All Market News

  • Today - Friday, November 16, 2018
    • The European Medicines Agency's advisory group CHMP has adopted a positive opinion backing approval for Amgen's (AMGN +0.6%) BLINCYTO (blinatumomab) for the treatment of  adults with Philadelphia chromosome negative CD19-positive B-precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in first or second complete remission with minimal residual disease greater than or equal to 0.1%.
    • A couple of months ago, CHMP agreed to re-examine its negative opinion issued in July.
    • Previously: New opinions from EMA advisor CHMP (Sept. 21)
    • PG&E (PCG +39.6%) soars at the open after California Public Utilities Commission chief Michael Picker reportedly said last night he would not want the company to go bankrupt in the face of billions of dollars in potential liability from the latest California wildfires.
    • But the ~40% surge only recoups yesterday's losses that took the stock as low as $17.26 intraday.
    • Citigroup upgrades PCG shares to Buy from Neutral with a $40 price target, saying the CPUC is "stepping up now because it is easier for them to come out quickly to support the utility vs. something from the political spectrum."
    • "Why is the CPUC stepping up now vs. mostly looking for legislative initiatives earlier? Given the reaction in the stock market, we think there was an appropriate level of urgency that something needed to be done," Citi writes.
    • At last count, the death toll from the Camp Fire has climbed to 63 people with 631 reported missing.
    • Edison International (EIX +13.9%), which provides an update of the fires in southern California, also is sharply higher.
    • Huazhu Group (HTHT +0.3%) reports Q3 revenue growth of 13% Y/Y to $403M.
    • Net revenues from leased and owned hotels were $298.9M (+10.7% Y/Y); manachised and franchised hotels were $101.8M (+33.2% Y/Y).
    • Operating margin was 28% & Adj. EBITDA was $169.7M (+38.5% Y/Y).
    • The occupancy rate for all hotels in operation was 90.7% lower 240 bps Y/Y.
    • Huazhu opened 235 hotels, including 30 leased hotels and 250 manachised and franchised hotels.
    • Also, closed a total of 83 hotels, including 5 leased hotels and 78 manachised and franchised hotels.
    • The Company had 698 leased hotels, 3,139 manachised hotels, and 218 franchised hotels in operation in 391 cities.
    • The number of hotel rooms in operation totaled 372,464 (-9% Y/Y)
    • Operating cash inflow was $133.1M; cash, equivalents and restricted cash of $662.1M.
    • The Company had a total debt balance of $1.35B.
    • Q4 Outlook: Net revenues to grow 17-19% Y/Y.
    • 2018 Outlook: Net revenues growth of 18-22%.
    • 2019 Outlook: Gross hotel opening to 800-900, about 75%-80% of which will be under midscale and upscale brands & estimates to close 150-200 hotels.
    • Previously: Huazhu misses by $0.05, beats on revenue (Nov. 15 2018)
    • America's Car-Mart (NASDAQ:CRMT) is bid up 12.5% after the company cruises past Q3 consensus estimates.
    • Same-store revenue was up 11.% during the quarter on a 5.9% lift in the average retail sales price.
    • Gross margin fell 30 bps to 41.7% of sales.
    • Net charge-offs were 6.6% vs. 7.5% a year ago.
    • Shares of CRMT are up 78% YTD.
    • Previously: America's Car-Mart beats by $0.34, beats on revenue (Nov. 15)
    • Jefferies downgrades Scientific Games (NASDAQ:SGMS) from Buy to Hold and slices the price target from $46 to $22.
    • Earlier this week, Deutsche Bank cut its SGMS target on the recent lukewarm earnings and reported plans to launch an IPO from its social gaming business.
    • SGMS is down 6% to $18.76.
    • Previously: Deutsche cuts Scientific Games target on IPO plans (Nov. 13)
    • CPI Card Group (PMTS +0.3%) agrees to sell its Canadian subsidiary to Canada-based Allcard Limited.
    • Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.
