Tag Archive | "european"

Opening Bell: 06.01.11

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S.E.C. Case Stands Out Because It Stands Alone (NYT)
But [Fabrice] Tourre’s world would soon be turned upside down. In fall 2009, the S.E.C. issued him a Wells notice, a formal warning that he was likely to be named in a civil fraud suit for his role in the mortgage deals. Mr. Egol also received such a notice in 2010. In their Oct. 10 response to the S.E.C., Mr. Tourre’s lawyers, including Pamela Chepiga of Allen & Overy, made an argument that they have not emphasized publicly. They contended that “singling Mr. Tourre out for criticism regarding the content of this clearly collaborative effort is unreasonable.” These legal replies, which are not public, were provided to The New York Times by Nancy Cohen, an artist and filmmaker in New York also known as Nancy Koan, who says she found the materials in a laptop she had been given by a friend in 2006.  The friend told her he had happened upon the laptop discarded in a garbage area in a downtown apartment building. E-mail messages for Mr. Tourre continued streaming into the device, but Ms. Cohen said she had ignored them until she heard Mr. Tourre’s name in news reports about the S.E.C. case.  She then provided the material to The Times. Mr. Tourre’s lawyer did not respond to an inquiry for comment.

Did the NYT hack Fabrice Tourre’s email? (Reuters)
Felix Salmon: “Louise Story and Gretchen Morgenson have a long and rambling story about the court case against Goldman’s Fabrice Tourre, which is mainly interesting for how it was sourced…I’m sure this was extremely carefully formulated, but it does raise a lot of questions without answering them. Tourre’s name was splashed over the newspapers in April 2010, so it stands to reason that the NYT has had some kind of access to Tourre’s private, password-protected email account — not to mention archives going back at least to 2006 — for a good year at this point. I’d also guess that the NYT is going public with its source now because Tourre finally got around to changing his password, and the stream of emails then dried up.”

SAC Faces Probe of Biotech Trading (WSJ)
MedImmune shares jumped 18% on April 23, 2007, the day its takeover was announced. Trading was heavy before the announcement, driving shares up more than 50% over six weeks, suggesting that rumors of a deal may have reached traders ahead of the announcement. SAC significantly increased its holdings of MedImmune during the quarter prior to the one in which the deal was announced, according to public filings. SAC increased its holdings from 151,000 shares in the fourth quarter of 2006 to 796,000 shares in first quarter of 2007. It cut its holdings to 30,000 shares at the end of 2007′s second quarter, then reported that it sold the position completely, according to filings.

Greece nears IMF/EU deal, dismisses drachma talk (Reuters)
Greece should complete talks by the end of the week with inspectors from the EU and IMF on a medium-term budget plan plus a vital next slice of international aid, sources close to the negotiations said on Wednesday.

EU warns US to speed up bank reform (FT)
In a letter sent last week to US Treasury secretary Tim Geithner, Michel Barnier, the European commissioner in charge of financial markets, argued that Brussels was ahead of the US in several areas – including capital requirements for banks and limits on bonuses for financial executives. Mr Barnier urged the US to match European efforts. “The level playing field must be a reality, not an empty slogan,” he wrote in the May 27 letter, which was obtained by the Financial Times.

Irish lenders outline loss plans for bondholders (FT)
Three of Ireland’s lenders revealed plans to impose losses of up to 90 per cent on bondholders in attempts to make them shoulder some of the cost of recapitalising the country’s banks. Bank of Ireland said it would shortly announce a cash offer for €2.6bn ($3.7bn) of its subordinated debt, with discounts of either 80 per cent or 90 per cent depending on the type of bond. Two smaller lenders, Irish Life & Permanent and EBS, planned to impose similar losses on holders of about €1bn of debt.

UBS May Move Stamford Investment Bank to World Trade Center (Businessweek)
UBS AG, Switzerland’s biggest lender, may move the staff of its U.S. investment bank from Stamford, Connecticut, to the World Trade Center in Manhattan by 2015, a person with direct knowledge of the plan said.

Attorney General orders more episodes of the “The Wire”, or a movie (Reuters)
“I want to speak directly to Mr. Burns and Mr. Simon: Do another season of ‘The Wire’,” Holder said, drawing laughter and applause from the audience. “That’s actually at a minimum. … If you don’t do a season, do a movie.  We’ve done HBO movies, this is a series that deserves a movie. I want another season or I want a movie. I have a lot of power Mr. Burns and Mr. Simon.”

‘Expert Networker’ Jiau Faces Trial in U.S. Insider-Trading Investigation (Bloomberg)
Winifred Jiau, a former consultant with so-called expert networking firm Primary Global Research LLC, faces jury selection as her insider trading trial begins today, the third tied to a nationwide probe of illegal stock- tipping.

Citigroup Close to China Securities Partnership Deal (WSJ)
Citigroup Inc. is close to an agreement with a partner in China to set up a joint-venture securities business that would give the New York bank a long-sought foothold in China’s domestic capital markets, according to people familiar with the situation. Citigroup is expected to sign a memorandum of understanding with Shanghai-based Orient Securities Company Ltd. as soon as Thursday morning China time.

