Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Biofuel Stock Alert: Solazyme (NASDAQ:SZYM) Closes up over 9%

Biofuel Stock Alert: Solazyme (NASDAQ:SZYM) Closes up over 9%New York, NY 2/29/2012 (StreetBeat) – Investorideas.com, a leader in renewable energy stock research for independent investors, issues an investor alert for biofuel stock Solazyme, Inc. (NasdaqGS: SZYM), closing trading for February 28th at $14.34, up $ 1.21 or (9.22%) on over 1Million shares exchanging hands.

The Company announced last week it would present at a series of cleantech investor conferences from the end of February through to March 7th.

Solazyme, Inc. is a renewable oil and bioproducts company that transforms a range of low-cost plant-based sugars into high-value oils. Headquartered in South San Francisco, Solazyme's renewable products can replace or enhance oils derived from the world's three existing sources — petroleum, plants and animal fats. Initially, Solazyme is focused on commercializing its products into three target markets: (1) fuels and chemicals, (2) nutrition and (3) skin and personal care.

Investorideas.com was on the of the first investor sites covering investing in water and renewable energy stocks and has become a global go-to destination for investors researching the cleantech sector, with stock directories, company news, commentary from experts, research reports and industry resources and links. Investors can follow solar stocks commentary on our site with solar expert, J. Peter Lynch.

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Sector Snapshot for Energy Efficient LED Lighting Stocks; CREE, LEDS

Sector Snapshot for Energy Efficient LED Lighting Stocks; CREE, LEDSNew York, NY 2/29/2012 (StreetBeat) – Investorideas.com, a leader in renewable energy stock research for independent investors, issues an investor podcast sector snapshot for renewable energy stocks trading in the energy efficient LED lighting sector for February 28th.

Stocks covered include Cree, Inc. l (NASDAQ:CREE), a maker of LED lighting technologies and SemiLEDS Corporation (NASDAQ:LEDS), a developer and manufacturer of LED chips and LED components.

Research more energy efficient stocks on global stock exchanges –and up to 1300 renewable energy stocks at Investorideas.com

Investorideas.com was on the of the first investor sites covering investing in water and renewable energy stocks and has become a global go-to destination for investors researching the cleantech sector, with stock directories, company news, commentary from experts, research reports and industry resources and links. Investors can follow solar stocks commentary on our site with solar expert, J. Peter Lynch.

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Because Bernanke Said So

Because Bernanke Said SoNaples, FL 2/29/2012 (StreetBeat) – Fed Chairman Bernanke thinks the various extraordinary policy strategies that he has shepherded into action in the last couple of years have helped the economy. If he thinks more of the same, or a variation of the previous programs, would be useful he will act again. When he appears on Capitol Hill this week for his semi-annual “Humphrey/Hawkins” testimony, he can be counted on to leave the door wide open for some form of additional stimulus; not a call to action, but just a reiteration that he’s got more of where that came from and he’s not afraid to use it if he has to. That seems clear enough.

Bernanke acknowledges that the economy has been gradually recovering from the great recession, but he’s still not happy. Sure, you can almost see a grin form when the stock market rally gets mentioned and there’s a twinkle in his eye when he talks about the business sector. But he is just not satisfied with the overall economy.

“While conditions have certainly improved over this period,” he told committees in both the House and Senate recently, “the pace of the recovery has been frustratingly slow, particularly from the perspective of the millions of workers who remain unemployed or underemployed.” The slow growth rate is a problem unto itself for the Chairman; he’s noted that it leaves the economy vulnerable to shocks. In addition consumer spending concerns him and housing remains a mere shadow of its former self. But it is the labor market that appears to be the crux of the problem for Bernanke, it is the dot to which the other dots can be connected, and he continues to think that it is in pretty sorry shape.

If the Fed is going to reach into its monetary policy tool box one more time, it is probably going to be the labor market to which Bernanke will point as the reason why it was necessary. However, Bernanke’s persistently downbeat view of the labor market has some market participants scratching their heads. The Unemployment Rate is at a three year low, private sector payrolls have a twenty-three month winning streak and the weekly report on new claims for unemployment benefits hasn’t been so low since early 2008. Why the long face Ben?

The implication is that the Fed Chairman is missing something; the data is good, it’s his analysis of the situation that’s bad. But since it can be said that the future path of monetary policy depends greatly upon the opinions and outlook of Ben Bernanke, more so than it does on market participants who are not named Ben Bernanke, then it might be worthwhile to investigate some of the possible reasons why he continues to harbor great concern for the labor market.

I will attempt to parse out some of indications he laid out in his recent testimony that I quoted above. “Overall, the jobs situation does appear to have improved modestly over the past year,” he said in his early February appearances on the Hill. He noted that “private payroll employment increased by about 160,000 jobs per month in 2011, the unemployment rate fell by about 1 percentage point, and new claims for unemployment insurance declined somewhat.” That’s a good short list of positive bullet points for the labor market enthusiasts; but it is apparently not enough for the Chairman. “Nevertheless, as shown by indicators like the rate of unemployment and the ratio of employment to population, we still have a long way to go before the labor market can be said to be operating normally. Particularly troubling is the unusually high level of long term unemployment: More than 40 percent of the unemployed have been jobless for more than six months, roughly double the fraction during the economic expansion of the previous decade.”

The rate of unemployment is 8.3%. While that has fallen by about one percent in the last year it is still well above the level that Bernanke would consider being the “longer run normal” rate. At the January FOMC meeting the Committee estimated that normal falls somewhere in the range of 5.2% to 6.0%. The direction is promising, but the actual level is a problem. Not only that but Bernanke thinks the rate is misleading, as he told the Senate Committee, “The 8.3 percent no doubt underestimates the weakness of the labor market in a broad sense.”

The other side of the jobs situation coin is the ratio of employment to population, or the employment rate. Whereas the unemployment rate is the percentage of those classified as unemployed in the Civilian Labor Force (CLF), the employment rate is the percent of employed in the Civilian Non-Institutional Population (CNIP).

To be counted as part of the CLF one has to be currently employed or jobless and looking for work during the previous four weeks. To be counted as part of the CNIP you have to be 16 years of age or older, residing in the US and not institutionalized or on active duty in the Armed Forces. One key difference between these measures of the labor market is that the employment rate continues to count those jobless people who are not looking for work, no matter the reason, while the unemployment rate does not.

The employment rate is currently at 58.5%, just three tenths of a percent off the low of the cycle; it has not been as low as this in almost three decades. Since job growth resumed in 2010 the rate of unemployment has declined considerably, but the rate of employment has barely budged. One thing that Bernanke may be adding into his labor market misery calculation is the lack of employment improvement in regards to population gains. Here’s one way to look at it. In January 2012 there were 141.6 million people employed, according to the Household Survey conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Aside from the depths seen during the Great Recession and in its aftermath that is the lowest number of employed since May 2005. Then consider, as Bernanke might be, that the CNIP rose by 16.5 million between then and now; that is a lot of people, but no net gain in employment and could be one of the reasons the Fed boss thinks the labor market is a long way from normal.

Fewer workers are getting laid off; it is a well established trend. The four week moving average of the weekly report on Initial Jobless Claims is, at 359k, the lowest it has been since March 2008. This is good news, but a look behind the headlines reveals why Bernanke frets about the unusually high level of long term unemployment.

Back in March 2008 there were about three million people receiving jobless benefits. That amounted to 2.2% of the total number of workers whose employment was covered by the state unemployment insurance programs; covered employment totaled 133 million. The benefits lasted for six months.

There are currently about 3.5 million people receiving the state unemployment benefits. Covered employment currently totals 126 million. So those receiving these benefits amounts to 2.8% of those who are eligible. The problem with this comparison is that in the last few years other jobless benefits programs have been created, some that cover the jobless worker for up to 99 weeks, or almost two years. Back in March 2008 the number of people receiving the regular state benefits was the vast majority of the overall total that were in these programs.

Today the total receiving some form of unemployment insurance is in excess of 7.6 million; or about six percent of the covered employment total. The rate at which new claims are being made is way down from its high, but the overall level remains uncomfortably high. Another point of contrast that relates to the claims data is the duration of unemployment. In January 2012 this was 40.1 weeks, just a fraction off the record high set at the end of last year. In March 2008, when the rate of weekly jobless claims was last as low as it is now, the duration of unemployment was 16.5 weeks.

I can’t say for sure that I have hit upon the key reasons why Bernanke remains troubled by the labor market. But the important point is that he gives every indication that he does not think the labor market is healthy and that he is unlikely to change his opinion any time soon. And this is an important thing to remember when considering the future path of monetary policy that the Fed is likely to pursue. Bernanke has said as much.

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Milestone Day for HearAtLast Holdings (HRAL.PK)

Milestone Day for HearAtLast Holdings (HRAL.PK)Naples, FL 2/29/2012 (StreetBeat) – HearAtLast Holdings Inc. (Pinksheets: HRAL) announced in a press release today that since its last announcement of its strategic alliance with VitaSound, operations of all HearAtLast Hearing Stores have experienced a dramatic change for the better in its overall operation of the business model. Already today, shares of HRAL have traded nearly 40 million shares.

