Proactiveinvestors USA & Canada Proactiveinvestors Proactiveinvestors USA & Canada Proactiveinvestors RSS feed en Thu, 13 Dec 2018 07:16:00 -0500 Genera CMS (Proactiveinvestors) (Proactiveinvestors) <![CDATA[News - CryptoCann™ Report: Scientists look for steady cannabis high; Cryptocurrency exchanges in UK at low risk ]]> Cryptocurrency exchanges in the UK are at "low risk" for money laundering and terrorist financing activities, a report by Coindesk said in pointing to a report published by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a global anti-money laundering policymaker.

The report said that while such activities are an “emerging risk,” there is not enough evidence to suggest that they are occurring through crypto exchanges.

The regulator though has asked UK authorities to work on a plan to extend anti-money laundering and counter financing of terrorism rules in the crypto sector to tackle any potential risks.

READ: NetCents releases its first SaaS-based cryptocurrency payments processing platform

Cryptocurrency merchant bank Galaxy Digital and Block.One have led a $30 million Series A investment round in US neo-banking platform Good Money, a report by Cointelegraph said.

The investment came mostly via Galaxy and Block.One’s joint Galaxy EOS VC fund, one of several funds under the Block.One umbrella.

Good Money provides banking services and a handful of associated financial instruments to US account holders.

The Cann Report

Several companies are pouring money into research for a predictable cannabis plant that can produce a consistent high, a report by NBC News said.

These companies are hiring scientists, setting up labs and building research greenhouses that were previously used by Big Agriculture. They are hoping a product people can rely on will translate to millions of dollars in sales, the report said.

The latest forecast from Arcview Market Research in partnership with BDS Analytics concludes that US “retail flower sales are forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 14.8% to reach $8.5 billion in 2022.”

The forecast added though that a growing portion of pot store customers are opting for processed cannabis concentrates that would give them a more consistent impact.

READ: Golden Leaf Holdings shares take a hit amid board shake-up

California’s cannabis business regulators have approved statewide marijuana deliveries, even in areas that ban cannabis, a report by the Marijuana Business Daily said.

The rules will not be completely finalized until approved by the Office of Administrative Law (OAL), which may not be until sometime in January.

Many believe statewide delivery - one of the most debated issues involving California’s marijuana industry - will boost sales by allowing licensed retailers and delivery businesses to reach consumers in municipalities that prohibit commercial cannabis sales.

READ: AmeriCann building million square foot sustainable cannabis facility

Contact Rene Pastor by

Tue, 11 Dec 2018 10:55:00 -0500
<![CDATA[News - CryptoCann™ Report: Bitcoin volatility spikes on price crash; 78-year old in wheelchair evicted for using medical cannabis ]]> The volatility in Bitcoin has tripled on the month as prices of the cryptocurrency crashed, a report by Cointelegraph said.

The most recent available data for December showed that BTC-USD volatility hit 5.53%, compared with 1.57% on November 9 at the start of the 30-day Volatility Index.

The volatility has been consistently rising from November 19, going from 2% to 4.53% a week later and then upwards to break above 5% on November 29.

From October 9 to November 9, Bitcoin volatility did not rise above 2.06%, ranging from around 1.5%-1.7% majority of the period, the report said.

READ: Bitcoin drops to a new low for 2018 amid market sell-off

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) has five job openings for blockchain talent at its Menlo Park, California, headquarters in the areas of data science, software engineering and marketing, a report by Coindesk said.

The company's possible plans for blockchain have not yet been disclosed. The ads on its careers pages state that the ultimate goal is to help “billions of people with access to things they don’t have now.” It further cites “equitable financial services, new ways to save, or new ways to share information” as some potential use cases for the tech.

Facebook launched its blockchain team in May. The team is headed by David Marcus, who had previously served as the company’s vice president of its Messenger app division. In June, the firm appointed a senior engineer, Evan Cheng, as its first “director of engineering, blockchain.”

The Cann Report

A 78-year old resident of Niagara Falls, New York, was evicted by his landlord for using medical marijuana, a report by High Times said.

The marshal read John Flickner his eviction order. Holding a plastic freezer bag containing his medical prescriptions, Flickner, who’s confined to a wheelchair, left his HUD-subsidized apartment.

Niagara Towers managers could have let him stay.

Instead, they opted to enforce the apartment complex’s strict drug policy and evicted Flickner for using medical cannabis to treat chronic pain from a 50-year-old spine injury.

READ: Aurora Cannabis shares light up as it enters Mexican market with exclusive supply deal

The office of legislative services, a nonpartisan bureau that assists with crafting and studying legislation, estimates that New Jersey would bring in a little over $210 million in state taxes from nearly $1.8 billion in annual marijuana sales, according to its fiscal impact study of the legal weed bill, a report by the Asbury Park Press said.

That estimate was derived from comparing New Jersey and Colorado populations in 2017, as well as Colorado marijuana sales that year. It represents less than 1% of the nearly $38 million state budget,

The legal weed bill would give New Jersey the cheapest marijuana tax in the nation, a main bone of contention between legislators and Governor Phil Murphy's office, which called for a 25% marijuana tax in its 2019 budget.

Instead, the marijuana legalization bill comes with a 12% tax. There is also a potential 2% tax that may be levied by local municipalities hosting marijuana dispensaries.

Contact Rene Pastor by

Mon, 10 Dec 2018 10:50:00 -0500
<![CDATA[News - SoftBank's landmark IPO for mobile business hits $23.5B ]]> The Japanese tech company SoftBank Group Corp (TYO:9984) (OTCMKTS:SFTBY) is raising 2.65 trillion yen ($23.5 billion) by listing its mobile business in what will be Japan’s largest initial public offering in its history.

SoftBank has priced its IPO at 1,500¥ ($13) for each share and thanks to robust demand, the company will also sell another tranche of 160m shares, according to published reports which cite regulatory filings. 

The offering falls just short of the biggest IPO to date, which is the $25bn listing four years ago of the Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba.

READ: SoftBank selling entire Flipkart stake to Walmart

The tech company, which runs a tech private equity fund worth almost $100bn, will use the proceeds from the deal to plow money into start-ups.

CEO Masa Son is looking to establish SoftBank’s position as an international investor in tech companies by taking the mobile group public and dividing the company into two halves.

SoftBank’s nearly $100bn Vision Fund, which is heavily funded by the Saudis, is invested in an array of companies, ranging from startups such as Slack to well-known tech companies such as Uber and Alibaba.

Roughly 90% of the shares being auctioned off as part of the IPO are being reserved for retail investors, which encouraged the company to engage in an advertising campaign to drum up interest.

Shares in SoftBank’s mobile group are set to start trading in Tokyo on December 19.

Contact Ellen Kelleher at

Mon, 10 Dec 2018 08:05:00 -0500
<![CDATA[News - Scandium may not be a Rare Earth but it is receiving increased focus and mentions ]]> When the film Avatar first came out, its screening coincided with the frenzy of the Rare Earth boom and we wrote a research piece on that sector and likened Rare Earths, tongue-in-cheek, to the film’s mysterious sought-after metal, Unobtainium. As history showed ultimately, Rare Earths were all too obtainable and the whole suite of metals fell out of bed and are still languishing.

At the time, some of the more ignorant of the mining space referred to Scandium as one of the Rare Earths despite it not belonging to the Lanthanide series and rarely appearing in their company in mineralisations. We note with some amusement that the latest swathe of US tariffs against Chinese metals exports targeting Rare Earths repeat the error and include Scandium in the targeted metals, despite China (to our knowledge) not being a notable producer of Scandium and certainly not an exporter of any note.

Despite this Scandium seems, in fact, to be the closest thing that we have to Unobtainium with its very scarcity being its own worst enemy. This is a situation that seems on the verge of being remedied and here, we shall discuss how and why.

The Friedland effect?

Scandium was, until 2017, one of the lesser talked about technology metals. Since last year, it has received increased focus and mention, not least because of the peripheral involvement of financier Robert Friedland in the metal. This interest came in spite of the fact that the supply situation is severely limited with literally only a few tons of product hitting the market per annum, and even that is as a by-product of the refining and processing of other metals. The applications for the element are known, particularly in aluminium alloys, solid oxide fuel cells and lighting, but it’s just that manufacturers will not tool up for the metal if they cannot be guaranteed greater (reliable) supply.

Build it and they will come?

The absence of reliable, secure, stable and long-term production has limited commercial uptake of Scandium. Despite this low level of use, Scandium offers significant benefits. The potential for substantial expansion in usage and demand clearly exists and to an extent, it is one of those “rare” metals stories where the supply could potentially generate the demand rather than the other way around. The most obvious areas where this might happen are in lighting systems, SOFCs and aluminium alloys.

In some ways, a good analogy might be Europium. Its application in colour televisions spurred a surge in REE mining (ironically at Mountain Pass) which then made the “rarer” REEs more abundant, lowering the price but, moreover, accentuating the supply which meant that new applications arose or were employed that spurred the whole evolution of the permanent magnet and laser usages of the other metals in the Lanthanide series.

It is not too difficult to imagine that greater production will, firstly, spur the master alloy applications, followed by an expansion in the SOFC demand, lighting and then “new” applications. In aircraft alone, the aluminium alloy demand might totally consume the entirety of the extra metal that nascent producers might bring to market. It is interesting to note that Bloom, the California-based SOFC manufacturer (and as such possibly the world’s major consumer of Sc), currently has an IPO underway and a word search of the prospectus yields no result for Scandium, not even in the risks section.

The Scandium space

When we first wrote on this metal, Scandium International Mining Corp (CVE:SCY) was quite clearly a lone voice in the wilderness. Since then, a number of other wannabes have appeared touting their Scandium virtues as either byproduct kickers or attempts to make unviable and unsexy projects (pardon our cynicism) into viable and sexy propositions to potential investors. In some cases, they have attracted investor attention and have had the positive effect of making the metal more high-profile than it has hitherto been. At a recent workshop at the European Space Agency, Scandium was the metal that was most mentioned with Tellurium a very distant second.

Bizarrely the Scandium space is currently being fought over like some ridge in a First World War battle in Flanders. This might be understandable if the price of the metal was raging higher but the price is one of the most obscure elements of this element. We know it is highly valued but that is a product of scarcity. There are few metals out there in which economic models and extant production plans actually guarantee a fall in the metal’s price if plans are realized, even in part.

