Proactiveinvestors RSS feed en Thu, 20 Sep 2018 13:26:30 -0400 Genera CMS (Proactiveinvestors) (Proactiveinvestors) <![CDATA[Media files - CannaJam 2018 brings cannabis companies closer to prospective investors ]]> Sat, 15 Sep 2018 08:25:00 -0400 <![CDATA[News - CannaJam connects small-cap cannabis companies with potential investors ]]> Proactive Investors welcomed a bustling crowd of investors to its inaugural CannaJam Forum on Wednesday evening in New York City.

The event was equal parts fun and informative, bringing accredited investors and small-cap cannabis companies together in a close-knit setting that spilled out into the hallway.

Attendees were greeted by the lively sound of reggae music and an open bar and food sponsored by Callitas Health Inc (OTCQB:MPHMF).

WATCH: iAnthus updates investors on activities in six US states

After the opening remarks, Hadley Ford, CEO of iAnthus Capital Holdings (CSE:IAN) (OTCQB:ITHUF), took the floor to share a little about his cannabis cultivation company.

Headquartered in Midtown Manhattan, steps away from the event, the company owns processing and dispensary facilities in six states.

Ford, a 20-year healthcare veteran, was well-equipped to field questions from potential investors.

iAnthus recently broke ground on its 39,500 square foot medical cannabis cultivation and processing facility in Warwick, New York.

WATCH: Emerald Health Therapeutics CFO confirms Canadian supply deals, calls US market 'tantalizing'

Next to present was Weekend Unlimited, a privately held company taking advantage of its cannabis industry connections to create a lifestyle brand.

Board member Brian Keane gave investors a run-down of the ins and outs of the company, eliciting a few laughs from the audience in the process.

The lighthearted company financed one of the world’s largest bongs, standing 24 feet tall and weighing nearly 800 pounds. Its bowl may hold at least a quarter-pound of marijuana.

Based in Vancouver, Weekend Unlimited has indoor cultivation and processing facilities in Washington state. It expects to go public next week, Keane said.

Rob Hill, chief financial officer of Emerald Health Therapeutics at CannaJam 2018

Last to address the room was Rob Hill, chief financial officer of medical cannabis company Emerald Health Therapeutics (TSX: EMH) (OTCQX:EMHTF).

Emerald Health is licensed under the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulation to produce dried cannabis and cannabis oil for medical use.

The company has a strong focus on research, receiving a federal grant to explore cannabis strains and cultivation technologies.

Emerald Health is looking to expand its production capacity ahead of the impending legalization of recreational cannabis in Canada this October.

Proactive Investors’ next event is a CEO Investors’ Forum, a gathering of small-cap companies and investors, to be held on September 26.


Fri, 14 Sep 2018 09:00:00 -0400
<![CDATA[News - Japan’s Renesas Electronics to buy US chipmaker Integrated Device Technology for US$6.7bn ]]> Japanese semiconductor firm Renesas Electronics Corp (TYO:6723) announced a deal Tuesday to buy California-based Integrated Device Technology Inc (NASDAQ:IDTI) in a cash deal valued at US$6.7bn.

Shares in Integrated Device Technology, or IDT shot up nearly 11% to US$46.70, while Renesas stock climbed 4.4% on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

Renesas is the world's biggest supplier of microcontroller chips used in the car industry, and was created through a merger of the chip units of Hitachi, Mitsubishi Electric and NEC. It commands roughly 30% of the global market for microcontrollers used in cars, but is weak in the miniature analog electronic chips department which process signals from things such as sound, light or temperature into digital data.

According to Reuters, the Japanese firm has been keen to get its hands on IDT’s know-how in analog semiconductors for wireless networks and sensors, expertise crucial to develop autonomous driving and connected car technology.

READ: Micron Technology shares slip further after CFO says NAND chip prices are falling

“We were weak in chips for wireless networks needed for the Internet of things and connected cars. We’ve been wanting to get such assets,” Renesas CEO Bunsei Kure told a news conference.

This is the Japanese firm’s second major acquisition as it deepens its push into semiconductors for self-driving cars. In 2016, it bought smaller US chipmaker Intersil for US$3.2bn.

"The Intersil acquisition brought diverse talent and management capabilities to accelerate Renesas' global operations. The transaction announced today extends this effort and will provide Renesas with further proficiency to execute global strategy," Renesas said in a statement.

Contact Uttara Choudhury at

Follow her on Twitter: @UttaraProactive 

Tue, 11 Sep 2018 07:43:00 -0400
<![CDATA[News - IPO Roundup: Guardant Health, Kodiak Sciences, Aston Martin, Studio City and Upwork Inc to tap the capital markets ]]> Guardant Health Inc, a Redwood City, California-based biotechnology company that sells blood tests to track and, potentially, detect cancer, has filed a prospectus to raise up to US$100mln, with the goal of deploying its test in 1 million people over the next five years. Since it launched its liquid biopsy, Guardant360 molecular diagnostic test, in 2014, Guardant’s tests have been given to over 70,000 people. But the goal isn’t just to increase use, but to collect data. Guardant’s goal has always been to create an annual blood test that could detect cancer early, when it is most curable.

In its filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Guardant estimated the market opportunity for its current commercial and pipeline products at more than  US$35bn in the United States. Money and scale are important because Guardant has strong competition in the shape of Silicon Valley company Grail, spun out of DNA sequencing giant Illumina. Guardant is planning to issue roughly 10 million shares and list on the tech-laden Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “GH.”

Biotech Kodiak Sciences Inc said late last Friday it plans to go public and raise up to US$100mln. According to a filing with the SEC, the company plans to use proceeds for clinical trials of its retinal disorder eye-drug treatment, KSI-301, for the cure of wet age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. Kodiak, which has 28 employees has no reported revenue. It said it booked a loss of US$27.9mln in 2017, compared with US$17.1mln in 2016.

The company plans to debut on the tech-laden Nasdaq and trade under the ticker symbol "KOD." Morgan Stanley, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Barclays are listed among the underwriters.

READ: Aston Martin gears up for £5bn London IPO as it unveils record half-year profits

Aston Martin, which is gearing up to float on the London Stock Exchange later this year, has appointed Penny Hughes, a former Coca-Cola executive, as its chair. The luxury carmaker laid out the shape of its board and further details of its initial public offering in a formal “intention to float” announcement Monday. Hughes, who has experience on the boards of FTSE 100 firms including Royal Bank of Scotland, Vodafone and WM Morrison, will also chair Aston Martin’s nomination committee. The non-executive directors named are: Former InterContinental Hotels CEO Richard Solomons and former Sainsbury’s executive Imelda Walsh.

Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer told the Financial Times the appointments help the business “avoid the mistakes of the past” by bringing in good governance that the group lacked throughout its troubled history. “This is not a petrol head bunch of enthusiasts, it’s a very serious company with heavyweight directors.”

The luxury British sports car maker reported a record set of half-year results. The maker of James Bond cars saw sales rise 14% in the first six months of 2018 to £444.9mln, buoyed by strong demand for its special edition Vanquish Zagato range and growing interest in Asia. Daimler, which has a 4.9% stake in Aston and a deal to sell engines and other technology to the business, has agreed not to sell any shares in Aston Martin for 12 months after the float.

Hong Kong-based Studio City International Holdings, a Hollywood-themed entertainment resort and casino spun out of Macau-based casino giant Melco International Development Ltd (HKG:0200), filed Monday with the SEC to raise up to US$115mln in an initial public offering. The company which booked US$568mln in revenue for the 12 months ended June 30, 2018, plans to list on the NYSE and trade under the ticker symbol “MSC.” Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley are the joint bookrunners on the deal. No pricing terms were disclosed.

