(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 were little changed on Wednesday as investors awaited the release of minutes from the Federal Reserve's most recent policy meeting, while strong results from Micron helped boost the Nasdaq. The Dow Jones industrial average was down 0.55 percent at 16,440.78, the S&P 500 was down 0.12 percent at 1,835.75 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.23 percent at 4163.10.
** NUPATHE INC, $4.44, +37.46 pct
** TEVA PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRIES, $41.2, -0.02 pct
** ENDO HEALTH SOLUTIONS INC, $69.64, +4.88 pct
Israel’s Teva Pharma offered to buy U.S. neurology drugs maker NuPathe for $114 million plus milestone payments related to NuPathe’s Zecuity migraine treatment.
Teva’s offer of $3.65 per share comes less than a month after U.S. specialty pharmaceutical company Endo Health said it would buy NuPathe for about $105 million, or $2.85 per share, plus milestone payments.
** ARCA BIOPHARMA INC, $2.22, +23.33 pct
The company said it received the U.S. health regulator’s approval to start clinical trial of a diagnostic test being developed by its partner Laboratory Corp of America as a companion test for Arca’s experimental heart drug, Gencaro.
The diagnostic test has been developed to identify patient genotypes based on certain genetic variations for use during the mid-stage trial of Gencaro. Enrolment for the trial is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2014.
** MICRON TECHNOLOGY, $23.7701, +9.39 pct
The chipmaker shares rose hit a decade high on Wednesday after the company reported strong results and signed a contract with a customer that analysts believed could be Apple Inc . Analysts raised their price targets on Micron’s stock by as much as $7 to a high of $34. [ID;nL3N0KI3F0]
** ORAMED PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $23.3399, +24.41 pct
Aegis Capital said it expects near-term positive data from a mid-stage study of the company’s orally ingestible insulin capsule, ORMD-0801, being tested for type 2 diabetes. The brokerage also raised its target price on the company’s stock to $30 from $25.
** FOREST LABORATORIES INC, $68.47, +16.52 pct
The drugmaker, which averted a proxy fight with activist investor Carl Icahn last year, said it would buy specialty pharmaceutical maker Aptalis from private equity firm TPG Capital for $2.9 billion.
** APOLLO EDUCATION GROUP INC, $30.18, +12.05 pct
At least five brokerages raised their price targets on the company’s stock following strong first-quarter results, with Compass Point raising its target to $30 from $20.
“While there is a long way to go and the road may be choppy, trends appear moving in the right direction,” BMO Capital Markets analyst Jeffrey Silber wrote in a note to clients.
Late on Tuesday, the owner of the University of Phoenix reported quarterly profit well ahead of Wall Street’s expectations, proof that the company’s restructuring efforts were helping to shore up its bottomline.
** GLADSTONE LAND CORP, $14.54, -9.24 pct
The U.S. real estate investment company declared a monthly dividend of 3 cents each for January, February and March compared with a monthly dividend of 12 cents per share it paid out in 2013. The 2013 payout included the company’s historic accumulated earnings and profits to become a real estate investment trust.
** YELP INC, $78.77, +8.41 pct
Brokerage J.P. Morgan Securities raised its target price on the consumer reviews website's stock, citing strong local ad coverage, according to TheStreet.com. (link.reuters.com/gyg85v)
Yelp offers user-generated reviews and information on local businesses and service providers through its website.
** SUPPORT.COM INC, $2.891, -16.69 pct
The provider of cloud-based technology support services estimated lower-than-expected first-quarter results following termination of a deal with U.S. cable operator Comcast Corp . (link.reuters.com/qag85v)
Two brokerages Northland Capital and Craig Hallum lowered their ratings on the Support.com’s stock, according to Streetinsider.com.
** CEC ENTERTAINMENT INC, $49.55, +14.33 pct
The parent company of family restaurant and entertainment chain Chuck E Cheese, is exploring a potential sale to private equity, according to people familiar with the matter.
** RIVERBED TECHNOLOGY INC, $19.75, +10.64 pct
Activist hedge fund Elliott Management Corp offered to buy the network equipment maker for about $3.08 billion in cash, an offer analysts said was likely to be a precursor to a higher bid.
** CONSTELLATION BRANDS INC, $75.45, +7.89 pct
The company’s third-quarter profit nearly doubled, helped by strong sales of beer, including brands it bought from Groupo Modelo’s U.S beer business.
