Markets Marginally Lower In Quiet Trading Session

Benzinga

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U.S. stocks were marginally lower, as investors and traders may be waiting on the sidelines for further clarity on geopolitical tension.

Volume was lighter than usual, as the composite volume on the New York Stock Exchange was 2.2 billion right before the closing bell. Typically, 2.1 billion shares change hands at that time.

The JOLTS job survey showed that job openings increased slightly in June, while the U.S. NFIB small business optimism index moved higher in July.

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  • The Dow lost 0.06 percent, closing at 16,560.48.
  • The S&P 500 lost 0.16 percent, closing at 1,933.75.
  • The NASDAQ lost 0.27 percent, closing at 4,389.25.
  • Gold lost 0.01 percent, trading at $1,310.50 an ounce.
  • Oil lost 0.69 percent, trading at $97.40 a barrel.
  • Silver lost 0.65 percent, trading at $19.97 an ounce.
News Of Note

ICSC Retail Store Sales rose 3.2 percent year over year after rising 4.5 percent last week.

July NFIB Small Business Optimism rose to 95.7 from 95.0 in June.

Redbook Chain Store Sales rose 4.8 percent year over year after rising 4.6 percent last week.

July's U.S. Budget Deficit narrowed to $94.59 billion, roughly in-line with expectations for a $96 billion deficit. Fiscal year to date, the deficit stands at $460.45 billion. Receipts of $2.469 trillion are 8 percent higher than it was a year ago, while spending of $2.93 trillion is 1 percent higher than it was a year ago.

June 2014 U.S. JOLTS Job Openings read 4.671 million, topping expectations of 4.60 million.

Poland's foreign minister stated that the threat of a Russian armed incursion into Easter Ukraine has eased slightly.

The National Basketball Association announced that the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers to Steve Ballmer has closed.

Analyst Upgrades And Downgrades Of Note

Analysts at Wunderlich initiated coverage of Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE: ANF) with a Buy rating and $48 price target. Separately, analysts at Stifel Nicolaus upgraded Abercrombie to Buy from Hold with a $50 price target. Shares lost 0.75 percent, closing at $41.25.

Analysts at Morgan Stanley upgraded Buffalo Wild Wings (NASDAQ: BWLD) to Equal-Weight from Underweight with an unchanged $148 price target. Shares gained 0.86 percent, closing at $143.83.

Analysts at Credit Suisse upgraded Dean Foods Company (NYSE: DF) to Outperform from Neutral. Shares gained 1.18 percent, closing at $15.38.

Analysts at Barclays maintained an Overweight rating on EOG Resources (NYSE: EOG) with a price target raised to $148 from a previous $147. Shares lost 1.49 percent, closing at $106.69.

Analysts at Goldman Sachs upgraded El Paso Pipeline Partners (NYSE: EPB) to Neutral from Sell with a price target raised to $42 from a previous $33. Shares lost 1.63 percent, closing at $39.90.

Analysts at Jefferies maintained a Buy rating on Home Depot (NYSE: HD) with a price target raised to $95 from a previous $90. Shares gained 0.05 percent, closing at $82.92.

Analysts at Stifel Nicolaus initiated coverage of Illumina (NASDAQ: ILMN) with a Buy rating and $200 price target. Shares lost 0.74 percent, closing at $162.92.

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Analysts at Leerink Swann upgraded Intercept Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ICPT) to Outperform from Market Perform with a price target raised to $445 from a previous $270. Also, analysts at Deutsche Bank maintained a Buy rating on Intercept with a price target raised to $500 from a previous $395. Shares gained 16.59 percent, closing at $27652.

Analysts at Northland Securities initiated coverage of Itron (NASDAQ: ITRI) with a Market Perform rating and $40 price target. Shares lost 0.80 percent, closing at $39.48.

Analysts at Credit Suisse maintained an Outperform rating on Kinder Morgan (NYSE: KMI) with a price target raised to $49 from a previous $41. Shares lost 1.63 percent, closing at $38.73.