READ: Chinese Tesla rival NIO revs up US$1.3bn IPO on NYSE

In sync with a slew of high-profile Bay Area companies going public in 2018, Mountain View, California-based Upwork Inc said in a filing with the SEC that it plans to raise up to US$100mln through an initial public offering. Upwork operates a popular online platform for companies to hire and work with independent professionals. Hiring managers like the fact that Upwork goes the extra mile to verify freelance marketers, designers, developers and other professionals on their website. It provides Upwork Enterprise, a freelancer management system that enables companies to access qualified independent talent. 

The company was formerly known as Elance-oDesk, and changed its name to Upwork Inc in May 2015. It plans to debut on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “UPWK.” According to the company, its online marketplace consists of 375,000 registered freelancers and 475,000 client businesses in 180 countries. The site racked up a gross payment volume of nearly US$1.4bn in the 2017 financial year, which was an impressive 19% jump over the prior period.

Contact Uttara Choudhury at

Follow her on Twitter: @UttaraProactive 

Mon, 10 Sep 2018 11:18:00 -0400
<![CDATA[News - US adds thousands of health care and mining jobs in August ]]> The US economy added thousands of jobs in health care and in mining during the month of August, data from the Labor Department's monthly employment report showed Friday.

The report, closely followed by market participants on Wall Street, showed total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 210,000 in August, in line with the average monthly gain of 196,000 over the past 12 months, a release by the Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) said.

The BLS said that in August, health care employment rose by 33,000. The job gains were in ambulatory health care services with 21,000 and hospitals at 8,000.

For the year so far, the health care sector has added 301,000 jobs.

Another sector that posted gains was mining, which added 6,000 jobs in August, after reporting little change in its July figures.

"Since a recent trough in October 2016, the (mining) industry has added 104,000 jobs, almost entirely in support activities for mining," the BLS said.

Fri, 07 Sep 2018 10:00:00 -0400
<![CDATA[News - Tilly's Inc shares touch 52-week top after results zip past Wall Street's fiscal 2Q revenue and profit forecasts ]]> Tilly’s Inc (NYSE:TLYS), the Californian clothing and accessories group, managed to beat Wall Street’s revenue and profit forecasts for its fiscal second-quarter, helped by a turnaround in its e-commerce business and an early start to buying clothes for the school year.

Its net sales for the three months ended on August 4 came in at US$157.4mln and on a per-share basis, it earned US$0.33 per share as its customers stocked up on back-to-school clothes ahead of schedule.

The results crushed the expectations of analysts who had expected Tilly’s to earn US$0.26 on revenue of US$155.3mln.

Shares of Tilly's hit a 52-week high of US$21.36 on Thursday and was trading up almost 8% at US$19.43.

Its same-store net sales, meanwhile, also increased 4.4% in total in the quarter and its e-commerce net sales jumped an eye-catching 8.1%.

“Tillys delivered its strongest comparable store net sales result since the third quarter of fiscal 2016, an we believe we have our e-com business back on track,” noted CEO Ed Thomas in a statement.

Elsewhere, net income for the company, which is based in Irvine, California, swung to US$9.7mln, up from a net loss of US$0.6mln in the year-ago quarter.

Selling and general expenses also fell in the quarter to US$37.6mln, or about 23.9% of net sales, compared to US$42.2mln, or 30.4% of net sales in the year-ago quarter.

The company now expects its net sales for the fiscal third quarter to range between US$145mln to US$151mln based on an assumed 3% to 6% increase in same-store net sales.

As of the start of August, the company was sitting on US$124.2mln in cash and securities and had no debt outstanding under its revolving credit facility.

Wed, 29 Aug 2018 16:24:00 -0400
<![CDATA[News - Could demand from retail investors drive Aston Martin onto the FTSE 100? ]]> Aston Martin’s expected popularity among retail investors could help drive the luxury carmaker onto the FTSE 100, according to analysts.

The company, best known for making James Bond’s motors, revealed on Wednesday that it plans to list in London later this year, having returned to profitability under chief executive Andy Palmer.

READ: Aston Martin gears up for London IPO

“Aston Martin could be valued at between £4 to £5bn, which would put it at the top end of the FTSE 250 ahead of companies like Travis Perkins and William Hill, and nipping at the heels of FTSE 100 stalwarts like M&S and Royal Mail,” said Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Laith Khalaf.

That’s when it first lists, though. AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould reckons the brand’s popularity could make it a must have for swathes of retail investors, especially if the numbers continue to hold up.

“A very strong brand, a return to profitability and clear momentum with new product innovation would suggest it could command a premium stock market valuation once it joins the market,” said Mould.

Assuming it is valued at £5bn once it joins the London Stock Exchange, that would place it at number 93 on the FTSE 100, ahead of companies such as Royal Mail PLC (LON:RMG) and Direct Line Insurance Group PLC (LON:DLI).

“One would expect the IPO to be very successful and the shares to be in demand from the general public, potentially pushing up its valuation soon after listing and almost certainly securing it a place in the blue-chip index at the next quarterly reshuffle,” Mould adds.

Money talks though

He does caution that it won’t all be plain-sailing for Aston Martin, given that it has gone bankrupt seven times and only returned to profitability in 2017 after racking up years of losses.

That could weigh on investor sentiment and dampen demand, preventing the stock from earning its place on the FTSE 100, unless management can demonstrate that the past year is more than a one-off.

“The brand strength is unquestionable but at the end of the day some investors will only want to get involved if the business can sell more units than it did in the previous year and at a higher price, and continue this trend ad infinitum.”

Wed, 29 Aug 2018 10:45:00 -0400
<![CDATA[Media files - Titanium demand to grow 6% in 2018 as applications set to expand ]]> Fri, 24 Aug 2018 11:00:00 -0400 <![CDATA[News - The Buckle Inc shares bounce after beating Wall Street's fiscal 2Q estimates on strength of online sales ]]> The Buckle Inc (NYSE:BKE) shares popped in pre-market trade Friday as the fashion retailer exceeded Wall Street’s estimates for its fiscal second quarter on the strength of its online sales.

The company reported net income of US$15.7mln or US$0.32 per share, up from US$11.5mln or US$0.24 per share in the year-ago period. Its sales, meanwhile, came in at US$201.1mln, up from US$195.7mln.

The results zipped past the market estimate of US$0.28 on sales of US$196.44 mln.

Buckle shares jumped 5% in the pre-market session to US$29.20 in response.

One weak spot was the slippage in The Buckle’s same-store net sales for the 26 week period ended August 4 by 0.9%, compared to the comparable year-ago period.

Its online sales remained buoyant, however, and jumped 8.6 percent to $21.2mln for the 13-week period ended August 4, compared to net sales of $19.5 million in the comparable period last year.

Headquartered in Kearney, Nebraska, Buckle, which specializes in denim jeans as well as a wider range of apparel and footwear, operates 455 stores in 43 states.

Fri, 24 Aug 2018 08:01:00 -0400
<![CDATA[News - Russian sanctions: Which companies are feeling the pinch? ]]> On Wednesday, August 8, the United States announced that it would be imposing fresh sanctions on Russia as a response to its use of the novichok nerve agent in the attempted murder of former Russian spy, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter Yulia in the UK.

The new sanctions, expected to come into force on 22 August, join a list of other restrictions imposed on Russia by the US since 2014 following its annexation of the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine.

Yet with all this geopolitical upheaval between two global powers, the market reaction seems to be relatively subdued.

This may be a result of the ‘business as usual” mentality that sees the sanctions as a continuation of the restrictions from 2014; however, there are other economic and political factors in play that could also be allowing the market to shrug off what might otherwise be viewed as ominous news.

Energy, Money, and Oligarchs

Before the latest censure, the 2014 sanctions mostly targeted top Russian energy companies and the inner circle of President Vladimir Putin, with state-owned oil & gas giants Rosneft and Gazprom in the crosshairs alongside financial behemoths Sberbank and VTB Group.

