Seeking Alpha
  • Today - Wednesday, October 22, 2014

  • 3:57 AM
    • Following the submission of euro zone countries' budgets to Brussels for review last week, France and Italy will likely hear back today that their budget plans risk breaching EU rules, FT reports.
    • France is required to get its deficit back under the EU ceiling of 3% of economic output by next year but its plan ignored that commitment.
    • Italy must modify its structural budget into balance by 2015, as its public debt currently sits at 135% of GDP, far above the EU ceiling of 60%.
    • ETFs: EWI, EWQ
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  • 3:40 AM
    • The euro flirted with one-week lows today following reports that the ECB is considering buying corporate bonds on the secondary market, expanding upon its private-sector asset-buying program which it began on Monday.
    • The euro briefly fell to $1.2706 its lowest level since Thursday and last stood at $1.2715.
    • U.S. CPI data due at 8:30 p.m. ET is expected to reveal a flat annual core CPI inflation at 1.7% in September, but a softer reading could undermine the dollar by adding to speculation that the Fed could wait longer before raising rates.
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  • 3:09 AM
    • Ford (NYSE:F) is the next to abandon the Pimco Total Return Fund (NYSEARCA:BOND) (MUTF:PTTAX), dropping the fund from its 401k plan as a result of the departure of Bill Gross.
    • "Effective Nov. 14, 2014, the Pimco Total Return Fund is being removed from Ford's investment lineup," says the company.
    • Additional Pimco Total Return Fund share classes:PTTPX, PTTRX, PTTBX, PTTCX, PTTDX, PTUPX,PTUZX, PTUCX, PTUIX
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  • 2:54 AM
    • Siemens (OTCPK:SIEGY) is in advanced talks to sell its hearing-aid business, which could be valued at up to €2B ($2.55B), WSJ reports.
    • P-E firm Permira Holdings is bidding for the hearing-aid unit by itself, while rival EQT Partners, may form a consortium with hearing aid maker GN Store Nord (OTCPK:GNNDY) to acquire the assets.
    • Siemens tried to sell the unit in 2010 but was unable to find a buyer due to its declining operating profit at the time.
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  • 2:54 AM
    • Nidec (NYSE:NJ): FQ2 EPS of ¥65.61
    • Revenue of ¥249.3B (+14.2% Y/Y)
    • Press Release
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  • 2:35 AM
    • The NHTSA has expanded its warning about faulty airbags made by Takata (OTCPK:TKTDY) to 6.1M U.S. vehicles.
    • "The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration urges owners of certain Toyota (NYSE:TM), Honda (NYSE:HMC), Mazda (OTCPK:MZDAY), BMW (OTCPK:BAMXY), Nissan (OTCPK:NSANY), Mitsubishi (OTC:MMTOY), Subaru (OTCPK:FUJHY), Chrysler (NYSE:FCAU), Ford (NYSE:F) and General Motors (NYSE:GM) vehicles to act immediately on recall notices to replace defective Takata airbags," it said in a statement.
    • The previous warning, issued on Monday, covered 4.7M vehicles.
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  • 2:10 AM
    • Tekmira (NASDAQ:TKMR) has begun limited manufacturing of a therapeutic part of its TKM-Ebola program, which will be available by early December.
    • The company's investigational new drug application to U.S. regulators for TKM-Ebola remains on partial clinical hold, although the issue is expected to be resolved in the quarter.
    • Last month, U.S. and Canadian regulators authorized the use of Tekmira's TKM-Ebola in patients who have confirmed or suspected infections from the deadly virus.
    • TKMR +4.6% AH
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  • 1:56 AM
    • Sony (NYSE:SNE) is considering cutting its smartphone sales target again, from the current goal of 43M for the 12 months to the end of March 2015. The move would mark the second downward revision this year, which previously had a goal of 50M.
    • Sony continues to struggle due to fierce smartphone competition especially in emerging markets, against Chinese makers of cheap handsets and market leaders such as Apple and Samsung.
    • Last month, Sony announced a ¥180B ($1.68B) write down of the smartphone segment’s business value and lowered the earnings forecast for the current business year to a ¥230B net loss, almost 5x what it said previously.
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  • 12:00 AM
  • Tuesday, October 21, 2014

  • 11:43 PM
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  • 9:05 PM
    • Gloablstar (NYSEMKT:GSAT) has petitioned the FCC (.pdf) for an experimental license that would allow it to test the use of its 2.4GHz. TLPS spectrum with Cisco in San Carlos, CA. (h/t Tim Farrar)
    • The filing comes as Globalstar engages in a war of words with Kerrisdale Capital over the value of its TLPS spectrum.
  • 7:48 PM
    • Bloomberg reports EMC plans to announce tomorrow it's buying out much of Cisco's (NASDAQ:CSCO) stake in the companies' VCE JV, which sells high-end integrated server/storage/networking systems (the Vblock line). EMC owns 58% of VCE, and Cisco 35%.
    • The report shortly follows a statement from EMC that the company will be announcing a "new business development" tomorrow, to go with its Q3 report.
    • Taking a larger stake in VCE would allow EMC to recognize the fast-growing unit's sales in its quarterly results at a time when its standalone storage hardware sales remain pressured by high-end weakness. In May, VCE predicted its sales would rise 80% in 2014 to $1.8B.
    • Cisco stated in July it had invested $716M in VCE, and recorded $644M in losses related to it, since the JV's 2010 founding. CRN reported two weeks ago Cisco is thinking of "ending further financial investment in VCE."
