Tag Archive | "europe"

Apple, Google: ISI Sees Stronger Q2 On Nokia Erosion

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ISI Group’s Abhey Lamba this afternoon writes that Apple‘s (AAPL) iPhone, as well as the constellation of Google (GOOG) “Android” -powered smartphones, should both see stronger Q2 results as Nokia’s (NOK) phone business suffers.

Regarding Nokia management’s remarks that it faced particular difficulty in China and in Europe, Lamba writes that the company’s phones based on the Symbian operating system had already been in trouble in those areas: IDC data showed a drop in Asia-Pacific Symbian market share from 72% in 2009 to 54% in 2010, and just 42% at the end of Q4. (I would note, however, that Symbian is a platform that’s used by multiple vendors, not just Nokia; I have a feeling these data points refer to all Symbian licensees.)

Android market share of smartphones should be over 40% this quarter, he estimates, giving a lift to HTC, among others.

For Apple, “Nokia’s management team admitted to strong competition from Apple as well.” Lamba expects Apple will build on this momentum when it hosts its developer conference next week in San Francisco.

Previously: RIM: RBC Sees Risk, Opportunity In Nokia Fall, May 31st, 2011.

Article courtesy of Tech Trader Daily

NOK Drops 15%: ‘Burning Platform’ Sinking

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Straight shot down for Nokia this morning; where’s the bottom?

Shares of Nokia (NOK) are down 90 cents, or 11%, at $7.30 $1, or 12.2%, at $7.20 $1.28, or almost 16%, at $6.91 this morning after the company this morning warned the current quarter is tracking much worse than it had expected, andsaid it could no longer off a full-year forecast, citing “multiple factors” that are “negatively impacting” its business.

The “burning platform” to which CEO Stephen Elop famously referred several months ago, is in effect sinking, at least for the moment.

Nokia sees adverse “competitive dynamics and markets trends across multiple price categories, particularly in China and Europe,” the company said. Then, too, it is selling more devices at lower prices and at lower gross profit margin. The company said it is also being subjected to “pricing tactics by Nokia and certain competitors.”

Subjected to its own pricing tactics? Hoisted on its own petard, I guess.

Nokia said it expects Q2 “devices & services” revenue will be “substantially below” the prior range of €6.1 billion to €6.6 billion. Operating margin will also miss the 6% to 9% Nokia had offered. In fact, the operating margin “could be around break-even.”

Nokia removed a target for Q3 devices and services sales to be even with Q2, and to rise in Q4, saying those targets were “no longer valid.”

Nokia said it would accelerate its attempt to trim €1 billion in annual operating expenses, and said that its development of its first phone using Microsoft’s (MSFT) operating system is going well, and that the device should ship in Q4 of this year. That may be somewhat earlier than some had expected.

Update: MKM Partners analyst Tero Kuittinen this morning send a missive to re-emphasize what he’d said a little over a week ago, which is that Nokia is seeing less and less support from some carriers, and that this is leading to “rock-bottom pricing.”

N8 sales are eroding rapidly and that some of the steeply discounted deals offered by leading carriers imply that this flagship model, launched last October, is now being phased out.”

Basically, it’s the Android invasion:

European rollouts of the Samsung Galaxy S2, Sony Ericsson Arc and HTC Desire HD seem to be proceeding notably strongly over the past two weeks. In our view, even second-tier Android launches like Sony Ericsson Play and Samsung Galaxy Fit are having better launch traction than carriers had anticipated. The Samsung Galaxy S2 seems to be matching iPhone sales at Orange and Vodafone.

Update 2: Jennifer Fritszche with Wells Fargo reports from the conference call with management this morning. She finds it interesting that the real problem Nokia is up against is Android, not Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone.

“Impact seen in both feature and smartphones – but given the fact it called out specific regions of Europe and China, NOK’s CFO indicated that more of smartphone contribution from these 2 regions,” writes Fritszche.

