Seeking Alpha
  • Friday, August 29, 2014

  • 7:06 PM
    • Broadcom's (NASDAQ:BRCM) WICED Sense kit contains a Bluetooth chip, five MEMS sensors (a gyroscope, an accelerometer, a compass, a barometer, and a temperature/humidity sensor), and related software. An iOS app meant to interact with the kit has been published in the App Store.
    • Developers can use the kit to grab sensor data and add Web connectivity to a variety of embedded/wearable devices (the proverbial Internet of Things). Cited examples include sending a text alert if the temperature in an area of one's home rises above a certain level, and improving one's tennis stroke via sensor data obtained by attaching the kit to a racquet.
    • Broadcom is hoping the kit sparks broader OEM design activity for its WICED platform, which (with the help of a Wi-Fi modem and Bluetooth bridging), aims to provide connectivity for products ranging from cameras to fridges to thermostats. Qualcomm, Intel, and Texas Instruments are some of the other companies hoping to aggressively grow their embedded chip sales.
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  • 6:55 PM
    • RadioShack (NYSE:RSH) shares have racked up four straight double-digit percentage gains on surging volume since speculation began Tuesday that the company would get a rescue financing package to help stave off bankruptcy.
    • Standard General reportedly has held talks with RSH about ways to finance some or all of the company’s debt, including the loan package provided by its term lenders; paying down the debt could give RSH enough leeway to close a large number of underperforming stores, helping the company burn less cash.
    • On Thursday more than 50M RSH shares changed hands, the single highest one-day amount for the stock since at least 1984, and another 40M traded today, indicating a heavy retail trade plus a big short squeeze.
    • Analyst sentiment remains heavily negative: RSH “needs much more than just a refinance in order to correct the overhanging issue of ongoing fundamental weakness," said B. Riley’s Scott Tighman, the analyst with a $0 price target on the stock.
    | 8 Comments
  • 6:31 PM
    • "Since Ferguson, inquiries have increased, conservatively, five fold," Digital Ally (DGLY +19%) CEO Stanton Ross is quoted telling USA Today in a column about DGLY's post-Ferguson popularity.
    • Ross also says a recent $1.1M Michigan order, together with other sales, will help DGLY deliver 2014 revenue of $22.5M.
    • In an 8-K released after the close, DGLY cautions "there can be no assurance that the Company will achieve" Ross' revenue forecast.
    • Shares managed to rise 386% over the course of August. DGLY's market cap is now at $50.5M.
    | 2 Comments
  • 6:16 PM
    • Yesterday, Tower Group (NASDAQ:TWGP) received a letter stating "the SEC is conducting an investigation and attaching a subpoena for various documents." (8-K)
    • The company also discloses A.M. Best has downgraded Tower's debt ratings further into junk territory. Tower says its ratings "remain under review with developing implications pending the planned merger with ACP Re Ltd."
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  • 6:15 PM
    • United Technologies' (NYSE:UTX) Pratt & Whitney unit says it suspended delivery of engines for the F-35 jet, the Pentagon’s costliest weapons program, over concern that a supplier may have provided “suspect” titanium.
    • UTX says delivery was halted in May after an in-house inspection and testing process raised questions about the origin of the titanium; UTX replaced all suspect engine parts in its inventory for failing to meet specifications, but determined the titanium in 147 F-35 engines already delivered did not pose a flight safety risk.
    • The Pratt & Whitney engine accounts for $68.4B of the $398.6B projected cost of the F-35 being built by Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT).
    | 3 Comments
  • 6:00 PM
     
