Market Overview

S&P 500 Hits 2,000 Milestone As Bullish Momentum Continues

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U.S. stocks were higher on Monday as the S&P 500 traded above the 2,000 mark for the first time ever, creating a new historical intra-day high of 2001.94.

The S&P 500's milestone came on a relatively quiet day for stocks. A light news-load isn't necessarily a bad thing for the markets according to First American Chief Investment Officer Jerry Braakman who told The Wall Street Journal that "less news is good for this market" and that "underlying earnings are strong. The economic prints continue to improve."

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  • The Dow gained 0.44 percent, closing at 17,076.87.
  • The S&P 500 gained 0.48 percent, closing at 1,997.92.
  • The Nasdaq gained 0.41 percent, closing at 4,557.35.
  • Gold lost 0.27 percent, trading at $1,275.20 an ounce.
  • Oil lost 0.33 percent, trading at $93.34 a barrel.
  • Silver lost 0.20 percent, trading at $19.44 an ounce.

News Of Note

July Chicago Fed National Activity Index rose to +0.39 from +0.21 (revised from +0.12) in June.

August U.S. PMI Services Index fell to 58.5 (versus expectations of 59.5) from 60.8 in July.

July New Home Sales fell 2.4 percent to 412,000 (versus expectations of 430,000) from 422,000 (revised from 406,000) in June.

August Dallas Fed Manufacturing Outlook fell to 7.1 (versus expectations of 12.8) from 12.7 in July.

South Korea's government stated that it will take action against the U.S.' recent anti-dumping tariffs imposed on the country's steel pipes.

Ukraine plans to hold new parliamentary elections on October 26.

Analyst Upgrades And Downgrades Of Note

Analysts at Brasil Plural initiated coverage of Anheuser-Busch InBev (NYSE: BUD) with an Overweight rating and $121 price target. Shares gained 1.43 percent, closing at $111.72.

Analysts at Raymond James upgraded CBOE Holdings (NASDAQ: CBOE) to Outperform from Market Perform with a $60 price target. Shares gained 3.90 percent, closing at $53.05.

Analysts at Brasil Plural initiated coverage of Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO) with an Overweight rating and $46 price target. Shares gained 0.71 percent, closing at $41.41.

Analysts at Piper Jaffray downgraded Foot Locker (NYSE: FL) to Neutral from Overweight with a price target raised to $57 from a previous $54. Also, analysts at Canaccord Genuity maintained a Buy rating on Foot Locker with a price target raised to $59 from a previous $56. Shares gained 0.81 percent, closing at $54.56.

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Analysts at Morgan Stanley reiterated an Overweight rating on MasterCard (NYSE: MA) while removing a previous $80 price target. Shares lost 0.07 percent, closing at $76.43.

Analysts at Stephens & Co. upgraded Texas Roadhouse (NASDAQ: TXRH) to Overweight from Equal-weight. Shares gained 2.19 percent, closing at $26.65.

Analysts at Wells Fargo initiated coverage of Transocean Pipeline (NYSE: RIGP) with an Outperform rating. Shares gained 3.0 percent, closing at $25.04.

Analysts at Wunderlich maintained a Hold rating on TripAdvisor (NASDAQ: TRIP) with a price target raised to $100 from a previous $88. Shares gained 1.76 percent, closing at $103.79.

Analysts at Credit Suisse upgraded U.S. Steel (NYSE: X) to Outperform from Underperform with a price target raised to $50 from a previous $22. Also, analysts at Compass Point maintained an Outperform rating on U.S. Steel with an unchanged $42 price target. Shares hit new 52-week highs of $39.20 before closing the day at $38.80, up 2.62 percent.

Equities-Specific News Of Note

Due to a technical glitch, CME Group (NASDAQ: CME) delayed opening trading on its electronic platform by four hours. Shares gained 1.06 percent, closing at $75.65.

Ralph Lauren (NYSE: RL) introduced a new shirt that collects heartbeat and respiration, among other data, which sends this information to a cloud. The company will begin testing the shirt at the U.S. Open this week. Shares gained 0.11 percent, closing at $169.96.

Analysts at Raymond James prepared a “top-ten” list of companies that Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ) could potentially acquire. The list includes several private companies but also include FireEye (NASDAQ: FEYE), Fortinet, (NASDAQ: FTNT) Palo Alto Networks (NASDAQ: PANW) or Arista Networks (NYSE: ANET) Shares of Hewlett Packard gained 0.84 percent, closing at $37.15. Shares of FireEye lost 0.32 percent, closing at $27.92; shares of Fortinet lost 0.12 percent, closing at $25.41; Shares of Palo Alto Networks lost 0.52 percent, closing at $84.57; shares of Arista Networks lost 0.05 percent, closing at $75.58.

Alcoa (NYSE: AA) announced it will permanently close its Portovesme aluminum smelter in Italy and expects the actions to result in a $170 million to $180 million after tax (or $0.14 to $0.15) charge in the third quarter. Shares gained 0.18 percent, closing at $16.48.

