Proactiveinvestors RSS feed en Sun, 18 Feb 2018 19:04:33 -0500 Genera CMS (Proactiveinvestors) (Proactiveinvestors) <![CDATA[Media files - Curetis expects a near term decision by FDA approving first product in US ]]> Fri, 16 Feb 2018 21:54:00 -0500 <![CDATA[Media files - South Africa's new leader likely to spur economic growth ]]> Fri, 16 Feb 2018 12:38:00 -0500 <![CDATA[News - Litecoin surges in value as is it moves a step closer to mainstream use ]]> Litecoin prices surged by more than a third on Wednesday as the fifth largest cryptocurrency took another step closer to mainstream use.

Litepay - a new payment system for Litecoin - will allow businesses to accept Litecoin payments, while it will also offer users the ability to “spend dollars anywhere debit cards are accepted, or withdraw cash from any compatible ATM”.

We started because the people asked @Bitpay to accept LTC. They wouldn’t, so we took the challenge. Infrastructure for LTC February 26 ????#PayWithLitecoin #LitePay

— LitePay, Inc. (@LitePayInc) February 13, 2018

It is due to be rolled out at the end of this month and the price of Litecoin reached an intraday high of US$216 on Wednesday, representing a 35% daily rise.

That move dragged the other cryptocurrencies higher as well, with the number one digital currency, Bitcoin, rising almost 10% to trade above US$9,200.

Wed, 14 Feb 2018 14:10:00 -0500
<![CDATA[News - Blue Apron surges at it serves up smaller-than-expected fourth-quarter loss ]]> Shares of Blue Apron Holdings Inc (NYSE:APRN) surged on Tuesday morning after the ingredient-and-recipe meal kit service reported a smaller-than-expected fourth-quarter loss.

In the three months ended December 31, net losses narrowed to US$39.1mln, or 20 US cents per share; smaller than the US$26.07mln, or 39 US cents per share, loss it made last year.

Analysts had been expecting a loss of nearer to 27 US cents per share for the quarter.

Operational improvements

Blue Apron said the surprise beat was driven by operational improvements at its New Jersey fulfilment center.

That news will be welcomed by investors, with the company having previously struggled to overcome several well-publicized operational issues over the past year or so, with the stock down by almost three-quarters since it started trading towards the end of June.

As expected, revenues fell 13% during the fourth-quarter to US$187.7mln due to a fall in customer orders as Blue Apron scaled back its marketing efforts.

Towards the end of 2017, then-chief financial officer Brad Dickerson said the business would continue to curb its marketing spend in the final few months of the year which would likely hit revenues.

Blue spent US$25.2mln, or 13.4% of its revenue, on marketing in the final quarter of 2017, down from US$37.1mln (Q4 2016: 17.2%) in the same period a year earlier.

Customer numbers dipped 15% year-on-year and 13% compared to the prior quarter, although the average revenue per customer rose slightly to US$248 (Q4 2016: US$246).

New boss encouraged by progress

“We are methodically implementing operational improvements to drive our business and are encouraged by the progress we’ve made since last quarter, particularly in margin which contributed to improvement in our bottom-line performance,” said new chief executive Brad Dickerson.

“Our top priority remains continuing to drive operational efficiencies that will propel significant improvement in our net loss and adjusted EBITDA in 2018.

“We also believe there are extensive opportunities to diversify and evolve the business in new ways to expand our reach and deepen our engagement with customers and we are sharpening our focus on these windows of opportunity.”

Blue Apron shares gained 6.3% to US$3.60 early on Tuesday. Last summer they were as high as US$11.

Tue, 13 Feb 2018 08:55:00 -0500
<![CDATA[News - Dycom Industries says second-quarter earnings, revenue to fall short of previous guidance ]]> Dycom Industries Inc.’s (NYSE:DY) shares fell 3% in pre-market trading on Monday after the specialty contractor warned that its second-quarter earnings would fall short of previous guidance.

The NYSE-listed firm said that after bad weather reduced the number of available working days and hurt margins and productivity, it now expects quarterly adjusted earnings per share to range from 9 US cents to 12 US cents, below previous guidance.

2019 revenue, adjusted EPS guidance 

The group also said its second-quarter revenue is expected to be at about US$655mln below the midpoint of its previous guidance.

For fiscal 2019, Dycom is expecting revenue of US$3.30bn to US$3.50bn and adjusted EPS of US$5.22 to US$6.14, compared to consensus for US$3.29bn and US$5.02 respectively.

The company said it will report second-quarter earnings on February 28.

In pre-market New York trading, Dycom shares were 3.2% lower at US$107.60.

Mon, 12 Feb 2018 09:06:00 -0500
<![CDATA[News - North American Crypto Currency Conference expands schedule in 2018 ]]> The North American Crypto Currency Conference, or NAC3 for short, will be expanded in 2018 following the success of last year’s event in Las Vegas.

Two events are planned: one in New York on Feb 24 and 25 at the Sheraton in Times Square, and another in Los Angeles a month later, on March 24 and 25, at Playa Studios.

Described by organiser and founder Andy Crane as the only bitcoin and blockchain conference designed for “the average person,” NAC3 offers access to its roster of keynote speakers in a highly inclusive event that welcomes all ages and experience levels.

“NAC3 is designed for the average person in every way,” Crane said in a statement. “Whether you’re a total beginner or a seasoned pro, you’ll walk away from NAC3 with a great deal of useful and actionable information.”

NAC3 will also feature an intensive, all-day advanced trading course taught by Crypto Bud (Ivan Leon), as well as keynote presentations by Day Hay (Crypto Riot), Rob Paone (Crypto Bobby), and Nathan Leung (Cryptonauts), as well as blockchain legal expert Jason Civalleri and Polyswarm CEO Steve Bassi.

Event sponsors include Polyswarm, Blockmason, Blockpass,, and Tickets for the New York and L.A. events are available at

Ticket giveaway

NAC3 announced it will give away more than $10,000 worth of free tickets to the New York and Los Angeles NAC3 events to ensure that everyone who wants to attend can through a special “scholarship program.”

“The goal is to make sure that the tickets go to students of cryptocurrency who would otherwise not be able to attend due to the ticket price, which is $247 for admission,” the organisers said in a statement.

Those interested in winning the NAC3 scholarship can apply at

Wed, 07 Feb 2018 14:45:00 -0500
<![CDATA[News - Tronc booms as it confirms US$500mln sale of LA Times ]]> Shares in Tronc Inc (NASDAQ:TRNC) soared on Wednesday morning after the US newspaper and publishing giant confirmed it is to sell the Los Angeles Times to billionaire investor Patrick Soon-Shiong for US$500mln in cash.

Speculation had been mounting overnight on Tuesday but Tronc officially confirmed the deal – which also includes The San Diego Tribune – this morning.

“This transaction allows us to fully repay our outstanding debt, significantly lower our pension liabilities and have a substantial cash position following the close of the transaction,” said chief executive Justin Dearborn.

The news is likely to be welcomed by staff at the LA Times, who have openly rebelled against the current owner, even pressuring Tronc into replacing its editor-in-chief, Lewis D’Vorkin.

