InPlay from Briefing.com

Briefing.com

5:04 pm Boston Scientific announces a scientific study was published in Gastroenterology reporting the successful management of benign biliary strictures with fully covered metal stents (BSX) : A Boston Scientific (BSX) prospective, multinational study on stent removability and preliminary long term stricture resolution of benign biliary strictures has been published in the August issue of the peer-reviewed journal, Gastroenterology. The multinational study is being conducted in 11 countries and five continents, and examines removal of fully covered self-expanding metal stents (:FCSEMS) after extended indwell (i.e., up to 12 months). The 187-patient study was designed to evaluate the ability to remove the Fully Covered WallFlex Biliary RX Stent after extended indwell and to determine treatment success of biliary obstructions resulting from benign biliary strictures. Data highlights:

  • The WallFlex Biliary RX Stents were successfully removed by endoscopy from all 155 patients in whom this procedure was attempted. 
  • Stricture resolution without the need to restent at the time of stent removal was successful in approximately 75% of patients. 
  • Approximately 85% of these patients remained stricture-free after a mean follow-up of 20 months. 
  • The study results demonstrate that FCSEMS are an effective treatment alternative to plastic stents, and may significantly reduce the need for multiple sequential Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatogram (:ERCP) stent exchanges and the associated complications and costs.

4:48 pm This week's biggest % gainers/losers (:SCANX) : The following are this week's top 20 percentage gainers and top 20 percentage losers, categorized by sectors (over $300 mln market cap and 100K average daily volume).

This week's top 20 % gainers

  • Technology:PSMI (12.45 +61.64%),MOBL (11.59 +33.97%),OIBR-C (0.69 +20.47%),OIBR (0.67 +16.36%)
  • Services:THI (80.44 +31.37%),TA (11.39 +18.29%),BKW (32.04 +16.65%)
  • Healthcare:RPRX (21.92 +41.79%),ITMN (73.45 +37.59%),FOLD (7.19 +34.38%),KITE (28.27 +23.8%),ACHN (11.57 +20.91%),IG (6.89 +18.5%),AXDX (20.26 +18.47%),CUR (4.07 +17.94%),ISIS (40.76 +16.77%),BDSI (16 +16.42%)
  • Financial:HGSH (7.53 +35.18%)
  • Conglomerates:REX (106.83 +17.48%)
  • Basic Materials:EMES (144.17 +17.03%)
This week's top 20 % losers
  • Utilities:EDN (10.32 -9.07%)
  • Technology:QIHU (87.83 -13.08%),GRUB (38.44 -10.98%),YGE (3.36 -9.02%),SLH (60.96 -8.43%),WUBA (41.65 -7.81%),WIX (16.42 -7.78%)
  • Services:NDLS (19.57 -11.38%),BOBE (43.42 -10.38%),MEG (15.41 -10.24%),CTCT (31.17 -9.52%),WSM (65.77 -9.17%),SKYW (8.97 -9.1%),HUBG (43.49 -7.9%),
  • Industrial Goods:SWHC (11.07 -13.8%)
  • Healthcare:NVDQ (13.07 -14.04%)
  • Consumer Goods:MOV (37.13 -15.21%),TOUR (18.5 -13.07%),ZQK (2.91 -10.94%)
  • Basic Materials:MCP (1.79 -10.77%)

4:36 pm Amphenol to acquire Casco Automotive Group for ~$450 mln; expected to be accretive to EPS in the first year post acquisition (APH) : Co announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the Casco Automotive Group (:CASCO), a division of Cap-Con Automotive Technologies Ltd. (Cap-Con) for approximately $450 million.

  •  Casco, headquartered in Bridgeport, Connecticut, is a supplier of highly engineered data connectivity, power, charging and sensor products to the worldwide automotive market, with annual sales of approximately $220 million. Casco has facilities in the Americas, Europe and Asia and employs approximately 1,300 people worldwide.
  • "Consistent with our acquisition strategy and assuming a continuation of current economic conditions, we expect the Casco acquisition to be accretive to earnings per share in the first year post acquisition."

4:31 pm Markel Corp subsidiary Markel Ventures announces acquisition of Vanderpol & Den Boer (MKL) : Markel Ventures, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Markel (MKL), has completed the acquisition of Tromp-Pol Baking Equipment B.V. and Den Boer Baking Systems B.V. Vanderpol and Den Boer design and manufacture waffle equipment, handling equipment, and ovens for bakers worldwide. Both companies are headquartered in the Netherlands. Following the acquisition, Vanderpol and Den Boer will be combined with the previously acquired Tromp Bakery Equipment to form Tromp Group, a member of the Markel Bakery Group family of companies.

4:25 pm Empire District Elec files for new Missouri electric rates (EDE) : Co announced it has filed a request with the Missouri Public Service Commission (:MPSC) for changes in rates for its Missouri electric customers. The Company is seeking an annual increase in base rate revenues of approximately $24.3 million, or about 5.5 percent.

4:24 pm Mid-Con Energy Partners announces closing of Gulf Coast acquisition and borrowing base increase of $20 mln to $190 mln (MCEP) : Co announces that it has closed its previously announced acquisition in Liberty County, Texas for approximately $19.4 million, subject to customary post-closing adjustments. In conjunction with the closing of the acquisition, MCEP also announces that it has received lender commitments to increase its borrowing base to $190 million, up 12% from the $170 million in previously established commitments under MCEP's existing $250 million senior secured revolving credit facility. This increase became effective August 29, 2014, with Royal Bank of Canada acting as the Administrative Agent.

4:20 pm BE Aerospace announces filing of registration statement for spin-off of its Consumables Management Segment (BEAV) : Co announced a further step in its previously announced separation of its Consumables Management Segment, consisting of the Company's aerospace distribution and energy services businesses, through a distribution, or spin-off, to the Company's shareholders. The Company's subsidiary KLX Inc. ("KLX"), to which the separated businesses will be transferred prior to the distribution, filed today a registration statement on Form 10 with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The spin-off would take the form of a pro rata distribution of all shares of common stock of KLX to B/E shareholders. The Company expects the receipt of shares of KLX common stock by B/E shareholders to be tax-free for U.S. federal income tax purposes, except for cash received in lieu of fractional shares.

4:17 pm Coca-Cola Bottling Co. announces agreement with Coca-Cola (KO) to expand franchise territory (COKE) : Co announced it has signed a definitive agreement with Coca-Cola (KO) to expand the bottler's franchise territory to include the Knoxville, TN territory currently served by Coca-Cola Refreshments USA, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Coca-Cola Company. This agreement represents the second phase of the proposed franchise territory expansion described in the previously-announced Letter of Intent between the Company and The Coca-Cola Company. The Company expects the transaction to close by the end of October 2014. The Company is continuing to work towards a definitive agreement with The Coca-Cola Company for the remainder of the proposed franchise territory expansion described in the previously-announced Letter of Intent, including Cleveland and Cookeville, TN and Louisville, Lexington, Paducah and Pikeville, KY and Evansville, IN.

4:15 pm Closing Market Summary: August Ends on Upbeat Note (:WRAPX) : Equity indices closed out the month of August on a modestly higher note. The Russell 2000 (+0.6%) and Nasdaq Composite (+0.5%) finished ahead of the S&P 500 (+0.3%), which extended its August gain to 3.8%. Blue chips lagged with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.1%) spending the bulk of the session in the red.

The final week of August represented one of the quietest stretches for the stock market so far this year. The first four sessions of the week produced the four lowest volume days of the year (4-day average 487.3 million), but today's final tally of 604 million was a little closer to the 200-day average of 679 million.

The lack of activity during the week was a function of some participants being away on vacation, while many others opted to stick to the sidelines ahead of a three-day weekend in the U.S. that could feature new developments on the geopolitical front. However, the Friday tally benefited from month-end flows.

All ten sectors registered gains with heavily-weighted technology (+0.5%), health care (+0.4%), and financials (+0.5%) doing the bulk of the heavy lifting. The three sectors outperformed throughout the session, while the energy sector (+0.5%) joined the leaders during the late afternoon.

The tech sector rallied out of the gate with chipmakers setting the pace after Avago Technologies (AVGO 82.09, +5.73) delivered a solid quarterly report. Shares of AVGO soared 7.5%, while the PHLX Semiconductor Index gained 0.7% to end the month higher by 6.2%. The month-long strength contributed to the outperformance of the Nasdaq, which added 4.8% in August.

Furthermore, the tech-heavy index received another measure of support from biotechnology. The iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB 276.55, +2.43) gained 0.9% today to bring its August advance to 10.3%. Fittingly, the health care sector ended the month ahead of the other nine groups with a gain of 4.5%.

On the flip side, consumer discretionary (unch), consumer staples (+0.1%), and industrials (unch) lagged throughout the session. The industrial sector was the only group that was unable to finish the week in the green. The cyclical sector shed 0.3% for the week, but rallied 3.9% in August.

