Co sees FY16 net income +8-9% vs. +8.4% consensus, with total service rev +7-8% vs. +7.1% consensus. 
    • "Our expected full year fiscal 2016 payroll revenue growth rate is based upon anticipated client base growth and increases in revenue per check. Our anticipated HRS revenue growth for fiscal 2016 reflects the impact of the minimum premium plan offering within our PEO being in place for a full year in fiscal 2015." 

8:33 am Fiat Chrysler reports June 2015 U.S. sales increased 8% YoY to 185,035 units (FCAU) : Fiat Chrysler release

8:33 am Rock Creek Pharma reports results of a human proof of principle study with anatabine citrate, showing a single oral dose can significantly inhibit the activation of inflammatory proteins (RCPI) : Co announced the results of a human proof of principle study with anatabine citrate, the Company's lead compound. Results from the study show that a single oral dose of anatabine citrate can significantly inhibit the activation of inflammatory proteins in the blood of human subjects.

  • Data analysis showed that there were statistically significant (p
  • Additionally, evaluation of safety data showed that anatabine citrate was well tolerated by the study participants and there were no safety concerns.

8:33 am Vonage says it was granted 11 new patents in the second quarter of 2015 by the USPTO, now owns 86 U.S. patents, with an additional 250 applications pending (VG) :  

8:32 am European Yields (BONDX) : Periphery/Core Spreads Narrow as Tsipras Backtracks

  • Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras sent a letter to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker last night that sent global equities rallying and European bond spreads into narrowing mode
    • The letter made big concessions on VAT and defense spending, but asked for more leniency from creditors on pensions
    • Angela Merkel responded by saying that negotiations should wait until the Greek referendum on July 5th
      • Polls are showing that the "No" voters for the referendum likely outnumber the "Yes" voters, although the gap has narrowed after the bank closures
    • Wolfgang Schauble, the German finance minister, echoed Merkel's remarks and added the Greek government is not very trustworthy and that he hasn't read the latest proposal
  • An opinion piece, published yesterday in the Financial Times of London, warned that it is the European core nations of Italy and France that should really be concerning investors because they are not showing any willingness to make necessary structural reforms and they have very high levels of debt
    • Since those 2 countries are now in a monetary union with much more competitive economies, they cannot depreciate their currencies to maintain competitiveness as they did in the days before the euro 
    • Satyajit Das, the author of the piece, notes that Italy's total real economy debt is 259% of GDP (corresponding number for France is 259%)
      • These burdens would become much less manageable were interest rates to continue to normalize
  • Yield Check:
    • France, 10-yr OAT: +1 bp to 1.24%
    • Germany, 10-yr Bund: +6 bps to 0.83%
    • Greece, 10-yr note: -13 bps to 14.85%
    • Italy, 10-yr BTP: -6 bps to 2.25%
    • Portugal, 10-yr note: -11 bps to 2.87%
    • Spain, 10-yr Bono: -6 bps to 2.21%
    • U.K., 10-yr Gilt: +9 bps to 2.12%

8:32 am CNinsure announces that Shaanxi J&R Firefighting has entered into a share purchase agreement to acquire a stake in the company (CISG) : Co announced that Shaanxi J&R Firefighting Inc has entered into a share purchase agreement with Kingsford Resources Limited ("Kingsford"), a company owned by members of CNinsure's management, to acquire a stake in CNinsure.

  • Pursuant to the share purchase agreement, J&R will purchase from Kingsford 63,320,000 ordinary shares of CNinsure, the equivalent of 3,166,000 of the Company's American depositary shares, for a total purchase price of ~$37.4 million in cash. The purchase price is equal to $0.59 per ordinary share (the equivalent of $11.8 per ADS)

8:31 am Solar Power appoints Roger Dejun Ye as CEO, effective immediately (SOPW) : Co announced that it has appointed Mr. Roger Dejun Ye as Chief Executive Offer, with immediate effect. SPI's current Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Min Xiahou, will assume the role of the Company's Deputy Chairman. Mr. Ye currently serves as a partner in four solar funds focusing on investing in and acquiring domestic and international solar projects. He was also the CEO of Yangtze Investment Co., Ltd., a joint investment platform of Solar Power Fund and China Three Gorges Corporation focusing on overseas solar projects, from 2011 to 2013.

8:31 am Shell Midstream Partners acquires a 36% equity interest in the Poseidon Oil Pipeline Company for $350 mln from Equilon Enterprises; immediate accretion expected (SHLX) : Co announced it has closed the acquisition of a 36% equity interest in Poseidon Oil Pipeline Company for $350 million from Equilon Enterprises, a subsidiary of Shell Oil Products.

  • The acquisition price, including a proportional share of Poseidon debt, reflects and approximate 9.5 times multiple of the asset's forecasted next twelve months adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization plus capacity reserve payments The acquisition is expected to be immediately accretive to unitholders. 
  • In addition to the acquisition, Shell Midstream Partners entered into a new one-year revolving credit facility with $100 million of initial availability with an affiliate, increasing total borrowing capacity to $500 million. The acquisition was funded with borrowings under Shell Midstream Partners' revolving credit facilities

8:29 am On the Wires (:WIRES) :

  • Paratek Pharmaceuticals (PRTK) announced that William Haskel joined the company as Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary
  • SunEdison (SUNE) announced that is has secured financing for and started construction on the Bingham Wind project in Maine
  • Unisys Corporation (UIS) announced that its subsidiaries in Latin America have won a contract with the Chilean group Cencosud, to provide help desk services to Cencosud IT users in five different Latin American countries
  • VimpelCom (VIP) announce that Alexander Matuschka joins VimpelCom as Group Chief Performance Officer
  • 8x8 (EGHT) announced that ACCO Brands, has streamlined its contact center system by replacing its on-premise legacy solution with 8x8's cloud-based enterprise communications platform

8:29 am On the Wires (:WIRES) :

  • The Chinese gov't has selected GE (GE) Power Generation Services to upgrade and rebuild two gas turbines at the Taiyanggong power plant
  • Ideal Power (IPWR) announced that it has received UL1741 certification for its Grid Resilient 30kW 2-Port and 3-Port Power Conversion Systems
  • Callidus Software (CALD) announced that ForgeRock has selected CallidusCloud's Lead to Money suite to replace its existing SaaS incentives solution
  • Xplore Technologies (XPLR) announced that the Danish Ambulance service will deploy almost 600 of its Motion C5 tablet PCs as part of an "Intelligent Ambulance" project
  • Twin Disc (TWIN) announced that after an extensive search, Malcolm Moore has joined Twin Disc as Executive Vice President, Operations effective July 1, 2015
  • Synchrony Financial (SYF) and Chevron (CVX) announced a multi-year extension of their Fuel Credits program
  • Alaska Airlines (ALK) announced it will do away with the standard fee for the first checked bag for Alaska Airlines Visa Signature consumer cardholders

8:26 am Horizon Global confirms successful completion of its spin-off from TriMas (TRS) (HZN) :  

8:26 am European Markets Update: FTSE +1.4%, DAX +2.6%, CAC +2.7% (:SUMRX) : Major European indices trade higher across the board with France's CAC (+2.7%) in the lead. Elsewhere, Greece's proposal of returning to the original creditors' offer has been met with a cool reception among Eurozone leaders. For instance, Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel reiterated that talks will not resume until after Sunday's referendum, adding that "a compromise at any price" is not worthwhile.

