Seeking Alpha
  • Today - Sunday, August 2, 2015

  • 9:24 AM
    • Athens may seek €24B in a first tranche of bailout aid from international lenders in August to prop up its banks and repay its debts, Greece's Avgi newspaper reports.
    • The funds would be used to channel €10B as an initial recapitalization to domestic banks, €7.16B to repay an emergency bridge loan, €3.2B toward Greek bonds held by the ECB and other payments.
    • Athens also plans to open its stock exchange tomorrow, after five weeks of closure.
    • ETFs: GREK
  • 8:41 AM
    • President Obama will unveil the final version of his plan to tackle greenhouse gases from coal-fired power plants on Monday, in what he calls the nation's most important step to combat climate change.
    • The revised Clean Power Plan will seek to slash carbon emissions from the power sector 32% from 2005 levels in 2030, and will require each state to submit a plan next year that spells out how it will meet the goal assigned to it.
  • 8:16 AM
    • Verizon (NYSE:VZ) has missed its midnight deadline to secure a deal with more than 37,000 of its wireline employees, but the unions representing them said they will keep working without a contract while talks continue.
    • Since June, the two sides have argued over the company's plans to cut costs by controlling healthcare and pension-related benefits over a three-year period.
    • A walkout is still on the table. Unions voted last week to go on strike, if needed, and a similar dispute ended in a two-week walkout back in 2011.
    • Previously: Verizon, wireline unions show little progress on eve of deal expiration (Jul. 31 2015)
    • Previously: Verizon workers threaten to strike (Jul. 26 2015)
  • 7:50 AM
    • Pacific Rim trade officials failed to clinch a final deal for the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Friday following several days of intense talks in Hawaii.
    • Key sticking points: Auto trade between Japan and North America, New Zealand's dairy exports and monopoly periods for next-generation drugs.
    • The deadlock may also sink U.S.-led plans, which aimed to finalize the trade deal by the end of this year.
    • Previously: Major issues remain as TPP talks head into final day (Jul. 31 2015)
  • Friday, July 31, 2015

  • 8:25 PM
    • After five weeks of closure, the Athens stock exchange will reopen on Monday, after what seems like a geological time frame's worth of developments in Greek solvency.
    • After the government's compromise with creditors, investors say it will take some time, likely months, before the companies there can raise money internationally.
    • “The Greek crisis has had an adverse impact on all sectors of the economy,” said Apostolos Gkoutzinis of law firm Shearman & Sterling.
    • The Luxembourg stock exchange lifted a suspension on trading of Greek bonds a week ago.
    • GREK +2.6% today, though still down 21.7% over the past three months. The National Bank of Greece (NYSE:NBG) gained 6% today (and is down 19.9% over the past month).
    • Related tickers: OTC:ALBKY, OTC:BPIRY, OTC:EGFEY
    • Previously: IMF drops bombshell on Greece (Jul. 31 2015)
    • Previously: Greece, creditors begin talks to secure bailout deal (Jul. 28 2015)
  • 7:46 PM
  • 5:52 PM
    • On the eve of a labor contract expiration, Verizon (NYSE:VZ) says it's making little progress on talks with its East Coast wireline workers.
    • Two unions representing the workers (the CWA and IBEW) have authorized a strike as needed, and Verizon says it's ready in case of work stoppage. The current contract -- covering 39,000 wireline employees in nine states along the coast -- expires at midnight tomorrow.
    • The unions say Verizon's demanding that workers sharply increase their health care contributions and make concession on pensions.
    • The CWA also says Verizon is refusing to build its FiOS network in lower-income areas, while letting the copper network degrade -- leaving many consumers in the hands of a cable monopoly.
    • For its part, the CWA has enlisted help from the mayors of Syracuse, N.Y., and Kingston, N.Y., who it had join them at a bargaining session pointing to their support. Three other state mayors have written letters to Verizon urging fiber-to-the-home buildouts.
    • "The CWA owes these mayors an apology," said a Verizon spokesman. "Unfortunately, the mayors were seemingly misled to think FiOS deployment is an issue that’s being negotiated. It’s not. Sadly, it seems the mayors were just a ploy as part of this bargaining publicity gimmick."
  • 3:26 PM
    • ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) is down 3.3%, a day after posting a Q2 earnings beat where it cut capex but continued to expand production.
    • Meanwhile, debate on this oil major rages around the safety of its sizable dividend (declared at $0.74 quarterly this month).
