Proactiveinvestors RSS feed en Fri, 24 Nov 2017 09:31:20 -0500 Genera CMS (Proactiveinvestors) (Proactiveinvestors) <![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
<![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 09:25:00 -0500
<![CDATA[News - Bloomin’ Brands shares higher after revising full year guidance ]]> Bloomin’ Brands Inc (NYSE:BLMN) shares bounced higher in early trade after the company cut its full year guidance following dismal third quarter numbers.

The restaurant company, which boasts of chains like Outback Steakhouse and Carrabba's Italian Grill, said in the quarter, net income came in at US$4.3mln or 5 US cents per share, sharply down from the US$20.7mln or 18 US cents per share, for the same period last year.

Adjusted EPS was 12 US cents, again off market’s expectations for 15 US cents.

Although revenue fell to US$948.9mln from the US$1.0bn posted a year ago, it was still slightly above Wall Street’s expectations for US$948.0mln.

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma impact sales

In the US, same-restaurant sales fell 1%, bearing up well against analysts’ expectations for a drop of 2%.

Bloomin’ Brands said Hurricanes Harvey and Irma hit same-restaurant sales by 1% and EPS by 4 US cents.

The restaurateur is now guiding full-year 2017 EPS at US$1.09 to US$1.14 compared with previous guidance of US$1.34 to US$1.41.

Adjusted EPS has also been lowered to US$1.31 to US$1.36 from the previous guidance of US$1.40 to US$1.47. Wall Street’s consensus is for US$1.40.

In early trade, its shares were up 2.66% at US$17.76.

Fri, 03 Nov 2017 09:46:00 -0400
<![CDATA[Media files - Fundamentals likely to stay very strong for lithium - Mining Capital's Alastair Ford ]]> Fri, 03 Nov 2017 08:30:00 -0400 <![CDATA[News - Sprouts Farmers Market in demand as Q3 earnings beat estimates, full-year guidance lifted ]]> Sprouts Farmers Market Inc (NASDAQ:SFM) was in demand on Thursday after the supermarket chain topped expectations with its third quarter earnings and upped its guidance.

The Phoenix-based group reported a profit of US$31.5mln for the three months to the end of September and said it had net income of US$0.23 per share.

That was significantly higher than the US$0.17 per share Wall Street analysts had forecast.

Net sales jumped 16% in the quarter to US$1.21bn (Q3 2016: US$1.04bn), also beating estimates of US$1.18bn.

‘Exceptional earnings growth’

“Sprouts is pleased to report strong top-line growth and demonstrate our ability to leverage those sales into exceptional earnings growth for the quarter. Sprouts' hallmark of fresh, healthy, affordable products continues to resonate with our customers and positions us as a leader in the industry," said chief executive Amin Maredia.

"We'll continue to accelerate strategic priorities that will enhance our business - from product assortment to the digital experience to customer service.

“These, coupled with our technology investments to drive efficiencies, will provide the flexibility to make future investments where needed to ensure Sprouts is well-positioned for the future.”

Full-year guidance raised

Given the strong performance so far in 2017, Sprouts now expects net sales growth of 14.5% to 15% (previously 13% to 14%) and also upped its earnings per share forecast to between US$0.98 and US$0.99 (previously US$0.88 to US$0.92).

As for new stores, the company remains on track to open 32 outlets this year.

Sprout shares gained 5.8% to US$19.96 on Thursday.

Thu, 02 Nov 2017 10:51:00 -0400
<![CDATA[News - Bitcoin jumps to all-time high above US$6,300 after CME says will launch a regulated trading venue ]]> The value of Bitcoin jumped to an all-time high above $6,300 (£4,754) on Tuesday after the world’s largest futures market operator CME Group Inc (NASDAQ:CME) said it would launch a regulated trading venue for cryptocurrencies in the fourth quarter of 2017.

The Nasdaq-listed company said the new futures contracts will be settled in cash, based on the CME ‘CF Bitcoin Reference Rate’ - a once-a-day reference rate of the US dollar price of bitcoin.

READ: Bitcoin and Ethereum slump as China gets tough on cryptocurrencies

According to trade website Coindesk’s price index, which aggregates the prices quoted across several exchanges, the price of a bitcoin jumped to as high as US$6,342.99, up 3.6% on the day.

Bitcoin has surged in value by around 555% so far this year despite criticism of the crypocurrency by the likes of JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE:JPM) boss, Jamie Dimon, and a clampdown on trading of them in China.

In August, the Chicago Board Options Exchange, the largest US options exchange, said its CBOE Futures Exchange planned to offer cash-settled bitcoin futures in the fourth quarter of this year or sometime in early 2018.

Tue, 31 Oct 2017 15:09:00 -0400
<![CDATA[News - Aimmune Therapeutics shares bolstered while DBV Technologies' plunges on peanut allergy treatment trial findings ]]> Shares in Aimmune Therapeutics (NASDAQ:AIMT) raced up nearly 30% in New York on Monday in response to the announcement from DBV Technologies' (NASDAQ:DBVT) over its peanut allergy treatment.

Meanwhile, shares in the latter plunged over 46% to US$26.21 to be the worst performer on Nasdaq on Monday. Aimmune Therapeutics on the other hand raced up to US$33.23 each.

Viaskin Peanut,  the DBV treatment, reportedly failed to demonstrate sufficient efficacy in a pivotal phase III trial.

The trial was evaluating the safety and efficacy of Viaskin Peanut in children four to 11 years.

Topline results showed a statistically significant response with a favorable tolerability profile, with 35.3% of patients responding to Viaskin Peanut 250 µg after 12 months of treatment as compared to 13.6% of patients in the placebo arm.

However, the primary endpoint did not reach the point as had been proposed in the study's Statistical Analysis Plan (SAP) submitted to the US FDA.

Aimmune's lead candidate is an orally administered biologic that desensitizes patients with peanut allergy.

A Phase 3 study, PALISADE, is ongoing with an estimated completion date of September 2018.

Mon, 23 Oct 2017 11:13:00 -0400
<![CDATA[News - Black Monday stock market crash of 1987 - could history repeat itself? ]]> Thirty years ago today, global stock markets drastically plunged and the Dow Jones Industrial Average suffered its worst day in history.

On the day that has become known as Black Monday, the Dow fell an eye-watering 22.6%, or 508 points, to 1,738.74. It remains the biggest slump in the Dow’s history in percentage terms.

The crash led to a 5% increase in hospital admissions due to anxiety, panic and depression, according to a University of California paper published in in The Journal of Finance last year.

Closer to home, the UK’s FTSE 100 fell 11% on Black Monday and further 12% the next day.

