Post Market News: Markel, Strum, Ruger & Co, Alterra, Alcoa & Metlife

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Post Market News: Markel, Strum, Ruger & Co, Alterra, Alcoa & Metlife

Post Market News

Stocks that were in focus in U.S. trading on Wednesday include: Markel Corporation (NYSE:MKL), Alterra Capital Holdings Ltd (NASDAQ:ALTE), Alcoa Inc. (NYSE:AA), Oncothyreon Inc (USA) (NASDAQ:ONTY), PulteGroup, Inc. (NYSE:PHM), Lennar Corporation (NYSE:LEN), Toll Brothers Inc (NYSE:TOL), D.R. Horton, Inc. (NYSE:DHI), Actuant Corporation (NYSE:ATU), Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. (NYSE:MSO), Smith & Wesson Holding Corporation (NASDAQ:SWHC), Strum, Ruger & Company (NYSE:RGR), Amgen, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMGN), Metlife Inc (NYSE:MET), Idera Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:IDRA), Chicago Bridge & Iron Company N.V. (NYSE:CBI), The Shaw Group Inc. (NYSE:SHAW) and Symmetricom, Inc. (NASDAQ:SYMM).

Market Levels

•    US:  Dow: 13252.00 (-0.74%), S&P 500: 1435.81 (-0.76%), NASDAQ: 3044.36 (-0.33%)
•    Europe: CAC: 3664.59 (0.44%), DAX: 7668.50 (0.19%), FTSE: 5961.59 (0.43%)
•    Asia-Pacific: Australia: 4617.80 (0.49%), China: 2162.24 (-0.01%), Hong Kong: 22623.37 (0.57%), India: 5929.60 (0.56%), Japan: 10160.40 (2.34%).
•    Metals: Gold: 1667.70 (-0.18%), Silver: 31.12 (-1.75%), Copper: 3.61 (-1.31%)
•    Energy: Crude Oil: 89.51 (1.80%), Natural Gas: 3.44 (3.30%)
•    Commodities: Corn: 7.03 (-2.36%), Soya Bean: 14.31 (-2.02%), Wheat: 8.05 (-0.68%)
•    Currency: Euro (€) / US Dollar ($) (EURUSD): 1.3243 (-0.12%), British Pound Sterling (UK£) / US Dollar ($) (GBPUSD): 1.6252 (-0.02%), US Dollar ($) / Japanese Yen (¥) (USDJPY): 84.3950 (0.14%)
•    10 year US Treasury: 1.798% (-0.019)


Market and Economy News Update

U.S. markets end lower: U.S. markets finished lower on Wednesday as negotiations to avoid deep spending cuts and tax hikes turned sour. House Speaker John Boehner said the House of Representatives will pass a budget proposal that President Obama has already threatened to veto. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) fell 98.99 points, or 0.74 percent, to close at 13,251.97 and the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) dropped 10.98 points, or 0.76 percent, to finish at 1,435.81, while the NASDAQComposite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) declined 10.17 points, or 0.33 percent, to end at 3,044.36.

Oil prices rally: Oil prices gained for the fourth consecutive session on Wednesday after the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that crude supplies fell by 1 million barrels for the week ended December 14, compared to analysts’ expectations for a decline of 2.3 million barrels. Crude oil for January delivery jumped 0.8 percent, to settle at $89.51 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent oil for January settlement added 1.2 percent to $110.13 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.


Stocks in Focus


Markel Corporation (NYSE:MKL), Alterra Capital Holdings Ltd (NASDAQ:ALTE)

Specialty insurer Markel Corporation (NYSE:MKL) has agreed to buy Alterra Capital Holdings Ltd (NASDAQ:ALTE) for about $3.1 billion in cash and stock to diversify into reinsurance. Investors in Alterra Capital Holdings Ltd (NASDAQ:ALTE) will receive 0.043 Markel Corporation (NYSE:MKL) share and $10 in cash for each share they own, the companies said today in a statement. The deal is expected to close in the first half of next year. Shares of Markel Corporation (NYSE:MKL) fell 10 percent to $436.24, while Alterra Capital Holdings Ltd (NASDAQ:ALTE) surged 22 percent to $28.18. Further reading.


Alcoa Inc. (NYSE:AA)

Alcoa Inc. (NYSE:AA) fell 3 percent as Moody’s Investors Service placed the country’s largest aluminum producer under review for a possible downgrade. Moody’s placed Alcoa Inc. (NYSE:AA)’s Baa3 senior unsecured rating under review for downgrade, the ratings company said in a statement. Alcoa Inc. (NYSE:AA) had slashed its global aluminum consumption forecast in October due to a slowdown in demand from China, the world’s largest consumer of the metal.


Oncothyreon Inc (USA) (NASDAQ:ONTY)

Oncothyreon Inc (USA) (NASDAQ:ONTY) plunged in trade after its lung cancer drug missed its endpoint in a clinical study. Oncothyreon Inc (USA) (NASDAQ:ONTY) said a late-stage trial of its experimental lung cancer vaccine Stimuvax, did not meet its goal of improving overall survival. Oncothyreon Inc (USA) (NASDAQ:ONTY) had licensed the experimental drug to Merck Serono, a division of Germany’s Merck KGaA (ETR:MRK) (FRA:MRK), which conducted the study.


