Seeking Alpha
  • Today - Friday, July 3, 2015

  • 5:27 PM
    • Evan Blass (a.k.a. evleaks), responsible for leaking pictures of many soon-to-be-launched phones over the years, has posted an image render of a BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) Android phone codenamed Venice.
    • Much like Samsung's Galaxy S6 Edge, the Venice has a display with curved edges. The UI and app icons point to the use of Google's version of Android. Blass also reports (though it isn't clear from the render) the phone will have a slide-out keyboard - BlackBerry announced in March it's working on a slider with a curved display - and be sold by AT&T.
    • Reuters reported on June 12 BlackBerry is thinking of launching a phone that runs on Google's version of Android, as part of its efforts to "pivot to focus on software and device management." BB10 phones support Android apps via Amazon's Appstore for Android, but don't have access to Google Play and various other Google mobile apps/services.
    • BlackBerry recognized revenue on 1.1M phone sales in FQ1 (the May quarter), down from 1.3M in FQ4 and 1.6M a year earlier.
    | 12 Comments
  • 2:11 PM
    • China says it will allow 400K deadweight ton ships to dock at its ports, officially ending a three-year ban that had effectively shut out Vale's (NYSE:VALE) giant vessels.
    • The Valexmax mega-ships, which were designed to cut the costs of transporting iron ore to China, were banned by the government in early 2012 on safety concerns.
    • The ability of Valemaxes to take cargoes directly to China and cut costs by $4-$6/metric ton, comes as iron ore prices struggle near their lowest level since 2009 due to a global supply glut.
    | 8 Comments
  • 1:55 PM
    • Crescent Point Energy (NYSE:CPG) announced after yesterday's close that it agreed to acquire privately-held light oil producer Coral Hill Energy in a deal valued at $258M.
    • CPG said it planned to issue ~4.28M shares for Coral and assume ~C$132M in debt.
    • Coral Hill would add 3,200 boe/day from the Swan Hills oil play to CPG’s production; CPG, which already owns nearly 9% in Coral Hill, said the purchase gives it full ownership of the Swan Hills assets.
    | 4 Comments
  • 9:20 AM
    • Adding to their list of woes, Greeks can no longer use their PayPal (PYPL, EBAY) accounts, Quartz reports.
    • Capital controls have effectively crippled the online payment service, which relies on traditional banks and credit cards to transfer money.
    • Another area seeing a revival is Bitcoin (COIN, OTCQB:BTCS). New customers depositing at least €50 with BTCGreece, the only Greece-based Bitcoin exchange, rose by 400% between May and June. The average deposit quadrupled to around €700.
    | 7 Comments
  • 8:43 AM
    • Ant Financial, the financial services affiliate of Alibaba (NYSE:BABA), has closed a private placement of shares that values it at more than $50B, Globes reports.
    • State backing is critical for the firm because China's banking and financial services industry is dominated by government firms, some of which have tried to block private entities from entering the market.
    • The so-called Series A round of financing was led by the National Social Security Fund of China, one of the country’s biggest state funds. NSSF now has a 5% stake in Ant Financial.
    • A timetable has not yet been revealed for the company's public listing, but Jack Ma has said that any IPO would most likely take place in China's capital markets.
    • Previously: Reuters: New funding values Alibaba's Ant Financial/Alipay at ~$45B (Jun. 18 2015)
    | 5 Comments
  • 7:02 AM
    • Following several failed launches, a Russian Soyuz rocket blasted off this morning to deliver a cargo ship loaded with food, water and equipment to the International Space Station.
    • Friday's liftoff comes five days after a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket disintegrated after launch from Cape Canaveral, a botched Russian mission in April, and the Orbital-ATK (NYSE:OA) rocket explosion last October.
    • The three disasters cast a big shadow over current national space programs and the still emerging space transport industry.
    • Related: Rocket disaster won't bump SpaceX from competition (Jul. 02 2015)
    | Comment!
  • 6:28 AM
     
