Seeking Alpha
  • Today - Friday, November 27, 2015

  • 7:19 PM
    • The media M&A world is full of hot rumors, but it's a little notable that Rupert Murdoch decided today to get into the gossip game (or at least the trolling game).
    • The mogul tweeted today about "strong word" that Tribune Publishing (TPUB -1.6%) was going to be bought by a "big Wall Street firm," and that the Los Angeles Times would be bought by Eli Broad and a local group.
    • As Jason Abbruzzese points out, Murdoch could just have sour grapes, as News Corp. (NWS -1.6%, NWSA -1.3%) was rumored to be preparing a bid for the company last year before Murdoch said ownership laws "from another age" prevented that.
    • “I am not sure this amounts to ‘case closed,' ” Poynter’s Rick Edmonds said at that time. “My read is that Mr. Murdoch still wants the L.A. Times, still opposes the cross-ownership ban and might seek an exception or repeal.”
    • News Corp. A shares moved up 1.1% in postmarket trading after the abbreviated session.
    | 7:19 PM | Comment!
  • 4:42 PM
    • Sanofi (NYSE:SNY) is up 1% after hours on news it's working with investment bank Lazard to prepare a sale or listing of Merial, its animal health unit, which could value the division up to €12B (about $12.7B), Reuters is reporting.
    • On an investor day Nov. 6, new chief Olivier Brandicourt discussed cost cuts and acquisitions, but hinted at strategic options for unloading Merial and its European generics business due to limited synergies.
    • Lazard has a close relationship with Sanofi via the drugmaker's chairman, Serge Weinberg. Sanofi may favor an IPO for the unit to avoid antitrust challenges in selling to a rival, sources told Reuters.
    • Merial has about 6,500 employees and expects to exceed €2.4B in sales this year.
    • The generics business is worth up to €3B, but any divestment faces a longer path with heavy legal disentanglement ahead, and wouldn't start until the second half of next year.
    | 4:42 PM | 5 Comments
  • 2:08 PM
    | 2:08 PM | 5 Comments
  • 1:20 PM
    • Stocks ended the abbreviated session little changed, following relatively busy overnight trading that featured a 5.5% dive in China's Shanghai Composite.
    • For the week, the S&P ended +0.1% while the Dow finished -0.1% and the Nasdaq was +0.4%.
    • Weak showings today in the consumer discretionary (-0.4%) and energy (-0.7%) sectors were offset by gains in the remaining sectors; media names kept the discretionary sector under pressure as Disney fell 3%, while energy retreated as crude oil fell 2.5% to $41.97/bbl.
    • Only 378M shares changed hands at the NYSE floor.
    • Treasury prices also are little changed, with the 10-year yield at 2.23%.
    | 1:20 PM | 3 Comments
  • 7:23 AM
    | 7:23 AM | 4 Comments
  • 4:31 AM
    • The shaky condition of U.S. retail will be put to the test this weekend, when stores across the country roll out their Black Friday specials.
    • About 135.8M Americans are expected to shop in stores or online over the four-day weekend, according to the National Retail Federation, but the amount they've spent has declined over the past two years, dropping 11% to $50.9B in 2014.
    • The forecast for frugal shopping also got a boost on Wednesday, when Commerce Department figures showed household spending rose less than expected in October.
    | 4:31 AM | 4 Comments
  • 2:25 AM
    | 2:25 AM | 13 Comments
  • Thursday, November 26, 2015

  • 3:03 AM
    • Happy Thanksgiving! Traders are enjoying their time off today with an upcoming week packed with major announcements, decisions and financial drama.
    • Monday - The IMF is expected to grant China's yuan reserve currency status. The decision will elevate the renminbi and China's influence in the global economy. An open central bank meeting will also determine how the Fed operates under new Dodd-Frank rules governing its emergency powers.
    • Wednesday - Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen will speak before the Economic Club of Washington.
    • Thursday - The Governing Council of the ECB meets in Frankfurt, where it is expected to expand its easing program. Janet Yellen is also scheduled to testify before the Joint Economic Council.
    • Friday - The U.S. November jobs report is the highlight of the week since it's the last big piece of data before the Fed's policy meeting on Dec. 15-16. The figures will come as OPEC convenes in Vienna, which will likely set the future climate for oil prices.
    • More than a half-dozen Fed officials are also scheduled to speak during the week, including Charles Evans, Dennis Lockhart, John Williams, Loretta Mester, Patrick Harker, James Bullard and Narayana Kocherlakota.
    | 3:03 AM | 7 Comments
  • Wednesday, November 25, 2015