EIB halts Glencore lending on governance concerns (Reuters)
The EIB, the European Union’s lending institution, provided in 2005 a $50 million loan to Mopani Copper Mines, a Zambian subsidiary of Swiss-based Glencore, to help pay for the modernisation of a copper smelter. But Mopani has since been accused by some non-governmental organisations — most recently by campaign groups in an open letter signed by a group of European parliamentarians — of tax evasion and of causing widespread pollution.

Morgan Stanley Invests in Short-Sale Target Yongye International of China (Bloomberg)
Morgan Stanley agreed to invest $50 million in Yongye International Inc. (YONG), the U.S.-traded producer of plant nutrients in China that is the target of a short seller who says the company has misrepresented its business.

South Korea Probes Foreign Banks (WSJ)
Financial Supervisory Service Deputy Gov. Kim Yung-dae said at a briefing Tuesday that some foreign-bank branches in South Korea were handing over day-to-day trading operations involving money held in local accounts to a larger foreign branch or regional headquarters in places like Hong Kong and Singapore. Such outsourcing is illegal in South Korea…Mr. Kim said HSBC Holdings PLC and Crédit Agricole SA have already been sanctioned for improper outsourcing of operations involving derivatives…A person familiar with the situation said Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC may also be sanctioned for engaging in similar activity, with the FSS likely to decide on the matter in June or July.

Sovereign ratings still relevant – but mostly when they go negative (FT Alphaville)
Bond markets still react to sovereign ratings announcements, though they tend to react more when the rating agencies say something negative. That’s the conclusion of a new working paper from the European Central Bank, which looked at changes in yields and CDS spreads after rating actions from Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s and Fitch on two dozen European Union countries from 1995 on.

Lehman Veteran Is Back in Game (WSJ)
Mark Walsh is best known for the gigantic real-estate deals that backfired on Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. before it collapsed in 2008. As the financial crisis recedes, the 52-year-old Mr. Walsh is mounting a low-key comeback at a new real-estate firm by leaning on connections made before the real-estate bubble burst. “Unfortunately, Mark has to live with the talk of having done a couple of bad deals, rather than people focusing on the overwhelming amount of good ones,” says New York real-estate developer Steven Witkoff.

Accuser was maid to wait (NYP)
A female manager at the ritzy Pierre hotel was suspended yesterday for shrugging off a room attendant who reported that an Egyptian business big shot had just sexually assaulted her in his room, the hotel revealed yesterday. The manager, whose name was not released, merely noted the maid’s shocking claims in a logbook — and never reported them to Pierre security, her own bosses or police, officials said.

Sarah Palin, Donald Trump split a pepperoni pizza at Famous Famiglia in Times Square (NYDN)
“She didn’t ask me (to run with her) but I’ll tell you, she’s a terrific woman,” Trump said as he ushered Palin into a branch of Famous Famiglia pizza on Broadway at 50th St.

ACLU wants porn to be allowed for South Carolina inmates (ABC)
The American Civil Liberties Union is pushing for porn at a detention center in Moncks Corner, South Carolina. The move came after reports surfaced that the facility only allowed inmates to read the Bible. But prison officials said that isn’t true and inmates have a wide variety of reading material at their disposal.



Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

YGE Off 7% On Q1 Miss; Reaffirms Year Shipment View

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Shares of Chinese solar energy technology provider Yingli Green Energy (YGE) are down 72 cents, or 7%, at $9.24 after the company this morning missed Q1 estimates on a decline in photovoltaic module shipment, in line with a pre-announcement last week, but re-affirmed its year module shipment target.

Yingli’s Q1 revenue rose 41% to $527 million, missing the average $573 million estimate, yielding eps of 38 cents, a penny below consensus.

Yingli said it shipped fewer modules than expected thanks to “decreased PV module shipment as a result of the policy change in Italy.”

Module shipments fell by “a low teen percentage” from Q4′s level. The company expects shipment volume to rise 30% in Q2.

“Although solar policy changes in certain European countries have caused short term market fluctuations, in the long term, we continue to view Europe as one of our most important markets,” said CEO Liansheng Miao.

Yingli reaffirmed its shipment forecast of 1.7 gigawatts to 1.75 gigawatts this year.

Among analyst reactions this morning, Jesse Pichel with Jefferies & Co. reiterated a Buy rating on the shares and a $19 price target. The big issue is competitor Trina Solar’s (TSL) quarterly miss, reported on Tuesday, and Trina’s remarks that it will get more aggressive on pricing. How will YGE respond? “Our channel checks indicate that YGE is strongly preferred in Europe over TSL, and thus it may not have to be as aggressive on price, but could if needed given its low cost structure.”

On the other hand, Timothy Arcuri with Citigroup reiterates a Sell rating, and an $11 price target, writing that a rise in days of inventory for YGE from 84 to 110 is evidence for an “inventory build in the supply chain.”

