Top News

  • Friday, October 21, 2016

  • 6:19 PM
    • AT&T (NYSE:T) has a deal in principle to buy Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) for $85B, a 16%-plus premium above today's closing market cap, Reuters is reporting.
    • That blockbuster could come with full details as soon as Sunday, as Reuters was reporting earlier.
    • Following on AT&T's $48B acquisition of DirecTV last year, adding Time Warner would make AT&T a central media player, with control not only of its wide distribution network in satellite and wireless but some of media's most coveted assets: the Warner Bros. film studio, live sports-friendly Turner Broadcasting networks, CNN, and most especially HBO.
    • Now after hours: TWX +4.3% to $93.32/share; T -0.8%.
    | 6:19 PM | 182 Comments
  • 6:03 PM
    • No sooner did an AT&T/Time Warner merger seem as close as Monday than Reuters reports the two companies have reached agreement on most terms, with hopes to announce the deal as soon as Sunday.
    • Time Warner's (TWX +7.8%) on the move yet again, up 3.9% after hours. AT&T (T -3%) is down 0.6% in postmarket trading.
    • Time Warner's after-hours quote puts it at $93.00. Meanwhile, as analysts started to weigh in more today, sources put the deal at "well north" of $90/share (CNBC), and the price could go to $110/share -- a 23% premium above today's close.
    • Brean analyst Alan Gould said in a note that the deal could hit the $110-$125 range per share.
    • Fox failed in its 2014 pursuit of Time Warner at $85/share.
    | 6:03 PM | 28 Comments
  • 5:23 PM
    • AT&T's (T -3%) interest in Time Warner (TWX +7.8%) progressed quickly from "had talks" to "advanced talks" and now a deal could be set by Monday -- which Bloomberg says is due to a sped-up timetable caused by Bloomberg's initial report.
    • That's because AT&T is said to be concerned that the publicity could allow other interested suitors like Apple (AAPL -0.4%) or Alphabet (GOOG +0.3%, GOOGL +0.3%) to jump in -- and indeed Apple is said to be monitoring the deal talks, after it made its own approach to Time Warner a few months ago, The Wall Street Journal reports.
    • Those talks involved execs under Apple chief Tim Cook and didn't get beyond a preliminary stage. A source tells the WSJ that Google doesn't look interested in an offer for Time Warner.
    • But the story of the deal points out just how much behind-the-scenes strategic talk is going on in the media/telecom spaces, as companies vie to be among the new leaders in an upended, converged digital media climate.
    • Sumner Redstone was said to be considering not only the merger of CBS (CBS +2.1%) and Viacom (VIA +2.7%, VIAB +2.8%) that he's already pushing for, but also to combine that entity with Time Warner.
    • Meanwhile, Comcast (CMCSA -0.5%) could join another company to get involved, the WSJ says, though that makes more sense if Time Warner's open to being parted out.
    • Unlikely to join in this time: Twenty-First Century Fox (FOX +2.2%, FOXA +2.2%), whose own pursuit of Time Warner failed in 2014 at $85/share, and Walt Disney (DIS +1.1%).
    • Previously: Time Warner at 15-year highs on merger talk; media companies rise (Oct. 21 2016)
    | 5:23 PM | 39 Comments
  • 1:21 PM
    • A coordinated Internet attack has taken a wide variety of sites offline for millions of users today.
    • The incident, a distributed denial-of-service attack on traffic company Dyn, came against the domain name system infrastructure that helps connect users to sites, and it's coming in waves: After earlier outages, Dyn has warned that it's under assault again.
    • The earlier attack took a number of sites off line for hours, including Amazon (AMZN +1%), Twitter (TWTR -0.3%), Etsy (ETSY -0.8%) and Spotify (Private:MUSIC) as well as many more.
    • The Department of Homeland Security says it's "looking into" the attack.
    | 1:21 PM | 71 Comments
  • 12:02 PM
    • Time Warner (TWX +12.4%) is still climbing and cruising to 15-year highs after the WSJ report that it's in advanced talks to be taken over by AT&T (T -3.9%), which is now at its lowest point since February.
    • The deal -- which would create a media/telecom giant that would reshape the industry -- would be likely cash and stock, though talks are fluid and might not end in a deal.
    • The mix of the deal is likely crucial to its outcome, with Time Warner (not to be confused with Time Warner Cable, now part of Charter Communications) now worth more than $75B -- and a year after AT&T ponied up nearly $49B to take over DirecTV.
    • Other potential acquisition targets in media (is anything off the table in a rapidly consolidating sector?) are on the move: DISCA +6.4%, SNI +5.6%, AMCX +4.3%. Lions Gate (NYSE:LGF) made its own move up, +2.4%.
    • Engaged in talks about their own re-merger, Viacom (VIA +2.8%, VIAB +4.1%) is up, as is erstwhile and possibly future partner CBS (CBS +2.7%).
    | 12:02 PM | 10 Comments
  • 9:04 AM
    • j2 Global (NASDAQ:JCOM) unit Ziff Davis announce that Ziff Davis has entered into a definitive merger agreement to acquire Everyday Health (NYSE:EVDY), a leading provider of digital health marketing and communications solutions.
    • Ziff Davis will acquire Everyday Health for $10.50/share in cash, representing an enterprise value of ~$465M.
    • The transaction requires that shares representing more than 50% of Everyday Health’s common shares be tendered, and is subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.
    • The per-share price is a 27% premium to EVDY's share price earlier yesterday, before shares jumped in late-day trading. The last time EVDY traded above $10 was in November 2015.
    • Source: Press Release
    | 9:04 AM | 1 Comment
  • 7:21 AM
    | 7:21 AM | 1 Comment
  • 4:41 AM
    • China's house-price index dropped to 4.3% in September from 9.2% in August amid attempts by central and local governments to dampen the red-hot sector with purchasing restrictions in a number of cities.
    • In the first weeks of October, new-home prices in Beijing dropped 3.7% and 2.5% in Shanghai after rising in both cities in September.
    • In 63 of the 70 cities tracked, new-home prices, excluding government-subsidized housing, grew last month, down from 64 in August.
    • Despite the early signs of cooling, analysts are skeptical about the government actions amid mounting concerns about the huge debt in China.
