Seeking Alpha
  • Friday, July 3, 2015

  • 8:10 PM
    | Comment!
  • 5:19 AM
    • European stocks and bonds are trading cautiously ahead of Sunday's Greek referendum that could determine the country's future in the eurozone.
    • Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is campaigning for citizens to vote "no," while the rest of the 19-nation currency bloc says a clear "yes" could get Athens back on track to reform. Polls suggest the outcome is still too hard to tell.
    • Tensions are also high after the IMF warned of a huge financial hole in the nation's economy. The fund stated Greece needed an extra €50B over the next three years, including €36B from its European partners, to stay afloat.
    • FTSE 100 -0.4%; DAX -0.3%; CAC 40 -0.6%; Euro Stoxx 50 -0.6%
    • ETFs: GREK
    | 47 Comments
  • 4:37 AM
    • U.S. oil futures finished the holiday-shortened week with a loss of 4.5% following weekly reports showing an unexpected rise in crude supplies and 2015's first weekly gain in the number of active oil rigs.
    • "This week's data further support the thesis that a bearish fundamental trend has emerged, at least for the near term, which will continue to pressure WTI prices, with the next level of notable support down in the low $50’s," said the EIA's Tyler Richey.
    • Baker Hughes on Thursday reported that the number of active oil drilling rigs saw a weekly climb of 12 to 640 as of July 2.
    • ETFs: USO, OIL, UCO, UWTI, SCO, BNO, DBO, DWTI, DTO, USL, DNO, OLO, SZO, TWTI, OLEM
    | 3 Comments
  • 2:51 AM
    • After weeks of frenzied health insurer merger talks, Aetna (NYSE:AET) says it will buy Humana (NYSE:HUM) for about $37B, or about $230 per share.
    • The deal will see Humana shareholders receive $125 in cash and 0.8375 Aetna shares for each share held, representing a premium of 23% from July 2's close.
    • Following the merger, Aetna shareholders will own about 74% of the combined company.
    • Previously: WSJ: Aetna very close to Humana buyout deal (Jul. 02 2015)
    | 19 Comments
  • 2:30 AM
    • The bloodbath in Chinese equities continued today, with the Shanghai Composite plunging over 5.8% amid reports that the country's securities market regulator launched a probe into suspected market manipulation.
    • Following a slump of nearly 30% in Chinese stocks since mid-June, China Securities Regulatory Commission has now set up a team to look at "clues of illegal manipulation across markets."
    • A flurry of policy moves over the past week, including an interest rate cut, attempts to curb short selling and a relaxation of margin lending rules, have all failed quell the sell-off that is sharply turning into a full-blown crash.
    • Shenzhen -5.3%; ChiNext -1.7%.
    • ETFs: FXI, ASHR, EWH, CAF, YINN, KWEB, PGJ, GXC, FXP, HAO, YANG, TAO, CHIX, CHN, PEK, CHIQ, CQQQ, MCHI, TDF, QQQC, XPP, YAO, GCH, ASHS, YXI, CN, CHXF, FCA, CHNA, CNXT, CHII, ECNS, CHIE, EWHS, CHIM, KBA, KFYP, FCHI, JFC, FHK, AFTY, CHAU
    | 49 Comments
  • Thursday, July 2, 2015

  • 8:49 PM
    • Aetna (AET -2.7%) is again close to a deal to buy Humana (HUM -2.9%) and it could be sealed as soon as tonight and announced this week, The Wall Street Journal reports.
    • The deal -- another huge one in a big year for M&A -- would place Aetna near the top of Medicare business amid continuing industry consolidation.
    • Humana shares have declined over the past two weeks, but are still up 5% from the end of May when it discussed selling itself. Aetna shares are up 8.9% over that time period.
    | 8 Comments
  • 4:20 PM
     
