U.S. stocks fell on their first day of trading in 2014 on Thursday as investors booked profits in the wake of the S&P 500’s best yearly advance since 1997. The Dow Jones industrial average was down 0.76 percent at 16,449.89, the S&P 500 was down 0.90 percent at 1,831.66 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 0.93 percent at 4,137.642.
** APPLE INC, $553.59, -1.32 pct
Wells Fargo downgraded the iPhone and iPad maker’s stock to “market perform” from “outperform.” The brokerage said the company’s gross margins may come under pressure later this year following the launch of iPhone 6. Wells Fargo said Apple’s market capitalization has limited opportunity for growth without material market share gains and cited concern that the balance of power may start to shift back to wireless operators from handset vendors.
** AMYRIS INC $4.33, -18.15 pct
Brokerage Cowen & Co downgraded the biofuel maker to ‘underperform’ from ‘market perform’ on valuation, but raised its price target to $3 from $2.40. Amyris shares had almost doubled to $5.29 in December after the company formed a joint venture with French oil company Total SA on Dec. 5.
** ORAMED PHARMACEUTICALS INC $18.1106, +17.37 pct
The company said it received patent allowances from the patent offices of Israel and Australia, covering a core concept of its technology for the oral delivery of drugs and vaccines.
** GENCO SHIPPING AND TRADING LTD, $2.48, -0.80 pct
** NAVIOS MARITIME HOLDINGS INC, $10.682, -4.28 pct
** BALTIC TRADING LTD, $6.35, -1.40 pct
** EAGLE BULK SHIPPING INC, $4.4418, -3.23 pct
The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index, which gauges the average daily earnings of vessels shipping dry bulk commodities such as iron ore, grain, coal and fertilizer, fell by 164 points, or nearly 7 percent on Thursday, after being closed since Christmas Eve.
** YINGLI GREEN ENERGY HOLD CO LTD, $6.15, +21.78 pct
The Chinese solar panel maker said its unit, Yingli Energy (China) Co Ltd, will develop and construct solar power plants in Shuozhou city of China’s Shanxi province in a joint venture with Shuozhou Coal Power Co Ltd, a unit of China’s third largest coal miner, Datong Coal Mine Group Co Ltd.
** MOLYCORP INC, $6.22, +10.68 pct
D. A. Davidson & Co raised the price target to $8 from $6 on the rare earth producer’s stock as analyst Avinash Kant expected the company to become the dominant supplier of rare earth materials, benefiting from the world’s biggest rare earth producer, China, cutting its export quota to half.
** CANADIAN SOLAR INC, Tuesday close $29.82
The solar company said it completed the sale of a 10 megawatt solar power plant to Canadian energy company TransCanada Corp for over C$61 million ($57.34 million). This is the fourth of nine solar power plants Canadian Solar has agreed to sell to TransCanada for about C$500 million, the companies said.
** BARRICK GOLD CORP, $18.273, +9.00 pct
** NEWMONT MINING CORP, $24.03, +9.00 pct
** YAMANA GOLD INC, $9, +9.00 pct
** COEUR MINING INC, $11.16, +9.00 pct
** SILVER WHEATON, $21.15, +9.00 pct
** MCEWEN MINING INC, $2.07, +9.00 pct
Spot gold rose to a two-week high of $1,228.10 an ounce in early trading on physical buying and was trading up 1 percent at $1,217.20 by 1318 GMT. It had dropped to its weakest since June 28 at $1,184.50 an ounce on Tuesday. Silver rose 3.3 percent to $19.97 an ounce, while U.S. silver futures gained more than 5 percent.
** ANN INC, $38.59, +5.55 pct
Jefferies & Co upgraded its rating on the Ann Taylor owner’s stock to “buy” from “hold,” citing resilient sales trends and the opportunity for margin expansion. The brokerage raised its price target to $45 from $34.