Individuals targeted by the sanctions, which include travel restrictions and asset freezes, included Russian billionaires such as Oleg Deripaska, an aluminium magnate, and Viktor Vekselberg, owner of Russian conglomerate Renova Group.

Deripaska also suffered in his capacity as chief executive of Rusal, the second largest aluminium company in the world, which was limited in its access to the US$140bn global aluminium market in a round of sanctions imposed in April.

Putin’s political allies, including former chief of staff Sergei Ivanov and former deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin, were also censured through the Specially Designated Nationals list, a record of people, organisations, and vessels with whom US citizens and residents are prohibited from doing business.

The sanctions announced this month are of a different hue altogether to what went before as they target exports to Russia of sensitive technology such as gas turbine engines, electronics, integrated circuits and calibration equipment used in avionics.  

What could the retaliation be?

While the Russians are unlikely to take this latest round of sanctions lying down, there may be restrictions on what form the response could realistically take.

“I don’t really see a round of counter-sanctions as being likely to be implemented by Russia,” said James Nixey, Head of the Russia and Eurasia Programme at Chatham House.

“What I do think is that it will further entrench the gulf between us … the Russian/Western fallout, particularly in regard to the US.”

However, he adds that the Russians may wish to maintain reasonable relations with the US as the country is fast running out of friends. “On the one hand they’ll want to tackle America, but on the other hand they won’t want to alienate their ally in Trump … they [the Russians], will hope that Trump can do something to ameliorate the situation to Russia’s advantage,” Nixey added.

It’s a similar story regarding the economic impact, with the Russia expert saying there could be a “shadow effect” beyond businesses that are already invested in the local market.

“It’s not just about the companies that are already [there] and exposed, it’s the ones who are thinking about going in and are definitely not going to now,” Nixey said. This will inevitably have an impact of foreign direct investment, the lifeblood of a truly international economy.

Feeling the Pinch

Post-communism, Russia’s economic transformation has been funded by its vast oil and gas resources, which initially at least was bankrolled by Western capitalism.

In fact, many of the high rollers of the industry remain heavily invested in the country – and by extension are probably still feeling the pinch from the last sanctions round.

BP PLC (LON:BP.), for example, currently owns around 20% of Russian natural resources giant Rosneft, worth around £11bn, so is particularly susceptible to issues related to Russian oil exports.

Another FTSE 100 oiler, Royal Dutch Shell PLC (LON:RDSA), is also affected. It holds a 27.5% interest in the Sakhalin-2 oil and gas project, as well as a 50% stake in the Salym fields project in Western Siberia, where it was forced to suspend oil exploration activities following EU and US sanctions in 2014.

The other key industry with exposure to Russia is the mining sector, with metals accounting for around 10% of exports.

However, according to Paul Renken, senior geologist and mining analyst at VSA Capital, it is not the trade restrictions or the sanctions that cause the most worry in the metals markets, but rather the volatility of the Russian rouble against the US dollar when they are implemented.

The concern around the currency is well founded, with the rouble having fallen 5% against the dollar since the prospect of further censure was raised earlier this month, and 45% since the first round of US sanctions were introduced four years ago.

A key example of this is FTSE 250 miner Polymetal International PLC (LON:POLY), who said in its results on 21 August that the Dollar/Rouble exchange rate has a “significant effect” on the operating costs of its projects, which are located in Russia, Kazakhstan, and Armenia.

Away from the natural resources sector, another UK firm feeling the squeeze will be exhibitions and conference organiser ITE Group PLC (LON:ITE), which has a 20% share of the Russian exhibition market.

In recent months, ITE seems to be trying to reduce its reliance on the Russian market through the acquisition of non-Russian focused marketing businesses such as Ascential Events which it purchased in July from FTSE 250 media group Ascential PLC (LON:ASCL) for £300mln.

How are investors and companies responding?

According to some analysts, the sanctions will be received with fairly little reaction in certain sectors, mainly due to the much longer-term perspective of their investments.

Simon Gardner-Bond, mining analyst at City broker Peel Hunt, says that while investors may be reluctant to put more money into Russian mining projects at the moment, companies with established interests won’t be considering the sanctions as a long-term issue.

Gardner-Bond says that most mining projects are often long processes, with many developments taking years before reaching production, so to some companies, the sanctions will be seen more as a temporary blip in a much longer process.

However, he says a more indirect consequence of the sanctions is not diverting investment from Russia but rather a knock-on effect on investment across the entire sector due to the volatility in commodity prices.

The only UK-listed companies that may suffer from the sanctions, Gardner-Bond says, are those with assets located solely in Russia or its sphere of influence, such as KAZ Minerals PLC (LON:KAZ) which operates in Kazakhstan, and Petropavlovsk PLC (LON:POG), a gold mining company with operations in the far east of the country.

Tue, 21 Aug 2018 11:41:00 -0400
<![CDATA[News - London-based luxury fashion website Farfetch plans New York flotation ]]> London-based luxury fashion website Farfetch is planning to float on the New York Stock Exchange.

The company, which sells designer brands including Gucci and Burberry, said it has not decided on the number or price of the shares it plans to issue.

But it is understood the initial public offering could value the firm at up to US$5bn.


Jose Neves, the Portuguese entrepreneur who founded the company in 2008, told the BBC in 2016 that a share flotation would be "the next financial milestone" for the company.

The group has filed a registration statement with the US Securities and Exchange Commission but it has not yet become effective.

Fartech signed a deal with Burberry in February to sell its clothing worldwide and last year it began offering a 90-minute delivery service for Gucci products to consumers in 10 cities including New York, London, Dubai and Los Angeles.

Mon, 20 Aug 2018 15:57:00 -0400
<![CDATA[News - Zoë's Kitchen shares rocket after reaching deal to be bought by private Cava Group ]]> Shares in Zoës Kitchen Inc (NYSE:ZOES) vaulted sharply higher in morning trade after the restaurant company reached an agreement to be bought out by the private Cava Group in a deal with an enterprise value of as much as US$300mln.

Under the tie-up’s terms, Zoës Kitchen shareholders will receive US$12.75 in cash for each share owned, which is equal to a 33% premium to Zoës Kitchen’s closing share price on Thursday of $9.56.

Pleased by the announcement, investors sent Zoës' shares up by 33% to US$12.74 shortly after the opening bell.

Cava Group and Zoës Kitchen, which is based in Plano, Texas, are a suitable match as both run Mediterranean-inspired restaurants. Together, the combined company will own 327 restaurants across twenty-four states.

Cava’s acquisition will be financed via a significant equity investment led by the investment vehicle ACT III Holdings, which was started by Ron Shaich, the founder of Panera Bread, along with existing investors Swan and Legend Venture Partners and Revolution Growth.

Cava CEO Brett Schulman will take the helm of the combined group as CEO while Shaich will serve as chairman.

Cava will pay a US$17mln termination fee if the merger fails to occur.

Fri, 17 Aug 2018 07:36:00 -0400
<![CDATA[Media files - SHARC Energy Systems about to hit a major company milestone ]]> Fri, 03 Aug 2018 18:00:00 -0400 <![CDATA[Media files - Tech demand for gold continues to grow with H1 2018 reaching three-year high ]]> Thu, 02 Aug 2018 14:05:00 -0400 <![CDATA[Media files - Trump moves to shore up US agriculture after latest tit-for-tat tariffs ]]> Fri, 27 Jul 2018 16:04:00 -0400 <![CDATA[News - US hiring remains robust, but unemployment rate rises to 4% in June ]]> The unemployment rate in the US rose in June to 4%, but hiring remained robust as the US added 213,000 new jobs last month, per a government report out today.

Economists had projected that the non-farm payroll would jump by 195,000 while the unemployment rate would remain unchanged at 3.8%, its lowest level since April 2000.

The results of the monthly report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics still suggest that the US labour market looks relatively healthy as wage growth has kept up its pace and new revisions report more robust job growth in both April and May.