CEO Stephen Elop indicated that Android players, particularly in CDMA, have been disruptive and are taking market share. While NOK did not mention any specific manufacturers, we note [Motorola Mobility (MMI)] has historically been quite strong in CDMA and has been building its presence in China.”

Update 3: Analysts are starting to adjust numbers — see the note today from Gleacher & Co. Some are warning that things will have to get worse, and that estimates are bound to go lower, before Windows-based devices help improve the outlook.

Article courtesy of Tech Trader Daily

Opening Bell: 05.23.11

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Options Trading in SAC Probe (WSJ, earlier)
Congressional investigators are broadening an early-stage stock-trading probe into SAC Capital Advisors, with plans to examine any suspicious trading by the hedge-fund giant in the options market, another arena where investors wager on the prospects of companies and deals, according to people familiar with the matter. The Wall Street Journal reported Friday night that Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, is investigating roughly 20 instances over the past decade when the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, a Wall Street regulator, suspected SAC could have bought and sold stocks based on inside information.

Fitch cuts Greek rating, warns over restructuring (Reuters)
“An extension of the maturity of existing bonds would be considered by Fitch to be a default event and Greece and its obligations would be rated accordingly,” the rating agency said. If private sector ‘burden sharing’ is coercive, the credibility of EU/IMF policy commitments not just for Greece but also Ireland and Portugal would be severely diminished and affect financial stability across the euro area, it said.

Lagarde Is Front-Runner To Head IMF (Bloomberg)
“Lagarde might be front-runner,” New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said in an interview with TVNZ television today. “She’s super impressive I’ve got to say,” he said, while echoing officials outside of Europe in calling for a selection “on merit.”

Singapore to Create Most Bank Jobs in the Next Year, London Recruiter Says (Bloomberg)
Singapore will create more jobs in financial services during the next 12 months than any other city, beating London and New York, said recruiter Astbury Marsden, which advises companies in Europe and Asia.

Biggs Buying as S&P 500 Profit Estimates Climb (Bloomberg)
“Investors are overreacting,” said Biggs, citing concerns about the European debt crisis, housing and reduced stimulus from the U.S. Federal Reserve. “All those worries are true, but I can see a number of them will be resolved in the next two months, and I do not think the global economy will slow down significantly. Stocks are very reasonably priced on earnings for next year.”

Zapatero’s Socialists Routed in Backlash Over Austerity (Bloomberg)
Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero’s Socialist party had its worst electoral setback in more than 30 years, prompting a shift in regional governments that risks reviving concern over public finances…The transfer of power in the regions may spark doubts over Spain’s ability to contain its budget deficit, and Spanish bonds declined today.

S&P warning heralds tough times ahead for Italy (Reuters)
Standard & Poor’s surprising decision to revise downward its outlook for Italy could mark the start of increased market scrutiny on the euro zone’s third-largest economy, which faces tough challenges that it is probably unable to meet.

Times Columnist, Wife, Charged In Domestic Argument (Hartford Courant)
New York Times technology columnist David Pogue and his wife were charged with disorderly conduct earlier this week following a domestic argument at a Woody Lane house, part of which she recorded on her iPhone, police said…He told police his wife had bitten his left arm and that she had been filming the altercation with her iPhone camera. Arciola said David Pogue followed Jennifer Pogue into a bedroom and allegedly jumped on top of her and hit her in the head with a phone…In addition to his column, Pogue writes a monthly column in Scientific American. He also appears weekly on CNBC’s “Power Lunch” and on “CBS News Sunday Morning.”

JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley keep barbarians at the gate (eF)
Companies seeking to fight off a hostile takeover approach should consider hiring JP Morgan to defend them, according to new rankings compiled by Financial News.

