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  • Wednesday, July 1, 2015

  • 6:48 PM
    • Hansen Medical (NASDAQ:HNSN) has received FDA clearance for its Magellan 10Fr robotic catheter for use in peripheral vasculature. The catheter has already been used to perform procedures in the Germany, the U.K., and Australia, following CE Mark approval in April.
    • Hansen has risen to $0.97 AH.
    | Comment!
  • 6:21 PM
    • Peabody Energy (NYSE:BTU) names Amy Schwetz as its new CFO, replacing Michael Crews, who will step down by the end of July to take the top financial position at a “major industrial firm."
    • Schwetz has spent 10 years at BTU in a variety of financial positions domestic and international.
    • BTU -1.9% AH.
    | 6 Comments
  • 6:19 PM
    • Bloomberg reports Parkway Properties (NYSE:PKY) is "in the early stages of exploring strategic options including a sale." The REIT is reportedly working with BofA/Merrill and Wells Fargo.
    • Parkway has risen to $18.50 AH. dealReporter reported last month Parkway is expected to pursue a sale or asset divestitures. TPG Capital (21% stake) would presumably have a large say in what transpires.
    | Comment!
  • 6:06 PM
    • After coming off a halt, XOOM has jumped to $25.80 in AH trading, surpassing PayPal's (EBAY, PYPL) $25/share acquisition price as investors (for now, at least) bet on a higher bid arriving.
    • Earlier: PayPal acquiring Xoom for $890M
    | 1 Comment
  • 5:40 PM
    • PayPal (EBAY, PYPL) is acquiring leading online money transfer/remittance service provider XOOM for an enterprise value of $890M, or $25/share, in cash.
    • The price represents a 21% premium to Xoom's Wednesday close. The deal comes ahead of PayPal's mid-July spinoff into a separate, publicly-traded, company. XOOM has been halted.
    • PayPal president/soon-to-be-CEO Dan Schulman: "Expanding into international money transfer and remittances aligns with our strategic vision to democratize the movement and management of money ...  Xoom's presence in 37 countries in particular, Mexico, India, the Philippines, China and Brazil will help us accelerate our expansion in these important markets."
    • The deal is expected to close in Q4, and be slightly dilutive to PayPal's 2016 EPS. PayPal plans to pay for it with existing cash. Xoom will operate as a separate service within PayPal.
    • Recent PayPal acquisitions include white-label mobile payments services provider Paydiant, cybersecurity software firm CyActive, and rival online/mobile payments service provider Braintree.
    | 6 Comments
  • 5:36 PM
    | 5 Comments
  • 4:43 PM
    • In addition to beating FQ2 estimates, Progress Software (NASDAQ:PRGS) has guided for FQ3 EPS of $0.35-$0.38 (favorable to a $0.35 consensus) and FY16 (ends Nov. '16) EPS guidance of $1.45-$1.52 (above a $1.42 consensus).
    • The app development software provider expects FQ3 revenue of $101M-$104M and FY16 revenue of $415M-$425M, in-line with consensus estimates of $103.2M and $419.2M.
    • Also: Progress has promoted Jerry Rulli, until now president of the company's OpenEdge software unit, to the newly-created position of COO. He'll now be responsible for the operations of all 3 of Progress' business units - OpenEdge, data connectivity/integration, and app development/deployment. The presidents of the last two units will report to Rulli.
    • Progress has risen to $29.70 AH.
    • FQ2 results, PR
    | Comment!
  • 4:26 PM
    • GrubHub (NYSE:GRUB) tumbled below $32 after ITG Research stated checks pointed to Q2 share loss in newer markets, and forecast quarterly revenue of $84M (below an $85.3M consensus). Shares are now barely $1 above a 52-week low of $30.62.
    • ITG's note overshadowed a bullish coverage launch from Guggenheim Securities' Jake Fuller (Buy, $45 target), who argued the selloff seen following GrubHub's Q1 report (was accompanied by soft adjusted EBITDA guidance) was unjustified, and that growth investments (pressuring EBITDA) will pay off.