  • Participants received several data points: 
    • Eurozone June Manufacturing PMI 52.5, as expected (prior 52.5) 
    • Germany's June Manufacturing PMI 51.9, as expected (prior 51.9) 
    • UK's June Manufacturing PMI 51.4 (consensus 52.5; prior 51.9) 
    • France's June Manufacturing PMI 50.7 (consensus 50.5; prior 50.5) 
    • Italy's June Manufacturing PMI 54.1 (expected 54.4; last 54.8) 
    • Spain's June Manufacturing PMI 54.5 (consensus 55.5; previous 55.8) 
------
  • UK's FTSE trades higher by 1.4% with consumer names in the lead. Barratt Developments, EasyJet, InterContinental Hotels, and TUI are up between 3.0% and 3.6%. Miners lag with Antofagasta and Randgold Resources both down near 0.8%. 
  • Germany's DAX has climbed 2.6% amid broad strength. Deutsche Bank leads with a gain of 4.0% while exporters Daimler and Volkswagen follow with gains close to 3.0% apiece. 
  • France's CAC has spiked 2.7% with all 40 components taking part in the advance. Peugeot and Renault are up close to 5.0% apiece while financials BNP Paribas, Credit Agricole, and Societe Generale show gains between 3.3% and 4.1%.

8:24 am S&P futures vs fair value: +15.90. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: +39.80. (:WRAPX) : The S&P 500 futures trade 16 points above fair value.

The ADP National Employment Report revealed that employment in the nonfarm private business sector rose by 237K in June. That was above the increase of 200K expected by the Briefing.com consensus. The May reading was revised up to 203,000 from 201,000.

8:20 am Celldex Therapeutics promotes SVP Richard Wright to the newly created position of Chief Commercial Officer (CLDX) : As Chief Commercial Officer, Dr. Wright is responsible for developing global business strategy and building the infrastructure required to support commercialization of Celldex's cancer immunotherapy pipeline.

8:19 am Inventergy announces a Nasdaq extension for co to regain compliance with the Minimum Price Bid rule, through December 28, 2015 (INVT) : Co announced that three recent transactions helped increase the Company's stockholders' equity, a prerequisite to the NASDAQ extension.

  • The first was a $2.15 million sale of stock to accredited investors which closed on April 7, 2015. 
  • The second transaction was a $4 million sale of two of the Company's 116 patent families to an undisclosed third party which was announced last week. 
  • The third transaction was a $100,000 additional direct investment made on June 26, 2015 by Inventergy's CEO Joe Beyers, through a stock sale

8:16 am Market View: Sep. stock-index futures hold a firm bid over fair values following the 8:15 am ET Jun. ADP Employment Change print (:TECHX) :

  • ESu5 now @ 2070.50 +16.00

  • YMu5 now @ 17684 +161

  • NQu5 now @ 4427.00 +36.75

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

  • Allegheny Technologies Incorporated (ATI) announced that it and the United Steelworkers are continuing to operate under the terms and conditions of the collective bargaining agreements that expired on June 30, 2015. ATI remains hopeful that progress can be made toward new agreements, but significant issues need to be resolved. Co continues to work in good faith with the USW toward new and fair agreements
  • Tenax Therapeutics (TENX) highlighted a recently-published meta-analysis in the Journal of Cardiac Surgery on the role of levosimendan in cardiac surgery patients which, pooling the result of 14 previous clinical studies, showed that levosimendan decreased early mortality in patients with reduced ejection fraction. Additional endpoint analysis showed a reduction in postoperative acute renal failure, a shorter stay in the intensive care unit, and a lower incidence of low cardiac output syndrome (:LCOS) for the levosimendan group in trials
  • FTI Consulting (FCN) announced the appointment of Nitin Kumar as Senior Managing Director in the firm's Telecom, Media & Technology practice
  • XBiotech (XBIT) announced that it held an investigators meeting to update clinicians and support staff on the overall status of the Company's Phase III study in colorectal cancer. Co explained that the unprecedented nature of the study design means that physicians have little or no idea of what the overall expectations should be for study participants. Co is providing the blinded data as requested so that physicians and other care givers may be better able to provide patients with expectations for overall outcomes, so that patients may be better informed when deciding whether to participate in the study

8:11 am Diversified Restaurant Holdings raises FY15 guidance after closing acquisition of 18 BWW (BWLD) restaurants in the St. Louis area (BAGR) : Co raises guidance to include acquisition of 18 Buffalo Wild Wings (BWLD) restaurants in the St. Loius area.

  • Revenue of $168.0 million to $174.0 mln (compared to $148.0 mln to $153.0 million pre-acquisition). 
  • Eight to nine new restaurant openings, consisting of five to six Bagger Dave's and three Buffalo Wild Wings. Inclusive of this eighteen restaurant acquisition, DRH should end the year with between 93 and 94 restaurants, consisting of 30 to 31 Bagger Dave's and 63 Buffalo Wild Wings. 
  • Adj. EBITDA of $19.5-21.0 mln (compared to $16.0 mln to $17.0 million pre-acquisition). 
  • Restaurant-level EBITDA of $30.3-33.3 mln (compared to $26.0 mln to $28.5 million pre-acquisition).

8:07 am Ballard Power prices its offering of 8,125,000 common shares at $1.60 per share (BLDP) : Net proceeds from the Offering are expected to be ~$11.8 mln. Co expects to use these proceeds for working capital and other general corporate purposes, including the acquisition of, or investment in, companies, technologies, products or assets that complement Ballard's business.

8:06 am AZZ beats by $0.07, reports revs in-line; raises FY16 guidance on US Galvanizing acquisition (AZZ) :

  • Reports Q1 (May) earnings of $0.77 per share, $0.07 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.70; revenues rose 5.9% year/year to $228.9 mln vs the $228.59 mln consensus. 
    • Earnings for the first quarter of fiscal 2016 were positively impacted by an improved gross margin of 25.9% compared to 25.6% in the first quarter of fiscal 2015, despite the challenging comparison year over year from insurance proceeds related to business interruption settlements.
  • Co issues  guidance for FY16, raises EPS to $2.85-3.30 from $2.75-3.25 vs. $2.94 Capital IQ Consensus; raises FY16 revs to $900-940 mln from $875-925 mln vs. $910.90 mln Capital IQ Consensus.  This is a direct result of our acquisition of U.S. Galvanizing and our expectation that it will provide accretion of ~ $0.10 in EPS for fiscal year 2016."

8:05 am Atlatsa Resources announces that further to various interactions with Anglo Platinum and the Department of Mineral Resources, South Africa, conditions to the letter of support have not been met within their prescribed time frame (ATL) : Further to various interactions between Atlatsa, Anglo Platinum and the Department of Mineral Resources, South Africa, the Company advises that the following conditions to the letter of support have not been met within their prescribed time frame:

  • Definitive agreements in respect of the purchase by Rustenburg Platinum Mines Limited of at least a further 25% in the Kwanda North prospecting rights and at least 60% in the Central Block prospecting rights, have not been executed; 
  • Given the depressed price of Atlatsa shares and potential dilution to existing shareholders as a result of the share subscription, Atlatsa executives have been restricted from subscribing for CAD$6.0 million (ZAR60 million) of equity in Atlatsa.
Atlatsa remains in discussions with Anglo Platinum surrounding the future sustainability of Bokoni Mine as well as potential alternative financial support for the Company, having regard to current challenges within the South African platinum industry.

