Today - Wednesday, December 4, 2013
1:33 PMSuper Bowl ads sold out 2 months before big game
- Fox (FOXA) says it has already sold out all the commercials for the 2014 Super Bowl to be played on February 2.
- The pricing for the ads are reported to be 5% higher than last year with 30-second spots going for $4M a pop. Though some major companies such as GM have balked at the ever-escalating costs of Super Bowl advertising in the past, successful ads have a significant afterlife on the Internet which have boosted brand awareness. Both SodaStream (SODA -0.9%) and Mercedes-Benz (DDAIF) caught a piece of that trend last year.
- Execs with Fox says they have packaged some SB ads with time on other Fox Sports channels including newbie Fox Sports 1.
1:15 PMAMC Entertainment moviegoers to get early grab at IPO shares| Comment!
1:03 PMHeard during Express' earnings call
- Execs with Express (EXPR -22.7%) were on the hot seat today during the firm's earnings call after the firm issued a troubling outlook for Q4 with its earnings report.
- The retailer expects the entire holiday season to be "highly promotional" and management didn't seem to offer up any clear signs of how foot traffic can be improved.
- A 50% increase in the number of members to the company's loyalty program offers one avenue to grow sales, while "new ideas" are also in the hopper.
- Inventory, which rose 18% in Q3, can be managed in Q4 to get the increase back to a single-digit pace. Marketing spend for Q4 is flat compared to a year ago so far.
- Earnings call webcast
12:08 PMDirecTV investments could spark new sports service
- DirecTV (DTV -0.2%) announces it made an investments in LiveClips and i.TV for undisclosed amounts.
- The technology platforms could help DirecTV develop a service to create personalized sports highlights for subscribers.
- What to watch: The company mentioned the NFL Sunday Ticket package when highlighting the new partnerships. It could be an indication the company plans to re-sign with the NFL following the 2014 season. There has been some speculation that an Internet heavyweight like Google could bid on the content rights.
11:53 AMGoldman Sachs cools a bit on Melco Crown| 1 Comment
11:14 AMHeard during Starz' presentation at an investor conference
- Execs with Starz (STRZA +0.6%) gave an inside look at the company's plans during an investor conference this morning.
- CFO Scott McDonald says a favorable renewal of an output agreement with Sony and the expiration of a Disney deal will allow the company to ramp up original programming to 65-75 hours by 2017.
- Despite the increased focus on original content, the company plans to retain strong first-run and popular movies. The goal is to increase Starz standing as a premium service for cable packages.
- McDonald brushed aside questions on if the media concern will entertain acquisition overtures.
- Webcast from BofA's 2013 Leveraged Finance Conference
11:01 AMLululemon keeps it edge despite new rivals
- Lululemon (LULU -1%) has another competitor in the yoga/athletic space as Hennes & Mauritz (HMRZF) struts out some new lines, notes Hedgeye's Brian McGough.
- The retailer reportedly had decent store traffic during the Black Friday weekend with a low level of discounting and has been added to Janney Capital's 2014 Best Ideas List. Despite heavyweights such as Nike, Adidas, Under Armour, and Gap encroaching into LULU's categories - many retail analysts see demand strong enough to sustain the group.
10:49 AMGeneral Motors roundup: Market share gains in the U.S., 'compelling' buy for Kyle Bass
- Reviews for the 2015 Chevy Silverado and 2015 GMC Sierra indicate the pickups pose a more serious challenge to the Ford F-series juggernaut and early sales trends suggest that consumers might be agreeing.
- General Motors (GM +2.8%) knocked out a second straight month of gaining market share in the U.S. Though some criticism on channel-stuffing and bloated inventory is being circulated, most automobile analysts think pent-up demand warrants the aggressive production run.
- Bloomberg reports that Hayden Capital Management has taken a stake in the automaker. "GM equity represents one of the most compelling risk/reward situations of any large cap in the world today," notes a presentation slide from the Kyle Bass-founded investment fund.
10:32 AMSonic climbs as William Blair gains confidence in earnings growth| Comment!
