Seeking Alpha
  • Today - Tuesday, March 31, 2015

  • 1:21 PM
    • Conn's (CONN +12.1%) trades higher after reporting earnings and disclosing it's considering a sale of its loan portfolio.
    • Execs talked about the deal during the earnings call, saying the company still plans to originate and underwrite loans.
    • Underwriting changes by the company will impact comps going forward.
    • Appliances, furniture, and mattresses are categories where comp growth can stay positive, maintains management.
    • Conn's earnings call webcast
    • Previously: Conn's EPS of $0.42
    • Previously: Conn's reports 1.3% comp, guides for margin improvement
    | Comment!
  • 1:07 PM
    • There's a new largest toy company by market cap in the U.S. with Hasbro (HAS +1%) passing Mattel (MAT +0.8%) for the first time since 1993 (h/t WSJ's Paul Ziobro).
    • Over the last 52 weeks Hasbro has run up a 13.4% gain fueled by Frozen sales, while Mattel's share price has faded by 43%.
    • Despite the rough year, Mattel still has its supporters. Citigroup has a Buy rating locked on and SA contributor Daniel Jones says value investors should take a look.
    | Comment!
  • 11:41 AM
    • Nevada gaming revenue fell 1.1% to $916.1M during February, according to figures released by the Gaming Control Board.
    • Las Vegas Strip casinos saw a 4.4% Y/Y decline to $531.3M during the month
    • A poor month for baccarat play was behind much of the tail-off in Las Vegas, although it's not clear if soft traffic or a dismal hold percentage was behind the drop.
    • The casino sector is seeing some buying action today on yet more REIT speculation.
    • Advancing stocks against a weak tape include Penn National Gaming (PENN +2.2%), Las Vegas Sands (LVS +1%), Wynn Resorts (WYNN +0.7%), Caesars Acquisition (CACQ +2.7%), Caesars Entertainment (CZR +3.4%), Boyd Gaming (BYD +0.7%), Century Casinos (CNTY +1%), Empire Resorts (NYNY +1.1%), and Pinnacle Entertainment (PNK +0.3%).
    • Full Nevada Gaming Control Board report (.pdf)
    • Previously: A warning on casino REITs (Mar. 28 2015)
    | Comment!
  • 11:16 AM
    • Shares of Wayfair (W -3.5%) move lower on strong volume.
    • The company's 180-day lockup period expired today giving pre-IPO shareholders a crack at selling.
    • Wayfair trade at $32.11 which is above where the IPO priced ($25-$28) - but below the opening price of $36.
    | Comment!
  • 11:03 AM
    • U.S. Cellular (NYSE:USM) says a network expansion will bring 4G service to 98% of its customers by year's end.
    • The company says it's adding 600 LTE sites this year, expanding service in 10 states: California, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oregon, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia.
    • U.S. Cellular is working with 700 MHz spectrum provided by partner King Street Wireless to speed up 4G implementation in its networks.
    • Previously: U.S. Cellular up 4.2% on earnings beat, 2015 outlook (Feb. 25 2015)
    | Comment!
  • 10:40 AM
    • Coca-Cola (KO +0.5%) confirms it will invest $500M in Indonesia to accelerate growth in the region.
    • Two new production lines were opened by Coca-Cola Amatil Indonesia in Bekasi, West Java.
    • Coca-Cola owns an equity stake in a local joint venture which runs bottling plants in the region.
    | Comment!
  • 10:35 AM
    • A group of Corinthian College (NASDAQ:COCO) students are attempting to back out of their student loan obligations after the company closed campuses to diminish the value of degrees from the institution.
    • The students have some support from the CFPB in their bid for debt relief, although the federal agency won't advocate for non-payment.
    • The development is another bright spotlight on a sector already reeling from enrollment losses.
    • "I just turned 22 and I have this much debt and I have nothing to show for it," summed up one Corinthian student on her plight.
    • On watch: Career Education (CECO -2.3%), ITT Educational Services (ESI -2.2%), Education Management (EDMC -7.3%), Strayer Education (STRA -1%), DeVry Education (DV -0.5%).
    | Comment!
  • 10:22 AM
    • Sprint (NYSE:S) has settled a class-action suit that charged it with fraud around its 2005 $36B merger with Nextel Communications -- for $131M in cash.
    • The suit claimed former CEO Gary Forsee and others hid integration struggles around the merger and falsely inflated stock and bond prices from October 2006 to February 2008, when Sprint took a $29.7B goodwill writedown.
    • Lead plaintiffs were institutional investors: the United Steelworkers' Pace Industry Union-Management Pension Fund, Skandia Life Insurance Co and the West Virginia Investment Management Board.
    | Comment!