    • S&P +0.1%.
    • 10-yr -0.03%.
    • Euro -0.38% vs. dollar.
    • Crude +1.34% to $95.82.
    • Gold -0.17% to $1,288.20.
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  • 5:55 PM
    • Amir Faintuch, the president of Qualcomm's (NASDAQ:QCOM) Atheros Wi-Fi/connectivity chip unit, has been hired by Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) to be an SVP/co-GM for its Platform Engineering Group (handles chip R&D).
    • Intel spokesman Chuck Mulloy talks up Faintuch's expertise in SoC development - though best known for its Wi-Fi offerings, Atheros' product line now also covers Bluetooth, GPS, and home networking ICs, as well as Wi-Fi/Bluetooth combo chips.
    • Intel's bio page currently shows 3 Platform Engineering GMs: Rani Borkar, Aicha Evans, and Joshua M. Walden. However, each has the title of VP rather than SVP.
    • Qualcomm is only a year removed from seeing Faintuch's predecessor, Craig Barratt, leave for Google. More recently, the company saw business development/Qualcomm Labs chief Peggy Johnson leave for Microsoft.
    • Separately, Intel has launched new Core i7 Extreme Edition CPUs. Though the 22nm chips are (high-margin) niche products meant for gaming rigs and low-end workstations, they're notable for being the first Intel desktop CPU line to support eight cores and DDR4 RAM (previous). Pricing ranges from $389-$999.
    • Update: Reuters has updated its column to state Faintuch will co-manage the Platform Engineering Group with Walden.
    | 7 Comments
  • 5:50 PM
    • Even as Boeing (NYSE:BA) tallies record orders for its commercial jets, it is struggling for find buyers for ~10 of its new 787 Dreamliners; two customers this month canceled orders for nine of the planes, and finding new buyers could be increasingly tough without steep discounts, analysts say.
    • The jets come from a batch of early 787s built in 2009-10, and they have design shortcomings that make them less efficient than more recently constructed units of the advanced Dreamliner.
    • The remaining jets could still find buyers at the right price, but their performance limitations and potentially low resale value could prove a deterrence; a possible destination is with business jet operators or governments, which tend to be less sensitive to performance issues.
    | 6 Comments
  • 5:35 PM
    • Top gainers, as of 5:15 p.m.: APH +10.1%. OTIV +4.4%. SCI +3.6%. TRX +3.6%. UEPS +1.5%.
    • Top losers, as of 5:15 p.m.: ERJ -6.3%. PXLW -5.7%. CTLT -4.7%. RIO -2.1%. LZB -1.8%.
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  • 5:19 PM
    • Hercules Technology Growth Capital's (NYSE:HTGC) COO Harry A. Feuerstein has resigned for "personal reasons."  He'll remain with the company as an "outside consultant."
    | 2 Comments
  • 5:15 PM
    • Ivanhoe Energy (NASDAQ:IVAN) finished 55% higher today for no apparent reason, and the company stated it was unaware of any factors other than previously announced news that would explain why the stock soared on ~130x typical daily volume.
    • IVAN pointed to Wednesday's news confirming its intention to engage in a new services contract to develop the Block 20 oilfield development project in Ecuador, but shares had gained only ~8% in the following two days.
    • Despite today's move, shares are -47% YTD.
    | 1 Comment
  • 5:04 PM
    • Casco Automotive is a supplier of data connectivity, power, charging, and sensor products to automakers. The company has annual sales of $220M, and employs 1.3K+ people.
    • Amphenol (NYSE:APH) is buying Casco from component vendor Cap-Con Automotive. The deal is expected to close by year's end, and be accretive to EPS in its first year. More details will be given following Amphenol's Oct. 22 Q3 report.
    • Last year, Amphenol struck a deal to buy GE's advanced sensors unit for $318M. Rival TE Connectivity has also been expanding via M&A.
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  • 5:00 PM
     
    • S&P +0.1%.
    • 10-yr -0.03%.
    • Euro -0.34% vs. dollar.
    • Crude +1.34% to $95.82.
    • Gold -0.17% to $1,288.20.
    | Comment!
  • 4:51 PM
    • Indonesia's government says it hopes Newmont Mining's (NYSE:NEM) local unit can resume exporting in September, following a new round of contract negotiations it says will begin next week.
    • The country's chief economics minister says the government would use the successful recent negotiation Freeport McMoRan as a rough model for talks with NEM.
    • Earlier this week, NEM withdrew an international arbitration case filed against the government relating to new export taxes.
    | 1 Comment
  • 4:44 PM
    • BofA/Merrill's Nat Schneider sees plenty of bullish takeaways for Coupons.com (COUP +9.5%) in NCH Marketing's mid-year coupon industry report.
    • Among the takeaways: 1) Digital coupon distribution volume is up 31% Y/Y. 2) Redemptions have risen to 15% for print-at-home coupons, albeit while dropping slightly to 8.3% for paperless coupons. 3) Digital coupons now account for 12% of redemptions, compared with 49% for free standing inserts (FSIs).
    • Shares have recovered some of the huge losses they saw earlier in August after Coupons.com offered light revenue guidance and reported a Q/Q transaction drop.
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  • 4:41 PM
    • Shortly after the NYT and others reported Time Warner has ended talks to buy a stake in Vice Media, the FT has reported Vice is wrapping up a deal to sell a 10% stake to A&E Networks for $250M. The deal's $2.5B valuation is well above the $1.4B valuation Vice received while selling a 5% stake to Fox last year.
    • Disney (NYSE:DIS) and Hearst each own 50% of A&E. Thus, the deal would give Disney a 5% indirect stake in Vice. The media giant only 5 months removed from agreeing to buy YouTube content provider Maker Studios for up to $950M.
    • Vice's assets include the Vice.com site, a large network of online content channels, a TV studio, and a branding agency. Its viewer base skews young.
    • The FT adds Vice will "produce digital and cable programming for A&E as part of the deal," but won't take over any of A&E's channels.
    • Vice CEO Shane Smith: "It’s a great deal for us ... It means we can preserve our independence and it gives us a war chest for another three years of dramatic growth."
    | 1 Comment
  • 4:34 PM
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  • 4:28 PM
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  • 4:20 PM
     
    • Stocks edged higher to complete a fourth straight week of gains, with the S&P 500 finishing at a new record close and posting its biggest monthly rise since February (+3.8%), as mostly upbeat U.S. economic data appeared to outweigh overseas worries.
    • The Russell 2000 (+0.6%) and Nasdaq Composite (+0.5%) ran ahead of the S&P (+0.3%) on the day, with techs leading the way as Avago Technologies delivered a solid quarterly report.
    • The final week of August was the quietest stretch for the stock market this year; the first four sessions produced the four lowest volume days of the year, averaging just 487M shares traded on the NYSE, but today's final tally of 604M was a closer to the 200-day average of 679M.
    • Treasurys also closed out a big monthly rally; the benchmark 10-year note was little changed in thin trade today, yielding 2.34%, but the yield ended the month with its biggest slide since January.
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  • 4:20 PM
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