Seeking Alpha
  • Today - Friday, July 3, 2015

  • 9:20 AM
    • Adding to their list of woes, Greeks can no longer use their PayPal (PYPL, EBAY) accounts, Quartz reports.
    • Capital controls have effectively crippled the online payment service, which relies on traditional banks and credit cards to transfer money.
    • Another area seeing a revival is Bitcoin (COIN, OTCQB:BTCS). New customers depositing at least €50 with BTCGreece, the only Greece-based Bitcoin exchange, rose by 400% between May and June. The average deposit quadrupled to around €700.
  • 8:43 AM
    • Ant Financial, the financial services affiliate of Alibaba (NYSE:BABA), has closed a private placement of shares that values it at more than $50B, Globes reports.
    • State backing is critical for the firm because China's banking and financial services industry is dominated by government firms, some of which have tried to block private entities from entering the market.
    • The so-called Series A round of financing was led by the National Social Security Fund of China, one of the country’s biggest state funds. NSSF now has a 5% stake in Ant Financial.
    • A timetable has not yet been revealed for the company's public listing, but Jack Ma has said that any IPO would most likely take place in China's capital markets.
    • Previously: Reuters: New funding values Alibaba's Ant Financial/Alipay at ~$45B (Jun. 18 2015)
  • 6:28 AM
  • 4:10 AM
    • Investors pulled another $3B in assets from the Pimco Total Return Fund (MUTF:PTTRX) in June, compared with $2.7B the previous month, in another sign the fund is still bleeding since the departure of Bill Gross last fall.
    • On top of cash withdrawals of $5.6B in April and $7.3B in March, total assets in the fund have now plunged to $102.8B from a peak of $293B in April 2013.
  • 3:53 AM
    • Banco Santander (NYSE:SAN) has reached an agreement to acquire the 9.68% stake held by DDFS in Santander Consumer (NYSE:SC) for $928M.
    • Following the transaction, which is subject to regulatory approval, Santander's stake in Santander Consumer will stand at about 68.7%.
    • Previously: Santander Consumer CEO Dundon leaving; CFO to replace (Jul. 02 2015)
  • 3:39 AM
    • According to documents filed in a U.S. court, Royal Bank of Scotland (NYSE:RBS) may need to pay $13B to settle claims it misled investors over the sale of about $32B in mortgage-backed debt.
    • The size of the settlement could also make it difficult for Britain's finance ministry to proceed with its plan to start selling the government's 78% stake in the bank in coming months.
    • Related: Bloomberg: RBS mortgage tab could hit $4.5B (May. 27 2015)
    • Related: Court says Nomura, RBS misled investors (May. 12 2015)
    | 1 Comment
  • Thursday, July 2, 2015

  • 6:42 PM
    • An Italian regulatory filing shows that J.P. Morgan (JPM -0.9%) has a 7% stake in Telecom Italia (TI -0.9%) -- the result, for now, of an equity swap deal with Telefonica (TEF +0.4%).
    • The Spanish provider issued a €750M exchangeable bond, maturing in 2017, that converts into TI shares, and did a totl return equity swap with J.P. Morgan giving it the TI stake.
    • Telefonica will reclaim the shares from the bank, though, at maturity, and give them to the bond's investors.
    | Comment!
  • 4:38 PM
    • CFO Jason Kulas has been named Santander Consumer's (NYSE:SC) new CEO. He replaces Thomas Dundon, who has had the job since 2006 and is leaving to "pursue new opportunities."
    • Dundon is also stepping down as chairman, while remaining on the board. Lead outside director Stephen Ferriss has been named interim chairman, effective until the Santander's July 15 annual meeting. Accounting chief Jennifer Popp has been named interim CFO while the company looks for a permanent replacement.
    • CC at 5:15PM ET (webcast).
    | Comment!
  • 3:01 PM
    • Even as public market valuations have pulled back, says Citi's Michael Bilerman, private market pricing has remained strong, widening the gap between price and value.
    • While fund flows are a negative, Bilerman notes an uptick in interest from market generalists, suggesting they're beginning to spot value in the sector.
    • Healthcare: The REITs here are particularly sensitive to rising rates given high external growth expectations and accretive "spread" investing. Bilerman has Overweights in large-cap Ventas (NYSE:VTR) and small-cap Sabra Health Care (NASDAQ:SBRA).
    • Lodging: Supply is largely intact and demand continues to improve, hopefully setting up a strong H2. He continues to favor C-corps like Hilton Worldwide (NYSE:HLT), but also has Overweight positions on Host Hotels (NYSE:HST) and LaSalle Hotel (NYSE:LHO).
    • Office/Industrial: This sector offers particular opportunity for outperformance, and he prefers urban names, Boston Property (NYSE:BXP), SL Green (NYSE:SLG), and Vornado (NYSE:VNO), and only select suburban names Parkway (NYSE:PKY) and Mack Cali (NYSE:CLI). In industrial, he's Overweight EastGroup (NYSE:EGP), Prologis (NYSE:PLD), and DCT Industrial (NYSE:DCT).
