Diving into the Stream: Tech Titans Take on Musical M&A
Diving into the Stream: Tech Titans Take on Musical M&A
Alcoa Drops on Bank of America Downgrade as Dow Drops Triple Digits
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There's plenty of activity ahead in the music industry -- in fact, industry players are just ramping up on future campaigns to become the next big thing in streaming music. This could impact Pandora -- the company's stock, despite its performance over the last 12 months, is down to start 2014. Digital Capital Advisors managing director Elgin Thompson visits The Deal, as we sort out the differences between dealmakers, like Amazon, Apple, and even potentially Twitter. It's part of our heightened focus on new tech mediums, whether it's for your ears, or if it's revolutionary advances in streaming video, another hot area for M&A.
A down day for U.S. markets Wednesday with the Dow dropping triple digits. Traders waited most of the day to hear from the Fed's 'Beige Book.' The release showed lower oil prices slowed economic growth in several parts of the country. Crude futures gained a buck despite inventory increasing in the U.S. Trading reversed on Saudi Arabia's decision to raise prices and comments from that country's oil minister implying growing oil demand. Major oilers have cut capital spending on falling prices. Exxon (XOM) reduced future spending by 12% over this year following Chevron's (CVX) cutting efforts. A downgrade pushed Alcoa (AA) to fall. Bank of America cut its rating for the stock to NEUTRAL from BUY. There were gainers in the session including gun maker Smith and Wesson (SWHC). Shares spiked 10% on better than expected earnings and outlook.
Long known the past 35 years for eclectic artwork hanging on the walls and a menu filled with standard entrees and cocktails, Applebee’s parent company DineEquity has spent the past year reimagining the brand. The executive team has torn up the Applebee’s playbook, sprucing up the chain’s ambience, decor, menu items, and the actual look of the menu and the bar. For instance, Applebee’s is now out their marketing its shareable and pub plate bar snacks, which includes chef inspired dished like sriracha shrimp and churros with chocolate dipping sauce. At the bar, there is every young adult’s favorite – a cocktail with Fireball whiskey coined the fireball whiskey lemonade. The setting in which all of the revamped food is being dished out is also receiving a facelift. A sleeker-looking bar and dining section are in for Applebee’s, on the way out art the cluttered walls and the overly patterned seats. And, DineEquity is poised to take Applebee’s new show on the road, opening up several new international locations this year and next. As of December 31, 2014, there were 26 franchisees that owned a total of only 147 international Applebee's franchise restaurants. TheStreet sat down with DineEquity’s Chairman and CEO Julia Stewart to discuss the major transformation underway at Applebee’s, and whether hot fast casual restaurants like Shake Shack were just a fad.
Visitors at this year's Geneva Motor Show are getting a sneak peek at some of the hottest cars set to hit showrooms this year. From high-end sports cars to some more affordable options, there's definitely something for everyone. For sports car enthusiasts, there's The Ferrari 488 GTB. The legendary sports car maker unveiled the newly designed two-seater. It comes with a turbo-charged V8 engine and goes from 0 to 60 mph in 3 seconds flat. Also from Italy, the Lamborghini Aventador LP 750-4 Superveloce. This car has a mighty 750 horsepower engine. It can hit a top speed of 217 mph. Also making its debut in Geneva is the Audi R8. The German luxury car maker unveiled its second-generation R8 supercar on its stand in Geneva. It has a V10 engine capable of zero to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds. If you prefer to leave the driving to someone else, the new Mercedes-Maybach S-600 Pullman is a limousine of nearly unheard of luxury. With armor cladding as an option, the new Pullman has four quilted leather reclinable seats that face each other in the limo's rear, with a champagne cooler in easy reach. And, if you’re looking for a new family car, BMW is out with the 2-Series Gran Tourer. The Tourer might not be a supercar, but it is a blinged-out people mover for what the auto maker calls 'young active families.' BMW says it’s the first premium compact able to carry up to seven people, including up to five child seats for those carpool runs to soccer games or birthday parties.
McDonald's and Best Buy are upgraded, while Alcoa gets the cut, all in Wednesday's Analysts' Actions. RBC Capital upgraded McDonald's to OUTPERFORM. The firm said same-store sales and returns on investment will turn positive by year's end. Wedbush upgraded Best Buy to NEUTRAL from UNDERPERFORM with its price target increased to $37 from $24. Analysts said recent quarterly performance showed the company able to deliver comps growth and margin expansion. Alcoa was downgraded to NEUTRAL at Bank of America with its price target cut to $17. The firm said worsening aluminum fundamentals has put pressure on the company.
Stocks dropped Wednesday on the ADP report showing the private sector created fewer jobs than expected in February. We'll get a tap into the American consumer on Thursday when chain store sales are released. Brian Rehling, Co-Head of Global Fixed Income Strategy at Wells Fargo Investment Institute (WFC) says 'the middle class remains deeply impacted by the last recession and we have not seen the bounce back there.' Rehling thinks the current conditions including low inflation are favorable for stocks and the markets will be able to handle a June rate hike despite Chicago Fed's President Evans concerns. Rehling expects interest rates in the eurozone to stay attractive for companies like Coca-Cola (KO), Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA), Apple (AAPL) - all getting in on the record low borrowing costs with euro-bond sales.
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