** CHICO‘S FAS INC, $19.52, +3.61 pct
Jefferies & Co upgraded its rating on the women’s apparel and accessories retailer’s stock to “buy” from “hold,” saying the company is a long-term growth story that continues to gain share as competitive pressures dissipate. The brokerage also said Chico’s differentiated portfolio of brands fills a void in a niche market and serves a loyal customer base. Jefferies raised its price target to $23 from $17.
** URBAN OUTFITTERS INC, $37.93, +2.24 pct
Jefferies & Co upgraded its rating on the teen apparel retailer’s stock to “buy” from “hold,” saying it sees significant room for margin expansion and organic growth as the Urban Outfitters division gets back on track. The brokerage raised its price target to $54 from $40.
** SPHERIX INC, $8.95, +11.04 pct
The intellectual property company said its wholly owned unit Spherix Portfolio Acquisition II Inc entered into a second agreement to buy 101 patents related to data, optical and voice technology from Rockstar Consortium US LP by issuing 1.7 million shares, according to a regulatory filing.
Rockstar Consortium is a patent-holding organization created by Apple Inc, Microsoft Corp, Blackberry , Ericsson and Sony Corp to negotiate patent agreements. It holds about 4,000 patents bought from the bankrupt Nortel Networks Corp for $4.5 billion in 2011.
** MAZOR ROBOTICS LTD, $14.9, +9.00 pct
The surgical robots maker said it received two orders of its Renaissance spine surgery robot in late December and ended the fourth quarter with seven Renaissance system sales.
** PLUG POWER INC, $2.16, +39.35 pct
The fuel cells maker said it received orders of about $32 million in the fourth quarter from customers such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc, BMW and Procter & Gamble Co
** WPCS INTERNATIONAL INC, $2.55, +11.84 pct
The operator of Bitcoin trading platform, BTX Trader, said late Tuesday it will look to fund buyer for 60 percent interest in its China-based joint venture. The company also said it has initiated a search for a president for its Bitcoin trading platform, BTX Trader.
** ASCENT SOLAR TECHNOLOGIES INC, $0.7305, +3.62 pct
The solar modules maker and its consumer products unit, EnerPlex, said they will build a 100 MW factory over six years to make solar modules and related consumer products in a joint venture with the city of Suqian in Jiangsu Province of China. Suqian will provide about $32.5 million and five year rent-free use of about 331,000 square feet of factory and office space.
** DRYSHIPS INC, $4.34, -7.66 pct
The dry bulk shipper said late on Tuesday it would resume sales under a previously announced $200 million offering of its common shares, after suspending it on Dec. 5. DryShips has issued 6,892,233 shares under the program with proceeds of $24.1 million until Tuesday, the company said.
** CELL THERAPEUTICS INC, $2.001, +4.76 pct
The company said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration lifted a hold imposed in June last year on studies testing the company’s blood cancer drug.
** HANWHA SOLARONE CO LTD, $3.19, +15.16 pct
The Chinese solar panel maker said it would sell 11.5 megawatts of panels to Belgian company Ikaros Solar Belgium NV. The panels are expected to be delivered in January and February. The financial details of the deal were not disclosed.
** EPL OIL & GAS INC, $28.05, -1.58 pct
The oil and gas producer said it would buy properties in the central Gulf of Mexico from Nexen Petroleum Offshore U.S.A. Inc for $70.4 million. The newly acquired properties produce about 900 net barrels of oil equivalent per day. Oil constitutes about 95 percent of the output, EPL said on Thursday.
** ASTORIA FINANCIAL CORP, $14.18, +2.53 pct
Analysts at Keefe, Bruyette and Woods raised the rating of the bank’s stock to “outperform” from “market perform.” Expecting better returns from the stock, the analysts said, “Astoria will see the company’s stock valuation improve as investors get a clearer picture of the true earnings power of Astoria post balance sheet repositioning.”
** VRINGO INC, $2.93, -1.01 pct
The mobile phone software maker has agreed to sell its mobile technology business to UK-based customer care operator for mobile phone carriers and companies, Infomedia Services Ltd for an equity stake equal to about 8 percent of Infomedia. ($1 = 1.0639 Canadian dollars) (Compiled by Rohit T.K. in Bangalore)