Shareholders of Noranda Aluminum Holding on Monday voted overwhelmingly to approve a 1-for-7 reverse stock split, part of the company's plan to get back in the good graces of the New York Stock Exchange's listing standards panel. Noranda shares (Ticker: NOR) should this morning begin trading around $2.60. Its leaders also must still find ways to boost the Franklin-based company's shareholder's equity above $50 million.
Moody's Investors Service has cut its overall debt rating for Noranda Aluminum Holding to Caa1 from B3 — that translates to "poor and subject to very high credit risk" from "speculative and high risk" — and changed its outlook for the Franklin-based company to negative from stable. Analysts Carol Cowan and Brian Oak write that Noranda will see prices for its products continue to fall for the next several quarters even as some of its operating costs climb. They say there are a lot of hurdles to overcome for Noranda and don't expect to revisit their rating for at least a year.
The negative outlook incorporates our expectation that metrics will deteriorate further in the second half of 2015 and into 2016 as the company's operating results are impacted by the falling aluminum prices and premiums. It also captures the possibility that, given the weak market fundamentals, aluminum pricing will remain suppressed over the intermediate term. The outlook also reflects the uncertainty that Noranda is able to successfully improve the reliability of its smelter operations, achieve its stated cost objectives, and complete its remaining capital projects while maintaining adequate liquidity.
Local subscription service Made South will next month stage its first makers market event at various locations in Franklin. The event is expected to draw more than 100 artisans and makers from eight Southern states. Ayumi Bennett has more info at our Southern/alpha blog about Made South boss Christopher Thomas' endeavor.
The average per-gallon price of regular gas in Nashville on Sunday was $2.37, down four cents compared to the mark of a week ago and down 18 cents from the figure of four weeks prior.
This time in 2014, the average per-gallon price of regular gas in Nashville was $3.27.
Relatedly, Tennessee’s average price was $2.30 Sunday, down two cents compared to the figure from the previous week, according to AAA The Auto Club Group.
The price was $2.48 four weeks ago and $3.22 a year ago. In Tennessee, the peak price to date this year has been $2.58 (on June 17).
The national average Sunday was $2.67, seven cents higher than the mark from the prior Sunday.
The price of oil is on its longest weekly slump of the year, after reaching the lowest closing price since the Great Recession, AAA reports. This continues to put downward pressure on the price of gasoline, which dropped another two cents last week in the Southeast.
"There continues to be a surplus amount of oil in the global market, which is expected to keep prices of both oil and gasoline on the low end through the rest of this year," Mark Jenkins, AAA spokesman AAA, said in a release. "Gas prices did not fall as fast last week as they have in recent weeks, but that is to be expected because we are still in the middle of the peak driving season. Gas prices should fall even faster in the fall when school is back in session."
Last week, the price of oil reached its lowest closing price since March 3, 2009. On that day, the price of oil was $41.65, and gasoline averaged $1.98 in Florida, $1.84 in Georgia and $1.81 in Tennessee, according to AAA.
The New York Stock Exchange's listings regulators have told Noranda Aluminum executives that they need to submit a plan to get the Franklin-based company's market value and shareholder equity back above $50 million. Late last month, the NYSE also told Noranda to get its stock price above $1, something the company plans to do via reverse split. Unless the global aluminum market rebounds soon and lifts Noranda's fortunes, this demand could be harder to meet.
Check out more information about the NYSE's latest letter here.
Paula Torch at Avondale Partners really likes the look of AmSurg following the surgery center and physician services company's second-quarter profit report. The integration of the Sheridan physician services business is running smoothly, she says, while organic growth is topping expectations and the acquisition pipeline is solid. In response, Torch has hiked her price target for AmSurg (Ticker: AMSG) all the way to $90 from $74. After popping this week on the heels of the Q2 report, AmSurg is changing hands Thursday morning at almost $84.
Given the 1H performance and Management's execution thus far, 2015 guidance could still wind up being conservative as we expect strong ASC and PS metrics to continue. Furthermore, we feel more comfortable with AMSG's cross-selling initiatives, which are above internal expectations and its ability to execute on JV partnerships.
RBC Capital Markets analyst Brad Heffern has reiterated his 'outperform' rating on shares of Delek US Holdings in the wake of the company's Q2 earnings report. But he has lifted his price target for the Brentwood-based company to $44 from $42. That leaves more than 25 percent of upside from where Delek (Ticker: DK) is changing hands Thursday morning.
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