    • "The most powerful property control is credit tightening, which we haven't seen," UBS economist Wang Tao said. "The purchase restrictions currently imposed can still be bypassed."
    | 4:41 AM
  • 4:05 AM
    • Daimler's (OTCPK:DDAIF) Q3 net profit increased 8.8% to €2.595B, boosted by strong sales of the company's new E-class models and sport-utility vehicles.
    • Revenues grew 4% to €38.6, pretty much as expected, and volumes increased 5% to a record 754,100 units.
    • Operating profit climbed 10.3% to €4.04B and topped forecasts of €3.77B.
    • Revenue at Mercedes-Benz Cars increased 12% to €23.3B, although truck sales slumped 19% to €7.8B as volume dropped to 97,100 from 128,500 a year earlier.
    • Shares are -3.15% in Frankfurt.
    • PR
    | 4:05 AM | 4 Comments
  • 3:29 AM
    • SAP's (NYSE:SAP) Q3 adjusted operating profit rose 1% to €1.64B but came in just below estimates of €1.65B.
    • Revenue climbed 8% to €5.4B and topped forecasts of €5.3B.
    • SAP obtained over 400 S/4  new Hana customers, with 4,100 businesses now running the suite.
    • SAP slightly improved its guidance for adjusted operating profit to €6.5-6.7B from a previous forecast of €6.4-6.7B.
    • SAP also expects cloud and software revenue to rise 6.5-8.5%.
    • "The pipeline is more robust than it has ever been going into the fourth quarter," says CEO Bill McDermott. "We're in very good shape on the top line."
    • EMEA revenue rose 5% to €2.32B, boosted by German sales, while U.S. revenue increased 7% to €1.77B and sales in the Asia, Pacific & Japan region came in at €825M.
    • Shares are +1.8% in Frankfurt.
    • (PR)
    | 3:29 AM
  • 2:57 AM
    • British American Tobacco (NYSEMKT:BTI) has offered to acquire the 58% in Reynolds American (NYSE:RAI) it doesn't own for $47B in cash and shares.
    • BAT's proposal is worth $56.50 a share, or 20% above Reynold's closing price of $47.17 yesterday. BAT will pay $20B in cash and the rest in stock.
    • The deal would bring together Newport, Kent and Pall Mall cigarettes under one umbrella to create the U.S. market leader. (PR)
    | 2:57 AM | 50 Comments
  • Thursday, October 20, 2016

  • 6:50 PM
    • The new Switch videogame system is likely to have a positive effect for Nintendo (OTCPK:NTDOY +2.5%) even though the particulars are largely what's been expected for some time, Jefferies says.
    • The system isn't as big a deal as Nintendo making a long-awaited move to smartphone gaming, says analyst Atul Goyal in an overnight note. But it does showcase the company's software, which is important, he says.
    • "In the long term NX may still turn out to be far less successful than its predecessors or when compared to its peers," he writes. "But – when it showcases the product – most of its audience is likely to find it 'interesting' and die-hard Nintendo fans are going to buy it regardless." And if the system is great, then that's a positive catalyst.
    • He also contrasted the importance of expectations: While gamers have been anxious over the release timeline, "hardly any investor we have met has any expectation from NX or its launch" and most see it as a negative catalyst that could get them a better entry price before Super Mario Run comes out in December.
    • He has a Buy rating on shares and a target of ¥37,000, implying 37% upside from the company's Thursday close in Tokyo.
    | 6:50 PM | 4 Comments
  • 4:25 PM
    • Stocks closed with slight losses, as the latest round of earnings reports prompted mixed reactions from investors.
    • “Investors are focusing more on earnings and the things that really matter,” rather than speculating about central bank moves and election results, says Schwab's Randy Frederick.
    • The S&P telecom sector sank 2%, easily the day's worst performer, as Verizon Communications (-2.5%) reported decline revenue and falling subscriber growth.
    • In the financial sector, which finished flat, American Express surged 9% after beating bottom-line estimates for the quarter and issuing upbeat full-year earnings guidance.
    • Today's trading volume fell below the average of 853M, as 773M shares changed hands at the NYSE floor.
    • U.S. crude oil fell 2.2% to settle at $50.43/bbl, a day after hitting a 15-month high, as traders took profits off the table.
    • Treasury prices tilted slightly lower, as the yield on the two-year note settled 2 bps higher at 0.82% while benchmark 10-year yield added a basis point at 1.75%.
    | 4:25 PM | 2 Comments
  • 4:05 PM
    • In meetings discussing a potential AT&T (NYSE:T) merger with Time Warner (NYSE:TWX), AT&T execs have found a willing seller in Time Warner chief Jeff Bewkes, sources tell Bloomberg, so long as he sees an offer he thinks is fair. And AT&T is on the hunt for content as part of a company transformation that has included its takeover of DirecTV (for an also-whopping $48.5B).
    • The two companies met in recent weeks to talk about various strategies in discussions characterized as informal and focused on building relations at the moment, Bloomberg says. Nobody's hired a financial adviser yet.
    • Time Warner famously rejected a 2014 bid from Rupert Murdoch and Fox (at $85/share) that valued the company at more than $75B; it's worth about $64.5B in market cap today accounting for today's gain.
    • A deal makes sense, says Albert Fried analyst Rich Tullo, with 5G mobile on the way and AT&T set to benefit from a great content catalog at Time Warner.
    • The talks are probably more about skinny bundles and "VMVPD distribution," he figures, but 5G mobile and its video-transferring capabilities make a deal more worthwhile. The company's sum-of-the-parts analysis had previously figured Warner Bros. and Turner networks as worth about $30B each.
    • TWX has given back some of its initial spike, closing up 4.8%; T closed down 1.9%.
    | 4:05 PM | 48 Comments
  • 2:44 PM
    • NBCUniversal (CMCSA -0.9%) is in talks with YouTube about joining the latter's burgeoning live TV streaming service set to debut next year, says The Hollywood Reporter.
    • Competitors among the big four broadcast networks were already reportedly in discussion to be part of Unplugged, as the service will be called. CBS (CBS +0.7%) has a definitive deal to be part; Disney/ABC (DIS -0.1%) and Fox (FOX -0.7%, FOXA -0.1%) are close to distribution deals as well.
    • NBCU would bring broadcast NBC and likely its cable channels, including USA Network, Bravo and Syfy among others.
