March 26, 2013 / 6:18 PM / 4 years ago

MARKET PULSE-Ziopharm, Green Dot, Aurico Gold, Gordmans Stores

13 Min Read

March 26 (Reuters) - Some U.S. stocks on the move on Tuesday:

Wall Street Gains on Economy, S&P 500 Record Still Eludes

U.S. stocks gained on Tuesday, putting the S&P 500 within striking distance of its all-time high, as strong data on home prices showed an economy that was improving, although slowly.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 82.64 points, or 0.57 percent, at 14,530.39. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 7.78 points, or 0.50 percent, at 1,559.47. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 8.70 points, or 0.27 percent, at 3,244.

** D.R. HORTON INC, $24.31, down 1 pct (1325 ET)

** PULTEGROUP INC, $20.17, down 1 pct (1326 ET)

** TOLL BROTHERS INC, $35.13, down 0.1 pct (1325 ET)

** LENNAR CORP, $41.61, up 0.1 pct (1326 ET)

** KB HOME, $22.02, up 0.1 pct (1327 ET)

Sales of new U.S. single-family homes fell more than expected in February after hefty gains in January, but steady increases in home prices suggested the housing market recovery remains intact.

The Commerce Department said on Tuesday sales dropped 4.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 411,000 units.

** GOLDMAN SACHS GROUP, $145.87, down 0.16 percent (1223 ET)

** BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY INC, $155,122, up 1 percent (1224 ET)

Goldman Sachs Group Inc will give Berkshire Hathaway millions of shares in the company in place of warrants that date to the financial crisis, a deal that saves Berkshire money upfront and reduces dilution risk for Goldman.

** ZIOPHARM ONCOLOGY INC, $1.95, down 62 percent (1224 ET)

The drugmaker said it will stop developing its drug to treat soft tissue sarcoma after it failed to improve patient survival by keeping the cancer from worsening, wiping out nearly two-thirds of the company's market value..

The stock, trading 8 times above its 10-day moving average, was one of the top percentage loser on the Nasdaq.

** OPEXA THERAPEUTICS INC, $2.59, up 23 pct (1256 ET)

The drugmaker's stock is poised to break out for several reasons, according to an article in Seeking Alpha. The article cites the strength of Opexa's new partnership agreement with a unit of German drugmaker Merck KGaA, new developments with its lead product candidate, Tcelna, and signs of a large, active institutional buyer in the market.

** AURICO GOLD, $6.22, down 6.3 pct (1225 ET)

Canadian miner AuRico Gold Inc posted a loss for the fourth quarter due to a non-cash goodwill impairment charge related to its El Chanate mine.

The net loss was $7.4 million, or $0.03 per share, compared to a profit of $77.9 million, or $0.31 per share. Revenue fell 59 percent to $63.1 million.

** RF MICRO DEVICES, $5.21, up 6 percent (1226 ET)

Oppenheimer & Co upgraded the chipmaker's stock to "outperform" from "perform", saying the company appears to be well positioned to capitalize on expanding RF complexity with its "systems-level" approach.

** GREEN DOT CORP, $16.74, up 5 pct (1226 ET)

Brokerage SunTrust Robinson raised its target price on the prepaid card company's stock to $13 from $12, citing strong non-Walmart card activations. The brokerage said consumers have raised concerns about American Express Co's limited acceptance and POS card usage for a return to premium priced Green Dot products.

** GORDMANS STORES INC, $11.99, down 15 percent (1227 ET)

The discount retailer posted fourth-quarter sales that missed Wall Street expectations as its merchandise did not resonate well with shoppers and the company said it expects comparable sales in the current quarter to fall to low double digits.

Brokerage Piper Jaffray & Co downgraded the stock to "neutral" from "overweight", saying that current inventory levels seem higher than were previously anticipated and the gross margin weakness could continue in future quarters if consumer spending on apparel continues to be challenged.

The stock, trading 11 times above its 10-day moving average, was one of the top percentage loser on the Nasdaq.

