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Блог компании DayTraderClub | Америка сегодня. Экономические индикаторы и число буровых установок.

Неделя перед длинными выходными уходит на незначительных новостях. Индекс опережающих экономических индикаторов базируется на данных, вышедших на этой неделе, он только дополняет оптимистичную картину, сведенную в один показатель:
Америка сегодня. Экономические индикаторы и число буровых установок.


Данные экономических индикаторов с большой вероятностью ожидаются на своих максимальных отметках, +0.5%:
Америка сегодня. Экономические индикаторы и число буровых установок.


Число новых буровых установок также продолжает расти, новое значение ожидается выше 590:
Америка сегодня. Экономические индикаторы и число буровых установок.


Все новости:  
Америка сегодня. Экономические индикаторы и число буровых установок.
Данные: DTC News, Briefing, Interactive, Economics, Public Sources

  ArQule and Daiichi Sankyo (DSNKY) announce the METIV-HCC phase 3 study of tivantinib in hepatocellular carcinoma did not meet its primary endpoint of improving overall survival  (1.47)

Full results from the trial will be presented at an upcoming scientific forum.

ArQule to host investor conference call on February 17, 2017 at 8:30 A.M. ET

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  Early Research Calls

Misc

  • Kate Spade (KATE 19.67) target raised to $25 from $21 at Mizuho. Firm notes KATE unexpectedly reported 4Q results with BTE GM and SG&A offsetting NA sales weakness. Importantly, KATE announced it is reviewing strategic alternatives, confirming recent rumors. As KATE moved its 4Q report up by one week, they wonder if a deal may be imminent. With better than feared 4Q results that may improve sentiment in the handbag category, a brand in the early stages of growth, and cash position of $479mm, they believe KATE is an attractive target, especially in a potential strategic transaction.
  • WebMD Health (WBMD 51.51) target raised to $55 from $52 at Mizuho. Firm believes the stock would have traded off ~10-15% on its poor 2017 guide, had the company not announced that it is exploring strategic alternatives. The company did this before in 2011, and it amounted to nothing; they can't be sure that this time will be different. WebMD's losing visitors, its revenue growth is slowing materially, and EBITDA margins could contract next year. Yet it has a strong brand, it is a leader in its category, generates FCF, and has strong relationships with Pharma advertisers.
  • Endeavtheir Silver (EXK 4.64) initiated with a Buy at Noble Financial; tgt $5.50. Firm notes Silver production represents approximately 2/3 of production. The shares of Endeavtheir move quickly when silver prices change. The shares of EXK almost doubled last summer when sliver prices rose on news of the Brexit vote. They state EXK has three producing mines, three in the development stage and several at the exploratory stage. They believe having mines in different stages gives the company the flexibility to accelerate production should prices rise but still provide cash flow should prices fall.
  • ESSA Pharma (EPIX 2.35) initiated with a Buy at Noble Financial; tgt $9. Firm notes ESSA Pharma's intellectual property portfolio covers composition of matter and methods of use. It has 17 filed patent families filed covering various EPI structural motifs, with prosecution ongoing for 14 at present. They value ESSA Pharma based on a risk-adjusted net present value (rNPV) of its pipeline. The company is valued at $9/per share over the next year. The main investment driver is EPI-506 for the castrate resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) program in Phase 1/2 trials. The Phase 1 program is projected to report topline results in 1Q 2017 and a Phase 2 trial based on dose from Phase 1 trial is expected to be initiated in 1Q17
  • Celanese (CE 88.86) initiated with a Outperform at Robert W. Baird; tgt $105. Firm notes given consistent execution and several crown jewels in the portfolio (led by Advanced Engineered Materials), they believe that Celanese is on a highly probabilistic path towards valuation multiple expansion by the end of the decade—underlying their initiation with an Outperform rating.
  • Alexion Pharma (ALXN 130.39) target lowered to $177 from $187 at RBC Capital Mkts. Firm notes some concerns about Alexion's near-term direction were probably alleviated today: 2017 isn't expected to be the bad year many feared. However, they see Alexion's future as heavily leveraged on one molecule and remain concerned about the lack of data disclosure: while two new Phase IIIs were just announced, they haven't yet seen any data from PNH/aHUS patients treated with 3000-3600mg of q8w 1210. They have updated their model and have removed SBC-103 from their revenue model. We've also removed ALXN1007 for APS and GI-GvHD from their PAT revenue model, since it's no longer being mentioned in ALXN's slides
  • Marriott (MAR 89.44) target raised to $90 from $73 at Telsey Advisory Group. Firm notes while it is clearly a positive that the RevPAR cycle appears to be headed for «extra innings», perhaps the larger positive for MAR is the opportunity to integrate and capitalize on the integration of HOT. The business appears to be poised to generate several billions of free cash including asset sales, which should be returned to shareholders. Their positive bias remains although the shares are pricing in much of this opportunity at present levels and they recommend investors take an opportunistic approach.
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  Dentsply Sirona raises quarterly dividend to $0.875/share from $0.775/share  (60.74)
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  GOL Linhas Areas Inteligentes S.A. revises FY 17 guidance; also sees for 1Q17, load factors in the range of 80%, with passenger yields in the range of R$24 cents  (26.21)

For 1Q17, co expects load factors in the range of 80%, with passenger yields in the range of R$24 cents. In January, GOL had load factors of 83% and strong forward bookings for February and March.

  • For the first quarter, co expects non-fuel CASK in the range of R$14.5 cents. 
  • Co expects the increase in jet fuel prices will increase its fuel costs per ASK by 7.5% in 1Q17.

FY 17 is based on GOL's capacity plan and the expected demand for its passenger transportation services, driven by the weak Brazilian economic environment.

  • For 2017, co expects to reduce capacity by 0-2%.
  • Passenger yields are expected to increase 6%, primarily due to an increase in average fare, partially offset by an increase in stage length, and RASK is expected to increase in the range of 7%.
  • Full-year non-fuel CASK is expected to be in the R$14 cent (R$) range, representing a stable level versus 2016.
  • Fuel costs per ASK are expected to increase ~18% in the year, due to increases in oil prices.
  • Co expects net revs ± r$10
  • Raises operating margin guidance to 6-8% from 5-7%
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  Deere raises FY17 net income; sales to +4% from +1%
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 Overnight Summary — World markets fail to wake up overnight

The global equity appeared reluctant to get out of bed overnight, and now losing momentum heading toward the week's finish line. S&P Futures have seen a slow but steady trip lower, leading to a decline of down 0.3%.

  • In Asia, the region was void of any significant macro-data. With yen's advance against the dollar during US hours on Thursday, the Nikkei acted as expected, with pressure coming into the equities, leading to a decline of 0.6%.
  • China closed out the day down 0.9%. Although the PBOC was active today, supplying the markets an additional CNY150 bln in liquidity, this was apparently not enough to entice participants, as the week ended with a net drain for the second week in a row.
  • In Europe, the major bourses are mixed, with the FTSE unchanged, while Germany and France are both trading in negative territory. Unlike Asia, the region did have a couple of economic data points to digest. Most notably, the UK's Retail Sales for Jan widely missed expectations. Banks are among the weakest group this mornings, with names such as BNP Parribas and Deutsche Bank falling 2% thus far.

Market updates

  • S&P Futures vs Fair Value: -7.00 
  • 10 yr Note: 2.4218% 
  • USD/JPY: 112.92 -0.28
  • EUR/USD: 1.0645 -0.0030
  • Europe: FTSE Unch DAX -0.1% CAC -0.7% 
  • Asia: Hang Seng -0.3% Shanghai -0.9% Nikkei -0.6% 
  • Commodities: Gold (1242.40 +0.80) Silver (18.03 -0.05) crude (53.52 -0.23) 

US Econ Data

January Leading Index (10am)
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  Republic Services files for mixed securities shelf offering; size not disclosed  (59.05)
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  Asian Markets Close: Nikkei -0.6%, Hang Seng -0.3%, Shanghai -0.9%

Equity indices in the Asia-Pacific region ended the week on a mostly lower note. The cautious sentiment in regional stock markets was also reflected by the foreign exchange market, where the yen (113.00) has climbed 0.2% against the dollar after showing a modest loss last evening. In South Korea, Samsung's vice chairman was arrested as part of a bribery case.

