Briefing.com

Hourly In Play (R)

Updated: 25-Mar-19 16:00 ET

 Today's In Play   
15:44  SUMRX Closing Commodities: Oil prices slip modestly, WTI settles just below $59/barrel

  • Metals Settlement Prices:
    • June gold settled today's session up $15.80 (+1.2%) at $1328.25/oz
    • May silver settled today's session $0.17 higher (+1.1%) at $15.57/oz
    • May copper settled $0.02 higher (+0.7%) at $2.86/lb
  • Agriculture Settlement Prices:
    • May corn settled unch at $3.79/bushel
    • May wheat settled $0.05 higher at $4.70/bushel
    • May soybeans settled $0.02 higher at $9.06/bushel
  • Energy Settlement Prices:
    • May Crude Oil futures fell $0.12 (-0.2%) to $58.89/barrel
    • Apr Natural Gas closed $0.02 (+0.7%) at $2.78/MMBtu
    • Apr RBOB Gasoline settled $0.03 lower (-1.6%) at $1.89/gallon
    • Apr Heating oil futures settled $0.02 higher (+1.0%) at $1.98/gallon
15:17  SUMRX Earnings out this afternoon/tomorrow morning

  • This afternoon: RHT -- being acquired by IBM (IBM)
  • Tomorrow morning: CCL CONN CRON FDS INFO MKC NEOG
15:15  SCANX Large cap notable movers of interest -- Viacom (VIAB) gains after striking distribution deal -Technical-

The following are some of today's most notable large cap movers of interest ($10 bln - $200 bln market cap), ranked by % change (all stocks over 100K average daily volume).

Large Cap Gainers

  • VIAB (26.68 +5.29%): Lifts off of Friday's two-month lows after co reached a new distribution deal with AT&T (T) that will prevent Viacom channels like Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, VH1, BET, and MTV from being scrubbed from AT&T's DirecTV service; terms of the contract, which followed heated negotiations, were reportedly not disclosed, but AT&T had allegedly been seeking lower carriage fees for Viacom content upon the prior contract's expiry.
  • EDU (83.08 +4.49%): Upgraded to Overweight from Equal-Weight at Morgan Stanley.
  • CAG (27.51 +4.01%): Stock continues to see strength following its Q3 earnings report; now up circa +20% since Wednesday evening.

Large Cap Losers

  • PCG (18.25 -6.05%): In recent news, co on Friday reportedly pushed back against a judge's revised proposals for preventing its equipment from causing further wildfires, with co arguing that the proposals set unreasonable standards for compliance vis-a-vis the monitoring of trees and vegetation. In other items, co's Board previously determined to extend the Shareholder Proposal Deadline for nominations to the Board and other business to this evening.
  • IQ (23.91 -4.44%): Added to recent losses at the open -- the stock is now down circa 13% over the last week, reaching one-month lows. Streaming service sector and other digital entertainment stocks this afternoon digest product and service updates introduced at Apple's (AAPL) event.
  • DXCM (123.59 -4.22%): Continued weakness; stock is now down by 15% over the last three sessions.
15:09  BONDX Treasury Market Summary

Treasuries Maintain Strength

  • U.S. Treasuries began the week with a continuation of last week's advance. Treasuries started the cash session on a slightly lower note, but the opening losses were erased immediately, giving way to a rally that continued into the afternoon. There was some backtracking during the final hour, pressuring Treasuries from their session highs. Treasuries in the belly of the curve paced today's advance, but today's charge also pressured the 10-yr yield and the 30-yr yield to fresh lows for the year. Up front, the four-week bill yield and the three-month bill yield were little changed, resulting in more pressure on the slope of the yield curve. The spread between the three-month bill yield and the 10-yr note yield tightened by two basis points to -2 bps. Furthermore, the 10-yr yield briefly dipped below the effective fed funds rate, which stands at 2.41%. The market did not receive any U.S. economic data today, but Germany's ifo Business Climate Index for March showed a continued deterioration of the manufacturing sector, which was notable, given Germany's status as a key export center.
  • Yield Check:
    • 2-yr: -7 bps to 2.25%
    • 3-yr: -6 bps to 2.19%
    • 5-yr: -5 bps to 2.20%
    • 10-yr: -4 bps to 2.42%
    • 30-yr: -2 bps to 2.87%
  • News:
    • Attorney General William Barr briefed Congress on the findings of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. The investigation "did not find that any U.S. person or Trump campaign official or associate conspired or knowingly coordinated with the Internet Research Agency in its efforts." The Special Counsel did not draw a conclusion as to whether examined conduct constituted obstruction of justice. No additional indictments were recommended.
    • China's First Vice Premier Han Zheng spoke at the China Development Forum, claiming that China will continue cutting import taxes to create a first-rate environment for foreign businesses.
    • China's Finance Minister Liu Kun said that the government will speed up bond sales to boost domestic demand.
    • The Bank of Korea acknowledged that exports have weakened since December due to falling semiconductor prices amid a prolonged correction in business investment.
  • No Data Reported Today
  • Commodities:
    • WTI crude: -0.2% to $58.89/bbl
    • Gold: +1.2% to $1328.25/ozt
    • Copper: +0.7% to $2.86/lb
  • Currencies:
    • EUR/USD: +0.1% to 1.1314
    • GBP/USD: -0.2% to 1.3185
    • USD/CNH: -0.1% to 6.7164
    • USD/JPY: +0.1% to 110.04
  • A Look to Tuesday:
    • 8:30 ET: February Housing Starts (Briefing.com consensus 1.210 mln; prior 1.230 mln) and Building Permits (Briefing.com consensus 1.308 mln; prior 1.345 mln)
    • 9:00 ET: January S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index (Briefing.com consensus 4.0%; prior 4.2%) and January FHFA Housing Price Index (Briefing.com consensus 0.3%; prior 0.3%)
    • 10:00 ET: March Consumer Confidence (Briefing.com consensus 132.0; prior 131.4)
  • Treasury Auctions:
    • 13:00 ET: $40 bln 2-yr Treasury note auction results
  • Fed Speakers:
    • 20:30 ET: Boston Fed President (FOMC voter) Eric Rosengren
    • 3:45 ET: Philadelphia Fed President (non-voter) Patrick Harker
    • 6:30 ET: Chicago Fed President (FOMC voter) Charles Evans
14:20  SCANX Mid cap notable movers of interest -- Cousins Properties (CUZ) sinks on merger deal -Technical-

The following are some of today's most notable mid cap movers of interest ($2 bln - $10 bln market cap), ranked by % change (all stocks over 100K average daily volume).

Mid Cap Gainers

  • CRON (20.39 +6.03%): Shares move higher, lifting off of Friday's multi-week lows, ahead of co's Q4 earnings report, which will be delivered tomorrow morning before the open.
  • QTT (13.35 +6.09%): Continued volatility; trades on somewhat lower than average volume.
  • GGAL (26.98 +4.41%): Argentine stocks recover in part from weakness exhibited at the end of last week. (Related: BFR, BMA...)

Mid Cap Losers

  • CUZ (9.28 -6.07%): Merging with office REIT company TIER REIT (TIER) in a 100% stock-for-stock transaction to create a combined company with a total market cap of approx. $7.8 bln and a portfolio of over 21 mln sq ft stretched across the Sun Belt; co will issue 2.98 shares of newly issued common stock in exchange for each share of TIER stock, and co's shareholders will own approx. 72% of the combined company's stock. Annual net G&A savings of approx. $18.5 mln are anticipated. The transaction will be "modestly dilutive" to co's 2019 FFO per share. Shares drop away from Thursday's multi-year high levels.
  • GOOS (45.71 -5.3%): Steepens losses accumulated on Friday, trading with above average volume; the stock has now moved lower by circa 11% in the most recent two trading sessions. At two-month lows.
  • ZUO (19.85 -5.07%): Continued weakness; tech sector lags.
13:33  EIGR Eiger BioPharmaceuticals presents Phase 2 PREVENT study results -- primary efficacy endpoint of improved postprandial glucose nadir during mixed meal tolerance testing was achieved with statistical significance (13.59 -0.31)

The primary efficacy endpoint of improved postprandial glucose nadir during mixed meal tolerance testing (MMTT) was achieved with statistical significance with avexitide 30 mg BID (57.1 vs 47.1 mg/dL; p = 0.001) and 60 mg QD (59.2 vs 47.1 mg/dL; p = 0.0002), with fewer participants requiring glycemic rescue during each of the active dosing regimens than during placebo dosing. The secondary endpoint of reduced postprandial insulin peak during MMTT was also statistically significant with avexitide 30 mg BID (349.5 vs 454.5 IU/mL; p < 0.03) and 60 mg QD (357.2 vs 454.5 IU/mL; p = 0.04).

  • Improvements in metabolic and clinical parameters were also monitored during each patients' daily routine in the outpatient setting and assessed by self-blood glucose monitoring (SBGM), electronic diary, and continuous glucose monitoring (CGM). Patients experienced fewer episodes of hypoglycemia (hypoglycemia symptoms confirmed by SBGM concentrations of <70 mg/dL), severe hypoglycemia (neuroglycopenic symptoms confirmed by SBGM concentrations <55 mg/dL) and a reduced rate of rescue during both dosing regimens of avexitide as compared to placebo. Rescue is defined as self- or third-party administration of oral or g-tube intake to prevent or treat hypoglycemia. Patients also demonstrated reductions in percent time in hypoglycemia during diurnal periods (8 am to midnight) and number of episodes of hypoglycemia as measured by CGM.
  • Avexitide was well-tolerated in this study. There were no treatment-related serious adverse events and no participant withdrawals. Adverse events were typically mild to moderate in severity. The most common adverse events were injection site bruising, nausea, and headache, all of which occurred with lower frequency during avexitide dosing periods than during the placebo dosing period.
13:19  SCANX Today's most active stocks -Technical-

The following are today's most active stocks ranked by volume and relative volume, categorized by sectors (over $300 mln market cap and 100K average daily volume).

Today's top 20 volume
  • Healthcare: ACB (31 mln +3.96%)
  • Materials: GG (38.29 mln +2.96%), VALE (16.41 mln -0.23%), GOLD (16.05 mln +2.67%), GOLD (16.05 mln +2.67%), NEM (15.1 mln +1.25%)
  • Industrials: GE (27.8 mln -0.3%)
  • Consumer Discretionary: NIO (29.39 mln -3.73%), F (20.24 mln +0.29%)
  • Information Technology: AMD (53.01 mln -0.91%), NOK (25.04 mln -0.34%), AAPL (23 mln -0.64%), MU (20.7 mln -2.88%)
  • Financials: SQQQ (41.67 mln +0.87%), BAC (38.78 mln -0.52%), QQQ (26.94 mln -0.31%), TQQQ (17.15 mln -0.98%)
  • Energy: CHK (24.44 mln -0.32%)
  • Consumer Staples: ABEV (15.25 mln -0.7%)
Today's top relative volume (current volume to 1-month average daily volume)
  • Healthcare: CCXI (4.54x +5.77%), LXRX (1.78x -8.02%)
  • Materials: LOMA (2.76x +2.56%)
  • Industrials: GBX (2.47x -4.63%), GOL (1.81x -0.35%)
  • Consumer Discretionary: ASNA (2.68x +10.28%), DENN (1.99x +2.24%), WGO (1.88x -0.96%)
  • Information Technology: AVYA (9.38x +35.12%), IDTI (2.33x +2.51%), MITK (2.21x +2.47%)
  • Financials: TPRE (4.84x +1.13%), YRD (2.87x +9.61%), TUR (2.4x +5.03%), KBWB (1.84x -0.23%), AEG (1.81x +0.41%)
13:17  SCANX Today's biggest % gainers/losers -Technical-

The following are today's top 20 percentage gainers and top 20 percentage losers, categorized by sectors (over $300 mln market cap and 100K average daily volume).

