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OrthoPediatrics files to raise up to $56 million in an IPO

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 10:28

OrthoPediatrics filed Monday to sell 4 million shares of common stock to the public in an initial public offering to raise up to $56 million. The IPO is expected to price between $12 and $14 a share. If options granted to underwriters to buy additional shares are exercised, the company, which makes medical devices for use in the pediatric orthopedic market, could raise as much as $64.4 million. The company has applied to have its stock listed on the Nasdaq Global Market under the ticker symbol "KIDS." The company plans to use the proceeds from the IPO to pay accumulated an unpaid dividends on Series B preferred stock, to invest in implant and instrument sets, to fund research, to expand marketing programs and for general corporate purposes. The underwriters are Piper Jaffray, Stifel, Nicolaus, William Blair and BTIG. The company is looking to go public at a time when the SPDR Health Care Select Sector ETF has gained 4.0% over the past three months while the S&P 500 has tacked on 4.2%.

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IS claims responsibility for Las Vegas shooting

MiddleEasteye - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 10:28
Language Undefined

At least 50 people were killed and more than 400 injured during the shooting at a Las Vegas country music festival on Sunday

Sarepta Therapeutics shares surge 7.5% after Morgan Stanley upgrade

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 10:25

Sarepta Therapeutics Inc. shares surged 7.5% in heavy morning trade Monday after the company was upgraded to overweight by Morgan Stanley with a $60 price target. Sarepta shares were valued at $48.68 as of Monday morning. "We expect continued topline beats to drive near-term upside as Sarepta's underappreciated pipeline drives long-term optionality," said Morgan Stanley analyst Matthew Harrison. Sarepta's Duchenne muscular dystrophy drug Exondys 51 should come in at about $55 million in sales in the latest quarter, above a $40 million consensus, he said. And according to a new survey, more patients are now taking the drug, reimbursement is improving slightly and it takes only about seven weeks between prescription and first infusion of the therapy, Harrison said. Sarepta's DMD drug golodirsen, which is intended for a different subset of the patient population than Exondys 51, recently had positive results in an early/mid-stage clinical trial. Golodirsen has "a reasonably possibility of approval" on the early data, Harrison said, and "though we await specifics for SRP-4045, the golodirsen data gives us increased confidence for the potential in exon 45 patients as well." Sarepta shares have surged 44.6% over the last three months, compared with a 4.3% rise in the S&P 500 .

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At least 50 dead, more than 400 hurt in Las Vegas concert attack

Top Reuters News - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 10:20
LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - Some 50 people died and more than 400 were hurt when a 64-year-old gunman with an arsenal of at least 10 rifles fired on a Las Vegas country music festival on Sunday, raining down bullets from a 32nd-floor window for several minutes before killing himself.

Why Khaled Ali is a source of anxiety for Sisi's regime

MiddleEasteye - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 10:08

The former socialist presidential candidate challenged President Sisi's most unpopular decision - on the Red Sea islands handover - and has now paid for it with a jail sentence

Seres Therapeutics stock drops 19% on clinical trial results

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 10:05

Seres Therapeutics Inc. shares dropped 18.6% in heavy Monday morning trade after the company released results from an early-stage trial testing its microbiome therapy in ulcerative colitis. The company touted the results as positive and said that the therapy, SER-287, had no clinically significant safety problems and showed better remission rates and improved mucous membrane appearance in ulcerative colitis patients, two of the study's secondary efficacy endpoints. However, once the company posted a corrected version of the press release, investors focused on clinical response -- another secondary efficacy endpoint -- which showed that patients on the placebo had the same clinical response rate as patients who were treated with SER-287 daily and pre-treated with the antibiotic vancomycin. Clinical response was 40% for patients treated weekly with SER-287, a -17.1% difference from the placebo, and 28.6% for patients treated weekly with the therapy and pre-treated with vancomycin, a -31.4% difference from the placebo. The clinical trial enrolled 58 patients across the U.S.; all of the patients were failing current ulcerative colitis therapies, Seres Therapeutics said. The company plans to release microbiome study results, which are a co-primary endpoint, in the coming months; Seres Therapeutics also said it plans to discuss the data with the Food and Drug Administration to find the fastest path forward for SER-287. Ulcerative colitis is a chronic condition that affects the colon and rectum and can cause inflammation and ulcers in the digestive tract, according to the Mayo Clinic. Seres Therapeutics shares have risen 15.1% over the last three months, compared with a 4.2% rise in the S&P 500 .

