Top 10 News for 8/18 - 8/22: Apple Back to Record Highs; Ballmer Bids Microsoft 'Adieu'; Dollar Store M&A Saga Continues Aug 22, 2014 03:55PM

1. Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) stock hit and crossed above the $100 level this week following its seven-for-one split, which took place earlier in the summer. When taking into consideration dividend payments made over the last year, shares reached a new, all-time high at $101.09 Thursday, which is a pre-split, pre-dividend level of $707.63. Apple's prior unadjusted all-time high was $705.07, which was reached in September 2012.

2. Monday, Dollar General (NYSE: DG) announced it has made a proposal to acquire Family Dollar Stores, Inc. (NYSE: FDO) for $78.50 per share in cash, in a transaction valued at $9.7 billion.

However, on Thursday, Family Dollar Stores announced that its Board of Directors has unanimously rejected the non-binding proposal made by Dollar General on the basis of antitrust regulatory considerations. In addition, the Family Dollar Board unanimously reaffirmed its recommendation in support of the merger agreement with Dollar Tree, Inc.

3. Markets were alert Friday as Fed chairperson Janet Yellen delivered her speech at the Jackson Hole Symposium. The speech was entitled Labor Market Dynamics and Monetary Policy. Yellen commented that the FOMC sees significant under-use of labor resources. The chairperson also commented: if progress in the labor market continues to be more rapid than anticipated or if inflation moves up more rapidly than anticipated then increases in the federal funds rate target could come sooner than the Committee currently expects and could be more rapid thereafter. Of course, if economic performance turns out to be disappointing and progress toward goals proceeds more slowly than they expect, then the future path of interest rates likely would be more accommodative than they currently anticipate. While Yellen's cautious tone fits her current schedule, some pundits believe that keeping key rates near zero for much longer might contribute to a stronger rise in inflation or potential asset bubbles.

4. Long time Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) CEO, Steve Ballmer, announced that he would be stepping down from the board of directors of the company. The move follows recent news that his $2 billion bid to acquire the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers had closed. Ballmer might be satisfied with the way things are running at Microsoft and, despite still having a large individual stake in the company, is refocusing efforts onto his next venture. Click here for more color.

5. The Hertz Corporation (NYSE: HTZ) was hit early this week following news that it now expects to be well below the low end of its 2014 guidance due to operational challenges in the rental car and equipment segments as well as the associated costs related to the accounting review previously disclosed. Fir Tree Partners also called for an ousting of the company's current CEO and wants former Dollar Thrifty CEO Scott Thompson to assume the role. Shares also saw a rebound as activist investor Carl C. Icahn filed a 13D on the company showing an 8.5 percent stake. Icahn is seeking to have discussions with management.

6. Taser International (Nasdaq: TASR) and Digital Ally, Inc. (Nasdaq: DGLY) saw some strong gains this week related to the growing "on-officer video" theme that has been thrust into the spotlight amid the Ferguson, Missouri events. On Thursday, Digital Ally announced that the number of inquiries that it has received from law enforcement agencies interested in its FirstVU HD Officer-Worn Video System has increased dramatically since the national media began covering the civil unrest in Ferguson, Missouri.

7. Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) announced that it has reached a comprehensive settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ), certain federal agencies and six states. The settlement includes releases on the securitization, origination, sale and other specified conduct relating to residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) and collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), and an origination release on residential mortgage loans sold to Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) and private-label (PLS) RMBS trusts, or guaranteed by the Federal Housing Authority (FHA). The claims relate primarily to conduct that occurred at Countrywide and Merrill Lynch prior to Bank of America's acquisition of those entities. Bank of America will pay a total of $9.65 billion in cash and provide approximately $7.0 billion worth of consumer relief. The cash portion consists of a $5.02 billion civil monetary penalty and $4.63 billion in compensatory remediation payments.

8. Home Depot (NYSE: HD) announced Thursday night that Craig Menear, currently president, U.S. retail, has been named CEO and president, effective November 1, 2014, and has been elected to the company's board of directors, effectively immediately. Current chairman and CEO Frank Blake will remain chairman. Menear, who was named president, U.S. retail in February of this year, is a 34-year retail veteran and a key leader in the company's success. In addition to his role as chief merchant, Menear has overseen the company's supply chain efforts, its rapidly growing online and private brand businesses and the company's marketing and global sourcing.