Black Monday came days after the Great Storm of 1987 – a violent cyclone that swept across England, France and the Channel Islands on 15 and 16 October.

What caused the crash?

Theories about what caused the market crash include a cyberattack against a stock exchange, a slowdown in the US economy, falling oil prices, tensions between Iran and the US, a market pricing system or a trading systems malfunction and a sudden change in market sentiment due to prospect of rising inflation.

“While the crash itself was short lived, it left a deep impression on many investors,” said Nick Dixon, investment director at Aegon. 

“Thirty years on and financial experts are again questioning whether markets are overvalued. Investors have experienced over eight years of strong growth, even in the face of unexpected political events like Brexit and Trump.”

The S&P 500, Nasdaq, Dow and the FTSE have all reached all-time records in the past week. The Dow is up about 1,231% since Black Monday to about 23,150 points.

Could history repeat itself? 

Dixon does not expect the same dramatic declines seen 30 years ago but he advised investors take a more “cautious and circumspect” approach as “elevated valuations have shifted the market environment considerably in recent months”.

In response to the changes, Aegeon has removed UK property from its portfolio as future rental growth looks subdued and could constrain capital values and aggregate returns.

Aegon has also reduced US equity exposure due to elevated risks in equity valuations compared to other geographies, which it thinks look more attractive.

Thu, 19 Oct 2017 13:12:00 -0400
<![CDATA[News - The Weinstein Company thrown lifeline by private equity group ]]> The dilemma that faces Hollywood movie production firm The Weinstein Company took a new twist on Monday as it emerged it had struck a deal with a private equity firm to receive an immediate injection of cash, and which sets the scene for a potential sale of all or some of its assets.

It has struck an agreement with Colony Capital, the private equity business of Colony NorthStar (NYSE: CLNS), which will provide immediate cash, the figure was not divulged, and it  has also entered a negaotioating period with Colony for the sale of all or some of its assets.

The company and co-founder Harvey Weinstein has not been out of the headlines of late - the latter facing allegations of  rape and sexual assault over many years.

Many lawyers say the firm, behind such movies as  The Kings Speech and Shakespeare in Love, has little chance of surving.

It is vulnerable to potential investor and victim lawsuits despite claims by the board – which includes Harvey’s brother, Bob Weinstein – that it had no knowledge of any misconduct.

A board member with the firm said in a regulatory release today: "On behalf of the board, we are pleased to announce this agreement and potential strategic partnership with Colony Capital.

"We believe that Colony's investment and sponsorship will help stabilize the company's current operations, as well as provide comfort to our critical distribution, production and talent partners around the world.

"Colony's successful experience and track record in media and entertainment will be invaluable to the company as we move forward.”

Thomas J. Barrack, Jr., Founder and executive chairman of Colony Capital added: “We are pleased to invest in The Weinstein Company and to help it move forward."

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 09:52:00 -0400
<![CDATA[News - Inaugural SmallCap Discoveries Conference shines spotlight on some of Canada’s top performing stocks ]]> Paul Andreola and partner Brandon Mackie have established the SmallCap Discoveries newsletter as Canada’s top source for small-cap investing ideas since its launch in November 2014, and on October 4 the SmallCap team held its first annual conference to highlight its favourite picks.  The day-long event saw 10 companies present to some 140 investors at Vancouver’s Pan Pacific Hotel.

Catering to a subscriber base focused on Canadian non-resource companies, SmallCap Discoveries has unearthed successful value plays in recent years that include Lite Access Technologies (CVE:LTE: $0.25 to $3.75), Pioneering Technology Corp. (CVE:PTE; $0.11 to $1.50) and Hamilton Thorne (CVE:HTL; $0.10 to $1.05).  At present, subscribers have the opportunity to participate in a private placement for the group’s latest pick – Atlas Engineered Products, which is going public by way of an RTO (Reverse Takeover), with trading expected to begin by the end of the year.

SmallCap Discoveries relies on tried and true indicators such as quarterly revenue/earnings growth, management quality and share structure.  While none of this would surprise a seasoned investor, Andreola brings another important ingredient to the table that is difficult to quantify but shines through in his track record: a powerful personal network enabling him to find little-known businesses primed to take off.  He also helps companies obtain the capital they need to reach their objectives, and suggests marketing tools enabling them to get their stories heard once business starts firing on all cylinders.

The formula has worked wonders on the growth front for the selected companies, and on the profit front for shareholders.  Lite Access Technologies was the first presenter at the SmallCap Discoveries Conference to update investors on its current status and near-term outlook.

Lite Access Technologies

Optical fibre is the main material for the world’s fastest Internet broadband networks, and Lite Access Technologies is the undisputed leader when it comes to installation of that fibre in an environmentally friendly, cost-effective, and timely manner.

Using patented equipment that enables it to carve narrow “microtrenches” into everything from sidewalks to rocky outcrops, the company creates a subterranean home for fibre cable in special tubing it calls microduct.

Fibre is blown from one end of the microduct to the other using compressed air.  Installation is fast, disruption to roadways and other surface areas is minimal, and the system is future-proof – if additional or alternate fibre is needed to upgrade a system, it is simply blown through the microduct and hooked up on the other side.  No need to rip up the road again or spend stacks of money.  It is an amazingly simple solution, yet one backed by an impressive array of protected technology.

Used by the United States military, at the 2010 Winter Olympics, and for 125km of network on Canada’s Haida Gwaii, company and licensed work crews have installed the system in numerous countries.

CEO Mike Plotnikoff used the conference podium to tell investors that projects were underway in multiple jurisdictions, including an installation currently taking place on the Pacific island of Guam (home to a key regional US military presence).

He added that the company’s fast-growing operations in the United Kingdom had accounted for 40% of consolidated revenue so far in 2017, even though the team there had only been operating in any real way since April.  With cash of $17.2 million on the balance sheet, Plotnikoff noted the company was in excellent financial shape to take advantage of work for existing and new clients through the balance of 2017 and into next year.

Pioneering Technology Corp.

We just finished fiscal 2017 “and feel great about where we are going in fiscal 2018,” were the words that kicked off CEO Kevin Callahan’s presentation.

Business is growing at a year-over-year pace of 50%, and as Pioneering has what essentially is the only technology in the field today to prevent the second highest cause of fire-related deaths in North America (cooking fires), the pace of growth should not be surprising.  The company’s product lineup is headlined by the SmartBurner replacement for conventional stovetop coils.

Callahan pointed to three major channel partners (including none other than the world’s largest business supplies chain, Staples) as extending the number of people selling Pioneering Technology products from a handful to around 600.  He suggested that this new sales approach was only scratching the surface of its potential.