“We continue to think challenges related to the startup of poly operations will hamper the outlook for YGE relative to its peers, and continued reliance on Germany is also a concern given out outlook is for that market to have declining share of global demand going forward.”

Article courtesy of Tech Trader Daily

Opening Bell: 05.13.11

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SEC Eyes Charges For Bond Players (WSJ)
Securities and Exchange Commission officials are pushing hard as part of their ongoing probe of collateralized debt obligations and other mortgage-related products developed by Wall Street to bring charges against individuals, such as executives involved in selling the deals or outsiders who managed the assets, these people said. While the situation remains fluid, the agency also could file civil charges against hedge-fund managers who helped structure certain mortgage-bond deals but then bet against them.

U.S. bank failure costs to exceed estimates by $2 billion (Reuters)
The FDIC’s 2010 loss estimate for bank failures rose to $24.18 billion at year’s end, up from initial estimates of $22.17 billion. The bank regulator increased the loss estimate for 102 out of 157 banks that failed in 2010, according to SNL Financial.

Brevan Howard, Jamison Hedge Funds Said to Advance During Commodities Rout (Bloomberg)
The Brevan Howard Commodities Strategies Master Fund Ltd., which managed $368 million as of March 31, gained 1.1 percent in the first week of May, an investor report obtained by Bloomberg showed. Jamison’s Koppenberg Macro Commodity Fund Ltd., which manages more than $600 million, advanced about 4 percent, said two people with direct knowledge of the matter, declining to be identified because the information is private.

Germany and France Surprise With Strong Growth (NYT)
The euro area’s two largest economies, Germany and France, showed surprising strength in the first quarter of the year, helping lift the entire continent’s performance despite sharp pain along the edges. As a result, the European Commission said in its spring forecast, released Friday, that prospects for 2011 looked “slightly better” than six months ago.

Greece Default Anticipated by 85% in Investor Poll (Bloomberg)
Eighty-five percent of those surveyed this week said Greece probably will default, with majorities predicting the same fate for Portugal and Ireland, which followed Greece in seeking European Union-led bailouts, a new Bloomberg Global Poll shows. The outlook for all three countries deteriorated since January.

Goldman’s O’Neill Says ‘Black Swan’ Concern Overblown, Stocks Set to Rally (Bloomberg)
The view that “the West is in trouble” is wrong when nations including Germany, Sweden, Australia and Canada are performing strongly, O’Neill said in an interview with Bloomberg Television in Hong Kong, recorded yesterday and broadcast today. Investors should “stop worrying so much,” said O’Neill, known for coining the BRIC acronym for Brazil, Russia, India and China…“Every little problem that crops up somewhere in the world is not going to create another black swan,” he said, adding that “there’s far too much conservatism,” in terms of investors holding cash.

Rajaratnam Loss Raises Questions Over Defense Strategy (WSJ)
Mr. Dowd’s closing argument was one of many components of Mr. Rajaratnam’s ultimately failed defense strategy. Many moves by the defense team and Mr. Rajaratnam are now likely to be evaluated, including the selection of a largely working-class jury in a case involving a billionaire, his choice not to take the stand, Mr. Dowd’s often-combative style, and the overarching attempt to convince jurors that the hedge-fund titan only relied on publicly available information in the face of recordings to the contrary.

Rand Paul says people who support universal healthcare ‘believe in slavery’ (LA Times)
Rand Paul, the freshman senator from Kentucky, was speaking recently about healthcare, specifically the new healthcare law some refer to as “Obamacare.”  Like many Republicans, Paul, the son of Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), doesn’t like it. Unlike many conservatives, the “tea party” darling doesn’t like the law  because it reminds him of slavery.

China Fund Confident of Getting More Cash (WSJ)
China Investment Corp. is making progress toward getting fresh funds, one of its top officials said, addressing uncertainty about the future of the sovereign-wealth fund, which faces critical scrutiny over its performance after investing all of its initial $200 billion.

Crédit Agricole doubles profits to €1bn (FT)
Crédit Agricole’s quarterly net profit rose to €1.0bn ($1.42bn) from €470m a year ago, which was higher than average analyst expectations of about €992.5m, according to a Reuters poll.

I.R.S. Moves to Tax Gifts to Groups Active in Politics (NYT)
Invoking a provision that had rarely, if ever, been enforced, the Internal Revenue Service said it had sent letters to five donors, who were not identified, informing them that their contributions may be subject to gift taxes depending on whether the donations exceeded limits under the tax laws.

1 in 3 young NYers plans to leave state (AP via NYP)
A recent poll finds that 1 in 3 New Yorkers under age 30 plans to move to another state at some point…The poll finds that most of those who plan to move will do so because of economic reasons including jobs, the cost of living, and taxes.

