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  • Today - Saturday, February 28, 2015

  • 11:57 AM
    • Casinos in Nevada saw a 7.75% increase in revenue to $953M during January, according to the Gaming Control Board.
    • Revenue on the Las Vegas Strip - dominated by MGM Resorts (NYSE:MGM), Caesars Entertainment (NASDAQ:CZR), and Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ:WYNN) - was up 15.4% Y/Y during the month.
    • Total revenue in Atlantic City rose 1% Y/Y in Jan. - although the tally improves to +19% if shuttered casinos are backed out.
    • Analysts say improved employment rates in the U.S. and lower gas prices ($2.04 avg in Jan.) helped to drive traffic, although an unusually high baccarat hold percentage in LV also played a factor there.
    • But perhaps the biggest driver of the Vegas momentum was the higher RevPAR churned up by hotels (see MGM's Q4) and a meaningful increase in convention business.
    • The strong attendance around the Consumer Electronics Show bodes well for major 2015 conventions, notes Macquarie Securities.
    • Earlier in the week, a strong report from Isle of Capri (NASDAQ:ISLE) helped to give a boost to regional casino stocks. Regionals have seen a steady increase in traffic over the last 6 months, although capacity concerns still impact some regions.
    • Previously: Regional casino stocks get a look as trends improve (Feb. 25)
    • Related casino industry stocks: NYNY, FLL, DDE, OTCQB:TPCA, CHDN, CNTY, PNK, BYD, SGMS, OTCPK:AMYGF, CACQ, PENN, MCRI
  • Friday, February 27, 2015

  • 8:17 PM
    | 1 Comment
  • 7:31 PM
    • Wind Telecomunicazioni -- the Italian unit of Russian telecom VimpelCom (NASDAQ:VIP) -- may be selling its wireless towers to Spain's Abertis Infraestructuras (OTCPK:ABRTY) as soon as the coming week.
    • The companies are talking about 6,000 towers that Wind values at as much as €700M ($786M), though other observers peg the value even higher, at €800M ($914M).
    • An additional 1,700 towers under discussion could easily boost the deal to that latter figure or even to €900M ($1B).
    • Abertis -- chiefly in toll-road management -- is reportedly considering transferring the towers into a unit to be listed on the Madrid exchange, in order to get more cash to shareholders.
    • The Spanish firm is winning the deal over competition from American Tower (NYSE:AMT), Mediaset's (OTCPK:MDIUY) EI Towers and a coalition of investment fund F2i SGR and Providence Equity Partners.
    • Shares of VimpelCom closed the day up 4.8%; they tracked lower in after-hours trading, -1.5%.
    | Comment!
  • 6:37 PM
    • Fresh off their vote for re-regulation of Internet transmissions, the five FCC commissioners will be spending mid-March on Capitol Hill answering to the GOP Congress.
    • The House Energy and Commerce Committee is holding its hearing March 19, a day after the members are scheduled with the Senate Commerce Committee.
    • The chairmen of the two committees, Greg Walden and John Thune, are backing a bill that would reverse the FCC's Title II reclassification (treating Internet providers more like utilities) and substantively narrow its approach to ensuring net neutrality.
    • Following the 3-2 vote, major carriers indicated their strategy would be twofold: Lawsuits (CMCSA, T, VZ, CHTR worried about "years" of litigation); and legislative action to undo the move, with a cooperative congress apparently ready to act.
    • Other related stocks: CVC, TWC, CTL, FTR, ELNK, DISH, DTV, CCOI
  • 6:21 PM
    • Dropbox and Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) have made a deal to bring Dropbox's file storage to the wireless carrier's customers -- a key market for Dropbox, who get 70% of its users and about half its revenue outside the U.S.
    • With more than 440M subscribers as of year-end, Vodafone can provide a boost to Dropbox, which currently sports more than 300M users. Eventually, the carrier's Android phones will come pre-installed with Dropbox. For its part, aside from any payment considerations, Vodafone can offer its users 25 free GB of storage.
    • Terms of the deal were undisclosed, though Dropbox's Marc Leibowitz says it's not just a "pay for play."