Today's top 20 % gainers
  • Healthcare: VYGR (19.24 +7.07%), DNLI (20.82 +7.04%), CRON (20.58 +7%), BIOS (2.03 +6.58%), CCXI (11.54 +5.77%), CYRX (13.8 +5.1%)
  • Materials: EGO (4.92 +6.49%)
  • Consumer Discretionary: ASNA (1.18 +10.28%), DSW (21.7 +6.77%), ROKU (67.79 +6.07%), YETI (30.25 +5.68%), AEO (21.03 +5.13%)
  • Information Technology: AVYA (17.85 +35.12%)
  • Financials: YRD (12.55 +9.61%), GGAL (27.21 +5.3%), TUR (25.46 +5.03%)
  • Consumer Staples: NBEV (5.33 +4.93%)
Today's top 20 % losers
  • Healthcare: LXRX (5.7 -8.02%), EOLS (22.28 -7.21%), XON (5.07 -5.59%), FLXN (11.84 -5.28%), GRTS (10.87 -5.07%), ASMB (17.36 -4.62%), CRSP (34.01 -4.44%), PDCO (21.33 -4.26%)
  • Industrials: GBX (32.21 -4.63%)
  • Consumer Discretionary: GOOS (45.87 -4.97%)
  • Information Technology: ZUO (19.93 -4.69%), LASR (21.39 -4.47%)
  • Energy: WFT (0.67 -10.06%), CVIA (5.96 -8.31%), PVAC (47.53 -7.73%)
  • Consumer Staples: NUS (47.11 -4.4%)
  • Utilities: PCG (18.51 -4.69%)
13:16  OPTNX 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:

  • SPWR Weekly Mar29 6.5 calls (volume: 5590, open int: 760, implied vol: ~113%, prev day implied vol: 86%).  Co is expected to report earnings early May.
  • EDU May 80 calls are seeing interest with the underlying stock up 4% after it was upgraded to Overweight from Equal-Weight at Morgan Stanley (volume: 2040, open int: 10, implied vol: ~45%, prev day implied vol: 3%).  Co is expected to report earnings mid-to-late April.
  • KL Apr 35 calls (volume: 3490, open int: 380, implied vol: ~47%, prev day implied vol: 39%). Co announced retirement of non-executive Chairman. Co is expected to report earnings late May.

Bearish Put Activity:

  • CVS Apr 54 puts (volume: 2030, open int: 60, implied vol: ~33%, prev day implied vol: 30%).  Pharmacy benefit manager companies will testify to Senate on April 3. Co is expected to report earnings early May.

Sentiment: The CBOE Put/Call ratio is currently: 0.89... VIX: (16.86, +0.38, +2.3%).
April 18 is options expiration -- the last day to trade April 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.

12:58  WRAPX Midday Market Summary: Stocks Edge Lower as Yields Continue to Drop

The S&P 500 is down 0.2% after teetering between modest gains and losses today. Investors have exercised some caution amid a further decline in U.S. Treasury yields and familiar concerns about slowing economic growth.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 0.2%, and the Nasdaq Composite is down 0.3%. The Russell 2000, however, is up 0.3%.

The S&P 500 communication services (-0.6%), information technology (-0.6%), and financial (-0.6%) sectors weigh on the broader market. Conversely, the consumer discretionary (+0.3%), real estate (+0.2%), and utilities (+0.2%) sectors provide offsetting support.

Concerns about slowing growth contributed to early follow-through selling and an early decline of 0.6% in the S&P 500. Economic data out of Germany today showed the outlook for the manufacturing sector continued to deteriorate. Germany's DAX lost 0.2% on Monday.

Stocks briefly regrouped with shares of retailers leading the market back into positive territory. The SPDR S&P Retail ETF (XRT 43.90, +0.47) is up 1.1%. Semiconductor stocks, on the other hand, have pulled back from last week's gains, limiting the scope of a comeback. The Philadelphia Semiconductor Index is down 1.6%.

On a related note, Apple (AAPL 189.85, -1.20, -0.6%) trades lower just ahead of its services event at 1:00 p.m. ET, where it is expected to introduce a new subscription service and a TV streaming service. 

In M&A news, Thermo Fisher (TMO 266.63, +2.82, +1.1%) said it will acquire Brammer Bio for approximately $1.7 billion in cash, expanding its presence into the gene therapy field.

Separately, the Mueller report has gotten plenty of attention in the media today as it concluded there was no collusion between President Trump's campaign and Russia to influence the outcome of the 2016 election, according to the brief from Attorney General William Barr. In addition, no conclusion on obstruction of justice on the part of President Trump was made. Market reaction has been muted. 

U.S. Treasuries continue to see follow-through buying interest, pushing yields even lower across the curve. The 2-yr yield is down five basis points to 2.27%, and the 10-yr yield is down four basis points to 2.42%. The U.S. Dollar Index is down 0.1% to 96.56. WTI crude is down 0.2% to $58.94/bbl.

Investors did not receive any economic data today.

11:59  SCANX Small cap notable movers of interest -- Avaya Holdings (AVYA) gains on leveraged buyout reports -Technical-

The following are some of today's most notable small cap movers of interest ($300 mln - $2 bln market cap), ranked by % change (all stocks over 100K average daily volume).

Small Cap Gainers

  • AVYA (18 +36.26%): Jumped to three-month highs on surging volume on reports that co is considering a leveraged buyout offer from a private equity firm.
  • AXSM (15.9 +22.31%): Continuing its recent upward trend, the stock today achieves a new all-time high, up circa +100% month-to-date.
  • CPRX (4.61 +14.71%): Sees continued strength on above average volume following Q4 results and a presentation at the Oppenheimer 29th Annual Healthcare Conference last week; reaches new three-year highs.

Small Cap Losers

  • SRNE (5.03 -15.26%): Stock retreats somewhat after it posted gains of circa +155% last week, reaching its highest level since July in the process.
  • CRTO (23.02 -8.32%): Macquarie notes that reports that Google (GOOG) is considering major changes to its Chrome browser and Google Marketing Platform, the likes of which could include ad tracking restrictions or different terms of use for Google's ad targeting services, could pose a potential headline risk to co and various of its advertising platform peers.
  • EOLS (22.33 -7.02%): Filed for a $250 mln mixed securities shelf offering and a common stock offering of approx. 15.7 mln shares by selling stockholders.
11:42  SCANX Stocks/ETFs that traded to new 52 week highs/lows this session - New highs (135) outpacing new lows (22) -Technical-

Stocks that traded to 52 week highs: A, ABT, ACIA, RAMP, ADC, ARGO, AGO, AMT, ANET, AWI, AWR, AYX, AZO, BHVN, BLL, BMS, BRKR, BVN, CCI, CDNA, CDNS, CDW, CLI, CMG, CREE, CRL, CUZ, CWT, CYBR, CZZ, DATA, DHR, DOC, EFC, EPAM, ERIC, EVBG, FDS, FICO, FR, FRPT, FSCT, G, GGG, GKOS, GLDD, GLUU, GTLS, IIPR, IRDM, KIM, KMB, KRNT, LHCG, LII, LPSN, LYV, MA, MASI, MDB, MITK, MPW, MRK, MSCI, MSFT, NI, NOW, NVTA, NXST, PAYC, PSXP, PYPL, QGEN, QTNA, QURE, RNG, RPD, SBAC, SBGL, SNPS, SR, STE, STOR, TAC, TEAM, THS, TMO, TNDM, TTD, TWLO, UAN, VAR, VCTR, VCYT, VEEV, VMW, VRSN, W, WAT, WPC, WPM, WWD, XLNX, XRX, ZBRA, ZEN, ZNGA, ZS, ZTS, BHK, BND, BNDX, EPRT, IEF, IEI, IGIB, IGSB, IUSB, KEYS, NEA, NZF, OGS, PHK, POST, QTEC, SHY, SKYY, SLQD, TIER, USIG, VCIT, VCSH, VGIT, VGSH, VMBS

Stocks that traded to 52 week lows: ADNT, AIMT, ASNA, BIIB, BIOS, CAL, DVAX, EXPR, GME, GTHX, JWN, NLS, NUS, SIX, STAR, SYNA, TEN, TPR, URBN, AVYA, IGT, SQQQ

Thinly-Traded Stocks (ADV below 100k) that traded to 52 week highs on High Volume: HMLP, MUJ, NAN, NRK, NXJ, PMF, VKQ

Thinly-Traded Stocks (ADV below 100k) that traded to 52 week lows on High Volume: RAVN, BIOB

ETFs that traded to 52 week highs: AGG, BND, CSJ, ENZL, IEI, MUB, SHY

ETFs that traded to 52 week lows: JO
11:37  CCL Carnival First Quarter Earnings Preview (56.80 +0.39)

  • Carnival (CCL) will report first quarter earnings tomorrow before the open. There is a conference call scheduled for 10:00 ET.
  • Q1 Capital IQ consensus calls for EPS of $0.44 (-15% yr/yr) on revenue of $4.31 billion (-1.0% yr/yr).
  • First quarter constant currency net revenue yields are expected to be flat with the prior year. Net cruise costs excluding fuel per ALBD in constant currency for the first quarter of 2019 are expected to increase by ~2.0 percent compared to the prior year.
  • The company is expected to guide for the second quarter where Capital IQ consensus calls for EPS of $0.73 (+7% yr/yr) on revenue of $4.5 billion (+3% yr/yr). The company is expected to update its guidance for FY19 which currently stands at $4.50-4.80 (+9% yr/yr at midpoint). The current FY19 consensus stands at $4.77 (+12% yr/yr). The company expects net revenue yields in constant currency expected to be up approximately 1.0% compared to the prior year.
  • Last quarter, CCL said cumulative advance bookings for full year 2019 are considerably ahead of the prior year at prices that are in-line with the prior year. Pricing on bookings taken since September had been running in-line on a comparable basis to the prior year while booking volumes are significantly higher compared to the prior year. As a result, even with higher capacity, there was less inventory remaining for sale than at the same time last year.
  • Looking back, the company reported an inline quarter on the EPS, which was the first non-beat on EPS in several years. The company also missed on revenues for the first time in 3 years last quarter.
  • Based on the CCL Weekly Mar29 $56 straddle, the options market is currently pricing in a move of ~5% in either direction by weekly expiration (Friday).
  • On a positive report, look for resistance near the $60.00-60.50 area, while support sits near the $54.00-54.50 vicinity.
  • CCL has a market cap of ~$39 billion and trades at ~12x FY19 earnings versus peers NCLH at 10X FY19 earnings and peer RCL at 12x FY19 earnings.
11:30  EVA Enviva Partners to purchase the sponsor's interest in its first development joint venture, Enviva Wilmington Holdings; updates FY 19 net income and EBITDA guidance (30.45 -0.06)

