March 14, 2014 / 3:49 PM / 4 years ago

MARKET PULSE-Castlight, Raptor Pharma, Body Central, Ocean Power

(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 Friday, keeping the S&P below a key support level for a second day, with investors reluctant to make big bets ahead of a referendum in Crimea this weekend. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 0.07 percent at 16,119.68, the S&P 500 was up 0.05 percent at 1,847.24 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.02 percent at 4,261.404.

** CASTLIGHT HEALTH INC, $37.81, +136.31 pct

Shares of the healthcare information provider more than doubled in value in their market debut, valuing the company at about $3.43 billion.

** RAPTOR PHARMACEUTICAL CORP, $11.77, -20.42 pct

Raptor Pharmaceutical forecast lower-than-expected 2014 sales of its only drug, which treats a genetic disorder that can cause irreversible tissue damage, organ failure and premature death.

“We’ve expressed concerns that the market for (the drug) Procysbi is not as large as some investors are estimating and ... guidance may be confirming that this might be the case,” Wedbush analyst Christopher Marai told Reuters. He also said investors were concerned that the company would need to raise money to maintain its operations beyond the second half of 2015.

** BODY CENTRAL CORP, $2.19, -22.89 pct

The women’s apparel retailer on Thursday estimated fourth-quarter sales, lower than what analysts on average had expected, and said it would delay the filing of its annual report for the year ended Dec. 28. The company said it expected sales of about $66 million. Analysts on average were expecting sales of $73.6 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

** OCEAN POWER TECHNOLOGIES INC, $4.29, -15.88 pct

The company, which develops systems to generate electricity from ocean waves, reported lower quarterly revenue mainly due to delays in deploying a project off Reedsport, Oregon, which has been suspended pending regulation, and a decline in revenue from Ocean Power’s project off the coast of Spain.

** HARVARD APPARATUS REGENERATIVE TECHNOLOGY INC, $10.549, +11.16 pct

Maxim Group started coverage of the company’s stock with a “buy” rating, saying its pipeline and technology which includes synthetic tracheas, lungs, heart valves, and even hearts, will help it secure a position in the organ replacement market. “HART could continue to lead the segment for years to come. In addition, orphan status and market exclusivity could position the company to both efficiently capture future revenue and maintain significant barriers to entry”, analysts said in a note.

** AEROPOSTALE INC, $6.27, -14.11 pct

Teen apparel retailer Aeropostale reported its fifth straight quarterly loss, hurt by a 15 percent fall in same-store sales, and said it entered into a deal with private equity firm Sycamore Partners for a 5 percent stake.

** VAALCO ENERGY INC, $6.82, +14.05 pct

The oil and gas producer reported a profit for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, compared with a loss a year earlier, helped by lower income taxes paid in Gabon and reduced exploration costs.

** COMPANHIA SIDERURGICA NACIONAL, $4.07, +11.81 pct

The company said on Thursday it plans to buy back up to 70.2 million shares between March 14 and April 14. The company has 702 million outstanding shares. [ID: r.reuters.com/wuj67v ]

** DYAX CORP, $9.155, -9.85 pct

The biopharmaceutical company said it would offer 8 million shares for $9.25 each, at a discount of nearly 9 percent to the stock’s closing price on Thursday. The company expects gross proceeds of $74 million to fund clinical development, repay debt and for general corporate purposes.

** ULTA BEAUTY, $96.05, +7.31 pct

The beauty products retailer reported fourth-quarter results that beat analysts’ estimates on Thursday, helped by a 9.2 percent rise in comparable sales.

At least two brokerages raised their price targets on the company’s stock on Friday.

** INTERCEPT PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $466.71, +4.18 pct

Citigroup raised its price target on the drug developer’s stock to $700 from $600 as it expects the company’s experimental drug to treat liver disease would be approved. The drug, obeticholic acid, in being studied as a potential treatment for patients with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), a form of liver inflammation.

** EBIX INC, $16.8, +3.19 pct

The insurance software maker reported a 6 percent drop in fourth-quarter revenue, hurt by lower revenue from its foreign exchange and BPO businesses. The company’s revenue fell to $50.8 million from $54.0 million a year earlier.

** FUEL SYSTEMS SOLUTIONS INC, Thursday close $11.97, -11.03 pct premarket

The alternative-fuel components maker reported a surprise quarterly loss as certain contracts with automakers in Asia and Europe ended.

** OMEROS CORP, $11.16, -9.27 pct

The drugmaker said its offering of 3 million shares is priced at $11.50 each, which represents a discount of 7 percent to the stock’s Thursday close. Omeros said it expected to use a part of the net proceeds of about $32.8 million towards expenses related to the marketing of its experimental eye drug Omidria.

** ONCOTHYREON INC, $3.625, -6.81 pct

Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Mara Goldstein downgraded the company’s stock to “hold” from “buy” on valuation. Brokerage Canaccord Genuity also cut its rating on the stock to “hold”, according to benzinga.com.

** ZOGENIX INC, $3.51, -4.36 pct

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin introduced a bill late on Thursday demanding that the U.S. health regulator rescind its approval of the company’s painkiller Zohydro.

The head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had defended the agency’s approval of Zohydro earlier in the day, saying it offers a “unique” option to treat pain despite concerns about potential abuse.

