Archive for June, 2011

McMoRan Exploration Co. (MMR) jumps on new Gulf find

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

McMoRan Exploration Co. (NYSE: MMR) shares climbed 11.5% to $18.48 Wednesday, after the oil producer said data from four wells pointed to the possibility of large accumulations of crude oil and natural gas in the Davy Jones prospect in the Gulf of Mexico. Shares in the company totaled 8.2 million, or about four times its normal daily volume average.

A news release announcing the find on June 29 indicated that McMoRan has actively pursued large ultra-deep targets located in the shallow waters of the GOM below the salt weld (i.e. listric fault) at depths generally below 25,000 feet since 2008. The data gained to date from four wells confirms McMoRan’s geologic model and the highly prospective nature of this emerging geologic trend.

Prior to McMoRan’s involvement in the ultra-deep, there had been only two wells drilled on the Shelf targeting these objectives; one did not reach its targeted depth and the other was outside of McMoRan’s focus area. Importantly, McMoRan’s results to date have indicated the potential for large accumulations of hydrocarbons at these deeper depths in the shallow waters of the GOM, which is expected to reduce the risk of future activities.

The Davy Jones offset appraisal well (Davy Jones No. 2), located on South Marsh Island Block 234, two and a half miles southwest of the Davy Jones No. 1 discovery well, was drilled to a total depth of 30,546 feet. As reported in February 2011, preliminary log results above 27,300 feet confirmed hydrocarbon bearing Wilcox sands with continuity across the major structural features of the Davy Jones prospect.

The release did not quote officials of the company.

McMoRan Exploration Co., headquartered in New Orleans, is an independent public company engaged in the exploration, development and production of natural gas and oil in the shallow waters of the GOM Shelf and onshore in the Gulf Coast area.

Highway Holdings Limited (HIHO) higher profits boost stock price

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

Highway Holdings Limited (Nasdaq:HIHO) shares vaulted 38.6% to $4.13, after the company reported net income for fiscal year 2011 climbed sharply to $1.7 million, or $0.44 per diluted share, from $420,000, or $0.11 per diluted share, in fiscal 2010. Volume for the stock totaled 261,123 shares, trouncing an all-day average of just over 4,600.

“Results for fiscal 2011 reflect a strongly improved business environment and the benefits of streamlining operations to enhance operating efficiencies,” according to CEO Roland Kohl, who in the June 29 press release, highlighted the two key strategic initiatives implemented during the past few years that have greatly enhance profitability; reducing the company’s operations from four factories to one, and the utilization of automation in its manufacturing process.

“As a consequence, the company was able to further improve its balance sheet and increase its cash position to take advantage of future strategic growth opportunities,” Kohl said.

Gross profits improved for both the fiscal 2011 fourth quarter and year — increasing by $367,000, or 26.16%, and $1,853,000, or 39.4%, respectively, compared with the same periods in fiscal 2010. Gross profit as a percentage of net sales remained essentially unchanged at approximately 21% percent for the fiscal year, despite initiatives noted above to reduce the company’s manufacturing expenses.

Highway Holdings produces a wide variety of high-quality products for blue chip original equipment manufacturers — from simple parts and components to sub-assemblies and finished products. Highway Holdings’ administrative offices are located in Hong Kong, and its manufacturing facilities are located in Shenzhen in the People’s Republic of China.

Monster Worldwide Inc. (MWW) is just that, let it BeKnown

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

Monster Worldwide Inc. (NYSE: MWW) shares rose 10.6% to $15.01, a day after the company announced the launch of BeKnown, a networking app designed to allow Facebook users to establish a professional network and find career opportunities. Volume for the stock was 4.6 million shares, outdistancing a daily average of 3.1 million.

The company, based in Maynard, Massachusetts, put out a press release Monday saying that with BeKnown, users can seamlessly identify and connect with friends and professional contacts from multiple sources and grow their professional network, enhance their online professional identity and discover enriching career opportunities.

BeKnown is now available for download at in 19 different languages, and is accessible by any Facebook user.

Monster Worldwide’s Chief Information Officer Darko Dejanovic was quoted in the same release as saying, “BeKnown answers the need and challenge in the marketplace for people to build their professional networks on Facebook while keeping personal and work-related contacts and content completely separate.

Dejanovic continued, “An estimated 700 million people globally live their lives through Facebook and 97% of the Fortune 500 companies turn to Monster to find talent. BeKnown now gives people and companies the ability to utilize that vast network for professional gain by tapping into the power of Monster and Facebook.”

Monster Worldwide, Inc., parent company of Monster®, the premier global online employment solution for more than a decade, strives to bring people together to advance their lives.

Nike Inc. (NKE) just does it, tops earnings guesses, stock rockets

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE) shares rose 6.9% to $87.27 a day after the athletic-shoe seller reported fourth-quarter earnings that beat estimates. Volume for the stock was 4.7 million shares, topping an all-day average of 2.7 million.

This morning, an article from the Associated Press stated that the sports gear maker said net income for its fiscal fourth quarter, ended May 31, rose 14% to $594 million, or $1.24 a share. Net income for the year ago period was $522 million, or $1.06 a share.

Nike was expected to earn $1.16 a share, according to the average estimate of analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue for the quarter rose to $5.8 billion from $5.08-billion. Excluding currency movements, it increased 11%

Analysts expected $5.528 billion of revenue for the period.

The AP story quotes Matt Arnold, an analyst at Edward Jones as saying, “The best way to offset higher costs is to generate strong demand growth and Nike was able to do that.”

Futures orders, a closely watched measure of demand in coming months, came in ahead of Wall Street estimates. Orders for June through November jumped 15% to $10.3-billion. Excluding currency effects, orders rose 12%, Nike said.

Barclays Capital analyst Robert Drbul expected futures orders to be up 8 per cent to 10 per cent in constant dollars. Arnold was expecting future orders to be up at least 8%. Strong futures orders suggest Nike will be able to raise prices later this year, Arnold added.

Payday lender Ezcorp Inc. (EZPW) rises on stock upgrade

Monday, June 27th, 2011

Pawn-shop operator and payday-loan chain Ezcorp Inc. (Nasdaq: EZPW) shares rose 7.1% late Monday to $34.33, after Sterne Agee analysts raised the stock to buy from neutral. Volume for the stock of 802,000 more than doubled its daily average.

According to a story Monday on, Sterne Agee Analyst Henry J. Coffey Jr. raised his rating on Ezcorp to “Buy” from “Neutral,” and boosted his forecast for the company’s 2012 earnings per share to $3 from $2.75. He also estimates Ezcorp will post earnings of $3.55 per share in 2013.

The site goes on to say that, despite the heightened scrutiny on payday lending, Ezcorp has seen continued growth in the U.S. and elsewhere, Coffey wrote in a research note Monday.

In March, the company announced a joint venture with Cash Converters that will push loans, pawn lending and other services in several international markets. In April, Ezcorp acquired the Canadian Cash Converters franchise. It also plans to reposition its Cash Max stores as Cash Converters and build out about 20 Cash Converter stores per year.

Based in Austin, Texas, EZCORP is a leading provider of specialty consumer financial services. It provides collateralized non-recourse loans, commonly known as pawn loans, and a variety of short-term consumer loans, including payday loans, installment loans and auto title loans, or fee-based credit services to customers seeking loans. At its pawn stores, the company also sells merchandise, primarily collateral forfeited from its pawn lending operations.