    • “Divesting our Canadian subsidiary is the next strategic step toward optimizing CPI’s footprint and is consistent with our previously announced plan to better position ourselves to serve customers by focusing on our core businesses including secure card manufacturing, personalization, instant issuance and prepaid,” says CPI Card President and CEO Scott Scheirman.
    • The transaction is expected to close within the first several months of 2019.
    • Previously: CPI Card Group misses by $0.03, beats on revenue (Nov. 7)
    • Putnam Master Intermediate Income Trust (NYSE:PIM) - $0.0300.
    • Putnam Master Intermediate Income Trust (NYSE:PMM) - $0.0320.
    • Putnam Municipal Opportunities Trust (NYSE:PMO) - $0.0531.
    • Putnam Premier Income Trust (NYSE:PPT) - $0.0350.
    • Payable Jan. 2; for shareholders of record Dec. 21; ex-div Dec. 20.
    • Payable Feb. 1; for shareholders of record Jan. 24; ex-div Jan. 23.
    • Press Release
    • According to Dealreporter, activist Starboard Value has taken a stake in Natus Medical (BABY +6%)
    • With Amos Genish out as CEO of Telecom Italia (TI +1.2%) amid a contentious fight for the company between Vivendi (VIVHY +2%) and Elliott Management, front-runners to replace him are current board members Alfredo Altavilla and Luigi Gubitosi.
    • That's according to a pro-Vivendi source for Telecoms.com. Those directors were proposed by Elliott during their battle for control of TI with Vivendi earlier this year.
    • Such a move would seal Elliott's control of the Italian incumbent telecom, with a board majority and the CEO helm.
    • Dow -0.03%.
    • 10-yr +0.23%.
    • Euro +0.66% vs. dollar.
    • Crude +2.13% to $57.67.
    • Gold +2.02% to $1,222.9
    • Bitcoin +0.25% to $5,684.1
    • Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN) appoints Melissa Thomas as Chief Accounting Officer and Treasurer, effective November 30.
    • Thomas replaces Brian Stevens, who announced his resignation to the company on November 8 to pursue a new opportunity.
    • Thomas has served as Groupon's VP of Commercial Finance since last year. Previous accounting jobs have included Orbitz and PricewaterhouseCoopers.
    • Groupon shares are up 2.8% to $2.93.
    • The sale process for Acadia Healthcare (ACHC -15.3%) isn't looking promising, reports CNBC's David Faber.
    • Dynagas LNG (NYSE:DLNG) is down 7.6% after the company misses estimates with its Q3 report.
    • The company's net loss of $0.7M during the quarter included $2.3M of scheduled class survey and dry-docking costs tied to the Yenisei River vessel.
    • Shares of Dynagas traded at a 52-week low of $6.81 earlier in the session.
    • Previously: Dynagas LNG Partners LP misses by $0.05, misses on revenue (Nov. 15)
    • Stocks edge mostly lower at the open, weighed by disappointing earnings reports and guidance from chipmakers; Dow flat, S&P -0.1%, Nasdaq -0.4%.
    • Tech stocks (-1.1%) tumble in the early going after Nvidia (-16.8%) and Applied Materials (-4.3%) beat earnings estimates but issues below consensus guidance for earnings and revenues amid weakening chip demand.
    • Investors also worry over political developments overseas amid heightened fears of a hard Brexit; the British pound yesterday suffered its biggest one-day loss vs. the euro in two years as a flurry of resignations rocked Prime Minister May's government.
    • European bourses are sharply lower, with Germany's DAX -0.9% and U.K.'s FTSE and France's CAC both -0.8%; in Asia, Japan's Nikkei -0.6% but China's Shanghai Composite +0.4%.
    • In the U.S., Facebook (-2.6%) falls to a 19-month low following a NYT report that said the company has tried to cover up mistakes, prompting calls for improved corporate governance and executive changes.
    • Early sector leaders include utilities (+1.6%) and energy (+0.5%); U.S. WTI crude oil +1.8% to $57.48/bbl on rising talk of OPEC supply cuts.
