February 24, 2014 / 4:53 PM / 4 years ago

MARKET PULSE-Celladon, Triquint, Trex, Jos A Bank, Facebook, eBay

(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 on Monday, advancing in a broad rally as merger activity boosted the S&P 500 to an all-time high. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 1.13 percent at 16,285.02, the S&P 500 was up 1.16 percent at 1,857.46 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.77 percent at 4296.08.

** CELLADON CORP, $12.16, +60.63 pct

The biotechnology company said it granted to French company Servier an exclusive option to develop its experimental small molecule program to treat diabetes and metabolic disorders, outside the United States. If Servier exercised its option, depending on the outcome of studies, Celladon would receive upfront and milestone payments, as well as royalties on sales. The drugs are being tested in preclinical studies.

At least three brokerages, including Barclays, Wedbush and Stifel started coverage on Celladon with high ratings.

** TRIQUINT SEMICONDUCTOR INC, $11.25, +21.89 pct

** RF MICRO DEVICES INC, $6.7501, +16.18 pct

Radio frequency chipmaker RF Micro Devices will buy peer TriQuint Semiconductor for about $1.6 billion in an all-stock deal to create a company that could better compete in selling chips to mobile-handset makers.

** TREX CO INC, $82.44, +20.53 pct

The maker of wood and plastic composite products reported a 38 percent jump in fourth-quarter revenue due to higher demand in a recovering U.S. housing market.

** MEN‘S WEARHOUSE INC, $48.42, +7.34 pct

** JOS. A. BANK CLOTHIERS INC, $59.65, +8.36 pct

Men’s Wearhouse pressed on with its bid for Jos. A. Bank Clothiers, boosting its offer by more than 10 percent in spite of the smaller company’s effort to stay independent by buying outdoor clothing retailer Eddie Bauer.

Men’s Wearhouse raised its cash tender offer to Jos. A. Bank shareholders to $63.50 per share, from $57.50, and added it could increase the offer to $65 if it was able to conduct limited due diligence.

** FACEBOOK, $70.71, +3.09 pct

WhatsApp, the world’s biggest mobile messaging service, is to add a voice call service for its 450 million customers, laying down a new challenge to telecom network operators just days after it was bought by Facebook for $19 billion.

** BLACKBERRY LTD, $9.87, +7.99 pct

The handset maker said it would make its messaging service, BBM, available to Microsoft’s Windows Phone and the upcoming Nokia X platforms in the coming months.

** EBAY INC, $56.4129, +3.34 pct

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn accused eBay Chief Executive John Donahoe of failing to spot - or ignoring - conflicts of interest on the company’s board and called again for the spinoff of its fast-growing PayPal division. Icahn, who also disclosed a 2.15 percent stake in the e-commerce giant on Monday, said in a letter to shareholders that two long-time board members, Marc Andreessen and Scott Cook, had business interests that directly competed with eBay.

** APPLE INC, $526.67, +0.27 pct

A major flaw in Apple software for mobile devices could allow hackers to intercept email and other communications that are meant to be encrypted, the company said on Friday, and experts said Mac computers were even more exposed.

** GT ADVANCED TECHNOLOGIES INC, $13.9, +14.78 pct

The solar and LED equipment maker said it could turn profitable in the second half of this year, after reporting a smaller-than-expected loss for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31. The company, which will open a manufacturing facility in Arizona to make sapphire materials for Apple Inc’s electronics devices, said about 80 percent of its revenue in 2014 will come from the sapphire business, which makes materials used to manufacture LED chips.

** STRAYER EDUCATION INC, $45.49, -3.56 pct

At least three brokerages raised their target price on the stock after the for-profit education provider reported a better-than-expected fourth-quarter profit on Friday.

Deutsche Bank raised the target price to $40 from $34 on Sunday, while Piper Jaffray & Co raised the target price to $40 from $26 and BMO Capital Markets raised its target price to $49 from $40 on Monday.

** CREDIT SUISSE GROUP AG, $31.83, +1.14 pct

The bank’s Chief Executive Brady Dougan is scheduled to testify on Wednesday at a hearing on “offshore tax evasion,” the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations said on Monday. Dougan will be one of four officials of the Swiss bank to testify, along with U.S. Department of Justice officials, the subcommittee said.