  • 5:59 AM
    • Britain's dominant services sector grew more than expected last month, suggesting that economic recovery picked up going into the second half of the year.
    • Markit's services PMI for June came in at 58.5, considerably higher than the 57.5 reading penciled in by economists and ahead of a 56.5 reading in May.
    • "Growth is looking increasingly unbalanced," said Markit's Chris Williamson, citing Wednesday's survey that showed June's U.K. manufacturing growth declining to its lowest level in more than two years.
    • The report, which suggests the U.K. economy grew 0.5% in the second quarter, also gives Bank of England policy makers plenty to digest as they prepare for their monthly meeting next week.
    • The pound is +0.2% at $1.5632, while the FTSE is -0.1%.
    • ETFs: EWU, DXPS, FKU, QGBR, DBUK, HEWU
    | Comment!
  • 5:19 AM
    • European stocks and bonds are trading cautiously ahead of Sunday's Greek referendum that could determine the country's future in the eurozone.
    • Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is campaigning for citizens to vote "no," while the rest of the 19-nation currency bloc says a clear "yes" could get Athens back on track to reform. Polls suggest the outcome is still too hard to tell.
    • Tensions are also high after the IMF warned of a huge financial hole in the nation's economy. The fund stated Greece needed an extra €50B over the next three years, including €36B from its European partners, to stay afloat.
    • FTSE 100 -0.4%; DAX -0.3%; CAC 40 -0.6%; Euro Stoxx 50 -0.6%
    • ETFs: GREK
    | 39 Comments
  • 4:37 AM
    • U.S. oil futures finished the holiday-shortened week with a loss of 4.5% following weekly reports showing an unexpected rise in crude supplies and 2015's first weekly gain in the number of active oil rigs.
    • "This week's data further support the thesis that a bearish fundamental trend has emerged, at least for the near term, which will continue to pressure WTI prices, with the next level of notable support down in the low $50’s," said the EIA's Tyler Richey.
    • Baker Hughes on Thursday reported that the number of active oil drilling rigs saw a weekly climb of 12 to 640 as of July 2.
    • ETFs: USO, OIL, UCO, UWTI, SCO, BNO, DBO, DWTI, DTO, USL, DNO, OLO, SZO, TWTI, OLEM
    | 3 Comments
  • 4:10 AM
    • Investors pulled another $3B in assets from the Pimco Total Return Fund (MUTF:PTTRX) in June, compared with $2.7B the previous month, in another sign the fund is still bleeding since the departure of Bill Gross last fall.
    • On top of cash withdrawals of $5.6B in April and $7.3B in March, total assets in the fund have now plunged to $102.8B from a peak of $293B in April 2013.
    | 3 Comments
  • 3:53 AM
    • Banco Santander (NYSE:SAN) has reached an agreement to acquire the 9.68% stake held by DDFS in Santander Consumer (NYSE:SC) for $928M.
    • Following the transaction, which is subject to regulatory approval, Santander's stake in Santander Consumer will stand at about 68.7%.
    • Previously: Santander Consumer CEO Dundon leaving; CFO to replace (Jul. 02 2015)
    | 2 Comments
  • 3:39 AM
    • According to documents filed in a U.S. court, Royal Bank of Scotland (NYSE:RBS) may need to pay $13B to settle claims it misled investors over the sale of about $32B in mortgage-backed debt.
    • The size of the settlement could also make it difficult for Britain's finance ministry to proceed with its plan to start selling the government's 78% stake in the bank in coming months.
    • Related: Bloomberg: RBS mortgage tab could hit $4.5B (May. 27 2015)
    • Related: Court says Nomura, RBS misled investors (May. 12 2015)
    | 1 Comment
  • 3:17 AM
    • Marking another sign of the state's financial recovery, the one-notch upgrade to "AA-" from "A+" gives California GO debt the highest rating from S&P since 2000 - when the dot-com bust hammered the state's economy.
    • California's new budget, "marks another step forward in the state's journey toward improved fiscal sustainability," said the agency's report.
    • California now outranks Illinois and New Jersey and is tied with Michigan and Pennsylvania.
    • ETFs: PCK, VCV, BFZ, PCQ, PZC, MCA, NAC, NKX, MUC, CMF, MYC, CCA, NZH, EVM, PWZ, AKP, NCA, NVX, CEV, EIA, BJZ, CXA, NXC, NCB, NBW
    | 5 Comments
  • 2:51 AM
    • After weeks of frenzied health insurer merger talks, Aetna (NYSE:AET) says it will buy Humana (NYSE:HUM) for about $37B, or about $230 per share.
    • The deal will see Humana shareholders receive $125 in cash and 0.8375 Aetna shares for each share held, representing a premium of 23% from July 2's close.
    • Following the merger, Aetna shareholders will own about 74% of the combined company.
    • Previously: WSJ: Aetna very close to Humana buyout deal (Jul. 02 2015)
    | 17 Comments
  • 2:30 AM
    • The bloodbath in Chinese equities continued today, with the Shanghai Composite plunging over 5.8% amid reports that the country's securities market regulator launched a probe into suspected market manipulation.
    • Following a slump of nearly 30% in Chinese stocks since mid-June, China Securities Regulatory Commission has now set up a team to look at "clues of illegal manipulation across markets."
    • A flurry of policy moves over the past week, including an interest rate cut, attempts to curb short selling and a relaxation of margin lending rules, have all failed quell the sell-off that is sharply turning into a full-blown crash.
    • Shenzhen -5.3%; ChiNext -1.7%.
    • ETFs: FXI, ASHR, EWH, CAF, YINN, KWEB, PGJ, GXC, FXP, HAO, YANG, TAO, CHIX, CHN, PEK, CHIQ, CQQQ, MCHI, TDF, QQQC, XPP, YAO, GCH, ASHS, YXI, CN, CHXF, FCA, CHNA, CNXT, CHII, ECNS, CHIE, EWHS, CHIM, KBA, KFYP, FCHI, JFC, FHK, AFTY, CHAU
    | 37 Comments
  • 2:07 AM
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  • 1:59 AM
    • Putting to rest a year-long merger saga, Dollar Tree (NASDAQ:DLTR) has finally been given FTC approval to buy Family Dollar (NYSE:FDO) on condition they sell 330 Family Dollar stores.
    • Following the $9.2B merger, Dollar Tree will control more than 13K stores across the U.S. and Canada, vaulting the company ahead of Dollar General (NYSE:DG) to become North America's biggest discount retailer, with more than $18B in annual sales.
    • Dollar Tree expects the deal to close on Monday.
    • Previously: DLTR, FDO ink deal with FTC; merger on track for July close (Jun. 16 2015)
    | Comment!
  • 12:00 AM
     
    • U.S. Markets Closed.
    | Comment!
  • Thursday, July 2, 2015

  • 11:37 PM
    • Molycorp (OTCPK:MCPIQ) says it received U.S. bankruptcy court approval for $22M in interim debtor-in-possession financing from Oaktree Capital to support its operations.
    • The Oaktree loan eventually could run as high as $292M if it is approved in final form at a hearing scheduled for July 20.
    • MCP says it now has the funds to continue its operations and to move forward on releasing funds to pay suppliers; between now and the final hearing, the Mountain Pass facility will continue to run "in an orderly and controlled way."
    • Earlier: Molycorp lines up new bankruptcy loan from Oaktree
    | 3 Comments
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