August 23, 2013 / 2:31 PM / 4 years ago

MARKET PULSE-Microsoft, Aeropostale, Pandora, Autodesk, Darling, Net 1

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Aug 23 (Reuters) - Some U.S. stocks on the move on Friday:

Wall St Opens With Gains; Microsoft Jumps

U.S. stocks rose at the open on Friday, lifted by Microsoft shares. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.18 percent, the S&P 500 0.29 percent and the Nasdaq Composite 0.57 percent.

** MICROSOFT CORP, $34.51, up 7 pct (9:36 a.m. ET)

Microsoft said Chief Executive Steve Ballmer will retire within the next 12 months, once it completes the process of choosing his successor.

About 80 million shares changed hands on the Nasdaq by 9:56 a.m. ET, more than double the 10-day moving average of the stock.

** AEROPOSTALE INC, $9.26, down 16 pct (9:38 a.m. ET)

The teen apparel retailer on Thursday forecast a deep third-quarter loss, and said the highly promotional environment that has led it to cut prices and decimated earnings would continue in the back-to-school shopping period.

BofA Merrill Lynch downgraded the company's stock, while at least six other brokerages cut their share-price targets.

** NET 1 UEPS TECHNOLOGIES INC, $10.74, up 45 pct (10:16 a.m. ET)

The South Africa-based payment processor posted strong fourth-quarter results, with profit and revenue beating Wall Street estimates. The company said it expects a marked improvement in profitability during fiscal 2014.

** HIBBETT SPORTS INC, $54.36, down 7 pct (9:39 a.m. ET)

The sports-goods retailer cut its full-year earnings and comparable-store sales forecast, citing a weak consumer spending market.

Hibbett slashed its earnings-per-share forecast to 2.65-$2.77 from $2.85-$3.05. It forecast comparable-store sales to rise in the low single-digit percentage range, down from its prior forecast of an increase in the low to mid single-digit range.

** DENDREON CORP, $3.06, down 4 pct (9:40 a.m. ET)

Deutsche Bank downgraded the stock of the company, which makes the cancer vaccine Provenge, to "sell" from "hold", citing concern regarding Dendreon's debt load.

As Provenge sales continue to disappoint, even drastic restructuring and significant cost cuts will not help Dendreon address its debt due in 2016, and the terms of a refinancing may have a negative impact on equity holders, Deutsche Bank analysts said in a note.

** ANN INC, $33.79, up 4 pct (9:40 a.m. ET)

The women's apparel retailer posted a higher-than-expected rise in second-quarter profit, driven by strong sales at its Ann Taylor and LOFT stores.

** PANDORA MEDIA INC, $19.50, down 10 pct (9:46 a.m. ET)

The Internet radio service said on Thursday that rising expenditures to acquire music and expand its sales force would push fiscal 2014 earnings below analyst expectations.

** AUTODESK INC, $41.12, up 14 pct (9:47 a.m. ET)

Brokerage B. Riley & Co upgraded the AutoCAD design software maker's stock to "buy" from "neutral".

The company forecast third-quarter results below analysts' estimates on Thursday as it anticipates lower demand for its computer-aided design (CAD) software used in construction, manufacturing and engineering industries.

** EXPEDIA INC, $50.38, up 8 pct (9:48 a.m. ET)

The online travel agency on Thursday signed a long-term marketing agreement with Travelocity.

** TESLA MOTORS INC, $159.58, up 2 pct (9:52 a.m. ET)

The electric car maker, led by billionaire Elon Musk, has filed an application to trademark the "Model E" name to potentially use on future automobiles, clothing and repair service.

** SPROUTS FARMERS MARKET INC, $39.17, up 1.5 pct (9:52 a.m. ET)

The retailer of natural and organic foods reported a 45 percent increase in second-quarter revenue, driven by strong demand from health-conscious customers.

** DARLING INTERNATIONAL INC, $21.46, up 11 pct (9:56 a.m. ET)

Canadian food processor Maple Leaf Foods said it agreed to sell its biodiesel business to Darling International, a food waste recycling company, for about C$645 million ($613.6 million) in cash.

** FOOT LOCKER INC, $32.78, up 4 pct (9:56 a.m. ET)

The shoe retailer reported an 11 percent rise in quarterly profit due to a 1.8 percent increase in same-store sales. "We remain confident that we can achieve a mid-single digit comparable sales gain and a double digit percentage profit increase for fiscal 2013," Chief Executive Ken Hicks said.

** ABERCROMBIE & FITCH CO, $37.83, down 2 pct (10:03 a.m. ET)

At least five brokerages cut their price target on the company's stock after the teen retailer on Thursday reported a sharp fall in comparable sales and said business would decline even more during the current back-to-school quarter.

** FLOTEK INDUSTRIES INC, $20.05, up 4.3 pct (10:09 a.m. ET)

The oilfield services provider will be added to the S&P SmallCap 600 index after the market close on Monday, Aug. 26. Flotek replaces specialty fiber maker Buckeye Technologies Inc , which was bought by privately held Georgia-Pacific LLC.

** RENREN INC, $3.57, up 5 pct (10:08 a.m. ET)

Baidu Inc, China's largest search engine provider, will acquire a stake in Chinese group-buying website Nuomi Holdings Inc for $160 million as it accelerates its push into the country's rapidly growing mobile Internet market.

Nuomi is a wholly owned unit of social network company Renren.

** DRYSHIPS INC, $2.2, up 2 pct (9:53 a.m. ET)

** GENCO SHIPPING AND TRADING LTD, $2.47, up 7 pct (9:53 a.m. ET)

The Baltic Exchange's main sea freight index, which tracks rates for ships carrying dry bulk commodities, rose 7 points to 1165 points as capesize rates pushed higher. The index has risen from 996 points on Aug. 12.

** PRANA BIOTECHNOLOGY LTD, $5.28, up 6.6 pct (9:49 a.m. ET)

Investment website Motley Fool praised the progress the Australian drugmaker has made in developing its experimental Alzheimer's disease drug, PBT2.

"Although Prana is a small fish in a sea of much larger competitors, its progress with PBT2 makes it one of the more important names to watch in the race to treat Alzheimer's," Motley Fool said in a report.

** MENTOR GRAPHICS CORP, $22.52, up 6 pct (10:09 a.m. ET)

The chip design software maker reported second-quarter results way above Wall Street estimates due to demand for its integrated circuit products. The company also forecast better-than-expected revenue for the third quarter.

The stock was trading nearly one and a half times its average 10-day volume. (Compiled by Neha Alawadhi; Editing by Maju Samuel)

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