Treasuries held slim gains for the bulk of the session, but slid to lows into the close. The 10-yr yield climbed one basis point to 2.35%.

Economic data included personal income/spending data, Chicago PMI, and the Michigan Sentiment survey:

  • Personal income increased 0.2% in July following an upwardly revised 0.5% (from 0.4%) gain in June, while the Briefing.com consensus expected an increase of 0.3% 
    • The increase in July income was in-line with the reported 0.2% increase in aggregate earnings from the previously released employment data 
  • Personal spending fell 0.1% in July after increasing 0.4% in June, while the consensus expected an increase of 0.1% 
    • Even though household debt ratios have normalized to pre-recession levels and consumer confidence levels have fully recovered, consumers are continuing to delay consumption growth in order to increase their savings 
  • Core PCE prices increased 0.1% and are up 1.5% year-over-year, which is still well below the FOMC target rate 
  • The Chicago PMI for August rose to 55.6 from 52.6, while the Briefing.com consensus expected an increase to 54.8 
  • The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment report for August was revised up to 82.5 from 79.2 in the final reading, while the Briefing.com consensus expected a revision to 80.0 
Bond and equity markets will be closed on Monday for Labor Day. On Tuesday, the ISM Index for August and July Construction Spending will both be released at 10:00 ET.
  • Nasdaq Composite +9.7% YTD 
  • S&P 500 +8.4% YTD 
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average +3.2% YTD 
  • Russell 2000 +0.8% YTD 
Week in Review: S&P 500 Hits 2,000

The stock market began the last week of August on an upbeat note with the S&P 500 making its first appearance above the 2,000 level. The benchmark index added 0.5% with all ten sectors ending in the green. Equity indices rallied out of the gate, but the opening push ran out of steam after the S&P 500 notched a session high at 2,001.95. The benchmark index took a couple steps back after reaching that level and held its ground throughout the afternoon. M&A activity in the health care sector (+0.7%) contributed to the opening rally after Swiss drug maker Roche (RHHBY) agreed to acquire InterMune (ITMN) for $74.00 per share, representing a 38.0% premium to Friday's closing price.  

Equities ended the Tuesday session on an upbeat note with small-cap stocks pacing the advance. The Russell 2000 jumped 0.9%, while the S&P 500 posted a slim gain of 0.1% with seven sectors ending higher. In some ways, the session resembled Monday's affair as the key indices climbed out of the gate, reached their highs during the first half of action, and spent the remainder of the session in a slow retreat from their best levels of the day. Trading volume was light once again.

The major averages ended the midweek session on a flat note after spending the day inside narrow ranges. The S&P 500 hovered near the 2,000 mark for the majority of the trading day, but slumped to new lows during the last hour of action. The index then returned to its flat line, where it settled for the day. For the third day in a row, participation left a lot to be desired with just 487 million shares changing hands at the NYSE.

The stock market ended the Thursday session on a modestly lower note, but a late-morning rebound lifted the indices off their lows. The S&P 500 shed 0.2% with seven sectors ending in the red. European equities and U.S. futures slumped around 6:00 ET after Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko was quoted as saying Russian forces have invaded an area southeast of Donetsk. The news pressured the markets, but a brief uptick took place after a correction to reports indicated Ukraine's President did not use the word "invade," but rather said Russian troops "entered" Ukraine. The change in wording did not change the fact that Russian troops are reportedly on Ukraine's soil, which caused a flight to safety. As a result, Germany's 10-yr Bunds rallied, dropping the yield to a new record low of 0.87% before a slight rebound to 0.89%. Gold futures were also in demand with the metal climbing 0.7% to $1291.70/ozt. Once again, participation in today's affair was well below average with just 479 million shares changing hands at the NYSE floor, which undercut Monday's total for the lowest tally of the year.

4:07 pm Corporate Resource receives letters from NASDAQ regarding failure to file Form 10-Q (CRRS) : As previously stated and conforming to the extension granted the Company by NASDAQ for continued listing, the Company expects to file the Form 10-Q for the period ended July 4, 2014, on or before September 29, 2014. This filing will remedy the outstanding NASDAQ delinquencies.

4:01 pm Navistar extends its tax asset protection plan to Nov 3, 2014 (NAV) : Co announced that its Board of Directors approved an amendment to its Tax Asset Protection Plan that extends the expiration of the plan to November 3, 2014. The Tax Asset Protection Plan was adopted in June 2014 to protect the long-term value of Navistar's substantial net operating losses and was set to expire on September 1, 2014.

4:01 pm Donegal Group announces its chief executive officer, Donald Nikolaus, will be on a temporary medical leave of absence (DGICA) : Co announced that its CEO, Donald Nikolaus, will be on a temporary medical leave of absence. The Board has named Kevin Burke to serve as DGI's acting chief executive officer during Mr. Nikolaus' recovery period. Mr. Nikolaus will continue to serve as President and CEO of Donegal Mutual Insurance Company and his other Donegal positions while he recovers.

4:00 pm Orbitz reaches an agreement with American Airlines (AAL) to continue to offer American Airlines and US Airways (LCC.V) flights on all of its sites (OWW) : Co announced that it had reached an agreement with American Airlines to continue to offer American Airlines (AAL) and US Airways (LCC) flights on all of its sites. Consumers should see all available flights immediately. All tickets previously purchased on Orbitz Worldwide sites remain valid.

3:26 pm Earnings Preview for the week of September 2 - 5 (:SUMRX) : Of the companies reporting earnings for the week of September 2 - 5 some of the bigger names include:

  • Tuesday:
    • Pre Market - CONN, KFX
    • After Hours - PIKE, GWRE, AVNW, PRGN
  • Wednesday:
    • Pre Market - NAV, TOL, GIII, VNCE, EGAN
    • After Hours - PVH, ABM, MTRX, DDC, SCVL, HRB, CBK, AVAV, BV
  • Thursday:
    • Pre Market - UTIW, JOY, CIEN, HOV, PAY, MFRM, MEI, MBLY
    • After Hours - ESL, COO, ZQK, FNSR, ZUMZ, ACET, BEBE, BLOX, AMBA, SEAC

2:59 pm NYMEX Energy Closing Prices (:COMDX) :

  • Oct crude oil rose $1.42 to $95.93/barrel 
    • Crude oil traded higher today as it gained support on continued Ukraine tension. The energy component lifted from its session low of $95.04 and touched a session high of $96.06 before it settled 1.5% higher, gaining 2.5% for the week. 
  • Oct natural gas rose 3 cents to $4.07/MMBtu 
    • Natural gas rose for a third consecutive session despite brushing a session low of $4.01 in early morning pit trade. It recovered into positive territory and settled at its session high, booking a gain of 0.7%. Today's strength brought gains for the week to 4.9%. 
  • Oct heating oil rose 1 cent to $2.86/gallon
  • Oct RBOB rose 3 cents to $2.62/gallon

2:31 pm Ormat Tech subsidiary signs $140 mln loan to finance the construction of the McGinness Hills Phase 2 project in Nevada (ORA) : Co announced that its wholly-owned indirect subsidiary, OFC 2 LLC, and its project subsidiaries, have signed a $140 mln loan to finance the construction of the McGinness Hills Phase 2 project in Nevada.

  • The plant is expected to come on line in the first half of 2015, bringing the complex's total capacity to ~70 MW. 
  • Ormat is selling energy produced at McGinness Hills to NV Energy under contract through December 2032.

2:28 pm CBOT Agriculture and Ethanol/ICE Sugar Closing Price (:COMDX) :

  • Dec corn fell 3 cents to $3.66/bushel 
  • Dec wheat fell 9 cents to $5.63/bushel 
  • Nov soybeans fell 5 cents to $10.24/bushel 
  • Oct ethanol rose 2 cents to $2.04/gallon 
  • Nov sugar (#16 (U.S.)) rose 0.23 of a penny to 25.48 cents/lb

2:18 pm Dollar Flirts with Best Close in 14 Months: 10-yr: +01/32..2.329%..USD/JPY: 104.08..EUR/USD: 1.3138 (:SUMRX) :

  • The Dollar index presses session highs near 82.70 as trade contends with its best close in 14 months. Click here to see a daily Dollar Index chart.
  • EURUSD is -40 pips @ 1.3140 as action tests its lowest levels in a year. The single currency has been pushed lower following reports EU members will meet this weekend to discuss further sanctions against Russia. Of course the implementation of further sanctions are likely to lead to a retaliation against the region, and growth is likely to suffer. Traders have also made note of comments out of Germany's Bundesbank, which suggested the European Central Bank is nearing its limits of what it can do to combat the slowdown in the region. Eurozone data due out Monday includes Italian and Spanish Manufacturing PMI. 
  • GBPUSD is -15 pips @ 1.6575 as sellers look to regain control following two days of gains. Sterling saw an early test of the 1.6600 level following the better than expected Nationwide Home Price Index, but was once again rebuffed at the level. Britain's Manufacturing PMI and net lending to individuals will cross the wires on Monday. 
  • USDCHF is +30 pips @ .9180 as trade contends with its best close since November. Traders remain more interested in the EURCHF, which is holding near its worst levels since November 2012.
  • USDJPY is +40 pips @ 104.10 as the mostly disappointing Japanese data as sparked another wave of buying. Any close above 104.10 will be the best since April. Japan's capital spending is due out Sunday evening. 
  • AUDUSD is -20 pips @ .9335 as trade has surrendered all of yesterday's gains. The hard currency has been offered from the get go as sellers stepped in to defend resistance guarded by both the 50 and 100 dma. Australian data scheduled for Sunday is limited to company operating profits. China's Manufacturing PMI and HSBC Final Manufacturing PMI will be released Sunday evening
  • USDCAD is +10 pips @ 1.0870 as trade has recoued all of the early losses. The pair pressed down to the key 1.0810 level after the better than expected Canadian GDP (0.3% MoM actual v. 0.2% MoM expected) before buyers stepped in to defend support and the 50 dma. Canadian banks are closed on Monday in observance of Labor Day.

