Local credit card manufacturer EFT Source has recruited an expert in chip-based payment cards to help it prepare for the U.S. rollout of that technology, which looks to be gathering steam in the wake of the data breaches at Target and elsewhere. Dmitry Tarusov comes to the company from German company Giesecke & Devrient and also has worked at Threshold Financial Technologies.
“The recent data breaches have increased the discussion around EMV and created a new sense of urgency for its implementation, however there is still no step-by-step plan in place and many unanswered questions,” said Bill Dinker, president of EFT Source. “Dmitry’s experience and comprehensive knowledge of EMV and its outlying considerations offset the unknown. His expertise will be invaluable to us and the customers we serve as the industry’s migration approaches.”
Avondale Partners analyst Mark Montagna says investors shouldn't be surprised if Dollar General later this week guides its 2014 EPS outlook below the $3.70 the Street now sees the company making. Growth in the company's sales per square foot is slowing and the growth in tobacco sales will continue to pressure margins. Montagna has trimmed his EPS forecast for the year to $3.60 from $3.70 and his price target to $65 from $67. Dollar General shares (Ticker: DG) closed Friday at $59.39 and are down slightly over the past three months.
The easy gains are in the past and DG is now a story of 2%-4% comps, square footage growth of approx. 6%-7%, EBIT gaining 10-20 bp, and buying back approx. 3% of shares outstanding. This should consistently deliver EPS gains of 8%-12%.
The average per-gallon price of regular gas in Nashville on Sunday was $3.22, unchanged from the mark of a week ago and up 13 cents from the $3.09 figure from a month ago, according to AAA The Auto Club Group.
Relatedly, Tennessee’s average price was $3.22 Sunday, up on cent compared to the $3.23 figure from the previous week.
Although gas prices haven’t spiked yet, they are still on the rise, AAA reports. Pump prices rose about three cents from the nationwide mark last week, with Southeastern states making smaller gains.
“Although we haven’t seen gas prices spike yet, motorists should still expect them to rise well into spring,” Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group, said in a release. “At this point, there are several factors that have placed upward pressure on oil prices in addition to seasonal maintenance and jump in demand.”
Last week, the market got some positive news that payrolls increased more than forecast for February, AAA reports. In addition, the current geopolitical tensions in Russia have the market concerned about a possible supply disruption at a time when fuel demand picks up globally, the auto group added.
A barrel of oil closed Friday at 102.58 on the New York Mercantile Exchange, one cent more than the figure of the week prior.
For comparison with Tennessee’s average of $3.22, Georgia’s average price for a gallon of regular gas was $3.32 yesterday, up two cents compared to the mark of the previous Sunday. Florida's average of $3.49 rose three cents.
Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital opened a new clinic last month dedicated to researching and treating a rare childhood disorder — alternating hemiplegia of childhood — that causes unpredictable paralysis.
Funded through a $169,154 grant provided by the Alternating Hemiplegia of Childhood Foundation last year, the AHS clinic is led by Dr. Kevin Ess, director of the division of pediatric neurology and arose out of his research collaboration with Dr. Alfred George, director of the division of genetic medicine. AHC is a rare genetic disorder diagnosed in approximately 1,000 children worldwide, causing sporadic partial or total paralysis. The causative gene, ATP1A3, was only recently discovered.
"We're excited about the genetic research we'll be able to do and the possible therapies we'll explore," Ess said. "Through our research, we're hopefully going to identify new therapies and medications that may help alleviate the symptoms of AHC."
Outback Concerts and actor Vince Vaughn's Wild West Productions are teaming up to produce a four-day comedy festival that will feature Bill Burr, Marc Maron and Dennis Miller, among others. The shows will take place at Zanies, TPAC and Third Man Records.
Brentwood-based law firm Ingraham, Pautienus and Tidwell PLLC has changed its name to Fidelis Law PLLC.
In a release, the firm did not disclose the cost of the change.
The name change is due to a “significant expansion” of the seven-attorney firm’s practice, according to the release. Fidelis is Latin for faithful.
Fidelis Law has been in operation for 22 years. The firm focuses on business, nonprofit and church law, as well as individuals and families with needs in estate planning, probate, trust administration, personal injury, adoption, family law, elder law, and copyright and trademark registration and enforcement.
The Associated Press is reporting the FBI has launched a criminal investigation into Corrections Corp. of America and its operation of Idaho's largest prison.
In early January, Idaho officials announced the state would assume operations of the 2,106-bed Idaho Correctional Center located south of Boise, which has been under the wing of CCA since opening more than a decade ago. (Read more here.)
The leaders of the Idaho Department of Correction last summer said they would open up the contract renewal process to companies other than Nashville-based CCA, which has over the years faced several lawsuits related to its staffing and the treatment of prisoners at the facility.
In February, CCA said it had agreed to pay $1 million as part of a settlement into the operations the prison. (Read more here).
CCA’s contract expires June 30.
Read the AP story here.
The hotel chatter continues.
With the looming opening of the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott and The 404 Hotel (both located in The Gulch), the Hilton Garden Inn now above grade in SoBro, Anil Patel’s two Marriotts fully framed on West End Avenue in Midtown, the fast-approaching start of Buckingham Midtown, Chartwell's Marriott almost finished in Green Hills, and efforts by both MarketStreet Enterprises and Mark Bloom to develop hotels (in The Gulch, no less), Nashville is abuzz with hotel construction.
In addition, multiple entities are looking to take existing buildings (for example, Noel Place and the Wells Fargo Building, both located on Fourth Avenue North) and convert them into boutique hotels. And, of course, Kevin Fee and his team are eyeing a towering Westin on the MCC Roundabout.
Interestingly, Buckingham Cos. officials are saying nothing about the hotel component of their mixed-use project (see image below), although speculation continues to focus on Kimpton Hotels, W Hotels and InterContinental Hotel. Some insiders have mentioned Peabody.
One hotel that seemingly will not be establishing a presence in Nashville — in either Buckingham Midtown or elsewhere — is Louisville-based 21c Museum Hotels, an entity various locals would like to have in town.
“We are not pursuing a project in Nashville,” said Stephanie Greene, 21c Museum Hotels director of public relations.
Wunderlich Securities analyst Kevin Reynolds has taken note of the very nice run Pinnacle Financial Partners has had in recent months and downgraded shares of the largest bank headquartered in the Nashville area to 'hold' from 'buy.' It's a simple valuation call: Reynolds says Pinnacle (Ticker: PNFP) deserves to trade at a multiple to its peers but that it would be getting ahead of itself if it traded higher than its current level of $37.
Seth Basham at Wedbush has formally launched his coverage of Tractor Supply with an 'outperform' rating and a price target of $80. That leaves investors an upside of about 10 percent from the stock's (Ticker: TSCO) current level.