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Monthly Archives: March 2012

A List of Recent Company Buyback Announcements

Company/Ticker               Buyback Amount           Other Details 

Tuesday 3/27 
none reported 

Monday 3/26 
American Express (AXP)       150 mln shares           replaces prior plan 
Autonation (AN)              $250 mln                 prior plan complete 

Last Week's Announcements 

Friday 3/23 
Nike (NKE)                   2.5 mln shares           in Fiscal Q3 

Thursday 3/22 
none reported 

Wednesday 3/21 
none reported 

Tuesday 3/13 
Discover Financial (DFS)     $2 bln over 2 years 
Health Net (HNT)             $400 mln               expands prior plan 
JPMorgan Chase (JPM)         $15 bln 
PMC-Sierra (PMCS)            $275 mln               replaces prior plan 
US Bancorp (USB)             30 mln shares 

Monday 3/12 
None reported 

Last Week's Announcements 
Friday 3/9 
None reported 

Thursday 3/8 
Plantronics (PLT)            1 mln shares             prior plan complete 
Transact Tech. (TACT)        1 mln shares 

Wednesday 3/7 
Autozone (AZO)               $750 mln adds            to prior plan 
Priceline.com (PCLN)         $200 mln 

Tuesday 3/6 
Qualcomm (QCOM)              $4 bln                   replaces prior plan 

Monday 3/5 
Applied Materials (AMAT)     $3 bln                   over 3 years 
Covanta (CVA)                $100 mln                 adds to prior plan 

Last Week's Announcements 
Friday 3/2 
none reported 

Thursday, 3/1 
CNO Financial (CNO)          $100 mln                 adds to prior plan 
Nordson (NDSN)               $100 mln                 adds to prior plan 

Wednesday 2/29 
Dillard's (DDS)              $250 mln                 adds to prior plan 
Lattice Semi (LSCC)          $20 mln 
Principal Fin'l Group (PFG)  $100 mln 
Teletech (TTEC)              $25 mln                  adds to prior plan 
VMware (VMW)                 $600 mln                 adds to prior plan 

Tuesday 2/28 
AutoNavi (AMAP) $50 mln over 1 year 
Mentor Graphics (MENT) $200 mln expands prior plan 

Monday 2/27 
ANSYS (ANSS)                 3 mln shares adds       to prior plan 
XL Group (XL)                $750 mln                replaces prior plan 

Last Week's Announcements 

Friday 2/24 
Aetna (AET)                  $750 mln adds           to prior plan 
Interpublic (IPG)            $300 mln adds           to prior plan 
United Stationers (USTR)     $100 mln adds           to prior plan 

Thursday 2/23 
Fiserv (FISV)                10 mln shares           adds to prior plan 
Gap (GPS)                    $1 bln                  adds to prior plan 
Omnicare (OCR)               $200 mln                adds to prior plan 
Tim Horton's (THI)           $200 mln                over 1 year 
WebMD (WBMD)                 $150 mln                dutch auction 

Wednesday 2/22 
Rogers Comm. (RCI)           $1 bln over             1 year 
Texas Roadhouse (TXRH)       $100 mln                replaces prior plan 
TJX Cos. (TJX)               $2 bln adds             to prior plan 
Towers Watson (TW)           $150 mln 

Tuesday, 2/21 
None reported

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LOL: JPM Bank Reps Not Aware of Mortgage Settlement

“Mira Tanna, a housing advocate in Orlando, Fla., doesn’t expect everyone to know the details of the recently announced $25 billion mortgage settlement, but she was taken aback, she said, when two JPMorgan Chase employees who work directly with homeowners recently told her that they were not aware of the deal nor of their bank’s pledge to consider principal reduction for underwater borrowers.

A key provision of the national settlement, which resolves an investigation into wrongful foreclosures and other abuses in the “servicing” of home loans, requires Chase and four other big banks to write off about $10 billion in mortgage debt for underwater borrowers through principal reductions. The deal was announced about two months ago, and the banks said that principal reductions would become available beginning in March.