    • Credit Suisse finds the dividend safe: "ConocoPhillips outlined how they could cover their dividend with unchanged 2017 production at a $60/bbl Brent price. This is impressive." Considering capex of $11B this year, "the project cycle helps."
    • Meanwhile, JPMorgan thinks the dividend can't stick around in the long run: "While management did a good job of highlighting the incremental levers available to pull, our caution remains that the strategy of increasing the mix of short cycle production with high decline rates will make it more difficult to cover the sacrosanct dividend in the out years when productivity slows."
    • Conoco's yield is now a point higher than closest peer Chevron, at 5.7%, but "without the same downstream cushion and more than twice the leverage."
    • Today: XOM -4.6%, and CVX -5.3%, after earnings reports this morning.
    • Previously: Exxon Mobil off 1.8% premarket after lowest profit since 2009 (Jul. 31 2015)
    • Previously: Chevron -1.8% as earnings tumble, paced by $2.2B upstream loss (Jul. 31 2015)
  • 2:59 PM
    • More than two months after the WSJ reported UBER is looking to raise $1.5B-$2B at a potential $50B valuation, the car-hailing giant has closed a ~$1B round valuing it at almost $51B - more than Netflix, GM, FedEx, and many other S&P 500 companies.
    • The WSJ reports Microsoft (MSFT - recently sold Bing mapping/image-collection assets to Uber) is an investor in the latest round, along with Indian media conglomerate Bennett Coleman & Co. The new funds could help pay for big upcoming investments in China and India.
    • Update: Bloomberg reports Microsoft is holding talks to invest in Uber at a $50B valuation, but hasn't yet made a decision.
    • Update 2: Bloomberg has updated its story to state Microsoft has agreed to invest $100M in Uber at a ~$50B valuation.
  • 1:58 PM
    • Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) is turning back up, +0.5%, as it's officially won Marine Corps approval for its F-35B aircraft.
    • With outgoing commandant Joe Dunford signing off, the Marines have made the plane operational for worldwide deployment after years of delays.
    • "It is capable of conducting close air support, offensive and defensive counter air, air interdiction, assault support escort and armed reconnaissance as part of a Marine Air Ground Task Force, or in support of the Joint Force," Dunford said.
    • The Marines plan to buy 420 total jets (340 B models, and 80 C models) from the $391B program, and have scheduled the first F-35B deployment for 2017 with a unit moving to Japan.
    • Previously: Marine Corps: F-35 IOC is one signature away (Jul. 28 2015)
  • 12:30 PM
    • Over 14M copies of Windows 10 were downloaded in the first 24 hours following its July 29 launch, Microsoft (MSFT -0.2%) exec Yusuf Mehdi discloses.
    • As announced months ago, the OS is a free upgrade to Windows 7 and 8 users ... including those with pirated copies. Microsoft has said pirated copies will continue to be labeled non-genuine/unsupported, but some have apparently been converted to genuine copies.
    • Reviewers generally declare Windows 10 a major improvement over the oft-criticized Windows 8, though some recommend users wait to upgrade until lingering bugs are fixed. The Verge's Tom Warren (8.8/10) likes the revamped Start menu, Cortana/search integration, and the Xbox app (allows Xbox One games to be streamed). "Everything about Windows 10 feels like a new approach for Microsoft ... I rarely touch my MacBook Air anymore..."
    • Ars Technica's Peter Bright is a fan of Windows 10's notification center, Continuum feature (allows apps to have both touch and keyboard/mouse UIs), and support for touch-friendly Metro apps on the traditional Windows desktop. He calls the new Edge browser "tremendously promising" on account of its speed, stability, and streamlined UI, but adds it's "severely feature-deficient" for the time being.
    • Slate's Will Oremus: "[Windows 10] is, as of today, the most versatile and forward-looking operating system in the world. That’s because it is the first to recognize and embrace the future of computing: a world in which all your devices are just different-sized screens running the same software ... Microsoft has embraced the convergence while respecting key differences between the mobile and desktop use cases"
    • In tandem with the Windows 10 launch, Microsoft has rolled out touch-friendly Office Mobile apps for the OS.
  • 9:01 AM
    • Chevron (NYSE:CVX) is off 1.8% premarket after profits slid in a "weak" Q2 pressed by oil and gas writedowns amid the continuing crude supply glut.
    • Earnings of $571M were down from a year-ago $5.7B. Sales and other operating revenues were $36.8B, down from a year-ago $55.6B.