The players in the Scandium space are concentrated in Australian properties, with two claimants that we know of, presenting properties in North America. The six are:

Clean TeQ Holdings (ASX:CLQ) - Syerston project in NSW Scandium International - Nyngan project in NSW Imperial Mining (CVE:IPG) - Crater Lake project in Quebec Platina Resources (ASX:PGM) - Owendale project in NSW Australian Mines Ltd (ASX:AUS) - Flemington project in NSW NioCorp Developments Ltd (OTCMKTS:NIOBF) - Elk Creek project in Nebraska ]]>
Fri, 07 Dec 2018 15:01:00 -0500
<![CDATA[News - Bitcoin drops to a new low for 2018 amid market sell-off ]]> Bitcoin, the digital asset synonymous with cryptocurrency, has hit a yearly low of around $3,400 as of Friday morning, with altcoins following suit.

The price of Bitcoin plummeted nearly 8% to $3,421.87 by the time of publication.

Bitcoin slipped more than 20% this week and nearly 50% this month, according to Cointelegraph’s Bitcoin Price Index.

“Bitcoin is very cheap right now. This should be the bottom of the bear market before the bounce, but it isn't / won't be. A lot of people are waking up to the crumbling economy and upcoming recession and are either one, not choosing to enter a highly speculative asset class or two, are pulling their money out of the most volatile markets, crypto included,” said Viktor Bunin, a former token designer at Brooklyn-based blockchain company ConsenSys, in an exclusive interview with Proactive Investors.

Ripple, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market cap, fell about 10% to $0.30 as of time of publication.

READ: NetCents releases its first SaaS-based cryptocurrency payments processing platform

The price of Ripple is down nearly 24% this week and down 40% in monthly losses.

Ethereum, Litecoin, EOS and Stellar were all deep in negative territory, falling by double digits.

The market cap of all cryptocurrencies totaled $107.1 billion as of this morning, a 20% drop from the nearly $136 billion market total at the beginning of the week.

Crypto Lawsuit

Cryptocurrencies are notoriously volatile, but that’s not to say there’s no rhyme or reason to the double-digit drops.

Tech development firm UnitedCorp has reportedly filed a lawsuit against Chinese mining computer manufacturer Bitmain,, the Kraken Bitcoin Exchange and early Bitcoin investor Roger Ver over the recent split of Bitcoin Cash.

WATCH: Crypto tax-reporting software maker NODE40 buys assets back from HashChain

Bitcoin Cash split off from Bitcoin’s original blockchain in August 2017 in what’s known as a hard fork, or a separation from the Bitcoin protocol.

Bitcoin Cash underwent a hard fork of its own, splitting off into Bitcoin ABC and Bitcoin SV, short for founder Satoshi’s Vision.

Interestingly, Bitcoin SV was an exception to the drop, surging 9% to $102.50.

UnitedCorp is accusing the parties of using unfair methods to manipulate the Bitcoin Cash network to their benefit.

“UnitedCorp believes that the defendants colluded to effectively hijack the Bitcoin Cash network after the November 15, 2018 scheduled software update with the intent of centralizing the network — all in violation of the accepted standards and protocols associated with Bitcoin since its inception,” states the suit filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

The Bitcoin ETF Dream Dashed

The US Securities and Exchange Commission has once again crushed the dream of a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund, which may be a possible explanation for the drop.

The SEC has postponed its decision on an application for a Bitcoin ETF submitted by VanEck and Solid X until February, following a previous postponement.

“Don’t hold your breath. I do caution people to not live or die on when a crypto or Bitcoin ETF gets approved. You all know that I am working on trying to convince my colleagues to have a bit more of an open mind when it comes to [crypto]. I am not as charming as some other people,” said SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce.

The SEC did not give an exact time frame for the potential approval of an ETF, with Peirce saying it could see approval tomorrow or in 10 years.

--Updated to include commentary and recent price movement


Contact Lenore Fedow at

Follow her on Twitter: @LenoreMariee

Fri, 07 Dec 2018 08:38:00 -0500
<![CDATA[News - Lyft races towards IPO with confidential SEC filing ]]> Uber’s closest rival Lyft disclosed Thursday it has confidentially filed a draft registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission related to its proposed initial public offering.

The move has been expected and is a key step for the closely held company toward becoming a publicly traded company.

IPO Roundup: Uber and Lyft race towards IPOs as bank s line up

Lyft selected underwriters, including JPMorgan Chase & Co, Credit Suisse Group AG and Jefferies Group LLC, for the offering, which is expected in the first half of next year, The Wall Street Journal reported in October.

The Journal said Lyft’s valuation is expected to top the $15.1 billion it was valued at earlier this year, though private valuations can change until the company prices its IPO.

Lyft’s decision to take the big step toward an IPO comes as rival Uber is also weighing an early 2019 listing and recently received proposals from banks valuing it at as much as $120 billion.

Lyft, which is part of the sharing economy, makes money by taking a commission on rides booked through its app.

It did not specify how much it's seeking to raise or how much it believes it's worth.

The San Francisco-based company reported revenue of $563 million, up 88% compared with the year-earlier period, the Journal has reported. It lost $254 million in the quarter, versus a $195 million loss last year.


Contact Uttara Choudhury at

Follow her on Twitter: @UttaraProactive 

Thu, 06 Dec 2018 08:41:00 -0500
<![CDATA[News - IPO Roundup: China's Tencent Music and online fashion seller Mogu to tap US capital markets ]]> China’s largest music-streaming company, Tencent Music Entertainment Group has revived its plan to go public and set terms for its initial public offering that is expected to raise up to $1.23 billion.

The company originally planned to launch its offering in mid-October, but then decided to delay the IPO over worries the global stock market rout would affect the pricing. Tencent is now rushing through its IPO to take advantage of the trade ceasefire between the US and China.   

A source close to the deal told Reuters that Tencent Music was keen to get itself listed this year because it was “worried US-China trade tensions would worsen, not because it desperately needed fresh money.”

In a filing, the music arm of Chinese tech giant Tencent applied to list on the New York Stock Exchange and tech-laden Nasdaq under the symbol TME.

The music streaming giant is selling 82 million American Depositary Receipts in a range of between $13 and $15 apiece, according to the filing. Tencent Music could sell an additional 12.3 million shares if an over-allotment option is exercised.

READ: Chinese company Tencent Music files for US IPO as Sony and Warner Music snap up $200M in shares

This large IPO comes close on the back of Shanghai-based electric-vehicle maker NIO Limited's (NYSE:NIO) IPO which raised $1 billion by selling 160 million American depositary shares last month.

Still, the numbers are dwarfed by Chinese giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA), which raised more than $20 billion in 2014.

Both Warner Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment (NYSE:SNE) have acquired shares in Tencent Music for approximately $200 million in cash, reported Variety.

Investors are likely to sit up and take notice that the Chinese music streaming company has posted an annual profit for the last two years.

The filing shows that in the first half of 2018, Tencent Music reported a profit of $263 million on revenue of $1.3 billion. For the entire 2017 year, it posted $199 million in profit on revenue of $1.7 billion.

Parent company Tencent owns 58% of the music division, while Spotify, which went public on US exchanges earlier this year, owns 9% of shares.

IPO Roundup: Non-opioid pain treatment developer Centrexion Therapeutics set to IPO

Meanwhile, another Chinese company, online fashion seller Mogu indicated it plans to sell 4.75 million American Depositary Receipts at a price between $14 to $16 to raise approximately $87.4 million.

Mogu will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange and trade under the MOGU ticker symbol. The lead underwriters are Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, and China Renaissance.

Moderna Therapeutics (MRNA) is set to become the largest initial public offering setting IPO terms that could raise $521 million.

The company develops drugs for the treatment of infectious diseases, genetic disorders, cancer and cardiovascular diseases, by using messenger RNA technology to convey genetic information within cells.

The Moderna IPO plans to offer 21.7 million shares priced in the range of $22 to $24. That gives it a market valuation near $8 billion. At the high end of that range, Moderna would raise $521 million.

Moderna plans to list on the Nasdaq under the ticker MRNA. The lead underwriters for the IPO are Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan.


Contact Uttara Choudhury at

Follow her on Twitter: @UttaraProactive 


Mon, 03 Dec 2018 12:02:00 -0500
<![CDATA[News - Nightstar Therapeutics deserves a spot on your watchlist if you are an aggressive biotech investor ]]> The past two months have been brutal for investors, especially for those focused on small- and micro-cap stocks. And the pain is even more pronounced for investors focused on biotech stocks.

Now, biotech stocks aren’t for everyone. While the potential upside can be spectacular, biotech investors must be prepared for frequent bouts of extreme volatility, and if the drug compound a company is working on fails to meet expectations, bankruptcy can be a real possibility.

However, there are steps we can take to minimize our risks and de-risk potential investments. Sticking with companies that are well funded, for example, is one of the easiest ways to ensure the company we’re invested in won’t run out of money mid-way through their FDA trials.

Another way we can reduce our risk is by identifying investment prospects and getting involved during periods of weakness. Like right now, when many stocks are trading significantly beneath their 52-week highs.

An Opportunity in Gene Therapy

UK-based Nightstar Therapeutics (NASDAQ:NITE) is a $500 million clinical-stage gene therapy company focused on developing and commercializing a pipeline of new and potentially curative, one-time treatments for patients suffering from rare inherited retinal diseases.

The company is currently working to develop RSR-REPI for the treatment of Choroideremia, NSR-RPGR for the treatment of X-linked Retinitis Pigmentosa, NSR-ABCA4 for the treatment of Stargardt Disease, NSR-BEST1 for the treatment of Best Disease, and NSR-CNTF, NSR-OPN4, and NSR-RHO for the treatment of Retinitis Pigmentosa.

Now, rather than give you a brief overview of Nightstar’s various programs, I want to focus on the company’s lead product candidate for the treatment of Choroideremia.

NSR-REP1 for the Treatment of Choroideremia

The company’s lead product candidate is NSR-REP1 for the treatment of Choroideremia (CHM). And while you may be unfamiliar with Choroideremia, I assure you it’s a tortuous nightmare for the one in 50,000 individuals afflicted with the disease.