Two weeks ago, Tanna said she called the Chase Homeownership Center in Orlando to ask whether her client, a 75-year-old Orlando woman, might qualify for principal reduction. She needed an answer right away. The client, who asked that her name not be used in this story, had just been offered a loan modification by Chase with affordable monthly payments — about one-third of what she had been paying — but with a catch: a balloon payment of about $200,000 due when the loan matures in 2036. That’s much more than the $120,000 that the house is currently worth. The client had one week to decide whether to accept or reject the modification….”

Full article

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Goldman: Oil Could Be in for a Huge Sell Off


“A new report from Goldman Sachs’s commodities research team points to an imminent oil sell-off—or at the very least, a noticeable pause in the rise of oil prices.

According to that research, oil prices generally decline amid softer U.S. economic data, and (though analysts stop short of saying it) often in a big way. And that’s just what’s happening right now.

Goldman analysts argue that a negative turn in their proprietary economic surprise indicator—US-MAP—will probably precede a drop in oil prices, just as it has in the past. And from the graph of that indicator versus WTI crude oil prices, they appear to have a point:


oil prices versus economic surprise goldman sachs

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/goldman-oil-futures-could-soon-see-a-sell-off-2012-3#ixzz1qPynRTe9

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French Energy Company Total Tanks as Fears Arise Over a Possible BP Style Gulf Oil Leak


“Shares of French energy giant Total tanked 7% thanks to a gas leak from the company’s Elgin Franklin field in the North Sea.

Obviously investors are concerned about some kind of Macondo-like fallout.

JPMorgan analyst Nitin Sharma points out that Total has suffered an absolute loss of market value of $7.8 billion. 

But Sharma thinks there are some major differences between BP’s Macondo spill and this gas leak.

While Total has said that they have noticed a sheen on the ocean’s surface, Sharma says natural gas will bubble to the surface and then disperse. The most crucial thing at this point would be to avoid an ignition point. “Most condensate (very light oil) will also evaporate into the air, helped by higher prevailing ambient temperatures. Macondo leaked light oil, which accumulated as slicks at the surface and then spread.”

Second, he says this has happened post-Macondo at a time when the industry is much better prepared to deal with a spill and capable of preparing a relief well.

Finally, Sharma says the Elgin Franklin field is much shallower water but the real problem will likely be when Total has to drill a relief well since their reservoir is deeper below the seabed than BP’s Macondo reservoir:

“The Elgin Franklin field is located in a water depth of 93m (305 feet). The Macondo well was drilled in a water depth of around 1,522m (4,993 feet). The main Elgin Franklin reservoir is high pressure, high temperature and located at a depth of around 17,400 feet (c.5,300m). The Macondo reservoir was 13,000 feet below the seabed – so Elgin Franklin’s reservoir is actually deeper (this may have implications for the time required to drill a relief well).”

The cause of the leak has not yet been found but Sharma maintains that the market is over-reacting to the news.”

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Magic Johnson Group to Buy L.A. Dodgers for $2 Billion

“Basketball Hall of Fame member Magic Johnson and a group of investors that includes Guggenheim Partners Chief Executive Officer Mark Walter won the auction for the bankrupt Los Angeles Dodgers with a $2 billion bid.

The group was chosen yesterday by Dodgers owner Frank McCourt over billionaire Steve Cohen, who runs hedge fund manager SAC Capital Advisors LP, and Stan Kroenke, who owns the National Football League’s St. Louis Rams and Arsenal of English soccer’s Premier League. The sale set a record for the price of a U.S. professional sports team….”

Full article

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Gapping Up and Down This Morning

Gapping up

ZZ +16.5%, RBN +10%, NLST +5.7%, FRO +4.8%, NOK +3.7%, QDEL +2.8%, FDO +1.3%,

AUQ +1.1%, CNC +1%, CLR +0.9%, PRGS +0.8%, TEA +0.8%,

Gapping down

SNX -9.5%, EXFO -4.5%, JOSB -3.6%, DG -1.2%,

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U.S. Equity Preview: SNX, ZZ, RBN, & PVH


PVH Corp. (PVH) : The owner of the Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein brands said its adjusted earnings in the fiscal year ending in January will be $6.10 to $6.20 a share, compared with the average analyst estimate of $6.10 a share.

