Wall Street surges to five-year highs

Updated 03 February 2013
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Wall Street surges to five-year highs

NEW YORK: US stocks climbed to five-year highs in the wake of jobs and manufacturing data that showed the economy’s sluggish recovery is still on track.
The Dow industrials rose to 14,000 for the first time since mid-October 2007 and the S&P hit its highest since December that year. The S&P advanced 5 percent in January, its best start to a year since 1997.
Analysts attributed the market’s robust showing so far this year partly to a deluge of cash flowing into equities.
Data on Thursday showed investors poured $ 12.7 billion into US-based stock mutual funds and exchange-traded funds in the latest week, concluding the strongest four-week flows into stock funds since 1996.
“There’s a lot of money looking for a home and people are finally deciding the bond market is done and moving money into equities,” said Edward Simmons, managing director and partner at HighTower in Portland, Maine.
“I see the rotation (of assets) pushing the market up in the face of not-massive amounts of good news,” he said. “People are overlooking the higher risk in equities.”
Employment grew modestly in January, with 157,000 jobs added in the month, slightly below expectations for 160,000. Still, figures for both November and December were revised upwards.
Other reports showed the pace of growth in the US manufacturing sector picked up in January to its highest level in nine months, US consumer sentiment rose more than expected last month, while December construction spending also beat forecasts.
“All the data seems to keep pointing to a slowly, steadily improving economy,” said Eric Kuby, chief investment officer at North Star Investment Management Corp. in Chicago.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 137.21 points or 0.99 percent, to 13,997.79, the S&P 500 gained 14.81 points or 0.99 percent, to 1,512.92 and the Nasdaq Composite
added 34.76 points, or 1.11 percent, to 3,176.89.
With the day’s gains, major equity indexes were on track for a fifth straight week of gains. The S&P 500 is also coming off its best monthly performance since October 2011.
Investors were also attuned to corporate earnings, with a trio of Dow components reporting profits that beat expectations.
Exxon Mobil was little changed at $ 89.95 after its results while Chevron added 0.8 percent to $ 116.10.
Drugmaker Merck & Co. fell 2.9 percent to $ 42 after a cautious 2013 outlook.
Generic drugmaker Perrigo reported a better-than-expected second-quarter profit and its shares jumped 6.3 percent to $ 106.92, the largest advancer on the S&P 500.
Of the 252 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported earnings so far, 69 percent have exceeded expectations, according to Thomson Reuters data. That is a higher proportion than over the past four quarters and above average since 1994.
Overall, S&P 500 fourth-quarter earnings are estimated to have grown 4.4 percent, according to the data, up from a 1.9 percent forecast at the start of the earnings season but well below a 9.9 percent profit growth forecast on Oct. 1.
Dell Inc. gained 4.2 percent to $13.80 after sources said the company was nearing an agreement to sell itself to a buyout consortium led by its founder Michael Dell and private equity firm Silver Lake Partners.
Shares of General Motors and Ford Motor rose after the two largest American automakers posted better-than-expected US auto sales for January.
GM gained 1.2 percent to $ 28.42 and Ford added 0.9 percent to $13.07.
Shares of Zoetis surged on its trading debut on the New York Stock Exchange after its shares were priced at $ 26, above the expected range. Zoetis was trading at $30.67 at
midday, after earlier climbing as high as $ 31.74.


Market unsure over Shire's backing of $64 billion Takeda bid

Updated 25 April 2018
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Market unsure over Shire's backing of $64 billion Takeda bid

  • Takeda shares fell 7 percent on news of possible deal.
  • Combined company would have its primary listing in Tokyo and also offer American Depository Receipts

