April 16 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rose for a third straight session on Wednesday after China’s economic growth exceeded expectations and Yahoo shares rallied on the strength of revenue growth in Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, in which it has a stake. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 0.72 percent at 16,379.02, the S&P 500 was up 0.67 percent at 1,855.38 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.74 percent at 4,064.094.
** YAHOO INC, $36.11, +5.55 pct
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd’s IPO-ALIB.N surprise surge in revenue and its upcoming IPO present a great opportunity for investors to load up on Yahoo’s shares, analysts said.
Yahoo posted anemic quarterly revenue growth as the Internet company’s advertising business continues to lag its rivals, nearly two years into Chief Executive Officer Marissa Mayer’s comeback effort.
** ZALICUS INC, $1.3893, +34.88 pct
The drug developer said it would merge with privately held Epirus Biopharmaceuticals Inc in an all-stock transaction, creating a Nasdaq-listed company operated by the management of Epirus. Shareholders of Boston-based Epirus will own a majority of shares of the combined company, the percentage of which is subject to the level of Zalicus’ net cash at the close of the deal.
** ZOGENIX INC, $2.7189, +16.19 pct
A U.S. District Court judge on Tuesday stopped Massachusetts from implementing a ban on the sale of Zogenix’s prescription painkiller Zohydro, saying federal law superseded the state’s action.
** APRICUS BIOSCIENCES INC, $2.34, +16.42 pct
The San Diego based-drugmaker said it had begun shipping its topical treatment for erectile dysfunction, Vitaros, to its partner Takeda Pharmaceuticals International GmbH, making the drug available in the United Kingdom.
The biotechnology company entered into an agreement with the unit of Japan-based Takeda Pharmaceutical Co in September 2012 to market Vitaros in the United Kingdom.
** AUTOHOME INC, $35.41, +12.99 pct
Credit Suisse started coverage of the Chinese automobile information website’s stock with a neutral rating, according to Theflyonthewall.com.
** IMMUNOGEN INC, $14.24, +11.25 pct
Canaccord Genuity analyst John Newman started coverage on the biotechnology company’s stock with a “buy” rating and a $20 price target, saying he expected positive data from a late-stage trial of the company’s drug as the first treatment for an aggressive form of breast cancer.
Newman said the drug, Kadcyla, which uses Immunogen’s drug-delivery technology, could eliminate the need for chemotherapy in patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer.
“Immunogen’s technology may allow for elimination of chemotherapy in many currently used antibody + chemotherapy combinations, which could spur additional demand for partnering or outright purchase by Roche,” he wrote in a note.
Kadcyla is approved for treatment of HER2-positive breast cancer which has spread to other parts of the body after prior treatment with Roche’s breast cancer treatment Herceptin and another chemotherapy drug.
** BITAUTO HOLDINGS LTD, $34.86, +13.29 pct
Credit Suisse started coverage of Bitauto, which provides internet content and marketing services for China’s automotive industry, with an outperform rating, according to Theflyonthewall.com.
** INTERACTIVE BROKERS GROUP INC, $23.46, +8.81 pct
The brokerage’s profit for the quarter ended March 31 surged nearly three-fold to $19.1 million, or 34 cents per share, on growth in customer accounts and higher average trading activity per customer. The company posted a 61 percent rise in revenue to $369.2 million on a rise in trading gains, and commissions and execution fees.
Analysts on average were expecting earnings of 30 cents per share on revenue of $322 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
** SODASTREAM INTERNATIONAL LTD, $40.42, +7.24 pct
The at-home soda maker is in early talks to sell a 10 to 16 percent stake in the company to a large strategic entity, Israeli financial news website Calcalist reported. Sodastream spokespman Yonah Lloyd declined to comment on the report.
** NIMBLE STORAGE INC, $33.77, +8.73 pct
Brokerage UBS Investment Research raised its rating to “buy” from “neutral” on the data storage company’s stock, saying it expects the company to exceed its near-term earnings forecast. “Although the overall storage market continues to be lackluster, Nimble should be able to gain share due to its significant price-performance advantage,” UBS analysts wrote in a note to clients.
** NPS PHARMACEUTICALS, $24.87, +6.37 pct
Canaccord Genuity analyst John Newman assumed coverage of the drugmaker’s stock with a “buy” rating, based on the potential of three therapies to which it holds worldwide rights. These include its approved short bowel syndrome treatment Gattex, for which Newman expects peak sales of $320 million in 2019 in the United States; and its hypoparathyroidism treatment Natpara, which is expected to receive approval in October.
