Seeking Alpha
  • Today - Thursday, August 21, 2014

  • 4:35 AM
    • Dollar General (NYSE:DG) states that Family Dollar (NYSE:FDO) CEO Howard Levine, ignored multiple requests to pursue a merger even prior to Dollar Tree's (NASDAQ:DLTR) $74.50-a-share offer.
    • Rick Dreiling, CEO of Dollar General claims that Levine shrugged off the requests out of fear he would be forced to step down as CEO.
    • Earlier this week, Family Dollar's board announced that it would review Dollar General's $78.50-a-share offer, but continued to recommend shareholders vote for its $74.50-a-share deal with Dollar Tree.
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  • 4:02 AM
    • Japanese stocks rose to a three-week high this morning, posting large gains for the ninth consecutive day, as a weaker yen shored up exporters after Fed meeting minutes raised the risk of an earlier interest rate hike.
    • The Nikkei closed at its highest level since July 31, climbing 0.9% to 15,586.20. The nine-days of straight gains was the index's longest streak since December.
    • The Topix also gained 0.9% to 1,291.19, while the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 rose 0.9% to 11,752.54.
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  • 3:33 AM
    • Toyota (NYSE:TM) is now the latest automaker to cut its auto parts prices in China, reducing parts on its Lexus models by an average of 26%.
    • In recent months, many foreign automakers have lowered price tags due to the ongoing anti-trust investigation in the country's auto sector.
    • Toyota's price cuts come just one day after China's anti-monopoly regulator issued a $201M fine on 12 Japanese companies over price manipulation.
    • TM -0.4% AH
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  • 3:19 AM
    • Norwegian software maker Opera (OTCPK:OPESY) has signed a deal with Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) to take over browser building at its Nokia mobile phone unit.
    • "We have signed a strategic licensing deal with Microsoft...taking over the browser building department in Nokia," says Opera CEO Lars Boilsesen. "This means that Opera Mini will become the default browser for Microsoft's feature phone product lines and the Asha phones product lines."
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  • 3:05 AM
    • Russia's food safety regulator Rospotrebnadzor says it is now conducting spot checks at McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) restaurants in the Sverdlovsk region of the country.
    • Yesterday, Russia temporarily closed four McDonald's restaurants in Moscow, stating possible sanitary violations.
    • The closures come amid tensions between Russia and the West, and an extensive ban on agricultural imports in retaliation over U.S. sanctions.
    | 1 Comment
  • 2:39 AM
    • JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) and Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) are planning to raise junior employees' salaries by at least 20%, Reuters reports
    • Many banks have been considering pay hikes, as Wall Street continues to ease strains on junior bankers by limiting the hours they work and compensating them better.
    • Yesterday, Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) announced its plans for salary increases and Citigroup (NYSE:C) is now considering a similar pay raise.
  • 2:18 AM
    • Thailand's military junta General Prayuth Chan-ocha has been nominated prime minister by a legislature he hand-picked, nearly three months after he seized power in a coup d'état.
    • Political analysts say the army is now likely to create a much more limited form of democracy before allowing elections, which Prayuth has planned for the end of 2015.
    • ETFs: THD
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  • 1:50 AM
    • After reports of an IPO surfaced last week, Carlyle Group (NASDAQ:CG) has now filed for an initial public offering of common stock for Axalta Coating Systems which could raise as much as $1B.
    • Carlyle Group purchased the company from Dupont only a year and a half ago.
    • Axalta makes liquid and powder coatings for the transportation industry and does business in more than 130 countries.
    • Previously: Carlyle considering Axalta IPO
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  • 12:44 AM
    • (NYSE:WUBA): Q2 EPS of $0.15 beats by $0.07.
    • Revenue of $64.6M (+84.0% Y/Y) beats by $1.95M.
    • Press Release
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  • 12:00 AM
  • Wednesday, August 20, 2014

  • 7:03 PM
    • "The PC business is flat to declining slightly and we think that that will continue," says Meg Whitman on H-P's (NYSE:HPQ) FQ3 CC. However, Whitman argues her company, which just reported 12% Y/Y PC division sales growth, can "continue to gain share in a relatively flat market." (live blog)
    • While upbeat about H-P's PC, server, and networking performance, Whitman admits printing supplies and software (two high-margin businesses) "still face challenges." Supplies revenue (-5% Y/Y in FQ3), hurt by a secular shift towards online/mobile document and picture-viewing, is expected to remain under pressure.
    • CFO Cathie Lesjak states YTD free cash flow has totaled $7.4B; H-P expects to finish FY14 (ends in October) with ~$9B in FCF. Discussing macro conditions, Lesjak mentions Russian demand is expected to be hurt by geopolitical tensions, and Chinese demand by "increased competitive pressures."
    • Whitman asserts H-P has seen an improvement in server win rates against IBM, as it takes advantage of "the uncertainty customers feel" about the sale of Big Blue's x86 server unit to Lenovo. H-P's x86 server sales grew 9% Y/Y in FQ3.