The LA Times and San Diego Tribune are the latest papers to have been bought by the uber-rich, with Amazon boss Jeff Bezos snapping up the Washington Post in 2013 and Red Sox owner John Henry buying the Boston Globe in the same year.

Like the rest of the industry, the Times and Tribune have seen readership numbers and advertising revenues dwindle in recent years.

The Times has undergone several management changes and rounds of layoffs, reflecting a struggle by papers in general to adapt to digital media.

Tronc shares jumped 15.5% to US$20.91 early on Wednesday.

Wed, 07 Feb 2018 09:40:00 -0500
<![CDATA[Media files - Market volatility highlights gold's attractiveness as an 'effective portfolio diversifier' ]]> Tue, 06 Feb 2018 12:36:00 -0500 <![CDATA[Media files - Mining Capital's Alastair Ford talks up strong gold prices in 2018 ]]> Fri, 02 Feb 2018 13:35:00 -0500 <![CDATA[News - Athenahealth shares rise pre-market after its fourth quarter tops Wall Street forecasts ]]> Athenahealth Inc. (NYSE:ATHN) shares jumped in pre-market trade following the release of its fourth quarter results on Thursday, which beat market forecasts.

The medical records and hospital services company said in the fourth quarter, its net income came in at US$31.6mln, or 78 US cents a share, sharply higher from the US$9.8mln, or 24 US cents a share, recorded a year earlier.

Surpassed 100 mln patient threshold

Adjusted earnings stood at US$1.11 a share.

In the quarter, revenue was up at US$329.2mln from US$288.2mln a year ago.

The market had pencilled in 63 US cents a share on revenue of US$320mln

“We surpassed the 100 million patient threshold and now serve more than 100,000 healthcare providers,” said Jonathan Bush, chief executive officer of athenahealth.

Marc Levine, the CFO said: "At our upcoming Investor Summit, we plan to introduce our 2018 financial outlook, as well as provide an update on our plans to help healthcare organizations of all sizes reinvent workflows, advance connectedness, and achieve solid financial and clinical results.”

In premarket, its shares were up 5.68% at US$132.0.

Fri, 02 Feb 2018 08:34:00 -0500
<![CDATA[Media files - A strong global economy and dwindling supply pushing zinc price higher ]]> Mon, 29 Jan 2018 10:31:00 -0500 <![CDATA[News - NYWSE presents Winning Women winter edition featuring stories by women investing in Bitcoin, Ethereum, Blockchain ]]> The New York chapter of the Young Women for Social Enterprise is holding an event focused on cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies that will feature stories from women invested in this emerging technology.

Helping shape the discussion will be Diana Kearns-Manolatos, global head of marketing at Synechron, who was responsible for the market launch of the company's blockchain accelerators program.

She will be joined by Evin McMullen, leader of the product team at the Linnia Project, a part of the ConsenSys family of companies built on the Ethereum blockchain; Kelcey Gosserand, head of marketing and growth for Block X Bank; and Margaux Avedisian, EVP at Transform PR.

Investing in Cryptocurrency & Blockchain Technologies takes place at The Farm, SoHo, 447 Broadway (2nd Floor) between 6-9pm on February 20 in New York City.

For information on tickets click here.

Thu, 25 Jan 2018 12:52:00 -0500
<![CDATA[News - New York's BIO CEO & Investor conference brings biotech investors, companies and analysts together ]]> Hundreds of biotech investors are gearing up for one of the hottest events in the calendar - the BIO CEO & Investor conference in New York.

Now in its 20th year, it offers investors the chance to meet management from top public and private biotech firms, and for companies to present their stories.

It takes place from February 12 to 13 at the New York Marriott Marquis on Broadway. Get the details of the event HERE..

Firms featured..

Companies to be featured include Savara Inc (NASDAQ: SVRA), which raised nearly US$100mln in  2017 and has many near-term milestones for 2018.

The group is focused on novel therapies for the treatment of rare respiratory diseases and its late-stage pipeline includes: Molgradex, which is in Phase 3 trials for aPAP and AeroVanc, a Phase 3 stage inhaled vancomycin for treatment of MRSA infection in Cystic Fibrosis.

Meanwhile, NewLink Genetics (NASDAQ: NLNK) is focused on  a very topical area of medicine - immuno-oncology.

The group is working on product candidates, which target the IDO pathway. IDO regulates immune function through control of tryptophan levels.

The firm expects imminent initiation of a Phase 3 trial in melanoma and a Phase 2 data readout in 2018 and it has reported promising early data in both AML and pancreatic cancer. 

It also has a collaboration with drugs major Astra Zeneca (LON:AZN) for a Phase 2 programme in pancreatic cancer.

Novel therapies..

Newron Pharmaceuticals  (SWX: NWRN) is another company presenting at the conference.

It is advancing novel therapies for diseases of the central and peripheral nervous system. It has received approval for Xadago (safinamide) for Parkinson’s disease in the EU, Switzerland and the USA, and is commercialized by Newron’s Partner Zambon, in the US.

Newron is also developing has a pipeline of promising rare disease treatments including sarizotan for patients with Rett syndrome and ralfinamide for patients with specific rare pain indications. It also has Evenamide as the potential first add on therapy for the treatment of patients with positive symptoms of schizophrenia.

Elsewhere,  Integrity Applications Inc. (OTCQB: IGAP) is focused on the design, development, and commercialization of non-invasive glucose monitoring technologies for people with type 2 diabetes and prediabetes.

Private firms Xontogeny and Landos Biopharma will also be at the New York event.

The former is an accelerator firm focused on development and investment innovations that are too large for Angel investors but too small for the traditional venture capital route.

The latter is focused on development of first-in-class oral therapeutics for patients with autoimmune diseases using a novel pathway.

Wed, 24 Jan 2018 16:18:00 -0500
<![CDATA[News - Solitario Zinc's Lik project offers "substantial leverage" to zinc ]]> Solitario Zinc Corp’s (CVE:SLR) Lik project "offers substantial leverage to zinc and a reasonably low risk profile", according to investment bank HC Wainwright.

The miner acquired a 50% stake in the Alaskan asset back in July along with its purchase of Zazu Metals. 

The deposit is estimated to be host to 4.8bn pounds of zinc (at a grade of 8.1%). It also contains 18.1mln tonnes of ore at 2.7% lead and 50 grams per tonne of silver.

HCW rates the shares a ‘buy’ up to US$1. They are currently changing hands for 80 cents each.

Tue, 23 Jan 2018 11:41:00 -0500
<![CDATA[News - Bacardi agrees buyout of high-end tequila maker Patron Spirits in US$5.1bn deal ]]> Bacardi has agreed to buy out Patron Spirits International in a deal valuing the top high-end tequila maker at US$5.1bn.

The deal comes five months after Diageo plc (LON:DGE) bought George Clooney's Casamigos tequila for up to US$1bn.

READ: Diageo to reopen two 'lost' Scottish whisky distilleries to meet strong single malt demand

Patron, founded more than 25 years ago, was a high-end brand pioneer, but now competes with a range of brands such as Diageo's Don Julio, Pernod Ricard's Avion and Brown-Forman's Herradura.