Nancy Curtin, chief investment officer at Close Brothers Asset Management, said: “The US labour market continues to go from strength to strength, matching the second quarter upswing seen in the wider economy.”

“While wage growth is finally showing signs of picking up, Jerome Powell will be keen to see whether recent small improvements in productivity continue to accelerate serving as a counterbalance to these wage gains,” Curtin added.

Revised figures also showed that employers added 175,000 jobs in April and another 244,000 jobs in May, which means that employment gains for these two months were 37,000 more than previously reported.

The so-called labor force participation rate, which assesses the percentage of Americans who either have a job or are trying to find one, jumped to 62.9% in June from 62.7%.

Wage growth also jumped a tad, rising 2.7% from last June. Average hourly earnings crept up in the month by 5 cents to US$26.98

Another measure of unemployment, which takes into account people who want to work but are no longer searching as well as part-time workers who can’t find full-time work, ticked up to 7.8% last month from a low of 7.6% last May.

Fri, 06 Jul 2018 09:50:00 -0400
<![CDATA[News - ADP Employment survey shows 177,000 jobs added in June ]]> Job growth in the US failed to grow as quickly as expected in June as US businesses found it difficult to hire qualified workers, according to a new survey out today.

ADP, the payroll processing group, and Moody's Analytics reported today that US businesses added 177,000 workers in June, which fell short of analysts’ expectations of 190,000 jobs being added.

"Businesses’ number one problem is finding qualified workers,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics. “At the current pace of job growth, if sustained, this problem is set to get much worse. These labor shortages will only intensify across all industries and company sizes."

Companies in the trade, transportation, health care and education sectors, with more than 50 employees, led the charge in hiring last month.

Medium-sized businesses, which employ 50 to 499 people, tacked on 80,000 new jobs last month while large businesses, which employ 500 to 999 employees, added 69,000 jobs.

Service-providing companies added 148,000 jobs, led by gains in the trade, education, health care and leisure fields.

The release of the ADP’s report comes a day before the US government’s much-scrutinized jobs report on Friday.  Economists are forecasting that the US Labor Department will announce as many as 195,000 new jobs were created across the private and public sectors.

The ADP’s monthly National Employment report is based on ADP payroll data from its 411,000 US clients who employ nearly 24mln workers. There is frequently a disparity between the government’s official jobs report and the ADP survey.

In May,  the ADP survey for the month said there were 189,000 new hires.

Thu, 05 Jul 2018 09:45:00 -0400
<![CDATA[News - Iconic technology giant Dell to return to public trading ]]> Iconic PC maker Dell Technologies Inc., which founder Michael S. Dell took private in 2013, announced plans Monday to trade publicly again, entering a new stage of a multi-year turnaround plan.

Having drastically expanded Dell into a one-stop technology shop for businesses, Dell and his financial partner, the investment firm Silver Lake, plan to bring the company back to the public markets — even if in a complicated fashion.

Dell Technologies said it had struck a deal to buy out investors in a special class of shares created in 2016 to help Dell buy the networking company EMC. That stock effectively tracks the performance of Dell’s 82% stake in VMware (NYSE:DVMT), the network software powerhouse that Dell inherited when it bought EMC.     

As part of the deal, VMware will pay DVMT shareholders an US$11bn special cash dividend and Dell will offer more shares, or cash, to make up the difference, giving a total deal size of US$21.7bn. Holders of DVMT shares, also known as Dell Technologies Class V, will have the option to either swap their shares for Dell’s Class C common stock, or take US$109 in cash per Class V share. The offer is a 29% premium to Class V’s closing price Friday. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2018.

The New York Times reported that the deal, which was approved by the boards of Dell and VMware late Sunday, would simplify the stock structure of Dell and its publicly traded subsidiary. 

Shares in DVMT, which last closed at US$84.58, rose nearly 12% to 94.33 in pre-market trade.

Once that deal is completed, the Dell Class C shares will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

Founder CEO Michael Dell and investment firm Silver Lake took Dell private in a leveraged buyout in 2013 for about US$25bn.

One-stop tech shop for business

Dell which is synonymous for personal computers, and has strong a lineup of servers, storage hardware and networking gear now has a growing suite of software tools in its arsenal through its EMC acquisition.

“The company has sought a symbiotic relationship with its hardware and software -- chasing closer integrations between the two and selling both to customers to extract higher profit margins,” noted Bloomberg.

Back in 2013, Dell and Silver Lake took a bold gamble in spending roughly US$25bn to take Dell private, and then splashing out US$67bn to buy EMC. Today, it has created a kind of one-stop powerhouse for hardware and software needed by companies to run their businesses.

“We’ve completely transformed our company and become a key leader in huge segments of the industry,” Dell said in a telephone interview to The New York Times.

“This has been the largest, most complex and successful integration in the history of the technology industry,” Egon Durban, the Silver Lake managing partner who has worked closely with Dell, told NYT.


Mon, 02 Jul 2018 09:09:00 -0400
<![CDATA[News - Oppenheimer: Chipmakers preparing for arrival of 5G bandwidth ]]> The world’s chipmakers are ramping up their efforts to make sophisticated systems on a chip (SoCs) for Internet of Things applications as a way to compete in the fifth-generation (5G) wireless network era, according to the “Daily Chip Clips” report by Oppenheimer analyst Rick Schafer.

Chipmakers are preparing themselves for the arrival of 5G as the bandwidth will be much bigger than 4G and support streaming content that couldn’t be aired before, Schafer’s analysis suggests.

Schafer describes the development of Internet of Things chipset solutions as a “warm-up game” for exploring the wider business opportunities that will surface after 5G application services start their commercial run in 2020.

“Since 5G communication technologies can integrate all communication products, applications and services, chipmakers must manage to build reciprocal cooperation ties with all the ecosystem partners including telecom operators, infrastructure equipment suppliers … software and services providers if they want to better tap the market for 5G chipset solutions,” wrote Schafer, citing an article in DigiTimes, the Taiwanese trade journal.

Another forecast from Oppenheimer's report is that the contract prices for NAND flash chips will slip further in the second half of this year as demand is unlikely to catch up with a glut in the supply of these devices.

Chip suppliers are still increasing their output of NAND chips due to “further improvement” in their 64- and 72-layer 3D NAND flash chips, writes Schafer. But demand for these chips is still likely to be weaker than expected in the third quarter, Schafer adds.

Cryptomining weighs on Gigabyte Technology

A final note from Schafer reports that a slowdown in cryptocurrency mining is weighing on tech company Gigabyte Technology (TWSE:2376)’s shipments of its graphics cards in the second quarter. 

Gigabyte reports that just 1 million graphic cards will be shipped in the second quarter, down from 1.2mln in the previous three-month period. The prices of graphic cards have also weakened on the fallout in demand.

Schafer’s “Daily Chip Clips” report was based on articles provided by DigiTimes, a Taiwanese trade publication focusing on the semiconductor, electronics and computer sectors.

Fri, 29 Jun 2018 11:11:00 -0400
<![CDATA[News - Trump’s Trade War: Who’s in the firing line? ]]> Since the start of 2018, US President Donald Trump has been throwing around threats of trade tariffs, and in many cases has begun imposing them on various types of US imports.

The main headline grabbers have not only been Trump’s simmering trade battle with China - although some would argue it was expected, given his campaign rhetoric - but also newer feuds that have broken out between the US and some of its most steadfast allies, including the European Union and Canada.

With the White House currently assessing the potential for 10% tariffs on a further US$200bn on Chinese goods, and the Beijing government poised to respond in kind, it is good to take a look at what products Trump has decided to turn his ‘tariff gun’ on, and which countries are bearing the brunt.

Steel and Aluminium

The steel and aluminium tariffs are probably seen by many as the sparking point of the trade tangle the global economy now finds itself in, and what has caused the most tension between the US, its allies, and China.

