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Fly News Breaks for September 20, 2017
Sep 20, 2017 | 07:29 EDT
KeyBanc analyst Edward Yruma views the Toys R Us (TOY) bankruptcy as positive for both Wal-Mart (WMT) and Amazon (AMZN). The analyst believes that Wal-Mart's toy and baby business is over two times Toys R Us' domestic business and that its relative importance to the toy companies will only increase. Meanwhile, Yruma thinks Amazon's growth and convenience will drive continued share gains as well.
News For TOY;AMZN;WMT From the Last 2 Days
Oct 19, 2017 | 13:24 EDT
With Sally Beauty (SBH) shares trading lower intraday, DA Davidson analyst Linda Bolton Weiser published a note in which she covered seven points to consider when evaluating whether the company will be, or should be, an acquisition target for Amazon (AMZN). The analyst, who also attributed today's strength in Ulta Beauty (ULTA) to speculation that Wal-Mart (WMT) will buy it, said beauty has been a hard category to crack for Amazon. She concludes that Sally Beauty's "uniquely high gross margin of 55% and high number of U.S. retail stores" were key reasons why Amazon has chosen the company as its beauty partner.
Oct 19, 2017 | 09:01 EDT
Amazon announced that its largest wind farm yet -- Amazon Wind Farm Texas -- is now up and running, adding more than 1,000,000 MWh of clean energy to the grid each year. Amazon has launched 18 wind and solar projects across the U.S., with over 35 more to come. Together, these projects will generate enough clean energy to power over 330,000 homes annually. These projects also support hundreds of jobs and provide tens of millions of dollars of investment in local communities across the country.
Oct 19, 2017 | 05:16 EDT
Nokia (NOK) announced a strategic collaboration with Amazon Web Services, or AWS, (AMZN) that will accelerate the migration of service provider applications to the cloud and drive digital innovation for large enterprise customers. Nokia and AWS are working together to bring a unique and powerful set of solutions that will enable service providers to implement cloud strategies faster leveraging Nokia's expertise in wireless, wireline and 5G technologies. The two companies will work to deliver differentiated solutions using Nokia SD-WAN and its IMPACT IoT platform in combination with AWS Greengrass, machine learning and artificial intelligence services. The scope of the agreement announced today covers four areas of collaboration: Nokia will support service providers in their AWS implementation strategy with a complete suite of services including consulting, design, integration, migration and operation for infrastructure and applications. Nokia and AWS will work together to generate new 5G and Edge Cloud strategies and guidance for customers including reference architectures that enable both service providers and enterprises to benefit. Nokia and AWS are working to bring an improved user experience for Nuage Networks SD-WAN customers who use AWS. Enterprises can benefit from this seamless integration with AWS and launch secure branch connectivity in hybrid environments with "Single Pane of Glass" capabilities. Finally, the companies are commercializing IoT use cases with AWS Greengrass, Amazon Machine Learning, Nokia Multi-access Edge Computing and Nokia IMPACT platform.
Oct 18, 2017 | 11:41 EDT
eBay (EBAY) is scheduled to report results of its third quarter after the market close on Wednesday, October 18, with a conference call scheduled for 5:00 pm ET. What to watch: 1. GROSS MERCHANDISE VOLUME: In the second quarter, eBay reported that its gross merchandise volume, or the amount of sales it helps facilitate, grew 3% on an as-reported basis, and 5% in constant currency, to $21.5B. This growth rate was up from the first quarter growth of 2% on a reported basis, and 5% in constant currency, following a flat growth rate in the last quarter and growth rate decelerations in the two quarters prior to that. Investors will be anxious to see if the company can continue to accelerate GMV growth. 2. GUIDANCE: With its last report, eBay guided to Q3 adjusted earnings of 46c-48c per share. The consensus remains at 48c, the same as when the outlook was provided. The company pointed toward Q3 revenue of $2.35B-$2.39B. The consensus forecast, which was $2.32B at the time of the company's report, has increase to $2.37B. 3. MARKETPLACE INITIATIVES: eBay has taken on initiatives to improve the user experience including structured data implementation, user-optimized homepages, guaranteed delivery and price match guarantee. The company also launched an updated marketing campaign in June called "fill your cart with color" which included national TV spots, billboards and social online ads and in July, the company announced that Shopify (SHOP) merchants would be enabled to list and sell their products on eBay directly from their Shopify account. The company also reportedly experienced its two best sales day ever for July during Amazon's (AMZN) Prime Day after ramping up its marketing campaign. Active user growth should show how effective the company has been at improving user experience and visibility. 4. ACCELERATION GROWTH: In August, Baird analyst Colin Sebastian said his proprietary eBay Tracker indicated that the unusual acceleration in growth noted in June had continued through mid-July. He did note the early August activity appeared to return to normal levels. The analyst anticipates the combination of user experience improvements and large-scale advertising should lead to accelerating growth through 2017.
