Seeking Alpha
  • Today - Thursday, July 10, 2014

  • 4:27 AM
    • The results for Indonesia's presidential election will remain uncertain for at least ten days, as 130M votes still need to be hand-counted across more than 6,000 inhabited islands.
    • Presidential candidates Widodo and Subianto have both claimed victory in preliminary tallies.
    • Indonesian stocks soared as much as 2.8% in early trading after foreign investors bought $263M worth of stock - nearly four times the daily average of foreign buying. The rupiah also gained, hitting a two-month high against the dollar.
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  • 4:07 AM
    • Google (GOOG) is forming a European venture capital operation to scout out ideas and technology produced by the continent’s emerging start-ups.
    • "As we look out around the world, we realize that the tech ecosystems are getting bigger and stronger," says SVP of Corporate Development David Drummond. "Nowhere is this more true than in Europe. Every European capital I travel to I see these start up clusters. Its obvious that great companies will come out of these ecosystems."
    • The new $100M fund will operate from Clerkenwell in London, near the "Silicon Roundabout" area that is home to hundreds of tech start-ups.
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  • 3:58 AM
    • Costco (COST) net sales grew 10% on year to $10.89B in June.
    • Comparable sales +6%. U.S. +6%, international +7%.
    • Excluding the effects of gasoline prices and currency swings, comparable sales increased 6%; U.S. +6%, international +8%.
    • Press Release
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  • 3:50 AM
    • Samsung (SSNLF, SSNGY) is facing new child labor accusations at its Shinyang supplier factory in China.
    • The allegations were made by the New York-based China Labor Watch after finding several cases of underage workers at the facility. The factory seems to employ children and underage students during busy seasons, generally hiring them for three to six months.
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  • 3:28 AM
    • BNP Paribas (BNPQF) has pleaded guilty to evading U.S. sanctions for the second time, admitting it had also violated the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and the Trading with the Enemy Act.
    • The bank previously agreed to a record $8.9B settlement on July 1, after pleading guilty to charges of falsifying business records and conspiracy.
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  • 3:15 AM
    • Brent crude fell for a ninth straight session this morning following weak gasoline demand in the U.S. The drop marks its longest losing streak in four years, falling 14 cents to $108.14 a barrel at 3:45 GMT.
    • U.S. crude tumbled for a tenth consecutive session, down 48 cents below Wednesday's close at $101.81 a barrel. The front-month price is on track to display its longest stretch of losses since July 1984.
    • Fuel demand in the U.S. has been decreasing despite being the peak of summer driving season. So far, gasoline demand has not exceeded late May or early June levels.
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  • 2:41 AM
    • Commerzbank (CRZBF, CRZBY) is now expected to pay between a $600-$800M settlement for its money transfer operations which evaded U.S. sanctions, CNBC reports. The bank is accused of transferring money on behalf of companies in Iran and Sudan.
    • It was previously reported that the bank would have to pay more than $500M.
    • Over the past five years, American authorities have found more than half a dozen foreign banks guilty of sanctions violations.
    • The U.S. is still probing UniCredit (UNCFF), Credit Agricole (CRARY), Societe Generale (SCGLF), and Deutsche Bank (DB).
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  • 2:26 AM
    • Continuing with its Australian expansion, KKR is now planning to enter a joint bid with Pacific Equity Partners for compliance company SAI Global (SGLOF). The two will make an offer before the July 15 bid deadline.
    • Pacific Equity previously launched a $1B non-binding proposal for SAI in May, but SAI Global related that other prospective buyers had also contacted it and therefore published more information about its business.
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  • 1:59 AM
    • Eric Holder says he will not meet with BofA (BAC) CEO Brian Moynihan to discuss a settlement over the bank's mortgage lawsuit with the Justice Department, Reuters reports. The Attorney General states that the "parties remain too far apart for a meeting to be productive."
    • In prior negotiations over the shoddy mortgage selling lawsuit, BofA discussed paying $12B to resolve the claims, although the Justice Department countered with a $17B settlement .
    • JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon previously cut a $13B deal with Holder regarding his bank's involvement with its mortgage selling before the financial crisis, and BofA was seeking a similar negotiation.
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  • 12:00 AM
  • Wednesday, July 9, 2014

  • 7:21 PM
    • Though its struggling chip manufacturing unit is reportedly on the block, IBM is committing $3B over 5 years to develop new chip technologies.
    • Big Blue's efforts will focus on pushing the limits of Moore's Law - whereas transistor widths are currently down to 14nm, IBM will explore ways to bring them to 7nm or less in time - and on commercializing unconventional materials and technologies.
    • The materials/technologies in question include carbon nanotubes, silicon photonics, graphene, and quantum computing. Intel, H-P, and Nokia are among the companies exploring one or more of those fields.