To date, the US has placed a 25% and 10% duty respectively on steel and aluminium imports, covering around US$48bn of imports, with most of these coming from allies such as Canada, the EU, Mexico, and South Korea.

Surprisingly given his previous rhetoric, only 6% of the imports covered by these tariffs come from China, mainly due to previous US restrictions on 94% of steel imports from the country.

Despite initial exemptions, Trump eventually decided to impose the tariffs on the EU, as well as fellow members of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Mexico and Canada.

The only countries that appear to have escaped unscathed are Argentina, Australia, and Brazil, who were all granted indefinite exemptions. South Korea also escaped tariffs with a permanent exemption but was then hit with a quota which cuts its exports of steel to the US by 21.2%.

In response to the new tariffs, the EU has retaliated by slapping €2.8bn of duties on a variety of US goods, ranging from bourbon whiskey to Harley Davidson motorcycles.

The effects of these retaliations are already being felt, with Harley Davidson announcing on 25 June that it was shifting some production for European customers out of the US to avoid the tariffs, causing a blow to one of Trump’s key voting demographics - blue-collar workers in the Mid-Western ‘rust belt’.


Surprised that Harley-Davidson, of all companies, would be the first to wave the White Flag. I fought hard for them and ultimately they will not pay tariffs selling into the E.U., which has hurt us badly on trade, down $151 Billion. Taxes just a Harley excuse - be patient! #MAGA

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 25 June 2018

The Chinese government also issued its own set of retaliatory tariffs on US$2.4bn of US exports including aluminium waste and scrap, pork, fruits and nuts.

Not wanting to be left out, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced US$16.6bn in retaliatory duties, calling it “inconceivable” that the country was considered a national security risk, the reason used by the Trump administration to justify the initial imposition of tariffs.

Technology and Intellectual Property

Following the results of an investigation initiated by the US in August 2017, the Trump administration released a list of 1,333 Chinese products under consideration for 25% tariffs in April, citing the investigations report that China was conducting unfair trade practices relating to technology transfer, intellectual property (IP) and innovation.

The top sectors targeted for these tariffs were machinery, mechanical appliances, and electrical equipment which totalled around US$46.2bn in US imports.

The Chinese responded with their own list covering 106 US products including vehicles, aircraft, vessels, and soybeans totalling US$49.8bn of its imports from the US.

Not wanting to be outdone, Trump asked US trade officials to consider tariffs on an additional US$100bn of Chinese exports to the US, before releasing a revised list on 15 June, covering the same amount but more heavily targeting intermediate inputs which could damage supply chains for US companies.

In response, the Chinese revised their own list, which now targets more agricultural products as well as petroleum products and medical equipment, while removing aircraft from the list.

Cars and auto parts

A slightly newer development compared to the other tariff disputes, but what seems to be the next step in the saga is the automotive industry, with Trump’s latest proposal to slap 20% tariffs on EU car exports in response to the bloc’s reaction to the US steel and aluminium duties.

The spat was preceded by a US Commerce Department investigation begun in May to evaluate the national security risks of importing cars and auto parts to the US from foreign markets.

In a tweet this morning, President Trump threatened to place a 20% tariff on car imports coming from the EU if it didn't remove the $3.2 billion in tariffs recently placed on the United States.

— Axios (@axios) 22 June 2018 Washing machines and solar panels

A somewhat lesser known aspect of Trump’s tariff crusade, washing machines and solar panel imports were hit with US$1.8bn and US$8.5bn in duties in January after a report by the US International Trade Commission found that imports of these goods had caused injury to US producers of the targeted products.

Shortly after these tariffs were introduced, China began investigating potential tariffs on US exports of sorghum (a type of cereal crop) worth around US$1bn.

While this was not explicitly reacting to the tariffs on washing machines and solar panels, the timing suggested a repeat of China’s retaliation to former US President Obama’s safeguard tariffs on tyres in 2009.

Beijing then followed through in April with 178.6% antidumping duties on sorghum imports from the US, although these were ended in May after trade negotiations with the US.

However, the US wasn’t completely unscathed, as earlier that month, South Korea filed a dispute with the World Trade Organization (WTO), claiming the tariffs on washing machines and solar panels were a breach of its rules.

That is the list so far, but there are sure to be more twists and turns as the US prepares to fire the next shot of its Chinese trade spat on 6 July.

More to come?

On 10 July, the White House revealed that it was currently assessing the potential for 10% tariffs on a further US$200bn of Chinese goods ranging all the way from fish to luggage.

However, these new tariffs, while formidable, are not scheduled to take effect for another two months, giving time for both US industry to adapt to the new levies and for any potential negotiations that could prevent the global trade war from escalating.

Tue, 26 Jun 2018 13:00:00 -0400
<![CDATA[News - Cancer biotech company Autolus Therapeutics raises US$150mln in IPO ]]> Cancer biotech company Autolus Therapeutics has raised US$150mln in an initial public offering (IPO) of 8.8mln shares at US$17 each.

The London-based company, which is at a clinical stage in developing blood cancer therapies, is expected to begin trading on the Nasdaq Global Select Market today.

The IPO price was at the upper end of the US$15 to US$17 range.

Clinical stage company

The funds raised in the flotation will aid Autolus in developing CAR-T treatments for targeting cancer and a commercial platform to support the rollout of its programmes.

The company was founded in September 2014 by healthcare company Syncona, which retains a 33.8% stake after investing US$24mln in the IPO.

“Autolus is now a globally differentiated, clinical stage company at the forefront of a potential revolution in cancer treatment,” said Syncona chief executive Martin Murphy.

“We look forward to our continued partnership as significant owners and strong supporters of the business as it executes its plan to deliver transformational treatments to patients.”

Woodford and Arix retain stakes 

Star investor Neil Woodford’s Woodford Capital Trust PLC (LON:WPCT) has kept a 15.9% stake in Autolos. The fund management firm said the value of its holding has increased by 51% to US$104.7mln after the IPO.

Arix Bioscience Plc (LON:ARIX) owns an 8.2% interest in Autolus worth US$53.7mln, which is 73% higher than it was before the flotation.

“Since the inception of Autolus four years ago, the company has commenced 6 clinical trials in 5 programmes and added the capabilities needed to bring its next-generation T-cell therapies to market,” said Arix chief executive Joe Anderson.

“We believe Autolus is at the forefront of a revolution in cancer treatment and that its innovative approach to T-cell programming has the potential to offer life-changing therapies for patients, with both haematological and solid cancers.”

Goldman Sachs and Jefferies acted as joint book-running managers for the offering.

Fri, 22 Jun 2018 07:46:00 -0400
<![CDATA[News - Indian banks relying on blockchain to ‘expedite’ trade loan approvals, says Intelegain Technologies ]]> Banks responsible for about half of India’s internal trade are planning to leverage bitcoin’s technology endoskeleton, blockchain, to speed up processes and “expedite processes,” and “eliminate hurdles” to approve new trade loans, said experts at custom software development company Intelegain Technologies, which has offices in the US and India.

Bloomberg earlier reported that 14 local banks have signed up for the India Trade Connect consortium, which hired the Bengaluru-based software firm Infosys Ltd. (NYSE:INFY) to develop a blockchain platform for loans that back trade transactions within India.

The traditional paper-intensive trade finance process within India can take as long as 22 days to complete, according to Yes Bank Ltd., another member of the six-month-old consortium.

The blockchain project should reduce those delays to less than a day, according to Yes Bank’s chief information officer, Anup Purohit. In later phases, the project could be extended to remittance processing.

“The blockchain technology offers such a solution that it can reduce the loan trades to particular T+3 days of settlement period by utilizing a central platform in order to process loans and administer trades,” accordning to a blog posted on Intelegain Technologies' website.

“In order to facilitate this, the key aspects of the credit agreement in regard to the loan transferability are coded into a “smart contract” on the blockchain platform,” Intelegain said.  

