Solid Biosciences is in focus

Solid Biosciences receives full clinical hold letter from FDA on IGNITE DMD 

Solid Biosciences is in focus, Stockwinners.com
Solid Biosciences is in focus

Solid Biosciences  (SLDB) announced that the company has received a letter from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration relating to the previously-announced full clinical hold on IGNITE DMD, the company’s Phase I/II clinical trial for its investigational gene therapy, SGT-001, for the treatment of Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

The company plans to submit a response to this letter to the FDA in the coming weeks.

The FDA also informed Solid that the company has satisfactorily addressed manufacturing-related questions that led to the previously-announced partial clinical hold on the high dose of SGT-001 in IGNITE DMD.

“We believe SGT-001 has the potential to significantly benefit patients with DMD. We are working with the FDA to better understand the unexpected event that resulted in the clinical hold and put a plan in place to monitor and manage potential events in the future. I am happy to share that the treating physician has reported the patient is doing well,” said CEO Ilan Ganot.

“We are also pleased that we were able to lift the earlier partial clinical hold on the high dose of SGT-001 through our existing manufacturing process, which is an important ongoing development effort for our company.”

The full clinical hold was in response to the company’s report of a Serious Adverse Event in the first patient dosed with SGT-001 in IGNITE DMD, where several days after administration the patient was hospitalized due to laboratory findings that included a decrease in platelet count followed by a reduction in red blood cell count and evidence of complement activation.

The patient showed no signs or symptoms of coagulopathy and no relevant changes from baseline in liver function tests.

Following medical treatment, all of his laboratory parameters have either improved or returned to normal.

In its full clinical hold letter, the FDA requested additional information that is required prior to resuming the clinical trial, including an assessment of the underlying etiology of the event, the patient’s clinical status and laboratory parameters, and any additional measures to address patient safety. Solid will work closely with the FDA to address these questions.

SLDB closed at $10.56.


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Verifone sold for $3.4 billion

Verifone to be acquired by Francisco Partners for $23.04/share

Verifone sold for $3.4 billion. Stockwinners
Verifone sold for $3.4 billion

Verifone Systems (PAY) announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which an investor group led by Francisco Partners and including British Columbia Investment Management Corporation will acquire Verifone for $23.04 per share in cash, representing a total consideration of approximately $3.4 billion, which includes Verifone’s net debt.

Under the terms of the agreement, Verifone stockholders will receive $23.04 in cash for each share of Verifone common stock held, representing a premium of approximately 54% to the company’s closing share price of $15.00 on April 9, 2018.

The Verifone Board of Directors has unanimously approved the definitive agreement and recommends that Verifone stockholders vote in favor of the transaction.

Upon completion of the transaction, Verifone will become a privately held company. The transaction is not subject to a financing condition and is expected to close during the third calendar quarter of 2018, subject to customary closing conditions, including receipt of stockholder and regulatory approvals.

The merger agreement includes a “go-shop” period, which permits Verifone’s Board and advisors to actively initiate, solicit, encourage, and potentially enter into negotiations with parties that make alternative acquisition proposals through May 24, 2018.

There can be no assurance that this process will result in a superior proposal, and Verifone does not intend to disclose developments with respect to the solicitation process unless and until the Board makes a determination requiring further disclosure.

PAY closed at $15.00.


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Tesla Model 3 named Popular Mechanics’ Car of the Year

Tesla Model 3 named Popular Mechanics’ Car of the Year

Tesla Model 3 named Popular Mechanics' Car of the Year
Tesla Model 3 named Popular Mechanics’ Car of the Year

Popular Mechanics has named Tesla’s Model 3 as its Car of the Year.

Automotive editor Ezra Dyer said, “The demand makes sense. I try to reserve judgment on any car until I drive it, but the Model 3 sure looks good on paper.

Tesla (TSLA) claims zero-to-60 miles in the five-second range-unofficially, the first owners  are getting into the fours…

The autonomy is reliable and pleasantly novel, but I learn that it’s more fun to do the driving myself, sandbagging in the middle lane and then mashing the throttle to revel in that gush of acceleration.

With 271 horsepower, the Model 3 doesn’t quite rearrange your internal organs like a Model S, but it’s still ferocious… It’s thrilling, but the Model 3 isn’t perfect. I’d like a heads-up display, some way to put the speedometer in my line of sight.

And there are some places where you can see the cost-cutting, like in the rear trunk, where there’s no trim panel up top, just bare metal and cutouts for the speakers that would be there if you had ordered the premium sound system. But I think I could live with such compromises.

In fact, I know I can, because when I get home, I do something that I’ve never done with any of the other thousands of cars I’ve tested: I put down a deposit.”

TSLA closed at $257.78


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Trump targets Amazon

Amazon slides as president said to take aim at tax treatment 

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Trump targets Amazon

Shares of Amazon (AMZN) are slipping this morning after Axios reported that President Donald Trump may want to go after the e-commerce giant rather than Facebook (FB) and has discussed changing the former’s tax treatment.

AFTER AMAZON, NOT FACEBOOK

According to a report by Axios, President Trump wants to go after tech giant Amazon rather than Facebook and has discussed changing the company’s tax treatment due to concerns about small retailers being put out of business.

Citing five sources familiar with the matter, the publication added that Trump has wondered if there is any way to go after Amazon with antitrust or competition law as he thinks the e-commerce giant has gotten a free ride from taxpayers and the Postal service and agrees the company is killing shopping malls and brick-and-mortar retailers.

“The whole post office thing, that’s very much a perception he has,” a source said. “It’s been explained to him in multiple meetings that his perception is inaccurate and that the post office actually makes a ton of money from Amazon.”

VICE-PRESIDENT CONCERNED OVER FACEBOOK, GOOGLE

Nonetheless, the same Axios’ article pointed out that Vice-President Mike Pence is concerned about Facebook and Google (GOOG; GOOGL).

While Pence is not yet pushing internally for any specific regulations, he views these companies as dangerously powerful and worries about their influence on media coverage as well as their control of the advertising industry and users’ personal info, a source told the publication.

FACEBOOK POLICY CHANGE

Facebook, embroiled recently in a scandal over the way it has handled users’ personal data, has announced a privacy policy change.

According to Erin Egan, VP and Chief Privacy Officer, Policy and Ashlie Beringer, VP and Deputy General Counsel at Facebook:

“We’ve heard loud and clear that privacy settings and other important tools are too hard to find and that we must do more to keep people informed. […] We’ve redesigned our entire settings menu on mobile devices from top to bottom to make things easier to find. […] We’re introducing Access Your Information – a secure way for people to access and manage their information, such as posts, reactions, comments, and things you’ve searched for.

You can go here to delete anything from your timeline or profile that you no longer want on Facebook. It’s also our responsibility to tell you how we collect and use your data in language that’s detailed, but also easy to understand. In the coming weeks, we’ll be proposing updates to Facebook’s terms of service that include our commitments to people.”

PRICE ACTION

In Wednesday’s trading, shares of Amazon have dropped nearly 5% to $1,426, while Facebook’s stock has gained over 1% to $153.99.


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Altra Industrial Motion to merge with Fortive’s Automation

Altra Industrial Motion to merge with Fortive’s Automation & Specialty platform

Altra Industrial Motion to merge with Fortive's Automation & Specialty platform. Stockwinners.com
Altra Industrial Motion to merge with Fortive’s Automation & Specialty platform. Stockwinners.com

Altra Industrial Motion (AIMC) announced that its Board of Directors has unanimously approved a definitive agreement to combine Altra with four operating companies from Fortive’s (FTV) Automation and Specialty platform in a transaction, having an estimated aggregate value of approximately $3B, based on the 20-day volume weighted average stock price of Altra shares as of March 6, 2018.

The transaction is expected to be tax free to the companies’ respective shareholders.

As a result of this transaction, Altra will significantly expand its position across the technology spectrum by bringing together its strong mechanical and electronic capabilities in engineered power transmission, such as couplings, clutches and brakes and gearing with Fortive A&S’s strong electric, electronic and software content in precision motion control, including engineered servo-motors, direct drive and linear automation.

Altra will have increased exposure to higher growth, higher margin categories as well as the scale and global reach to better serve its customers. It will also have an enhanced financial profile, with sales and earnings growth expected to generate substantial free cash flow enabling the company to quickly de-lever.

The transaction will double Altra’s revenue to approximately $1.8B and increase its EBITDA to approximately $350M, or 20% margins for the twelve months ended December 31, 2017.

The combined company is expected to generate cumulative five-year free cash flows in excess of $1B.

The transaction is expected to be immediately accretive to non-GAAP adjusted diluted earnings per share. Upon close of the transaction, the combined company will continue to be led by Altra’s current Chairman and CEO, Carl Christenson, and Christian Storch will remain CFO.

Altra’s senior management team will be expanded to include both Altra and Fortive A&S employees.

Altra will increase the size of its Board with the addition of one board member designated by Fortive.

Altra will remain headquartered in Braintree, Massachusetts. Following completion of the transaction, the combined company is expected to have approximately 9,300 employees worldwide, with approximately 4,600 coming from Altra and 4,700 joining from Fortive A&S.


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GTx Phase 2 trial of enobosarm meets primary endpoint

GTx Phase 2 trial of enobosarm meets primary endpoint

 

GTx Phase 2 trial of enobosarm meets primary endpoint. Stockwinners.com
GTx Phase 2 trial of enobosarm meets primary endpoint

GTx  (GTXI) announced additional results from a Phase 2 proof-of-concept clinical trial of 3 mg enobosarm administered orally in postmenopausal women with stress urinary incontinence, or SUI, including magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI results from patients’ pelvic floor muscle.

New data in a subset of women also suggests a positive treatment effect of enobosarm for urge incontinence, or UI, suggesting a possible treatment effect for women with mixed incontinence.

Results from a pre-specified analysis of MRI data demonstrate a statistically significant increase in pelvic floor muscle thickness and urethral muscle diameter after enobosarm treatment.

Treatment with enobosarm also reduced mean UI episodes by approximately 68 percent in patients who experienced UI as well as SUI, based on a post hoc analysis of a subset of women with both UI and SUI.

These results were outlined during a podium presentation which took place at the Society of Urodynamics, Female Pelvic Medicine, & Urogenital Reconstruction.

The presentation included clinical data from all 18 patients completing 12 weeks of enobosarm treatment, which, as previously reported, demonstrated an 81% reduction in the number of mean stress leaks per day, the primary endpoint of the clinical trial, as well as additional data demonstrating duration of response following completion of treatment, including nine patients who have now reached seven months post-treatment.

MRI was used to quantitatively measure muscle in the pelvic floor of 17 women at 12 weeks compared to their baseline. The results showed a statistically significant increase in several important measurements and support the mechanism of action of enobosarm on the pelvic floor.

While all of the women in the trial had predominant SUI, some also experienced urge incontinence.

Eleven of the 18 women completing 12 weeks of treatment were determined to have both SUI and UI at baseline, and these 11 women with mixed incontinence demonstrated a mean reduction in their UI episodes of approximately 68%.

Consistent with previous findings, at the end of the 12-week treatment period, all of the 18 enobosarm-treated women showed a clinically meaningful reduction in stress urinary incontinence episodes per day.

The reduction in incontinence episodes was sustained, or durable, well beyond the 12-week treatment period.

There were no serious adverse events reported and reported adverse events were minimal and included headaches, nausea, fatigue, hot flashes, insomnia, muscle weakness and acne.

Mild transient elevations in liver enzymes that were within normal limits were observed, except for one patient with levels greater than 1.5 times the upper limit of normal which returned to normal following her 12-week treatment period. Reductions in total cholesterol, LDL-C, HDL-C and triglycerides were also observed.

GTXI closed at $16.81. It last traded at $19.00 in pre-market trading.


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Sorrento Therapeutics reports positive CAR-T cell therapy data

CAR-T cell therapy demonstrates therapeutic activity

CAR-T cell therapy demonstrates therapeutic activity. Stockwinners.com
CAR-T cell therapy demonstrates therapeutic activity

Sorrento Therapeutics (SRNE), cellular therapy focused subsidiary TNK Therapeutics and Surefire Medical announced initial results from the Hepatic ImmunoTherapy for Metastases-Surefire, or HITM-SURE, a Phase 1b single arm trial testing its autologous anti-CEA CAR-T cells administered regionally by hepatic artery infusion via pressure directed microvalve infusion technology in heavily pre-treated patients with refractory CEA-positive liver metastases.

This Phase 1b trial follows the HITM and HITM-SIR Phase 1 studies we believe demonstrated the safety and biological activity of the anti-CEA CAR-T administered with hepatic artery infusions alone or with selective internal radiotherapy.

The data of HITM-SURE were provided by Dr. Steven Katz, the Principal Investigator of the Study and Associate Professor of Surgery at The Roger Williams Medical Center.

The study is also open at Colorado University and funded in part by the Colorado Office for Economic Development and International Trade. In total, three patients have completed the ongoing HITM-SURE protocol, two with stage IV pancreatic cancer and one with colorectal cancer.

All patients presented with unresectable, chemotherapy refractory CEA+ liver metastases. Patients received three HAI of anti-CEA CAR-T cells along with low dose IL-2 infusion. CAR-T HAI were administered via a Surefire MVI technology. The primary objective of the study was to establish the safety of the CAR-T HAI with the pressure directed MVI device.

Secondary objectives included response assessed by modified RECIST, immune-related response criteria, and tumor marker kinetics. Reduction in post-treatment serum CEA was noted in all patients.

Two patients have progressive disease, with a pancreatic cancer patient alive at 7 months and a colorectal cancer patient alive at 4.8 months. A patient with stage IV pancreas adenocarcinoma has no evidence of liver metastases 11 months on PET scan following three CAR-T HAIs.

In the phase III MPACT study, treatment of stage IV pancreas adenocarcinoma patients with gemcitabine plus albumin-bound paclitaxel resulted in a median overall survival time of 8.7 months.

It will be of interest to determine if the results from upcoming phase 2 liver metastasis HITM studies will confirm the encouraging results from our small number of patients.

The initial findings from the currently enrolling HITM-SURE trial follows the results of two other trials. In one of the previous trials, a patient survived 51 months following 3 anti-CEA CAR-T HAIs and a patient from another trial is alive 25 months after treatment.

SRNE closed at $7.20.


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Workhorse to build UPS electric delivery trucks

UPS partners with Workhorse to build electric delivery trucks 

Workhorse to build UPS electric delivery trucks. Stockwinners.com
Workhorse to build UPS electric delivery trucks

UPS (UPS) announced it plans to deploy 50 plug-in electric delivery trucks that will be comparable in acquisition cost to conventional-fueled trucks without any subsidies – an industry first that is breaking a key barrier to large scale fleet adoption.

The company is collaborating with Workhorse Group (WKHS) to design the vehicles from the ground up, with zero tailpipe emissions. Workhorse claims these vehicles provide nearly 400% fuel efficiency improvement as well as optimum energy efficiency, vehicle performance and a better driver experience.

Each truck will have a range of approximately 100 miles between charges, ideal for delivery routes in and around cities.

The class 5, zero emission delivery trucks will rely on a cab forward design, which optimizes the driver compartment and cargo area, increasing efficiency and reducing vehicle weight.

The new trucks will join the company’s Rolling Lab, a growing fleet of more than 9,000 alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles. UPS will test the vehicles primarily on urban routes across the country, including Atlanta, Dallas and Los Angeles.

With zero emissions and lower noise, the electric delivery trucks will help UPS make its fleet cleaner and quieter, a significant benefit in urban areas.

Following real-world test deployments, UPS and Workhorse will fine-tune the design in time to deploy a larger fleet in 2019 and beyond. Since most of the maintenance costs of a vehicle are associated with the engine and related components, UPS expects the operating cost of the new plug-in electric vehicle to be less than a similarly equipped diesel or gasoline vehicle.

UPS’s goal is to make the new electric vehicles a standard selection, where appropriate, in its fleet of the future. UPS has approximately 35,000 diesel or gasoline trucks in its fleet that are comparable in size and are used in routes with duty cycles, or daily miles traveled similar to the new electric vehicles.

The initiative will help UPS attain its goal of one in four new vehicles purchased by 2020 being an alternative fuel or advanced technology vehicle.

The company also has pledged to obtain 25% of the electricity it consumes from renewable energy sources by 2025 and replace 40% of all ground fuel with sources other than conventional gasoline and diesel, an increase from 19.6% in 2016.


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Kite and Sangamo to develop engineered cell therapies

Kite, Sangamo announce collaboration to develop engineered cell therapies

Kite, Sangamo to develop engineered cell therapies. Stockwinners.com
Kite, Sangamo to develop engineered cell therapies
Kite, a Gilead Company (GILD) and Sangamo Therapeutics (SGMO) announced the companies have entered into a worldwide collaboration using Sangamo’s zinc finger nuclease technology platform for the development of next-generation ex vivo cell therapies in oncology.
Ex vivo cell therapy is in essence gene therapy delivered by transfer of therapeutic genes to cells in culture, which are then given to the patient to treat fatal infections such as AIDS, or other conditions such as cancer or genetic diseases.

 

These manipulations include the purification and culture of therapeutic cell subtypes, as well as elimination of cells which cause disease (cancer cells or immune cells reacting to the body itself). Gene therapy can be delivered by transfer of therapeutic genes to cells in culture, which are then given to the patient to treat fatal infections such as AIDS, cancer or genetic diseases.

 

Kite will use Sangamo’s ZFN technology to modify genes to develop next-generation cell therapies for autologous and allogeneic use in treating different cancers.

 

Allogeneic cell therapies from healthy donor cells or from renewable stem cells would provide a potential treatment option that can be accessed directly within the oncology infusion center, thus reducing the time to infusion for patients.

 

Under the terms of the agreement, Sangamo will receive an upfront payment of $150M and is eligible to receive up to $3.01B in potential payments, aggregated across 10 or more products utilizing Sangamo’s technology, based on the achievement of certain research, development, regulatory and successful commercialization milestones.

 

Sangamo would also receive tiered royalties on sales of potential future products resulting from the collaboration. Kite will be responsible for all development, manufacturing and commercialization of products under the collaboration, and will be responsible for agreed upon expenses incurred by Sangamo.

 

This transaction is subject to clearance under the Hart-Scott Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act and other customary closing conditions.

 

A Current Report on Form 8-K describing the proposed transaction in more detail will be filed by Sangamo, and this press release is subject to further detail provided in Sangamo’s 8-K.

 

Separately, Sangamo reported Q4 EPS (15c) vs consensus (18c) – Reported Q4 revenue $13.1M, consensus $11.43M.


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Qualcomm calls Broadcom proposal unacceptable

Qualcomm: Current Broadcom proposal ‘unacceptable’ 

Qualcomm calls Broadcom proposal unacceptable

The Board of Directors of Qualcomm (QCOM) sent a letter to Broadcom (AVGO) regarding its February 14 meeting with Broadcom representatives.

Broadcom said “In our February 14 meeting, Broadcom reiterated that $82.00 per share is its best and final proposal. The Board remains unanimously of the view that this proposal materially undervalues Qualcomm and has an unacceptably high level of risk, and therefore is not in the best interests of Qualcomm stockholders.

That said, our Board found the meeting to be constructive in that the Broadcom representatives expressed a willingness to agree to certain potential antitrust-related divestitures beyond those contained in your publicly filed merger agreement.

At the same time, Broadcom continued to resist agreeing to other commitments that could be expected to be required by the FTC, the European Commission, MOFCOM and other government regulatory bodies.

Broadcom also declined to respond to any questions about its intentions for the future of Qualcomm’s licensing business, which makes it very difficult to predict the antitrust-related remedies that might be required.

In addition, Broadcom insists on controlling all material decisions regarding our valuable licensing business during the extended period between signing and a potential closing, which would be problematic and not permitted under antitrust laws.

Our Board is highly cognizant of the need to protect Qualcomm’s stockholders from the considerable risks of agreeing to a transaction that does not close.

A breakup fee in the range proposed by Broadcom does not come close to compensating for those risks.

While the current Broadcom proposal is unacceptable, our Board is intensely focused on maximizing value for Qualcomm stockholders, whether through executing on its growth strategy or by selling the Company.

Our Board is open to further discussions with Broadcom to see if a proposal that appropriately reflects the true value of Qualcomm shares, and ensures an appropriate level of deal certainty, can be obtained. If such a proposal cannot be obtained from Broadcom, our Board is highly confident in Qualcomm’s ability to deliver superior near- and long-term value to its stockholders by continuing to execute its growth strategy.”


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Wyndham sells its European vacation business rental for $1.3B

Wyndham to sell European vacation rental business to Platinum Equity for $1.3B

 

Wyndham sells its European vacation rental for $1.3B. Stockwinners.com
Wyndham sells its European vacation rental for $1.3B

Wyndham (WYN) announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement for the sale of its European vacation rental business to Platinum Equity for approximately $1.3B.

In conjunction with the sale, the European vacation rental business has entered into a 20-year agreement under which it will pay a royalty fee of 1% of net revenue to Wyndham’s hotel business for the right to use the by Wyndham Vacation Rentals endorser brand.

The European vacation rentals operations will also participate as a redemption partner in the award-winning Wyndham Rewards loyalty program.

Wyndham’s industry-leading European vacation rental business is the largest manager of holiday rentals in Europe, with more than 110,000 units in over 600 destinations in more than 25 countries.

The business operates more than two dozen local brands, including cottages.com, James Villa Holidays, Landal GreenParks, Novasol and Hoseasons.

It generates approximately $750 million in annual revenue and approximately $130 million of EBITDA, including allocated costs.

Wyndham Worldwide originally announced its intent to explore strategic alternatives for its European rental brands in August 2017, in conjunction with the Company’s announcement of the planned separation of its hotel business from its vacation ownership and timeshare exchange businesses.

The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2018, subject to customary closing conditions including works council consultation.


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CBOE Global Markets falls due to VIX

CBOE Global Markets falls on concerns over VIX Futures

CBOE Global Markets falls amid VIX swings - Stockwinners.com
CBOE Global Markets falls amid VIX swings – Stockwinners.com

Shares of CBOE Global Markets (CBOE) are falling after a Tuesday sell-off amid swings in market volatility which saw the CBOE volatility index rise over 50.

CBOE RESPONDS

CBOE defended its VIX volatility index after investors and analysts blamed exchange-traded products that aim to track the measure for worsening the wild trading in the stock market, the Financial Times reported Tuesday.

“The markets were resilient…We were generally pleased with how [the VIX] acted in a very volatile and stressful time,” said William Speth, CBOE VP of research and product development. “I think there are a lot of things going on here,” he said.

“Certainly the VIX ETPs are part of the mix, but the 800-pound gorilla has been these volatility control funds.”

MARKET “CLEARLY WORRIED”

On Tuesday, Wells Fargo analyst Christopher Harris said that spikes in volatility would normally be seen as good for CBOE.

However, given that the losses in the overcrowded trade of “short volatility” have been so severe, the market is “clearly worried” about the negative implications for future VIX volumes, which he believes is weighing on CBOE shares.

While he cannot say how much of CBOE’s volumes are tied to short volatility strategies, Harris said that if VIX related volumes were to go back to 2015 levels that would be 15% dilutive to his 2018 EPS estimate, adding that the recent selloff appears to be factoring in “quite a lot of downside.”

Harris has an Outperform rating on CBOE shares.

On Wednesday, JPMorgan analyst Kenneth Worthington downgraded CBOE to Neutral from Overweight and cut his price target for the shares to $110 from $131.

The liquidation and fall of various exchange traded notes represents a risk to VIX Futures volumes, likely bringing a reduction in VIX Futures trading activity looking over the next few months, Worthington wrote.

He also sees some risk to volumes in VIX options and potential for a deterioration in CBOE’s valuation as VIX has been a key growth driver for the company.

Meanwhile, Goldman downgraded CBOE to Neutral from Buy and cut its price target to $115 from $140. Analyst Alexander Blostein said the unwind in the CBOE’s VIX ETF products will likely weigh on the company’s VIX futures franchise, creating headwinds to the firm’s top-line growth and potentially the stock’s valuation.

The analyst added he continues to see longer-term growth prospects in the CBOE/BATS combination, but believes the shares may lag.

CME UPGRADE

Goldman’s Blostein also upgraded CME Group (CME) to Buy from Neutral and raised his price target to $180 from $160.

Blostein expects CME’s revenue growth to accelerate in 2018/19 amid significant growth in open interest and the increasing likelihood of normalization of volatility.

The analyst expects the prospects of rising inflation expectations and normalization of volatility to drive product velocity higher over the next two years, adding to already to the healthy build-up in open interest.

PRICE ACTION

CBOE Global Markets  is down 3.2%, or $3.73, to $113.21, in Wednesday’s trading. Meanwhile, CME Group is up 2.1% to $160.95.


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Wynn Resorts CEO Steve Wynn steps down

Wynn Resorts CEO Steve Wynn steps down, Matt Maddox named CEO

Wynn Resorts CEO Steve Wynn steps down. Stockwinners.com
Wynn Resorts CEO Steve Wynn steps down

Wynn Resorts (WYNN) released the following statements today regarding Chairman and CEO Steve Wynn:

The board of Wynn Resorts reluctantly announced that it accepted the resignation of Steve Wynn as CEO and Chairman of the board. The board has appointed Matt Maddox, currently President of the company, as its CEO, and Boone Wayson as Non-Executive Chairman of the board, effective immediately.

“It is with a collective heavy heart, that the board of Wynn Resorts accepted the resignation of our founder, CEO and friend Steve Wynn,” said non-executive director of the board Boone Wayson.

“Steve Wynn is an industry giant. He is a philanthropist and a beloved leader and visionary. He played the pivotal role in transforming Las Vegas into the entertainment destination it is today. He also assembled a world-class team of executives that will continue to meet the high standards of excellence that Steve Wynn created and the Wynn brand has come to represent.”

Steve Wynn created modern Las Vegas. He transformed the city into an economic powerhouse by making it a world-wide tourist destination.

He designed, built and operated the most iconic resorts on the Las Vegas strip, beginning with the Mirage, then Treasure Island, the Bellagio, Wynn Las Vegas and Encore at Wynn Las Vegas.

Wynn Macau, Wynn’s first resort in the SAR of Macau in China, was designated by Forbes Travel Guide as the best resort in the world.

Along with Wynn Palace in Cotai, the company built by Steve Wynn has been recognized as having more Five Star awards than any independent hotel company in the world.

Wynn Resorts remains as committed as ever to upholding the highest standards and being an inclusive and supportive employer. In fact, more than 40% of all Wynn Las Vegas management are women; the highest in the gaming industry.

The company will continue to fully focus on its operations at Wynn Macau, Wynn Palace and Wynn Las Vegas; the development and opening of the first phase of Wynn Paradise Park, currently under construction on the former Wynn golf course; as well as the construction of Wynn Boston Harbor, which will open in June 2019.

Details of Mr. Wynn’s separation agreement will be disclosed when they are finalized.

Steve Wynn released the following statement: “In the last couple of weeks, I have found myself the focus of an avalanche of negative publicity. As I have reflected upon the environment this has created – one in which a rush to judgment takes precedence over everything else, including the facts – I have reached the conclusion I cannot continue to be effective in my current roles.

Therefore, effective immediately, I have decided to step down as CEO and Chairman of the Board of Wynn Resorts, a company I founded and that I love.

The Wynn Resorts team and I have built houses of brick. Which is to say, the institution we created – a collection of the finest designers and architects ever assembled, as well as an operating philosophy now ingrained in the minds and hearts of our entire team – will remain standing for the long term. I am extremely proud of everything we have built at this company.