Global tequila sales rose 5.2% in 2016, according to industry research, while the overall market for alcoholic drinks fell 1.3%.

Bermuda-based, family-owned Bacardi was founded in Cuba in 1862, selling its namesake rum. It now owns some 200 brands including Bombay Sapphire gin and Grey Goose vodka. It has owned a minority stake in Patron since 2008.

The acquisition marks the first major deal under Bacardi's Mahesh Madhavan, who was appointed chief executive in October. It is expected to close in the first half of 2018.

Tue, 23 Jan 2018 06:01:00 -0500
<![CDATA[Media files - Proactive Investors New York bound after £3.3mln funding ]]> Mon, 22 Jan 2018 14:32:00 -0500 <![CDATA[News - Proactive Investors New York bound after securing £3.3mln of private equity investment ]]> Proactive Investors is opening a New York newsroom after securing £3.3mln of private equity funding.

The expansion into the US will be overseen by Proactive’s co-founder and chief executive, Ian Mclelland, who has recruited an experienced team to assist him.

Business development will be led by Brian Loper, a technology start-up specialist, while the US editorial team will be headed by Paul Curcio, former managing editor of TheStreet and a senior financial news reporter for the Associated Press.

Headquartered in London and with offices in Sydney and Vancouver, Proactive is the go-to source for breaking news on growth companies.

Events and research 

It also boasts a highly-regarded events business and has branched into digital services and sell-side research.

The plan is to replicate the UK operation in New York, the only other tier-one capital market in the English speaking world.

The funding is being provided by Mobeus Equity Partners, which is taking a small minority stake in the business.

Amit Hindocha, who led the deal for Mobeus, will be joining the Proactive board alongside Colin Garrett, a veteran non-executive with a track record of growing UK businesses into North America.

Pleased and excited

Proactive CEO Mclelland said: “It is extremely pleasing to have closed this funding with Mobeus – an investment we believe will transform Proactive.

“As this is the first outside funding we have ever received it was crucial we found the right financial partner and people for what we believe is going to be an exciting journey.

“In Mobeus we believe we have the former and in Amit and Colin the latter.

“It is worth noting that to date Proactive has been self-funding. It is testament to the committed and professional team and their efforts that we have secured this financial backing.”

Proactive was founded in 2007 when Mclelland and UK managing director Craig Ribton decided to turn their investor blog into a business.

The company now works with around 500 clients in the UK, Australia and Canada.

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 15:28:00 -0500
<![CDATA[Media files - Mining sector very well positioned to meet increasing energy demands ]]> Fri, 19 Jan 2018 15:21:00 -0500 <![CDATA[News - Travel retailer Hudson sets price of New York IPO ]]> Travel retailer Hudson Ltd has set the share price of its initial public offering at US$19 to US$21 each.

The company will offer 34.9 million shares in its planned listing on the New York Stock Exchange.

Lead managers of the IPO include Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley, UBS, BofA Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs.

Banco Santander, Credit Agricole, HSBC, BBVA, BNP Paribas, Natixis, Raiffeisen Centrobank and Unicredit are acting as co-managers.

Hudson, which has 989 stores in 88 locations in North America, reported sales of US$1.7bn in the year to the end of September 2017.

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 09:06:00 -0500
<![CDATA[News - Nestle offloads Crunch, Butterfinger and other US confectionery brands to Ferrero ]]> Nestle is to sell its US confectionary business to Ferrero Group for 2.7bn Swiss Francs in order to focus on other areas.

The Swiss food company said it will offload brands such as Crunch, Runts, Butterfinger and Nerds, in the US where it lags behind Hershey, Mars and Lindt.

READ: Unilever and Switzerland's Nestle both boost natural food offerings with acquisitions

Nestle said its confectionary business accounts for just 3% of its US sales.

The company has started to focus on healthier products following a consumer shift away from junk and sugary foods.

Since Mark Schneider took over the reins as chief executive last year, the Swiss business has bought companies that make vegetarian meals, vitamins and luxury coffee.

Schneider said in a statement that the disposal of the US sweets and chocolate business would allow it to “invest and innovate” in other areas where it sees future growth or where it is already a market leader. Such areas include pet care, bottled water, coffee, frozen meals and infant nutrition, he said.

Ferrero to become third largest confectionary company in the US

For Italy’s Ferrero, the deal will see the maker of Nutella and Ferrero Rocher become the third largest confectionary company in the US.

Ferrero said the acquisition will allow it to build scale quickly in a key market, where it has done two other deals in the past year.

The deal is expected to be completed in March. 

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 11:59:00 -0500
<![CDATA[News - FinTech4Good to bring together Blockchain leaders at New York digital forum ]]> FinTech4Good is among the four organisers of what will be the first digital assets investor forum in New York.

The event, called the 2018 Digital Assets Investment Forum (DAIF), will bring over 200 blockchain leaders together with investors on January 16. Details here.

FinTech4Good is collaborating on the event with Alternative Assets, Asia Finance Association, and Wall Street Blockchain Alliance and describes itself as a global FinTech (financial technology) and Blockchain "acceleration network".

"We hope this forum will connect digital asset gurus, technology pioneers and blockchain investors, to share the most disruptive solutions and shape the future of digital assets," said Xiaochen Zhang, President of FinTech4Good.

"Many executives are traveling thousands of miles from Asia, Europe, South America and Oceania to the Digital Asset Investment Forum."

FinTech4Good works with start-ups, industrial leaders, NGOs and investors to develop and implement FinTech and Blockchain solutions for a ‘better world’.

Blockchain is one of the hottest business and investment topics around and  came to prominence as the technology, which underpins and supports crytocurrencies, like bitcoin.

Major institutions are said to now be coming round to the potential of the blockchain phenomenon, and are investing heavily to see how it can best be deployed.

Put simply, blockchains are a real-time platform of records stored in a peer-to-peer fashion, independent from any central authority.

It is said to be a technology that will revolute many systems we encounter in everyday.

Fri, 12 Jan 2018 10:42:00 -0500
<![CDATA[News - Moneygram International shares lifted by Ripple partnership news ]]> Shares in US money transfer firm Moneygram  International Inc (NASDAQ:MGI) surged 8.5% in New York as it inked a partnership deal with blockchain start-up and bitcoin rival Ripple.

MoneyGram will test using Ripple’s cryptocurrency called XRP to move funds in a faster and cheaper way as part of the agreement.


MoneyGram to Pilot Ripple's XRP Token for International Payments

— CoinDesk (@coindesk) January 11, 2018

It is aiming to reduce money-transfer costs and settlement times.


XRP was last trading up 2.05% to US$2.05.

Ripple claims an average transaction on its network takes between two and three seconds, according to an industry website.

Bitcoin transactions, reportedly, take around 51 minutes on average to go through.

"The inefficiencies of global payments don't just affect banks, they also affect institutions like MoneyGram,"  said chief executive of San-Francisco based Ripple Brad Garlinghouse.

Ripple has been  in focus in recent weeks after its digital currency has been volatile in trading. It briefly became the second-largest cryptocurrency by market value last month.