The nature of blockchain — a distributed ledger that records information in a tamper-proof, trustworthy way — has the potential to make all sorts of services and transactions more affordable, and include individuals who have been at the margins into the global economy. 

Indian banks and financial institutions have been quick to adopt blockchain technology and experiment with their own private ledgers in the hope of streamlining the transfer of stocks and financial products. 

Leveraging ‘accuracy and reliability’

“It’s is hardly surprising that banks are considering blockchain solutions for trade finance – as with blockchain - all participants in the supply chain are allowed to view the same ledger recording of the progress of documents as well as goods through different stages of the supply chain,” said the post.

“This definitely increases the speed of the end-to-end documentary trade processes and brings more accuracy and reliability to the process – which significantly reduces risk to a financing bank.”

Indian business and government sector have been enthusiastic about adopting new technologies like blockchain. Not only is it a staple in the sharing economy, used widely by companies like peer-to-peer bike and car rental company Drivezy, but it’s also being explored for tasks like land registration.

“The southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh is working with a startup ChromaWay on a land registration pilot that uses blockchain to track the ownership of property,” Prasad Vanga, founder and chief accelerator, Anthill Ventures told Proactive Investors.

Mon, 11 Jun 2018 16:23:00 -0400
<![CDATA[News - Canaccord Genuity sees major upside for Canadian cannabis as legalization of pot in Canada 'rounds 3rd base' ]]> Analysts at Canaccord Genuity hailed the Canadian Senate’s decision Thursday to legalize recreational marijuana as a “watershed moment” and they expect cannabis to go on sale by September or October.

However, the analysts pointed out that there were several logistical hurdles because new retail systems needed time to launch successfully.

The Canadian Senate voted Thursday to pass Bill C-45 — the landmark legislation to legalize recreational marijuana — by a vote of 56 to 30, with one abstention. The bill also included amendments that the House of Commons will need to decide on before the law can be passed.

Amendments likely procedural in nature

“The official legalization of recreational cannabis in Canada has effectively reached the finish line; however, the amendments made to the Bill in the interim will have to be approved in the House of Commons and then ratified by the Senate,” wrote Canaccord Genuity analysts Matt Bottomley, Neil Maruoka, Jenny Wang and Nick Warner.

“We expect this remaining process to be procedural in nature and likely completed in the coming week,” they added.

Read: A game-changing vote: Canadian senate votes ‘Yes’ to legalize recreational cannabis

Canada is set to become the first "major country" in the world to approve adult-use cannabis at the federal level. “As a result, we believe Canada will continue to be a global leader in cannabis regulation, infrastructure, expertise/knowledge and access to capital,” wrote the analysts.

Sales roll-out on a national level by September/October

While there is not yet a defined date when recreational marijuana will go on sale, clearing the Senate appeared to be the last serious hurdle for the bill, with a number of Conservative senators opposing legalization.

The analysts noted that looking ahead, provinces will continue to finalize respective distribution platforms.

“We expect meaningful legal rec sales to roll-out on a national level by September/October,” wrote the analysts.“However, we caution investors that there remain several issues to be ironed out, and it is not likely that the launch will be smooth given challenges for retail distribution and ramping up cultivation capacity.”

Positive catalysts  

Despite logistical hurdles, the analysts believe “positive industry catalysts” are still on the horizon.

Read: Canadian medical marijuana company Aphria pegs C$225mln war chest to build new facilities

“This includes major provinces such as Ontario, Alberta and BC still to announce initial tender allotments for product and the legislation of more recreational friendly products, such as vape pens, edibles and other derivative cannabis product that will become increasingly important for producers as the cultivation of cannabis is expected to become largely commoditized,” wrote the analysts.

According to The Independent, Ontario, Canada's most populous province plans 40 government-run stores at first, rising to 150 by 2020. It said Quebec, the second largest, will start with 20 stores but has deferred any expansion plans.

“By contrast, the US state of Colorado is now home to around 1,000 marijuana retailers after legalising the drug in 2012,” pointed out the newspaper.

Fri, 08 Jun 2018 15:40:00 -0400
<![CDATA[News - MEI Pharma's price target lifted by Oppenheimer on strong Phase 1b trial for ME-401 cancer drug ]]> The price target for the oncology group MEI Pharma Inc (NASDAQ:MEIP) has been raised to US$4.50, with an Outperform rating, by Oppenheimer's Leah Rush Cann thanks to a successful Phase1b study for its lead cancer drug ME-401.

Rush Cann’s bullish stance comes in response to study data that demonstrates a 90% response rate to the drug in patients with various forms of lymphoma.

“The results of the phase1b study, presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology conference, are very impressive, with an objective response rate of 90%,” writes Rush Cann.

In morning trade, MEI Pharma’s shares jumped 10% higher to US$3.92.

Rush Cann forecasts that the optimistic1b trial results mean that ME-401could be filed with the Food and Drug Administration by 2021. She projects a commercial launch for the drug in 2022, with sales of US$620mln by 2023.

Rush Cann is also optimistic about MEI Pharma’s development-stage drug Pracinostat, which is used to treat acute myeloid leukemia and myeloid dysplastic syndromes.

“We anticipate MEI Pharma will commercialize its development-stage drug Pracinostat in acute myeloid leukemia and myeloid dysplatic syndromes and MEI-401, in chronic lymphocytic leukemia and follicular lymphoma in 2022,” she writes. “We estimate that total revenue will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 126.1% for the next six years, increasing to US$747.4mln in 2023.”

Tue, 05 Jun 2018 11:12:00 -0400
<![CDATA[News - Oppenheimer analyst keeps Perform rating on CRISPR Therapeutics despite FDA setback ]]> In the wake of the news that the US Food and Drug Administration is placing a clinical hold on CRISPR Therapeutics's new drug application, CTX001 which treats sickle cell disease, shares in the gene-editing company fell sharply.

Investors have been thrown off by the FDA's news, sending the group's shares down 8.7% in afternoon trade to US$67.17.

But Leah Rush Cann, an analyst with Oppenheimer, is still keeping her Perform rating on the stock. “We are surprised by this clinical hold by the FDA,” she wrote in a note. “This clinical hold does not impact our outlook for timing or for collaboration revenue.”

The FDA’s clinical hold on CTX001 will remain in place until certain questions about this drug therapy are cleared up.

A new drug application was first submitted by CRISPR and its partner Vertex Pharmaceuticals to the FDA last April to support the start of a Phase1/2 trial in the US in adults with sickle cell disease.

CTX001 is a stem-cell therapy for patients suffering from B-thalassemia and sickle cell disease. The start of a Phase1/2 trial of CTX001 is still expected to go ahead in Europe by the second half of this year.

CRISPR and Vertex hope to glean additional information about the FDA’s questions in the near future and work rapidly to resolve them in a bid to advance towards the drug’s approval.

Rush Cann expects that CRISPR will make most of its money from its current collaboration agreements and projects that the company’s total revenue will reach US$357.3mln by 2022.

“We do not anticipate CRISPR Therapeutics will have a commercial product prior to 2022 and therefore estimate that collaborative agreement payments will continue to be the primary contributor to revenue through 2022,” she concluded.


Thu, 31 May 2018 11:52:00 -0400
<![CDATA[Media files - Small-Cap Snapshot: Curis shares rise after reverse stock split, Oragenics' Phase 2 trial sees positive results ]]> Wed, 30 May 2018 09:50:00 -0400 <![CDATA[News - HP Inc matches market estimates for fiscal 2Q profits on the back of sales of its personal computers ]]> HP Inc. (NYSE:HPQ) , the US computer maker, matched market expectations for its fiscal second-quarter revenue and profit on the back of sales of its personal computers.

On a non-GAAP basis, the company’s diluted net earnings per share came to US$0.48 on net revenue of US$14bn. These figures were in line with Wall Street’s estimate of US$0.48 on revenue of US$13.6bn.