  • 10:11 AM
    • Shares of Reading International (RDI -5.1%) trade lower on strong volume.
    • The stock has set a series of all-time highs in trading this month.
    • A minor bit of insider selling from a board director was reported last night.
    • SEC Form 4
    | 1 Comment
  • 9:59 AM
    • A better-than-expected report from Movado is giving a lift to some luxury peers.
    • Fossil (FOSL +1%), Coach (COH +0.5%), and Kate Spade (KATE +0.2%) are all higher on a down day in the markets.
    • Movado was able to take some measures to mitigate the impact of F/X swings.
    • Previously: Movado rips 8% gain after guidance pleases
    | Comment!
  • 9:59 AM
    • Believing the company's risk/reward and (free cash flow-based) valuation are favorable after months of underperforming equity markets, Stifel has upgraded Priceline (PCLN +1.3%) to Buy, and set a $1,400 target.
    • The online travel giant is up 17% from a Jan. 29 low of $992.12, but remains 13% below its March 2013 highs thanks to European macro and forex concerns; the Nasdaq has risen over 10% during this time. Shares trade for 20x a 2015 EPS consensus of $57.24, and 17x a 2016 EPS consensus of $67.77.
    • Stifel downgraded Priceline to Hold on Jan. 8, when shares were at $1,069.57.
  • 9:52 AM
    | Comment!
  • 9:43 AM
    • Economists don't seem fully convinced that weather is behind the slower-than-anticipated pace of spending on goods and services for the first part of 2015.
    • Most have lowered Q1 GDP estimates without necessarily calling for a spring sales bounce.
    • Despite some indications consumer confidence has improved and a stronger job environment, consumers have increased their level of personal savings instead of spending in droves.
    • The weather excuse will get its test when April numbers start coming in.
    | Comment!
  • 9:22 AM
    • Deutsche Bank lifts its price target on Under Armour (NYSE:UA) to $85.
    • Earlier this week, FBR & Co. set the PT bar even higher at $90.
    • Citigroup sits with a $88 PT on UA.
    • The company has generated even more interest from investors recently due its aggressive positioning in basketball and the potential for new global growth channels.
    • Under Armour basketball timeline.
    • UA +0.6% premarket to $80.38 vs. all-time high of $82.67.
  • 9:08 AM
    • Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) decides to end free shipping in Canada for orders less than C$50 ($39.41), reports RetailDive.
    • The far-flung nature of distribution in Canada makes shipping expensive for U.S. retailers in the region.
    | Comment!
  • 9:07 AM
    • Redbook Chain Store Sales: +3% Y/Y vs. +2.8% last week.
    • +1.2% M/M vs. +1.1% prior.
    • Sales were were benefited from earlier Easter as well as students on spring break, however cold weather held back sales of spring goods.
    | Comment!
  • 9:05 AM
    • Charter Communications (CHTR, up 5.2% premarket) has reached agreement to acquire Bright House Networks for $10.4B.
    • The outlines of a deal were there, but it's early -- it was expected that a ruling would come down on Comcast's (NASDAQ:CMCSA) merger with Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC) before Charter made a move.
    • The structure: a partnership where Charter owns 73.7% and Advance/Newhouse owns 26.3%. Charter will pay $2B in cash.
    • There's still several conditions to wrapping the deal, including Charter transactions with Comcast.
    | Comment!
  • 9:02 AM
    • Tyson Foods (NYSE:TSN) plans to close a poultry plant in Georgia in a bid to boost efficiency.
    • The company will also end a third shift at a different plant in the state and change focus at a third to tray pack chicken production.
    | Comment!
  • 8:56 AM
    • Movado (NYSE:MOV) soars in premarket trading after setting guidance above expectations and avoiding the worst-case F/X forecast.
    • The watch category saw slow growth in the quarter as expected, but Movado says its design innovation helped the sell-through rate.
    • A dividend payout boost and health amount of buyback activity in Q4 are also in the mix.
    • The company's outlook for FY16 EPS of $2.00-$2.10 is out ahead of the $1.89 EPS analysts forecast.
    • Previously: Movado beats by $0.20, misses on revenue (Mar. 31 2015)
    • Previously: More on Movado's Q4 (Mar. 31 2015)
    • MOV +8.1% premarket.
    | Comment!
  • 8:46 AM
    • CVS Health (NYSE:CVS) announces new affiliations with medical centers in Illinois and Arizona.
    • The company signed a clinical deal with Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and Tucson Medical Center in Tucson.
    • CVS says it now has more than 50 major health systems and providers in its system.
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