    • Apartments: Growth remains strong and valuations attractive. He's Overweight large caps AvalonBay (NYSE:AVB), Equity Residential (NYSE:EQR), and UDR, as well as value name Camden Property Trust (NYSE:CPT).
    • Retail: He's still Overweight Class A mall REITs, but is getting more bullish on strip mall names, with Kimco (NYSE:KIM), Acadia (NYSE:AKR), and Weingarten (NYSE:WRI) upgraded to Buy. Other top picks are General Growth (NYSE:GGP), Simon Property (NYSE:SPG), Kite Realty (NYSE:KRG), and Forest City (NYSE:FCE.A).
    • Previously: Citi spots value in beaten-up REIT sector (July 2)
  • 1:59 PM
    • Canadian equity financings of C$30.3B were a record, and up 40% from a year ago, according to Thompson Reuters, and Royal Bank of Canada (NYSE:RY) led the way on advisory roles, with Bank of Montreal (NYSE:BMO) and CIBC (NYSE:CM) rounding out the top three.
    • The largest deal to-date was Element Financial's C$2B raise, followed by Valeant's C$1.9B.
  • 11:55 AM
    • MCG Capital (MCGC) sets August 14 as the date for a special meeting for shareholders to vote on the company's sale to PennantPark Floating Rate Capital (PFLT -0.1%).
    • PFLT is offering roughly $4.75 in cash and stock. HC2 (HCHC -1.6%) is offering about $5.30 in cash and stock, but appears to be out of bullets in its bid to win MCG from PFLT.
    • SEC Schedule 14A
  • 11:50 AM
    • Most of the usual suspects are part of a group of 15 global banks under investigation by Brazil antitrust watchdog Cade over alleged currency rigging.
    • This new investigation comes just weeks after six lenders agreed to pay $5.8B to the U.S. to settle similar charges.
    | Comment!
  • 10:19 AM
    • Columbia Fire House is a one-acre parcel with two vacant buildings which previously served as the HQ for the city's fire department. The buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
    • The first phase of redevelopment is expected to being later this year.
    • Wheeler (NASDAQ:WHLR) CEO Jon Wheeler says the company has had its eye on the property for more than three years. "Columbia Station is in a prime location where retail is thriving and the area is rich in historic and cultural offerings that attract local residents and visitors."
    • Source: Press Release
    | Comment!
  • 9:48 AM
    • Raymond James downgrades Zions Bancorp (ZION -0.5%), Regions Financial (RF -0.3%), Bank of the Ozarks (OZRK -0.9%), and Everbank (EVER -1.3%) from Strong Buy to Outperform. As a group, the four have strongly outperformed the regional bank index over the last three months.
    • Downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform: Columbia Banking System (COLB -2%), Pinnacle Financial (PNFP -1.9%), and Wilshire Bancorp (WIBC -3.1%).
    | 1 Comment
  • 9:08 AM
    • Already with a presence in Turkey, ING was one of four lenders to submit a non-binding bid last month, reports Reuters, and HSBC has winnowed out the other three.
    • With $15B in assets, HSBC is the 12th biggest bank in Turkey, but it's selling the unprofitable business as part of a global move to cut costs and reduce complexity. ING's existing Turkish bank has about $16B in assets. Individually, the banks lack the scale to make money, but combined, profitability is perhaps a possibility.
    | Comment!
  • 8:25 AM
    • Notching upgrades to Buy from Neutral are SL Green (NYSE:SLG), Kimco (NYSE:KIM), Weingarten Realty (NYSE:WRI), EastGroup Properties (NYSE:EGP), and Acadia Realty Trust (NYSE:AKR).
    • All four are in the red for the year, with most of the loss coming in recent months.
    | Comment!
  • 8:18 AM
    • The logistics facility in Oskarshamn was purchased by WPC from its developer and is net leased to Scania AB, with about 15 years remaining on the lease (with annual CPI-based rent escalations).
    • Source: Press release
    | Comment!
  • 8:01 AM
    • Confirming that all July 1 payments due on Puerto Rico's debt have been paid, Ambac (NASDAQ:AMBC) says it insures a total of $2.4B of Puerto Rico bonds, and has $5.8B of claims-paying resources.
    • "We will not tolerate any actions that could impair our interests," says interim CEO Nader Tavakoli.
    • A conference call is set for 8:30 today.
    • Source: Press Release
    • Shares +3.6% premarket
  • 7:55 AM
    • The Wellington is a 711-unit apartment community in Arlington, with on-site density to develop about another 360 units.
    • The property is currently 97% occupied.
    • Source: Press Release
    | Comment!
  • 7:53 AM
    • June volume of 14.6M contracts per day was up 15% from a year earlier. Options volume of 2.9M gained 28%.
    • Interest rate volume of 6.9M contracts up 8% Y/Y, with Eurodollar futures volume of 2.5M down 5%, and Treasury futures volume of 2.7M up 12%.
    • Forex volume of 987K contracts up 29%.
    • Ag commodities volume of 1.7M contracts up 48%.
    • Equity Index volume of 2.9M contracts up 16%.
    • Source: Press Release
    | Comment!
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