** NETFLIX INC, $190.39, up 5 pct (1227 ET)

Brokerage Pacific Crest raised its price target on the video rental and streaming company's stock to $225 from $160, saying it sees strong international subscriber growth and margin expansion driving growth.

Netflix's rival Hulu is gauging potential buyers' interest as part of an internal strategic review, three sources close to Hulu told Reuters on Monday.

** LINKTONE LTD, $2.77, down 7 pct (1228 ET)

The company, which offers wireless content, reported a 31 percent drop in quarterly revenue as sales from media content fell.

The stock, trading nearly one-and-a-half times its average 10-day volume, was one of the top percentage losers on the Nasdaq at 1123 ET.

** MAXWELL TECHNOLOGIES INC, $5.20, down 7 pct (1229 ET)

The maker of energy storage devices said it received a delisting notice from Nasdaq on March 20, saying that Maxwell is in violation of the exchange's listing requirements as it is yet to file its annual report for the year ended December 31.

** BOYD GAMING CORP, $8.10, up 4 pct (1229 ET)

The casino operator's shares rose after competitor Revel filed for bankruptcy protection late on Monday under a plan that would turn over control to lenders and eliminate more than $1 billion of debt.

Revel, a lavish Atlantic City casino that opened less than a year ago, was expected to become the next Borgata, Boyd's top-grossing casino in Atlantic City.

** WESTERN DIGITAL CORP, $48.98 up 3.6 pct (1400 ET)

** SEAGATE TECHNOLOGY PLC, $3.34, up 3.34 pct

Brean Capital LLC analyst Ananda Baruah said he expects March quarter earnings at Seagate and Western Digital to come in above Wall Street estimates as hard disk markets are expected to remain stable in the first half of 2013.

Baruah said he expects improved margins for the hard disk makers, helped by increased sales of their high margin products.

** APOLLO GROUP INC, $17.66, down 3 pct (1230 ET)

BMO Capital Markets cut its price target on Apollo's stock to $27 from $30, saying it was wary of worsening enrollment trends as well as Apollo's backing away from prior comments that starts may turn positive in the second half of 2013.

The owner of the largest U.S. for-profit college on Monday reported its largest fall in enrollments in four quarters. Chief Executive Greg Cappelli also said he could not predict when new student sign-ups would rise again.

** BROADSOFT INC, $28.14, up 5 pct (1230 ET)

Raymond James raised its rating on the Internet communications company's stock to "market perform" from "underperform," saying the company could be a likely acquisition target for Oracle.

"BroadSoft fits the theme of what Oracle has acquired so far in that it is a software based solution and sells independently of large telco/network equipment vendor offerings," analyst Tavis McCourt wrote in a note.

Oracle said on Monday it will acquire Tekelec, a telecom network software provider -- its second acquisition in as many months in the Voice over IP infrastructure market.

** NUPATHE INC, $3.39, down 7 pct (1231 ET)

The company, which develops drugs for diseases of the central nervous system, said it has enough cash and cash equivalents to fund operations into the fourth quarter but will need additional capital to launch its first product, a battery-powered migraine patch.

The patch, Zecuity, is designed to provide relief from migraine-related headache and nausea, and was approved by U.S. health regulators on Jan. 17.

** SIBANYE GOLD LTD, $5.51, up 4 pct (1232 ET)

The South African gold mining firm said it has paid down 570 million rand ($61 million) of its debt from cash generated during the first quarter. HSBC initiated coverage of the stock with an "overweight" rating.

** JUST ENERGY GROUP INC, $6.62, up 8.7 pct (1243 ET)

The company's management said it does not expect any changes to its dividend payout, responding to recent rumors of a further dividend cut.

National Bank Financial maintained a "sector perform" rating on Just Energy shares after the company's management reiterated the targeted 60 percent to 65 percent FFO payout by fiscal 2016.

National Bank Financial analyst Trevor Johnson said, "the company is in a position to balance funding both its dividend and its debt obligations, so we do not envision another cut (dividend)".

** CHILDREN'S PLACE RETAIL STORES INC, $45.16, down 1.7 percent (1233 ET)

The company, which sells apparel and accessories for newborns to 10-year-olds, forecast adjusted first-quarter profit below estimates, as unfavorable weather and weak macro-economic environment hurt consumer spending.