** ZUMIEZ INC, $25.085, +2.64 pct

The specialty sports apparel and footwear retailer on Thursday reported a higher-than-expected fourth-quarter profit helped by lower costs. At least three brokerages raised their target price on the company’s stock.

** COOPER TIRE & RUBBER CO, $24.1, +5.61 pct

The fourth-largest U.S. tire maker reported a fourth-quarter profit that beat analysts’ average estimate and said it expects unit volumes to grow in 2014 “at a rate equal or higher than the industry in key markets.”

** STONEMOR PARTNERS LP, $23.119, -5.83 pct

The cemetery operator reported a larger-than-expected loss for the fourth quarter. The company posted a loss of 16 cents per limited partner unit. Analysts on average had expected a loss of 12 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

** CITI TRENDS INC, $17.43, +8.19 pct

The apparel and accessories retailer reported fourth-quarter earnings above analysts’ estimates, helped by fewer clearance markdowns and lower expenses.

** PLUG POWER INC, $7.62, -4.75 pct

** BALLARD POWER SYSTEMS INC,, $5.9441, -0.60 pct

** FUELCELL ENERGY, $3.1315, -5.96 pct

At least two brokerages downgraded fuel cell maker Plug Power’s stock. Analysts at Roth Capital lowered its rating on Plug Power’s stock to “neutral” from “buy”, citing tapering momentum of orders in 2014, while Cowen & Co downgraded the stock to “market perform” from “outperform”.

Plug Power said on Thursday it expected to post its first ever profit in the fourth quarter this year as orders rise for its hydrogen fuel cells.

Shares of its peers were also down on Friday.

** MATTRESS FIRM HOLDING CORP, $46.38, +4.34 pct

The specialty bedding retailer raised on Thursday its sales and earnings forecasts for the current financial year, exceeding market estimates, as it factored in the effect of its recent acquisitions. The company said it expected adjusted earnings of $1.88-$2.00 per share and net sales of $1.46 billion-$1.52 billion for the year ending Feb. 3, 2015. Analysts on average were expecting a profit of $1.65 per share on revenue of $1.22 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

** HIBBETT SPORTS INC, $55.92, -3.32 pct

The sporting good retailer reported fourth-quarter results below analysts’ average estimate, hurt by “significant weather-related store closures” in January. The retailer also forecast full-year 2014 earnings of $2.78-$2.98 per share, below the analyst estimate of $3.05, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

** WORLD ACCEPTANCE CORP, $80.595, +3.00 pct

Shares of the company, which provides small loans to individuals, continued to fall for the second day after it said in a filing that it received a Civil Investigative Demand (CID) from the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to determine whether finance companies are engaged in unlawful practices related to offering of loans.

** GENERAL MILLS INC, $49.99, -2.00 pct

U.S. packaged foods group General Mills warned third-quarter earnings would fall below analysts’ expectations as it faces increased competition from store brands and spends more on marketing its yogurts.

** TSAKOS ENERGY NAVIGATION LTD, $7.16, +9.31 pct

** DHT HOLDINGS INC, $8.01, +3.22 pct

** SCORPIO TANKERS INC, $10.31, +6.29 pct

** STEALTHGAS INC, $11.22, +3.99 pct

UBS analyst Joshua Katzeff started covering the tanker operator’s stocks with a “buy” rating, saying tanker rates are expected to go up over the next year as transportation distance increases due to West African and South American exports to Asia. Increased rates should push company earnings higher, Katzeff said.

** LIBERTY MEDIA CORP, $135.3999, +7.34 pct

** SIRIUS XM HOLDINGS, $3.405, +1.04 pct

Liberty Media, controlled by chairman John Malone, said it was no longer making an offer to buy all of Sirius XM shares and announced plans to split its media holding company into two tracking stocks later this year.

** ANN INC, $36.84, +5.65 pct

Women’s apparel retailer Ann’s fourth-quarter profit topped analysts’ estimates as it managed its holiday season promotions better than its rivals.

** HERBALIFE LTD, $58.73, +2.48 pct

Nutritional products company Herbalife, which is being investigated by the Federal Trade Commission, said it postponed its annual shareholders’ meeting to April 29 to continue discussions with Carl Icahn about new board nominees.

** STARBUCKS CORP, $74.56, +0.17 pct

** KEURIG GREEN MOUNTAIN INC, $113.15, +6.58 pct

Starbucks Corp will get a wider selection of Keurig Green Mountain’s single-serve K-Cup coffee packs, in exchange for giving up the exclusive license for Keurig’s highest-end coffee packs, the companies said on Friday.

** FIRST MAJESTIC SILVER CORP, $11.65, +1.30 pct

** GOLDCORP INC, $28.82, +0.77 pct

** SILVER STANDARD RESOURCES INC, $11.48, +1.23 pct

** ANGLOGOLD ASHANTI LTD, $19.39, +2.32 pct

** SILVERCORP METALS INC, $2.35, +2.17 pct

Gold prices reached their highest level in six months on Friday, benefiting from stumbling share prices hit by tensions between Russia and the West over Ukraine and growth concerns in China. Spot gold rose as much as 1.4 percent to its highest level since Sep.9 at $1,387.90 an ounce in earlier trade and was up 1 percent to $1,383.30 by 1347 GMT. Silver followed gold’s moves, with a 2.5 percent increase to $21.66 an ounce. (Reporting by Shubhankar Chakravorty in Bangalore; Editing by Don Sebastian)

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