LeapFrog Enterprises (LF) plummeted more than 25% this morning, after the company warned that its full-year earnings will fall below Wall Street's expectations. The maker of educational toys expects to bank a profit of 3 cents to 6 cents per share for fiscal 2010, way below analysts' consensus estimate of 28 cents per share.
"After a solid start to the holiday season, demand softened late in the quarter relative to our expectations," explained CEO Bill Chiasson. "While sales of interactive reading products continued to grow at retail, the growth was less than we had forecasted and contributed to lower earnings growth than expected."
KB Home (KBH) is ending the week on a high note, after the homebuilder comfortably surpassed Wall Street's fiscal fourth-quarter earnings expectations. Bright and early Friday morning, KBH announced quarterly net income of $17.4 million, or 23 cents per share, on revenue of $451 million. Adjusted housing gross margins improved to 19.7% from 19%.
This marks KBH's first quarterly profit, without the aid of tax gains, in almost four years. Analysts were anticipating KBH to swallow a deficit of 17 cents per share on revenue of $441.3 million, so these results definitely qualify as a positive surprise.
A parade of retailers have stepped up Thursday morning to unveil their December sales results, including The Gap Inc. (GPS). The jeans giant confessed to an unexpected 3% decline in same-store sales for the month, falling well short of analysts' expectations for an increase of 2.6%.
Gap North America was hit hardest, with same-store sales tumbling 8% for the month. The only business segment to record a gain for December was Banana Republic North America, as same-store sales improved 1%.
Nasdaq OMX Group (NDAQ) is lingering near annual-high territory, but not everyone on Wall Street is impressed with the stock's price action. Bright and early Tuesday morning, the exchange operator was singled out for a bearishly biased options strategy.
Shortly after the opening bell, a block of 1,950 March 24 puts traded near the ask price at $1.20, indicating they were most likely purchased. At the same time, a block of 3,900 March 21 puts changed hands near the bid price at $0.30, suggesting they were probably sold. Volume is easily outstripping open interest at both strikes, so it's safe to assume that we're seeing the initiation of a new spread position.
Las Vegas Sands (LVS) gapped higher out of the gate Monday morning, as traders cheered the latest round of data from Macau. Casino revenues in the popular gambling destination rose 58% in 2010 to a record 188.34 billion patacas, or roughly $23.51 billion, according to the Macau Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau.
Revenue for the month of December ballooned 66.4% to an all-time monthly high of 18.883 billion patacas, or approximately $2.36 billion.
Shares of Anadarko Petroleum (APC) gapped higher right out of the gate Thursday morning, thanks to a report that BHP Billiton (BHP) may be eyeing the firm as a potential takeover target. According to the U.K.'s Daily Mail, BHP could be prepping an offer worth $90 per share to acquire Anadarko. However, neither company has issued a formal response to the speculation.
After jumping to a new annual high of $76.50 bright and early Thursday morning, APC is on pace to notch a weekly finish atop the $70 level for the first time since April 23. In fact, if the shares can maintain their positive momentum through Friday's close, the shares could stage their first weekly victory north of $75 since June 2008.
Call volume is unusually heavy on Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) today, with nearly 8,300 contracts changing hands during the first hour of the session -- easily outpacing the stock's average daily call activity of 6,774 contracts. However, the day's option volume isn't necessarily bullish in nature.
Nearly all of today's volume has taken place at AMD's January 2012 7.50 call, where a block of 8,000 contracts traded at the bid price -- suggesting they were most likely sold. This block appears to have been tied to a corresponding stock trade, which means we're likely seeing the initiation of a buy-write position.
Options players rushed to place their bets on The Gap (GPS) Tuesday, with volume rising to five times the norm within the first hour of trading. Taking a closer look at the major block trades, it looks as though one speculator is anticipating a major price swing from GPS during the next year.
