Seeking Alpha
  • Tuesday, September 30, 2014

  • 11:17 PM
    • Pre-orders for upcoming Disney (NYSE:DIS) movies are available on (NASDAQ:AMZN) again in what could be an early indication that a deal has been worked out between the two companies
    • Disney titles went missing from Amazon's site amid a dispute over pricing policies.
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  • 4:20 PM
    • Alongside its dividend announcement, Fortune Brands (NYSE:FBHS) announces board authorization to repurchase up to $250M worth of company stock over the next two years. This amount will be added to the $78M remaining under prior authorizations.
    • At today's closing price, the $328M would be enough to buy back about 8M shares, or just less than 5% of the float.
    • Source: Press Release
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  • 3:45 PM
    • Diageo (DEO +1%) sees major growth opportunities in Africa for its spirits and beer products.
    • The company plans to open a distribution company in Angola in order to boost capacity.
    • New markets targeted by Diageo for spirits sales include Cameroon, Ethiopia, and Ghana.
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  • 3:06 PM
    • MGM Resorts (MGM +2.9%) is considering taking a run at fantasy sports leagues, according to CEO James Murren.
    • The casino operator, which is already expanding sports betting operations at its properties, sees explosive growth for the gambling niche.
    • Discussions with regulators in states where MGM operates are planned.
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  • 2:51 PM
    • Walgreen (WAG -0.2%) continues to feel an impact from its generic pricing miscalculation that led to the dismissal of several high-level execs.
    • During the firm's earnings call, management highlighted how lower drug reimbursement rates could continue to crimp profits as the company reels in less than a more favorable contract would have brought in.
    • Earnings call webcast
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  • 2:37 PM
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  • 2:00 PM
    • Macau-related casino stocks are on the move, despite recent forecasts on revenue (Sept. -13%) showing continued year-over-year declines.
    • A report that a Beijing crackdown on corruption by party officials is nearing its end could be helping to tip sentiment.
    • Gainers: Melco Crown (NASDAQ:MPEL) +4.2%, MGM Resorts (NYSE:MGM) +2.4%, Las Vegas Sands (NYSE:LVS) +3.2%, Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ:WYNN) +4.0%.
  • 1:33 PM
    • Wedbush downgrades Pier 1 Imports (PIR -1.5%) to Neutral from Outperform on its dour outlook for the retailer to hit its profit guidance.
    • The price target on the stock is reduced to $13 from $20 by Wedbush.
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  • 1:29 PM
    • Time Warner Cable's (TWC -0.3%) inability to strike deals with distributors for its SportsNet LA network could have a ripple effect, say industry insiders.
    • The cable operator took the brunt of the criticism in the L.A. area over coverage of the division-winning L.A. Dodgers being unavailable for a large swath of the region.
    • The development could be a factor as networks such as Fox Sports North (NASDAQ:FOXA), Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic (NASDAQ:CMCSA), New England Sports Network, YES Network, and Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia look to renegotiate their deals with pay-TV operators.
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  • 1:17 PM
    • The long-established window for feature films established between Hollywood studios and theater exhibitors will crack in a major fashion next summer when Netflix (NFLX +1.1%) and IMAX (IMAX +0.7%) jointly release a film online and through the large-screen IMAX format.
    • Though media analysts think theater chains will continue to bristle over the game-changing initiative - and for now IMAX says it will let exhibitors control the films that run on IMAX screens - IMAX sits in a powerful position in the future if it wants to play hardball.
    • "Netflix already changed the TV business in a very, very significant way. The movie business is teed up next," says BTIG's Rich Greenfield on the development.
    • Netflix and Weinstein are collaborating on a number of projects, several of which could turn into straight-to-streaming feature films.
    • What to watch: Hollywood studios (LGF, SNE, VIA, CMCSA, DIS) could be the ones to have the final say on if the feature film window model is adjusted.
  • 12:56 PM
    • Japan Airlines (OTC:JAPSY) discloses a data breach of customer information resulting from a hacker attack within its network.
    • The company says personal information on customers was leaked, but no credit card numbers.
    • The focus on IT security within the transportation industry has been heightened over the last year as more vehicles/planes/trains become connected.