2:17 pm Oracle receives approval from the European Commission for its pending acquisition of MICROS Systems (MCRS) (ORCL) : The tender offer for the outstanding shares of MICROS Systems (MCRS) is scheduled to expire at 12:00 midnight, New York City time, at the end of September 2, 2014.

2:04 pm Ivanhoe Energy responds to trading activity; says not aware of any specific factors, other than previously disclosed information, which would result in levels of trading activity and change in share price recorded today (IVAN) :  

1:49 pm Quartet Merger Corp amends record date from July 14, 2014 to August 27, 2014 and date of special meeting to approve merger with Pangaea Logistics Solutions (QTET) : Co announced that it has re-established its record date from July 14, 2014 to August 27, 2014 in order to provide stockholders with updated financial information. As such, Quartet's Special Meeting of Stockholders to approve, among other things, the proposed merger between Quartet and privately-held Pangaea Logistics Solutions has been rescheduled to September 29, 2014.

  • The Special Meeting will be held at 10:00 A.M. EST.
  • There has been no change in the economic or other contractual terms of the proposed merger.

1:46 pm COMEX Metals Closing Prices (:COMDX) :

  • Dec gold fell $3.10 to $1287.40/oz 
    • Gold touched a session high of $1292.50 in morning action but slipped back into negative territory as the dollar index strengthened. It settled slightly above its session low of $1285.30, booking a loss of 0.2%. Today's weakness shaved gains for the week to 0.6%. 
  • Dec silver fell $0.12 to $19.49/oz 
    • Silver also retreated into negative territory after brushing a session high of $19.67. Unable to gain momentum, it settled 0.6% lower at its session low, booking a weekly gain of 0.2%. 
  • Dec copper rose 1 cent to $3.16/lb

1:14 pm S&P 500 sector leadership as the index holds modest gains moving through quiet midday trading; SPX now trades @ 2001.10 +4.36 (+0.22%) (SPY) :

  • Financials & Banks: XLF +0.40%

  • Utilities: XLU +0.40%

  • Technology: XLK +0.35%

12:59 pm Midday Market Summary: Influential Sectors Lead at Midday (:WRAPX) : Equity indices hold midday gains with the Russell 2000 (+0.5%) and Nasdaq Composite (+0.4%) trading ahead of the S&P 500 (+0.2%).

The stock market began the final session of August on a quiet note, but rallied during the late morning amid strength in the three top-weighted sectors. Technology (+0.4%), financials (+0.5%), and health care (+0.4%) remain in the lead at this juncture, while other influential sectors trade closer to their flat lines.

Of the three largest sectors, technology has been boosted by high-beta chipmakers after Avago Technologies (AVGO 82.95, +6.59) reported solid quarterly results. The stock has surged 8.6%, while the PHLX Semiconductor Index trades up 0.7%.

The solid performance of the technology sector has contributed to the relative strength of the Nasdaq, which has also received support from biotechnology. The iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB 276.06, +1.94) has added 0.7% and is on course to finish the month with a 10.0% gain. For its part, the health care sector is on course to finish the month ahead of the other nine groups. The top-weighted countercyclical sector is higher by 4.7% since the end of July.

Also of note, financials have rebounded from yesterday's underperformance, putting the sector on track to end the month higher by 4.0% versus a 3.6% increase for the S&P 500.

On the downside, the industrial sector (-0.2%) is the weakest performer following profit taking among defense contractors. The PHLX Defense Index hovers right below its flat line and is down 0.5% for the week. Despite the decline, the 17-stock index is still higher by 4.0% in August.

Treasuries have maintained a narrow range and the 10-yr note sits right above its flat line with the yield at 2.33%.

Economic data included personal income/spending data, Chicago PMI, and the Michigan Sentiment survey:

  • Personal income increased 0.2% in July following an upwardly revised 0.5% (from 0.4%) gain in June, while the Briefing.com consensus expected an increase of 0.3% 
    • The increase in July income was in-line with the reported 0.2% increase in aggregate earnings from the previously released employment data 
  • Personal spending fell 0.1% in July after increasing 0.4% in June, while the consensus expected an increase of 0.1% 
    • Even though household debt ratios have normalized to pre-recession levels and consumer confidence levels have fully recovered, consumers are continuing to delay consumption growth in order to increase their savings 
  • Core PCE prices increased 0.1% and are up 1.5% year-over-year, which is still well below the FOMC target rate 
  • The Chicago PMI for August rose to 55.6 from 52.6, while the Briefing.com consensus expected an increase to 54.8 
  • The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment report for August was revised up to 82.5 from 79.2 in the final reading, while the Briefing.com consensus expected a revision to 80.0

12:51 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

  • AVGO (83.05 +8.76%): Reported Q3 EPS of $1.26, non-GAAP revs rose 99.8% yoy to $1.29 bln; sees Q4 non-GAAP rev growth of 18-22% (~$871-900 mln); target raised at Credit Suisse, Oppenheimer, Pacific Crest, Deutsche Bank, and MKM Partners
  • WDAY (90.61 +5.50%): Recovery following declines seen yesterday despite reporting Q2 results ahead of expectations and provided upside guidance
  • CHU (17.75 +3.32%): Agreed to deal with Tesla Motors (TSLA) to build 400 charging stations in 120 cities in China
Large Cap Losers
  • MBT (18.5 -4.71%): Downgraded to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank; weakness in Russian stocks: VIP also lower
  • MPEL (28.22 -1.60%): Weakness in casino stocks following concerns of a workers' strike in Macau: LVS, MGM, WYNN also lower
  • UAL (47.58 -1.53%): Weakness in large cap airliners: AAL, SAVE, DAL also lower
Mid Cap Gainers
  • UTHR (114.16 +24.51%): Received a favorable patent ruling in case against Sandoz, a Novartis (NVS) company, regarding Remodulin, UTHR's product for pulmonary arterial hypertension
  • SPLK (54.11 +19.47%): Beat quarterly EPS by $0.03 ($0.01 vs -$0.02 estimate), revs rose 51.7% yoy to $101.5 mln vs $93.82 mln estimate; sees Q3 revs of $105-107 mln vs $104.37 mln estimate; sees FY15 revs of $423-428 mln vs $411.6 mln estimate
  • VEEV (29.25 +17.19%): Beat quarterly EPS by $0.02 ($0.09 vs $0.07 estimate), revs rose 52.6% yoy to $75.7 mln vs $69.3 mln estimate; sees Q3 EPS of $0.08 vs $0.07 estimate, revs of $78-79 mln vs $71.46 mln estimate; sees FY15 EPS of $0.30-0.31 vs $0.27 estimate, revs of $300-303 mln vs $281.98 mln estimate
Mid Cap Losers
  • YOKU (19.63 -1.90%): Maintained with a Hold at T.H. Capital
  • BIG (46.46 -1.57%): Beat quarterly EPS by $0.01 ($0.31 ex items vs $0.30 estimate), revs rose 1.2% yoy to $1.2 bln vs $1.2 bln estimate; comps +1.7% vs guidance of +1% to +3%; sees FY15 EPS of $2.40-2.50 vs $2.49 estimate, comps of +1% to +2%
  • COTY (17.13 -1.50%): Target lowered to $14 from $16 at B. Riley & Co, maintained with a Neutral rating

12:50 pm United Therapeutics : District Court decision received in Remodulin patent case; ruled in its favor in the co's case against Sandoz regarding United Therapeutics' Remodulin product (UTHR) : Co announced that the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey has ruled in its favor in the company's case against Sandoz regarding United Therapeutics' Remodulin product.