  • The Partnership expects to complete the Hamlet Transaction for total consideration of $165.0 million on or about April 2, 2019.
  • The Hamlet Transaction is expected to generate net income in the range of $10.4 million to $13.4 million and adjusted EBITDA in the range of $26.0 million to $29.0 million once the Hamlet plant and the MGT contract are fully ramped.
  • The Hamlet Transaction and Hamlet Throughput associated with the Second Payment are expected to be immediately accretive to distributable cash flow per common unit; as a result, the Partnership now expects to distribute at least $2.65 per common unit for full-year 2019 and between $2.87 and $2.97 per common unit for full-year 2020.
    • The Partnership revised its annual target distribution coverage ratio from 1.15 to 1.20 times, on a forward basis.
10:49  CRON Cronos Group Earnings Preview- Eyes on Capacity Build Out, MO deal structure (20.80 +1.57)

  • Cronos Group (CRON) is expected to reported Q4 results tomorrow before the market opens with a conference call to follow at 8:30am ET.
  • Current Capital IQ consensus stands at a Loss of ($0.03) per share on revenue of $8.95 mln. 
  • Cannabis play CRON is set to report its Q4 results tomorrow before the market opens. We have seen the reports from peers ACB and CGC and the common theme was a spike in costs as the companies scramble to ramp up capacity utilization in order to meet the rising demand in cannabis after it was legalized recreationally in Canada on October 17. A key item for investors will be how well the companies are able to manage this ramp up in demand. CRON was provided some support as tobacco play Altria (MO) announced a $2.4 bln investment in the company making it the largest owner of in CRON with a 45% stake. Last week it was announced the two companies would be looking at different structures for the company outside of Canada. Any color on this new structure would be welcome.
  • Shares of CRON have doubled since the market wide December 24 rally got underway. CRON hit an all-time high of $25.10 but shares have been reigned back into this $18-25 area over the past couple of months. This is a wide range for a chop but we have seen a lot of volatility in the space and that should continue. These levels will be key areas to watch based around the reaction to the earnings report and any discussion on the MO investment. 

Q3 Recap

  • CRON reported Q3 GAAP loss per share of CAD 0.04 vs CAD 0.01 last year and two-analyst estimate of - CAD 0.02. CRON reports Q3 revs of CAD 3.76 mln vs $1.314 mln last year and two-analyst estimate of CAD 3.56 mln.
  • Kilograms of cannabis sold increased 213% in the third quarter from 164 kilograms in the third quarter of 2017 to 514 kilograms in the third quarter of 2018.
  • The main drivers associated with the increase in revenues and the increase in kilograms sold are increased production capacity and increased volumes sold through the domestic medical and international channels, as well as initial shipments into the domestic adult-use recreational market.

Items of Interest

  • On 3/18 in a filing, CRON and MO announced that the companies were exploring creating a new holding company structure for CRON outside of Canada. Any color on this will be key for shares of CRON but it may be too early to expect any decision. MO currently is the largest shareholder in CRON with 45% ownership interest.
  • CRON appointed Jerry Barbato as its CDO effective 4/15; Mr. Barbato was most recently Senior Director of Corporate Strategy at Altria (MO).
  • On 12/7 MO announced it would make a $1.8 bln investment in exchange for 45% equity stake in newly issued shares at CAD$16.25/share. The agreement includes a warrant to acquire an additional ownership interest in Cronos Group at a price of CAD $19.00 per share exercisable over four years from the closing date. If exercised in full, the warrant would increase Altria's ownership in Cronos Group by 10% to approximately 55%.

Market Cap Valuation

  • CRON ($8.5 bln); TLRY ($6.4 bln); CGC ($20.4 bln); ACB ($12.2 bln)
10:35  TALKX Four-on-the-Floor

Four-on-the-floor is an idiom for a manual transmission that helps make a car go. With that in mind, we present four key catalysts today that are driving the stock market in the early going:

  • Continued caution
    • Stocks made a brief appearance in the green after the opening bell, but that move was followed by a return into negative territory, making for a continuation of the selling from Friday.
    • The early weakness is being driven by selling in most sectors while Treasuries have maintained their strength with shorter tenors leading the advance.
  • More weak manufacturing data from Germany
    • This morning featured the March ifo Business Climate Index from Germany, which increased to 99.6 (expected 98.7; prior 98.7) and beat expectations. However, the headline reading overshadowed continued deterioration in the manufacturing sector. The corresponding Index fell to 6.6 from 9.1 in February.
    • The report, which serves as an early look at activity during the current month suggests the German manufacturing sector is still searching for a bottom.
  • Conclusion of Mueller investigation
    • Over the weekend, Congress was briefed on the findings of the investigation conducted by special counsel Robert Mueller. According to the brief from Attorney General William Barr, the investigation "did not find that any U.S. person or Trump campaign official or associate conspired or knowingly coordinated with the Internet Research Agency in its efforts [to influence the election]." The Special Counsel did not draw a conclusion as to whether examined conduct constituted obstruction of justice. No additional indictments were recommended.
    • The conclusion of the investigation removes a level of uncertainty that was hanging over the market. However, it should be noted that the uncertainty did not stop the stock market from a strong rally off its December low.
  • Apple event
    • Apple (AAPL 188.91, -2.14, -1.1%) will hold an event at 13:00 ET, during which the heavily-weighted company is expected to unveil new service offerings.
    • Shares of Apple are down at this time, but the stock could see increased activity during the event, which could help lift the broader market, if investors respond positively to Apple's presentation.

The Russell 2000 is down 0.7%; the Nasdaq Composite is down 0.4%; the S&P 500 is down 0.3%; and the Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 0.2%

10:19  OPTNX Early Options Activity

Taking an early look at the options market, we found the following names that may be worth watching throughout the day for further indication of investor expectations given their options volume and implied volatility movement.

Stocks seeing volatility buying (bullish call buying/bearish put buying):

Calls:

  • EDU May 80 calls are seeing interest after it was upgraded to Overweight from Equal-Weight at Morgan Stanley with 2030 contracts trading vs. open int of 10, pushing implied vol up around 2 points to ~44%. Co is expected to report earnings mid-to-late April.

Puts:

  • CVS Apr 54 puts are seeing interest with 2030 contracts trading vs. open int of 60, pushing implied vol up around 3 points to ~33%.  Pharmacy benefit manager companies will testify to Senate on April 3. Co is expected to report earnings early May.

Stocks seeing volatility selling:

  • WGO, CMCM implied vol is lower following earnings/guidance

Sentiment: The CBOE Put/Call ratio is currently: 0.75.. VIX: (17.56, +1.08, +6.6%).
April 18 is options expiration: the last day to trade April 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.

09:41  WRAPX Opening Market Summary: Wall Street Gets Early Lift from Financials and Industrials

The S&P 500 is off to a higher start, currently trading with a gain of 0.2%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 0.2%, and the Nasdaq Composite is up 0.1%.

Looking at the S&P 500 sectors shows the recently-battered financials (+0.5%) and industrials (+0.5%) sectors outperforming. Conversely, the energy (-0.3%) and consumer staples (-0.2%) sectors underperform the broader market.

U.S. Treasuries trade higher, pushing yields lower across the curve. The 2-yr yield and the 10-yr yield are down two basis points each to 2.30% and 2.42%, respectively. The U.S. Dollar Index is down 0.1% to 96.52. WTI crude is down 0.4% to $58.82/bbl.

09:36  SCANX Earnings/guidance movers

  • YRD +7.40%
  • CMCM -5.61% PM -1.85% WGO -0.75% ADM -0.07%
09:24  LNTH Lantheus Holdings announces retirement of Chief Medical Officer Cesare Orlandi, M.D., effective September 2; appoints John Bolla as Chief Operations Officer, effective immediately (23.62 )

  • Dr. Orlandi, Chief Medical Officer, will be employed by the company in a full time capacity until his retirement date and will continue in his role as Chief Medical Officer until his successor is appointed. He joined the company as Chief Medical Officer in 2013.
  • The position of Chief Operations Officer is newly created. Mr. Bolla, who joined Lantheus in 2018, currently serves as the company's SVP, Technical Operations.
09:16  WRAPX S&amp;P futures vs fair value: +0.90. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: -4.60.

Wall Street is indicated for a flat start, as the S&P 500 futures trade roughly in-line with fair value. Some caution is on display after U.S. equities sold off last Friday amid growing concerns about global growth.

In corporate news, Apple (AAPL 191.84, +0.79, +0.4%) is expected to introduce a new subscription services and a TV streaming service today in a services event, beginning at 1:00 p.m. ET. Separately, Thermo Fisher (TMO 263.81, unch, unch) will expand its presence into the gene therapy field after it said it will acquire Brammer Bio for approximately $1.7 billion in cash.

The U.S. Treasury market remains strong, pushing yields even lower across the curve. The 2-yr yield is down two basis points to 2.30%, and the 10-yr yield is down one basis point to 2.45%. The U.S. Dollar Index is down 0.1% to 96.53. WTI crude is down 0.3% to $58.91/bbl.

09:14  SUMRX Economic Summary: Housing Starts due out Tuesday at 8:30 ET

Upcoming Economic Data:

  • January S&P Case Schiller Home Price Index due out Tuesday at 8:00 (December was 4.2%)
  • February Housing Starts due out Tuesday at 8:30 (January was 1.23 M)
  • February Building Permits due out Tuesday at 8:30 (January was 1.345 M)
  • January FHFA Housing Price Index due out Tuesday at 9:00 (December was 0.3%)
  • March Consumer Confidence due out Tuesday at 10:00 (February was 131.4)

Upcoming Fed/Treasury Events:

  • The Treasury is scheduled to auction off new debt this week.
    • $40 bln 2 Year Treasury Auction -- Tuesday
    • $41 bln 5 Year Treasury Auction -- Wednesday
    • $32 bln 7 Year Treasury Auction -- Thursday

Other International Events of Interest

  • China's First Vice Premier Han Zheng spoke at the China Development Forum, claiming that China will continue cutting import taxes to create a first-rate environment for foreign businesses.
  • Also at the China Development Forum, China's Finance Minister Liu Kun said that the government will speed up bond sales to boost domestic demand.
09:03  AJG Arthur J. Gallagher acquires McLean Insurance Agency; terms not disclosed (78.88 )

Established in 1971, McLean Insurance Agency offers retail property/casualty, life and employee benefit brokerage and consulting services to businesses and individuals throughout the Eastern United States.
09:02  SOLO ElectraMeccanica Vehicles to sell 3,333,334 common shares at an offering price of $3.60/share in registered direct offering (4.46 )

Electra Meccanica intends to use the net proceeds from this offering to further design and development the Company's two-seater sports car, for the production of the SOLO and for working capital and for general corporate purposes.
09:01  WEX WEX to acquire the fuel card business of EG Group; terms not disclosed (184.50 )

Go Fuel Card offers fuel cards for vehicles to a range of customers from small and medium enterprises, commonly called SMEs, to larger fleet operators. WEX expects the transaction to close in the second quarter of 2019, subject to customary closing conditions.
08:58  XERS Xeris Pharmaceuticals presents data on its developmental ready-to-use room-temperature stable liquid glucagon (10.00 )

  • Xeris will present the first data from its Phase 2 study of RTU, room-temperature stable liquid glucagon for congenital hyperinsulinemia (CHI) during ENDO 2019, the Endocrine Society's annual meeting, March 23-26 in New Orleans, LA. As part of this randomized, placebo-controlled study, five patients with CHI under 1 year of age were enrolled to receive Xeris' RTU glucagon delivered continuously through an Omnipod infusion pump to prevent hypoglycemia and to lower supplemental glucose requirements, via reductions in intravenous glucose infusion rates (GIR). Treated patients had a positive clinical response compared to those receiving placebo, and follow-up open-label treatment resulted in a clinically meaningful response in all evaluable patients.
  • Results of a Xeris budget impact model on the estimated potential reduction in costs associated with use of its RTU room-temperature stable liquid glucagon will be presented in a poster during the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy's AMCP Managed Care & Specialty Pharmacy Annual Meeting, March 25-28 in San Diego, CA. The model was developed to estimate the economic impact of open coverage of Gvoke HypoPen (Xeris' ready-to-use, room-temperature stable liquid glucagon in an auto-injector) for the treatment of severe hypoglycemia events as an alternative to currently marketed glucagon emergency kits (GEKs). With its positive functional efficacy profile, the results of the model illustrate the potential financial benefits for open coverage of glucagon rescue pen (GRP). The health utilization data also supports physicians to increase patient access to completed and filled glucagon prescriptions, in order to optimize patient outcomes. Results of the analysis indicate that significant overall cost savings may be achieved with use of the Xeris GRP.
    • A New Drug Application (NDA) for Xeris' lead product candidate, Gvoke HypoPen for the treatment of severe hypoglycemia, is currently under review with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), with a decision expected during Q2 2019.
08:50  WRAPX S&amp;P futures vs fair value: +0.60. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: -3.90.

