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U.S. stocks pared losses on Wednesday after the latest minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve showed that an improving job market edged the central bank closer to an interest rate hike at its July meeting.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 0.39 percent at 17,442.86, the S&P 500 was down 0.36 percent at 2,089.4 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 0.26 percent at 5,046.313.
** TARGET CORP, $80.5, +0.25 pct
The retailer's stock reversed course after rising earlier as the company reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit and raised its full-year earnings forecast for the second time, benefiting from strong demand for clothing and other product categories at the center of its growth plan.
** LOWE'S COS INC, $73.7, +0.93 pct
The No.2 U.S. home improvement chain reported a lower-than-expected quarterly profit, hurt by a rise in costs and a higher tax rate. Lowe's also posted its slowest growth in same-store sales in five quarters. But that, however, topped analysts expectations on higher demand for items such as appliances and outdoor power equipment.
** AMERICAN EAGLE OUTFITTERS INC, $17.01, -6.90 pct
The teen apparel retailer forecast third-quarter comparable store sales sharply below the big jump it reported in the second quarter.
** RAYONIER ADVANCED MATERIALS INC, $7.36, -46.00 pct
** EASTMAN CHEMICAL, $75.18, -2.24 pct
Cellulose fiber maker Rayonier is in a contract dispute with Eastman, one of its biggest customers. Rayonier is seeking a court ruling on "meet or release" pricing/volume provision in a contract that would require it to respond to offers made to Eastman by other suppliers. Eastman sought ruling earlier that all contracted volume is subject to provision, the absence of which would make the contract invalid. RBC analyst Paul Quinn said Eastman is essentially seeking lower price.
** SEAGATE TECHNOLOGY PLC, $50.645, -2.70 pct
** DOT HILL SYSTEMS CORP, $9.69, +87.07 pct
Hard-drive maker Seagate said it would acquire data storage equipment maker Dot Hill for about $694 million in cash. The offer values Dot Hill at $9.75 per share.
** CORBUS PHARMACEUTICALS HOLDINGS INC, $2.79, +50.00 pct
The drug developer said the U.S. FDA granted a Fast Track designation for its experimental drug, Resunab, to treat scleroderma, a potentially fatal inflammatory disorder that has no treatment in market so far.
** ARCH COAL INC, $2.23, +51.70 pct
The miner will seek a compromise with lenders opposing a debt-swap deal that will help it avoid a bankruptcy filing, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter. (bloom.bg/1EBt4zO)
** CITI TRENDS INC, $27.34, +20.23 pct
The retailer posted a surprise quarterly profit as sales rose. The company also said it would start paying a quarterly dividend and set a share buyback program of up to $15 million.
Citi Trends also amended its credit facility with Bank of America to extend the term of to August 2020.
** CHEVRON CORP, $81.37, -2.48 pct
** EXXON MOBIL CORP, $76.7, -1.54 pct
** CONOCOPHILLIPS, $47.93, -3.19 pct
Shares of oil and gas producers and services providers fell after crude prices dropped nearly 5 percent on renewed concerns over growing global oil glut. Exxon and Chevron were among the biggest drags on the Dow and the S&P.
** BAYTEX ENERGY CORP, $5.5, -13.97 pct
** PENGROWTH ENERGY CORP, $1.19, -4.80 pct
The two Canadian energy producers are among those most likely to cut their dividends, Sam La Bell, an analyst at Veritas Investment Research Corp, told the Globe and Mail.
Both have already cut their dividends, though Baytex and Pengrowth will become more vulnerable if oil prices remain low as their hedges begin to roll off as soon as the second half of this year, La Bell said. (bit.ly/1NlkiON)
** SEABRIDGE GOLD INC, $6.21, +8.57 pct
** PRETIUM RESOURCES INC, $5.56, +5.10 pct
** ANGLOGOLD ASHANTI LTD, $7.36, +9.04 pct
** KINROSS GOLD CORP,$2.095, +4.75 pct
** PRIMERO MINING CORP, $3.1, +4.73 pct
** AGNICO EAGLE MINES LTD, $26.24, +6.71 pct
** COEUR MINING INC, $3.7, +4.23 pct
** BARRICK GOLD CORP $7.87, +2.74 pct
Gold prices rose more than 1 percent as concerns over China's economy pulled down equities and minutes of Federal Reserve's July policy meeting showed policymakers continued to express concerns about lagging inflation and weakness in world economy.
** FLEXSTEEL INDUSTRIES INC, $34.12, -17.96 pct
The company's profit and sales growth slowed in the fourth quarter compared with the third quarter. While sales growth slowed to 9.2 percent in the fourth quarter from 10.9 percent in the third quarter, profit growth slowed to 5.8 percent from 7.0 percent.
