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  • Today - Wednesday, August 20, 2014

  • 4:36 AM
    • Vladimir Putin is set to meet face-to-face with his Ukrainian counterpart, Petro Poroshenko, in Belarus on Aug. 26 to discuss stabilizing the situation in Ukraine and the latter's energy concerns.
    • Ukraine's energy sector is crumbling with estimates that coal supplies to electricity producers can run out within the next 40 days, due to damaged rail lines by Russian separatists.
    | Comment!
  • 4:10 AM
    • Glencore (OTCPK:GLNCY) is launching a share buy-back program of up to $1B over the next six months, making it the first among the diversified miners to return extra cash to shareholders this year.
    • The mining giant said last week that it had received $6.5B from the sale of its Peruvian copper project Las Bambas earlier this year, triggering the possibility of a special dividend for shareholders or a buy-back.
    | Comment!
  • 3:41 AM
    • Argentina is looking to push bondholders to swap defaulted debt for new notes, in order to dodge a U.S. ruling that prevents the government from paying creditors.
    • Argentina's last interest payment of $539M was blocked by a NY court, resulting in the country's sovereign default on July 30.
    • President Christina Fernandez has continued to argue that Argentina is not in default, and has called for a new bond swap as a result of the ruling.
    • ETFs: ARGT
    | Comment!
  • 3:10 AM
    • China's anti-monopoly regulator has issued fines against 12 Japanese companies for colluding over prices of auto parts and bearings.
    • The penalties total 1.2B yuan ($201.8M) and fine companies including Hitachi (OTCPK:HTHIY), Sumitomo (OTCPK:SSUMY), Mitsubishi Electric (OTCPK:MIELY), Jtekt (OTCPK:JTEKY) and Denso (OTCPK:DNZOY).
    • China has been increasing its efforts to bring companies into compliance with an anti-monopoly law enacted in 2008, and has recently taken aim at the country's auto sector.
    | Comment!
  • 2:42 AM
    • The International Swaps and Derivatives Association has delayed Argentina's CDS auction until September.
    • An issue arose yesterday regarding the addition of two Japanese-law restructured notes to be included at the auction, and needs to be resolved before the sale can take place.
    • The auction, run by Creditex and Markit, will establish the payout that holders of protection on Argentine bonds will receive as a result of the country's recent default.
    • ETFs: ARGT
    • Previously: Argentina CDS auction set for Aug. 21
    | 1 Comment
  • 2:19 AM
    • Bumble Bee Foods has received takeover overtures from Post (NYSE:POST) and Thai Union Frozen Products (OTC:TUFRF) in recent months, and is now planning to launch a sale process this fall.
    • As the largest canned tuna and sardines producer in North America, Bumble Bee is seeking a valuation upward of $1.5B.
    | Comment!
  • 1:54 AM
    • Overstock (NASDAQ:OSTK) is preparing to accept Bitcoins (COIN, OTCQB:BTCS) for its international sales as of Sept. 1, transforming the company into the biggest online merchant to extend the payment option beyond the U.S.
    • Since January, several established retailers, including Expedia and Dell, have started accepting Bitcoin for domestic sales, although the new move by Overstock suggests a more widespread adoption of the virtual currency to the international space.
    • CEO Patrick Byrne says he expects the company to record $6M-$8M in domestic Bitcoin sales this year and was optimistic that it could pull in an additional $2M internationally.
    | 1 Comment
  • 12:00 AM
  • Tuesday, August 19, 2014

  • 11:41 PM
    • Flexsteel Industries (NASDAQ:FLXS): FQ4 EPS of $0.70 beats by $0.01.
    • Revenue of $111M (+8.8% Y/Y) misses by $4.3M.
    • Press Release
    | Comment!
  • 9:31 PM
    • After coming off a halt, PetSmart (NASDAQ:PETM) closed AH trading up strongly in response to news it's (officially) exploring a sale, acquiring Pet360 for $130M-$160M, and carrying out major cost cuts.
    | Comment!
  • 8:08 PM
    • In addition to missing Q2 estimates, Youku (NYSE:YOKU) is guiding for Q3 revenue of RMB1.09B-RMB1.13B ($177.2M-$183.7M), below an RMB1.15B consensus.
    • Youku says it was "still in the process" of renewing a service agreement with a major mobile carrier of the end of Q2, and thus opted to defer the recognition of ~RMB40M in revenue until the renewal is in place. That contributed to the Q2 miss, and also a slowdown in Y/Y revenue growth to 27% from Q1's 36%.
    • Content costs rose to 42% of revenue from 38% a year ago; bandwidth costs were steady at 22%. Opex rose 20% Y/Y to $50.5M (33% of revenue).
    • Youku now has 500M+ monthly users. Mobile has grown to account for over 30% of revenue. Subscription service revenue rose 379% Y/Y, but over 95% of revenue still comes from advertising.
    • The company's cash balance totaled $1.6B at the end of Q2, or nearly half its current market cap.
    • Q2 results, PR
    | Comment!