The S&P 500 futures trade roughly in-line with fair value.

Equity indices in the Asia-Pacific region began the week on a lower note. China's First Vice Premier Han Zheng spoke at the China Development Forum, claiming that China will continue cutting import taxes to create a first-rate environment for foreign businesses. Also at the China Development Forum, China's Finance Minister Liu Kun said that the government will speed up bond sales to boost domestic demand. The Bank of Korea acknowledged that exports have weakened since December due to falling semiconductor prices amid a prolonged correction in business investment. Australia's debt remained in demand, pressuring the country's 10-yr yield to a fresh record low at 1.81%.

  • In economic data:
    • Japan's January All Industries Activity Index -0.2% month-over-month (expected -0.3%; last -0.6%)
    • Singapore's February CPI +0.5% year-over-year, as expected (last 0.4%)

---Equity Markets---

  • Japan's Nikkei: -3.0%
  • Hong Kong's Hang Seng: -2.0%
  • China's Shanghai Composite: -2.0%
  • India's Sensex: -0.9%
  • South Korea's Kospi: -1.9%
  • Australia's ASX All Ordinaries: -1.2%

Major European indices trade near their flat lines, but with a bias to the downside. The European Commission released a statement, noting that preparations for a no-deal Brexit on April 12 have been completed. Germany's ifo Business Climate Index (actual 99.6; expected 98.7) increased for the first time in seven months, beating expectations, but the outlook for the manufacturing sector continued weakening. Fiat Chrysler reportedly turned down a merger offer from Peugeot, but remains open to other offers. Standard & Poor's affirmed Spain's A- rating with a Positive outlook.

  • In economic data:
    • Germany's March ifo Business Climate Index 99.6 (expected 98.7; last 98.7). March Current Assessment 103.8 (expected 102.9; last 103.6) and Business Expectations 95.6 (expected 94.0; last 94.0)
    • Spain's February PPI +1.9% year-over-year (last 1.8%)

---Equity Markets---

  • STOXX Europe 600: -0.4%
  • Germany's DAX: -0.2%
  • UK's FTSE 100: -0.7%
  • France's CAC 40: -0.2%
  • Italy's FTSE MIB: unch
  • Spain's IBEX 35: -0.1%
08:40  CETV Central European Media commences process to explore and evaluate potential strategic alternatives (3.47 )

The Board of Directors has formed a Special Committee comprised of independent directors to lead the process of reviewing the various strategic alternatives available. These may include, among other things, the sale of part or all of the Company, a merger with another strategic partner, a recapitalization, or continuing to execute on CME's long-term business plan. AT&T Inc., CME's largest shareholder, supports CME's plan to review strategic alternatives.
08:38  KNDI Kandi Technologies signs equity transfer agreement with Geely Technologies to transfer certain equity interests in the Kandi Electric Vehicles Group (6.86 )

Pursuant to the Transfer Agreement, the parties have agreed to some of the key terms below:

  • The JV Company agrees to convert a loan of RMB 314 million (approximately USD 46.7 million*) from Geely Group last year to equity in order to increase its cash flow. As a result, the registered capital of the JV Company shall become RMB 2.44 billion (approximately USD 363.2 million*) Kandi Vehicles shall own 43.47% and Geely shall own 56.53%, of the equity interests in the JV Company, respectively, upon the conversion of the loan into equity in the JV Company.
  • Kandi Vehicles agrees to sell 21.47% of its equity interests in the JV Company to Geely for a total amount of RMB 516 million (approximately USD 76.9 million). Kandi Vehicles shall own 22% of the equity interests of the JV Company after the transfer.
  • Both parties further agreed that within next two years, Kandi may purchase a portion of the assets of the JV Company in the form of its shares, resulting in Geely becoming a significant shareholder of the Company.
08:32  ASNA Ascena Retail Group to sell a majority interest in its subsidiary, Maurices Incorporated, to an affiliate of OpCapita LLP in a transaction valued at approximately $300 million (1.07 )

The maurices transaction is valued at approximately $300 million, and the Company expects to receive roughly $200 million in cash after expenses, while maintaining a significant minority interest. Cash proceeds from the transaction will be used to pay down the Company's existing term loan balance and/or for reinvestment in the Company's business in accordance with the terms of its credit facilities. Additionally, ascena will continue to support the maurices brand on its shared business services platform through a managed services agreement, including support for IT, supply chain, sourcing and certain back office functions. The transaction is expected to close by early summer.
08:28  WRAPX S&amp;P futures vs fair value: +1.40. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: -11.00.

The S&P 500 futures now trade one point above fair value. For the month, the benchmark index holds onto a gain of 0.6%.

Reviewing the monthly S&P 500 sector performances shows information technology (+3.8%), real estate (+3.5%), and utilities (+3.2%) providing the broader market some support. Conversely, the financials (-4.1%) and industrial (-4.0%) sectors have dragged on the broader market.

Separately, New Oriental Education & Technology (EDU 81.75, +2.24) is up 2.8% in pre-market action after Morgan Stanley upgraded the stock to Overweight from Equal-Weight.

08:20  ADM Archer-Daniels issues statement on Q1 weather impacts -- sees severe weather disruptions having negative pre-tax operating profit impact to ADM of $50-60 mln (42.62 )

ADM Statement
08:12  WIRES On The Wires

  • CytoSorbents Corporation (CTSO) announces that the Medical Device Division of the State of Israel Ministry of Health medical device regulation unit, has granted registration of CytoSorb in Israel, clearing the way to begin selling the device in the country.
  • Braskem (BAK) announced a new U.S. distribution partnership for Braskem's growing U.S. polypropylene business with PolyQuest, Inc., a leading North American polymer resin distributor and recycler. As a distributor of polypropylene, and the largest distributor of PET in the U.S., PolyQuest has long-standing relationships with customers in the sheet, film, textiles, strapping, and BCF markets.
  • BioXcel Therapeutics, Inc. (BTAI) has filed a Clinical Trial Application with the U.K. health authorities for its lead immuno-oncology asset, BXCL701, an orally-available small molecule immune-modulator with dual mechanisms of action, in combination with pembrolizumab (Keytruda), a checkpoint inhibitor, in tNEPC. BTI is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical development company utilizing novel artificial intelligence approaches to identify the next wave of medicines across neuroscience and immuno-oncology.
  • Masimo (MASI) announced FDA clearance of the Rad-67 Pulse CO-Oximeter with Spot-check Next Generation SpHb monitoring technology and the rainbow DCI-mini Reusable Sensor. Rad-67 offers rainbow noninvasive hemoglobin measurement (SpHb) and Measure-through Motion and Low Perfusion SET pulse oximetry in a compact, portable spot-check monitoring device. When used with the rainbow DCI-mini sensor, Rad-67 provides spot-check monitoring with Next Generation SpHb.
08:10  BONDX Overnight Treasury Market Summary

Ticking Lower

  • U.S. Treasuries are on track for a modestly lower start to the week. Treasury futures held their ground during the Asian session, which saw selling in most equity markets, but they edged lower as attention turned to Europe. Germany's ifo Business Climate Index increased for the first time in seven months, rising to 99.6 (expected 98.7) from 98.7, but the outlook for the manufacturing sector continued weakening. Chicago Fed President Charles Evans, who does have a vote on this year's FOMC, spoke in Hong Kong overnight, downplaying concerns of a recession. The U.S. Dollar Index is little changed at 96.61.
  • Yield Check:
    • 2-yr: +1 bp to 2.33%
    • 3-yr: +2 bps to 2.27%
    • 5-yr: +1 bp to 2.27%
    • 10-yr: +1 bp to 2.47%
    • 30-yr: +2 bps to 2.91%
  • News:
    • Attorney General William Barr briefed Congress on the findings of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. The investigation "did not find that any U.S. person or Trump campaign official or associate conspired or knowingly coordinated with the Internet Research Agency in its efforts." The Special Counsel did not draw a conclusion as to whether examined conduct constituted obstruction of justice. No additional indictments were recommended.
    • China's First Vice Premier Han Zheng spoke at the China Development Forum, claiming that China will continue cutting import taxes to create a first-rate environment for foreign businesses.
    • China's Finance Minister Liu Kun said that the government will speed up bond sales to boost domestic demand.
    • The Bank of Korea acknowledged that exports have weakened since December due to falling semiconductor prices amid a prolonged correction in business investment.
  • Commodities:
    • WTI Crude: -0.3% to $58.84/bbl
    • Gold: +0.4% to $1317.40/ozt
    • Copper: +0.3% to $2.85/lb
  • Currencies:
    • EUR/USD: +0.1% to 1.1316
    • GBP/USD: -0.2% to 1.3188
    • USD/CNH: UNCH at 6.7187
    • USD/JPY: +0.2% to 110.15
  • No Data Scheduled for Today
08:10  CARS Cars.com extends deadline for nomination of directors for 2019 annual meeting of stockholders following discussions with activist Starboard Value (21.80 )

The Company's previously announced process to explore strategic alternatives is ongoing and we continue to engage with multiple parties. The Company has not set a timetable for the conclusion of its exploration of strategic alternatives, and it does not intend to comment further unless the Board has approved a specific course of action or the Company has otherwise determined that further disclosure is appropriate or required by law.
08:08  KSU KC Southern responds to preliminary report from Mexican Federal Competition Commission (112.46 )

The co confirmed that on Thursday, March 21st, 2019 the Investigation Authority (Investigation Authority) of the Mexican Federal Competition Commission (COFECE) published an extract of its preliminary report (Preliminary Report) regarding its assessment of effective competition in the market of freight railway transportation services regarding certain chemical and petrochemical products (Relevant Product) shipped in certain specific routes with an origin or destination in the southern region of the State of Veracruz (Market).