** STANDARD MOTOR PRODUCTS INC, $35.62, +10.76 pct

The maker of replacement parts for motor vehicles reported fourth-quarter results that beat analysts’ average estimate as sales in its engine management business rose 6.9 percent. The company also announced stock buyback of up to an additional $10 million.

** HUMANA INC, $111.19, +8.14 pct

** UNITEDHEALTH GROUP INC, $76.03, +3.01 pct

** AETNA INC, $72.16, +2.46 pct

** TENET HEALTHCARE CORP, $48.2, +2.84 pct

** WELLCARE HEALTH PLANS INC, $62.78, +2.83 pct

Humana said the U.S. government’s proposed cuts to the private Medicare program appear to represent a funding decline of about 3.5 percent to 4 percent, less than the 6 percent to 7 percent it had expected.

** PFIZER INC, $31.97, +1.62 pct

The drug maker said Prevnar 13, its blockbuster vaccine against childhood infections, prevented pneumonia outside of hospitals in people age 65 and older, in one of the largest drug trials ever conducted.

** KANDI TECHNOLOGIES GROUP INC, $14.8, +10.78 pct

The China-based electric vehicle maker told Bloomberg in an interview that it was looking at expanding its car rental service to Beijing and Shanghai. (r.reuters.com/hyd27v)

** SYNTA PHARMACEUTICALS CORP, $7, +8.70 pct

The company said two of its cancer compounds demonstrated anti-tumour activity in multiple animal trials.

** PALO ALTO NETWORKS INC, $77.765, +5.63 pct

The security software maker reported second-quarter revenue that beat Wall Street expectations as subscriptions rose. FBN Securities raised its price target on the stock to $90 from $65.

** OCULUS INNOVATIVE SCIENCES INC, $3.75, -5.54 pct

The company said it entered into agreements with two institutional investors for the sale of 450,620 units at a discount to its share closing price on Friday. Oculus said it expected to raise gross proceeds of $1.35 million from the offering.

** AUTOHOME INC,$37.22, +5.23 pct

The Chinese automobile information website reported a 74 percent jump in fourth-quarter revenue due to higher advertising and an increase in the number of paid subscribers.

** ARMSTRONG WORLD INDUSTRIES INC, $56.4, -4.84 pct

The company, which makes floors and ceilings, reported a fourth-quarter profit well below analysts’ estimates as costs rose 10.5 percent.

** CANADIAN SOLAR INC, $39.93, +5.72 pct

The solar company said it would supply 18 megawatts of panels to Japanese electronics maker Hitachi Ltd for a power project. In a separate deal, Canadian Solar said it would supply panels to privately held Strata Solar to power five power projects in North Carolina totaling 30 megawatts

Analysts at JP Morgan Securities began their coverage of Canadian Solar’s stock with an “overweight” rating and a price target of $50, citing the company’s project pipeline for this year, which could push margins high. Canadian Solar’s profit is likely to rise four-fold to $4.31 per share this year on an 87 percent rise in revenue, the analysts wrote in a note to clients.

** ENDOCYTE INC, $15.3499, +2.74 pct

The biopharmaceutical company posted a smaller-than-expected quarterly loss, helped by a 19 percent rise in revenue from its partnership with Merck & Co Inc to develop its cancer drug, vintafolide.

** NOKIA CORP, $7.61, +2.01 pct

** MICROSOFT CORP, $37.895, -0.22 pct

** GOOGLE INC, $1,219.78, +1.33 pct

The handset maker soon to be acquired by Microsoft is turning to software created by arch-rival Google for a new line of phones it hopes will make it a late contender in the dynamic low-cost smartphone market.

** SINA CORP, $75.27, +3.18 pct

The online media firm has hired Credit Suisse AG and Goldman Sachs for a U.S. initial public offering worth about $500 million of its Sina Weibo microblogging service, a source familiar with the plans said on Monday.

** AU OPTRONICS CORP, $3.31, +4.09 pct

Innolux Corp, the world’s No.3 flat-panel maker, declined to rule out a potential merger with smaller rival AU Optronics, but a fund manager said such a potential merger may not be realized soon.

** CHESAPEAKE ENERGY CORP, $27.29, +2.71 pct

The natural gas producer said it was pursuing strategic alternatives for its oilfield services division, including an outright sale or a potential spinoff to Chesapeake shareholders. (Compiled by Shailaja Sharma in Bangalore; Editing by Don Sebastian)

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