** J2 GLOBAL INC, $49.29, +6.37 pct
Sidoti & Co raised its rating to “buy” from “neutral” on the cloud services provider’s stock, according to theflyonthewall.com.
** ATHLON ENERGY, $41.03, +4.06 pct
The company, which operates oil and liquids-rich natural gas reserves in Texas’ Permian Basin, said daily production rose 71 percent to a record high of 16,987 barrels per oil equivalent per day on average.
Analysts at Global Hunter Securities raised their price target on the stock to $50 from $42.
** EAGLE BULK SHIPPING INC, $3.4, +8.63 pct
The drybulk shipper said a deadline to reach an agreement to prevent a default on its $1.1 billion term loan has been extended to April 30 from April 15.
“We continue to believe Chapter 11 is easily the most likely outcome here,” Wells Fargo analyst Michael Webber said in a note to clients.
** AGNICO EAGLE MINES LTD, $27.92, -8.43 pct
** YAMANA GOLD INC, $8.04, -4.06 pct
Canada’s Osisko Mining Corp said it would sell most of its assets to Yamana Gold Inc and Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd as it battles to thwart a hostile takeover bid from Goldcorp Inc.
** FX ENERGY INC, $4.1301, +7.00 pct
Roth Capital Partners analysts said they were maintaining their “buy” rating on the oil and gas explorer’s stock after FX Energy said it had drilled its second well at Poland’s Permian basin. Analysts said the well will be a “crucial growth opportunity” for the company in 2014.
** 21VIANET GROUP INC, $25.84, +6.21 pct
The Chinese internet data center services provider said it would deliver Microsoft Corp’s Office 365 suite as a local cloud service to business and government customers throughout China.
** EMERGENT BIOSOLUTIONS INC, $24.91, +5.15 pct
The drugmaker said a clinical trial of its anthrax vaccine showed there was no reaction between the vaccine and an antiobiotic that is intended to be used with it. The company is trying to get its anthrax vaccine BioThrax approved to be used in people who have been exposed to the virus. It is approved for treating adults who were not exposed to anthrax spores.
** JETBLUE AIRWAYS, $8.68, +4.45 pct
Argus Research raised its rating on the airline’s stock to buy from hold, citing expanded route network, increased ancillary revenue, improved in-flight internet service, and a new premium class called Mint, which will offer lie-flat seats on transcontinental flights beginning in second half of 2014.
** TWITTER INC, $44.18, -2.94 pct
Morningstar downgraded the social media company to "sell" from "hold", according to Benzinga.com. (r.reuters.com/dax58v)
** ASML Holding NV, $81.546, -4.22 pct
The world’s biggest manufacturer of tools for semiconductor chip makers trimmed its first-half sales forecast, blaming slower second-quarter sales to some customers. Its shares fell sharply on the news.
** CREDIT SUISSE GROUP AG, $31.08, -2.14 pct
The second-largest Swiss bank’s net profit fell by more than a third in the first quarter due to a big drop in bond trading revenue, increasing pressure on CEO Brady Dougan to make deeper cuts to its investment banking business.
** ALLERGAN INC, $130.99, +2.50 pct
Sterne Agee & Leach analyst Shibani Malhotra initiated coverage on the specialty pharmaceutical company’s stock with a “buy” rating and $142 price target, saying that Allergan’s Botox injection would drive strong long-term growth as the company tests it for more conditions. Malhotra also said Allergan’s dry eye drug, Restasis, one of the company’s largest brands, was unlikely to face generic competition until 2018.
** PRECISION DRILLING CORP, $12.34, +4.75 pct
Analysts at Morgan Stanley upgraded the oil and gas services provider to “overweight” from “underweight”, as they expect the company to benefit from its Canadian liquified natural gas (LNG) export projects. “We see potential for PDS to double its Canadian drilling profits over the next five years,” Morgan Stanley analyst Ole Slorer said in a note to clients.
Barclays Capital raised its price target on Precision to C$14 from C$12.
** DEHAIER MEDICAL CORP, $6.17, +4.38 pct
The medical device maker and distributor said it entered into an agreement with medical equipment manufacturers including Johnson & Johnson and CareFusion Corp to supply some of their products to the Chinese government. Dehaier will bid for the government projects and expects the aggregate value of the projects to be about $21 million.