  • 7:17 PM
    • Among Warren Buffett's (BRK.A, BRK.B) Q2 moves was a pullback in oil company investments, selling off the vast majority of his stake in ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) and dumping some of his holdings in Phillips 66 (NYSE:PSX) and National Oilwell Varco (NYSE:NOV).
    • The move looks prescient, as U.S. crude prices have dropped from ~$107/bll in mid-June to less than $95 today, and energy stocks went from being among the best performers on Wall Street to the middle of the pack.
    • West Texas crude for September delivery fell $1.93 to $94.48/bbl, the lowest settlement for a front-month contract since Jan. 17, and Brent crude traded near 14-month lows.
  • 7:12 PM
    • Brocade (NASDAQ:BRCD) and European/Latin American carrier Telefonica state Brocade's Vyatta 5600 software-based router delivered 80Gbps transfer speeds in lab tests carried out on a commodity Intel-based server.
    • Telefonica: "In less than two hours, we deployed the Brocade Vyatta 5600 vRouter from a memory stick ... These results are allowing us ... to aggressively change our perspective regarding what is possible with software-driven networking."
    • Brocade asserts the 5600's performance soundly exceeds that of most virtual (software-based) networking gear. "It's been less than one gig -- sometimes more like a couple hundred megs. For carrier-type applications, it became really important to have a much better performance."
    • The 5600, like some other software-based networking products, is aimed at network functions virtualization (NFV) deployments, through which carriers aim to replace proprietary systems with ones running on commodity servers.
    • Brocade's FQ3 report arrives on Thursday.
    | Comment!
  • 7:01 PM
    • Canada's transportation safety agency says inadequate Canadian government oversight and a now-defunct railway company's "weak safety culture" were among a host of factors that led to last year's devastating oil train derailment in Quebec.
    • The agency, which issued its final report on the accident that killed 47 people, says a similar catastrophe could happen again unless more measures are taken to boost rail safety, as crude-by-rail shipments in Canada and the U.S. skyrocket as energy companies try to compensate for a lack of pipeline capacity.
    • The report says “all older Class 111 tank cars must not transport flammable liquids, and a more robust tank car standard with enhanced protection must be set for North America."
    • Shares of companies that manufacture railway cars finished mostly higher today: ARII +2.6%, GBX +2.3%, TRN +1.8%, RAIL -0.2%.
  • 6:29 PM
    • BHP Billiton's (NYSE:BHP) move to spin off a raft of assets it deems non-core - businesses that employ ~25% of the company's current workforce but deliver less than 10% of its profits - creates a new midsize metals player that could become a prime takeover target for rivals.
    • WSJ mentions Glencore (OTCPK:GLCNF, OTCPK:GLNCY) as a potential suitor, and Mick Davis, the former CEO of Xstrata who left the company when it merged with Glencore, is on the lookout for acquisitions for his new investment vehicle.
    • On the other hand, the new BHP entity could suffer from dis-synergies after the spinoff, potentially facing higher costs in borrowing funds and procuring supplies.
    | Comment!
  • 6:20 PM
    • WashingtonFirst Bankshare (NASDAQ:WFBI) declares $0.04/share quarterly dividend, in line with previous.
    • Forward yield 1.07%
    • Payable Oct. 1; for shareholders of record Sept. 10; ex-div Sept. 8.
    | Comment!
  • 6:18 PM
    • First American Financial Corporation (NYSE:FAF) declares $0.24/share quarterly dividend, in line with previous.
    • Forward yield 3.37%
    • Payable Sept. 15; for shareholders of record Sept. 8; ex-div Sept. 4.
    | Comment!
  • 6:18 PM
    • Along with its Q2 results, PetSmart (NASDAQ:PETM) has confirmed reports it will explore strategic alternatives, including a possible sale. JPMorgan has been hired to help out.
    • The company has also announced: it's buying online pet product retailer and content provider Pet360 for $130M up-front + up to $30M in earn-outs. PetSmart notes Pet360 reaches 12M+ "pet parents" per month, and that its assets include several popular pet food and content properties. The deal is expected to close in September.
    • PetSmart has launched "a broad cost-reduction program" that will "target all areas of the business, including, in order of magnitude, cost of goods sold, logistics, sourcing, store operating costs and overhead." More details will be given next quarter.
    • Comparable store sales fell 0.5% Y/Y in Q2. Q3 EPS guidance is at $0.93-$0.97 (consensus is at $0.94), and full-year EPS guidance is at $4.29-$4.39 (consensus is at $4.32).
    • Full-year net sales are expected to grow at a low-single digit clip (consensus is at 2%), and comparable store sales are expected to be relatively flat.
    • Shares are halted. Q2 results, PR.
    | Comment!
  • 6:17 PM
    • Flushing Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:FFIC) declares $0.15/share quarterly dividend, in line with previous.
    • Forward yield 3.13%
    • Payable Sept. 26; for shareholders of record Sept. 5; ex-div Sept. 3.
    | Comment!
  • 6:15 PM
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