Top News

  • Today - Friday, February 12, 2016

  • 8:34 PM
    • Price is the sticking point in what have become exclusive talks between NTT Data (NYSE:NTT) and Dell over Dell's sale of Perot Systems -- a key piece of financing for Dell's blockbuster $67B purchase of EMC, Reuters reports.
    • Earlier reports had NTT Data and India's Tata as the two suitors left for Perot, after the apparent leader, France's Atos (OTCPK:AEXAF), dropped out, along with previous overtures by Cognizant Technology Solutions (NASDAQ:CTSH).
    • Dell's been seeking $5B for the unit, but if a bigger deal isn't available, NTT Data may want parts of Perot Systems. A source tells Reuters talks will continue for the rest of the month.
    • Dell is sticking to its guns that the EMC deal will close by October (vs. paying a $4B breakup fee). It hoped to price $10B of debt on Wednesday, but roiling credit markets are forcing a delay on that piece as well.
    • Previously: Dell/EMC deal hung up on financing (Feb. 11 2016)
    • Previously: EMC insists Dell deal on track; VMware hit with downgrades due to guidance (Jan. 27 2016)
    | 8:34 PM
  • 6:58 PM
    • In today's 13F filing, Daniel Loeb and his Third Point hedge fund indicated they took a new Q4 position of 3M shares in Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) -- stock that rose 6.4% today, but is down 27.4% YTD.
    • Third Point raised its stake in Allergan (AGN +1.9%) by 47%, to 5.4M shares, and in Dow Chemical (DOW +2%) by 7%, to 25.2M shares.
    • Another new position is in Axalta Coating Systems (AXTA -0.3%): 2.4M shares.
    • Reuters notes that it saw a Loeb letter where he acknowledged that along with cutting stakes in companies exposed to China and commodity prices, Third Point raised its short positions to defend itself against tumbling markets.
    • "A renewed focus on generating alpha on both sides of the portfolio has led us to increase single-name equity shorts by four-fold over the past year," Loeb wrote. "Our total equity short exposure is nearly $4.5 billion today."
    | 6:58 PM | 2 Comments
  • 5:41 PM
    • The FCC today approved Gray Television's (GTN +3.1%) plan to purchase 15 Schurz Communications TV stations, the last hurdle in Gray's $442.5M purchase of Schurz.
    • The agency issued a complicated decision that will call for the unwinding of some joint sales agreements, and for a Georgia NBC affiliate to remain on the air during the broadcast incentive auction despite duopoly rule concerns.
    • The approval follows an even more complicated set of transactions Gray has been undertaking to pull its megadeal off. It's swapped some stations with Sinclair Broadcast Group and decided to divest all the radio stations in the deal.
    • In addition, the Justice Department gave the deal a conditional antitrust approval so long as Gray sold off WSBT in South Bend, Ind., and KAKE in Wichita, Kan.
    • In Augusta, Ga., Gray owns CBS affiliate WRDW and Schurz owns NBC affiliate WAGT. Gray wants to offer WAGT's spectrum in the incentive auction and take it off the air after the deal's approval. The FCC approved a temporary waiver of its duopoly rule but decided that the public interest called for WAGT to stay on the air.
    • Gray will have to terminate a JSA with Media General as a condition to the deal.
    • Previously: Gray Television paying $442.5M for Schurz TV, radio stations (Sep. 14 2015)
    | 5:41 PM
  • 4:25 PM
    • Stocks rallied to snap a five-session slump in the S&P 500, as crude oil futures surged 12%, their biggest one-day gain in seven years, but few traders expect the bounce to last.
    • Today's big gains were not enough to wipe out losses on the week; as the S&P ended the week 0.8% lower, the Dow booked a 1.4% weekly loss, and the Nasdaq lost 0.6% for the week.
    • WTI crude settled 12.3% higher at $29.44/bbl and the energy sector rose 2.6% after the UAE energy minister said OPEC was ready to cooperate on production cuts, yet many analysts remain skeptical of an agreement actually being reached.
    • Financial stocks (+4%), among the worst performers in 2016, also gained; JPMorgan Chase jumped 8.2% after CEO Jamie DImon bought 500K of the bank's shares.
    • Stocks enjoyed a boost at the open following gains in Europe, and the positive sentiment was echoed by Deutsche Bank, which said it would buy back more than $5B worth of its senior debt.
    • Investor participation was heavier than the recent average, with 1.12B shares changing hands at the NYSE floor ahead of the three-day weekend.
    • A positive U.S. retail sales report contributed to a rally in the dollar, which advanced vs. the yen and euro.
    • The U.S. Treasury market posted the biggest one-day price drop since December, a day after government bonds logged their biggest one-day price rally since 2011; selling in the 10-year note sent its yield higher by 9 bps to 1.75%.
    | 4:25 PM | 1 Comment
  • 3:51 PM
    • Investors are responding positively to an earnings miss at AIG (AIG +5.1%), considering the company has capitulated to Carl Icahn in their battle and avoided (for the moment) a proxy fight by naming his rep to its board.
    • The company added Samuel Merksamer, a managing director at Icahn Capital, along with John Paulson in expanding its board to 16 seats. Icahn has threatened a proxy fight with a push to split the insurance giant into three smaller companies. ""We continue to believe that smaller and simpler is better," Icahn says.
    • It may not be the end of the backroom fighting, though. Analyst Meyer Shields calls Icahn's strategy "incredibly difficult to achieve." Meanwhile, Sandler O'Neill's Paul Newsome says there's more tussling ahead: "If anything, it will continue behind the scenes rather than in public."
    • The company said today it plans to move about half of an $11B investment out of hedge fund investments -- mainly into investment-grade bonds and commercial mortgage loans.
    • The company doesn't have staff that deals in equities, so hedge funds with stock-based approaches are mostly likely to be the ones standing after the company relocates billions in investment.
    • After hitting a 52-week low of $50.38 yesterday, shares are up 5.1% today.
    • Previously: AIG misses earnings with bigger loss; boosts dividend, buyback (Feb. 11 2016)
    • Previously: AIG nominates Paulson, Icahn's Merksamer to board (Feb. 11 2016)
    | 3:51 PM | 1 Comment
  • 2:47 PM
    • Ten days after reporting Apple plans to unveil a new 4" iPhone (called the 5se) and the iPad Air 3 on March 15, 9to5 Mac reports Apple (AAPL +0.2%) plans to begin selling the devices online and in retail stores on Friday, March 18. Pre-orders are said to be "unlikely."
    • The 5se, which could appeal to those partial to smaller iPhones, has been rumored to sport an A9 CPU and M9 motion co-processor, an 8MP rear camera and 1.2MP front camera, and Bluetooth 4.2, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and NFC radios. Air 3 rumors have mentioned a smart connector along with an improved display, speakers, and battery life. Apple disclosed on its FQ1 call 60% of iPhone owners haven't yet upgraded to the 6/6+ or 6S/6S+.
    • Separately, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter Beats co-founder Dr. Dre is starring in and producing a six-episode TV series called Vital Signs that's being bankrolled by Apple.
    • The magazine adds Dre's series will likely be distributed via Apple Music (now has over 11M paid subscribers), and that it's not clear if distribution will occur via other platforms such as Apple TV and the iTunes store. The show is said to be a semi-autobiographical "dark drama with no shortage of violence and sex."
    • Variety reported in September Apple has held initial talks with Hollywood execs about financing original content - a field where Netflix and Amazon have made huge investments. Multiple sites have reported Apple has hatched and (for now) suspended plans to launch an online TV service.
    | 2:47 PM | 72 Comments
  • 1:18 PM
    • A decline in shares of Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) -- down 2.4% since posting record-high earnings after Tuesday's close -- has confounded investors who saw very little to worry about in the new report.
    • Hilliard Lyons shares that concern, as analyst Jeffrey Thomison sees "excessive" drops in the stock price, which is off 14.1% YTD and down 22.3% over the past three months. He's maintaining a Buy rating but trimming the two-year price target on the stock from $130 to $120 -- just short of 33% upside from today's $90.30.
    • "All major segments posted revenue gains, and all but the two Media Networks businesses reported sharp operating income gains," he writes. The company's studio business saw robust gains, and "Parks & Resorts and Consumer Products/Interactive Entertainment also had stellar quarters, in our view."