It has been 16 months now that VitaSound has assumed operations of the HearAtLast Hearing Stores, giving HearAtLast Holdings the ability to focus on the further development opportunities in opening new Corporate HearAtLast locations as well as focusing on the development of HearAtLast as a licensing opportunity for independent Hearing Clinic operators. All aspects of the business have taken a major upward turn and the trend continues today as management has created a positive cash flow for the HearAtLast Hearing Stores.

VitaSound has brought operational discipline to the management of the HearAtLast locations in 2011 and the result has been a solid improvement in all metrics. More importantly, it has implemented a "cookie cutter"-style program that can be replicated as new locations are brought into the network. The new management system has shown an increase of 76% in net unit sales with an increase of net sales of 61.5%. Not only have the clinics seen a dramatic change in sales but the return rate has decreased by 21% overall with a sales close rate increase.

Customer confidence and satisfaction showed significant improvement as measured by hearing tests, referrals and walk-ins showing an increase of 35%, 49% and 35% respectively. This improvement trend has continued into the first two months of 2012, and another strong year of performance improvement is expected. The dedicated staff along with the new team at VitaSound has all contributed to this positive result. This vast improvement has re-enforced our decision to venture into our growth model with VitaSound as a "win-win" partnership scenario.

"The direction in which we are heading certainly changed in a positive manner and we expect to carry this forward to our new stores and licensee opportunities," commented Matthew Sacco, President of HearAtLast Holdings.

"The numbers that we are able to achieve will only get better and having a positive working model not only benefits HearAtLast in their Corporate growth but will benefit our potential Licensees as they will be able to look to our expert management partners for assistance in making sure that they also achieve the success they would expect as a HearAtLast Hearing Store Licensee," further commented Mr. Sacco.

HearAtLast Holdings is a Nevada corporation that has developed HearAtLast; a chain of hearing stores specializing in the sale of digital hearing aids and testing services within select Wal-Mart stores in Canada.

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Big Volume Today for Freedom Energy (PK: FDMF)

Big Volume Today for Freedom Energy (PK: FDMF)Shawshank, VA 2/29/2012 (StreetBeat) – Freedom Energy Holdings, Inc. (Pink Sheets: FDMF) CEO Brian Kistler today confirmed that the company has received the funding to produce and ship KC 9000® for the previously mentioned Middle East trial.

Kistler stated, "The first trial tentatively set to take place in April 2012 has been moved up to early March. The purpose of this trial is to show the effectiveness of cleaning, oil covered, drill cuttings from wells being drilled on shore. The parties requesting the trial have funded all expenses of product, shipping, travel and lodging for me to attend this event. The location for the trial has not been disclosed to me at this time; however all plans are being coordinated through our agent in Dubai."

Kistler further stated, "There are approximately 1 million tons of drill cuttings that have been accumulated that are yet to be processed from this one location. The current cost of cleanup is $65 per ton. Using KC 9000®, costs show to come in under $50 per ton. Using this model would call for approximately 2 million gallons of KC 9000® to process the whole 1 million tons already accumulated. Moving forward the plan is to set up modular processing plants at the sight of the new wells being drilled so that the cuttings are able to be processed immediately which will save costs from transportation and storage of the cuttings."

"It is very rewarding to finally reach this point. When dealing with the foreign oil companies (which are all governmentally owned) it takes a great deal of perseverance and coordination to overcome the high degree of scrutiny and the barrier of entry. Thanks again to all of our shareholders for their patience," concluded Kistler.

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3 Things to Consider While Trading Today

3 Things to Consider While Trading TodayShawshank, VA 2/29/2012 (StreetBeat) – Stocks were mixed in Asian trade. Australia was up 0.8% and the Hang Seng gained a half percent, but the Nikkei was flat on the day and Shanghai fell almost one percent. European indexes are mostly higher this morning, with the Dax up about a half percent while the Footsie is unchanged on the day. US stock futures are up a slight fraction as I write.

*The January reading of Australian Retail Sales was +0.3% on a month on month basis, matching the expectations.

*The preliminary January reading of Japan’s Industrial Production is +2.0% on a monthly basis, a half percent more than forecast.

*The ECB announced earlier this morning that the 3-Year LTRO liquidity facility was tapped for EU529.5 billion; 800 banks bid. The first LTRO totaled EU489.2 billion and had 523 bidders. It is said that today’s LTRO was more than the average estimate, but the estimate that I most trusted said the total would be within a range of EU200 billion and EU800 billion; nailed it!!!

*The February reading of Germany’s Unemployment Rate is 6.8%. While that was steady on the month as was forecast, that is from a revised higher January reading. Also, the net change in the number of unemployed was 0k, it had been expected to fall 5k.

*The January reading of Switzerland’s Consumer Price Index was much more deflationary that expected at -0.7% month on month and -0.9% annualized.

*In January there were 58.7k UK mortgage approvals, says the Bank of England. That was up by almost 4k from the month before and is the highest result since December 2009.

*US mortgage applications were down 0.3% in the week ended February 24, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Applications for purchase were up 8.2%, but those for refinancing fell 2.2%.

*The first revision to Q4 GDP is due out at 7:30am CST. All of the main components, but one, are expected to be unchanged from the initial report: GDP steady at +2.8%; Personal Consumption is expected to be revised down one tenth to +1.9%; GDP Price Deflator unrevised at +0.4% and the quarterly rate of the PCE Core steady at +1.1%. The February reading of the Chicago Purchasing Managers Index is due out at 8:45am CST, of course the subscribers will get the data three minutes earlier. The Chicago PMI is expected to be 61.0, up a bit from the January result of 60.2.

*Fed boss Bernanke will present his Humphrey/Hawkins testimony on the economy and monetary policy to the House Financial Services Committee this morning. We should get newswire headlines about his text at 9:00am CST. Extensive Q and A will follow his presentation.

*The weekly report on energy inventories is due to be released at 9:30am CST. Stocks of Crude Oil are forecast to increase 1.1 million barrels, Gasoline inventories are expected to decline 425k and the estimate for Distillates is -750k.

*The Fed is scheduled to buy Treasuries today that are due to mature between 2/15/36 and 2/15/42; the results of the operation will be announced just after 10:00am CST. (The New York Fed will release the Fed’s March calendar for Treasury buying and selling at 1:00pm CST.)

*The Fed’s Beige Book is set to be released at 1:00pm CST.

*Other Fed speak scheduled for today includes: Dallas Fed’s Fisher talks about fiscal reforms in Mexico at 9:25am CST and Philly Fed boss Plosser will give a speech about the economy at noon CST.

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LargeCap Stocks to Watch Today

LargeCap Stocks to Watch TodayTomahawk, WI 2/29/2012 (StreetBeat) – First Solar reported fourth-quarter profit and revenue below Wall Street's expectations. It also lowered its revenue and cash flow outlook for fiscal 2012.

For the three months ended Dec. 31, First Solar posted an adjusted profit of $110 million, or $1.26 a share, on net sales of $660 million, down more than 30% on a sequential basis.

Analysts were expecting earnings of $1.53 a share on sales of $779.3 million.

First Solar reduced its fiscal 2012 revenue view to between $3.5 billion and $3.8 billion from a prior projection of $3.7 billion to $4 billion.

Shares were dropping 7.5% to $33.68 in premarket trading on Wednesday.

Staples , the office-products retailer, reported fourth-quarter net income of $283.6 million, or 41 cents a share, on sales of $6.46 billion.

Staples was expected by analysts to earn 41 cents a share in the fourth quarter on revenue of $6.45 billion.

Shares were popping 3% at $16.48.

Costco , the warehouse retailer, earned $394 million, or 90 cents a share, in its fiscal second quarter, up from $348 million, or 79 cents, a year earlier.

Total revenue jumped 10% to $23 billion.

Analysts expected Costco to earn 87 cents a share on revenue of $22.83 billion.
Shares were rising 1.3% to $86.40.

Wells Fargo and Goldman Sachs said they received Wells notices from the Securities and Exchange Commission and could face civil claims tied to sales of mortgage-backed securities.

According to reports, JPMorgan Chase is expected to announce Wednesday that it too received a Wells notice.

The notices generally indicate the SEC plans to bring charges or take other enforcement action against a company.

Shares of Goldman Sachs were sliding 1.2% to $115.70, while JPMorgan shares were up 0.5% to $39.40.

Joy Global , the mining equipment maker, reported first-quarter income from continuing operations of $142 million, or $1.33 a share on net sales of $1.1 billion. Analysts expected earnings of $1.33 a share on sales of $1.16 billion.

Shares were down 0.8% at $91.

Hewlett-Packard plans to lay off 275 employees from its webOS software division, according to reports.

CEO Meg Whitman in December opened up the company's webOS operating system to outside developers.

Shares were flat at $26.19.

DreamWorks Animation reported fourth-quarter net income of $24.3 million, or 29 cents a share, missing the consensus forecast of 32 cents.

Revenue came in at $219 million, beating the $206 million expected by analysts, on average.

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Oil Near $107 After Mixed US Demand

Oil Near $107 After Mixed US DemandTomahawk, WI 2/29/2012 (StreetBeat) – Oil prices rose slightly to near $107 a barrel on Wednesday, steadying after a large drop the day before, amid mixed signs about the strength of U.S. crude demand.