PulteGroup, Inc. (NYSE:PHM), Lennar Corporation (NYSE:LEN)

Shares of PulteGroup, Inc. (NYSE:PHM), Lennar Corporation (NYSE:LEN), Toll Brothers Inc (NYSE:TOL) and D.R. Horton, Inc. (NYSE:DHI), all fell in trade today after data showed housing starts were weaker-than-expected in November.


Actuant Corporation (NYSE:ATU)

Actuant Corporation (NYSE:ATU) reported first quarter earnings per share of 49 cents, down from 50 cents in the year-ago period. Net sales came in at $377.25 million compared to $392.80 million a year earlier. Analysts were expecting the industrial products and systems maker to earn 50 cents a share on sales of $396.37 million. For the second quarter, Actuant Corporation (NYSE:ATU) expects earnings per share in the range of 34 cents to 38 cents and sales of $360 million to $370 million, much lower than what analysts’ were projecting. Shares of Actuant Corporation (NYSE:ATU) tumbled 7.6 percent.


Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. (NYSE:MSO)

Shares of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. (NYSE:MSO) jumped 2.7 percent after the New York-based company said that Chief Executive Lisa Gersh will step down after a transition period. Before being named CEO in July, Gersh had been president and chief operating officer of the company since July 2011. Additionally, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. (NYSE:MSO) said fourth-quarter merchandising revenue is expected to be 15 percent higher compared with a year ago. More information here.


Smith & Wesson Holding Corporation (NASDAQ:SWHC)

Shares of firearm manufacturers bounced on Wednesday after President Obama announced the creation of a task force for guns, yet also defended the right to bear arms as granted by the 2nd amendment. Smith & Wesson Holding Corporation (NASDAQ:SWHC) shares were up 7.2 percent at $8.35 in heavy trading on the NASDAQ, while Strum, Ruger & Company (NYSE:RGR) shares soared 7.5 percent to $43.63 on the New York Stock Exchange.


Amgen, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMGN)

Amgen, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMGN) has pleaded guilty in federal court to improper marketing of its once-blockbuster anemia drug Aranesp, and has agreed to pay a total of $762 million in criminal fines and civil settlements of whistle-blower lawsuits. Amgen, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMGN) pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor count of misbranding the drug and selling it for uses not approved by federal regulators. Amgen, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMGN) had earlier announced a $780 million charge to settle the allegations. Amgen, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMGN)’s shares fell 92 cents to $88.37.


Metlife Inc (NYSE:MET)

Metlife Inc (NYSE:MET) is in advanced talks to buy Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria S.A. (MCE:BBVA) (NYSE:BBVA)’s Chilean pension management unit, AFP Provida SA, according to a Bloomberg report. Metlife Inc (NYSE:MET) declined to comment on negotiations, but according to people with knowledge of the matter, company executives may be prepared to sign a deal within days or weeks. In Chile, BBVA has a 51.6 percent stake in Provida. Metlife Inc (NYSE:MET) shares rose 0.2 percent to $33.22.


Idera Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:IDRA)

Idera Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:IDRA) soared in trade today after it said that its treatment for moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis was more effective than a placebo in a Phase 2a clinical trial. Idera Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:IDRA) said that 48 percent of patients treated with two dose levels of the treatment labeled, IMO-3100, showed improvements in their Psoriasis Area Severity Index scores of 35 to 90 per cent from baseline. The company is planning to present more details at an upcoming medical meet.


Chicago Bridge & Iron Company N.V. (NYSE:CBI)

Chicago Bridge & Iron Company N.V. (NYSE:CBI) moved higher after it provided an upbeat forecast for full-year 2013, and said its shareholders approved the $3.04 billion acquisition of The Shaw Group Inc. (NYSE:SHAW). Chicago Bridge & Iron Company N.V. (NYSE:CBI) forecast profit of between $3.35 and $3.65 per share on revenue of $6.3 billion to $6.7 billion for 2013, compared to analysts’ expectations for a profit of $3.45 per share on revenue of $6.24 billion. Chicago Bridge & Iron Company N.V. (NYSE:CBI) said that over 90 percent voted in favor of the deal which is expected to close in the first quarter of 2013. The Shaw Group Inc. (NYSE:SHAW)’s shareholders will vote on Friday.


Symmetricom, Inc. (NASDAQ:SYMM)

Symmetricom, Inc. (NASDAQ:SYMM) plunged 7 percent after it cut its second-quarter earnings and revenue guidance, citing a decline in U.S. government spending.  Symmetricom, Inc. (NASDAQ:SYMM) said it expects to post an adjusted loss of a penny to 5 cents per share for the period that ends December 30. The company also forecast revenue of $46 million to $49 million, down from its prior guidance of $55 million to $62 million. Symmetricom, Inc. (NASDAQ:SYMM) is expected to report second-quarter numbers during the week of January 21.

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