December 9, 2013 / 8:38 PM / 4 years ago

MARKET PULSE-Twitter, McDonald's, Sysco, Prana, YRC, Given Imaging

12 Min Read

(For more market insights, including options activity, click on ; for the Day Ahead newsletter link.reuters.com/mex49s; for the Morning News Call newsletter, link.reuters.com/nex49s) U.S. stocks rose modestly on Monday after positive Chinese trade and inflation data, but investor enthusiasm was tempered before speeches on the economy by top Federal Reserve officials. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 0.01 percent at 16,021.97, the S&P 500 was up 0.11 percent at 1,807.12 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.03 percent at 4,063.61.

** TWITTER INC, $49.12, +9.28 pct

Twitter shares soared more than 9 percent to their highest level since the company's initial public offering after a spate of product announcements that could boost its revenue prospects.

Twitter on Thursday officially began allowing marketers to show individually tailored ads on Twitter based on which websites the user has previously visited. The cookie-based targeted ads, as they are known, are expected to fetch higher ad prices for Twitter.

CRT Capital Group analyst Neil Doshi said Twitter's Tailored Audiences product, similar to Facebook Inc's Custom Audiences, highlights the fact that Twitter is moving aggressively to create new ad products, and that is the reason why the stock is up.

"I think people are processing the news a little more. This (kind of product) is the primary drive for pricing improvement at Facebook, and this could be a big opportunity for Twitter," Doshi said.

** MCDONALD'S CORP, $95.63, -1.21 pct

The world's biggest hamburger chain reported weaker-than-expected global sales at established restaurants for November, hurt by a sharp drop in comparable-store sales in the United States.

** SYSCO CORP, $37.91, +10.49 pct

The food distributor said it would buy rival US Foods for about $3.5 billion and assume about $4.7 billion in debt to create a company with about $65 billion in annual revenue.

** PRANA BIOTECHNOLOGY LTD, $6.57, +15.06 pct

The company said it completed enrolment in a mid-stage study to test its experimental drug, PBT2, for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease.

Out of the 42 patients who enrolled in the study, only two withdrew, representing a trial retention rate of 95 percent, the company said.

MLV and Co analyst Graig Suvannavejh said the retention rate was a surprise, suggesting that PBT2 is at least safe and well tolerated.

** HIGHWAY HOLDINGS LIMITED, $3.78, +27.32 pct

The China-based manufacturer of metal, plastic, electric and electronic components said it received three tooling orders from an unnamed U.S. printer company to make plastic components for printers.

** COVIDIEN PLC, $68.18, +0.16 pct

** GIVEN IMAGING LTD, $30.04, +27.02 pct

Medical device maker Covidien will acquire Israeli camera-in-a-pill maker Given Imaging for $30.00 per share in cash, or a total of $860 million, the companies said on Sunday.

** OSI SYSTEMS INC, $46.98, -27.44 pct

The maker of electronic systems and components said the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) terminated its order with the company as OSI changed a component in its AT-2 detection system which did not obtain approval from the TSA in advance, as required by contract.

** YRC WORLDWIDE, $9.93, +17.51 pct

The trucking company said the International Brotherhood of Teamsters agreed to vote on a contract that would extend the employment of about 26,000 workers till March 2019. YRC had met with the local union leaders last month for contract negotiations that it said would help with its refinancing.

** NEWFIELD EXPLORATION CO, $24.16, -8.59 pct

The oil and gas company lowered its 2014 liquids production growth outlook in the United States due to refinery maintenance at its Uinta Basin in Utah. The company now expects U.S. liquids production to increase by 30 percent from a year earlier. It had earlier forecast a 38 percent increase.

** ELECSYS CORP, $11.6004, +21.60 pct

The communications equipment maker posted a 19 percent rise in second-quarter revenue on higher sales of its remote monitoring equipment and data management services.

** NII HOLDINGS INC, $2.43, -7.95 pct

The company, which provides telecom services under the Nextel brand in Latin America, said it would cut more than 1,400 jobs in its market operations and over 25 percent of its workforce at its Virginia headquarters.

** EXXON MOBIL CORP, $95.85, +0.21 pct

** CHEVRON CORP, $123.55, +1.03 pct

** BP PLC, $46.91, +0.24 pct

Oil and gas companies will spend about $723 billion on exploration and production (E&P) in 2014, an increase of 6.1 percent from 2013, Barclays Bank said in a report on Monday.

Barclays forecast an increase of more than 7 percent in E&P spending in North America in 2014, while international spending is expected to increase 6 percent to a record $524 billion.

** PHILLIPS 66, $71.9125, +0.95 pct

** TESORO CORP, $58.22, +0.90 pct

** VALERO ENERGY CORP, $46.24, -0.71 pct

** MARATHON PETROLEUM CORP, $85.68, -1.74 pct

** HOLLYFRONTIER CORP $46.49, -0.90 pct

** ALON USA ENERGY INC, $14.76, +2.50 pct

** DELEK US HOLDINGS INC DK.N, $30.75, +2.50 pct

J.P. Morgan Securities raised its price targets on the stock of petroleum refiners citing its long-term forecast of a differential of $10 per barrel in the prices of Brent crude and West Texas Intermediate (WTI).

The brokerage also raised its ratings on Valero, Marathon and Holly's stocks.

Deutsche Bank also raised its rating on Valero's stocks, besides Alon, Delek and Phillips 66' stocks.