By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark oil for April delivery was up 34 cents to $106.89 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell by $2.01 to $106.55 per barrel in New York on Tuesday.

In London, Brent crude was up 97 cents to $122.52 per barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.

U.S. crude and oil product inventories were mixed last week. The American Petroleum Institute said late Tuesday that crude inventories rose 521,000 barrels while analysts surveyed by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos., had predicted an increase of 1 million barrels.

Inventories of gasoline fell 916,000 barrels last week while distillates dropped 3.3 million barrels, the API said.

The Energy Department's Energy Information Administration reports its weekly supply data later Wednesday.

Meanwhile, an improvement in U.S. consumer sentiment helped bolster oil prices. The Conference Board, a private business research group, said Tuesday that consumer confidence rose to a one-year high in February. However, the government said orders for durable goods in the U.S. in January had the biggest fall in three years.

Crude has jumped from $96 earlier this month amid growing tension over Iran's nuclear program. Investors will be closely watching the latest data on U.S gross domestic product and industrial production due to be released later Wednesday.
Oil prices were also supported by news that the European Central Bank had made euro529.5 billion ($712.4 billion) in low-interest loans to banks, a new step meant to alleviate the continent's debt crisis.

"Investors' focus remains on the eurozone's economic stability, while concerns eased after the confirmation from the ECB of further monetary easing," said a report from Sucden Financial in London.

In other energy trading, heating oil rose 2.01 cents to $3.2402 per gallon and gasoline futures gained 1.98 cents to $3.2445 per gallon. Natural gas added 1.1 cents to $2.53 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

UniPixel (Nasdaq: UNXL) and Texas Instruments Collaborate on Advanced Touch Screen Solutions

UniPixel (Nasdaq: UNXL) and Texas Instruments Collaborate on Advanced Touch Screen SolutionsTallahassee, FL 2/28/12 (StreetBeat) -- UniPixel, Inc. (NASDAQ: UNXL), a provider of Performance Engineered Films to the touch screen, flexible printed electronics, lighting and display markets, has entered a memorandum of understanding with Texas Instruments, Incorporated (TI) (NASDAQ: TXN) to collaborate in the development of touch screen solutions.

In addition to defining a collaboration effort intended to integrate TI's touch controllers with UniPixel's UniBoss™ printed touch sensors, the memorandum outlines the terms of a potential definitive agreement involving marketing and sales efforts.

"While this relationship is initially aimed at ensuring that UniBoss touch sensor films are fully operational with TI's touch screen controller chip family, we believe the ultimate value of this working relationship is in the potential to yield integrated touch solutions that are superior to what each company could accomplish independently," said UniPixel CEO Reed Killion.

UniBoss is a roll-to-roll printed electronics process with a focus on flexible, conductive microcircuits. UniBoss can pattern conductive traces on plastic and paper substrates and is capable of applying conductive circuits on one or both sides of a single film substrate. For touch sensor applications, UniBoss is a higher performing, lower cost alternative to industry standard ITO transparent conductor films.

TI is a world leader in the design and production of both analog and digital chipsets, and its line of touch controllers are already used by the top manufacturers in numerous handheld electronic devices on the market today. Gaurang Shah, vice president of Audio & Imaging Products at Texas Instruments, commented: "UniBoss offers unparalleled cost and performance benefits that make it a perfect match for TI touch screen controllers. Together, UniPixel and TI will bring to market high-quality touch screen solutions at an extraordinarily low cost."

Killion added: "We are excited to work with an innovative industry leader like Texas Instruments. We believe this is just the beginning of a mutually beneficial relationship that will lead to providing advanced touch screen technology to global OEMs."

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Fresh Del Monte (NYSE: FDP) posts surprise 4th-qtr loss

Fresh Del Monte (NYSE: FDP) posts surprise 4th-qtr lossTallahassee, FL 2/28/12 (StreetBeat) -- Fruit and vegetable distributor Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc (NYSE: FDP) posted a loss in its fourth quarter, while analysts had expected a profit, hurt by higher fuel costs and lower gross profit.

The company reported a fourth-quarter loss of $10.1 million, or 17 cents per share, compared with a year-ago loss of $9.6 million, or 16 cents per share.

Excluding certain items, Fresh Del Monte posted a loss of 15 cents per share. Net sales fell more than 4 percent to $780.8 million for the period.

Analysts, on average, had expected the company to earn 15 cents per share, on revenue of $837.3 million.

Shares of the Coral Gables, Florida-based company closed at $24.98 on Monday on the New York Stock Exchange.

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Apollo Group (Nasdaq: APOL) cuts 2Q enrollment, profit views

Apollo Group (Nasdaq: APOL) cuts 2Q enrollment, profit viewsTallahassee, FL 2/28/12 (StreetBeat) -- For-profit education company Apollo Group Inc. (Nasdaq: APOL) lowered its expectations for student numbers and operating profit on Tuesday, saying changes in how it finds students, more competition from other schools and the improving labor market had hurt its fiscal second quarter.

Its stock dropped $6.51 or 13 percent, to $44.89 in premarket trading.

Enrollments soared for the owner of the University of Phoenix and for-profit schools early in the recession, as the weak economy and high unemployment made education more appealing for job-seekers. But new, stricter government regulations enacted last summer, negative media reports on the for-profit sector and moves by Apollo and other private education providers to raise admissions standards have weighed on enrollments.

Apollo said Tuesday that it now expects new students enrolling in degree programs for the period ending Feb. 29 to be flat to up by a low-single-digit percentage from the year before. Its prior forecast was for a performance similar to that of the November-January quarter, when new degreed enrollment climbed about 13 percent.

Taking out an extra day in the second quarter, Apollo anticipates that the measure will decline by a low- to mid-single digit percentage. This compares with a previous guidance for a mid-single digit percentage increase.

The company also cut its operating profit outlook for its fiscal year, which ends in August. Apollo now expects operating profit between $625 million and $725 million, excluding one-time items. It previously predicted operating profit between $655 million and $750 million. Analysts polled by FactSet were predicting $746 million.

Apollo said it still expects revenue of $4.1 billion to $4.3 billion for the year, in line with analyst estimates.

Last month Phoenix-based company reported that its net income sank by 37 percent in its fiscal first quarter because of shrinking enrollments at the University of Phoenix.

The company expects new student enrollments to fluctuate for the rest of the year.

Apollo will report its second-quarter financial results on March 26.

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AVI BioPharma (Nasdaq: AVII) FDA Approval to Proceed With Treatment of Marburg Virus

AVI BioPharma (Nasdaq: AVII) FDA Approval to Proceed With Treatment of Marburg VirusPalm Beach, FL 2/28/12 (StreetBeat) -- AVI BioPharma, Inc. (NASDAQ: AVII), a developer of RNA-based therapeutics, today announced that it has received approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to proceed with a single oligomer, AVI-7288, in studies in both humans and non-human primates to support the safety and efficacy of post-exposure prophylaxis against Marburg virus infection. AVI-7288 is one of two components that make up AVI-6003. Studies conducted to date have shown that efficacy in non-human primates can be attributed to this single component, while the second component, AVI-7287, does not appear to contribute to efficacy. AVI is conducting this work under a Department of Defense contract managed by the Joint Project Manager Transformational Medical Technologies (JPM-TMT) Project Management Office, a component of the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defense (JPEO-CBD). The FDA approved proceeding with the Marburg program using the single oligomer AVI-7288 under the original IND.

"While we have not seen any toxicity in humans to date with AVI-6003, by removing AVI-7287 we have a simpler development path and may improve the therapeutic window by evaluating a single action agent," said Chris Garabedian, president and CEO of AVI BioPharma. "We are pleased to be able to explore this single oligomer as a potentially safe and effective treatment against this lethal hemorrhagic fever virus."

AVI will proceed with dosing AVI-7288 in the Phase I multiple ascending dose studies planned to characterize the safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetics of multiple doses of the drug in healthy adult volunteers. The randomized, double-blind placebo controlled study will be overseen by a DSMB, who will review safety and clinical laboratory data after each dose cohort prior to enrolling the next highest dose cohort. AVI will also proceed using AVI-7288 in non-human primate studies to continue to evaluate efficacy.

Patrick Iversen, Ph.D., Senior Vice President of Research and Innovation at AVI, will present the results of a non-human primate confirmatory study conducted to evaluate the optimal dose and components of AVI-6003 during the upcoming Association of Microbiology BioDefense and Emerging Diseases Research Meeting in Washington, DC. In the confirmatory study at higher doses of PMOplus® at 15 mg/kg/component, survival was 90%, 100% and 0% in the AVI-6003, AVI-7288 and placebo groups, respectively. Based on these results, AVI concluded that AVI-7288 is the active component in AVI-6003 and that further development would proceed accordingly with the single oligomer component AVI-7288. The presentation is titled "A Single PMOplus® Oligomer is Effective in a Cynomolgus Macaque Marburg Virus Lethal Challenge Model" and will be presented at 3:20 p.m. EST on Tuesday, February 28, 2012, during session 020/Therapeutics.

Dr. Iversen will also deliver a poster presentation titled "Restoring Antibiotic Sensitivity with Antisense Inhibitors of Gene Expression" at 1:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday, February 28, 2012, during poster session 018.