‘Fair Value’ Accounting Guidelines Tweaked (WSJ)
Perhaps the most significant changes affect companies’ disclosures about their “Level 3″ assets, which are the risky, illiquid securities valued using a company’s own estimates and models rather than market prices. Companies will have to disclose more about the processes and assumptions they use in their Level 3 valuations. They will also have to discuss what might happen to the company’s valuations if the factors they are using were to change.

Ashton Kutcher Will Join ‘Two and a Half Men’ (Hollywood Reporter)
Two sources close to the deal-making tell The Hollywood Reporter that the actor is putting the final touches on a deal to replace Charlie Sheen as the star of TV’s No. 1 comedy.



Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

First Solar: One Upgrade, Three Downgrades; Chanos Piles On

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Shares of First Solar (FSLR) continue to trade down this morning following an 8%-or-so drop last night after a Q1 report that beat estimates but saw the push-out of a project in Q2 and some cautious comments about solar energy subsidy regulation in Europe.

First Solar shares are down $8.66, or 6.4%, at $126.

None other than hedge fund titan Jim Chanos was on CNBC yesterday afternoon talking down the stock, predicting the price could drop to “the mid double-digits.” Note that Chanos’s remarks came in the context of his warning to get the heck out of China, where he thinks the growth path of the economy is unsustainable.

There’s a real easy part of the story: Insiders are selling lots and lots of stock over the past year, and insiders are leaving the company. That’s never a good sign. Whether you should be short, we have some issues with some of their accounting, we have some issue with some of their subsidized markets. And quite frankly, solar, still, is at a point where it does not compete with natural gas. we cannot rely on wind and solar for base load. We’re still looking for the magic bullet for solar and wind. I think the stock certainly could earn a lot less than the $9 run-rate the bulls are looking at.

(See the video below.)

Eric Rosenbaum of TheStreet.com today offers some thoughts on what he says are Chanos’s repeat appearances on CNBC with bad things to say about FSLR.

I see three downgrades this morning — I missed one earlier, from Credit Suisse — and one upgrade in the Street’s initial assessment, but also a deep divide between those who don’t like how much emphasis has been put on the latter half of the year to make the $9 profit mark, and those who see plenty of levers for First Solar to pull:

Bullish!

Mark Bachman, Auriga Securities: Raised his rating on the shares to Buy from Hold, with a $160 price target. “First Solar modules remain in high demand given the combination of low price and high energy yield,” writes Bachman. Bachman observes that while subsidy reductions create uncertainty, as long as investors can obtain debt financing and as long as First Solar’s modules offer investment returns that are “above project hurdles,” then there will actually be a “dramatic increase” in solar investment as projects rush to get going before the next subsidy adjustment. First Solar has the ability to increase project installations in the U.S., and to get into new Asian markets. “We also recognize management’s historical accuracy of forecasting both sales and profitability, thus the reiteration of 2011 guidance speaks volumes to us.”

Robert Stone, Cowen & Co.: Reiterates an Outperform rating. The project push-out woes, the hand-wringing over Europe, and the back-end-loaded year outlook make for a buying opportunity in the stock, he thinks, as this is just a “pause” for the company.

Ramesh Misra, Brigantine Advisors: Reiterates a Buy rating and a $170 target. Today is a buying opportunity, as the North American utility-scale projects provide a buffer to European troubles. The projects push-outs and the tariff issues were “not entirely unanticipated,” he writes. “While any revenue push-out [from the company’s Agua Caliente project] is a negative development, we are not overly concerned about this. The company’s EPC business will, almost by definition, tend to be lumpy based on the timing of revenue recognition.” Misra also offers that any rise in the Chinese renminbi could have an adverse impact on Chinese competitors to First Solar.

John Hardy, Gleacher & Co.: Reiterates a Buy rating and a $165 price target. He’s keeping his 2011 estimate of $3.8 billion in revenue intact, while trimming his EPS estimate to $9.66 from $9.70. “Stock and sector are likely to remain under pressure until Italy is sorted out and poly module pricing begins to solidify, but we continue to view FSLR as an outperformed given project flexibility in the U.S.

Mark Wienkes, Goldman Sachs: Reiterates a Buy rating and a $190 price target, saying that he likes “the risk-reward in the stock, particularly given increased strategic interest in solar companies (Total, GE, Hanwha), cost cuts are tracking on plan and are allowing for constructive ASP declines, larger markets, and fewer variable competitors, and 2011 production is allocated, with the pipeline buffer offering a profitable source of demand in both the second half of 2011 and 2012 should European markets remain soft.”

Bearish!

Ben Pang, Caris & Co.: Cut his rating on the stock to Average from Above Average and cut his price target to $139 from $172. “We think there is much higher risk to estimates due to growing uncertainty regarding renewable energy programs in Europe.” With Europe accounting for 70% of shipments, by his estimate (I’m assuming he means industry shipments), Pang sees increasing political gridlock in Europe as being not fully compensated for by First Solar’s “buffer” in North America. Pang cut his full-year estimates to $3.74 billion in revenue and $9.38 in EPS from a prior $3.79 billion and $9.43.

