(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 fell on Monday, with the S&P 500 hitting its lowest level in almost three months after data showed the factory sector in the world's largest economy expanded in January at a far weaker pace than expected. The Dow Jones industrial average was down 1.61 percent at 15,446.82, the S&P 500 was down 1.90 percent at 1,748.73 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 2.47 percent at 4,002.574.
** AT&T INC, $32.1, -3.66 pct
** T-MOBILE US INC, $30.09, -1.57 pct
** VERIZON COMMUNICATIONS INC, $46.63, -2.89 pct
AT&T’s plan to cut prices on its large shared data plans is aimed at winning customers in an increasingly fierce competition with rivals such as T-Mobile US and could force larger rival Verizon to offer new discounts, analysts said.
** SPRINT CORP, $7.96, -3.75 pct
The company’s Chairman Masayoshi Son is slated to meet with Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler on Monday, an FCC official said, as the No. 3 U.S. wireless provider mulls a potential bid for smaller rival T-Mobile US Inc .
** JOS. A. BANK CLOTHIERS INC, $54.09, -3.79 pct
** MEN‘S WEARHOUSE INC, $44.54, -7.29 pct
Jos. A. Bank rejected on Sunday yet another offer by rival Men’s Wearhouse, the latest in a prolonged acquisition battle between the two men’s clothing retailers.
Jos. A. Bank was said to be in talks buy retailer Eddie Bauer Inc from private equity owner Golden Gate Capital, said a source familiar with the talks on Saturday.
** FORD MOTOR CO, $14.47, -3.28 pct
** GENERAL MOTORS CO, $35.21, -2.41 pct
The U.S. automakers saw their January auto sales plummet, missing analysts’ estimates for the month. But early sales results were mixed for other companies and brands, with Chrysler Group, a unit of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, and Nissan North America reporting increases and topping analysts’ estimates, while Toyota Motor Sales USA missed on a year-to-year decline.
GM, Ford and Toyota, the top three U.S. sellers, all blamed bad weather for poor performances.
** PFIZER INC, $30.85, +1.48 pct
The drugmaker’s experimental breast cancer drug significantly improved patient survival rates in a mid-stage trial without their condition worsening, maintaining the company’s lead in the race for a new treatment standard for the disease.
** VALEANT PHARMACEUTICALS INTERNATIONAL INC, $132.87, -2.04 pct
The Canada-based company agreed to acquire privately held PreCision Dermatology Inc for $475 million in cash to strengthen its skin products business.
** NORDIC AMERICAN TANKER LTD, $10.2, -6.76 pct
** GASLOG LTD, $19.72, -5.92 pct
** SCORPIO TANKERS INC, $9.41, -5.90 pct
** DANAOS CORP, $6.31, -8.42 pct
Jefferies analysts said they expected crude oil tanker charter rates to decline due to weakening global demand for oil and increasing non-OPEC production. “We believe weak projected global oil demand growth is unlikely to stimulate tanker demand sufficiently to absorb the new projected crude oil tanker shipyard deliveries,” analysts said in a note to investors.
** HERBALIFE LTD, $62.61, -2.73 pct
Shares of the nutrition and weight-loss products company reversed course and fell after Bill Ackman renewed his attack on the company by going after and highlighting the practices of individual distributors of Herbalife, which the activist investor accuses of being a pyramid scheme.
Earlier on Monday, Herbalife estimated its fourth-quarter results above analysts’ expectations, sending its shares up as much as 6 percent.
** KRONOS WORLDWIDE INC, $14.78, -4.52 pct
Fitch downgraded its outlook on the specialty chemical maker’s debt rating to “negative” from “stable,” saying the company and other titanium dioxide producers were having to sell excess inventory as demand softened, resulting in weak earnings.
The credit rating agency, which has a “BB-” rating on Kronos’s debt, said it expected the company to report weak operating cash flow in 2014.
Kronos said last month that it was looking to raise debt and the company estimated a 7 percent fall in fourth-quarter net sales.