Robbins & Myers Inc. (RBN) : The Dayton, Ohio-based fluids-management company said second-quarter sales were $255.9 million, exceeding the average analyst projection of $238.8 million, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Sealy Corp. (ZZ) : The mattress maker that is 45 percent owned by private-equity firm KKR & Co. reported first-quarter net sales of $312.3 million, beating the average analyst projection of $301.7 million, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Synnex Corp. (SNX) : The distributor of computer products said second-quarter adjusted earnings won’t exceed 91 cents a share. Analysts estimate earnings will be 95 cents per share in the period, according to the average in a Bloomberg survey.

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Upgrades and Downgrades This Morning


Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ARNA) Cut to Neutral at Piper Jaffray.

A123 Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: AONE) Cut to Hold at Deutsche Bank.

Chimera Investment Corporation (NYSE: CIM) Cut to Hold at Deutsche Bank.

DirecTV, Inc. (NASDAQ: DTV) Raised to Buy at Citigroup; Reiterated as Buy at Canaccord Genuity.

Freescale Semiconductor Holdings (NYSE: FSL) Started as Neutral at Goldman Sachs.

Hatteras Financial Corporation (NYSE: HTS) Raised to Buy at Deutsche Bank.

IAC/InterActiveCorp (NASDAQ: IACI) Cut to Neutral at Citigroup.

Kinder Morgan Inc. (NYSE: KMI) Started as Equal-weight at Morgan Stanley.

NVIDIA Corporation (NYSE: NVDA) Raised to Market Perform at JMP Securities.

Progressive Corporation (NYSE: PGR) Raised to Outperform at Credit Suisse.

Salesforce.com (NYSE: CRM) Reiterated as Buy and raised target to $180 at Canaccord Genuity.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) Cut to Sector Perform at RBC.

Weight Watchers International Inc. (NYSE: WTW) Started as Outperform at Credit Suisse.

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A New Book Suggests Stocks are Over Priced by 50% and That Buy Backs are Keeping Markets Afloat

U.S. stocks are overpriced by 50 percent but corporate buying is keeping them up, at least until there is a decline in the U.S. fiscal deficit, Andrew Smithers, the author of the book “Valuing Wall Street: Protecting Wealth in Turbulent Markets” wrote in a recent research note.

Other analysts, such as Goldman Sachs’ Jim O’Neill, said they were optimistic about the prospects for stock markets as the world economy was on the mend due to good data on the U.S. economy….”

Full article

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New Research Suggests China Really is in the Year of the Dragon That Breathes Fire Upon Growth


“The data so far from China in 2012 has been a major disappointment for the global economy.

One thought we had was that the typical January-February Lunar New Year slowdown was exaggerated thanks to it being the Year Of The Dragon, and that because of that the rebound would come harder/sooner than people expected.

But so far that theory isn’t being born out.

Barclays analyst Gayle Berry recently visited China, and met with various industrial firms, and came back with some grim news: Things are weak, and it’s not just a matter of the Lunar New Year.

Here is our summary of Berry’s key points:

  • Demand for copper in China remains weak, and the outlook for the rest of the year doesn’t look so great.
  • Some manufacturers cranked up production in January/February in anticipation of a rebound in Q2, but “demand has been softer than they expected.”
  • Appliance demand is weak thanks to slow construction and poor real estate sales.
  • Copper inventories are rising.

Bottom line:

Overall, we believe Chinese demand in the short term is likely to disappoint before beginning on a recovery trajectory later in Q2. Subsequently, we think that imports will weaken until bonded stocks are run down to more normal levels, possibly in Q3 12. With the market already expecting a drop in Chinese imports, we doubt this alone would have a significant negative impact on LME prices. That’s more likely to be determined by the market’s evaluation of how long imports will weaken for and whether it’s the result of short-term dislocation or longer lasting core weakness. The LME backwardation meanwhile is likely to continue unless Chinese exports are big enough to begin offsetting the draws in LME inventories, in our view.

So there you go.”

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