    • U.S. Treasury prices continue to rise, pushing yields lower across the curve, with the two-year yield down 5 bps to 2.81% and the 10-year yield off 4 bps to 3.08%; the U.S. Dollar Index -0.4% to 96.56.
    • Sundance Energy Australia (SNDE +4.3%) reports Q3 net production sales increase 27.8% Y/Y to 1,024,987 Boe, or 11,141 Boe/day, higher than guidance of 10,000 to 11,000 Boe/d; production is up 25% to 1,070,982 boe
    • Realized price is up 21.7% to $47.85/boe
    • Adjusted EBITDAX margin remains flat at ~62%.
    • Cash operating costs of $18.14/boe was +20.5% Y/Y impacted by Lease Operating Expense and workover expenses; LOE declined 17.6% to $9.02/Boe, but remained elevated due to higher gathering costs under the midstream agreements.
    • Q4 net production guidance is 14,000 to 15,000 boe/d, and 9,000 to 10,000 boe/d for FY18
    • The company increases its Senior Secured Borrowing Base Facility from $87.5M to $122.5M.
    • Previously: Sundance Energy Australia  beats on revenue (Nov. 15)
    • October Industrial Production: +0.1% to 109.1 vs. +0.2.% consensus, +0.2% prior (revised).
    • Capacity Utilization 78.4% vs. 78.3% consensus, 78.5% prior (revised).
    • Oppenheimer backs its bullish view on Six Flags Entertainment (SIX +1.4%) after meeting with management.
    • Oppenheimer's update on Six Flags: "Membership sales remain the biggest opportunity, given their greater pricing potential, higher retention levels and revenue-recognition smoothing. The company is excited about other existing opportunities, such as allseason dining and International. Comps are significantly favorable in 4Q18 and 2019."
    • The firm keeps an Outperform rating on SIX and price target of $80 (+35% upside potential).
    • Frontline (NYSE:FRO) is up 1.5% after showing a narrower loss in Q3 than anticipated.
    • The company reports a spot TCE of $22K for VLCCs less than 15 years of age in Q3 and guides for a spot TCE of $35K booked for 74% of vessel days for VLCCs less than 15 years of age in Q4.
    • "Tanker markets are beginning to rebalance following 18 months of extremely challenging conditions and we are optimistic that the market has now exited the cycle trough," says CEO Robert Hvide Macleod.
    • Previously: Frontline beats by $0.06, beats on revenue (Nov. 16)
    • Microsoft (MSFT +0.2%) and Nintendo (OTCPK:NTDOY -8.7%remain committed to the E3 video expo despite Variety's report that Sony's (SNE -2.5%) PlayStation won't attend next year's show.
    • Nintendo of America President and COO Reggie Fils-Aime calls E3 an "outstanding opportunity for us to share new games and experiences with fans and business partners from across the globe."
    • Phil Spencer, Microsoft's EVP of gaming: E3 is an incredible platform to showcase the vibrancy and creativity of the video game industry. The ESA continues to expand the event’s reach to fans and the industry, both in attendance and online, and we look forward to what’s ahead at E3 2019.”
    • In 2018, E3 had over 2.9M concurrent viewers on Twitch 55M Facebook interactions, 15M tweets, and 69M YouTube viewers of game trailers.
    • PlayStation will skip E3 for the first time in its 24-year history as the show starts to have more offshoot events and companies (including Nintendo) focus more on online reception.
    • Key quote from Sony's statement: “PlayStation fans mean the world to us and we always want to innovate, think differently and experiment with new ways to delight gamers. As a result, we have decided not to participate in E3 in 2019. We are exploring new and familiar ways to engage our community in 2019 and can’t wait to share our plans with you.”
    • Edwards Lifesciences (EW -0.2%) announces that its SAPIEN 3 Ultra transcatheter aortic valve used to treat severe symptomatic aortic stenosis is now CE Mark certified.