    • Letting EMC take control of VCE would leave Cisco's server efforts focused on its UCS blade/rack server line (leveraged by VCE), which has been growing quickly itself and is now on a $3B/year run rate. Cisco recently added an integrated system to its UCS lineup (the UCS Mini), albeit one less powerful than VCE's systems.
    • EMC is now only up 1.1% AH. Shares were previously higher on hopes the "new business development" would be a VMware (NYSE:VMW) spinoff. VMware, meanwhile, is now only down 1.4% AH after providing light Q4 guidance.
  • 7:42 PM
    • Vascular Solutions (VASC +2%)  Q3 results : Revenues: $31.9M (13.9%); COGS: $10.3M (12.0%); R&D Expense: $3.3M (6.5%); SG&A: $11M (20.9%); Operating Income: $5.2M (30.0%); Net Income: $2.6M (-3.7%); EPS: $0.15 (-6.25%); Quick Assets: $41.7M (35.4%).
    • 2014 Guidance: Revenues: $125M - 126M from $123M - 125M; EPS: $0.65 - 0.67 from $0.73 - 0.77.
    • Q4 Guidance: Revenues: $32.5M - $33.5M; EPS: $0.16 - $0.18.
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  • 7:35 PM
    • Exactech (EXAC +0.5%) Q3 results: Revenues: $57.9M (+3.9%); Cost of Sales: $16.9M (+5.0%); Operating Expense: $35.4M (+2.0%); Operating Income: $5.5M (+14.6%); Net Income: $3.0M (-6.3%); EPS: $0.21 (-8.7%); Quick Assets: $9.1M (+51.7%).
    • 2014 guidance: Revenue: $247M - $249M , EPS: $1.14 - $1.16.
    • Q4 guidance: Revenue: $62M - $64M, EPS: $0.33 - $0.35.
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  • 7:28 PM
    • BHP Billiton (NYSE:BHP) reports Q3 production numbers showing the iron ore and coking coal divisions performed as well as or better than expected, as overall production rose 9% Y/Y with records achieved for eight operations and four commodities.
    • The 62M metric tons produced by BHP's Pilbara iron ore division means the business is ahead of schedule on its target to produce 245M metric tons in FY 2015.
    • Produced a better than expected 13M tons of met coal, a 25% increase, as Queensland Coal achieved record quarterly production and sales volumes.
    • Petroleum production gained 7% to 67.4M boe, as onshore U.S. liquids volumes jumped 49% to a record 11.5M boe.
    • Full year production guidance remained in line with prior guidance for iron ore, copper, petroleum and both types of coal.
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  • 7:21 PM
    • In a deal that GT Advanced (NASDAQ:GTAT) lawyer Luc Despins calls an "amicable parting of the ways," Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and GT have agreed to wind down Apple's Mesa, AZ plant, once expected to provide sapphire that would be used to protect millions of Apple device screens..
    • The plant's sapphire furnaces (owned/operated by GT) will be sold - Fortune's Philip Elmer-DeWitt reports 2,039 will be unloaded - and some of the proceeds used to pay down GT's debt to Apple. Apple made $440M worth of prepayments to GT that were structured as secured debt.
    • The deal suggests Apple will be turning to 3rd-party sapphire suppliers to obtain cover glass for the Apple Watch, which is set to ship in early 2015. The regular Apple Watch and the high-end Apple Watch Edition use sapphire cover glass; the Apple Watch Sport doesn't.
    • As part of the deal, GT is seeking to have the original court docs (currently sealed) that explained its bankruptcy filing struck from the public record. However, its lawyers state GT will be able to disclose most of the information that's pertinent to its bankruptcy.
    • Earlier: GT Advanced nears settlement with Apple
  • 7:14 PM
    • Willbros Group (NYSE:WG) names John McNabb as its new CEO after Robert Harl gives up the CEO and director positions ahead of his planned retirement on Jan. 2, 2015.
    • McNabb, who joined the board in 2006, was appointed Executive Chairman in August and will continue as Chairman.
    • Michael Fournier is named President, replacing the departing Earl Collins; Fournier also is COO.
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  • 7:11 PM
    • Great Southern Bancorp (NASDAQ:GSBC): Q3 EPS of $0.83 beats by $0.26.
    • Revenue of $44.1M (+14.5% Y/Y) beats by $0.1M.
    • Press Release
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  • 7:09 PM
    • Nabors Industries (NYSE:NBR) +3% AH after Q3 earnings rose 26% Y/Y and beat Wall Street estimates, thanks to higher activity in the Bakken shale field in North Dakota and Permian Basin in Texas.
    • Total revenue rose 17%, its highest increase in nine quarters, to $1.81B; sales in the completion and production services business, which handles the post-drilling processes used to extract oil and gas, rose 19% to $612M despite two Pacific hurricanes crossing into Texas during the quarter.
    • NBR says the recent fall in oil prices could affect customer spending, but that it is "much better positioned to weather and potentially capitalize upon any significant downturn in industry activity" because of steps taken to improve financial flexibility, streamline operations and improve cost structure.
    • Onshore drillers such as NBR should be less affected by falling oil prices than offshore drillers, whose customers need higher prices to break even.
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  • 6:56 PM
    • Abaxis (ABAX +2.3%) fiscal Q2 results: Revenues: $53.9M (+18.2%); Gross Profit: $28.4M (+29.7%); Operating Expense: $19.5M (+20.4%); Operating Income: $8.9M (+56.1%); Net Income: $5.4M (+35.0%); EPS: $0.24 (+33.3%); Quick Assets: $84.6M (+14.9%).
    • No guidance given.
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