8:04 am DDR closes on the acquisition of two power centers for $111 mln, and disposes of ten assets totaling $102 million in Q2 (DDR) : Co announced that it closed on the acquisition of two power centers and an adjoining outparcel valued at $111 million and the disposition of ten assets totaling $102 million at 100% ownership during the second quarter of 2015.

8:04 am UniFirst beats by $0.22, beats on revs; guides FY15 EPS in-line, revs in-line; Co expects its growth rate to continue to decline in Q4 (UNF) : Reports Q3 (May) earnings of $1.61 per share, $0.22 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $1.39; revenues rose 3.8% year/year to $365.6 mln vs the $360.89 mln consensus. Co continues to maintain a solid balance sheet with no long-term debt and increasing cash balances. Cash and cash equivalents at the end of the quarter totaled $235.7 mln, up from $191.8 mln at the end of fiscal 2014.

  • Co issues negative guidance for Q4, says "Based primarily on the effect of these macroeconomic factors, we expect our growth rate to continue to decline in Q4."
  • Co issues in-line guidance for FY15, sees EPS of $5.90-6.00 vs. $5.93 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate; sees FY15 revs of $1.45-1.46 bln vs. $1.45 bln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate.

8:04 am Angie's List appoints J. Mark Howell, its Chief Operating Officer, as Interim Chief Executive Officer, effective July 1, 2015 (ANGI) :  

8:03 am Ares Capital extends maturity and reduces pricing on revolving funding facility (ARCC) : Co announces that it extended the maturity and reduced pricing on its existing $400 million revolving funding facility with Sumitomo Mitsui Banking. ARCC extended the reinvestment period by one year to September 14, 2017 and stated maturity by one year to September 14, 2022. The stated interest rate was changed from LIBOR plus 2.00% to either LIBOR plus 1.75% or LIBOR plus 2.00%, determined based on usage levels.

8:03 am Gartner acquires Nubera, a privately held company based in Barcelona, Spain; Terms not disclosed (IT) : Nubera, whose flagship web property is GetApp, helps organizations discover, compare and choose the right business software and applications for their needs. The services provided by Nubera are highly complementary to Gartner's Software Advice business and add to the expanding range of services currently provided by the company.

8:03 am Atossa Genetics acquires Ductal Lavage Specimen Bank from the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation (ATOS) : Co announces it has acquired a specimen bank from Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation containing ~25,000 ductal lavage specimens collected from ~1,000 patients every six months from 2004 to 2007. The specimen bank includes ductal lavage specimens collected at 16 centers in the U.S and one in the U.K and also includes blood and urine specimens, for a total of ~40,000 samples.

8:02 am Caesars Entertainment appoints Mark Frissora as President and Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately (CZR) : Co announced that Mark Frissora has assumed the role of President and Chief Executive Officer, effective today. This announcement completes the transition plan previously announced by Caesars Entertainment in February 2015. Frissora joined Caesars Entertainment in February as President and CEO designate. Effective immediately, Frissora also becomes President and CEO of Caesars Enterprise Services (:CES) and joins the CES Steering Committee. Gary Loveman, former President and Chief Executive Officer of Caesars Entertainment, will continue to serve as Chairman of the Board of Caesars Entertainment.

8:02 am Trimas amends its existing credit facilities in conjunction with the recent spin-off of its Cequent businesses (TRS) : The amended credit facilities are comprised of a $500 million Senior Secured Revolving Credit facility and a $275 million Senior Secured Term Loan A facility.

  • Under the provisions of the amended credit agreement, the Term Loan A and revolving loans initially bear interest at LIBOR plus 1.625% (subject to a maximum step-up to LIBOR plus 2.00% or minimum step-down to LIBOR plus 1.375% based on the leverage ratio). 
  • In addition, maturities of the Term Loan A and the Revolving facilities were extended to June 30, 2020, from October 16, 2018
  • Proceeds from the dividend and the borrowings under the amended facilities were used to partially reduce amounts outstanding on the Company's existing Senior Secured Revolving Credit facility, to reduce the amount outstanding on the Term Loan A from $435 million to $275 million

8:02 am VTTI Energy Partners acquires an additional 6.6% economic interest in VTTI MLP (VTTI) : Co announces that it has acquired an additional 6.6% economic interest in VTTI MLP from VTTI MLP Partners for cash consideration of $75 million. The acquisition was financed by a loan from VTTI B.V. for the full amount of the cash consideration. Following the acquisition, the Partnership indirectly owns a total economic interest of 42.6% and a 51.0% indirect voting interest in VTTI Operating.

8:02 am American States Water announces California Public Utilities Commission approval of an Asset Purchase Agreement between the company and Rural Water Company (AWR) : Previously, GSWC entered into the Agreement to purchase all of the operating assets from Rural for the purpose of providing water utility services within Rural's service area

8:02 am Janus Capital acquires majority interest in global unconstrained fixed income manager, Kapstream Capital (JNS) : Co announces the acquisition of a majority interest in Kapstream Capital, a global unconstrained fixed income asset manager with $6.6 blm in AUM as of March 31, 2015. With this transaction, the total Janus Global Macro Fixed Income assets under management would be $8.7 bln as of March 31, 2015. The transaction includes an initial upfront cash consideration of ~$85 mln. JNSl has the option to purchase the remaining 49% interest in the future.

8:01 am Comstock divests of its oil and gas properties in Burleson County, Texas for $115 mln (CRK) : Co announces that it has entered into a definitive purchase and sale agreement with a private company to sell Comstock's oil and gas properties in and around Burleson County, Texas for approximately $115 mln. The sale is expected to close in July 2015 and will have an effective date of May 1, 2015.

8:01 am Jaguar Animal Health completes study in dogs with chemotherapy-induced diarrhea; targeting first prescription product launch in early 2016 (JAGX) :

  • Co announced that it recently completed a multi-site pilot safety study involving the anticipated commercial formulation of Canalevia in dogs suffering from chemotherapy-induced diarrhea. 
  • The objective of the multi-site study was to determine the safety and tolerability of enteric-coated crofelemer tablets in dogs with CID when administered orally twice daily for six treatments at the recommended dose range of 2-4mg/kg.
  • Members of Jaguar's development team met recently with the CVM regarding the MUMS regulatory pathway, and, if the Company receives conditional approval from the CVM for an indication for CID, Jaguar expects to launch Canalevia for CID in dogs by early 2016.

8:01 am J.M. Smucker announces coffee price decreases by an average of 6%; does not apply to K-Cup pods (SJM) :

  • Co announced that it decreased the list price for the majority of its packaged coffee products sold in the United States, primarily consisting of items sold under the Folgers and Dunkin' Donuts brand names.
  • The price decline also applies to the new reduced canister size of Folgers ground coffee.
  • Prices decreased an average of 6% on impacted items in response to sustained declines in the green coffee futures market.
  • The Company's K-Cup pods were excluded from the price decrease.

8:00 am Kite Pharma and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society announce a partnership to enhance the development of Kite's lead product candidate, KTE-C19 (KITE) :

  • Co announced that they have entered into a partnership to enhance the development of Kite's lead product candidate, KTE-C19, for the treatment of patients with refractory aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
  • Under the collaboration, will launch a broad scope educational program focusing on CAR T-cell therapy for the treatment of blood cancers, as well as support outreach for clinical trial enrollment also will contribute up to $2.5 mln.
  • Pivotal results from the KTE-C19 DLBCL study are expected in 2016 and, if promising, could lead to the potential launch and commercialization of KTE-C19 in 2017. Kite also plans to launch an additional three trials of KTE-C19 before the end of 2015 in mantle cell lymphoma.

