Travel Stocks Lower on Hurricane Irma

Cruise line operators slammed as Irma prepares to make landfall

Cruise Line Stocks tumble as Iram approaches Florida. See Stockwinners.com for details

Shares of cruise line operators are in focus amid concerns about the potential impact of Hurricane Irma on the cruise and travel industries, as well as the lingering effect of Hurricane Harvey.

HURRICANE IRMA

Hurricane Irma, which has intensified into a Category 5 storm, is forcing cruise operators to cancel or divert ships as it heads towards the Caribbean and the Florida coast.

The National Hurricane Center has said Irma is a “potentially catastrophic storm” with winds up to 185 miles an hour that will move toward the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico later this week and then make its way toward Turks and Caicos, the Bahamas and Cuba before heading toward the Florida coast. Hurricane Harvey recently caused widespread damage when it hit the Houston area, with cruise operators rerouting some vessels and canceling other voyages to avoid the storm.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=InwmRvzSG60?rel=0&controls=0&w=560&h=315]

IMPACT ON CRUISE OPERATORS

Cruise line operators are monitoring the storm, canceling voyages that haven’t left port and rerouting other ships to avoid stops at islands that may be affected.

According to reports, Norwegian Cruise Line (NCLH) will bring its two Miami-based ships back home ahead of schedule to avoid the storm. Both the 2,004-passenger Norwegian Sky and 4,248-passenger Norwegian Escape will return to Miami from Caribbean trips on Thursday instead of Friday and Saturday, respectively. The cruise operator also canceled sailings of the ships that were scheduled to begin on Friday and Saturday.

Yesterday, Royal Caribbean (RCL) canceled two sailings of Port Canaveral and Miami-based vessels to the Bahamas scheduled to begin on Friday and is rerouting one ship to the west and evaluating other sailings to the Caribbean, Cuba and Bermuda.

Carnival (CCL, CUK) has rerouted four vessels from an Eastern Caribbean to a Western Caribbean itinerary for the week, with a spokeswoman saying “We are watching Irma closely, but we are not canceling any sailings as of now.”

ANALYST COMMENTARY

Morgan Stanley analyst Jamie Rollo said on Tuesday that cruise demand is “solid,” but softened “a little” in August from July due to adverse weather, terror attacks and a U.S. travel warning for parts of Mexico. The analyst thinks Carnival, which reports earnings on September 26, will guide to slower yields in Q4. The firm remains “relatively cautious” on cruise stocks, but raised its price target on Carnival to $61 from $59.

OTHERS TO WATCH

Airline stocks, including American Airlines (AAL), United Continental (UAL), Southwest Airlines (LUV) and Delta Air Lines (DAL) are also on hurricane watch, and will likely be canceling flights in the affected areas.

This morning, United CFO Andrew Levy said Hurricane Harvey was the “largest operational impact we’ve had in the company’s history” and lowered its third quarter pre-tax margin and PRASM guidance. American Airlines President Robert Isom said the company is “keeping an eye” on Irma.

PRICE ACTION

In Wednesday’s trading, shares of Norwegian are down about 1%, Carnival shares trading in New York are down 0.5% and Royal Caribbean is down 1.2%.


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Landauer Sold for $770 Million

Fortive to acquire Landauer for $67.25 per share in cash

 Fortive to acquire Landauer for $67.25 per share. See Stockwinners.com for details

Landauer (LDR) announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by Fortive Corporation (FTV).

Landauer, Inc. provides technical and analytical services, and outsourced medical physics services worldwide.

Fortive Corporation designs, develops, manufactures, markets, and services professional and engineered products, software, and services worldwide.

Under the terms of the agreement, Fortive will make a $67.25 per share cash tender offer to acquire all outstanding Landauer shares for a total transaction value of approximately $770M, including the assumption of debt and net of acquired cash.

The agreement was unanimously approved by Landauer’s Board of Directors.

Following the completion of the transaction, Landauer will become part of Fortive’s Field Solutions platform within Fortive’s Professional Instrumentation segment.

The transaction, which is expected to close by the end of 2017, is subject to Landauer stockholders tendering a majority of the outstanding shares into the tender offer, regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.

Landauer’s Board of Directors recommends that Landauer stockholders tender their shares to Fortive as part of the transaction.

A certain stockholder representing approximately 5% of Landauer’s outstanding shares has indicated it intends to tender its shares into the offer.

#Lazard served as financial advisor to Landauer and Sidley Austin LLP served as legal advisor.

PRICE  ACTION

FTV closed at $65.09. LDR closed at $61.35, it last traded at $69.10 in pre-market trading.


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Sarepta Therapeutics Reports Positive DMD Data

Sarepta announces ‘positive’ results in 4053-101 DMD study

 Sarepta announces positive DMD results. See Stockwinners.com for details.

Sarepta Therapeutics (SRPT) announced muscle biopsy results from its 4053-101 study, a Phase 1/2 first-in-human study conducted in Europe to assess the safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics, and efficacy of golodirsen in 25 boys with confirmed deletions of the DMD gene amenable to skipping exon 53.

Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a genetic disorder characterized by progressive muscle degeneration and weakness. It is one of nine types of muscular dystrophy. DMD is caused by an absence of dystrophin, a protein that helps keep muscle cells intact.

The study comprised two parts.

In Part 1, 12 patients were randomized to receive a dose titration of golodirsen or placebo. At the end of Part 1, all 12 patients continued on golodirsen and an additional 13 patients started golodirsen.

In Part 2, all 25 patients were treated for an additional 48 weeks at the time of muscle biopsy.

The analysis included biopsies of the bicep muscle at baseline and on-treatment at the Part 2 Week 48 time point. All 25 participants displayed an increase in skipping exon 53 over baseline levels, representing a 100 percent response rate as measured by RT-PCR and demonstrating proof of mechanism.

Mean dystrophin protein increased to 1.019 percent of normal compared to a mean baseline of 0.095 percent of normal as measured by Western blot, the primary biological endpoint in the study, representing a 10.7 fold increase from baseline.

The study also showed a statistically significant increase in dystrophin immunofluorescence as measured by immunohistochemistry, the secondary biological endpoint in the study, confirming sarcolemma-associated protein expression and distribution.

Francesco Muntoni, principal investigator for this study and Pediatric Neurologist, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust and the UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, said,

“All treated boys showed the anticipated exon skipping after treatment and this resulted in a mean increase of dystrophin protein, as measured by Western blot, from 0.095 percent at baseline to 1.019 percent of normal after at least one-year of treatment with golodirsen. These data were also supported by the highly statistically significant increase of dystrophin expression at the sarcolemma, as measured by recently developed validated methodology. This is now the second exon-skipping agent to have shown a statistically significant increase in dystrophin production, validating the exon-skipping approach to treating DMD boys with amenable mutations.”

PRICE ACTION

SRPT closed at $41.08. It last traded at $46.50 in pre-market trading.


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