** KING DIGITAL ENTERTAINMENT PLC, $18.01, +3.33 pct
Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings Ltd will launch a Chinese version of King Digital’s explosively popular “Candy Crush Saga” game in China, as the UK-based mobile games maker looks to woo new users to support flagging sales in the United States and Europe.
** YELP INC, $64.7, +2.60 pct
Citigroup raised its rating on the consumer reviews website’s stock to “buy” from “neutral”, according to theflyonthewall.com.
** BANK OF AMERICA CORP, $15.983, -2.48 pct
The bank posted a first-quarter loss as the No. 2 U.S. bank recorded $6 billion in litigation expenses related to a settlement with the Federal Housing Finance Agency and other mortgage-related matters.
** NETAPP INC, $36.005, -2.68 pct
UBS cut its rating on the data storage equipment maker’s stock to ‘neutral’ from ‘buy’, saying the outlook for storage spending looks mediocre as users consider their alternatives. “Although there still may be a storage upgrade cycle coming, we don’t see it in our recent survey work and NetApp faces rising competition from start-ups as well as the cloud,” analyst Steven Milunovich wrote in a note to clients.
** CREE INC, $56.19, +1.23 pct
Brokerage Needham & Co raised its rating on the LED maker’s stock to ”hold“ from ”buy“, saying CREE would deliver strong revenue and earnings growth in the coming quarters.”
** APPLE INC, $517.88, -0.02 pct
Apple on Tuesday lost an attempt to dismiss lawsuits by state attorneys general accusing it of conspiring with five major publishers to fix e-book prices.
** INTEL CORP, $26.81, +0.15 pct
The chipmaker’s first-quarter net profit exceeded Wall Street’s estimates as the company wrestles with slow demand for personal computers and its chief executive said an ambitious goal to stake out market share in tablets was on track.
** GENERAL MOTORS CO, $33.81, +1.35 pct
The carmaker said it will ask a U.S. bankruptcy court to bar plaintiffs from proceeding with lawsuits against the automaker for claims related to any actions before it filed for bankruptcy in 2009.
** LYONDELLBASELL INDUSTRIES NV, $91.43, +2.10 pct
The chemical maker raised its quarterly interim dividend and announced plans to buy back up to an additional 10 percent shares over the next 18 months. The company, which raised its first-quarter dividend by 17 percent to 70 cents per share, said it had already repurchased about 46 million shares.
** LINEAR TECHNOLOGY CORP, $45.29, -3.90 pct
The chipmaker reported third-quarter revenue of $348 million, below analysts’ estimates of $350 million, due to weak orders. The midpoint of the company’s current-quarter sales forecast of $355-$369 million also came below analysts’ expectations of $365 million.
** BAIDU INC, $156.72, +0.80 pct
China’s leading internet search provider has launched a mobile payment and wealth management platform after its main domestic rivals launched similar products.
** YINGLI GREEN ENERGY HOLDING CO LTD, $4.23, +5.49 pct
The Chinese solar panel maker said it had signed an agreement with Shanghai Sailing Capital Management to form a renewable energy fund in Shanghai to invest in downstream solar energy projects in China. The fund will have an initial size of 1 billion yuan. ($160.7 million) ($1 = 6.2220 Chinese Yuan)
** WORLD WRESTLING ENTERTAINMENT INC, $21.58, +4.00 pct
The producer of televised wrestling shows “Monday Night Raw” and “Friday Night SmackDown” said on Tuesday that for the first time WrestleMania 30 event reached a record 1 million households in the Unites States alone on WWE Network and pay-per-view combined. WWE said it was confident that it will reach its goal of 1 million subscribers by the end of 2014, the company added.
** XG TECHNOLOGY INC, $1.8731, -13.68 pct
The developer of wireless communications technologies said it was offering 5.3 million common shares at $1.90 per share, below its Tuesday close of $2.17.
** ADTRAN INC, $22.59, -8.43 pct
The network gear maker reported lower-than-expected revenue for the first quarter, hurt by lower sales in the United States.
** CSX CORP, $27.56, -2.58 pct
The transportation company, which operates in an area which includes the Appalachian coal basin, said shipments of export coal declined in the first quarter. Jacksonville, Florida-based CSX relies more on coal than its peers. The company said weather-related disruptions in the first quarter increased expenses by about 6 cents per share.
Compiled by Rohit T.K. in Bangalore; Edited by Don Sebastian