    • Stocks ended with small losses, as the so-so jobs report reaffirmed investors’ belief that the Fed likely would be patient in raising interest rates.
    • But investors were not willing to bid up stocks ahead of the long July 4 weekend, particularly given Sunday's referendum in Greece over the country’s bailout terms.
    • For the week, the Dow and S&P shed 1.2%, while the Nasdaq finished 1.4% lower; small caps endured more aggressive selling, with the Russell 2000 losing 2.5% for the week.
    • The utilities sector (+1.4%) led throughout the session thanks to an early drop in Treasury yields, and the rate-sensitive sector was the only group ending the week in the green, gaining 1.1% since Friday.
    • Trading volume was light, with ~700M shares changing hands at the NYSE floor.
    • Nymex crude finished unchanged at $56.93/bbl after the U.S. oil rig count rose for the first time after 29 weeks of decline.
    • The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury fell to 2.376% from 2.47% before the jobs report.
    | Comment!
  • 12:59 PM
    • Bloomberg reports YELP CEO Jeremy Stoppelman has decided against seeking a sale for the time being. Shares have tumbled below $38, making new 52-week lows in the process.
    • Bloomberg's sources state Yelp "had several interested suitors but isn’t pursuing a transaction in the immediate future." The local reviews leader could resume its sale efforts if Stoppelman changes his mind.
    • Shares soared in May after Bloomberg and the WSJ reported Yelp had hired banks - Bloomberg reported Goldman - to help find a buyer. They had already given back a large chunk of their gains going into today.
    | 16 Comments
  • 9:45 AM
     
    • The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index  is 44.0 this week vs. 42.6 previous.
    • The improvement in Americans' ratings of personal finances and the buying climate have led the way.
    | Comment!
  • 9:38 AM
    • BP (BP +4.2%) confirms it will settle federal, state and local Deepwater Horizon claims for up to $18.7B with payments to be spread over 18 years.
    • The agreement involves the states of Alabama, Louisiana, Florida, Mississippi and Texas as well as claims made by 400 local government entities.
    • BP agrees to pay a $5.5B civil penalty under the U.S. Clean Water Act, payable over 15 years; $7.1B to the U.S. and five Gulf states over 15 years for natural resource damage; and $4.9B over 18 years to settle economic and other claims made by the five Gulf states.
    • BP says the agreement "resolves the company’s largest remaining legal exposures, provides clarity on costs and creates certainty of payment for all parties involved."
    | 28 Comments
  • 9:22 AM
    • Renee James, Intel's (NASDAQ:INTC) president for the last two years, is leaving to "pursue an external CEO role." James has been Intel's second in-command behind CEO Brian Krzanich, and became responsible for overseeing manufacturing, software, security tech, and corporate strategy/planning as part of a 2013 reorg. She'll stay until January to help "transition the Executive Office."
    • Three other execs are also leaving: Arvind Sodhani, the head of Intel Capital (the company's VC arm) and a 35-year vet; Hermann Eul, until last fall the head of Intel's mobile processor ops; and Mike Bell, previously in charge of a Devices unit responsible for wearables. M&A chief Wendell Brooks will take over Sodhani's responsibilities.
    • Also: 1) Intel's Security unit (formerly McAfee) has been formally integrated with the rest of the company. 2) Communications & Devices Group GM Aicha Evans is joining the management committee. 3) Josh Walden, the GM of Intel's New Technology Group, now "leads all product and research teams that create and deploy new technology categories, such as interactive computing devices, perceptual computing and wearable devices."
    • Intel is nearly unchanged premarket.
    • Update (10:50AM ET): Intel is now up 2.2%.
    | 24 Comments
  • 8:45 AM
    | 24 Comments
  • 8:38 AM
    • The June print of 223K jobs added was just shy of the 230K consensus, but May's 280K gain was revised down to 254K and April's 221K to 187K. Combined, there was 60K fewer jobs created in April and May than originally reported.
    • The unemployment rate fell to 5.3% from 5.5% previously and 5.4% expected, but it's due to lower labor force participation rate - it fell to 62.6% from 62.9%. A year ago, it stood at 62.8%.
    • The broader U-6 unemployment rate fell to 10.5% from 10.8% in May and 12% a year ago.
    • The average workweek of 34.5 hours was flat for the fourth straight month. Average hourly earnings of $24.95 was flat, and up 2% from a year ago.
    • Up ahead of the jobs number, the 10-year Treasury yield has fallen seven basis points since the report, now off three bps to 2.39%. TLT +0.4%
    • ETFs: TBT, TLT, TMV, TBF, EDV, TMF, TTT, ZROZ, TLH, SBND, VGLT, UBT, DLBS, TLO, TENZ, LBND, DLBL, TYBS, VUSTX
    • Previously: Jobs up 223K; UE rate falls to 5.3% (July 2)
    | 26 Comments
  • 8:31 AM
     