    • Fuller also speculates the online food-ordering/delivery leader could be acquired. "We see consolidation unfolding across the broader restaurant services vertical, which runs from discovery to reservations, ordering, delivery and payments ... GOOG recently added order-now links, TRIP and YELP have acquired a number of restaurant reservation services, and Priceline bought OpenTable ... GRUB can certainly be a buyer in the discovery, delivery and payments area in its own efforts to vertically integrate, but could also be a key link for larger players looking to build out a viable restaurant services offering."
    | Comment!
  • 4:06 PM
    • Thinly traded Atara Biotherapeutics (NASDAQ:ATRA) ended the day down 14% on a 3x surge in volume, albeit on turnover of only ~640K shares. Earlier today, the company filed an S-1 for a $125M equity offering (2,375,522 shares x $52.62 per share).
    | Comment!
  • 3:58 PM
    • Chesapeake Energy (CHK -5.5%) agrees to sell assets in Oklahoma’s Western Anadarko Basin to privately-held FourPoint Energy for $840M.
    • FourPoint will get interest in ~1,500 producing wells in western Oklahoma that produce an average 21.5K boe/day, split between oil, natural gas liquids and natural gas; the assets cover nearly 250K net acres of mineral rights.
    • CHK had drilled and completed more than 190 horizontal wells in the acquisition area since 2012, and halted drilling there this Q1 in anticipation of selling the wells, FourPoint says.
    | 47 Comments
  • 3:50 PM
    • While AT&T and CBS settled another carriage negotiation today, Comcast (CMCSA, up 3.3% and setting new all-time highs this afternoon) and Discovery Communications (NASDAQ:DISCA) are still talking over a less certain deal -- and with Discovery's key "Shark Week" programming just a few days away.
    • Talks are progressing after some early Discovery worries about retaliation (Discovery spoke out against the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger deal). Some analysts figure that with the TWC deal dead, Comcast may get more aggressive in carriage talks.
    • Shark Week broke Discovery viewing records last August.
    • Also today, New York's 30 Rockefeller Plaza -- longtime home of NBC, and previously known as the RCA Building and the GE Building -- officially became the "Comcast Building." New signage on the iconic Manhattan skyscraper will hold Comcast's logo, as well as feature NBC's trademark peacock for the first time.
    • Previously: Comcast at all-time high as Brean raises target (Jul. 01 2015)
    | 1 Comment
  • 3:47 PM
    • Comstock Resources (CRK -12.6%) has dropped sharply following news it agreed to sell its oil and gas properties in the Eagle Ford Shale in east Texas for ~$115M.
    • CRK says it expects to realize a $100M-$110M pre-tax loss on the sale, and revises its 2015 oil production guidance to 9K-9.5K bbl/day and its natural gas production guidance to 125MM-150MM cf/day.
    • CRK says the sale will help fund its drilling program in the Hayneville shale and elsewhere.
    | Comment!
  • 3:47 PM
    • "The management teams of virtually every large property-casualty company will be having a conversation today about whether they should be more active acquirers,” says Sandler O'Neill's Paul Newsome.
    • Before sellers get too excited, they should note the price Ace is paying for Chubb is just 1.7x book value - a discount to what high-quality insurance businesses typically sell for. "“I probably need to reassess what I’m holding out for because I’m never going to get that big price-to-book multiple now," says Newsome. "If a much-vaunted, well-regarded shop gets 1.7x book value, what should the mid-cap company that lacks scale and is kind of struggling get?”
    • Possible buyers would include AIG, Allstate, and Travelers. With each having less than a $15B market cap, maybe on the block: W.R. Berkley (WRB +5.2%), Arch Capital (ACGL +2.7%), XL Group (XL +2%), and Cincinnati Financial (CINF +4.5%). Sporting just an $18B market cap and thus also maybe a target is Hartford Financial (HIG +6%).
    • "There is now literally no deal that cannot be contemplated in P&C," says Citi's Todd Bault.
    • Source: Bloomberg
    • Previously: Ace builds more scale with Chubb purchase (July 1)
    • Previously: P&C stocks on the move after Chubb sale (July 1)
    • Previously: ACE buying Chubb in cash and stock deal for $28.3B (July 1)
    | Comment!
  • 3:41 PM
    • VimpelCom (VIP +2%) has named Alexander Matuschka -- chief transformation officer at Nokia Networks -- as its new group chief performance officer.
    • The hire comes amid a push to increase operating efficiency at the Russian telecom, and reduce cost along the way.