Emerging market bond fund flows signal shift (FT)
Eight consecutive weeks of net inflows have taken the total invested in these funds this year to $7.9bn, according to EPFR, the fund data provider…Robust inflows into emerging market bonds stand in contrast to nervousness over potentially overheating equity markets in developing countries, and the debt crisis in western Europe’s periphery. Investors have pulled $12.9bn out of European bond funds this year, and more than $7bn was withdrawn from global equity funds last week, of which $1.6bn came from emerging market equity funds, according to EPFR.

Buyers Battle for Europe’s Bad Loans (WSJ)
As banks across Europe clean up their balance sheets, it is causing a feeding frenzy among hedge funds and private-equity firms hungry for their troubled assets…Among the buyers is Marathon Asset Management LP… Other buyers include Fortress Investment Group LLC, OakTree Capital Management, York Capital Management, and Och-Ziff Capital Management, according to industry officials.

Utah making gold and silver coins legal currency, pushing debate about national gold standard (AP via WaPo)
Utah became the first state in the country this month to legalize gold and silver coins as currency. The law also will exempt the sale of the coins from state capital gains taxes.

NY senators bat with banks on rule change (NYP)
The Senate agricultural committee is set to host hearings as early as mid-June to discuss new derivatives rules, which have become a hot-button issue on Wall Street, The Post has learned. US legislators, including Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, have been fighting on behalf of firms like JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, arguing that new rules on complex derivatives securities being hammered out under the Dodd-Frank regulatory reforms put domestic banks at a “competitive disadvantage.”

Inside a Battle Over Forex (WSJ)
Bank of New York Mellon Corp. has been fighting accusations that it took advantage of clients while trading currencies…BNY Mellon priced 58% of the currency trades within the 10% of each day’s trading range that was least favorable to the fund, the analysis shows. As a result, the trades cost the pension fund, the Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Association, $4.5 million more than if the average trade occurred at the middle of the trading range for each day, the analysis showed.

Yuan Funds May Be More Illusion Than Oasis (WSJ)
But already, firms that manage dollar funds and are setting up yuan funds, too, are grappling with a conundrum: How do you convince your foreign investors—referred to as limited partners, or “LPs,” in the private-equity world—that you are keeping their best interests at heart while you scour China for deals to invest in with renminbi? Foreign LPs already had reason to worry that things weren’t going in their favor. When it involves foreigners, approval for an investment in China can take 18 months or longer. Also, more and more companies in China are reluctant to take foreign money because doing so complicates their ability to go public in Shanghai or Shenzhen, thanks to arcane Chinese listing regulations.

CDB seeks to join TPG stake purchase (FT)
China Development Bank, one of the country’s largest state-owned banks, has applied to regulators for permission to join a group of sovereign wealth funds buying a minority stake in buy-out firm TPG, according to people familiar with the matter. CDB’s request is the latest indication of the private equity fever sweeping China as local dealmakers leave the major buy-out firms and banks to set up their own investment firms.

KKR to Buy Ipreo, a Capital-Markets Data Firm (WSJ)
KKR is acquiring Ipreo from another buyout firm, Veronis Suhler Stevenson LLC. Ipreo, based in New York, provides a range of financial data, deal-related information and investor-communication tools to investment banks and companies. It also has software that assists banks and companies in marketing new stock to potential buyers. One of its databases, called Bigdough, contains contact information for thousands of institutional investors that Ipreo clients can use to pitch hedge funds and other types of investors.

Cassette tapes make a comeback (WaPo)
Four years ago, cassette tapes were headed toward their funeral. In 2007, British tabloid The Sun declared the death of the cassette, after the announcement that a major electronics retailer in the United Kingdom would cease selling cassette tapes…Then, last year, cassettes began to rise from the dead. In the fall, NPR reported that cassettes were having a “kind of” revival, with at least 25 labels in the United States putting out new music exclusively on tape. In a lengthy essay in Pitchfork, contributor Marc Hogan detailed examples of the “broader underground resurgence” of cassettes.

Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

YGE Off 7% On Q1 Miss; Reaffirms Year Shipment View

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Shares of Chinese solar energy technology provider Yingli Green Energy (YGE) are down 72 cents, or 7%, at $9.24 after the company this morning missed Q1 estimates on a decline in photovoltaic module shipment, in line with a pre-announcement last week, but re-affirmed its year module shipment target.

Yingli’s Q1 revenue rose 41% to $527 million, missing the average $573 million estimate, yielding eps of 38 cents, a penny below consensus.

Yingli said it shipped fewer modules than expected thanks to “decreased PV module shipment as a result of the policy change in Italy.”

Module shipments fell by “a low teen percentage” from Q4′s level. The company expects shipment volume to rise 30% in Q2.

“Although solar policy changes in certain European countries have caused short term market fluctuations, in the long term, we continue to view Europe as one of our most important markets,” said CEO Liansheng Miao.

Yingli reaffirmed its shipment forecast of 1.7 gigawatts to 1.75 gigawatts this year.

Among analyst reactions this morning, Jesse Pichel with Jefferies & Co. reiterated a Buy rating on the shares and a $19 price target. The big issue is competitor Trina Solar’s (TSL) quarterly miss, reported on Tuesday, and Trina’s remarks that it will get more aggressive on pricing. How will YGE respond? “Our channel checks indicate that YGE is strongly preferred in Europe over TSL, and thus it may not have to be as aggressive on price, but could if needed given its low cost structure.”

On the other hand, Timothy Arcuri with Citigroup reiterates a Sell rating, and an $11 price target, writing that a rise in days of inventory for YGE from 84 to 110 is evidence for an “inventory build in the supply chain.”

“We continue to think challenges related to the startup of poly operations will hamper the outlook for YGE relative to its peers, and continued reliance on Germany is also a concern given out outlook is for that market to have declining share of global demand going forward.”

Article courtesy of Tech Trader Daily

Opening Bell: 05.18.11

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For States, a Glimmer of Hope on Deficits (NYT)
From stronger-than-expected tax collections in deficit-ridden California to projected surpluses in struggling states like Michigan and Pennsylvania, a growing number of recession-weary states are finally announcing a bit of good budget news for the first time since the downturn began. But it would probably be premature to pop the Champagne, or even the prosecco — or to otherwise declare the fiscal crisis that has hammered states to be over.

Howard Marks’ Oaktree Capital sows seeds for listing on NYSE (FT)
Oaktree Capital Management is planning to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange in a deal that would value the asset manager at between $8bn and $9bn, people familiar with the matter said. Oaktree, which manages $85bn, mostly in debt investments, listed shares four years ago on a quasi-public exchange set up by Goldman Sachs.

DSK Accuser Is ‘Afraid,’ ‘Overwhelmed’ (WSJ)
Investigators swabbed a sink and removed a section of carpet from the hotel suite where International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn allegedly assaulted a hotel housekeeper, a New York law-enforcement official said Tuesday, as a clearer profile began to emerge of the alleged victim. Her attorney [Jeffrey Shapiro] characterized her as a “simple woman, with little education” who is a single mother from Guinea. Mr. Shapiro said his client, a 32-year-old widowed mother of a 15-year-old girl, was granted asylum in the United States seven years ago from her native country of Guinea.

Fed seeks annual US bank stress tests (FT)
The Federal Reserve wants to subject US banks to annual capital tests, reserving the right to veto dividend pay-outs if they do not pass.

‘Gang of Six’ on verge of collapse as Republican Sen. Coburn withdraws (WaPo)
Since January, six senators have engaged in difficult negotiations and made painful concessions in a politically dangerous quest for something that has long eluded Washington: a bipartisan compromise to control the nation’s mounting debt. By Tuesday evening, however, the “Gang of Six” was on the verge of collapse. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) withdrew from the bipartisan working group, saying the senators simply could not overcome the polarizing political pressure that each faces.

Senate rejects measure to end subsidies for big oil companies (WaPo)
A Democratic measure that would have repealed tax subsidies for the five biggest oil companies failed to clear the Senate on Tuesday, falling short of the 60-vote threshold needed to advance in a near-party-line vote.

