11:03 am S&P Consumer Discretionary Index -0.6%, in-line with the broader market
Trading higher following earnings/guidance: BBBY +0.3%... Trading lower following monthly sales: MCD -0.4%..
Looking ahead: A handful of retailers are scheduled to release earnings this week: Urban Outfitters (URBN) March 10 after the close, American Eagle (AEO) March 11 before the open, Express (EXPR) March 12 before the open, Stein Mart (SMRT)/ Kirklands (KIRK) Mar 13 before, Zumiez (ZUMZ)/Aeropostale (ARO) March 13 after.
Other notable news mentions: K flat (announces early tender results of its tender offer and increase to tender cap for the 4.000% Senior Notes due 2020)... Leaders: CQB 12.5% (Chiquita Brands and Fyffes plc announce that the companies approve a definitive agreement under which Chiquita will combine with Fyffes), OUTR 1.9% (announced the preliminary results of its modified 'Dutch Auction' self-tender offer for the purchase of up to $350 mln in value of shares of its common stock)... Laggards: FL -1.1% (lower despite positive Barron's mention), MFRM -1.9% (announced that the co entered into an agreement to acquire the outstanding equity interests of Sleep Experts Partners; co expects on a GAAP basis blended earnings will be $0.03-0.05 accretive), AMZN -1.1% (Amazon.com to devlop computer games, according to reports), EBAY -1.6% ( confirms rejection of Icahn nominee)
Analyst related: Upgrades: DWA 0.9% (upgraded to Buy from Neutral at B. Riley), BIG 0.8% ( upgraded to Outperform at FBR Capital; tgt raised to $45), ... Downgrades: BWLD -2.2% ( downgraded to Hold at Miller Tabak), SPLS 2.1% (downgraded to Hold from Buy at BB&T)... Misc: HAR -2.1% (initiated with an Outperform at Raymond James), ARO -4.1% (Hearing cautious comments at ITG-- sees Q4 sales below consensus)
10:35 am The Healthcare Sector
General Commentary: Northwest Biotherapeutics (NWBO) is trading higher by nearly 20% this morning. The company announced that it has received approval from the Paul Ehrlich Institute ("PEI"- the FDA of Germany) of a "Hospital Exemption" early access program under Section 4b of the German Drug Law. Under this Hospital Exemption, NW Bio may provide DCVax-L to patients for the treatment of any glioma brain cancers (both Glioblastoma multiforme and lower grade gliomas), both newly diagnosed and recurrent, outside of the Company's clinical trial and charge full price. The company also announced that the German reimbursement authority (Institut Fur Das Entgeltsystem Im Krankenhaus, or InEK) has determined that DCVax-L treatments for glioma brain cancers are eligible to obtain reimbursement from the Sickness Funds (health insurers) of the German healthcare system.
Gainers on news:
- Northwest Biotherapeutics (NWBO +17.49%) Announced German regulatory approval of a "Hospital Exemption" early access program under Section 4b of the German Drug Law; co also announced that the German reimbursement authority has determined that DCVax-L treatments for glioma brain cancers are eligible to obtain reimbursement from the Sickness Funds (health insurers) of the German healthcare system
- IGI Laboratories (IG +13.6%) Strength ahead of company presentation at the 26th Annual ROTH Conference at 3:00 p.m. ET
- Biostar Pharmaceuticals (BSPM -18.01%) Announced execution of agreement for $4.1 mln registered direct offering of shares of common stock and warrants
- Alexion Pharmaceuticals (ALXN +5.48%) Raised FY14 EPS guidance to $4.37-4.47 from $3.70-3.80 (may not compare to $3.82 estimate), raised FY14 rev guidance to $2.15-2.17 bln from $2.00-2.02 bln vs $2.03 estimate
- Neuralstem (CUR +2.54%) Reported FY13 EPS of -$0.27 vs -$0.18 estimate, revs -73% to $0.11 mln (in-line)
- Quest Diagnostics (DGX -1.05%) Raised FY14 EPS guidance to $3.95-4.15 from $3.90-4.10 vs $4.04 estimate
- Merrimack Pharmaceuticals (MACK +4.79%) Mentioned positivelt at JPMorgan
- TetraLogic Pharmaceuticals (TLOG +4.38%) Initiated with a Speculative Buy at WBB Securities, target $12
- Concert Pharmaceuticals (CNCE +2.98%) Initiated with an Outperform at Wells Fargo
- Flexion Therapeutics (FLXN -0.99%) Initiated with a Buy at Needham target $26; initiated with an Outperform at Wells Fargo; initiated with an Outperform at BMO Capital Markets, target $33
- AthenaHealth (ATHN -1.02%) Downgraded to Underperform from Perform at Oppenheimer
- Laboratory Corp (LH -1.92%) Assumed with a Neutral at Piper Jaffray
7:56 am Alexion Pharma shares rise 5% following raised FY14 following agreement with France Government
- Alexion Pharma (ALXN $176.99 +8.94) ill record increased revenue in 2014 related to an agreement that brings to conclusion discussions with the French govt and which positively impacts prospective reimbursement of Soliris. The agreement also provides reimbursement for shipments of Soliris made prior to January 1, 2014. The agreement follows the 2012 French Transparency Commission designation, with the ASMR 2 rating, of the important medical benefit of Soliris treatment for patients with atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS), and includes reimbursement of Soliris for treatment of patients with both paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (:PNH) and aHUS.
