Thursday, June 30, 2016 - 2:24am


Benzinga's newsdesk monitors options activity to notice unusual patterns. These large volume (and often out of the money) trades were initially published intraday in Benzinga Professional . These trades were placed during Wednesday's regular session.

  • Yelp Inc (NYSE: YELP) Aug16 35.0 Calls Sweep: 759 @ ASK $0.80: 792 traded vs 47 OI: Earnings 7/26 $29.21 Ref
  • Ally Financial Inc (NYSE: ALLY) Dec16 18.0 Calls: 5000 @ ASK $0.70: 5001 traded vs 13k OI: Earnings 7/26 Before Open $15.61 Ref
  • Skechers USA Inc (NYSE: SKX) Aug16 28.0 Calls Sweep: 3103 @ ASK $2.75: 3103 traded vs 66 OI: $28.94 Ref
  • SolarCity Corp (NASDAQ: SCTY) Jul16 30.0 Calls: 2600 @ ASK $0.10: 2610 traded vs 12k OI: Earnings 8/3 $24.05 Ref
  • Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc (NYSE: VRX) Oct16 40.0 Calls: 6000 @ ASK $0.48: 6203 traded vs 13k OI: Earnings 7/22 Projected $19.88 Ref
  • Galena Biopharma Inc (NASDAQ: GALE) Jan17 2.0 Calls Sweep: 4128 @ ASK $0.05: 4168 traded vs 44k OI: Earnings 8/4 $0.36 Ref
  • General Electric Company (NYSE: GE) Fri 7/1 29.5 Calls (Wkly) Sweep: 3993 @ ASK $1.02: 4397 traded vs 2981 OI: Earnings 7/22 Before Open $30.47 Ref

Wednesday, June 29, 2016 - 7:14pm
Public Domain

The battle for financial literacy rages on as educators and parents, politicians and lobbyists constantly engage in conversations over who should be teaching youth about money, and at what age these instructions should begin.

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Reliance on public education, however good the intentions of teachers may be, is not enough. Education needs to begin and home and be reinforced at home. No lasting damage will come from kids hearing common financial sense at home and in the classroom. While the techniques and strategies may differ, the basics are universal. Budgeting comes down to spending no more money than comes in. Basic savings boils down to having a long-term goal and taking steps to meet that goal. Investing is simplified to setting something aside and letting it reap rewards for you through careful (in)action and decision making.

Political cacophony aside, take responsibility of your own children and do your part to help place them on a path that will inevitably lead to financial independence.

Whether your child is three or 13, you can instill within them a respect for financing and a deeper understanding of monetary consequences.

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Not everyone will follow the same strategy in teaching their kids how to make financially savvy decisions, however, there are trends used by parents that can be adopted as a starting place for new parents looking for pointers on how to start the conversation.

Allowances are frequent vehicles used to teach basic money management, but they are not universally used, nor are they necessary lesson plans elements.

Similarly, some parents chose to teach their children through very hands' on interactions, having their kids open their own savings accounts, making physical banking transactions and matching whatever their children put into savings. Others have a more open approach toward their children's money and rely more on conversations and hypotheticals. There is no right or wrong way. The important thing is to bridge the gap between your vast knowledge and their blank slate.

Below is one example of how to talk to kids at various ages about money. It is by no means the only method, but it can help steer you in the right direction, knowing at what stage of your child's cognitive development they are in and what financial lessons are age-appropriate.

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Take an interest in your children's future. Talk to them about money and the importance of smart management. Don't underestimate the influence your actions, inactions and words have on these young minds.


Wednesday, June 29, 2016 - 6:45pm
Public Domain

With all the talk about Brexit and the consequential global markets' reactions since the vote, it's easy to inflate the event, despite the markets' moves being more self-fulfilling prophesies than "legitimate" reactions. Because investors sometimes act on instinct instead of meticulous logic, domestic markets and those across the pond have seen significant moves this week.

In other words, investor fears have been causing them to sell off their interests in stocks, even if those stocks have little to no exposure to the U.K., let alone the greater eurozone.

Therefore, it is important to keep in mind that while the figures in this moment may be interpreted as reflecting worst-case scenarios, many of the moves are likely knee-jerk reactions ("overreactions") and will slowly revert to a place where they once again reflect a more accurate representation of how the market should respond in such circumstances.

Because fear spreads faster than logic, it is important to curtail Brexit myths, even Stateside. Unfortunately, as with the most contagious rumors, there exists a significant grey-zone when trying to predict market movements and historical significance of political events.

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Will The Brexit Matter To Me?

While it's tempting to say, "No, of course not. You're here in the States. The socio-political events thousands of miles in a different country, a different financial market have no effect on you," that's simply not the case.

It's never so simple.