    • The company says the device has enhanced features compared to SAPIEN 3, including a heightened outer skirt to eliminate leaking around the valve, and an improved delivery system.
    • Commercial launch in Germany will be postponed until a patent dispute with Boston Scientific is resolved.
    • Previously: Boston Scientific prevails over Edwards Lifesciences in Sapien 3 patent dispute in Germany (Oct. 23)
    • RISE Education (REDU -0.9%) reported Q3 revenue of $50.58M, increase was primarily attributable to an increase in revenues from educational programs.
    • Total number of student enrollments increased by 26% Y/Y to 14,702 and Student retention rate at self-owned learning centers increased to ~71% in Q3 2018.
    • Revenues from Educational programs $39.4M (+32.8% Y/Y); Franchise revenue $5.2M (+15% Y/Y) and Other revenues $6M (+63% Y/Y).
    • Overall Q3 margins: Gross increased by 160 bps to 52.8%; operating declined 280 bps to 13.9%; adj. operating declined 570 bps to 14.6% and adj. EBITDA also declined 620 bps to 18.7%.
    • Q3 Operating expenses increased by 50.7% Y/Y to $19.7M, with S&M at $11.3M (+72.1% Y/Y) and G&A at $8.4M (+29.2% Y/Y).
    • Net cash provided by operating activities was $10.9M for the quarter.
    • Company has cash and cash equivalents of $189.2M as of September 30, 2018.
    • The Company has recently approved a share repurchase program for a total consideration of up to $30M commencing on November 19, 2018.
    • Q4 2018 Outlook: Revenue growth of ~28% Y/Y (RMB345-350M).
    • Previously: RISE Education misses by $0.02, beats on revenue (Nov. 15 2018)
    • Pareteum (TEUM -0.9%) has added economist Robert Lippert as an independent director.
    • He joins Yves Van Sante and Luis Jimenez-Tuñon as independent directors, who along with Chairman Hal Turner make up the entirety of the board.
    • Former independent director Laura Thomas has joined management as VP of corporate development.
    • BHP Billiton (NYSE:BHP) blames driver error in causing an iron ore train to run away without its driver and a brake problem that prompted the company to intentionally derail the train.
    • “Our initial findings show that the emergency air brake for the entire train was not engaged as required by the relevant operating procedure,” BHP says. “In addition, the electric braking system that initially stopped the train, automatically released after one hour while the driver was still outside.”
    • BHP says it has put in place a range of safety controls as a result of the initial findings.
    • IBM (NYSE:IBM) extends its partnership with ServiceNow (NYSE:NOW) to extend IBM's Multicloud Management Platform with ServiceNow's IT Service Management and IT Operations Management Solutions.
    • IBM also announces adding new services to its IBM Cloud Mitigation Factory. The automation tools make it easier for an enterprise to move and modernize its infrastructure, data, applications, and workloads.
    • IBM shares are down 0.2% to $121.10 in what will likely be a rough day for tech after Nvidia and AMAT reported downside guidance.
    • ServiceNow shares are down 1.1% to $171.01.
    • The Financial Stability Board drops Nordea (OTCPK:NRBAY) and Royal Bank of Scotland (NYSE:RBS) from its list of global systemically important banks and adds French bank Groupe BPCE to the list.
    • Banks on the G-SIB list are subject to stricter requirements in terms of capital buffers, total loss-absorbing capacity, resolvability, and supervisory expectations.
    • The FSB coordinates at an international level the work of national financial authorities and international standard-setting bodies in an effort to increase financial stability.
    • Previously: U.K. banks, builders hit by Brexit resignations (Nov. 15)
    • Dow -0.36% to 25,199.23. S&P -0.5% to 2,716.49. Nasdaq -0.98% to 7,188.17.
    • Treasurys: 30-year +0.24%. 10-yr +0.25%. 5-yr +0.22%.
    • Commodities: Crude +1.68% to $57.41. Gold +2.19% to $1,225.50.
    • Currencies: Euro +0.71% vs. dollar. Yen -0.82%. Pound -0.64%.