    • Even if its chip manufacturing unit gets sold, IBM is likely to continue designing chips for its own hardware (for example, its Power server CPUs). The company has also built up a lucrative IP licensing business that partly relies on chip-related IP.
  • 7:10 PM
    • The Nebraska Supreme Court is not expected to hear a challenge to the Keystone XL (TRP) pipeline's route until early September, which could delay a final decision on the controversial pipeline until after the fall elections.
    • However, some attorneys who had expected an October hearing now say the new timetable could move the court’s decision forward; if the Nebraska justices grant the appeal, which would approve the pipeline’s route through the state, before the Nov. 4 elections, it could be an unwanted October surprise for Pres. Obama.
  • 6:54 PM
    • Shares of refiners such as Phillips 66 (PSX), Holly Frontier (HFC), Valero Energy (VLO) and Alon USA Energy (ALJ) have suffered since the U.S. government decided to allow the export of some ultra-light crude oil, and Barclays believes upcoming earnings reports aren't likely to help much.
    • U.S. refiners have fared better than international peers but still have been hit by the narrowing in most of the key North American crude differentials, although refiners exposed to the Cushing-Midland differential are affected less than most, the firm says.
    • As a result, Barclays slashes its current-year earnings forecast for most of the refiners; ALJ's FY 2014 EPS estimate is cut to $0.35 from $1.25 to reflect the company’s lower Q2 throughput guidance at its Big Spring refinery (39M bbl/day vs. 46M bbl/day prior).
    • The firm cuts EPS at HFC to $3.00 from $4.35, PSX to $6.20 from $7.95, and VLO to $6.25 from $8.35; only Tesoro (TSO) emerges unscathed, with its estimate left at $5.00.
  • 6:43 PM
  • 6:37 PM
    • H.B. Fuller Company (FUL) declares $0.12/share quarterly dividend, in-line with prior.
    • Forward yield 1.00%
    • Payable Aug. 7; for shareholders of record July 24; ex-div July 22.
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  • 6:33 PM
    • A Groupon (GRPN) spokesman tells GeekWire his company and Expedia (EXPE) are no longer co-branding discounted travel deals. The companies had been offering co-branded deals as part of an alliance formed in 2011.
    • The news comes as Expedia launches its own daily deals product on its site. Nonetheless, Groupon says Expedia "remains an important supply partner" for its Getaways travel deals product.
    • Groupon's travel revenue fell 3% Y/Y in Q1 to $41.3M. Travel gross billings amounted to $221.3M.
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  • 6:30 PM
    • A new EIA report underscores the remarkable comeback of the Permian Basin, which boomed in an earlier era, faded and now leads the U.S. in oil production.
    • Daily crude oil production in the Permian, which lies under much of west Texas and part of eastern New Mexico, has increased from a low of 850K barrels in 2007 to 1.35M barrels last year.
    • The increased production is concentrated in six low-permeability formations: the Spraberry, Wolfcamp, Bone Spring, Glorieta, Yeso, and Delaware.
    • Among the top Permian producers: OXY, PXD, APA, KMP, XOM, COG, CVX, EOG, EGN, XEC, FANG.
  • 6:15 PM
    • Citing a "lack of consistent momentum in utility and construction spending in North America and Latin America as well as ongoing headwinds expected in Spain and Thailand," General Cable (BGC) now expects 2014 op. income of $200M-$230M vs. prior guidance of $230M.
    • The company is cutting 1K jobs (nearly 7% of its workforce) as part of a restructuring. It expects to record $200M in pre-tax charges, and $80M in cash costs. Annual savings are expected to total $75M by early 2016.
    • Full Q2 results are due on July 30.
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  • 6:13 PM
    • Sinopec (SNP) reportedly may shelve development of its Northern Lights oil sands lease in Alberta or sell the property entirely, as Chinese companies begin to rethink future investment prospects in Canada.
    • Cnooc's (CEO) interest in cutting costs in its Canada operations, numerous delays in granting a visa and work permit for Cnooc's new CEO, and unforeseen difficulties in bringing technical staff to Canada from China are said to have raised concerns at SNP and PetroChina (PTR).
    • SNP owns a 50% stake in Northern Lights, while Total (TOT) holds the remaining 50%; the lease is estimated to hold ~1.08B barrels of recoverable bitumen.
    | 1 Comment
  • 6:05 PM
    • Vornado (VNO) and Crown Acquisitions are buying the retail condominium attached to Midtown Manhattan's St. Regis Hotel, along with the adjacent retail townhouse, for $700M.
    • Vornado will own 67%-80%, and Crown the balance. Final ownership percentages will be "based on the amount of debt financing put on the property and Crowns short-term option to invest additional capital."
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