Ebix (NASDAQ: EBIX) said it will buy back up to $80 million worth of shares over the next 12 months. Shares gained 5.34 percent, closing at $14.79.

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According to The Information, Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN) has been involved in late-stage talks to acquire Twitch and could announce a deal shortly. Prior reports suggested that Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) was close to finalizing a deal to acquire Twitch for around $1 billion. Towards the end of the trading day Amazon.com announced it finalized a deal to acquire Twitch for $970 million. Shares of Amazon.com gained 0.73 percent, closing at $334.02 while shares of Google lost 0.41 percent, closing at $580.20.

Buffalo Wild Wings (NASDAQ: BWLD) announced it acquired a majority stake in Rusty Taco for an undisclosed amount. Shares gained 1.98 percent, closing at $147.16.

Cliffs Natural Resources (NYSE: CLF) announced it plans to purchase $200 million of its shares through year-end 2015. The company also stated that its former CEO Gary Halverson has resigned from the company's board of directors. Shares gained 0.82 percent, closing at $15.94.

According to The New York Post, AT&T (NYSE: T) has reached an agreement with the Department of Justice to receive a regulatory approval for its merger with DirecTV (NASDAQ: DTV). Shares of AT&T gained 0.03 percent, closing at $34.51 while shares of DirecTV gained 1.09 percent, closing at $85.47.

Sonoco Products (NYSE: SON) has agreed to acquire German based Weidenhammer Packaging for $383 million. The deal is expected to be accretive to Sonoco's 2015 base earnings by $0.09 to $0.14 per share. Shares of Sonoco gained 0.42 percent, closing at $40.47.

Winners Of Note

Burger King Worldwide (NYSE: BKW) confirmed it was in talks to acquire Tim Hortons (NYSE: THI). A combination of the two restaurants would create the world's third largest Quick Service Restaurant with 18,000 locations and $22 billion in sales. It has been reported that Burger King is interested in acquiring the Canadian based Tim Hortons to relocate its headquarters to Canada and take advantage of a tax inversion. Shares of Burger King hit new 52-week highs of $33.97 before closing the day at $32.40, up 19.51 percent. Shares of Tim Hortons also hit new 52-week highs of $77.80 before closing the day at $74.72, up 18.91 percent.

The board of directors of InterMune (NASDAQ: ITMN) has agreed to be acquired by Roche for $8.3 billion or $74 per share, a near 40 percent premium to Friday's closing price. Shares surged to new 52-week highs of $73.19 before closing the day at $72.85, up 35.41 percent.

Engine Capital and the investment advising firm Red Alder stated that Ann (NYSE: ANN) could be worth between $50 and $55 per share to a third-party acquirer. The activist investment firm who owns a one percent stake in Ann stated that it “had no choice but to share our thoughts publicly” following recent meetings with management. The company responded and stated that it welcomes communications with all shareholders and always strives to create further shareholder value. Shares gained 6.45 percent, closing at $39.94.

Life Time Fitness (NYSE: LTM) stated that it is considering a move to convert its assets into an REIT. The company also stated that a new shareholder rights plan has been approved which will limit individual ownership to 9.8 percent of shares so that the REIT plan can be successfully implemented. Shares gained 16.25 percent, closing at $48.36.

Digital Ally's (NASDAQ: DGLY) CEO told Benzinga that strength in the company's shares are “due not only to Ferguson, but all cities and states that have started talking about it” Shares surged 59.19 percent, closing at $12.64.

Decliners Of Note

On Sunday, Chinese based Qihoo 360 (NYSE: QIHU) reported its second quarter results. The company announced an EPS of $0.50, beating the consensus estimate of $0.46. Revenue of $317.90 million beat the consensus estimate of $309.38 million. Net income for the quarter rose to $39.1 million from $33.0 million in the same quarter a year ago as as the company saw a 89.0 percent revenue growth in online ad revenue to $171.3 million while Internet value-added services revenue rose 140 percent to $146.2 million. Total monthly active users of Qihoo's 360's PC-based products and services rose to 496 million in June from 461 million in June of last year. However, the company saw its gross margins fall to 79.1 percent in the quarter from 79.5 percent last quarter and from 88.3 percent a year ago. Operating expenses rose 19 percent from last quarter and 114 percent from a year ago to $208.3 million as the company heavily spent on sales and marketing. The company issued guidance and sees its third quarter revenue being in a range of $360 million to $365 million. Shares lost 7.74 percent, closing at $93.87.

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GrubHub (NYSE: GRUB) reported that it will issue 1.25 million new shares and sell 8.78 million shares on behalf of existing holders which include the company's CEO Matthew Maloney, Chairman Brian McAndrews and President Jonathan Zabusky. Shares lost 8.42 percent, closing at $39.16.

Quote Of The Day

"I am confident that the battle for Ukraine, for independence will end up successfully for us due to the nationwide solidarity multiplied by courage and heroism of our warriors." - Ukraine's President Poroshenko speaking at an Independence Day parade on August 24 in Kiev.

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