    • As for the ESPN subscriber worries that plague the stock: "We expect this trend to continue in the next few quarters, but eventually subside as ESPN is one of the most watched and most popular cable channels in the world."
    • Previously: Media stocks caught in downdraft with earnings coming in (Feb. 10 2016)
    • Previously: Disney -3.1% post-earnings as analysts trim price targets (Feb. 10 2016)
    • Previously: Disney call: 'Star Wars' soars; ESPN pessimism 'more dire' then deserved (Feb. 09 2016)
    | 1:18 PM | 2 Comments
  • 12:37 PM
    | 12:37 PM
  • 8:32 AM
    • January Retail Sales:+0.2% M/M vs. +0.2% expected, +0.2% prior (revised).
    • Core Retail Sales +0.1% M/M vs. +0.1% expected, +0.1% prior (revised).
    • Retail Sales less autos and gas +0.4% vs. +0.3% expected, +0.1% prior.
    | 8:32 AM | 6 Comments
  • 8:31 AM
    • Jan Import/Export Prices: Import prices -1.1% M/M vs. -1.4% consensus and -1.2% prior.
    • Export prices -0.8% M/M vs. -0.6% consensus, -1.1% prior.
    | 8:31 AM
  • 2:52 AM
    • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held a meeting with his top financial diplomat today, as well as the BOJ's governor, amid a report that the "architect of Abenomics" called for a Group of 20-wide response to the recent market rout.
    • Friday's high-level gathering came as the country's stock markets plunged again and the yen hit highs not seen since October 2014.
    • Speculation is also rampant that Tokyo could conduct yen-selling intervention to shield its export-reliant economy from further currency spikes.
    • Nikkei -4.8% to 14,953
    | 2:52 AM | 9 Comments
  • Thursday, February 11, 2016

  • 4:55 PM
    • Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI) has taken an after-hours dive, -16%, after it posted a Q4 miss on profits and sales despite some well-catalogued holiday game success.
    • The company guided well below expectations for Q1 profits. Non-GAAP net revenues of $2.118B were down 4% and also fell below the company's own prior outlook of $2.148B.
    • Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 was the year's best-selling physical videogame despite a November release. However, casual titles -- mainly Skylanders SuperChargers and Guitar Hero Live -- were "weaker than expected, we believe largely due to greater competition in the toys to life genre and due to the casual audiences shift to mobile devices."
    • Once closing on the acquisition of King Digital, though, "we will have the largest game network in the world, with over 500 million users playing our games every month," says CEO Bobby Kotick.
    • For Q1, it sees non-GAAP net revenues of $800M (vs. consensus of $756M) and EPS of $0.11 (well below an expected $0.18). For the full year, it's forecasting non-GAAP net revenues of $6.25B (vs. consensus of $5.47B) and EPS of $1.75, above expectations for $1.72.
    • Conference call link
    • Press Release
    | 4:55 PM | 6 Comments
  • 4:39 PM
    • AIG (AIG -3.6%) has turned slightly down after hours, -0.2%, as it missed earnings expectations amid declining ROI, and boosted shareholder returns via the dividend and buyback program.
    • It posted an after-tax operating loss of $1.3B ($1.10/share), vs. a year-ago operating income of $1.4B ($0.97/share). AIG pointed to "adverse prior year loss reserve development, and lower returns on alternative investments."
    • In the face of Carl Icahn's press to split into three companies, AIG has announced plants to create separate operating and legacy portfolios (the better to highlight ROE in the Operating Portfolio) and says it expects to provide additional disclosures by the end of the year.
    • Book value per share (excluding accumulated other comprehensive income) was $72.97, up 4.3% Y/Y.
    • It's authorized buybacks of up to $5B; combined with remaining authorization, that brings its authority to $5.8B. It also increased the dividend 14%, to $0.32 quarterly.
    • Press release
    • Previously: AIG nominates Paulson, Icahn'a Merksamer to board (Feb. 11 2016)
    | 4:39 PM | 4 Comments
  • 4:18 PM
    • CBS (CBS +1.8%) is 1.4% lower after hours following a Q4 report where it met profit expectations and beat easily on revenue.
    • Sales grew 6% Y/Y, driven by higher content licensing and distribution (with international sales key to that). Affiliate and subscription fees -- a hot topic in the cord-cutting era -- grew 13%.
    • Revenue by segment: Entertainment, $2.46B (up 8.8%); Cable networks, $562M (up 12.6%); Publishing, $233M (up 8.4%); Local Broadcasting, $719M (down 8.4%).
    • "With Super Bowl 50 here in the first quarter and political spending ramping up into the fourth, we expect 2016 will be a very good year for advertising," says CEO Les Moonves. "At the same time, our other high-margin revenue streams continue to thrive."
    • Conference call to come at 4:30 p.m. ET.
    • Press release
    | 4:18 PM
  • 2:49 PM
    • OPEC members are ready to come to agreement on a production cut, reports Dow Jones, citing UAE's energy minister.
    • Earlier sitting at a 13-year low of about $26, oil (USO -1.1%) has spiked more than $1 per barrel. It's naturally taking stocks along with it - the Dow (DIA -1.6%) has cut what was a 400 point loss about in half.
    | 2:49 PM | 130 Comments
  • 2:37 PM
    | 2:37 PM | 66 Comments
  • 2:24 PM
    • Ahead of this afternoon's Q4 report, the NYT reports Pandora (NYSE:P) is "working with Morgan Stanley to meet potential buyers," and has held discussions about selling itself. Shares have jumpedin response.
    • The paper cautions talks are preliminary. The news comes with Pandora's shares having fallen into the single digits thanks to a market rout and ongoing concerns about competition and user growth/engagement.
    • Back in Oct. 2014, SA author Orange Peel Investments predicted Pandora would eventually drop to the $10 range, and then get bought out.
    | 2:24 PM | 7 Comments
  • 1:59 PM
    • Shares of The Fresh Market (TFM +7.6%) have been halted after Reuters reports Kroger (KR -1.7%) is seeking to acquire the company.
    | 1:59 PM | 17 Comments
  • 1:20 PM
    • Even with equity markets selling off once again, Cisco (CSCO +9.8%) has held onto the after-hours gains seen yesterday after the company beat FQ2 estimates, issued in-line FQ3 guidance, announced a $15B buyback hike and $0.05/share dividend hike, and reported product orders rose 2% Y/Y (better than feared).
    • Jefferies' George Notter has upgraded Cisco to Buy, and upped his target by $1.50 to $27.50. He cites the dividend hike, a historically low valuation (6.4x Jefferies' base 2017 EPS estimate), a belief Cisco will offset the impact of macro pressures by cutting costs, and lower concerns about emerging markets exposure. He also thinks Cisco "has an opportunity to capture significant new growth opportunities in Security and/or Hyper-converged Storage."
    • Raymond James' Simon Leopold (Outperform, $28 target): "We believe Cisco continues to execute well while undertaking a business transition to a more software centric model. Some softening, such as enterprise switching, will fuel worries about the macro-environment, but Cisco’s Service Provider sales provides offsets ... the software story remains attractive: ACI’s run-rate is over $2 billion, SaaS grew in the double digits (WebX, Meraki, Security), and security deferred revenue grew 26%."
    • Piper's Troy Jensen (Overweight rating, $30 target): "[W]e continue to believe CSCO’s product portfolio is strengthening in the marketplace ... Also, as shown by the sequential margin improvement we believe the company is making good strides with cost controls. Given the global macro growth concerns we do believe weaker spending habits could prevail in the near future, but with a ~4.6% dividend yield, and a $15B increase to its stock repurchase program, we believe shares are too cheap to ignore."
    • Nomura's Jeff Kvaal (Neutral, $30 target) isn't as enthusiastic about Cisco's numbers. "[U]npacking the moving pieces suggests Cisco’s macro concern is indeed showing up in the numbers. Business slowed to below plan immediately entering 2016 across the globe. The greatest impacts were in switching (down 13% QoQ) and former growth driver data center (down 4% QoQ) ... Product deferred revenue growth decelerated from 16% to a still healthy 11% and the book to bill was only approximately 1.0."