    • Earlier this week, the Justice Dept. began its own probe of VimpelCom (following in the footsteps of European investigations) over alleged bribes to access Uzbekistan's phone market.
    • Previously: U.S. piles in to bribery probe of Russian phone firms (Jun. 30 2015)
    | Comment!
  • 3:12 PM
    • Global Sources (NASDAQ:GSOL) is up 2.2% as it says it's sold its eMedia Asia Limited unit for about $9M in cash.
    • GSOL owned 60.1% of eMedia -- which produces print/online publications for Asia's electronics community (EE Times) and puts on the China International Optoelectronic Expo -- and sold that to UBM, which held the other 39.9%.
    • The move is consistent with a "strategy to focus on our strong core business of cross border B2B trade and address the markets we believe offer the greatest opportunity for growth," says Global Sources' executive chairman, Merle Hinrich.
    | Comment!
  • 2:58 PM
    • Jim Cramer on yesterday evening's Mad Money: "Apple is not in the same business. A Fitbit (FIT +7.8%) costs a fraction of the Apple Watch." The WSJ's Dan Gallagher recently made a similar argument. Android Wear watches come much closer to matching Fitbit's pricing.
    • Whether due to Cramer, momentum traders, general investor enthusiasm, or some combination thereof, shares are strongly adding to the Tuesday gains seen following a bullish RBC coverage launch.  RBC cited expectations of strong long-term health/fitness tracker market growth, rising ASPs, and surveys pointing to strong brand power.
    • Fitbit's market cap is up to $8.4B.
    | 21 Comments
  • 2:31 PM
    • A DOJ spokeswoman states the agency is probing potential "unlawful coordination" between some airlines. The AP states a document obtained by the news service indicates the DOJ is "investigating whether airlines are colluding to grow at a slower pace as part of an effort to keep airfares high." No word yet on which airlines are being probed.
    • Airline stocks have sold off in response. Decliners include United Continental (UAL -4.3%), American Airlines (AAL -4.1%), Southwest (LUV -4.5%), Delta (DAL -4.2%), Alaska Air (ALK -1.7%), Hawaiian Holdings (HA -4.8%), JetBlue (JBLU -5%), Spirit Airlines (SAVE -3.1%), SkyWest (SKYW -4.1%), and Virgin America (VA -1.9%).
    • The U.S. Global Jets ETF (NYSE:JETS) is down 2.8%.
    | 156 Comments
  • 2:16 PM
    • Amyris (AMRS -7.6%) shares sink after Brazilian sugar and ethanol producer Sao Martinho said it had canceled plans for a joint venture to run a farnesene fermentation plant.
    • The Brazilian firm said conditions for the project had not been met, but that it would consider a new proposal from AMRS; otherwise, contracts between the companies will expire at the end of August.
    • AMRS says its existing Brotas facility is exceeding targets and provides adequate capacity to meet near and mid-term business needs.
    | 4 Comments
  • 2:10 PM
    • "We see no ground for further talks at this point," says Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem, commenting on Greece's suggestion earlier today of possible grounds for compromise.
    • The creditors, says Dijsselbloem, like everyone else, will await the results of Greece's Sunday referendum vote on proposed austerity measures.
    • Stocks continue to give back sizable opening gains, with the Dow (DIA +0.4%), S&P 500 (SPY +0.3%) and Nasdaq (QQQ +0.2%) now all at session lows.
    | 4 Comments
  • 1:54 PM
    • Nanocap programmatic-ad company Adaptive Medias (OTCQB:ADTM) is up 25.7% today after a business update where it raised guidance and provided a positive outlook on 2015 progress.
    • The firm now sees Q2 revenues between $1M and $1.1M (vs. a year-ago $1.1M) with a strategy focused more on its higher-margin Media Graph platform, acquired last summer.
    • Revenues last quarter were a Q1 record $1.17M, in large part due to Media Graph.
    • Success in a cost reduction plan means that the firm expects to reach positive cash flow and breakeven sooner than expected, but it sill expects "a need to raise additional capital in the interim until profitability is achieved."
    | Comment!
  • 1:29 PM
    • A judge has dismissed an investor lawsuit against Cablevision (CVC +1.4%) alleging that the board let the controlling Dolan family take $100M in excessive salaries and bonuses.
