(For faster updates on individual market-movers, Eikon users please use search string "STXBZ US"; for the Day Ahead newsletter, link.reuters.com/mex49s; for the Morning News Call newsletter, link.reuters.com/nex49s) U.S. stocks slid on Monday with investors shunning risk as oil prices tumbled to fresh 5-1/2 year lows.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 0.28 percent at 17,233.26, the S&P 500 was down 0.22 percent at 1,998.02 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 0.58 percent at 4,626.796.
** SOPHIRIS BIO INC, $0.52, -81.56 pct
The drug developer said interim data showed that its only pipeline compound did not meet a predetermined threshold for efficacy in treating lower urinary tract symptoms of enlarged prostate.
** MICROFINANCIAL INC, $10.19, +22.77 pct
The company, which specializes in leasing and financing, said it would be acquired by funds managed by Fortress Investment Group for about $147.2 million. Fortress will pay $10.20 per share in cash, a premium of 23 percent to MicroFinancial’s Friday close
** CGG SA, $6.2, -27.23 pct
French oil services group Technip has ruled out making an offer for the seismic surveys specialist CGG after talks with the company failed to produce an agreement.
** FORD MOTOR CO, $14.48, -3.40 pct, among the top five percentage losers on the S&P 500
Deutsche Bank cut its rating on the automaker to “hold” from “buy”. “At the very least, the combination of rising new car prices, falling used car prices, rising rates, and a strong USD vs. the Japanese Yen will likely perpetuate questions about the implications for ownership cycles, industry mix, pricing, and U.S. Automakers’ competitiveness,” analysts Rod Lache and Mike Levin said.
They note Ford shares are trading just 7 percent shy of their $16 price target and say they have grown incrementally more cautious about investing in U.S. auto stocks as the market enters its 6th year of recovery.
** RANGE RESOURCES CORP, $57.82, +6.72 pct, the top percentage gainer on the S&P 500
The oil and natural gas company said its 2015 capital budget would fall 18 percent to $1.3 billion from 2014, following in the footsteps of other oil producers, who have trimmed their spending plans due to a near 50 percent fall in oil prices. Despite the budget reduction, the company said it still expects its output to grow 20-25 percent in 2015.
** UNWIRED PLANET INC, $0.8101, -42.14 pct
The intellectual property and technology licensing company said the claim construction order in their pending case against Google Inc is “disappointingly negative and will materially impact our case”. Unwired Planet’s unit filed the suit against Google and Apple Inc for ten patents related to mobile technology and cloud computing in September 2012.
** TALISMAN ENERGY, $5.2, +21.21 pct
Spanish oil major Repsol said it would discuss on Monday a takeover offer for 100 percent of Calgary-based Talisman, which is also being circled by other potential bidders.
The potential bid Canada’s fifth-largest independent petroleum producer could be in a range between $6 and $8 per Talisman share, the Financial Times said last week. That represents a premium of up to 55 percent to Friday’s closing price and give the company a value of as much as $8 billion.
** SORRENTO THERAPEUTICS INC, $7.2093, +24.30 pct
The cancer drugmaker said it partnered with NantWorks founder, and biotechnology entrepreneur Dr Patrick Soon-Shiong, who took a 19.9 percent stake in Sorrento by buying shares at $5.80 each, which was closing price on Friday.
** QUANTUM FUEL SYSTEMS TECH WORLDWIDE INC, $2.2484, +21.54 pct
The hydrogen and natural gas fuel storage systems maker said it delivered a hydrogen dispensing system to Linde North America for a retail fueling station in West Sacramento, California. The unit has received conditional approval for commercial service in California by Department of Measurements and Standards.
** MOBILE TELESYSTEMS, $7.01, -15.85 pct
** VIMPELCOM, $3.485, -6.82 pct
** QIWI, $21.36, -10.85 pct
U.S.-listed Russian companies were hammered lower by the possibility of new U.S. sanctions aimed at Moscow over the Ukraine crisis. The Bank of New York Mellon’s Russia Select DR (Depositary Receipt) index is off nearly 10 percent.
** FRONTLINE LTD, $2.85, +26.67 pct
** TEEKAY TANKERS LTD, $5.78, +8.04 pct
A jump in freight rates boosted by winter season and sharp drop in oil prices continue to push shares of the crude oil tanker company Frontline’s shares higher. The company’s Oslo-listed shares also soared.
Shipping company Teekay Tankers also rose.
** AMERICAN REALTY CAPITAL PROPERTIES INC, $8.31, -7.56 pct
The real estate investment trust said its Chief Executive David Kay, Executive Chairman Nicholas Schorsch and Chief Operating Officer Lisa Beeson quit. The company, which had announced a $23 million accounting error in October, has appointed William Stanley appointed as interim CEO.