    • Many analysts are pleased with Cisco's deferred revenue growth - software/subscription growth helped the deferred revenue balance rise 8% Y/Y to $15.2B. On the other hand, the 3% Y/Y drop seen in Data Center (UCS server) sales has been an area of concern - on the earnings call (transcript), CEO Chuck Robbins blamed the decline on macro pressures and tough comps.
    • Cisco's core switching business was also soft, declining 4% - the company blamed weak campus switch demand caused by macro issues. Routing revenue rose 5%, collaboration 3%, security 11%, and service provider video (boosted by Chinese demand) 37%. Wireless (Wi-Fi) was flat.
    • Cisco's FQ2 results/FQ3 guidance, details and buyback/dividend hike
    | 1:20 PM | 8 Comments
  • 11:39 AM
    • In day two of her semi-annual testimony before Congress (today at the Senate), Janet Yellen repeated her prepared remarks in which she acknowledged rising risks, but reiterated her expectation for a gradual tightening of monetary policy.
    • "The Fed continues to be stubborn and dogmatic," says economist Bob Brusca. "Policy is not on automatic pilot it is on dogmatic pilot."
    • With Japan's going negative a couple of weeks ago, Sweden's deeper dive into negative territory last night, and deflation signs everywhere, rates below zero are the new big thing, and the Fed boss says the central bank is having a renewed look at them as a possible policy tool. Yellen is surprised, she says, at how far global central banks have been able to move into negative territory without seemingly affecting small depositors.
    • Live blog
    • As of this writing, the Jan. 2017 Fed Funds futures contract is trading slightly higher than the Feb. 2016 contract, meaning markets have not only priced out any chance of a rate hike this year, but they're now beginning to price in the possibility of a rate cut.
    • Previously: Treasury yields plunge to near 3-year lows (Feb. 11)
    | 11:39 AM | 22 Comments
  • 8:30 AM
    • Initial Jobless Claims-16K to 269K vs. 281K consensus, 285K prior.
    • Continuing Claims 2.239M vs. 2.255M prior.
    | 8:30 AM | 18 Comments
  • 7:45 AM
    • The global stock market plunge is intensifying this morning, with Europe down nearly 3% and U.S. index futures almost 2%. Hong Kong fell 3.85% after returning from holiday. Shanghai and Tokyo were closed.
    • The 10-year Treasury yield is lower by ten basis points to 1.57%. Maybe even more interesting, the January 2017 contract for Fed Funds futures has risen to exactly the same price as the Feb 2016 contract - meaning traders are putting 100% probability on no Fed rate hikes this year. It'll be even more fun when the Jan 2017 contact moves ahead of Feb 2016 - meaning the pricing in of a chance of a rate cut even as the Fed insists tighter policy is still necessary.
    • Up later is day two of Janet Yellen's Congressional testimony. Will she change for positive tone?
    • TLT +1.65%, TBT -3.3% premarket
    | 7:45 AM | 5 Comments
  • 7:33 AM
    • The yellow metal's up 3.5% to $1,237 per ounce as Europe plunges nearly 4% and U.S. stock index futures tumble more than 2%. It was nearly one year ago to the day when gold last was this high.
    • While Janet Yellen in her first day of Congressional testimony acknowledged the risks to growth have ticked higher, the Fed boss was perhaps somewhat surprisingly upbeat on the economic outlook and hawkish on the likelihood of more rate hikes. Will she change her tune on day two?
    • GLD +3% premarket
    | 7:33 AM | 15 Comments
  • 7:25 AM
    • U.S. stock index futures are lower by more than 2%, with most of the damage being done since Europe opened for business a few hours ago.
    • As for the Continent, it's more than reversed yesterday's big gains, with the Stoxx 50 (NYSEARCA:FEZplunging 3.7%, led by Italy's (NYSEARCA:EWI5.2% fall. Germany (NYSEARCA:EWG) is off 2.7%, France (NYSEARCA:EWQ3.8%, Spain (EWI4.3%. The U.K. (NYSEARCA:EWU) is down 2.2%.
    • Hong Kong fell 3.8% as it returned from a multi-day vacation. China remains closed, and the Nikkei was off overnight as well
    • There's major money flowing into U.S., U.K., and German government paper (and out of places like Spain and Italy), with the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield lower by nine basis points to 1.58% - its lowest level since 2013.
    • An argument can be made that Janet Yellen stubbornly clinging to her rosy economic outlook and forecast for more rate hikes as triggering the renewed rout. Will she change her tune later in day 2 of testimony?
    • Crude oil is lower by 4.3% to $26.27 per barrel, and gold is higher by 3.5% to $1,236 per ounce.
    | 7:25 AM | 45 Comments
  • 5:22 AM
    • Fresh tremors are hitting global markets as a cautious tone from the Federal Reserve and another fall in crude prices fuel anxiety about the world economy.
    • "Financial conditions in the United States have recently become less supportive of growth," Fed Chair Janet Yellen said Wednesday, highlighting risks that could delay the central bank's plans for raising rates.
    • So what's happening out there? Investors are piling into safe havens such as gold and government bonds, while dumping U.S. dollars and selling off equities.
    • Yellen also returns to Capitol Hill this morning for a second day of testimony.
    • Gold +2% to $1218 an ounce; 10-year treasury yield -8 bps to 1.62%
    • Asia: Japan closed. Hong Kong -3.9%. China closed. India -3.6%
    • Europe: London -2.6%. Paris -3.7%. Frankfurt -2.9%.
    • U.S. futures: Dow -1.8%. S&P -1.8%. Nasdaq -2.1%.
    | 5:22 AM | 85 Comments
  • 4:44 AM
    • Sweden's central bank has lowered its key interest rate even further below zero, saying it's prepared to use its full toolbox of measures as it battles to revive inflation and keep the krona from appreciating.
    • "Uncertainty regarding global developments is still high, with low inflation and several central banks pursuing more expansionary monetary policy," the Riksbank said.
    • The repo rate was reduced from -0.35% to -0.50%, while government bond purchases will continue as planned for the first six months of 2016.
    • ETFs: EWD, FXS
    | 4:44 AM | 11 Comments
  • 2:39 AM
    • Stocks in Hong Kong fell sharply today, catching up with deep regional selloffs, as the market reopened after an extended Lunar New Year holiday.
    • The Hang Seng index tumbled over 4% to levels not seen since mid-2012, adding to a 12% plunge since the beginning of the year amid concerns about capital outflows, a slumping property market and China's economic slowdown.
    | 2:39 AM | 6 Comments
  • Wednesday, February 10, 2016

  • 4:56 PM
    • Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA) is now off 7.5% in postmarket trading heading into its earnings conference call after a break-even quarter. Along with its Q4 results, the company has announced 10 games for 2016.
    • Dawn of Titans and racing title CSR2 will arrive after being delayed into this year, and otherwise the slate is heavy on social casino slots and titles in its FarmVille and CityVille franchises.
    • While bookings of $182M were up Q/Q and beat an expected $177M, the company is still facing audience issues with overall numbers down across several measures, though it is making money from core users.
    • Along with drops of 24% and 30% in daily and monthly active users respectively, the company posted average daily bookings per average DAU of $0.11 (up 31%). Average monthly unique payers fell 19% to 0.8, and payer conversion was up 7% to 1.7%.
    • “I think the teams have been making great progress on our execution on our live mobile franchises,” CEO Mark Pincus tells VentureBeat. “We saw strong performance from our core live mobile categories like slots, Words With Friends, poker, and ads.”
    • Conference call link (begins 5 p.m. ET)
    • Press release
    | 4:56 PM | 7 Comments
  • 4:28 PM
    • Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) announces that it expects to deliver between 80K and 90K Model S and Model X vehicles in 2016.
    • Q4 automotive gross margin was 20.9%, excluding $8M of ZEV credit revenue. Higher labor and overhead costs in relation to actual Model X production volume factored in.
    • Q4 services revenue was up 47% to $97M.
    • Tesla sees its average selling price moving higher this year as Model X sales increase. Model S gross margin is seen approaching 30% by the end of the year, while the Model X margin should be around 25%.
    • Tesla on funding: "We plan to fund about $1.5 billion in capital expenditures without accessing any outside capital other than our existing sources that support our leasing and finished goods inventory."
    • The Model 3 will be unveiled on March 31. Production and deliveries are slated for late in 2017.
