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U.S. stocks were higher on Wednesday, with the S&P 500 snapping a three-day decline, as investors sought stocks offering value following a strong report on the housing market.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 0.84 percent at 17,199.62, the S&P 500 was up 0.68 percent at 1,996.19 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.84 percent at 4,546.739.
** CITIZENS FINANCIAL GROUP INC, $22.92, +6.60 pct
** ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND, $11.87, +1.54 pct
Shares of Citizens Financial Group, the U.S. unit of RBS RBS.L, rose in their market debut - the biggest U.S. bank IPO since the financial crisis.
The offering, which raised $3.01 billion for RBS, got a lukewarm reception from investors, forcing RBS to cut the price to $21.50 per share, below the expected range of $23-25.
** CYBERARK SOFTWARE LTD, $26.65, +66.56 pct
The stock of the Israel-based cybersecurity software company soared as much as 69 percent in its debut, valuing company at about $798.66 million. The IPO of 5.4 million shares priced at $16 per share.
** GILEAD SCIENCES, $108.33, +2.79 pct
** BIOGEN IDEC, $347.18, +4.50 pct
** VERTEX PHARMACEUTICALS, $110.82, +5.70 pct
Biotech stocks moved higher on Wednesday, bouncing back from a two-day drop, helped by gains in Gilead after trial results for the company's HIV treatment.
Gilead said its HIV tablet containing tenofovir alafenamide was found better than its approved drug, Stribild, in two mid-stage studies.
Of the 119 stocks that comprise the Nasdaq biotech index, only 10 were in negative territory. The gains helped lift the biotech index, putting it on track for its best day in two months.
** EGALET CORP, $6.5701, -29.43 pct - falls to as low as $6.50, lowest since IPO in February
The drug developer said on Tuesday it would need to conduct additional trials to strengthen its marketing application for its drug, codenamed Egalet-001. The oral morphine product has received U.S. FDA's fast-track status and is being tested for pain management. (bit.ly/1uGTVWL)
At least three brokerages, including Stifel Nicolaus, cut their price targets on the stock. Stifel analyst said a late-stage trial will delay filing of the marketing application to mid-2016 and launch likely to 2017.
** PTC THERAPEUTICS INC, $43.62, +7.84 pct
Credit Suisse raised its price target on the drugmaker's stock to $55 from $40, saying its analysis of the Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy space shows PTC is well positioned to be next big orphan drug company. DMD is an inherited disorder typically found in young boys that causes muscles to weaken at an alarming pace, leading to eventual paralysis.
** SKECHERS USA INC, $52.45, -9.71 pct
The sports shoes maker likely ran out of inventory after a strong start of the back-to-school season, Sterne Agee analysts said in a note. The company's sales declined 3 percent last week, according to a report by SportscanInfo, the note said.
** LIPOCINE INC, $8.08, +54.79 pct
The drug developer's treatment for low testosterone met the goals of a late-stage study. The company said it expects to file marketing application in second half of 2015.
** ATOSSA GENETICS INC, $1.3601, -41.63 pct
The breast health testing company says U.S. health regulators denied marketing approval for its medical device, ForeCYTE Breast Aspirator, used to collect breast fluid for testing. It now plans to launch an alternative breast aspirator, FullCYTE Breast Aspirator, in the United States.
** ECHO THERAPEUTICS INC, $0.8097, -29.27 pct
The medical device maker's shares were set to open at an all-time low after the company warned it may file for bankruptcy. The company has suspended product development and research and manufacturing programs to cut costs and warned that its current liquidity was not enough to fund operations beyond Sept. 30.
** CHINA ADVANCED CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS GROUP INC, $5, +25.94 pct
The Chinese ready-mix concrete maker's net loss narrowed to $16.6 million in 2014 from $23.6 million in 2013. The company said it was focusing on making eco-friendly, high-quality concrete products from recyclable construction wastes at low cost, and forecast a profit of breakeven to $4.72 per share for 2015.
** WUXI PHARMATECH, $35.31, +4.22 pct
Goldman Sachs upgraded the stock to "buy" from "neutral" and raised its price target to $42.2 from $37, saying stable forex rates should help cut earnings uncertainty for the contract research organization.
** KB HOME, $15.97, -5.89 pct
** PULTEGROUP, $18.21, -1.09 pct
** TOLL BROTHERS, $31.98, -0.93 pct
KB Homes' third-quarter profit and revenue fall short of Wall Street's estimates as its sold fewer homes. The company said home deliveries were tempered by delays in construction schedules and customer mortgage loan closings.
Housing stocks were modestly lower on Wednesday, after paring earlier losses following data that showed new home sales jumped sharply in August. The PHLX Housing index was up 0.13 percent after earlier falling as much as 1.3 percent on the back of KB Home's results.
** HIMAX TECHNOLOGIES INC, $9.67, +7.21 pct
Bank of America Merrill Lynch raised its estimates on expectations of stronger smart glass adoption, according to Seekingalpha.com [bit.ly/1msBcix] stock
The brokerage also expects Google Inc to exercise its option to raise its stake in the Taiwanese chipmaker to 14.8 pct from 6.3 pct, the article said.
** STEREOTAXIS INC, $2.48, +5.01 pct
The medical device maker received the first commercial order for its device, Niobe Magnetic Navigation System, from a hospital in Japan. The device is used during procedures to assess heart activity.
** SEADRILL PARTNERS LLC, $30.71, -4.15 pct
The offshore rig operator said it would offer 8 million common units for estimated gross proceeds of about $256 million, implying a price of $32 per unit. The offering represents 9.54 percent of total outstanding units.
** INTERCLOUD SYSTEMS, $4.107, +4.50 pct
The telecom network service provider said new business backlog for 2014 exceeded $26.4 million.