CHM is caused by a genetic defect in a single gene located on the X-chromosome, so while females can carry the defective gene, most CHM sufferers are males. And women who do experience CHM symptoms tend to develop only patchy vision loss or night blindness.

Without getting too deep into the weeds, Choroideremia affects the retina and is caused by mutations in the CHM gene which, when operating correctly, produces the protein REP1 that removes waste from retinal cells.

Failure to remove waste from the retinal cells results in the retina deteriorating, and over time, all vision is lost. You become blind.

Now, what makes Choroideremia so devastating is that there are no currently approved or effective treatments, and the effects of the disease manifest at an early age.

Boys as young as five or six begin to experience night blindness, and by the time these boys reach their early 20s, they’ve likely lost their peripheral field of vision.

But night blindness and a loss of peripheral vision are only the beginning.

As CHM sufferers reach their mid to late 20s, peripheral vision is a thing of the past, and all that remains is a tiny area of “tunnel” vision. To put this into perspective, make a fist with your hand, but leave a small opening so you can look through as though it were a pirate telescope. What you see when you’re peering through your fist is what CHM sufferers live with day-in and day-out as they approach their thirties.

Now, while the rate of vision loss generally slows after CHM sufferers develop tunnel vision, the disease is still slowly stealing one’s ability to see. And by the time a patient reaches his 50s or 60s, complete blindness has likely set in.

Relief on the Horizon

On March 5, 2018, Nightstar entered into Phase 3 clinical development (the STAR trial) to study the safety and efficacy of NSR-REP1 in patients with CHM. By the end of Q2 2019, Nightstar’s goal is to enroll 140 patients across 18 clinical sites in the U.S., Europe, Canada, and South America. One-year follow-up data is expected during 2020.

A final point that’s worth noting regarding NSR-REP1 is that both the FDA and European Medicines Agency have granted Nightstar the orphan drug designation. Additionally, the FDA granted Regenerative Medicine Advanced Therapy (RMAT) designation for NSR-REP1 in mid-June 2018.

The bottom line is Nightstar is making significant progress with its treatment for Choroideremia, and the company’s efforts have not gone unnoticed by regulators. And while we can all get behind a company that is actively developing drugs to for illnesses that currently have no treatment options, as investors, we also appreciate the profit potential associated with being first to market with a new drug.

Well-Funded and Investing in the Future

Like most clinical-stage biotechnology companies, Nightstar’s expenses are on the rise while no meaningful revenue is being generated. But this is to be expected and should not necessarily be viewed as a red flag.

When Nightstar reported its Q3 2018 financial results on November 13, the company reported a near-doubling of its research and development expenses on a year-on-year basis. But this was to be expected as the company is actively pressing forward with the development of NSR-REP1 and NSR-RPGR for the treatment of X-linked retinitis pigmentosa.

Now, given Nightstar’s increased pace of investment into their two primary drug candidates, it goes without saying that investors should have one eye on the company’s cash balance.

At the end of Q3 2018, the company reported a cash balance of $100.8 million, down $28.6 million from Q3 2017. However, on October 2, 2018, just two days into Q4, the company completed an underwritten public offering of 4.6 million shares and took in approximately $77.1 million.

So, while $100 million in cash is great for a clinical-stage biotechnology company and easily could have supported the company’s programs well beyond 2019, the additional cash infusion provides Nightstar with ample reserves to finish their research and further de-risks the stock for current and potential investors.

A Bumpy but Promising Future

Investors dream of buying a stock and watching it tick higher month after month. But that’s rarely the way things play out ... especially when it comes to small-cap clinical-stage biotech stocks.

Nightstar got off to a slow start following its September 28, 2017, IPO, but that’s likely because the company is based in the UK and wasn’t well known among US-based biotech investors. However, once the company received RMAT designation for NSR-REP1 in mid-June 2018, investors woke up and started paying attention.

The stock nearly doubled between mid-June and late-September, but that bullish momentum faded in late-September and thanks to market-wide de-risking, especially when it comes to more volatile small-cap stocks, the stock currently trades more than 45% beneath its September 20 high.

Like every industry, investor interest in biotech stocks ebbs and flows. However, if you’re an aggressive biotech investor that appreciates the promise that gene therapy holds, Nightstar Therapeutics deserves a spot on your watchlist. Especially while it’s trading so far beneath its 52-week high.

Wed, 21 Nov 2018 12:38:00 -0500
<![CDATA[Media files - Cannabis Cultural Association working to pass cannabis adult-use bill in New York ]]> Mon, 19 Nov 2018 13:39:00 -0500 <![CDATA[News - Nissan chairman Ghosn to be ousted for "serious misconduct", could face arrest ]]> Carmaker Nissan said it would seek to remove its chairman Carlos Ghosn for "serious misconduct" following an internal probe into his conduct.

Ghosn, who is also chief executive and chairman of French automaker Renault, and representative director Greg Kelly have been under investigation for months following a whistleblower report concerning the reporting of his pay and bonuses.

READ: Aston Martin recovers some ground after post-results drop as two more brokers initiate coverage on the stock

"The investigation showed that over many years both Ghosn and Kelly have been reporting compensation amounts in the Tokyo Stock Exchange securities report that were less than the actual amount, in order to reduce the disclosed amount of Carlos Ghosn's compensation,” Nissan said in a statement on Monday.

"Also, in regards to Ghosn, numerous other significant acts of misconduct have been uncovered, such as personal use of company assets, and Kelly's deep involvement has also been confirmed.

"Nissan has been providing information to the Japanese Public Prosecutors Office and has been fully cooperating with their investigation. We will continue to do so."

The Japanese carmaker said its probe into Ghosn had revealed numerous other significant acts of misconduct, such as personal use of company assets, the maker of cars such as the Leaf, Micra and Qashqai said.

Press reports suggested that Ghosn could be arrested in Japan for violating financial trading laws.

"As the misconduct uncovered through our internal investigation constitutes clear violations of the duty of care as directors, Nissan's chief executive officer Hiroto Saikawa will propose to the Nissan Board of Directors to promptly remove Ghosn from his positions as chairman and representative director,” Nissan’s statement added.

Ghosn, one of the most powerful executives in the auto industry, oversees the alliance between Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi and has led recoveries at all three brands.

Renault shares hit their lowest level in more than four years on the news - down almost 15%. Trading in Nissan shares has already ceased for the day.

Mon, 19 Nov 2018 10:40:00 -0500
<![CDATA[News - Short-sellers increasing positions in Hong Kong/China markets as profits hit $17.3 billion in 2018 ]]> Short-sellers are increasing their positions in the equity markets of Hong Kong and China as profits from their positions reached $17.3 billion at this point in 2018, a report by analytics company S3 Partners said.

With Hong Kong's benchmark Hang Seng Index down 18% this year and the CSI 300 Index of the top Chinese stocks in both Shanghai and Shenzhen falling 25.8%, "short-sellers continue to increase their positions as their profits build," the report said.

S3 Analytics: HK\China Short Sellers up 18% in 2018 Mark to Market Profits $BABA $FXI $BIDU $JD $IQ

— Ihor Dusaniwsky (@ihors3) November 16, 2018

"Hong Kong/China with $80 billion in short interest is the second most shorted country behind the US ($911 billion) and ahead of Japan ($73 billion) and the UK ($66 billion)," the S3 report explained.

The most shorted sectors in Hong Kong/China are the Consumer Discretionary, Financials and Communication Services. 

READ: What now for interest rates and metals prices, now that the Mid-Terms are out of the way?

Sectors with the largest profits also had the largest shorts in them with the Consumer Discretionary/Alibaba Group (NYSE:BABA), Communication Services/Tencent Holdings (OTC:TCEHY) and Financials/Ping An Insurance Group (HKSE:2318) being the largest shorts in the most profitable sectors.

"These three largest shorts in the HK/China region have been consistently shorted," S3 said in its report.

It added: "The more stable and 'boring' sectors such as Energy, Utilities and Health Care underperformed on the short side while the more volatile and “high-flying” sectors such as Information technology and Communication Services outperformed on the short side."

Contact Rene Pastor by

Mon, 19 Nov 2018 08:41:00 -0500
<![CDATA[News - Cryptocurrency job postings are on the rise, says job site Indeed ]]> The cryptocurrency market is having a volatile year, but there are still crypto jobs to be filled.

The number of crypto-related job postings increased by more than 25% compared with October 2017.

Whether job seekers want these jobs or not is another story.

Searches for jobs involving bitcoin, blockchain and cryptocurrency dropped by about 3% this October compared with last October, according to data provided to Coindesk by job site Indeed.

“While over the last few years Indeed saw a steady rise in job seeker interest for roles related to cryptocurrency, our data shows that job searches for these roles really picked up around the time when the cost of bitcoin was at its highest. Since then job seeker interest has gone down, but still remains strong,” Raj Mukherjee, Indeed’s senior vice president of product, told CoinDesk.

Job seeker and employer interest were much higher in October 2017. Job seeker interest rose by more than 481% last October, while employer interest was up by 325%.


Contact Lenore Fedow at

Follow her on Twitter: @LenoreMariee

Fri, 16 Nov 2018 13:47:00 -0500
<![CDATA[News - SeeThruEquity and its founders face fraud charges from SEC ]]> The Securities and Exchange Commission has lodged charges against SeeThruEquity LLC, a stock research firm, and its co-founders, Ajay and Amit Tandon, accusing them of defrauding investors.

US regulators allege that the Tandons, who are brothers and the founders of SeeThruEquity, deceived investors by issuing reports claiming to be based on “unbiased” and “not paid for” research when in reality they received thousands of dollars from issuers for providing each report.

According to the SEC’s complaint, SeeThruEquity LLC and the Tandons camouflaged the payments by inviting companies to make a “presentation” at an investor conference in order to receive a research report for free.

SeeThru and the Tandons allegedly collected up to several thousand dollars in conference presentation fees per company, and the issuers regularly had input into the substance of the supposedly unbiased research reports, even including the price targets at times.

SeeThru swapped higher-price targets for current trading prices

The SEC alleges that the Tandons often instructed SeeThru analysts to use different, higher-price targets for covered issuers than those yielded through purported quantitative analysis, and the price targets contained in SeeThru’s reports were typically more than four times higher than the current trading price of the stock.