The tech group develops software aimed at creating networks for banks and financial institutions that would allow for faster and cheaper interbank trading and settlement.

Moneygram International shares are at US$13.09.

Thu, 11 Jan 2018 17:12:00 -0500
<![CDATA[News - Mackie upbeat about Mogo Finance Technology and its cryptopcurrency potential ]]> Broker Mackie rates Mogo Finance Technology Inc (TSE:MOGO), a digital banking fintech provider, a 'speculative buy' on the back of potential positive catalysts in the cryptocurrency space this year.

Just before Christmas the group closed a previously announced public offering of 3.75mln  shares at C$7 a throw.

In the event, an underwriter option is exercised fully, total gross proceeds will be around C$30 mln, noted analyst Nikhil Thadani.

"Net proceeds of this recent financing will be used to fund enhancement of Mogo’s existing digital platform and products, and development of new products," said the analyst.

New products, for example, are expected to include Blockchain initiatives such as the upcoming launch of MogoCrypto, which will enable the buying and selling of Bitcoin.

Mackie noted that the Cryptocurrency space is "very fast moving" citing the example that last Friday, Ripple briefly passed Ethereum as the second highest 'market cap' cryptocurrency.

"Therefore, it is important Mogo’s new Crypto features launch rapidly and scale (major stumbling block with most existing on-ramps) in order for Mogo to gain market share (& potential valuation lift) in this market," said Thadani.

The analyst expects positive news on various initiatives from the company in the first quarter.

The shares  currently stand at C$6.64 each and Mackie targets C$12 each for the shares, so that's a pretty hefty upside.

Wed, 03 Jan 2018 09:01:00 -0500
<![CDATA[News - Trump’s US tax reform could help Dow reach 30,000 but headwinds remain ]]> The Dow Jones Industrial Average could be headed towards 30,000 in the new year after enjoying strong run in 2017 as stocks benefit from a brighter economic outlook and sweeping tax reforms.

Optimism that President Donald Trump’s overhaul of US tax legislation would be approved by lawmakers pushed the US blue chip index past the 24,000 mark in late November.

Now that the US House of Representatives has given the tax bill the final go-ahead, many analysts expect the bull market to continue in 2018.

The deepest rewrite of the US tax code in more than three decades will see the corporation tax rate slashed to 21% from its current rate of 35%.

“Tax cuts in the US could help boost the American economy and stock market which, in turn, will positively impact global economic growth and global stocks,” said Nigel Green, founder and chief executive of financial consultancy deVere Group.

Meanwhile, Barclays estimates that 2018 earnings per share will be raised by an average of 6.3% with consumer staples, financials and industrial companies among the top stocks to be given a leg-up from the tax reform.

Energy, mining, accommodation and food services are also expected to benefit from a tax break allowing immediate expensing for spending on shortlived capital equipment.

Maneesh Deshpande of Barclays said he sees some scope for share prices to increase further since markets have not yet fully anticipated the tax cuts. 

Trump’s campaign promise for deregulation would also bring some relief to highly-regulated sectors such as banking and biotech stocks.

US economic growth to buoy stocks

Trump has said he expects US economic growth to reach 4% over the next few years.

The latest official data showed the US economy grew at a 3.3% annualised rate in the third quarter, the strongest since the same period in 2014.

Should economic growth continue to accelerate, stocks could gain further, giving the Dow a good chance of hitting 30,000.

“Strong GDP growth is translating into good corporate earnings growth, which supports share prices,” said deVere’s Green.

Recovery in energy stocks

Energy stocks could pick up in 2018 if the recovery in crude prices continues.

The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and 10 other producers led by Russia in November agreed to extend production cuts of 1.8mln barrels of oil until the end of 2018.

The move to curb production is aimed at addressing a global supply glut, which has been blamed for subdued oil prices.

The production cuts, which began at the start of 2017, have seen the price of crude edge higher after a prolonged slump.

Given that energy companies have had a historically higher tax burden than other companies, the tax reform will also provide a further uplift to earnings. 

Tech rally set to continue

Technology stocks surged in 2017 and many analysts predict the rally will continue in the new year.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is expected to become the first company to reach a market capitalisation of US$1trn on the back of its new iPhone release in November, while Inc. shares are expected to head higher as its rapid expansion continues.

“If you ignore the idiosyncrasies of global index compilation, then the world’s seven biggest-cap stocks are all technology names – Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, Alibaba and Tencent,” said Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell.

“While valuations may not be as barmy as they were in 2000 they are still lofty and leave little room for disappointment – and it may not even take earnings disappointment for enthusiasm for these stocks to cool.”

Headwinds to consider

While there are plenty of reasons to suggest the Dow will reach 30,000 in 2018, it is not an open-and-shut case.

US market sentiment could be hurt by geopolitical worries over North Korea’s threat to national security, Brexit uncertainty and China’s economic slowdown.

“Concerns, over what President Trump may or may not do, North Korea, China’s economy, the Brexit talks and a gradual series of US Federal Reserve interest rate increases were all swept aside (in 2017) as global stock markets moved higher and bonds did not suffer the accident many had feared,” said Mould.

“Yet such optimism could leave investors exposed to the danger of ‘sliding down the slope of hope’ in 2018.”

The Federal Reserve hiking interest rates at a quicker-than-estimated pace could also impact US equities, he said.

Interest rates have remained low for some time as inflation continues to undershoot the Fed’s 2% target despite falling unemployment.

For this reason the central bank said at its December policy announcement that it expects future interest rate hikes to be gradual.

But it is possible that tight labour markets result in wage increases that lift inflation and prompt the Fed to markedly tighten monetary policy by raising interest rates or withdrawing quantitative easing.

“Any faster-than-expected removal of central bank liquidity could be a shock to a range of asset classes – stocks, bonds, cryptocurrencies, art, you name it – which have feasted off cheap money,” warned Mould.

Stocks that could remain under pressure

Trump’s tax cuts are expected to provide a lift to corporate earnings but some hard-hit industries could continue come under pressure regardless.

Bricks-and-mortar retailers have been affected by the growing shift towards online shopping and by the high level of discounting used to lure customers into stores.

Retail stocks, such as Macy's, JCPenney and Kmart owner Sears, have been under the cosh due to sluggish sales, leading to store closures and job cuts.

Amazon has led the rise of online shopping and is also reportedly considering entering the pharmacy market.

The prospect that the e-commerce giant could enter that space has recently weighed on the stock prices of drug distributors.

The industry has also been hit by Trump’s vow to bring down drug prices.

In October Trump said in a Cabinet meeting that drug prices “are out of control” and repeated his promise to “bring our prices down to what other countries are paying”.

Tue, 02 Jan 2018 12:00:00 -0500
<![CDATA[News - Long Blockchain inks US$2mln convertible debt facility to help fund change of business focus ]]> Long Blockchain Corp. (NASDAQ:LTEA) has entered into a US$2mln convertible debt facility, with an additional US$2mln option, to help fund its change of business focus to the exploration of and investment in blockchain technology ventures.

The group, until recently known as Long Island Ice Tea Corp., said the lender of the debt facility is UK-based investment firm Court Cavendish Ltd., which was granted to right to appoint two new members to the company's board of directors.