  • In economic data:
    • Japan's February Reuters Tankan Index 20 (last 18)
    • Singapore's Q4 GDP +12.3% quarter-over-quarter (expected 12.6%; last -0.4%); +2.9% year-over-year (consensus 2.5%; last 1.2%)
    • New Zealand's Q4 Retail Sales +0.8% quarter-over-quarter (expected 1.0%; last 0.8%) and Core Retail Sales +0.6% quarter-over-quarter (last 0.2%). January Business NZ PMI 51.6 (last 54.2)

---Equity Markets---

  • Japan's Nikkei lost 0.6% to end the week lower by 0.7%. Toshiba continued its recent woes, falling 9.2%. Sony Financial Holdings, Fast Retailing, Yokogawa Electric, Suzuki Motor, Nippon Express, and Familymart posted losses between 1.7% and 2.9%.
  • Hong Kong'sHang Seng shed 0.3%, but gained 2.0% for the week. Financials lagged with Bank of East Asia, Bank of China, ICBC, and BoC Hong Kong losing between 1.1% and 4.0%. Select property names outperformed with Hang Lung Properties, Henderson Land, Cheung Kong Property Holdings, and Sino Land rising between 0.2% and 0.9%.
  • China's Shanghai Composite lost 0.9%, narrowing its weekly gain to 0.2%. Shandong Lukang Pharmaceutical, YUD Yangtze River Investment Industry, Lingyuan Iron & Steel, Harbin Air Conditioning, and China Sports Industry Group posted losses between 4.4% and 5.1%.
  • India's Sensex added 0.6%, extending its weekly gain to 0.8%. Sun Pharma jumped 4.0% while HDFC Bank and ICIC Bank posted respective gains of 3.8% and 1.5%. HDFC Bank outperformed after the Reserve Bank of India allowed foreign investors to buy more shares in the bank.

---FX---

  • USDJPY -0.3% to 112.89
  • USDCNY +0.2% to 6.8685
  • USDINR -0.1% to 67.089
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  Unilever PLC: Kraft Heinz (KHC) confirms that it made proposal to Unilever about combining the two groups; Unilever declined proposal but KHC continues to work toward agreement  (42.57)

The Kraft Heinz Company (KHC) notes the recent speculation regarding a possible combination of Kraft and Unilever plc / Unilever NA.

  • Kraft confirms that it has made a comprehensive proposal to Unilever about combining the two groups to create a leading consumer goods company with a mission of long-term growth and sustainable living.
  • While Unilever has declined the proposal, the co states it looks forward to working to reach agreement on the terms of a transaction.
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  DCP Midstream: Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors discloses 6.04% passive stake  (40.88)
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  Bioverativ: ValueAct discloses 7.1% active stake, says has had and anticipates having further discussions with officers and directors  (44.10)The Reporting Persons have had and anticipate having further discussions with officers and directors of the Issuer in connection with the Reporting Persons? investment in the Issuer. The topics of these conversations will cover a range of issues, including those relating to the business of the Issuer, management, board composition (which may include whether it makes sense for a ValueAct Capital employee to be on the Issuer's board of directors), operations, capital allocation, asset allocation, capitalization, dividend policy, financial condition, mergers and acquisitions strategy, overall business strategy, executive compensation, and corporate governance. The Reporting Persons may also have similar conversations with other stockholders or other interested parties, such as industry analysts, existing or potential strategic partners or competitors, investment professionals, and other investors. The Reporting Persons may at any time reconsider and change their intentions relating to the foregoing.
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  Bridgestone shares higher by 1% overseas after it reported FY16 results/provided FY17 guidance  (18.79)
  • Co reported FY16 EPS of JPY 338.52 vs JPY 362.52 last year; revs -12% YoY to JPY 3.337 trillion
  • Co sees FY17 EPS of JPY 357.48; revs +8.8% or JPY 3.63 trillion
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  Lazard initiated with a Outperform at Keefe Bruyette; tgt $51  (43.59)
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  Credit Suisse upgraded to Overweight from Equal-Weight at Morgan Stanley  (15.22)
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  Healthcare Realty updates on previously disclosed sales agreement, says 5,868,697 shares remain unsold  (30.94)On February 19, 2016, the co entered into sales agreements with each of Barclays Capital Inc., BB&T Capital Markets, a division of BB&T Securities, LLC, BMO Capital Markets Corp., Cantor Fitzgerald & Co. and Credit Agricole Securities (USA) Inc. to sell up to an aggregate of 10,000,000 shares of the Company's common stock, par value $0.01 per share, from time to time through the sales agents, of which 5,868,697 shares remain unsold as of the date of this report. In accordance with Rule 415(a)(5) of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, the Company's shelf registration statement on Form S-3 that previously registered the shares could not be used for the offer and sale of the shares after February 19, 2017. Accordingly, on February 16, 2017, the Company filed a new shelf registration statement on Form S-3 (Registration No. 333-216102) and a prospectus supplement on the date of this report covering 5,868,697 of the shares that remain to be sold under the Sales Agreements.
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  Reynolds American downgraded to Hold from Buy at Jefferies  (60.71)
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  European Markets Update: FTSE +0.2%, DAX -0.3%, CAC -0.8%

Major European indices trade mostly lower while the UK's FTSE (+0.2%) outperforms as the pound trades lower by 0.6% against the dollar at 1.2415. The euro (1.0645) has also retreated, shedding 0.3% versus the greenback. In France, socialist presidential candidate Benoit Hamon is reportedly discussing a joint candidacy with Jean-Luc Melenchon in order to present a greater challenge to National Front's Marine Le Pen.

  • In economic data:
    • Eurozone December Current Account surplus narrowed to EUR31.00 billion from EUR36.40 billion (expected surplus of EUR35.00 billion)
    • UK's January Retail Sales -0.3% month-over-month (expected 0.9%; last -2.1%); +1.5% year-over-year (consensus 3.4%; last 4.1%). Core Retail Sales -0.2% month-over-month (expected 0.7%; last -2.2%); +2.6% year-over-year (consensus 3.9%; previous 4.7%)

---Equity Markets---

  • UK's FTSE has climbed 0.2% with Unilever surging 13.7% after the company turned down an offer to merge with Kraft Heinz. Other consumer names also display relative strength with Imperial Brands, Reckitt Benckiser, Diageo, Associated British Foods, and British American Tobacco showing gains between 1.0% and 2.2%. Financials lag with Standard Chartered, RBS, Barclays, and Old Mutual falling between 1.2% and 3.2%.
  • Germany's DAX is lower by 0.3%. Deutsche Bank is the weakest performer, falling 2.7%, while exporters Volkswagen, BMW, and Daimler are down between 0.9% and 2.6%. On the upside, insurer Allianz has climbed 2.4%.
  • France's CAC trades down 0.8% with financials leading the retreat. AXA, BNP Paribas, Societe Generale, and Credit Agricole are down between 1.9% and 2.8%. Automakers Renault and Peugeot are both down near 1.7%. Danone outperforms, rising 3.2%.
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  NextEra Energy Partners initiated with a Outperform at Raymond James; tgt $35  (30.90)
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  Workday upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at Piper Jaffray  (85.50)
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  Circor downgraded to Sector Weight from Overweight at KeyBanc Capital Mkts  (71.80)
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  Avis Budget downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse  (35.76)
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  Owens Corning upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Goldman  (57.22)
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  Illinois Tool downgraded to Sell from Neutral at Goldman  (130.26)
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  Capital One upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Goldman  (90.51)
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  Hertz Global downgraded to Underperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse  (21.66)
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  Early premarket gappersGapping up: TOPS +40%, RGSE +23%, TRUE +15.8%, COHU +9.6%, ANET +9.3%, UN +8.6%, TMST +8.6%, DRYS +8.3%, AIRG +7.1%, CYTK +7.1%, DCIX +6.6%, CGNX +5%, MTL +4.1%, KHC +3.9%, WBMD +3.8%, ZPIN +3.5%, TTD +3.4%, IMGN +3.2%, RUTH +2.8%, CRC +2.6%, CRC +2.6%, KEYS +2.5%, CC +2.4%, FCX +2.3%, AZN +1.8%, DE +1.7%, TPX +1.6%, GOGL +1.4%, LC +1.2%, GOLD +1.1%, CHK +1%, CNHI +0.9%, SBLK +0.9%, AUY +0.9%, DLR +0.9%, CTT +0.9%, P +0.8%, FIVN +0.8%, DVA +0.8%,

Gapping down: NUS -7.4%, MCHX -6.8%, PI -5.3%, AEG -5.1%, HMY -4.4%, ORC -4.4%, FLS -4.2%, LII -4%, CINR -3.8%, SAGE -3.3%, BKD -3.2%, HTZ -3.2%, DB -3%, ERIC -2.8%, SJM -2.8%, ALV -2.5%, BCS -2.4%, K -2.3%, PES -2.3%, BHP -2.2%, MDRX -2.2%, RIO -2%, BBVA -1.9%, BBL -1.9%, HURN -1.9%, TSLA -1.6%, JD -1.6%, SDRL -1.5%, LYG -1.5%, RDS.A -1.4%, SAN -1.4%, AU -1.4%, TOT -1.2%, TRN -1.2%, AMBR -1.2%, CREE -1%,
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 On The Wires
  • By the end of 2020, Accenture (ACN) will open 10 new innovation hubs in key cities in the U.S. and expand its regional network of technology delivery centers. Additionally, Accenture will invest $1.4 billion in training to ensure its people have leading-edge capabilities to serve its clients, while creating 15,000 highly skilled new jobs in the U.S.
  • Ritchie Bros. (RBA) has signed an enterprise framework agreement with Shell, for redeployment or sale of industrial assets and equipment. Ritchie Bros. will be leveraging its integrated suite of asset management tools to implement a cloud-based solution for Shell—allowing for easy redeployment of assets within the Shell organisation or sale of surplus assets to third parties.
  • Energy Fuels (UUUU) announced the EPA has issued an aquifer exemption for the Jane Dough wellfield in the Nichols Ranch ISR Project pursuant to the requirements of 40 CFR §146.4. In the letter, the EPA concurred with the reclassification of the Jane Dough aquifer by the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality («WDEQ») to allow for future in situ uranium recovery.
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  TTM Tech downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at JP Morgan  (17.46)
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  Advisory Board downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at JP Morgan  (47.25)
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  Mondelez Int'l down 5% premarket after Kraft Heinz (KHC) says it is approaching Unilever (UN, UL)  (43.20)
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  QuintilesIMS upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Wells Fargo  (76.87)
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  Park Hotels & Resorts initiated with a Market Perform at Wells Fargo  (27.73)
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  MDC Partners upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at BMO Capital  (8.85)
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  Macy's upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at Atlantic Equities  (31.82)
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  Tempur Sealy Int'l upgraded to Outperform at Raymond James  (47.94)
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  Superior Energy downgraded to Hold from Buy at Jefferies  (17.11)
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  Copa Holdings upgraded to Hold from Sell at Evercore ISI  (104.93)
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 Overnight Treasury Summary