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  • 12:42 PM
    • Shares of Whole Foods Market (WFM +1.8%) are higher on heavy volume on some recycled rumors of a takeover bid by a bigger player.
    • Analysts covering the sector are a bit wary, thinking WFM is a tough bolt-on for some of the names mentioned as potential acquirers.
  • 11:26 AM
    • General Motors (GM -0.7%) suspends operations at a plant in St. Petersburg, Russia until October 3 due to falling demand in the region.
    • The action marks the third time that production at the plant has been suspended.
  • 11:06 AM
    • Deutsche Bank thinks airline stocks could be range bound until 2015 as the recent sell-off in the sector covers lingering concerns on capacity.
    • The investment firm sees upside as the modest growth plans from major carriers and lower fuel prices are factored into earnings estimates.
    • Analyst Michael Linenberg taps Southwest Airlines (LUV +0.5%) and Spirit Airlines (SAVE -0.8%) to lead the sector turnaround next year.
    • Other airline stocks: DAL, AAL, JBLU, UAL, ALK, HA, RJET, ALGT, LUV.
  • 11:02 AM
    • Having just appeased one activist (Carl Icahn) by announcing plans to spin off PayPal, eBay (EBAY +6.8%) is now set to contend with another: Dan Loeb's Third Point LLC reportedly has a "significant position" in eBay, and has held talks with outgoing CEO John Donahoe.
    • eBay remains sharply higher, albeit off its premarket highs. Street commentary about the spinoff has been positive - Cowen thinks both Marketplaces and PayPal will be better-equipped to deal with rivals as independent companies, and calls Amex's Dan Schulman a "compelling choice" to run PayPal. With Marketplaces making up 27% of PayPal's Q2 transactions, overlap between the businesses is deemed "manageable."
    • SunTrust thinks eBay is worth somewhere between $55.72-$88.74/share on a sum-of-the-parts basis. Re/code notes an independent PayPal could have an easier time recruiting talent and battling with upstarts such as Apple and Stripe; the latter has recently scored deals with Facebook and Twitter.
  • 10:45 AM
    • Regal Entertainment (RGC -1.8%) slams Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) and IMAX (NYSE:IMAX) over their new collaboration to release films simultaneously at IMAX theaters and via Netflix's streaming service.
    • The company emphatically states that it will not participate in the "experiment" to release the same product on screen three stories tall and 3 inches wide.
    • Regal operates a total of 86 IMAX theaters.
    • Movie theater chains Cinemark (CNK -0.8%), Carmike Cinemas (CKEC -1.7%), and AMC Entertainment (AMC -0.2%) are likely to weigh in on the development shortly.
  • 10:29 AM
    • Shares of Kellogg (K -0.8%) are under pressure after Morgan Stanley takes its rating on the food stock down to Underweight from Equal Weight.
    • The investment firm thinks the Special K project touted by the company isn't delivering the expected returns.
  • 10:26 AM
    • Bank of America Merrill Lynch analyst John Murphy says the long-term outlook from Ford F is consistent with what it expected, despite the profits hiccups in key regions the automaker highlighted yesterday.
    • "We view Ford’s 2020 targets as fairly consistent with our expectation for earnings power in the $2.00 to $3.00 per share range by the end of the decade," writes Murphy.
    • Shares of Ford came within a dime of a 52-week low in trading this morning.
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  • 10:01 AM
    • Shareholders at FedEx (FDX +0.1%) approved all 12 directors for re-election to serve another one-year term.
    • A number of stockholder proposals were voted down, including one asking the company to limit execs from pledging their FDX shares and a motion to sever ties with the Washington Redskins until the team changed its name.
    • A new buyback allowance of up to 15M shares was approved.
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  • 9:50 AM
    • The decision by Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) to offer feature films at select IMAX (NYSE:IMAX) theaters will present it with a "terrific opportunity," says IMAX Entertainment CEO Greg Foster.
    • The plan for simultaneous IMAX-Netflix releases in China and U.S. has been tapped to be a market disrupter by some film insiders, although without getting a look at the financial nuts and bolts of the revenue split they are hesitant to label winners and losers from the deal.
    • The partnership will be small in scale at first with its success likely to be highly-contingent on the quality of Weinstein films feeding the initiative.
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