The stock soared last week after the company revealed it was changing its name and business focus away from being a drinks maker.

Long Blockchain’s chief executive Philip Thomas. "Our new financing arrangement with a UK-based investment firm that shares our vision is the first step of many, and further validates our commitment to a swift, responsible pivot into blockchain technology."

Tue, 26 Dec 2017 13:46:00 -0500
<![CDATA[News - Hubbell agrees to buy infrastructure solutions provider, Aclara Technologies for US$1.1bn in cash ]]> Hubbell Inc. (NYSE:HUBB) has agreed to buy Aclara Technologies LLC, an infrastructure solutions provider to water, gas and electric utilities, for US$1.1bn in cash.

The maker of electrical and electronic products said it has obtained the bridge financing needed to fund the acquisition, which is expected to close in the first quarter of 2018.

Aclara is an affiliate of Sun Capital Partners Inc.

Hubbell’s chief executive, David Nord, said: "Together with Aclara, Hubbell will be even better positioned to serve customers through a differentiated smart grid solution and expanded portfolio."

In pre-market trading, Hubbel shares were steady at US$135.23.

Tue, 26 Dec 2017 08:11:00 -0500
<![CDATA[News - shares spike on report activist investor Starboard has taken significant stake ]]> Inc (NYSE:CARS) shares was on the uptrend premarket extending gains from after-hours Monday following a news report that activist investor Starboard Value LP had taken up a significant stake in the company.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the investor believes Starboard was undervalued due to heavy short selling and it quoted anonymous sources as saying that the company was a potential buyout target for private-equity firms. was spun off from Tegna Inc (NYSE:TGNA) earlier this year.

The online auto marketplace company is valued at slightly less than US$2bn at Monday's closing price.

In premarket trade Tuesday, its shares were up 9.36% at US$30.50.

Tue, 19 Dec 2017 09:23:00 -0500
<![CDATA[News - LongFin shares dip following 2 days of sharp gains after announcing purchase of blockchain company ]]> LongFin Corp. shares (NASDAQ:LFIN) plunged in premarket trade, offsetting gains made over the past two trading days, after the newly-listed company announced the purchase of a blockchain company on Friday.

The financial technology company announced the purchase of, a blockchain-empowered company that provides microfinance lending against collateralised warehouse receipts in the form of Ziddu coins which are loosely pegged to crytpocurrencies Ethereum and bitcoin.

LongFin made its debut on Dec 13

LongFin saw its shares more than double on Monday following the announcement on Friday, hitting an intraday high of US$142.82, before paring gains.

LongFin made its debut on NASDAQ on December 13, closing at US$5.17, above its initial public offering price of US$5.00.

In premarket, its shares were down 25.66% at US$53.81.

Tue, 19 Dec 2017 08:59:00 -0500
<![CDATA[News - McDermott International to buy Chicago Bridge and Iron amid stabilising oil market ]]> Offshore-focused engineering and construction giant McDermott International (NYSE:MDR) saw shares slip 1.32% in pre-market as it revealed it would buy onshore-based Chicago Bridge and Iron (NYSE:CBI) to create an integrated provider in a deal estimated to be worth about US$6bn.

The deal comes at a time of stabilisation in the global oil market.

Deal to be completed in second quarter 2018

Chicago Bridge shares nudged up 0.56% in pre-market.

"Customers worldwide increasingly seek a single company that can offer end-to-end solutions, and the combination of McDermott and CB&I responds to these evolving customer needs," McDermott chief executive David Dickson was quoted as saying on a call.

The companies said Dickson will lead the new company, which will be based in Houston. The deal is expected to be completed in the second quarter next year.

Tue, 19 Dec 2017 08:16:00 -0500
<![CDATA[News - As expected US Fed hikes interest rates by 25 percentage points and sticks to earlier outlook ]]> The Federal Reserve on Wednesday, as widely expected by the market, raised a key US interest rate by a quarter percentage point, making it the last hike for the year.

The central bank disappointed the market with little or no indications of where they see inflation heading, choosing instead to stick to their earlier projections of three rate hikes in 2018.

Vote to hike rates was 7 to 2

The Federal Reserve is perceived to be taking a wait-and-see stance as it waits for Jerome Powell to take over from Janet Yellen, the current Fed chair in early February.

The Federal Reserve, in a statement released after the meeting on Thursday, did however raise its estimate for GDP growth in 2018 to 2.5% from 2.1%, widely seen as due to the expected tax reform plan to be passed soon by the legislators.


Federal Open Market Committee statement: #FOMC

— Federal Reserve (@federalreserve) 13 December 2017


It also expects price pressures to stabilise around its 2% target over the next year or two.

The vote to raise the rates was 7 to 2.

Minneapolis Fed president Neel Kashkari and Chicago Fed president Charles Evans, preferred to leave rates unchanged, given the inflation readings.

The majority of officials however think inflation will move up next year as unemployment is very low. The central bank expects unemployment to fall below 4% in 2018.


Wed, 13 Dec 2017 14:16:00 -0500
<![CDATA[News - ABM Industries, VeriFone Systems Inc - PRE-MARKET ]]> The focus will  be on the  interest rate decision from the Fed later.

Also in play, in terms of stocks ABM Industries Inc (NYSE:ABM) is in focus as it is expected to have earned  $0.49 per share on revenues of $1.49 billion in the latest quarter.

ABM will release earnings after the markets close. ABM shares gained 0.11 percent to close at US$43.83 on Tuesday.

VeriFone Systems Inc (NYSE: PAY) may well also well be one to watch as it reported better than expected for the  fourth quarter.

The company issued weak first quarter and full year 2018 guidance. The company also announced a $100 million buyback plan.

VeriFone shares dropped 7.42 percent to $17.10 in the after-hours trading session.

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 06:30:00 -0500
<![CDATA[News - UniQure shares up in premarket after hemophelia B early stage trial shows positive results ]]> UniQure N.V. shares (NASDAQ:QURE) were on the uptick in premarket trade after an early-stage trial of a treatment for severe hemophelia B recorded positive results.

In a statement, the company said the 18-month follow-up data from a Phase I/II trial of AMT-060 in the second-dose cohort found "substantial improvement" in disease state in all five patients, and that all those who previous required routine prophylactic FIX infusions were able to stop them.

Pivotal study in 2018

UniQure plans to start a pivotal study in 2018 with AMT-061, which combines an AAV5 vector with the FIX-Padua mutant.

AMT-061 and AMT-060 are identical in structure apart from two nucleotide substitutions in the coding sequence for FIX.

Hemophelia is an inherited disease that affects males. It stops their blood from clotting after a bleed.

The condition can cause life-threatening episodes of external and internal bleeding and requires regular injections of plasma-derived human Factor IX.

The data were presented to the 58th American Society of Hematology (ASH) annual meeting in Atlanta, Georgia on Monday morning.

"We continue to observe a therapeutic benefit from AMT-060 that is clearly superior to patients' previous prophylactic FIX replacement therapy regimen, with stable elevations in Factor IX levels and a cessation of spontaneous bleeds," said Professor Frank W.G. Leebeek, of the Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam.