    • CBS -- which runs its own streaming live service (CBS All Access, at $5.99/month or $9.99/month) -- reportedly sought a rate between the $2/subscriber it gets from cablecos and the $5.99 for All Access.
    | 2:44 PM
  • 10:50 AM
    • Early gains in futures didn't hold after the ECB left policy unchanged and Mario Draghi offered no hint of more candy to come. European stocks are holding the flatline after surrendering their advance, and the U.S. major averages have moved into the red.
    • The S&P 500 is down 0.35%, the Dow 0.3%, and Nasdaq 0.45%.
    | 10:50 AM | 1 Comment
  • 10:00 AM
    • Sept. Leading Indicators: Leading Index +0.2% to 124.4 in-line with consensus, -0.2% prior.
    • Coincident Index +0.2% to 114.2, flat prior
    • Lagging Index +0.2% to 122.3 vs. +0.2% prior.
    | 10:00 AM
  • 9:34 AM
    • A re-merger of CBS and Viacom (VIA -0.5%, VIAB -0.3%) could be set by Thanksgiving -- or so Viacom shareholders believe, the New York Post reports.
    • Some of those shareholders are holding out hope for something extra beyond an at-the-market all-stock deal, the paper says -- perhaps Dalian Wanda Group with a check for Paramount Pictures (even if that's just financing help on its slate).
    • “Perhaps there is a contingent consideration — maybe Viacom shareholders are given an opportunity to get a future payout if targets are met,” a source told the Post.
    • With interim CEO Tom Dooley leaving next month, a leading candidate to take over Viacom is Bob Bakish, the president of Viacom International, though depending on the source, there are a number of "leading candidates."
    • Previously: Bloomberg: CBS nears hiring of Goldman, JPMorgan on possible Viacom deal (Oct. 14 2016)
    • Previously: Viacom confirms MS, Allen, LionTree advising on potential CBS deal (Oct. 14 2016)
    | 9:34 AM | 5 Comments
  • 9:24 AM
    • On Verizon's (NYSE:VZ) Q3 earnings conference call, retiring CFO Fran Shammo recapitulated a company line on the data breach at Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO), saying he did expect the intrusion could have a "material impact" on a $4.83B takeover deal.
    • "This was an extremely large breach that has received a lot of attention from a lot of people," he says, noting the lawyers had their first call yesterday "but that's going to be a long process."
    • Yahoo itself had canceled a call tied to its earnings released Tuesday, citing the deal.
    • Upgrade activity was affected by both short supplies of iPhone 7 as well as the recall of Samsung's Galaxy Note 7 devices, Shammo and incoming CFO Matt Ellis said. Meanwhile, when it comes to pricing, "unlimited is still not something we're going to move to."
    • The company is negotiating with one party on a sale of its data centers, Shammo says.
    • User engagement measured as viewing time on its video service Go90 is up, now past 30 minutes per user each day, with less than 20% of the traffic served on Verizon's network.
    • Shares are off 1.8% premarket with the call still ongoing. YHOO -0.2% premarket.
    • Earnings call slides
    • Previously: Verizon turns lower as postpaid subscribers disappoint (Oct. 20 2016)
    • Previously: Verizon beats by $0.02, misses on revenue (Oct. 20 2016)
    | 9:24 AM | 9 Comments
  • 8:53 AM
    | 8:53 AM | 1 Comment
  • 8:48 AM
    | 8:48 AM | 10 Comments
  • 8:30 AM
    • Initial Jobless Claims +13K at 260K vs. 250K consensus, 247K prior (revised).
    • Continuing Claims +7K to 2.057M vs. 2.050M prior.
    | 8:30 AM | 3 Comments
  • 7:51 AM
    | 7:51 AM | 4 Comments
  • 5:15 AM
    • Roche's (OTCQX:RHHBF) Q3 revenue climbed 4.5% to 12.48B Swiss francs ($12.6B) and almost hit forecasts of 12.55B francs, boosted by the strong performance of several of the company's cancer and immunotherapy treatments.
    • These include Roche's trio of drugs for treating the HER2-positive form of breast cancer, Gazyva for chronic lymphocytic leukemia, Actemra for rheumatoid arthritis, and Esbriet for the lung disease idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.
    • The initial uptake of cancer immunotherapy Tecentriq has also been strong.
    • Roche's overall pharmaceuticals sales rose to 9.68B francs from 9.34B, while diagnostics revenues grew to 2.8B francs from 2.6B francs.
    • Roche reiterated that it expects FY sales to grow at a low- to mid-single-digit range at constant exchange rates and for core EPS to grow faster than revenues.
    • Roche also confirmed that it expects to further increase its dividend in Swiss francs.
    • Roche's shares are -0.5% in Zurich.
    • PR
    | 5:15 AM
  • 4:55 AM
    • Nestle's (OTCPK:NSRGF) 9-month sales inched up 1% to 65.51B Swiss francs ($66.19B) but missed estimates of 66B francs as the food giant continued to suffer from deflation and low prices for raw materials.
    • Organic sales rose 3.5% but came in below forecasts of +3.7%.
    • The company cut its FY outlook for organic sales growth to 3.5% from a prior forecast of 4.2%.
    • Shares were -0.8% in Zurich. PR
    | 4:55 AM | 3 Comments
  • 4:51 AM
    • An adviser to the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) has backed Intel's (NASDAQ:INTC) appeal against a record €1.06B ($1.16B) fine for antitrust violations and believes a lower court should review it.
    • "Intel's appeal...for abuse of its dominant position should be upheld," Advocate General Nils Wahl said.
    • EU regulators imposed the penalty in 2009 for Intel's attempts to stifle Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE:AMD). This included giving rebates to major PC makers for purchasing the bulk of their computer chips from Intel.
    | 4:51 AM | 18 Comments
  • 3:06 AM
    • As expected, Saudi Arabia has raised $17.5B in the largest ever bond sale by an emerging-market country as it looks to reduce its $97B budget deficit.
    • The government could have raised even more, with Bloomberg reporting that it received orders of $67B.
    • The debt issue is part of Saudi Arabia's plan to open up its $650B economy and reduce its massive reliance on oil, the low prices for which have exacerbated the government's budgetary problems.