10:28 AMGood cheer up and down the casino sector
- Casino stocks are ripping gains as the sector digests more good news on the early start to online gambling in New Jersey and the increased prospect that Japan will relax rules on casino development. Another stellar month in Macau casinos isn't dampening the mood at all.
- Las Vegas Sands (LVS +3.1%) is leading the charge after its credit rating was lifted to investment-grade by S&P.
- Advancers: Caesars Entertainment (CZR) +2.3%, Melco Crown (MPEL) +1.3%, Boyd Gaming (BYD) +2.7%, Wynn Resorts (WYNN) +1.8%, MGM Resorts (MGM) +1.9%.
10:10 AMApparel retailers sink as concerns mount
- A negative report from Express (EXPR -20.7%) on Thanksgiving week sales isn't going unnoticed by apparel peers.
- The comments from execs with Express mirror some of the concerns of retail analysts on promotional activity in the sector and sluggish foot traffic. Earlier: Nomura warns on inventory challenges.
- Related ETFs: XLY, VCR, FXD, RCD, FDIS, PSCD, PEZ
- Decliners: Francesca's (FRAN) -2.3%, Gap (GPS) -1.6%, Destination XL (DXLG) -1.4%, Pacific Sunwear (PSUN) -3.2%, Buckle (BKE) -1.1%, American Eagle Outfitters (AEO) -2.5%, Aeropostale (ARO) -3.1%, American Apparel (APP) -1.7%, Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) -1.9%.
9:56 AMNetflix discusses French launch with government officials
- Netflix (NFLX +0.8%) execs met with French president Francois Hollande's staff yesterday to talk about a possible launch of the streaming giant's services within France.
- An official within Hollande's office says Netflix "wanted information about the legal conditions that would affect its potential arrival in France," while adding execs are also visiting Germany and other European countries.
- A French launch would be a big one for Netflix, given it would bring Netflix's services to a country with 66M people and a fairly high per capita income. In addition to the U.S., the company has thus far launched in Canada, Latin America, the U.K./Ireland, the Netherlands, and Scandinavia.
- One possible hurdle: French laws currently prevent streaming services from showing a movie until at least three years have passed since its cinema debut.
- Netflix had 9.19M international streaming subs at the end of Q3 to go with 31.1M domestic subs, and expects to end Q4 with 10.1M-10.9M international subs.
9:52 AMInvestments in programming paying off for media giants
- Higher spending on programming by network owners is paying off immediately in the form of increased revenue from content, according to media analysts.
- The most recent round of reports from Time Warner (TWX -0.4%), CBS (CBS +0.4%), Viacom (VIAB -0.4%), and 21st Century Fox (FOXA -0.8%) show higher program costs were offset by licensing and advertising revenue. Even big sports rights deals from Disney (DIS -0.7%) and NBC (CMCSA) appear to be adding enough profits to justify the steep costs.
- What to watch: A breaking point on programming costs could be seen in the future with the Pay-TV industry (DISH, DTV, CHTR, CVC, TWC) dabbling with smaller bundles for consumers.
- Related ETF: PBS.
9:36 AMNobody covers the Big Apple like Dunkin' Donuts
- Dunkin' Donuts is the largest retail chain in New York City, according to the Center for an Urban Future.
- The restaurant operator has 515 shops to easily beat out Subway, Duane Reade/Walgreens, and Starbucks.
- What to watch: The East Coast-focus of parent company Dunkin' Brands (DNKN) is being slowly altered as Dunkin' Donuts expands to the West. Store margins are seen as having more upside in new territories.
9:27 AMAccelerated buyback program initiated at Aaron's| Comment!
9:17 AMCleveland Research: Sears comp trends experienced "sharp deterioration" in Nov.
- Sears' (SHLD) domestic comp trends experienced a "sharp deterioration" in Nov., according to channel checks by Cleveland Research.
- The firm believes that market share is shifting back to J.C. Penney on apparel, with Sears' suppliers reducing 2014 revenue forecasts.
- Shares are now down 5.5% pre-market, continuing a slide which began after news broke yesterday afternoon that Eddie Lampert has pared his stake in the retailer.