    • The ruling favors the company's claim that the family had no input into compensation decisions made by independent directors.
    • The SEC is considering how it might implement a rule requiring corporations to disclose pay-ratio comparisons showing how much more CEOs make than average employees.
    | 1 Comment
  • 1:27 PM
    • Though many have argued the link between oil prices and solar demand is limited (given oil accounts for a small % of global electricity output), solar stocks are once more dropping in tandem with a selloff in crude prices - WTI crude is down 3.6% to $57.35/barrel after the EIA reported U.S. oil inventories rose by 2.4M barrels last week, their first weekly increase since April.
    • Notable decliners include Canadian Solar (CSIQ -3.6%), SolarCity (SCTY -2%), Yingli (YGE -2.4%), Vivint (VSLR -3%), Sky Solar (SKYS -2.8%), and Solar3D (SLTD -5.3%). The Nasdaq is up 0.4%.
    • Deutsche's Vishal Shah is once more defending the group (previous), arguing solar project YieldCos remain "a significant growth catalyst for the solar and broader renewable sector."
    • Shah adds YieldCos are lowering the cost of capital for renewable firms, and that existing YieldCos (TERP, CAFD) have strong long-term visibility thanks to large backlogs of projects they carry the right of first offer for (via their parent companies). Canadian Solar is among the firms planning to launch a YieldCo soon.
    • ETFs: TAN, KWT
    • 2 days ago: Solar stocks hit hard amid market selloff
    | 42 Comments
  • 12:49 PM
    | 1 Comment
  • 12:43 PM
    • Comcast (CMCSA +2.5%) is hovering at its all-time intraday high, of $61.75, following bullish notes from Brean Capital today.
    • Brean's Todd Mitchell raised the firm's price target for Comcast to $69, from $67, while maintaining a Buy rating.
    • A successful year for film should make up for shortfalls elsewhere, with no small amount of help from Jurassic World and its $1B-plus global grosses, Mitchell notes: "This should offset lower expected growth of 1% from broadcast networks and a 5% drop at Cable Networks, with both facing tough comps."
    • Brean sees cable margins coming under pressure; the firm estimates that cable revenues should rise 6% to $11.7B and operating cash flow up 5% to $4.79B, slightly down from its previous estimate of $4.84B.
    | Comment!
  • 12:30 PM
    • "This changes almost everything" in P&C, says KBW's Meyer Shields. "Ace (ACE +2%) is a very experienced and successful acquirer." The deal should help Ace better compete with rivals like AIG (AIG +1%) and Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A, BRK.B).
    • Merger presentation slides
    • Unlike some other insurers focused on buybacks - including the acquired Chubb (CB +29%) - Ace and its CEO Hank Greenberg have been using capital for purchases, building scale and diversifying risk.
    • Chubb CEO John Finnegan - previously set to retire at the end of 2016 - could be in for a nine-digit golden parachute should he be let go prior to that or resigns for reasons such as a reduction in responsibility or pay. Greenberg is set to lead the combined company.
    • Previously: P&C stocks on the move after Chubb sale (July 1)
    • Previously: ACE buying Chubb in cash and stock deal for $28.3B (July 1)
    | 9 Comments
  • 12:20 PM
    • KEYW Holding's Hexis enterprise/government cybersecurity product unit has named Chris Carlson, formerly the unit's senior director of product management, the VP of product management for Hexis' HawkEye G malware-detection/threat-removal solution.
    • Meanwhile, Jan Manning, formerly the CIO of SIM card provider SafeNet/Gemalto, has been named KEYW's VP of IT operations.
    • KEYW has fallen sharply on an up day for equities. Founder/ex-CEO Len Moodispaw passed away two weeks ago.
    | 1 Comment
  • 12:03 PM
    • Resonant (NASDAQ:RESN) has released a 21-page technical white paper (.pdf) titled "Radically Reducing the Cost and Size of Cellphone RF Filters to Fuel the Mobile Revolution."
    • Resonant uses the paper to argue its duplexer design can deliver band insertion loss, signal isolation, transmit power, and size comparable to that of more costly FBAR designs from rivals, and reiterates it believes it can finish a tunable RF filter design by year's end.