    • Tesla Energy is expected to add to positively to cash flow this year.
    • More details are expected on the company's conference call which is scheduled for 5:30 PM ET (webcast).
    • Tesla shareholder letter (.pdf)
    • TSLA +4.39% after hours to $149.86.
    | 4:28 PM | 190 Comments
  • 4:25 PM
    • Stocks gave up their gains in late trading, in the most recent example of a rally that proved short lived as worries persist about global growth, declining oil prices and uncertainty around central bank policy.
    • "It's a lack of bullish impetus," Sarhan Capital's Adam Sarhan told CNBC. "Anytime you see the market trying to rally, you get strong selling pressure."
    • Janet Yellen highlighted several risks to the economic outlook that could affect plans to raise rates, offering a downbeat tone that played into the concerns that the U.S. economy is becoming more vulnerable to the global slowdown.
    • Crude oil prices climbed above $29/bbl after a somewhat bullish EIA inventory report, but the rally soon rolled over and WTI settled the day down 1.6% at $27.54/bbl; the S&P 500 energy sector ended -0.5%.
    • Healthcare (+0.9%) and tech (+0.4%) were the only sectors that finished with a gain, yet both groups ended well off their highs; the materials sector (-1.0%) ended the day with the worst performance.
    • Disney shares fell 3.8% following Q4 earnings, dragging on the Dow, as investors continued to worry about subscriber trends at ESPN.
    • Investor participation was slightly lighter than recent averages, with 1.05B shares traded at the NYSE floor.
    • Treasury prices rolled to their best levels of the day as stocks sold off in the final hour; the yield on the 10-year note fell 4 bps to 1.69%.
    | 4:25 PM | 2 Comments
  • 4:16 PM
    • Game maker Zynga (ZNGA +4.9%) has slipped 11.3% after hours following a break-even quarter where profits were in line with expectations but its audience declined overall.
    • Q4 bookings were flat Y/Y at $182M (up 3% sequentially). Mobile bookings of $134M (up 21% Y/Y) have continued to develop in the mix, making up 73% of overall bookings.
    • The company says it was its best advertising quarter to date, with advertising and other bookings up 23% Y/Y (and up 24% Q/Q). For the year, total bookings were up 1%. Web bookings were down 32%, and Web audience down 53%.
    • Average daily active users fell 24% Y/Y to 18M. Average mobile DAUs were down 14% to 15M; average Web DAUs down 49% to 3M.
    • Average monthly active users fell 30% Y/Y to 68M. Average mobile MAUs down 21% to 55M; average Web MAUs down 54% to 13M.
    • Conference call/Q&A to come at 5 p.m. ET.
    • Press release
    | 4:16 PM | 8 Comments
  • 4:07 PM
    • Amazon's (NASDAQ:AMZN) board has approved a $5B buyback program. It's good for repurchasing over 2% of shares at current levels.
    • The new authorization replaces a prior $2B authorization, and has no expiration date. It could serve to offset the impact of stock grants - Amazon's diluted share count totaled 482M in Q4, up 9M Y/Y. (8-K filing)
    • Amazon also discloses it has added Corning CEO Wendell Weeks to the board, and that Diego Piacentini, head of Amazon's international consumer business, is taking a 2-year leave of absence starting in August.
    • AMZN +1.7% after hours.
    • Update: The post has been updated to include additional details about Amazon's buyback, as well as other disclosures made in the company's afternoon 8-K filing.
    | 4:07 PM | 79 Comments
  • 3:58 PM
    | 3:58 PM | 5 Comments
  • 12:12 PM
    • On Time Warner's (NYSE:TWX) earnings call, HBO was the frequent topic, and chief Richard Plepler pointed to a "terrific year" in subscriber growth: 2.7M additional subs in HBO and Cinemax, including from HBO Now, but he noted that the company now needed to go capture the revenue: "The 2.7M, those are full paying subscribers; our job now is to go as the deal renewal cycles open up at the end of this year and into the next 18 months, to go capture that revenue and we intend to do that."
    • HBO Now, the company's direct-to-consumer service, now has 800,000 paying subscribers, Plepler said on the call. That's below some bullish estimates for 1M, but Plepler said they're only just getting started: "We're not yet out on two major platforms, PlayStation and Xbox" -- on HBO Go, those platforms account for 20% of viewing -- "and we've not yet put out the content like Jon Stewart, Bill Simmons, Vice daily news show, that we think is particularly suited for those platforms."
    • Asked about how to compete with mobile advertising competitors, CEO Jeff Bewkes noted the company is going digital business to business, pointing to CNN ("very strong growth in all digital platforms, especially in mobile -- domestic and international"), Bleacher Report and Super Deluxe as particularly mobile-friendly.
    • And as for a much-discussed possible HBO spinoff: "The combined scale of our businesses is critical," Bewkes said.
    • After falling as much as 12.1% and hitting a 52-week low of $55.53 earlier, shares recovered briefly to the flat line after the call; they're now down 1.9%.
    • Previously: Time Warner -7.6% after movie results drive revenue miss (Feb. 10 2016)
    | 12:12 PM | 3 Comments
  • 11:32 AM
    • Perhaps somewhat surprisingly holding her ground on her bullish outlook for the economy and inflation, Janet Yellen does say the Fed would not hesitate to ease policy if necessary. She adds that she doesn't expect this to happen.
    • As for why she hasn't much changed her views about the economy, Yellen says while markets may fear a recession, the data indicates there hasn't been sharp slowdown in growth (ed: the data never indicate such until it's too late).
    • The Nasdaq remains higher by more than 1%, but the Dow and S&P are posting more modest advances. Oil and gold are marginally lower, and the dollar modestly higher.
    • Previous coverage of Yellen testimony
    | 11:32 AM | 33 Comments
  • 10:42 AM
    • After marking its biggest one-day decline in six months earlier this morning (down 6.6%), Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) is recovering, down just 3.1% after it posted record Q1 earnings that still drew eyes toward disappointing Media Networks results.
    • The earnings report drew price target cuts from a number of analysts pointing to subscriber trends. BMO Capital's gone low, cutting its target to $95 from $110, as Daniel Salmon pointed to a "notable miss" in Media Networks along with a slight miss in the company's merged consumer licensing/interactive business.
    • BTIG's Rich Greenfield noted on CNBC that while Star Wars results have been fantastic, Disney is still very much a media networks company more than a content company.
    • Guggenheim also went to the low side, trimming its fair value target to $96. Others cut targets but remaining in triple figures: FBR maintained its Outperform rating but cut its target to $101, while JPMorgan Chase (also Overweight) reduced its target to $118. Nomura trimmed its target slightly, to $110 from $115.
    • Previously: Disney call: 'Star Wars' soars; ESPN pessimism 'more dire' then deserved (Feb. 09 2016)
    • Previously: Disney now down 3.2% after 'Star Wars' pushes record quarterly earnings (Feb. 09 2016)
    | 10:42 AM | 12 Comments
  • 9:17 AM
    • Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) is sliding premarket, -7.6%, after its Q4 results showed a significant miss on revenues as Warner Bros. declined, though profits beat expectations and the company offered full-year guidance better than expected.
    • As with Viacom and Paramount, a lack of hit movies hurt Warner Bros. with a comp against the prior year's Hobbit sequel, as well as Interstellar.
    • Turner benefited from a bump in ad revenues (up 5% to $52M), while subscription, content and other revenues were flat. HBO, meanwhile, rode a 20% gain in Content and other revenues boosted by international licensing.
    • Revenue by segment: Turner, $2.66B (up 2.1%); Home Box Office, $1.41B (up 5.5%); Warner Bros., $3.31B (down 13.4%). Adjusted operating income was flat at HBO, but fell slightly at Warner Bros. and dropped 15% at Turner.
    • It's bumping its quarterly dividend 15% for March and has authorized a new $5B share repurchase program.
    • The company guided to full-year adjusted EPS of $5.30-$5.40, stronger than a consensus expectation of $5.26.
    • Conference call to come at 10:30 a.m. ET.
    • Press Release
    | 9:17 AM | 4 Comments
  • 8:36 AM
    • Financial conditions "have become less supportive to growth," says Janet Yellen in prepared remarks leading off two days of Congressional testimony on the economy and all things Fed.