In premarket, uniQure shares were up 3.25% at US$18.40.

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 08:38:00 -0500
<![CDATA[News - Man, 27, arrested after New York bus station blast ]]> New York has been rocked by news of an explosion, believed to be a terror attack,  at its main Manhattan bus terminal, which prompted a mass panic and stampede, according to reports.

A male suspect has now been named as Akayed Ullah, 27,  who was injured when a low tech device strapped to his body blew up in an underpass, officials say.

The man is believed to have acted alone.

Earlier, the New York Police Department confirmed it was responding to reports of an explosion at 42nd Street and 8th Avenue.

One news source ABC News quoted police sources as saying that it was a possible pipe bomb, which went off in a passageway underground.

The Port Authority is the largest bus terminal in the US and serves more than 65mln people per year.

As yet, it is not known who is responsible for the blast.

There are no immediate reports of injuries ...


Explosion confirmed near NYC's Port Authority bus terminal, police sources say

— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) 11 December 2017


Times Square right now.....
Explosion in Manhattan

— POLL TROLL (@PollTroller) December 11, 2017

A man has now been reportedly arrested following the explosion.

No one other than the suspect was hurt in the blast which reportedly happened at 7.30am EST.

The person arrested had a pipe bomb strapped to him when it went off on a subway platform, a law enforcement official said. The suspect had non-life-threatening injuries, he added.

More follows ... ]]>
Mon, 11 Dec 2017 08:14:00 -0500
<![CDATA[News - LKQ to buy Germany’s Stahlgruber Otto Gruber for around €1.5bn ]]> LKQ Corp (NASDAQ:LKQ) has announced plans to buy Germany’s spare parts for passenger cars, tools, capital equipment and accessories distributor Stahlgruber Otto Gruber AG for an enterprise value of around €1.5bn (US$1.77bn).

In a statement on Monday, the auto-parts company said it will fund the deal from planned debt offerings, borrowings under its current credit facility and direct issuance of 8.06 million newly issued LKQ shares to Stahlgruber's owner.

Leading pan-European aftermarket parts distributor

The acquisition is expected to close late in the first quarter or early in the second quarter.

"Stahlgruber will create a contiguous footprint and serve as an additional strategic hub for our European operations, allowing for continued improvement in procurement, logistics and infrastructure optimization," said LKQ chief executive John Quinn.

Stahlgruber has operations in Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Italy, Slovenia, and Croatia with further sales to Switzerland. 

Its facilities include 228 sales centers, six warehouses, and an advanced logistics center in Germany, serving more than 100,000 professional clients and offering over 500,000 SKUs.

“This transformative acquisition solidifies LKQ as a leading Pan-European aftermarket mechanical parts distributor, and further enhances our global diversification strategy,” stated Dominick Zarcone, president and chief executive officer of LKQ Corporation.

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 07:58:00 -0500
<![CDATA[News - Clean sweep of beats for Okta’s third quarter results as big customer wins boost numbers ]]> It was a clean sweep of beats with software maker Okta Inc’s (NASDAQ:OKTA) third quarter results late on Wednesday, sending the stock higher early on Thursday morning.

Okta makes identity management software that lets a company’s employees log into different cloud apps without having to use several usernames and passwords.

Revenue for the quarter jumped 61% to US$68.2mln, comfortably above the US$62.8mln Wall Street analysts had forecast.

Losses came in better than expected as well, with Okta registering a 19 cent loss per share versus forecasts of a 24 cent loss.

Shares jumped 2.7% to US$29.22 early on Thursday.

The strong performance came as the San Francisco-based group secured several new customer wins with Caesars Entertainment, Nordstrom and CBRE among others.

As for guidance, Okta said it expects fourth quarter revenues of between US$70mln and US$71mln – well ahead of previous consensus forecasts of US$67.9mln.

“We are pleased with another strong quarter, reporting 61 percent year-over-year revenue growth while we continued to improve our free cash flow margins,” said chief executive Todd McKinnon.

"Okta's business benefits from three critical market trends: the continued move for organizations to build an elegant cloud architecture with the best of breed partners in the market, the need for every organization to enhance customer experience while protecting customers’ identities, and the need for every organization to become more secure. Our financial results today continue to confirm these trends."

Thu, 07 Dec 2017 10:01:00 -0500
<![CDATA[Media files - Fort Bay Capital expecting investors to remain cautious heading into 2018 ]]> Wed, 06 Dec 2017 11:15:00 -0500 <![CDATA[Media files - Blue Bear Capital providing the unusual link between energy firms and blockchain ]]> Tue, 05 Dec 2017 13:05:00 -0500 <![CDATA[News - Blue Apron co-founder Matt Salzberg steps down as chief executive ]]> Blue Apron Holdings Inc. (NYSE:APRN) co-founder Matt Salzberg has stepped down from his role as chief executive of the meal-kit company and will be replaced by chief financial officer Brad Dickerson.

Salzberg will become executive chairman and a search is underway for a new CFO, the group announced.

“It has been a tremendous honour to serve as the CEO of Blue Apron since founding the company and I am incredibly proud of everything our team has accomplished together in just five years," Salzberg said in a statement.

Dickerson joined the group as CFO in February 2016 after previously holding the same position at Under Armour.

Shares in the company rose 7.02% to US$2.99 each in US pre-market trading.

The news comes amid struggles at the company, which has seen its share price fall from initial public offering price of US$10.00 in June.

The group went public at a third less than it had hoped as Inc.’s (NASDAQ:AMZN) acquisition of Whole Foods Market Inc. weighed on the sector.

The deal sparked speculation that Amazon will launch its own meal-kit delivery service.

Blue Apron reported a loss of 47 cents per share in the third quarter the costs involved in trying to attract and keep customers rose. The number of customers fell 6% in the quarter. 

Fri, 01 Dec 2017 14:10:00 -0500
<![CDATA[News - Evernote recovers poise as data deluge hits overload ]]> Evernote users swear by it, so much so that every time the digital workplace developer raises its prices, it adds more subscribers.

They currently number 220mln and are growing by 60-80,000 a day depending on which reports you read.

Most are on the free service, but according to a recent interview with Chris O’Neill, who took over as chief executive in 2015 after 10 years at Google, conversions are running at record levels.

Number of premium users rises to new heights

That has sent the number of premium users to new heights in spite of a 40% rise in its cost in 24 months.

It’s a marked upturn in fortune for a company founded more than a decade ago but somewhat unkindly dubbed a ‘reverse unicorn’ as its value tumbled as the competition caught up and sped past.

Google, Dropbox, Slack and even Microsoft have all taken bites out of Evernote’s lunch, but the data revolution is prompting a new lease of life for the veteran online organiser.

WATCH: Evernote helping solve the western world’s ‘data overload challenge’

There is so much data now that a way of organising is a necessity, says Beat Buhlman, general manager in the EMEA region and another former Google employee.

Evernote is great at dealing with unstructured data, he told Proactive, and with the amount of data swirling around the planet set to double over the next year, it‘s a tool everyone needs.

It’s all about connecting people and documents and saving time and money, he said.