    • The paper arrives 3 months after Resonant plummeted on news its development agreement with Skyworks had been terminated.
    • 2 weeks ago: Resonant jumps on insider buy
    | 4 Comments
  • 11:59 AM
    • Energy XXI (EXXI -7%) says it sold the oil-rich East Bay field near the mouth of the Mississippi River to an undisclosed private buyer for $21M, as it continues to seek ways to boost cash flow amid the global crude slump.
    • EXXI says it will retain a 5% overriding royalty interest for up to five years on the field, as well as 50% of the field's deep rights, while the buyer will assume plugging and abandonment liability.
    • EXXI also says it closed on the $245M sale of the Grand Isle Gathering System; the company will continue to operate the system on behalf of the buyer, CorEnergy Infrastructure Trust.
    • In an operations update, EXXI says FQ4 production averaged ~59K boe/day net, with oil production averaging 41.6K boe/day net.
    | Comment!
  • 11:44 AM
    • Superconductor Technologies (NASDAQ:SCON) has jumped above $1.25 on volume of 558K shares, well above a 3-month daily average of 77K.
    • SCON's market cap is currently at $22.8M. Shares rose last week after the company announced superconductor wire produced via its RCE production machine had delivered record performance.
    | Comment!
  • 11:35 AM
    • Angie's List (NASDAQ:ANGI) COO J. Mark Howell has been named interim CEO, effective today. He replaces co-founder/long-time CEO Bill Oesterle, who announced in April he'd step down once a successor was found.
    • Oesterle has also stepped down from the board; John Chuang remains chairman. The board continues to look for Oesterle's permanent successor.
    • Angie's has fallen below $6. Volume is moderate - 528K shares vs. a 3-month daily average of 1.32M.
    | Comment!
  • 11:31 AM
    • Summit Midstream Partners (SMLP -1.5%) is initiated with a Buy rating and $42 fair value estimate at Janney, which sees distributions growing at 10%-plus/year, faster than investors appear to expect.
    • The firm also predicts SMLP will increase its exposure to the higher valued northeast region, which could help its valuation expand.
    • Janney says SMLP is highly contracted and thus a lower risk than many MLP peers, with limited downside to cash flow in the near term thanks to a combination of fee-based contracts and minimum volume commitments.
    | Comment!
  • 11:22 AM
    • Concerns about Linn Energy’s (LINE -0.9%) leverage and ability to pay its distribution are overdone, Raymond James analysts says as they reiterate an Outperform rating and $14 price target on LINE and a Strong Buy recommendation and $15 target for LinnCo (LNCO -1.9%).
    • James believes the market continues to underestimate Linn’s base cash flow business, along with the impact of its multi-year hedge book and its acquisition opportunities.
    • The firm cites several positive catalysts on the horizon, including the anticipated finalizing of both its acquisition alliance with Quantum Energy and drilling alliance with GSO Capital, the potential monetization of its remaining 6,600 net acres in the Permian, and well results from its Terryville field acreage in Louisiana.
    | 50 Comments
  • 11:19 AM
    • CalAmp (NASDAQ:CAMP) is recovering the losses seen in a late-June selloff after posting in-line FQ1 results and guiding for FY16 (ends Feb. '16) revenue guidance of $280M-$290M, favorable at the midpoint to a $282.8M consensus. FQ2 guidance is for revenue of $66M-$70M and EPS of $0.24-$0.28, in-line with a consensus of $68.1M and $0.26.
    • Segment performance: Wireless datacom revenue (related to M2M/telematics products and services) rose 21% Y/Y in FQ1 to $57.8M, fueled by both mobile resource management (MRM) and wireless networking product growth. Satellite revenue fell 31% to $7.7M. Datacom revenue is expected to rise Q/Q in FQ2; satellite revenue is expected to be roughly flat before rising in the second half of FY16.
    • Financials: Gross margin rose 50 bps Q/Q and 170 bps Y/Y to 36%. GAAP operating expenses rose by $900K Y/Y to $16.5M - sales spend totaled $5.5M, R&D $4.6M, G&A $4.8M, and amortization costs $1.6M. Following the closing of a $172.5M convertible offering (net proceeds of $152M), CalAmp ended FQ1 with $209M in cash/marketable securities, and $135M in debt.