8:00 am Xenon Pharmaceuticals and Teva (TEVA) Provide Update on TV-45070 Phase 2b Study in Osteoarthritis Pain; TV-45070 4% and 8% did not demonstrate statistically significant difference from placebo in efficacy endpoints in Phase 2b study in pain due to osteoarthritis of the knee. (shares halted) (XENE) : Teva Pharma (TEVA) and Xenon Pharma (XENE) report top line results from a Phase 2b study designed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of topically applied TV-45070 (4% and 8% w/w ointment) in patients with chronic pain due to osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee. Results from this trial showed that TV-45070 4% and 8% did not demonstrate statistically significant difference from placebo in efficacy endpoints of reductions in pain due to OA. TV-45070 did demonstrate a favorable safety and tolerability profile, with no drug-related serious adverse events. This is important given the ongoing Phase 2b study of TV-45070 in post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN).

"While we are disappointed that the Phase 2b trial top-line results did not indicate efficacy in OA, Teva and Xenon have always been committed to a broad development plan for TV-45070 in both nociceptive and neuropathic pain....The Phase 2b trial in PHN being conducted by Teva is progressing as planned, and we look forward to seeing top-line results from that trial in [2H16]."

7:58 am Dycom announces Board authorization for an additional $40 mln in share repurchases; to be made over the next 18 months (DY) :

7:55 am Dycom raises Q4 EPS guidance, raises bottom end of Q4 revenue guidance (DY) : Co raises Q4 EPS forecast to $0.79-0.87 vs $0.78 Capital IQ Consensus Est, up from $0.74-0.82, raises bottom end of Q4 revenue guidance to $560-570 mln vs $561.6 mln consensus, up from $550-570 mln.

7:54 am S&P futures vs fair value: +14.50. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: +37.70. (:WRAPX) : U.S. equity futures trade near their pre-market highs after spiking roughly three hours ago once it was reported that Greece is now ready to accept all conditions in order to secure a bailout. The S&P 500 futures hover 15 points above fair value while Treasuries sit near their lows with the 10-yr yield up three basis points at 2.39%.

Looking at economic data, the weekly MBA Mortgage Index fell 4.7% to follow last week's 1.6% increase. The ADP Employment Report for June (Briefing.com consensus 220K) will be released at 8:15 ET while May Construction Spending (consensus 0.3%) and June ISM Index (expected 53.2) will both be reported at 10:00 ET.

In U.S. corporate news of note:

  • Chubb (CB 129.50, +34.36): +36.1% after agreeing to be acquired by ACE Limited (ACE 114.26, +12.58) for roughly $124.13/share in cash and stock. 
  • Constellation Brands (STZ 118.25, +2.23): +1.9% after reporting a two-cent beat and raising its earnings guidance for fiscal 2016.

Reviewing overnight developments:
  • Asian markets ended mixed. China's Shanghai Composite -5.2%, Japan's Nikkei +0.5%, and Hong Kong's Hang Seng was closed for Special Administrative Region Establishment Day 
    • In economic data: 
      • China's June Manufacturing PMI held at 50.2 (consensus 50.3) while Non-Manufacturing PMI rose to 53.8 from 53.2. Separately, HSBC Manufacturing PMI dropped to 49.4 from 49.6 (expected 49.6) 
      • Japan's Q2 Tankan Large Manufacturers Index 15 (expected 12; prior 12) and Large Non-Manufacturers Index 23 (consensus 22; prior 19). Separately, Manufacturing PMI rose to 50.1 from 49.9 (expected 49.9) 
      • South Korea's June trade surplus expanded to KRW10.20 billion from KRW6.30 billion (expected surplus of KRW8.15 billion) while June CPI +0.7% year-over-year, as expected 
    • In news: 
      • Reports out of China indicate large investors with state backing helped the market stage a turnaround during yesterday's session; however, today's drop erased the bulk of Tuesday's advance
  • Major European indices trade higher across the board. France's CAC +2.6%, Germany's DAX +2.4%, and UK's FTSE +1.4%. Elsewhere, Italy's MIB +2.8% and Spain's IBEX +1.9% 
    • Participants received several data points: 
      • Eurozone June Manufacturing PMI 52.5, as expected (prior 52.5) 
      • Germany's June Manufacturing PMI 51.9, as expected (prior 51.9) 
      • UK's June Manufacturing PMI 51.4 (consensus 52.5; prior 51.9)
      • France's June Manufacturing PMI 50.7 (consensus 50.5; prior 50.5) 
      • Italy's June Manufacturing PMI 54.1 (expected 54.4; last 54.8) 
      • Spain's June Manufacturing PMI 54.5 (consensus 55.5; previous 55.8) 
    • Among news of note: 
      • Greece's proposal of returning to the original creditors' offer has been met with a cool reception among Eurozone leaders. For instance, Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel reiterated that talks will not resume until after Sunday's referendum, adding that "a compromise at any price" is not worthwhile.

7:48 am Overnight Treasury Summary (BONDX) : Treasuries Pull Back on Greece Optimism

  • Treasury coupon securities sold off overnight, with all maturities pulling back into Friday's (pre-panic) ranges. The move was largely based on a conciliatory letter from the Greek prime minister to Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission
  • Yield Check:
    • 2-yr: +2 bps to 0.67%
    • 5-yr: +3 bps to 1.68%
    • 10-yr: +3 bps to 2.39%
    • 30-yr: +4 bps to 3.17%
    • 10-yr Bono/Bund: -12 bps to 129 bps
  • International News:
    • Overnight, Greece's failure to make its 1.55 bln euro payment to the IMF was reported by that institution's managing director, Christine Lagarde, to the IMF's executive board. Greece is now in arrears
    • Major equity indices on both sides of the Atlantic ripped higher following reports that Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was prepared to make significant concessions for a bailout extension
      • The proposal conceded everything to creditors on the VAT issue except that it would preserve the Greek Islands' 30% discount on the tax
      • On the issue of pensions, Tsipras asked for more from the creditors including a slower phaseout of the EKAS, which tops up very low pensions
      • The proposal cuts defense spending by 400 mln euro, which is what the creditors had demanded 
      • It is our understanding that the second bailout is now dead and a third agreement would require approval by the parliaments of all eurozone member countries
      • German Chancellor Merkel responded to the letter by saying that negotiations would have to wait until the Greek referendum on July 5th
    • China's HSBC Manufacturing PMI fell to a lower-than-expected 49.4 in June from 49.6 in May
      • China's Non-Manufacturing PMI rose to 53.8 in June from 53.2 in May
    • In Japan, industrial sentiment improved as the Tankan Large Manufacturers Index rose to 15 in the second quarter, ahead of expectations and the reading of 12 from Q1
    • The survey also reflected expectations for much higher capital expenditure, with the poll showing a projected increase of 9.3% versus the -1.2% forecast for Q2
    • In the U.K., the Manufacturing PMI for June fell to a worse-than-expected 51.4 from 51.9 in May
    • The eurozone's Manufacturing PMI for June was in line with expectations and the prior month's reading at 52.5
      • Within the eurozone, the Manufacturing PMI readings for June were Italy 54.1, Spain 54.5, Germany 51.9, and France 50.7
      • As has been noted previously, the momentum of the eurozone recovery has shifted from the core to the periphery (ex-Greece) 
  • Data out Today:
    • MBA Mortgage Index for the week ending 6/27: Actual -4.7%, Prior +1.6%
    • June Challenger Job Cuts (07:30 ET)
    • June ADP Employment Change (08:15 ET)
    • June ISM Index (10:00 ET)
    • May Construction Spending (10:00 ET)
    • Crude Inventories for the week ending 6/27 (10:30 ET)
    • June Auto and Truck Sales (17:00 ET)

7:46 am Babcock & Wilcox Enterprises confirms spin off from Babcock & Wilcox (:BWC) -- now BWX Technologies (BWXT) (BW) : Babcock & Wilcox was formerly the power generation segment of The Babcock & Wilcox Company (:BWC).