Of tremendous importance is the pending (April 2019) introducing of revised UL858 standards dictating that new electric coil ranges in the United States must feature fire prevention technology.  While not ruling out the possibility of range manufacturers developing their own solutions, Callahan said that Pioneering’s was the only known technology ready to be deployed now, and that because of logistical and other challenges faced by manufacturers they would have to decide soon as to what their plans are for meeting the new standards.  Clearly, the message was that there is potential for supply on an OEM basis.

The company announced the same day its largest purchase order ever (approximately 20,000 four-burner kits to outfit some 36,000 suites at 300 hotels).  It is worth noting that this is a new order from a customer that has already installed the company’s SmartBurners in tens of thousands of its suites.

Atlas Engineered Products

President Guy Champagne delivered a compelling presentation that outlined the company’s strategy for acquiring truss manufacturers in British Columbia and turbocharging their performance using the same management techniques that turned Atlas into a profitable force on Vancouver Island.

Explaining that regional truss manufacturing is naturally insulated from outside competition owing to expense and other challenges involved in moving the large constructs from manufacturing facility to building site (a competitive radius of 150km), Champagne went on to note that many manufacturers in the industry (and other industries throughout Canada) face a succession challenge.

Simply put, for many of these companies, the aging owners do not have an obvious choice to hand the business to, or an eager buyer to whom they can sell.  Champagne called it a “crisis” affecting small businesses throughout the country.

Atlas, with a focus on profit margins and industry relationships, has proven that it can run a very profitable business in the truss industry.  Champagne said that the company already has non-disclosure agreements in place with a number of companies that could, if they pass due diligence, become acquisition targets.

Atlas recorded sales of some $8 million in its previous business year, making it a major player on Vancouver Island, where total truss sales are in the range of $30 million to $35 million.  The British Columbia market overall is worth $250 million to $300 million.

From its top line, Atlas generated $1.5 million in operating income, giving it a margin of 18.7%.  In the future, it looks to bring its gross margin, and those at acquired companies, to 30%.  In terms of revenue, the three-year goal is to have the top line at $50 million.

Interestingly, Champagne said one of the industry’s top challenges is retaining talented design and engineering professionals.  Truss designs can be quite customized, especially in the strata of super expensive houses that characterizes today’s real estate landscape in British Columbia.  Having more engineers and multiple regional operations for them to service makes for a better working environment and also means better service for customers.

Atlas will be absorbed by Archer Petroleum Corp. (CVE:ARK.H) prior to the newly named company coming back to trade.

Hamilton Thorne

President and CEO David Wolf gives the impression of an executive fully aware of where every aspect of his business is at any given time, and what is needed to march the company toward its goals.

He pointed out that one in six couples have trouble conceiving children and that means the market for the company’s related products and services is both massive and global.  The estimated need for invitro fertilization procedures worldwide is 10.5 million per year.

Hamilton Thorne serves the market with equipment, consumables and technologies.  As an example, it sells equipment that can be used to analyze an embryo and determine that it is healthy before it is implanted in the womb.

Wolf said industry growth runs at a 5% annual pace but that Hamilton Thorne is expanding at twice that rate.  He also said studies suggest sperm counts have plummeted by up to 50% over the years.  Sad, but undeniably a great backdrop for the industry that Hamilton Thorne operates in.

Key acquisitions in 2016 and 2017 will see sales and earnings in the current fiscal year rise substantially.  The company runs a very disciplined process for choosing acquisitions and Wolf said it currently has some 150 companies identified and ranked according to desirability.  In other words, investors might anticipate further expansion through acquisition at some point in the future.

As of June 30, Hamilton Thorne had $3.26 million in working capital, plus a $76 million market capitalization on the day of the conference to back those acquisition plans.

Also presenting at the SmallCap Discoveries Conference were Grande West Transportation (CVE:BUS), Renoworks Software (CVE:RW), Immunoprecise Antibodies (CVE:IPA), Kraken Robotics (CVE:PNG), AnalytixInsight (CVE:ALY), and Gatekeeper Systems (CVE:GSI).  Dave Barr, CEO of Pender Funds, opened the event with a keynote address outlining some of the approaches he has refined while managing mutual funds focused on small-cap and value stocks.

Investors interested in learning more about the SmallCap Discoveries methodology can visit

Wed, 11 Oct 2017 14:43:00 -0400
<![CDATA[News - RedHill Biopharma Ltd’s irritable bowel syndrome treatment study meets main goal ]]> RedHill Biopharma Ltd (NASDAQ:RDHL) said on Tuesday that its mid-stage trial of a treatment for diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome (IBS-D) met its primary endpoint in a Phase II trial.

The Israel-based company said in a statement that the placebo-controlled trial of Bekinda involved 126 subjects over 18 years old at 16 clinical sites in the U.S.

Plans for late-stage study

"We are greatly encouraged by the top-line results from the Phase II study which demonstrated that BEKINDA(R) 12 mg could be an effective treatment for patients suffering from IBS-D, and we look forward to discussing the path towards potential marketing approval in the U.S. with the FDA.," RedHill's medical director Terry Plasse said.

The company said it intends to start a late-stage study for the drug and plans to meet with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration by early 2018 to discuss the path toward potential marketing approval.

Bekinda also being tested for two other ailments

It is estimated that around 30 mln Americans suffer from IBS, and more than 50% are diarrhea-predominant.

The market for treatments rose about 550% between 2013 and 2016 and generated sales of US$473mln in 2016.

RedHill is also testing Bekinda for the treatment of acute gastroenteritis and gastritis.

In premarket trade, its shares dipped 5.37% at US$10.23.

Tue, 03 Oct 2017 08:34:00 -0400
<![CDATA[News - RYB Education Institution shares rise as it becomes first Chinese early years education provider to list in New York ]]> The first Chinese early years education provider to listed in New York did so today and shares rose over 36% in the process.

China’s RYB Education Institution made its debut on Wall Street today, rising 36 % beyond the IPO price of US$18.50.

The company raised US$144.3mln, offering almost 8mln American depositary shares (ADS), with the cash going to further expand its footprint in China’s education industry.

RYB currently has more than 1,000 self-operated and franchised kindergartens, as well as play-and-learn centres in 250 Chinese cities.

Though it is one of the largest providers to focus on early education in China, it accounts for less than 0.5% of the market by revenue in 2016.

China’s early childhood education market is set to reach 200 billion yuan (US$30.11 billion) in 2017, according to one set of official figures.