    • There are also "downside risks" from global conditions (China), which could hit export activity and tighten financial conditions even further.
    • On the upside, big declines in interest rates and the price of oil should be a boon.
    • The Fed boss takes pains to say there's no preset course for rate hikes. The Q&A could be of interest as she will surely be asked about the "dots" showing expectations for four rate hikes this year.
    | 8:36 AM | 69 Comments
  • 8:19 AM
    • The general theme of the team's picks was a benign environment - the dollar to rise vs. the euro and yen on divergent monetary policies; peripheral EU bonds to outperform German; U.S. banks to outperform the broader market (a particular stinker).
    • "Markets have started out this week by aggressively de-risking, apparently owing to fears that the recent slowdown in global growth could descend into recession," says the bank's Charles Himmelberg. "Financial credit spreads are spiking, especially in Europe, possibly signaling a reactivation of systemic risk concerns.”
    • Goldman's one trade working this year is a recommendation to a buy a basket of 48 non-commodity exporting companies vs. a basket of 50 emerging-market bank stocks.
    | 8:19 AM | 2 Comments
  • 8:03 AM
    • Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) reports earnings today after the bell in a highly anticipated event.
    • Revenue: The company is expected to post sales of $1.8B, up 69% from last year.
    • Profit: The consensus EPS estimate stands at $0.07. Also watch automotive gross margin (ex-ZEV credits) for the impact of ramping up production, sales, and development.
    • Production/deliveries: Tesla is likely to give out a high-flying 2016 Model X production target after delivering 50,580 vehicles in 2015. Investors will be looking for details on the run-rate over the last few weeks after Tesla tipped it can churn out 238 vehicles per week shortly.
    • Model 3: Tesla confirmed a $35K price tag on the new EV model, but Elon Musk will be quizzed on the conference call on engineering progress and the critical timetable for the mass-market model roll-out.
    • Gigafactory: Updates on costs and the employee count at the Nevada plant could be issued.
    • Energy: The company has been relatively quiet on key partnerships in energy storage. Is there an ace up its sleeve?
    • Tesla is +2.53% premarket to $152.00 even.
    | 8:03 AM | 80 Comments
  • 7:12 AM
    • Banks are leading Europe's first gain in eight days after Deutsche Bank eased concerns over its funds by saying it's considering a bond buyback. The stock's higher by 13.5% in Frankfurt action.
    • Italy's (NYSEARCA:EWI5.2% moonshot is leading the Stoxx 50's (NYSEARCA:FEZ2.6% advance. Germany's (NYSEARCA:EWG) up 2.5%.
    • The Nikkei fell another 2.3% overnight, but finished well of its worst levels.
    • Nasdaq 100 futures are up 1.4%, S&P 500 1%, and DJIA 0.75%.
    • The 10-year Treasury yield is ahead two basis points to 1.75%, gold is down 1.3% to $1,183, and oil is up 1.5% to $28.37.
    • Later: Janet Yellen gets a chance to walk back any Fed hawkishness still remaining when she testifies before Congress.
    | 7:12 AM | 13 Comments
  • 5:09 AM
    • Fed Chair Janet Yellen is set to deliver her semi-annual monetary policy testimony in Washington today in what will be her first major appearance of the year and since the Fed's controversial rate hike last December.
    • The meeting will give the best insight to date on whether the central bank feels it can proceed with a rate tightening cycle or will be waylaid by problems including financial market volatility, the oil rout, slumping Chinese growth and weakness in the global economy.
    | 5:09 AM | 34 Comments
  • 4:04 AM
    • Oil prices are pushing higher after Iran proclaimed it was open to cooperation with Saudi Arabia, partly recovering from a 6% fall in the previous session on oversupply worries and weak equities.
    • "We support any form of dialogue and cooperation with OPEC member states including Saudi Arabia," Iranian oil minister Bijan Zangeneh told Press TV.
    • Traders will also turn to EIA's weekly inventory data this morning, following yesterday's API figures that reported a build of 2.4M barrels in U.S. crude stockpiles.
    • Crude futures +2.3% to $28.58/bbl.
    | 4:04 AM | 42 Comments
  • 2:27 AM
    • Japanese stocks extended a heavy selloff today, closing in the red for six of the past seven sessions, despite a festive atmosphere across East Asia for the Lunar New Year holiday.
    • With many now questioning the Bank of Japan's recent move into negative interest rates, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe defended BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda's handling of economy, and said it was up to the central bank to decide what policy instruments to use.
    • Nikkei -2.3% to 15,713
    | 2:27 AM | 11 Comments
  • Tuesday, February 9, 2016

  • 5:58 PM
    • Shares of Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) continued declining as much as 7% in postmarket trading early in its earnings conference call, and made up a bit of ground during ESPN-related questioning -- now down 3.4%, despite upbeat talk from CEO Bob Iger: "We feel really good about how all four of our businesses are positioned."
    • Star Wars boosted Studio Entertainment (revenues up 46%; operating income up 86%), and not just the new movie, either: Classic titles in the franchise drove increased home entertainment results, and higher TV/SVOD distribution was driven by global growth.
    • Parks and Resorts increased operating income (up 22%) faster than revenue (up 9% to $4.3B), boosted by domestic parks that saw attendance growth and higher guest spending, with higher average ticket prices at parks and the cruise line. International results were affected of course by higher pre-opening costs at Shanghai, opening in June.
    • With analysts and the market seemingly focused like lasers on ESPN, Iger noted "We've actually seen an uptick in ESPN subs, which is encouraging"; notions that ESPN is cratering in any way are "ridiculous; sports is too popular" and "the predictions many have made are more dire than they should be."
    • While there were discrepancies among public comments last summer about what caused declines (cord-cutting or skinny bundles?), execs are in line now: Nielsen was telling them it was a simple loss of subs, but with corrected numbers, "we concluded that our sub loss was largely due to the fact that ESPN was not part of skinny bundles that had launched."
    • Iger's comments on TV suggested a split bet: "The expanded basic bundle will remain the dominant product for consumers for the foreseeable future," he says, while also noting that the company has brands built for over-the-top: Star Wars, Marvel and (most interestingly) ESPN. "Expect innovation and pursuit of new distribution opportunities."
    • Previously: Disney now down 3.2% after 'Star Wars' pushes record quarterly earnings (Feb. 09 2016)
    • Related: Walt Disney's (DIS) CEO Bob Iger on Q1 2016 Results - Earnings Call Transcript (Feb. 09 2016)
    | 5:58 PM | 80 Comments
  • 4:37 PM
    • Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) has turned south after hours, -3.2%, after posting an all-time high in quarterly earnings, easily beating expectations with a little help from a space opera. Revenues jumped 14% Y/Y.
    • Earnings of $2.9B were a record and up nearly 32% from the prior year.
    • Studio Entertainment and Consumer Products & Interactive Media both reported record operating income, up 86% and 23% respectively, credited to success from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Parks & Resorts grew operating income 22%, while it fell 6% at Media Networks.
    • Revenue by segment: Media Networks, $6.33B (up 8%); Parks & Resorts, $4.28B (up 9%); Studio Entertainment, $2.72B (up 46%); Consumer Products & Interactive Media, $1.91B (up 8%).
    • The company pointed to timing of the College Football Playoff -- games moved to the New Year's holiday and ratings sank -- for the hit to Media Networks. But: "We've actually seen an uptick recently in ESPN subs," CEO Bob Iger tells CNBC.
    • Conference call to come at 5 p.m. ET.
    • Press Release
    | 4:37 PM | 90 Comments
  • 4:32 PM
    • Though SolarCity (NASDAQ:SCTY) beat Q4 revenue and EPS estimates, the company has reported quarterly installations of 272MW (+54% Y/Y), below guidance of 280MW-300MW.
    • Moreover, SolarCity expects installations in seasonally weaker Q1 to total 180MW (-34% Q/Q and +18% Y/Y). SolarCity: "This represents a higher-than-usual seasonal slowdown that we have historically experienced after strong fourth quarters largely owing to two reasons. First is the impact of our decision to end Nevada operations in December 2015; NV contributed 23 MW in Q4 2015. It also reflects our renewed focus on our cash conversion cycle, particularly in longer lead-time commercial projects." Q1 EPS guidance of -$2.55 to -$2.65  is below a -$2.36 consensus.