    • Natural Grocers (NYSE:NGVC) is slightly higher after topping consensus estimates with its Q3 report on 10% sales growth.
    • Comparable sales increased 6.3% during the quarter. Adjusted EBITDA rose 10% to $11.3M during the quarter and net income was up 69% to $2.1M.
    • Looking ahead, Natural Grocers expects full-year guidance of $0.33 to $0.40 vs. $0.36 consensus.
    • NGVC +0.6% premarket to $16.76.
    • Previously: Natural Grocers beats by $0.05, beats on revenue (Nov. 15)
    • Lions Gate Entertainment is higher premarket (LGF.A +1.4%, LGF.B) after an upgrade to Outperform by Cowen.
    • As with a reinstatement at Outperform by RBC this week, the Starz network provides the enthusiasm, with sub adds pointing to an inflection point and international opportunities.
    • With the upgrade, Cowen's bumped its price target to $27 from $26, implying 32% upside.
    • Also today, Brian Goldsmith has signed a long-term deal to continue as the company's chief operating officer.
    • Bloomberg reports that Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY) may sell a portfolio of off-patent drugs in China aimed at raising cash for deployment in higher growth areas.
    • A transaction may fetch $200M - 300M according to informed sources.
    • PG&E (NYSE:PCG+44% after California PUC to broaden probe including possible breakup.
    • Sonos (NASDAQ:SONO+18% on Q4 earnings.
    • Edison International (NYSE:EIX+12%.
    • Aeterna Zentaris (NASDAQ:AEZS+10% after European advisory group backs Macrilen.
    • Trinity Industries (NYSE:TRN+6% after entering into an accelerated share repurchase program with JPMorgan.
    • Argus downgrades J.C. Penney (NYSE:JCP) to a Sell rating after digesting the department store operator's Q3 earnings report.
    • The firm's simple thesis on JCP is based on the expectation for more losses over the next two years.
    • Analyst John Eade: "We believe that JCP has substantial work ahead, especially in driving sales growth during a period of weak mall traffic and in competing in the very expensive 'arms race' to improve e-commerce capabilities. In addition, the company has posted losses or marginal EPS since 2012 and has consistently missed its own guidance and consensus estimates. Investors should be aware that the current share price below $2 signals elevated risk."
    • JCP -2.21% premarket to $1.33 after a gain of 11.5% yesterday.
    • Nordic American Offshore (NYSE:NAO): Q3 GAAP EPS of -$0.14.
    • Revenue of $5.84M (-1.5% Y/Y)
    • Press Release
    • Euroseas (NASDAQ:ESEA-28% on Q3 earnings.
    • NVIDIA (NASDAQ:NVDA-18% on Q3 earnings.
    • Hutchison China MediTech (NASDAQ:HCM-15% after phase III FALUCA trial for fruquintinib fails to meet primary endpoint.
    • Gogo (NASDAQ:GOGO-14% on launching $200M convertible debt offering.
    • Contango Oil & Gas Company (NYSEMKT:MCF-14% on pricing 7.5M equity offering.
    • Williams-Sonoma (NYSE:WSM-10% on Q3 earnings.
    • Nordstrom (NYSE:JWN-11% on Q3 earnings.
    • Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT-9% on Q4 earnings.
    • Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ:AMD) -7%.
    • Sphere 3D (NASDAQ:ANY) -5%.
    • Appearing on CNBC about an hour ago, new Fed Vice Chairman Richard Clarida sounded dovish, talking about room to run in labor markets and a evidence of a global economic slowdown.
    • It wasn't reported in our earlier item, but Clarida also talked about the Fed being "data dependent" going forward, suggesting he's not on board with the current rate hike per quarter program.
    • The 10-year Treasury yield quickly slipped to 3.08% from 3.12%. It's currently at 3.09%. TLT +0.2%, TBT -0.4% premarket.
    • GE Capital (NYSE:GE) agrees to sell a $1.5B portfolio of healthcare equipment leases and loans to TIAA Bank.
    • GE says the acquired healthcare portfolio includes loans and leases to ~1,100 hospitals as well as 3,600 physician practices and diagnostic and imaging centers across the U.S.
    • The GE financing arm has been selling off billions of dollars in assets since 2015 to become a smaller, more focused business.
    • Luxury brands in Italy could attract attention amid the sharp share price declines in the sector, notes The Wall Street Journal.
    • Concerns on spending by Chinese tourists and the underperformance of the independent brands in comparison to conglomerates such as LVMH (OTCPK:LVMUY, OTCPK:LVMHF) and Kering (OTCPK:PPRUF, OTCPK:PPRUY) add to the pressure for families to look for a buyout deal, writes Carol Ryan.
    • Tod's, Salvatore Ferragamo (OTCPK:SFRGF, OTCPK:SFRGY) and Prada (OTCPK:PRDSY, OTCPK:PRDSF) are mentioned as potential targets.
    • Contango Oil & Gas Company (NYSEMKT:MCF) has priced a public offering of 7.5M shares of its common stock for total gross proceeds of $30M.
    • Underwriters over-allotment is an additional 1.125M shares of common stock from the Company.
    • Proceeds from the offering are expected to be used to reduce borrowings under the Company’s revolving credit facility and for general corporate purposes, including funding future potential acquisitions.
    • The offering is expected to close on November 20.
    • Previously: Contango Oil & Gas launches public stock offering, size not specified (Nov. 15)
    • Sabra Health (NASDAQ:SBRAslips 1.7% in premarket trading after Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts downgrade the stock to underperform from neutral and trims price target to $21 from $23
    • Notes SBRA faces headwinds such as senior care dilution and increased Ridea volatility.
    • Cost of capital may be a challenge, especially if it wants to buy its JV partner's stake in Enlivant in late '19 or early '20.
    • Omega Healthcare (NYSE:OHI) gets upgraded to neutral from outperform as it completes its Orianna exit in coming months and starts reinvesting proceeds, writes the BofAML analysts led by Juan Sanabria.
    • Price target raised to $35.00 from $26.50.
    • Notes "stronger conviction" that OHI has dealt with most of its tenant issues and is well positioned to boost earnings through acquisitions.
    • OHI analyst ratings: 1 buy; 10 holds; 1 underperfom/sell.
    • SBRA analyst ratings: 3 buys; 9 holds; 0 underperform/sells.
    • Source: Bloomberg First Word.
    • Previously: Omega Healthcare +4.7% after Q3 beats, guidance reaffirmed (Nov. 5)
    • Previously: Sabra Health Care REIT sinks 3.2% after cutting guidance on lease termination (Nov. 5)
    • S&P -0.47%.
    • 10-yr +0.21%.
    • Euro +0.56% vs. dollar.
    • Crude +2.27% to $57.74.
    • Gold +2.11% to $1,224.50.
    • Bitcoin +1.44% to $5,685.
    • The Democratic Republic of Congo says it has temporarily lifted its ban on imports and exports from Glencore's (OTCPK:GLCNF, OTCPK:GLNCY) giant Kamoto copper and cobalt mine.
    • Glencore's Katanga Mining unit said yesterday that it had been blocked from exporting copper and cobalt from Congo because of a dispute over payments on copper that was never actually mined years ago.
    • Glencore has expected Kamoto to produce as much as 300K metric tons of copper and 34K tons of cobalt in 2019, which would make it Congo’s largest copper project and the world’s biggest source of cobalt.
    • The European Medicines Agency's advisory group CHMP has adopted a positive opinion backing approval for Johnson & Johnson's (NYSE:JNJ) apalutamide for the treatment of non-metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer.
    • A final decision from the European Commission usually takes ~60 days.
    • The FDA approved the androgen receptor inhibitor, branded as ERLEADA, in February. Health Canada approved it in July.