RYB Education - operator of Chinese kindergarten & pre-schools - is the 4th Chinese IPO on the NYSE this year (NYSE: $RYB)

— NYSE (@NYSE) 27 September 2017 ]]>
Wed, 27 Sep 2017 14:12:00 -0400
<![CDATA[News - Versartis shares take a dive after growth hormone deficiency treatment trial fails primary endpoint ]]> Biopharmaceutical company, Versartis Inc (NASDAQ:VSAR) saw its shares take a deep dive on Friday premarket after it revealed that its human growth hormone drug failed to meet its primary endpoint in a Phase III non-inferiority trial.

In a statement, the company said somavaratan, which seeks to treat growth-hormone deficiency, failed to demonstrate superiority to Genotropin, a drug from Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) in a study focusing on pediatric growth-hormone deficiency.

Corporate update later this year

"We are very surprised and disappointed to learn the outcome ..," chief executive Jay Shepard said in Thursday's announcement.

"Somavaratan showed height velocity in the range we had hoped, but it was not sufficient to demonstrate non-inferiority in this trial," Shepard said, adding, "we have done an initial analysis of the top-line data and are continuing to thoroughly review the results to gain greater insight into the trial outcome."

He said the company will be issuing a corporate update later this year.

In premarket, its shares plunged 84.95% at US$3.25.

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 07:45:00 -0400
<![CDATA[News - Roku ready to roll with US$1bn IPO ]]> The TV streaming company Roku Inc has unveiled plans to sell shares worth US$200mln via an IPO that will value the business at around US$1bn.

According to a filing made with the Securities and Exchange Commission, shares will be sold to institutions for between US$12 and US$14 each.

Share sale to allow partial exit for early investors

Founded 15 years ago, the business leads the big hitters such as Amazon and Apple with 37% of the market for internet TV streaming boxes. That adds up to more than 15 mln units.

The listing values chief executive and founder Anthony Wood’s stake at US$284mln.

While Roku is raising up to US$126m selling shares, the IPO is being used as a partial exit for early investors such as Menlo Ventures, which could net US$84mln, and Sky Ventures, which may make US$9mln from stock sales.

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 12:13:00 -0400
<![CDATA[Media files - Are Chinese demand figures being fiddled with in lead up to Chinese Party Congress ? ]]> Mon, 18 Sep 2017 12:53:00 -0400 <![CDATA[News - T2 Biosystems shares slump as it prices public offering at big discount ]]> Shares in the diagnostics group T2 Biosystems Inc (NASDAQ:TTOO) slumped over 31% in pre-market after the group priced a planned share offering at a sharp discount to the current price.

The volume activity was very heavy in pre-market with 400,000 shares changings hands before the New York open.

The price of the offering was put at $4 a share, which is 34% below yesterday's closing price of $6.08, for gross proceeds of $17.5 million.

Canaccord Genuity Inc and Cantor Fitzgerald & Co are acting as joint book-running managers for the fundraise.

The offering is subject to market conditions, and there can be no assurance as to whether or when the offering may be completed, or as to the actual size or terms of the offering.

Shares have doubled since the end of July and the stock has rallied 15.6% in the year to date up to yesterday.

Fri, 15 Sep 2017 09:31:00 -0400
<![CDATA[News - Insmed rockets after successful phase III study of rare lung disorder drug ]]> Shares in Insmed Incorporated (NASDAQ:INSM) more than double on Tuesday Morning after the phase III trial of its Alis rare lung disorder therapy met its primary endpoint.

Shortly after the markets opened, Insmed shares climbed 118% to US$26.72.

The late-stage study tested the effectiveness of the drug on 336 patients with resistant nontuberculous mycobacterial (NTM) lung infections.

Insmed said the trial found that almost a third of patients treated with Alis and the standard treatment saw a statistical significance in bacteria density by the sixth month.

That compared with just 9% of patients who were given the standard treatment on its own.

The NASDAQ-listed firm said it now plans to pursue accelerated approval for the therapy which was previously granted breakthrough therapy designation and fast track status by the US Food and Drug Administration.

NTM lung infections are caused by a type of bacteria often found on soil as well as water. It is a rare and serious disease that has symptoms such as fever, weight loss, cough and blood in mucus.

Currently there is no approved treatment for it and potential therapies fail on a relatively frequent basis.

Tue, 05 Sep 2017 10:14:00 -0400
<![CDATA[News - Aptevo Therapeutics shares rocket on Nasdaq after hyperimmune product sale ]]> Top riser on Nasdaq was Aptevo Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:APVO) which surged almost 62% as it agreed to sell its three marketed hyperimmune products WinRho SDF, HepaGam B, and VARIZIG for up to $74.5 million.

The buyer is  Saol Therapeutics

The deal includes an upfront payment of $65 million, and an additional potential milestone payment of up to $7.5 million related to the achievement of gross profit milestones. 

Aptevo may receive up to $2mln related to collection of certain accounts receivable after the closing.

"The significant non-dilutive funding provided by this transaction will ensure that Aptevo continues to be solidly capitalized to invest in the opportunities where we see the most potential for long-term value creation for our stockholders,” said Marvin L. White, chief executive.

“With a deal value of up to $74.5 million, representing approximately 2.8 times both our current market capitalization on August 30, 2017 and our 2016 annual revenue, we view this as a very attractive opportunity to monetize our non-core assets and not dilute our stockholders as we continue to invest in promising assets like our ADAPTIR platform.”

The group's ADAPTIR technology is used to generate antibodies with unique mechanisms of action to treat cancer or autoimmune diseases.

Fri, 01 Sep 2017 15:38:00 -0400
<![CDATA[News - HCA Healthcare names new finance chief at its American Group ]]> One of the biggest US providers HCA Healthcare Inc (NYSE: HCA) revealed that Ashley Johnson has been appointed chief financial officer of HCA’s American Group,  which includes 85 hospitals.

Overall, the Nashville based firm operates 77 hospitals and 119 freestanding surgery centers in 20 states and in the UK.

She will assume the position on October 1, replacing longtime finance chief Rick Shallcross who is retiring.

Johnson, a 21-year veteran of HCA, has served as chief financial officer for HCA’s Capital Division overseeing 18 hospital campuses in Indiana, Kentucky, New Hampshire and Virginia.

HCA is a learning healthcare system that uses its more than 27 million annual patient encounters to advance science, improve patient care and save lives.

Shares in Healthcare Inc stand at $74.48 on the day - down 0.24%.

Fri, 01 Sep 2017 11:21:00 -0400
<![CDATA[News - China’s Great Wall Motors mulling Fiat Chrysler takeover bid ]]> Chinese carmaker Great Wall Motor Company is eyeing up a bid for RAM Trucks and Jeep owner Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

A Great Wall official told Reuters that the company had “an intention to acquire” all or part of the Italian-American group.