Evernote works across all devices and operating systems

One of Evernote’s advantages has always been because it is platform agnostic and works across all devices and operating systems including iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, and the web.

Evernote recently has also been integrated with workplace communications product Slack, sales and marketing tool Salesforce, and Google’s G-Drive.

Buhlman says Evernote is the knowledge hub in the middle of these applications and another step-up will be unveiled next year, without giving details.

O’Neill has played down reports of a tie-up with Alexa, Amazon’s home assistant, or Google’s Assistant, though Evernote just partnered with Siri, Apple’s virtual assistant, and said artificial intelligence will become an increasing part of the offering going forward.

Wed, 29 Nov 2017 11:24:00 -0500
<![CDATA[Media files - Fidelity portfolio manager Joe Wickwire 'really excited' by fertiliser and potash firms ]]> Wed, 29 Nov 2017 10:00:00 -0500 <![CDATA[News - Momo shares plunge after third quarter disappoints ]]> Momo Inc (NASDAQ:MOMO) shares took a dive in premarket after its third quarter results failed to impress.

In a statement, the mobile social networking platform in China, announced a 126% hike in net revenues to US$354.5mln while net income rose to US$79.1mln from US$30.0mln the same period a year ago.

Diluted net income per American Depository Share or ADS was US$0.38 versus US$0.19 a year ago, while non-GAAP diluted net income per ADS was US$0.45, compared to US$0.24 previously.

Confident user growth will continue

Monthly active users jumped to 94.4 million in September 2017 from 77.4 million a year ago.

Yan Tang, the chairman and CEO of Momo said: "We've had a good quarter with strong financial performance and progresses in other operational areas"

“Momo 8.0 allows us to further diversify the social and entertainment offerings on the platform. We are confident that Momo will continue to drive user growth through product innovations, use case expansions as well as a more result driven marketing plan."

In premarket, its shares dipped 9.51% at US$27.96. In the regular session they lost more - dropping over 18% to US$25.22.

Tue, 28 Nov 2017 09:07:00 -0500
<![CDATA[News - Buffalo Wild Wings shares fly higher on reports of takeover by Roark Capital ]]> Buffalo Wild Wings Inc. (NASDAQ:BWLD) has reportedly agreed to be taken over by private equity firm Roark Capital Group for US$2.4bn, sending its shares higher in US pre-market trading.

Private-equity firm Roark, which owns Arby’s Restaurant Group and Cinnabon, will pay about US$157 per share in cash for the restaurant operator, Bloomberg reported, citing sources.

Buffalo Wild Wings to merge with Arby's

The deal would represent a premium of about 34% to the stock’s 13 November closing price before Roark’s initial bid of US$150 a share was reported.

It is understood that Buffalo Wild Wings will merge with Arby’s but the two brands will remain distinct, according to the report. Arby’s chief executive Officer Paul Brown will become chief executive of the combined business.

Shares in Buffalo Wild Wings gained 6.22% to US$155.50 each in US pre-market trading.

Tue, 28 Nov 2017 08:31:00 -0500
<![CDATA[News - Life Sciences company Quanterix launches IPO at US$14 to US$16 per share ]]> Quanterix Corp (NASDAQ:OTRX) has launched its Initial Public Offering (IPO) on Monday, offering a total of 3.34 million shares priced at US$14 to US$16 per share.

At the midpoint price range, the company will raise a total of US$50.1mln.

Company digitises biomarker analysis

J.P. Morgan, Leerink Partners and Cowen are joint bookrunners on the deal with BTIG and Evercore ISI acting as co-managers. The life sciences company is set to list on Nasdaq.

The Massachusetts-based company will use the proceeds from the IPO to expand its commercial operations, improve and update its Simoa technology, as well as support a 2018 product launch.

Part of the monies will also go towards moving to a larger corporate headquarters, seek regulatory approval to develop certain instruments, to pursue acquisitions and for general corporate purposes.

Quanterix digitises biomarker analysis with the aim of advancing the science of precision health. Its technology is aimed at enabling earlier detection of disease, better prognosis and enhanced treatment methods to improve the quality and longevity of life.

Its technology is currently being used for research applications in oncology, neurology, cardiology, inflammation and infectious disease.

Mon, 27 Nov 2017 08:06:00 -0500
<![CDATA[News - Tesaro edges higher as European Commission approves Zejula drug for women with recurrent ovarian cancer ]]> Shares in Tesaro Inc (NASDAQ:TSRO) edged higher in pre-market trade on Monday after the European Commission granted marketing authorization for its ZEJULA drug in women with recurrent ovarian cancer.

The treatment is the first once-daily, oral PARP 1/2 inhibitor to be approved in Europe that doesn’t require a BRCA mutation or other biomarker testing.

Tesaro said the approval had been supported by “robust data” from a phase III trial which showed Zejula “significantly increased” progression free survival – how long a patient lasts with a disease without it getting worse – compared to the control arm.

“The EC approval of ZEJULA marks TESARO’s second product approval in Europe this year,” said Tesaro President and chief oerating officer Mary Lynne Hedley.

“We are committed to working with healthcare providers, payers and patient groups to enable access to this paradigm-changing treatment as quickly as possible.”

Zejula was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration back in March and is currently marketed in the States by Tesaro where it is the most frequently prescribed PARP inhibitor in ovarian cancer, the company said.

Tesaro said it plans to launch Zejula in the UK and Germany next month, before rolling it out across Europe starting in January.

The stock was up 0.6% to US$86.40 in pre-market trade on Monday.

Mon, 20 Nov 2017 07:49:00 -0500
<![CDATA[News - Zimbabwe’s non-violent non-coup is completely in keeping with its politics ]]> What is the risk for life, limb and property now that a military coup appears to be underway in Zimbabwe?

The answer may be: surprisingly little.

Yes, there have been tanks on the streets in and around Harare. Yes, shots were fired overnight in the city, and yes, reports that a couple of guards have been killed may be true.

But by the standards of coups globally, this has been relatively smooth and well-orchestrated.

Just a few days after President Mugabe sacked key minister and erstwhile successor Emerson Mnangagwa, President Mugabe’s own hold on power appears to be slipping.

Mr Mnangagwa, briefly exiled, is reportedly back in the country. Now it’s President Mugabe’s wife Grace who is likely to be seeking exile. The President’s palace in the exclusive Borrowdale area of Harare has been sealed off by the military for two days, and it’s not known for sure if Grace Mugabe is inside.

But Mr Mugabe himself is there, and he’s alive and well, as was confirmed by the South African president Jacob Zuma who has spoken to him on the phone.

This is crucial, as the army knows only too well. It may be that a combination of Mr Mnangagwa and army chief Constantino Chiwenga hold the levers of power now, and perhaps always have done. But there’s no doubt that Mr Mugabe still holds the soul of the nation.

That’s because of the huge credibility he brings as leader of the liberation struggle fought against white minority rule in the 1960s and 1970s. Mr Mugabe successfully led Zimbabwe to freedom in a deal negotiated with the returning British in 1980 and has led it ever since. No other African freedom fighter of his stature from that era remains alive.