    • The kingdom, which Moody's rates at A1, sold $5B debt in each of five- and 10-year bonds and $6.5B in 30-year debt.
    | 3:06 AM | 11 Comments
  • Wednesday, October 19, 2016

  • 4:55 PM
    • American Express (AXP +2%) has picked up 5.2% after hours following Q3 earnings where it soundly beat profit expectations and raised full-year guidance as it embraced the loss of Costco business.
    • EPS dropped 3% in headline terms; excluding a charge for restructuring, it was exactly flat Y/Y at $1.24.
    • It now expects GAAP EPS for the full year of $5.65-$5.75, and adjusted EPS of $5.90-$6.00 (above consensus for $5.60).
    • Excluding the year-ago impact of Costco, adjusted revenues grew 5% as cardmember spending rose, as did net interest income and net card fees. Revenues fell 5.1% on an unadjusted basis.
    • Effective tax rate for the quarter was 34% vs. a year-ago 35%. Return on equity came to 26%, down from a year-ago 27%.
    • Conference call to come at 5 p.m. ET.
    • Press Release
    | 4:55 PM | 11 Comments
  • 4:38 PM
    • California's attorney general is investigating Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) on criminal charges of identity theft in connection with its bogus-account scandal, the Los Angeles Times reports.
    • Shares of WFC are off 0.7% after hours.
    • A search warrant that the paper obtained shows that the state's Justice Department is demanding information including the names of California customers who had unauthorized accounts opened up, info about fees tied to those accounts, and the name of employees who opened them as well as their managers, along with e-mail and communications.
    • It's also requesting info about customers in other states, if accounts were opened by Wells Fargo workers in California.
    • The agency says there's probable cause to believe the bank violated two sections of the state penal code, both felonies. But it's not yet clear whether Attorney General Kamala Harris and her office will pursue charges against individuals or even the bank yet.
    • Wells Fargo says it's "cooperating in providing the requested information."
    | 4:38 PM | 37 Comments
  • 4:20 PM
    • Stocks held on for a second straight session for gains, helped by a few stronger than expected quarterly earnings reports and sharply higher oil prices.
    • Energy companies were easily the biggest gainers of the day, as WTI crude oil settled 2.6% higher at $51.60/bbl, its highest level since July 2015.
    • Morgan Stanley, Halliburton, Abbott Labs and BB&T were among the companies that beat expectations on both earnings and revenue, while Intel also reported better than expected results but fell 5.9% on light revenue guidance.
    • Eight S&P sectors ended in positive territory, led by energy (+1.4%), financials (+0.8%), materials (+0.7%) and consumer discretionary (+0.5%).
    • Stocks were not affected by the Fed Beige Book, which indicated that the U.S. economy was continuing its modest but steady expansion.
    • Today's trading volume came in below the recent average, as 798M shares changed hands at the NYSE floor.
    • Treasury yields finished little changed across the curve, with the two-year yield settling at 0.80% while the benchmark 10-year yield finished at 1.74%.
    | 4:20 PM
  • 2:51 PM
    • A new TV service from Google (GOOG +0.8%, GOOGL +0.6%) is likely to come in early 2017 after the company reached a carriage deal with CBS (CBS +0.7%) and is near distribution deals with Disney (DIS +0.6%) and Fox (FOX +0.8%, FOXA +0.4%) as well, The Wall Street Journal reports.
    • Reportedly called "Unplugged," the service would target cost-conscious viewers with a "skinny" bundle of live channels at $25-$40 per month, sources told the paper.
    • While it would be housed on Google's YouTube infrastructure, it would be separate from the existing ad-free YouTube Red subscription offering, though a curated part of Red would be part of the Unplugged bundle.
    • The bold move (with deals coming more rapidly than Apple's progress into TV) comes ahead of a planned live service from Hulu (CMCSA +0.2%, DIS, FOX, FOXA, TWX -0.1%) as well as AT&T's (T +0.2%) DirecTV Now offering arriving later this year (likely at $50/month or more), and enters a skinny space that already holds Sling TV (DISH +1.4%).
    • Updated 3:48 p.m.: Viacom (VIA +0.3%, VIAB +0.8%), home of MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and BET, is also in advanced talks to join the service.
    • Wall Street Journal report
    | 2:51 PM | 35 Comments
  • 2:38 PM
    • Google (GOOG, GOOGL) has reached a deal with CBS (NYSE:CBS) on a planned Web TV service -- and the search giant is also in advanced talks with Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) and Twenty-First Century Fox (FOX, FOXA) to join, according to Dow Jones Newswires.
    • The service would be housed on Google's YouTube, which has made inroads this year on live-streaming as well as subscription offerings, including ad-free product YouTube Red.
    • The move comes slightly ahead of an expected late-2016 launch from AT&T (NYSE:T) of its DirecTV Now streaming service. AT&T chief Randall Stephenson has said that service would be "very, very" aggressively priced; most analysts expect an offering around $50 a month or as much as $60/month.
    • AT&T (T) makes a dip down, now up just 0.3% on the day.
    | 2:38 PM | 30 Comments
  • 2:07 PM
    • Most regions saw a "modest" increase in economic activity, according to the newest Fed Beige Book, which showed improvement overall from September's report.
    • New York again showed no change in activity, while the pace of growth improved in St. Louis, Kansas City, and Dallas districts.
    • The labor market is tight as ever, with "modest employment and wage growth" noted. Meanwhile, manufacturing activity was mixed with the dollar still holding down exports.
    • Consumer spending was mixed, with Cleveland and Kansas City districts anticipating flat sales. Auto sales were also mixed, with declines in the Kansas City and Dallas districts.
    • Residential real estate activity expanded in most areas, though home sales fell "markedly" in Kansas City. In banking and finance, overall loan demand increased and deposits grew slightly around most districts.
    | 2:07 PM | 3 Comments
  • 7:25 AM
    • Speaking at the "Oil & Money" conference in London, Saudi Arabia oil minister Khalid Al-Falih says many non-OPEC countries (Russia?) may join in the cartel's deal to limit output. The countries, he says, are willing to not just freeze, but implement healthy cuts.
    • Also in attendance at the conference, Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson says any worry of a future supply shortage is overblown, thanks to the game-changer of U.S. shale.