Dan Ries, Collins Stewart: Cut his rating to Neutral from Buy, with a $144 price target from $180, and cut his 2011 estimates to $3.75 billion and $9.36 per share in earnings from a prior $3.79 billion and $9.60 per share. “Given that the Department of Energy process [which is part of the Agua Caliente ramp-up] is an unknown to investors, we expects First Solar’s P/E multiple to contract while the risk of additional delays is present,” writes Ries. He cut his own P/E to 12 times from 15 times. “We will reconsider our rating if the stock approaches $100 or if we get greater clarity on the construction schedule for its large systems backlog.”

Satya Kumar, Credit Suisse: Cut his rating to Neutral from Buy and cut his price target to $115 from $137. “Our view has been that the stock is not interesting until it is closer to the $100 to $125 range.” Kumar’s sum-of-the-parts valuation of the stock assumes $90 of value for the panel business; $11 for the system business; and $14 worth of value for the cash on the balance sheet and “management premium.”

Gordon Johnson, Axiom Capital: Reiterates a Sell rating. “First Solar’s guidance implies an acute recovery in the second half. We believe this year will be defined by multiple estimate revisions for First Solar.” Johnson thinks First Solar is implying it can double or triple the build-out rate of the Agua Caliente project to meet the $9.50 earnings target. That would imply, he argues, 50 megawatts per month for the project, when project terms as agreed to were for just 20 megawatts per month. “While this is admittedly possible … we believe there has been a fundamental change in the story,” given the implied cut to Q2 outlook, a lower outlook on module sales for Q2, which he thinks implies a build-up of inventory; and an average cost for modules that is flat, year over year, implying “the business of selling modules is becoming less profitable,” he believes.

Weston Twigg, Pacific Crest: Reiterates a Sector Perform rating. Twigg sees a “ramp-up” of the utility-scale solar business as a buffer for First Solar in the second half of the year against lower module prices caused by competing silicon products. Twigg is concerned, however, by the recent departure of Bruce Sohn, who was the company’s “manufacturing guru,” in his view. While there’s upside potential for $182 per share, he writes that he has “little conviction” in the stock hitting that.

Article courtesy of Tech Trader Daily

Opening Bell: 05.04.11

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U.S. May Pursue More Lenders After Suing Deutsche Bank on Loans (Bloomberg)
“We go where the evidence takes us, and if it takes us to the larger players on Wall Street, so be it,” Kanovsky said. U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said it wouldn’t be a “fantastical stretch” for prosecutors to scrutinize other lenders.

Steep Drop Tarnishes Big Bets On Silver (WSJ)
George Soros’s big hedge fund, a firm operated by high-profile investor John Burbank and some other leading firms have been selling gold and silver, according to people close to the matter, after furiously accumulating precious metals for much of the past two years…Some others with stellar records—including Mr. Burbank, of Passport Capital, and Alan Fournier, of Pennant Capital—also have been passionate about precious metals, giving encouragement to individual investors to follow. Now they are selling, in each case for distinct reasons…[John] Paulson told investors Tuesday morning that gold prices could go as high as $4,000 an ounce over the next three to five years, as the U.S. and U.K. flood the money supply…Andrew Hall, a former star trader at Citigroup who runs hedge fund Astenbeck Capital Management LLC and trades for Phibro, a unit of Occidental Petroleum Corp., told his clients last month that gold and silver will continue to “march higher” unless evidence emerges of “an imminent rise” in interest rates.

Official: Portugal bailout to be $115 billion‎ (BusinessWeek)
“The government got a good deal, one that safeguards Portugal,” Prime Minister Jose Socrates said in a televised address to the nation. He did not take questions.

Portugal aid terms likely to spark 2-year recession (Reuters)
An official source told Reuters the austerity measures to be included in the deal, such as higher taxes, point to a “contraction of 2 percent in gross domestic product in 2011 and in 2012″. That will make it yet more challenging for the heavily indebted country, which has had some of the lowest growth rates in Europe for a decade, to ride out its crisis and return to financial health. The source told Reuters taxes will rise on cars and property and there will be cuts in deductions on health, education and housing.

US Becomes Net Exporter of Fuel (FT)
The US has become a net exporter of fuel for the first time for nearly 20 years as drivers struggle with high petrol prices.

4 Billionaires at Glencore (BBC)
When Glencore publishes its full flotation prospectus later this morning, it will show that there are four billionaires working for the world’s leading commodities, minerals and energy trader. These are led by the chief executive Ivan Glasenberg, who will be shown to be worth around $10bn. But it is the quartet of billionaires, plus many others worth more than $100m each, and hundreds who are millionaires, that makes Glencore quite extraordinary.

U.S. Regulators Face Budget Pinch as Mandates Widen (NYT)
On a recent trip to New York to tour a trading floor, a group of employees from the commodities watchdog rode Mega Bus both ways, arriving late to their meeting despite a 5:30 a.m. departure. The bus, which cost $30 a person round trip, saved the agency roughly $1,000 over Amtrak…The money squeeze comes as Wall Street regulators take on added responsibilities in the wake of the financial crisis, including monitoring hedge funds, overseeing the $600 trillion derivatives market and other tasks mandated by the Dodd-Frank law.

Euro Approaches 18-Month High Versus Dollar Before ECB Decision (Bloomberg)
The 17-member common currency strengthened against all but one of its most actively traded peers as a report showed European services and manufacturing growth accelerated in April. The Dollar Index declined toward the lowest level since July 2008. New Zealand’s dollar dropped to a two-week low after a government report showed the nation had the biggest net outflow of residents in more than 10 years. The pound slumped to the weakest in more than a year against the euro.

Foreign Banks Get Scrutiny in Britain (WSJ)
The Financial Services Authority’s goal is to prevent certain companies from exploiting European rules to set up banking and brokerage operations that the agency views as potentially risky because they use a structure that doesn’t face tough local supervision. But the move by the FSA is controversial. Some observers said the pressure conflicts with Europe’s “passporting” rules, under which financial institutions from anywhere in the 30-country European Economic Area are allowed to open outposts in other member countries. Those “branches,” which can house a range of business activities, face limited oversight by local regulators. Instead, they primarily are the responsibility of regulators in their home countries.

KKR and TPG look to move into Brazil (FT)
KKR and TPG are hunting for a senior figure to lead their offices in Brazil, who will then recruit start- up teams, people in the industry said.

At Nasdaq, a Pitch and Woo (WSJ)
Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. has rolled out the red carpet to hedge funds, racing to persuade them to buy up shares of NYSE Euronext to derail the Big Board’s planned tie-up with Deutsche Börse AG…Some merger arbitragers and hedge-fund investors have met with Nasdaq Chief Executive Robert Greifeld three times in the last few weeks, people familiar with the matter said. They also are being offered private meetings with Mr. Greifeld and special tours of Nasdaq headquarters, these people said.

Southampton’s Former Goldman Sachs Party Pad Sells for $4.1M (Curbed)
In 2009, the New York Post caught wind that Goldman Sachs exec Richard Kimball Jr. was in hot water with the Southampton Police. Turns out Kimball, the ex-husband of Holly Peterson, was throwing pretty rowdy pool parties at his Southampton rental. But while Kimball was partying, the rental was trying to find itself a more permanent buyer.

Wall Street’s Cult Calculator Turns 30 (WSJ)
Thirty years after the launch of the 12c, it’s still commonplace for financial analysts filing into a conference room to set down their calculators next to their papers and cellphones. Indeed, the 12c, which costs $70 on H-P’s website, is H-P’s best-selling calculator of all time, though the company won’t reveal how many units it has sold over the years. (A standard calculator costs about $10.) Its chief competitor is Texas Instruments’ $28 BA II Plus, which is the only other calculator test-takers are permitted to use on the official CFA exam.

Florida woman, Gloria Esther Perez, busted for hiding knife in her ‘private area’ (NYDN via Daily Intel)
Perez was searched and found to be hiding dozens of prescription pills, police said. Perez then “became ill,” the police report states, and was taken to a hospital. Once there, it was discovered she was concealing two knives. One was tucked within the folds of her fat while the other was “hidden in her vagina.”



Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

FSLR Falls 6%: Q1 Beats Estimates; Reiterates Year View (Update)

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Solar energy technology provider First Solar (FSLR) this evening reported Q1 revenue and earnings per share comfortably ahead of analysts’ estimates, and reiterated its year revenue and shipment target.

Q1 revenue were down slightly, year over year, to $567 million from $568 million, still beating the average $544 million estimate. EPS of $1.33 beat the average $1.16 estimate.

For the year, First Solar still sees revenue of $3.7 billion to $3.8 billion in revenue, and EPS of $9.25 to $9.75.

First Solar shares are down $1.38, or 1%, at $133.28 in late trading. The stock initially had a drop of 3% or so, but has been paring its losses.

CEO Rob Gilette said that, “Despite European market uncertainties, First Solar has good visibility into our demand for 2011.”

Update: First Solar shares have reversed course and are now down $7.53, or almost 6%, at $127.13.

The company’s conference call with analysts is in progress, and has produced some cautionary statements that may be weighing on the shares. Briefing.com notes that, “Tighter industry economics are expected” in the second half of the year, and that subsidy issues in Germany, Italy and elsewhere in Europe were a headwind in the quarter, as was rising interest rates, which “hurt financing.”

Article courtesy of Tech Trader Daily

RIMM, MMI: Analysts’ Reactions

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Shares of both Research in Motion (RIMM) and Motorola Mobility (MMI) were on the move today, the former  down more than 13% on its disappointing first quarter guidance, the latter up nearly 12% on its earnings report.