Net revenue from HP’s personal systems climbed 14% in the quarter from the year-ago period while revenue from commercial systems jumped 16% over the same period.

Separately, the company also named Steve Fieler as its new chief financial officer. He replaces Cathie Lesjak who will take on the role of interim chief operating officer.

“We delivered another quarter of double-digit year over year revenue and profit growth, strong earnings per share and impressive free cash flow and performed well across segments and regions,” said Dion Weisler, HP’s president and chief executive.

For this fiscal year, HP expects its estimates for non-GAAP diluted net earnings per share to fall in the range of US$1.97 to US$2.02 per share. It also is projecting free cash flow of at least US$3.7bn for the year.

HP shares were flat in the late trading session at US$21.35.

Tue, 29 May 2018 16:39:00 -0400
<![CDATA[News - Pret a Manger to be sold to JAB Holdings in £1.5bn deal ]]> British sandwich chain Pret a Manger is to be taken over by Luxembourg-based JAB Holdings in a deal worth over £1.5bn.

JAB, which acts as an investment vehicle for the reclusive Reimann family, currently owns doughnut maker Krispy Kreme as well as coffee brands Kenco, Douwe Egberts, and Tassimo, and secured a US$18.7bn deal earlier this year to acquire fizzy drinks maker Dr Pepper Snapple.

The sale of Pret is a lucrative one for the chain’s current owners, UK-based private equity firm Bridgepoint, who bought the chain for £364mln ten years ago.

Pret a Manger has expanded rapidly in recent years, opening 50 shops in the past year taking the total number of stores to more than 500 and generating revenues of £879mln.

Angus Grierson, managing director at LGB Corporate Finance, commented: “The sale of Pret a Manger to JAB is a significant win for private over public markets. With deeper pockets than public markets, private firms and conglomerates such as JAB are able to pay towards the higher end of valuation ranges in order to bring their desired brands into their portfolios. Today’s announcement is a landmark and lucrative exit for Bridgepoint, which paid £364m, including debt, to buy the Pret chain a decade ago and comes at a time when most fast-food stocks have struggled due to a confluence of rising wages, supply chain costs and ever-evolving consumer tastes.

He added: "JAB’s purchase of Pret will allow the firm to capitalise on the brand’s continued evolution of one-dimensional offerings to more artisanal, innovative new products that respond to consumer desires for freshly prepared food and drink. The firm will use its extensive experience and increased scale to help Pret compete in a challenging market to gain a stronger foothold in the US, the world’s largest coffee market.”

--Adds analyst comment--


Tue, 29 May 2018 09:30:00 -0400
<![CDATA[News - Evogene posts 1Q loss despite new tie-up with rival BASF ]]> Evogene (NASDAQ:EVGN) posted a loss of US$5.4mln in its first quarter, despite a new tie-up with rival BASF over the development of insecticides.

On a per-share basis, the agricultural crop company, which is based in Rehovot, Israel, said it had a loss of US$0.21per share on revenue of US$400,000. Its results couldn’t be compared to Wall Street’s estimates as the stock remains uncovered by analysts.

The company blamed its decline in revenue on the decrease in reimbursement for research and development from its various collaboration agreements with other companies, a problem which is partly due to the progression of Evogene’s multi-year partnership with its bigger rival Monsanto Co (NYSE:MON).

Its operating loss in the first quarter was US$4.9mln, down from US$5.3mln in the first quarter of 2017.

Despite its lackluster performance, Ofer Haviv, Evogene’s president and chief executive, was enthusiastic about the company’s advances in the quarter.

A new collaboration between Evogene and BASF involving the development of insecticides marks its second partnership with BASF, which is also working with Evogene to develop herbicides.

The company is also working to develop corn bio-stimulants and is also assessing the wider use of its bio-fungicides for fusarium in corn and its bio-insecticides for western corn rootworm.

In morning trade, Evogene shares were down 2.9% to US$3.00.

Tue, 29 May 2018 09:26:00 -0400
<![CDATA[News - Here's why US small-caps are flying high in the face of inflation and risk ]]> Shares of small-cap companies are climbing to new peaks, showcasing the sizzling potential of companies with market caps of less than $2bn.

The Russell 2000 and the S&P 600 are both marching higher, having reached new all-time highs in recent weeks, with the Russell 2000 now trading above 1,623 and the S&P 600 breaking through the key psychological barrier of 1,000.

Over the past 52 weeks, the Russell 2000 is up 18% and the S&P 600 as much as 20% against a 13% rise in the benchmark S&P 500.

And over the course of the last two years, the small-caps’ lead is even more pronounced as the Russell 2000 and the S&P 600 have both jumped 47% compared with a 32% rise by the S&P 500 and a 41% rise from the Dow Jones Industrial Average index.

“There is something special about the way the small-cap market is rallying,” said Tarun Chandra, an investment analyst with the advisory firm Graycell Advisors.

The outperformance of small caps against their more prominent large-cap counterparts since the year’s start suggests that small caps – which tend to boast revenues focused on the domestic economy – can be a shrewd choice when markets are thrown off by broader economic and political concerns of an international nature.

Domestic bliss

With President Trump’s abrupt move to cancel the North Korean summit and the threats of a trade war with China, US tariffs on foreign automobiles as well as rising inflation, small-caps are coming into vogue as they seem far less exposed to the world’s problems.

“With all the talk of trade wars and tariffs, small-caps look particularly appealing since they are largely domestic plays,” says Craig Hodges, chief executive officer and a small-cap portfolio manager at Hodges Mutual Funds

Hodges also points out that small-caps are the chief beneficiaries of the recent changes to the US tax code and the decrease seen recently in regulation. He forecasts that a wave of mergers and acquisitions is also likely to benefit smaller companies as large companies look for ways to spend their cash piles.

“Instead of buying back stocks, large-caps will move into mergers and acquisitions as well and that will boost small-caps,” Hodges says.

Chandra, a well-known financial writer, stresses that there’s something democratic about the dramatic rise of the small-caps.

“As investors have become accustomed to a market being consistently led by a group of mega-caps like Amazon, Alphabet, Facebook, Apple, Netflix, Nvidia and Microsoft, the small-cap rally being witnessed this month is a pleasant departure and provides a more democratic tenor to the bull market,” Chandra wrote in a recent investment newsletter.

Buyer beware

Another reason behind the growing popularity of small-caps is that there are simply fewer listed equities to buy into. Twenty years ago, there were as many as 7,800 listed companies and that number has been more than halved to about 3,500, by Hodges’ estimates.

“A lot of stock has been retired. There have been a lot of buyouts and a lot of big companies are staying private. So, there’s a lot less stock to go around,” Hodges says.

The strengthening US dollar is also playing well for smaller companies. This is because they are not particularly exposed to the threats and counterthreats of the ongoing tariff wars being staged now.

Higher volatility, diminished liquidity and a dearth of research,  however, are among the risks when investing in small-caps, fund managers warn.

“The nature of small-cap stocks lends itself to poorer overall quality, which requires a discerning view to avoid value traps,” wrote Ehren Stanhope and Chris Meredith, investment analysts with O’Shaughnessy Asset Management in a note. “Liquidity is an important consideration because it can erode excess returns in real-world application.”

The small-cap space also still suffers from a dearth of research analysts digging into it. “Because of the popularity of passive investing, less and less people are doing bottom-up research into small-cap stocks,” says Hodges.

But Chandra points out that small-caps are a barometer for investors’ appetite for risk-taking. The new highs suggest that investors remain willing to take less conventional bets, even though they still appear to be harboring reservations about volatility and rising interest rates.

A changing climate

Looking to history as a guide, it could well be the case that any surge in the small-cap arena is accompanied by sluggish economic growth.

From 1979 to 2015, annual gross domestic product growth fell below 3% about half of the time, according to research provided by the FTSE Russell, the UK index provider. In those years of lackluster GDP growth, small-caps tended to outperform large-caps. Most notably, small-caps did better than large-caps in two of the three years in which GDP growth was negative during those years.