The widening spread between U.S. benchmark WTI and European benchmark Brent CL-LCO1=R is restoring high margins for Midwest refiners that refine cheap U.S. crude into gasoline, diesel and other products to be sold at prices linked to the more expensive Brent.

** ADVAXIS INC, $3.919, +9.16 pct

The company said it signed a development and marketing agreement for its experimental cancer treatment, ADXS-HPV, with Global BioPharma Inc, a Taiwanese biotech company.

ADXS-HPV is currently being tested in early and mid-stage trials for cancers associated with the human papillomavirus (HPV), such as cervical cancer, head & neck cancer and anal cancer.

** METHES ENERGIES INTERNATIONAL LTD, $2.6, +13.54 pct

The renewable energy company said it has agreed to buy OTC Energy Technologies Inc as it looks to strengthen its position in the renewable fuels and general transportation fuels markets.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

** INTEROIL CORP $60.81, +9.57 pct

InterOil shares rose on Monday after closing down 37 percent on Friday. The oil and gas company said late on Thursday that it sold a stake in its Papua New Guinea gas fields to France's Total.

Morgan Stanley analysts said the selloff was partly in reaction to the fact that the sale price was below expectations.

Raymond James analyst Pavel Molchanov said Friday's share fall was "an entirely excessive knee-jerk reaction."

** ROSETTA GENOMICS LTD, $3.16, +4.64 pct

The molecular diagnostics company said the New York State Department of Health granted conditional approval to use the company's Rosetta Kidney Cancer Test on patient samples from the state.

New York is the only state that requires an independent regulatory review process for laboratory-developed tests. With this approval, the company can offer the test, designed to classify the four most common types of kidney tumors, in all 50 U.S. states.

** MCDERMOTT INTERNATIONAL, $8.21, +3.14 pct

CNBC's Mad Money host Jim Cramer said the engineering and construction firm is being more disciplined about going after work that pays well instead of chasing "super low" margin projects.

Cramer also said he expects record offshore spending from oil companies in the coming years.

** EDWARDS LIFESCIENCES CORP, $62.3, -6.02 pct

The company forecast 2014 earnings below analysts' estimates and said that while demand for its Sapien transcatheter valve therapy remained strong worldwide, the company would face new competition in the United States and Europe early in 2014.

** MFRI INC, $14.5019, +12.07 pct

The company reported a 23 percent rise in quarterly revenue, helped by an increased demand for its pre-insulated piping systems used to gather oil and gas and for other applications.

** HALCON RESOURCES CORP, $4.04, +6.04 pct

Chief Executive Wilson Floyd purchased 100,000 shares at $4 per share, according to a regulatory filing. The purchase price is at a 5 percent premium to the stock's Friday close of $3.81.

** MICRON TECHNOLOGY INC, $23.11, +3.59 pct

The chipmaker's shares were up after the "Taiwan Economic Daily" reported that prices of dynamic random-access memory(DRAM) chips are expected to rise 12 percent in 2014 as manufacturers expand production to meet demand in the mobile phone/tablet segment, according to StreetInsider.com. (link.reuters.com/jyn35v)

** CERAGON NETWORKS LTD, $2.71, +7.54 pct

Needham started its coverage of the Israel-based wireless network technology and services provider with a "strong buy" rating and a price target of $8.

"We believe the confluence of a low valuation, major new product cycle, aggressive cost cutting program and firming end market could provide investors with strong returns," the brokerage said.

** ALPHA NATURAL RESOURCES INC, $7.53, +14.61 pct

Alpha Natural said it will exchange its 50 percent interest in its shale joint venture with Rice Energy for $100 million in cash and $200 million in shares of Rice Energy's IPO.

The two companies entered into the joint venture in 2010 to develop a portion of Alpha's Marcellus natural gas holdings in Greene County, Pennsylvania.

** WHITEWAVE FOODS CO, $22.81, +4.73 pct

The dairy products producer said it would buy organic food brand Earthbound Farm from investors including private equity firm Kainos Capital for about $600 million to expand its offerings of organic products.

** EZCORP INC,$10.25,-6.90 pct

Sterne Agee lowered the pawn and payday lender's stock to "neutral" from "buy", according to Streetinsider.com.

** LAYNE CHRISTENSEN CO, $15.06, -4.20 pct

The water management, construction and drilling company reported a bigger-than-expected third-quarter loss of 80 cents per share due to weakness at its mineral and geoconstruction services business.

** PHOTOMEDEX INC, $12.05, -5.71 pct

The company said on Friday that it ended a deal with Japan's Ya-Man Ltd, which sold PhotoMedex's products in the country. PhotoMedex said Ya-Man's sales of its products were disappointing in the latest quarter.

** CAESARSTONE SDOT-YAM LTD, $50.45, +4.76 pct

Credit Suisse raised its price target on the Israeli countertop maker's stock to $53 from $49 as it expects significant growth in sales and earnings over the next several years for the company.

** CELGENE CORP, $170.21, +2.27 pct

Cantor Fitzgerald raised its price target on the company's stock to $186 from $171 to reflect higher 2014 and 2015 earnings estimates.

"With Abraxane moving to become a foundation of treatment for pancreatic cancer and Pomalyst hitting the market in the United States; we are forecasting accelerating sales and EPS growth," analyst Mara Goldstein wrote in a note. (Compiled by Avik Das in Bangalore; Editing by Savio D'Souza)

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