7:41 am Constellation Brands beats by $0.02, reports revs in-line; raises FY16 EPS, in-line; acquires Meiomi wine brand; sees deal accretive to FY16 EPS (STZ) :

  • Reports Q1 (May) earnings of $1.26 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.02 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $1.24; revenues rose 6.9% year/year (+8% ex-FX) to $1.63 bln vs the $1.62 bln consensus. 
    • Beer net sales increased 11 percent, primarily due to volume growth. Beer depletions grew 10 percent, reflecting strong consumer demand for the beer portfolio. Wine and spirits net sales on a constant currency basis increased four percent. This primarily reflects higher shipment volume and favorable mix. 
    • Net sales benefited from the overlap of a planned U.S. distributor inventory destocking, net of a related distributor destocking payment, which occurred during first quarter 2015.
  • Co issues in-line guidance for FY16, raises EPS to $4.80-5.00, excluding non-recurring items, from $4.70-4.90 vs. $4.88 Capital IQ Consensus. 
    • For fiscal 2016, the beer business is now targeting mid to high single-digit volume growth, net sales growth of ~ 10 percent, and 13 - 15 percent operating income growth. 
    • For the wine and spirits business, the co continues to expect net sales and operating income growth to be in the low to mid single- digit range before any benefit from the Meiomi acquisition.  
  • "Today, we are also announcing that we have agreed to purchase the Meiomi wine brand, which is a high-growth, high-margin, scale brand that can be effectively integrated into our powerful portfolio of wine brands," The purchase price for the brand is ~ $315 million, subject to post-closing adjustments. The transaction, which is subject to regulatory approval, is expected to close around the beginning of August and to be $0.03 - $0.04 accretive to EPS for fiscal 2016.

7:38 am Discovery Labs announces receiving a letter from Nasdaq, indicating non-compliance with the $1 minimum price bid rule (DSCO) : Co intends to monitor the closing bid price of its common stock and, if appropriate, consider available options potentially to regain compliance with the Minimum Bid Price Requirement under the Nasdaq Listing Rules.

7:32 am Bellerophon Therapeutics appoints Amit Agrawal as Chief Operating Officer, effective July 8, 2015 (BLPH) :

  • Co announced the appointments of Amit Agrawal as Chief Operating Officer, effective July 8, 2015, and Naseem Amin, as an Independent Director of the Company, effective June 29, 2015. Agrawal joins Bellerophon from Amgen (AMGN).

7:31 am eLong announces that a Beijing High Court Upheld its first-instance judgment in its favor, in the dispute with Qunar (LONG) : The Final Judgment dismissed the appeals and upheld the First-Instance Judgment, which ruled primarily in favor of eLong. Key points are the following:

  • The Intermediate Court held Beijing Qunar to be in breach of contract for its early termination of the Affiliation Agreement. Specifically, the Intermediate Court rejected Beijing Qunar's claim that eLong Information had breached the Affiliation Agreement and held that Beijing Qunar's termination notice was therefore void.
  • The Intermediate Court ordered Beijing Qunar and eLong Information to resume their PRC domestic agency hotel inventory cooperation under the terms of the Affiliation Agreement.
  • The Intermediate Court ordered Beijing Qunar to compensate eLong Information RMB52,335,396 (US$8.4 mln) for the period from September 6, 2013 through September 30, 2014 and, as stipulated in the Affiliation Agreement, to pay such compensation as an advertising credit to eLong Information's advertising account at Qunar.
  • The Intermediate Court further ordered Beijing Qunar to pay eLong Information an advertising credit of RMB27 per room night if Beijing Qunar fails to meet the room night target of 450,000 PRC domestic hotel room nights per quarter under the Affiliation Agreement for any quarterly periods from October 1, 2014 through June 30, 2016.
  • The Intermediate Court ordered eLong Information to pay RMB8,127,402 (~US$1.3 mln) in commissions to Beijing Qunar for room nights sold under the Affiliation Agreement during the period from July 1, 2013 through September 5, 2013, prior to Beijing Qunar's breach of contract.
  • The Intermediate Court also ordered Beijing Qunar to pay eLong Information RMB227,599 (US$37 thousand) in legal fees, and apportioned court fees between the parties.

7:31 am Fiat Chrysler to invest ~$280 mln in its manufacturing joint venture, Fiat India Automobiles Private Limited, with Tata Motors Limited (TTM) (FCAU) :

  • Co announced its intent to invest ~$280 mln in its manufacturing joint venture, Fiat India Automobiles Private Limited, with Tata Motors Limited.
  • The investment in the manufacturing facility in Ranjangaon, India, will support the production of a new Jeep vehicle and is expected to begin production in Q2 of 2017.
  • The announcement was made as a delegation, led by the State of Maharashtra's Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, met with Mike Manley, President and CEO -- Jeep Brand, FCA - Global and COO of Asia Pacific Region, and other Co representatives in the FCA North American headquarters in Auburn Hills, Mich.

7:31 am Transgenomic announces a private placement of 1.5 mln restricted common shares with Crede Capital Group for $1.42/share (TBIO) : Co announced that it has entered into a definitive purchase agreement to raise gross proceeds of approximately $3.0 million in a private placement financing. Crede Capital Group, LLC subscribed for all but 28,000 shares in the financing.

  • Pursuant to the purchase agreement, Transgenomic has agreed to sell an aggregate of approximately 1.5 million shares of its restricted common stock and fully paid prefunded warrants to purchase up to approximately 0.7 million shares of its common stock, in each case at a purchase price of $1.42 per share. The warrants to purchase additional shares will be exercisable at a price of $1.66 per share beginning six months after the date of issuance. 
  • Co expects to use net proceeds from the offering for general corporate and working capital purposes, including activities supporting Transgenomic's ICE COLD-PCR technology

7:25 am Tata Motors reports June 2015 total commercial and passenger vehicle sales (including exports) increased 6% YoY to 110,004 vehicles (TTM) : Tata Motors release

7:23 am On the Wires (:WIRES) :

  • Biogen (BIIB) announced it is investing one billion Swiss francs in Luterbach in the canton of Solothurn, for a new production plant
  • Biocept (BIOC) announced the launch of its FGFR1 amplification testing utilizing a patient's blood sample. The diagnostic assay has the potential to help physicians identify patients who may be receptive to certain breast and lung cancer treatments
  • Bayer (BAYRY) announced that effective July 1, Dr. Jacqueline Applegate will become Head of Environmental Science, the non-agricultural business operations unit of Bayer CropScience. Applegate, who will be based at the unit's headquarter in Lyon, France, succeeds Dr. Gunnar Riemann, who has decided to leave the company to pursue other career opportunities. In her new role, Applegate will also become a member of the Bayer CropScience Executive Committee.
  • Statoil (STO) has decided to suspend its Scarabeo 5 due to overcapacity in its rig portfolio. The suspension will take effect once Scarabeo 5 has completed drilling of a well on the Kristin field in the middle of August, and will last until 1 March 2016.

