Quadruple-witching session on Friday, wreaked havoc on the final trading session
of the week. Expirations for index futures, options on index futures,
single-stock futures and stock options occurred today making it possibly the
heaviest traded day of the year. All stock options contracts expire on the third
Friday of each month and once every quarter on the third Friday of March, June,
September and December all four expire on the same day. Ongoing concerns by
investors over the U.S. Federal Reserve starting to cut the stimulus program as
well as in increase in the political uncertainty in Greece. The Democratic Left
party in Greece reportedly pulled out of the coalition government amid
disagreement with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’ abrupt decision to close the
state broadcaster ERT, last week. The International Monetary Fund threatened to
suspend aid payments to Greece unless euro-zone leaders move to plug a gap of up
to 4 billion euros ($5.3 billion) in the country’s rescue program. The U.S.
markets appeared to be prepared for a rebound on Friday, but the positive move
lost steam early on in the session. Into the mid-day session the Dow Jones
Industrial Average was down over 50 points, NASDAQ was off by over 27 points and
S&P 500 was lower by over 6 points. In Europe, the Stoxx Europe 600 index fell
to 280.40 striking its lowest level for 2013. The 10-year Treasury yield was
higher by 3.31% into early afternoon trading session, with a key level of 2.5%,
Michael Dell's Slide Deck
Sharing a nine-page slide deck presentation filed with the U.S. Securities and
Exchange Commission on Friday, CEO Michael Dell made a direct approach to to
shareholders in an attempt to persuade them to back his bid teamed with Silver
Lake Partners to take Dell (DELL) private. This is the first direct appeal
Michael has made, to shareholders. Michael Dell said in the presentation, "As a
public company, we must take a more cautious approach to our transformation,
because we must consider how our stock price will react to the steps we take."
Michael Dell reinforced his dismay over Carl Icahn's takeover attempt by adding
that a leveraged recapitalization would "decrease the company's financial
flexibility and hurt the company's ability to weather an economic or business
downturn," and "likely make the public trading price of the company's stock even
Darden Restaurants Profit Falls
Darden Restaurants Inc. (DRI) released Q4 report on Friday, with a drop in
profits to $133.2 million or $1.01 a share compared to a 2012 data for same
period of $151.2 million or $1.15 a share. Revenue for same period rose to $2.30
billion, from $2.07 billion in 2012. Largely due to implementation of the
Affordable Care Act, purchase accounting implementation and the payout of
accruing annual incentives the restaurant company expects diluted earnings per
share to fall by 3% to 5% in 2014 and projects 2014 sales to rise by 6% to 8%.
Chief Executive Clarence Otis called Q4 results a positive end to a challenging
year, citing growth in same-restaurant traffic.
CarMax Earnings Rise 21%
CarMax Inc. (KMX) - the largest used-vehicle seller in the USA - released fiscal
Q1 earnings that rose by 21% and a profit of $146.7 million or 64 cents a share,
up from $120.7 million or 52 cents a share in 2012 for same period. Revenue for
the quarter surged by 19% to $3.31 billion but, gross margin edged down to 13.5%
from 13.8%. CarMax reported a sharp increase in the number of used cars sold.
Wholesale sales volume rose by 6%. CarMax auto-finance unit improved 16% to $87
million. More stores and stronger appraisal buy rate assisted in increase in
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June 21, 2013