Seeking Alpha
  • Today - Tuesday, September 30, 2014

  • 3:42 PM
    • Dow Chemical's (DOW -1.6%) bid to throw out a $1.06B price-fixing verdict imposed after customers accused it of conspiring to artificially inflate polyurethane prices is rejected by a U.S. appeals court, which says there is enough evidence to support the class action award.
    • The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver says new U.S. Supreme Court limits on class actions do not require Dow customers to sue individually, even if some could have avoided price hikes by negotiating or using rival products.
    • Dow says it is disappointed in the decision and will appeal, including to the Supreme Court if necessary.
    | Comment!
  • 3:05 PM
  • 2:37 PM
    • Shares of Avis Budget (CAR -5.5%) are lower after management warns that fleet costs could be on the high end of its guidance.
    • The company is presenting today at a Deutsche Bank conference.
    • Hertz (HTZ -2.9%) has skipped lower as well off the outlook from its peer.
    | Comment!
  • 2:18 PM
    • Russia's Mechel (MTL +42.1%) is close to a compromise deal with its creditors that could resolve its debt problems within two weeks, according to an economic adviser at the Kremlin, sends shares skyrocketing.
    • MTL borrowed heavily before the financial crisis, and creditors have pushed for a repayment rather than restructuring of its $8.7B in net debt; Russian leaders had said bankruptcy was “a probable scenario” instead of restructuring.
    | Comment!
  • 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%.
  • 1:29 PM
    • The bottom has fallen out of Walter Investment (WAC -5.9%) over the past few minutes. There's no notable news to report as yet, but perhaps it's been hit with a regulatory investigation similar to those faced by Ocwen Financial (OCN -1%) and Nationstar Mortgage (NSM -1.1%).
  • 1:03 PM
    • Estimated new insurance written of $950M in Q3 compares to $429.9M the previous quarter, and $354.3M the quarter before that.
    • Source: Press Release
    • NMIH +3.6%
    | Comment!
  • 12:46 PM
    • A ConocoPhillips (COP -1.9%) tanker ship full of crude oil is on its way to South Korea from Alaska, the first oil export from Alaska in a decade.
    • Alaskan oil exports are a sign that domestic demand for the state's crude is drying up as production rises in the continental U.S.
    • The U.S. has had a 39-year ban in place barring the export of domestic oil, but exports from Alaska are one of the few exceptions; still, the last time oil was exported from the state was in 2004.
    • COP says future shipments would hinge on market conditions and tanker availability.
  • 12:45 PM
    | Comment!
  • 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.
  • 12:32 PM
    • Teekay (TK +13.8%) says it will change its dividend policy to link its quarterly payouts to growing cash flows from its two MLPs, Teekay LNG Partners (TGP -0.2%)and Teekay Offshore Partners (TOO -1.7%), and includes an 80% increase in its annual dividend effective Q1 2015.
    • The moves prompt Deutsche Bank to upgrade shares to Buy from Hold with a $90 price target, raised from $68; the firm says TK’s "bold" new strategy should result in a 20%/year growth in TK’s dividend for the foreseeable future.
    | Comment!
  • 12:17 PM
    • Microvision (MVIS +11.1%) has spiked higher over the last 20 minutes of trading. The apparent trigger: A Patently Apple column noting Apple has received a patent for a holographic display that could be used in future Macs or iDevices.
    • The patent describes a solution that can "provide a three-dimensional viewing and interacting experience, without the requirement of a reflective medium or wearing 3D glasses."
    • Of note: Apple obtains patents for numerous technology concepts, many of which never get commercialized.
    | 1 Comment
  • 12:07 PM
  • 12:01 PM
    • Century Aluminum (CENX +9.9%) is upgraded to Buy from Neutral with a $30 price target, up from $21, at BofA/Merrill, which revises its outlook upon taking a more positive stance on global aluminum markets.
    • BofA believes the recent retreat in the stock offers an attractive entry point, and it expects earnings to be revised up near term on mark-to-market aluminum price recovery.
    • The firm expects CENX to swing to $212M net cash as of year-end 2015 from $63M net debt as of year-end 2014, and sees recently trimmed power costs at its Sebree and Hawesville smelters boosting earnings.
    • BofA also upgraded Alcoa (AA +1.9%) today.
    | Comment!
  • 11:59 AM
    • CLSA has launched coverage on IT outsourcing giants Accenture (ACN +2%) and Cognizant (CTSH +2%) with Outperform ratings.
    • Accenture has been range-bound in 2014. Cognizant, meanwhile, hasn't yet recovered from the early-August nosedive it took after providing soft guidance provided with its Q2 EPS beat.
    | Comment!
  • 11:47 AM
    • Thinly-traded micro cap Addus HomeCare (ADUS +18.6%) tries to stem its sharp down trend today. Shares are up on average volume in a tepid response to an upgrade by Oppenheimer to Outperform with a $24 PT.
    • Even with today's up move, shares are still down 38% from October 21's peak of $32.40.
    • Addus should report Q3 results in late October.
    | Comment!
  • 11:37 AM
    • Zillow (Z -2.6%) and Trulia (TRLA -1.8%) are selling off following news rival Move is being sold to News Corp. for $950M.
    • News Corp. promises to "use [its] media platforms and compelling content to turbo-charge traffic growth and create the most successful real estate website in the U.S." The media giant also plans to boost Move's "sales and marketing support."
    • Move's sites (inc. currently reach 35M people/month; Zillow claimed 86.3M monthly unique users in August, and Trulia claimed 54M as of June.
    • Zillow and Trulia are respectively down 29% and 27% from their July highs, which were hit amid merger-related euphoria.
    | Comment!
  • 11:14 AM
    • Bernstein has downgraded ARM (ARMH -1.7%) to Underperform. The firm thinks forward estimates are too optimistic.
    • After entering the year trading at steep multiples, ARM has underperformed the Nasdaq by a large margin; shares now trade at 29x 2015E EPS. Investors have historically granted ARM a premium on account of its near-monopoly position in the CPU core IP space.
  • 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 says his firm (Third Point LLC) 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.
    | 1 Comment
  • 10:34 AM
    • Ceragon (NASDAQ:CRNT) has obtained follow-on orders from an unnamed "global Tier 1 operator serving 20 countries across Asia and Africa" (Vodafone?). The company has now received over $50M in orders from the carrier in 2014.
    • Ceragon's Evolution Long Haul microwave radios will be deployed in Africa to help the carrier expand its mobile footprint, and its FibeAir mobile backhaul systems will be deployed in Asia to both bolster existing 3G networks and facilitate 4G upgrades.
    | Comment!
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