International rig counts decline

Baker Hughes reports November international rig count 942, down 9 rigs

Oil Rigs, See Stockwinners.com Market Radar to read the latest on oil and rig count
Oil Rig counts decline

Baker Hughes (BHGE), a GE company, announced that the Baker Hughes international rig count for November 2017 was 942, down 9 from the 951 counted in October 2017, and up 17 from the 925 counted in November 2016.

The international offshore rig count for November 2017 was 183, down 21 from the 204 counted in October 2017, and down 28 from the 211 counted in November 2016.

The average US rig count for November 2017 was 911, down 11 from the 922 counted in October 2017, and up 331 from the 580 counted in November 2016.

The average Canadian rig count for November 2017 was 204, unchanged from the 204 counted in October 2017, and up 31 from the 173 counted in November 2016.

The worldwide rig count for November 2017 was 2,057, down 20 from the 2,077 counted in October 2017, and up 379 from the 1,678 counted in November 2016.

WTI Crude is up 6 cents to $56.02 per barrel. Brent crude is up 27 cents to $61.49 per barrel. USO closed at $11.20.


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Rig counts continue to rise

Baker Hughes reports U.S. rig count up 6 to 929 rigs 

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Rig Counts Rise – See Stockwinners.com Market Radar to read more

Baker Hughes reports that the U.S. rig count is up 6 rigs from last week to 929, with oil rigs up 2 to 749, gas rigs up 4 to 180, and miscellaneous rigs unchanged.

The U.S. Rig Count is up 332 rigs from last year’s count of 597, with oil rigs up 272, gas rigs up 61, and miscellaneous rigs down 1 to 0.

The U.S. Offshore Rig Count is down 2 rigs from last week to 20 and down 2 rigs year-over-year.

The Canada Rig Count is up 7 rigs from last week to 222, with oil rigs up 4 to 111 and gas rigs up 3 to 111, and miscellaneous rigs unchanged.

The Canada Rig Count is up 22 rigs from last year’s count of 200, with oil rigs up 11, gas rigs up 13, and miscellaneous rigs down 2 to 0.

Crude oil is up 85 cents to $58.25 per barrel.  Brent crude is up $1.01 to $63.64 per barrel.


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Bitcoin hits an all time high, thanks to Square

Bitcoin hits record high amid Square inclusion on Cash app

Bitcoin hits $8000. See Stockwinners.com for details

Bitcoin hit a new record high on Sunday, breaking the $8,000 threshold for the first time.

WHAT’S NEW:

Bitcoin reached $8,121.56 on Monday at 12:25 p.m. London Time after breaking the $8,000 value on Sunday, CNBC reported, citing the Coindesk website. The high comes after a sell-off on November 12, in which the cryptocurrency’s price dropped to roughly $5,500, resulting from the cancellation of a potential November 16 upgrade called SegWit2X, which was designed to increase transaction speeds to the bitcoin network.

Positive news including favorable regulation in Japan, increasing interest from institutional investors and planned new market products including CME Group’s (CME) bitcoin future contracts have supported the bitcoin price.

SQUARE TESTS BITCOIN

On Wednesday, Forbes reported Square (SQ) is now offering users the option to buy, sell or hold Bitcoin on its Cash app.

“We’re always listening to our customers and we’ve found that they are interested in using the Cash App to buy Bitcoin,” the spokesperson said.

“We’re exploring how Square can make this experience faster and easier, and have rolled out this feature to a small number of Cash App customers. We believe cryptocurrency can greatly impact the ability of individuals to participate in the global financial system and we’re excited to learn more here.”

CREDIT SUISSE RAISES SQUARE PRICE TARGET

Credit Suisse analyst Paul Condra raised his price target for Square to $37 from $31 following its announcement that it is piloting bitcoin sales via its Square Cash app.