Treasuries Add to Thursday's Gains

  • U.S. Treasuries are trading broadly higher this morning, following through on their Thursday rally as the S&P is indicated to open down 0.23% to 2,342. The U.S. Dollar Index is up 0.19% to 100.63 as the greenback gains against the British pound after the weaker-than-expected retail sales report in the U.K., but the yen is gaining against the dollar as investors avoid risk. The eurozone's current account surplus narrowed more than expected in December but hit 3.4% of GDP for all of 2016, a record high. WTI crude is losing 0.47% at $53.11/bbl. and gold is up 0.11% to $1,243/troy oz.
  • Yield Check:
    • 2-yr: -2 bps to 1.19%
    • 5-yr: -3 bps to 1.91%
    • 10-yr: -3 bps to 2.42%
    • 30-yr: -2 bps to 3.02%
  • News:
    • In New Zealand, retail sales grew by 0.8% q/q in the fourth quarter (+4.2% y/y), missing estimates and matching Q3's pace
      • Core retail sales rose 0.6% q/q (0.2% prior)
      • Separately, the Business NZ PMI fell to 51.6 for January from 54.2 for December
    • Japan's Reuters Tankan Index increased to 20 for February from 18 in January
    • The People's Bank of China said that it will deepen interest rate and exchange rate reform. It said that it will keep the yuan basically stable against its currency basket but increase two-way flexibility against the U.S. dollar
    • The eurozone's current account surplus narrowed more than expected in December to EUR31 bln from EUR36.4 bln in November
      • For FY2016, however, the surplus hit a record-high 3.4% of GDP, up from 3.1% in 2015
    • Eurozone construction output fell 0.2% m/m in December but the year-on-year change was revised up to 3.2% after revisions to the prior month's reading
    • In the U.K., retail sales fell 0.3% m/m in January (+1.5% y/y), missing forecasts after a 2.1% slide in December
      • Core retail sales fell 0.2% m/m in January (+2.6% y/y), also missing forecasts. December's decline was 2.2%
    • In Sweden, the consumer price index fell 0.7% m/m in January (+1.4% y/y)
  • Data out Today:
    • January Leading Indicators (10:00 ET)
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  Cimarex upgraded to Buy from Hold at KLR Group  (133.06)
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  Quidel initiated with a Neutral at CL King  (20.69)
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  Nordstrom resumed with a Neutral at Piper Jaffray; tgt $41  (44.18)
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  J. C. Penney resumed with a Neutral at Piper Jaffray; tgt $8  (7.03)
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  Kohl's resumed with a Neutral at Piper Jaffray; tgt $40  (41.53)
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  Build-A-Bear Workshop downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at Piper Jaffray  (9.35)
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  MB Financial resumed with a Outperform at Macquarie  (45.24)
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  Arch Coal initiated with a Buy at Jefferies; tgt $90  (72.11)
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  Pool upgraded to Outperform at Robert W. Baird; tgt raised to $130  (114.39)Robert W. Baird upgrades POOL to Outperform from Neutral and raises their tgt to $130 from $103 after POOL reported strong 4Q16 results despite a difficult prior-year comparison, while favorable 2017 guidance calls for low-teens EPS growth. Firm has been positive on POOL's strong industry fundamentals, dominant market share, and best-in-class execution for some time now, but are now embracing the stock's deserved premium valuation. While admittedly easier to own than buy here, they are positioning for opportunities should difficult 1Q comparisons and/or a late start to the season lead to volatility.
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  RPX upgraded to Outperform at Robert W. Baird; tgt $14  (10.85)Robert W. Baird upgrades RPXC to Outperform from Neutral and sets target price at $14 given increasing probability of positive catalysts coupled with their ongoing view of intriguing value. Firm has long viewed RPXC as attractively valued but lacking a positive catalyst. With a recent CEO resignation over disagreement with the BoD over proactively exploring a «going-private transaction» at this time, coupled with ownership position from activist shareholder that won board representation, various potential positive catalysts appearing increasingly likely. Guidance also appears to de-risk potential further risks to near-term fundamental expectations.
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  Charter Comm downgraded to Market Perform at Telsey Advisory Group; tgt raised to $345  (324.46)Telsey Advisory Group downgrades CHTR to Market Perform from Outperform and raises their tgt to $345 from $308. Firm has updated their model with 4Q16 results and the operational trends expected through FY17. As a result, they have increased their tgt. But, with the current price at $324, they can no longer support an OP rating. Further, they have no doubt that CHTR will improve the service metrics at the legacy TWC and Bright House systems like it accomplished at legacy CHTR. And with its immense scale, CHTR has been able to garner synergies translating to low-teens EBITDA growth. While it's unclear what VZ's real interest is, the possibility of a transaction is not grounds for capitalizing CHTR EBITDA at an incremental multiple turn to yield a target in the mid-$370's.
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  Genesis Energy, L.P. downgraded to Sector Perform at RBC Capital Mkts; tgt lowered to $38  (35.72)RBC Capital Mkts downgrades GEL to Sector Perform from Outperform and lowers their tgt to $38 from $39. LT, firm likes GEL's simple structure (no-IDRs) and the suite of assets in South Louisiana and TX, and they are constructive that GOM volumes ramp into 2020. However, new project cash flow is ramping slower than expected and there is no clear «next wave» of growth projects; thus, they see GEL range bound until more meaningful debt leverage improvements near.
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  Twilio among stocks with favorable commentary on Thursday's Mad Money  (33.17)

Stocks with favorable mention: AGCO, CMG, CSCO, GLD, GOLD, GOOGL, MCD, MMM, MMP, MOS, MU, PEP, PFG, POT, SHLX, STZ, TWLO