Analysts at Jefferies maintained a Buy rating on Kohl's (NYSE: KSS) with a price target raised to $64 from a previous $62. Shares gained 0.18 percent, closing at $55.93.

Analysts at Credit Suisse maintained an Outperform rating on Priceline Group (NASDAQ: PCLN) with a price target raised to $1,600 from a previous $1,500. Also, analysts at Macquarie maintained an Outperform rating on Priceline with a price target raised to $1,590 from a previous $1,500. As well, analysts at Deutsche Bank maintained a Buy rating on Priceline with a price target raised to $1,520 from a previous $1,300. Shares lost 1.14 percent, closing at $1,294.36.

Analysts at UBS maintained a Sell rating on RadioShack (NYSE: RSH) with a price target lowered to $0.50 from a previous $0.90. Shares lost 11.29 percent, closing at $0.5703.

Analysts at Cowen & Company downgraded United Technologies (NYSE: UTX) to Market Perform from Outperform with a price target lowered to $118 from a previous $135. Shares lost 0.77 percent, closing at $104.91.

Equities-Specific News Of Note

Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ: ATVI) will develop an iPad and Android tablet version of its upcoming Skylanders game. Separately, the company said that pre-orders for its upcoming Destiny are setting all-time records.

Target's (NYSE: TGT) Canadian President stated that Target Canada should show measurable progress by fall as the retailer struggles to compete. Shares gained 0.17 percent, closing at $58.46.

Talisman Energy (NYSE: TLM) confirmed it plans to begin the process to sell all or part of its exploration assets in Iraq's Kurdistan region within the next few weeks. Shares lost 0.76 percent, closing at $10.43.

According to Bloomberg, Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) suppliers have begun manufacturing processes for a new iPad Air and iPad Mini models. Shares lost 0.02 percent, closing at $95.97.

Jana Partners sent a fresh letter to the board of directors of PetSmart (NASDAQ: PETM) urging for a full review of all strategic alternatives. Shares lost 0.11 percent, closing at $68.49.

Schlumberger (NYSE: SLB) said that Russian sanctions may negatively impact its third quarter earnings by as much as $0.03 per share. Shares lost 1.23 percent, closing at $107.87.

A California senator said that Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA) could be exempt from certain environmental rules (and save as much as $500 million in tax breaks) as part of an incentive package for the company to build its Gigafactory in the state. Separately, Tesla stated that it now has 105 charging stations in North America, 54 in Europe and nine in Asia. Tesla also said that coast-to-coast travel in the U.S. will be possible for 98 percent of the population by 2015. Shares gained 0.25 percent, closing at $259.96.

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Hertz Global (NYSE: HTZ) said that it will be unable to file its second quarter report on time due to a previously disclosed review of its prior financial statements. Shares gained 1.60 percent, closing at $28.50.

In a 10-Q, Twitter (NYSE: TWTR) listed laws and regulations related to credit card processing as among potential company risks. This fueled speculation that the company is planning an e-commerce and/or online payments expansion. Shares gained 1.25 percent, closing at $43.81.

Winners Of Note

Triptree Financial has agreed to acquire Fortegra Financial (NYSE: FRF) for $10 per share. The boards of both companies have approved the deal, which is expected to close late this year or early next year. Shares surged to new 52-week highs of $9.88 before closing the day at $9.87, up 40.60 percent.

Ultimate Software (NASDAQ: ULTI) will join the S&P MidCap 400 index after Thursday's Close. Shares gained 5.61 percent, closing at $144.48.

Decliners Of Note

This morning, Kate Spade & Co (NYSE: KATE) reported its second quarter results. The company announced an EPS of $0.05, beating the consensus estimate of $0.00. Revenue of $265.99 million beat the consensus estimate of $237.83 million. Net loss for the quarter improved to $41.77 million from a net loss of $95.31 million in the same quarter a year ago, as comparable direct-to-consumer sales rose 30.4 percent in the quarter. The company noted that its Kate Spade North America and Kate Spade International segments was more than 50 percent. However, the company's gross profit rate fell 320 basis points to 58.6 percent because of a shift toward off-price products primarily driven by the Kate Spade Saturday brand. The company noted that the shift toward off-price was because of excess inventory and raw materials disposal that arose in connection with balancing consumer demand with inventory buys last year. Shares of Kate Spade initially spiked higher to new 52-week highs of $42.87 but turned negative during the post-earnings conference call, when an executive hinted that the company may have to push out its long-term guidance by a year, as the company sees its fiscal 2016 results being negatively affected by a slower than expected uptake for the Saturday brand. Shares closed the day at $29.00, down 25.39 percent.