** ALLERGAN INC, $175.94, +4.00 pct
** ACTAVIS PLC, $245.65, +1.99 pct
** SALIX PHARMACEUTICALS LTD, $165.38, -2.24 pct
Salix has been in contact with Actavis about a potential sale to the larger drugmaker, even as Salix continues discussions with Allergan about selling itself. Allergan revived discussions to buy Salix in recent weeks as it tries to fend off a hostile offer from Valeant Pharmaceuticals Inc.
** VALEANT PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $125, +7.81 pct
The company expects third-quarter revenue to beat analyst expectations and adjusted earnings per share to surpass the company's forecast, its CEO said on Wednesday, seeking to bolster a hostile takeover bid for Allergan.
** TIDEWATER INC, $41.53, -4.24 pct
** PACIFIC DRILLING SA, $8.56, -3.06 pct
Wells Fargo Securities resumed coverage of Tidewater with an "underperform" rating and on initiated coverage of Pacific Drilling with a "market perform" rating. The brokerage said it expected volatility to continue and sees signs that international growth will be a challenge in 2015.
** BIOFUEL ENERGY CORP, $6.66, +12.50 pct
The ethanol producer's subscription rights began trading on Tuesday and were up about 32 percent at $4.15.
Each subscription right permits the holder to buy 2.2445 Biofuel shares at $5.00 per share and will expire on Oct. 17.
** GREEN DOT CORP, $22.99, +22.16 pct
The debit card provider launched GoBank, a checking account product, exclusively at Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
** GEVO INC, $0.3553, -17.37 pct
The renewable chemicals and advanced biofuels company said the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) rejected claims on two of its patents.
The company said it plans to appeal the decision with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and that the patents remain valid and enforceable during the appeal process.
** GASLOG PARTNERS LP, $30.62, -5.20 pct
The LNG carrier operator priced its offering of 4.5 million shares at $31 each, a 4 percent discount to their Tuesday close. It intends to use proceeds to fund previously announced acquisition from GasLog Ltd and prepay debt.
** BLACKBERRY LTD, $10.67, +1.04 pct
The Canadian company launched an unconventional new smartphone dubbed the Passport on Wednesday as it embarked on what may be the most critical phase of its long turnaround push.
** GILEAD SCIENCES INC, $108.33, +2.79 pct
The company said its HIV tablet containing tenofovir alafenamide was found better than its approved drug, Stribild, in two mid-stage studies.
** MARTIN MIDSTREAM PARTNERS LP, $36.98, -3.97 pct
The oil and gas transportation company's offering of 3 million units was priced at $36.91 each, a 4.2 percent discount to stock's Tuesday closing. The offering represented 9.43 percent of the company's total outstanding shares.
** INOVIO PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $10.2722, +5.14 pct
The vaccine developer said the company and its partner GeneOne Life Science Inc will start testing its experimental Ebola vaccine in humans in the first half of 2015. The companies will look for third partner if early-stage studies of vaccine are successful.
** STARZ, $30.95, +4.63 pct
** TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY FOX INC, $34.375, +0.45 pct
Executives from the two companies met on Tuesday to discuss a possible acquisition of Starz, according to a Los Angeles Times report. (lat.ms/1tYL9pb)
** SMART & FINAL STORES INC, $12.72, +6.00 pct
The century-old food retailer at raised about $161.4 million, after its offering was priced at $12 per share, the low-end of its expected price range of $12-$14.
** ACORDA THERAPEUTICS INC, $36.58, +24.63 pct
The biotechnology company said it bought privately held Civitas Therapeutics for $525 million to gain access to a Parkinson's disease drug in late development.
** GRAFTECH INTERNATIONAL LTD, $5.01, -31.18 pct
The graphite electrode maker cut its full-year EBITDA forecast, citing weakening graphite demand outside of U.S. and soft end-market consumer electronic product launches. It said it expects its operating margins to be hurt as it plans to reduce graphite electrode production rates due to lower shipments.
JPMorgan cut its price target on the stock to $5 from $6.
** MERRIMACK PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $7.4199, +3.20 pct
The drug developer said it would partner with Baxter International Inc to develop and market its pancreatic cancer drug outside the United States. Merrimack would receive $100 million upfront payment from Baxter in the current quarter.
** BED BATH & BEYOND INC, $67.22, +7.23 pct
The home furnishings retailer reported better-than-expected quarterly revenue as increased discounting and promotions helped attract more shoppers to its stores.
Canaccord Genuity raised its price target on the stock to $66 from $62, while Suntrust Robinson raised to $80 from $75.
Morgan Stanley raised its target to $63 saying, "given low expectations, a relatively high short interest and yesterday's move lower on a downgrade, we believe the stock deserves to move higher."
** STEELCASE INC, $16.76, +7.23 pct
The office furniture maker reported better-than-expected quarterly profit and sales on Tuesday as demand for its products rises in the Americas, its biggest market by sales. Revenue up nearly 4 pct at $786.7 million.
** PLUG POWER INC, $4.4874, -2.02 pct
The fuel cell maker said M&T Bank had agreed to offer financing to customers to buy fuel cells and refueling stations and fund service agreements, according to report by Albany Business Review on Tuesday. (bit.ly/1mKHk6c)
** AAR CORP, $24.76, -11.57 pct
The company, which serves commercial aviation and government and defense markets, reported lower-than-expected quarterly revenue and profit and cut its full-year revenue and earnings forecast, saying "certain awards...now seem unlikely to materialize".
"Over the balance of the year, we expect lower results for our businesses that support the military's operational tempo," CEO David Storch said.
D.A. Davidson cut its price target on the stock to $32 from $36. (Compiled by Shailaja Sharma in Bangalore; Editing by Savio D'Souza)