  • The scope of the Preliminary Report is limited to 31 routes with specific points of origin and destination in the Market and each route is tied to a specific Relevant Product. Kansas City Southern de Mexico (KCSM) is only involved in rendering freight transportation services in limited portions of 7 (seven) routes. During 2018, KCS' revenue associated with these routes represented less than $3 million of revenue.
  • The issuance of the Preliminary Report has no impact on KCSM's current business, operations, or rights under the concession. KCSM will file a brief challenging the Preliminary Report and offering evidentiary support for its challenge. The Panel of the Commission must issue a final report by mid-October taking into account the Preliminary Report, as well as the arguments, challenges and evidence rendered by KCSM and other parties within the scope of that report.
08:06  SUMRX Gapping up/down: YRD +5% after earnings, HIBB +1% and THS +1% after upgrades; Chinese and Chip stocks trading lower, AKAM -4% and NUS -2% after downgrades

Gapping up
In reaction to strong earnings/guidance
:

  • YRD +4.7%

M&A news:

  • TIER +3.2% (TIER REIT & Cousins Properties (CUZ) to combine in stock-for-stock transaction)
  • AVP +0.3% (confirms preliminary discussions with Natura & Co regarding a potential transaction)

Select metals/mining stocks trading higher:

  • SBGL +2.6%, MTL +2.6%, HMY +1.5%

Other news:

  • NCTY +83.3% (signs agreement with Faraday&Future to establish a JV to manufacture, market, distribute, and sell electric cars in China)
  • VIAB +5.3% (Viacom and AT&T (T) reach distribution deal, according to LA Times)
  • RMTI +3.5% (entered into $40 mln sales agreement with Cantor Fitzgerald pursuant to Registration Statement on Form S-3)
  • IDTI +2.5% (Integrated Device & Renesas (RNECF) receive CFIUS approval for merger)
  • BIIB +1.6% (authorizes program to repurchase up to $5 bln of common stock) 

Analyst comments:

  • EDU +2.8% (upgraded to Overweight from Equal-Weight at Morgan Stanley)
  • HIBB +1.2% (upgraded to Positive from Neutral at Susquehanna)
  • THS +1.1% (upgraded to Buy from Hold at SunTrust)

Gapping down
In reaction to disappointing earnings/guidance
:

  • N/A.

Select semiconductor names showing weakness:

  • AMD -1.7%, STM -1.6%, MU -1.2%, ASML -1%

Select Chinese stocks trading lower:

  • VIPS -1.7%, JD -1.4%, WB -1.2%, BABA -0.9%, MOMO -0.6%

Other news:

  • PTI -47.2% (announces results from Phase 1 clinical studies of its proprietary cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) modulators)
  • TSLA -1.3% (CEO Elon Musk says prices on all Tesla inventory cars worldwide rise by approximately 3% midnight on April 1)
  • PM -0.6% (Canadian unit receives CCAA Protection; issues updated outlook)

Analyst comments:

  • MGTA -8.5% (downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Goldman)
  • AKAM -4% (downgraded to Sell from Hold at Deutsche Bank)
  • CAMP -2.4% (downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at JP Morgan)
  • NUS -2% (downgraded to Sell from Hold at Stifel)
08:04  GG Goldcorp announces that proxy firm ISS has recommended shareholders vote FOR the proposed plan of arrangement with Newmont Mining (NEM) (10.80 )

 
08:03  AIMT Aimmune Therapeutics announced that its phase 3 European clinical trial of AR101 for the treatment of peanut allergy, known as ARTEMIS, met its primary efficacy endpoint (21.48 )

  • Topline data show that the proportion of AR101-treated patients who tolerated a 1,000-mg dose of peanut protein (2,043 mg cumulative) in a blinded exit challenge after approximately nine months of AR101 treatment was significantly higher (p<0.00001) than in the placebo group.
  • Specifically, the median tolerated dose of peanut protein for AR101-treated patients improved 100-fold, from 10 mg at baseline to 1,000 mg at exit.
  • The trial also greatly exceeded a 15% lower-bound of the 95% confidence interval (CI) of the difference between treatment arms for all endpoints.
  • In addition, the safety profile and completion rate observed in ARTEMIS are consistent with the results seen in previous AR101 clinical trials. Notably, no cases of anaphylaxis or of eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) were observed.
  • Based on these positive results, Aimmune intends to submit a MAA for AR101 to the EMA in mid-2019. Aimmune submitted a BLA for AR101 to the FDA in December 2018, and its review by the agency began following the end of the U.S. government shutdown in January 2019. The FDA informed Aimmune that the BLA will be reviewed under a 12-month target review period, as measured from the January 2019 start date. Consequently, review of the BLA may take until late January 2020.
08:03  SCANX Gapping down

Gapping down
In reaction to disappointing earnings/guidance
:

  • N/A.

Select semiconductor names showing weakness:

  • AMD -1.7%, STM -1.6%, MU -1.2%, ASML -1%

Select Chinese stocks trading lower:

  • VIPS -1.7%, JD -1.4%, WB -1.2%, BABA -0.9%, MOMO -0.6%

Other news:

  • PTI -47.2% (announces results from Phase 1 clinical studies of its proprietary cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) modulators)
  • TSLA -1.3% (CEO Elon Musk says prices on all Tesla inventory cars worldwide rise by approximately 3% midnight on April 1)
  • PM -0.6% (Canadian unit receives CCAA Protection; issues updated outlook)

Analyst comments:

  • MGTA -8.5% (downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Goldman)
  • AKAM -4% (downgraded to Sell from Hold at Deutsche Bank)
  • CAMP -2.4% (downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at JP Morgan)
  • NUS -2% (downgraded to Sell from Hold at Stifel)
08:02  TROX Tronox confirms that the FTC has withdrawn the Company's proposed acquisition of the titanium dioxide business of National Titanium Dioxide from adjudication for the purpose of considering the related proposed Consent Agreement (12.34 )

Should the proposed Consent Agreement receive final approval by the Commission, the transaction would then be able to be consummated. The transaction, modified to include the proposed divestiture of Cristal's North American TiO2 business to INEOS Enterprises, a division of INEOS, has garnered widespread support from Cristal and Tronox's North American pigment customers.
08:02  NVTR Nuvectra names Anthony P. Bihl, III as Chairman of the Board of Directors (11.64 )

Concurrently, Jane J. Song was appointed as an independent member of the Company's Board of Directors and as a member of the Board's Governance and Nomination Committee.
08:01  NVEE NV5 Global acquires The Sextant Group; terms not disclosed (58.70 )

The Sextant Group is a national leading provider of audiovisual, information and communications technology, acoustics consulting, and design services headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA. The acquisition was an all-cash transaction and will be immediately accretive to NV5's earnings.
08:01  SPLK Splunk appoints Graham Smith as Chairman (125.68 )

Co announced that Graham Smith, former chief financial officer of Salesforce, has been appointed as its Chairman of the Board of Directors. Additionally, Sri Viswanath, chief technology officer (CTO) of Atlassian, has joined Splunk's board of directors. Godfrey Sullivan and Thomas Neustaetter both also announced they will retire from the Splunk board following its meeting in June.
08:00  NEM Newmont Mining's Board declared a one-time special dividend of $0.88 per share of common stock, conditional upon approval of the Goldcorp Inc. (GG) transaction (34.50 )

 
07:58  WRAPX S&amp;P futures vs fair value: -2.60. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: -25.80.

U.S. equity futures trade slightly lower this morning after pulling back last week on increasing concerns about global growth. The S&P 500 futures trade three points, or 0.1%, below fair value.

After weak manufacturing data out of Germany fueled these global growth fears last Friday, the outlook for its manufacturing sector continued to weaken, according to Germany's ifo Business Climate Index. The index did increase for the first time in seven months, though, helped by positive responses from retail and construction sectors. 

Separately, Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation did not find that the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with Russia, according to Attorney General William Barr's summary of the report. Mr. Mueller did not draw a conclusion on whether President Trump committed an obstruction-of-justice offense, as evidence was insufficient. 

U.S. Treasuries trade on a lower note this morning, pushing yields higher across the curve. The 2-yr yield is up two basis points to 2.34%, and the 10-yr yield is up one basis point to 2.47%. The U.S. Dollar Index is down 0.1% to 96.60. WTI crude is down 0.4% to $58.80/bbl.

In U.S. Corporate news:

  • Apple (AAPL 190.30, -0.75): -0.4% ahead of its services event, which is expected to introduce a new subscription service and a TV streaming service.
  • Thermo Fisher (TMO 263.81, unch): unch after news that it will acquire Brammer Bio for approximately $1.7 billion in cash to expand its presence into the gene therapy field.
  • Viacom (VIAB 26.69, +1.35): +5.3% after The LA Times reported that AT&T (T 31.15, +0.80, +0.3%) and Viacom reached a new distribution agreement to keep Nickelodeon, MTV, and Comedy Central on DirecTV. 
  • Biogen (BIIB 220.00, +3.29): +1.5% after announcing a new $5 billion share buyback after its stock dropped nearly 30% last Thursday.

Reviewing overnight developments:

  • Equity indices in the Asia-Pacific region began the week on a lower note. Japan's Nikkei -3.0%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng -2.0%, China's Shanghai Composite -2.0%, India's Sensex -0.9%, South Korea's Kospi -1.9%, Australia's ASX All Ordinaries -1.2%.
    • In economic data:
      • Japan's January All Industries Activity Index -0.2% month-over-month (expected -0.3%; last -0.6%)
      • Singapore's February CPI +0.5% year-over-year, as expected (last 0.4%)
    • In news:
      • China's First Vice Premier Han Zheng spoke at the China Development Forum, claiming that China will continue cutting import taxes to create a first-rate environment for foreign businesses.
      • Also at the China Development Forum, China's Finance Minister Liu Kun said that the government will speed up bond sales to boost domestic demand.
      • The Bank of Korea acknowledged that exports have weakened since December due to falling semiconductor prices amid a prolonged correction in business investment.
      • Australia's debt remained in demand, pressuring the country's 10-yr yield to a fresh record low at 1.81%.
  • Major European indices trade near their flat lines. STOXX Europe 600 -0.4%, Germany's DAX -0.2%, UK's FTSE 100 -0.3%, France's CAC 40 -0.2%, Italy's FTSE MIB +0.2%, Spain's IBEX 35 -0.1%.
    • In economic data:
      • Germany's March ifo Business Climate Index 99.6 (expected 98.7; last 98.7). March Current Assessment 103.8 (expected 102.9; last 103.6) and Business Expectations 95.6 (expected 94.0; last 94.0)
      • Spain's February PPI +1.9% year-over-year (last 1.8%)
    • In news:
      • The European Commission released a statement, noting that preparations for a no-deal Brexit on April 12 have been completed.
      • Germany's ifo Business Climate Index (actual 99.6; expected 98.7) increased for the first time in seven months, beating expectations, but the outlook for the manufacturing sector continued weakening.
      • Fiat Chrysler reportedly turned down a merger offer from Peugeot, but remains open to other offers. Standard & Poor's affirmed Spain's A- rating with a Positive outlook.
07:58  SCANX Gapping up

Gapping up
In reaction to strong earnings/guidance
:

  • YRD +4.7%

M&A news:

  • TIER +3.2% (TIER REIT & Cousins Properties (CUZ) to combine in stock-for-stock transaction)
  • AVP +0.3% (confirms preliminary discussions with Natura & Co regarding a potential transaction)

Select metals/mining stocks trading higher:

  • SBGL +2.6%, MTL +2.6%, HMY +1.5%

Other news:

  • NCTY +83.3% (signs agreement with Faraday&Future to establish a JV to manufacture, market, distribute, and sell electric cars in China)
  • VIAB +5.3% (Viacom and AT&T (T) reach distribution deal, according to LA Times)
  • RMTI +3.5% (entered into $40 mln sales agreement with Cantor Fitzgerald pursuant to Registration Statement on Form S-3)
  • IDTI +2.5% (Integrated Device & Renesas (RNECF) receive CFIUS approval for merger)
  • BIIB +1.6% (authorizes program to repurchase up to $5 bln of common stock) 