So, the answer, as with so many things financial, is a mumbled, "Eh…maybe not?"

However, there is a way to make the uncertainty less daunting. And that's through logically addressing the question. Break down the question into smaller, more direct questions, and reframe it as "What would have to happen for this to affect me?" Instead of asking if the vote — which, let's not forget, does not signify the actual disjuncture — will have any residual effects, ask how it could affect you.

For example, the eventual Brexit could affect Americans and their retirement if:

    1. You Are Planning On Moving To The U.K. Or The EU
    2. Your Retirement Portfolio Has Significant Exposure To The U.K. Or The EU

So, if you are retired or are retiring within the next five to 10 years, you may notice your investments slightly affected if you have significant exposure to European or British stocks — or, if you are considering moving in retirement to the U.K. or to a country within the EU. Beyond that, the Brexit is unlikely to have any lasting effect — as far as can be predicted at this point in time — on your retirement.

Brexit, In Numbers

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Source: Capital Economics and Woodford

The Nitty Gritty Postscript

It would be unwise, however, to end the conversation here.

Unfortunately, because the markets are dictated not solely by robots and algorithms, humans and human behavior come into play, which is where historical precedents become helpful.

Looking at past financial and political events, it becomes evident that the United States is sensitive to other global events. It would be unwise to ignore these trends. Therefore, it's worth noting that despite the U.S. economy has limited exposure to the U.K., broadly speaking, the economy does become vulnerable in the wake of foreign events like the Brexit vote.

For one, the Federal Reserve is likely to act even more dovish in the coming months and possibly years in response to the vote, which means an even slower push toward recovery and possibly no more rate hikes this year.

For another, as the United States has worked to become a more open market, external shocks shake the boat, so to speak. Global financial markets now experience more interconnectedness than ever before, and therefore the interior happenings are plausibly going to appear externally and inter-relationally.

If you are experiencing concern regarding the Brexit and your retirement, take the time to reach out to a financial advisor who has access to your unique portfolio. With their help, you can collaborate and determine the likelihood of your assets being affected by Brexit and decide if any actions need to be made to protect yourself from any financial headwinds.


Wednesday, June 29, 2016 - 6:06pm

Chardan Capital analyst Gbola Amusa offered commentary on Esperion Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ: ESPR) Wednesday morning following troubling company news related to the company's bempedoic acid.

Amusa suggested caution in the name is warranted and noted more than a handful of points which should give pause to investors looking to get involved. The most notable came argued "the release continued what to us is a pattern of missed guidance for Esperion."

The Chardan analyst highlighted six other preliminary concerns.

  • "After 2H16, there may be few expected clinical catalysts for years.
  • Bempedoic acid may launch in 2023 in the US, leaving very limited patent life (2025).
  • We believe ESPR continues to overestimate the size of the statin intolerant (SI) market.
  • We see extremely low likelihood ESPR will meet it's guidance on cash use...
  • On the call, Esperion acknowledged FDA may see the standard of care as potentially changing, meaning the clinical programs Esperion designed may become less relevant.
  • We believe it is a major flaw that Esperion does not plan to rechallenge its statin intolerant patients in trials from here," Amusa said.

    Chardan maintained a Neutral rating and $13 price target on shares of Esperion.


Wednesday, June 29, 2016 - 6:05pm

The following are the M&A deals, rumors and chatter circulating on Wall Street for Wednesday June 29, 2016:

CIBC to Acquire PrivateBancorp in Cash, Stock Deal

The Deal:
CIBC (NYSE: CM) announced Wednesday, that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire PrivateBancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ: PVTB) and its subsidiary, The PrivateBank for $18.80 in cash and 0.3657 of a CIBC common share for each share of PrivateBancorp common stock. The transaction is expected to close during Q1 of 2017.

PrivateBancorp closed Wednesday at $44.29, up 23.27%.

Apollo Global to Acquire Diamond Resorts for ~$2B

The Deal:
Diamond Resorts International, Inc. (NYSE: DRII) announced Wednesday, that it has entered into an agreement and plan of merger, under which affiliates of certain funds managed by affiliates of Apollo Global Management, LLC (NYSE: APO) will acquire Diamond Resorts for $30.25 per share, for a total of approximately $2.2 billion. The transaction is expected to close over the next few months

Diamond Resorts closed Wednesday at $29.79 on Wednesday up 23.76%.

Chatter of Potential Bid by Cisco for NetApp

The Rumor:
Share of NetApp (NASDAQ: NTAP) rose Wednesday on unconfirmed market chatter of a potential offer from Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO). "Sources" said Cisco is working with bankers on putting together a deal in the range of $29 to $31 per share.

Spokespersons for Cisco and NetApp declined comment to Benzinga on the rumor.