9. Infineon (OTCBB: IFNNY) and International Rectifier (NYSE: IRF) announced that they have signed a definitive agreement under which Infineon will acquire International Rectifier for $40 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $3 billion.

10. Existing-home sales increased in July to their highest annual pace of the year, and the ongoing decline in distressed sales reached an important milestone, according to the National Association of Realtors. Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, rose 2.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.15 million in July from a slight downwardly-revised 5.03 million in June. (The consensus was looking for a reading of 5.02 million.) Sales are at the highest pace of 2014 and have risen four consecutive months, but remain 4.3 percent below the 5.38 million-unit level from last July, which was the peak of 2013.

Trading Radar for 8/25: Qihoo 360 (QIHU), Renren (RENN), OSI Systems (OSIS) Report Aug 22, 2014 03:15PM

The Trading Radar highlights key earnings and economic announcements for the next trading session:

Before Markets Open:

China Ming Yang (NYSE: MY) - no Street consensus
OSI Systems, Inc. (Nasdaq: OSIS) - consensus EPS $1.17
Qihoo 360 Technology (NYSE: QIHU) - consensus EPS $0.47

Intraday or Not Specified:
10:00am EDT

  • New Home Sales - Street sees 427K
After Markets Close:

Adept Technology, Inc. (Nasdaq: ADEP) - consensus EPS $0.02
Fabrinet (NYSE: FN) - consensus EPS $0.35
iKang Healthcare Group (Nasdaq: KANG) - consensus EPS $0.17
Premier, Inc. (Nasdaq: PINC) - consensus EPS $0.33
Prospect Capital Corp. (Nasdaq: PSEC) - consensus EPS $0.32
Renren (NYSE: RENN) - consensus loss $0.07

Check out our Earnings Insider for news and updates on earnings as they happen!

Notable 52-Week Highs and Lows of the Day 8/22: (GILD) (GMCR) (GPS) High; (RIG) (AMPE) Low Aug 22, 2014 03:13PM

52-Week High:
  • Gilead Sciences (Nasdaq: GILD) $105.16. Gilead Sciences rising today as RBC Capital raised its price target from $102 up to $115, while maintaining an Outperform rating on the stock. Analyst Michael J. Yee is positive on its next-gen HIV pill, with Phase II on tap next month. For more color, click here.

  • Keurig Green Mountain, Inc. (Nasdaq: GMCR) $135.99. Keurig Green Mountain and Kraft Foods Group announced a multi-year licensing, manufacturing, and distribution agreement for Kraft’s branded coffees in Keurig portion pack formats compatible with Keurig consumer and commercial brewing systems in the U.S. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

  • Gap, Inc. (NYSE: GPS) $45.46. Gap reported Q2 EPS of $0.74, $0.05 better than the analyst estimate of $0.69. Revenue for the quarter came in at $3.98 billion versus the consensus estimate of $3.97 billion. EPS includes $0.05 gain on an asset sale. Excluding the gain, EPS came in flat at $0.69. The company sees FY2014 EPS of $2.95 - $3.00, versus the consensus of $2.95.

  • Tuesday Morning (Nasdaq: TUES) $19.35. Tuesday Morning up today after it reported largely in-line Q4 loss of $0.08 per share and revenue of $212.6 million. Michael Rouleau, Chief Executive Officer, stated, "During the fourth quarter we continued work on the final phase of the Company's turnaround program which includes the sell-off of exited categories, expansion of replacement categories, a further reduction of our clearance merchandise, and enhancements to our store layouts. Our strong comparable store sales trend, increased inventory turnover and improved cash position during the fourth quarter provides us with the confidence that our plan is working as expected and that our customers like what they see."
52-Week Low:
  • Transocean Ltd. (NYSE: RIG) $37.67. Transocean issued an updated fleet summary on Thursday night. Goldman Sachs lopped $2 off of its price target to $29 following the update.

  • Ampio Pharmaceuticals (NYSE: AMPE) $4.91. Jefferies downgraded Ampio Pharmaceuticals from Buy to Hold and moved its price target from $14 dwn to $5. Analyst Biren Amin said, "We are downgrading AMPE shares to a Hold from a Buy on a lack of confidence in the direction of the Ampion program. The company announced that the PIII STEP trial observed a significant setback when 73% of Ampion clinical supply in STEP may have been exposed to temperatures below 15 degrees Celsius. AMPE expects to disclose full efficacy data upon discussing w/ the FDA, which is anticipated in 3-4 weeks."