The SEC further alleges that CEO Ajay Tandon frequently traded in the same stocks that SeeThru was evaluating, despite stating in published interviews and elsewhere that neither the firm nor its principals traded in securities for which they published research.

According to the SEC, Ajay Tandon also engaged in scalping, which is a form of securities fraud that occurs when a perpetrator makes a stock recommendation to investors and trades against that very recommendation in the open market without adequate disclosure.

“There is a clear line between paid advertising and unbiased research coverage, and we allege that SeeThru and its co-founders crossed it to deceive investors and make money,” said Richard Best, director of the SEC’s Atlanta Regional office. “According to our complaint, Ajay Tandon even scalped multiple issuers, further revealing the biased nature of SeeThru’s research reports.”

The SEC’s complaint, which was filed in federal court in Manhattan, charges Ajay Tandon and SeeThru with violating the anti-fraud provisions of the federal securities laws and charges Ajay and Amit Tandon with aiding and abetting certain violations by SeeThru.

SEC looks to bar Tandons from promoting issuers of securities

The SEC is seeking permanent injunctions that would bar the Tandons and their New York research firm from promoting the issuer of any security, and disgorgement of ill-gotten gains plus interest, penalties, officer-and-director bars and penny stock bars.

Ajay and Amit Tandon couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

Contact Ellen Kelleher at

Fri, 09 Nov 2018 10:39:00 -0500
<![CDATA[News - Tech innovators and disruptors shine at Dawson James Securities’ Small-Cap Conference ]]> Last week, Dawson James Securities brought together some of the most exciting names in tech at its fourth annual Small-Cap Conference in Jupiter, Florida. Among the standouts attending were several companies that Proactive Investors identified as innovators and disruptors.

Payment Data Systems Inc (NASDAQ:PYDS) is an electronic-payment processor that Senior Vice President of Corporate and Prepaid Development Houston Frost says is “in it to win.”

The San Antonio, Texas-based company is building on the innovations of payment processors like Square Inc (NYSE:SQ) and Stripe to change the way merchants and consumers make electronic payments.  

On the business side, PDS streamlines the payment process between merchants and banks and lowers costs for the merchants. The company offers fully integrated payments, partnerships with Software as a Service (SaaS) companies, as well as card issuance.

“The technological innovation that we’re pushing is to partner with SaaS companies and instead of online registration, all the data is coming to us from the back end,” explained Chief Revenue Officer Vaden Landers.

Because the company's processing platform is integrated with SaaS products, it is introduced to all the corresponding SaaS company's customers. "We partner and integrate with an SaaS company, who in turn offers our service to all of its customers through the integration," explained Frost. That gives PDS the ability to offer its solutions to professional groups, such as doctors and other health care professionals, as well as merchants, in large number rather than one by one.

On the consumer side, PDS has created the Akimbo card for individuals, a reloadable prepaid card to manage household finances. This, says Frost, is an exciting part of the company.

“Instead of being a just ‘me too’ payments type company this is what we’re really doing differently,” Frost added.

Growth has accelerated, as the company nearly doubled the number of employees in just the past year to more than 40.

Innovating on the big stage

LiveXLive Media Inc (NASDAQ:LIVX) is not unaccustomed to the spotlight. CEO Robert Ellin tells Proactive Investors that the Beverly Hills-based company has built the largest live streaming network in the world, over which it streams more than 20 of the biggest live music festivals.

“I took the playbill from ESPN and applied it to music to create the next generation in TV,” Ellin told Proactive. “There’s been no one in this lane for 25 years, so since MTV there’s been a missing link in pop culture.”

READ: LiveXLive Media's Slacker Radio can now be streamed via Amazon's Alexa

LiveXLive streams 27 of largest music festivals in the world including EDC, the biggest dance festival, Rock in Rio, and the venerable Montreaux Jazz Festival.

“I can humbly say we’re the thought-leader in the world in live music,” Ellin said.

Last year the company acquired Slacker Radio for $33 million and recently partnered with powerhouse convert promoter Live Nation Entertainment Inc (NYSE:LYV).

A turnaround in the making

Besides innovators and disruptors, there's a turnaround story in WidePoint Corp (NYSE:WYY), which ended its third quarter revenue positive, reversing several years of losses as it adds to its cash position and returns to profitability since CEO Jin Kang took control in July 2017.

At the core of its future, Kang says, is the integration of its three main businesses: TM2 telecom management, identity authentication (IDM) and bill presentment and analytics.

WidePoint provides Trusted Mobile Management, or TM2, to companies and government agencies with more than a thousand mobile devices to track and manage.  So, every aspect of telecom management, from set-up to turning off access when devices are lost, is handled by WidePoint, as well as identity management tools that allow clients to track and secure all mobile phones issued to staff. 

“It’s not enough that you can manage these devices and secure them using identity certificates, you also need to have visibility and analytics,” Kang explained.

To that end, WidePoint can service and enforce policy for companies for as little as $40 per device, Kang said. And on the back end, WidePoint provides data and analytics to see how much data are being used by organizations and how, as well providing consumer-level data for telecom customers of providers like Verizon Inc (NYSE:VZ).

Customers include the Department of Homeland Security -- capturing $400 million of the agency's $600 million annual spend -- as well as companies such as Sunoco LP (NYSE:SUN) and America Airlines Group (NUSE:AAL).

Growth that makes sense

Among the disruptors is Focus Universal Inc (OTCMKTS:FCUV), whose founder Desheng Wang has flipped the design process for environmental sensors on its head. The Walnut, California, company makes customizable, modular sensors that connect to any smartphone.

Focus’s sensors replace cumbersome legacy units that only have a single purpose but represent a $2 billion market that serves the agricultural industry.

The company offers 500 modular sensors that measure anything from CO2 to radiation to humidity to light. The sensors can be daisy-chained in any combination to a smartphone and the resulting data saved via the cloud.

Focus International got a US patent earlier this year for a system that provides a universal solution for a sensor communicating with a gateway to a monitoring control from a smartphone.

The company has raised $10.6 million so far and applied to uplist its shares Nasdaq from the OTC Markets.

When asked by Proactive if the platform also lends itself to use with the cannabis-growing industry, Shane Vultee of Veyo Partners, which is acting as an advisor, was frank: “Obviously being in California, it’s a very easy transition to make.”

Wed, 07 Nov 2018 14:15:00 -0500
<![CDATA[News - Michigan, Missouri and Utah vote ‘yes’ on marijuana, but North Dakota’s hopes go up in smoke ]]> Voters in four states headed to the ballot box Tuesday to vote on marijuana proposals with three scoring a victory.

A recent Gallup poll found that 64% of Americans were in support of marijuana legalization.


Michigan voted in favor of Proposal 18-1, legalizing recreational use in the state for those 21 years of age or older.

The proposal will also legalize commercial sales of cannabis through state-licensed retailers, subject to a 10% tax.

READ: Weekend Unlimited upbeat on tenant Orchard Heights' proof-of-concept cannabis harvest

Michigan residents will be permitted to have up to 10 ounces of cannabis at home, but amounts over 2.5 ounces will need to be stored in a locked container. Edibles have also been given the green light.

Residents will be allowed to grow up to 12 marijuana plants for personal use.

The use of medical marijuana has been legal in the state since 2008.

North Dakota

North Dakota voters struck down a proposal to legalize recreational use.

The Marijuana Legalization and Automatic Expungement Initiative would have legalized the recreational use of marijuana for people 21 years of age or older.

The passage of the proposal also would have created a system to help expunge the records of those with marijuana-related convictions.

North Dakota legalized medical marijuana for patients with serious medical conditions back in 2016.


It was another victory for cannabis advocates in Missouri, but not all three marijuana-related proposals passed.

Michigan voted in favor of Amendment 2, which allows doctors to prescribe medical cannabis for certain conditions and also patients using medical cannabis to grow their own plants or get their supply from a dispensary.

READ: CryptoCann™ Report: Apple reportedly blocks popular crypto podcast; Harvard astronomers publish paper on joint-shaped space object

The state constitutional amendment passed by a margin of 66% to 34%, according to a Forbes report.

"Thanks to the unflagging efforts of patients and advocates, Missourians who could benefit from medical marijuana will soon be able to use it without fear of being treated like criminals," said Matthew Schweich, deputy director of the Marijuana Policy Project, to Forbes.

The state will impose a 4% retail tax on medical cannabis sales, funneling the revenue to services for military veterans.

The first proposal that would have removed state restrictions on the growth, possession and sale of medical cannabis by licensed facilities and put a 2% tax on retail sales failed.

The third proposal that would have put a 15% tax on retail sales, funneling the money towards a state research institute that would focus on cannabis-based cancer treatments, failed as well.


It was another win for medical marijuana in Utah.

Utah voted in favor of a proposal to legalize medical marijuana for people with certain conditions.

"Even in socially conservative states like Utah, most voters recognize marijuana has significant medical value, and they believe it should be available to patients who could benefit from it," said Schweich in a Forbes interview.

Doctors will have the ability to recommend that qualifying patients receive a medical marijuana card.

Over a 14-day period, medical marijuana patients can choose to buy 2 ounces of cannabis or a marijuana-based product with more than 10 grams of THC.

Recreational marijuana use has recently been legalized in Vermont and the Northern Mariana Islands in the Pacific while medical use has been approved by voters in Oklahoma.


Contact Lenore Fedow at

Follow her on Twitter: @LenoreMariee

Wed, 07 Nov 2018 08:49:00 -0500
<![CDATA[News - Marijuana and the Midterms: Legal cannabis could be headed to these four states ]]> US cannabis connoisseurs, as well as patients seeking marijuana-based treatments, were green with jealousy after northern neighbor Canada legalized cannabis last month.

But don’t despair — voters in a handful of states will be able to vote on marijuana legalization in Tuesday’s Midterm election.

READ: Weekend Unlimited upbeat on tenant Orchard Heights' proof-of-concept cannabis harvest

Investors may want to keep an eye on the results considering the legal marijuana market is expected to reach $24.5 billion in sales by 2021, according to a report by Arcview Market Research and BDS Analytics.

The North American Marijuana Index, which tracks the leading cannabis stocks in the US and Canada, was up about 2% Tuesday afternoon ahead of the vote.