    • Texas Tea is higher by 1.3% this morning to $50.95 per barrel. USO +1.05% premarket
    | 7:25 AM | 15 Comments
  • 5:01 AM
    • Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) plans to more than double the number of stores in China to 5000 over the next five years as it looks to further exploit what has become a key market, where it has 2,300 cafes in over 100 cities.
    • In what may be a symbolic move more than anything else, the coffee chain has also promoted Belinda Wong, the president of its Chinese operations, to become the division's first CEO.
    | 5:01 AM | 13 Comments
  • 4:49 AM
    • The U.K.'s unemployment rate held steady at an 11-year low of 4.9%, as expected, in the three months to the end of August.
    • However, while the number of people in work rose 106,000, that's down from increases of above 170,000 in recent months.
    • The number of unemployed increased 10,000 to 1.66M for the first rise since February.
    • Basic pay growth increased to 2.3% from 2.2%, although total pay slowed to +2.3% from +2.4%.
    • While the data will probably be scrutinized for what it says about the impact of the Brexit vote, it's still way to early to tell.
    • The pound is +0.1% at $1.2309, while the FTSE 100 is -0.3%.
    • PR
    | 4:49 AM
  • 3:22 AM
    • China's GDP growth remained at 6.7% on year in Q3, as expected, boosted by yet more government spending, record bank lending and an over-heating property market, all of which are adding to the massive debt in the country.
    • Q2 growth was also 6.7%.
    • The figure is in the middle of the government's 2016 growth target of 6.5%-7%.
    • Industrial production slowed to +6.1% on year in September from 6.3% in August and missed forecasts of +6.4%.
    • Retail sales accelerated slightly to +10.7% from +10.6% and topped estimates of +10.6%.
    • Fixed-asset investment growth jumped to +8.2% from +6.1% and met expectations.
    • "Economic activity seems to be holding up reasonably well, with few signs that a renewed slowdown is just around the corner," says economist Julian Evans-Pritchard. "Nonetheless, the recent recovery is ultimately on borrowed time given that it has been driven in large part by faster credit growth and a property market boom, both of which policy makers are now working to rein in."
    • Chinese shares -0.7%, Hong Kong -0.6%.
    | 3:22 AM | 29 Comments
  • Tuesday, October 18, 2016

  • 4:25 PM
    • Stocks rebounded after a round of stronger than expected corporate earnings helped support market sentiment, although the advance lost some steam in the final hour.
    • The health care sector paced today's advance, helped by a 6.9% gain for UnitedHealth after beating analysts' estimates for the quarter and raising its full-year guidance.
    • All 11 S&P 500 sectors finished in the green with health care (+1.1%), materials (+0.9%), utilities (+0.8%), financials (+0.8%) and tech (+0.7%) leading the pack.
    • Also noteworthy was the relative strength in the "FANG" stocks - Facebook (+0.8%), Amazon (+0.6%), Netflix (+19%), and Alphabet (+1.9%) - after NFLX impressed with a strong Q3 earnings report.
    • Today's trading volume came in below the recent average, as 742M shares changed hands at the NYSE floor.
    • U.S. crude oil prices pushed higher, up 0.8% to $50.32/bbl, along with longer-dated Treasury prices, which has pushed yields lower, with the benchmark 10-year note down by 2 bps at 1.75%.
    | 4:25 PM | 1 Comment
  • 4:19 PM
    • Yahoo (YHOO -0.3%) is up 1% after hours in the aftermath of its Q3 earnings report, featuring profits that beat expectations and in-line revenues
    • GAAP revenue was $1.305B (up 6.5%). The previous change in revenue presentation tied to its Microsoft Search Agreement contributed $258M; excluding that, GAAP revenue would have been $1.048B (down 15% Y/Y).
    • "Mavens" revenue (mobile, video, native and social) was $524M (up 24.2%); non-Mavens revenues were $726M (up 4.8%). Total traffic-driven revenue grew 12% to $1.25B, while non-traffic-driven revenue fell to $55M from $111M.
    • Mobile revenue jumped 46.1% to $396M, while desktop revenue inched up to $854M from $844M.
    • The company had said it wouldn't hold a call to discuss the earnings due to its pending buyout deal with Verizon (NYSE:VZ).
    • "I am pleased with our Q3 results," says CEO Marissa Mayer. "This quarter, we launched several new products and showed solid financial performance across the board; both are a testimony to the tremendous teamwork, focus, and resilience of our employees," she added, noting the company is working hard to retain user trust after its data breach and ahead of the Verizon integration.
    • Press Release
    | 4:19 PM | 19 Comments
  • 3:56 PM
    • A government-commissioned report says the mammoth $880B sovereign wealth fund should up its investments in equities to 70% of assets from the current 60%, with that extra money coming out of fixed-income.
    • It's not small potatoes given that the fund owns on average 1.3% of every single listed company in the world, and 2.5% in Europe. Maybe even more importantly, it could be a bell-ringer for the bull market - the equity allocation was last raised (from 40% to 60%) in 2007. Oops!
    • As is typical these days, the current rate regime has officials struggling to find a way to boost returns, and the natural answer is to take on more risk.
    • Remember this name: Knut Mork. He's the chairman of the nine-member commission which put out the report, and he's the only dissenter from the vote to recommend boosting equity exposure. In fact, he argues for cutting the stock allocation to just 50% in order to give the government a more predictable stream of income.
    | 3:56 PM | 21 Comments
  • 10:34 AM
    • Needham has cut Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) to Hold with talk in the air of Verizon (VZ -0.4%) potentially walking away from its deal to buy the Internet business, or getting a lower deal price.
    • But valuation also plays a part as the firm reduces its rating to Hold from Buy, as does Yahoo's cancellation of its Q3 earnings call, which "also troubles us." Yahoo's up 1.5% today to $42.40, above Needham's $40 price target.
    • Last week, Verizon's general counsel was quoted as saying there was a "reasonable basis" to think that the massive 500M-account data breach at Yahoo would prove material to Verizon's $4.83B deal to acquire it.
    • Yesterday, Credit Suisse set a price target of $52 on Yahoo shares (implying 23% upside), and MKM Partners boosted its price target to $51 from $44.
    • Yahoo reports after the bell today, but won't hold a conference call because, it says, of the pending acquisition.
    | 10:34 AM | 19 Comments
  • 8:30 AM
    | 8:30 AM | 7 Comments
  • 7:23 AM
    | 7:23 AM | 3 Comments
  • 5:36 AM
    • Global equities are higher as a weakening dollar helps strengthen oil prices, thereby boosting global sentiment, and ahead of U.S. CPI data later this morning.
