Markets & Finance

Movers: AIG, Lehman, Healthways, LDK Solar, Noven Pharma


Stocks in the news Monday

From Standard & Poor's Equity ResearchFitch Ratings has placed its ratings of American International Group (AIG) and its insurance and financial services subsidiaries on Rating Watch Negative. Previously, Fitch had a Negative Rating Outlook on AIG and the majority of its insurance-related subsidiaries rated by Fitch, and a Stable Rating Outlook on AIG's financial services subsidiaries, including AIG Capital Corp. (AIGCC), International Lease Finance Corp. (ILFC), and American General Finance Inc. (AGF). Also, Credit Suisse lowers third quarter estimate, cuts target, rates AIG neutral.

Lehman Brothers (LEH) shares were lower on unconfirmed reports that a top Korean regulator voiced concern about state-run Korea Development Bank (KDB) possibly purchasing an interest in a global bank. Separately, unconfirmed reports suggest that internal unrest may lead to LEH chairman, CEO Richard Fuld relinquishing executive duties this year. On Friday, LEH shares rose sharply on reports that Korean Development Bank said LEH is one of its options for an acquisition. S&P maintains hold.

Healthways (HWAY) affirms its previously issued fiscal year 2008 guidance of $1.50-$1.55 EPS on $720-$740 million revenue. It sees $0.34-$0.37 first quarter fiscal year 2009 EPS, but says while this guidance anticipates solid EPS growth year-over-year, sequential-quarter performance reflects decline in revenue due to impact of certain contract renegotiations, reduced revenues associated with winding down of a previously discussed contract terminating at end of calendar year 2008, full-quarter effect of small contract losses due to health plan consolidation. Jefferies downgrades to underperform from buy.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) says in an 8-K filing today that it held approximately $1.2 billion par value of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac perpetual preferred stock. JPM estimates that such preferred stocks have declined in value by approximately $600 million in the third quarter to date, based on current market values. S&P cuts 2008 EPS estimate, but keeps strong buy.

Quest Energy Partners, L.P. (QELP), Quest Resource (QRCP) and Quest Midstream Partners accept the resignation of Jerry Cash as Chairman and CEO of all three entities, effective immediately. Resignation follows discovery, in connection with an inquiry from Oklahoma Department of Securities, of questionable transfers of company funds to an entity controlled by Cash. Initial indications are that the amount in question appears to involve about $10 million.

LDK Solar (LDK) says its wafer plant reached milestone of 1.0 GW annualized capacity. It sees 2009 revenue of $2.8-$3.0 billion and wafer shipments of 1.45 GW to 1.55 GW. S&P reiterates hold.

Noven Pharmaceuticals (NOVN) says Daytrana, its transdermal patch for treatment of symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and licensed globally to Shire (SHPGY), is the subject of voluntary recall of two lots of the product because the patches in these lots do not meet the product's release liner removal specification and, as a result, patients and caregivers could have difficulties removing the release liner when they peel the patch open.

Gilat Satellite Networks Ltd. (GILT) says purchasers of the company have verbally informed it that they will not close deal at agreed upon $11.40/share price despite fact that GILT informed them on Aug. 5 that all conditions precedent to closing have been met. Says purchasers' new verbal proposals were rejected by GILT's board. GILT has told purchasers that they have 72 hours to complete deal; if conditions are not met, GILT shall seek all remedies at its disposal, including legal action. Separately, GILT posts $0.03, vs. $0.13, second quarter EPS on 6.7% revenue drop.

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) announces that Broadcom (BRCM) will acquire its digital TV (DTV) business for approximately $192.8 million. "AMD is executing a strategic plan to transform the company, becoming leaner and more focused while seeking to create a business model to deliver sustainable profitability," said Dirk Meyer, President and Chief Executive Officer of AMD.

Barron's reports that People's United Financial (PBCT) dodged the credit crisis by steering clear of subprime loans and has one of the highest credit ratios around. It has $2.5 billion in cash. That cash level will fall with an acquisition, which CEO Philip Sherringham is eager to make. With a purchase, he says, "the bank's earnings could potentially double over the next two to three years." The article also said shares could increase by about 20%, as it is on the hunt to buy other banks.

Premier Exhibitions (PRXI) says Bruce Eskowitz, who served as President and CEO and as a Director, and Brian Wainger, who served as Vice President, Chief Legal Counsel and Corporate Secretary, have resigned. In addition, James Yaffe and Jonathan Miller have resigned as members of the Board of Directors. CFO Harold "Bud" Ingalls was elected to the Board of Directors. PRXI also announces that will restructure its marketing program and plans to outsource much of its marketing efforts.

Grey Wolf (GW) and Precision Drilling Trust (PDS) announce that their Board of Trustees and Board of Directors, respectively, unanimously approved a definitive merger agreement pursuant to which PDS will acquire GW. Terms: GW shareholders will receive $5.00 in cash and 0.1883 newly-issued PDS trust units for each GW common share, for aggregate consideration of $1.12 billlion in cash and 42 million units.

Wachovia reportedly downgrades the U.S. trucking sector to market weight from overweight. Also reportedly downgrades Werner Enterprises (WERN) and Knight Transportation (KNX) to market perform from outperform.


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