Most of all, I am proud of our employees. The succession plan laid out by the board and which I wholeheartedly endorse now places Matt Maddox in the CEO seat.

With Matt, Wynn Resorts is in good hands. He and his team are well positioned to carry on the plans and vision for the company I created. I want to thank all of the employees who have made Wynn Resorts the most admired resort company in the world, and for the support I have received from them in recent weeks.

Most importantly, I want everyone to continue to be proud of this company and the many unique ways it will forever continue to delight guests.”

WYNN closed at $163.22, it last traded at $176.34.


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January Jobs Report

In January 200K jobs were created

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In January 200K jobs were created

The U.S. jobs report revealed a solid 200k January payroll gain, following annual revisions that raised the level of December payrolls by 230k, which both exceeded market assumptions, and hourly earnings rose 0.3% to leave a cycle-high 2.9% y/y climb.

Yet, hours-worked posted a January drop-back from upwardly-revised prior levels thanks to a drop in the workweek to 34.3 hours with weakness skewed toward the goods sector that was maybe weather-induced.

Note that those not at work due to weather popped to 496k in January, versus a 331k 10-year average for the month.

For the goods sector, jobs rose by a solid 57k as expected, with gains of 15k for factories, 36k for construction, and 6k for mining, but hours-worked for the goods sector fell 0.5%, with declines of 0.3% for factories, 0.5% for construction, and 0.2% for mining.

Analysts saw big gains of 409k for civilian jobs and 518k for the labor force that left a fourth consecutive 62.7% participation rate.

For annual revisions, analysts saw larger than expected boosts of 230k for December payrolls, 247k for private payrolls, and a 17k downward bump for government.

For the benchmark month last March, analysts saw a 146K SA upward revision and a 138k NSA hike, versus guidance of a smaller 95k NSA boost.

The first question is whether the U.S. economy can maintain a robust pace of monthly job creation this far into the economic cycle. Already, the three- and six-month moving averages for job creation have significantly exceeded the pace that would be expected after impressive prior gains and a steep decline in the unemployment rate.

By contrast, wage growth has continued to run below expectations. In turn, this has limited the household income gains that would normally accrue with the labor market achievements. This may also help to explain why the labor participation rate has not materially edged up from a level that remains uncomfortably near multi-decade lows.


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Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, JPMorgan to partner on employee healthcare

Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, JPMorgan to partner on employee healthcare

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Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, JPMorgan to partner on employee healthcare

Amazon (AMZN), Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A, BRK.B) and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) announced that they are partnering on ways to address healthcare for their U.S. employees, with the aim of improving employee satisfaction and reducing costs.

Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, JPMorgan to partner on employee healthcare
Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, JPMorgan to partner on employee healthcare. Stockwinners.com
Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, JPMorgan to partner on employee healthcare

The three companies, which bring their scale and complementary expertise to this long-term effort, will pursue this objective through an independent company that is free from profit-making incentives and constraints.

The initial focus of the new company will be on technology solutions that will provide U.S. employees and their families with simplified, high-quality and transparent healthcare at a reasonable cost.

The effort announced today is in its early planning stages, with the initial formation of the company jointly spearheaded by Todd Combs, an investment officer of Berkshire Hathaway; Marvelle Sullivan Berchtold, a Managing Director of JPMorgan Chase; and Beth Galetti, a Senior Vice President at Amazon.

The longer-term management team, headquarters location and key operational details will be communicated in due course.

Health insurance companies are lower in pre-market trading on the news.

Shares of the owners of pharmacy benefit managers, including Express Scripts (ESRX), CVS Health (CVS) and UnitedHealth (UNH), are sliding after Amazon (AMZN), Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A, BRK.B) and JPMorgan Chase (JPM) announced that they are partnering on “ways to address healthcare for their U.S. employees, with the aim of improving employee satisfaction and reducing costs.” The three companies will pursue this objective through an independent company that is “free from profit-making incentives and constraints,” they announced earlier this morning.


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