Seeking Alpha
  • Friday, September 4, 2015

  • 7:00 PM
    • Influential proxy adviser Institutional Shareholder Services has joined the choir urging shareholders at Bank of America (BAC -1.8%) to strip CEO Brian Moynihan of his chairman's title.
    • With shareholders objecting since Moynihan got the additional title last year, the company promised a vote that was then moved sooner, to Sept. 22.
    • On Tuesday, the country's two biggest pension funds urged separating the roles at BofA, due to "inherent conflicts." Mike Mayo noted that letting Moynihan serve in both roles could bring more regulatory scrutiny.
    | 7:00 PM | 9 Comments
  • 6:47 PM
    • DirecTV (T -1.4%) has settled on a year-old lawsuit against Al Jazeera America over distribution terms -- likely as part of a new carriage agreement with the news channel.
    • The satellite company had charged Al Jazeera with violating a "most favored nation" clause by changing to more favorable terms with Time Warner Cable once it bought Current TV and struck a new carriage deal for its new channel.
    • “We’re pleased to have settled the MFN violation lawsuit with Al Jazeera America and ensure that our customers receive a fair deal,” DirecTV said. “Al Jazeera America continues to be available on the DirecTV and U-verse platforms.”
    | 6:47 PM | 4 Comments
  • 4:20 PM
    • Stocks closed sharply lower ahead of the long holiday weekend, weighed by continued uncertainty about the timing of a Fed interest rate hike and the slowing Chinese economy.
    • "You've got a buyers' strike and a lot of buyers anxious to get out ahead of a long weekend, ahead of pent-up news out of China," Wunderlich's Art Hogan says.
    • Also, this morning's jobs report was considered solid enough for the Fed to consider a rate hike during the Sept. 16-17 meeting.
    • All 10 sectors finished the day in negative territory, with materials (-2%) and financials (-1.9%) at the bottom of the leaderboard; energy (-1.7%) fell as Nymex crude oil slid 0.7% to $45.97/bbl.
    • Today's action was a bit below levels from earlier in the week, as 828M shares changed hands at the NYSE.
    • For the week, the S&P tumbled 3.4%, the Dow slid 3.3%, and the Nasdaq was off 3%.
    • Treasurys gained strength through the day as equities retreated; the yield on the benchmark 10-year note fell 4 bps to 2.12%.
    | 4:20 PM | 9 Comments
  • 2:21 PM
    • Amid an ongoing secular slowdown in ad sales, five of the biggest U.S. newspaper chains are in quiet talks to form an ad-sales collective for the 30 big metro markets, The New York Post is reporting.
    • Tribune Publishing (TPUB -3.5%) -- owner of the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and The Baltimore Sun -- is said to be driving talks among it and Gannett (GCI +0.2%), Newhouse-owned Advance Publications, Hearst, and McClatchy (MNI -0.8%).
    • Such a move would be different from the previously formed MediaWorks Publisher Consortium, and would surely mean a few hundred layoffs total as redundancies were ironed out.
    • From 2000 to 2013, some $40B in ad revenue has drained from the U.S. newspaper market, previously bigger than $60B.
    • The "Next Gen" venture would be a new for-profit company handling digital and print ads; Hearst is more interested in a digital combination, while Gannett (the chain with a top national paper in USA Today and many small markets) may be most conflicted about joining forces.
    | 2:21 PM | Comment!
  • 9:23 AM
    • Telecom Italia (NYSE:TI) is looking at a plan to convert €5.5B (about $6.1B) in savings stock -- a non-voting class that still earns dividends -- into common shares in an effort to raise cash to pay debt, Bloomberg reports.
    • Such a move would dilute the holdings of Vivendi (OTCPK:VIVHY), its largest shareholder at a 14.9% stake. It could generate about €500M for the company in a typical exchange scenario, as holders of the savings stock would need to pay a conversion fee coming to about half the difference in price.
    • While savings shares earn dividends in Italy, TI hasn't paid a common dividend in two years. The share class accounts for almost a third of TI's share capital.
    • In U.S. trading, TI ADRs are off 1.5% premarket. In Milan, TI regular shares are down 1%; savings shares are up 2.7%.
    | 9:23 AM | Comment!
  • 8:47 AM
    | 8:47 AM | 12 Comments
  • 8:38 AM
    • August job gains of 173K were shy of consensus by 47K, but the revisions to June and July added 44K to those prints. We'll call it a wash. The unemployment rate, however, fell to 5.1% from 5.3%, and estimates for 5.2% - declines in the headline UE number have typically been associated with drops in the labor force participation rate, but that number was flat in August at 62.6%. One year ago, it was 62.9%.
    • The average workweek edged up 0.1 hour to 34.6 hours. Average hourly earnings of $25.09 gained $0.08. They're higher by 2.2% Y/Y.
    • The boarder U-6 unemployment rate fell to 10.3% from 10.4%. One year ago it was 12%.
    | 8:38 AM | 3 Comments
  • 8:30 AM
    • August Nonfarm Payrolls: +173K vs. consensus +220K, +245K previous (revised from 210K).
    • Unemployment rate: 5.1% vs. 5.2% consensus, 5.3% previous.
    | 8:30 AM | 45 Comments
  • 8:15 AM
    • In an interestingly timed speech (with the jobs number coming in a few minutes) titled The Case Against Further Delay, Richmond Fed hawk Jeff Lacker says accelerating consumer spending, tightening labor markets, and what should be a return of inflation back toward 2% add up to a rate hike this month.