Analyst comments:

  • EDU +2.8% (upgraded to Overweight from Equal-Weight at Morgan Stanley)
  • HIBB +1.2% (upgraded to Positive from Neutral at Susquehanna)
  • THS +1.1% (upgraded to Buy from Hold at SunTrust)
07:31  SRPT Sarepta Therapeutics to host webcast and conference call at 8:00 AM to provide an update on 'encouraging' 9-month functional and creatine kinase data from baseline for the 4 patients in the Phase 1 open-label study of micro-dystrophin gene therapy candidate for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (122.26 )

While Sarepta does not intend to provide continuing updates on the patients in its Phase 1 study while it enrolls and conducts its current 24-patient, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, Sarepta has been informed that its principal investigator recently presented data at a scientific meeting, and believes it appropriate to provide broad access to the data through this webcast and conference call.
07:31  SBBP Strongbridge Biopharma presents new data analyses from the Phase 3 SONICS study of RECORLEV for the potential treatment of endogenous Cushing's syndrome (5.15 )

Highlights of Newly Presented SONICS Data at ENDO:

  • Mean urinary-free cortisol (mUFC) normalization with RECORLEV was similar in patients with and without diabetes.
  • Improvements in hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) and fasting blood glucose (FBG) in the maintenance phase were more pronounced among patients with comorbid diabetes mellitus, while anti-diabetic medications were more often decreased than increased.
  • Significant improvements in cardiovascular risk markers of low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol, weight, body mass index (BMI), and waist circumference were seen in patients with and without diabetes mellitus. Additionally, improvement in LDL-cholesterol occurred without any new use of statins or increases in statin dose.
  • The most common treatment-emergent adverse events (TEAEs) in patients with diabetes mellitus were nausea (58%), vomiting (19%), and urinary tract infection (17%); headache (36%), peripheral edema (22%) and hypertension (19%) were most common among patients without diabetes mellitus.
07:30  SUMRX European Markets Update: DAX -0.2%, FTSE -0.3%, CAC -0.2%

Major European indices trade near their flat lines, but with a bias to the downside. The European Commission released a statement, noting that preparations for a no-deal Brexit on April 12 have been completed. Germany's ifo Business Climate Index (actual 99.6; expected 98.7) increased for the first time in seven months, beating expectations, but the outlook for the manufacturing sector continued weakening. Fiat Chrysler reportedly turned down a merger offer from Peugeot, but remains open to other offers. Standard & Poor's affirmed Spain's A- rating with a Positive outlook.

  • In economic data:
    • Germany's March ifo Business Climate Index 99.6 (expected 98.7; last 98.7). March Current Assessment 103.8 (expected 102.9; last 103.6) and Business Expectations 95.6 (expected 94.0; last 94.0)
    • Spain's February PPI +1.9% year-over-year (last 1.8%)

---Equity Markets---

  • STOXX Europe 600: -0.4%
  • Germany's DAX: -0.2%
  • UK's FTSE 100: -0.3%
  • France's CAC 40: -0.2%
  • Italy's FTSE MIB: +0.2%
  • Spain's IBEX 35: -0.1%

---FX---

  • EUR/USD: +0.1% to 1.1306
  • GBP/USD: -0.3% to 1.3179
  • USD/CHF: +0.1% to 0.9940
07:26  S&P futures vs fair value: -1.60. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: -25.80.

07:09  BIIB Biogen Board authorizes program to repurchase up to $5 bln of common stock (216.71 )

The 2019 Share Repurchase Program does not have an expiration date. The 2019 Share Repurchase Program is in addition to the approximately $1.7 billion remaining under the share repurchase program authorized by the Board of Directors of the Company in August 2018.
07:06  WIRES On The Wires

  • PIVOT Fintech Pte, the digital wealth management technology services venture backed by Pintec Technology Holdings Ltd. (PT) and FWD Group announced today that it has been granted a Capital Markets Services license by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.
  • W&T Offshore, Inc. (WTI) announced the Company was the apparent high bidder on 15 blocks in the Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 252 held by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management on March 20, 2019. W&T was the apparent high bidder on eight deepwater and seven shallow water blocks, which includes Garden Banks 173, Green Canyon blocks 3, 46, 47, 49, 91 and 92 and Mississippi Canyon 244 in the deepwater and Eugene Island blocks 357, 378, 393, 395, 396, Main Pass 286, and South Marsh 205 in the shallow water.
  • Bristol-Myers Squibb Company's (BMY) Board of Directors today sent an open letter to the Company's shareholders regarding the previously announced definitive merger agreement with Celgene Corporation (CELG). In addition to its March 19 investor presentation, the Company today also made available on Bristol-Myers Squibb's website at www.bestofbiopharma.com and later today will file with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) an investor presentation providing an overview of Bristol-Myers Squibb's ability to derive value from Celgene's pipeline and a Fact Sheet providing additional detail on key benefits of the transaction.
  • Canopy Growth Corporation (CGC) announced that it has received a cultivation licence from Health Canada for its facility in Fredericton, New Brunswick. With this licensing, Canopy Growth predicts the facility will initially produce more than 5,000kg of cannabis annually, with first harvests expected to become available to the market within six months.
  • Arvinas, Inc. (ARVN) announced the initiation of patient dosing in its Phase 1 clinical trial of ARV-110, the company's oral androgen receptor (AR)-targeted PROTAC protein degrader. Arvinas believes ARV-110 is the first in a new class of targeted protein degraders to enter human clinical trials and anticipates preliminary data from the study in the second half of 2019.
07:03  PTI Proteostasis Therapeutics announces results from Phase 1 clinical studies of its proprietary cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) modulators (4.07 )

The co announced results from Phase 1 clinical studies of its proprietary cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) modulators: PTI-801, a third-generation CFTR corrector; PTI-808, a novel CFTR potentiator; and PTI-428, a novel CFTR amplifier. This comprehensive data set includes efficacy and safety data from 14-day studies of PTI's proprietary combination therapy (PTI-808, PTI-801 and PTI-428), as well as separate studies of PTI-801 over 14 days and PTI-428 over 28 days as add-on treatments to background tezacaftor/ivacaftor therapy, in CF subjects. Endpoints including safety, changes in sweat chloride (SC) concentration and in percent predicted FEV1 (ppFEV1) were assessed and evaluated.

  • The compounds were generally well tolerated and there were no serious adverse events or discontinuations reported during the triple combination treatment period. The majority of adverse events reported were mild to moderate in severity. A broad set of inclusion criteria, endorsed by the CF Foundation as a way to enable recruitment due to limited patient availability, were used in the study, resulting in the enrollment of the highest number of subjects predisposed to rapid pulmonary function decline (n=7) across all of the Company's proprietary combination studies to date.
  • In a per protocol analysis (PPA) (n=27, limited to subjects compliant to the protocol), a PTI-801 dose-dependent improvement in ppFEV1 and SC concentration was observed across cohorts. Further, improvement in ppFEV1 did not reach a plateau by day 14, unlike the response profile in the Company's previously reported mid-dose doublet (300mg PTI-801 and 300mg PTI-808) and in reported results from non-PTI triple combinations, a finding that affirms PTI's plan for longer duration studies.
  • In the PPA population, a statistically significant (p<0.001) mean absolute increase in ppFEV1 at day 14 of 5 percentage points versus baseline was observed in the 600 mg PTI-801 cohort. This cohort also showed a statistically significant decrease in sweat chloride concentration at day 14 of -19 mM (p<0.00001) compared to baseline and -24 mM (p<0.001) compared to placebo with individual improvements of up to 50 mM. Adjusting for subjects predisposed to rapid pulmonary decline (subjects who would be ineligible for other CFTR modulators combination studies), the 600 mg PTI-801 cohort saw an improvement in ppFEV1 of +6 (p<0.005) versus baseline, and +8 (p<0.05) versus baseline compared to placebo.
  • In the Company's doublet study, enrollment remains ongoing in the cohort of 400 mg PTI-801 and 300 mg PTI-808, with 7 subjects recruited to date. As support for the Company's PK-PD model, a group unblinding of the sweat chloride endpoint was performed, and demonstrated a mean improvement of -20 mM versus baseline (p<0.0005). Factoring in a broad new dataset that includes all double and triple combination 14-day studies, the Company's PK-PD model shows a strong positive relationship between sweat chloride, ppFEV1 improvements and dose levels. This points to a potential best in class doublet combination backbone of 600 mg of PTI-801 and 300 mg of PTI-808, which will be further studied and could be used with or without PTI-428.

Based on the totality of data, the Company will be launching three new Phase 2, 28-day studies in CF subjects with at least one F508del mutation.

07:02  TAC TransAlta announced a $750 mln investment by Brookfield Renewable Partners 'that crystalizes the value of its Hydro Assets' (6.75 )

Brookfield will invest $750 million in TransAlta through the purchase of exchangeable securities, which will be convertible into an equity ownership interest in TransAlta's Alberta Hydro Assets in the future at a value based on a multiple of the future Hydro Assets' EBITDA.

  • In addition, Brookfield has committed to purchase TransAlta common shares on the open market to increase its share ownership in TransAlta to 9% (from 4.9%).
  • TransAlta will include two experienced Brookfield nominees, Harry Goldgut and Richard Legault, on its slate of directors for election at the upcoming 2019 Annual and Special Meeting of shareholders.
07:00  ZBH Zimmer Biomet announces FDA clearance of the ROSA ONE Spine System for robotically assisted minimally invasive and complex spine (126.68 )

 
07:00  SUMRX Asian Markets Close: Nikkei -3.0%, Hang Seng -2.0%, Shanghai -2.0%

Equity indices in the Asia-Pacific region began the week on a lower note. China's First Vice Premier Han Zheng spoke at the China Development Forum, claiming that China will continue cutting import taxes to create a first-rate environment for foreign businesses. Also at the China Development Forum, China's Finance Minister Liu Kun said that the government will speed up bond sales to boost domestic demand. The Bank of Korea acknowledged that exports have weakened since December due to falling semiconductor prices amid a prolonged correction in business investment. Australia's debt remained in demand, pressuring the country's 10-yr yield to a fresh record low at 1.81%.

  • In economic data:
    • Japan's January All Industries Activity Index -0.2% month-over-month (expected -0.3%; last -0.6%)
    • Singapore's February CPI +0.5% year-over-year, as expected (last 0.4%)

---Equity Markets---

  • Japan's Nikkei: -3.0%
  • Hong Kong's Hang Seng: -2.0%
  • China's Shanghai Composite: -2.0%
  • India's Sensex: -0.9%
  • South Korea's Kospi: -1.9%
  • Australia's ASX All Ordinaries: -1.2%

---FX---

  • USD/JPY: +0.3% to 110.19
  • USD/CNH: UNCH at 6.7170
  • USD/INR: -0.3% to 68.92
06:59  S&P futures vs fair value: +0.60. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: -16.30.