** J.C. PENNEY CO INC, $7.51, -8.30 pct
The struggling department-store chain said in a statement on Wednesday it was “pleased” with its holiday sales performance, but provided no details on those sales.
** AKORN INC, $22.9, -6.30 pct
Leerink Swann cut its rating on the generic drugmaker to “market perform” from “outperform”, according to theflyonthewall.com.
** CYTRX CORP, $6.93, +7.78 pct
The company said additional statistical analyses on its experimental cancer therapy, aldoxorubicin, further support the efficacy data from a mid-stage trial released last month.
The mid-stage trial data showed aldoxorubicin improved survival rates in untreated soft tissue sarcoma patients without the disease progressing, compared with standard chemotherapy alone.
** NEUROCRINE BIOSCIENCES INC, $17.61, -4.88 pct
Morgan Stanley cut its rating on the drug discovery company to “equal-weight” from “overweight”, according to Streetinsider.com.
** PLUG POWER INC, $4.62, +20.00 pct
Shares of the fuel cell maker continued their rally after the company said on Tuesday it would develop hydrogen fuel cell systems for 20 FedEx Express electric delivery trucks in a $3 million, U.S. Department of Energy-funded project.
** ROVI CORP, $21.8, +3.37 pct
The company, whose software is used in home entertainment devices to play various digital media formats, signed a multi-year patent licensing deal with Samsung Electronics Co Ltd for the use of the company’s video discovery patents and technologies on Samsung’s mobile and tablet devices worldwide.
** MONSANTO CO, $115, +1.94 pct
The world’s largest seed company reported better-than-expected first-quarter earnings as higher herbicide sales offset a decline in its corn business.
** ORIGIN AGRITECH LTD, $1.975, -18.72 pct
The Chinese company said market for seeds would be increasingly competitive this year due to a high inventory, particularly of corn seeds.
The company also reported a 13 percent fall in full-year revenue due to lower sales of corn and rice seeds and the divestment of its cotton and agricultural chemicals business.
** MERGE HEALTHCARE INC, $2.35, -6.75 pct
The medical imaging software provider said a former employee falsified contracts, forcing it to cut its backlog of orders by more than $15 million.
** MCKESSON CORP, $170.07, +5.09 pct
The U.S. drugs wholesale group is preparing to offer concessions to hedge fund Elliott to save its planned acquisition of Germany-based peer Celesio, three people familiar with the deal said on Wednesday.
** CATALYST PHARMACEUTICAL PARTNERS INC, $2.13, +5.45 pct
The company said a study showed its experimental drug to treat a rare autoimmune disorder did not have an adverse effect on the heart rate of patients.
** CONTAINER STORE GROUP INC, $39.87, -12.93 pct
The storage products retailer reported a third-quarter loss, hurt by costs associated with its initial public offering, sending its shares down 9 percent after the bell.
Container Store, whose shares doubled in its market debut in November, reported a net loss of $9.5 million, or $1.39 per share, compared with a profit of $6.9 million, or $5.32 per share, a year earlier.
** AVID TECHNOLOGIES INC, $7.4192, -10.50 pct
The audio and video editing software maker indicated that it may miss the March 14 deadline set by the Nasdaq Listing Qualifications Panel to regain compliance with requirements for continued listing of its common stock on the exchange.
The company said it appointed Deloitte & Touche LLP as its auditor firm to succeed Ernst & Young LLP.
** CHINACACHE INTERNATIONAL HOLDINGS LTD, $14.45, +23.29 pct
The content delivery network and cloud computing provider named Wang Jiang as its chief technology officer. Wang was formerly with Google Inc at its U.S. headquarters and was in charge of developing the system framework for Google Payment and Google Social products of Google China.
The stock, one of the top percentage gainers on the Nasdaq, was trading more than two times its average 10-day volume.
** ARTHROCARE CORP, $48.02, +18.33 pct
The maker of surgical implants on Tuesday signed an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice to resolve a six-year long investigation regarding allegations of securities and related fraud committed under a previous management team.
Canaccord Genuity raised its target price on the company’s stock to $56 from $48, while Jefferies raised it to $47 from $38.
Jefferies’ analyst Raj Denhoy said the agreement lifts one of the last major legal overhangs and is very positive “given the incremental operating expenses this would have involved as well as any hurdle it might have presented to a potential acquirer.”
