Seeking Alpha
  • Tuesday, April 15, 2014

  • 4:58 PM
    • CSX (CSX) +0.9% AH after Q1 earnings fell 14% Y/Y, caused largely by harsh winter weather across much of its railroad network, but beat expectations, and revenue rose 2% to $3.01B as it hauled 3% more freight.
    • CSX says the early 2014 weather difficulties cost it $0.08-$0.09/share in increased expenses and lost revenue.
    • Coal volume declined 1%, intermodal shipments rose 5%, and merchandise volume added 2%, driven by growth in agricultural products and chemicals shipments.
    • Expects modest FY 2014 earnings growth on the strength of broad-based merchandise and intermodal gains and an improving domestic coal environment.
    • Approves a 7% increase in the quarterly dividend to $0.16/share.
  • 4:44 PM
    • A leveraged buyout of Ann Inc. (ANN) is "likely to get done this year," The Deal reports in citing industry sources, also saying ANN already is working with a financial advisor.
    • The report names P-E firm Golden Gate Capital as the most likely buyer.
    • ANN shares spiked to a 3.6% gain in the final half-hour of trading on the report.
    | Comment!
  • 4:10 PM
  • 4:06 PM
    • Marten Transport (MRTN): Q1 EPS of $0.16 misses by $0.01.
    • Revenue of $159.4M (-3.1% Y/Y) misses by $2.66M.
    • Press Release
    | Comment!
  • 3:28 PM
    • Wal-Mart (WMT -0.8%) shares are lower, partly due to a William Blair downgrade to Underperform from Market Perform, mostly on concerns about the company's size which slows growth and dynamism, competition from online retailers, and the possibility that investors will rotate out of retailers in general at this stage of the economic cycle.
    • Given the downgrade, the firm cuts its annual EPS estimates for this year and next by a dime each, to $5.15 and $5.50, and cites sluggish retail sales in Q1 and weak consumer confidence among low-income households, as many of them face the expiration of benefits from the federal SNAP program and higher healthcare costs.
  • 3:13 PM
    • Herbalife (HLF +2.8%) shares bounce back after NY Times' Dealbook reports that the federal inquiry into the company shows no signs of developing into criminal case at this point, no grand jury subpoenas appear to have been issued, and FBI agents have not started interviewing witnesses.
    • Reports earlier today suggested NY's AG threw his hat into the ring of investigations over pyramid scheme allegations around HLF.
  • 1:55 PM
    • NBCUniversal (CMCSA) says it will launch a slate of original programming for its digital properties this year.
    • The series will air on the network websites, video-on-demand outlets, and through Hulu.
    • Some of the shows will be developed in collaboration with advertising partners.
    • The development follows a major play by Disney in the space via its acquisition of Maker Studios.
    | Comment!
  • 1:34 PM
    • Aereo gets its day in the Supreme Court next week as it takes on a powerful group of broadcasters (DIS, CMCSA, CBS, FOXA) and the U.S. Solicitor General's office.
    • Legal experts are deeply divided on which direction the court will rule in what could be a landmark case for the media industry. Justice Ginsburg is expected to side with the broadcasters and agree that Aereo violates copyright law, while Justice Breyer is tapped to side with Aereo. The other 7 justices are considered a bit of a tossup.
    • What to watch: A win by Aereo could lead to a pricing war in the pay-TV industry (CHTR, TWC, CVC, DISH, DTV) due to the low monthly fee ($8-$12/month) it charges to customers. A thriving Aereo could also prompt one of the major providers to unbundle its network packages to move to a la carte pricing. Content providers (DISCA, AMCX, VIAB, SNI, TWX, CRWN,MSG) will be watching the developments closely.
  • 12:48 PM
    • Luxottica (LUX -1.7%) signs a licensing agreement with Michael Kors (KORS +0.3%).
    • The company will launch a Michael Kors product line in January 2015.
    • The deal between the two luxury retailers is for ten years.
    | Comment!
  • 12:37 PM
    • MasterCard (MA -0.5%) and Visa (V -0.6%) are both lifted to a Buy rating by Janney Montgomery Scott.
    • Both payments companies have a lower litigation risk due to a recent appeals court hearing that leaned in their favor and the move to Brooklyn from Arkansas of Wal-Mart's appeal to the anti-trust settlement sets up well for the pair, reasons the investment firm.
    • MasterCard's deal for the co-branded Sam's Club credit card portfolio and Visa's new fixed acquirer network fee setup could also provide a boost.
  • 11:53 AM
    • DirecTV (DTV -1%) will stop broadcasting World Wrestling Entertainment's (WWE +1.7%) pay-per-view events, according to a report from Pro Wrestling Torch.
    • The companies are battling over the streaming launch of the WWE Network.
    | 1 Comment
  • 10:42 AM
    • Best Buy (BBY -2.6%) has replaced the executive in charge of its U.S. retail stores after he held the position for only seven months, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Shawn Score was a 29-year veteran at the company.
    • Shari Ballard will take over the role on a permanent basis and keep her current duties as head of human resources.
    • Shares of BBY are lower for the day on above-average volume. Weak guidance from hhgregg earlier this morning could be a factor.
    | Comment!
  • 10:27 AM
    • The Netflix (NFLX -2%) service is down this morning in a broad region, according to website monitoring services.
    • Shares of the company are also under-performing in early action.
  • 10:18 AM
    • Imperial Tobacco (ITYBY) will cut 900 jobs in the U.K. and France as part of its cost optimization plan.
    • The company cites declining sales volume in Europe in making the workforce reductions.
    | Comment!
  • 10:04 AM
    • Shares of Under Armour (UA +3.6%) are racing higher after the stock split 2-for-1 today.
    • The stock is outpacing all its peers in early action.
    • UA trend watch: The company saw low single digits sales growth for its running shoes in March, according to industry analyst Matt Powell. His tracking shows apparel sales fared better, rising at a 18% clip during the month.
    | Comment!
  • 9:48 AM
  • 9:36 AM
    • JPMorgan forecasts a 31% Y/Y increase in profits of Macau gaming companies during Q1 on a 20% gain in revenue.
    • A higher mix of mass market traffic is helping to boost margins in the sector.
    • Macau related stocks: MPEL, MGM, WYNN, LVS, GXYEF, SJMHF.
  • 9:20 AM
    • A new report from advocacy group Free Press found that Comcast (CMCSA) raised its basic cable rates the most in the sector over the past four years.
    • Comcast boosted prices on its non-promotional basic package by 68% over the period and on its premium offering by 21%.
    • The company is on the radar of regulators and politicians tasked with looking at the implications on consumers of the mega-merger with Time Warner Cable.
  • 9:13 AM
    • Aaron's (AAN) acquires Progressive Finance in an all-cash deal for $700M.
    • The purchase of the merchandise lease-to-own concern will be "double digit" accretive to EPS this year and even more accretive in 2015, according to Aaron's.
    • The company is also out with announcement that its board has determined that the standing offer from Vintage Capital Management at $30.50 per share isn't in its best interest.
    • AAN -5.2% premarket as a drop in Q1 revenue and EPS guidance factors in along with the buyout developments.
    | Comment!
  • 8:55 AM
    | Comment!
DJIA (DIA) S&P 500 (SPY)