In Michigan, voters will have the opportunity to vote on Proposal 18-1, a bill to legalize the use of recreational marijuana for people 21 years or age or older.

Michigan residents can have up to 10 ounces of cannabis at home, but amounts over 2.5 ounces would need to be secured in locked containers.

The bill would also legalize commercial sales of cannabis through state-licensed retailers, subject to a 10% tax.

Edibles would also be allowed under the proposal as well as growing up to 12 marijuana plants for person consumption.

The proposal would also convert a number of crimes to civil infractions.

The use of medical marijuana is already legal in the state.

North Dakota

Recreational use is also on the ballot in the state of North Dakota.

The Marijuana Legalization and Automatic Expungement Initiative would legalize the recreational use of marijuana for people 21 years of age or older.

READ: CryptoCann™ Report: Apple reportedly blocks popular crypto podcast; Harvard astronomers publish paper on joint-shaped space object

The initiative would also create a system to help expunge the records of those with marijuana-related convictions.

North Dakota legalized medical marijuana for patients with serious medical conditions back in 2016.


Things get a little technical in Missouri as voters are asked to decide on three medical marijuana proposals.

The first proposal would remove state restrictions on the growth, possession and sale of medical cannabis by licensed facilities and put a 2% tax on retail sales.

The second proposal allows doctors to prescribe medical cannabis for certain conditions and also patients using medical cannabis to grow their own plants or get their supply from a dispensary.

The third proposal would put a 15% tax on retail sales, funneling the money towards a state research institute that would focus on cannabis-based cancer treatments.


Utah voters will also decide on a medical marijuana proposal.

The proposal would legalize medical marijuana for people with certain conditions. Doctors would have the ability to recommend that qualifying patients receive a medical marijuana card.

Over a 14-day period, medical marijuana patients can choose to buy 2 ounces of cannabis or a marijuana-based product with more than 10 grams of THC.

Recreational marijuana use has recently been legalized in Vermont and the Northern Mariana Islands while medical use has been approved by voters in Oklahoma.

A recent Gallup poll found that 64% of Americans were in support of marijuana legalization.


Contact Lenore Fedow at

Follow her on Twitter: @LenoreMariee

Tue, 06 Nov 2018 14:05:00 -0500
<![CDATA[News - IPO Roundup: Qualtrics International and Tinder rival Bumble look at the devil in the details as they weigh IPOs ]]> Tinder rival Bumble and Utah-based software startup Qualtrics International are poring over the devil in the details as they size up the market appetite for initial public offerings.

Andrey Andreev, majority holder of Bumble’s parent company, is reportedly talking to banks including JPMorgan Chase & Co about a possible Nasdaq listing. Bloomberg reported that an IPO in Bumble could value the millennial-focused dating app at $1.1 billion, below the $1.5 billion figure it was reportedly seeking in January, according to calculations by Synovus Trust senior portfolio manager Dan Morgan.

Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Sean Handrahan expects a public valuation of $1.1 to $1.5 billion-plus, excluding any discount for IPO investors.

IPO Roundup: Bumble, Elastic, Y-mAbs Therapeutics to tap the capital markets, while Dell reviews its options

Bumble may be trying to get a strong investor toehold ahead of Facebook Inc’s (NASDAQ:FB) possible launch of a dating service which would make it an immediate powerhouse in the market for online romance. Bumble and Tinder both face a threat from Facebook, which is now testing its in-app dating features with its Colombian users. The social media giant hasn’t indicated a US launch date.

Meanwhile, Qualtrics International, a Utah-based software startup, plans to raise as much as $495 million when it lists on the tech-laden Nasdaq during the week of November 12.

Qualtrics, which sells software to analyze and improve software user experiences, announced terms Monday for its IPO. It plans to offer 20.5 million shares at $18 to $21 and another 3.1 million shares to its underwriters. At that price range, Qualtrics could raise anywhere between $424 million to $495 million in its IPO.

At the midpoint of that price range, Qualtrics would be valued at about $4.8 billion, nearly double its last private market valuation of $2.5 billion. Last year, Qualtrics was valued at $2.5 billion when it raised about $400 million in venture capital funding.

“This means that there's a very real possibility that Qualtrics will see its valuation double the very moment it goes public,” reported the Business Insider.

The company said it will trade on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol "XM" which is a reference to the "experience management" software it sells.

Contact Uttara Choudhury at

Follow her on Twitter: @UttaraProactive 

Tue, 06 Nov 2018 13:33:00 -0500
<![CDATA[News - Glowpoint stock jumps after announcing it is buying privately-held SharedLabs ]]> Shares of Glowpoint Inc (NYSE-American:GLOW) rose on Monday after announcing it has signed an agreement to buy out privately-held SharedLabs Inc to create a larger digital company.

In a statement, Glowpoint said it would acquire 100% of the issued and outstanding equity securities of SharedLabs in exchange for an aggregate of 112,802,326 shares of Glowpoint common stock.

Upon consummation of the proposed business combination, the stockholders of Glowpoint existing prior to the transaction would collectively own approximately 34% interest in the combined company.

Shares of Glowpoint were up 16.655 to $0.1997 in Monday afternoon trading.

“This is a powerful combination that is strategically compelling for both companies. It joins two Information Technology businesses and allows the combined company to reach larger market opportunities and scale more efficiently than either organization could accomplish on its own,” said Pete Holst, president and CEO of Glowpoint.

READ: WH Smith expands travel business into US with US$198mln acquisition of digital accessories retailer InMotion

The combined business of Glowpoint and SharedLabs generated total unaudited revenue of approximately $86 million for the 12-month period ending on June 30, 2018

The differentiated solutions in software and applications, web and digital, cloud, IoT, security, data and analytics combined with the scalable services platform Glowpoint offers, will provide an incredible opportunity for the combined company to extend capabilities into new and high-growth emerging markets, said Jason Cory, the CEO of SharedLabs.

Glowpoint is a cloud-based communication service provider and a service provider in the video space.

Glowpoint is based in Denver, Colorado.

Reporting by Rene Pastor, contactable on

Mon, 05 Nov 2018 15:02:00 -0500
<![CDATA[News - Inuvo Inc acquired by privately-held Conversion Point Technologies Inc ]]> Shares of Inuvo Inc (NYSE-American:INUV) more than doubled on Monday after the company announced it was being bought by privately-held ConversionPoint Technologies Inc for around $75.5 million.

In a joint statement, the two companies said the acquisition will be a cash-and-stock transaction valued at approximately $2.22 per share of Inuvo common stock based on 34,077,624 common shares outstanding and restricted stock units that will immediately vest upon closing. Inuvo shareholders will receive $0.45 per share in cash and stock valued at an estimated $1.77 per share.

ConversionPoint is acquiring Inuvo for its AI-driven consumer behavior technology, which leverages machine learning to mirror the way the human brain instantly associates ideas, emotions, places, people and objects.

The combined company is expected to offer large and small businesses a new way to compete more effectively, increase online sales, achieve higher media spend ROI and improve customer lifecycle engagement. The AI-powered platform is expected to create a competitive e-commerce solution for major non-Amazon channels, such as Shopify, Big Commerce, and

Shares of Inuvo soared 105.41% to $0.85, having earlier jumped more than 202% to $1.25.

READ: How e-commerce is killing a ‘white glove’ store full of fun gizmos and gadgets like Brookstone

"Amazon controls nearly half of the $450 million in online retail sales in the US thanks to their proprietary data-driven approach to consumer analysis and marketing,“ explained ConversionPoint CEO Robert Tallack.

“Online retailers and brands have been searching for an end-to-end data driven technology to help provide accurate information they can use to acquire customers. We believe that together our end-to-end, AI powered, e-commerce platform can offer those capabilities to the online retail channel and the direct channel that the market has been actively searching for,” he added.

ConversionPoint enhances consumer product experiences, optimizes media spend, enables upsell, and manages fulfillment and retargeting. The company is based in Newport Beach, California.

Inuvo has the technology for identifying and analyzing consumer behavioral data, along with direct access to advertising inventory from large media and technology partners. The company is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Reporting by Rene Pastor, contactable on

Mon, 05 Nov 2018 12:22:00 -0500
<![CDATA[News - Trading in 'Fear Index' jumps in October amid market turmoil, says S3 Partners ]]> Trading in what is called the "Fear Index" soared in the month of October because of the wild swings in US financial markets, a new report by S3 Partners said.

With the S&P 500 index down 8.76% in October, the expectation is that the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) would increase dramatically, "and it didn’t disappoint, rising 75.17%," said a report by Ihor Dunsaniwsky, the managing director of Predictive Analytics at S3 Partners.

Led by the Dow industrials and the Nasdaq, both indexes careened sharply during October. In a two-day session, the Dow plunged 1,300 points and then recovered up to 600 points. The Nasdaq would fall and rise several hundred points, led by stocks such as Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL), Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) and Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN).

Trading in the “Fear Index” measures the implied volatility of near-term S&P 500 option premiums. It can be done via futures, options or ETPs. The most popular VIX ETP is the iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures ETN (VXX) with a market cap of $929 million and short interest of $1.62 billion, the report explained.

Even as the VIX ETPs stock prices moved along with the gyrations of the VIX Index, traders began to adjust their holdings throughout the month in anticipation of future moves and possible reversals. 

Bearish October long & short trading in VIX ETPs $VXX $TVIX $UVXY $SVXY $VXXB #ZIV $VIXM $VXZ $VIIX $VXZB $VMIN

— Ihor Dusaniwsky (@ihors3) November 2, 2018

"The twelve most active VIX ETPs saw $927 million in outflows in October, slashing 24% of their total market cap. On the other hand, short sellers nearly doubled their short exposure to the VIX ETPs, adding $1.25 billion in new short exposure during the month," the report said.

Dusaniwsky said the 12 VIX ETPs provide both long and short exposure to the VIX, as well as different levels of leverage.

"To measure the true Bullishness/Bearishness of VIX ETP trading activity we need to take into account these different levels of exposure by multiplying the ETP leverage by Fund Flows and Change in Short Interest," he said.

READ: Short interest in ETFs rose in volatile trading month of October, says S3 Partners

On September 30, ETP long and short holders had a Bull/(Bear) exposure of $3.31 billion and by the end of the month their Bull/(Bear) exposure had dropped to $361 million, a Bearish move of ($2.84 billion).