Stocks with unfavorable mention: ABX, BUD, GEO, HLF, RAD

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  Sun Life downgraded to Sector Perform at RBC Capital Mkts; tgt lowered to $51  (38.19)RBC Capital Mkts downgrades SLF to Sector Perform from Outperform and lowers their tgt to $51 from $53 after some generous rounding. Firm's rating change mainly reflects a challenged outlook for MFS in light of deteriorating outflow trends and ongoing margin pressure. They continue to value SLF using a target P/E multiple of 12.0x as they maintain their view of a broadly improving macroeconomic envm't and that SLF is well positioned to deliver on higher ROEs and higher earnings growth. During the past 12 months, SLF's stock price has increased by 27% and they see little room for further appreciation at this point in time, absent U.S. catalysts (higher rates, lower taxes, etc.) or a material change in the LT outlook for its asset mgmt business.
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  Kellogg also ticking lower by 2%, General Mills (GIS) also ticking lower, following Kraft (KHC) proposal to combine with Unilever (UL)  (74.71)
  • As mentioned earlier, Mondelez (MDLZ) is lower by 5% as a result.
  • M&A has been seen as an upside catalyst for the Food/CPG group, so Kraft's approach to Unilever removes it as a potential buyer of the other companies in the space. 
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  Orchid Island Capital downgraded to Hold at Maxim Group on valuation  (12.39)Maxim Group downgrades ORC to Hold from Buy after the company reported 4Q16 EPS of ($0.72), versus its dividend of $0.42, so book value per share was down 9.9% (as pre-announced), to $10.10. With ORC shares trading at 1.23x book value per share, versus its peers at about 0.94x book value per share, firm downgrades to Hold, from Buy, and removes their previous price target of $11.25.
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 Genocea Biosciences downgraded to Hold at Needham — Uncertainty around HSV2 program a concern  (4.44)Needham downgrades GNCA to Hold from Buy. Firm notes co announced positive results from its Phase 2b trial of GEN-003 in Herpes Simplex Type 2 (HSV2) in early Jan 2017. Given financial constraints, however, mgmt now plans to seek a collaborator prior to initiation of Phase 3 development. They believe this creates meaningful uncertainty for GEN-003 development timelines as well as the stock. Mgmt previously announced a shift in strategic focus from infectious disease to immuno-oncology. However, initial candidate from latter program is not expected to reach clinical development until YE17. They are downgrading to HOLD based on uncertainty around GEN-003 and lack of near-term milestones w/ immuno-oncology program. ATLAS platform holds substantial value and we believe stock remains attractive for long-term investors w/ horizon beyond 2017.
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  Tesaro target raised to $202 at RBC Capital Mkts  (182.56)RBC Capital Mkts raises their TSRO tgt to $202 from $142. They believe existing and pending ovarian and breast cancer data allows niraparib to be a $2B+ drug, which justifies the majority of current value. What takes value higher is niraparib being differentiated, PARP inhibitors being used sequentially, activity in other cancers, and prolonged treatment durations. Their $202 target reflects some of this optionality and M&A based multiples could approach similar valuation levels.
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  Circor downgraded to Hold at Stifel; tgt raised to $74 — Valuation fully reflects the upside case  (71.80)Stifel downgrades CIR to Hold from Buy and raises their tgt to $74 from $69. While the outlook for the distributed valve business is clearly improving as rig count continues to climb, the outlook for the engineered valve business (-50% in 2017) is significantly worse than firm was expecting (down 20%-25), and with an irrational competitor in the marketplace improvement in that business is uncertain. Firm continues to see significant upside potential in earnings in 2018-2019 (+53% and +23% respectively) driven by shale activity, market penetration and synergy recognition, but they believe the shares are fairly valued after the run up yesterday (+13.3% vs. XLI +0.03%) with little net change to their model and so they are moving to the sidelines looking for a better entry point.
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  American Intl target lowered to $71 at RBC Capital Mkts  (60.85)RBC Capital Mkts lowers their AIG tgt to $71 from $72. 4Q results were poor, but are now history. The driver of AIG shares was and remains, whether the company can deliver its strategic plan and raise its ROE. While they have their concerns, they believe they can achieve meaningful improvement and accordingly maintain Outperform rating.
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  Alexion Pharma target lowered to $177 at RBC Capital Mkts — 2017 will probably be OK; '1210 is ALXN's future  (130.39)RBC Capital Mkts lowers their ALXN tgt to $177 from $187. Some concerns about Alexion's near-term direction were probably alleviated today: 2017 isn't expected to be the bad year many feared. However, they see Alexion's future as heavily leveraged on one molecule ('1210) and remain concerned about the lack of data disclosure: while two new Phase IIIs were just announced, they haven't yet seen any data from PNH/aHUS patients treated with 3000-3600mg of q8w 1210.
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  Arista Networks upgraded to Hold from Underperform at Jefferies  (100.17)
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  CF Industries target raised to $27 at RBC Capital Mkts — Nitrogen challenges remain on the horizon  (33.52)RBC Capital Mkts raises their CF tgt to $27 from $23. They continue to foresee significant nitrogen market challenges beyond mid-2017 that may dampen the prospects of a market recovery. They think FCF improvement will be very gradual and below what is currently priced into the equity, while a focus on debt repayments will limit cash available for shareholders. They note a potential benefit from US tax law changes, but there is significant uncertainty.
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  Albemarle initiated with a Buy at Aegis Capital; tgt $108  (92.41)
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  Chemours upgraded to Positive from Neutral at Susquehanna  (31.90)
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  Digital Realty Trust target raised to $110 at Stifel  (103.14)Stifel raises their DLR tgt to $110 from $100 noting DLR's 4Q results were largely in line with consensus ests despite a core rev miss, and made continued progress with its dual integrations of Telx and Telecity operations. Leasing volumes were favorable in the midst of a slowdown in overall U.S. wholesale absorption during the quarter, and mgmt struck a bullish tone regarding its sales funnel and overall demand levels in early 2017. After a slower 2016, firm expects DLR to accelerate leasing activity this year given a significant uptick in active development, with 68 MW under construction at year-end and further expansion phases planned throughout the year; Hold.
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  On The Wires
  • New Oriental Education & Technology (EDU) disclosed in a regulatory following that, as part of the Registrant's efforts to streamline its corporate structure, the Registrant intends to wind up Shanghai Smart Words Software Technology Co., Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Registrant in China and a company currently without business operations. Accordingly, the Registrant has removed Shanghai Smart Words as a party to the series of contractual arrangements whereby the Registrant, through its subsidiaries, controls and consolidates Beijing New Oriental Education & technology (Group) Co., Ltd. The rights and obligations of Shanghai Smart Words under the VIE Arrangements have been assumed by Beijing Decision Education & Consulting Co., Ltd., another wholly-owned subsidiary of the Registrant, which is an existing party to the VIE Agreements. Parties to the VIE Agreements entered into multiple agreements and amendments to effect the foregoing change.
  • Chugai Pharmaceutical, a member of the Roche (RHHBY) group, announced that it has filed a new drug application to the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW), for Engineered anti PD-L1 monoclonal antibody «atezolizumab (genetic recombinant)» for the treatment of «unresectable advanced or recurrent non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).»
  • Cycle and Undertone, a division of Perion Network (PERI) announced an exclusive strategic partnership enabling Undertone to represent Cycle's branded content and social inventory to its prospective and current clients. In practice, the partnership will expand Undertone's suite of offerings to include Cycle's inventory and native ad offerings, as well as integrations into the media company's multiple ongoing video series.
  • Medivir AB (MVIR) announced that departing CEO, Niklas Prager, CEO designate Christine Lind and CFO Ola Burmark today have bought a total of 16.500 shares in Medivir. The purchase was made simultaneously with their sale of a total of 52.101 redemption rights, which were received in connection with the ongoing voluntary redemption program.
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  Huntington Ingalls target raised to $150 at Stifel — Solid execution continues; Higher relative execution risk not in multiple  (209.94)Stifel raises their HII tgt to $150 from $135. As it relates to firm's Sell rating, no one can dispute that mgmt has done an outstanding job at improving margins in recent years and that HII is likely best-positioned in the industry to benefit from increased spending — in terms of how much EPS McCain's plan would add to HII; however, firm continues to see a disproportionate level of execution risk over the next 24-36 months driven by CVN-79, VA-class Block IV, and DDG-51 Flight III. Performance missteps on either platform could be material to EPS and present the risk of a multiple de-rating. They do not view this higher risk as being appropriately reflected in HII's multiple — either on a P/E or free cash flow basis.
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 S&P futures vs fair value: -5.00. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: -8.10.

Equity futures point to a lower open on Friday following the stock market's slight pullback on Thursday. The S&P 500 futures trade five points below fair value.

U.S. Treasuries have extended yesterday's gains this morning but still hold losses for the week. The benchmark 10-yr yield is down three basis points at 2.42%.

Conversely, crude oil trades lower this morning as an increase in U.S. drilling has overshadowed reports that OPEC is mulling over a production cut extension and could potentially cut more than previously expected. The energy component is down 0.5% at $53.07/bbl.

Today's lone economic report, January Leading Indicators (Briefing.com consensus 0.5%), will be released at 10:00 am ET.

In U.S. corporate news:

  • Deere (DE 112.50, +3.33): +3.1% after the company beat top and bottom line estimates and issued positive guidance.
  • Kraft Heinz (KHC 92.00, +4.72): +5.4% following reports that the company is interested in merging with Unilever (UL 47.54, +4.94).
  • UnitedHealth (UNH 159.69, -3.96): -2.4% after reports that the U.S. government filed a lawsuit against the company for allegedly overcharging Medicare by hundreds of millions of dollars. The lawsuit, which was unsealed on Thursday, was filed back in 2011.

Reviewing overnight developments:

  • Equity indices in the Asia-Pacific region ended the week on a mostly lower note. Japan's Nikkei -0.6%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng -0.3%, China's Shanghai Composite -0.9%, India's Sensex +0.6%.
    • In economic data:
      • Japan's February Reuters Tankan Index 20 (last 18)
      • Singapore's Q4 GDP +12.3% quarter-over-quarter (expected 12.6%; last -0.4%); +2.9% year-over-year (consensus 2.5%; last 1.2%)
      • New Zealand's Q4 Retail Sales +0.8% quarter-over-quarter (expected 1.0%; last 0.8%) and Core Retail Sales +0.6% quarter-over-quarter (last 0.2%). January Business NZ PMI 51.6 (last 54.2)
    • In news:
      • In South Korea, Samsung's vice chairman was arrested as part of a bribery case.
  • Major European indices trade mostly lower while the UK's FTSE outperforms as the pound trades lower by 0.6% against the dollar at 1.2415. UK's FTSE +0.2%, Germany's DAX -0.3%, France's CAC -0.8%.
    • In economic data:
      • Eurozone December Current Account surplus narrowed to EUR31.00 billion from EUR36.40 billion (expected surplus of EUR35.00 billion)
      • UK's January Retail Sales -0.3% month-over-month (expected 0.9%; last -2.1%); +1.5% year-over-year (consensus 3.4%; last 4.1%). Core Retail Sales -0.2% month-over-month (expected 0.7%; last -2.2%); +2.6% year-over-year (consensus 3.9%; previous 4.7%)
    • In news:
      • In France, socialist presidential candidate Benoit Hamon is reportedly discussing a joint candidacy with Jean-Luc Melenchon in order to present a greater challenge to National Front's Marine Le Pen.
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  MDC Partners target raised to $9 from $8 at Wedbush ahead of Q4 results as Goldman stake boosts ests higher  (8.85)
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  MGM Resorts defended at Stifel — target lowered to $35  (26.86)Stifel lowers their MGM tgt to $35 from $36. They are not surprised by yesterday's sharp selloff in MGM shares (-9% vs SPX flat), which came in response to a messy, and largely unexpected, 4Q16 earnings debacle. Although there is no denying Street expectations were poorly managed leading up to yesterday's release, they think it is time for investors to put the disappointment behind them and assess the path forward from here. Along those lines, they find ourselves contemplating what, if any, structural changes to the MGM story emerged from the release. In short, they are unable to identify anything structurally amiss, thus the key elements of their constructive thesis on the shares remain firmly intact. They remain highly convicted in their long-term call on the MGM shares, making the post-pullback valuation look particularly compelling.
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  GrubHub resumed with a Overweight at Pacific Crest; tgt $45  (37.06)
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  Arista Networks target raised to $130 at Needham — 11th beat and raise, and this one was big  (100.17)Needham raises their ANET tgt to $130 from $110 after ANET «crushed» the CY4Q quarter, posting EPS 40% above our forecast, resulting in a sharp increase in estimates for CY17 and CY18. The strong guide for CY1Q of 32-34% growth looks to us to be a clear indication of accelerating demand from Web 2.0 scaled-out players. Firm thinks this is a reaffirmation of the 25G/100G upgrade cycle in Data Comm and a strong indicator of robust CY17 growth for Arista. Firm also thinks Arista is making major share gains against Cisco. They also think ANET's strong performance has positive implications for Data Comm-oriented names such as FNSR, OCLR and FN, and to a lesser extent LITE.
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  MercadoLibre resumed with a Overweight at Pacific Crest; tgt $210  (198.01)
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  eBay resumed with a Sector Weight at Pacific Crest  (33.54)
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  CryoLife upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Ladenburg Thalmann  (16.10)
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  Airgain upgraded to Buy at Wunderlich  (14.94)
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  EPAM Systems target raised to $82 at Needham — Mixed 4Q; FY17 guidance in-line  (70.69)Needham raises their EPAM tgt to $82 from $75 after EPAM reported 4Q results that exceeded expectations on rev, but narrowly missed on EPS. While the Financial Services vertical lagged this quarter due to top customer weakness, there are signs of stabilization going forward that should be beneficial to utilization and gross margin. EPAM introduced guidance for FY17 and 1Q17 that is largely in-line with expectations, and firm views the 23% Y/Y constant currency growth outlook for FY17 as encouraging given recent cyclical headwinds in the industry. They believe that the risk-reward remains favorable with the stock trading at ~18x ex-cash their FY18 EPS est; Buy.
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 Q2 Holdings target raised to $42 at Needham; Buy  (35.65)Needham raises their QTWO tgt to $42 from $34 after co finished FY16 on an upbeat note, beating on rev, margins, and earnings. The company recorded the most net customer wins in a quarter, including two Tier-1 banks and a Top 100 credit union, and a record number of contact extensions, setting the stage for strong multi-year top-line growth. Mgmt introduced 1Q and FY17 revenue guidance that is slightly above consensus and calls for healthy 27-29% growth, while at the same time projecting EBITDA profitability for the full year. With the strong pace of deal signings, including the Tier-1 bank wins, a healthy deal pipeline, and a focus on driving operating leverage, they believe there could be upside to their ests. They continue to view QTWO as a good fit for small-cap growth-oriented portfolios.
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  Syntel target lowered to $23 at Needham — Business remains challenged but valuation could provide a floor for the stock  (19.26)Needham lowers their SYNT tgt to $23 from $27. While SYNT's 4Q results were slightly ahead of expectations, mgmt introduced disappointing guidance for FY17, calling for a 2-7% decline in rev. Firm believes SYNT's higher exposure to the financial services and healthcare segments, where there is added uncertainty related to the regulatory envm't, combined with under-investment in emerging technologies, and increased competitive pressures is resulting in the recent under-performance compared to its peers. Firm reduces their ests in line with the guidance but maintaining BUY rating to reflect the historically low valuation level and potential for modest improvement over FY17 once client budgets are set and there is increased clarity on the regulatory climate in the financial services and healthcare segments; Buy.
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  DineEquity's Chairman and CEO Julia Stewart will resign; Board has named Richard Dahl to serve as interim CEO and Chairman, co also sees Q4 EPS of $1.37 vs $1.39 Consensus  (66.55)

Julia Stewart will resign from the Company, effective March 1, 2017.

  • The Board has named its current lead director, Richard Dahl, to serve as interim CEO and chairman, effective March 1, 2017, while the board of directors conducts a search for a permanent replacement.

Concurrent with this leadership transition, co released prelim 4Q16 results.

  • Sees adj. earnings per diluted share of $1.37, for 4Q16.
    • Current Consensus estimates Q4 adj. EPS of $1.39
  • G&A expenses were $37 mln for 4Q16
  • IHOP's domestic system-wide comparable same restaurant sales were -2.1% for 4Q16.
  • Applebee's domestic system-wide comparable same-restaurant sales were -7.2% for 4Q16.

Co intends to report definitive 4Q16 and fiscal 2016 results and its outlook on March 1, 2017

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  Hain Celestial downgraded to Hold from Buy at Argus in light of the SEC investigation into co's accounting practices  (34.46)
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  European Summary

Eurozone Core/Periphery Spreads Widen

  • Debt of the eurozone periphery is underperforming debt of the eurozone core today, reversing a bit of narrowing in those spreads on Thursday following the release of the ECB minutes from the January meeting. The minutes said that policymakers saw deviation from the capital key as inevitable for the European Central Bank's asset purchase program. The capital key restriction means that bonds need to be bought from different countries in proportion to the size of each country's economy. Deviation from the capital key means, in practical terms, more purchases of Italian debt and fewer purchases of German debt. Also, since deviating from the capital key is seen as an alternative to buying debt with very negative yields, the German 2-year schatz (which yields -0.82%) sold off on Thursday's news but has rallied sharply this morning
  • U.K. retail sales for January were weaker than economists had predicted and some fear that the weaker pound sterling and import price inflation will cut into consumers' purchasing power. The British pound sold off on the release and is now down 0.47% to $1.2426
  • Central Banks:
    • ECB Governing Council member Philip Lane told the Wall Street Journal on Thursday that the central bank should continue to be open to further rate cuts. 
  • European Economic Data:
    • The eurozone's current account surplus narrowed more than expected in December to EUR31 bln from EUR36.4 bln in November
      • For FY2016, however, the surplus hit a record-high 3.4% of GDP, up from 3.1% in 2015
    • Eurozone construction output fell 0.2% m/m in December but the year-on-year change was revised up to 3.2% after revisions to the prior month's reading
    • In the U.K., retail sales fell 0.3% m/m in January (+1.5% y/y), missing forecasts after a 2.1% slide in December
      • Core retail sales fell 0.2% m/m in January (+2.6% y/y), also missing forecasts. December's decline was 2.2%
      • Land values in the priciest districts of London fell 11.5% in 2016, according to Knight Frank. The decline was the the worst performance in five years, driven by higher taxes and Brexit. Home values in those districts fell 6.7% y/y in January
    • In Sweden, the consumer price index fell 0.7% m/m in January (+1.4% y/y)
  • Yield Check:
    • France, 10-yr OAT: +1 bp to 1.02%
    • Germany, 10-yr bund: -5 bps to 0.30%
    • Greece, 10-yr note: +3 bps to 7.72%
    • Italy, 10-yr BTP: +4 bps to 2.18%
    • Portugal, 10-yr PGB: +4 bps to
    • Spain, 10-yr ODE: +1 bp to 1.60%
    • U.K., 10-yr gilt: -6 bps to 1.20%
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 ITV plc downgraded to Hold from Buy at Panmure  (25.98)
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  Inmarsat downgraded to Sell from Neutral at UBS  (8.18)
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 Ultra Electronics upgraded to Buy from Hold at Kepler  (12.15)
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  Euskaltel SA initiated with a Overweight at Morgan Stanley  (10.28)
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 Air France-KLM upgraded to Hold from Reduce at HSBC Securities  (6.54)
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 Telenet Group upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Barclays  (27.39)
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 Solvay upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at JP Morgan  (117.50)
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  On The Wires
  • Snyder's-Lance, Inc. (LNCE) announced today that it made an investment in Denver, CO based Natural Foodworks Group, LLC, (NFG) an experienced food manufacturer specializing in natural and organic products. NFG has a proven track record of providing contract manufacturing services to entrepreneurs as they commercialize and scale their natural and organic brands to a larger audience of consumers. They make it possible for start-up brands to reach the production scale needed to serve natural retailers on a national basis. The investment and strategic partnership align with Snyder's-Lance's mission to expand better-for-you options focused on ingredients, quality and taste.
  • London Stock Exchange Group (LDNXF) and Deutsche Börse AG (DBOEY) announced that the Financial Supervisory Authority of Norway has confirmed that it does not object to the change of control of LCH.Clearnet Ltd. Accordingly, the LSEG plc Norwegian Regulatory Condition in both the LSEG Acquisition and the Deutsche Börse Acquisition has been satisfied.
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  Gapping up