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U.S. Supreme Court rejects Samsung appeal in warranty dispute

Top Reuters News - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 10:02
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to consider a bid by Samsung Electronics Co Ltd to force customers who have filed proposed class-action lawsuits against the company to arbitrate their claims instead of bringing them to court.

Palestine and Israel: Why the two-state solution looks dead

MiddleEasteye - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 09:39

One thing unites an Israeli right-wing coalition partner, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas: the realisation that the two-state solution has been superseded by the reality of one state

S&P 500, Nasdaq, Dow hit records as stocks open higher

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 09:31

U.S. stock-market indexes begin the final quarter of the year on a high note, with all the main benchmarks trading in record territory on Monday after opening higher. The modest advance on Monday follow solid gains over the past month and quarter as investors continue to remain optimistic about earnings growth and potential tax cuts. The S&P 500 was up 1.4 points, or less than 0.1%, to 2,520. The benchmark index is up 12.5% year to date. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite index was up 13 points, or 0.2%, to 6,509 and is up 21% since the start of the year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 31 points, or 0.1%, to 22,433 at the open. The blue-chip index is up 13% year to date. Among the best performers on Wall Street, Oracle Corp shares jumped after Chairman Larry Ellison guaranteed late Sunday to offer database warehousing at less than half the price charged by rival Amazon.com Inc. .

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Top Uber U.K. executive steps down as ride-hailing company looks to regain London license

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 09:31

Uber Technologies Inc.'s top U.K. executive Jo Bertram stepped down on Monday, according to media reports, as the ride-hailing company gears up to bid to retain its license to operate in London. Bertram reportedly sent an email to staff detailing her decision to exit the company. In September, after losing its license to operate in London, Uber apologized for its missteps and vowed to "make things right."

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U.S. stock exchanges hold moment of silence for victims of Las Vegas shootings

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 09:29

The Nasdaq, NYSE and other prominent stock exchanges in the U.S. on Monday held a moment of silence for victims of a mass shooting late-Sunday in Las Vegas. The moment of silence was held at 9:20 a.m. Eastern Time. A gunman opened fire on a crowd at an outdoor country-music concert in Vegas on Sunday night killing at least 50 and injuring more than 400 people. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 index were set to open higher in early trade.

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Oil falls below $56 on signs of higher output

Top Reuters News - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 09:27
LONDON (Reuters) - Oil fell more than $1 a barrel to below $56 on Monday as a rise in U.S. drilling and higher OPEC output put the brakes on a rally that helped prices to register their biggest third-quarter gain in 13 years.

Saudi Arabia, Russia to set up $1bn energy fund

MiddleEasteye - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 09:20
Language Undefined

The fund is to be finalised during this week’s visit by Saudi King Salman to Moscow

Forest City Realty sells ownership interest in 10 malls to QIC as part of a $3.2 billion deal

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 09:15

Forest City Realty Trust Inc. announced Monday a deal in which QIC will buy its ownership interest in 10 regional malls, in a deal that values the malls at $3.2 billion. Forest City's share of the malls is $1.55 billion. The sale of six of the malls, which are located in Denver, Yonkers, NY, Tampa, Fla., Pittsburgh, Palmdale, Calif. and Redondo Beach, Calif., are expected to close by the end of the year. The other four malls are located in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., Henderson, Nev., Temecula, Calif. and Richmond, VA. As part of the deal, Forest City is transferring its retail operating platform, and most personnel, to QIC. Forest City's stock, which was inactive in premarket trade, has rallied 22% year to date, while the SPDR Real Estate Select Sector ETF has gained 4.9% and the S&P 500 has tacked on 12.5%.

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Exclusive: Uber's UK boss quits as firm battles to keep London license - email

Top Reuters News - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 09:12
LONDON (Reuters) - Uber's [UBER.UL] top boss in Britain will quit the taxi hailing app, according to an email seen by Reuters on Monday, as the company prepares to meet the London transport regulator in a bid to keep operating in one of its most important foreign markets.

What's Worse Than Airline Food? The Catering Companies Selling It

Truth-Out - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 08:59
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Airline catering workers are fed up with what they say are intolerable conditions and low wages, and they brought that message to doorstep of the Airline Passenger Experience Association Expo, held in Long Beach, Calif. during the last week of September. Roughly 150 UNITE HERE members, most from the Los Angeles local with some backup from Phoenix, staged a lively picket of the expo as attendees looked on.