News of the possible takeover bid comes just weeks after a US car magazine, Automotive News, reported that a “well-known Chinese automaker” had made an offer from FCA.

That original report prompted a jump in the firm’s Milan-listed shares, which are up again today.

Great Wall is China’s largest SUV maker and reportedly harbours ambitions of being the biggest in the world.

A move for Fiat Chrysler – the world’s seventh largest carmaker – would give it access to the popular Jeep brand as well as an entry into the US and European markets.

It is also possible that Great Wall is only interested in one or two brands and not the company as a whole.

FCA is yet to comment on the reports, but chief executive Sergio Marchionne is said to be seeking a partner or buyer to help it manage rising costs, emissions regulations and the development of electric and self-driving cars.

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 06:50:00 -0400
<![CDATA[News - Andeavor Logistics snaps up Western Refining Logistics for US$1.5bn ]]> US pipeline operator Andeavor Logistics LP (NYSE:ANDX) is set to move into the Permian Basin in Texas after it agreed to buy out rival Western Refining Logistics (NYSE:WNRL) in a deal worth US$1.5bn.

Texas-based Western Refining owns pipelines and gathering assets in the Permian Basin, where it is estimated that more than 15mln barrels of oil have been produced over the past 25 years or so.

Western Refining investors will receive 0.5233 Andeavor Logistics shares for each Western share held.

That values each Western Refining share at US$25.28 – a premium of just over 6% on last week’s closing price.

Andeavour, formerly known as Tesoro Corp, bought Western Refining Inc earlier this summer for US$4.1bn and also acquired a non-controlling stake in Western Refining Logistics as part of that deal.

Andeavor Logistics will also issue 78mln shares to its parent Andeavor (NYSE:ANDV) once the deal closes to cancel its incentive distribution rights.

Andeavour Logistics were unchanged at US$48.37, while Western Refining Logistics jumped 4.5% to US$24.85.

Mon, 14 Aug 2017 10:03:00 -0400
<![CDATA[News - Eithne Treanor: Inventories are on the decline, but not fast enough ]]> The price of oil may be hovering in the fifties but the oversupply remains too high and sentiment remains too low. Inventories are on the decline, but not fast enough and not deep enough and in early trading on Friday Brent crude was still above US$51 with WTI holding below US$50 a barrel.

The dilemma remains a challenging one with producers getting used to lower for longer prices and no great prospects for the near future. Oil stockpiles in the US were down last week for the fifth week in a row, dropping 1.5 million barrels, according to the Energy Information Administration.

The market had expected a bigger decrease of 3.5 million barrels after a strong fall the previous week. Gasoline inventories were also down by 2.5 million barrels thanks to the continuation of a robust driving season. American gasoline demand is currently 9.84 million barrels a day. Refinery utilization is also looking healthy, currently above 95 percent.

Its reporting season for the major oil companies and Goldman Sachs said that second quarter results indicated how companies are adjusting to the lower oil price at around US$50 a barrel.

Efficiencies are in place and price expectations seem to be flat. BP says it expects the oil price to stay in the range of US$45 to US$55 in 2018 as shale production continues to thrive. BMI Research estimates that international companies are looking at a break-even target price of US$40 a barrel.

A leading hedge fund that bet on a stronger oil price closed its doors this week.

The CEO of Astenbeck Capital Management, Andy Hall said the company incurred severe losses on the back of low oil prices, so he folded the fund last week.

OPEC production remains high despite the much-hailed agreement to curtail supply. Crude oil shipments by OPEC and Russia were around 32 million barrels a day in July, up from 30.5 million barrels in June. This data was released this week from Thompson Reuters Eikon, a division that tracks tanker movements.

Economic growth will always be a hopeful indicator for oil producers. Last week’s data from the Chinese Caixin Manufacturing PMI rose to 51.1 from the previous month at just over 50 points. It’s now at its highest level since March this year.

The president of Prestige Economics in Texas has always maintained this figure was the one to watch in terms of impacting global oil demand in the future.

He sees the pace of growth in China is now one of expansion and acceleration and says, “the July 2017 Caixin reflected an acceleration in growth, after a rebound in growth seen in the June report last month,” and adds, “this is bullish for industrial metals and oil prices.”

While lower inventories and stronger demand should be positive signals, the ongoing stagnation in the market is crippling sentiment, investment and price movement. Without a major boost in demand and a greater fall or curtailment of production, it looks like we can expect lower oil prices for the rest of the year.

Mon, 07 Aug 2017 12:25:00 -0400
<![CDATA[News - Edtech firm ProBility Media expands footprint with Cranbury acquisition ]]> Edtech firm ProBility Media Corp (OTCQB:PBYA) has taken a 'major step' in its geographical expansion plan, it revealed, with the acquisition of Cranbury International.

The latter represents around 40 major publishers internationally and sells training and educational materials to governmental institutions and private sectors in Brazil, Mexico, Columbia, Trinidad, and others.

"We are very excited to close on this transaction and to now access all the positive opportunities and synergies that Cranbury brings to our organization," said Evan Levine, chairman and chief executive of ProBility.

"Not only did we acquire an established business which increases our product offerings, customer base and international footprint, but we now have a tremendous opportunity to introduce many of Cranbury's clientele to the e-learning and virtual reality training products that ProBility is becoming known for."

Mon, 07 Aug 2017 11:10:00 -0400
<![CDATA[Media files - Everyone should have about 10% of investments in ‘crypto-assets’ – David Siegel ]]> Wed, 19 Jul 2017 14:52:00 -0400 <![CDATA[News - Golf course operator ClubCorp Holdings shares driven 30% higher after Apollo deal ]]> Ailing golf course and country club operator ClubCorp Holdings Inc (NYSE:MYCC) saw shares rise  over 30% on Monday after it struck  a deal to be bought out for around $1.1bn.

Private equity firm Apollo Management is the buyer, and shareholders will get $17.12 per share in cash.

In the first quarter, ClubCorp's revenue rose 3% to $221.3 million (mln), while the net loss narrowed 9.7% to $7.5mln.

It liabilities including long-term debt, totaled $1.99 billion.

The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year.

The firm has been dogged by slowing membership and gold player numbers and has been looking for an investor.

Founded 60 years ago, ClubCorp operates more than 200 golf and country clubs and sports clubs, attended by 430,000 members.

“With the support of the Apollo funds, we are confident that ClubCorp will be able to continue building on its success by providing its members with unrivaled experiences at its clubs,” said John Beckert, ClubCorp's chairman.