** ELDORADO GOLD CORP, $3.79, -9.55 pct
Greece has suspended the mining operations of the Canadian gold miner in northern Greece, saying the company violated contract terms, in a setback to one of the top foreign investment projects in the country.
BMO Capital Markets cut its rating on the company's stock to "market perform" from "outperform".
** PHOTRONICS INC, $8.63, +11.35 pct
The chip component maker reported better-than-expected quarterly results, helped by higher sales of components used in making high-end flat panel displays.
** TRIBUNE PUBLISHING, $12.02, +6.28 pct
Macquarie Research upgraded the stock to "neutral' from "underperform" and raised its price target to $12 from $11, saying it believes the $30 million stock buyback program the company announced on Tuesday was a "positive near-term catalyst and signals better capital allocation".
** ESPERION THERAPEUTICS INC, $56.875, -11.37 pct
Needham cuts its rating on the drug developer's stock to "buy" from "strong buy" and lowered its target price to $115 from $130.
** BIOCEPT INC, $2.1001, +7.15 pct
H.C. Wainwright started coverage of the molecular diagnostic company's stock with a "buy" rating, saying "Biocept is currently undervalued given that its cancer tests have been generating commercial sales and have considerable market potential".
** CANADIAN SOLAR INC, $20.15, -18.39 pct
The solar company posted a near 70 pct fall in second-quarter profit, hurt by lower sales, and forecast current-quarter revenue below analysts estimate. The company also warned that some of its projects under development may not reach completion due to a failure to secure all of the necessary permits and grid-connection approvals.
** SOUTHCROSS ENERGY PARTNERS LP, $9.05, +28.73 pct
The natural gas pipeline company and its holding company, Southcross Holdings LP, received $175 million equity funding from Charlesbank Capital Partners, EIG Global Energy Partners and Tailwater Capital.
** TARENA INTERNATIONAL INC, $8.54, -29.89 pct
The Chinese IT education provider reported lower-than-expected second-quarter results due to higher costs, and cut its full-year revenue forecast due to the devaluation of yuan.
** SCIENTIFIC GAMES CORP, $11.395, -6.14 pct
** INTERNATIONAL GAME TECHNOLOGY PLC, $18.57, -3.68 pct
Goldman Sachs started coverage on both companies' stock with a "sell" rating, saying the gaming businesses "simply faces too many secular negatives for the equities to outperform".
** ENERGY FOCUS INC, $16.93, +10.58 pct
Roth Capital Partners raised its price target on the LED lighting product maker's stock to $23 from $16, maintaining its "buy" rating. "... Energy Focus remains one of the few companies in the lighting group that could continue seeing positive revisions to estimates," analyst Craig Irwin wrote.
** WEIGHT WATCHERS INTERNATIONAL INC, $5.94, +4.03 pct
Morgan Stanley raised its rating on the weight management services company's stock to "equal-weight".
** GEVO INC, $2.47, +9.29 pct
Rodman & Renshaw started coverage of the chemical and biofuel maker's stock with a "buy" rating and a $5 price target.
** YUM BRANDS INC, $86.03, +2.17 pct
The owner of the KFC and Pizza Hut brand announced new leadership for its China division as activist investors lobby the company to spin off that business, which is its biggest driver of revenue and profit.
** PALATIN TECHNOLOGIES INC, $0.98, +4.26 Sprout Pharmaceuticals's Addyi, the first drug to treat low sexual desire in women or HSDD, won approval from U.S. health regulators on Tuesday. Palatin is creating a rival to Addyi, which has been nicknamed the "female Viagra".
** STAPLES INC, $14.105, -0.32 pct
The office supplies retailer reported quarterly revenue slightly below analysts' estimates, hurt by a stronger dollar. The company also said it was on track to close the Office Depot deal by the end of 2015.
** CHINANET ONLINE HOLDINGS INC, $0.89, +8.54 pct
** BAIDU INC, $162.62, -2.10 pct
Chinese advertising company launched new online-to-offline sales service "The GOOD Business of China" with internet company Baidu Inc and its forum posting platform Tieba
** CEMPRA INC, $38.81, +5.52 pct
The drug developer said the U.S. FDA granted a Fast Track designation for its solithromycin intravenous and capsules to treat community acquired bacterial pneumonia (CABP).
** WEB.COM GROUP INC, $21.67, -8.83 pct
The Web domain name registration company said may have lost credit card information of about 93,000 customers to a cyber breach of one of its computer systems.
** MEDICINOVA INC, $3.4, -3.41 pct
The drug developer said an offering of 5 million shares was priced at $3.50 per share. (Compiled by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza)