(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) U.S. stocks fell on Thursday amid lingering market uncertainty as a partial U.S. government shutdown continued for a third day and leaders in Congress showed no sign of progress towards resolving the stalemate. The Dow Jones industrial average was down 0.73 percent, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 0.75 percent and the Nasdaq Composite Index was down 0.59 percent.
** TESLA MOTORS INC, $176.80, down 6 pct (10:31 a.m. ET)
The electric carmaker’s stock price took another hit on Thursday and its sales were likely to suffer following a battery fire in its flagship Model S sedan in Washington state this week, analysts said.
** ELI LILLY AND CO, $49.95, down 3.5 pct (10:32 a.m. ET)
The U.S. drugmaker, which is trying to rebound from painful patent expirations on its medicines, said it would be able to meet its financial goals through 2014 with difficulty and announced it would buy back $5 billion of its stock over time.
** BP PLC, $42.70, up 1.1 pct (10:32 a.m. ET)
The London-listed shares of the company rose 1.7 percent in early trade on Thursday, the top gainer on Britain’s FTSE 100, after the energy company won a legal reprieve in a case related to settlements over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
** HERBALIFE LTD, $71.38, down 5 pct (10:33 a.m. ET)
Hedge fund manager William Ackman has restructured his $1 billion short bet against Herbalife in order to cut the risk of further mark-to-market losses, he told investors in a quarterly letter.
“In recent weeks we have restructured the position by reducing our short equity position by more than 40 percent and replacing it with long-term derivatives, principally over-the-counter put options,” Ackman wrote in a letter seen by Reuters.
** ANGIE‘S LIST, $17.91, down 15 pct (10:36 a.m. ET)
Brokerage Stifel Nicolaus removed the online review company from its select list “due to the heightened risk profile and what could be a shift in overall business strategy.”
Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that Angie's lowered membership prices by about 75 percent in many major markets to attract new members. (link.reuters.com/dez53v)
Stifel said it could be a concern if the company decides to make the lower pricing permanent.
** CEVA INC, $15.22, down 15 pct (10:37 a.m. ET)
The mobile chip designer estimated third-quarter revenue of $10 million, below its previous forecast of $11.5 million to $12.5 million, citing lower licensing revenue due to failure to close a “significant” license agreement.
The company also estimated operating expenses to rise by $600,000 from its earlier forecast due to delay in getting grants from the government of Israel, where it has a research and development facility and which accounts for majority of employee salaries.
** ZALICUS INC, $6.16, down 14.5 pct (10:34 a.m. ET)
The biopharmaceutical company announced a 1-for-6 reverse stock split, effective Oct. 3. Every six shares of Zalicus pre-reverse stock split common stock were combined and reclassified into one share of Zalicus common stock.
The reverse stock split will reduce the number of shares of common stock issued and outstanding to about 24.6 million from about 147.5 million.
** VIVUS INC, $11.47, up 13 pct (10:37 a.m. ET)
Brokerage Cowen and Co upgraded the obesity pill maker’s stock to “outperform” from “marketperform,” saying the company’s recently approved diet pill showed stronger efficacy than rival Arena Pharmaceuticals Inc’s diet drug Belviq.
Leadership changes including the appointment of Seth H.Z. Fischer, a former senior executive at Johnson & Johnson, to revive the company’s weak sales were also viewed as positive outcomes by analyst Simos Simeonidis.
** MTR GAMING GROUP INC, $5.21, up 11 pct (10:33 a.m. ET)
The racetrack, gaming and hotel operator's largest shareholder Jacobs Entertainment Inc and affiliates on Wednesday made a superior merger proposal for an implied price of $5.69 per share, according to a regulatory filing. (r.reuters.com/zet53v)
In September, MTR Gaming said it would be bought by privately held Eldorado Resorts LLC in a stock merger. The offer included a cash election option of $5.15 per share for up to 5.8 million shares.
** ZALE CORP, $14.17, down 10 pct (10:38 a.m. ET)
Golden Gate Capital may sell up to 11.1 million of the mid-tier jeweler's common stock, reducing its 25.3 percent stake in the company, according to a regulatory filing regulators on Wednesday. (r.reuters.com/tat53v)
** OMEROS CORP, $12.28, up 9.8 pct (10:39 a.m. ET)
The drug developer settled a lawsuit related to the coverage obligations of Omeros’s insurer to the company.
The settlement includes a $12.5 million payment to the company by insurer Carolina Casualty Insurance Co by Oct. 25.
Omeros shares closed up nearly 16 percent on Wednesday.
** GALENA BIOPHARMA INC, $2.45, up 7.4 pct (10:37 a.m. ET)
The biotechnology company announced the launch of its pain drug Abstral in the United States. The drug aims to treat bouts of cancer pain in opioid-tolerant patients.