    • The company expects installations to "ramp throughout 2016," and is reiterating full-year installation guidance of 1.25GW. SolarCity: "Though the ITC extension certainly provides us with more tailwinds to growth, the primary focus of our company in 2016 is our goal of generating positive cash by year-end ... our guidance still implies over 40% annual growth in 2016."
    • Q4 metrics: Deployments +44% Y/Y to 253MW. Cumulative MW deployed +76% to 1.74GW. Cost/watt fell $0.13 Q/Q and $0.15 Y/Y to $2.71. Gross value of MW deployed fell $0.22 Q/Q and rose $0.06 Y/Y to $3.64. Delinquencies of 180+ days remain "comfortably below 1%."
    • Financials: Operating lease & system incentive revenue +53% Y/Y to $75.4M. System/component sale revenue +77% to $40.1M.GAAP operating expenses +68% to $227M - sales/marketing spend totaled $128.1M, G&A $76.2M, and R&D $22.8M.

      2015 capex totaled $176.6M. SolarCity ended the year with $394M in cash/investments, over $1.2B in PowerCo debt, and over $1.4B in DevCo debt. Solar bonds and convertible debt respectively accounted for $214M and $909M of the DevCo debt.
    • SolarCity's Q4 results, shareholder letter (.pdf), slides (.pdf)
    • Update (6:36PM ET): The post has been updated to include additional details about SolarCity's Q4. Shares are now down 32.6% after hours to $17.75.
    | 4:32 PM | 78 Comments
  • 4:25 PM
    • The stock market ended a volatile session with a late rally that pulled the major averages just short of their flat lines.
    • Early weakness was tied to concerns about Japan's sharp losses and worries about the health of Europe's banking sector and the exposure to bad loans and negative interest rates; Deutsche Bank, which fell 1% today, has surrendered 36.3% YTD.
    • Today saw some buying on the dips, as "people looking long-term are seeing more value, but at the same time people are a bit cautious ahead of the Fed," said Kate Warne, investment strategist at Edward Jones.
    • WTI crude sank 6% to $27.93/bbl but had fallen as much as 8%; independent oil and gas names such as EOG Resources (-4.2%) and Anadarko Petroleum (-7%) suffered the largest losses from oil's tumble, and the broader energy sector fell 2.5%.
    • Materials (+1.2%) and health care (+0.7%) were the sectors showing the day's largest advance.
    • Investor participation was slightly above the recent average, with 1.12B shares changing hands at the NYSE floor.
    • U.S. Treasurys ended little changed; the yield on the 10-year note ended lower by 2 bps at 1.73%.
    | 4:25 PM | 3 Comments
  • 3:24 PM
    • What to watch as Walt Disney (DIS +0.5%) reports after the bell: Anything to say about whether ESPN can dampen top-line enthusiasm coming from the early success of Star Wars.
    • Results should still be strong Y/Y, says SA contributor JJ Kinahan; the question is whether the recent strength is sustainable as subscribers depart ESPN by the millions.
    • Implied volatility is high, Kinahan says, suggesting a strong move either direction out of earnings. Some options traders are buying puts to hedge against a drop.
    • Analyst Michael Nathanson warns of legitimate concern over twin levers on ESPN: declining affiliate fee growth against the rising cost of providing sports. The company needs to be proactive about the ESPN narrative to fend off long-term worries, he says.
    | 3:24 PM | 5 Comments
  • 2:26 PM
    • Amid growing concerns about the bank's financial health, the FT reports Deutsche Bank (DB -2.4%) is "considering buying back several billion euros of its debt." Shares have pared their Tuesday losses following the report.
    • The FT adds the buyback is expected to focus on senior bonds, of which Deutsche had €50B ($56.5B) as of September. Contingent convertible bonds, the subject of much recent investor concern, aren't expected to be involved.
    • Bank debt worries have led to surging CDS prices in recent weeks. The FT states a CDS for Deutsche's 5-year senior euro debt was trading at 242 bps today, its highest level since the end of the 2011 eurozone crisis.
    • Earlier: Deutsche CEO says company is "rock-solid"
    • Yesterday: Deutsche Bank at record low as fear over European banks grows
    | 2:26 PM | 14 Comments
  • 12:52 PM
    • Viacom (VIA -12.3%, VIAB -15.2%) is now off more than 15% and hitting new 52-week lows after a tense earnings call where chief Philippe Dauman pushed back against "naysayers."
    • The call followed a Q4 report where the company saw declines in revenue with ad sales slipping and film revenues that tumbled 15%.
    • "Our outlook and the facts have been distorted and obscured by the naysayers, self-interested critics and publicity seekers," Dauman said. Despite a couple of years of price declines, Viacom's stock buyers have waded through "a lot of noise."
    • "How is this not a business in decline?" asks Bernstein's Todd Juenger, who rates the stock Underperform. Everything was down Y/Y, he notes, and "at this juncture, we think the stock is being driven much more by handicapping of the Dish renewal, and any continued drama surrounding changes in control. None of which is addressed in the press release, and probably won’t be addressed on the conference call either."
    • Regarding change of control: The company said Sumner Redstone (now chairman emeritus) was on the call, but he didn't speak, leaving commentary to new Executive Chairman Dauman.
    • Juenger has a $42 price target; VIAB shares closed yesterday at $41.85 and are trading currently at $35.51. The shares have lost 47.7% of value over the past 12 months.
    • Previously: Viacom -4.8% as ad sales, movie revenues decline (Feb. 09 2016)
    • Previously: Viacom EPS in-line, misses on revenue (Feb. 09 2016)
    • Previously: Viacom, Snapchat agree on multiyear ad sales deal (Feb. 09 2016)
    | 12:52 PM | 10 Comments
  • 10:33 AM
    • Carlyle Group (CG -1.1%) has put together more than $3B for a fund for long-term investments by private equity, Bloomberg reports.
    • It's part of a trend by private-equity firms to break out of a 10-year horizon and put money to work for still longer. Carlyle has recruited a 14-member team and the fund has already invested nearly $500M in two companies, according to Tyler Zachem, a relative newcomer who will co-lead the group with Carlyle vet Eliot Merrill.
    • “We used to have to have pass" on deals where capital was needed longer, or family-owned firms that didn't want to go public in five years. "Now, we can lean in.”
    • The fund, called Carlyle Global Partners, will share the main buyout fund's mandate of at least doubling its investment over time, but will target lower annual returns and charge a lower fee than 20% of gains.
    | 10:33 AM | 3 Comments
  • 10:05 AM
    • 5.607M job openings vs. consensus of 5.431M, 5.346M (revised) in November.
    • Report
    | 10:05 AM | 9 Comments
  • 6:03 AM
  • 4:46 AM
    • The surplus of supply over demand at the start of the year is "even greater" than initially expected, the International Energy Agency said in its latest monthly report.
    • "With the market already awash in oil, it is very hard to see how oil prices can rise significantly in the short term."
    • Supply may exceed consumption by an average of 1.75M bpd in the first half of 2016, compared with an estimate of 1.5M last month, and the excess could swell if OPEC members bolster production.
    • Crude futures +2.2% to $30.34/bbl.
    | 4:46 AM | 53 Comments
  • 2:20 AM
    • It's another ugly day for world shares. Investors are concerned that a protracted period of slowing global growth, plunging oil prices and rock-bottom interest rates will combine to inflict pain on the world's largest financial institutions, while the lofty valuations of tech stocks further weigh on sentiment.
    • The 'fear factor' in the markets is also being magnified by Fed Chair Janet Yellen's testimony this week, sending traders stampeding into only the safest of safe-haven assets.
    • U.S. 10 Year Treasury Yield -4 bps to 1.69% (a more than one-year low)
    • Asia: Japan -5.4%. Hong Kong closed. China closed. India -1.2%
    • Europe: London -0.6%. Paris -1.7%. Frankfurt -1.3%.
    • U.S. futures: Dow -0.4%. S&P -0.4%. Nasdaq -0.4%.
    | 2:20 AM | 27 Comments
  • Monday, February 8, 2016

  • 7:31 PM
    • Chinese markets are closed for the week with the Lunar New Year, but Japan is taking its Tuesday cues from Monday's markets in Europe and the U.S.
    • The Nikkei is down 680 points (about 4%) in early trading. The Nikkei 225 had reversed a four-day slide on Monday but has resumed its downtrend in the face of global trading weakness in energy and financials.
    • The dollar is down 0.3% against the yen.
    • Markets closed for Tuesday: China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Hong Kong, South Korea, and Singapore.
    | 7:31 PM | 11 Comments
  • 3:29 PM
    • AOL chief Tim Armstrong is the point person as Verizon (VZ -0.7%) explores a bid for assets at Yahoo (YHOO -4.3%), Bloomberg reports.
    • Discussions aren't far along and Verizon hasn't hired any bankers, but Armstrong is the one leading preliminary discussions, sources said.
    • Another source said Armstrong was picking up on conversations he had with Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer at the Sun Valley media conference in 2014 -- before AOL was bought by Verizon, but while he was exploring the idea of combining AOL and Yahoo. The two are both former Google executives.
    • Armstrong has had a fairly free hand to run AOL as an independent advertising/media business at Verizon, and he also ran point on Verizon's $248M purchase of Millennial Media last year -- another company with which the independent AOL had begun tie-up talks.
    • Yahoo has dipped today, -4.3%, to a new 52-week low of $26.48.
    • Previously: Verizon confirms interest in buying Yahoo (Feb. 08 2016)
    • Previously: Bain and TPG reportedly eyeing Yahoo; shares close down 4.7% post-earnings (Feb. 03 2016)
    • Previously: AOL closes $248M deal for Millennial Media (Oct. 23 2015)
    | 3:29 PM | 10 Comments
  • 2:52 PM
    • Denver's 24-10 defeat of Carolina in the Super Bowl drew 111.9M viewers in overnight ratings for CBS (CBS -5.3%) last night -- down from last year's 114.4M, despite an upbeat Les Moonves pressing for an all-time high.
    • That makes it the No. 3 most watched program in television history.
    • File under "TV lessons": The show did however peak at 115.5M million viewers between 8:30 and 9 p.m. -- when Beyonce appeared on the halftime show with Coldplay and Bruno Mars.
    • Streaming coverage set records across every category as the live stream drew 3.96M unique viewers across all devices, and watched 101 minutes on average. For the first time, national ads ran in the same spots on the linear broadcast and streaming presentation.
    | 2:52 PM | 2 Comments
  • 2:37 PM
    • Many tech stocks are seeing 6%+ losses as investors flee to safety yet again. The Nasdaq is down 3.4%, and the S&P 2.7%.
    • As was the case on Friday following Tableau and LinkedIn's disappointing guidance, a slew of enterprise tech stocks are seeing big losses, with cloud software and security tech names well-represented on the casualty list.
    • Also: Solar stocks are having another brutal day (TAN -6.7%) as energy stocks get routed amid fears Chesapeake Energy is close to bankruptcy. WTI crude oil is once more near $30/barrel.
    • Enterprise software decliners: Adobe (ADBE -9.6%), Paylocity (PCTY -19.1%), Salesforce (CRM -9.9%), Workday (WDAY -12%), Guidewire (GWRE -12.5%), ServiceNow (NOW -11.5%), Zendesk (ZEN -13.8%), Paycom (PAYC -13.4%), Marin Software (MRIN -10.3%), Castlight (CSLT -8.4%), Cornerstone OnDemand (CSOD -12.1%), Atlassian (TEAM -13.2%), inContact (SAAS -9.6%), and Bazaarvoice (BV -14.5%).
    • Enterprise security decliners: Palo Alto Networks (PANW -12.2%), FireEye (FEYE -9.8%), CyberArk (CYBR -11.5%), Proofpoint (PFPT -12.7%), Qualys (QLYS -8.9%), Imperva (IMPV -9.7%), Rapid7 (RPD -9.4%), and Barracuda (CUDA -8.4%).
    • Solar decliners: SunEdison (SUNE -11.3%), SunPower (SPWR -8.8%), JinkoSolar (JKS -7.6%), SolarEdge (SEDG -7.9%), Yingli (YGE -7.1%), TerraForm Power (TERP -10.7%), and TerraForm Global (GLBL -9.2%).
    • Other major decliners: Micron (MU -9.1%), Western Digital (WDC -10.5%), Arista (ANET -10.9%), Universal Display (OLED -10.6%), Rackspace (RAX -11.3%), Fitbit (FIT -8.7%), Nimble Storage (NMBL -11.3%), Sierra Wireless (SWIR -9.9%), Rocket Fuel (FUEL -9.8%), Knowles (KN -9%), Mitel (MITL -8.9%), and (ALRM -8.9%).
    • Previously covered: Yelp, Cognizant, Tableau, Globant, Ambarella, European tech stocks
    | 2:37 PM | 28 Comments
  • 1:22 PM
    • Yelp (NYSE:YELP): Q4 EPS of $0.11 beats by $0.14.
    • Revenue of $153.7M (+39.9% Y/Y) beats by $1.3M.
    • Expects Q1 revenue of $154M-$157M (+31% Y/Y at the midpoint) vs. a $154.4M consensus.
    • Expects 2016 revenue of $685M-$700M (+26% Y/Y at the midpoint) vs. a $687.4M consensus.
    • CFO Rob Krolik will be stepping down in the coming months. A search will be carried out to find a successor.
    • Shares are halted.
    • Press Release
    • Update (1:39PM ET): Yelp is down 2.8% after resuming trading. Shares were down more sharply earlier today.
    | 1:22 PM | 9 Comments
  • 5:22 AM
    • Most global stock markets are posting big losses as traders fret about a recession following Friday's disappointing U.S. jobs report, indicating Wall Street may carry on with the heavy casualties seen at the end of last week.
    • Investors are also looking ahead to testimony from Fed Chair Janet Yellen on Wednesday and Thursday, triggering continued uncertainty around the potential for the central bank to still raise interest rates this year.
    • Major Asian markets are closed for the Lunar New Year holidays.
    • Asia: Japan +1.1%. Hong Kong closed. China closed. India -1.7%
    • Europe: London -2%. Paris -2.6%. Frankfurt -2.8%.
    • U.S. futures: Dow -1.4%. S&P -1.5%. Nasdaq -2%.
    | 5:22 AM | 55 Comments
  • 4:54 AM
    • Oil futures are drifting into the red after a weekend meeting between Saudi Arabia and Venezuela to discuss coordination on crude costs ended with few signs there would be steps taken to boost prices.
    • "They seem like just general talk about cooperation, but nothing about cutting production," OPEC sources said. "The issue is not with Venezuela, it is with Iran."
    • Crude futures -3.5% $29.81/bbl.
    | 4:54 AM | 72 Comments
  • Saturday, February 6, 2016

  • 2:42 PM
    • BuzzFeed reports Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) plans to launch an algorithmic (non-chronological) Timeline view as soon as next week.
    • The site adds it's "unclear" if Twitter will force users to rely on an algorithmic feed - that, in turn, has led to considerable angst among some Twitter users. However, NBC News' Josh Sternberg reports the feed will be strictly opt-in. VC/Twitter investor Chris Sacca: "There is a 0% chance Twitter eliminates the chronological feed."
    • Facebook's core news feed has long used an algorithmic view - it relies on data about user activity to order content based on what Facebook thinks a particular user wants to see. While many Twitter users find its chronological firehose invaluable for providing real-time news, commentary, and one-liners about what's going on in the world, many also feel overwhelmed by it (particularly given all the posts relaying the same story/event), and struggle to stay on top of news and commentary published while they were logged out.
    • Twitter began testing an algorithmic feed about two months ago. The efforts follow a mixed reaction to Twitter's much-hyped Moments feature, and with user growth/engagement concerns continuing to weigh heavily on shares. Q4 results arrive on Wednesday.
    • Yesterday: Twitter among Internet stocks hammered following LinkedIn's earnings
    • Last month: Twitter building feature that supports much longer tweets
    • Update: Jack Dorsey has responded to BuzzFeed's report and the ensuing backlash. "Regarding #RIPTwitter: I want you all to know we're always listening. We never planned to reorder timelines next week ... I *love* real-time. We love the live stream. It's us. And we're going to continue to refine it to make Twitter feel more, not less, live! ... Twitter can help make connections in real-time based on dynamic interests and topics, rather than a static social/friend graph. We get it."
    | 2:42 PM | 34 Comments
  • Friday, February 5, 2016

  • 8:29 PM
    • Privately held Chobani says it has rejected overtures from PepsiCo (NYSE:PEP) to take a stake, preferring to go it alone in a contentious yogurt market.
