The stock market continued its up-and-down path on Wednesday, bouncing back from losses on Tuesday with minor gains of 0.1% to 0.2% for major market benchmarks. Most of the gains came following the release of the Federal Reserve's latest minutes from its June Open Market Committee meeting, at which officials discussed the possibility of implement interest rate increases more quickly than many had expected. Yet after some initial shock at the idea of a more hawkish rate policy, investors seemed to decide that the Fed likely would choose not to be as aggressive as the minutes suggested, and stocks erased early losses as a result. Some individual stocks posted even stronger gains, and Caesars Entertainment (NASDAQ:CZR), Och-Ziff Capital Management (NYSE:SCU), and Valeant Pharmaceuticals (NYSE:BHC) all enjoyed substantial increases for the day.
Caesars wins a key settlement
Caesars Entertainment rose 6% after the casino company announced that it and its subsidiaries had entered into a settlement and forbearance agreement with one of its bondholders. The deal with investor Frederick Barton Danner, who has a position in senior notes issued by Caesars' operating company subsidiary that are due this year, includes several provisions that are favorable to Caesars. They include support for the restructuring of debt under the bankruptcy reorganization plan, support for motions to protect Caesars Entertainment from liability, and forbearance from pursuing any default rights against the companies. Caesars has offered incentives to bondholders to accept the deal, and the settlement with one of the lead plaintiffs against it should carry some weight in resolving the broader issue going forward.
Will Och-Ziff dodge corruption charges?
Och-Ziff Capital Management climbed 6% in the wake of charges against a man from the African nation of Gabon alleging that he participated in a scheme to bribe government officials in exchange for rights to mining claims. The man worked for a business entity linked to Och-Ziff, which has already engaged in discussions with U.S. officials regarding any potential liability under the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Investors became more comfortable throughout the day that Och-Ziff might avoid any further culpability linked to the charges, and that helped send the stock higher. The hedge fund manager will likely still have to work with Justice Department officials in order to resolve the matter, but anything that avoids criminal charges against Och-Ziff would be a clear positive.
Valeant gets an upgrade
Finally, Valeant Pharmaceuticals picked up 13%. The beleaguered drugmaker got an upgrade from analysts at Morgan Stanley, who argued that most of the concerns against Valeant are already accounted for in its low share price. In particular, the analysts went through issues like earnings declines, violations of debt covenants, changes in drug-pricing practices, and the possibility of investigations and financial restatements. Yet even though the chances of adverse outcomes are greater than zero, Morgan Stanley still thinks that the stock deserves an overweight rating based on valuation. A lot depends on how Valeant fares in the court of public opinion, but the stock's huge hit certain discounts at least some bad news.