Gapping up
In reaction to strong earnings/guidance
:

  • TOPS +61.3%, RGSE +22%, (also completes offerings that raised total net proceeds of $16.0 million; regains Nasdaq compliance and now debt-free)
  • TRUE +14.7%, AIRG +11.1%, COHU +11.1%, ANET +10.8%, TMST +10%, RWLK +8.7%, CYTK +7.1%, CGNX +5%, DE +3.7%
  • TTD +3.6%, (also files registration statement for proposed follow-on offering by selling shareholders), IMGN +3.2%, GOL +3.2%, KEYS +3.1%
  • WBMD +2.9%, (also commenced a process to explore and evaluate potential strategic alternatives ), RUTH +2.8%, CTB +2.1%, DVA +1%
  • AUY +0.9%, DLR +0.9%, FIVN +0.8%

M&A news:

  • LMIA +49.6% (to be acquired by Sonaca Group for $14.00 per share)
  • UL +10.5% (Kraft Heinz (KHC) confirms that it made proposal to Unilever about combining the two groups), UN +9.4%, KHC +5.1%
  • ZPIN +3.5% (Zhaopin special committee is in advanced discussions regarding a potential transaction after receiving preliminary non-binding proposal $18.00 in cash per ADS)

 Other news:

  • HTBX +5.3% (presents data from its Phase 2 trial evaluating vesigenurtacel-L)
  • AZN +1.7% (reports Phase III trial for Lynparza meets primary endpoint), LC +1.2% (modest rebound following yesterday's 8% decline)
  • ARAY +0.9% (presents data from a Phase II study which showed that treatment with the CyberKnife System for low- and intermediate-risk prostate cancer provides 'excellent long-term results' at ASCOGU )
  • CNHI +0.9% (in sympathy with DE results)
  • ABBV +0.7% (authorizes a $5 bln increase to AbbVie's existing stock repurchase program)

Analyst comments:

  • CC +1.4% (upgraded to Positive from Neutral at Susquehanna)
  • TPX +0.9% (upgraded to Outperform at Raymond James)
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  Nestle downgraded to Outperform from Top Pick at RBC Capital Mkts  (72.62)
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  S&P futures vs fair value: -8.00. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: -13.10.

The S&P 500 futures trade eight points below fair value.

Earlier this morning, Kraft Heinz (KHC 87.28, -3.81) announced that it has made a proposal to merge with U.K. consumer products giant Unilever (UL 47.02, +4.44). Unilever declined the initial bid, but Kraft said in a statement that it looks forward to «working to reach agreement on the terms of a transaction.»

Kraft and Unilever have added 4.5% and 9.6%, respectively, following the news while Kellogg (K 72.65, -2.06), General Mills (GIS 58.75, -2.79), and Mondelez Int'l (MDLZ 40.95, -2.25) have slipped between 2.8% and 5.0%.

In earnings news, Deere (DE 112.95, +3.27) is trading higher by 3.0% after it beat on the top and bottom lines and issued upside guidance. Similarly, WebMD Health (WBMD 53.40, +1.89) is up 3.7% after it reported better than expected earnings results and announced it was exploring strategic alternatives.

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 Amadeus IT upgraded to Buy from Neutral at UBS  (45.97)
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  Husqvarna upgraded to Buy from Reduce at Kepler  (16.14)
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  Broadcom ticking modestly higher here in the premarket session after sell side shop out suggesting co may be supplying wireless charging to next iteration of iPhone  (208.18)Related tickers: WATT
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  Valeo SA downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Natixis Bleichroeder  (31.55)
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  Kate Spade downgraded to Underperform from Outperform at CLSA  (22.56) 
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  Gapping down

Gapping down
In reaction to disappointing earnings/guidance
:

  • HURN -12.9%, (Huron Consulting to acquire growth strategy firm Innosight; reports prelim 2016 results slightly below estimates and issues 2017 guidance)
  • NUS -9.1%, ORC -8.8%, MCHX -5.5%, AEG -5.1%,
  • FLS -4.2%, (also announces an order close to $80 mln to provide pumps and ebulators for the Hengli Integrated Refining Complex Project in China)
  • GIS -4.1%, CINR -3.8%, (thinly traded), XRAY -3.4%, VECO -2.8%, SJM -2.8%, GVA -2.7%, VFC -2.4%, PES -2.3%, TRN -2.2%, MDRX -2.2%
  • SE -2%, AMBR -1.2%, MRC -0.9%, MRC -0.9%, CPB -0.8%

M&A news:

  • MDLZ -5.1% (after Kraft Heinz (KHC) says it is approaching Unilever)
  • SAGE -4.3% (issues statement that co is not in M&A discussions)
  • K -2.8% (following Kraft (KHC) proposal to combine with Unilever (UL))
  • CREE -1% (Cree will terminate the definitive agreement to sell its Wolfspeed Power and RF division to Infineon Technologies AG), .

Select EU financial related names showing weakness:

  • DB -3.5%, ING -2.5%, RBS -2.3%, BCS -2.2%, LYG -2%, SAN -2%, BBVA -1.9%

Select metals/mining stocks trading lower:

  • HMY -4%, BBL -2.2%, BHP -2.1%, RIO -1.8%, AU -0.5%

Other news:

  • BKD -4.1% (following late spike into the close on reports of potential interest from Ventas)
  • LII -3.1% (Lennox Int'l issues statement, says it withdrew from presenting at the Barclays Industrial Select Conference next week because its CFO has a minor back injury that requires surgery)
  • TSLA -1.6% (continued weakness)
  • NAK -0.5% (responds to 'misleading criticism' in the February 14, 2017 report by Kerrisdale Capital; believes each claim is 'unfounded, contain numerous errors')

Analyst comments:

  • HTZ -3.5% (downgraded to Underperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse)
  • CAR -0.7% (downgraded to Neutral from Outperform at Credit Suisse)
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  AMN Healthcare target raised to $47 from $46 at The Benchmark Company reflecting the increase in firm's '17-'18 ests  (39.35)
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  Aerie Pharma initiated with a Buy at ROTH Capital; tgt $69  (45.00)
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уроки англ.языка)))...

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Ковбой

 Currency Market Summary

Dollar Rebounds Along with Yen

  • The U.S. dollar rallied against all of the majors except for the Japanese yen today, sending the Dollar Index up 0.44% to 100.88. While there was little U.S. economic data out today, U.K. retail sales fell short of estimates and that weighed on the British pound. Also driving the dollar higher was a widening in the yield spread between the 10-year Treasury and the 10-year German bund. Lower returns on risk-free eurozone assets tends to send capital away in search of higher yield. The dollar index is now stuck between its 21 and 50-day moving averages (100.37 and 101.36, respectively) despite some very strong PPI, CPI, and retail sales data out this week. As we noted earlier this week, the dollar index is starting to trace out the right-hand shoulder of a head and shoulders top but a return to ~99.40 would be necessary to complete the pattern
  • EUR/USD: -0.48% to 106.14
    • The eurozone's current account surplus narrowed more than expected in December to EUR31 bln from EUR36.4 bln in November
    • For FY2016, however, the surplus hit a record-high 3.4% of GDP, up from 3.1% in 2015
    • Eurozone construction output fell 0.2% m/m in December but the year-on-year change was revised up to 3.2% after a revision to the prior month's reading
  • GBP/USD: -0.45% to 1.2429
  • USD/CHF: +0.47% to 1.0026
  • USD/JPY: -0.43% to 112.88
    • Japan's Reuters Tankan Index increased to 20 for February from 18 in January
  • USD/CNY: +0.18% to 6.866
    • The People's Bank of China said that it will deepen interest rate and exchange rate reform. It said that it will keep the yuan basically stable against its currency basket but increase two-way flexibility against the U.S. dollar
  • USD/RUB: +1.74% to 58.54
    • Russian producer prices rose 3.3% m/m in January (12.7% y/y) after a 0.6% increase in December
  • USD/TRY: -0.99% to 3.634
  • USD/BRL: +0.28% to 3.098
    • Brazil's current account deficit narrowed more than expected to $5.1 bln in January from $5.88 bln in December
    • Foreign direct investment in January totaled $11.5 bln, beating estimates but slowing from the $15.4 bln in December
  • USD/MXN: +0.09% to 20.426
  • USD/CAD: +0.18% to 1.3107
  • AUD/USD: -0.29% to 0.7664
  • NZD/USD: -0.28% to 0.7189
    • In New Zealand, retail sales grew by 0.8% q/q in the fourth quarter (+4.2% y/y), missing estimates and matching Q3's pace
      • Core retail sales rose 0.6% q/q (0.2% prior)
    • Separately, the Business NZ PMI fell to 51.6 for January from 54.2 for December
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  Aetna sees quick pop after the trade resumption but still remains deep in the red  (125.92 -3.62)Managed healthcare names trading notably lower today: UNH -3.8%, AET -2.7%, CNC -2.7%, WCG -2.2%, MOH -2.2%, ANTM -2.1%, HUM -1.9%, CI -1.4%
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  Sprint shares spiking in recent trade following report that Softbank (SFTBY) wants to discuss TMUS US and Sprint (S) merger  (9.07 +0.07)Related Stocks: DTEGY, T, VZ
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  T-Mobile US also trading higher by 2% following M&A headlines — see 14:33  (61.96 +1.35)
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  Sprint — - Volume spikes as the stock jumps +6.5% up to fresh Feb highs, nearing its late-Jan peak of 9.65  (9.39 +0.39)
  • Also note the jump in volume/spikes among peers TMUS, VZ, and T.
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 Energy Closing Prices
  • April crude oil futures rose $0.01 (+0.02%) to $53.79/barrel
    • Crude oil futures have switched their front month to April from March, as indicated by the active amount of volume in the contracts
  • Mar natural gas closed $0.01 lower (-0.4%) at $2.84/MMBtu
  • April RBOB gasoline closed $0.01 lower (-0.6%) at $1.74/gallon
  • Mar heating oil futures closed $0.01 higher (+0.6%) at $1.64/gallon
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  Crown Castle REIT (CCI -1.6%) and American Tower (AMT +0.4%) fall on potential for customer consolidation — Reuters reported Softbank is pushing for a T-Mobile (TMUS) and Sprint (S) merger  (89.13 -1.37)DISH is down over 1% as carriers were said to potentially be interested in the company for its large spectrum position.
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  Treasury Market Summary