While the analyst is positive on Square’s strategy, to the extent it confers legitimacy on Bitcoin and prompts adoption by other providers, the biggest beneficiary may be the crypto-asset industry. He added that he believes there is low risk that bitcoin will disrupt mainstream payments as the cryptocurrency requires traditional bank accounts, it has fees for consumers to send it, merchant knowledge of bitcoin is very low and buyers are more interested it on holding it than spending it.

The analyst estimates that if Square can attract 10M bitcoin buyers over 10 years, it could drive an incremental $30M in revenue. Condra reiterated a Neutral rating on the shares.

SUNTRUST SAYS BITCOIN “GAME-CHANGING” FOR SQUARE

Suntrust Robinson analyst Andrew Jeffrey said the news of Square offering Bitcoin on its Cash app is bullish, if not game changing, for Square as it creates Cash app differentiation and supports potential monetization.

He added the move is also bullish for Bitcoin adoption as it eliminates friction in buying/selling the cryptocurrency via a P2P app.

Jeffrey also said a broader launch of the feature may boost new user growth for the app, drive increased engagement among existing users and allow Square to monetize Square Cash through transaction fees.

While the analyst believes the news is a slight negative to legacy ecosystem participants, he does not see mainstream Bitcoin adoption in the “investable horizon.” Jeffery has a Hold rating on Square.

Standpoint Research

Standpoint Research analyst Ronnie Moas raised his 2018 price target for bitcoin to $14,000 from $11,000. The price just crossed $8,180 and is now split-adjusted at $9,518 when you factor in the August fork spinoff bitcoin cash and the October fork spinoff bitcoin gold at $158, Moas writes in an email. The analyst sees the price of bitcoin hitting $60,000 five years. He says this is reached by 0.5% of the global total money invested currently in cash, stocks, bonds and gold going into the cryptocurrency.

PRICE ACTION

Bitcoin rose 2.1% to 8,198.99 in morning trading, while Square (SQ) was up 3.1% to $45.56.


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Intra-Cellular receives FDA Fast Track designation

 Intra-Cellular receives FDA Fast Track designation for lumateperone

Intra Cellular Therapies receives FDA's fast track designation. See Stockwinners.com for details

Intra-Cellular (ITCI) announced that the FDA has granted Fast Track designation for lumateperone for the treatment of schizophrenia.

Lumateperone (INN; developmental code names ITI-007ITI-722) is an investigational atypical antipsychotic which is currently under development by Intra-Cellular Therapies, licensed from Bristol-Myers Squibb, for the treatment of schizophrenia.  It is also being developed by Intra-Cellular Therapies for the treatment of bipolar disorder, depression, and sleep and behavioral disturbance in dementia, autism, and other neuropsychiatric disorders.

The company requested Fast Track designation for lumateperone based on clinical evidence that lumateperone has the potential to address the unmet medical need for the treatment of schizophrenia with significant improvements on several clinically significant safety parameters, including with respect to metabolic, motor and cardiovascular issues associated with many currently available antipsychotic agents.

The FDA’s Fast Track designation is designed to facilitate the development and expedite the review of drug candidates to treat serious and life-threatening conditions.

Fast Track designation may allow for more frequent meetings and communications with the FDA to discuss a drug candidate’s development plans and review process.

Drug candidates with Fast Track designation may also qualify for priority review to expedite the FDA review process, if relevant criteria are met.

ITCI closed at $15.32.


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Merit Medical goes shopping

Merit Medical to purchase Becton Dickinson assets for $100M 

Merit Medical goes shopping. See Stockwinners.com for details

Merit Medical (MMSI) has signed an asset purchase agreement with Becton, Dickinson (BDX) to acquire certain assets which BD proposes to sell in connection with its proposed acquisition of C.R. Bard.

Merit’s proposed asset acquisition is subject to the closing of BD’s proposed acquisition of Bard as well as other usual and customary closing conditions.

The assets to be acquired are soft tissue core needle biopsy products currently sold by BD under the trade names of Achieve Programmable Automatic Biopsy System, Temno Biopsy System and Tru-Cut Biopsy Needles.

Additionally, Merit proposes to acquire the Aspira Pleural Effusion Drainage Kits and the Aspira Peritoneal Drainage System currently marketed by Bard.

The purchase price for the product lines and related assets to be acquired is $100M, subject to adjustment for fluctuations in the value of transferred inventory. Merit intends to finance the acquisition at closing through borrowings which are currently available under its revolving credit facility.

After giving effect to the proposed transaction, Merit anticipates its debt to adjusted EBITDA will increase from approximately 2.20 to approximately 2.70.

This transaction is expected to be accretive to both GAAP and non-GAAP earnings in 2018. Merit’s management expects the acquisition to provide incremental annual revenues in the range of $42M-$48M, adjusted gross margins for the subject product lines in the range of 60-70%, and, over a period of six to twelve months, to be accretive by 50-120 basis points to Merit’s adjusted gross margins.

The transaction is also expected to expand operating margins and increase cash flow. Merit’s management expects the acquisition to provide 10c-19c in adjusted non-GAAP EPS accretion in FY18.


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Rockwell Automation receives $29 billion takeover offer

Emerson raises bid for Rockwell Automation to $225 per share in cash and stock

Rockwell receives $29B takeover offer. See Stockwinners.com for details
Emerson (EMR) announced that its Chairman and CEO, David Farr, has sent a letter to Rockwell Automation (ROK) President and CEO, Blake Moret, proposing to acquire all outstanding shares of Rockwell for $225 per share, consisting of $135 per share in cash and $90 per share in Emerson shares.
The total enterprise value of the transaction is approximately $29B.
Farr’s letter states in part: “Over the past several months, we have attempted to engage with you privately regarding a business combination of Emerson Electric and Rockwell Automation. We remain convinced there is compelling strategic, operational, and financial merit to bringing together our two companies – and that such a combination would benefit our respective customers, employees and shareholders…Given our continued conviction in the significant value creation opportunity this combination represents, I am sending you an enhanced proposal for Emerson to acquire Rockwell in a transaction that would provide Rockwell shareholders with immediate and long-term value that we believe is well in excess of what Rockwell could achieve on a standalone basis…The portion of the consideration to be paid in Emerson stock would result in Rockwell shareholders owning approximately 22% of the combined company, allowing them to participate in the significant value creation from synergies generated by a combination.
Based on public information only, we estimate the total capitalized value of synergies to be in excess of $6 billion, which equates to over $1.3 billion or $10 per share of additional value to Rockwell shareholders through their continuing ownership.
Including the value of synergies, Rockwell shareholders would receive $235 per share in total value, representing aggregate value creation of 36% compared to Rockwell’s undisturbed 90-day volume weighted average share price as of October 30…We and our advisors have conducted extensive analysis of the regulatory approvals that would be required in connection with the proposed transaction, and we are confident that the transaction would receive all necessary approvals in a timely manner. We do not anticipate any material antitrust or other regulatory issues that would extend the normal timetable for closing a transaction of this nature.
We strongly believe the combined company would be able to do more for our customers than either of us could do separately…Our proposal is not subject to any financing contingency. We have had in-depth discussions with J.P. Morgan, which is highly confident Emerson can finance the cash portion of the transaction with a combination of cash on our balance sheet and newly issued debt. We sincerely hope you and your Board will objectively evaluate the strategic, financial and operational benefits of this transaction and agree to meet with Emerson to negotiate a mutually beneficial transaction.”


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Wal-Mart reports on Thursday

What to watch in Wal-Mart earnings report

Wal-Mart Guides Higher. See Stockwinners.com for details

Wal-Mart (WMT) is scheduled to report results of its third quarter before the market open on Thursday, November 16, with a conference call scheduled for 7:00 am EDT.

What to watch for:

1. GUIDANCE:

Wal-Mart is expected to update its guidance for the fiscal year. Wal-Mart previously forecast Q3 EPS of 90c-98c and comp sales for Walmart U.S. up 1.5%-2% excluding fuel and Sam’s Club comps excluding fuel up 1%-1.5%.

The company raised the low end of its FY18 adjusted EPS view to $4.30-$4.40 from $4.20-$4.40 and backed this guidance at its investor day.

Also at the investor day event, Wal-Mart forecast FY19 EPS to be up approximately 5% vs. FY18 adjusted EPS, with consolidated net sales growing at or above 3%. Baird analyst Peter Benedict expects a solid quarter with good comps and traffic momentum and a guide to earnings growth.

2. COMPETITION:

Retailers like Wal-Mart have been hurt by an increase in online shopping on sites like Amazon (AMZN) rather than at brick-and-mortar stores.

According to reports, Wal-Mart has raised prices for some food and household items on its U.S. website to be higher than prices for the same products sold in-store in an effort to increase profits and drive store traffic.

Wal-Mart, which has previously tried to keep online prices equal to in-store prices, is testing a new system, which has caused higher web prices for products that would otherwise be unprofitable to ship.

Wal-Mart recently sent a recreational vehicle to the University of Pennsylvania as part of a roughly dozen college recruitment tour to break into Ivy League recruitment, Bloomberg reported. The move comes after CEO Doug McMillon told investors Wal-Mart would “look even more like a tech company” to respond to competition from Amazon.

Recently, rival eBay (EBAY) said it will match rivals’ prices on many top Black Friday deals through Cyber Monday. Lidl is gaining little traction after expanding in the U.S. with grocers Wal-Mart and Kroger (KR) recovering most of the market share they lost when the German discounter opened its first nine U.S. stores in June, The Wall Street Journal reported last month.

In October, Wal-Mart said it expects to have grocery pickup in over 2,000 stores by the end of 2018 and noted that its Sam’s Club fresh food efforts are “really encouraging.”

3. OTHER INITIATIVES:

Wal-Mart is looking to grow its presence in the online fashion market, recently buying Bonobos, ShoeBuy, Moosejaw and ModCloth.

Wal-Mart President and CEO Doug McMillon said on the Q2 earnings call that the retailer is testing associate delivery of online orders in “a few” stores and plans to have approximately 100 automated pickup towers in stores across the U.S. by the end of the year, “where customers can pick up their orders within a matter of minutes.”

He also noted that Wal-Mart has tests going on with “digital endless aisle shopping, robotics and image analytics to scan aisles for outs and we’re using machine learning to assist our merchants with pricing.”

More recently, Walmart.com and Lord & Taylor said that Lord & Taylor will launch a flagship store on Walmart.com in Spring 2018.

4. HOLIDAY SEASON:

Wal-Mart is giving employees the opportunity to work extra hours during the holiday season rather than hire temporary seasonal workers.

In addition, the retailer said it will offer more than 2M items for free two-day shipping without a membership fee on orders over $35.

Also, Wal-Mart announced plans to bring back its Holiday Helpers, associates dedicated to assisting customers, and will increase the number of them in stores to help customers.

Wal-Mart will also host more than 20,000 holiday parties at its Supercenters.

WMT last traded at $90.58.


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Acorda lower on safety concerns over its tozadenant

Acorda increases blood cell count monitoring in Phase 3 tozadenant program

Acorda Therapeutics lower on safety concerns over its Parkinson drug. See Stockwinners.com for details

Acorda Therapeutics (ACOR) announced that it has increased the frequency of blood cell count monitoring for participants to weekly in its Phase 3 program of tozadenant for Parkinson’s disease.

The company took this action in response to cases of agranulocytosis, possibly drug-related, and in some cases associated with sepsis and death.

Agranulocytosis is the absence of white blood cells, which fight infection.

The company also has paused new enrollment in the long-term safety studies, pending further discussion with the independent Data Safety Monitoring Board and the United States Food and Drug Administration.