** SIBANYE GOLD LTD, $5.99, +3.81 pct
The South African gold miner said it expected shipments from its Kloof, Driefontein and Beatrix operations to be about 1.4 million ounces for 2014. The company reported a total production of 1.22 million ounces for 2013.
** VANDA PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $10.9499, -17.23 pct
Vanda plans to launch its Non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Disorder drug, Hetlioz, in the second quarter, the company’s executives told analysts on a conference call. Lack of specific guidance on the drug’s pricing and a “less-than-aggressive” launch timing may be pushing the stock lower, Morningstar analyst Stefan Quenneville said.
Hetlioz won U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval on Friday, which was not very surprising after an FDA panel recommended approval in November, Quenneville said.
** ON ASSIGNMENT INC, $30.12, +1.48 pct
Deutsche Bank raised its rating on the staffing company’s stock to ‘buy’ from ‘hold’ on Sunday.
** ATLANTIC POWER CORP, $2.28, -13.96 pct
The Canadian power company’s shares continued to fall after TD Securities analysts cut their rating on its stock to “reduce” from “hold” on Friday, saying Atlantic’s recent debt restructuring initiatives could limit its ability to pay dividend.
Atlantic said on Thursday that its wholly owned unit launched a debt offering of up to $600 million and said it planned to use the proceeds to fund its working capital needs.
** PTC THERAPEUTICS INC $23.2, -11.01 pct
The company on Friday filed for a common stock offering of up to $75 million. (r.reuters.com/rak56v)
** INGLES MARKETS INC, $24.16, -11.11 pct
The supermarket chain reported an 18 percent fall in first-quarter net income, hurt by a decline in gross margins.
The company also posted a 0.8 percent fall in comparable store sales.
** MATTEL INC, $35.94, -5.02 pct
Suntrust Robinson Humphrey cut its rating on the toymaker’s stock to “neutral” from “buy,” according to Theflyonthewall.com.
Longbow Research also downgraded the stock to “neutral” from “buy,” according to Streetinsider.com.
** BIOTELEMETRY INC, $8.91, +22.22 pct
The wireless medical technology company said Mednet Healthcare Technologies and its units entered into a consent judgment stating that they infringed on five patents owned by BioTelemetry, which are all valid.
BioTelemetry said it bought all outstanding shares of Mednet, which makes cardiac monitoring devices, for $16 million. The purchase price comprises $5.5 million in cash, $800,000 of BioTelemetry’s common stock and the assumption of $9.7 million of debt.
** ORAMED PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $17.1101, -22.54 pct
A report from a noted biotechnology blogger on investment website TheStreet.com said clinical data released by the company on Thursday for its oral insulin pill was “completely worthless,” and questioned the pill’s safety and efficacy.
Oramed announced its insulin pill was "safe and well tolerated" in the mid-stage study without providing any statistics to support that claim, columnist Adam Feuerstein said in the report. (r.reuters.com/fat56v)
Oramed said on Thursday that its insulin capsule met the main and secondary goals of the study.
** INFOSONICS CORP, $2.5, +7.30 pct
The electronics distributor launched KolorPadTM, a 7-inch tablet powered by Android 4.2 operating system priced at $149.
** KRATOS DEFENSE & SECURITY SOLUTIONS INC, $7.66, +5.95 pct
The defense contractor said it won a five-year contract worth up to $7.92 billion from the U.S. Navy.
** AOL INC, $47.25, +2.54 pct
Needham & Co raised its price target on the media company’s stock to $57 from $46, citing the “excess returns” generated by its mobile-first strategy.
“The strategic choices that AOL is making are first-rate, in our view, as is their execution track record of slowing the demise of subscription revenue (AOL’s key funding source),” analyst Laura Martin wrote in a note.
** GALENA BIOPHARMA INC, $4.17, -20.87 pct
The drugmaker’s shares fell after a blog post blamed the company for giving away a free month’s supply of its opioid pain drug, Abstral, said Maxim Group analyst Echo He.