The presentation and poster will be posted on the AVI BioPharma website in the "Events & Presentations" section after the respective sessions are completed. The presentation and poster will be archived there following the presentation for 90 days.

AVI-7288 is a single oligomer, one of two composing AVI-6003. AVI-7288 employs AVI's patented PMOplus® technology that selectively introduces positive charges to its phosphorodiamidate morpholino oligomer (PMO) backbone to improve interaction between the drug and its target.

AVI-6003 has been AVI's lead therapeutic candidate to-date for the Marburg virus and is a combination of AVI-7287 and AVI-7288, both of which employ AVI's patented PMOplus® technology.

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Alimera Sciences (Nasdaq: ALIM) Announces Approval of ILUVIEN(R) for the Treatment of Chronic Diabetic Macular Edema

Alimera Sciences (Nasdaq: ALIM) Announces Approval of ILUVIEN(R) for the Treatment of Chronic Diabetic Macular EdemaPalm Beach, FL 2/28/12 (StreetBeat) -- Alimera Sciences, Inc., (Nasdaq:ALIM) (Alimera), a biopharmaceutical company that specializes in the research, development and commercialization of prescription ophthalmic pharmaceuticals, today announced the positive outcome of the Decentralized Procedure (DCP) for ILUVIEN(R) in Europe. The announcement follows the issuance of the Final Assessment Report from the Reference Member State (RMS), the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency of the United Kingdom (MHRA), and the agreement of all the Concerned Member States (CMS) that ILUVIEN is approvable.

The regulatory process will now enter the national phase of the DCP in which the RMS and each CMS grants its national license. The CMS include Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Spain. ILUVIEN will be indicated for the treatment of vision impairment associated with chronic DME considered insufficiently responsive to available therapies.

The International Diabetes Federation estimates that, in these seven countries alone, 22.1 million people are currently living with diabetes. By comparison, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that Americans with diabetes now number 25.8 million. Alimera estimates that within the seven CMS countries, 1.2 million people suffer from DME.

"Achieving a favorable conclusion for ILUVIEN in Europe is a significant milestone for Alimera and very encouraging for the many patients with this challenging chronic disease," said Dan Myers, president and chief executive officer, Alimera Sciences. "We will continue to work closely with the UK and the Concerned Member States to ensure that ILUVIEN is made available to patients as soon as possible."

ILUVIEN is Alimera's sustained release intravitreal implant that releases sub-microgram levels of fluocinolone acetonide (FAc) for up to 36 months for the treatment of chronic DME. The clinical trial data showed that in patients with chronic DME at month 30, after receiving the ILUVIEN implant, 38 percent of patients experienced an improvement from baseline in their best corrected visual acuity on the Early Treatment of Diabetic Retinopathy Study (ETDRS) eye chart of 15 letters or more. At the completion of the 36-month study, 34 percent had achieved the same result. This effect was highly statistically significant as compared to the sham control group, which received laser and other intravitreally administered therapies.

"Our market research indicates that, given DME is a leading cause of blindness in working-age adults, there is a significant opportunity for an effective ophthalmic drug to treat patients insufficiently responsive to available therapies," said Dave Holland, senior vice president of sales and marketing, Alimera Sciences. "An effective, truly long-term treatment option could have a very positive impact on the quality of life for patients with this chronic debilitating disease."

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BiTMICRO Selects Synopsys (Nasdaq: SNPS) for Chip Design Automation

BiTMICRO Selects Synopsys (Nasdaq: SNPS) for Chip Design AutomationOrlando, FL 2/28/12 (StreetBeat) -- Synopsys, Inc. (Nasdaq: SNPS), a world leader in software and IP used in the design, verification and manufacture of electronic components and systems, today announced that BiTMICRO Networks, a manufacturer of high-end enterprise Solid State Drive (SSD) technologies, has chosen Synopsys as its electronic design automation (EDA) provider for system-on-chip (SoC) design. BiTMICRO recently announced the successful tapeout of two third-generation SSD controllers, which are the foundation of its next-generation products, using Synopsys' Galaxy™ Implementation and Discovery™ Verification Platforms to speed SSD controller development.

BiTMICRO's pioneering TALINO-DE (Translation and Linking of I/O Nodes—Device Edition) SSD controller works with its second-stage ISIP-DE (Intelligent Storage Interconnect Platform—Device Edition) controller to achieve the required performance in mission-critical applications. These ASIC controllers were designed and developed using Synopsys' Galaxy implementation and Discovery verification platforms, which include Design Compiler® RTL synthesis, PrimeTime® signoff, HSPICE® circuit simulation and VCS® functional verification tools. Using foundry-certified models and an advanced verification methodology to eliminate bugs, Synopsys' integrated tool suites helped make it possible for BiTMICRO engineers to achieve high-quality output without any delay.

"We are proud of the significant innovations our engineering team in the Philippines has achieved with the cutting-edge TALINO-DE and ISIP-DE controller designs," said Rey Bruce, CEO of BiTMICRO Networks. "Synopsys' robust portfolio of implementation and verification solutions and superior technical support were instrumental in helping us bring our next-generation SSD products to market in a timely manner. We look forward to working with Synopsys as we continue to innovate to meet our customers' needs."

"BiTMICRO adopted Synopsys' implementation and verification solutions to address their design challenges because their engineers require silicon-proven, high-quality tools for their SoC designs," said Jian-Yue Pan, vice president of Asia-Pacific sales at Synopsys. "Synopsys is also partnering with BiTMICRO's academic arm, the Bruce Institute of Technology, to support the first microchip design center in the Philippines whose aim is to help train local engineers in advanced microchip design and engineering. Synopsys is dedicated to supporting the global IC engineering community and contributing to our customers' growth as technology leaders."

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Organovo (PK: ONVO) Named to MIT Technology Review's 2012 TR50 List of the World's Most Innovative Companies

Organovo (PK: ONVO) Named to MIT Technology Review's 2012 TR50 List of the World's Most Innovative CompaniesOrlando, FL 2/28/12 (StreetBeat) -- Organovo, Inc. (PinkSheets: ONVO) has been included in the 2012 TR50,Technology Review's annual list of the world's most innovative technology companies, for three-dimensional (3D) bioprinting technology. TR50 members are nominated by Technology Review's editors, who look for companies that over the last year have demonstrated original and valuable technology, are bringing that technology to market at a significant scale, and are clearly influencing their competitors. Spanning energy, computing, the Web, biomedicine, and materials, the companies on the list represent commercial innovations most likely to change lives around the world.

"Organovo is opening the door to a new realm of medical advances. The company's ability to print three dimensional tissue structures will lead to better testing of new drugs and may one day find direct applications in replacing damaged tissue in patients," said Jason Pontin, editor in chief and publisher of Technology Review.

Organovo is focused on breakthrough 3D bioprinting technology to create tissue on demand for research and medical applications. The company's NovoGen MMX BioprinterTM is part of a 3D human tissue generation platform that works across a broad array of tissue and cell types to recapitulate in vivo biology. Organovo's bioprinting technology has immediate applications in disease research, drug discovery and development, and toxicology testing. In the future, applications of this technology hold the promise to generate tissues for therapeutic uses.

"The immediate use of Organovo's 3D bioprinting technology is to create tissues to test drugs in a truly human biological environment and improve today's drug discovery and development for pharmaceutical and biotech companies," said Keith Murphy, chairman and CEO of Organovo. "We are driven to continue innovating the technology and working with leaders in the field to fulfill the promise of 3D bioprinting for research and medical applications."

Organovo will be presenting at RetailInvestorConferences.com, an interactive real-time virtual conference. The webcast will take place on March 1, 2012 at 10 a.m. PST.

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Camelot (PK: CMGR) Scores iTunes #1 With A Warrior's Heart

Camelot (PK: CMGR) Scores iTunes #1 With A Warrior's HeartOrlando, FL 2/28/12 (StreetBeat) -- Camelot Entertainment Group, Inc. (PK:CMGR) and Camelot Distribution Group ("CDG") announced today that A WARRIOR'S HEART reached #1 on iTunes, the culmination of a long and coordinated campaign to reach a wide audience with a strong independent film.

"This movie's positive message resonates with people of all ages and is something Camelot is proud of. The film is right in the sweet spot of Camelot's motion picture portfolio," said Jessica Kelly, Co-President of CDG. "A WARRIOR'S HEART has really broken out virally with Internet distribution, following our premiere in Cannes last May and a limited theatrical along with a premium VOD release through Warner Bros. in December."

"The movie is really crossing over to a wide based demographic and available on Time Warner, Direct TV, Comcast, Cox, iTunes, Netflix, Blockbuster Home, Sony Playstation, and Microsoft Xbox, among others. This formula of combining a strong and mass appealing independent film with strategic distribution defines the Camelot business plan," Kelly added.

Camelot Distribution Group ("CDG") holds the rights internationally to A Warrior's Heart.

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Office Depot (NYSE: ODP) Swings a Fourth Quarter Profit

Office Depot (NYSE: ODP) Swings a Fourth Quarter ProfitNorthern, WI 2/28/12 (StreetBeat) -- Saved by not repeating charges that smacked financial reports in 2010, office products supplier Office Depot, Inc. (NYSE: ODP) swung to profitability in the fourth quarter of 2011. The company reported net earnings of $12.28 million or $0.04 per share for Q4, compared to a net loss of $108.63 million or $0.39 per share in the 2010 quarter. In the 2010 period, the financial report was damaged by charges related to restructuring, assets sales and asset impairment that totaled 29 cents a share. Total sales rang-in at $2.97 billion from $2.96 billion in the year prior quarter.

