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U.S. stocks were sharply lower heading in afternoon trading on Thursday, with each of the major indexes falling more than one percent as Apple shares slumped.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 1.47 percent at 16,957.42, the S&P 500 was down 1.52 percent at 1,968 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 1.85 percent at 4,470.767.
** APPLE INC, $98.5, -3.19 pct
Apple withdrew a faulty update to its latest operating system after many users of its new phones complained of call service disruptions, the latest in a series of glitches to mar the first week of iPhone 6 and 6 Plus sales.
Apple is the biggest drag to both the Nasdaq and the S&P 500.
** TRAVELPORT WORLDWIDE LTD, $16.83, +5.19 pct
** ORBITZ WORLDWIDE INC, $7.85, -1.38 pct
** BLACKSTONE GROUP LP, $31.32, -1.04 pct
Travelport's shares rose as much as 10.6 percent in their market debut, valuing the provider of booking and payment services to the travel industry at about $2.13 billion.
The IPO was priced at $16 per share, the top end of the expected range, valuing the Blackstone Group LP -backed company at $1.9 billion. Travelport has a stake in Orbitz.
** CONE MIDSTREAM PARTNERS LP, $29.85, +35.68 pct
** NOBLE ENERGY INC, $69.31, -1.58 pct
** CONSOL ENERGY INC, $36.33, -1.89 pct
The stock of Cone Midstream, a Marcellus shale-focused MLP formed by Consol and Noble, jumped as much as 34 percent in its debut, underscoring demand for midstream MLPs, which provide a cushion as sliding crude prices take a bite out of offshore drillers.
The offering was priced $22 per unit, higher than the expected price range of $19 to $21. Consol and Noble will each own a 34.3 percent limited partner interest in Cone after the IPO.
** SKECHERS USA INC, $54.07, +3.19 pct
The sports shoes maker said third-quarter orders from retailers were up about 50 percent from a year earlier. SportScanInfo data mentioned in Buckingham Research Group's note on Wednesday can be "misinterpreted or skewed" if not seen in entirety, Skechers said.
A note from brokerage Buckingham on Wednesday said that Skechers' sales had fallen 3 percent in week ended Sept. 20, sending the shoe maker's share down as much as 12.2 percent
** KB HOME, $54.07, +3.19 pct
At least five brokerages including Credit Suisse and FBR Capital Markets, cut their price targets on the U.S. homebuilder's stock. RBC Capital Markets downgraded the U.S. homebuilder's stock to "sector perform" and cut its price target to $17, according to Benzinga.com.
The company reported third-quarter results below analysts' average expectation on Wednesday as it sold fewer homes.
** TIDEWATER INC, $40.54, -2.57 pct
** GULFMARK OFFSHORE INC, $33.26, -2.81 pct
** HORNBECK OFFSHORE SERVICES INC, $35.96, -3.49 pct
Tudor Pickering & Co downgraded offshore service providers' stocks to "hold" from "accumulate", citing weakness in demand for rigs. Tidewater stock touched a three-year low of $40, while those of GulfMark Offshore and Hornbeck Offshore touched near two-year lows.
** GWG HOLDINGS INC, $13.7399, +9.92 pct
The stock of the company, which operates in the secondary life insurance market, opened lower before soaring as much as 40 percent in its trading debut. The company's IPO was priced at $12.50 per share.
** BLACKHAWK NETWORK HOLDINGS INC, $29.858, +7.21 pct
The prepaid gift and phone cards maker said it agreed to acquire all outstanding shares of Parago Inc for about $290 million.
** ARCH COAL INC, $2.12, -4.50 pct
** ALPHA NATURAL RESOURCES INC, $2.4, -5.88 pct
** Peabody Energy Corp, $12.22, -3.93 pct
** WALTER ENERGY INC, $2.19, -2.23 pct
U.S. coal producers hit record lows as the benchmark price for metallurgical coal was set at $119 per metric ton for fourth quarter, down $1 sequentially, Cowen and Company analysts said, citing a report from Doyle Trading Consulting LLC. The analysts said they expected further production curtailments amidst global sea-borne oversupply and a slowdown in demand from China.
** CLECO CORP, $49.66, -7.00 pct
The Louisiana's electricity supplier's effort to find a suitor is faltering as the most likely buyer Macquarie Group Ltd struggles to find investor backing for the deal, Bloomberg reported. Macquarie's co-investors are resisting the acquisition due to the low returns that the potential deal offers, Bloomberg said.
** SWIFT TRANSPORTATION CO, $20.82, +8.72 pct
The truckload carrier said company-wide unseated truck count declined about 20 percent from the end of the second quarter and that its driver academies were full after record recruitments. It said it was encouraged by customers' response to the rate increases required to help cover the cost of hiking the pay for its drivers. The company also reaffirmed its adjusted third-quarter profit forecast.