7:17 am General Mills beats by $0.04, misses on revs; guides FY16 EPS in-line (GIS) :

  • Reports Q4 (May) earnings of $0.75 per share, $0.04 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.71; revenues rose 0.4% year/year (+6% ex-FX) to $4.3 bln vs the $4.53 bln consensus. 
    • Pound volume contributed 3 points of net sales growth, including incremental contributions from the Annie's organic foods business acquired in October 2014 and an extra week in this year's period. 
    • Net price realization and mix also contributed 3 points of growth. These factors were offset by a 6 point reduction in net sales from foreign currency exchange effects. 
    • Adjusted gross margin, which excludes mark-to-market effects and certain other items affecting comparability, increased 70 basis points due to net price realization
  • On a constant-currency basis, General Mills fiscal 2016 net sales are expected to essentially match the 2015 levels that included a 53rd week. 
    • Total segment operating profit is expected to grow at a low single-digit rate in constant currency. 
    • Constant-currency adjusted diluted EPS is expected to grow at a mid single-digit rate from the base of $2.86 earned in fiscal 2015. At current exchange rates, the company estimates a 4-cent headwind to fiscal 2016 adjusted diluted EPS from currency translation.
    • Guidance implies EPS of ~$2.93-2.99 vs. $2.98 consensus.

7:05 am Gramercy Property Trust and Chambers Street Properties (CSG) to merge; combined company will have an enterprise value of $5.7 bln (GPT) : Cos announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement to merge, creating the largest industrial and office net lease real estate investment trust, with an expected enterprise value of approximately $5.7 billion. The Board of Trustees of Chambers Street and the Board of Directors of Gramercy have unanimously approved the merger agreement.

  • Under the terms of the agreement, Gramercy shareholders will receive 3.1898 shares of Chambers Street for each share of Gramercy common stock they own. Upon closing, Chambers Street shareholders will own approximately 56% and Gramercy shareholders will own approximately 44% of the combined company. The stock-for-stock transaction is expected to be tax-free to shareholders. 
  • The Gramercy management team will lead the combined company, with Gordon F. DuGan as Chief Executive Officer, Benjamin P. Harris as President and Jon W. Clark as Chief Financial Officer. Martin A. Reid, Chambers Street's Interim President and Interim Chief Executive Officer, and Chief Financial Officer, will be Head of Transition of the combined company. 
  • The combination is expected to realize approximately $15 million in run-rate annual cost synergies by the end of 2016. Following the close of the transaction, the new company expects its dividend payout ratio to be lower than the current Chambers Street payout ratio and higher than the current Gramercy payout ratio. 
  • Following the close of the transaction, the combined company also intends to pursue the disposition of certain suburban office properties in order to reduce the level of these holdings to approximately 25% of its total portfolio over the long term

7:03 am Santander Consumer USA announces June asset sales of $1.9 Billion (SC) : Co executed a $756 million lease sale, a $925 million sale of seasoned nonprime retail installment contracts and associated assets, currently held in performing securitization trusts, as well as a $253 million sale of prime auto retail installment contracts through a new relationship

7:03 am RedHill Biopharma receives two notices of allowance from the USPTO for RHB-104 (RDHL) : Co announced that it has received two notices of allowance from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (:USPTO) regarding its patent application numbers 13/722,395 and 14/271,758 covering RHB-104.

  • The first, entitled "Methods and Compositions for Treating Inflammatory Bowel Disease", once granted, is expected to be valid until October 2029. 
  • The second, entitled "Methods and Compositions Comprising Rifabutin, Clarithromycin, and Clofazamine", once granted, is expected to be valid until at least February 2029
  • RHB-104 is also being evaluated as a treatment for relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS). The last patient has been enrolled in an open label Phase IIa, proof-of-concept clinical study evaluating RHB-104 as an add-on therapy to interferon beta-1a in patients treated for RRMS (the CEASE-MS study). Interim results are expected either in the fourth quarter of 2015 or the first quarter of 2016.

7:03 am Chubb: ACE (ACE) will acquire Chubb for ~$124.13/share in cash and stock (based on yesterday's close); deal immediately accretive to EPS and book value (CB) : ACE Limited (ACE) and The Chubb Corporation (CB) Boards of Directors of both cos have unanimously approved a definitive agreement under which ACE will acquire Chubb.

  • Chubb shareholders will receive $62.93 per share in cash and 0.6019 shares of ACE stock. Based on the closing price of ACE stock on June 30, 2015, the total value is ~ $124.13 per Chubb share, or $28.3 billion in the aggregate. ACE shareholders will own 70% of the combined co, and Chubb shareholders will own 30%. 
  • Together, ACE and Chubb will create a global leader in commercial and personal property and casualty (P&C) insurance, with enhanced growth and earning power and an exceptional balance of products as a result of greater diversification and a product mix with reduced exposure to the P&C industry pricing cycle.
  • It is expected that the transaction will be immediately accretive to earnings per share and book value, and by year three, the transaction will be accretive to EPS on a double-digit basis and will be accretive to ROE. It is anticipated that the ROI will exceed ACE's cost of capital within two years, result in a double-digit return by year three, and tangible book value per share will return to its current level in three years. 
  • ACE intends to finance the cash portion of the transaction through a combination of $9 billion of ACE and Chubb excess cash plus $5.3 billion of senior notes with a range of maturities to be determined. ACE intends to target a debt-to-total capital ratio of ~ 20% following the acquisition, within the guidelines for the co's ratings. By the third year after closing, the co expects to realize annual expense savings of ~ $650 million pre-tax where both companies overlap.

7:02 am Tracon Pharmaceuticals announces that partner Santen Pharmaceutical has filed an INDA with the US FDA for DE-122: triggers a $3 mln milestone payment to Tracon (TCON) : Co announced that its partner, Santen Pharmaceutical, filed an Investigational New Drug (IND) Application with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (:FDA) for the initiation of clinical studies for DE-122 in patients with wet AMD.

  • In March 2014, Santen licensed the global rights for the development of TRC105 in ophthalmology from Tracon. Under the terms of the agreement, the IND filing for DE-122 triggers a $3 million milestone payment to TRACON.

7:01 am Men's Wearhouse appoints Bruce Thorn as COO, effective June 29, 2015 (MW) : Prior to joining Men's Wearhouse, Thorn was employed by PetSmart, Inc. since 2007 in various positions most recently as executive vice president, store operations, services and supply chain since April 2014

7:01 am Energy XXI sells its East Bay Field for $21 million to a private buyer (EXXI) : Co announced it has closed on the sale of the East Bay Field for $21 million to a private buyer. In addition, Energy XXI will retain a 5% overriding royalty interest on these assets for a period not to exceed 5 years from the closing date, and Energy XXI will also retain 50 percent of the deep rights associated with the East Bay Field. The buyer will assume plugging and abandonment liability.

  • Additionally, the company closed on the divestiture of the Grand Isle Gathering System. Total cash proceeds received were $245 million

7:00 am MEDNAX announces acquisition of two anesthesiology practices; terms not disclosed, but both expected to be immediately accretive to earnings (MD) :  

7:00 am Innocoll appoints Jose Carmona as CFO, effective September 1, 2015 (INNL) :

  • Gordon Dunn, Innocoll's current Chief Financial Officer, will continue with the company as Vice President, Finance Director, Europe. 
  • Carmona recently served as Chief Financial Officer of Alcon Europe, Middle East & Africa, a division of Novartis (NVS).

6:54 am Macau Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau reports June gross gaming rev -36% YoY to near 5 year low (WYNN) : Macau Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau reports June gross gaming rev (:GGR) -36.2% YoY at 17.4 bln patacas ($2.13 bln), slightly better than feared as data leaks on a weekly basis, vs. -3.7% in June 2014 and -37.1% last month.

  • Macau GGR is down 37% YTD, which is ~unchanged over the last four months. 
  • Macau gross gaming rev has declined year-over-year for the thirteenth straight month following increased regulation: 
    • Officials cracked down on the illicit funds flowing through the region via junket operators running the VIP gaming market; a smoking ban in the casinos and macro headwinds are creating additional headwinds.
  • GGR fell 2.6% in 2014 after rising 12.6% in the first half of the year as declines accelerated into year end; GGR grew 18.6% in 2013 and 13.5% in 2012. 
  • GGR hit its lowest level since November 2010.
  • Sentiment on Macau stocks is in flux as declines in GGR persist but some analysts anticipate a bottom. 
  • Comps will now start to ease as we lap the declines in 2H14.
  • Casino stocks (which fell in China) with exposure to Macau: MPEL, IKGH (junket operator), WYNN, LVS, MGM, SJMHF, GXYEY... BJK.

6:54 am Kamada granted patent by the Israeli Patent Office that covers claims regarding the unique combination of Kamada's inhaled alpha-1 proteinase inhibitor with a customized eFlow nebulizer system (KMDA) : The co announced that the Israeli Patent Office has issued the patent titled, "SYSTEM FOR PULMONARY DELIVERY OF ALPHA-1 PROTEINASE INHIBITOR" under patent number, 193318. The patent is co-owned by Kamada and PARI PHARMA GMBH, the producers of the eFlow nebulizer system, and covers claims regarding the unique combination of Kamada's inhaled alpha-1 proteinase inhibitor with a customized eFlow nebulizer system. This patent application has been approved in Europe, Russia and Australia.

6:52 am On the Wires (:WIRES) :

  • Schlumberger (SLB) announced that PGS has executed an MOU for a cooperation agreement with it and Spectrum in Mexico. The collaboration will acquire 80,000 - 100,000 kilometers of modern, long-offset 2D data encompassing all the major hydrocarbon provinces offshore Mexico. This includes areas currently on offer for Mexico's Round 1 in the Perdido Fold Belt, Mexican Ridges Province, Campeche Deep Sea Basin
  • Ryanair (RYAAY) announced it has launched an EU wide petition to prevent flight plan disruption or cancellation, due to groups of Air Traffic Control unions going on strike and closing skies over Europe
  • Diageo plc (DEO) announced it has sold the Gleneagles Hotel Limited, to a private investment group led by Ennismore for an undisclosed amount. In YE 2014 the business generated revenues of 43.5 million

6:38 am McCormick beats by $0.07, misses on revs; guides Q3 EPS in-line; guides FY15 EPS in-line (MKC) :

  • Reports Q2 (May) earnings of $0.75 per share, $0.07 better than the Capital IQ Consensus of $0.68; revenues fell 0.9% year/year (+5% ex-FX) to $1.02 bln vs the $1.04 bln consensus. 
  • Co issues in-line guidance for Q3, sees EPS of decline from $0.95 (last year) vs. $0.91 Capital IQ Consensus, as the result of the projected tax rate (estimated at 29% vs. 21% in 3Q14), unfavorable currency rates and higher investment in brand marketing. 
  • Co issues in-line guidance for FY15, sees EPS of $3.47-3.54, excluding non-recurring items, vs. $3.50 Capital IQ Consensus. 
    • The co reaffirmed its expectation to grow sales 4 to 6% in constant currency. Based on year-to-date results and prevailing exchange rates, the company continues to anticipate that currency will lower this sales growth range by 5 percentage points. 
    • In constant currency, the company reaffirmed its expectation to grow adjusted operating income 6% to 7% from adjusted operating income of $608 million in 2014. Another year of strong cash flow is anticipated in 2015, with a portion returned to McCormick's shareholders through dividends and share repurchases.

6:28 am On the Wires (:WIRES) :

  • The Voyager Sopris Learning business unit of Cambium Learning Group (ABCD) appointed Jeffrey Elliot as President, effective July 6, 2015
  • The Ensign Group (ENSG) announced that it has agreed to purchase ten skilled nursing and assisted living operations in Arizona. The acquisition of the operations and the commencement of a new long-term master lease are effective as of July 1, 2015. Co also acquired the operations and real estate of Olympia Transitional Care and
    Rehabilitation, a 125-bed skilled nursing facility in Olympia, Washington, effective immediately
  • Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) announced that Julie Hamp has resigned from her position of Managing Officer

6:15 am Acura Pharma announces a private placement of 9.79 mln shares of common stock at $0.78/share (ACUR) : Co intends to use the net proceeds from the offering for general corporate purposes, funding product development and for general and administrative expenses.

6:11 am Greenbrier misses by $0.14, misses on revs; guides FY15 EPS in-line, reaffirms FY15 revs guidance (GBX) : Reports Q3 (May) earnings of $1.49 per share, excluding $0.16 of non-recurring costs, $0.14 worse than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $1.63; revenues rose 20.4% year/year to $714.6 mln vs the $742.63 mln consensus.

  • New railcar backlog as of May 31, 2015 was 45,100 units with an estimated value of $4.86 billion (average unit sale price of $108,000), compared to 46,000 units with an estimated value of $4.78 billion (average unit sale price of $104,000) as of February 28, 2015. 
  • Diversified orders for 5,300 new railcars valued at $640 million were received during the quarter. 
  • New railcar deliveries totaled 5,700 units for the quarter, compared to 5,200 units for the quarter ended February 28, 2015. 
  • Marine backlog as of May 31, 2015 was approximately $70 million. 
Progress on Longer Term Financial Goals
  • Aggregate gross margin expanded to 20.9%, compared to 19.9% in the prior quarter, reaching the goal of at least 20% gross margin by the second half of fiscal 2016.
  • Co remains on track to reach the goal of at least 25% ROIC by the second half of fiscal 2016. Annualized ROIC of 21.3% reflects record operating results tempered by working capital needs associated with higher production and syndication volumes, and planned capital expenditure programs.
  • Net Funded Debt : LTM EBITDA continued to improve to 0.9 times.
Guidance:
Co narrows guidance for FY15, sees EPS of $5.70-5.85, excluding non-recurring items, vs. $5.93 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate and vs $5.65-5.95 prior guidance; reaffirms FY15 revs of $2.6-2.7 bln vs. $2.63 bln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate.

6:02 am DuPont completes separation of its Performance Chemicals unit, which has been renamed The Chemours Company and will begin trading today on the NYSE under ticker CC (DD) :  

6:00 am China Information Tech announces it Board of Directors has formed a special committee to consider the 'going-private' proposal it received in June (CNIT) : Co announced that its board of directors has formed a special committee to consider the previously announced non-binding "going private" proposal that the Board received from the Company's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Jianghuai Lin and three other individuals.

  • The Special Committee consists of three independent, disinterested directors of the Company, Mr. Yusen Huang, Mr. Remington Hu and Dr. Yong Jiang with Mr. Huang acting as the chair of the Special Committee. The Special Committee intends to retain independent legal and financial advisors to assist it in its work.