The Phase 3 program includes an ongoing pivotal efficacy and safety study and two long-term safety studies. Including the previously conducted Phase 2b study, approximately 890 patients have been exposed to tozadenant and 234 have been exposed to placebo.

This corresponds to approximately 300 patient years of tozadenant exposure and 75 patient-years of placebo.

There have been seven cases of sepsis, all in the tozadenant groups, five of which were fatal.

Four of the sepsis cases were associated with agranulocytosis, two had no white blood cell counts available at the time of the event and one had a high white blood cell count.

“We have taken these steps in the best interests of the safety of patients in the tozadenant studies, which is our top priority,” said Ron Cohen, M.D., Acorda’s President and CEO.

“Contingent on further input from the DSMB and FDA, we continue to expect to report efficacy and safety results of the double-blind Phase 3 study in the first quarter of 2018.”

ACOR closed at $28.20. It last traded at $17.40.


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Bonanza Creek sold for $746 million

SandRidge Energy to acquire Bonanza Creek for $36.00 per share in cash, stock

Bonanza Creek sold for $764M. See Stockwinners.com for details

SandRidge Energy (SD) and Bonanza Creek Energy (BCEI) jointly announced today that the two companies have entered into a definitive merger agreement under which SandRidge will acquire all of the outstanding shares of common stock of Bonanza Creek in a cash-and-stock transaction valued at $36.00 per share.

The consideration consists of $19.20 in cash and $16.80 of SandRidge shares for each Bonanza Creek share, subject to the collar mechanism described below.

Bonanza Creek Energy, Inc. engages in the exploration, development, and production of onshore oil and related liquids-rich natural gas in the United States.

Bonanza Creek shareholders will receive $36.00 per share under the terms of the agreement, comprised of $19.20 per share in cash and $16.80 per share in common shares of SandRidge stock, subject to the collar mechanism.

This represents a 17.4% premium to Bonanza Creek’s closing price as of November 14.

This purchase price implies a total transaction value of approximately $746M, comprised of $398M in cash and 18.89M shares of SandRidge stock, based on SandRidge’s stock price as of November 14.

Following the transaction, shareholders of Bonanza Creek are expected to own between approximately 31.4% and 35.8% of the outstanding shares of SandRidge based upon the Average Parent Stock Price.

One of the independent directors of Bonanza Creek will be joining the Board of Directors of SandRidge.

The stock portion will be subject to a collar based on the volume weighted average price of SandRidge common shares over the 20 business days ending on the third business day prior to closing. If the Average Parent Stock Price is greater than or equal to $17.50 but less than or equal to $21.38, Bonanza Creek shareholders will receive a number of SandRidge shares between 0.7858 and 0.9600 equal to $16.80 in value per Bonanza Creek share. Bonanza Creek shareholders will receive 0.9600 SandRidge common shares if the Average Parent Stock Price is below $17.50 and 0.7858 SandRidge common shares if the Average Parent Stock Price is above $21.38.

The Boards of Directors of both companies have unanimously approved the terms of the agreement, and have recommended that both shareholder groups approve the transaction.

The completion of the transaction is subject to the approval of each company’s shareholders, certain regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions.

The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2018.

Accretive Purchase

James Bennett, SandRidge’s CEO, said “This acquisition greatly enhances our existing portfolio by adding a deep inventory of drill-ready locations in the DJ Basin of Colorado and is highly complementary to our existing North Park, Northwest STACK and Mississippian assets.

The geological and operational characteristics of Bonanza’s Niobrara and Codell locations are analogous to our existing Colorado North Park assets, and we expect to benefit from the expertise of their teams. Overall, we believe this will drive strong risk-adjusted returns in both areas. Likewise, SandRidge will benefit from the greatly increased scale and substantial cost and operational synergies as a result of the transaction. Lastly, the acquisition will be accretive to cash flow per share and will enhance our ability over time to increase cash flow generation of the business.”