    • M2M hardware/software/services peer Sierra Wireless (NASDAQ:SWIR) is also doing well today.
    • FQ1 results, PR
    | 4 Comments
  • 11:08 AM
    • Exelixis (EXEL -7.7%) slumps on average volume in response to the FDA's decision to extend its action date for its review of Genentech's (OTCQX:RHHBY) New Drug Application (NDA) for cobimetinib to November 11 from August 11. The agency feels that the extension is necessary in order for it to review additional data from coBRIM, the Phase 3 trial of cobimetinib and vemurafenib (Zelboraf) in patients with BRAF V600 mutation-positive advanced melanoma. The additional data were requested by the regulator.
    • Cobimetinib was discovered by Exelixis. Its collaboration with Genentech began in late 2006.The companies will co-promote the product in the U.S. while Genentech will promote it ex-U.S.
    • Previously: Roche's melanoma combo NDA gets Priority Review (Feb. 19)
    • Previously: Roche submits NDA for skin cancer med (Dec. 15, 2014)
    | 2 Comments
  • 10:38 AM
    • JPMorgan has launched coverage on EPAM Systems with an Overweight rating and $87 target.
    • The IT/software outsourcing firm is less than a dollar away from a high of $74.49. Shares now trade for 22x a 2016 EPS consensus of $3.29.
    | Comment!
  • 10:26 AM
    • Schnitzer Steel (SCHN +17.3%) bounces back big from yesterday's near-10% drubbing, as the stock price pushes back over the $20 mark for the first time since January.
    • SCHN fell yesterday in reaction to mostly disappointing FQ3 results which were hurt by weak ferrous selling prices.
    • BofA/Merrill upgraded shares to Buy from Underperform with a $21 price target this morning, believing FQ3 results were a trough and noting steadier scrap prices, cost savings and valuation.
    | 2 Comments
  • 10:10 AM
    • Thinly traded nano cap Rock Creek Pharmaceuticals (RCPI +15.1%) jumps on a 5x surge in volume in response to its announcement of positive results of a 10-subject human proof-of-principle study of its lead product candidate, anatabine citrate. Results showed that a single oral dose can significantly inhibit the activation of inflammatory proteins in human white blood cells.
    • A Phase 1 trial is being planned in the UK.
    • Anatabine citrate is a small molecule cholinergic (refers to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine) agonist which exhibits anti-inflammatory pharmacological characteristics. Its mechanism of action is different than other anti-inflammatory drugs such as biologics and steroids.
    | 8 Comments
  • 10:10 AM
    • It was earlier reported that Puerto Rico's power authority was planning on making its $416M debt payments due today, and the utility says the payments have indeed been made.
    • Popular (BPOP +5.2%), First Bancorp (FBP +2.9%), OFG Bancorp (OFG +2.5%)
    • Previously: PREPA reportedly reaches deal to cover debt payment (July 1)
    | Comment!
  • 10:06 AM
    • AeroVironment (AVAV +7.1%) is up in early trade after heavily beating profit and revenue expectations.
    • "We continue to deliver certainty and reliability to our customers and remain the leader in electric vehicle testing, charging systems and small unmanned aircraft systems," said CEO Tim Conver.
    • For fiscal 2016, the company expects to generate revenue of between $260M-$280M and a gross profit margin of between 36%-37.5%. Planned increases in R&D and SG&A for Commercial UAS in fiscal 2016 may largely offset operating profit in the current fiscal year.
    • FQ4 results
    | Comment!
  • 9:54 AM
    • Pac Crest's Evan Wilson (Outperform rating) has hiked his Criteo (NASDAQ:CRTO) target by $10 to $65, while reporting the retargeted e-commerce ad provider has added Alibaba and Target as clients (the former outside of China).
    • Wilson adds checks indicate Criteo's cookies (used to track user activity and send targeted ads) are now on 49% of the top U.S. retail and travel sites. That trails Google's 76%, but Wilson notes Criteo and Google's cookies are used for different purposes. 2016 estimates have been hiked.
    • Shares are less than $1.50 away from a 52-week high of $51.43.
    • Previously: Cowen gives Criteo $58 target, sees big market opportunity
    | Comment!