Treasuries Rally to Close Slightly Lower on the Week

  • U.S. Treasuries traded higher today as equities digested some of this week's gains and the U.S. economic data flow slowed to a trickle. The Conference Board's Leading Index rose 0.6% m/m in January, beating the Briefing.com consensus for a 0.5% gain and capping the economic data releases for the week. The Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Fund Manager Survey now shows that almost 80% of respondents expect the global economy to grow above trend growth for the next 12 months, up from less than 10% in the summer of 2016. The significance here is that expectations for a growth rebound could already be baked into interest rates. In other news, the IMF will contribute EUR5 bln to Greece's third bailout program, according to Spiegel. The S&P 500 is down just 0.04% to 2,346.2 ahead of the long weekend, up from a session low of 2,339.5
  • Yield Check:
    • 2-yr: -1 bp to 1.19%
    • 5-yr: -3 bps to 1.91%
    • 10-yr: -3 bps to 2.42%
    • 30-yr: -2 bps to 3.03%
  • News:
    • The Conference Board's Leading Index rose 0.6% m/m in January. That was its best gain since April 2016. The Briefing.com consensus was 0.5% as was December's change
    • The New York Fed's Nowcast for Q1 real U.S. GDP growth is unchanged at 3.1% this week
      • The Atlanta Fed's GDPNow model forecast is at 2.4% and the St. Louis Fed has 2.0%
    • The BofA Merrill Lynch Global Fund Manager Survey shows that almost 80% of respondents now expect the global economy to growth above trend for the next 12 months, up from less than 10% in the summer of 2016
    • The International Monetary Fund is now likely to contribute EUR5 bln to Greece's bailout, according to Spiegel
  • Commodities:
    • WTI crude: -0.04% to $53.34/bbl.
    • Gold: -0.41% to $1,236.5/troy oz.
    • Copper: -0.48% to $2.7055/lb.
  • Currencies:
    • EUR/USD: -0.53% to 1.0609
    • USD/JPY: -0.39% to 112.93
  • Data out Friday:
    • Monday: Holiday
    • Tuesday: Minneapolis Fed President Kashkari (FOMC voter) (08:50 ET); Philadelphia Fed President Harket (FOMC voter) (12:00 ET); $26 bln 2-year Treasury auction (results at 13:00 ET); San Francisco Fed President Williams (non-FOMC voter) (15:30 ET)
    • Wednesday: MBA Mortgage Index for the week ending 2/18 (07:00 ET); January Existing Home Sales (10:00 ET); $34 bln 5-year Treasury auction (results at 13:00 ET); Fed Governor Powell (FOMC voter) (13:00 ET); FOMC Minutes from 1/31-2/1 meeting (14:00 ET)
    • Thursday: Initial Jobless Claims for the week ending 2/18 and Continuing Jobless Claims for the week ending 2/11 (08:30 ET); December FHFA Housing Price Index (09:00 ET); Natural Gas Inventories for the week ending 2/18 (10:30 ET); Crude Inventories for the week ending 2/18 (11:00 ET); $28 bln 7-year Treasury auction (results at 13:00 ET)
    • Friday: February Michigan Sentiment — Final (10:00 ET); January New Home Sales (10:00 ET)
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  Sector Summary: Energy extends losses as the broader market trades nearly flat, crude ends pit trading nearly unchanged, & natural gas closes at a 3-month low for the 2nd consecutive session

The Energy Sector (XLE, -0.7%) leads the broader market (SPY, -0.02%) lower in the last hour of the trading day. Crude oil (USO, -0.1%) futures end flat following the release of rig count data summarized below. Lastly, natural gas (UNG, -0.3%) futures extend yesterday's post-EIA losses and end at a fresh 3-month low, modestly lower compared to yesterday's pit trading close.

Rig count data highlights:

  • The Baker Hughes (BHI, -0.7%) total U.S. rig count (includes natural gas rigs) increased by 10 to 751 rigs, following last week's increase of 12 rigs.
  • The number of active U.S. rigs drilling for oil rose by 6 to 597 rigs this week.
  • This marks the fifth weekly oil rig count increase in a row.
  • The rig count has increased for 15 out of the past 16 weeks.

Next week/upcoming data reminders:

  • API data will be released next Tuesday at 4:30 pm ET.
  • EIA petroleum data will be released Wed at 10:30 am ET.
  • EIA natural gas data will be released Thursday at 10:30 am ET.
  • The next Baker Hughes rig count data will be released next Friday at 1 pm ET.
  • The next official OPEC meeting is scheduled to take place on May 25 in Vienna, Austria.

Notable Gainers:

  • Oil & Gas Drilling & Exploration: ECA Marcellus Trust I (ECT, +6%)
  • Equipment and services: Synergy Resources (SYRG, +3%)
  • Independent oil & gas: Petroquest Energy (PQ, +9%)
  • Major-integrated: Petrobras Argentina (PZE, +1%)
  • Refining & Marketing: Renewable Energy Group (REGI, +1%)
  • Pipelines: Spectra Energy Partners (SEP, +1%)

Notable Laggards:

  • Oil & Gas Drilling & Exploration: Pioneer Energy Services (PES, -10%)
  • Equipment and services: Weatherford (WFT, -4%)
  • Independent oil & gas: Mexco Energy (MXC, -12%)
  • Major-integrated: Eni (E, -2%)
  • Refining & Marketing: Calumet Specialty Products Partners (CLMT, -3%)
  • Pipelines: Star Gas Partners (SGU, -7%)

Closing Energy Prices:

  • April crude oil futures rose $0.01 (+0.02%) to $53.79/barrel
    • Crude oil futures have switched their front month to April from March, as indicated by the active amount of volume in the contracts
  • Mar natural gas closed $0.01 lower (-0.4%) at $2.84/MMBtu
  • April RBOB gasoline closed $0.01 lower (-0.6%) at $1.74/gallon
  • Mar heating oil futures closed $0.01 higher (+0.6%) at $1.64/gallon

Earnings/News

  • Pioneer Energy (PES, -9%) misses by $0.03, beats on revs
    • Reported Q4 net loss of $0.34 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.03 worse than the Capital IQ Consensus of ($0.31); revenues fell 31.6% year/year to $71.5 mln vs the $70.28 mln Capital IQ Consensus.
  • Matador Resources (MTDR, -0.2%) formed a JV for Delaware basin midstream assets; Five Point provided $176.4 mln in exchange for a 49% interest
    • Co announced the formation of San Mateo Midstream, a strategic JV between a wholly-owned subsidiary of Matador and a subsidiary of Five Point Capital Partners to operate and expand Matador's midstream assets in the Delaware Basin in Eddy County, New Mexico and Loving County, Texas.
    • Matador received $171.5 mln in connection with the formation of the JV and may earn up to an additional $73.5 mln in deferred performance incentives over the next five years. Matador will continue to operate the Midstream Assets and control the joint venture. At formation, Matador and Five Point owned 51% and 49% of the JV, respectively.
  • Gastar Exploration (GST, +10%) entered into a definitive securities purchase agreement with funds managed by affiliates of Ares Management (ARES, -0.2%) that provides for $425 mln in new financing to the co in the form of a $250 mln secured term loan, $125 mln secured convertible notes and a $50 mln common stock issuance; provides capex guidance
    • Proceeds from the Ares Investment will be used to fully repay Gastar's existing $70.4 mln revolving credit facility and redeem its $325 mln senior secured notes due May 2018.
    • Gastar's 2017 capital budget is ~$84.0 mln comprised of $46.0 mln of drilling and completion costs, $30.8 mln in leasing costs and $7.2 mln for capitalized interest and administration costs.

