Jeremy Ford, chairman of the board at local auto insurer First Acceptance, let his wallet do some talking late last week, spending almost $480,000 to add more than 250,000 shares to his holdings. The move boosted his direct stake in the Green Hills-based company by 12 percent to 2.3 million shares. Through his family's ownership of several other entities, Ford also is deemed to be the beneficial owner of about half of First Acceptance. The thinly traded shares of the company (Ticker: FAC) are up more than 40 percent this year but are still down 40 percent since late 2008.
Brentwood-based CareSpot announced Monday it is expanding into the greater Memphis area with facilities in Bartlett and Cordova, bringing to 12 the number of urgent care centers the company operates in the state.
Both centers will provide on-site X-rays, vaccinations and lab testing services, according to a release. Read more here.
"Providing locations that are convenient and close to where people live and work is important to our customers, so we want to provide as many options as possible. Once people experience how convenient healthcare can be, many customers actively refer CareSpot to others," Paul Dickison, vice president of marketing for CareSpot. "We're thrilled to be able to extend our services into West Tennessee and hope to find more opportunities in the area."
Monday's announcement follows a recent announcement that CareSpot is partnering with HCA Midwest Health System in the Overland Park, Kan., facility that is now open.
Miles Auto Spa's recently launched M Chemicals, which specializes in logistical and analytical services for carwash operators across Tennessee, announced today it made its first hires and deliveries.
The company, announced on Nov. 20, is partnering with Turtle Wax Pro as the preferred provider of the latter’s products in the state.
Miles (stylized as MILES) Auto Spa was founded in 2007 by telecommunications industry veteran Miles Johnson, who later partnered with fellow telecom sector executive Rocky Crossland. The two have since built a luxury carwash business that met the type success that allowed for the creation of M Chemicals, Johnson said in a release.
“With the launch of M Chemicals, we are taking our initial idea a step further by extending our consumer reach to include carwash operators,” he said.
Deutsche Bank analyst Paul Sankey has upgraded his rating on shares of Delek US Holdings to 'buy' from 'hold' and hiked his price target to $40 from $30. Sankey, who also upgraded other refining plays, has grown more bullish on the company given the excess supply of light sweet crude. Investor sentiment toward refiners has swung in recent weeks, with Delek (Ticker: DK) popping 30 percent in the past month.
Over at Sidoti, analysts have begun covering shares of AmSurg with a 'neutral' rating and a price target of $48, about $2 above the company's Monday open. AmSurg (Ticker: AMSG) has risen 6 percent in the past month and is up more than 50 percent in 2013.
The real estate boom in Germantown continues apace and is increasingly branching into commercial projects alongside residential additions. The latest example is a joint venture between local bar owner Terry Raley and Woodland Street Partners, who are teaming up to open a 7,000-square-foot beer garden just south of Morgan Park and east of the Werthan Lofts complex. Matt Rogers at Eater Nashville has more info on the project, which is scheduled to open next fall.
The people behind Inc. magazine will next May bring to downtown Nashville one of their GROWCO conferences. The lineup isn't yet set in stone and registration will open next month, Milt Capps has some more details, including a look back at past conferences that featured former President Bill Clinton, Richard Branson and Guy Kawasaki.
The average per-gallon price of regular gas in Nashville on Sunday was $3.14, down two cents from the mark of a week ago and up three cents from the $3.11 figure from a month ago, according to AAA.
Relatedly, Tennessee's mark was also $3.13 Sunday, down three cents compared to the price from the previous week.
The price of a barrel of oil was $97.65 Friday on the NYMEX, up from the $94 mark of the previous week.
Crude prices jumped after the unemployment rate fell to 7 percent in November and consumer sentiment rose to a five-month high, according to the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan report. U.S. crude supplies also fell for the first time in 11 weeks.
"The good news is motorists should start to see Southeast gas prices inch lower this week after the Thanksgiving spike," said Jessica Brady, AAA spokeswoman, The Auto Club Group. "Pump prices may not move lower for much longer though, as the cost for crude oil jumped on positive economic news and an increase for heating oil.”
Nationally, the average price of regular unleaded gasoline was $3.26 as of Sunday, one cent less than the figure of the previous Sunday.
For comparison with Tennessee’s average of $3.13, Georgia’s average price for a gallon of regular gas was $3.23 yesterday, a decrease of two cents compared to the mark of the previous Sunday. Florida's average of $3.43 as of yesterday represented a drop of two cents.
The American Federation of Teachers is poking at the planned combination of Community Health Systems and Health Management Associates, saying it feels there are legal, regulatory and governance questions that need to be answered more completely.
Among the things AFT President Randi Weingarten said her group is concerned about is the role of hedge fund Glenview Capital Management, noting the firm's large stake in both CHS and HMA has it thinking about "the true beneficiaries of the proposed transaction, and the extent to which shareholders, employees, and the patients and communities they serve will be made to pay the long-term price for excessive short-term risk-taking by corporate insiders and controlling shareholders."
Weingarten said she is interested in meeting with the CHS board to talk some more about these topics.
In a letter sent Friday, CHS General Counsel Rachel Seifert said Glenview was not at all involved in the M&A talks, that the investor doesn't qualify as a controlling shareholder and that the union's worries are unfounded. No word on that meeting request...
One of the reasons investors have really liked the Dollar General story in recent years is that the company was able to balance operational improvements with strong new-store growth. The company plans to open 700 more stores in 2014 and has now given itself — and its competitors — a much longer growth ramp for the years after that courtesy of some new software.
Chairman, President and CEO Rick Dreiling told analysts and investors last Thursday that the technology has identified 14,000 possible future dollar store sites. That's up from 10,000 before and primarily the result of better pinpointing of specific spots versus broader demographic areas.
"It's up to us to go out and grab them," Dreiling said of the growth ahead. "If we open 700 stores a year, there’s a lot of growth opportunities out there for a long time to come."
And more reasons for some investors to stick around longer. Dollar General shares (Ticker: DG) climbed more than 6 percent last week and are up more than 35 percent in 2013.
Mark Montagna at Avondale Partners has raised his price target for shares of Genesco (Ticker: GCO) to $70 from $67 on the heels of the company's third-quarter earnings report last week. Montagna also took his EPS target for this fiscal year up to $5.15 from $5.09 and says his price target is consistent with Genesco's earnings multiple of the past couple of years.