    • The sticking point was the size of the stake, Bloomberg reports: Pepsi wanted a majority share, while Chobani wanted to sell a minority stake. The move effectively ends talks of a tie-up.
    • Chobani has reportedly smoothed over struggles from rapid growth that included a massive yogurt plant in Idaho, and the company now plans to self-fund expansion, including a move into Mexico.
    • It looks like the end of a proxy war that could have valued Chobani at $3B. In the fall, rival Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) ended talks to invest in Chobani, deciding it wasn't a great fit.
    • PepsiCo had ended its joint yogurt venture with Muller in December by closing a western New York plant that had opened in 2013.
    | 8:29 PM | 21 Comments
  • 11:39 AM
    • Lions Gate (NYSE:LGF) has hit a three-year low, tumbling 30.6% in its worst decline since going public, after a dim Q3 earnings report that showed weakness in its film results. The move is knocking half a billion dollars off the studio's market cap.
    • Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA) -- now back in merger talks with Lions Gate -- has tanked 15.7% as well so far today.
    • FBR & Co. has cut its price target on Lions Gate twice since Thanksgiving -- first from $43 to $38 at the end of November, and then from $38 to $31 on Monday. Shares closed at $25.45 yesterday and are trading at $17.72 today.
    • Stifel Nicolaus this morning cut its price target to $35, from $42. It holds a Buy rating on the stock, as does FBR. B. Riley on Wednesday reiterated its Buy rating and $50 price target.
    • Previously: Lions Gate down 5.3% as movie weakness spurs Q3 misses (Feb. 04 2016)
    • Previously: Lions Gate Entertainment misses by $0.07, misses on revenue (Feb. 04 2016)
    | 11:39 AM | 21 Comments
  • 11:01 AM
    • A long list of enterprise software and security tech names are off sharply after business intelligence/analytics software upstart Tableau (down 45.3%) reported slower-than-expected license revenue growth and issued below-consensus Q1/2016 guidance.
    • Also possibly weighing: LinkedIn (down 39.6%), which derives a large % of its revenue from cloud-based recruiting and sales tools for enterprises, issued weak Q1/2016 guidance.
    • Given the magnitude of the drops, margin calls and forced selling by funds could be playing a big role. The Nasdaq is down 2.2%.
    • Tableau suggested its growth slowdown has to do with softening IT spend and a need to improve sales productivity, but analysts have raised questions about competition from the likes of Microsoft, Amazon, and Qlik. LinkedIn forecast a growth slowdown for its field sales hiring solutions business, while blaming European/Asian macro pressures. The company also noted its display ad business continues declining amid weak industry growth.
    • Major enterprise software decliners include Splunk (SPLK -23.7%), Workday (WDAY -15.1%), Adobe (ADBE -7%), Zendesk (ZEN -15.2%), ServiceNow (NOW -13.6%), NetSuite (N -12.4%), Salesforce (CRM -11.2%), Paycom (PAYC -10.6%), Ellie Mae (ELLI -11.5%), Cornerstone OnDemand (CSOD -7.8%), Veeva (VEEV -7.7%), Ultimate Software (ULTI -9%), Luxoft (LXFT -7.5%), Manhattan Associates (MANH -8.5%), Box (BOX -6.6%), Guidewire (GWRE -13.6%), Demandware (DWRE -9.3%), Hortonworks (HDP -9.7%), and Tableau rival Qlik (QLIK -16.6%). The casualty list includes many cloud software firms, as well as several analytics software plays. Previously covered: New Relic, Atlassian.
    • Major decliners among security tech firms: Palo Alto Networks (PANW -12%), FireEye (FEYE -8.9%), Rapid7 (RPD -8.6%), CyberArk (CYBR -8.3%), Proofpoint (PFPT -8%), Imperva (IMPV -8.3%), Fortinet (FTNT -6.9%), and Vasco (VDSI -5.1%). The selloff comes in spite of an FQ3 beat and in-line FQ4 guidance from Symantec, which has been losing share to various upstarts.
    | 11:01 AM | 19 Comments
  • 8:46 AM
    | 8:46 AM | 27 Comments
  • 8:41 AM
    • Along with 151K jobs gained in January vs. estimates for 190K, December's 292K job gain was revised down to 262K, and November's 252K gain was revised higher to 280K. We'll call the revisions a wash.
    • The unemployment rate fell to 4.9% vs. 5% expected, and the labor force participation rate edged higher to 62.7%.
    • The broader U-6 unemployment rate held steady at 9.9%. It was 11.3% a year ago.
    • The average workweek rose by 0.1 hour to 34.6 hours. Average hourly earnings gained a big $0.12 to $25.39 (more than 5% annualized). On a Y/Y basis, wages were higher by 2.5%.
    • Initially maybe keying on the dip in unemployment and fast wage growth, the 10-year Treasury yield popped to 1.87%, but has since fallen to 1.84%. TLT +0.3%, TBT -0.6% premarket
    • Previously: Payrolls miss, but UE rate dips to 4.9% (Feb. 5)
    | 8:41 AM | 5 Comments
  • 8:31 AM
    • Jan. Trade Balance: -$43.4B vs. -$43.0B expected and -$42.2B (revised) prior.
    • Exports decreased to $181.5B, while imports increased to $224.9B.
    | 8:31 AM | 1 Comment
  • 8:30 AM
    • January Nonfarm Payrolls: +151K vs. consensus +190K, +262K (revised from 292K) previous.
    • Unemployment rate: 4.9% vs. 5% consensus, 5% previous.
    | 8:30 AM | 48 Comments
  • 7:13 AM
    | 7:13 AM | 13 Comments
  • Thursday, February 4, 2016

  • 5:54 PM
    • According to an FCC application, AT&T (NYSE:T) is pursuing a three-year experimental license to test 5G service in Austin, Texas, which might put it on a timeline with competitor Verizon (NYSE:VZ) in pursuing the next-gen wireless standard.
    • The telecom giant wants to do fixed and mobile tests with "various types of experimental wireless equipment" (but from undisclosed providers). The goal is to allow for trials (in the 3.5 GHz, 4 GHz, 15 GHz and 28 GHz bands) before standards are finalized in 2018-2019. A 5G service could provide wireless data speeds comparable to gigabit broadband.
    • Last September, Verizon announced an ambitious timetable that included 5G testing in 2016 followed by "some level of commercial deployment" in 2017; the company's CFO Fran Shammo has promised they would get to 5G first. Observers have assumed commercial rollout wouldn't happen until 2020.
    • This could also put some heat on upcoming spectrum auctions; tests are one thing, but commercial service means a need for more airwaves.
    • Previously: Verizon announces ambitious 5G timetable; to start field tests next year (Sep. 08 2015)
    | 5:54 PM | 28 Comments
  • 4:25 PM
    • Stocks closed modestly higher in choppy trading, as investors moved cautiously ahead of tomorrow’s jobs report.
    • Banks (+0.9), materials (+2.8%) and industrial companies (+1.7%), which are down sharply so far this year, were the day's biggest gainers.
    • Investor participation was consistent with recent volume, with more than 1B shares changing hands at the NYSE floor.
    • WTI crude oil started the day strong after rallying 8% yesterday but lost steam and ended the session 1.7% lower at $31.72/bbl, closing near its low of the day.
    • The dollar extended its recent downward trajectory, falling ~1%.
    • U.S. Treasury prices ended near their highs, as the yield on the benchmark 10-year note fell by 3 bps at 1.85%.
    | 4:25 PM | 9 Comments
  • 4:09 PM
    • LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD): Q4 EPS of $0.94 beats by $0.16.
    • Revenue of $861.9M (+34.0% Y/Y) beats by $4.31M.
    • Expects Q1 revenue of $820M, below an $866.7M consensus.
    • Expects 2016 revenue of $3.6B-$3.65B and EPS of $3.05-$3.20, below a consensus of $3.91B and $3.67.
    • Shares -19% after hours.
    • Press Release
    | 4:09 PM | 51 Comments
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