Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE: DRI) today issued the following statement in connection with the Company’s 2014 Annual Meeting of Shareholders:
The experience, insights and objectivity of Darden’s directors have been – and will continue to be – important drivers to the Company’s ability to enhance shareholder value, advance its operating priorities and execute the Olive Garden^® Brand Renaissance. The composition of our Board, including both its independence and diversity of talent and experience, is critical to Darden’s future success. Given the people facing nature of Darden’s business, we also believe continuity of knowledge and relationships is important to the engagement, retention and motivation of Darden’s management team and to the success of the operating strategies that we are implementing.
Accordingly, we have carefully assembled a new slate of director nominees to ensure that Darden has the right experience, insights, continuity and perspectives that are necessary to successfully execute the Company’s strategies, including the Olive Garden Brand Renaissance, and enhance value for ALL Darden shareholders. We believe Darden’s new slate provides the optimal balance of fresh perspectives from four new, highly qualified independent nominees, continuity of experience and insight from four highly qualified continuing independent nominees, and four seats to be filled by Starboard Value L.P. and its affiliates (“Starboard”). The slate includes:
o Four new independent nominees unaffiliated with the Company or Starboard: Gregory L. Burns, Jeffrey H. Fox, Steve Odland, and Enrique Silva. These new independent nominees, all of whom are current or former Chief Executive Officers with experience driving turnarounds, provide additional international restaurant, franchise, consumer, real estate and operations expertise to support the development, oversight and execution of Darden’s operating and brand initiatives, including the turnaround of Olive Garden and the Brand Renaissance plan. Unlike Starboard’s nominees,…
Analysts at Wunderlich Securities Initiated coverage on Vera Bradley, Inc. (NASDAQ: VRA) with a Buy rating and price target of $27 on Wednesday.
Analysts stated, “we believe that Vera Bradley, with a new management team, aggressive growth strategy, and rapidly evolving shift in product and placement, is on track to once again regain its mantle as a lifestyle-driven growth story centered on distinctive handbag looks.”
Eric Beder outlined the logic behind the Buy rating:
Vera Bradley is a leading distributor of handbags and accessories, operating 89 full price and 20 outlet stores in the United States.
New management team brings innovative ideas and different business strategy to the company. CEO Robert Wallstrom delivers extensive retail experience and has assembled a team of consumer leaders.
Analysts expect fiscal year 2016 to bring major change. Management plans to shift product mix and the way employees interact with customers. Beder stated, “the recent expansion into leather handbag offerings and more fashion-driven items should drive even higher sales and returns for the company.”
In a report published Wednesday, Morgan Stanley analyst John Glass reiterated an Equal-Weight rating on Sonic Corporation (NASDAQ: SONC), and named a $22.00 price target.
In the report, Morgan Stanley noted, “Sales have stabilized in recent quarters, though still not robust given roughly flat traffic on increase advertising and product innovation. New menu board (POPS) and digital platform should support LSD comps New POS system and supply chain revamp in FY14 should yield 100-200 bps opportunity for store margins over time or 5-10c to LT EPS model. Reversion back to ascending royalty model in FY15 and beyond adds ~8-9c to EPS. Share buybacks add 7-9% to EPS.”
In a note released Wednesday morning, Mizuho analyst Jeffery Connolly upgraded shares of Bill Barret Corporation (NYSE: BBG) from Neutral to Buy and raised the price target from $24 to $28.
Following the announcement of transactions that complete Barrett's transition to a Rockies oil producer, Connolly stated, "lower leverage, a leaner, more attractive portfolio, and improved growth trajectory should generate multiple expansion."
Building on this, Connolly noted the company sold 12,000 acres at the Gibson Gulch and 46,510 net acres in the Powder River Basin. The transactions had a total value of $757 million, which resulted $568 million of cash proceeds that the company will use to pay down its $280 million revolving credit facility.
Looking ahead, Connolly is predicting $135 million in revenue for the third quarter with an EPS of $0.09.
Ann Inc's (NYSE: ANN) best prospects as an investment lie it its potential as a takeover target, an analyst said Wednesday.
Two activist hedge funds earlier this week again urged Ann's board to consider putting the company on sale. Wedbush's Morry Brown said the retailer's shares are "fairly valued" based on the company's business.
"Upside depends on merger activity," Brown said in a note which didn't comment further on merits of a merger.
Ann opened $0.50 lower, but has almost fully recovered, trading recently at $41.76.
Brown said he held "a mixed view" on Ann's near-term earnings prospects, and launched coverage on Ann with a Neutral rating and $43 target.
Two activist hedge funds earlier this week again urged Ann's board to consider putting the company on sale.
Engine Capital and the investment advising firm Red Alder, which together hold about a one percent stake in Ann, repeated their similar call of last month, although its estimate of the company's value in a sale rose Monday to as much as $65 per share, from $55 in its August letter.
In a statement Monday, Ann said it had met with representatives of the two funds and "none of the analyses contained in their presentation is new to the board."
In a report published Wednesday, JMP Securities analyst Alex Gauna reiterated a Market Outperform rating on Knowles Corp (NYSE: KN), and raised the price target from $41.00 to $45.00.
In the report, JMP Securities noted, “Our increased optimism around business momentum and near-term outperformance prospects for the stock is primarily driven by the rising tide in demand from Asian handset OEMs that seem to be going from good to great as those smartphone makers make strides to catch up in terms of acoustic quality, also supported by what appears to be a promising early start to the iPhone 6 upgrade cycle, and indications that China Mobile is increasing its 2014 base-station deployment targets from 500K to 700K. Our more constructive stance is also driven by recent indications by the company and its primary competition that point to essentially unchanged market share prospects for 2014 and beyond, which is a view that we already maintained, but it is now in better focus given the commencement of holiday season manufacturing ramps, and engineering activity for 2015 models.