** OPKO HEALTH INC, $8.88, +8.56 pct
The drug developer licensed its hormone therapy to Pfizer Inc for an upfront payment of $295 million. The therapy, hGH-CTP, is used to treat patients with growth hormone deficiency (GHD).
** TWITTER INC, $37.31, +0.57 pct
JMP Securities started coverage of the stock with a “market outperform” rating and a $49 price target. “We acknowledge there may be some risk in the short-term around 4Q MAU (monthly active users) growth, but we believe this is priced in at current levels and we expect MAUs to rebound in 1Q15 as overall engagement benefits from Twitter’s product improvements,” the brokerage said.
** EXCO RESOURCES INC, $2.15, -4.02 pct
The company suspended it dividend. “In view of the recent decline in oil prices and oil and natural gas companies` securities, the Board believes that EXCO’s shareholders will be better served by reinvesting in our business rather than paying a dividend at this time,” Chairman Jeff Benjamin said.
** RIVERBED TECHNOLOGY INC, $20.31, +8.38 pct
Thoma Bravo LLC and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan said they would buy the network equipment maker in a deal that valued the company at about $3.6 billion. The firms offered $21 per share in cash, representing a premium of 12 percent to Riverbed’s Friday closing price.
“We believe Riverbed could have ultimately seen a higher price in this bidding process if the company had sought out strategic alternatives before execution issues surfaced,” FBR analyst Daniel Ives said.
** CIRRUS LOGIC INC, $22.751, +20.76 pct
Barclays raised its price target on the audio chipmaker’s stock to “overweight” from “underweight” and hiked its price target to $28. Barclays analysts expect Cirrus will supply more audio chips for Apple Inc’s iPhone 6S and that the company would get a contract for Samsung Electronics Co Ltd’s upcoming Galaxy S6 device.
** ORACLE, $41.18, +3.08 pct
Morgan Stanley raised its rating on the enterprise software maker to “overweight” from “equal-weight” and hiked its price target to $50 from $45, citing a customer survey that suggested accelerating cloud apps growth in next year.
“An improved perception of Oracle’s positioning for the secular transition to the cloud has the potential to lift the multiple investors are willing to pay for what has proven to be highly durable EPS growth,” the brokerage said.
** PETROBRAS, $6.45, -9.28 pct
The Brazilian state-run oil company delayed the release of its third-quarter financial results for a second time on Friday as a result of new developments in a widening corruption probe.
** PETSMART INC, $81.19, +4.53 pct
The pet supply retailer succumbed to calls from some shareholders for a sale on Sunday with an agreement to be bought by a private equity consortium led by BC Partners Ltd for $8.7 billion, in the largest leveraged buyout of the year. The offer price is $83.00 per share in cash.
** LENDINGCLUB CORP, $26.23, +6.24 pct
BTIG research analyst Mark Palmer reiterated his “buy” rating on the loan platform operators’s stock, and increased price target to $31 from $19, saying his initial target was “overly conservative”. The shares are up 85 percent from their $15 IPO price.
** ITAU UNIBANCO HOLDING SA, $12.14, -3.80 pct
Goldman Sachs removed the Sao Paolo-listed stock of Brazil’s largest bank by market value from its Latin America Spotlight List - a group of shares poised to outperform markets within next 12 months.
The brokerage cut its rating on preferred stock to “neutral” from “buy”, citing impact of Brazil’s slowing economy on Itaú’s earnings over next year.
** HORTONWORKS INC, $25.165, -4.61 pct
Shares of the data analytics software company fell on Monday after rising as much as 65 percent on their debut on Friday. The Yahoo Inc -backed company’s IPO raised $100 mln after it was priced at $16/share, well above expected range.
** MAGNUM HUNTER RESOURCES CORP, $3.13, -5.72 pct
The company said its unit, Triad Hunter LLC, “experienced a loss of control” of a well in Ohio on Dec. 13. The well, which had been temporarily plugged and abandoned, began to flow uncontrollably while recommencing production operations.
** KINGOLD JEWELRY INC, $0.967, +5.51 pct
The Chinese gold jewelry designer terminated with immediate effect an “at market issuance” agreement to sell up to $10 million in stock, without selling any shares under the facility.
** CORONADO BIOSCIENCES INC, $2.03, -6.88 pct
The company said the IPO of CB Pharma Acquisition Corp , a Cayman Islands exempted company founded by Coronado to entering into business combinations, of 4 million units was priced at $10 per unit. Each unit consists of one ordinary share, one right to receive one-tenth of an ordinary share on the consummation of an initial business combination, and one redeemable warrant. The IPO is expected to close on Dec. 17. (Compiled by Anannya Pramanick in Bangalore; Editing by Savio D‘Souza)