Any traveler who's spent time at a gate waiting for a flight to board has probably spotted airline-catering trucks zooming around the tarmac, loading and unloading the heavy carts flight attendants push up and down the aisles during beverage service. Workers say that, while airline food has a reputation for being vile, the working conditions behind that food are even worse.

Catering companies like LSG Sky Chefs, a Lufthansa-owned firm, rely on a heavily immigrant workforce at airports across the country, including in Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Francisco, Chicago, Washington, D.C. and Dallas. LSG Sky Chefs workers say they're underpaid and forced to endure untenable conditions, particularly in the South and Southwest, where extreme heat on the tarmac makes workers miserable.

These service workers have only glancing interactions with passengers -- waiting in line at shared public restrooms, or stepping aside for people boarding and off-boarding planes. They're under tremendous pressure to keep pace with busy schedules and the demand for tight turnaround at the gate, facing challenging working conditions that include long, unfriendly hours and extreme weather.

Airline catering workers for LSG Sky Chefs and other companies -- Gate Gourmet, and Flying Food Group -- are now seeking to address these injustices. UNITE HERE members launched a national campaign in April to highlight their working conditions and visited a United Airlines shareholder meeting in May.

Wednesday's demonstration called attention to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), where many workers labor off-site in kitchens for LSG Sky Chefs. Margarita Hernandez, who has been working for the company for 20 years, is a dishwasher. "To clean the dishes," she says, "we end up putting our hands inside the machine and exposing ourselves to really hot water and chemicals … it makes my fingers hurt to be working in the hot water." Hernandez, who earns $12 an hour, says "it's even more stressful because of these quotas they have of us … I've gotten urinary tract infections, because I'm not able to leave and go to the bathroom."

Her colleague Clara Meza, a 33-year veteran, makes $14 an hour working in the assembly area, where she says she handles hot food in the mostly Latina-staffed kitchen. "They try to treat us like we're slaves," she says of the grueling pace in the kitchen. "But we're not slaves. I know that slavery ended. It's over." Burns, cuts and other injuries litter OSHA logs provided by UNITE HERE.  

Once that food leaves the kitchen, it winds up in sealed catering trucks taken through security and out to the tarmac by drivers. At LAX, those drivers look a lot like Alcidez Loeza, a 52 year old who's been working for LSG Sky Chefs for four years. Loeza is one of the workers passengers sometimes see operating specialized trucks as they raise and lower carts to the galley on aircraft. "They will show a movie," he says of the training process, "but I personally never received any special training. They usually just send someone to tell us what to do. We don't have any special equipment or protections.

The most difficult part of Loeza's job takes place on the tarmac, inside the trailers installed as staging areas for drivers and other staffers known as "helpers." The unventilated trailers surrounded by concrete get hot rapidly in the shimmering L.A. heat, but drivers are expected to work full shifts there. "Some of my coworkers have had heat-related symptoms," he said, describing rashes and workers who "feel bad." They won't find relief in their trucks, either, because they're not provided with air conditioning.

In an OSHA complaint provided to In These Times, Loeza and his colleagues claimed they also had inadequate access to bathrooms, with airport geography forcing them to walk across areas of the tarmac used by taxiing planes, which led some to withhold water. Loeza said that sometimes his coworkers resorted to urinating in water bottles, explaining that "there's not even a way to wash our hands, because there's no water." According to their OSHA complaint, a portable washing station isn't serviced regularly, forcing people to wash clumsily with bottled water.

He says he makes $15.70 hourly, the same as a colleague who's been with the company for 45 years. LAX has an airport living wage similar to that seen at Seattle-TacomaChicago O'Hare and San Jose International. Even off-site workers, like Meza and Hernandez, are supposed to be subject to the wage, but they contend they're not receiving the benefits and wages they were promised.

"I'm not able to help my children or my granddaughters when I barely have enough for myself," says Hernandez. Like any city, Los Angeles is an expensive place to live, but rents there are particularly high, with the cost of living rising steadily each year. According to the 2016 Casden Real Estate Economic Forecast, the average rent in L.A. County was $1,307. "It's expensive to live in LA," says Meza. "I have to pay bills, pay rent, pay car insurance, health insurance copays."

Catering workers are asking for better wages for themselves and their colleagues, and Loeza also wants greater access to bathrooms and sanitation. "Sometimes I see my coworkers walking across the runway to go to the bathroom," explains Loeza. "I don't think that's right." Improved ventilation and access to shade are also important for tarmac personnel working in high heat.