Geithner Warns On Debt Ceiling, Talks IMF Crisis (DJ via WSJ)
In his first public comments since International Monetary Fund Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn was jailed on sexual-assault charges, [Treasury Secretary Timothy] Geithner added that the institution should establish a plan to fill its leadership vacuum on an interim basis, given that the IMF chief was “not in the position” to make decisions during a critical time. In remarks to the Harvard Club here, Geithner cautioned the GOP leadership against tying their budget blueprint to the contentious talks to lift the U.S.’s $14.3 trillion debt ceiling.

Citigroup’s Gain on Mortgage Hedge Fund Jumps as Volcker Trading Ban Looms (Bloomberg)
Citigroup’s Mortgage/Credit Opportunity Fund climbed 16 percent in the first four months of 2011, almost doubling its pace last year, according to internal reports obtained by Bloomberg News. About 90 percent of the $395 million invested in the fund is the bank’s own capital, said a person with direct knowledge of the matter.

Dan Zwirn Seeks Comeback With Alda Three Years After Shutting Hedge Fund (Bloomberg)
Daniel Zwirn, the New York investor forced to shut a $4 billion hedge fund because of client withdrawals, is starting over with a new publicly traded fund that will be safe from redemptions. Zwirn will help manage a closed-end fund for Alda Capital Corp. that will lend to small and medium-sized companies, the Chicago-based firm disclosed in a regulatory filing this month with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Alda plans to raise about $50 million for the fund, according to the filing.

Morgan Stanley Sets Up Yuan Fund (WSJ)
Morgan Stanley said Wednesday it has set up a private-equity joint venture in the affluent eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou, launching its first yuan-denominated fund that aims to raise 1.5 billion yuan ($231 million).

Oyster Herpes in France Ravages Harvest (Bloomberg)
A deadly virus is stalking France’s coastline, killing at least 60 percent of the young oysters there since 2008…The virus is not just a blow to France, Europe’s biggest producer. The global industry, worth at least $3.3 billion in 2009, has been plagued by OsHV-1 in Ireland, England and Australia.

Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

Write-Offs: 05.17.11

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$$$ In Europe, a first call for IMF chief Strauss-Kahn to quit (WaPo)

$$$ This is what Ben Stein had to say about the Dominique Strauss-Kahn situation: “The prosecutors say that Mr. Strauss-Kahn “forced” the complainant to have oral and other sex with him. How? Did he have a gun? Did he have a knife? He’s a short fat old man. They were in a hotel with people passing by the room constantly, if it’s anything like the many hotels I am in. How did he intimidate her in that situation? And if he was so intimidating, why did she immediately feel un-intimidated enough to alert the authorities as to her story?” (American Spectator)

$$$ A Once-Tight Flock at Goldman, Now Scattered [Dealbook]

$$$ Skepticism grows on Geithner’s debt limit deadline (Reuters)

$$$ losing faith in world economy (FT)

$$$ Hedge Funds Line Up for AIG Pitch Meeting (CNBC)

$$$ LinkedIn IPO: Biggest Price Bump Since Tech Bubble (Deal Journal)

$$$ Goldman’s Hatzius: The Next US Recession ‘Is Years Away‘ (CNBC)

$$$ Barclays Pays Its Top Staff 7% Interest on Five-Year Deferred Cash Bonuses (Bloomberg)

$$$ Dennis Berman: The Midwest Medicis’ Favorite Financier [WSJ]

$$$ A colour-coded guide to the Greek crisis (BofA/ML via FT Alphaville)

$$$ Reality vs. Matt Taibbi, Part I [Stone Street Advisors]

$$$ Warren Buffett’s Ride on the Rails Is Paying Off (Businessweek)

$$$ Suit vs Citigroup execs over mortgages tossed out (Reuters)

$$$ Kohn ‘regrets’ pain of millions in financial crisis (FT)

$$$ Warren and Me [The Reformed Broker via Easy Street/Heidi Moore]

$$$ fine fat people for not dieting? (BBC)

$$$ Famed NYC eatery Elaine’s to close down six months after owner Elaine Kaufman dies (NYDN)

$$$ Vikram Pandit Wants You To Like Him [TSC]

Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

Opening Bell: 05.16.11

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Strauss-Kahn Awaits Arraignment in Sex Assault Case (Bloomberg)
International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn awaits his first court appearance on attempted rape charges after giving police permission to examine him for physical evidence of scratches and DNA from his accuser. The alleged attack on a 32-year-old female maid at a Sofitel hotel in midtown Manhattan occurred May 14, according to the New York Police Department. Strauss-Kahn, who was taken into custody aboard an Air France flight at John F. Kennedy International Airport as it prepared to depart, also was charged with unlawful imprisonment and a criminal sex act. He remains in custody until an 11 a.m. hearing in Manhattan criminal court. Strauss- Kahn, 62, has denied the charges and will plead not guilty, his lawyer Benjamin Brafman said. The IMF chief was picked out of a lineup yesterday by the maid, police said. His arraignment, during which bail terms may be set, had been scheduled for yesterday and was delayed after investigators sought a warrant a physical examination of Strauss-Kahn.

I.M.F. Names New Leader (NYT)
Hours after its chief, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, was arrested in connection with the alleged sexual attack of a maid at a Midtown Manhattan hotel, the International Monetary Fund on Sunday named John Lipsky as acting managing director. Mr. Lipsky, the I.M.F.’s first deputy managing director, is a former U.S. Treasury executive and onetime banker at JP Morgan.

Why Lagarde Will Be The Next IMF Managing Director
Felix Salmon: “Christine Lagarde will become the first female managing director of the IMF. She has the political skills and the economic credentials to get the job, and Europe will feel much more comfortable with a European in the role over the next few turbulent years. The US won’t object, and the Asians will go along with the choice since they don’t really have a candidate of their own.”

New Details in IMF Sex Case (WSJ)
According to the narrative [the accuser] gave investigators, Mr. Strauss-Kahn emerged from the bathroom nude and approached her from behind and touched her breast, then threw her on to the bed, the official said. She told police she broke free but was then pushed into a rear hallway of the suite near the bathroom. Mr. Strauss-Kahn allegedly caught up with her and sexually assaulted her, the official said, before allowing her to leave.

IMF head finally agrees to medical exam; set for arraignment today (NYP)
In an ironic twist, Strauss-Kahn may have inadvertently helped cops capture him before he fled the country. After the alleged assault Saturday, Strauss-Kahn was so desperate to flee that he left his cellphone in the hotel room, officials said. He also gave away his location, calling the hotel to tell management that he had left behind his phone and that he was at JFK Airport. So when the incident was reported and cops went looking for Strauss-Kahn, the hotel was able to direct authorities to the airport, where he was pulled off a plane just before it departed for Paris at 4:40 p.m.

Police Seek Evidence From I.M.F. Chief on Sex Attack (NYT)
The authorities said they had moved to obtain a court order granting them a search warrant to examine Mr. Strauss-Kahn for signs of injury that he might have suffered during a struggle or for traces of his accuser’s DNA. “Things like getting things from under the fingernails,” a law enforcement official explained, “the classic things you get in association with a sex assault.”

Strauss-Kahn Arrest Bolsters Push for IMF Changes (Bloomberg)
“This event is likely to put into play the leadership and governance structure of the IMF in a dramatic and unanticipated manner,” said Prasad, a former IMF official.

Soul-Searching in France After Official’s Arrest Jolts Nation (NYT)
Some, including Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s wife, the American-born French television journalist Anne Sinclair, expressed disbelief in the charges and faith in her husband’s innocence. His lawyer has said he would plead not guilty. Others talked darkly of a possible “setup” of Mr. Sarkozy’s most prominent rival.