    • June Nonfarm Payrolls: +223K vs. consensus +230K, +254K previous (revised from 280K).
    • Unemployment rate: 5.3% vs. 5.4% consensus, 5.5% previous.
    | 14 Comments
  • 8:30 AM
     
    • Initial Jobless Claims+10K to 281K vs. 270K consensus, 271K prior (unrevised).
    • Continuing Claims +15K vs. 2.26M prior.
    | Comment!
  • 7:26 AM
    • "I prefer to cut my arm off rather than sign an agreement without debt restructuring," Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis tells Bloomberg, promising to step down if citizens vote "yes" on Sunday for the austerity measures demanded by the country's creditors.
    • The country, he says, should not "extend and pretend" any longer that it can pay its debts.
    • "We desperately want to stay in the euro ... We are going to win ("no" vote) on Sunday."
    • The banks and the stock market remained closed. NBG +1.8% premarket; GREK no trades.
    | 57 Comments
  • 7:19 AM
    • Due to the July 4 holiday, June's nonfarm payroll report will be released today at 8:30 ET. The U.S. is expected to have added 230K jobs last month vs. 280K in May. The unemployment rate is forecast to tick down to 5.4%.
    • Stock index futures are up 0.2%.
    • Europe is little-changed as it awaits this weekend's Greek referendum. Finance Minister Varoufakis has promised to quit if the citizens vote "yes" for the additional austerity measures demanded by the country's creditors.
    • Shanghai tumbled 3.5% overnight and the Nikkei gained 1%.
    • The 10-year Treasury yield is up two basis points at 2.44%, and gold and oil are little-changed.
    • 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
    | 2 Comments
  • 1:56 AM
    | 8 Comments
  • Wednesday, July 1, 2015

  • 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.
    | 7 Comments
  • 4:25 PM
     
    • Stocks finished broadly higher, managing to keep more than half of their opening gains following a steady day-long retreat.
    • Stocks began to back away after Greece Prime Minister Tsipras reiterated his call for a no vote during Sunday's referendum, casting doubt on earlier speculation that the referendum could be cancelled.
    • Also, U.S. manufacturers reported a strong flow of orders that could help support the overall economy in coming months, as the ISM purchasing managers index rose back to its January reading after stalling in the spring.
    • Nine of the 10 S&P sectors ended with gains while energy (-1.3%) struggled as WTI crude oil settled -4.2% at $56.94/bbl, with dollar strength contributing to the move as the dollar index rose 0.8%.
    • The plunge in crude oil failed to boost airlines, as the group sold off after the Department of Justice confirmed a probe into potential collusion in the industry.
    • The financial sector (+1.3%) ended on top, with Chubb +26% after agreeing to be acquired by ACE Ltd., which also boosted other insurers.
    • Today's investor participation was stronger than average, as more than 840M shares changed hands at the NYSE floor.
    • U.S. Treasury prices ended the day not far above their lows, with the 10-year yield climbing 6 bps to 2.42%.
    | 1 Comment
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