Mon, 10 Jul 2017 13:37:00 -0400
<![CDATA[Media files - Australia to become a 'very important lithium & cobalt producer' - SP Angel's John Meyer ]]> Fri, 07 Jul 2017 13:12:00 -0400 <![CDATA[News - Acer Therapeutics unveils merger to reboot Opexa Therapeutics ]]> Privately owned drugs developer Acer Therapeutics has agreed a deal to merge with Opexa Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:OPXA).

By switching into Opexa, Acer Therapeutics is effectively rebooting the Nasdaq-listed group, which stalled in the clinic in late 2016. Opexa had been undergoing a review since an unsuccessful Phase 2 drug trial for a potential multiple sclerosis treatment.

Acer’s shareholder base will be holding some 88% of the enlarged company’s stock as a result of the proposed merger, which coincides with a new US$15.7mln fund raise.

Chris Schelling, Acer founder and chief executive, said the company is looking forward to engaging with a broader pool of investors following the merger.

“Acer's goal is to become a leading pharmaceutical company that acquires, develops and commercializes therapies for the treatment of patients with serious rare diseases with critical unmet medical need," Schelling said.

It is anticipated that Acer will file a new drug application in the first half 2018 for its lead product EDSIVO, which is a treatment for vascular Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (vEDS).

Schelling highlighted: “We have committed significant resources to rapidly advance our lead candidate EDSIVO, a potential life-saving therapy for patients with vEDS.

“We believe that the proceeds from the concurrent financing will allow us to advance EDSIVO through NDA submission with the FDA in the first half of 2018.

“As a public company, we look forward to engaging with a broader pool of investors as we seek to advance and expand our pipeline and make multiple products available to patients over the next several years."

Opexa chief executive Neil Warma, meanwhile, said: “We have chosen to combine with Acer following an extensive review of strategic alternatives.

“Acer's lead asset, EDSIVO, could be on the market within the next two years.

“This factor, together with Acer's strategic vision, pipeline, the recently secured financing and Acer's strong management team, provides Opexa shareholders with an opportunity for growth in the value of their shares."

Mon, 03 Jul 2017 08:47:00 -0400
<![CDATA[News - Tech IPOs on the rocks as now Titri pulls its float ]]> It's been a troubled week for tech stock market debuts.

Yesterday, meal-kit delivery service Blue Apron cuts its IPO price to below the expected range.

Now public cloud provider Tintri has reportedly pulled a plan to list today (Thursday).

Tintri offers companies public cloud services inside their own data centers and also connects to public cloud services.

It started selling its product in April 2011 and had since added more than 40 customers.

Tintri revenues added 33% in the first quarter to $30.4 million, compared to the same time last year, while the net loss stayed approximately flat at $30.5mln.

In a prospectus, Tintri said it planned to raise $109mln via issuing 8.7mln shares between $10.50 and $12.50 per share.

Thu, 29 Jun 2017 09:28:00 -0400
<![CDATA[Media files - Short-term oversupply still weighing heavily on uranium price - analyst Justin Chan ]]> Tue, 27 Jun 2017 11:44:00 -0400 <![CDATA[News - Billionaire activist investor Dan Loeb takes US$3.5bn punt on Nestlé ]]> Billionaire activist investor Dan Loeb has taken a US$3.5bn punt on the world’s largest packaged-foods company, Nestlé.

Loeb, renowned for his scathing letters to company bosses, has already told the Swiss food and drink giant that it needs to improve its margins, buy back stock and sell off non-core assets such as its holding in L’Oreal.

1.3% stake

The stake, which works out to 1.3% of Nestlé’s overall stock, is the largest initial bet on a publicly-traded company ever made by Loeb and his Third Point LLC hedge fund.

Despite being the biggest player in its industry, the company has struggled with a slowdown in emerging markets, falling prices in developed markets and consumers looking for healthier, fresher products.

Group chief executive Mark Schneider has been trying to reignite growth since his arrival in January, but he recently had to scrap a longstanding sales target after disappointing annual results.

“It is rare to find a business of Nestle’s quality with so many avenues for improvement,” wrote Third Point in its latest letter.

“We feel strongly that in order to succeed, Dr. Schneider will need to articulate a decisive and bold action plan that addresses the staid culture and tendency towards incrementalism that has typified the company's prior leadership and resulted in its long-term underperformance.”

Recent push into Europe

The sizeable position in Nestlé, Europe’s largest listed company, follows on from investments in other European companies such as Italian bank UniCredit SpA and German energy giant E.On.

Third Point has previously suggested that an improved economic outlook and declining political risks in the region make it an attractive arena in which to look for new investments.

Nestlé shares soared by almost 5% in Zurich on the back of the news, with investors seemingly buoyed by Loeb’s reputation of going into underperforming companies and demand change.

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 09:07:00 -0400
<![CDATA[Media files - China growth great news for metals & miners - Mining Capital's Alastair Ford ]]> Fri, 23 Jun 2017 10:27:00 -0400 <![CDATA[News - Pro-growth sentiment sends markets and confidence higher, reckons Schwarzman ]]> The pro-growth policies of the Trump administration are helping to buoy markets to new records.

That's the view of private equity billionaire Stephen Schwarzman, who was speaking to CNBC.

Certainly, with a few potholes on the way, equities have done well since Donald Trump was inaugurated in January this year, and indeed did so before then, after his election win.

First it was infrastructure and financial stocks and recently tech stocks have been on a tear.

Tuesday this week saw sentiment surrounding Fed and the Central' bank's bullishness on the economy push both the Dow Jones and the S&P 500 to new record highs.

Nasdaq’s biotechnology index had its biggest one-day gain since February.

"The reason I think we have consumer confidence at record levels and markets at record levels and business confidence at record levels [is] because the basic program the administration has is really excellent,"  Schwarzman, the Blackstone chief executive, was quoted as saying.

He is also chairman of Trump's Strategic and Policy Forum.

But other indicators of growth have not been so clear cut, and rising recently.

The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment survey peaked this year at 98.5 in January, which was the highest in more than a decade.

Meanwhile, the ISM manufacturing purchasing managers index hit 57.7 in February, the highest since August 2014.

However, this month, what's called  the 'Business Roundtable CEO Economic Outlook Index'  hit its highest level since the second quarter of 2014 on the back of belief in Trump's pro-growth policies.

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 13:07:00 -0400
<![CDATA[News - Ethereum cryptocurrency hit by ‘flash crash’ after plummeting from US$319 to just 10 cents ]]> The price of cryptocurrency ethereum plummeted on Wednesday after the bitcoin rival was hit by a ‘flash crash’ on the GDAX exchange.

