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Outstanding Performance Awards

We're excited to announce our latest two Outstanding Performance Award winners. These awards come with a payment of $2,500. Read more about our Outstanding Performance Award winners here.

Winner #1: Short idea on KIOR (KiOR Inc.) by Edward Schneider, CFA, published October 7, 2011. Return to date: +99%

Winner #2: Long idea on IMOS (ChipMOS Technologies) by Valuable Insights, published March 25, 2013. Return to date:+98%

Note: Both articles will be part of the SA PRO equity research archive available exclusively to SA PRO subscribers. In honor of their awards, we have unlocked these articles for the next 48 hours; afterwards, they will be part of the SA PRO equity research archive available exclusively to SA PRO subscribers.

Economy
Japanese stocks gained heavily this morning, posting their largest daily jump in four months. Easing tensions in Ukraine, and exporters on the rise due to the yen stepping back from its sharp gains last week, both contributed to the increase. The Nikkei recouped most of its steep losses from Friday, soaring 2.4% to 15,130.52 - its largest daily percentage gain since mid-April. The Topix climbed 2% to 1,252.51, while the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 gained 2.1% to 11,402.48.

The Kurdish Ministry of Natural Resources says that oil production in Iraqi Kurdistan remains unaffected despite the advance of Islamic State militants. However, many companies have started to evacuate staff and suspend operations at some fields in the region, including Chevron (NYSE:CVX), Hess (NYSE:HES) and Afren (OTC:AFRNY). Kurdistan describes the firms' moves as "precautionary measures," and warned companies not to take any steps without close coordination with the Ministry of Natural Resources.

After banning half of its agricultural imports from the West this past week, Russia is now considering a price control agreement with domestic food producers to avoid speculative price hikes that could affect inflation. Agriculture Minister Nikolai Fyodorov announced that the ban will cause a short-term spike in inflation, but said he sees no danger in the medium or long term due to new future substitutes.

Stocks
Kinder Morgan will purchase Kinder Morgan Energy Partners (NYSE:KMP), Kinder Morgan Management (NYSE:KMR), and El Paso Pipeline Partners (NYSE:EPB) in a $44B deal that will consolidate the oil-and-gas pipeline empire into a single company. The MLP structure is limiting, says Richard Kinder. Combining the four companies into one unit through the Kinder Morgan (NYSE:KMI) purchase "will allow us to further expand the reach of the kind of projects we can do."

Blackstone is nearing a deal to buy Royal Dutch Shell's (RDS.A, RDS.B) 50% stake in the Haynesville Shale formation for $1.2B. The gas field lies under large parts of Louisiana and Texas, and is also 50% owned by Encana (NYSE:ECA). Blackstone's last energy investment in Louisiana was in February 2012, when Blackstone agreed to invest $2B in Cheniere Energy Partners (NYSEMKT:CQP), helping the company construct a gas-liquefaction plant for export markets.

Former BG Group CEO Chris Finlayson has been named InterOil's (NYSE:IOC) chairman as the company develops two of the largest natural gas fields to be discovered in Asia in recent years. Finlayson says he's excited at the prospect of working on the Elk and Antelope gas formations, for which the company plans on building an LNG plant in the Gulf of Papua. The two fields are estimated to contain as much as 7T cf of gas.

Sanofi and MannKind have agreed to a worldwide licensing deal to develop and market inhaled insulin therapy Afrezza for adults with diabetes. Under the terms of the agreement, MannKind will receive an upfront payment of $150M and potential milestone payments of up to $775M. Sanofi (NYSE:SNY) and MannKind (NASDAQ:MNKD) will share profits and losses on a global basis, with Sanofi retaining 65% and MannKind receiving 35%. The two companies plan to launch the drug in the U.S. in Q1 of 2015.

GlaxoSmithKline is set to begin a clinical trial of an experimental vaccine against Ebola, which is being co-developed with U.S. scientists. The experimental vaccine has already produced promising results in animal studies, and with an approval from the FDA, it will enter initial Phase I testing in humans. Still, Glaxo's (NYSE:GSK) new vaccine will not be ready for widespread deployment before 2015 - even assuming it works as well as hoped.

Amazon has halted some preorders of Disney (NYSE:DIS) movies, such as Maleficent and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, in what appears to be yet another contract disagreement. A similar tactic has been in use on the Hachette Book Group (OTCPK:LGDDF) for the past four months. Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) has blocked customers' preorders and delayed shipments of the publisher due to a dispute over e-book pricing.

Quoting Le Journal du Dimanche, Bloomberg reports that BNP Paribas Chairman Baudouin Prot may resign in the next few months to be succeeded by Jean Lemierre, a senior adviser at the French bank. Prot served as the bank's CEO from 2003 to 2011. Last month, BNP Paribas (OTC:BNPZY) went through its largest-ever management shakeup and was fined $8.9B as a result of its U.S. sanction violations.

Slashing prices on auto products and spare parts in China, Toyota (NYSE:TM), Honda (NYSE:HMC) and Nissan (OTCPK:NSANY) now become the latest carmakers to announce price cuts due to the continuing antitrust investigation into the Chinese auto parts industry. This past month, only foreign luxury automakers lowered their prices due to China's expanded investigation. However, it now looks as though the probe is extending beyond foreign luxury auto brands.

Australia's Treasury Wine Estates says it has received a new takeover approach from TPG Capital which matches the $3.1B bid from KKR (NYSE:KKR) and Rhone Capital. The rival bid sparks the prospect of a bidding war over the winemaker. TPG has already started due diligence on Treasury (OTCPK:TSRYF) after reaching a decision to make an approach over the weekend.


Top Ideas
magicJack VocalTec Communications (NASDAQ:CALL) - new article by William Delano »
LeapFrog (NYSE:LF) - new article by Money Investor »
Hennessy Advisors (NASDAQ:HNNA) +12.2% since Jul. 22 John Leonard, CFA article »
Springleaf Holdings (NYSE:LEAF) +37% since Feb. 10 Ashleigh Rogers article »

SA PRO subscribers get an early look at Top Ideas and access to the SA PRO research library. Learn about SA PRO »

Today's Markets:
In Asia, Japan +2.4% to 15131. Hong Kong +1.3% to 24646. China +1.4% to 2225. India +0.8% to 25519.
In Europe, at midday, London +0.7%. Paris +0.8%. Frankfurt +1.5%.
Futures at 6:20: Dow +0.3%. S&P +0.3%. Nasdaq +0.5%. Crude flat at $97.68. Gold -0.1% to $1309.70.
Ten-year Treasury Yield flat at 2.43%

Today's economic calendar:
No events scheduled.

Notable earnings before today's open: BITA, CACQ, DF, DVR, EGRX, EVEP, GOGO, HE, HNR, HPT, MGIC, MNKD, MPAA, PCLN, RGEN, RICE, SCLN, SYY, TECH, VLP, WAC, WBAI, WRES

Notable earnings after today's close: AMBC, ATHX, BDE, CALL, CVG, CYNI, CZR, FTEK, FXEN, GALE, GCAP, GERN, GNMK, HALO, HTHT, ICEL, ICUI, IPAR, MM, MR, MTZ, NIHD, NOR, NUAN, ONTY, OPK, PDLI, RAX, REN, SKH, SUPN, TCRD, UNTD, VTR

See full real-time earnings coverage »

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Source: Wall Street Breakfast: Kinder Morgan Consolidates Oil-And-Gas Pipeline Empire