    • Previously: FDA OKs Johnson & Johnson's apalutamide for prostate cancer (Feb. 14)
    • Denny's (NASDAQ:DENN) announces that it entered into a variable term, capped accelerated share repurchase agreement with MUFG Securities to buy back $25M worth of the company's shares.
    • The ASR agreement is part of the overall $200M share repurchase program announced on October 31.
    • Denny's says the ASR agreement will be funded primarily through its existing $400M revolving credit facility. As of September 26, the company had $278M of funded debt under its existing credit facility and approximately $159M million remaining in existing share repurchase authorization.
    • Source: Press Release
    • Nomura Instinet starts Adobe (NASDAQ:ADBE) at Buy with a $315 target.
    • Analyst Christopher Eberle sees Adobe as "a true content creation and global collaboration platform leveraging its massive sprawl of customer behavioral data to drive its best-in-class operating model."
    • The analyst notes that Adobe helps "businesses of all shapes and sizes continue to digitally transform" and will be a "significant partner" for "many years to come."
    • Adobe shares are down 1.3% premarket to $236.88.
    • Appearing on CNBC, new Fed Vice Chair Richard Clarida doesn't sound like he's in favor of a halt to the rate hike cycle, but he does take note of "evidence of global slowing."
    • Other dovish takes: Still "room to run" in the labor market, and he's not expecting a pickup in inflation next year.
    • The dollar (UUP, UDN) index has dipped about 40 pips on his remarks.
    • Previously: Morgan Stanley calls top for dollar (Nov. 16)
    • Bank of America Merrill Lynch sees upside for both Penn National Gaming (NASDAQ:PENN) and VICI Properties (NYSE:VICI) from the acquisition of the Greektown Casino-Hotel in Detroit.
    • The analyst team says VICI will acquire the real estate at a 7.9% cap rate or 12.6X EBITDA. "We believe the deal is 2% accretive to its 2020E AFFO," updates BAML.
    • Meanwhile, Penn will acquire the operations at 6.3X EBITDA including synergies. "We think it is accretive on both an EV/EBITDA and FCF basis," says the firm.
    • Previously: VICI, Penn National buy Greektown Casino-Hotel in $1B deal (Nov. 14)
    • The Total-led (NYSE:TOT) Papua LNG project has signed a memorandum of understanding with Papua New Guinea's government for the expansion of the ~8M metric tons/year liquefied natural gas export plant.
    • The expansion, which analysts estimate will cost $13B, is crucial to the island nation’s economy as liquefied natural gas is its biggest export earner.
    • Papua LNG will supply gas from the Elk-Antelope fields for two new trains at Exxon Mobil’s (NYSE:XOM) PNG LNG plant, while XOM plans to develop gas at the P’nyang field to help fill a third new train at the plant; the combined projects will double the plant’s export capacity to ~16M metric tons/year.
    • XOM and Oil Search (OTCPK:OISHF) also hold stakes in the Papua LNG project, and the two companies are the major partners in the PNG LNG plant.
    • VBL Therapeutics (NASDAQ:VBLT) reports that further analyses of the failed Phase 3 GLOBE study evaluating VB-111 (ofranergene obadenovec), combined with Roche's Avastin (bevacizumab), in patients with recurrent glioblastoma are shedding light on the reasons for the unexpected results compared to the successful Phase 2 trial. The data are being presented at the Neuro-Oncology Annual Meeting in New Orleans.
    • The company says patient selection or different patient populations does not account for the different outcome, but a difference in treatment regimens might. In the Phase 2 study, the regimen including priming with VB-111 while the Phase 3 regimen did not.
    • To test this hypothesis, a study was conducted in a tumor model that showed a blocking effect on VB-111 activity from bevacizumab.
    • An analysis of MRI scans from VB-111-primed patients in the Phase 2 study are being analyzed and compared to images from unprimed patients in GLOBE.