** CLEAN ENERGY FUELS CORP, $12.91, down 6.4 pct (10:34 a.m. ET)
The natural gas fuel supplier’s shares fell on Thursday after rallying 8 percent in the past two days as Chief Executive Andrew Littlefair’s promised “big” news in a tweet on Sept. 30. The company said early Thursday that it was the first to distribute methane gas fuel made from landfills, sewage plants and other sources of waste at its gas stations throughout the United States.
** SAREPTA THERAPEUTICS, $51.56, up 5.2 pct (10:34 a.m. ET)
Baird Equity Research analyst Brian Skorney kept his “outperform” rating on the stock, saying that new analysis of a rival’s drug reinforced Sarepta’s drug’s potential for success.
Sarepta is developing a drug to treat a rare muscle-wasting disorder called Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). Last month, GlaxoSmithKline and Prosensa, who are also developing a DMD drug, said their drug failed in a late-stage trial.
** AVIAT NETWORKS, $2.38, down 5.5 pct (10:05 a.m. ET)
The company, which makes equipment to link and manage fixed and wireless networks, lowered its revenue forecast for the three months ended September due to rebidding of a contract that was expected to bring in revenue. The company also said timing of certain orders hurt its ability to ship and bill in the first quarter.
** WHITESTONE REIT, $13.45, down 5.6 pct (10:34 a.m ET)
The real estate investment trust priced its public offering of 4 million shares at $13.54 per share, a discount of 5 percent to its Wednesday’s closing price on the New York Stock Exchange.
** PVH CORP, $122.31, up 4 pct (10:35 a.m. ET)
The clothing maker on Wednesday said it will sell its G.H. Bass & Co division to G-III Apparel Group Ltd for about $50 million in cash.
The company also said it continues to expect 2013 adjusted earnings of $7.00 per share despite the sale. Analysts on average expect a profit of $7.04 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
** RITE AID CORP, $5.21, up 4 pct (10:39 a.m. ET)
The No.3 U.S. drugstore chain reported a 1.9 percent rise in September same-store sales.
** CONSTELLATION BRANDS INC, $59.23, up 1.6 pct (10:39 a.m. ET)
The alcoholic beverage company reported higher quarterly earnings on Thursday and the company raised its full-year outlook following the acquisition of Grupo Modelo’s U.S. beer business.
** OREXIGEN THERAPEUTICS INC, $6.31, up 4.1 pct (10:40 a.m. ET)
The diet drugmaker said it submitted an application to the European Medicines Agency for marketing its experimental late-stage obesity drug Contrave in Europe.
Separately, brokerage Cowen and Co began coverage of the diet drugmaker with an “outperform” rating, saying they expect positive data for the company’s experimental obesity drug.
Approval of the drug could make it a takeover target with Takeda Pharmaceutical Co Ltd the likely suitor, analyst Simos Simeonidis said in a note to clients.
** ABRAXAS PETROLEUM CORP, $2.90, up 4 pct (10:26 a.m. ET)
Analysts at Suntrust Robinson Humphrey raised their price target on the oil and gas explorer’s stock to $2.90 from $2.85, citing rising production growth and upside in its Eagle Ford resource in Atascosa County, Texas.
** FIVE BELOW INC, $48.19, up 3.4 pct (10:41 a.m. ET)
Sterne Agee analyst Charles Grom upgraded his rating on the discount apparel retailer’s stock to “buy” from “neutral,” saying that the company can achieve strong same-store sales growth in the second-half of the year as his checks indicated that the company’s fashion is on-trend, its store development actions are on track and its merchandise is priced attractively.
Grom said the company’s stores are unique as they focus more on the teen/preteen demographic, are stocked up with fast-moving merchandise and are priced at $5 or less which will drive same-store sales in the company’s fourth-quarter ending in October.
** CANADIAN SOLAR INC, $19.24, up 3.6 pct (10:41 a.m. ET)
The solar panel maker said it sold two solar power plants totaling 20 megawatts in Ontario to a fund managed by BlackRock Inc on Sept. 30. The announcement comes a day after the company closed the sale of two power plants to energy company TransCanada Corp
Brokerage Lazard Capital Markets raised its target price on the company’s stock to $25 from $20.
** ASHLAND INC, $85.60, down 3 pct (10:30 a.m. ET)
Analysts at Jefferies & Co downgraded the chemical maker’s stock to “hold” from “buy” and cut their third-quarter earnings estimates, citing lower demand from construction and other markets, which has affected Ashland’s performance materials unit and Valvoline motor oil supplying consumer markets business. (Compiled by Sneha Banerjee in Bangalore; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)