  • In his opinion, Judge Peter Sheridan ruled that U.S. Patent No. 6,765,117 is both valid and enforceable against Sandoz, and enjoined Sandoz from marketing its generic product until the expiration of that patent in October 2017. 
  • Judge Sheridan also ruled that U.S. Patent No. 7,999,007 expiring in 2029 is valid, but would not be infringed by Sandoz' generic product. 
  • Sandoz filed an Abbreviated New Drug Application in December 2011 seeking to market a generic version of Remodulin, and challenged patents covering Remodulin as part of that application. 
  • United Therapeutics filed the lawsuit that is the subject of this ruling shortly thereafter.

12:18 pm Vaalco Energy provides update on offshore Gabon operations; Production from the Etame Marin block has resumed (EGY) : Co provided an update on operations:

  • Production from the Etame Marin block has resumed after the successful completion of previously announced maintenance work on the Company's leased Floating, Production, Storage and Offloading vessel.
  • Production is expected to increase to pre-shut-in production rates over the next few days as well operations are stabilized.
  • The platform jackets for both of the two new production platforms for the additional development of the Etame Marin block are now in place.
  • The deck sections of both platforms are currently being towed to Gabon with arrival expected in early September, 2014.

12:18 pm Beacon Roofing Supply announces acquisition of All Weather Products of Vancouver, Canada; financial terms not disclosed (BECN) :  

12:02 pm European Markets Closing Prices (:SUMRX) : European markets are now closed; stock markets across Europe performed as follows:

  • UK's FTSE:+0.2%
  • Germany's DAX:+0.1%
  • France's CAC:+0.3%
  • Spain's IBEX:+0.1%
  • Portugal's PSI:+0.6%
  • Italy's MIB Index:+0.5%
  • Irish Ovrl Index:-0.3%
  • Greece ASE General Index: -0.5%

11:57 am Stocks/ETFs that traded to new 52 week highs/lows this session - New highs (136) outpacing new lows (26) (:SCANX) : Stocks that traded to 52 week highs: AAPL, AMSG, AMX, ANDE, ANET, ARCW, AVGO, AVIV, AWK, BBD, BDL, BIOF, BMO, BMRC, BRK.B, BSMX, BURL, CAVM, CENX, CEP, CHA, CHE, CHH, CHL, CHU, CLR, CNI, CNSL, COO, CYH, DGLY, DPS, DVA, ECF, EFX, ELLI, ELS, EMES, ENVE, EPD, ETE, EVEP, EXH, EXP, FCS, FDP, FOLD, GPK, GPRO, HAIN, HCA, HCLP, HCN, HD, HNT, HRL, HTCH, IDTI, IG, IHS, INVE, IRM, ITUB, KED, KLAC, KOG, LABL, LAZ, LEA, LNC, LNG, LYB, MAR, MCRL, MITT, MKSI, MOH, MPW, MRO, MWE, NCTY, NDAQ, NHI, NI, NOK, NTRS, NXPI, OKE, OKS, ORLY, PBA, PBR, PBR.A, PCRX, PFG, PIP, REV, REX, RFMD, RGP, RIOM, RRMS, SBSI, SCI, SEIC, SEMG, SFL, SLI, SRE, STRT, SWKS, SXL, TAM, TARO, THC, TMH, TQNT, TRT, TSEM, TSLA, TSRA, UEPS, UGI, UTHR, VGR, VRTS, WLK, WLL, WLP, WMS, WOOF, WPX, WRE, WWAV, XRX, ZFC

Stocks that traded to 52 week lows: ACPW, ALXA, APWC, BAGL, BAMM, BOBE, BSI, CACH, CBMX, CCO, CWST, DDE, DLA, FI, FRED, FRO, GES, IDI, IRG, ISH, MAT, PHMD, TITN, TRC, WGBS, WWWW

ETFs that traded to 52 week highs: AMJ, EWC, EWW, HYD, IGV, IHF, IYH, IYM, LQD, NIB, PALL, PFF, QQQ, RTH, SMH, THD, UYM, XLB, XLV

ETFs that traded to 52 week lows: FXE, SMN

11:45 am BancFirst issues statement on trading activity; says unusual activity appears to have begun in August, and it does not know of any reason for, or the source of, the trading activity (BANF) : Co has issued a statement regarding recent unusually high trading activity and increased market price of its 7.20% Cumulative Trust Preferred Securities, traded under the symbol BANFP. In a filing with the SEC on a Form 8-K, the co stated that the unusual activity appears to have begun in Aug, and it does not know of any reason for, or the source of, the trading activity. The Trust Preferred Securities pay a quarterly dividend of $0.45 per share, have a stated maturity of March 31, 2034, and are callable at any time at the par value of $25 per share.

11:31 am Las Vegas Sands completes amendment and restatement of its Marina Bay Sands Credit Facility; increases financial flexibility by extending facility maturities through end of the decade (LVS) :  

11:31 am Currency Commentary: Euro at Multi-Month Lows (:SUMRX) :

  • The Dollar Index is firmly bouncing off the 82.40 level. Some of the move is being attributed to a Tier 1 firm changing its target on the EURUSD to 1.20. And the 82.40 is a strong support level for the DXY. Adding to the strength is better than expected economic data with the Chicago PMI being notable as it blew away expectations. Next week the market will be focusing on the latest ISM number (Tue), Beige Book (Wed) and Jobs data (Thu-Fri). 
  • The euro has slipped to a multi-month low as news of the tgt cut crosses desks.  Inflation data in the region came in line with expectations  but it remains weak (a 5-year low) and has plenty of investors nervous about the potential for disinflation. And the EONIA rates have dipped into negative territory for the first time in its history. Next week the ECB is set to meet and participants will be eager to see what the next course of action is for the bank. But many are lowering expectations for any potential action. PMI numbers will greet market participants early Tuesday morning. 
  • The pound is running into resistance at the 1.66 level as it attempts to bounce off multi-week lows. The Bank of England will be meeting next week but no action is expected to be taken. The bigger interest will lie in the minutes when they are released in a couple of weeks. 
  • The yen continues its battle with the 104 level. A slew of data hit the wires overnight with the majority of participants viewing it as disappointing and painting a picture of a weak economy. This will lead to further actions buy the Bank of Japan in coming weeks. However 104 continues to hold as there is some safe haven buying propping up the currency (FOREX, BONDX).

11:17 am iShares Russell 2000: IWM now +0.50% with some notable index ETF rel. strength off 1st hour lows this morning as the R2K ETF sets a new session high @ 116.52 in recent mid-morning trade (IWM) :  

11:03 am Stock indices extending push off morning lows -- Dow -15, S&P +2.4, Nasdaq Comp +13 (:TECHX) : The S&P held at first level support (1994, The Technical Take) and rebounded five points, small-/mid-caps are pacing the way. 

10:43 am NASB Financial, Inc. (shares halted) announces intention to voluntarily delist from NASDAQ, deregister its common stock and repurchase up to $10 mln of its common stock (NASB) : Co announced that it has notified the NASDAQ Stock Market of its intention to voluntarily delist its common stock from the NASDAQ Capital Market. The co intends to cease trading on NASDAQ Stock Market at the close of business on Sep 18, 2014. The co's obligation to file current and periodic reports with the SEC will be terminated the same day upon the filing of the requisite notification with the SEC.

  • The decision of the co's Board of Directors to delist and deregister its common stock was based on numerous factors, including the significant cost savings of no longer filing periodic reports with the SEC plus reductions in accounting, audit, legal and other costs.
  • The co also announced that its Board of Directors has approved a new share repurchase program, which authorized the co to repurchase up to $10 mln of its common stock. The authorized repurchases represent ~ 5% of current market capitalization.

10:41 am UnitedHealth sets new session high of 86.93, this week's Aug highs are at 86.97/87.00 with its multi-year high from July at 87.24 (UNH) :  

10:25 am Relative sector strength (:TECHX) : Seeing some relative sector strength in recent trade in Biotech IBB, Health XLV, Gold Miners GDX, Gold GLD, Silver SLV.

10:15 am Pfizer: InnoPharma (being acquired by PFE) confirmed FDA approval of Decitabine for Injection, a Eisai (ESALY)'s generic version of DACOGEN (PFE) :

  • InnoPharma announced the approval from the FDA for its ANDA for decitabine for injection, a generic version of Eisai Inc.'s DACOGEN. InnoPharma developed the generic formulation of decitabine for injection and entered into an agreement with Sandoz (NVS) pursuant to which Sandoz will sell, market and distribute decitabine for injection in the United States. According to IMS data, aggregate U.S. sales of DACOGEN were approximately $251 million for the twelve months ending in April 2014.
  • On July 16, 2014, Pfizer and InnoPharma announced that they have entered into an agreement under which Pfizer will acquire InnoPharma. The closing of the transaction is subject to U.S. regulatory approval and is expected to occur during the third quarter.