  • 7:23 PM
    • Wells Fargo has picked its winners in March's FCC broadcast incentive auction for wireless spectrum -- and it figures AT&T (T +0.2%) will dominate bidding that should total $30B-$35B.
    • Analysts at the bank predict up to $10B spending coming from the telecom giant for a nationwide block of 2x10 MHz airwaves.
    • T-Mobile (TMUS -3.7%) -- which has been signaling aggressive moves in the auction -- will be second, with $8B spent, the analysts said, while Verizon (VZ -0.6%) should be last with $5B in bids. Sprint (S -1.8%) has already said it's sitting this one out.
    • While AT&T backtracked a bit on pledges to spend $9B while it was digesting DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV), the analysts think the benefits of a nationwide block may signal higher spending from the company.
    • Verizon, meanwhile, has credit to spend up to $10B, but probably won't: "Similar to what T has said publicly and based on our conversations with spectrum experts, we look for VZ to contribute in a meaningful way if 2x10MHz bands are made available."
    • Previously: T-Mobile -2.2% as it pledges $200 for each Sprint line that switches (Nov. 25 2015)
    • Previously: SoftBank spending: Arora on investment universe, Sprint worries (Nov. 24 2015)
    | 7:23 PM | 20 Comments
  • 4:17 PM
    • Stocks finished up unchanged in a calm pre-Thanksgiving trading day, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average eked out a 1-point gain to end at 17,813, and the S&P 500 fell just a quarter-point to 2,088.87. Nasdaq stocks rose 0.3%.
    • A heavy data dump in the morning brought generally positive news, in a last pre-break indicator that the economy may be strong enough to withstand the first Fed rate hike in years. New home sales rose nearly 7% but came in just short of expectations, while durable goods orders rose 3% vs. 1.5% expected.
    • Personal income (+0.4%) was as expected, but a bare gain in personal spending was below expectations for a 0.3% increase.
    • Oil's rig count declined for the second straight week, while oil inventories were up. Crude gained 0.5% to $43.10.
    | 4:17 PM | 1 Comment
  • 3:09 PM
    • Japan's Nikkei reports Apple (AAPL -0.5%) will launch iPhones sporting OLED displays starting in 2018. To date, the company has exclusively used LCDs for its retina displays.
    • The paper adds securing enough OLEDs to meet Apple's needs (the company sells over 200M iPhones/year) could be difficult, and that Apple will "work over the next year or so" with suppliers to see if it can obtain enough displays and eliminate technical drawbacks such as performance degradation.
    • iPhone LCD supplier LG Display (LPL +6.9%), which has already unveiled plans to invest ~$8.5B in OLED manufacturing through 2018, is said to be "planning capacity upgrades." OLED materials/IP provider Universal Display (OLED +5.2%) have caught a bid on the Nikkei's report; LPL was already higher on the day.
    • OLEDs have long been a staple on Samsung's Galaxy S and Note lines. Supporters of the technology praise its high contrast/deep blacks and potential thickness and power consumption advantages. Apple, however, has argued its LCDs provide superior color accuracy.
    • There have long been rumors Apple is thinking of adopting OLEDs. The company recently filed a patent application for an integrated OLED display and touch panel, with a fingerprint reader located underneath.
    • Earlier: Apple buys Star Wars motion capture tech developer Faceshift
    • Five months ago: Apple reportedly working on iPhone design that eliminates home button
    | 3:09 PM | 40 Comments
  • 11:18 AM
    • During yesterday afternoon's FQ4 earnings call (transcript), HP Enterprise (HPE +3.1%) CEO Meg Whitman disclosed Microsoft Azure (MSFT -0.5%) "will become a preferred public cloud partner" for HPE, through a partnership that will be detailed next week. In return, HPE will "serve as a preferred provider of Microsoft infrastructure and services for its hybrid cloud offerings."
    • The deal comes a month after HP announced it's shutting down its public cloud services ops, rather than compete head-on with well-established players such as Amazon (the market leader), Microsoft (#2), IBM, and Google. The company, whose on-premise IT service ops have been pressured by cloud adoption - enterprise services division revenue fell 9% Y/Y in FQ4 to $5B - added it's still committed to offering private and managed cloud services.
    • For Microsoft, the deal gives Azure the backing of HP's still-massive enterprise sales and IT services workforces. It follows a multifaceted Azure partnership with server OS rival Red Hat. Microsoft reported Azure revenue rose over 100% Y/Y in calendar Q3, but didn't give a figure.
    • HPE continues trading higher after beating depressed FQ4 sales estimates with the help of positive x86 server and networking hardware growth, and reiterating its FY16 EPS guidance (while guiding FQ1 below consensus). Analyst reactions have been mixed - bulls are trumpeting a low valuation and the potential for improved execution following HP's breakup, while bears argue sales and cash flow pressures remain substantial.
    | 11:18 AM | 16 Comments
  • 11:03 AM
    • The GDPNow model sees Q4 GDP growth of just 1.8%, that's down from 2.3% forecast just one week ago. It also stands against the positively rosy 2.8% median guess of the Blue Chip consensus.
    • Behind the drop the Atlanta Fed estimate was this morning's weaker-than-anticipated personal income and outlays report for October.
    | 11:03 AM | 5 Comments
  • 10:03 AM
    | 10:03 AM | 10 Comments
  • 10:01 AM
    | 10:01 AM | Comment!
  • 9:46 AM
  • 9:04 AM
    | 9:04 AM | 1 Comment
  • 8:30 AM
    • Initial Jobless Claims: -12K to 260K, vs. 270K consensus,272K prior.
    • Continuing Claims +34K to 2.21M vs. 2.17M (revised) prior.
    | 8:30 AM | 13 Comments
  • 7:36 AM
    • Among the moves being considered by the ECB, according to Reuters, are two-tiered charges to banks leaving cash with the central bank, the purchase of regional bonds, and even the acquisition of ABS of distressed loans.
    • "We have deflation, so you have to do something," says a source. "How this all looks in a few years, nobody knows."
    • The ECB meets next week, so we won't have to wait long to hear the real story.
    • The euro (NYSEARCA:FXE) has dropped below $1.06, and the Stoxx 50 (NYSEARCA:FEZ) is higher by 1.2%, led by Germany's (NYSEARCA:EWG1.5% advance.
    | 7:36 AM | 5 Comments
  • 7:27 AM
    | 7:27 AM | 8 Comments
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