Times change, however. Seth R Freeman, a senior managing director with GlassRatner Advisory & Capital Group LLC, said he doesn’t think this historical trend is always the norm. He sees more of a symbiotic relationship between large-caps and small-caps as a number of small-cap companies act as vendors and service providers to large-cap ones and tend to profit in periods of largesse and struggle when large companies' fortunes diminish.

“They can be a little more nimble than large-cap ones and they can be more entrepreneurial,” he said. “But a lot of small-cap companies are vendors and service providers to large-cap companies.”

In an economy that is beginning to inflate and where interest rates are poised to rise, small-cap companies in the US will have fewer financing options than they once had, according to Freeman. But they will be saved by the recent tax law changes, which permit them to deduct their capital investments.

“The tax code changes are good for small-caps,” concludes Freeman. “In my view, the new tax laws are going to constrain a cyclical recession.”

Fri, 25 May 2018 15:00:00 -0400
<![CDATA[Media files - The Daily CryptoCann Report: Glance Technologies, McAfee, Leafbuyer Technologies ]]> Wed, 23 May 2018 18:37:00 -0400 <![CDATA[Media files - Small-Cap Snapshot: Cara Therapeutics, USA Technologies, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Revlon ]]> Wed, 23 May 2018 13:34:00 -0400 <![CDATA[Media files - The Daily CryptoCann Report: Future Farm Technologies Inc, Bitcoin Pizza Day, Operation Crypto Sweep ]]> Tue, 22 May 2018 16:26:00 -0400 <![CDATA[Media files - Small-Cap Snapshot: America’s Car Mart, Dycom Industries, Melinta Therapeutics, Roadrunner Transportation Systems ]]> Tue, 22 May 2018 12:47:00 -0400 <![CDATA[Media files - Small-Cap Snapshot: Monro, MB Financial, Avenue Therapeutics, Carver Bancorp ]]> Mon, 21 May 2018 13:37:00 -0400 <![CDATA[News - LexinFintech shares slump after missing Wall Street's first-quarter profit estimate ]]> Shares of LexinFintech Holdings Ltd (NASDAQ:LX) slumped in early trade after the Shenzhen, China-based consumer finance group missed Wall Street’s first-quarter profit estimate, but whizzed past the market’s revenue projections.

For the opening three months of the year, the company posted first-quarter earnings of US$0.13 per share on revenue of US$250.4mln.

The results were mixed as analysts had expected LexinFintech to earn US$0.18 per share on revenue of US$231.9mln.

LexinFintech shares have jumped 31% since the year’s start, but shed 6% to US$17.19 in morning trade on the company’s mixed first-quarter performance.

Mon, 21 May 2018 09:38:00 -0400
<![CDATA[News - Cheetah Mobile trumps Wall Street's 1Q revenue estimate on rise in monthly active users ]]> Cheetah Mobile Inc. (NYSE:CMCM), the Chinese mobile internet group, beat Wall Street’s estimates on revenue in the first quarter thanks to an impressive number of monthly active users (MAU).

In the opening three months of the year, Cheetah, the maker of the Piano Tiles 2 game and the streaming product, reported revenue of US$182.6mln or RMB1,145.1mln, which surpassed Wall Street’s consensus estimate of US$180.34mln.

Cheetah’s average number of global mobile monthly active users came to 574mln in the first three months of the year. Customers from outside of China accounted for three-quarters of that figure, underlining Cheetah’s international reach.

On a non-GAAP basis, its diluted income per shares was US$0.08 per share, which matched analysts’ expectations.

Cheetah’s gross profit jumped 2.9% year over year to US$120.2mln or RMB753.9mln in the quarter while its gross margin was close to 66%, up from 61.5% in the year-ago quarter

Cheetah draws its hundreds of millions of monthly active via products such as Clean Master and Cheetah Keyboard. It also makes considerable revenue by selling advertisements to companies and mobile advertising networks, which are looking for access to its large base of mobile users.

In the second quarter, Cheetah expects its total revenue to fall between US$163mln and US$172mln.

The company has been listed via ADRs on the New York Stock Exchange since May of 2014.

In pre-market trade, Cheetah's shares dipped 3.5% to US$11.88.

Mon, 21 May 2018 08:52:00 -0400
<![CDATA[Media files - Small-Cap Snapshot: AmTrust Financial Services, Mannatech, Shineco, Mattel ]]> Fri, 18 May 2018 12:53:00 -0400 <![CDATA[Media files - Small-Cap Snapshot: Small-Cap Snapshot: Loxo Oncology, World Wrestling Entertainment, Aircastle, Jack in the Box ]]> Thu, 17 May 2018 14:32:00 -0400 <![CDATA[Media files - Small-Cap Snapshot: Boot Barn, Blink Charging, Evolus, National Beverage ]]> Wed, 16 May 2018 14:38:00 -0400 <![CDATA[Media files - Mod Cloth founder says his invite-only cryptocurrency called Merit will make blockchain more secure ]]> Wed, 16 May 2018 13:42:00 -0400 <![CDATA[Media files - Small-Cap Snapshot: Boxlight, CUI Global, Gold Resource, Restoration Robotics ]]> Tue, 15 May 2018 12:56:00 -0400 <![CDATA[Media files - Proactive Investors Small Cap Snapshot: Myomo, Sears, NetSol Technologies, Ominto ]]> Mon, 14 May 2018 13:12:00 -0400 <![CDATA[Media files - Small Cap Snapshot: Nature's Sunshine Products, Noodles & Company, Obalon Therapeutics, Fate Therapeutics ]]> Fri, 11 May 2018 15:08:00 -0400 <![CDATA[Media files - Investors turning to gold following US withdrawal from Iran Nuclear Deal ]]> Fri, 11 May 2018 13:06:00 -0400 <![CDATA[Media files - Small Cap Snapshot: ARMO BioSciences, Ipsidy, Pressure BioSciences, MDC Partners ]]> Thu, 10 May 2018 12:51:00 -0400 <![CDATA[Media files - Former Ecuador mining minister says he expects $4bn in mining investments into Ecuador by 2021 ]]> Thu, 10 May 2018 11:26:00 -0400 <![CDATA[Media files - Small-Cap Snapshot: Superior Industries International, Sears Holdings, Lipocine, Caesarstone ]]> Wed, 09 May 2018 14:18:00 -0400 <![CDATA[News - Mindbody shares plunge after reporting 1Q loss ]]> Investors sent shares in Mindbody Inc (NASDAQ:MB) plummeting after the software company which caters to the fitness and wellness sectors met Wall Street’s estimates, but reported a first-quarter loss.

 Mindbody matched analysts’ projections by posting a loss of US$0.04 per share on revenue of US$53.8mln.

But its shares slumped 15.2% in pre-market trade.

Despite the negative reception from investors, Rick Stollmeyer, Mindbody’s co-founder and chief, said that in the wake of its acquisitions of FitMetrix, Booker and Frederick, Mindbody is poised to grow.

“With nearly 45mln consumer bookings on our mobile apps and a more than doubling of promoted offer sales year over year, our consumer marketplace strategy is in full swing,” Stollmeyer said. “Now, with the acquisitions of FitMetrix, Booker and Frederick, we are positioned for an acceleration of consumer adoption and strong growth for years to come.”

The company has raised its revenue forecast for the year to a range of US$246mln to US$252mln, up from its previous guidance of between US$230mln and US$236mln. These projections handily beat the consensus estimate of revenue of US$238.5mln.

Wed, 09 May 2018 10:20:00 -0400
<![CDATA[Media files - Small-Cap Snapshot: Impinj, Fiesta Restaurant Group, Aralez Pharmaceuticals, Entercomm Communications ]]> Tue, 08 May 2018 13:31:00 -0400