    • The rollout is scheduled to happen for most Vodafone customers by the end of 2015.
    • Vodafone Q4 earnings
    | 1 Comment
  • 5:23 PM
    • Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) is in talks to buy ad-tech firm Visible World, The Wall Street Journal is reporting -- a move that could give the omnivorous cable giant a foothold in the growing data-driven targeted ad market.
    • The talks aren't advanced, though, and could end up in more of a partnership. Even so, the discussions are a sign of the times in a TV industry that has been slower to adopt ad technology more common in the digital world.
    • One strength the ad-tech firm boasts is in its ability to quickly customize TV commercials based on very small demographic or geographic divisions.
    • Other cablecos are clients of Visible World, so it's not clear whether they would continue supplying space to a Comcast-owned firm.
    • Any price under discussion is unknown. Comcast wrapped a $320M purchase of FreeWheel last year, picking up ESPN, Fox, Amazon and its own NBCUniversal as clients.
    • Visible World has raised $33M from investors so far.
    | Comment!
  • 5:16 PM
    • If tech-enabled clothing catches on, Under Armour (NYSE:UA) plans to be front and center,
    • CEO Kevin Plank says the devices in our pockets will migrate to apparel as health and fitness monitoring integrates with mobile communication.
    • The company is growing out the concept through both R&D and M&A, although it's playing coy about what direction it will go specifically with future products.
    • Digital properties added in the last year include MapMyFitness, Endomondo, and MyFitnessPal.
    • Under Armour will undoubtedly face stiff competition from Apple and Nike in the tech clothing category.
    | Comment!
  • 4:45 PM
    • Verizon (NYSE:VZ) has joined peers, including AT&T (NYSE:T) and T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS), in complaining to the FCC that Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH) distorted the results of the FCC's AWS-3 wireless spectrum auction with its bidding tactics.
    • Verizon ran its own analysis of the data and concluded close coordination between Dish and its designated entities ((DEs)) that Verizon says created a false sense of demand and drove the price above market value.
    • For its part, Dish has been on the record about disclosing and gaining approval for its actions ahead of the auction, though the resulting total bids came in over even the high estimates.
    • Major players have been jockeying for position with the FCC ahead of a likely even more important low-band auction next year.
    • More on the FCC auction
    • Previously: AT&T: Dish's auction approach skewed results, needs restriction (Feb. 20 2015)
    • Previously: T-Mobile's Legere calls for spectrum-auction rule changes (Feb. 18 2015)
  • 4:25 PM
    • After losing just 2.3% yesterday following Q4 earnings, Media General (NYSE:MEG) slipped 6.6% today.
    • Earnings of $0.29/share missed expectations by $0.02 -- and while they swung to a gain from a $5.2M loss in the prior year, the results were driven in large part by political advertising for the midterm elections.
    • The firm has been engaging in a long transition into a more modern TV broadcaster, notably with wrapping a $2.6B merger with LIN Media. This is the first earnings report since the merger closed.
    • The company guided to revenues for Q1 to increase 1%-3%, for total net revenues of $295M-$301M, in line with expectations.
    • Analyst consensus expects the company to earn $0.06/share in Q1.
    • Q4 results; press release
    | Comment!
  • 3:50 PM
    • United Continental (NYSE:UAL) is the preferred airline stock of UBS.
    • The investment firm thinks United can narrow the margin gap with peers and faces less risk on the labor front.
    • Shares of UAL are off 2.3% on the day with crude oil prices up by roughly the same percentage.
    • 16 out of 20 Wall Street calls on UAL are bullish (Buy/Overweight).
  • 3:30 PM
    • Wireless operator NTELOS Holdings (NASDAQ:NTLS) is down 5.5% after Wells Fargo downgraded to Market Perform, from Outperform.
    • Shares gained 3.2% on Thursday after the company announced Q4 revenues that gained 5% as it realigns its operations from eastern Virginia to the western half of the state and West Virginia.
    • While the move is taking root, it still cuts the carrier's subscriber base from about 500K to around 250K.