"LSG Sky Chefs is committed to providing a safe working environment for our employees," the company said in a statement, adding that it provided workers with "opportunities to cool off." It declined to address questions about wages and sanitation.  

In 2016, the LSG Group, which includes Sky Chefs, made nearly 3.8 billion in consolidated revenues, serving 209 airports worldwide. The bulk of its business focuses on airline catering, though it also offers auxiliary services, with an aggressive expansion strategy targeting new customers and markets.

Using contractors like LSG Group allows airlines to delegate the responsibility for working conditions, although workers who service United and American flights have attempted to force the airlines' hands with public demonstrations like the one on Wednesday. Those say LSG Group has promised better wages and benefits but failed to deliver. Time will tell whether their rallies spark a sea change in the way the company treats workers.     

Voter ID Suppressed the Vote Exactly as Wisconsin Republicans Predicted

Truth-Out - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 08:58
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A new study of registered voters in Dane and Milwaukee Counties who did not vote in the 2016 presidential election found that approximately 17,000-23,000 eligible voters in those counties were prevented or deterred from voting by Wisconsin's voter ID law. Due to financial constraints, the social scientists were only able to do a study of two of Wisconsin's 72 counties, but the authors say that extrapolating statewide as many as 45,000 people stayed home because of the law.

Donald Trump won the state of Wisconsin by only 22,000 votes, the first GOP presidential victory in the state since Ronald Regan in 1984. The shocking upset garnered national attention and helped deliver the electoral college to Trump as the popular vote went to Clinton.

The study, conducted by Ken Mayer and Michael G. DeCrescenzo, at the University of Wisconsin Department of Political Science, provides definitive evidence that the controversial voter ID bill, passed in 2011 and held up in the courts until 2016, worked precisely as Wisconsin Republicans intended --  to make it more difficult for targeted voters to cast their ballots.

Although voter preferences were not included in the study, the survey documents that the burdens of voter ID fell disproportionately on low-income and minority populations considered likely to support Democrats. Among low-income registrants (household income under $25,000), 21.1% were deterred, compared to 7.2% for those whose household income was over $25,000. 8.3% of white registrants were deterred, compared to 27.5% of African Americans.

Roughly 80% of registrants who were deterred from voting by the law, and 77% of those actually prevented from voting, cast ballots in the 2012 election. The number of voters negatively impacted is far greater than the number of "fraud" cases the law was designed to stop. When the law was challenged in federal court and initially ruled a violation of the Voting Rights Act, the state failed to present a single case of voter impersonation that the law would have prevented.

The results prompted the county clerks from Milwaukee and Madison to issue strongly worded statements and a call for a suspension of the voter ID law. "I was shocked by the numbers and am furious to see that Jim Crow laws are  alive and well," said Milwaukee County Clerk George Christenson.

"The photo ID law must be suspended until changes can be made to restore every voter's access to the ballot box," said Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell whose office commissioned the study.

"What I Am Concerned About Here Is Winning"

While most Republican stuck to the official talking  points that the photo ID law was all about preventing nonexistent "voter fraud," some forgot the script.

On the night of Wisconsin's 2016 presidential primary, Republican Congressman Glenn Grothman (R-WI) flatly stated in an interview with WTMJ's Charles Benson that Wisconsin's photo ID law would help the GOP win Wisconsin in the November 2016 election.

When asked about the fact that Wisconsin has consistently voted for Democrats in recent presidential elections, Grothman assured Bensen that Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton was a "weak candidate," then added "and now we have photo ID, and I think photo ID is gonna make a little bit of a difference as well."

Rep. Grothman was a State Senator in 2011 when Wisconsin debated and passed its voter ID law, so he was privy to the back room conversations and dealings on the issue.

Those back room conversation came to light five years later when the bill was implemented and people immediately started having problems. Former GOP staffer turned coffee shop owner, Todd Albaugh, was frustrated when one of his employees could not vote in the 2016 spring elections and decided to blow the whistle.

Albaugh, who once worked for Wisconsin Senator Dale Shultz (R-Richland Center), stated in a social media post:

"I was in a closed Senate Republican Caucus when the final round of multiple Voter ID bills were being discussed. A handful of GOP Senators were giddy about the ramifications and literally singled out the prospects of suppressing minority and college voters. Think about that for minute. Elected officials panning and happy to help deny a fellow American's constitutional right to vote in order to increase their own chances to hang onto power."

"A vigorous debate on the ideas wasn't good enough," said Albaugh "they had to take the coward's way out and come up with a plan to suppress the vote under the guise of 'voter fraud.'"