Here’s what analysts are saying about RIMM:

Gleacher & Co. analyst Stephen Patel downgraded stock from Buy to Neutral and lowered his target price to $56: “International growth (up 94% y/y) helped overshadow a weak U.S (down 9% y/y) in FY11, but with RIMM pointing to slower sales in Latin America, we are more concerned that international will no longer be able to compensate for softness in North America. Weakness in Latin America could be an early sign that competitor inroads will not be confined to the U.S. market. New products later than expected with stale products putting RIMM in a deeper hole. Certain new products will launch in late FY2Q, 1-2 months later than our expectation for June-July launches. We estimate that 1/4 to 1/3 of Blackberry subscribers in the U.S. who came up for contract renewals last quarter switched to other platforms, leading to an estimated net ~1mil subscriber losses in the U.S. North American subscriber losses will likely continue as we await new products, and we are concerned that each passing month creates a higher bar for new Blackberry products and lowers the odds of RIMM being able to stabilize U.S. share. We still see NOK’s transition as a large opportunity for RIMM once compelling new products launch. However, with both currently competing on older products, RIMM’s May guidance does not yet provide evidence of share gain vs. Nokia”

Caris & Co. analyst Robert Cihra reiterated a 2* Above Average rating and $70 price target on the stock:  “Mostly a product cycling dynamic directionally still in line with our model, we only end up shaving 1c off our FY12 EPS estimate to $6.70, but this does keep us well short of RIMM’s more aggressive $7.50 guide, which management maintained. We think virtually across-the-board BlackBerry refreshes starting this summer (e.g., Bold Touch, Torch 2 and multiple new Curves) set up a big 2H rebound, though with an even heightened RISK profile in terms of new product longevity. Specifically, we’d continue to worry that from a platform standpoint, while RIMM’s new Playbook tablet intro’s its powerful new multitasking QNX OS, RIMM is not planning to launch QNX-based “super-phones” (e.g., dual-core) until early CY12, which makes us question how excited users/carriers may be for this year’s evolutionary OS 6.1 vs. waiting for the complete (and architecturally overdue) QNX-scaled re-write. This said…we see under-valued potential in BlackBerry’s ability to keep carving out a unique lower-cost SKU/value-added hardware+software+ service “niche” as smartphones effectively take over share of the >1.6B unit cell phone market, with our estimate RIMM plus Apple still just COMBINE at 8%-9% of all cell phones in CY11E.”

BGC Partners analyst Colin Gillis reiterated a Sell rating and $45 price target on the stock: “We are not changing our SELL rating and are concerned on future downward revisions. That said– it is worth pointing out that the market the company serves is that rare combination of being large and fast growing. We keep an open mind to the fact that there could be traction with new products in the future but we expect that Playbook shipments may be closer to our 2M estimate than the 5-6M range. Until we start to see positive data points there is no change to our SELL rating and $45 target. RIMM has $2.7B in cash ($5.15 / share) and no long term debt as of February 26, 2011. The company generated $1B in cash from operations in Q411.”

Sterne, Agee & Leach analyst Shaw Wu maintained a Neutral rating and and lowered his price target by $5 to $55:  “While we understand and appreciate that RIMM is making a big effort to turn itself around in closing the gap against Android and iPhone by rolling out a new generation of BlackBerries, we continue to believe the key risk is that gross and operating margins could come under pressure as we have seen in the past when it rolled out new models. The issues at hand are: (1) BOM (build-of-materials) costs go up as touchscreens require much more expensive displays and components including semiconductors and sensors and (2) royalty payments increase with the move to 2G -> 3G -> 4G networks where RIMM has a relatively weak patent portfolio. Ironically, we believe it may be smarter for RIMM to stagger the roll-out to avoid maximum dilution at once.”

Raymond James analyst Steven Li maintained an Outperform rating but lowered his target price from $77 to $71: “We already thought having QNX BlackBerries only arriving in 2012 (and no game changing products in between) was just asking for trouble with iPhone and Android gathering ever more momentum. Still, we were surprised with this lowering of guidance, particularly given that RIM’s F1Q12E guidance was barely one month old. This further clouds FY12E EPS visibility despite RIM maintaining its $7.50 EPS guidance. While management remains confident that upcoming “BlackBerry 7” phones expected this summer will drive significant volume, we have little visibility of that market acceptance, more so given Torch, which was also heavily touted last summer as an iPhone/Android comparable, failed to make significant inroads. We are staying the course mostly because QNX – which is PlayBook’s OS and also RIM’s future OS for smartphones – is finally something that is fast, fluid with amazing multi tasking that we think should compete well against iOS and Android. However, in the near-term, RIM’s shares could just tread water until we get some positive datapoints on either PlayBook or emerging markets or if BlackBerry 7 manages to surprise the skeptics next week at BlackBerry World. We also await the arrival of the Android App Player – which would allow Android apps to run on the PlayBook and other future QNX BlackBerries. The app players are expected to be available in the summer.”

