) UBS is pounding the table on oil: It upgraded oil to $115 for 2008, $120 for 2009, and intitiates coverage of the offshore drilling sector, with buy ratings on Atwood
[ATW 101.78 --- UNCH (0%) ], Diamond Offshore
[DO 129.29 --- UNCH (0%) ], Ensco
[ESV 68.23 --- UNCH (0%) ], Noble
[NE 61.42 --- UNCH (0%) ], Rowan
[RDC 41.89 --- UNCH (0%) ], and Transocean
[RIG 147.2 --- UNCH (0%) ].
a) prices have been stronger and demand more resilient than expected at today's higher prices; and
b) higher than previously expected prices are required to limit demand growth, given anemic supply growth outlook.
2) A disappointing IPO: Verso Paper
[VRS 0.0 --- UNCH (0%) ] priced 14 million shares at $12. That is well below the price talk of 18.75 million shares at $16-$18 that was floated on the Street.
Verso was formerly a unit of International Paper; it is now majority owned by Apollo Global Management. All the money will go toward paying down debt of $153.3 million and related prepayment fees, which is the debt that was floated to buy the company.
3) J.C. Penney
[JCP 44.25 --- UNCH (0%) ] up 2 percent; they beat estimates by a few pennies. This is good news -- but here's a reality check: the reported earnings of $0.54 per shqre was almost half last year's $1.04. Total sales decreased 5.1 percent to $4.1 billion. Comparable store sales declined 7.4 percent.
4) General Electric (CNBC's parent company)
[GE 32.51 --- UNCH (0%) ] up 1 percent on a Wall Street Journal report that are considering an auction of its appliance unit. Estimates are all over the place: the Journal mentioned it could fetch $5-$8 billion, but Citi's analyst estimated $3-$7 billion.
Tough time to sell an appliance business.
5) At the NYSE, they're having their annual meeting. CEO Duncan Niederauer is saying the American Express
[AXP 49.5 --- UNCH (0%) ] takeover is ahead of schedule and could close as early as August 1.
Pisani Blog: UBS Upgrades Oil; Why GE Shares Popped - Trader Talk with Bob Pisani - CNBC.com