"Investors had been long going into October and took advantage of the surge in the VIX index, but by the end of the month their bullishness had virtually evaporated and, in aggregate, it looks like VIX traders are looking for the VIX Index to stay at these levels for the short term," the S3 report said

"If long VIX ETP shareholders continue to reduce their positions and shorts continue to accumulate theirs, we may be looking for the VIX index to trade back down and get closer to its year-to-date average of 15-16. If the VIX index does decline, volatility would have to have decreased significantly, which would bode well for the possibility of a year-end equity rally," the report concluded.

S3 Partners is a financial technology company. Its clients use their software, data and analytics for their investment processes, risk management, counterparty relationships, and investor relations.

Reporting by Rene Pastor, contactable on

Mon, 05 Nov 2018 08:50:00 -0500
<![CDATA[News - Short interest in ETFs rose in volatile trading month of October, says S3 Partners ]]> The amount of short interest in Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) climbed in October to $176.5 billion, up by about $11.7 billion, or 7.1%, from the preceding month, a report by analytic company S3 Partners said.

Ihor Dusaniwsky, managing director of Predictive Analytics for S3, said there's a "large concentration of short interest in a handful of ETFs, with the top 25 most-shorted ETFs making up 75% of total short interest, or $131.8 billion." Total short interest in these top 25 ETFs grew by $12.1 billion over the last month, he added.

Total short interest in the top twenty-five ETFs grew by $12.1 billion over the last month. Surprisingly, Short selling increased in the $SPY and $QQQ, but declined in the broader $IWM. Top 25 ETF shorts up $9.2 billion in Oct mark-to-market profits.

— Ihor Dusaniwsky (@ihors3) November 1, 2018

The Dow Jones Industrial Average swung wildly in October, dropping a combined 1,300 points in one week and then rallying back 600 points in another week. Fears about rising Treasury yields and the impact of the US-China trade war hounded stocks.

Dusaniwsky said the three most-shorted ETFs are in the S&P 500, Nasdaq and Russell 2000 index of small-cap stocks. 

With the S&P 500 down 7.9% short-sellers earned an 8.2% return; Nasdaq shorts got a 9.8% return and Russell shorts posted an 11.3% return.

"In aggregate the top 25 most shorted ETFs returned $9.2 billion in mark-to-market profits, or +6.99%, in October," Dusaniwsky wrote in his report.

READ: Tesla's stock shorts earn $500 million as Elon Musk tweet may endanger deal with SEC, says S3 Partners

"In October, short-sellers were looking for more short exposure in the more crowded equities (both retail and indexed), energy and health care stocks; international stocks and bonds; and VIX volatility while decreasing short exposure to the broader US market and US interest rate-related securities," Dusaniwsky said.

He then predicted that If the market stabilizes and continues its rally, "there may be $21 billion of October short sales ready to be covered and boost the rally even further." The S3 official added that several short ETFs had mark-to-market losses in October.

The ETFs include:

Utilities Select Sector Spider ETF (NYSEARCA:XLU), down $75 million, or 2.19% iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures ETN (NYSEARCAVXX), down $406 million, or 32.19% Consumer Staples Select Sector Spider ETF (NYSEARCA:XLP), down $50 million, or 3.15% iShares MSCI Brazil ETF (NYSEARCA: EWZ), down $267 million, or 17.49% Spider Gold Trust ETF (NYSEARCA:GLS), down $42 million, or 2.82%

On the other side of the ledger, there were only four ETFs that had net short covering in October: The iShares Russell 2000 ETF (IWM), iShares iBoxx $ High Yield Corporate Bond ETF (HYG), Spider S&P Regional Banking ETF (KRE), and the iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (TLT) had $2.4 billion in aggregate short covering in October.

Reporting by Rene Pastor, contactable on

Thu, 01 Nov 2018 10:42:00 -0400
<![CDATA[News - Where to score spooktacular deals this Halloween ]]> It’s Halloween! The scent of pumpkin spice lattes wafts through air as little ghouls and goblins fill their bags with candy.

The spooky season is long-awaited by kids and adults alike, but corporations want in on the fun too.

Burger King kicked off the season with its “Nightmare King” burger, featuring a ground beef burger, crispy chicken, bacon, American cheese, and mayonnaise all held together in a green bun.

The fast-food chain claims that the burger actually will produce nightmares after partnering with Paramount Trials, Florida Sleep & Neuro Diagnostic Services and Goldforest to conduct a study over 10 nights with 100 participants, as per a Fortune report.

McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD) began its "Trick. Treat. Win!" game earlier this month, similar to its famous Monopoly-style game.

Players can peel off game pieces from select McDonald’s packaging or in the app, winning food prizes or an entry token into a daily sweepstakes.  Prizes included a car, free movie tickets for a year, a Roku TV, gift cards or a grand prize of $50,000.

Some people say dressing up is just for kids, but stand your ground and you can treat yourself to a number of Halloween freebies available only to those in costume.

Stop into any Krispy Kreme location wearing a costume and you’ll receive one free donut or head over to Insomnia Cookies dressed up for a free cookie.

If you’re in costume, you can also scoop up a free soft shell beef taco at Taco John’s, a free small custard or fries at BugerFi or 50 free tickets at Chuck-E-Cheese.

You can’t score free food everywhere, but several chains have Halloween deals available.

The Wendy's Company (NASDAQ:WEN) is offering a coupon for five free Frostys if you make a $1 donation to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.

Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc’s (NYSE:CMG) “Boorito” promotion is in full swing. Show up in a costume from 3 PM to closing time and you can order a burrito, bowl, salad, or order of tacos for $4.

Baskin-Robbins is serving $1.50 scoops to celebrate, including its October flavor of the month, Trick Oreo Treat.

If you place an order of $30 or more through delivery service DoorDash at The Cheesecake Factory Inc (NASDAQ:CAKE), you’ll receive a free slice of Reese's Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake Cheesecake or Hershey's Chocolate Bar Cheesecake when using the code “TREATORTREAT”.


Contact Lenore Fedow at

Follow her on Twitter: @LenoreMariee

Wed, 31 Oct 2018 10:31:00 -0400
<![CDATA[News - Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc earnings and revenue fall short of expectations; stock slumps ]]> Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc (NYSE:FDP) reported on Tuesday weak third quarter results, causing shares to slump during the session in New York.

The company said earnings per share (EPS) was a loss of $0.44, compared with a gain of $0.23 in the same period last year and the consensus of $0.29. Revenue for the quarter reached $1.07 billion, higher than last year's $952.7 million but short of the consensus of $1.14 billion.

For the nine-month period, the EPS was at $0.25, from $2.49 a year ago. Revenue came in at $3.44 billion, against $3.13 billion a year ago.

Shares of Fresh Del Monte dropped 3.6% to $30.93, having traded as low as $29.62 on Tuesday.

Net sales for the third quarter of 2018 increased to $584.9 million, compared with $468.0 million in the third quarter of 2017.

“We delivered a 12% increase in net sales during the third quarter, led by a solid contribution from our recent acquisition of Mann Packing,” said Mohammad Abu-Ghazaleh, chairman and CEO.

The increase in net sales was primarily due to higher net sales in the company’s fresh-cut, vegetable and non-tropical product lines. Gross profit for the third quarter of 2018 decreased to $37.7 million, compared with gross profit of $44.4 million in the third quarter of 2017.

Fresh Del Monte Produce is a global producer, marketer and distributor of fresh and fresh-cut fruit and vegetables. The company is based in Coral Gables, Florida.

Reporting by Rene Pastor, contactable on


Tue, 30 Oct 2018 11:12:00 -0400
<![CDATA[News - IPO Roundup: Eton Pharmaceuticals and Chinese online brokerage Tiger Brokers to tap capital markets ]]> Illinois-based biotech Eton Pharmaceuticals Inc will issue three million shares Tuesday at $6 a share to raise roughly $18 million and list on the tech-laden Nasdaq.

The proceeds will be funneled into clinical trials for the specialty pharma company’s diversified product pipeline which has late-stage development assets across a variety of dosage forms including injectables, oral liquids and ophthalmic products.

Eton is a spin-out of California-based Imprimis Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:IMMY).

“Our business model is to develop proprietary innovative products that fulfill an unmet patient need. We have established a diversified pipeline of eight product candidates in various stages of development,” the company disclosed in a regulatory filing.

The company’s strategy lies in developing liquid formulations of various approved drugs in ways that offer improvements for patients. They may be safer or more effective than existing products. They may be less expensive. They may be offered for new indications.

“Our corporate strategy is to pursue what we perceive to be low-risk 505(b)(2) candidates where existing published literature, historical clinical trials, or physician usage has established safety or efficacy of the molecule, thereby reducing the incremental clinical burden required for us to bring the product to patients,” said Eton Pharmaceuticals.

IPO Roundup: Outdoor gear company Yeti and Brazilian fintech company StoneCo set IPO terms

In July, Eton announced positive top-line results for its phase III study of its EM-100 eye drop. If approved, EM-100 will be the first preservative-free eye drop for the treatment of itching linked with allergic conjunctivitis.

Eton believes the availability of a preservative-free product for this indication would offer patients a new treatment option. “We look forward to a timely FDA review and bringing the product to patients in 2019,” said Eton Pharma CEO Sean Brynjelsen. According to IQVIA, the US market for anti-allergy eye products is more than $600 million.

The National Securities Corporation is the lead underwriter for the offering.

Eton Pharmaceuticals will trade on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol (ETON).

Chinese online brokerage Tiger Brokers backed by veteran investor Jim Rogers, is planning a US initial public offering that could raise about $200 million in the first quarter of next year.

Tiger Brokers helps Chinese investors trade shares in overseas markets including the United States and Hong Kong.

The company, which also counts phone giant Xiaomi Corp as an investor, has appointed banks to arrange the stock offering, reported Bloomberg quoting people who were familiar with the matter. Bloomberg said Tiger Brokers aims to sell shares as soon as the first quarter of next year.

Contact Uttara Choudhury at

Follow her on Twitter: @UttaraProactive 

Mon, 29 Oct 2018 15:23:00 -0400
<![CDATA[News - Oilfield services group Weatherford International plc shares nosedive on quarterly results disappointment ]]> Shares in Weatherford International plc (NYSE:WFT)  sank  nearly 24% as the  oilfield services provider after its quarterly results disappointed.