10:14 am Johnson & Johnson's Janssen expands EXPLORER global cardiovascular research program to evaluate the role of XARELTO in addressing critical medical needs; new studies grow XARELTO clinical development program to more than 275K patients (JNJ) : Janssen Research & Development, part of JNJ, and its development partner, Bayer HealthCare (BAYRY), announced the expansion of the EXPLORER global cardiovascular research program for XARELTO (rivaroxaban) to include additional high-risk patient populations. New trials will investigate rivaroxaban, the most studied Factor Xa inhibitor, for the treatment of acute coronary syndrome, embolic stroke of undetermined source and peripheral artery disease. If this research is successful, Janssen may seek FDA approval of XARELTO for these indications.

10:10 am Major averages slip to new session lows -- Dow -27, S&P -0.6, Nasdaq Comp +0.3 (:TECHX) :  

10:03 am Boeing down for third day in a row, probes/stabilizes at its 50 ema/sma at 126.15/125.74 -- session low 126.07 (BA) :  

9:55 am Heritage Finl to submit Alarion acquisition to its stockholders for approval (HBOS) : Co announced that it has been informed by NASDAQ that its pending acquisition of Ocala-based Alarion Financial Services, the holding company for Alarion Bank, must be submitted for approval by the Company's stockholders. 

9:48 am Stock indices slip back off opening highs, extend slightly following data -- Dow -3, Nasdaq Comp +8, S&P +1.6 (:TECHX) :  

9:46 am Opening Market Summary: Nasdaq Displays Opening Strength (:WRAPX) : The major averages began the trading day on an upbeat note with the Nasdaq Composite (+0.3%) in the lead. The S&P 500 (+0.2%) follows not far behind with seven sectors showing early gains.

With the Nasdaq showing strength it is no surprise that the technology sector (+0.4%) trades ahead of the remaining groups. Chipmakers have contributed to the outperformance with the PHLX Semiconductor Index trading higher by 1.0%.

Just released, the Chicago PMI for August rose to 64.3 from 52.6, while the Briefing.com consensus expected an increase to 54.8.

The final reading of the Michigan Sentiment survey for August will be released at 9:55 ET. The Briefing.com consensus expects the reading to be revised up to 80.0 from 79.2.

9:38 am Firmer start with Nasdaq Comp +13 outperforming -- Dow +14, S&P +3.7 (:TECHX) : Technology XLK, Semi XSD, Software IGV are displaying relative strength

9:37 am Westmoreland Coal announces commencement of exchange offer for $425 mln of its 10.75 % senior secured notes due 2018 (WLB) : Co announced that it has commenced an offer to exchange up to $425 mln aggregate principal amount of its 10.75% Senior Secured Notes due 2018 that were issued in a private placement on April 28, 2014 for an equal principal amount of its 10.75% Senior Secured Notes due 2018 that have been registered under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended.

  • The exchange offer is being made to satisfy Westmoreland's obligations under a registration rights agreement entered into on April 28, 2014 in connection with the issuance of the Original Notes, and does not represent a new financing transaction. 
  • Westmoreland will not receive any proceeds from the exchange offer.

9:32 am Kandi Technologies announces entry into agreement for registered direct placement of $71 mln of common stock and warrants (KNDI) : Co announced that it has entered into a securities purchase agreement with certain institutional investors for a registered direct placement of $71 mln of common stock at a price of $17.20/share.

  • The Company will issue a total of 4,127,908 shares of common stock to the institutional investors. 
  • As part of the transaction, the Company will also issue to the investors warrants for the purchase of up to 743,024 shares of common stock at an exercise price of $21.50/share, which Warrants will have a term of 17 months from the date of issuance.
  • The net proceeds from this offering will be used for general working corporate purposes.

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

  • PartnerRe (PRE) will publish the co's 2013 Non-Life Loss Development Triangles after 4 p.m. Eastern on Sep 2, 2014.
  • Hilton (HLT) Worldwide announced the opening of Hilton Dallas/Plano Granite Park, in Plano, Texas.

9:16 am CONMED: ISS and Egan-Jones recommend shareholders vote for all CONMED Director nominees; recommend that shareholders 'do not vote' for any of the three nominees proposed by Voce Capital (CNMD) : Co announced that ISS and Egan-Jones Proxy Services, leading independent proxy advisory firms, have recommended that CONMED shareholders vote "FOR" ALL of CONMED's director nominees on the GOLD proxy card at the Company's September 10, 2014 Annual Meeting of Shareholders. In supporting CONMED's entire slate of director nominees, ISS and Egan-Jones recommend that shareholders "do not vote" for any of the three nominees proposed by Voce Capital Management.

  • "We strongly urge our shareholders to join ISS in supporting CONMED's Board as we seek to create long-term shareholder value."
  • In its August 28, 2014 report, ISS stated: 
    • "...the dissidents have not made a compelling case that additional change at the board level is warranted."

9:13 am S&P futures vs fair value: +4.20. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: +11.00. (:WRAPX) : The stock market is on track for an upbeat start to the final session of the month. The S&P 500 futures trade four points above fair value, which puts the benchmark index on course to build on its August gain of 3.4%.

Overnight action has been subdued with Asian markets ending on a mixed note, while indices in Europe trade near their flat lines. Inflation data from Japan was in line with estimates, while the Core CPI reading for the eurozone came in slightly ahead of estimates (0.9% versus expected 0.8%), which suggests the European Central Bank could hold back from deploying a quantitative easing program at next week's meeting. Headline CPI, however, eased to 0.3% from 0.4%.

Domestically, economic data released this morning revealed disappointing readings for July Personal Income (+0.2% versus Briefing.com consensus +0.3%) and Personal Spending (-0.1% versus Briefing.com consensus +0.1%), while core PCE Prices (+0.1%) were in line with estimates.

More data remains on the schedule with the Chicago PMI for August (Briefing.com consensus 54.8) expected to be released at 9:45 ET, while the final reading of the August Michigan Sentiment survey (consensus 80.0) will be reported at 9:55 ET.

Treasuries hold modest losses with the 10-yr yield up one basis point at 2.35%.

9:03 am Transcat acquires Ulrich Metrology and expands reach in Canada (TRNS) : Co announced that it has acquired, effective as of August 31, 2014, Ulrich Metrology, a leading Canadian provider of accredited and commercial calibrations with annualized revenue of $3.7 mln.

  • Ingrid Ulrich, President of Ulrich, and Ronald Barry, General Manager, will be remaining with Transcat.

9:02 am S&P futures vs fair value: +3.80. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: +9.20. (:WRAPX) : The S&P 500 futures trade four points above fair value.

Asian markets ended the week on a mixed note following a full slate of economic data.

  • Japan's National Core CPI held steady at 3.3%, as expected, while Tokyo Core CPI ticked down to 2.7% from 2.8%, as expected. Separately, Household Spending fell 5.9% year-over-year (consensus -3.0%; prior -3.0%), Industrial Production ticked up 0.2% month-over-month (expected 1.0%; previous -3.4%), and Retail Sales rose 0.5% year-over-year (consensus 0.1%; last -0.6%). Also of note, the Unemployment Rate rose to 3.8% from 3.7% (expected 3.7%) and Housing Starts fell 14.1% year-over-year (consensus -10.5%; last -9.5%) 
  • South Korea's Industrial Production rose 3.4% year-over-year (expected 2.7%; prior 0.6%), while Retail Sales ticked up 0.3% month-over-month (forecast 0.4%; last 0.3%) 
  • Australia's Private Sector Credit rose 0.4% month-over-month (expected 0.5%; last 0.7%) 
------
  • Japan's Nikkei shed 0.2%, finishing at its lowest level in almost two weeks. Heavyweight Softbank was the top performer, adding 3.4%. 
  • Hong Kong's Hang Seng ended flat, holding at a two-week low. Casino stocks weighed with employees planning a weekend protest against high housing costs. Sands China settled lower by 1.7%. 
  • China's Shanghai Composite rose 1.0%, climbing off three-week lows. Financials provided support with Agricultural Bank of China higher by 0.8%. 
Major European indices trade little changed, while Italy's MIB (+0.3%) outperforms. Investors received some hotter than expected inflation readings from the eurozone, which suggest the European Central Bank could make no changes to its policy stance at next week's meeting
  • Participants received several data points: 
    • Eurozone CPI ticked up 0.3% year-over-year, as expected, while core CPI increased 0.9% (consensus 0.8%; prior 0.8%). Separately, the Unemployment Rate held at 11.5%, as expected 
    • Germany's Retail Sales fell 1.4% month-over-month (expected 0.1%; previous 1.0%), while the year-over-year reading increased 0.7% (consensus 1.5%; last 0.1%) 
    • Great Britain's Nationwide HPI rose 11.0% year-over-year (expected 10.1%; last 10.6%) 
    • Italy's Quarterly Unemployment Rate ticked down to 12.5% from 12.6% (consensus 12.6%), while CPI rose 0.2% month-over-month (expected 0.1%; last -0.1%). Also of note, GDP was left unrevised at -0.2% quarter-over-quarter, as expected 
    • Spain's Business Confidence fell to -6.7 from -5.7 (expected -6.0), while Retail Sales declined 0.5% year-over-year (expected 0.1%; last 0.2%) 
------
  • Germany's DAX is lower by 0.3% with Deutsche Lufthansa showing the largest loss. The stock is lower by 2.0%. Financials are mixed with Commerzbank up 0.5% and Deutsche Bank down 0.7% 
  • In France, the CAC is flat. Oil services company Total leads with a gain of 1.2%, while Renault is the weakest performer, down 2.7%. 
  • Great Britain's FTSE trades up 0.1%. Financials are among the leaders with Aberdeen Asset Management, St James's Place, and RSA Insurance Group up between 0.9% and 1.5%. Consumer names lag with Tesco and WM Morrison Supermarkets both down near 4.1% after Tesco reduced its dividend and lowered its guidance. 
  • Italy's MIB outperforms with an increase of 0.3%. Salvatore Ferragamo has surged 7.7% in reaction to its quarterly report.