His word still carries emotional weight and the power of his rhetoric, honed in the context of 1960s Cold War liberation theory, immense even at his advanced age of 93.

But the army knows this. The army itself has been key to keeping Mr Mugabe in power in the face of democratic resistance and international pressure for nearly three decades. And it’s been happy to do so because there’s always been a fair division of the spoils.

It was the army who helped officials of Mr Mugabe’s party, Zanu PF, seize control of the lucrative Marange diamondfields soon after they were discovered, and army officials were amongst the many government apparatchiks who profited from wholescale currency manipulation as the country plunged into hyperinflation following the widespread seizure of commercial farms.

Many of those farms went to top army officials, and the seizing itself was done by so-called “war veterans”, although how many of those veterans actually ever did any fighting has long been hotly debated.

So, for the army to turn against Mr Mugabe, there must have been a real game-changer in play. And there was: President Mugabe’s second wife Grace, several decades his junior, and a real polarising figure. A faction, known as the G40, has grown up around Grace Mugabe in recent years, and gradually begun to remove key army figures from the government, actions always cloaked under the authority of Mr Mugabe himself.

But with the removal of Mr Mnangagwa, the G40 finally looks to have overplayed its hand. True, if there was to be a succession battle after Mr Mugabe’s death, it was unlikely that the G40 would win against the physical hardware and wealth of the army. A gradual series of moves now made more sense than waiting.

But Mr Mnangagwa was not for waiting, and Constantino Chiwenga appears to have been of like mind. Between them, they don’t seem to believe that Grace Mugabe has the best interests of the nation at heart and, what with reports of over-excessive shopping habits, and violent altercations in South Africa, they may have been right.

Misbehaving relatives of despots are nothing new. It becomes problematic only when they try to take income, capital and welfare away from other significant political figures.

Mrs Mugabe will now disappear from view, to become in Trotsky’s damning phrase, little more than a footnote in history.

More significant than her individual fate is the future of the country at large. Should interested parties be worried? If, as seems likely, this move now settles the succession for Zimbabwe, then the outlook for stability actually seems rather good.

This is a coup that has been achieved with minimal bloodshed, but total effectiveness. In that sense it mirrors the farm seizures, which also involved a huge transfer of power and wealth with minimal bloodshed, in spite of the impression given at the time by Western media.

There are hard men in Zimbabwe to be sure, but in the new emerging global context of “strong men” like Presidents Putin and Erdogan they ought to fit in quite well. Zimbabwe may not be a free country, but it’s repression does come with a lighter touch.

As such, we are unlikely to witness the emergence of a Zimbabwean Idi Amin. But what we are witnessing, undoubtedly, is the end of an era.

Wed, 15 Nov 2017 13:23:00 -0500
<![CDATA[News - Crude prices lag on global demand fears ]]> Crude prices tanked on Tuesday with West Texas Intermediate down 1.94% at US$55.66 as a new report from the IEA (International Energy Agency) painted a downbeat picture on demand.

The Paris based outfit cut its oil demand growth forecast by 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) for this year and next, to an estimated 1.5 million bpd (barrels per day) in 2017 and 1.3 million bpd in 2018.

This report appeared to contrast with OPEC's forecast on Monday, which raised its demand outlook by 130,000 bpd from its previous estimate.

It now expects oil demand to rise by 1.51 million bpd next year.

Brent crude was down 0.57% to US$63.16 per barrel at the time of writing.

Meanwhile, in terms of geographies, the USA  is set to become the undisputed leader in crude and gas production, the IEA said..

Oil production will be driven by continued growth in energy-hungry industries, despite solar power set to become the cheapest source of new electricity generation.

Demand for oil in general is forecast to keep rising until 2040, with natural gas growing by a sharp 40%.

The price of the black stuff has risen over 30% since June to a two-year high of around US$57 a barrel in New York trading amid signs of firmer economic growth globally.

But analysts expect the price to not rise much further in coming months as the USA ramps up its production.

Tue, 14 Nov 2017 13:56:00 -0500
<![CDATA[News - YogaWorks moves into Atlanta with purchase of 4 studios ]]> YogaWorks Inc. (NASDAQ:YOGA) announced that it has ventured into the Atlanta market with the purchase of four studios.

In a statement, the company said it has bought four Infinity Yoga studios in Atlanta. It now has 66 yoga studios in Los Angeles, Orange County, Northern California, New York City, Boston, Baltimore, Washington DC metro area, Houston and Atlanta.

The teachers and staff of the four Infinity Yoga studios, which was founded in 2013, will remain on board. There will be no changes to the scheduled classes and other events, the company added.

Infinity Yoga will eventually take on the YogaWorks name over the coming months, the company added.

Tue, 14 Nov 2017 08:31:00 -0500
<![CDATA[News - LendingClub shares plunge on proposal to tighten lending ]]> LendingClub Corp. (NYSE:LC) reported in line third quarter results but its shares plunged 20% in early trade after the company announced that it plans to tighten its lending to only the most creditworthy borrowers.

Its shares were off 20.51% at US$4.3399. 

The company, the largest US online marketplace which connects borrowers and investors, also lowered its guidance on 2017 revenue to US$576mln - US$581mln, from earlier estimates of US$585mln - US$600mln.

For the full year, analysts’ consensus is for revenue of US$590.9mln and EPS of 3 US cents.

The company, in a statement, also gave a narrower GAAP net loss range of US$69mln - US$65mln from the earlier guidance of US$69mln - US$61mln.

In the quarter, the company said net revenue hit a record high of US$154mln, up 34% year-on-year, but still off consensus forecast for US$157mln.

Wed, 08 Nov 2017 09:29:00 -0500
<![CDATA[News - CVS Health Corp shares sink marginally after third quarter profits drop ]]> CVS Health Corp Inc (NYSE:CVS) saw shares drop 0.45% on Monday as it  revealed a 13% drop in profits for its third quarter, versus last year.

The Rhode Island based pharma and healthcare group revealed that it profit fell to US$1.53 billion in the  three months, or US$1.50 per share.

This was down from US$1.75bn, or $1.64 per share, in last year's third quarter.

Analysts had expected the company to earn US$1.49 per share, according to consensus figures.

Revenue, however, for the quarter rose 3.5% to US$46.18 billion - up from $44.62 billion last year.

Mon, 06 Nov 2017 10:25:00 -0500
<![CDATA[News - Stitch Fix to sell 10 mln shares at US!8 to US$20 each as part of IPO ]]> Stitch Fix (NASDAQ:SFIX) has unveiled its IPO plans, saying that it will be selling a total of 10 million shares at between US$18 to US$20 apiece, as part of its Initial Public Offering.

The online personal styling company said it is targeting to raise US$190mln at the midpoint of the range.

Plans for Nasdaq listing

Goldman Sachs, Barclays, Piper Jaffray, J.P. Morgan, RBC, William Blair and Stifel have been appointed underwriters on the deal.

Under the IPO, Stitch Fix proposes a dual-class share structure. Class A holders will have one vote per share, while Class B shares will have 10 votes and the shares are convertible at any time into Class A stock.

The company plans to list on Nasdaq.

Mon, 06 Nov 2017 09:48:00 -0500