    • Previously: VBL's ofranergene obadenovec flunks late-stage brain cancer study; shares down 56% premarket (March 8)
    • Trinity Industries (NYSE:TRN) announces that it entered into an accelerated share repurchase program with JPMorgan to repurchase $350M worth of shares. The company says the accelerated share repurchase program will complete its current share repurchase authorization for an aggregate of $500M of stock.
    • Trinity plans to fund the ASR with proceeds received from an increase in borrowing under a loan agreement.
    • Trinity also posts a guidance ahead, saying it expects full-year EPS of $1.15 to $1.35 vs. $0.90 to $1.10 prior and $1.11 consensus. The lower share count from the new buyback activity accounts for the higher EPS.
    • Source: Press Release
    • Employers Mutual Casualty Co. proposes to acquire all of the shares of EMC Insurance Group (NASDAQ:EMCI) that it doesn't already own for $30 per share in cash, a 26% premium to EMCI's close of $23.83 on Thursday.
    • EMCC already owns 55% of EMCI's common stock.
    • "Given the relative limited market trading volume and illiquidity for EMCI’s stock, EMCC believes the transaction will provide EMCI’s public shareholders with immediate and complete liquidity at a significant premium to EMCI’s current share price," EMCC says in its statement.
    • EMCC expects EMCI's board to form a special committee and to retain independent legal and financial advisers to assist in reviewing the proposed deal.
    • If EMCI’s special committee doesn't recommend, or the public shareholders of EMCI do not approve, of the proposed transaction, then EMCC would intend to continue as a long-term shareholder of EMCI.
    • Previously: EMC Insurance beats by $0.11, misses on revenue (Nov. 7)
    • Senator Bernie Sanders has rolled out legislation aimed at blocking big employers from buying back shares in their companies unless all workers are paid at least $15 per hour. Representative Ro Khanna of California is a co-sponsor.
    • The Stop Welfare for Any Large Monopoly Amassing Revenue from Taxpayers Act also calls for CEO compensation to be capped at no more than 150X the median salary of all employees.
    • Walmart (NYSE:WMT) is singled out by Sanders and the legislation is being called the Stop WALMART Act for short. "If Walmart can find $20 billion for stock buybacks to further enrich the Waltons, it can find the money to raise the pay of its workers to a living wage," says Khanna in support of the legislation.
    • While the legislation isn't expected to get anywhere near a vote in Congress (especially the Senate), a similar push by Sanders against Amazon led to the tech giant hiking its minimum wage to $15 per hour across the U.S.
    • Bernie Sanders press release
    • WMT -0.52% premarket to $99.02.
    • Citi adds Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT) to its "semis shopping list" after the earnings report caused the Street to reset expectations for 1H19.
    • Analyst Atif Malik says the risk-reward balance now looks more attractive for the next year and longer.
    • Malik notes that the report was in-line with the firm's preview driven by "incremental silicon weakness due to China Fujian export ban and mobile display weakness" but sees a "modest cut" in the Q2 guidance.
    • Source: Bloomberg First Word.
    • AMAT shares are down 9% premarket to $31.86.
    • Previously: AMAT -3% on downside guide, near-term headwinds (Nov. 15)
    • Updated data from a Phase 1 dose-escalation clinical trial evaluating Agios Pharmaceuticals' (NASDAQ:AGIO) AG-881 in patients with advanced glioma showed a potential treatment effect. The results were presented at the Neuro-Oncology Annual Meeting in New Orleans.
    • Data on 52 patients showed a 73% discontinuation rate (n=38/52), principally due to cancer progression (n=29). Two dropped out due to adverse events.
    • There was one partial responder and one "minor" responder implying, at best, a response rate of 4%. 36 patients showed stable cancer as the best response, implying a disease control rate of 73% (n=38/52).
    • On the safety front, the incidence of Grade 3 (serious) or higher adverse events was 19% (n=10/52). Dose-limiting toxicities were occurred in five patients who received at least 100 mg of AG-881. All were resolved with dose modification or discontinuation.
    • AG-881 inhibits two enzymes called IDH1 and IDH2. The company says it is designed for enhanced brain penetrance.