(For more market insights, including options activity, click on ; for the Day Ahead newsletter link.reuters.com/mex49s; for the Morning News Call newsletter, link.reuters.com/nex49s) Stocks edged higher on positive job market data but pared gains as investors worried the clock was ticking for Washington lawmakers to reach deals that would avoid a government shutdown and a possible U.S. debt default. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 0.15 percent, the S&P 500 was up 0.12 percent and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.55 percent.
** MONTAGE TECHNOLOGY GROUP LIMITED, $13.11, up 31 pct (03:37 p.m. ET)
The China-based fabless chipmaker’s stock jumped 33.5 percent in debut, valuing the company at up to $166.25 million.
** ZOLTEK COS, $18.41, up 12 pct (03:35 p.m. ET)
Japan’s Toray Industries Inc will buy the U.S.-based company for $600-$700 million to increase its share of the global carbon fibre market to 30 percent, the Nikkei reported.
** J.C. PENNEY CO INC, $11.09, up 10 pct (11:35 a.m. ET)
J.C. Penney Chief Executive Myron Ullman, responding to concerns about the company’s liquidity, said he does not expect the retailer to need to raise cash this year. J.C. Penney shares, which fell in early trading, rebounded to rise 6 percent after CNBC reported Ullman’s comment, citing a source.
** HERTZ GLOBAL HOLDINGS INC, $22.39, down 11 pct (09:31 a.m. ET)
** AVIS BUDGET, $29.04, down 3.5 pct
No.2 U.S. car rental company Hertz cut its full-year revenue forecast due to weaker-than-expected airport car rental volumes in the United States, the company’s biggest business.
Shares of rival Avis Budget also fell on the news.
** USA TRUCK INC, $8.95, up 38.5 pct (10.42 a.m. ET)
** KNIGHT TRANSPORTATION INC, $17.10, up 7 pct
Trucking company Knight Transportation offered to buy rival USA Truck for about $242 million including debt. Knight said it would pay $9 per share, a premium of 39 percent to USA Truck’s Wednesday closing price.
** KIOR INC, $2.66, up 45 pct (10:10 a.m. ET)
The renewable fuels company said it would double production capacity at a cellulosic fuels facility in Mississippi by building a second plant there. The company estimates that the plant will cost about $225 million.
** COVISINT CORP, $13.03, up 31 pct (11:16 a.m. ET)
Shares of Covisint jumped 36 percent to $13.57 in their market debut, valuing the cloud-based supply chain software provider, at about $494 million.
** PREMIER INC, $30.40, up 12.4 pct (10:56 a.m. ET)
Shares of the medical supply chain management firm, rose as much as 15 percent in their market debut, valuing the company at about $4.36 billion.
** WESTPORT INNOVATIONS INC, $24.98, down 8 pct (09:33 a.m. ET)
The developer of natural gas-powered truck engines offered to sell 6 million shares in the United States and Canada. The offering was priced at $25.39 per share, a 7 percent discount to its Wednesday close.
** CANCER GENETICS INC, $15.32, up 10.5 pct (10:44 a.m. ET)
Aegis analyst Raghuram Selvaraju initiated coverage of the molecular diagnostics company’s stock with a “buy” rating, saying the company’s diverse revenue base, its broad pipeline of tests, collaboration agreements with academic institutions and for-profit organizations and high-margin partnerships with biopharmaceutical companies will spur cash flow in early to mid-2015.
** FLOW INTERNATIONAL CORP, $3.98, up 7 pct (9:43 a.m. ET)
The maker of industrial water-jet machines said it will be acquired by private equity firm American Industrial Partners for $4.05 per share in cash in a transaction valued in excess of $200 million.
** FACEBOOK INC, $49.68, up 0.5 pct (9:50 a.m. ET)
Shares of the social network breached $50 on Thursday after Jefferies Equities Research raised its price target on the stock to $60. Bernstein Research raised its target to $40.
** LOGITECH , $8.79, up 4 pct (10:59 am ET)
Chief Executive Bracken Darrell told Bloomberg the computer accessories firm was moving from restructuring into growth mode. (r.reuters.com/meq43v)
** CAESARS ENTERTAINMENT CORP, $19.85, down 5 pct (9:42 a.m. ET)
The casino operator announced the commmencement of a secondary public offering of 10 million shares. The company had about 126.3 million shares outstanding as of Aug. 1.
** ELI LILLY AND CO, $51.55, down 2 pct (09:31 a.m. ET)
The company said its experimental breast cancer drug failed to improve patients’ survival without their cancer worsening in a late-stage trial, dashing investors’ hopes on one of the company’s most talked-about drugs.
** DIAMOND FOODS INC, $23.16, up 5 pct (10:25 a.m. ET)
BB&T Capital Markets upgraded the snack food maker’s stock to “buy” from “hold”, saying the company has settled an investor lawsuit related to accounting of payments to walnut farmers and that it is likely to clear other hurdles, including issues with walnut supply. “Once accomplished, investors will be left with an attractive, repositioned, branded snack company with an improved balance sheet, instituted cost savings program, improving margins, and in our opinion, a potential takeout candidate,” BB&T analyst Brett Hundley said.