The company also said it expects negative high-single digit comparable retail sales in the current quarter.

** RAYTHEON CO, $57.71, up 1.6 percent (1235 ET)

The maker of the Patriot missile defense system and other weapons said on Monday it will pare its business units down to four starting on April 1 to boost productivity and lower costs, resulting in annual savings of about $85 million and the elimination of 200 jobs.

** BOEING CO, $86.40, up 1.8 percent (1235 ET)

The company's 787 Dreamliner took to the sky on Monday in a test flight aimed at showing that the plane's new lithium-ion battery system meets regulatory safety standards, a key step in ending a two-month, worldwide grounding of the high-tech jet.

** MONSANTO CO, $103.06, up 3.6 percent (1236 ET)

** DUPONT CO, $48.73, down 0.77 percent (1236 ET)

Monsanto and DuPont have settled a bitter legal battle over rights to technology for genetically modified seeds and will drop antitrust and patent lawsuits against each other in U.S. federal court, the companies said on Tuesday.

** KKR & CO, $18.83, up 2.8 percent (1237 ET)

The U.S. buyouts firm agreed to sell Intelligence Holdings to Temp Holdings for 68 billion yen ($721 million), almost double what it initially paid for the temporary staffing agency three years ago.

** SONIC CORP, $12.66, up 8 percent (1237 ET)

The drive-in restaurant chain forecast full-year same-store sales in the low single-digit range after reporting flat comparable sales in the second quarter.

Lazard Capital Markets analyst Matthew DiFrisco raised his price target on the stock to $14 and maintained his "buy" rating, citing increased confidence in the company's full-year outlook.

** CALUMET SPECIALTY PRODUCTS LP, $37.37, down 4.4 percent (1238 ET)

The company, which makes lubricating oils, solvents and waxes, said it would offer 5.25 million shares in an underwritten public offering. Calumet said it intends to used the proceeds from the sale to fund its capital expenditures, acquisitions and other activities.

** APOLLO INVESTMENT CORP, $8.32, down 2.6 pct (1238 ET)

** MEDLEY CAPITAL CORP, $15.56, down 2.5 pct (1238 ET)

** TICC CAPITAL CORP, $9.83, down 2.4 pct (1239 ET)

Wells Fargo downgraded the business development finance company sector to "market weight" from "overweight", citing risks in the credit market.

** TELECOM ITALIA $7.25, down 5.3 percent (1239 ET)

Shares of the telecommunications company fell as traders cited a downgrade from Merrill Lynch.

** NATIONAL OILWELL VARCO INC, $70.20, up 2.4 pct (1240 ET)

Brokerage Guggenheim upgraded the largest U.S. oilfield equipment provider's stock to "buy", saying concerns over its rig technology business are overblown.

National Oilwell in February said it expects margins to remain little changed this year in its largest business that helps prepare oil and gas wells for production as companies have slowed onshore exploration in North America on low natural gas prices.

** TELEFONICA,$13.73, down 2.2 pct (1240 ET)

** PORTUGAL TELECOM, $5.02, down 3 pct (1240 ET)

Spain's Telefonica raised 975 million euros ($1.26 billion) with an opportunistic sale of all of its treasury stock on Tuesday, taking advantage of a recent share price rally to raise cash and reduce its over 50 billion euros of debt.

Telefonica's operations in the Czech Republic, Ireland and central America are flagged as non-core by analysts, meaning the company could also dispose of them. Telefonica also has stakes in a number of other companies including bank BBVA and Portugal Telecom .

** KRATON PERFORMANCE POLYMERS INC, $24.55, down 1.5 pct (1242 ET)

Brokerage Oppenheimer downgraded the synthetic rubber maker's stock to "perform" from "outperform", citing lower prices for its raw material, butadiene, which indicates weak demand for synthetic rubber, especially in Asia.

"The less robust demand environment could stoke Asian competition, making it difficult for KRA to expand margin as much as previously planned," analysts said. (Compiled by Jochelle Mendonca)

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