9:01 am Mattress Firm to acquire Back to Bed and Mattress Barn Stores for ~$60 mln; expected to close by end of Q3 (MFRM) :

  • Co has entered into an agreement to acquire substantially all of the mattress specialty retail assets and operations of Back to Bed, M World Mattress, MCStores and TBE Orlando, which collectively operate Back to Bed and Bedding Experts retail stores in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin and Bedding Experts and Mattress Barn retail stores in Florida. This acquisition will add approximately 135 mattress specialty retail stores to the Mattress Firm Company-operated store base in both new and existing markets, primarily in the Chicago and Orlando metropolitan areas, for an aggregate purchase price of ~$60 million, subject to customary adjustments. 
  • The closing of the acquisition is expected to occur by the end of the third fiscal quarter of 2014 and will be funded by cash reserves and revolver borrowings.

9:01 am IMRIS announces receipt of Nasdaq notice of bid price deficiency (IMRS) :  

8:41 am Duke Energy Indiana proposes plan to modernize its statewide electric grid; seven-year, $1.9 billion plan (DUK) : The co is filing a plan with Indiana state utility regulators to modernize its aging electric grid that delivers power to more than 800K Hoosier homes, businesses and industries. The seven-year, $1.9 bln plan uses a combination of advanced technology and infrastructure upgrades to improve service to its customers and provide them with better information about their energy use.

8:31 am S&P futures vs fair value: +4.80. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: +12.70. (:WRAPX) : The S&P 500 futures trade five points above fair value.

July personal income increased 0.2%, while the Briefing.com consensus expected an increase of 0.3%. Meanwhile, personal spending fell 0.1%, while the consensus expected an uptick of 0.1%.

Separately, core PCE prices rose 0.1%, which matched the Briefing.com consensus.

8:31 am Market View: Sep. stock-index futures trade up versus fair values, but are off overnight highs following the 8:30 a.m. ET economic data points (:TECHX) :

  • ESu4 now trades @ 1999.75 +3.00

  • YMu4 now trades @ 17095 +18

  • NQu4 now trades @ 4077.50 +7.75

8:31 am Ixys increases quarterly dividend to $0.035 from $0.03/share (IXYS) :  

8:27 am Senesco closed enrollment in its ongoing Phase 1b/2a open-label, multiple-dose, dose-escalation clinical trial of SNS01-T (SNTI) : Co announced the closing of enrollment in its ongoing Phase 1b/2a open-label, multiple-dose, dose-escalation clinical trial of SNS01-T, a first-in-class modulator of eukaryotic translation initiation factor 5A (eIF5A), in patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma, plasma cell leukemia or B cell lymphoma.

  • The safety portion of the study has established a maximum tolerated dose following the reporting of a second dose limiting toxicity (DLT.V) in the fourth and highest dosing cohort (0.375 mg/kg). 
  • The first DLT observed was a Grade 4 infusion reaction that occurred in a patient who had not received the designated premedications. The second DLT, an uncomplicated Grade 4 neutropenia, occurred after eight doses in a lymphoma patient.

8:23 am 22nd Century Group announces NASCO Products entered into a multi-year manufacturing agreement with Smoker Friendly International to produce the Smoker Friendly private label cigarette brand (XXII) : Co announced that NASCO Products, a federally licensed tobacco product manufacturer and participating member of the tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (MSA), entered into a multi-year manufacturing agreement with Smoker Friendly International to produce the Smoker Friendly private label cigarette brand.

  • Smoker Friendly International, LLC licenses retailers to use its "Smoker Friendly" name and sell its "SF" products.
  • Starting in January 2015, the SF brand of cigarettes will be made by NASCO Products in the Mocksville, North Carolina factory, which 22nd Century Group purchased earlier in 2014.

8:21 am European Markets Update: DAX -0.1%, CAC +0.1%, FTSE +0.2%, MIB +0.5% (:SUMRX) : Major European indices trade little changed, while Italy's MIB (+0.5%) outperforms. Investors received some hotter than expected inflation readings from the eurozone, which suggest the European Central Bank could make no changes to its policy stance at next week's meeting

  • Participants received several data points: 
    • Eurozone CPI ticked up 0.3% year-over-year, as expected, while core CPI increased 0.9% (consensus 0.8%; prior 0.8%). Separately, the Unemployment Rate held at 11.5%, as expected 
    • Germany's Retail Sales fell 1.4% month-over-month (expected 0.1%; previous 1.0%), while the year-over-year reading increased 0.7% (consensus 1.5%; last 0.1%) 
    • Great Britain's Nationwide HPI rose 11.0% year-over-year (expected 10.1%; last 10.6%) 
    • Italy's Quarterly Unemployment Rate ticked down to 12.5% from 12.6% (consensus 12.6%), while CPI rose 0.2% month-over-month (expected 0.1%; last -0.1%). Also of note, GDP was left unrevised at -0.2% quarter-over-quarter, as expected 
    • Spain's Business Confidence fell to -6.7 from -5.7 (expected -6.0), while Retail Sales declined 0.5% year-over-year (expected 0.1%; last 0.2%) 
------
  • Germany's DAX is lower by 0.1% with Deutsche Lufthansa showing the largest loss. The stock is lower by 1.9%. Financials are mixed with Commerzbank up 0.6% and Deutsche Bank down 0.5% 
  • In France, the CAC is higher by 0.1%. Oil services company Total leads with a gain of 1.2%, while Renault is the weakest performer, down 2.7%. 
  • Great Britain's FTSE trades up 0.2%. Financials are among the leaders with Aberdeen Asset Management, St James's Place, and RSA Insurance Group up between 0.9% and 1.5%. Consumer names lag with Tesco and WM Morrison Supermarkets both down near 4.1% after Tesco reduced its dividend and lowered its guidance. 
  • Italy's MIB outperforms with an increase of 0.5%. Salvatore Ferragamo has surged 7.7% in reaction to its quarterly report.

8:18 am Gapping down (:SCANX) : Gapping down
In reaction to disappointing earnings/guidance
: ZOES -1.3%, BIG -0.5%

Select Russia related names showing weakness (Russian stocks downgraded at Morgan Stanley): MBT -3.8% (also dg'd at DB, see below), RSX -1.3%, VIP -1%, YNDX -0.9%.

Other news: ISNS -6.6% (may be related to large shareholder selling shares), FRO -2.2% (cont weakness), NOAH -1.2% (still checking), MCHP -0.6% (co confirmed it is in preliminary discussions with CSR plc).

Analyst comments: MBT -3.8% (downgraded to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank), GOMO -1.2% (downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse).

8:16 am ViewPoint Financial & and LegacyTexas Group announced that additional time will be required to obtain regulatory approvals and to satisfy customary closing conditions necessary to complete their merger (VPFG) : The co and LegacyTexas Group announced that additional time will be required to obtain regulatory approvals and to satisfy customary closing conditions necessary to complete their merger, and have amended their merger agreement to extend the agreement to December 31, 2014.

  • Also, the amended merger agreement provides that the closing date of the merger shall take place within five days after receipt of all regulatory approvals, including applicable waiting periods, as well as allows LegacyTexas to make up to two additional distributions to its shareholders prior to the effective date of the merger. 
  • The merger will result in one of the largest independent banks in the state of Texas, with 51 branches and pro forma assets of over $5 bln.
  • As previously announced, the merger has been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies, and by the shareholders of LegacyTexas.

8:13 am Gapping up (:SCANX) : Gapping up
In reaction to strong earnings/guidance
: UEPS +17.9%, VEEV +12.2%, SPLK +6.7%, RALY +6.4%, ANFI +5.4%, AVGO +5.3%, PSUN +4.3%, BONA +3.9%, FRED +2.9%, CO +2.3%, OVTI +2.3%.

M&A news: CRTO +20.7% (may be attributed to Publicis (PUBGY) speculation).