  • 9:46 AM
    • Nano cap Biocept (BIOC +15.7%) jumps out of the gate in response to its announcement that it has launched its FGFR1 amplification testing service that is performed with a patient's blood sample. The presence of the biomarker is associated with non-small cell lung cancer and breast cancer.
    • Studies have shown that FGFR1 amplification is a driver of uncontrolled cell growth. A number of clinical studies are in process evaluating its effectiveness as a therapeutic target.
    • The value proposition of liquid biopsy is the avoidance/reduced need for a tissue biopsy which is more expensive, laborious and traumatic to the patient.
    | 2 Comments
  • 9:40 AM
    • Benchmark has launched coverage on Axcelis (NASDAQ:ACLS) with a Buy rating and $4.50 target.
    • Axcelis is only ~$0.20 removed from a 52-week high of $3.28. Shares rose last week after the chip equipment maker announced a new Purion XE ion implanter order from an Asian NAND flash maker.
    | Comment!
  • 9:39 AM
    • Ballard Power (BLDP -19.1%) plunges in early trade after announcing an underwritten offering of 8,125,000 common shares at a price of $1.60 per share.
    • In connection with the offering, the company anticipates its second quarter 2015 revenue to be in the range of $10.6M-$11.5M, and gross margins to be lower than the previous quarter.
    | 16 Comments
  • 9:39 AM
    • ACE's (ACE +7.7%) purchase of Chubb (CB +34.8%) for $28.3B in stock and cash has the property & casualty names higher in early action.
    • Travelers (TRV +3.9%), Allstate (ALL +2.4%), Cincinnati Financial (CINF +2.2%), W.R. Berkley (WRB +3.1%), Progressive (PGR +2.3%), United Insurance (UIHC +2.2%), Hartford FInancial (HIG +3.3%).
    • Previously: ACE buying Chubb in cash and stock deal for $28.3B (July 1)
    | Comment!
  • 9:34 AM
    • Given the boosted size of the company following a merger with Chambers Street Properties (NYSE:CSG), will Gramercy Property Trust (NYSE:GPT) still be sourcing attractive, off-market, one-off deals, CEO Gordon DuGan is asked on the post-merger announcement conference call.
    • Acknowledging it'll be a lot harder to add value now with those sorts of deals, DuGan assures there will remain plenty of opportunities to attractively allocate capital. Nominal growth can continue, says DuGan, reminding that's what's more important is EPS growth, and that will continue as well.
    • Webcast and presentation slides
    • Earlier announced synergies of $15M annually will amount to $0.04 per share for the combined company.
    • The near-term action plan after closing: Reduce G&A expense, reduce office exposure with the sale of $500M-$700M worth of properties in year one (long term goal of 25% or less office exposure), grow European portfolio, maintain low leverage, improve quality of earnings, grow the dividend.
    • GPT is flat in early action, CSG is lower by 7.7%
    • Previously: Chambers Street Properties and Gramercy Property to merge (July 1)
    • Seeking Alpha contributor - arguably the hammer on Gramercy Property Trust - Chris DeMuth calls the deal a good one for GPT owners, especially given the management team which will be running the merged company.
    | 31 Comments
  • 9:33 AM
    • Following a protracted bidding war, Integrated Silicon (ISSI +0.3%) shareholders have approved a $23/share sale of the company to Chinese investor group Uphill - $3.75/share above the original Uphill deal price - thereby spurning a $22.60/share final offer from Cypress Semi (NASDAQ:CY).
    • The ISSI/Uphill deal is expected to close in Q3 "upon the satisfaction of the remaining closing conditions including completion of the restructuring of ISSI's operations in Taiwan and obtaining approval of the transaction by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS)." ISSI currently trades at $22.21.
    • Meanwhile, Cypress is rallying after Barclays launched coverage with an Overweight rating and $15 target. In addition, Credit Suisse has reiterated an Outperform and $15 target. Shares closed on Tuesday 28% below a March high of $16.25, hit amid Spansion merger enthusiasm.
    • Prior Cypress/ISSI coverage
    | Comment!
  • 9:25 AM
    • Thinly traded micro cap Xenon Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:XENE) drops 22% premarket on increased volume in response to its announcement that a Phase 2b trial run by development partner Teva Pharmaceutical Industries (NYSE:TEVA) evaluating TV-45070 (formerly XEN402) in patients with pain due to osteoarthritis of the knee failed to demonstrate a statistically significant difference from placebo.