5:48 am S&P futures vs fair value: +17.50. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: +44.10. :

5:48 am European Markets : FTSE...6629.41...+108.40...+1.70%.  DAX...11213.95...+269.00...+2.50%.

5:48 am Asian Markets : Nikkei...20329.32...+93.60...+0.50%.  Hang Seng...Holiday.........

5:37 am ConforMIS (Nasdaq: CFMS) priced its 9 mln share IPO at $15.00/share, the midpoint of the expected $14.00-$16.00 range (CFMS) :  

4:54 am Orbotech unit divests its Thermal Products Business to SPP Technologies; does not materially affect co's H2 financial expectations (ORBK) : Co announced that SPTS Technologies Group, an Orbotech company and supplier of advanced wafer processing solutions for the global semiconductor and related industries, has sold its Thermal Products business to SPP Technologies Co, a subsidiary of Sumitomo Precision Products Co.

  • The transaction includes sale of all thermal product lines and virtually all worldwide assets of SPTS's Thermal Product business, and will involve approximately fifty SPTS employees worldwide, who are currently engaged in the Thermal Products business, becoming employees of SPT.
  • SPT acquired the assets of the Thermal Products business based on a valuation of approximately $28 million, comprised of $22 million in cash plus ~$6 million in accounts receivable. Half of the cash was paid on completion and the balance will be paid in 2016, without any performance conditions. 
  • Orbotech intends to use the net proceeds to repay a portion of the amount outstanding under its credit facilities. 
  • The sale does not materially affect Orbotech's expectations for its financial performance in the second half of 2015 or its long term business model.

4:17 am Global Sources sells its 60.1% interest in its eMedia Asia subsidiary to UBM, the 39.9% shareholder, for ~$9.0 mln (GSOL) :  

3:38 am On The Wires (:WIRES) :

  • Iron Mountain (IRM) announced it has opened a new facility in Taiwan for offsite tape vaulting, providing a secure and cost-effective option for storing and protecting backup and archival data. The facility, located in Hsinchu, is the company's first-ever in Taiwan and its first service offering in the market. 
  • Platts, A division of McGraw Hill Financial (MHFI) introduced the Free-On-Board Straits process in its price assessments for refined oil products. 
  • ZTE Corporation (ZTCOY) has jointly launched an Internet of Things platform in Africa with leading ICT provider, MTN Group (MTNOF).

3:09 am CF Industries acquires its 50% equity interest in GrowHow for $580 mln (CF) : CF Industries Holdings (CF) announced that it has agreed with Yara International ASA (YARIY) to acquire its 50% equity interest in GrowHow UK for total cash consideration of $580 million, making GrowHow a wholly owned subsidiary. At closing, the GrowHow business will be consolidated into CF Industries with a cash free, debt free balance sheet. 

  • As of May 31, 2015, prior to purchase accounting and on a U.S. GAAP basis, GrowHow had total inventories of 66 million, receivables of 41 million, and fixed assets of 195 million. 
  • The company also had current liabilities of 43 million, long-term payables of 14 million, and a net pension deficit of 90 million.

2:49 am Seadrill updates forward agreements for Seadrill's holdings in Sevan Drilling (SDRL) : In connection with the migration of Sevan ASA from Norway to Bermuda, co has closed these agreements and entered in to new agreements with the equivalent number of shares in Sevan Drilling as follows:

  • Seadrill has entered into a forward agreement for 10,803,274 Sevan Drilling Limited shares expiring August 10, 2015 at a price of NOK 9.795729. 
  • Additionally, Seadrill has entered into a new forward agreement for 4,091,425 Sevan Drilling Limited shares expiring August 6, 2015 with a strike price of NOK 12.486.

2:17 am Novartis' Alcon receives EU approval for its AcrySof IQ Aspheric IOL with the UltraSert Pre-loaded Delivery System (NVS) : Alcon, a division of Novartis, has received European CE Mark for its AcrySol IQ Aspheric IOL with the UltraSert Pre-loaded Delivery System for patients undergoing cataract surgery.

  • The new delivery system combines the control of a manually loaded device with the safety and convenience of a disposable, pre-loaded injector to optimize implantation of the AcrySof IQ Aspheric IOL. 
  • This approval follows the recent CE Mark for Alcon's trifocal presbyopia-correcting AcrySof IOL which was received in mid-June. 
  • More than three million cataract surgeries are performed each year in Europe

2:03 am On The Wires (:WIRES) :

  • The members of GE's (GE) two largest unions have voted to approve new four-year national labor contracts with GE. Union officials informed GE that voting by members of the IUE-CWA and the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America was completed Tuesday, and that the national agreements have been ratified. 
  • Kyocera (KYO) announced that Kyocera TCL Solar, its joint venture with Century Tokyo Leasing Corp, has commenced construction of a 23-megawatt solar power plant on an abandoned golf course in Kyoto Prefecture, Japan.

1:44 am Accelerate Diagnostics achieves CE-IVD milestone for ID/AST system and ID/AST blood culture assay; co initiated enrollment at 8 clinical trial sites for its preclinical study (AXDX) : Co announced its declaration of conformity to the European In Vitro Diagnostic Directive 98/79 EC and CE Mark of the Accelerate ID/AST System and ID/AST Blood Culture Assay for in vitro diagnostic use. The Accelerate ID/AST System is a diagnostic platform providing rapid identification and antimicrobial susceptibility testing of serious infections.

  • In addition, the company initiated enrollment at 8 clinical trial sites for its preclinical study. Upon successful completion the FDA registration trial will begin. 
  • Given the aforementioned progress, the company maintains its expectation that it will launch an FDA cleared product in the United States in the first half of 2016.

1:35 am Brookfield Infrastructure confirms to Asciano announcement disclosing its receipt of a proposal by and on behalf of BIP and its institutional partners (BIP) : Brookfield Infrastructure has been advised of the announcement made by Asciano disclosing its receipt of a proposal by and on behalf of Brookfield Infrastructure and its institutional partners.

  • Brookfield Infrastructure notes that the indicative proposal is non-binding and conditional and that exclusive discussions with Asciano in furtherance of a potential transaction are ongoing. 
  • There can be no assurance that a transaction will be completed or of the final terms thereof. 
  • Brookfield Infrastructure does not intend to provide further updates in relation to the proposal until appropriate.

1:28 am Quest Diagnostics acquires MemorialCare Health System's Laboratory outreach service business; transaction is expected to be neutral to earnings in 2015 (DGX) :  

1:19 am MediciNova announced the clinical trial of MN-166 in alcohol dependence has completed enrollment of 24 subjects (MNOV) :  

1:15 am On The Wires (:WIRES) :

  • Ball Aerospace & Technologies (BLL) has powered on the Joint Polar Satellite System satellite for the first time. The JPSS-1 is the nation's next polar-orbiting, environmental satellite, scheduled to launch in 2017. Powering on of the satellite is a key milestone to delivery. Following powering on, the satellite performed within specifications. 
  • Weatherford International plc (WFT) announced that it has been named a constituent in the 2015 MSCI Global Sustainability Index Series.

1:01 am BancorpSouth extends merger agreements with Central Community Corporation and Ouachita Bancshares (BXS) : BancorpSouth announced the extension of the merger agreements with Central Community Corporation and Ouachita Bancshares Corp. The merger agreements were extended until December 31, 2015 without material changes.

  • As previously announced, the mergers have been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of all three companies, and by the shareholders of Central Community Corporation and Ouachita Bancshares Corp. 
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