Oil Prices Mixed In Cautious Trade

Lamar Advertising Co. Q4 adjusted earnings Beat Estimates

Lamar Advertising Co. (LAMR) released earnings for its fourth quarter that increased from last year.

The company’s earnings totaled $102.66 million, or $1.02 per share. This compares with $95.60 million, or $0.96 per share, in last year’s fourth quarter.

Excluding items, Lamar Advertising Co. reported adjusted earnings of $165.41 million or $1.64 per share for the period.

Analysts had expected the company to earn $1.10 per share, according to figures compiled by Thomson Reuters. Analysts’ estimates typically exclude special items.

The company’s revenue for the quarter rose 8.1% to $462.66 million from $427.90 million last year.

Lamar Advertising Co. earnings at a glance:

-Earnings (Q4): $165.41 Mln. vs. $147.49 Mln. last year.
-EPS (Q4): $1.64 vs. $1.48 last year.
-Analysts Estimate: $1.10
-Revenue (Q4): $462.66 Mln vs. $427.90 Mln last year.

Nacon Lunches IPO On Euronext Paris Regulated Market

Nacon, a French video game company based in Lesquin, said it has lunched its Initial Public Offering with a view to the admission of its shares to trading on the regulated market of Euronext Paris. It expects to price its IPO between 4.90 euros and 5.80 euros per share.

Nacon, formerly know as “Bigben Interactive SA”, said that the share capital will be about 88.4 million euros. The amount can be increased to 107 million euros in case of an integral exercise of the extension clause and of the over-allotment option.

The subscription period will start from 20 February 2020 to 4 March 2020 for the Public Offering and until 5 March for the Global Placement.

Established in February 1981, the company designs and distributes accessories for video game consoles, and publishes video games for various platforms.In 2001, the company reached an agreement with Sega to distribute the remaining stock of Sega’s Dreamcast consoles, accessories and software across Europe.

Through 2020, Bigben Interactive was subsidary of the Bigben Group, which also oversaw Nacon, its video game accessory company.

On 11 February 2020, the parent company announced they were merging Bigben Interactive and Nacon into a single entity to go as Nacon.

Gold prices rise ₹111 on weak rupee, silver falls ₹67

Gold prices on Thursday rose by ₹111 to ₹42,492 per 10 gram in the national capital on weak rupee, according to HDFC Securities.

The yellow metal had closed at ₹42,381 per 10 gram in the previous trading session.

However, silver prices fell ₹67 to ₹48,599 per kg from ₹48,666 per kg on Wednesday.

“Spot gold for 24 karat in Delhi continued upside, gaining ₹111 on weaker rupee catching overnight gains in dollar index. The spot rupee was trading around 5 paise weaker against the dollar after falling 23 paise in the opening trade,” HDFC Securities Senior Analyst (Commodities) Tapan Patel said.

Besides, strong demand due to wedding season pushed gold spot prices higher, he added.

In the international market, both gold and silver were trading lower at USD 1,609.60 per ounce and USD 18.26 per ounce, respectively.

Turkish Central Bank Cuts Rates Again

Turkey’s central bank cut interest rates for a sixth policy session in a row, citing continued economic recovery and the need to sustain a disinflation path.

The Monetary Policy Committee, led by Governor Murat Uysal, slashed the policy rate, which is the one-week repo auction rate, to 10.75 percent from 11.25 percent, the TCMB said in a statement on Wednesday.

The latest reduction was the smallest in the current easing cycle. In January, the bank had cut the rate by 75 basis points.

The central bank had cut the rate by 200 basis points in the previous policy session in December. Prior to that, the rate was lowered by 250 basis points in October, 325 basis points in September and by 425 basis points in July.

“Considering all factors affecting the inflation outlook, the Committee decided to make a more measured cut in the policy rate,” the central bank said.

“At this point, the current monetary policy stance remains consistent with the projected disinflation path.”

The bank considers sustaining a moderate course in current account balance, which has recently recorded significant improvement, as a crucial element of the macroeconomic policy mix.

Rising protectionism, uncertainty regarding global economic policies, geopolitical developments and the recent Covid-19 outbreak in China are closely monitored for their impact on capital flows, international trade and commodity prices, the bank said.

Stock Alert: Centene Corp. (CNC)

Shares of Centene Corp. (CNC) are trading close to a new 52-week high of $68.64, reached on Jan 24 – after the company closed its $17.3 billion acquisition of WellCare Health Plans Inc. (WCG).

The merger vaults Centene from a small-player status to one of the largest publicly-traded managed care providers in the nation, to cater to more than 24 million members across all 50 states, including 12.3 million Medicaid members.

In a presentation, the company also boosted its financial expectations from the closed merger and now sees accretion of no less than breakeven in year 1 and mid-to-high single digits in year 2. Earlier, the company expected the transaction to be slightly dilutive to adjusted eps in year 1 and mid-single digits accretion in year 2.

Early Feb, the company reported inline adj. eps of 73 cents, on a nearly 14% increase in revenues to $18.86 billion.

At its Wednesday closing price of $67.37, CNC trades 14X its forward FY20 estimates.

Oil Prices Mixed In Cautious Trade

Oil prices were mixed in cautious trade on Thursday as mainland China reported the lowest number of confirmed cases of a new coronavirus since late January, after making changes to how cases are diagnosed and confirmed in Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak.

U.S. industry data showing a bigger-than-expected build in crude oil inventories also weighed on the commodity.

Benchmark Brent crude edged down 0.1 percent to $59.05 a barrel, after hitting as high as $59.71 earlier in the day. The contract climbed 2.4 percent on Wednesday. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 0.15 percent at $53.56 per barrel.

According to the National Health Commission, China had 394 new confirmed cases on Wednesday, sharply down from 1,749 cases a day earlier and the lowest since Jan. 23.

However, the spread of coronavirus to other parts of the world such as South Korea and Japan rekindled worries about a global contagion.

There were over 70 confirmed cases in Japan as of Wednesday, the third highest number after China, while South Korea reported 31 new cases of the new coronavirus today, bringing the total number of infections here to 82.

The focus also turned on supply risks after the Trump administration announced sanctions against a Russian oil firm and tensions in Libya led to a blockade of its ports.

Libya’s internationally recognized leader Fayez al-Serraj dashed hopes of reviving peace negotiations on Wednesday after the Libyan National Army (LNA) of Khalifa Haftar shelled the port of the capital, which is held by al-Serraj’s government.