    • Inflation is expected to have risen to 1.5% on year in September from 1.1% in August.
    • The figure will come after Fed Vice-Chair Stanley Fischer said yesterday that the central bank is "very close" to its targets of full U.S. employment and 2% inflation. Fischer also expressed concerns about low interest rates.
    • "The Fed clearly wants more growth than inflation," says investment strategist Robert Tipp. "The markets also are not sure what to make of the inflation numbers."
    • In Asia, Japan +0.4%, Hong Kong +1.6%, China +1.4%, India +1.65%.
    • In Europe, Euro Stoxx 50 +1.3%, London +1.1%, Paris +1.2%, Frankfurt +1%, Milan +1.6%, Madrid +1.15%.
    • U.S. stock futures: Dow +0.4%, S&P +0.5%, Nasdaq +0.6%.
    • Crude +0.4% at $50.34.
    | 5:36 AM | 1 Comment
  • 5:04 AM
    • U.K. CPI reached its highest level in almost two years in September, rising to +1% on year from +0.6% in August and topping consensus of 0.9%.
    • Core inflation increased to 1.5%, also the highest in two years, from 1.3% vs an estimate of 1.4%.
    • Factory-gate prices +1.2% vs +0.9% and +1%.
    • Total import costs increased 9%.
    • The U.K.'s Office of National Statistics says it hasn't seen explicit evidence that the pound's weakness has been affecting CPI, although it has had an impact on producer prices.
    • "Even though 1% is still some way off the Bank of England's 2% inflation target, the impact of currency changes works with a lag so further rises in CPI should be expected," says Fidelity investment director Tom Stevenson. "Inflation is expected to continue its upward charge."
    • The FTSE 100 is +1.1%, while the pound is +0.5% at $1.2248.
    | 5:04 AM | 1 Comment
  • Monday, October 17, 2016

  • 4:25 PM
    • Stocks finished modestly lower, but upbeat earnings reports helped cushion the U.S. market from broader global declines.
    • Bank of America was among the companies reporting quarterly earnings before the bell, rising 0.3% after beating earnings and revenue expectations, while Hasbro jumped 7.4% after also posting better than expected results.
    • U.S. Treasury prices inched higher, sending the yield on the two-year note lower by 2 bps to 0.82% while the yield on the benchmark 10-year note settled down by 4 bps to 1.77%.
    • The downturn in yields helped downtrodden yield-play sectors such as utilities (+0.6%), telecom services (+0.2%) and real estate (+0.1%) but weighed on the financials group (-0.4%).
    • Energy shares also were among the biggest losers in the S&P 500, sliding 0.4% as U.S. crude oil fell below $50/bbl at $49.94; the consumer discretionary group (-0.8%) was the day's worst laggard.
    • Today's trading volume came in below the recent average of 859M, as 693M shares changed hands at the NYSE floor.
    | 4:25 PM
  • 8:30 AM
    | 8:30 AM | 2 Comments
  • 7:01 AM
    • Supervalu (NYSE:SVU) announces it sold the Save-A-Lot business to Onex Corporation for $1.365B.
    • As part of the deal, the company will enter into a five-year professional services agreement with Save-A-Lot.
    • The closing of the transaction is expected to occur before January 31, 2017.
    • SVU +8.18% premarket to $5.42.
    | 7:01 AM | 19 Comments
  • 5:19 AM
    • Long-dated government bond yields are up nicely again today nearly across the board. Leading the way are Spanish 10-years, up 11 basis points to 1.156%. The U.K. 10-year Gilt yield is higher by another 9 basis points to 1.09%.
    • Janet Yellen's Friday afternoon speech - in which she suggested the Fed might have to tolerate higher than otherwise inflation - makes for a good excuse to sell today. U.S. yields rose sharply in the aftermath of her musings, and the 10-year is higher by another basis point this morning to 1.81%.
    • The German 10-year Bund yield is up 3.4 basis points to 0.093%. The Italian 10-year is up 5.8 basis points to 1.439%.
    • The 10-year JGB yield is flat at -0.055%.
    | 5:19 AM | 11 Comments
  • Friday, October 14, 2016

  • 4:25 PM
    • Stocks barely held onto gains at the end, concluding a downbeat week on a tepid note as an opening rally fizzled out; for the week, the Dow ended -0.6%, S&P finished -1% and Nasdaq was -1.5%.
    • Financial stocks in the S&P 500 rose as much as 1.5% before trimming the increase to 0.5%, as JPMorgan Chase (-0.3%), Citigroup (+0.3%) and Wells Fargo (-0.1%) reported better than expected earnings; some analysts said the results were not strong enough to offset concerns about tepid economic growth.
    • Rising Treasury yields also helped thwart the early rally, as the benchmark 10-year yield climbed 6 bps to 1.80% following a higher reading on U.S. producer price inflation and stronger than expected inflation out of China.
    • The dollar strengthened throughout the day, which weighed on dollar-denominated oil prices; WTI closed -0.2% at $50.32/bbl.
    • Stock trading volume came in below the recent average, as 785M shares changed hands at the NYSE floor.
    | 4:25 PM | 5 Comments
  • 4:08 PM
    • Janet Yellen's afternoon speech jolted the Treasury market out of a late-session Friday slumber, with the 10-year yield jumping five basis points to touch 1.80% for the first time since early June.
    • While not commenting on current policy, the more theoretical speech suggested the Fed ought to consider letting the economy/inflation run hotter than would otherwise be advised in order to heal the still-active wounds from the financial crisis.
    • "I didn't hear, 'We are going to tighten in December,'" Jeff Gundlach tells Reuters. "I think she is concerned about the trend of economic growth. GDP is not doing what they want."
    • Earlier: GDPNow pared its forecast of Q3 growth to just 1.9%.
    • TLT -1.4%, TBT +2.8%
    | 4:08 PM | 81 Comments
  • 2:34 PM
    • Though not really addressing near-term policy issues, Fed Chair Janet Yellen hints she could be okay with a too-perky economy for awhile.
    • The damage from the financial crisis left such a permanent scar, she says, that the central bank may need to run a "high-pressure" economy to reverse the damage.