Specifically, the trader opened a long strangle on GPS by purchasing 2,619 January 2012 20-strike calls, and simultaneously buying 2,619 January 2012 17.50 puts. This two-legged option strategy allows the trader to benefit from a drastic move in the underlying equity, regardless of whether the shares move higher or lower.
Monday morning, Amazon.com (AMZN) announced that the third-generation Kindle is now its best-selling product of all time, unseating former title-holder Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Amazon didn't provide specific sales figures for the e-reader, but the retail giant added that more Kindle books were purchased this past Christmas Day than on any other day in history -- confirming that the gadgets are quite a popular gift.
Meanwhile, Nov. 29 -- or "Cyber Monday" -- was the peak day for holiday shopping on Amazon. More than 13.7 million items were ordered worldwide on the Monday after Thanksgiving, which translates to about 158 items per second.
Thursday morning, GPS specialist Garmin Ltd. (GRMN) said it lost a patent dispute with Japanese firm Pioneer Corp. The District Court of Dusseldorf in Germany found that two patents owned by Pioneer were infringed by a certain functionality in Garmin's software.
However, Garmin says it has already worked out "minor software revisions that eliminate the narrow functionality at issue in the litigation." As a result, the company doesn't expect any significant impact on its ability to import and sell its navigational products.
Shares of Cumberland Pharmaceuticals (CPIX) are having a rough go of it after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) outlined some concerns that will further delay a ruling on its liver drug. The regulatory agency already postponed its decision from August to December, and now the FDA says it needs additional data before it can recommend the drug for approval.
In its complete response letter to Cumberland, the FDA noted insufficient evidence to prove that the injectable drug, Acetadote, is effective in all patients. Cumberland said it plans to meet with the FDA soon to address the outstanding issues.
Shares of Netflix (NFLX) started Tuesday on a high note, with the shares gaining more than 1% out of the gate. Traders appear to be responding to new comments from Jim Cramer, after the host of CNBC's Mad Money offered an upbeat opinion on the stock Monday.
Specifically, Cramer is enthusiastic about Netflix's push into streaming content, and he has high expectations for future subscriber growth. The analyst also argued that the stock's valuation is actually quite reasonable, when measured against the company's long-term growth rate. For traders looking to take part in continued gains by NFLX, Cramer suggested in-the-money call options.
Call options were in heavy rotation Monday on The Gap (GPS). Within the first hour of trading, 3,350 of these bullishly oriented options crossed the tape -- about four times the expected number of call contracts. The bulk of this activity took place at The Gap's January 2011 22.50 call, where 3,031 contracts were traded. Approximately 77% of these calls changed hands at the ask price, indicating they were purchased.
However, this skew toward calls simply continues a recent trend for GPS. During the past 10 days, speculators on the International Securities Exchange (ISE) have bought to open 5.99 calls for every put on the retailer. This ratio ranks above 75% of other such readings taken during the previous year, indicating that traders on the ISE have purchased calls over puts at a faster pace just 25% of the time.
Lennar Corp. (LEN) just can't seem to win much respect on Wall Street. Despite well-known fundamental issues within the housing sector, LEN has tallied a year-to-date advance of roughly 35% -- easily topping the 11.4% gain collected by the S&P 500 Index (SPX).
Wall Street seems less than impressed by this technical outperformance, though. Earlier today, S&P Equity downgraded the stock to hold from strong buy, joining six other analysts who maintain a tepid rating on the shares.
Late Monday, Amgen (AMGN) unveiled positive results for its bone drug, denosumab. A clinical study of 1,432 men with hormone refractory prostate cancer revealed that denosumab, which is also known as Xgeva, improved bone metastasis-free survival by 4.2 months. However, the overall survival rate was comparable to a placebo group.
Denosumab is already used to treat osteoporosis under the brand name Prolia, and has been approved under the brand name Xgeva for the prevention of skeletal-related events (SREs) in patients with bone metastases from solid tumors. The drug has not yet been approved for the prevention of SREs in multiple myeloma patients.