** BED BATH AND BEYOND INC, $78.18, up 5 pct (09:32 a.m. ET)
The home furnishing retailer reported an 18 percent jump in second-quarter profit as the U.S. housing market recovery spurs demand for the home goods chain’s products.
** JABIL CIRCUIT INC, $23.02, down 4 pct (9:41 a.m. ET)
The contract electronics maker said on Wednesday it could cut ties with its second-largest customer BlackBerry Ltd , which could shave off 28 cents to 34 cents from its core earnings per share in 2014. “We are faced with a strong possibility of disengaging with BlackBerry,” Jabil’s Chief Executive Mark Mondello said in a post-earnings conference call with analysts on Wednesday.
The company’s current-quarter revenue forecast missed anlaysts’ estimates as it expects to lose business from BlackBerry.
** HOMEAWAY INC, $29.12, down 5 pct (10:30 a.m. ET)
Morgan Stanley downgraded the online vacation rental company’s stock to “equal weight”, according to Theflyonthewall.com.
** HB FULLER CO, $43.81, up 8 pct (9:41 a.m. ET)
The chemical company on Wednesday reported a higher-than-expected third-quarter profit as it cut down expenses. The company also raised the low end of its full-year earnings forecast to $2.60 from $2.55 per share.
** ZALE CORP, $16.00, up 3.8 pct (10:03 a.m. ET)
Shares of the jewelery chain rose to their highest in almost five years after Chief Executive Thio Killion revealed that he bought 14,512 shares of the company at $14.13 each. (link.reuters.com/xaq43v)
** TRANSCEPT PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $3.45, down 6.5 pct (11:31 a.m. ET)
The drugmaker said it rejected New York-based pharmaceutical company Retrophin Inc’s RTRX.PK buyout offer of $4 per share, an 8 percent premium to the company’s closing price on Wednesday. Transcept said the unsolicited proposal, which valued the company at about $75 million, was not in the best interest of the company or its shareholders.
** VITAMIN SHOPPE INC, $43.49, up 3.3 pct (10:21 a.m E.T)
Deutsche Bank started coverage of the nutritional product retailer’s stock with a “buy” rating, citing increased customer traffic and market share gains.
** JPMORGAN CHASE & CO, $52.03, up 1.5 pct (09:45 a.m. ET)
The bank is in talks with government officials to settle federal and state mortgage probes for $11 billion, two people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.
** E-COMMERCE CHINA DANGDANG INC, $10.51, up 9 pct (10:31 a.m. ET)
Credit Suisse started coverage on the China-based online bookseller’s stock with an outperform rating, according to Theflyonthewall.com.
** GREEN DOT CORP, $26.18, up 5 pct (10:10 a.m. ET)
The prepaid debit card issuer will replace Colonial Property Trust in the S&P SmallCap 600 index after close of trade on Oct. 1.
** GENWORTH FINANCIAL INC, $12.81, up 2 pct (09:45 a.m. ET)
The life and mortgage insurer said it has begun filing for premium rate increases on certain long-term care policies sold between 2003 and 2012. The premium rate increases requested will range between 6 and 13 percent on more than $800 million in annualized in-force premiums, the company said on Wednesday.
** MCCORMICK & CO INC, $66.35, down 2.5 pct (10:41 a.m. ET)
The food ingredients maker lowered its full-year forecast, citing weak demand from quick service restaurant chains. The company said it now expects full-year sales to be at the lower end of its 4-6 percent growth range forecast, while adjusted operating income is projected to grow 3-5 percent, compared to 5-7 percent forecast earlier.
** EBAY INC, $55.37, up 2 pct (9:40 a.m. ET)
EBay said it would buy payment gateway Braintree for about $800 million in cash to add to its PayPal business.
** AIR PRODUCTS & CHEMICALS INC, $111.05, up 3.6 pct (9:40 a.m. ET)
The industrial gas producer feeling the heat from activist investor Bill Ackman, said Chief Executive John McGlade would retire in 2014.
** WORTHINGTON INDUSTRIES INC, $34.71, up 2 pct (9:45 a.m. ET)
The metals processing company on Wednesday reported higher-than-expected first-quarter results as demand rose for its steel processing business from automotive, agriculture and commercial construction markets.
** RUE21 INC, $39.8, down 2 pct (09:32 a.m. ET)
The teen apparel retailer said the weak sales pattern seen in August is continuing in September, with comparable store sales down 9.5 percent through Sept. 24. (link.reuters.com/wyp43v)
** CABOT OIL & GAS CORP, Wednesday close $35.57, up 3 pct (09.48 a.m. ET)
The Houston, Texas-based company said it expects production to grow by 30 to 50 percent in 2014.
** ARES CAPITAL CORP, $17.12, down 2.5 pct (9:37 a.m. ET)
The investment company commenced public offering of 11 million shares. Underwriters also have an option to purchase up to an additional 1.65 million shares of common stock. Net proceeds from the offer would be used to repay debt, Ares said. (Compiled by Aditi Shrivastava; Editing by Don Sebastian)