"This ambitious marketing strategy allows more than enough time and supply to create addicts," blogger John Hempton wrote. (link.reuters.com/tat56v)
Galena's voucher posted on its website offers patients a maximum of 96 tablets of the drug for free in the first month and up to $500 off each prescription after the first month. (link.reuters.com/qat56v)
** INTELLIPHARMACEUTICS INTERNATIONAL INC, $4.03, +8.63 pct
The Canada-based drugmaker said it received milestone payments of about $3.1 million, relating to sales of its generic drug for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder by its licensee Par Pharmaceutical Inc.
** THERMOGENESIS CORP, $2.31, +5.00 pct
The company said its technology for stem cell recovery and isolation were used in the 20th pediatric bone marrow transplant conducted by India-based Fortis Healthcare, in partnership with TotipotentRx Corp, a privately-held cellular therapy research company.
ThermoGenesis and TotipotentRX entered into a merger agreement in July, which is subject to stockholder approval.
** UNITED ONLINE INC, $10.77, -11.07 pct
The online floral and gift service provider said on Friday that it would discontinue paying cash dividends in order to provide financial flexibility to support its long-term growth initiatives.
** LEUCADIA NATIONAL CORP, $26.18, -4.21 pct
A beef packing unit of the company said on Friday that it planned to close its Brawley, California beef processing plant with the final day of operation on April 4, due to dwindling cattle supplies.
** COMPANHIA DE SANEAMENTO BASICO DO ESTADO DE SAO PAULO , $8.76, -4.05 pct
The Sao Paulo water company announced big discounts on bills for consumers who reduce usage during the current drought.
** VITESSE SEMICONDUCTOR CORP, $3.83, +6.39 pct
The chipmaker said in a filing on Friday that its founder Martin William had bought about 2 million of its shares last week.
** JOURNAL COMMUNICATIONS, $8.23, +3.26 pct
Activist investor Mario Gabelli said if the newspaper and television station owner spins off its newspaper assets, its total assets could be worth $13-$15 per share, Barron's reported on Saturday. (link.reuters.com/pat56v)
Gabelli, Journal’s largest shareholder, has been raising his stake in the company.
** FIREEYE INC, $66.335, -9.12 pct
The cybersecurity provider and some of its shareholders plan to offer up to $700 million in common stock.
** MEDIVATION INC, $74.165, -6.83 pct
At least two brokerages, including Needham & Co and Bernstein, cut their ratings on the drugmaker’s stock.
Needham & Co analyst Chad Messer downgraded the stock to “hold” from “buy,” saying that the company could face hurdles during the development of its prostrate cancer drug, Xtandi, for wider use in patients who had not received chemotherapy.
Messer also said that Medivation’s drug could face competition from similar drugs being developed by Johnson & Johnson and privately-held companies including Tokai Pharmaceuticals and Viamet Pharmaceuticals Holdings LLC.
Bernstein downgraded the stock to “market-perform” from “outperform”, according to Streetinsider.com.
** RANDGOLD RESOURCES LTD, $72.09, +4.63 pct
The miner said it was looking to partner with smaller rivals weakened by lower gold prices and would continue to spend on exploration this year, as it posted record production for 2013.
** RYANAIR, $48.5, +2.65 pct
The Ireland-based company reported strong forward bookings and an easing of intense price competition among European airlines, raising hopes it can quickly regain height with a new customer-friendly image after a profit warning spooked markets last year.
** ARTHROCARE CORP, $48.9, +7.76 pct
Britain’s Smith & Nephew is to buy ArthroCare for an agreed $1.7 billion in cash to strengthen its treatments for sporting injuries, an area growing faster than its main replacement hips and knees business.
** LHC GROUP INC, $23.83, +3.88 pct
** BIOSCRIP INC, $8.42, -1.06 pct
Home healthcare and hospice services provider LHC Group said it would buy BioScrip’s home health business for $60 million in cash, expanding its business to 33 locations in five states.
LHC said the deal, which is expected to close by the end of the first quarter, would add $0.05-$0.10 per share to its earnings in 2014.
BioScrip said the deal would add to its earnings in 2014. (Compiled by Natalie Grover in Bangalore; Editing by Kirti Pandey)