    • TV-45070, a small molecule inhibitor of the sodium channel Nav1.7 and other sodium channels that are expressed in the pain-sensing peripheral nervous system, is a topical cream being developed for the treatment of nociceptive (pain arising from nerve cell stimulation) pain.
    • Top-line results from another Phase 2b study in post-herpetic neuralgia are expected in H2 2016.
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  • 9:18 AM
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  • 9:10 AM
    • Thinly traded nano cap TetraLogic Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:TLOG) is up 30% premarket on light volume in response to its announcement of preliminary positive results in a small Phase 2a study of birinapant in combination with azacitidine for the treatment of patients with higher risk myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS).
    • Of the nine patients in the trial. three experienced a complete response, one a bone marrow complete response, one a partial response who then underwent a stem cell transplant and one had stable disease. The overall response rate was, therefore, 67% (n=6/9). Three patients discontinued the regimen prior to receiving four cycles of treatment.
    • A more complete interim analysis will be done later this year.
    • Birinapant is an SMAC-mimetic (Second Mitochondria-Derived Activator of Caspases) that binds to proteins called Inhibitor of Apoptosis proteins, or IAPs, that suppress apoptosis (cell death). 
    | 3 Comments
  • 8:58 AM
    • Peabody Energy (NYSE:BTU) -2.5% premarket after warning of a deeper than expected Q2 loss due to weather-related shipment difficulties in the Southern Powder River Basin and lower seaborne coal pricing; in April, BTU had projected an adjusted per-share loss of $0.49-$0.59.
    • BTU expects a ~$40M timing-related charge in Q2 from rain and flooding that reduced production by 5M-5.5M tons; it says normal production levels have largely resumed and expects to make up the deferred shipments in Q3 and Q4.
    • BTU also sees Q2 earnings lowered by $20M due to lower pricing on Australian metallurgical coal, and another $20M-$25M in charges related to job cuts affecting corporate and regional staff and some of its Australian coal mining operations.
    | 20 Comments
  • 8:36 AM
    • According to CNBC, the Puerto Rico utility company will be able to makes its $416M debt payment due today.
    • This follows yesterday's news that the Commonwealth would be making its July 1 coupon payment of $645.2M on its GO debt.
    • MBIA (NYSE:MBI+4.2% premarket. No trades for Assured Guaranty (NYSE:AGO) or Ambac (NASDAQ:AMBC).
    | 4 Comments
  • 7:22 AM
    • A bit of movement from Greece is a good enough excuse for some buying in U.S. stock index futures, which are higher by about 0.85% across the board.
    • Greek PM Tsipras says this past weekend's creditor proposals are acceptable as a starting point in negotiations, suggesting he's buckling a bit under pressure at home. Naturally, other European leaders say it's too little, too late, noting the bailout program expired last night. "We're in a completely new situation," says German Finance Minister Schaeuble.
    • Nevertheless, Europe is up more than 2%, with German yields higher, and peripheral yields pulling back.
    • The U.S. 10-year Treasury yield is up four basis points to 2.40%.
    • ETFs: SPY, QQQ, DIA, SH, SSO, SDS, VOO, IVV, UPRO, PSQ, SPXU, TQQQ, SPXL, RSP, QID, SQQQ, QLD, DOG, DXD, RWL, UDOW, EPS, SDOW, DDM, VFINX, BXUB, QQEW, QQQE, SPLX, SFLA, BXUC, QQXT, SPUU, UDPIX, OTPIX, RYARX
    | 27 Comments
  • 7:12 AM
    • Chubb (NYSE:CB) owners will receive $62.93 per share in cash and 0.6019 shares of ACE stock for each share of Chubb they own - $124.13 per share based on ACE's closing price last night. Chubb closed at $95.14 - the stock's higher by 31.4% premarket to $125. ACE is ahead by 5.2% to $107.
    • ACE expects the purchase to be immediately accretive to EPS and book value, and by year three be accretive to EPS on a double-digit basis and accretive to ROE. The ROI should exceed ACE's cost of capital within two years, and tangible book value per share will return to its current level in three years.
    • A conference call is set for 8:30 ET.
    • Source: Press Release
    | 27 Comments
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