“We take further comfort in the consistency of: 1) cost savings actions that are expected to get Knowles to a 39% gross margin structure by 2016; 2) its ability and actions to remain the leader in MEMS microphones for the foreseeable future; 3) the increased content it is gaining in speaker modules; 4) efforts to increase its acoustic entrenchment through software and new feature development; and 5) the multi-quarter period of easy compares it is now entering into.”
This is a non-trading topic, but I wanted to post it during trading hours so as many eyes can see it as possible. Feel free to contact me directly at email@example.com with any questions.
Last fall there was some discussion on the PSW board regarding setting up a YouCaring donation page for a PSW member, Shadowfax. Since then, we have been looking into ways to help get him additional medical services and to pay down his medical debts. After following those leads, we are ready to move ahead with the YouCaring site. (Link is posted below.) Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated; not only to help aid in his medical bill debt, but to also show what a great community this group is.
Here is the opening statement from the Department of Labor:
In the week ending September 13, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 280,000, a decrease of 36,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up by 1,000 from 315,000 to 316,000. The 4-week moving average was 299,500, a decrease of 4,750 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 250 from 304,000 to 304,250.
There were no special factors impacting this week's initial claims. [See full report]
Today's seasonally adjusted number at 280K was substantially above the Investing.com forecast of 305K. The 4-week moving average is now only 5,750 above i...
DPC Old Charter Street burying ground, Salem, Massachusetts 1906
The Russian Union of Engineers has issued a report on what happened to flight MH17. The report has now been translated. It doesn’t leave open the option that MH17 was downed by a ground-to-air missile, something all other sources have so far labeled the most likely explanation for what happened on July 17. The Russian Union of Engineers instead claims the plane was attacked by a fighter jet, and that, since the east Ukraine rebels have no such jets, and multiple sides have confirmed there were no Russian jets in the vicinity, this jet had to have been Ukrainian air force.
At the very least the report should be broadly discussed in western media, and western experts asked to refute...
BOTTOM LINE: There were few surprises from Fed Chair Yellen's post-FOMC press conference.
1. Yellen made two slightly dovish remarks on labor market developments. First, she stated directly that she felt the slow increase in wages was indicative of labor market slack. Second, she said that her own personal view was that there was a "meaningful" cyclical shortfall in participation, when asked about a recent paper by some Fed authors indicating otherwise.
2. On the topic of "considerable time," Yellen declined to provide any specificity on what the phrase means ...
Although the stock market displayed weakness last week as I suggested it would, bulls aren’t going down easily. In fact, they’re going down swinging, absorbing most of the blows delivered by hesitant bears. Despite holding up admirably when weakness was both expected and warranted, and although I still see higher highs ahead, I am still not convinced that we have seen the ultimate lows for this pullback. A number of signs point to more weakness ahead.
In this weekly update, I give my view of the current market environment, offer a technical analysis of the S&P 500 chart, review our weekly fundamentals-based SectorCast rankings of the ten U.S. business sectors, and then offer up some actionable trading ideas, including a sector rotation strategy using ETFs and an enhanced version using top-r...
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The CBOE Vix Index is in positive territory on Friday morning as shares in the S&P 500 Index move slightly lower. Currently the VIX is up roughly 2.75% on the session at 13.16 as of 11:35 am ET. Earlier in the session big prints in October expiry call options caught our attention as one large options market participants appears to have purchased roughly 106,000 of the Oct 22.0 strike calls for a premium of around $0.45 each. The VIX has not topped 22.0 since the end of 2012, but it would not take such a dramatic move in the spot index in order to lift premium on the contracts. The far out-of-the-money calls would likely increase in value in the event that S&P500 Index stocks slip in the near term. The VIX traded up to a 52-week high of 21.48 back in February. Next week’s release of the FOMC meeting minutes f...
Despite the various opinions on Bitcoin, there is no question as to its ultimate value: its ability to bypass government restrictions, including economic embargoes and capital controls, to transmit quasi-anonymous money to anyone anywhere.
Opinions differ as to what constitutes "money."
The English word "money" derives from the Latin word "moneta," which means to "mint." Historically, "money" was minted in the form of precious metals, most notably gold and silver. Minted metal was considered "money" because it possessed luster, was scarce, and had perceive...
Author Helen Davis Chaitman is a nationally recognized litigator with a diverse trial practice in the areas of lender liability, bankruptcy, bank fraud, RICO, professional malpractice, trusts and estates, and white collar defense. In 1995, Ms. Chaitman was named one of the nation's top ten litigators by the National Law Journal for a jury verdict she obtained in an accountants' malpractice case. Ms. Chaitman is the author of The Law of Lender Liability (Warren, Gorham & Lamont 1990)... Since early 2009, Ms. Chaitman has been an outspoken advocate for investors in Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC (more here).
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Well PSW Subscribers....I am still here, barely. From my last post a few months ago to now, nothing has changed much, but there are a few bargins out there that as investors, should be put on the watch list (again) and if so desired....buy a small amount.
First, the media is on a tear against biotechs/pharma, ripping companies for their drug prices. Gilead's HepC drug, Sovaldi, is priced at $84K for the 12-week treatment. Pundits were screaming bloody murder that it was a total rip off, but when one investigates the other drugs out there, and the consequences of not taking Sovaldi vs. another drug combinations, then things become clearer. For instance, Olysio (JNJ) is about $66,000 for a 12-week treatment, but is approved for fewer types of patients AND...
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