Tesla (TSLA) Adding Ability to Start Model S with iPhone in Upcoming Firmware Update (AAPL) (GOOG) Aug 21, 2014 03:43PM

Do you have an Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPhone and Tesla (Nasdaq: TSLA) Model S? You're about to be in luck.

9to5mac noted on Wednesday night that functionality in Tesla's version 6.0 firmware update will include the ability to start a Model S using the iPhone handset. The ability will be included in the updated Tesla Mobile App, with Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) Android users getting the function in a few weeks.

Tesla says you can use the iPhone to start the Model S if you forget your keyfob, but let's be honest: it's a feature that's going to get a lot of usage.

Shares of Tesla are down 0.5 percent.

U.S. DEA Moves to Restrict Hydrocodone-Combination Prescriptions (TEVA) (MNK) (ABBV) Aug 21, 2014 03:09PM

Teva Pharma (NYSE: TEVA), Mallinckrodt (NYSE: MNK) are on watch as the U.S. DEA is looking to restrict hydrocodone combination prescriptions. AbbVie (NYSE: ABBV) manufactures Vicodn. The following was posted to the DEA website on Thursday:

On Friday the U. S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will publish in the Federal Register the Final Rule moving hydrocodone combination products (HCPs) from Schedule III to the more-restrictive Schedule II, as recommended by the Assistant Secretary for Health of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and as supported by the DEA’s own evaluation of relevant data. The Federal Register has made the Final Rule available for preview on its website today at http://go.usa.gov/mc8d.

This Final Rule imposes the regulatory controls and sanctions applicable to Schedule II substances on those who handle or propose to handle HCPs. It goes into effect in 45 days.

The Controlled Substances Act (CSA) places substances with accepted medical uses into one of four schedules, with the substances with the highest potential for harm and abuse being placed in Schedule II, and substances with progressively less potential for harm and abuse being placed in Schedules III through V. (Schedule I is reserved for those controlled substances with no currently accepted medical use and lack of accepted safety for use.) HCPs are drugs that contain both hydrocodone, which by itself is a Schedule II drug, and specified amounts of other substances, such as acetaminophen or aspirin.

“Almost seven million Americans abuse controlled-substance prescription medications, including opioid painkillers, resulting in more deaths from prescription drug overdoses than auto accidents,” said DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart, “Today’s action recognizes that these products are some of the most addictive and potentially dangerous prescription medications available.”

When Congress passed the CSA in 1970, it placed HCPs in Schedule III even though it had placed hydrocodone itself in Schedule II. The current analysis of HCPs by HHS and the DEA shows they have a high potential for abuse, and abuse may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence. Adding nonnarcotic substances like acetaminophen to hydrocodone does not diminish its abuse potential. The many findings by the DEA and HHS and the data that support these findings are presented in detail in the Final Rule on the website. Data and surveys from multiple federal and non-federal agencies show the extent of abuse of HCPs. For example, Monitoring the Future surveys of 8th, 10th, and 12th graders from 2002 to 2011 found that twice as many high school seniors used Vicodin®, an HCP, nonmedically as used OxyContin®, a Schedule II substance, which is more tightly controlled.

In general, substances placed under the control of the CSA since it was passed by Congress in 1970 are scheduled or rescheduled by the DEA, as required by the CSA and its implementing regulations, found in Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations. Scheduling or rescheduling of a substance can be initiated by the DEA, by the HHS Assistant Secretary of Health, or on the petition of any interested party. (Detailed information on the scheduling and rescheduling process can be found beginning on page 8 of Drugs of Abuse on the DEA’s website at http://www.justice.gov/dea/pr/multimedia-library/publications/drug_of_abuse.pdf.)

The rescheduling of HCPs was initiated by a petition from a physician in 1999. The DEA submitted a request to HHS for a scientific and medical evaluation of HCPs and a scheduling recommendation. In 2013, the U. S. Food and Drug Administration held a public Advisory Committee meeting on the matter, and the committee voted to recommend rescheduling HCPs from Schedule III to Schedule II by a vote of 19 to 10. Consistent with the outcome of that vote, in December of 2013 HHS sent such a recommendation to the DEA. Two months later, on February 27, the DEA informed Americans of its intent to move HCPs from Schedule III to Schedule II by publishing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Federal Register, outlining its rationale and the proposed changes in detail and soliciting public comments on the proposal, of which almost 600 were received. A small majority of the commenters supported the proposed change.

AmEx (AXP) Pressed to End SeaWorld (SEAS) Sponsorship Aug 21, 2014 02:09PM

American Express (NYSE: AXP) is seeing some pressure to cut its corporate ties with SeaWorld (NYSE: SEAS).

The Dodo noted Thursday that Change.org has a petition up asking AmEx to end its relationship with SeaWorld. Part of the petition reads:

American Express is one of SeaWorld's newest corporate partners. Earlier this year, they became the "official card" of SeaWorld, and we need to tell them that orcas are intelligent animals who do not belong in tiny tanks at SeaWorld. American Express’ strong customer service values are at the heart of its success, and I think American Express should align with the values of its customers and end its partnership with this theme park.

The petition now has over 6,600 signatures.

News comes as PETA announced earlier this week that it was ready to scoop up more SeaWorld shares in order to gain enough clout to propose shareholder resolutions.

Shares of SeaWorld are up 0.4 percent and AmEx is up 0.6 percent.

Bank of America (BAC) Could See $4B+ Worth of Tax Benefits on RMBS Settlement Aug 21, 2014 01:56PM

Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) might be met with a sweet, sweet tax break amid having to shell out $16.65 billion to the U.S. for faulty RMBS sales.

The WSJ noted Thursday that BofA could save about $4 billion on taxes when all is said and done. Federal law allows companies to deduct a large portion of costs for settling with federal agencies on their tax returns.

While the $5.02 billion in fines BofA agreed to pay can't be deducted, the bank can include $4.63 billion in compensatory remediation payments.and $7.0 billion worth of consumer relief as deductions. That means $11.63 billion would be deductible and, at a corporate tax rate of 35 percent, that amounts to just over $4 billion. With a 31 percent tax rate, that's $3.6 billion.

Shares of BofA are up over 3 percent.

Wal-mart (WMT) Cuts iPhone 5c, 5s Prices Ahead of Next-Gen Debut (AAPL) Aug 21, 2014 07:26AM

Wal-mart (NYSE: WMT) is cutting the price of the Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s ahead of the expected iPhone 6 launch, which should happen in early September.

The LA Times noted that Wal-mart, the world's largest retailer, will sell the iPhone 5c for 97 cents and 5s for $79 on two-year contract. Those prices are down from $99 and $199, respectively, for each device. Lower prices are expected to take effect today.

Apple is expected to hold an iPhone event on September 9th, which will debut the new iPhone 6. Market watchers expect multiple versions of the device, including one with a larger display which is expected to satiate a recent surge in demand in Asia for smartphones with bigger screens. Sales of the next-generation devices should happen the following Friday following debut, or shortly thereafter.

As with Apple's last iPhone unveiling, sales in China and other Asian countries should see no real lag time like there has been in the past.

Shares of Apple are indicated lower Thursday after hitting a record high of $101.09 on Wednesday.

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