    • The move today has wiped out almost all the gains NTELOS has seen since the Dec. 2 move to get out of eastern Virginia.
    | 1 Comment
  • 3:04 PM
    • Another day, another big move in Sprint (S +7.1%) -- up higher today, on the revelation that CEO Marcelo Claure bought 5M shares on the open market.
    • At an average price of $4.92, the transaction cost about $25M.
    • The stock has seen some volatile days in the wake of its earnings report a few weeks ago.
    • Shares have lost 41% over the past 12 months, but are up 23.1% YTD.
  • 2:48 PM
    • After a 10-for-1 old-fashioned stock split over the past three years, Premier Exhibitions (PRXI -2.7%) announces a 1-for-10 reverse stock split to take effect at the close of business today.
    • The reverse split will take the shares back north of the $3 level, and allow the company to maintain its listing on the Nasdaq.
    • Source: Press Release
    | Comment!
  • 2:31 PM
    • Sears Holdings (NASDAQ:SHLD) trades higher after providing a strategy update through its corporate blog in which it highlighted how it plans to boost profitability.
    • The company calls out mobile checkout, the ShopSears app, in-vehicle pickup, and its loyalty program as growth drivers.
    • In a dive into Q4 numbers, Sears says it generated $2.3B in liquidity through asset reconfiguration ($500M), a rights offering ($1.4B), and real estate transactions ($400M).
    • Previously: Sears Holdings EPS of -$0.34 (Feb. 26)
    • Previously: More on Sears Holdings' Q4 (Feb. 26)
    • Previously: Sears Holdings gives target date for REIT plan (Feb. 26)
    • SHLD +3.2% to $37.20.
  • 2:03 PM
    • Turkish mobile leader Turkcell (TKC -2.1%) is lower today, along with other Turkish trades, as Société Générale bails out of the country: "We just closed all our bullish trades on Turkey."
    • The firm expects the Turkish lira to sell off in the aftermath of the central bank's rate cut -- and its dispute with Turkey's leadership over monetary policy.
    • SocGen has taken out a long position in dollar/lira volatility that it says is already paying off.
    • The Turkish lira has slipped 3% against the dollar over the past week.
    • Related stocks: (OTCQX:TKGBY -3.4%), (OTCPK:TAVHY -2.3%)
    • ETFs: TUR -2%.
    • Previously: Turkey tumbles as government takes over Bank Asya (Feb. 04 2015)
    | Comment!
  • 1:42 PM
    • Visa (V -0.5%) announces it will acquire payments technology firm TrialPay.
    • The company plans to integrate TrialPay into its merchant solutions products.
    • Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.
    | 1 Comment
  • 1:32 PM
    • Monster Beverage (MNST +13%) says it increased market share across Europe in December and January.
    • A lot of detail is given out during the call on the transition to Coca-Cola from Anheuser-Busch InBev for distribution. The company maintains inventory issues will not be problem.
    • Sales of Monster products through the convenience and gas channel rose 11.3% Y/Y in January.
    • Execs says the board will examine capital allocation options in light of the new funds coming in from Coca-Cola.
    • Shares of MNST are trading over $140 for the first today.
    • Earnings call transcript
    | 1 Comment
  • 1:05 PM
    • Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (NYSE:FCAU) recalls more than 467K Dodge and Jeep SUVs.
    • The recall action includes 2012 and 2013 Dodge Durangos as well as 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokees located outside of North America.
    • Consumer advocacy groups are pushing to see the automaker broaden the recall.
  • 11:40 AM
    • PHI Inc. (NASDAQ:PHIIK): FY14 EPS of $3.69 vs. $3.14 in FY13.
    • Revenue of $836.27M (-2.4% Y/Y)
    • Press Release
    | Comment!
  • 11:38 AM
    • Marcato Capital discloses it holds a 9.53% position in Sotheby's (BID +0.7%).
    • As part of its filing, Marcato wants the confidentiality lifted on a settlement last year with former CEO William Ruprecht.
    • Shares of Sotheby's are down 12.2% over the last 52 weeks.
    • SEC Form 13D/A
    | Comment!
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