Archive for April, 2011

The lithium battery may be out of juice – LEXG, LTUM, AMLM nosedive after huge runs

Friday, April 29th, 2011

Who would think that an OTCBB-listed company could ever a bellwether for other companies in its industry?

That certainly appeared to be the case this week.

Lithium Exploration Group (OTCBB: LEXG) had everyone buzzing about lithium over the past week.

Shares of LEXG opened at $4.05 on Monday, and ran as high as $10.68 on Thursday, according to historical data on Yahoo Finance.  LEXG had a nearly 800 percent run in the past month — fueled by a huge advertising budget and herd mentality. Shares rocketed from $1.20 on March 29, 2011 to a 52-week high of $10.68 a share on Thursday.

Other OTC-listed lithium companies experienced a heavy tailwind, as well.  Lithium Corp. (OTCBB: LTUM), which opened at 19 cents on Wednesday, surged to a high of $1.35 on Thursday, and more than 3.7 million shares of  American Lithium Minerals (OTCBB: AMLM) traded on Thursday. Shares of AMLM were up 120 percent between April 27th and April 28th.

The run-ups came to an abrupt end on Friday.

LEXG plunged more than 50 percent at mid-day. LTUM and AMLM followed suit.

LTUM fell as much 54 percent at mid-day on Friday, and AMLM was down more than 20 percent, according to historical data from Yahoo Finance.

The biggest players in the space include: FMC Corporation (NYSE: FMC), and Rockwood Holdings (NYSE: ROC), neither of which have anywhere near the same volatility as the smaller companies.

On a more positive note, one of the companies featured in our mid-day update from Thursday, Orofino Gold Corp. (ORFG) saw gains of as much as 20 percent on Friday.

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Loopnet Inc. (LOOP) stock price vaults on acquisition news

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

Loopnet Inc. (Nasdaq: LOOP) shares surged 28.5% to $18.46 a day after CoStar Group Inc. (Nasdaq: CSGP) said it would buy the online commercial real-estate service for about $860 million in cash and stock. CoStar shares gained 6.4% to $65.32. Volume for LoopNet was 9.6 million shares, dwarfing an average daily volume of just around 150,000.

In connection with the merger agreement, LoopNet shareholders will receive $16.50 in cash and 0.03702 shares of CoStar Group common stock for each share of LoopNet common stock, representing a total equity value of approximately $860 million and an enterprise value of $762 million. The boards of directors of both companies have unanimously approved the transaction which is expected to close by the end of 2011.

Also released Wednesday, LoopNet’s revenue for the first quarter of 2011 was $20.7 million, compared to $20.0 million in the fourth quarter of 2010, and $18.8 million in the first quarter of 2010. Net income applicable to common stockholders for the first quarter of 2011 was $1.8 million or $0.04 per diluted share, compared to $2.3 million or $0.05 per diluted share in the first quarter of 2010.

LoopNet CEO Rich Boyle said, “CoStar and LoopNet have been at the cutting edge of innovation in their respective businesses and we believe the two companies will be even stronger together.”

Boyle concluded, “This transaction combines the capabilities and best practices of two successful and very complementary companies. We are excited about the possibilities that can be created together.”

Vital Images Inc. (VTAL) soars on hookup with Japanese giant

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

Vital Images Inc. (Nasdaq: VTAL) shares rallied 31.5% to $18.65 in morning trading Thursday, after Toshiba Medical Systems Co. said late Wednesday that it would acquire the provider of image-visualization software to the medical industry for $273 million. Volume for the stock was 3.7 million shares, overwhelming a daily average of 52,000.

Under the terms of the agreement, which has been unanimously approved by each of Vital Images’ and TMSC’s boards of directors, Vital Images’ shareholders will receive $18.75 in cash for each outstanding share of Vital Images common stock they own. This represents a 39% premium over the volume-weighted average Vital Images share price for the past 30 days.

Toshiba Medical Systems Co. CEO Satoshi Tsunakawa commented, “After a decade-long successful partnership spanning more than 50 countries, TMSC is taking the partnership to the next level. We have enormous respect for Vital Images’ products, pipeline and people, and look forward to working with their highly skilled team to enhance clinical value for patients throughout the world.”

Chief Executive Officer of Vital Images, Michael Carrel also commented on the developments, “TMSC has been our largest customer for a decade, as well as a strategic development partner. We will combine forces to enhance the multi-modality platform we have been marketing to hospitals in the U.S. and overseas. This transaction means we can now accelerate our global presence with the strength and backing of TMSC.”

Minneapolis-based Vital Images, Inc. is a leading provider of advanced visualization and analysis software for physicians and healthcare specialists.

Rockwood Holdings Inc. (ROC) shares climb on Q1 results

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

Rockwood Holdings Inc. (NYSE: ROC) shares advanced 10% to $55.02 Wednesday, after the maker of specialty chemicals reported first-quarter results that topped analysts’ estimates. Volume for the stock topped 2.3 million shares by late afternoon.

Rockwood reported earnings per share from continuing operations of $0.80 for the first quarter of 2011 as compared to $0.42 for the same period in the prior year. The Company’s adjusted earnings per share increased to $0.88 in the first quarter of 2011 from $0.41 for the same period in the prior year.

Likewise, net sales were $914.0 million for the first quarter of 2011, up 17.4% compared to $778.4 million for the same period in the prior year.

According to the Company’s Chief Executive Officer, Seifi Ghasemi, “Rockwood’s exceptionally strong first quarter profits resulted from organic sales growth in all segments, as well as price increases that offset raw material and other cost increases. We were also able to improve our product mix, primarily in the specialty titanium dioxide business.”

“In addition,” Ghasemi continued, “our decision to repay a portion of our term debt and refinance the balance resulted in significantly lower interest expense, which further contributed to the significant increase in as adjusted earnings per share to $0.88 compared to the first quarter a year ago.”

Silicon Image Inc. (SIMG) shares jump on Q2 revenue report

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

Silicon Image Inc. (Nasdaq: SIMG) shares climbed 19.1% to $9.00 Wednesday, a day after the designer of television-transmission chips forecast second-quarter revenue above analysts’ forecasts. Volume for the stock was 3.8 million shares, twice its normal full-day average.

The Sunnyvale, California-based company reported revenue for the first quarter of 2011 was $49.0 million, compared to $52.0 million for the fourth quarter of 2010 and $34.3 million for the first quarter of 2010.
GAAP net loss for the first quarter of 2011 was $0.8 million or $0.01 per share, compared to net income of $4.2 million, or $0.05 per diluted share, for the fourth quarter of 2010 and a net loss of $7.2 million, or $0.10 per share, for the first quarter of 2010.

For the second quarter, Silicon projected revenues of $51-53 million, with gross margin seen as being about 56%, while GAAP operating expenses were pegged at approximately $28 million.

Silicon Image Cheif Executive Officer Camillo Martino noted that the company’s performance “was driven by CE product sales and an increasingly successful mobile product portfolio, as mobile device manufacturers are integrating MHL-based products into their smart phones and tablets.

“We pursued our long-term strategic growth initiatives,” Martino went on, “as evidenced by the acquisition of home theater solutions from Anchor Bay Technologies and the definitive agreement to acquire wireless technology company SiBEAM, and we will continue to drive new product development for both wireless and wired HD connectivity solutions.”

Silicon Image is a leading provider of advanced, interoperable connectivity solutions that enable the reliable distribution and presentation of high-definition (HD) content for consumer electronics, mobile, and PC markets.