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Target reports on Wednesday

What to watch in Target’s earnings report

target

Target (TGT) is scheduled to report results of its third fiscal quarter before the market open on Wednesday, November 15, with a conference call scheduled for 8:00 am EDT.

What to watch for:

1. COMPETITION WITH ONLINE RETAILERS

Retailers like Target have been hurt by an in online shopping on sites like Amazon (AMZN) rather than at brick-and-mortar stores. Analysts and investors will be listening for Target executives to comment on Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods.

Earlier this month, Reuters said Target and other retailers are using legal rights in real estate agreements to limit the initiatives of Amazon’s Whole Foods Market in malls, adding that the retailers have legal rights that enable them to limit Amazon’s Whole Foods activity near their location and bans on Amazon lockers and delivery operations near Target stores in Illinois and Florida have already been established. Morgan Stanley analyst Kimberly Greenberger told investors that her firm’s latest apparel survey lends support to her belief that Amazon is quickly gaining traction at the expense of department stores and certain specialty retailers.

Target Chairman and CEO Brian Cornell said that the retail environment is “crowded” and the environment will continue to be challenging.

2. GUIDANCE

Following better than expected second quarter results, Target forecast third quarter adjusted EPS of 75c-95c and said both Q3 and Q4 comp growth will be within the range the company experienced in Q1 and Q2. The company expects FY17 comp sales growth to be around flat, plus or minus 1%.

Target again raised its FY17 adjusted EPS view to $4.34-$4.54 from $3.80-$4.20.

3. HOLIDAY SEASON UPDATE

Target recently announced plans for the holiday season, including free shipping and gifts under $15.

The company is also allowing customers to receive their orders in several ways, including visiting one of its 1,800 stores, ordering online for delivery from Target.com, using Order Pickup or using Target Restock.

Last month Target said it planned to hire about 100,000 team members across the country for the upcoming holiday season, up from the 70,000 employees it hired last year, and said it would hire 4,500 team members at the company’s distribution and fulfillment centers to replenish products to stores and fulfill digital sales throughout the season. Earlier this month, Target announced its nationwide expansion on Google Express (GOOG, GOOGL), including voice- activated shopping, as well as the addition of Target REDcard as a payment option in 2018.

4. STORE REMODELS, CLOSURES

Target is expanding its plans to remodel supercenters and open smaller stores in cities. Target will remodel over 55% of its current stores by year end 2020.

CEO Brian Cornell said sales have increased 2%-4% at recently remodeled stores.

In addition to the 110 stores remodeled in 2017, Target plans to fully renovate more than 325 in 2018, 350 in 2019 and 325 in 2020.

CNBC said Target is planning to close about a dozen underperforming stores in Michigan, Florida, Illinois, and Texas, with those locations closing in February of 2018.

“We have a rigorous process in place to evaluate the performance of every store on an annual basis, closing or relocating underperforming locations as needed,” a spokesperson said, adding that “Typically, a store is closed as a result of seeing several years of decreasing profitability.”

TGT last traded at $59.78. The issue has a 52-weeks trading range of $48.56 – $79.33.


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Loxo Oncology to receive $400 million

Loxo Oncology, Bayer enter into an exclusive global collaboration

Loxo Oncology to present at upcoming lung cancer conference. See Stockwinners.com for details

Bayer (BAYRY) announced that the company has entered into an exclusive global collaboration with Loxo Oncology (LOXO) for the development and commercialization of larotrectinib (LOXO-101) and LOXO-195.

Both compounds are being investigated in global studies for the treatment of patients with cancers harboring tropomyosin receptor kinase gene fusions, which are genetic alterations across a wide range of tumors resulting in uncontrolled TRK signaling and tumor growth.

Under the terms of the agreement, Loxo Oncology will receive an upfront payment of $400M and is eligible for $450M in milestone payments upon larotrectinib regulatory approvals and first commercial sale events in certain major markets and an additional $200M in milestones payments upon LOXO-195 regulatory approvals and first commercial sale events in certain major markets.