Cash flow and its fourth-quarter guidance were below Wall Street analysts' expectations.

Despite that the Texas based firm did report a smaller third-quarter loss on Monday, helped by higher margins and more projects in Argentina and Mexico.

Nevertheless, the firm has not posted a quarterly profit for four years.

The company continued to generate negative free cash flow for the quarter, but told, investors it expects to be cash flow-positive in 2019. Adjusted free cash flow for the quarter was about $35 million below the company's goal of breakeven.

Excluding exceptional items, the company lost  $0.10 a share, against an expected loss of $0.12 per share.

Shares lost nearly 24% to $1.50 each on Wall Street.

Mon, 29 Oct 2018 15:10:00 -0400
<![CDATA[News - Tower Semiconductor reports miss on 3Q EPS and revenue, shares slump ]]> Tower Semiconductor Ltd (NASDAQ:TSEM) reported a miss in both third quarter revenue and earnings per share due to weak market conditions for its products and shares slumped as a results during trading on Monday.

The company said revenue for the third quarter reached $323 million, below the consensus of $335.04 million and last year's figure of $355 million. EPS was at $0.33, down by nearly half from last year's $0.59 and the consensus it would be at $0.40.  

"The present overall market softness has had a recent notable impact across our business units, with a fourth quarter revenue roll-up lower than previous expectations," said Russell Ellwanger, the CEO of the company.

Gross and operating profits for the third quarter of 2018 were $73 million and $39 million, respectively, as compared to $79 million and $44 million, respectively, in the prior quarter, and as compared to $89 million and $55 million in the third quarter of 2017, the company said.

Shares of Tower Semiconductor dropped to a 52-week low at $14.50 before paring those losses to trade at $14.77, down 16.7% on the day.

The company said improved conditions should help its bottomline in the last quarter.

"However, we expect to see fourth quarter margins increase as a result of this much richer products mix,” said Ellwanger.

Tower Semiconductor is semiconductor foundry which manufactures and markets analog intensive mixed-signal semiconductor devices in the United States, Japan, Asia, and Europe. The comapny is based in Migdal HaEmek, Israel.

Reporting by Rene Pastor, contactable on

Mon, 29 Oct 2018 14:07:00 -0400
<![CDATA[News - New Orleans Investment Conference gears up for its 44th year ]]> The New Orleans Investment Conference is convening this fall for its 44th consecutive year.

The conference will feature “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” author Robert Kiyosaki, renowned investor Dennis Gartman and other financial experts.

The star-studded meet-up has previously welcomed notable speakers Lady Margaret Thatcher, former President Gerald Ford, novelist Ayn Rand and General Colin Powell.

Attendees can take part in speaker workshops and a variety of panels, including discussions about precious metals, mining share, global investing and geopolitics.

More than 50 companies will exhibit at the conference, including platinum sponsors Agronosotros and Sprott U.S. Holdings Inc as well as Alchemy Kings 420 Fund, Avino Silver & Gold Mines Ltd (NYSE:ASM), Bluestone Resources Inc (OTCQB:BBSRF), Bonterra Resources Inc (OTCQX:BONXF), Canadian Metals Inc (CSE:CME) and more.

The conference will run from November 1 to November 4.

Mon, 29 Oct 2018 08:53:00 -0400
<![CDATA[News - Dyson snubs UK, plans to build its new electric car in Singapore, according to media reports ]]> Dyson has snubbed the UK and plans to build its new electric car in Singapore, according to media reports citing a memo to staff by the privately-owned company’s chief executive, Jim Rowan.

The Guardian newspaper’s website reported that the manufacturer chose Singapore because of its proximity to “high-growth markets” in Asia.

READ: Dyson planning to build an electric car test track in UK

It said the Singapore plant will be completed in 2020, with the car to be launched in 2021 as the firm - founded by inventor James Dyson - steps up plans to take on big US rivals such as  Elon Musk's electric carmaker Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA).

Dyson already manufactures electric motors for its other products, such as vacuum cleaners and fans, in Singapore, where it employs 1,100 staff, the Guardian report said, with staff numbers there to double after it completes the new facility.

The firm is developing the electric car at its research facilities in Wiltshire, where it recently opened a test track and unveiled plans to expand its operations to accommodate another 2,000 employees.

However, in the memo to staff, the newspaper quoted Rowan as saying the decision to choose Singapore was “complex, based on supply chains, access to markets, and the availability of the expertise that will help us achieve our ambitions”.

Rowan also highlighted the availability of engineering talent in Singapore, in spite of its “comparatively high-cost base”, the Guardian website added.

Asia focus not a surprise

Dr Jonathan Owens, Lecturer in Operations Management at the University of Salford Business School, commented: “While it is disappointing that Sir James Dyson has made the announcement that his company will set up production for their first Electric Vehicles (EV) in Singapore, in many ways it is not surprising. 

 “Dyson sees Singapore as a base closer to their target market; Asia Pacific (APAC).  They do not cite Brexit as the reason to leave, but being able to secure the talent required to produce their new EV and shorter and established supply chains.”

 He added: “The UK’s biggest barrier to EV growth is still access to public charge points with uptake and roll out still not hitting significant numbers. 

“In contrast, the Asian market is seeing huge growth in the usage of EV’s. The higher adoption rates of smart mobility services, government regulations as well as increasing fuel prices are supporting the growth of EV’s in this region.” 

Owens concluded: “The biggest supporter to this rapid growth is the investment of charge point infrastructure. China is aiming to install an extra 500,000 public EV charging stations by 2020. 

“Others, such as India, Thailand, and Singapore, have also announced investment plans to develop EV charging infrastructure, leaving the UK trailing in their wake.”

 -- Adds Salford Business School comment --

Tue, 23 Oct 2018 11:35:00 -0400
<![CDATA[News - IPO Roundup: Outdoor gear company Yeti and Brazilian fintech company StoneCo set IPO terms ]]> Yeti Holdings Inc, the maker of Rambler mugs, $400 coolers and outdoor gear, which filed for an IPO in early October with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, has set initial terms for its upcoming public offering.

The company said in the new filing that it plans to sell 20 million shares at $19 to $21 a share, indicating an IPO size of over $400 million.

If all goes as planned, the Cortec Group, which bought a roughly two-thirds stake in 2012 for about $67 million, could enjoy a big payday.

Yeti was founded nearly a decade ago by Texas brothers Roy and Ryan Seiders who sold coolers to Gulf Coast hunters and fishermen, but the company has since grown quickly with its popular mass-market Yeti brand coolers, mugs, waterproof blankets and cool camping gear.

Yeti first sought to go public in 2016 via a $100 million IPO, but promptly withdrew its offering citing “market conditions.”

The new IPO filing gives a peek at revenue. For 2016, Yeti which bills itself as an "emerging growth company" reported revenue of $818.9 million and net income of $48.8 million. That fell to revenue of $639.2 million and net income of $15.4 million in 2017. Yeti sales appear to be picking up steam again, as revenue for the first six months of 2018 is $341.5 million, compared to $254.1 million in the first half of 2017.

Yeti plans to list on the New York Stock Exchange under the "YETI" ticker. Meanwhile, Igloo Products Corp, Coleman Co and others have introduced new coolers with features like Yeti’s at lower prices.

IPO Roundup: Yeti Holdings, ARYA Sciences, and China’s scooter start-up Niu to tap capital markets

StoneCo set terms for its initial public offering, in which the Brazil-based fintech company plans to raise up to $1.10 billion in the year’s ninth billion-dollar IPO.

The company is offering 47.73 million Class A shares, and the IPO is expected to price between $21 and $23 a share. Of the total, the company is offering 40.91 million shares, while selling shareholders are offering 6.82 million shares.

There’s plenty of excitement about the IPO since Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc (NYSE:BRK.A, NYSE:BRK.B) expressed an interest in buying 13.71 million shares in the public offering.

StoneCo applied to list its stock on the tech-laden Nasdaq under the ticker symbol "STNE."

StoneCo is a now a profitable company. For the six months ended June 30, it had net income of $23.5 million on revenue of $170.2 million, compared with a loss of $20.3 million on revenue of $88.8 million in the same period a year ago.

Contact Uttara Choudhury at

Follow her on Twitter: @UttaraProactive 

Mon, 22 Oct 2018 14:22:00 -0400
<![CDATA[Media files - CryptoCann™ Report: Port of Rotterdam to track shipments with blockchain; Oregon chef serves weed-fed pork ]]> Mon, 22 Oct 2018 13:46:00 -0400 <![CDATA[News - IPO Roundup: LogicBio Therapeutics prices IPO below range, while data-mining specialist Palantir weighs giant public offering ]]> Genome editing company LogicBio Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:LOGC) cut the price of its IPO Friday and sold more shares to raise $70 million to fund human tests of its experimental gene therapy for a rare liver disorder.

The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company sold 7 million shares at $10 a share to raise the $70 million. It had earlier indicated that it would issue 5.77 million shares between $12 and $14.

Since its founding in 2016, the genome editing company has targeted rare genetic diseases, including HIV, clotting disorders and metabolic disorders.

It’s been a banner year for IPOs with 161 companies having priced so far this year, a nearly 50% jump from the same period last year, according to research firm Renaissance Capital. Biotech IPOs have been booming with 61 companies in the health care sector going public.

Biotech and pharma companies credit the business-friendly tax package for making it possible for Big Pharma to pour cash into licensing deals, mergers and acquisitions — making the prospect of rich exit strategies for biotech companies more tangible.

IPO Roundup: Uber and Lyft race towards IPOs as banks line up

Meanwhile, data-mining specialist Palantir Technologies Inc, co-founded by famed investor Peter Thiel, is weighing an initial public offering likely to be among the largest in recent years, reported the Wall Street Journal.

“Palantir is discussing with investment banks Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley plans to go public as soon as the second half of 2019,” people familiar with the matter told the Journal.

Some bankers have told the firm it could go public with a valuation of as much as $41 billion — depending in part on the timing.

Palantir, founded in 2004, has remained private for so long that employees find it hard to cash out private stakes, and this has contributed to some employees’ decisions to leave, said the Journal.