Here’s what analysts are saying about MMI:

CL King analyst Lawrence Harris reiterated a Buy rating and $29 price target: “Motorola was able to offset the advent of the new Apple products at Verizon with increased sales in Latin America and China, as well as the introduction of the ATRIX 4G at AT&T. Verizon sold 2.2 million iPhones during the quarter, which was essentially in-line with but not above expectations. Motorola appears to be withstanding the impact of the iPhone better than other vendors such as Research in Motion, which pre-announced disappointing results last night.”

Canaccord Genuity analyst Michael Walkley reiterated a Hold rating on the stock but revised his price target upward to $25: “Motorola Mobility reported Q1/11 results with revenue and pro forma EPS slightly above our estimates, primarily driven by better than expected smartphone sales in China and Latin America. Management guided Q2/11 EPS of breakeven to $0.12 versus our $0.05 estimate. Our longer term concern remains increasing smartphone competition from larger Android-based OEM.”

Evercore Partners analyst Alkesh Shah reiterated an Overweight rating and $37 price target: “With $12 per share of cash, the stock trades at only 5-6x our FY2012 estimate of $2.14. As market share gains from new products (Bionic, ATRIX extensions, XOOM extensions), and broader international distribution occur over the next 4-6 quarters, we expect upside to earnings and its multiple. The largest risks are product launch execution, competition and potential commoditization due to multiple Android OS vendors.”

MKM Partners analyst Tero Kuittinen reiterated a Buy rating and $35 price target: ” We find relief in the company announcing its 20-23mn smartphone unit and 1.5-2mn tablet projections for 2011 after mounting concerns over the impact of the Bionic delay. We believe the upcoming Droid X2 launch can help offset at least half of the lost Bionic sales at Verizon during the spring quarter – we expect it to have a clear price advantage over Samsung Charge and LG Revolution during the quarter, as well as offering notably better power consumption. We believe the moderately priced Defy continues to have robust traction in international markets during the spring quarter.  We expect the Asian and European expansions to have a possible impact on earnings during the second half of the year. However, we believe it is crucially important for the company to grab a healthy chunk of Symbian market share that may be carved up by Nokia’s rivals during the summer and winter. Atrix is arriving at what we view as a great time to exploit Nokia’s high-end problems in Latin America, Asia and Europe. We anticipate that European LTE launches of the summer are going to be another interesting opening for Motorola.”

Article courtesy of Tech Trader Daily

Metal Takes Over Coachella At The Big 4 Festival

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Go HERE for more photos by Chazz Gold and tag yourself and your friends!

On Saturday, the place we know only as an annual fake hippie oasis or west coast retirement demo’s #1 destination year-round became metal country when The Big 4 descended on Indio. As we previously reported, on the heels of Coachella, the four biggest bands in heavy metal came together for a major blowout concert to rock the desert. Read the full story

Nokia Q1 Beats; Signs Deal With Microsoft; Stock Up 3%

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Shares of Nokia (NOK) rose 2.4% to €6.08 in European trading, and its ADRs are up 28 cents, or 3.3%, at $8.87 in New York trading, after the company’s Q1 revenue and profit beat analysts’ estimates, and it said it signed a definitive agreement with Microsoft (MSFT) ahead of schedule and had made progress on developing handsets with Windows software.

Q1 sales rose 9%, year over year, to €10.4 billion, beating the average €10.2 billion estimate, yielding EPS of €0.13 per share, excluding some costs, ahead of the average €0.9 per share estimate, according to Thomson Reuters estimates.

Nokia said its total volume of devices sold rose 1% from the year-earlier period and fell 12% from Q4 to 108.5 million units. Gross margin slipped slightly from Q4 to 29.1%. Sales of just mobile phones (leaving aside “converged devices”) fell, however, down 2% to 84.3 million units.

The company expects “devices & services” revenue to decline in Q2 to a range of €6.1 billion to €6.6 billion,

Nokia and Microsoft said in a separate statement that they signed an agreement for Nokia to pay Microsoft “a running royalty” for every phone with Microsoft’s Windows Phone software, beginning when the phones start to ship. The royalty will be “competitive,” the two said, and Nokia will also be paid “payments measured in the billions of dollars.”

The two will open a Nokia-branded online store for developers to post programs for Windows-based Nokia phones, and both companies will work to cultivate developers.

Nokia said the agreement was signed earlier than the two companies had expected. In addition, they said they had “started porting key applications and services to operate on Windows Phone and joint outreach has begun to third party application developers.”

Rough outlines of the deal had circulated shortly after the partnership was first struck, but those were provisional pending the actual signing of terms.

Article courtesy of Tech Trader Daily

Analyst Has Zero Hope For UBS

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“They’re not going to be able to repair this bank back to pre-crisis levels,” said Simon Maughan, co-head of European equities at MF Global Ltd. in London, who has a “sell” rating on UBS. “Too much damage has been done, and the world has moved on. Gruebel needs to revise down his targets for the investment bank, as they aren’t going to meet them. The market knows they haven’t got a chance.” [Bloomberg]



Article courtesy of Dealbreaker