06:59  European Markets

FTSE...7201.27...-6.30...-0.10%.  DAX...11360.41...-3.80...0.00%.
06:59  Asian Markets

Nikkei...20977...-650.20...-3.00%.  Hang Seng...28523...-590.00...-2.00%.
06:57  FXI Shanghai... -1.97%

 
06:56  TIER TIER REIT &amp; Cousins Properties (CUZ) to combine in stock-for-stock transaction (25.48 )

The combined company will have an equity market capitalization of approximately $5.9 billion and a total market capitalization of approximately $7.8 billion. Under the terms of the agreement, Cousins will issue 2.98 shares of newly issued common stock in exchange for each share of TIER stock. The all-stock merger is intended to qualify as a tax-free "reorganization" for U.S. federal income tax purposes.

  • Upon closing, Cousins and TIER stockholders will own approximately 72% and 28% of the combined company's stock, respectively. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including receipt of the approval of both Cousins and TIER stockholders.
  • The transaction is expected to close during the third quarter of 2019.
06:49  SCANX Early premarket gappers

Gapping up:

  • NCTY +60.7%, SBGL +5%, FMS +2.9%, EDU +2.8%, MTL +2.6%, ING +1.6%, AUY +1.5%, HMY +1.5%, RACE +1.3%, MO +1%, AVP +1%, ERIC +1%, NOK +0.9%, DB +0.7%

Gapping down:

  • NVAX -2.2%, AU -2%, VALE -1.8%, VIPS -1.7%, STM -1.4%, CS -1.3%, TSLA -1.2%, JD -1.1%, AMD -1.1%, WB -1%, MOMO -1%, HMC -1%, SQ -0.9%, TEVA -0.8%, MU -0.8%, BABA -0.7%, ASML -0.6%, ADBE -0.5%
06:35  NCTY The9 Ltd signs agreement with Faraday&amp;Future to establish a JV to manufacture, market, distribute, and sell electric cars in China (2.52 )

The JV's immediate objective is to exclusively manufacture, market, distribute, and sell the Faraday Future's new brand V9 model, a flagship luxury IAIEV based on the technology and design concepts of the FF 91, FF's flagship consumer car model, and other potential selected car models in China.

  • Under the terms of the JVA, The9 will make capital contribution of up to US$600 million in three equal installments to the JV, and FF will make contributions including its use right in a piece of land in China for electric cars manufacturing and will grant the JV an exclusive license to manufacture, market, distribute and sell Faraday Future's new brand V9 model and other potential car models in China, in each case subject to the satisfaction of certain conditions. The9 and FF will each have 50% ownership of the JV, while The9 will control the business operations of the JV. FF, the JV and The9 will negotiate and enter into a license agreement pursuant to which FF will grant to the JV an exclusive license to manufacture, market, distribute and sell Faraday Future's new brand V9 model and other potential selected car models in China.
06:34  WIRES On The Wires

  • Mesoblast Limited (MESO) announced its licensee in Japan, JCR Pharmaceuticals Co. Ltd., has filed to extend marketing approval of TEMCELL1 HS Inj. for use in patients with Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB). TEMCELL is already approved for the treatment of acute graft versus host disease (aGVHD), and was the first allogeneic cellular medicine to receive full regulatory approval in Japan.
  • Bluegreen Vacations Corporation (BXG) announced that on March 22, 2019, Bluegreen Vacations Unlimited, Inc. ("BVU"), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bluegreen, and Bluegreen/Big Cedar Vacations, LLC ("Bluegreen/Big Cedar"), a 51%-owned subsidiary of BVU, received a formal notice delivered pursuant to the Amended and Restated Marketing and Promotions Agreement dated December 31, 2007 from Bass Pro, Inc. and Big Cedar L.L.C. notifying the Company that Bass Pro intends to cancel the Company's access to the Bass Pro marketing channels and advertising materials as of 30 days from the notice unless the Company cures certain alleged breaches to Bass Pro's satisfaction. BBX Capital (BBX) has advised the Company that in light of these events, it is re-evaluating the previously announced short form merger that would have taken the Company private and BBX Capital may choose not to proceed with the merger.
  • TechnipFMC (FTI) has been awarded a large integrated Engineering, Procurement, Construction, Transportation and Installation contract by Eni for the Merakes project, located offshore Balikpapan Indonesia, at a water depth of approximately 1,500 meters. For TechnipFMC, a "large" contract is between $500 million and $1 billion.
  • PVH Corp. (PVH) announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to reacquire from Dickson Concepts (International) Limited the license for the Tommy Hilfiger brand in Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia, along with certain related leases and retail assets. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
  • Entegris, Inc. (ENTG) received an oral judgement on March 22, from the Taiwan Intellectual Property Court finding that Gudeng Precision Industrial Co., Ltd. infringes Entegris' Taiwan Patent No. I-317967. The judgement against Gudeng awarded Entegris NT$978,869,835 (US $32.6M) in damages and includes an order that Gudeng recall and destroy its infringing products.
06:31  MINI Mobile Mini announces execution of a $1.0 billion refinancing (33.08 )

  • Co announced that it has entered into an amended and restated asset-based revolving credit facility on March 22, 2019.
  • The new $1.0 billion facility provides for a five-year, revolving line of credit facility maturing in March 2024, replacing the current credit facility that was going to mature in December 2020.
06:26  YRD Yirendai announces business realignment with CreditEase (11.45 )

Co has entered into definitive agreements relating to a business realignment with CreditEase Holdings (Cayman) Limited, or CreditEase, the controlling shareholder of the Company, to better serve its investors and borrowers. Pursuant to the definitive agreements, Yirendai will assume certain business operations, including online wealth management targeting the mass affluent, unsecured and secured consumer lending, financial leasing, SME lending, and other related services or businesses from CreditEase and its affiliates, for a total consideration of 106,917,947 newly issued ordinary shares of Yirendai and RMB889 million cash, as may be adjusted in accordance with the pre-agreed mechanism, at the transaction closing. Ning Tang, the executive chairman of Yirendai, who is also the founder, chairman and CEO of CreditEase, will assume the Chief Executive Officer role of Yirendai upon the closing of the transactions. CreditEase has also agreed not to compete with the Company and to provide business consulting and other support and license certain intellectual properties to the Company.

06:16  IDTI Integrated Device &amp; Renesas (RNECF) receive CFIUS approval for merger (47.79 )

All necessary regulatory approvals for the acquisition have now been received and the transaction is expected to complete on March 29, 2019 PDT, March 30, 2019 JST, subject to customary closing conditions.
06:16  PM Philip Morris International Canadian unit receives CCAA Protection; issues updated outlook (91.17 )

  • Philip Morris International was informed by its Canadian subsidiary, Rothmans, Benson & Hedges (RBH) that RBH had obtained an initial order from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice granting it protection under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act
  • Key Elements and Impact of RBH's Decision to File for Creditor Protection
    • The initial order includes a comprehensive stay of all tobacco-related litigation pending in Canada against RBH and PMI, thus providing an efficient forum for RBH to seek resolution of all such litigation.
    • The CCAA process allows RBH to carry on its business in the ordinary course with minimal disruption to its customers, suppliers and employees.
    • As a result of the filing, and under U.S. GAAP, PMI will deconsolidate RBH from its financial statements, resulting in an estimated one-time non-cash charge of approximately $0.10 per share, as described below.
  • 2019 PMI Full-Year Forecast & Assumptions and 2019-2021 Targets. As a result of the deconsolidation of RBH, PMI today revises its full-year 2019 reported diluted earnings per share forecast to be at least $4.90 at prevailing exchange rates. This full-year guidance reflects:
    • The current estimated one-time net impact of the deconsolidation of RBH under U.S. GAAP of approximately $0.10 per share, to be recorded in the first quarter of 2019, which is a non-cash item, plus the tobacco litigation-related charge of approximately $0.09 per share announced on March 4, 2019.
    • The exclusion of RBH's previously anticipated earnings from PMI's consolidated financial statements from the date of deconsolidation to December 31, 2019, of approximately $0.28 per share.
    • Excluding the above deconsolidation-related items and the unfavorable impact of currency, at prevailing exchange rates, of approximately $0.14 per share, this forecast represents a projected increase of at least 8.0% versus a pro forma adjusted diluted earnings per share of $4.84 in 2018. The 2018 pro forma adjusted diluted EPS of $4.84 is calculated as reported diluted EPS of $5.08, plus tax items of $0.02 per share primarily related to the implementation of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, less approximately $0.26 of estimated net earnings attributable to RBH from March 22 through December 31, 2018, in order to present a like-for-like comparison.
    • Assumptions underlying this forecast, and PMI's 2019-2021 targets, as communicated by PMI in its earnings release of February 7, 2019, and reiterated at the CAGNY Conference of February 20, 2019, remain unchanged on a like-for-like basis, except for 2019 operating cash flow, which, due to the impact of the deconsolidation, is now estimated to be approximately $9.5 billion, subject to year-end working capital requirements.
06:12  RDUS Radius Health presents analysis from Phase 3 ACTIVE Trial and data from Preclinical Studies for TYMLOS Injection (18.92 )

The first oral presentation titled "The Effect of Abaloparatide on Bone Mineral Density and Fracture Incidence in Postmenopausal Women with Osteoporosis and Osteoarthritis," showed that in a subpopulation of postmenopausal women from the ACTIVE study who also had osteoarthritis (OA), abaloparatide was associated with significant reduction in new vertebral fractures as well as significant improvements in bone mineral density (BMD), versus placebo.

  • The relationship between OA and osteoporosis is unclear but increased risk of fragility fracture has been associated with OA despite those patients having higher than average BMD. Of the 2,463 women enrolled in the Phase 3 ACTIVE trial, 888 patients with ongoing OA were identified. The most common sites of OA were at the spine (n=348, 39.2 percent) and knee (n=338, 38.1 percent). At 18 months, significant increases (P<0.0001) in BMD from baseline were observed for abaloparatide versus placebo at the total hip (mean change 3.17 percent versus -0.35 percent), femoral neck (2.81 percent versus -0.36 percent), and lumbar spine (8.78 percent versus 0.86 percent); which was consistent with the overall ACTIVE population results.
  • The second oral presentation titled "Different Effects of Abaloparatide and hPTH(1-34) on Osteoclastogenesis and Bone Resorption" used data from preclinical studies of abaloparatide. The analysis provides mechanistic explanations for the net bone gain observed in the ACTIVE trial, indicating that increased bone mass is, at least partly, the consequence of reduced osteoclast (bone resorption) activity.
06:11  ASND Ascendis Pharma presents top-line results from its pivotal phase 3 heiGHt Trial (119.07 )

Trial results demonstrated that TransCon Growth Hormone (hGH) administered once-weekly to children with pediatric growth hormone deficiency (GHD) had comparable safety and tolerability to daily Genotropin, with a significantly greater increase in annualized height velocity over the one-year study period. TransCon hGH has been designed to provide sustained release of unmodified hGH, the same growth hormone used in daily therapies, at a predictable rate over one week.
06:11  YRD Yirendai beats by $0.72, reports revs in-line (11.45 )

  • Reports Q4 (Dec) earnings of $1.32 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.72 better than the S&P Capital IQ Consensus of $0.60; revenues fell 34.1% year/year to $184.8 mln vs the $185.27 mln S&P Capital IQ Consensus.
  • Ms. Yihan Fang, Chief Executive Officer of Yirendai commented: "Demand for our wealth management product continues to be strong, close to half a million retail investors chose to invest in our platform this year despite volatilities in the industry and we continue to see average AUM per investor increasing." 
06:09  TMO Thermo Fisher to acquire Brammer Bio for approximately $1.7 bln in cash (263.81 )

Brammer Bio is a leading viral vector contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO), enabling biopharma customers to deliver breakthrough medicines to patients by unleashing the potential of gene therapies and gene-modified cell therapies. The business has nearly 600 employees at primary locations in Massachusetts and Florida. Brammer Bio is on track to deliver $250 million of revenue in 2019 and expects to continue to exceed the projected market growth rate of 25 percent over the mid-term. Thermo Fisher expects the business to be accretive to adjusted earnings per share by $0.10 in the first full year of ownership.
06:05  NDAQ NASDAQ to offer, subject to market and other conditions, Euro-denominated senior notes (83.89 )

The Company expects to use the net proceeds from the Offering to refinance indebtedness and for other general corporate purposes.
06:05  AVP Avon Products confirms preliminary discussions with Natura &amp; Co regarding a potential transaction (3.06 )

 
06:03  KL Kirkland Lake Gold announces retirement of non-executive Chairman (33.87 )

Co announced that Eric Sprott, Chairman of the Company's Board of Directors will retire as Chairman and a member of the Board following the Company's 2019 Annual General Meeting of Shareholders on May 7, 2019. Mr Sprott has served as the Chairman of the Board since November 2016 and was the Chair of Kirkland Lake Gold Inc. since February 2015.