Later on the witness stand in a lawsuit brought by One Wisconsin Now challenging the voter ID law, Albaugh described the tension in closed door caucus as provisions in the bill were being debated.

As described by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Albaugh testified that Committee Chair Sen. Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) made the case for passing the bill, which made it much harder for students, the elderly and the poor to vote:

"She got up out of her chair and hit her fist or her finger on the table and said, 'Hey, we've got to think about what this would mean for the neighborhoods around Milwaukee and the college campuses," Allbaugh said.

"Grothman said, 'What I'm concerned about here is winning, and that's what really matters here. … We better get this done quickly while we have the opportunity,'" Allbaugh said.

Allbaugh named two other senators -- Leah Vukmir and Randy Hopper -- as being gleeful over passing the bill.

"They were politically frothing at the mouth," he said of Vukmir and Hopper, who lost a recall election a few months after the voter ID law passed.

ALEC Members Toe the Koch Party Line

All four of the legislators named by Albaugh were at the time members of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Leah Vukmir, described as "frothing at the mouth" over the bill, served for years as an officer of ALEC, was ALEC's national chairman in 2016, and was given ALEC's "Iron Woman" Award in 2017.

The Koch-funded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) drafted and approved a "model" "Voter ID Act" in August of 2009. The wave of bills that followed were constructed differently by different GOP legislatures, but have a common purpose to disenfranchise constituencies that are more likely to vote Democratic.

ALEC has attempted to distance itself from this ugly history of voter suppression (it did away with its "Public Safety and Elections Task Force" and no longer touts voter ID as a "model bill") after sustained campaigning by the online civil rights group Color of Change and others, but ALEC has done nothing to get voter ID policies repealed in the states where its members pushed for and passed the bill.

The partisan motivation behind the Voter ID Act comports with vision of ALEC's founder, the late Paul Weyrich of Wisconsin, who in 1980 told a group of religious fundamentalists: "I don't want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of people, they never have been from the beginning of our country and they are not now. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down."


AMC Entertainment sells $18.2 million worth of National CineMedia shares

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 08:56

AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. said on Monday that it has completed the sale of 2.8 million shares of National CineMedia Inc. to an undisclosed buyer for $18.2 million, or roughly $6.49 per share. The sale, which the theater operator said is consistent with plans to identify $400 million in assets to be monetized, fulfills AMC's obligation to the U.S. Department of Justice to reduce its ownership stake in National CineMedia as part of its acquisition of Carmike Cinemas last December. "Similar to last week's transaction, this sale will allow us to further enhance our liquidity position, strengthen our balance sheet through deleveraging and execute on our strategic capital allocation plans of buying back AMC shares all the while investing in our future growth through the renovation of our theaters," AMC Chief Executive Adam Aron said in a statement. Shares of AMC have declined more than 56% in the year to date, while the S&P 500 index is up nearly 13% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up more than 13%.

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Vitamin Shoppe's stock soars after move into China through Alibaba's Tmall

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 08:42

Shares of Vitamin Shoppe Inc. soared 11% in premarket trade Monday, after the nutritional products retailer said it will begin selling its products in China. The company said it has partnered with Macy's China Limited to launch its first digital platform in China, and will offer private-brand products and some third-party brands via Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.'s Tmall Global online shopping platform. The products will be shipped to consumers in China from its new distribution center in Arizona. "This is another example of the different strategies and partnerships we are pursuing to expand our reach and enhance the customers' experience," said Vitamin Shoppe's Director of International Development David Denker. The stock has plunged 54% over the past three months, and 77% year to date, while rival GNC Holdings Inc. shares have dropped 20% this year and the S&P 500 has gained 12.5%.

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Puma Biotech price target raised by 20% to $130 at Stifel

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 08:33

Puma Biotechnology Inc. shares rose 1.9% in premarket trade Monday after the company's price target was raised nearly 20% to $130 at Stifel. Stifel raised Puma Biotech's price target on the strength of its neratinib, which was approved in July for breast cancer patients after initial treatment with another therapy, and is also being studied for use in metastatic breast cancer. The cancer therapy will be important in its currently-approved indication, Stifel analyst Thomas Shrader said, with data in metastatic breast cancer expected next year. "The company has long hinted that a sale of this asset is the preferred long-term outcome for the company and current investor focus is likely highly focused on this outcome," Shrader said. Puma Biotech shares have risen 37% over the last three months, compared with a 4% rise in the S&P 500 .

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