    • Increased sales would encourage higher productive capacity, and hence more capital spending, and tight labor markets - and with them higher wages - might draw in workers otherwise inclined to sit on the sidelines.
    | 2:34 PM | 54 Comments
  • 12:56 PM
    • Echoing a chorus of frustrated investors, Wells Fargo's Jennifer Fritsche figures that Sprint (NYSE:S) is worth $21/share in spectrum value alone.
    • That's after accounting for $32B in debt. Shares are up 3.4% to $7 and the stock has hit a two-year high today in response.
    • Crunching numbers on Sprint's third and latest sale/leaseback on spectrum, Fritsche says the price tag it puts on the airwaves is higher than the Street figured: If 14% of the spectrum is worth $16.4B, then total value comes to about $117B.
    • The spectrum deal lowers average cost of debt and should help cash flow in the short term, she says. “Once Sprint gets beyond the December payment ($2.3B due in 12/2016) its next three maturities are coupons which are between 8 3/8% and 9 1/8% ... Therefore, this deal could be immediately be accretive on a FCF basis, as Sprint should be able to significantly lower its interest expense and put its Net Operating Losses (NOLs) to work.”
    • She also has raised estimates for postpaid phone additions to 275,000 from a previous 200,000, vs. consensus expectations for 230,000.
    | 12:56 PM | 178 Comments
  • 12:21 PM
    • Sharp early post-earnings gains from the banks helped the major averages to a sizable early advance, but JPMorgan, Citigroup, and Wells Fargo - all of whom topped estimates - have turned lower for the session, and the banking index overall is now higher by just 0.2%.
    • Looking at other sectors, healthcare (XLV -0.4%) is being hit by a 1.35% decline in biotechs (NASDAQ:IBB). The energy sector (XLE -0.5%) is performing worst as oil reverses an early gain to turn $0.40 per barrel lower.
    • The S&P 500 and Nasdaq are flat, while the Dow holds a 0.3% advance.
    | 12:21 PM | 12 Comments
  • 10:04 AM
    • October Consumer Sentiment: 87.9 vs. 92.0 expected and 91.2 prior.
    • The University of Michigan gauge showed that consumer sentiment fell 3.6% M/M and was down 2.3% Y/Y.
    • The index of consumer expectations fell to a two-year low of 76.6.
    | 10:04 AM | 2 Comments
  • 10:00 AM
    • Aug. business inventories: +0.2% at $1,816.9B vs. +0.1% consensus; +0.0% prior.
    • Sales +0.2% to $1,304.1B.
    • Inventory/Sales ratio of 1.39.
    | 10:00 AM
  • 9:42 AM
    • JPMorgan and Citigroup both easily topped estimates thanks to a big rebound in previously-in-the-doldrums markets revenue. JPM is higher by 1%, and Citi by 2%. The read-through is pushing Goldman Sachs (GS +3%), Morgan Stanley (MS +2.7%) and Bank of America (BAC +2.4%) all nicely higher.
    • Less capital-markets focused, Wells Fargo also beat forecasts, but not as soundly. As usual of late, it's lagging its TBTF peers, up just 0.3%.
    • XLF +1.2%, KRE +1.4%, KBE +1.5%.
    • Other individual names: Regions Financial (RF +2.5%), Huntington Bancshares (HBAN +2.1%), KeyCorp (KEY +1.9%), Fifth Third (FITB +1.5%), SunTrust (STI +1.3%), M&T (MTB +1.7%)
    | 9:42 AM | 9 Comments
  • 8:32 AM
    • September Retail Sales+0.6% M/M vs. +0.6% expected, -0.2% prior (revised from -0.3%).
    • Ex-gas and autos: +0.3% M/M vs. +0.3% expected, 0.0% prior (revised from -0.1%)
    | 8:32 AM | 2 Comments
  • 8:31 AM
    | 8:31 AM | 2 Comments
  • 7:01 AM
    | 7:01 AM | 5 Comments
  • 2:54 AM
    • Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej has died after more than 70 years on the throne, creating a royal succession at a time of political uncertainty under military rule.
    • A government holiday was declared today for national mourning, but the country's stock exchange and other financial institutions were operating as normal.
    • The Thai SET Index rose 4.2%, rebounding from losses this week leading up to the king's death.
    • ETFs: THD, TTF
    | 2:54 AM | 1 Comment
  • 2:11 AM
    | 2:11 AM | 2 Comments
  • Thursday, October 13, 2016

  • 4:25 PM
    • Stocks closed at their lowest levels in a month but well off session lows following weak Chinese trade data; for both the S&P and Nasdaq, it was the lowest close since Sept. 14.
    • Material (-0.7%) and energy (-0.7%) stocks were among the biggest decliners on fears that weakness in China could hurt demand for energy and raw materials; however, WTI crude settled 0.5% higher at $50.40/bbl.
    • The financial sector (-1.1%) ended off its low but still finished at the bottom of today's leaderboard; banking names lagged as the S&P Bank ETF plunged 2.2%, under pressure ahead of tomorrow's quarterly reports from JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, PNC and Wells Fargo.
    • The higher-yielding sectors, including utilities (+1.3%), real estate (+0.5%), telecoms (flat) and consumer staples (flat), were the top performers.
    • Trading volume came in below the recent average of 930M shares, as 879M shares changed hands today at the NYSE floor.
    • Treasury prices finished higher across the board, with yields pulling back throughout the complex; the benchmark 10-year yield fell 3 bps to 1.74%.
    | 4:25 PM | 3 Comments
  • 2:52 PM
    • Verizon (NYSE:VZ) General Counsel Craig Stillman has raised alarm bells over the company's $4.83B deal to buy the Internet business at Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) in saying that a "reasonable basis" exists to believe a massive user data breach at Yahoo is material to the takeover deal.
    • Late last month, Yahoo confirmed a breach that happened two years ago that it believe affected 500M user accounts. And earlier this month a Reuters report said the company built a secret program to scan incoming user mail at the behest of the U.S. intelligence community.
    • The breach could trigger a clause allowing for Verizon to get out of the deal, Stillman says.
    • "I think we have a reasonable basis to believe right now that the impact is material and we're looking to Yahoo to demonstrate to us the full impact," he said. "If they believe that it's not, then they'll need to show us that."