Oct 18, 2017 | 11:26 EDT
Shares of (AMZN) are in focus after the head of Amazon Studios resigned following his suspension over sexual harassment allegations. RESIGNATION OF ROY PRICE: Roy Price, the head of Amazon Studios, has resigned from the media company just days after he was suspended indefinitely. The resignation of Price, who helped launch the Amazon unit and ran it from the beginning, follows allegations of sexual harassment from Isa Hackett, an executive producer of The Man in the High Castle, as well as statements by actress Rose McGowan that Price knew about her rape accusations against fallen Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. Hackett claimed Price made "lewd" comments to her during Comic-Con 2015 in San Diego. Hackett told The Hollywood Reporter that she reported the improper behavior to Amazon at the time, and that while the company took the allegation seriously, she was never told the outcome of that inquiry. "I'm pleased Amazon is taking steps to address the issue," Hackett told THR following Price's resignation. According to Deadline Hollywood, rumors about Price's resignation were flying in the spring, and Paramount TV President Amy Powell had been named as a potential replacement. According to Deadline, she is still in the running "as the new head of Amazon Studios likely would be a woman." For the time being, Amazon chief operating officer Albert Cheng will take over as studio head. WHAT'S NOTABLE: Last week, reports surfaced that Amazon Studios was cutting ties with the Weinstein Co. following allegations against Weinstein, adding that Amazon scrapped a $160M Weinstein Co.-produced television series from Oscar-nominated director David O. Russell. According to reports, Amazon had already spent $40M on the show. Price's exit "raises a question" about the future of Joe Lewis, Price's top lieutenant who has been scrutinized over "potential conflict-of-interest issues," Deadline said. Amazon competes in original video with Netflix (NFLX), Apple (AAPL) and Hulu, a joint venture between Comcast's (CMCSA, CMCSK) NBC Universal, Disney (DIS) and 21st Century Fox (FOX, FOXA), and some believe Price's resignation could be a setback. PRICE ACTION: Amazon is fractionally lower in late morning trading to $1,007.89.
Oct 18, 2017 | 10:58 EDT
Worcester, Massachusetts, has submitted a bid for Amazon's second corporate headquarters and is offering up to $500M in local property tax breaks, according to a copy of the proposal obtained by The Boston Globe. The incentive package would be spread out over 20 years, according to the report. The headquarters would create up to 50,000 jobs and come with a $5B investment from Amazon. Bids are due on Thursday. Reference Link
Oct 18, 2017 | 10:15 EDT
Shares of Ulta Beauty (ULTA) dropped in morning trading after the cosmetics retailer was downgraded at Piper Jaffray, which cited a survey showing a slowdown in beauty spending by teenagers. Ulta had been removed from the Conviction Buy list at Goldman Sachs earlier this week and also received a price target cut at Oppenheimer yesterday. SLOWDOWN IN SPENDING: Piper Jaffray analyst Erinn Murphy downgraded Ulta to Neutral from Overweight and cut her price target for shares to $210 from $260. In a note to clients, Murphy said her firm's Fall 2017 Teen Survey results indicated spending declines of 13% in color cosmetics among all female teenagers. While skincare declines were "less bad," down 7% year-over-year, overall beauty wallet was down low-double digits. She also noted that Piper saw broader signs of strength from LVMH's (LVMUY) Sephora, and that Sephora's Beauty Insider program has gained share while Ulta's Ultimate Rewards Program has lost share. Murphy said she is "incrementally concerned" on current category dynamics. REMOVAL FROM CONVICTION BUY LIST: Earlier this week, Goldman analyst Matthew Fassler removed Ulta from the firm's Conviction Buy List and lowered his price target to $267 from $290, telling clients that recent data points suggest a "more complicated path to recovery." Oppenheimer analyst Rupesh Parikh this week cut his price target for Ulta to $210 from $250 as he believes sustained outperformance is "less likely" from here and sees a more competitive brick and mortar landscape in the coming quarters. STILL A BUYING OPPORTUNITY: One analyst still seems positive on the stock, however. William Blair analyst Dan Hofkin said in a note yesterday that while he recognizes concerns surrounding slower industry growth, "the Amazon (AMZN) overhang," and the lull in the beauty industry, he believes Ulta is "differentiated" and positioned to deliver strong earnings and sales growth going forward. He does not believe Amazon is having a materially larger impact on Ulta than a year ago. Ulta also faces competition from department stores like Macy's (M), which are discounting high-end cosmetics and offering rewards, but Hofkin, who has an Outperform rating on Ulta shares, said he has not seen material changes in department stores' approach to beauty and believes they have not impacted Ulta to-date. WHAT'S NOTABLE: In August, Ulta reported quarterly comparable sales that declined from last year. The earnings report followed "softer" commentary from L'Oreal (LRLCY) on its earnings call regarding trends in its North American beauty business, increasing promotional activity from the department store channel and more difficult year-over-year comparisons that "could now signal a potentially more challenging beauty backdrop going forward." OTHERS TO WATCH: e.l.f. Beauty (ELF) is down 2.6% this morning after Piper's Murphy lowered her price target on shares, while Sally Beauty (SBH) is fractionally lower. PRICE ACTION: In morning trading, shares of Ulta Beauty are down 1.25% to $199.77. Shares are down nearly 22% year-to-date.
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