The Palantir IPO discussions come amid reports earlier this week that rivals Uber Technologies Inc and Lyft Inc which have been duking it out in the fast-growing ride-hailing business may now be racing toward the public markets in the first half of 2019.

Uber has received proposals from top investment banks Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley that value the company as much as $120 billion in an IPO, while Lyft’s valuation is expected to top the $15.1 billion it was valued at earlier this year, though private valuations can change until the company prices its initial public offering.

Contact Uttara Choudhury at

Follow her on Twitter: @UttaraProactive 

Fri, 19 Oct 2018 10:04:00 -0400
<![CDATA[News - Kaiser Aluminum beats Street on 3Q and 9-month results; offers rosy 2019 outlook ]]> Kaiser Aluminum Corp (NASDAQ:KALU) reported beats in both third-quarter and nine-month earnings while predicting the company should perform even better going into 2019.

The Foothill Ranch, California, company said net sales for the first nine months of 2018 were $1.2 billion, up approximately 15% from the $1.0 billion in the prior year, reflecting 4% higher shipments and a 10% increase in average selling price per pound. The increase in average selling price reflected a 22% increase in contained metal costs per pound while value added revenue per pound was comparable to the prior year period.

Net sales for the third quarter 2018 were $393 million, an increase of approximately 18% from the $333 million in the prior year period, reflecting 6% higher shipments and a 12% increase in average selling price per pound. The increase in average selling price reflected an approximately 23% increase in underlying contained metal cost and a 3% increase in value added revenue per pound. The consensus for the quarter was $389.3 million.

“As we begin to look to 2019, we expect demand across our end markets to be strong. Although sales margins have improved, they remain at historical lows. We will continue to monitor market conditions to determine timing for further price increases to restore our sales margins to a level more reflective of the strong overall demand climate," said Jack Hockema, the chairman and CEO of Kaiser.

“For the full year 2018, we continue to anticipate mid-single-digit growth in shipments and value added revenue with adjusted EBITDA margin in the mid-20 percent range. We expect continued underlying demand strength in the fourth quarter 2018 with moderating destocking in the aerospace supply chain and normal seasonality in industrial demand," he said.

READ: IBC and NioCorp complete initial casting campaign for aluminum-scandium alloys

The official said "strong operating leverage and improved sales margins more than offset the temporary impact of tariffs on our internal cross-border shipments" referring to the tariffs slapped on metal imports by the Trump administration

"We are awaiting government approvals of certain countermeasures that we have initiated to eliminate nearly all our cross-border tariff costs and retroactively recover costs incurred. Although the tariffs have negatively impacted short-term results, we continue to anticipate that the long-term impact to us will be neutral to slightly positive should the tariffs remain in place,” he added.

Kaiser Aluminum is a producer of semi-fabricated specialty aluminum products.

Reporting by Rene Pastor, contactable on

Wed, 17 Oct 2018 16:58:00 -0400
<![CDATA[News - IPO Roundup: Uber and Lyft race towards IPOs as banks line up ]]> Rivals Uber Technologies Inc and Lyft Inc which have been duking it out in the fast-growing ride-hailing business may now be fighting for investors in their initial public offerings.  

Lyft recently selected underwriters for an IPO that is expected in the first half of 2019.

“JPMorgan Chase & Co will lead the offering along with Credit Suisse Group AG and Jefferies Group LLC, while several additional banks will hold smaller roles,” reported The Wall Street Journal.

The Journal said Lyft’s valuation is expected to top the $15.1 billion it was valued at earlier this year, though private valuations can change until the company prices its IPO.

READ: Uber IPO may be worth all-time record $120 billion, says Wall Street Journal

Lyft’s decision to take the next big step toward an IPO comes as rival Uber is weighing an early 2019 listing and recently received proposals from banks valuing it at as much as $120 billion.

Uber has received proposals from top investment banks Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) and Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) that value the company as much as $120 billion in an initial public offering.

Contact Uttara Choudhury at

Follow her on Twitter: @UttaraProactive 

Wed, 17 Oct 2018 07:30:00 -0400
<![CDATA[Media files - Bob Byrne's artful—and hands-on—approach to micro-cap investing ]]> Fri, 12 Oct 2018 14:14:00 -0400 <![CDATA[News - Corium International shares soar on buyout deal with privately held Gurnet Point Capital ]]> Corium International Inc (NASDAQ:CORI) shares climbed sharply on Friday after announcing a deal where it will be bought out by Gurnet Point Capital, a private investment company that is focused on the healthcare and life sciences sector, for more than $500 million.

In a statement, Corium said the transaction is structured as tender offer followed immediately by a merger. The deal was unanimously approved by Corium's board of directors.

Under the terms of the merger agreement, Gurnet will pay $12.50 per share in cash upon the closing.

The news sParked a rally in Corium shares as they jumped 50.54% to trade at $12.51. The stock closed on Thursday 0.24% off at $8.31.

READ: Cancer Genetics CEO says merger with NovellusDx to speed up enrollment in cancer-focused trials

The agreement between Corium and Gurnet also provides for a Contingent Value Right (CVR) of $0.50 per share that is payable based on the US Food and Drug Administration’s approval of Corium’s lead product candidate, Corplex Donepezil, for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, before March 31, 2020.

When the CVR payment is included, the transaction is valued at up to $504 million.

The total offer amount, including the CVR amount, represents a 42% premium over the 30-day volume-weighted average price of Corium’s stock.

The $12.50 per share closing amount represents a 50% premium over the closing price on October 10, 2018. After the transaction closes by the end of 2018, Corium will also offer to repurchase all of its $120 million in convertible notes. Corium will become a private company wholly owned by Gurnet.

Corium is a commercial-stage biopharmaceutical company. It is based in Menlo Park, California.

Reporting by Rene Pastor, contactable on

Fri, 12 Oct 2018 08:54:00 -0400
<![CDATA[Media files - CryptoCann™ Report: Bitcoin volatility hits two-year low; San Francisco chefs whip up an edibles cookbook for newbies ]]> Tue, 09 Oct 2018 15:15:00 -0400 <![CDATA[News - Chinese company Tencent Music files for US IPO as Sony and Warner Music snap up $200M in shares ]]> China’s largest music-streaming company, Tencent Music Entertainment Group, has filed for an initial public offering in the United States.

In a filing Tuesday, the music arm of Chinese tech giant Tencent set a placeholder amount of $1 billion to indicate the size of the IPO and applied to list on the New York Stock Exchange and tech-laden Nasdaq under the symbol “TME”.

The company recently cut its plan to raise $4 billion by half, and is now seeking $2 billion. This large IPO comes close on the back of Shanghai-based electric-vehicle maker NIO Limited's (NYSE:NIO) IPO which raised $1 billion by selling 160mln American depositary shares last month.

Still, the numbers are dwarfed by Chinese giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA) which raised more than $20 billion in 2014.

Both Warner Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment have acquired shares in Tencent Music for approximately $200 million in cash, reported Variety.

IPO Roundup: China's wannabe 'Tesla killer' NIO Ltd trading above US$14 on NYSE

Investors are likely to sit up and take notice that the Chinese music streaming company has posted an annual profit for the last two years.

The filing shows that in the first half of 2018, Tencent Music reported a profit of $263 million on revenue of $1.3 billion. For the entire 2017 year, it posted $199 million in profit on revenue of $1.7 billion.

Parent company Tencent owns 58% of the music division, while Spotify, which went public on US exchanges earlier this year, owns 9% of shares.

Investor appetite for IPOs has powered a surge in new listings. More than 180 companies raised over $50 billion in IPOs in the US in the first three quarters, putting 2018 on track to be the busiest year for new issuance by both measures since 2014, according to Dealogic.

Contact Uttara Choudhury at

Follow her on Twitter: @UttaraProactive 

Tue, 02 Oct 2018 15:51:00 -0400
<![CDATA[Media files - LD Micro CEO hails 'best, most eclectic mix' of companies at New York summit ]]> Sat, 29 Sep 2018 18:11:00 -0400 <![CDATA[News - Slack Technologies is preparing for an IPO, says WSJ ]]> Slack Technologies Inc is reportedly preparing for an IPO in the first half of next year, per a Wall Street Journal report.

The management team at Slack thinks it could see a valuation of more than $7 billion, according to the Journal’s sources.

Slack’s public debut would mark one of the biggest initial public offerings in the tech sector since Snap went public last year.

Slack runs an office instant-messaging app that has in excess of 8 million daily users.

Fri, 28 Sep 2018 16:02:00 -0400
<![CDATA[Media files - Small-Cap Snapshot: Obalon Therapeutics pops after FDA approves gastric balloons ]]> Wed, 26 Sep 2018 17:12:00 -0400 <![CDATA[Media files - An independent investors take on the LD Micro Conference in New York ]]> Tue, 25 Sep 2018 18:59:00 -0400 <![CDATA[Media files - CryptoCann™ Report: Celebrity Winklevoss twins target UK market ]]> Mon, 24 Sep 2018 14:45:00 -0400 <![CDATA[Media files - Small-Cap Snapshot: Intrexon edges up on medical cannabis developments ]]> Mon, 24 Sep 2018 14:29:00 -0400 <![CDATA[Media files - CryptoCann Report ]]> Thu, 20 Sep 2018 16:03:00 -0400 <![CDATA[Media files - The Small-Cap Snapshot ]]> Thu, 20 Sep 2018 15:31:00 -0400 <![CDATA[Media files - CannaJam 2018 brings cannabis companies closer to prospective investors ]]> Sat, 15 Sep 2018 08:25:00 -0400 <![CDATA[News - CannaJam connects small-cap cannabis companies with potential investors ]]> Proactive Investors welcomed a bustling crowd of investors to its inaugural CannaJam Forum on Wednesday evening in New York City.

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

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

WATCH: iAnthus updates investors on activities in six US states

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contact Uttara Choudhury at

Follow her on Twitter: @UttaraProactive 

Tue, 11 Sep 2018 07:43:00 -0400
<![CDATA[News - US adds thousands of health care and mining jobs in August ]]> The US economy added thousands of jobs in health care and in mining during the month of August, data from the Labor Department's monthly employment report showed Friday.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wed, 29 Aug 2018 16:24:00 -0400