Earnings Of Note

This morning, Flowers Foods (NYSE: FLO) reported its second quarter results. The company announced an EPS of $0.21, missing the consensus estimate of $0.24. Revenue of $877.40 million missed the consensus estimate of $940.83 million. Net income for the quarter fell to $42.1 million from $46.5 million in the same quarter a year ago, as volume fell 2.9 percent. Direct-Store-Delivery segment sales were flat from a year ago, while warehouse segment sales fell 13.3 percent because of lower cake and frozen foodservice sales. The company issued guidance and sees its 2014 revenue being in a range of $3.88 billion to $3.94 billion, representing a potential increase of 3.5 percent to 5.0 percent from a year ago. EPS is guided to be in a range of $0.92 to $0.98, representing a potential growth of 1.1 percent to 7.7 percent over last year's results. Shares lost 4.55 percent, closing at $19.10.

This morning, AerCap (NYSE: AER) reported its second quarter results. The company announced an EPS of $1.29, beating the consensus estimate of $0.79. Revenue of $806.80 million beat the consensus estimate of $739.95 million. Net income for the quarter rose to $138.3 million from $75.7 million in the same quarter a year ago, as the company executed $3 billion of financing transactions and fleet utilization rate in the quarter was 98.8 percent. As of June 30, the company committed to purchase 350 aircrafts with scheduled delivery dates up to 2022 with 50 percent of the purchases delivering through 2022 are already placed, either under lease contract or a letter of intent. The company noted that its targeted aircraft sales of $1 billion per year is ahead of plan with $2 billion in sales already completed since December 2013. Shares gained 3.19 percent, closing at $45.90.

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This morning, Valspar Corporation (NYSE: VAL) reported its third quarter results. The company announced an EPS of $1.21, beating the consensus estimate of $1.16. Revenue of $1.20 billion beat the consensus estimate of $1.19 billion. Net income for the quarter rose to $97.8 million from $93.8 million in the same quarter a year ago because of strong performance in China and Europe; improved sales and profitability in the Coatings segment; and new initiatives. Net sales in the Coatings segment rose 16 percent from a year ago to $666 million as volume grew in all product lines, led by General Industrial, Wood, Packaging and Coil. Net sales in the Paints segment rose 4 percent to $474 million, as sales growth was led by performance in China and Australia. The company issued guidance and sees its full year fiscal 2014 sales growing 9 percent, higher than a previously projected range of 7 percent to 9 percent. Full-year earnings per share is now guided to a range of $4.05 from $4.15, an improvement from previous guidance of $3.95 to $4.15. Shares gained 0.46 percent, closing at $78.25.

After the market closed, Cree (NASDAQ: CREE) reported its fourth quarter results. The company announced an EPS of $0.42, beating the consensus estimate of $0.41. Revenue of $436.0 million missed the consensus estimate of $444.11 million. Shares were trading lower by 7.32 percent at $45.60 following the earnings report.

After the market closed, URS (NYSE: URS) reported its second quarter results. The company announced an EPS of $1.37, beating the consensus estimate of $0.74. Revenue of $2.60 billion missed the consensus estimate of $2.69 billion. Shares were trading lower by 0.07 percent at $58.29 following the earnings report.

Quote Of The Day

“We at Treasury are looking into the effects of these transactions on future tax revenues. Instances where the tax base may be eroded serve as a reminder of why we need Congress to enact business tax reform that broadens the tax base and lowers tax rates.” – A U.S. Treasury Department spokesperson following Kinder Morgan's actions on Monday.

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