- In Q1, the co will record approximately $88 million of additional net product sales related to reimbursement for product sales in prior years. As a result of this agreement, the co has also revised upward its 2014 revenue and non-GAAP EPS guidance to reflect its current expectation for additional Soliris net product sales during the remainder of 2014:
- The company issued guidance for fiscal year 2014 with raised EPS to $4.37-4.47 from $3.70-3.80,and reaised revenues to $2.15-2.17 billion from $2.00-2.02 billion.
7:46 am E House China shares rise 6% following Tencent (TCEHY)
- E-House China (EJ $16.14 +0.91) wholly-owned subsidiary, Leju Holdings Limited, has entered into a strategic cooperation agreement with Tencent Holdings Limited. Leju is a leading provider of real estate online services including advertising, listings and product launch information, and online-to-offline e-commerce services that facilitate real estate transactions in China. Under the strategic cooperation agreement, Leju and Tencent have agreed to jointly develop software and tools for use on Weixin to facilitate Leju in opening batches of Weixin public accounts associated with real estate projects.
- Leju has agreed to adopt Weixin payment solutions as the default payment method for Real Estate O2O E-Commerce transactions conducted by Leju users on Weixin. Leju and Tencent will also explore and pursue additional opportunities for potential cooperation, including but not limited to cooperation involving Tencent's social communications platform such as Weixin, "QQ" and "mobile QQ"; the social media service, "Tencent Microblog"; the social networking service, "Qzone"; and/or other Tencent internet properties.
7:45 am Quest Diagnostics shares little changed following raised guidance following acquisition compeltion
Quest Diagnostics (DGX $52.18 +0.00) announced that it has completed the previously announced acquisition of Solstas Lab Partners Group and its subsidiaries (Solstas), a full-service commercial laboratory company based in Greensboro, North Carolina. The combination of Solstas with Quest Diagnostics will give patients and healthcare providers in the Southeastern United States, where Solstas operates in nine states, including the Carolinas, Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama, greater access to innovative and cost-effective diagnostic information services. The company issued raised 2014 adjusted earnings per diluted share guidance to $3.95-4.15 which is line with estimates, up from prior guidance of $3.90-4.10.
7:44 am Bed Bath and Beyond shares little changed following lowered guidance
- Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) sees Q4 EPS of $1.57-1.61 (lowered from $1.60-1.67) which is below estimates. The comapny provided preliminary information on its fiscal fourth quarter, including the impact of adverse weather conditions during the period. The Company's fourth quarter comprises the fiscal months of December, January and February and ended on March 1, 2014. The impact of the disruptive weather included 464 times a store was closed for a full day and 1,923 times that a store was closed for a partial day. For the fiscal quarter, the estimated resulting impact due to the disruptive weather on comparable store sales was in the range of 2.0% to 2.5%. The estimated impact on net earnings per diluted share for the quarter was approximately $.06 to $.07. The Company's comparable store sales for the fiscal fourth quarter increased by approximately 1.7% as compared with its previous model of an increase of approximately 2.0% to 4.0%.
- Although it is early in the process of its financial close, the Company now estimates net earnings per diluted share of approximately $1.57 to $1.61 (vs $1.65 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate) for the quarter as compared with its previous model of $1.60 to $1.67.
- "Despite the weather related challenges, we are pleased with our quarter. Absent the disruptive weather, we believe we would have been comfortably within our sales and net earnings per share ranges of our model. Our store associates continue to perform admirably and we thank each of them for their extraordinary effort. We continue to make excellent progress on our omnichannel initiatives and stay on course for the execution of our long term strategic plan."
7:42 am Yingli Green shares rise 3% following Israel module supply agreement
- Yingli Green (YGE) announced its largest supply agreement to date in Israel and the Middle East, under which the Company will deliver 27.5 MW of multicrystalline PV modules between February and April of 2014.
- The Company will supply its YGE 72 Cell NH Series modules to a solar power plant that will occupy more than one million square meters of land in Israel. Designated a National Infrastructure Project by the Israeli Government, the solar farm has been granted the conditional feed-in tariff approval from the Israeli Public Utilities Authority.
- Health Care Industry
- Quest Diagnostics
- Alexion Pharmaceuticals