Unusual 11 Mid-Day Movers 8/22: (PSMI) (MSN) (PRKR) Higher; (ZBB) (BORN) (RGSE) Lower Aug 22, 2014 12:52PM

Peregrine Semiconductor Corporation (Peregrine) (Nasdaq: PSMI) 60.7% HIGHER; Murata Electronics North America, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Murata Manufacturing Co., Ltd., and Peregrine Semiconductor announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Murata will acquire all outstanding shares of Peregrine not owned by Murata, for $12.50 per share in cash, or a total transaction value of $471 million ($465 million excluding Murata’s existing holding).

Emerson Radio (AMEX: MSN) 23.3% HIGHER; declared a special dividend of $0.70 per share. The dividend will be payable on September 30, 2014, to stockholders of record on September 12, 2014. The annual yield on the dividend is 43.8 percent.

ParkerVision, Inc. (Nasdaq: PRKR) 20.7% HIGHER; announced that it has amended its patent infringement complaint filed on May 1, 2014 against Qualcomm Incorporated (Nasdaq: QCOM), Qualcomm Atheros, Inc., HTC Corporation and HTC America, Inc. (case number 6:14-cv-00687). The amended complaint, filed today in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida, names Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., Samsung Electronics America, Inc. and Samsung Telecommunications America, LLC (collectively "Samsung") as additional defendants and furthermore adds four patents to the seven patents in the original complaint.

Vapor Corp. (Nasdaq: VPCO) 18.7% HIGHER; appears to be rebounding above $2.50 following a post-earnings slump which saw shares drop 47 percent from the open on August 14th through the close August 20th.

ZBB Energy (NYSE: ZBB) 18.1% LOWER; announced that it has priced a firm commitment underwritten public offering of 11,520,000 shares of its common stock at a price to the public of $1.12. In addition, the underwriter has exercised in full its option, granted by the Company, to purchase up to 1,728,000 additional shares of common stock to cover over-allotments. The offering is expected to close on or about August 27, 2014, subject to satisfaction of customary closing conditions.

China HGS Real Estate, Inc. (Nasdaq: HGSH) 20.7% HIGHER; adding to gains today. Earlier in the week, China HGS announced that the Company signed its first shanty area rebuilding framework agreement with the Hantai District government of Hanzhong City.

Digital Ally (Nasdaq: DGLY) 16.3% HIGHER; continuing higher as attention has been brought to equipping police officers with on-person cameras this week. Shares have been up three of the last four sessions with the stock gaining just over 150 percent this week.

China New Borun Corp. (NYSE: BORN) 13.6% LOWER; reported Q2 EPS of $0.13. Revenue for the quarter came in at $108.7 million. It sees Q3 revenue of $84.5 million to $87.8 million.

RGS Energy (Nasdaq: RGSE) 10.9% LOWER; collapsing below the $1.80 support level. The company posted Q2 results and announced a delay in preliminary Q2 results earlier this week.

Aeropostale, Inc. (NYSE: ARO) 10.0% LOWER; reported Q2 EPS of ($0.46), $0.13 better than the analyst estimate of ($0.59). Revenue for the quarter came in at $396.2 million versus the consensus estimate of $392.61 million. Aeropostale sees Q3 2014 EPS of ($0.48) - ($0.44), versus the consensus of ($0.33).

Ampio Pharmaceuticals (NYSE: AMPE) 10.0% LOWER; Jefferies downgraded Ampio Pharma from Buy to Hold and moved its price target from $14 down to $5.

To get this report daily visit's Hot Lunchtime Reads 8/22: (DRL) (GMCR) (MTSI) (AVD) Aug 22, 2014 12:10PM

The following is a list of notable articles to help get you through the lunch hour:
  • Doral Financial (DRL) Said It Hasn't Left Negotiations -> Read this!

  • Keurig (GMCR) / Kraft Foods (KRFT) Agreement is 'Significant', Says KeyBanc; Analyst Expects Shares to Gain -> Read this!

  • M/A-Com (MTSI) Looks Like a Juicy Takeover Target Following Sector M&A -> Read this!

  • American Vanguard Corp. (AVD) PT Reduced to $12 at Topeka Capital -> Read this!

  • Citron Research Issues More Commentary on China Finance Online (JRJC), China Stocks -> Read this!

  • Vodafone (VOD) Rumors from Across the Pond Drive Shares Higher (T) -> Read this!

  • Angie's List (ANGI) Cuts Salesforce by 97 -> Read this!

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