Select Biotech related names showing strength: FOLD +5.2%, AEZS +3.6%, KERX +0.7%, ACHN +0.5%.

Other news: DGLY +7.1% (continue momentum higher),BCRX +4.1% (receives additional NIAID funding to conduct a non-human primate study of BCX4430 in Ebola virus disease),RSH +3.5% (cont strength),CHU +3.4% (agreement with Tesla for charging stations),NXPI +3% (Apple and NXP Semi (NXPI) working on payment system technology for iPhone, according to reports),AZN +2.2% (reports that Pfizer (PFE) and AZN may have resumed merger talks),KNDI +2.1% (China considering new tax on gasoline to help electric car market, according to reports),TSLA +1.7% (has agreed to deal with China Unicom (CHU) for charging stations, according to reports) 

Analyst comments: SSYS +1.5% (initiated with a Buy at Stifel),CRH +1.1% (upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Goldman)

8:04 am Ritchie Bros. sold more than $48 mln of heavy equipment and trucks during an unreserved public auction at the co's permanent auction site in Houston, Texas on Aug 27 & 28, 2014 (RBA) :  

8:03 am Reynolds American and Lorillard (LO) receive requests for additional information from FTC (RAI) : Cos announced that each company has received a request for additional information from the FTC in connection with Reynolds American's pending acquisition of Lorillard (LO) and divestiture of select brands to Imperial Tobacco Group. The second request was issued under notification requirements of the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended and is a normal part of the regulatory review process.

  • The effect of the second request is to extend the waiting period imposed by the HSR Act until 30 days after Reynolds American and Lorillard have substantially complied with the request, unless that period is extended voluntarily by both parties or terminated sooner by the FTC.
  • The companies continue to expect the transactions to close in the first half of 2015. 

8:02 am Verizon to redeem the entire outstanding principal amount of its $750 mln 1.25% Notes, due Nov 3, 2014 (VZ) : Co announced that it will redeem the entire outstanding principal amount of its $750 mln 1.25% Notes, due November 3, 2014. The redemption date for the Notes will be September 29, 2014.

8:01 am AAR Corp exercises its right to redeem all of the currently outstanding $30 mln principal amount of 1.75% Convertible Senior Notes due 2015 (AIR) : Co announced that it has exercised its right to redeem all of the currently outstanding $30 mln principal amount of 1.75% Convertible Senior Notes due 2015, in accordance with the terms of the Notes. The redemption price of the Notes is 103.358% of the principal amount redeemed, which amount is equal to $1,033.58 per $1K principal amount, plus accrued and unpaid interest to, but not including, the redemption date, in accordance with the provisions of the indenture governing the Notes. The redemption date for the Notes is October 1, 2014.

8:01 am Atlatsa Resources appoints Boipelo Lekubo as CFO, effective 1 September 2014 (ATL) :  

8:00 am S&P futures vs fair value: +5.70. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: +14.00. (:WRAPX) : U.S. equity futures hover near their highs amid subdued action overseas. The S&P 500 futures trade six points above fair value. The benchmark index will enter the final session of the month with an August gain of 3.4%. Meanwhile, nine of ten economic sectors are on course to finish the month higher, while the smallest sector by weight-telecom services-will enter the session with an August decline of 1.8%.

Treasuries hold slim losses with the 10-yr yield up one basis point at 2.35%.

In U.S. corporate news of note:

  • Avago Technologies (AVGO 79.94, +3.58): +4.8% in reaction to its solid results 
  • Big Lots (BIG 47.05, -0.15): -0.3% despite reporting a one-cent beat and announcing a new $125 million repurchase program 
  • OmniVision (OVTI 27.80, +0.52): +1.9% following its better than expected revenue 
  • Splunk (SPLK 47.75, +2.46): +5.4% after beating on both metrics and guiding higher 
Reviewing overnight developments:
  • Asian markets ended mixed. Japan's Nikkei -0.2%, China's Shanghai Composite +1.0%, and Hong Kong's Hang Seng ended flat 
    • In economic data: 
      • Japan's National Core CPI held steady at 3.3%, as expected, while Tokyo Core CPI ticked down to 2.7% from 2.8%, as expected. Separately, Household Spending fell 5.9% year-over-year (consensus -3.0%; prior -3.0%), Industrial Production ticked up 0.2% month-over-month (expected 1.0%; previous -3.4%), and Retail Sales rose 0.5% year-over-year (consensus 0.1%; last -0.6%). Also of note, the Unemployment Rate rose to 3.8% from 3.7% (expected 3.7%) and Housing Starts fell 14.1% year-over-year (consensus -10.5%; last -9.5%) 
      • South Korea's Industrial Production rose 3.4% year-over-year (expected 2.7%; prior 0.6%), while Retail Sales ticked up 0.3% month-over-month (forecast 0.4%; last 0.3%) 
      • Australia's Private Sector Credit rose 0.4% month-over-month (expected 0.5%; last 0.7%) 
    • In news: 
      • Japan's disappointing Household Spending report marked the fourth consecutive decline, while inflation readings were largely in line with expectations
  • Major European indices are little changed. Germany's DAX -0.1%, Great Britain's FTSE +0.1%, and France's CAC is flat. Elsewhere, Italy's MIB +0.6% and Spain's IBEX -0.2% 
    • Participants received several data points: 
      • Eurozone CPI ticked up 0.3% year-over-year, as expected, while core CPI increased 0.9% (consensus 0.8%; prior 0.8%). Separately, the Unemployment Rate held at 11.5%, as expected 
      • Germany's Retail Sales fell 1.4% month-over-month (expected 0.1%; previous 1.0%), while the year-over-year reading increased 0.7% (consensus 1.5%; last 0.1%)
      • Great Britain's Nationwide HPI rose 11.0% year-over-year (expected 10.1%; last 10.6%) 
      • Italy's Quarterly Unemployment Rate ticked down to 12.5% from 12.6% (consensus 12.6%), while CPI rose 0.2% month-over-month (expected 0.1%; last -0.1%). Also of note, GDP was left unrevised at -0.2% quarter-over-quarter, as expected 
      • Spain's Business Confidence fell to -6.7 from -5.7 (expected -6.0), while Retail Sales declined 0.5% year-over-year (expected 0.1%; last 0.2%) 
    • Among news of note: 
      • Hotter than expected inflation readings from the eurozone suggest the European Central Bank could make no changes to its policy stance at next week's meeting

7:47 am Asian Markets Close: Nikkei -0.2%, Hang Seng UNCH, Shanghai +1.0% (:SUMRX) :

  • Markets ended mixed across Asia. 
  • Japan's household spending dropped -5.9% YoY (-2.7% YoY expected) while preliminary industrial production advanced just 0.2% MoM (1.2% MoM expected). Tokyo Core CPI was in-line at 2.7% YoY while retail sales was the lone beat, advancing +0.5% YoY (-0.1% YoY expected). 
  • Japan's Nikkei finished at its lowest level in nearly two weeks. Heavyweight Softbank was the top performer, adding 3.4%. 
  • Hong Kong's Hang Seng (UNCHF) held at a two-week low. Casino stocks weighed as employees are planning a weekend protest of high housing costs. Sands China ended lower by 1.7%. 
  • China's Shanghai Composite (+1.0%) climbed off three-week lows. Financials provided support with Agricultural Bank of China higher by 0.8%. 
  • India's Sensex was closed for Ganesh Festival. 
  • Australia's ASX (UNCHF) held just shy of six-year highs. Mining giant BHP Billiton sank 0.6% as iron ore prices fell to their lowest level in two years. 
  • Regional Decliners: Indonesia -0.9%...Philippines -0.7%...Malaysia -0.5%...Taiwan -0.4%...South Korea -0.4%...Singapore -0.1% 
  • Regional Advancers: Thailand +0.2%...Vietnam +0.7%
  • Fx: USDCNY held @ 6.1423...USDINR was little changed @ 60.51...USDJPY +25 pips @ 103.95...AUDUSD -20 pips @ .9335

7:25 am USDJPY Nears 104.00: 10Y: -02/32..2.341%..USD/JPY: 103.93..EUR/USD: 1.3182 (:SUMRX) :