How’s Strauss-Kahn Doing? (Telegraph)
“He’s tired but he’s fine,” DSK’s lawyer said.

What If the U.S. Treasury Defaults? (WSJ)
“I think technical default would be horrible,” [Stanley Druckenmiller] says from the 24th floor of his midtown Manhattan office, “but I don’t think it’s going to be the end of the world. It’s not going to be catastrophic. What’s going to be catastrophic is if we don’t solve the real problem,” meaning Washington’s spending addiction.

Nasdaq, ICE Pull NYSE Bid, Cite Regulators (Reuters)
“We took the decision to withdraw our offer when it became clear that we would not be successful in securing regulatory approval for our proposal despite offering a variety of substantial remedies, including the sale of the NYSE SRO and related businesses,” Nasdaq OMX CEO Bob Greifeld said in a statement.

Former S.E.C. Official Said to Be Subject of Criminal Inquiry (NYT)
A former Securities and Exchange Commission enforcement official who has been accused of repeatedly blocking efforts to investigate R. Allen Stanford, the Houston financier charged with running a $7 billion Ponzi scheme, is the subject of a federal criminal inquiry for having done legal work for Mr. Stanford after leaving the S.E.C., government officials said Friday.

Banks Woo Funds With Private Peeks (WSJ)
Investment banks vie for business from elite hedge funds by offering traders at those funds special access to senior deal makers and corporate executives at dinners and other gatherings. The traders sometimes pick up valuable nuggets of information that aren’t available to other investors, according to people who have attended such gatherings…The funds are prized clients because they collectively pay billions of dollars in fees each year for buying and selling stocks.

US dollar under more pressure as Zimbabwe speaks on its end as global currency (Examiner)
Just two years ago, the nation of Zimbabwe created a hyperinflationary economy that led to the creation of a $100 Trillion note for its citizens to be able to purchase food.  On May 15th however, this African nation is now speaking out on the US dollar, and advocating that its days are numbered as the global reserve currency.

Investors Show Interest in AIG Stock Sale (WSJ)
Underwriters for the $9 billion stock sale by American International Group Inc. and the U.S. Treasury have indications of interest from investors for about half the offering, according to people familiar with the matter.

Angry Birds CEO Plots Media Empire (CNBC)
“When we realized we had a big hit on our hands with Angry Birds, we looked at companies that had gone before us, especially in the mobile gaming sector where we were at that time very firmly,” Hed told CNBC.com. “We saw that most gaming companies had then immediately tried to make another hit game and we realized that had very rarely worked. Rather, we started to look at what we could do around Angry Birds and if there was a way that we could build this into an entertainment franchise,” he added.

Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

SunPower Q1 In Line With Pre-Announce; Q2 Rev View Misses

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Solar energy technology provider SunPower (SPWRA) this afternoon reported Q1 results below Street estimates, a Q2 revenue view below expectations, and said it would adjust its year revenue outlook later this quarter to accommodate a changing subsidy regime in Italy.

Q1 revenue rose 30%, year over year, to $451.4 million, yielding EPS of 15 cents, on an adjusted basis.

The Street had been looking for $477 million and 17 cents in EPS.

The miss on revenue was not unexpected, as the company had said back on April 28th, at the time it announced energy giant Total (TOT) would take a stake in the company, that revenue would come in around $450 million, below expectations, because of Italy project delays. Street estimates had shifted down somewhat since that announcement, but were still above the figure the company offered.

The company reiterated a forecast for 825 megawatts to 920 megawatts for the full year.

For the current quarter, the company sees $500 million to $550 million in revenue on shipments of 160 megawatts to 190 megawatts, below the $596 million the Street has been modeling.  There is, however, a wide disparity in Q2 numbers: I’ve seen $511 million, but I’ve also seen $625 million.

SunPower shares are down 18 cents, or 0.8%, at $21.20 in late trading.