    • Right now: VZ +0.04%; YHOO -1.5%.
    | 2:52 PM | 54 Comments
  • 2:34 PM
    • The general counsel at Verizon (NYSE:VZ) is now saying there's a "reasonable basis" to believe that a massive data breach at Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) had a material impact on Verizon's $4.83B takeover agreement, Reuters reports.
    • Yahoo shares are headed down, now -1.8%. VZ is flat on the day.
    • The comment adds some fuel to speculation that Verizon could look to change up the existing deal, or even get out of it.
    • A New York Post report last week suggested that Verizon would seek up to a $1B discount on the purchase price, with sources saying Verizon's Tim Armstrong was getting some "cold feet."
    | 2:34 PM | 12 Comments
  • 1:08 PM
    • The major averages were down nearly 1% at their worst levels this morning, but the S&P 500 has bounced to just a 0.45% loss with three hours to go in the session. The Nasdaq is down 0.6%. Europe closed with a loss of 0.9%.
    • Alongside, interest rates are taking a breather from their near-constant rise of late, with the 10-year Treasury yield down 4.5 basis points to 1.73%.
    | 1:08 PM | 9 Comments
  • 12:20 PM
    • Verizon (VZ -0.1%) is closing seven of its call centers in five states, including New York, its home state.
    • The moves, to consolidate call centers, will affect about 3,200 workers overall. The company has 162,000 employees in the U.S.
    • The workers are being offered jobs at other sites or severance packages if they decide not to relocate.
    • About 850 jobs will be lost at two New York state locations, which got a spokesman for governor Andrew Cuomo to call it "an egregious example of corporate abuse" and "astounding" corporate negligence. "I'm not sure what abuses he's referring to," says Verizon spokeswoman Kim Ancin. "These are jobs that are staying within the U.S."
    • Another 700 jobs are being cut in California, and another 300 relocated, while other cuts include 320 in Nebraska, 200 in Maine and 550 in Connecticut.
    | 12:20 PM | 38 Comments
  • 8:33 AM
    • September Import/Export Prices: Import prices +0.1% M/M vs. +0.1% consensus and -0.2% prior. -1.1% Y/Y.
    • Export prices +0.3% M/M vs. +0.1% consensus. -0.8% prior, -1.5% Y/Y.
    | 8:33 AM
  • 8:30 AM
    • Initial Jobless Claims Unchanged at 246K vs. 254K consensus, 246K prior(revised).
    • Continuing Claims -16K to 2.046M vs. 2.062M prior.
    | 8:30 AM | 16 Comments
  • 7:19 AM
    | 7:19 AM | 12 Comments
  • 2:28 AM
    • Although sales of high-end virtual reality headsets have been slow, Sony (NYSE:SNE) will enter the market today with a cheaper product that could have a better shot at mainstream acceptance.
    • Not only is the PlayStation VR, at $399, less expensive than other systems, but it is also powered by Sony’s PlayStation 4 console, which is owned by tens of millions of people.
    | 2:28 AM | 3 Comments
  • 2:06 AM
    | 2:06 AM | 16 Comments
  • Wednesday, October 12, 2016

  • 6:36 PM
    • Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) finished a brutal day post-profit warnings, losing 20.8% of market value in U.S. trading. That brings the stock to an eight-year low.
    • The company said sales fell 14% in Q3, and that may be just the beginning. More job losses are likely on the heels of 3,000 cuts announced last week.
    • Cost cuts aren't likely enough, says Cowen's Paul Silverstein, who reiterated a Market Perform rating and $6 price target (ERIC closed at $5.55 today on Nasdaq): "ERIC reiterated its commitment to previously announced 10B SEK cost reduction program; however, we suspect that it is likely to be insufficient to right-size the business and improve operating profitability. We also expect decreasing network sales and increasing mix of services to continue to create a challenging environment for gross and operating margins."
    • Ericsson faces a double whammy of declining broadband demand and internal problems as well, including a heavy cost structure and gaps in its product line. While Ericsson leads in mobile gear, it trails rival Nokia in fixed-line and broadband equipment.
    • Nokia (NOK, Ericsson's only publicly traded peer) took its own hit today, declining 5.6%.
    | 6:36 PM | 22 Comments
  • 5:14 PM
    • Tim Sloan, chief operating officer and president at Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC), is the new CEO at the bank in the wake of the immediate retirement of John Stumpf.
    • Sloan will join the board as well, and retain the role of president.
    • Lead director Stephen Sanger will take over Stumpf's chairman role, and independent director Elizabeth Duke will act as vice chair.
    • Stumpf has been besieged with calls to resign in the wake of a bogus-account scandal that has plagued the bank and resulted in lengthy congressional hearings and thousands of job cuts at Wells Fargo. He had joined the bank in 1982 as part of the former Norwest Bank, and became Wells' CEO in June 2007.
    • "While I have been deeply committed and focused on managing the company through this period, I have decided it is best for the company that I step aside," Stumpf said in a statement. "I know no better individual to lead this company forward than Tim Sloan.”
    • A month ago, Stumpf had determined that he wouldn't resign and told CNBC he was set to "lead this company forward."
    • Shares are now up 1.4% in postmarket action.
    • Wells Fargo statement
    | 5:14 PM | 68 Comments
  • 4:25 PM
    • Stocks closed with slight gains after the release of the September FOMC meeting minutes left investors up in the air over expectations for a possible December interest rate hike.
    • Income-paying stocks led today’s gainers, as real estate stocks in the S&P 500 rose 1.3% and utility stocks added 1%; three sectors - health care (-0.6%), energy (-0.4%) and materials (-0.2%) - ended the day in the red.
    • “The yield play is happening because people are going to question whether or not the Fed is actually going to pull the trigger in December,” says Raymond James trader Ray Moore.
    • Global bond yields rose, including the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury, where the yield closed a basis point higher at 1.77%.
    • Biotechs underperformed again in the health care sector (-0.6%), evidenced by the 2.5% decline in the iShares biotech ETF, which closed below its 200-day MA.
    • U.S. crude oil fell 1.1% to $50.15/bbl after OPEC said its production increased last month.
    • Today's stock trading volume was light as 655M shares changed hands at the NYSE floor, at least partly attributed to the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur.
    | 4:25 PM | 3 Comments
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