Ether, as it’s also known, crashed as low as 10 cents from around US$320 in just a few seconds after a “multimillion dollar sell” order was executed.

The digital currency did stabilise not too long after the sharp fall and is hovering around US$317 on GDAX, although it had been trading as high as US$352 earlier on Wednesday.

According to the vice president of GDAX, Adam White, the sell order resulted in a number of trade being filled from US$317.81 to US$224.48.

As the price continued to fall, another 800 or so stop loss orders – a trade that is automatically executed once a security hits a particular price – were taken out, causing ether to trade as low as 10 cents.

Analysts have pointed to the crash as the latest example that alternative currencies are untrustworthy or unreliable.

Some on social media had suggested that illegal activity had taken place, but White denied this in a blog post.

“Our initial investigations show no indication of wrongdoing or account takeovers. We understand this event can be frustrating for our customers.”

Blockchain start-up backed by Google and Richard Branson in US$40mln raise

Elsewhere in the digital world Blockchain Ltd – a bitcoin wallet start-up – has raised US$40mln, led by Google’s investment arm and UK billionaire Richard Branson among others.

The investment comes at a time of rising excitement and interest in the cryptocurrency world, with both bitcoin and ethereum both recently hitting all-time highs.

Blockchain has created a ‘wallet’ which is a piece of software that can store bitcoins and allows customers to carry out transaction with other users.

The cash raised is expected to be used to expand its team and invest in more research and development.

What is blockchain technology?

A blockchain is a digital ledger in which all transactions made in bitcoin or another cryptocurrency are recorded chronologically and publicly.

Think of it as a spreadsheet that is duplicated thousands of times across a network of computers. Then imagine that this network is designed to regularly update the spreadsheet so all users can see a ‘live’ database.

Importantly, users can add to these databases but can't erase past transactions or data. That, and the fact data is stored on lots of different computers, means the records of transactions are truly public and verifiable.

Without a centralised version of all the information, there is nothing for a hacker to corrupt either.

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 13:05:00 -0400
<![CDATA[News - Cable operator Altice USA raises US$1.9bn in biggest IPO since 2000 ]]> Cable operator Altice USA has raised US$1.9bn in the biggest initial public offering since the year 2000.

Altice USA – formed when Netherlands-based Altice acquired Cablevision and Suddenlink Communications – priced 63.9mln shares at US$30.

That makes it the second largest IPO of 2017, giving the company a market capitalisation of roughly US$22bn.

Altice said it, along with its selling stakeholders, said it was able to sell more shares than it had originally anticipated.

That there was such solid demand for the new shares is an encouraging sign for the struggling industry, which has been hit by consumers shifting to internet streaming.

Many companies in the sector have been forced to slash prices as a result, in order to compete for subscribers.

Altice – which is the fourth largest US cable provider – had pro forma revenues of US$9.2bn in 2016 along with debts of around US$21mln.

The company will use some of the cash raised through the IPO to pay down some of that debt, while having traded shares will allow Altice to use its own stock to finance acquisitions and expansion.

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 09:22:00 -0400
<![CDATA[News - John Wiley & Sons' solutions business bolsters earnings in fourth quarter ]]> Global education publisher and online group John Wiley & Sons (NYSE: JW.A) saw shares rise over 2% in New York Tuesday as it posted upbeat results for its fourth quarter, largely thanks to the solutions business.

In the solutions business, Wiley provides online program management services for higher education institutions.

Revenue for the quarter to end April came in at $452.2mln compared to $434.3mln last year, beating estimates of $425.1mln.

Adjusted earnings per share were $0.82 against analysts' expectations of $0.54 per share.

Looking ahead, the firm reckons it will report revenue for its 2018 year at the same level as with 2017's $1.72 billion (bn).

EPS for the full year is seen down low single digits on 2017's $3.00. Wall Street expects EPS of $3.05 a share.

“We posted stronger revenue and earnings growth this quarter, largely due to growth in our Solutions business and the favorable timing of sales in Publishing,” said Matthew Kissner, Wiley’s interim chief executive and chairman.

“For the year, research revenue growth was marginally positive and in line with expectations.

"The Solutions business, in addition to posting double-digit revenue growth, also reported substantial profit improvement.

"Overall, we ended the year with favorable operating momentum, a strong balance sheet, and reliable cash flow that will enable us to continue investing for growth while returning cash to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases.”

Tue, 13 Jun 2017 12:48:00 -0400
<![CDATA[News - Loxo Oncology soars on positive cancer drug data ]]> Shares in Loxo Oncology Inc. (NASDAQ:LOXO) soared in pre-market trade on Monday after the drug developer reported positive data from an ongoing clinical trial of its cancer drug, larotrectinib.

Loxo presented the data at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ACSO) in Chicago – the biggest cancer conference in the world which attracts more than 30,000 scientists, oncologists and researchers every year.

It found that the drug succeeded in shrinking tumours in patients with a variety of cancers that share the same genetic defect.

Unlike most cancer drugs which are targeted at specific parts of the body, larotrectinib was given to patients whose tumour had a particular genetic mutation called the tropomyosin receptor kinase gene (TRK).

So far, the drug has been tested on 50 patients who had one of 17 different types of cancer at an advanced stage, and 38 (or 76%) have seen a clear shrinkage of their tumors.

Of those, 30 (or 79%) hadn’t had their tumors start growing or had new ones appear after 12 months of treatment and are still on the drug.

"Larotrectinib delivers consistent and durable responses in TRK fusion patients across all ages, regardless of tumor context, and does so with few side effects," said David Hyman, lead researcher of the study.

Shares rocketed 40% to US$68.87.

Mon, 05 Jun 2017 09:41:00 -0400
<![CDATA[Media files - Trump's withdrawal from climate change deal 'likely to play well' in the US ]]> Fri, 02 Jun 2017 10:25:00 -0400 <![CDATA[News - Pacific Exploration & Production skids higher on operations update ]]> Shares in Latin America focused oiler Pacific Exploration & Production Corporation (TSE: PEN) nudged higher as it updated investors on operations, saying it was looking forward to testing a number of "high impact" prospects this year.

The group has interests in more than 30 exploration and production blocks in Colombia and Peru.

Ceibo -1 re-completed...

Notably, in Colombia, discovery well Ceibo-1 in the Guatiquia block has been re-completed and placed on test from May 11 and is currently producing at 600 bbl/d (barrels a day) at 77.5% water cut.

The production will eventually be co-mingled with the LS-1 producing sand already completed in the well. Upon completion of testing of this interval two more tests are planned for the middle and upper Guadalupe sands.