  • The Dollar Index holds little changed near 82.50. 
  • The greenback saw early buying provide a test of the 821.60 level, but trade has surrendered those gains over the course of the morning. 
  • EURUSD is +5 pips @ 1.3190 amid a choppy trade. The single currency withstood some early selling pressure following the German retail sales (-1.4% MoM actual v. 0.1% MoM expected) miss as the recent lows above 1.3150 were able to hold, and has rallied into positive territory following the in-line eurozone CPI Flash Estimate (0.3% YoY). The region's unemployment rate was also released, holding at 11.5%. 
  • GBPUSD is +5 pips @ 1.6595 as light buying persists for a third day. A stronger than expected Nationwide Home Price Index (0.8% Mom actual v. 0.1% MoM expected) has sterling yet again testing the 1.6600 level that has acted as a ceiling on action for more than the past week. A breakout above the level puts 1.6700 and the 200 dma in play. 
  • USDCHF is -5 pips @ .9145 as trade continues to hold near nine-month highs. Today's strong KOF Economic Barometer (99.5 actual v. 97.9 expected, 97.9 previous) has had little impact on trade as traders are more interested in EURCH holding at 1.2060, the lowest since December 2012. 
  • USDJPY is +25 pips @ 103.95 as buyers regain control following two days of selling. Today's advance comes after more disappointing data out of Japan. Household spending dropped -5.9% YoY (-2.7% YoY expected) while preliminary industrial production advanced just 0.2% MoM (1.2% MoM expected). Tokyo Core CPI was in-line at 2.7% YoY while retail sales was the lone beat, advancing +0.5% YoY (-0.1% YoY expected). Any close above 104.10 would be the best since January. Click here to see a daily USDJPY chart.
  • AUDUSD is -15 pips @ .9340 as trade pulls back from one-month highs. The hard currency has seen sellers emerge in defense of resistance that is guarded by both the 50 and 100 dma. USDCNY was flat @ 6.1423. 
  • USDCAD is -15 pips @ 1.0845 as trade contends with its lowest close in a month. The 1.0820 area is defended by the 50 dma and will be watched closely into today's GDP and Raw Materials Price Index data.

7:07 am BioCryst Pharm receives additional NIAID funding to conduct a non-human primate study of BCX4430 in Ebola virus disease (BCRX) :

  • Co announced that the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has awarded a contract modification for an additional $2.4 million to BioCryst to conduct a dose ranging efficacy study of an intramuscular formulation of BCX4430 in non-human primates as a treatment for Ebola virus disease. The study is expected to be initiated within weeks. 
  • The successful completion of an efficacy study in an experimental Ebola virus disease model in non-human primates represents an important next step towards understanding the potential of BCX4430 as a treatment for Ebola disease in humans. NIAID, part of the National Institutes of Health, granted a contract to BioCryst in September 2013 valued up to $22.0 million over five years. With this additional award, the BCX4430 development contract has been increased in value to $24.4 million, if all options are exercised.

6:52 am S&P futures vs fair value: +7.00. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: +16.50. :

6:52 am European Markets : FTSE...6,818.65...+12.90...+0.20%.  DAX...9,477.69...+15.10...+0.20%.

6:52 am Asian Markets : Nikkei...15,424.59...-35.30...-0.20%.  Hang Seng...24,742.06...+1.10...0.00.

6:48 am On The Wires (:WIRES) :

  • Consumers Energy, the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (CMS), is accelerating its plan to provide updated electric meters to homes and businesses across Michigan. By the end of 2017, two years earlier than scheduled originally, 1.8 mln electric meters will be updated along with 600,000 natural gas meters for customers who also have Consumers Energy electric service.

6:48 am Fiat SpA provided update in connection with proposed cross-border merger to create Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.; co is nearing completion of process of determining the number of shares for which cash exit rights have been validly exercised by Fiat shareholders (FIATY) : Co provided an update in connection with the proposed cross-border merger to create Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V., which was approved at the extraordinary meeting of shareholders held on Aug 1, 2014:

  • Fiat is nearing completion of the process of determining the number of shares for which cash exit rights have been validly exercised by Fiat shareholders and is preparing for the mandatory offer of such shares to existing Fiat shareholders at the Exit Price. 
  • Fiat is in the process of completing the matching of notices received with the required certifications for intermediaries. Fiat expects to complete this process and publicly announce the number of shares for which cash exit rights have been validly exercised no later than Sep 4, 2014.
  • Based on the notices and confirmations received, co has determined that the EUR500 mln cap has not been exceeded. Co has determined that even if all remaining unmatched noticed and unmatched confirmations were to be matched, the maximum number of shares for which cash exit rights have been validly exercised will yield an aggregate exposure that is below the cap.

6:46 am Albemarle and ICL to form polymeric flame retardant manufacturing joint venture (ALB) : The co and ICL announced that the two companies have entered into an agreement to establish a manufacturing joint venture for the production of ICL's FR-122P polymeric flame retardant and Albemarle's GreenCrest polymeric flame retardant. These flame retardants are designed to replace hexabromocyclododecane. HBCD has been the leading flame retardant used in expanded and extruded polystyrene foam applications, but is being phased out in the European Union, Japan and other countries.

  • The joint venture and its partners will own and operate a 2,400 MT per year Netherlands plant, which is currently operating, and a 10,000 MT per year Israel plant, which is scheduled to come on line in the 4th quarter of 2014.

6:24 am Big Lots beats by $0.01, reports revs in-line; raises bottom end of FY15 EPS guidance in line; reaffirms FY15 comp guidance; Q2 comps +1.7%; announced new $125 mln share repurchase program (BIG) : Reports Q2 (Jul) earnings of $0.31 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.01 better than the Capital IQ Consensus Estimate of $0.30; revenues rose 1.2% year/year to $1.2 bln vs the $1.2 bln consensus with comps +1.7% vs guidance of +1-3%.

  • Co issues in-line guidance for FY15, raises bottom end of EPS to $2.40-2.50 from $2.35-2.50 vs. $2.49 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate; reaffirms FY15 comparable store sales range of +1% to +2%
  • Inventory ended the second quarter of fiscal 2014 at $799 million, compared to $914 million for the second quarter of fiscal 2013. 
  • "Yesterday, on August 28, 2014, our Board of Directors approved a new share repurchase program providing for the repurchase of up to $125 million of our common shares."

6:23 am NanoString Technologies files for $100 mln mixed security shelf offering (NSTG) :  

6:02 am Rubicon Minerals announces Ontario Divisional Court dismissed application for judicial review in respect of co's production closure plan for its fully-permitted Phoenix Gold Project (RBY) : Co announces the Ontario Divisional Court has dismissed an application for judicial review that was previously filed by Wabauskang First Nation in respect of co's production closure plan for its fully-permitted Phoenix Gold Project located in Red Lake, Ontario.

  • Construction of the Project has been unaffected.
  • The Project remains on schedule for projected production in mid-2015.

6:01 am The9 Ltd announces the joint venture with Qihoo 360 (QIHU) obtained the publishing and operating license of Firefall in China & NCTY announces sale of certain businesses for total consideration of RMB200 mln (NCTY) :

  • The co announced that it's subsidiary, Red 5 Singapore Pte. Ltd. has entered into a license agreement with System Link Limited, a joint venture formed by The9 and Qihoo 360 Technology Co., Ltd. (QIHU) for publishing and operating Firefall for a five-year term in mainland China. Under this license agreement, System Link Limited will pay to Red 5 Singapore at least $160 mln including license fee and royalties during the contract period. 
  • The co also announced that it's wholly-owned consolidated interest entity Shanghai The9 Information Technology Co., Ltd., has closed a transaction with Shanghai Zhengwu Investment Center for sale of its wholly-owned subsidiary Shanghai Huopu Cloud Computing Terminal Technology Co., Ltd. for a total consideration of RMB200 million in cash. Huopu Cloud holds a web game QiJiGuiLai and has the right to receive a minority portion of royalties generated from operation of the game Firefall in mainland China upon payment and other conditions. 

3:04 am On The Wires (:WIRES) :

  • Royal Philips (PHG) announced the full range of its cardiology solutions serving clinicians and patients across the care continuum from prevention and diagnosis, to treatment, recovery and wellness.
  • United Microelectronics (UMC) and Fujitsu Semiconductor announced an agreement for UMC to become a minority shareholder of a newly formed subsidiary of Fujitsu Semiconductor that will include its 300mm wafer manufacturing facility located in Kuwana, Mie, Japan 

1:39 am Glori Energy Common Stock meets NASDAQ requirements & warrants to be delisted as of September 4, 2014 (GLRI) : Co announces that it was formally notified on August 25, 2014 that its common stock has satisfied the requirements for initial listing on the NASDAQ Capital Market. Glori meets the requirements for initial listing as common stock and its trading symbol will continue to be GLRI.

Glori also announced that it was formally notified on August 25, 2014 by NASDAQ that its warrants do not meet the minimum 400 round lot holder requirement under NASDAQ Listing Rule 5515(a)(4) and IM-5101-2, and the warrants will be delisted as of September 4, 2014.

1:35 am Ur-Energy completes technical report on Shirley Basin Uranium Project; no marterial difference from prior report (URG) : Co announces the completion of a Technical Report for its Shirley Basin Uranium Project in Carbon County, Wyoming. This report discloses an initial uranium resource estimate for the Project of 8,816,000 pounds U3O8 of Measured and Indicated Resources, averaging 0.23% eU3O8. There are no material differences in the resources between this Technical Report and an earlier disclosure in our Press Release dated July 22, 2014.

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