Bayer and Loxo Oncology will jointly develop the two products, larotrectinib and LOXO-195, and share development costs on a 50/50 basis.

Bayer will lead ex-U.S. regulatory activities, and worldwide commercial activities. In the U.S., where Bayer and Loxo Oncology will co-promote the products, the parties will share commercial costs and profits on a 50/50 basis.

Loxo Oncology will remain responsible for the filing in the U.S. Bayer will pay Loxo Oncology tiered double-digit percentage royalties on future net sales outside of the U.S., and U.S. and ex-U.S. sales milestones totaling $500M.

Bayer will pay Loxo Oncology a $25M milestone upon achieving a certain U.S. net sales threshold. Outside of the U.S., where Bayer will commercialize, Bayer will pay Loxo Oncology tiered, double-digit royalties on net sales, and sales milestones totaling $475M. Bayer will book revenues worldwide.

Loxo Oncology was advised by Fenwick and West in the transaction.

WHAT’S NOTABLE

In a clinical trial presented in June by Loxo, larotrectinib demonstrated a 76% objective response rate in patients with cancers that contained the TRK fusions but originated in different parts of the body.

In those studies 12% saw their tumors entirely disappear while 64% saw theirs tumors partially shrink. David Hyman, MD, of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, said at the time that “We believe [these data] demonstrate that larotrectinib is profoundly effective in a durable manner in patients with TRK fusion cancers.”

Loxo expects to submit an NDA to the FDA for the larotrectinib program in late 2017 or early 2018, with the potential for an FDA decision by mid-2018. As the only selective pan-TRK inhibitor currently in clinical development, larotrectinib could “potentially be the first novel targeted therapy that’s developed and eventually used in a ‘tumor-agnostic’ manner,” Hyman said.

TRK fusions occur in between 1,500 and 5,000 cancer patients per year, or about 1%-3% of cancer cases.

PRICE ACTION

Though Loxo Oncology initially jumped, the stock is now down about 5.4% to $78.75 after pre-market trading was resumed.

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Qualcomm says no thank you

Qualcomm board unanimously rejects Broadcom’s unsolicited proposal

Broadcom proposes to buy Qualcomm for $70 per share. See Stockwinners.com for details

Qualcomm (QCOM) announced that its Board of Directors unanimously rejected the unsolicited proposal announced by Broadcom (AVGO) on November 6, 2017.

“It is the Board’s unanimous belief that Broadcom’s proposal significantly undervalues Qualcomm relative to the Company’s leadership position in mobile technology and our future growth prospects,” said Paul Jacobs, Executive Chairman and Chairman of the Board of Qualcomm Incorporated.

“No company is better positioned in mobile, IoT, automotive, edge computing and networking within the semiconductor industry. We are confident in our ability to create significant additional value for our stockholders as we continue our growth in these attractive segments and lead the transition to 5G,” said Steve Mollenkopf, CEO of Qualcomm Incorporated.

“The Board and Management are singularly focused on driving value for Qualcomm’s shareholders. After a comprehensive review, conducted in consultation with our financial and legal advisors, the Board has concluded that Broadcom’s proposal dramatically undervalues Qualcomm and comes with significant regulatory uncertainty. We are highly confident that the strategy Steve and his team are executing on provides far superior value to Qualcomm shareholders than the proposed offer,” said Tom Horton, Presiding Director for Qualcomm Incorporated.

QCOM closed at $64.57. AVGO closed at $264.96.

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Boeing paints a rosy picture

Boeing forecasts $730B market for new airplanes in Middle East

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Boeing (BA) forecasts that airlines in the Middle East will need 3,350 new airplanes over the next 20 years, valued at an estimated $730B.

Boeing presented its 2017 Current Market Outlook for the region during the Dubai Airshow.