The latest results topped earnings estimates by analysts, but came up just a hair shy on the revenue front.

During the quarter, sales in North America were flat while international sales decreased, but gross profit margins rose from 28.6 percent to 30.3 percent to help boost some stats.

For the full 2011 year, sales slid by 1 percent to $11.5 billion as compared to 2010. The company reported an adjusted net loss of $8 million or 3 cents per share, contracting from $39 million or 14 cents per share in 2010.

Office Depot CEO and Chairman Neil Austrian said, "Fourth quarter 2011 results were encouraging despite a slow economic recovery in the U.S. and increasing business pressures across Europe. I'm pleased with both the traction we're getting in improving our North American businesses and the restructuring actions being taken in the International Division.”

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JBI, Inc. (PK: JBII) Announces Completion of Its Second Plastic2Oil Processor

JBI, Inc. (PK: JBII) Announces Completion of Its Second Plastic2Oil ProcessorNorthern, WI 2/27/12 (StreetBeat) -- JBI, Inc. (PinkSheets:JBII) is pleased to announce that in Q1 the Company has been successful in bringing its second Plastic2Oil(R) ("P2O") processor (the "Processor No. 2") online at the Niagara Falls, NY facility.

The design of Processor No. 2 is based on data retrieved while working with the original P2O processor (the "Processor No.1"), which since June 2011 has undergone a number of substantial upgrades. The enhancements include a replicable and deployable modular design that leverages economies of scale with our manufacturers, the ability to cater to specific fuel needs of customers and a reduction of stack emissions.

Processor Nos. 1 & 2 are permitted to operate at 4,000 lbs. per hour, however they are currently operating at 2,000 lbs. per hour. The Company expects to operate both processors at 4,000 lbs. per hour, as per the upgraded Air Permit issued by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation ("NYSDEC"), once the Company receives approval on its amended Solid Waste Permit from the NYSDEC.

The Company expects that this amendment will effectively double the plastic feedstock throughput, from 2,000 lbs/hour per processor to 4,000 lbs/hour, which should double the amount of fuel output each P2O processor can produce.

"Bringing Processor No. 2 online represents a significant achievement as well as a milestone for our Company. We believe this sets us apart from other plastic into fuel conversion technologies," states John Bordynuik, CEO and President. "JBI, Inc. is the first company to successfully move from a pilot plant to a multiple processor, full production plant within the industry."

Towers and reactors have been fabricated for the third P2O processor (the "Processor No. 3") and the Company looks forward to bringing No.3 online in the near future.

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Monday, February 27, 2012

Dendreon (Nasdaq: DNDN) falls on 1Q Provenge forecast

Dendreon (Nasdaq: DNDN) falls on 1Q Provenge forecastNorthern, WI 2/27/12 (StreetBeat) -- Shares of Dendreon Corp. (Nasdaq: DNDN) tumbled Monday after the company forecast disappointing first-quarter sales of its prostate cancer therapy Provenge.

Dendreon reported its fourth-quarter results Monday, saying it earned $38.1 million, or 26 cents per share, in the December quarter. In the fourth quarter of 2010 it lost $91.8 million, or 64 cents per share. Revenue climbed to $202.1 million from $25 million as sales of Provenge totaled $77 million. The company also got $125 million after selling its royalty interest in Merck & Co.'s hepatitis C drug Victrelis to CPP Investment Board, which manages funds for the Canada Pension Plan.

Analysts expected Dendreon to report a loss of 36 cents per share and $76 million in revenue, according to FactSet.

The company reported $64.3 million in Provenge sales during the third quarter. The drug was approved in April 2010, and sales have been growing more slowly than Dendreon and Wall Street initially expected.

Dendreon President and CEO John Johnson said sales in the fourth quarter were better than expected, but he said the strength came from some patients starting treatment in December instead of January, which will hurt the company's first-quarter results.

"As we look at January, given the end of the year holiday office closures, the physicians saw fewer patients," he said during a conference call with analysts and investors. "Based on the schedules thus far, we expect our first quarter will have minor growth in a low single-digits."

Analysts expect Dendreon to report $83.6 million in revenue in the first quarter, which represents growth of around 9 percent from the fourth quarter.

Shares of Dendreon sank $2.85, or 19 percent, to $12.01 in midday trading.

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Advaxis (OTCBB: ADXS) Low Dose Cohort 1 Meets 50% Efficacy Target In CIN 2/3

Advaxis (OTCBB: ADXS) Low Dose Cohort 1 Meets 50% Efficacy Target In CIN 2/3Tallahassee, FL 2/27/12 (StreetBeat) -- Advaxis, Inc., (OTCBB: ADXS), a leader in developing the next generation of immunotherapies for cancer and infectious diseases, has completed the first of 3 dose cohorts in the single blind, placebo controlled Phase 2 dose escalation study assessing the safety and efficacy of ADXS-HPV in the treatment of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) 2/3. CIN 2/3 is the precursor to cervical cancer. Approximately 500,000 women in the U.S. are diagnosed with CIN 2/3 annually with most women requiring surgery to remove the lesion. The goal of this treatment is to prevent progression to cervical cancer and to eliminate the need for surgery and subsequent obstetric risks.

Results of Cohort 1:
• 52% of CIN 2/3 lesions regressed from CIN 2/3 to CIN 1 or normal in the ADXS-HPV arm. This means surgery is no longer required. The dose in cohort 1 is about 1/20th of the dose being used in trials of ADXS-HPV in cervical cancer.
• Achieving a 50% regression rate with the lowest dose tested is encouraging as The American Academy of Clinical Research’s Task Force on the Treatment and Prevention of Intraepithelial Neoplasia concluded that “…50% objective regression rate with a new treatment agent is considered clinically meaningful.” Further, “An improvement in CIN 2/3 to either pathologically normal cervix or of CIN 3 to CIN 1, with no new CIN 2/3 lesions appearing in at least 50% of the treated patients, is evidence of clinical benefit of the new agent.” (O’Shaughnessy, et al 2002, CCR, 8:314).
• 40% of CIN 2/3 lesions spontaneously regressed in the placebo arm. This is within the range reported in the scientific literature of 35%-43% (Wright, et. al. 2003. Am J Obstet Gynecol, Am. J. Obstet. Gynecol. 289:295).
• Less than 1/3 (29%) of the patients treated reported any side effects associated with treatment. Those that occurred were mild and self-resolved or responded quickly to treatment.
• No SAEs (serious adverse events) were reported.

This study is enrolling at several sites in the U.S. with a target enrollment of 120 patients across the 3 dose cohorts. Enrollment in cohort 2 (the mid dose) is 75% complete and is expected to report in early Q4 2012.

“This is an encouraging start to this study, especially at this low dose,” commented Dr. John Rothman, Executive Vice President of Science and Operations. “With cohort 2 dosage 6 times higher and cohort 3 dosage 20 times higher, we are anticipating higher response rates with continued safe administration.”

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Li3 Energy (OTCBB: LIEG) Completes $8MM Phase One Exploration and Development Program

Li3 Energy (OTCBB: LIEG) Completes $8MM Phase One Exploration and Development ProgramPalm Beach, FL 2/27/12 (StreetBeat) -- Li3 Energy, Inc., (OTCBB: LIEG), a US-listed and South America-based global exploration and development company in the lithium and minerals sector, announces it has completed on schedule the US$8 million Phase One of the US$18 million Exploration and Development Program established in August 2011. Li3 is pleased to report the initial positive results from brine samples taken during the sonic and reverse circulation well drilling program initiated in October 2011 by Boart Longyear and Rock Drilling S.A.

Boart Longyear is a leading Sonic Drilling Contractor and Rock Drilling S.A. is a leading Reverse Circulation Well Drilling Contractor. Boart Longyear carried out sonic drilling for the collection of undisturbed samples from continuous core for porosity determinations and brine samples for laboratory chemical analyses. Six sonic boreholes for a total of 900m were drilled and completed to a depth of 150m each. Rock Drilling S.A. carried out reverse circulation well drilling with isolated brine sampling. A total of 884 meters of 6-inch monitoring wells were drilled and a total of 300 meters of 17 inch production wells were drilled. A total of 431 samples were taken during the drilling and were submitted to the University of Antofagasta in Antofagasta, Chile for analysis.

Thomas Currin, Li3's COO, stated: "We are excited with the results of our Phase One program. With average concentrations of 1,240 mg/L Lithium and almost 9,000 mg/L Potassium, and confirmation of the brine chemistry, Li3 believes Maricunga ranks amongst the most attractive brine development projects worldwide. We are very proud to have completed the program on schedule despite some inclement weather conditions early in the program. We believe that the successful completion of this program has allowed Li3 to substantially close the gap and draw closer to its junior lithium mining peer group from a technical project development perspective. This progress is testament to the commitment of our employees, team of contractors and strategic partners".