Since the drilling of Ceibo-1, 12 further wells have been drilled into the pools giving a total of 13 now in production.

Also, the Candalilla 6 exploitation well was spud last week (May 24) and is targeting the Guadalupe formation on a structural high. The well is being directionally drilled from the Candelilla 1 pad.

High impact prospects eyed..

PEN chief executive Barry Larson said: "We are very pleased with the results of our exploration and development program during the year-to-date, and we are looking forward to testing a number of our high impact prospects this year.

"The company's exploitation activity has been particularly successful on the Guatiquia Block where both Ardilla-3 and Ceibo have added to the Company's light oil production in Colombia."

Shares added 0.65% to stand at C$38.50 a pop.

Mon, 29 May 2017 14:04:00 -0400
<![CDATA[News - Deckers Outdoor rockets higher on recovery plan optimism ]]> Ugg boots maker Deckers Outdoor Corp (NYSE:DECK) shot ahead as it indicated earnings would rise this year while it would shave US$100mln off its cost by 2020.

The group also posted a profit in its latest quarter as revenues beat expectations even though there were hefty sales declines for all three of its main brands: Ugg; Teva and Sanuk.

Profits were an underlying US$4.5mln 

Dave Powers, chief executive, said it had worked hard to identify margin enhancers and other profitability enhancing initiatives.

“We now anticipate that the US$150 mln cumulative savings plan announced in February 2017 will drive a US$100mln operating profit improvement by fiscal year 2020.”

Against forecast of a loss of 6c, the group posted adjusted earnings of 11c on sales of US$370mln, which while lower than the previous year’s US$379mln were about US$12mln higher than consensus.

Over the full year, sales were 7% lower at US$1.79bn while Deckers posted a profit of US$160mln (compared to US$157mln) adding back restructuring costs of US$168mln.

Decker expects an adjusted first-quarter loss of $1.65 to $1.70 a share, and an adjusted profit of $3.95 to $4.15 (US$3.86) a share for the year.


Fri, 26 May 2017 14:35:00 -0400
<![CDATA[Media files - Donald Trump 'smoothing over ruffled feathers' - Mining Capital's Alastair Ford ]]> Fri, 26 May 2017 12:11:00 -0400 <![CDATA[News - Helios and Matheson Analytics races as it acquires facial recognition tech ]]> Helios and Matheson Analytics Inc (NASDAQ: HMNY) was top riser on Nasdaq as it acquired the license to facial recognition technology from Israeli biometrics technology company IsItYou.

The technology will be integrated with the group's RedZone Map app - the artificial intelligence technology and real-time crime database.

It will enable RedZone Map users to identify people from an image on a  smartphone camera or video.

In future, and for any James Bond fans out there, RedZone plans to be able to deliver real-time notifications of criminally active individuals in a user’s area.

This may be a large event or public space, by seeking permitted access to public surveillance cameras operated by private enterprises or government entities.

“Through artificial intelligence and facial recognition technology, we will seek to develop the capability to identify dangerous people entering an area and notify our users in real time,” said Ted Farnsworth, founder of RedZone.

“Sending notifications to our users of when their safety is more likely at risk, whether at a concert, in a shopping mall, or simply walking down the street, would greatly increase the utility of RedZone Map to our users. This is a key goal in our continuing development of RedZone Map.”

RedZone has begun integrating and plans to continue integrating the facial recognition technology into the app over coming months.

Helios shares added over 65% to $4.05 each.

Tue, 23 May 2017 13:00:00 -0400
<![CDATA[News - MIllennials boost for Gap as they flock to Old Navy ]]> Gap Inc (NYSE:GPS ) has emerged as one of the few retailers to beat forecasts in the latest earnings season.

The group hailed the performance of its Old Navy low cost brand and also Athleta, its leisure/athletics wear label as earnings per share jumped by 12.5% to 36c.

Old Navy increased like-for-like sales by 8% as millennials, those who became adults in the current century, lapped up the brand.

Banana Republic and Gap outlets had a harder time with like-for-like sales dropping by 4% at both chains.

Net sales for the first quarter were flat at US$3.4bn though they rose 2% on a like-for-like basis. Profits rose to US$238mln (US$204mln)

For the full year, Gap kept full year diluted earnings per share guidance to in the range of $1.95 to $2.05 though the first half is looking a bit better.

Art Peck, chief executive, said: “We've made substantial improvements in product quality and fit, and our increasing responsive capabilities are enabling us to better react to trends and demand."

Fri, 19 May 2017 14:45:00 -0400
<![CDATA[Media files - Mining Capital's Alastair Ford on possible Trump impeachment and market volatility ]]> Fri, 19 May 2017 11:07:00 -0400 <![CDATA[News - Lidl threatens to fuel supermarket price war with launch of first stores in the US ]]> German grocer Lidl plans to open its first US stores next month, threatening to tempt customers away with cheaper items compared to rivals.

Having already taken market share away from UK supermarkets, the company said it looks to do the same in the US by fuelling the price war with products that cost 50% less than competitors.

Over 20 stores this summer..

Lidl will open 20 stores over summer in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. The company is launching stores in these states first due to their proximity to its headquarters in Arlington County, Virginia, which opened in June 2015.

Lidl plans to have opened up to 100 stories across the East Coast by next summer.

The stores will be open from 8am to 9pm, seven days a week.

"This is the right time for us to enter the United States," Brendan Proctor, chief executive officer for Lidl US., told Reuters at a media event in New York. "We are confident in our model. We adapt quickly, so it's not about whether a market works for us but really about what we will do to make it work."

Lidl, which already has 10,000 stores in 27 countries in Europe, and discount grocery peer Aldi have been partly responsible for a price war between Britain’s biggest supermarkets, including Tesco, Asda, Morrison Supermarkets and J Sainsbury.

US Grocery market overcrowded...

While Lidl could have a similar impact in the US, some analysts believe it will need to differentiate itself as the nation’s grocery market is overcrowded. Grocery chains Whole Foods Market Inc., Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Kroger Co.  have been among those vying for market share in the US.

Rupesh Parikh, senior food analyst for food, grocery and consumer products at Oppenheimer & Company, said Wal-Mart is watching competition like Aldi and Lidl closely.

“If [Wal-Mart] reacts it can cause a chain reaction for others so they don’t lose share,” Parikh said. “If others have to follow, that can be an issue.”

To help differentiate itself, Lidl said its US stores will include responsibly sourced fresh and frozen seafood, an assortment of organic and gluten-free merchandise and an assortment of wines selected from tasting at least 10,000 types. 

Thu, 18 May 2017 13:52:00 -0400