** LIPOSCIENCE INC, $5.18, +62.38 pct
** LABCORP, $102.18, -1.64 pct
Diagnostic test maker LabCorp said it would to buy the medical device maker for $85.3 million, or $5.25 a share, in cash.
** OMNOVA SOLUTIONS INC, $5.9, -15.83 pct
The chemical maker's third-quarter adjusted net income from continuing operations fell 36.7 percent to $2.2 million. Net sales fell 3.5 percent to $252.1 million, mainly as its coated publication paper business struggles with lower-priced contracts struck earlier in the year.
** YAHOO INC, $39.0027, -2.20 pct
** ALIBABA GROUP HOLDING LTD, $88.77, -1.99 pct
Yahoo said it now holds about 383.6 million Alibaba's shares, or a stake of about 15 percent in the Chinese company, following the IPO last week. Yahoo said it had entered into a lock-up agreement restricting the sale of Alibaba's shares for one year.
RBC Capital Markets also cut its rating on Yahoo's stock to "sector perform" from "outperform", making it the third downgrade on the stock since Alibaba's IPO on Friday. There has been two upgrades.
** AIXTRON, $14.4102, +14.37 pct
The German microchip equipment maker said it received a large order, one of its biggest ever, from China's San'an Optoelectronics Co Ltd's, which will be delivered starting in the fourth quarter.
** MAGNUM HUNTER RESOURCES CORP, $6.03, +10.44 pct
The oil and gas explorer said on Wednesday that a well in Tyler County, West Virginia, which was placed on production last weekend, tested at a peak rate of 46.5 million cubic feet of natural gas per day. (mmcf/d)
"This is one of the best tests thus far in the region even surpassing Rice Energy's Big Foot well, which tested at 41.7 mmcf/d," Wunderlich Securities analysts said.
** VALEANT PHARMACEUTICALS INTERNATIONAL INC, $128.01, +3.23 pct
** ALLERGAN INC, $175.33, -0.54 pct
Valeant said its unit Bausch+Lomb and French drugmaker Nicox SA's experimental glaucoma drug, Vesneo, showed positive results in a late-stage trial. If approved, the drug could reach peak annual sales of over $1 billion worldwide.
Valeant also said it had named the head of ValueAct Capital, a top shareholder, to its board and vowed to continue with its hostile takeover attempt for Allergan.
** PACIRA PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $99.98, -5.93 pct
The drugmaker said it received a U.S. FDA warning letter on promotional material for company's post-surgical painkiller for adults, Exparel.
Pacira said its current label supports claims being challenged by FDA. It had Exparel sales of $44.9 million in the second quarter ended June 30.
** RANDGOLD RESOURCES, $69.43, -0.77 pct
** HARMONY GOLD, $2.29, -1.72 pct
** GOLD FIELDS, $4.11, -1.44 pct
** ANGLOGOLD ASHANTI, $12.52, -2.72 pct
** IAMGOLD, $3.01, +0.00 pct
** BARRICK GOLD, $15.42, +0.59 pct
** YAMANA GOLD, $6.36, -0.78 pct
** GOLDCORP, $23.7, +0.72 pct
A host of U.S.-listed gold stocks fell as gold prices fell to a nine-month low on Thursday inthe face of a rising U.S. dollar.
Spot gold hit a low of $1,206.85 an ounce, its weakest since Jan. 2. If the price falls below $1,200, the industry could reach a tipping point that would force producers to cut output or shut mines, analysts say.
Harmony Gold, Iamgold, Barrick and Yamana hit new 52-week lows.
** CYBERARK SOFTWARE LTD, $31.8, +6.25 pct
The cyber security software maker's shares rose premarket, adding to the 87 percent gains it enjoyed on Wednesday in its trading debut. The stock has now doubled from its IPO price of $16.
Israeli firms have attracted growing foreign investment over the past two years to develop tools to detect and prevent cyberattacks, challenging the traditional model of perimeter defences such as firewalls.
** HB FULLER CO, $38, -13.60 pct
The chemical company's quarterly profit slumped to $4 million from $27.2 million a year earlier due to higher costs and project delays. The company's adjusted profit forecast for the current quarter was short of Wall Street's estimates.
** BHP BILLITON, $59.91, -3.68 pct
** VALE, $11.27, -2.76 pct
** RIO TINTO, $50.44, -2.55 pct
** SESA STERLITE LTD, $17.25, -6.71 pct
** CLIFFS NATURAL RESOURCES INC, $11.49, -8.30 pct
BHP played down the chance of a recovery in iron ore prices, saying that recent declines reflected the reality of demand and supply in the market for the steel-making ingredient.
China's steel consumption dropped this year for the first time since at least 2000 due to slower economic growth, leading to a surplus of iron ore in the country and a more than 40 percent plunge in prices of the steelmaking raw material. (Compiled by Shailaja Sharma in Bangalore; Editing by Savio D'Souza)