Li3's independent Qualified Person, Don Hains, will prepare an NI 43-101 Technical Report which is anticipated to be completed in March/April 2012. If this report upon completion concludes that Maricunga meets certain technical requirements, that would satisfy one of the key conditions to the second, US$10 million, tranche of equity investment pursuant to the Stock Purchase Agreement Li3 executed with its Strategic Partner POSCO, Canada, a wholly owned subsidiary of POSCO. We believe the proceeds of such second tranche of capital would fully fund Phase Two of the Exploration and Development Program (and bring Maricunga to the Feasibility Stage). If Phase Two is funded and proves successful, Li3 expects to begin exploring various financing options for the construction of a commercial production facility in 2013.

Lithium is not currently exploitable via regular mining concessions in Chile. However, on February 7th, 2012, Chile's Vice Minister of Mining announced the government plans to conduct an auction for lithium production quotas and licenses (CEOLs), in a manner that wouldn't require any changes to existing mining laws. The CEOLs to be tendered will be for 100,000 tons of lithium metal (approximately 530,000 tons of lithium carbonate equivalent), be valid for twenty years and consist of a yet to be determined upfront payment as well as a seven percent of sales payment paid to the Chilean government. Li3 has begun the process of evaluating its participation in the CEOL tender process, in parallel with its exploration and development program, and expects that the Chilean government will provide additional clarity on the application process in due course, with the objective of awarding the tender within the course of this year.

Li3's independent Qualified Person, Mr. Don Hains, P. Geo. has reviewed and approved the technical information contained in this communication.

Li3 cautions investors that while we believe the preliminary drilling results are very promising, there can be no assurances that the independent findings of the NI 43-101 Compliant report will reflect the same.

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Universal Bioenergy (Pinksheets:UBRG) Trades Over 7.13 Million Shares on News of 2011 Record Sales of $71.74 Million

Universal Bioenergy (Pinksheets:UBRG) Trades Over 7.13 Million Shares on News of 2011 Record Sales of $71.74 MillionPalm Beach, FL 2/27/12 (StreetBeat) -- Universal Bioenergy Inc., (Pinksheets:UBRG), a publicly traded independent diversified energy company, announced that 7,130,020 shares of its stock traded on Friday February 24, 2012 after it reported that it set a new record of over $71.74 million in sales for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2011. The Company's annual sales continue to grow at double-digit rates. The $71.74 million in 2011 sales was a 73.75% increase over the $41.29 million in reported sales for 2010.

Encouraged by the news of the 2011 record sales, investors quickly purchased the stock at a rate of nearly 3.5 million shares per hour, or over 58,000 shares per minute in the last two hours of the trading day. This was the highest volume trading day for 2012 thus far. A total of 7,130,020 shares were traded on Friday, which was about 9.68 times the average daily trading volume of 736,646 of Universal's shares.

Solomon Ali, Universal's Senior Vice President says, "That was a very strong trading day for the Company, and it certain demonstrates strong investor interest in the Company. We are trying to build a greater sense of confidence in the Company and its future growth by our shareholders and investors. The year 2011 was the best year in our history so far, and we project an even stronger future in terms of revenues and potential profits this year. We hope this interest will have a positive impact on our stock price and the value of the Company. We are continually pursuing various means to bring increased value to our shareholders."

The $71.74 million in revenues are preliminary and unaudited. The Company anticipates the formal audit of their financial records will be completed soon, and the full details of its financial results will be reported in its Form 10K Annual Report, to be filed with the SEC.

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MicroVision (Nasdaq: MVIS) Announces 2011 Results and 2012 Objectives

MicroVision (Nasdaq: MVIS) Announces 2011 Results and 2012 ObjectivesOrlando, FL 2/23/12 (StreetBeat) -- MicroVision, Inc. (NASDAQ: MVIS), the leader in innovative ultra-miniature projection display technology, today announced its 2011 operating and financial results and key 2012 business objectives.

MicroVision completed all of the key objectives of its 2011 business plan including:
• Advancement of the next-generation HD PicoP® display engine technology based on direct green lasers (PicoP® Gen2) for commercialization in 2012. MicroVision’s PicoP Gen2 display engine will offer multiple advantages including small form factor, lower price, and superior imaging performance.
• Substantially completed the development of key components and subsystems of the PicoP Gen2 display engine, including a new light source module that uses red, blue, and green laser diodes, a new 720p MEMS mirror and accompanying electronics.
• Integrated early samples of direct green lasers from three different manufacturers into the first prototypes of the PicoP Gen2 display engine to validate their performance.
• Unveiled PicoP Gen2 display engine prototypes at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) garnering a ‘CES Product of the Future’ award by Popular Science.
• Began shipments in February 2012 of PicoP Gen2 display engine design samples for customer evaluation.
• Revenue growth of 19% to $5.6 million in 2011 from $4.7 million in 2010.
• Reduction of 40% in cash used in operations to $27.9 million in 2011 compared to $46.2 million for 2010.

Other Notable 2011 Operating Achievements
• Cultivated business relationships with Apple, Intel, RIM and WOWee through distribution agreements for the award-winning SHOWWX+™ line of pico projectors for them to gain a better understanding of the emerging pico projection market and related applications.
• Sold PicoHUD™ development kits to automotive customers and signed an agreement with a major automotive manufacturer to incorporate MicroVision’s PicoHUD technology into its test vehicles.
• Highlighted unique value proposition of PicoP Gen2 technology by demonstrating Touch Interactive and 3D displays at CES in January that the company believes will unlock new use models for consumers on the move.

2011 Financial Results

MicroVision reported the following financial results for the quarter and year ended December 31, 2011, compared to the same periods one year ago.

• Grew annual revenue to $5.6 million in 2011, compared to $4.7 million in 2010. Revenue for the fourth quarter of 2011 was $1.5 million, compared to $683,000 for the same quarter in 2010.
• Reduced operating loss to $36.0 million for 2011, compared to $48.3 million in 2010, and $9.9 million for the fourth quarter of 2011 compared to $15.4 million for the same quarter in 2010. The decrease in operating loss for 2011 was driven by lower operating cost and lower inventory adjustments compared to prior year.
• Reduced net loss to $35.8 million, or $2.57 per share, compared to $47.5 million, or $4.17 per share for the prior year and $9.8 million, or $0.62 per share, compared to $15.4 million, or $1.27 per share for the same quarter a year ago. Per share numbers have been adjusted for a reverse stock split which became effective February 17, 2012.
• Decreased cash used in operations to $27.9 million in 2011, compared to $46.2 million for 2010, reflecting a 40 percent decrease from a year ago.

As of December 31, 2011, backlog was $2.1 million and cash and cash equivalents were $13.1 million.

2012 Objectives

“MicroVision heads into 2012 with a focused strategy for delivering the world’s first HD pico display solution,” stated Alexander Tokman, president and CEO of MicroVision. “With the significant progress we made last year and the expected availability of the direct green lasers, we plan to deliver a robust solution to Pioneer for its targeted mid-year product launch and to supply PicoP Gen2 display engines to other customers later in the year.”

Highlights of MicroVision’s 2012 plan include:
• Secure OEM commitments to design products using the PicoP Gen2 display engine.
• Launch commercial PicoP Gen2 display engine.
• Transition to core “Image by PicoP” ingredient brand model.

Secure OEM customer commitments to design products using the PicoP Gen2 display engine

The company is targeting OEMs in the consumer electronics, mobile entertainment, automotive, and industrial markets to define future products using the PicoP Gen2 technology.

MicroVision successfully completed the evaluation phase last year with Pioneer Corporation, delivering PicoP Gen2 display engine samples to them. Pioneer is now developing its HUD product which is expected to be introduced in the middle of 2012 and would be the first commercially available product with an embedded PicoP Gen2 display engine.

MicroVision recently began to deliver samples of the PicoP Gen2 display engine to additional OEMs for evaluation. During an evaluation phase, MicroVision provides design samples to prospective customers for their evaluation of the PicoP Gen2 display engine as a component they can embed in their future products. The company then provides design guidelines and engineering support in order to secure customer product development commitments and assist OEMs in the commercialization phase. During the later stages of an OEM’s product commercialization cycle, MicroVision would begin supplying commercial engines in larger volumes.

Launch the commercial PicoP Gen2 display engine

Commercial availability of the PicoP Gen2 display engine will be driven by the qualification and manufacturing readiness of three key elements: (1) direct green lasers by at least one manufacturer; (2) the laser module and display engine subsystems by Pioneer; and (3) the MEMS, electronics and systems controls.

Based on recent discussions with green laser suppliers, MicroVision currently believes that at least one manufacturer will be able to provide commercial direct green lasers to Pioneer and MicroVision by mid-2012 to enable Pioneer’s commercial product launch. Two additional suppliers now plan to introduce a commercial version of their lasers in the second half of 2012. At commercial introduction, direct green lasers are expected to meet all of the performance criteria necessary to launch the PicoP Gen2 display engine for automotive applications with Pioneer. To meet the display requirements for consumer applications, MicroVision identified and is developing PicoP Gen2 display engine system enhancements that are expected to be available to OEMs in the second half of 2012.