    • The upstream business swung to a net loss of $2.22B from a year-ago $5.26B. "Our Upstream businesses were particularly hard hit, as lower prices reduced revenues and triggered impairments and other charges," said CEO John Watson. Net oil-equivalent production was 2.6M barrels/day, up from last year's 2.55M, in part due to project ramp-ups in the U.S., Bangladesh and Argentina.
    • Meanwhile, downstream earnings were $2.96B, up from 2014's $721M, boosted by improved margins.
    • A heavier oil mix than competitors means that crude declines of the past two months are hitting cash flow hard. Cash flow from operations was $9.5B, down from a year-ago $16.3B.
    • Earlier this week, the company said it was targeting $1B in cost reductions by cutting 1,500 jobs.
    • Webcast to come at 11 a.m. ET.
    • Press Release
  • 8:49 AM
    • UPS (NYSE:UPS) announces the acquisition of Coyote Logistics for $1.8B.
    • The company expects the addition of the truckload freight brokerage to be accretive to earnings in 2016.
    • An annual run rate of $100M-$150M in annual operating synergies is forecast.
    • Interest by UPS in Coyote was tipped off last week.
    • Previously: UPS in talks over Coyote Logistics buyout (Jul. 22 2015)
    • UPS +0.1% premarket.
    | 1 Comment
  • 8:30 AM
  • 8:24 AM
    • Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) is 1.8% lower premarket as it posts its lowest profit in six years, with price pressures holding down Q2 EPS that missed by 10%.
    • Net income was halved, to $4.19B from a year-ago $8.78B. Once again, downstream earnings were up significantly, dampened by weak upstream results.
    • Production of 4M boe/day was up 3.6%; liquids volumes of 2.3M barrels/day was up 11.9%.
    • Downstream earnings of $1.5B were up $795M Y/Y. Stronger margins had a $1.1B positive effect. Upstream earnings of $2B were down $5.9B, hit by lower liquid/gas realizations to the tune of $4.5B.
    • With the start of the second oil bear market, the company's still been aggressive on cost cutting: Capex was down 16% to $8.3B. Total costs were down 31%, to $67.2B.
    • Cash flow from operations and asset sales of $9.4B.
    • Webcast to come at 9:30 a.m. ET.
    • Press Release
  • 7:03 AM
  • 4:13 AM
    • More troubles are popping up for Greek PM Alexis Tsipras after the IMF dropped a bombshell stating Athens' high debt levels and current record of implementing reforms disqualify it from a third bailout.
    • The news raises questions over whether the institution will join the EU's latest financial rescue, and if it will be even possible without the fund's backing.
    • IMF staff will still participate in the bailout negotiations under way, but will not decide whether to agree to a new program for months - potentially into next year.
    • ETFs: GREK
  • 3:42 AM
  • Thursday, July 30, 2015

  • 4:20 PM
    • Stocks pared early losses to end little changed after GDP data showed the U.S. economy grew more than expected over the first two quarters, leaving the Fed on track to raise rates as soon as September.
    • This morning's GDP news was met with a rally in Treasurys, as the 10-year note moved off its low and continued advancing into the afternoon, dropping its yield 3 bps to 2.26%.
    • Six of 10 S&P industry sectors ended with gains, with the rate-sensitive utilities sector (+0.7%) leading and extended its weekly gain to 2.9%.
    • The consumer staples sector (-0.3%) was pressured by Procter & Gamble, which fell 4% despite reporting better than expected results.
    • The energy sector (-0.6%) finished at the bottom of the board after several sector components reported earnings, including Marathon Petroleum, which slid 3.3% in reaction to disappointing Q2 results; Nymex crude settled 0.6% lower at $48.52.
    • Today's participation was a bit lighter than earlier in the week, as 770M shares changed hands at the NYSE floor.
    | Comment!
  • 4:08 PM
    • LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD): Q2 EPS of $0.55 beats by $0.25.
    • Revenue of $711.7M (+33.3% Y/Y) beats by $31.9M.
    • Expects Q3 revenue of $745M-$750M and EPS of $0.43 vs. a consensus of $743.7M and $0.43.
    • Expects 2015 revenue of $2.94B and EPS of $2.19, above a consensus of $2.91B and $1.93.
    • Shares +12.1% AH.
    • Press Release
    • Update (5:03PM ET): LinkedIn has given back its gains. Shares are now down 0.4% AH.
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