What’s the Story?

by CC April 3, 2012 9:22 am • Commentary


On the economic front, the government will release factory orders for February at 10 a.m. ET. Economists in a Reuters survey expect a gain of 1.5 percent, compared with a January decrease of 1.0 percent.

Meanwhile, U.S. car manufacturers are expected to release March sales figures throughout the day.

And at 2 p.m. ET, the Federal Reserve is scheduled to release the minutes from its latest Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting.

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Crude oil prices are down 0.5% to $104.73 per barrel in early pit trade, but that’s actually about $0.50 better than the lows that were set earlier in electronic trade. Natural gas prices have also improved their position, pushing up from about $2.12 per MMBtu in electronic trade up to $2.17 per MMBtu for a 0.6% gain.

Precious metals prices have had a choppy start to trade that has left gold to trade with a 0.1% loss at $1667.60 per ounce, while silver sits at $32.91 per ounce with a 0.6% loss.

Overall action in the commodity complex has the CRB Index down almost 0.2%.


Activist investor Carl Icahn said about 55% of CVR Energy Inc.’s (CVI) outstanding shares were tendered in support of his hostile bid for the petroleum refining and marketing company, giving him a more than 69% stake. Icahn, the company’s largest shareholder with a roughly 14.5% stake, is extending the tender offer to April 30 and said he is “willing and able” to pay $2.26 billion to purchase all CVR shares he doesn’t currently own as soon as the board permits him to do so. CVR Energy’s stock traded up 6.4% to $28.93 in recent premarket trade.

Cavium Inc. (CAVM) cut its first-quarter outlook, citing weaker-than-expected sales in two key end markets. Shares of the chip maker slumped 1.5% to $30.10 premarket.

Uranium Energy Corp. (UEC) slumped 6.7% to $3.60 premarket after the company said it plans to sell a total of 5.56 million shares of its common stock to the public.

Barclays capital downgraded its stock-investment rating on movie- and TV-subscription service company Netflix Inc. (NFLX) to equal weight from overweight citing competitive pressures.

Align Technology Inc. (ALGN) said the U.S. International Trade Commission agreed to investigate allegations of patent infringement by rival clear-braces provider ClearCorrect Operating LLC and ClearCorrect Pakistan Ltd., based on Align’s complaint filed last month.

Drug makers Amgen Inc. (AMGN) and AstraZeneca PLC (AZN, AZN.LN) said they reached a deal to jointly develop and commercialize five inflammatory disease treatments in Amgen’s portfolio.

DirecTV Group Inc. (DTV) has asked the Federal Communications Commission to intervene in a dispute with Tribune Co. that has blacked out local stations for more than five million subscribers in key markets like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.

Flagstone Reinsurance Holdings SA (FSR) agreed to sell its stake in the Island Heritage business to fellow insurer BF&M Ltd. in a cash deal valued at about $68 million.

ICG Group Inc. (ICGE) acquired a 96% stake in privately held MSDSonline Inc. for about $48 million, expanding its presence in the growing market for environmental, health and safety compliance products.

Molson Coors Brewing Co. (TAP) said Tuesday it has agreed to buy Central and East European brewer StarBev L.P.from CVC Capital Partners in a deal worth EUR2.65 billion ($3.54 billion), edging ahead of a number of global brewing groups interested in the business and giving Molson Coors a stronger foothold in Europe.

Novadaq Technologies Inc. (NVDQ, NDQ.T) said it will offer more stock, with the size and price of the offering to be determined later.

Pep Boys-Manny Moe & Jack (PBY) swung to a fiscal fourth-quarter loss as the auto-care company reported weaker comparable retail sales.

SBA Communications Corp. (SBAC) said its shareholders will sell all of the 5.3 million shares of Class A stock the wireless tower company issued as part of its $1.09 billion purchase of assets from Mobilitie LLC.

SmartHeat Inc. (HEAT) posted a fourth-quarter loss on write-downs in two recently acquired businesses, prompting the China-based energy-efficiency company to plan new cost-cutting efforts. The company said a slowdown in end-market demand would be temporary and promised a “rigorous program of cost cutting” to maintain control of its budget.

Somaxon Pharmaceuticals Inc. (SOMX) said Procter & Gamble Co. (PG) opted to pass on exercising its right to negotiate for rights to develop and commercialize an over-the-counter version of Somaxon’s insomnia drug, Silenor.

Xcel Energy Inc. (XEL) reached a settlement in Colorado that will gradually phase in rate increases through 2014, potentially offering the multi-state utility company more certainty about its future revenue.