SunPower’s CFO, Dennis Arriola, said, “Revenues and inventory levels in the first quarter were impacted by the pause in business activity in Italy, as several projects awaited clarity on the new tariffs. Italy’s new feed-in-tariff, announced earlier this month, follows the trend across Europe of favoring rooftop solar investment.”

Arriola said the company’s technology and its dealer network would help it in the rooftop market. “As a result, we are in the process of optimizing our portfolio allocation geographically and across our downstream channels for the remainder of 2011. We expect to complete this process in the near future and plan to revise our 2011 guidance before the end of the second quarter to reflect the recent changes in Italy.”

Article courtesy of Tech Trader Daily

Symantec Slips Despite FYQ4 Beat; Q1 View Tops Estimates

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Symantec (SYMC) this evening report fiscal Q4 results ahead of expectations and forecast the current quarter slightly ahead as well.

Q4 revenue was up 9.3% at $1.67 billion, yielding EPS of 38 cents, versus the consensus $1.6 billion and 36 cents.

For the current quarter, the company sees revenue of $1.57 billion to $1.59 billion, ahead of the average $1.55 billion, and EPS of 36 cents to 37 cents, versus 36 cents expected.

Symantec shares are down 11 cents, or half a percent, at $19.30.

International revenue, which was 51% of all revenue, was up 10%, including a 4% rise in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, while Asia revenue rose 22%, or 12% on a currency-neutral basis. Americas revenue, which has some overlap with International in the case of Latin America, rose 9% and was 55% of revenue.

CFO James Beer took some time to talk with me following the announcement.

Beer said the company was particularly pleased with the performance in its consumer products, hosted services, data loss prevention, and backup products, and also the performance of recent acquisitions.

On the consumer side of the house, “We’re doing a very good job of getting new customers but also upsetting and cross-selling them to things like backup,” said Beer.

On the enterprise side, “data loss prevention had a strong quarter as customers increasingly focused on this problem of losing information,” said Beer. The “Wikileaks episode,” as he calls it, has put a particular focus on that issue, he thinks.

Hosted services was, “reflective of how some customers, particularly smaller companies, are getting comfortable taipang into software through a browser.”

The company got $81 million from its recently acquired businesses, including the security business it bought from Verisign (VRSN), and the PGP and GuardianEdge businesses. Beer wouldn’t give a year-over-year growth rate for those businesses, but said the bookings growth for they saw was “very strong” in the quarter.

Beer said Symantec will focus its efforts this fiscal year on three new emerging growth opportunities in particular: mobile, virtualization, and cloud.

Article courtesy of Tech Trader Daily

Powerwave Drops 9% On Unexpected Q1 Loss; LTE Chip Delayed

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Shares of wireless chip maker Powerwave (PWAV) are down 39 cents, or 9%, at $3.91 after the company missed Q1 revenue and earnings estimates on the delay in shipping a chip for 4G wireless, or “LTE,” networks.

Q1 revenue rose 19% to $137 million, missing the average $152 million estimate. The company reported a 2-cent-per-share net loss versus analysts’ expectation for a 3-cent profit.

CEO Ronald Buschur said revenue was hit by, “Delays we encountered ramping up one of our new LTE products. We believe that we have resolved the production issues that impacted our revenues for the first quarter.

Buschur said the company was still “on track for meeting our annual revenue guidance.” That forecast, offered back in February, is for $650 million to $680 million in revenue.

During the conference call back in February to discuss Q4′s results, Buschur had been asked about the prospects for sales of the company’s antennae and amplifiers for LTE network deployments. (Powerwave sells to infrastructure equipment makers mostly, as opposed to handset makers.)

Buschur remarked at the time that Powerwave was supplying “two large operators here in North America” and a third in Europe, and that, “I’m very happy with the selection criteria and certainly our ability to deliver large quantities — not samples, but large volume quantities — of all these solution sets across the product portfolio.”

Article courtesy of Tech Trader Daily