** SCHNITZER STEEL INDUSTRIES INC, $30.2, -2.71 pct
The steel maker reported a wider-than-expected loss in the first quarter due to weak pricing and low demand. The company reported an adjusted loss of 18 cents per share, compared to analysts’ average expectation of a loss of 6 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
** RUBICON TECHNOLOGY INC, $10.76, -5.94 pct
The company, which supplies sapphire substrates and products to the LED, semiconductor and optical markets, said it would sell $28.2 million of its common stock.
** VALEANT PHARMACEUTICALS INTERNATIONAL INC, $127, +1.32 pct
Shares of Canada’s largest listed drugmaker added to their gains on Tuesday when the company said it expected to become one of the world’s top five pharmaceutical companies by market capitalization by the end of 2016 largely through acquisitions. At least twelve brokerages raised their price target on the stock on Wednesday.
Analysts at Morgan Stanley upgraded the stock to “overweight” from “equal weight,” saying Valeant will be able to raise U.S. list prices aggressively in the coming years because its drugs are primarily in niche categories including eye care, skin care and foot care.
** DELEK US HOLDINGS INC, $32.35, -4.18 pct
Analysts at Howard Weil downgraded the petroleum refiner and retailer’s stock to “sector perform” from “sector outperform” on valuation. The analysts said they do not see anything outside the broader macroeconomic trends that could impact the company’s shares and that its retail business may be spun out in the long term.
** TEAM INC, $44.98, +8.78 pct
The company, which provides specialty industrial services susch as inspection and assessment to maintain high-temperature and high-pressure piping systems, reported a second-quarter profit that beat analysts’ average estimate due to higher gross margins.
** ENDEAVOUR SILVER CORP,$3.71, -2.11 pct
** GOLDCORP INC,$22.22, -0.94 pct
** NEWMONT MINING CORP, $23.55, -1.67 pct
** ELDORADO GOLD, $5.89, +0.00 pct
** IAMGOLD CORP, $3.45, -1.43 pct
Gold prices fell on Wednesday, extending the previous session’s retreat, as upbeat U.S. jobs data lifted the dollar and boosted the appeal of cyclical assets such as stocks at bullion’s expense. Spot gold was down 0.7 percent at $1,223.40 an ounce at 1335 GMT, while U.S. gold futures for February delivery were down $6.30 an ounce at $1,223.30. silver underperformed, falling 1.8 percent to $19.51 an ounce.
** XTL BIOPHARMACEUTICALS, $3.239, +18.73 pct
The Israeli biopharmaceuticals company said it has signed a licensing agreement with Yeda Research and Development Company Ltd to develop its drug, hCDR1, as a treatment for the autoimmune disorder called systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
XTL said it intends to initiate a mid-stage clinical trial on the drug.
** BPZ ENERGY, $2.04, +11.48 pct
The oil and gas producer said its new Albacora well in Peru produced about 2,100 barrels of oil per day (bopd) over the last seven days, boosting Block Z-1 gross output to more than 4,900 bopd. The Albacora well was drilled on Dec. 23.
Third-quarter net oil production from the Corvina and Albacora fields was 1,330 bopd.
** RITE AID CORP, $5.58, +5.08 pct
J.P. Morgan Securities upgraded its rating on the third-largest U.S. drugstore chain’s stock to “overweight” from “neutral” as it expects the company to benefit from incremental prescription drug spending related to the Affordable Care Act in 2014.
The brokerage also raised its price target on Rite Aid’s stock to $6.50 from $6.00.
** STEVE MADDEN LTD, $33.915, -3.95 pct
Piper Jaffray analysts cut the fashion footwear retailer’s stock to “neutral” from “overweight”, according to Theflyonthewall.com.
** TWITTER INC, $60.48, -1.59 pct
Analysts at brokerage Cantor Fitzgerald cut their rating on the microblogging website’s stock to “sell” from “hold”, saying they find Twitter’s valuation “excessive”.
“Twitter remains one of the fastest-growing companies and one of the few key plays on the social internet, but at the current valuation we prefer Facebook and Google,” they said in a note.
Twitter shares have fallen about 3 percent since the beginning of this year.
** RUCKUS WIRELESS INC, $15.24, +3.18 pct
Brokerage Wedbush Securities started coverage of the Wi-Fi equipment maker’s stock with an “outperform” rating and a price target of $18, citing higher demand for its products from the enterprise and wireless communications markets.
** DEAN FOODS CO, $17.29, -3.68 pct
Deutsche Bank cut its rating on the top U.S. dairy company’s stock to “hold” from “buy.” (Compiled by Rohit T.K. in Bangalore; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)