    • HPQ -0.9% AH. FQ3 results, guidance/details.
    | Comment!
  • 6:55 PM
    • Boeing (NYSE:BA) is finding it hard to meet demand for its 737 aircraft; it now makes 42 each month, it has announced plans to increase production to 47 by 2017, and analysts expect it to announce plans to boost capacity further - but should it?
    • Airbus (OTCPK:EADSF, OTCPK:EADSY) is scheduled to deliver its first re-engined A320neo competitor to the 737 early in 2015, and Boeing may have to increase the build rate of its existing 737 just to keep up.
    • "The real problem is long-term," says Teal Group analyst Richard Aboulafia, noting the record-high output for single-aisle airplanes over several years, with no slowdown until both the A320neo and 737 MAX are in production - "a recipe for overcapacity by the end of the decade.”
    • Canaccord Genuity seconds the concerns, noting that as a general rule of thumb, many suppliers cite 100/month combined for both Boeing and Airbus as a natural limit and are concerned that anything more is unsustainable for more than a short time.
  • 6:40 PM
    • Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) declares $0.70/share quarterly dividend, in line with previous.
    • Forward yield 2.18%
    • Payable Sept. 2; for shareholders of record Sept. 2; ex-div Aug. 28.
    | Comment!
  • 6:25 PM
    • Dolby (DLB -0.1%) plans to bring versions of its high-end Atmos cinema audio platform to to home theaters and mobile devices; products supporting the technology are due later this year.
    • Atmos improves upon Dolby's older cinema audio offerings by providing "layers" of audio elements that (per the company) "can be positioned and moved precisely to correspond to the images onscreen." Atmos systems also rely on metadata to record how the elements behave during playback.
    • FastCompany's Harry McCracken, after seeing a movie clip supporting Atmos: "The versions played over the theater-grade Atmos system in Dolby's screening room were by far the gold standard. But the in-home and mobile ones sounded impressive, given the constraints they were working with."
    • Dolby mentioned on its FQ3 CC (transcript) Atmos commitments have been received for ~640 screens, and that the technology has been installed on over 540. ~110 of the installed screens are in China.
    | Comment!
  • 6:22 PM
    • Oil and gas producers in the Midland Basin, part of the larger Permian Basin, may run up against higher costs in the coming months, while those in the Delaware Basin should enjoy expanded production opportunities, Sterne Agee analyst Tim Rezvan says.
    • Commentary from this week's EnerCon Oil & Gas Conference in Denver suggest that "pricing power is swinging back to the service providers, Rezvan says, while noting that Energen (NYSE:EGN) is one Midland producer that does not see cost inflation as an issue; EGN says it likely will add at least two horizontal rigs in the basin in 2015, and does not see problems getting rigs with one- to three-year contracts.
    • Meanwhile, the Delaware Basin - also part of the Permian - remains relatively under the radar, with strong oil cuts and prolific three-stream production rates present across much of the basin, according to Rezvan.
    • Carrizo Oil & Gas (NASDAQ:CRZO) seems particularly bullish on prospects in the Delaware, Rezvan says, as management sees ample opportunities to bolt on more acreage to its initial 17K net acre position.
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  • 6:21 PM
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  • 6:05 PM
    • Hillshire Brands Co. (NYSE:HSH) declares $0.175/share quarterly dividend, in line with previous.
    • Forward yield 1.11%
    • Payable Sept. 3; for shareholders of record Sept. 3; ex-div Aug. 29.
    | Comment!
  • 6:00 PM
    • S&P -0.03%.
    • 10-yr +0.01%.
    • Euro -0.01% vs. dollar.
    • Crude +0.07% to $93.49.
    • Gold -0.01% to $1,291.70.
    | Comment!
  • 5:56 PM
    • In a victory for Big Oil, an Alaska ballot measure to repeal a 2013 law that drastically cut the amount of taxes major oil companies in the state had to pay appears headed for defeat.
    • A measure on Alaska’s primary ballot yesterday would have reinstated the state’s progressive oil taxes, originally installed in 2007 and dismantled last year in an effort to lure oil companies to the state.
    • ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) and BP, the two biggest oil producers in the state, called it a victory; COP, which has said it plans to spend $2B to drill more wells in Alaska's Alpine and the Kuparuk fields, says the new tax plan has improved the investment climate in the state.
    • BP has said the new tax code enables it to invest $1B into Prudhoe Bay, the field that has produced 12B barrels of oil over several decades and could pump 12B more before it is completely spent.
  • 5:56 PM
    • Bloomberg reports Allergan (NYSE:AGN) isn't currently in active buyout talks with Salix (NASDAQ:SLXP). Though Allergan approached Salix about a deal in recent months, the talks are currently "dormant," and Allergan is exploring other options to thwart Valeant's hostile bid.
    • SLXP -2.7% AH. Shares rose over 15% yesterday after the WSJ reported Allergan has approached Salix about a potential deal. They fell 2.3% in regular trading today.
    | Comment!
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