    • What about the recent tumult in markets? History says the Fed has a history of overreacting to market movements that seem unrelated to economic fundamentals, says Lacker.
    | 8:15 AM | 21 Comments
  • 7:21 AM
    • U.S. stock index futures are lower by 1%, but the jobs report at 8:30 ET could change things. Estimates say the economy added 220K jobs in August with the unemployment rate ticking down to 5.2%.
    • Shanghai remained closed for business last night, but the Nikkei slid 2.2%. One day after partying behind hopes for boosted QE, Europe is giving back those gains and more, off more than 2% at midday.
    • The 10-year Treasury yield is down three basis points to 2.13%, and gold and oil are modestly lower.
    | 7:21 AM | 13 Comments
  • Thursday, September 3, 2015

  • 4:20 PM
    • Stocks ended with small gains after an early rally fizzled, as investors played it safe ahead of tomorrow's U.S. non-farm payrolls data seen as crucial in determining the Fed's decision on raising interest rates.
    • "The focus seems to have shifted from the China issue to what the economic data tells us about [U.S.] monetary policy,” Wunderlich's Art Hogan says.
    • Early gains were paced by the health care sector (-0.6%), but the group also was the first to retreat from its high while others followed suit; biotechs hinted at the impending weakness from the start, taking its toll on the Nasdaq as the index spent the entire session behind the S&P 500.
    • Late afternoon weakness pulled the energy sector (+0.3%) from early highs while crude oil jumped 1% to settle at $46.30/bbl.
    • Investor participation remained above average, with more than 860M shares changing hands at the NYSE floor.
    • Treasury prices opened with gains and settled near their highs; the yield on the benchmark 10-year note fell 2 bps to 2.17%.
    | 4:20 PM | 3 Comments
  • 12:04 PM
    • Speaking at his post-meeting press conference, ECB President Mario Draghi said no "immediate" boost to QE was discussed at today's policy gathering, but he reiterated the bank's willingness to act if necessary.
    • The ECB did boost the percentage of any single issue of bonds it can buy to 33% from 25%.
    • Up ahead of Draghi, European stocks added to gains, with the Stoxx 50 closing higher by 2.2%. Flat ahead of Draghi, the euro sunk 1.1% to $1.1104.
    • Germany (NYSEARCA:EWG+2.7%, France (NYSEARCA:EWQ+2.2%, Italy (NYSEARCA:EWI+2.5%, Spain (NYSEARCA:EWP+1%, U.K. (NYSEARCA:EWU+1.9%.
    • Enjoying the strong dollar today is the leader in currency-hedged ETFs, WisdomTree (WETF +3.1%).
    | 12:04 PM | 8 Comments
  • 10:47 AM
    • The Fed has the flexibility to delay rate hikes until it sees the whites of inflation's eyes, says an IMF official. The remarks come after the organization as a whole last night warned the globe's largest economies not to hike rates in the midst of China's struggles.
    • "Risks are tilted to the downside, and a simultaneous realization of some of these risks would imply a much weaker outlook." If anything, says the agency, what the globe needs now is more stimulus.
    | 10:47 AM | 45 Comments
  • 10:00 AM
    • Aug ISM Non-Manufacturing Index59.0 vs. 58.5 expected and 60.3 prior.
    • Business activity 63.9% vs 64.9%
    • New Orders 63.4% vs 63.8%
    • Employment 56.0% vs 59.6%
    | 10:00 AM | 2 Comments
  • 9:45 AM
    | 9:45 AM | Comment!
  • 9:15 AM
    • Less than two months after TechCrunch reported a deal could happen, Verizon-owned (NYSE:VZ) AOL has announced it's acquiring mobile ad network owner Millennial Media (NYSE:MM) for $1.75/share, or $248M. The price represents a 30.6% premium to Millennial's Wednesday close, but is still well below a 52-week high of $2.40, and over 90% below Millennial's 2012 highs.
    • The deal expands AOL's supply-side (publisher-facing) mobile ad footprint, including within international markets. Millennial claims over 65K apps are on its platform, and that it has over 800M "proprietary, anonymous user profiles" for ad targeting. It follows AOL's display ad deal with Microsoft, and comes ahead of the launch of Verizon's Go90 mobile video service.
    • For Millennial, the deal provides an exit for a company that has been losing mobile ad share to the likes of Google, Facebook, Apple, and Twitter. It's expected to close this fall.
    • MM +30% to $1.74.
    | 9:15 AM | 6 Comments
  • 8:42 AM
    | 8:42 AM | 14 Comments
  • 8:33 AM
    • July Trade Balance: -$41.86B vs. -$42.2B expected and -$45.2B (revised) prior.
    • Exports increased to $188.5B, while imports decreased to $230.4B.
    | 8:33 AM | Comment!
  • 8:30 AM
    • Initial Jobless Claims+12K to 282K vs. 273K consensus, 270K prior (revised form 271K).
    • Continuing Claims -9K to 2.26M vs. 2.27M prior.
    | 8:30 AM | Comment!
  • 7:47 AM
    • As expected, the ECB leaves policy unchanged. The interesting part of today will be hearing how the recent market tumult might shape Mario Draghi's comments at his press conference beginning at 8:30 ET.
    | 7:47 AM | Comment!
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