06:00  NVO Novo Nordisk A/S: Oral semaglutide 7 mg and 14 mg doses showed superior reductions in blood sugar and weight compared to sitagliptin at 26 weeks in data presented at ENDO (50.72 )

  • In PIONEER 3, the primary endpoints of HbA1c and confirmatory secondary endpoint of change in body weight were assessed after 26 weeks of treatment. When applying the primary statistical approach[a], oral semaglutide 7 mg and 14 mg demonstrated superior HbA1c reductions of 1.0% and 1.3% at 26 weeks, compared to a 0.8% reduction with sitagliptin.
  • Oral semaglutide 3 mg demonstrated a reduction in HbA1c of 0.6%; non-inferiority compared to sitagliptin was not confirmed (p=0.09). Furthermore, at 26 weeks, oral semaglutide 7 mg and 14 mg demonstrated superior body weight reductions of 2.2 kg and 3.1 kg, both compared to a 0.6 kg reduction for sitagliptin.
06:00  AZN AstraZeneca: Forxiga approved in Europe for type-1 diabetes (42.59 )

The European Commission has approved Forxiga (dapagliflozin) for use in type-1 diabetes as an adjunct to insulin in patients with a BMI = 27 kg/m2, when insulin alone does not provide adequate glycaemic control despite optimal insulin therapy. This is the first approval of Forxiga for the treatment of patients with T1D.
06:00  SUMRX Overnight Summary -- World markets open the week under pressure

  • The global equities are mostly lower to begin the week. Asian equities were hit the hardest today, taking their cue from the fall in the US markets on Friday. US Futures have seen an uptick in volatility this morning, however S&P Futures are down only about 6-points thus, trading around the 2805 area. The overnight high was set at 2818.50, while the low was established at 2790.25.
  • Asian markets responded negatively to the fall in the US on Friday. The selling pressure was prevalent across the board. Exporters and Tech stocks were hit heavily with names such as Panasonic, Honda, Toyota and Tokyo Electron all falling in the neighborhood of 3%. 
  • European bourses are trading lower as well. The overall tone has impacted the region, although significant damage to the EU markets occurred on Friday. Today, many heavyweights are trading lower. Financials are among the weakest with names such as Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank down ~1%. Meanwhile, chemical maker Bayer is nearly 3% lower. 

Market Updates 

  • S&P Futures vs Fair Value: -1.0
  • 10 yr Note: 2.46%
  • USD/JPY: 110.19  +0.28
  • EUR/USD: 1.1319  +0.0019
  • Europe: FTSE  -0.5%  DAX  -0.2%  CAC  -0.5%
  • Asia: Hang Seng  -2.0%  Shanghai -2.0% Nikkei -3.0%
  • Gold (1316.80 +4.50) Silver (15.50 +0.09) Crude (58.98 -0.06)
 Friday After the Close   
17:43  WRAPX This week's biggest % gainers/losers

The following are this week's top percentage gainers and losers, categorized by sectors (over $300 mln market cap and 100K average daily volume).

This week's top 20 % gainers
  • Healthcare: DERM (12.99 +89.91%), NVRO (62.05 +42.02%), KPTI (5.44 +15.5%), VCYT (24.46 +12.93%), GRTS (11.45 +12.81%), CYTK (8.75 +12.32%), CYRX (13.13 +10.9%), GKOS (80.1 +10.88%)
  • Materials: SBGL (4.57 +10.92%)
  • Consumer Discretionary: GDEN (14.86 +14.31%)
  • Information Technology: STNE (41.82 +28.64%), MDB (152.76 +13.8%), AMD (26.37 +13.22%), AYX (81.97 +10.22%)
  • Financials: BCOR (32.59 +14.83%)
  • Energy: CLNE (3.2 +18.08%), DNR (1.9 +12.43%), CPG (3.32 +11.78%), NOG (2.66 +10.83%)
  • Consumer Staples: CAG (26.45 +14.55%)
This week's top 20 % losers
  • Healthcare: BIIB (216.71 -34.3%), BIOS (1.9 -31.65%), DNLI (19.45 -20.35%), GH (79.01 -19.36%), ESPR (41.39 -17%), LXRX (6.2 -16.33%), RDNT (12.8 -16.12%)
  • Consumer Discretionary: DSW (20.32 -20%), GES (18.37 -19.47%), TEN (22.55 -16.82%)
  • Information Technology: SYNA (32.72 -24.31%), CSIQ (18.75 -19.49%)
  • Financials: COOP (10.07 -19.57%), PPDF (4.00 -18.37%), ECPG (26.88 -16.39%)
  • Consumer Staples: NUS (49.28 -17.44%)
17:26  CATS Catasys files for $50 mln mixed securities shelf offering (13.16 -0.43)

 
17:20  USWS U.S. Well Services files for $400 mln Class A common stock and preferred stock shelf offering (7.74 -0.54)

 
17:15  STNG Scorpio Tankers files mixed securities shelf offering (18.83 -0.68)

 
16:59  EOLS Evolus files for $250 mln mixed securities shelf offering and approx. 15.7 mln share common stock offering by holders (24.01 -1.69)

 
16:37  MESO Mesoblast appointed Joseph Swedish as non-executive Chairman to succeed outgoing Chairman Brian Jamieson, who is retiring March 31, 2019 (4.85 -0.01)

 
16:34  OSB Norbord files for $500 mln mixed securities shelf offering (26.18 -0.78)

 
16:31  NWN Northwest Natural subsidiary NW Natural Water Company signs agreements to purchase water companies in Idaho and Washington; terms not disclosed (66.17 -0.06)

  • NW Natural Water Company, LLC has signed agreements through its subsidiaries to acquire six water utility systems and one water and wastewater management company, together serving nearly 1,200 water distribution connections and managing another 1,000 water and wastewater customers.
  • The acquisitions include the water systems of Spirit Lake East, Lynnwood, Diamond Bar Estates, and Bar Circle "S", as well as Water Works Management, all located in or around Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. In addition, agreements have been signed to acquire the water systems of Estates and Monterra in Sequim, Washington.
16:29  PINS Pinterest (NYSE) files for $100 mln IPO

 
16:25  APTS Preferred Apt. Communities files for $400 mln mixed securities shelf offering (15.06 -0.40)

 
16:23  ENS Enersys settled previously disclosed proceeding involving German Competition Authority and EnerSys' reserve power battery business - to pay a fine of 6.5 mln (63.28 -4.04)

 
16:21  RTN Raytheon amended bylaws relates to proxy access (179.99 -1.94)

The co eliminated a former provision providing that if a Stockholder Nominee does not receive at least equal to 25% of the shares present in person or represented by proxy and entitled to vote in the election of directors, that person will be ineligible for the next two annual meetings of stockholders.
16:19  CUZ Cousins Prop increases quarterly cash dividend to $0.0725 per common share from $0.065 per share (9.88 -0.16)

 
16:16  RMTI Rockwell Medical entered into $40 mln sales agreement with Cantor Fitzgerald pursuant to Registration Statement on Form S-3 (5.79 -0.57)

 
16:15  WRAPX Closing Stock Market Summary

The S&P 500 dropped 1.9% on Friday, as weak manufacturing data out of Europe added to worries about the pace of global economic activity. Growth concerns were reflected by another drop in U.S. Treasury yields, the underperformance of the cyclical sectors, and a pullback in oil prices ($59.01/bbl, -$0.94, -1.6%). Friday's decline sent the S&P 500 back to the 2800 level.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 1.8% and the Nasdaq Composite lost 2.5%. The domestically-oriented Russell 2000 lost 3.6%, pressured by concerns that global economic weakness will catch up to the U.S. sooner rather than later.

Ten of the 11 S&P 500 sectors finished lower, led by materials (-3.0%), financials (-2.8%), and energy (-2.6%). Conversely, the utilities sector (+0.7%) was the lone group to finish higher.

Germany's Manufacturing PMI fell to 44.7 from 47.6 in February, serving as a reminder that output in a major export center remains weak. France's Manufacturing PMI (actual 49.8; prior 51.5) fell below 50.0, which indicated that the country's manufacturing sector was also in contraction.

The weak data sent investors flocking to safe-haven bonds, which drove the yield on the 10-yr German bund (-0.011%) into negative territory for the first time since 2016. The lower yields in Europe likely contributed to increased buying interest in U.S. Treasuries, which helped drive yields even lower.

The 2-yr yield dropped eight basis points to 2.32%, and the 10-yr yield dropped eight basis points to 2.46%. Strikingly, the spread between the 3-month yield (2.45%) and the 10-yr yield briefly inverted for the first since 2017. Like Treasuries, the dollar benefited from the flight to safety, lifting the U.S. Dollar Index 0.2% to 96.65.

In earnings news, Dow component Nike (NKE 82.19, -5.82, -6.6%) didn't help ease growth concerns after it reported underwhelming growth in North American sales. Nike did beat earnings estimates, though. Cintas (CTAS 194.55, -13.57, -6.5%) for its part missed revenue expectations.

Reviewing Friday's economic data, which included Existing Home Sales for February, Wholesale Inventories for January, and the Treasury Budget for February:

  • Existing home sales increased 11.8% month-over-month in February to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 5.51 million (Briefing.com consensus 5.10 million) from a downwardly revised 4.93 million (from 4.94 million) in January. Total sales were 1.8% lower than the same period a year ago.
    • The key takeaway from the report is that while sales rebounded sharply on a month-over-month basis, they are still tracking below levels seen one year ago.
  • Wholesale inventories increased 1.2% in January on top of a 1.1% increase in December. Wholesale sales were up 0.5% following an upwardly revised 0.9% decrease (from -1.0%) in December.
    • The key takeaway from the report is that inventory growth continued outpacing sales growth, which should keep pressure on prices.
  • The Treasury Budget for February showed a deficit of $233.98 billion versus a deficit of $215.24 billion for the same period one year ago. The Treasury Budget is not seasonally adjusted, so the February deficit cannot be compared to the $8.7 billion surplus for January.
    • The fiscal year-to-date deficit is $544.23 billion versus a deficit of $390.96 billion for the same period ago. The budget deficit over the last 12 months is $932.27 billion.

Investors will not receive any notable economic reports on Monday.

  • Nasdaq Composite +15.2% YTD
  • Russell 2000 +11.7% YTD
  • S&P 500 +11.7% YTD
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average +9.3% YTD

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