Transition to core “Image by PicoP” ingredient brand model

During 2012 MicroVision plans to transition to its core business model of enabling others to create products using its PicoP display engine technology, “Image by PicoP”. This ingredient brand strategy frees the company from developing the infrastructure necessary to develop and market end user products across multiple vertical markets and allows MicroVision to focus its resources on continuous innovation of its PicoP technology. For these reasons, the company believes that pursuing this strategy plays to its strengths as a technology company allowing OEMs to leverage their product development abilities and established product distribution networks.

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TriMas (Nasdaq: TRS) 4Q profit jumps, beats predictions

TriMas (Nasdaq: TRS) 4Q profit jumps, beats predictionsOrlando, FL 2/23/12 (StreetBeat) -- Diversified manufacturer TriMas Corp. (Nasdaq: TRS) said Monday its fourth-quarter profit more than doubled, boosted by gains on the sales of its precision cutting tooland specialty fittings businesses and stronger sales.

Shares of TriMas, whose products include packaging for several industries, engines and other tools for energy companies and parts for defense companies, rose more than 4 percent Monday morning.

For the quarter ended Dec. 31, Bloomfield Hills, Mich.-based TriMas earned $13.3 million, or 39 cents per share, up from $5.7 million, or 17 cents per share, for the same quarter in 2010.

Excluding earnings from the businesses it sold, the cost of laying off employees and other special items, the company posted an adjusted profit from continuing operations of 25 cents per share for the recent quarter.

Analysts, on average, expected a profit from continuing operations of 21 cents per share.

TriMas said revenue rose 22 percent to $259.7 million from $212.5 million because of gains in market share, new products, expansion into new regions and recent acquisitions. Analysts expected $233.7 million in revenue.

TriMas sold its precision cutting tool and specialty fittings businesses in December 2011. It said it used money from that sale to buy Arminak & Associates LLC, which makes lotion pumps and other packaging for cosmetics and personal care companies. TriMas said Monday that it's buying 70 percent of Arminak for $64 million, and may buy the rest of the company later.

Looking forward, TriMas said it expects to post a 2012 profit from continuing operations of $1.75 to $1.85 per share on sales growth of 7 to 10 percent from 2011. That suggests revenue of $1.16 billion to $1.19 billion.

Analysts polled by FactSet expect a 2012 profit of $1.81 per share on $1.13 billion in revenue.

In 2011, TriMas earned $60.4 million, or $1.73 per share, up from $45.3 million, or $1.31 per share, in 2010. Revenue rose to $1.08 billion from $902.5 million.

TriMas shares rose $1, or 4.3 percent, to $24.25 in morning trading Monday.

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OSI Systems (Nasdaq: OSIS) Announces Update to Turnkey Screening Services Agreement in Mexico

OSI Systems (Nasdaq: OSIS) Announces Update to Turnkey Screening Services Agreement in MexicoOrlando, FL 2/23/12 (StreetBeat) -- OSI Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: OSIS), a vertically-integrated provider of specialized electronics and services, today announced that Mexico’s tax and customs authority, Servicio de Administraci√≥n Tributaria (SAT) has exercised contractual options under the six-year turnkey screening services agreement with OSI’s security division, Rapiscan Systems. The total value of the SAT agreement is currently approximately $900 million, which is at the upper end of the original maximum scope for this program.The Company had previously announced the minimum obligated value of $400 million for this program. The duration of the turnkey services agreement remains at six years.

OSI Systems' CEO, Deepak Chopra, stated, “We are delighted to work with SAT to support this critical program. Our extensive experience in implementing leading edge inspection solutions and our operations expertise make us highly qualified to manage comprehensive programs with rigorous requirements. We stand to benefit from adding significant recurring revenues as we will manage the daily operations under this agreement.”

Under the program, Rapiscan Systems will provide complete operations of inspection sites utilizing x-ray screening technology. Rapiscan will incorporate staffing, systems integration, data management, and maintenance support at these sites networked throughout Mexico, including ports of entry as well as inland checkpoints and airports, enhancing the Mexican government authorities’ capability to interdict contraband, undeclared, and illegal materials.

Ajay Mehra, President of Rapiscan Systems, stated, “We are gratified by SAT’s confidence in us for this important program, and we look forward to moving rapidly to the implementation phase.”

About OSI Systems, Inc.

OSI Systems, Inc. is a vertically integrated designer and manufacturer of specialized electronic systems and components for critical applications in the homeland security, healthcare, defense and aerospace industries. We combine more than 30 years of electronics engineering and manufacturing experience with offices and production facilities in more than a dozen countries to implement a strategy of expansion into selective end product markets. For more information on OSI Systems Inc. or any of its subsidiary companies, visit www.osi-systems.com.

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ATP (Nasdaq: ATPG) Announces Production Success at Fourth Well at Telemark Hub

ATP (Nasdaq: ATPG) Announces Production Success at Fourth Well at Telemark HubOrlando, FL 2/23/12 (StreetBeat) -- ATP Oil & Gas Corporation (NASDAQ:ATPG) today announced first oil production at its Mississippi Canyon (“MC”) Block 942 A-3 (#2) well, the fourth well at its Telemark Hub. The oil production rates are gradually being increased as the well goes through the initial stages of production. The early production rate performance has met expectations and the rate of oil production is being increased. Further information will be reported as it becomes available. The MC 942 A-3 well is located on the Morgus Field and is the fourth well brought on production at the Telemark Hub location utilizing the ATP Titan floating drilling and production platform.

ATP operates the deepwater Telemark Hub in approximately 4,000 feet of water with a 100% working interest and holds a 100% ownership in ATP Titan LLC which owns the ATP Titan and associated pipelines and infrastructure.

About ATP Oil & Gas Corporation

ATP Oil & Gas is an international offshore oil and gas development and production company with operations in the Gulf of Mexico, Mediterranean Sea and the North Sea. The company trades publicly as ATPG on the NASDAQ Global Select Market. For more information about ATP Oil & Gas Corporation, visit www.atpog.com.

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Coates International (OTCBB: COTE) Has Executed a Confidential Agreement With an American Auto Manufacturer

Coates International (OTCBB: COTE) Has Executed a Confidential Agreement With an American Auto ManufacturerOrlando, FL 2/23/12 (StreetBeat) -- Coates International, Ltd. (OTCBB: COTE) – Coates International, Ltd. (the "Company") is pleased to announce that the Company has signed a confidentiality agreement with an American auto manufacturer, that expresses interest in approximately 1,000 small, lightweight CSRV engines per year. These engines will utilize regular gasoline and produce high mileage per gallon and ultra low emissions.

Management is fully confident that the Company can deliver an engine that can fulfill all these requirements.

The Company is highly successful with gasoline engines that produced only ultra low emissions, significantly high mileage per gallon, and reduced maintenance.

The Company has successfully developed and built 1 CYL, 2 CYL, 4 CYL, 6 CYL, and 8 CYL gasoline engines.

Management is extremely pleased and excited about the Company's future prospects for this opportunity and other projects.

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3 Things to Know Before Trading

3 Things to Know Before TradingOrlando, FL 2/27/12 (StreetBeat) -- Stocks were mixed in Asian trade. Australia and the Hang Seng both fell about 0.9% and the Nikkei was down a slight fraction, but Shanghai added about a third of a percent. European indexes are broadly lower, with the Dax down a bit more than one percent and the Footsie is lower by a bit less than one percent, so far this morning. US stock futures are down a quarter to a half percent as I write.

*G20 did not come up with a quick fix for Greek debt over the weekend in Mexico. Although some participants were ready to add more to the IMF resources, that could be devoted to Europe, the US was not one of them. Also there was a sentiment that any move on financing the IMF should not be undertaken until after Europe shores up their “firewall” (ESM/EFSF), which Germany has not signed off on. Reports say the euro zone will return to the firewall debate at some point in March.

*Germany’s Parliament is set to vote on the latest Greek bailout this morning, approximately 8:00am CST. Other countries, such as Netherlands and Finland will vote on Wednesday.

*IIF negotiator for the Greek debt swap deal Charles Dellara, said this morning that he is confident the Greek bailout will be implemented.

*The January reading of Pending Home Sales is due out at 9:00am CST, it is expected to be +1.0% month on month.

*The February reading of the Dallas Fed Manufacturing Activity Index is due out at 9:30am CST, it is forecast to be up just two tenths on the month to 15.5.

*The Fed is scheduled to buy Treasuries today that are due to mature between 2//28/18 and 2/15/20; the results of the operation will be announced just after 10:00am CST.

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Friday, February 24, 2012

Apple and Hammacher Store Sales Should Boost AltiGen’s iFusion Revenue

Apple and Hammacher Store Sales Should Boost AltiGen’s iFusion RevenueOrlando, FL 2/24/12 (StreetBeat) -- Sales of AltiGen Communications’ (Pinksheets:ATGN) could be getting a shot in the arm for the remainder of this quarter and in upcoming quarters as their revolutionary iFusion SmartStation is now available at the Apple, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) Apple Store (http://store.apple.com/us/product/H7939VC/A/altigen-ifusion-smartstation-dock-for-iphone) and the uber-popular Hammacher Schlemmer website (http://www.hammacher.com/Product/81999?promo=search).