Broker Calls

  • Genesis Energy (GEL, -3%) downgraded to Equal Weight at CapitalOne
  • Cimarex (XEC, -1%) upgraded to Buy at KLR Group
  • Superior Energy (SPN, -4%) downgraded to Hold at Jefferies
  • Arch Coal (ARCH, +4%) initiated with a Buy at Jefferies
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  MabVax Therapeutics shares spike after Barry Honig reports a 6.2% passive stake  (3.02 +0.45)
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  Closing Commodities: Natural gas extends yesterday's post-EIA losses, ending pit trading at a 3-month low for the 2nd consecutive session; gold futures retreat from yesterday's 1-week high on renewed dollar index strength
  • Natural gas extended yesterday's post-EIA losses, ended pit trading at a 3-month low for the 2nd consecutive session
    • Mar natural gas closed $0.01 lower (-0.4%) at $2.84/MMBtu
  • In precious metals, gold retreated from yesterday's 1-week high on renewed dollar index strength
    • April 2017 gold ended today's session down $2.40 to (-0.2%) $1239.10/oz
    • Mar 2017 silver closed today's session $0.05 lower (-0.3%) at $18.03/oz
  • The dollar index was +0.5% around the 100.92 level, weighed on precious metals
    • Commodities, as measured by the Bloomberg Commodity Index, were -0.4% around the 88.11 level
  • Crude oil futures ended nearly flat following rig count data, which showed active oil rigs drilling have increased in the US for the 5th week in a row
    • April crude oil futures rose $0.01 (+0.02%) to $53.79/barrel
    • Rig count data highlights:
      • The Baker Hughes total U.S. rig count (includes natural gas rigs) increased by 10 to 751 rigs, following last week's increase of 12 rigs.
      • The number of active U.S. rigs drilling for oil rose by 6 to 597 rigs this week.
      • This marks the fifth weekly oil rig count increase in a row.
      • The rig count has increased for 15 out of the past 16 weeks.
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  Travelzoo discloses that its management is discussing with third parties a possible sale of its Fly.com product  (9.40 -0.05)Furthermore, the Company is evaluating the discontinuance of its SuperSearch product. These initiatives support the Company's strategy to focus on its global Travelzoo brand.
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  Unusual Options Activity

The following options are exhibiting notable trading, potentially indicating changing sentiment toward the underlying stocks, and/or potentially representing positioning for increased volatility.

Bullish Call Activity:

  • UL Mar 45 calls after company confirmed approach by Kraft Heinz (volume: 3140, open int: 3270, implied vol: ~29%, prev day implied vol: 7%) — co is scheduled to present at Seamless Africa on March 14.  Co is expected to report earnings mid-late April.
  • ERII Aug 12.5 calls (volume: 1540, open int: 240, implied vol: ~60%, prev day implied vol: 57%) — co is expected to report earnings early March.

Bearish Put Activity:

  • CMA Mar 67.5 puts (volume: 1770, open int: 390, implied vol: ~27%, prev day implied vol: 25%)  — co reported earnings mid-January and is expected to report its next quarterly earnings mid-April.
  • ORCL Weekly Mar24 40 puts (volume: 4820, open int: 170, implied vol: ~21%, prev day implied vol: 20%) — co is expected to report earnings mid-March, possibly within the weekly March expiration cycle.

Sentiment: The CBOE Put/Call ratio is currently: 0.99… VIX: (11.73, -0.03, -0.3%).
Today is options expiration — the last day to trade February equity options.
*Please use the Talk to Us link at the top of the page to provide feedback on this comment as well as the OPTNX comments.

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  Earnings Calendar for the week of February 20
  • Monday (February 20)
    • Markets Closed in Observance Of Presidents' Day        
  • Tuesday (February 21)
    • Pre-Market: WMT, MDT, GPC, ECL, HSIC, SAH, PWR, AAP, WLK, AGR, EXPD, AER, FDP, SNI, WAB, CBRL, MDR, CEQP, TVPT, SOHU, WLKP, NEWM, RRGB, ASTE, LL, THRM, FELE, NRZ, RBA, CYOU, DAKT, etc...
    • After-Hours: EIX, XPO, FE, NEM, TX, QUAD, WCN, HLS, TEX, AWK, KAR, VMI, CXO, VRSK, TXRH, MATX, PZZA, FSLR, LZB, NFX, WLL, SPN, CHEF, KALU, SHO, EXR, etc... 
  • Wednesday (February 22)
    • Pre-Market: TJX, SO, FMS, HFC, UNVR, HST, NI, NCLH, HCN, HSNI, TOL, SBGI, GRMN, TPH, WWW, CLH, PNK, CHS, AVA, GEO, NSM, WLH, SCL, ACCO, etc...
    • After-Hours: HPQ, ETE, ETP, LB, SUN, SXL, TSLA, SPTN, ARRS, Y, TS, TSE, RIG, CVG, FIT, CTRP, UFPI, VVC, PSA, CAKE, CLR, WR, NBR, RRC, TROX, DOOR, WGP, CLGX, ALDW, WES, OGS, TRNC, etc...
  • Thursday (February 23)
    • Pre-Market: KSS, CM, LDOS, HRL, LKQ, APA, PDCO, COMM, CHK, SFM, W, IRM, ZBRA, LKSD, COT, STN, PF, CPG, AMCX, CNK, SAFM, SERV, GIL, VAC, OGE, TK, AAWW, TFX, etc...
    • After-Hours: HPE, GPS, JWN, BIDU, LYV, TPC, PBA, INTU, SEM, HLF, ALJ, LNT, ACHC, SWN, BRCD, GXP, BIO, SPXC, BGS, AL, ADSW, CENX, AHT, SEMG, BMRN, SPLK, ECPG, AGO, etc...
  • Friday (February 24)
    • Pre-Market: RY, MGA, JCP, FL, RLGY, MGLN, VWR, BCC, PNW, PMC, COG, HSC, RDC, ARES, SSP, ERF, TRVG, HMSY, DFRG, DOC, CRK, EHTH, MTLS 
    • After-Hours: ENH
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 Midday Market Summary: Averages Trade Mixed at Midday

The major averages trade mixed at midday. The Nasdaq (+0.1%) shows a modest gain while the S&P 500 and the Dow hold losses of 0.2% and 0.3%, respectively.

Today's modest pullback is unsurprising given the stock market's recent 2.5% climb, which occurred over the course of seven consecutive winning sessions preceding Thursday's downtick. However, below the surface, some uneasiness may be developing among investors as news out of Washington wraps tax reformation in a blanket of uncertainty.

President Trump's proposed border tax, which has become a key component of the new administration's larger tax reform plan, has created a rift within the GOP. And the longer it takes to hash out the border tax adjustment, the longer investors will have to wait for the broader tax reform plan.

The lingering border tax uncertainty has offset poor holiday sales among retailers. The SPDR S&P 500 Retail ETF (XRT 43.67, +0.23) has added 0.5% on the day and now sits near its pre-holiday season levels.

Retailers' outperformance has pushed the consumer discretionary (unch) and consumer staples sectors (+0.4%) past the benchmark index. Consumer staples hold the top spot on today's leaderboard following a morning full of corporate news within the sector.

Kraft Heinz (KHC 93.87, +7.55) has jumped 7.5% after the company confirmed that it made a merger proposal to Unilever (UL 47.55, +4.98). Unilever rejected the initial bid, stating that the offer was fundamentally undervalued, but Kraft aims to keep pursuing the transaction.

UnitedHealth (UNH 157.03, -6.61) also made headlines following reports that the U.S. government filed a lawsuit against the company for allegedly overcharging Medicare by hundreds of millions of dollars. The lawsuit, which was unsealed on Thursday, was filed back in 2011.

However, despite the 4.0% fall in the shares of UNH, the health care sector (-0.2%) has kept pace with the broader market thanks in part to DaVita HealthCare's (DVA 67.33, +2.66) upbeat earnings report. The company has climbed to a fresh six-month high after reporting better than expected earnings after yesterday's close. Shares of DVA trade higher by 4.1%.

The remaining sectors show losses between 0.1% (technology) and 0.8% (energy). The energy sector has moved lower in tandem with crude oil, which has slipped 0.4% to $53.55/bbl ahead of today's Baker Hughes rig count data. The report will cross the wires shortly, at 1:00 pm ET.

Intraday trading volume has been relatively low, suggesting some investors have gotten a jump start on the extended Presidents' Day weekend.

Today's economic data was limited to January Leading Indicators:

  • The Conference Board's Leading Indicators report for January ticked up 0.6% (Briefing.com consensus +0.5%) after a 0.5% increase in December.
    • The key takeaway from the report is that the strengths among the leading indicators have become more widespread.
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