September 23, 2014 / 12:22 PM / in 3 years

BUZZ-U.S. Stocks on the Move-Alibaba, Ascena Retail, Salix, ReWalk Robotics

(For faster updates on individual market-movers, Eikon users please use search string "STXBZ US"; for more market insights, including options activity, ; for the Day Ahead newsletter, link.reuters.com/mex49s; for the Morning News Call newsletter, link.reuters.com/nex49s) U.S. stock index futures were moving lower on Tuesday, putting the S&P on track for a third straight decline, as conflict in the Middle East intensified and after the U.S. Treasury moved to curb "tax inversion" deals.

The Dow Jones industrial average futures were down 0.28 percent at 17,051, S&P 500 futures were down 0.33 percent at 1,979.75 and Nasdaq 100 futures were down 0.35 percent at 4,038.5.

** SALIX PHARMACEUTICALS LTD Monday close $159.83, +8.55 pct premarket

** ALLERGAN INC, Monday close $166.12

** VALEANT PHARMACEUTICALS INC, Monday close $116.28

Allergan has revived discussions to buy Salix, but the exact status of the discussions between the two drugmakers could not be immediately established.

The botox maker is trying to seal a deal with Salix in order to fend off a $53 billion hostile offer from Valeant. Salix said in July it would merge with an Irish subsidiary of Cosmo Pharmaceuticals SpA in a so-called tax inversion.

Cantor Fitzgerald raised its target price on Salix’s stock to $181 from $154, saying the company is still attractive to multiple buyers.

** ASCENA RETAIL GROUP INC, Monday close $16.53, -11.13 pct premarket

At least two brokerages, including Piper Jaffray, cut their price targets on the apparel and accessories retailer. The company reported lower-than-expected quarterly profit and sales, hurt by lower demand for its Justice and Lane Bryant brands.

** ASTRAZENECA PLC, Monday close $74.67, -4.65 pct premarket

** SHIRE PLC, Monday close $256.3, -5.27 pct premarket

** ABBVIE, Monday close $58.71, -4.62 pct premarket

AstraZeneca’s and Shire’s stocks fell on Tuesday after the U.S. Treasury took steps to curb “inversion” deals that allow companies to escape high U.S. taxes by reincorporating abroad.

The move could jeopardize an agreed deal for AbbVie to buy Shire for $55 billion and deter Pfizer from making another attempt to acquire AstraZeneca, after a $118 billion takeover attempt failed in May.

** REWALK ROBOTICS LTD, Monday close $31.72, +12.23 pct premarket

The company, which makes robotic support devices for people with spinal injuries, said a major German insurer will now reimburse patients using the company’s walking support system.

** DICK‘S SPORTING GOODS INC, Monday close $44.49, -5.93 pct premarket

William Blair and Co cut its rating on the sporting goods retailer’s stock to “market perform” from “outperform” citing increased competition from online retailers such as Amazon.com Inc and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

** ALIBABA GROUP, Monday close $89.89, -1.80 pct premarket

** YAHOO INC, Monday close $38.65, -1.94 pct premarket

Since touching a peak of $99.70 on Friday, Alibaba’s stock has lost $24 billion in market value - a little more than 60 pct of the market capitalization of Yahoo Inc, which owns about 16 percent of Alibaba.

** CF INDUSTRIES, Monday close $255.78, +7.40 pct premarket

Norway’s Yara International is in talks with Chicago-based CF Industries about a possible merger of equals, the firms said, a deal that would create a fertilizer giant with market value over $27 billion.

** MECHEL OAO, Monday close $1.02, -28.43 pct premarket

The Russian steelmaker’s U.S.-listed stock continued their fall on Tuesday after hitting a record-low on Monday following a Russian minister’s comments that bankruptcy was the most likely scenario for the over-indebted company.

“We should probably admit the fact - if a company is bankrupt, it should be legally acknowledged,” Russian Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said of the company which has debts of $8.6 billion.

** CHINANET ONLINE HOLDINGS INC, Monday close $3.19, +3.76 pct premarket

The rise in the stock of the Chinese advertisement company continued on Tuesday, nearly two trading days after company said it was in talks to provide a marketing service for Taobao, the online shopping site owned by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd .

Up to Monday’s close, the stock had risen 213 percent in the two trading session since the company announced the news.

** TEKMIRA PHARMACEUTICALS CORP, Monday close $23.61, +9.19 pct premarket

The Canadian drugmaker’s Ebola drug shows promising signs after being administered to doctor infected with virus in West Africa, Nebraska Medical Center said.

The drug, code named TKM-Ebola, was authorized to be used by U.S. and Canadian regulators in patients with confirmed or suspected Ebola infection, and is among several experimental Ebola drugs to be tested in West Africa to fast track trials, global health charity Wellcome Trust said.

** ON SEMICONDUCTOR CORP, Monday close $9.6, -3.12 pct premarket

JPMorgan cut its rating on the stock of the power-management chipmaker to “neutral” from “overweight”, making it the third downgrade on the stock so far this month.

** APPLE INC, Monday close $101.06, -0.32 pct premarket

The iPhone 6 is in the final stages of review for approval, with results due shortly, a top Chinese government regulator said in an interview published by Tencent.

** MICROSOFT CORP, Monday close $47.06, -0.40 pct premarket

The U.S. software giant’s Xbox One videogame console will launch in China on Sept. 29, following its announcement last week of a delay from the original launch date of Sept. 23.

** FACEBOOK INC, Monday close $76.8, -0.73 pct premarket

The company is set to unveil a new advertising platform to improve effectiveness of online ads, the Wall Street Journal reported. The product is a redesigned version of Atlas Advertiser Suite, an ad management and measurement platform that Facebook bought from Microsoft last year.

** CITIGROUP INC, Monday close $53.04, -0.51 pct premarket

Citigroup plans to ask a U.S. judge to put on hold an order barring it from processing payments on $8.4 billion in bonds issued under Argentine law following the country’s record 2002 default, court documents showed.

** NVIDIA CORP, Monday close $18.89, -0.11 pct premarket

ARM Holdings’ CEO defended the British chip designer’s smartphone graphics technology connected to a patent suit by Nvidia against Samsung Electronics and Qualcomm. This month, Nvidia said it was suing rival Qualcomm and Samsung Electronics, accusing both companies of infringing its property patents on graphics chip technology.

** NEWMONT MINING CORP, Monday close $23.66, +1.44 pct premarket

The mining company said on Monday it was expected to resume copper concentrate shipments from Indonesia this week after receiving an export permit from the government, signalling the end of an eight-month tax dispute.

** BHP BILLITON, Monday close $61.28, +0.75 pct premarket

** RIO TINTO PLC, Monday close $50.17, +0.88 pct premarket

Australian iron ore producers’ shipments to China amounted to record 62.9 pct of nation’s August import volume. China imported 47.1 million tonnes of iron ore from Australia, up 35 pct on the year to reach second-highest level on record

BHP Billiton and Mitsubishi will cut about 700 jobs at coal mines they operate jointly in Australia, citing over-staffing in tough market conditions threatening the viability of the business. (Compiled by Shailaja Sharma in Bangalore; Editing by Savio D‘Souza)

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