Rare disease specialist Shire has announced it was willing to recommend a sweetened $64 billion offer from Japan’s Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. to shareholders, in what would be the biggest acquisition of a drug company this year.
But shares in Takeda extended recent losses, tumbling 7 percent as investors fretted over its ability to buy a company twice its size, raising doubts about whether Shire shareholders will accept a bid that is 56 percent in new Takeda shares.
The stock slide — 18 percent since the news of a possible bid broke — makes the cash-and-share deal less appealing to Shire shareholders, some of whom may be reluctant or unable to hold Takeda shares.
“While this offer represents a solid improvement over Takeda’s third bid (38 percent cash), we still wonder if it is enough to satisfy Shire shareholders,” said Jefferies analyst David Steinberg.
Shire shares slipped 0.8 percent to 39 pounds by 0850 GMT, well below Takeda’s 49 pounds offer, signalling skepticism about the deal as Takeda’s falling stock price erodes the bid’s $64 billion headline value.
Without a deal, Shire shares could fall back to mid-March levels of 30-32 pounds, pressuring management to find other ways to realize value. Prior to Takeda’s approach, Shire was already considering divestments and a split in its operations.
It is now four weeks since Takeda first revealed it was considering a bid and the absence of firm interest from rivals means investors see only a low chance of an interloper emerging.
The latest development, first reported by Reuters, comes after London-listed Shire rejected four previous offers from Takeda.
The fifth offer is worth 49.01 pounds per share, comprised of 27.26 pounds per share in new Takeda shares and 21.75 pounds per share in cash. That represents a 4.3 percent premium to Takeda’s fourth proposal on April 20 and an 11.4 percent premium to its first approach on March 29.
Shire, a member of Britain’s benchmark FTSE 100 stock index, said its board agreed to extend a Wednesday regulatory deadline to May 8 so Takeda can conduct more due diligence and firm up its bid. Shire added the deadline may be extended further if needed.
Any deal is subject to the resolution of several issues, including completion of due diligence by Shire on Takeda, the Dublin-based company said.
A deal would significantly boost Takeda’s position in gastrointestinal disorders, neuroscience, and rare diseases, including a blockbuster haemophilia franchise.
If successful, it would be the largest overseas acquisition by a Japanese company and propel Takeda, led by Frenchman Christophe Weber, into the top ranks of global drugmakers.
Weber, who became Takeda’s first non-Japanese CEO in 2015, has said publicly it was looking for acquisitions to reduce its exposure to a mature Japanese pharmaceutical market.

FINANCIAL STRETCH
The combined company would have its primary listing in Tokyo and also offer American Depository Receipts — a move that would give Shire investors an opportunity to cash out more easily.
But the transaction would be a huge financial stretch, and Takeda investors have been skeptical about the merits of a Shire deal, given the size of the potential purchase and concerns that a large share issue will be needed to fund it.
Moody’s said the deal would pile up debt and hit Takeda’s credit ratings. “This huge acquisition bodes a spike in leverage that could result in a multi-notch downgrade,” said analyst Yukiko Asanuma.
Ambitious cost cutting is also seen as necessary to make the deal pay, and the uncertainties facing an enlarged group would spell a big change in the investment case for holding Takeda.
“Takeda’s shares have been valued for their stability and relatively high dividend,” said Daiwa Securities analyst Kazuaki Hashiguchi, adding this made them attractive even to investors without specialist knowledge of the drug sector.
Takeda, now worth $33 billion by market value, had 466.5 billion yen ($4.3 billion) in cash and short-term investments as of the end of December. It said yesterday it intended to maintain its dividend policy and investment-grade credit rating following the deal.
Dealmaking has surged in the drug industry this year as large players look to improve their pipelines. A Takeda-Shire transaction would be by far the biggest.
Shire has long been seen as a likely takeover target.
Botox-maker Allergan Plc said last week it was considering making a rival offer, only to scrap it hours later due to pushback from shareholders. Shire was also nearly bought by US drugmaker AbbVie Inc. in 2014, until US tax rule changes caused the deal to fall apart.
Shire traces its roots back to 1986, when it began as a seller of calcium supplements to treat osteoporosis, operating from an office above a shop in Hampshire, southern England. Since then, it has grown rapidly through acquisitions to generate revenues of about $15.2 billion last year.
But it has been under pressure in the past 12 months due to greater competition from generic drugs and debt from its $32 billion acquisition of Baxalta in 2016, a widely criticized deal.
It announced last week a sale of its oncology business to unlisted French drugmaker Servier for $2.4 billion.