“Traffic growth in the Middle East is expected to grow at 5.6% annually during the next 20 years,” said Randy Tinseth, vice president of Marketing, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

“The fact that 85% of the world’s population lives within an eight-hour flight of the Persian Gulf, coupled with robust business models and investment in infrastructure, allows carriers in the Middle East to channel traffic through their hubs and offer one-stop service between many cities.”

More than half of the total deliveries in the Middle East will be single-aisle airplanes such as the 737 MAX.

Operators in the region will need 1,770 single-aisle airplanes valued at $190B, driven by the growth of low-cost carriers.

Boeing’s presence and support for the Middle East also includes Global Services, the company’s third and newest business unit that is expanding its service capability offerings to better support the region’s airlines and aircraft.

Around the world, Boeing has forecasted long-term demand for 41,030 new airplanes, valued at $6.1T.

These new airplanes will replace older, less efficient airplanes, benefiting airlines and passengers and stimulating growth in emerging markets and innovation in airline business models.

BA closed at $260.85.


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Rig counts rise

Baker Hughes reports U.S. rig count up 9 to 907 rigs

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Baker Hughes (BHGE) reports that the U.S. rig count is up 9 rigs from last week to 907, with oil rigs up 9 to 738, gas rigs unchanged at 169, and miscellaneous rigs unchanged.

The U.S. Rig Count is up 339 rigs from last year’s count of 568, with oil rigs up 286, gas rigs up 54, and miscellaneous rigs down 1 to 1.

The U.S. Offshore Rig Count is unchanged from last week at 18 and down 3 rigs year-over-year.

The Canada Rig Count is up 11 rigs from last week to 203, with oil rigs up 8 to 108 and gas rigs up 4 to 95, and miscellaneous rigs down 1 to 0.

The Canada Rig Count is up 27 rigs from last year’s count of 176, with oil rigs up 19 and gas rigs up 8.

Crude oil last traded at $56.74 per barrel, down 43 cents.


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Omeros soars on its Berger’s disease drug

Omeros jumps after detailing FDA meeting on IgA nephropathy program

Omeros jumps after detailing FDA meeting on IgA nephropathy program. See Stockwinners.com for details

Shares of Omeros (OMER) are up 40% after the company last night reported financial results for the third quarter and announced recent highlights and developments.

Omeros said that it met with the FDA in follow-up to the FDA’s granting breakthrough designation for OMS721 in IgA nephropathy to discuss Phase 3 trial design.

“The Agency’s meeting minutes make clear that approval can be obtained with a single successful Phase 3 trial with reduction in proteinuria as the primary efficacy endpoint. Depending on the size of the effect on proteinuria, either full approval or accelerated approval is possible.

If full approval is granted based on reduction in proteinuria, estimated glomerular filtration rate will be followed as part of the safety assessment. Any effect of OMS721 on eGFR is likely to result in additional label claims for the product. If, based on the effect on proteinuria, accelerated rather than full approval is granted, marketing of OMS721 would be allowed during which time confirmatory data on long-term effects of OMS721 on eGFR would be collected. These eGFR data, if satisfactory, would then form the basis for full approval,” the company stated.

Gregory Demopulos, chairman and chief executive officer of Omeros, added, “We have also made substantial progress across our OMS721 programs – in addition to our Phase 3 aHUS program, we have a clear roadmap for the Phase 3 IgA nephropathy trial, including FDA confirmation of proteinuria as the primary efficacy endpoint, and compelling data to support our advancing to a Phase 3 program in stem cell transplant-associated TMA.”

Proteinuria is the presence of excess proteins in the urine. In healthy people, urine contains very little protein; an excess is suggestive of illness.

IgA nephropathy, also known as Berger’s disease, is a kidney disease that occurs when IgA deposits build up in the kidneys, causing inflammation that damages kidney tissues. IgA is an antibody—a protein made by the immune system to protect the body from foreign substances such as bacteria or viruses.

In Friday’s trading, Omeros shares are up $4.35, or 31%, to $18.44.


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