NetApp closed at $24.47 on Wednesday, up 5.57%.

APO, CM, CSCO, DRII, News, NTAP, PVTB, Rumors, M&A

Wednesday, June 29, 2016 - 5:51pm

Two BNSF Railway freight trains collided Tuesday near the Texas town of Panhandle. Each train carried two crew members; one man jumped from his train before the crash and suffered injuries, while the other three were missing Tuesday night and part of Wednesday.

One of those three is still missing, but two of the other men have been found Wednesday. BNSF Railway spokesman Joe Faust disclosed the discovery of the remains on Wednesday afternoon.

The speed of the trains when they collided is still undetermined, but the speed limit in that area is 70 mph. It's also unclear how the trains ended up on the same track. The trains were hauling a variety of consumer goods.

There is a 2018 federal deadline to adopt technology, called positive train control or PTC, that uses tech like GPS to monitor trains and automatically slow or stop those in danger of colliding. BNSF has promised to meet that deadline, while at least three other freight railroads have said they'll need until the year 2020.

The worker who jumped from his train is in stable condition.

News, Events

Wednesday, June 29, 2016 - 5:49pm

Shares of Shopify Inc (NYSE: SHOP) rose 6 percent after Monness Crespi Hardt initiated coverage with a Buy rating and a $35 price target. Analyst James Cakmak sees "further widening of the competitive moat, if not a takeout" in Shopify down the line.

Salesforce.com, inc. (NYSE: CRM)'s recent acquisition of Demandware for approximately $2.8 Billion, a 56 percent premium, is seen as a positive sign for Shopify which could be a potential takeover target in the future.

"Just as Demandware was arguably the best-in-class for the largest enterprise cohort of merchants, we deem Shopify the equivalent counterpart on the SMB front, with the resources in place to seamlessly scale along with merchants," said Monness Crespi Hardt.

Shopify has also been identified as a strategic partner with Apple Pay by providing the ability of over 275,000 small business merchants to offer Apple Pay on its platform.

KeyBanc also reiterated a Buy rating for Shopify with a $37 price target.


Wednesday, June 29, 2016 - 5:44pm

As shares of Esperion Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ: ESPR) plunged more than 40 percent over Wednesday's trading session, numerous analysts were out adjusting recommendations, price targets and estimates.

Citi analyst Joel Beatty made some concerning comments despite a maintained Buy rating. The analyst cut his price target on Esperion shares from $36 to $22.

Amid news the FDA has not yet agreed to LDL "as an approvable surrogate endpoint for [Esperion's] cholesterol agent bempedoic acid," according to Beatty, he voiced concern the company may not receive U.S. approval until 2023, and not until 2020 in Europe.

On the more bullish side of things, Beatty said, "We see the post-close stock price decrease of ~30% as an overreaction given that investors were already mixed on whether the uncertainty around endpoints would be resolved by this update."


Wednesday, June 29, 2016 - 5:42pm
Public Domain

After the economy suffered a meltdown, dollar stores welcomed cash-strapped shoppers and the space exploded, making names like Dollar Tree, Inc. (NASDAQ: DLTR) and Dollar General Corp. (NYSE: DG) big players in retail.

Despite what the title “dollar store” might suggest, the values offered at these stores weren’t always superior to what might be found at bigger boxes like Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) and Target Corporation (NYSE: TGT), but the speed and convenience of the shopping experience couldn’t be matched (Walmart is often lambasted by shoppers about the dearth of cashiers).

Relative newcomer Five Below Inc (NASDAQ: FIVE) has taken the value pricing to another level by limiting the cost of every item in the store to $5 or less. Dollar stores even seemed immune to the traffic crushing effects of the Amazon.

Now, perhaps, the dollar stores have perhaps met a disruptor to their model in a startup called Hollar.com. Time’s Money Magazine reports Hollar operates exclusively online - a weak spot for all the existing brick and mortar dollar stores - offers free standard shipping for orders of at least $25, and cashes in on shoppers’ impulse to make purchases, well, on impulse.


Wednesday, June 29, 2016 - 5:38pm
Public Domain

On CNBC earlier Wednesday, Evercore ISI analyst Omar Saad said Nike Inc (NYSE: NKE) has "one of the best entry, points for the stock in the last 20 years."

He followed this bullish commentary saying, "Not only do we believe that recent mishaps are now largely in the rearview mirror, but we were encouraged to hear management's confidence that North America will return to growth in [the fiscal first quarter] and then accelerate throughout the rest of [fiscal year 2017]."

Related Link: 10 Most Notable Analyst Reactions To Nike's Earnings

Nike shrugged off concerns of a more competitive landscape, along with Brexit concerns, which make up 25 percent of the company's revenue. The athletic retailer finished Wednesday's session up 3.84 percent at $55.13.