The iFusion SmartStation is a multi-function iPhone docking station that pairs the iPhone with the iFusions’s ergonomic handset or business-grade speakerphone via built-in Bluetooth that is functional up to 33 feet away. Additionally, the iFusion also charges the iPhone, offers streaming music playback (A2DP), an audio jack for external speakers and USB pass through for syncing to a Mac or PC. Compatible with the iPhone 3G, 3GS, 4 and 4S, it also integrates seamlessly with a variety of voice-enabled applications such as Siri, FaceTime, Skype, AltiGen's MaxMobile, Cisco Mobile, and Avaya one-X Mobile. “It's the perfect iPhone accessory for your home or work office,” according to the Apple Store website.

Hitting the pages of the Apple Store just two days ago, reviews are already trumpeting praises of the iFusion with one reviewer calling it “A Swiss Army knife Bluetooth accessory”.

According to AltiGen’s recent earnings call, sales from the iFusion tallied approximately $250,000 in in first quarter of fiscal 2012. This is a solid start considering that a recent deal with AT&T was just getting underway and the agreements with Apple and Hammacher were not in place yet. “We expect to see growing momentum throughout the course of this year,” said Jerry Fleming CEO of AltiGen Communications during the call.

The iFusion product is only a small portion of AltiGen’s offerings. The company is the leading provider of 100-percent Microsoft-based VoIP business phone systems and Unified Communications solutions. These technologies make-up the lion’s share of revenues for AltiGen, which totaled $4.8 million during fiscal Q1 2012. Further stoking the revenue fire should be that the company has passed Microsoft’s certification testing, qualifying AltiGen as a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner and making their MaxACD system the only call center solution in the world certified for Microsoft Lync servers.

We asked the AltiGen chief about potential clients given the vaunted Microsoft certification. “I would not even try to speculate on the number of potential clients of all sizes that we could have. However, it is safe to say that we are very excited about our future and the deal flow that is already coming in because of the certification,” Fleming told OTC Showcase in a phone conversation this morning.

New agreements have steadily been streaming in since the start of the year with the new developments to deploy MaxACD, including a new contract with Milwaukee Electric Tools.

Shares have certainly been on the rebound for AltiGen since dipping to 20 cents late in December to now be trading around 60 cents each. Even with the climb, AltiGen still has a ridiculously small market cap of $9.7 million. It was right about one year ago that shares were trading at highs of $1.23, so the headroom is substantial for short-term growth, especially considering that the company looks stronger than it has in its history as it aligns with some of the biggest names in the communications world.

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Kindred Healthcare (NYSE: KND) shares sink after 4Q loss

Kindred Healthcare (NYSE: KND) shares sink after 4Q lossNorthern, WI 2/24/12 (StreetBeat) -- Shares of Kindred Healthcare Inc. (NYSE: KND) tumbled Friday after the health care services provider reported a fourth-quarter loss, reduced its 2012 earnings forecast and said Medicare funding cuts had hurt some of its businesses.

THE SPARK: Kindred said Medicare reimbursement cuts that started Oct. 1 hurt its nursing center and rehabilitation therapy results. Medicare is the federal program that provides health coverage for the elderly and disabled.

The Louisville, Ky., company said Thursday after the market closed that it lost $71.8 million, or $1.40 per share, in the three months that ended Dec. 31. That compares with earnings of $20.4 million, or 52 cents per share, in the final quarter of 2010.

Adjusted earnings, which exclude certain items, were 27 cents per share.
Revenue climbed 34 percent to $1.52 billion.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected, on average, earnings of 36 cents per share on $1.58 billion in revenue.

The company also said it was suspending its practice of offering quarterly earnings guidance due to "the significant volatility in its earnings in connection with recent changes in Medicare reimbursements."

Kindred now expects 2012 income from continuing operations to range between $1.35 and $1.55 per share, down from previous guidance of $1.65 to $1.85.

Analysts, on average, had expected earnings of $1.65 per share.

THE BIG PICTURE: Kindred operates long-term acute care hospitals, inpatient
rehabilitation hospitals, nursing and rehabilitation centers and hospice and home care businesses. It also runs RehabCare, a contract rehabilitation services business it bought last June for $900 million.

THE ANALYSIS: Kindred and other nursing home operators had hinted in recent weeks that the changes to Medicare reimbursement were proving "very difficult," Susquehanna analyst A.J. Rice said in a Friday research note.

"We believe many investors had begun to anticipate that there might be a downward revision in the company's earnings outlook," Rice wrote.

SHARE ACTION: Down nearly 16 percent, or $1.99, to $10.50 in late-morning trading, while broader trading indexes were nearly flat.

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Deckers (Nasdaq: DECK) Shares Plunged: What You Need to Know

Deckers (Nasdaq: DECK) Shares Plunged: What You Need to KnowNorthern, WI 2/24/12 (StreetBeat) -- Shares of footwear specialist Deckers Outdoor (Nasdaq: DECK) sank 11% on Friday after its outlook easily missed Wall Street estimates.

So what: Deckers' fourth-quarter profit surged 40%, but a disappointing current-quarter outlook -- EPS of just $0.25 versus the consensus of $0.63 -- is forcing analysts to cut their price targets. While UGG sales remain strong, rising sheepskin prices are triggering concerns over Deckers' long-term profitability.

Now what: Looking further ahead, management sees 2012 EPS of $5.07, also well below Wall Street's view of $5.82. "We continue to pursue all available opportunities to further mitigate the impact of cost pressures and based on our initial visibility, we expect to experience relief beginning in 2013," said CEO Angel Martinez. For investors with enough patience to wait it out, today's pullback might be providing an attractive entry point.

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CRM Up 9%: ThinkEquity Ups to Buy, Bernstein Still Skeptical

CRM Up 9%: ThinkEquity Ups to Buy, Bernstein Still SkepticalTallahassee, FL 2/24/12 (StreetBeat) -- Shares of Salesforce.com (NYSE: CRM) are up $11.20, or almost 9%, at $142.97 after the company last night beat fiscal Q4 estimates, forecast this quarter’s revenue ahead of consensus, and raised its outlook for the year.

Price targets are going up pretty much all around, even though the average EPS estimate for this year is in many cases declining to meet the company’s below-consensus earnings forecast.

The average estimate for this year’s revenue has risen from $2.91 billion yesterday to $2.95 billion today, while the consensus EPS estimate slipped to $1.62 from $1.63 yesterday.

There was one upgrade, that I can see, from ThinkEquity’s Brian Schwartz, who raised his rating from Hold to Buy.

Schwartz lists four factors that are encouraging, namely that “competitor distractions (via recent-acquisitions) are accentuating CRM’s disruptive market-positioning, leading to larger, multi-element deals,” that the company is “moderating the expense structure,” the company’s addressable market is expanding, and the company has “an attractive 6 to 12-month window to accelerate share-gains as the larger ERPs play catch-up with their Cloud strategies.”

The real discussion this morning, however, has been not about revenue and EPS but, as is often the case with Salesforce, about the other metrics on which it is judged — bookings, deferred revenue, etc.

On that score, the bulls are exultant.

Citigroup’s Walter Pritchard reiterated a Buy rating and raised his price target to $163 from $152, while cutting his EPS estimate for this year to $1.73 per share in profit from a prior $1.92, even though he thinks the outlook the company offered is likely “conservative.”

Billings, while helped by a favorable shift away from quarterly to annual billing and several big pre-payments, grew 35%, above our 34% estimate and above consensus of 32%. 2) Off-balance-sheet backlog grew by 47% to $2.2B, a figure that points to very healthy growth despite invoicing shifts that hurt this metric (more upfront invoicing reduces backlog). Contract lengths were steady, implying that invoicing pull-forwards is not mortgaging top line in future periods. 3) Deferred commissions – we estimate the cash commissions paid out for new bookings grew 43% Y/Y, the fourth consecutive quarter of acceleration.

Robert Breza of RBC Capital reiterated an Outperform rating and raised his price target to $175 from $160. Breza’s EPS estimate for this year goes to $1.59 from a $1.60 previously.

The company is benefiting in a big way from social enterprise and broader solution sales that are leading to larger deal sizes as evidenced by 100 seven-figure deals (4x last year) and nine eight-figure deals in the quarter. The momentum should continue into Q1 as the company has already signed its first ever nine-figure deal and the pipeline remains at record levels […] Management also noted that it will be disclosing the off balance sheet figure [of total booked business] quarterly going forward, which should bring more transparency to this metric.

It’s hard to find too many cautious statements this morning, but Mark Moerdler of Bernstein Research, who appeared on CNBC a short while ago, gives it the old college try. He maintains an Underperform rating on the shares, though he raised his price target to $91 from $89, and raised his 2012 EPS estimate to $1.36 from $1.28.

Despite the headline beat, “after further analysis, we believe the story may not be as rosy as it seems,” he writes.

Deferred revenue was $1,380 Million compared to StreetAccount consensus of $1,210 Million and our estimate of $1,229 Million, and benefited from a tailwind of $155 Million due to longer invoice duration (move to annual) and a single multi-year deal which was billed in advance […] We stress that deferred revenue, bookings and backlog are not good indicators for future revenue growth, as these metrics are affected by numerous factors such as invoice duration and billing cycles. This is especially true this quarter as much of the increase stemmed from the move to annual invoicing and the billing of a large, multi-year deal. In fact, we believe the uptick in the backlog figure is just a result of the normal course of business. In Exhibit 7, we show that much of the uptick could be explained by the revenue increase in the past few quarters.

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