(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 rallied at the open on Friday after a stronger-than-expected payrolls report gave traders confidence the economy would be strong enough to withstand a scaling back of stimulus by the Federal Reserve. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 0.76 percent at 15,941.02, the S&P 500 was up 0.78 percent at 1,798.94 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.59 percent at 4,056.917.
** J.C. PENNEY CO INC, $8.46, -4.41 pct
The struggling department store chain said it received a letter of inquiry from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, seeking an explanation on the company’s financial position.
** INTEL CORP, $24.9901, +3.01 pct
Citigroup raised its rating on the chipmaker’s stock to “buy” from “neutral,” according to Theflyonthewall.com.
** BIG LOTS INC, $32.81, -11.63 pct
The retailer reported a bigger-than-expected loss for the third quarter, hurt by weak same-store sales in both the United States and Canada.
Big Lots also said it would close its stores in Canada, as it believed that further investment and execution risk required for a turnaround were not in its best interest.
** BANK OF AMERICA CORP, $15.6, +1.10 pct
A U.S. judge is considering an alternative that could result in the bank paying much less than the $863.6 million the government is seeking as a penalty for the sale of defective mortgages before the financial crisis.
** AMERICAN EAGLE OUTFITTERS INC, $15.33, -6.52 pct
The teen apparel retailer forecast current-quarter profit below analysts’ estimates due to heavy discounting in the holidays.
** VALE SA, $15.27, +1.13 pct
The Brazilian miner said on Thursday that it planned to sell a 15-25 percent stake in its coal operations, including projects and mines in Australia and Mozambique, and has had interest from potential partners including coal buyers.
** BALLARD POWER SYSTEMS $1.8298, +27.96 pct
The Canadian clean energy fuel cell maker signed on Thursday a non-binding memorandum of understanding with Van Hool NV, a Belgian bus manufacturer, for the manufacture and deployment of zero-emission fuel cell buses.
** FIVE BELOW INC, $46.11, -3.43 pct
The value retailer forecast current-quarter results below analysts’ estimates, citing the shorter holiday season and moderation of the rubber band bracelet trend.
** SEARS HOLDINGS CORP, $50.935, +1.91 pct
The struggling U.S. retailer, led by hedge fund manager Edward Lampert, said it would spin off its Lands’ End clothing business. The spinoff will be through a prorata distribution of Lands’ End shares to shareholders, Sears said in a regulatory filing.
** 3D SYSTEMS CORP, $76.12, +0.36 pct
Needham raised its price target on the 3D printer maker’s stock to $82 from $62, saying it expected product launches to boost growth. “The company’s strong product lineup along with what we believe is continued robust industry demand ... has increased our confidence that DDD can deliver upside surprises to revenue and EPS over the next year,” Needham analysts said.
** THERAVANCE INC, $36.54, +2.78 pct
** GLAXOSMITHKLINE INC, $13.02, -2.54 pct
GlaxoSmithKline and Theravance said their combination therapy met the main goal of improving lung function in asthma patients in a late-stage trial. The therapy consists of the corticosteroid, fluticasone furoate, which reduces inflammation, and a long-acting beta-agonist, called vilanterol, which is designed to open the airways.
** BOSTON SCIENTIFIC CORP, $11.79, +3.97 pct
Cowen and Co raised its rating on the medical device maker’s stock to “outperform” from “market perform,” saying it expected top line growth to begin in 2014, helped by a strong pipeline of products and margin expansion.
The brokerage said it believed “pipeline sentiment would be bolstered beginning next week” with a positive recommendation from the U.S. regulatory panel for its heart implant device called Watchman.
The device, which is awaiting the U.S. health regulator’s approval, could potentially spare heart patients a lifetime of taking anticoagulant drugs such as warfarin that carry a high risk of bleeding.
Cowen raised its price target on the stock to $14 from $13.
** FINISAR CORP, $23.03, +5.83 pct
** JDS UNIPHASE CORP, $12.58, +2.11 pct
The maker of fiber optic components used in network communication equipment reported better-than-expected results for the second quarter, helped by strong sales. The company forecast a profit of 43-47 cents per share for the current-quarter and revenue of $290 million-$305 million. Analysts’ were expecting a profit of 38 cents per share on revenue of $290 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
At least three brokerages raised their price targets on the company’s stock to between $29 and $30.
Shares of rival JDS Uniphase also rose on the news.
** GOLAR LNG PARTNERS LP, $29.249, -5.47 pct
** GOLAR LNG LTD, $36.17, +0.42 pct
Norwegian shipping firm Golar LNG Ltd, the owner of Golar LNG Partners, said it would sell its ownership interest in Golar Igloo to the master limited partnership for $310 million.
** PLUG POWER INC, $1.9699, +8.83 pct
The fuel cell maker’s stock continued to rally after the company said on Wednesday it would turn profitable in 2014, helped by higher sales orders and cost management.
** AMBARELLA INC, $24.6804, +2.92 pct
The company, which makes chips used to capture, process and display high-definition video for cameras, reported better-than-expected adjusted profit and revenue for the third quarter.
Deutsche Bank and Needham raised their price targets on the company’s stock to $28 from $20 and $21, respectively.
** RALLY SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT CORP, $19.11, -24.94 pct
Needham cut its price target on the cloud-based software development services provider’s stock to $32 from $37, citing potential sales disruption in the near term due to a new head of sales.
Piper Jaffray cut its rating on the stock to “neutral” from “overweight,” according to Theflyonthewall.com.
However, the company reported better-than-expected results for the third quarter and forecast current-quarter and full-year revenue above analysts’ estimates.
** ZUMIEZ INC, $26.04, -0.76 pct
Roth Capital Partners and Janney Capital Markets cut their price targets on the sports apparel and equipment retailer’s stock after Zumiez forecast current-quarter profit below analysts’ estimates.
** ULTA BEAUTY, $95.935, -18.70 pct
The beauty products retailer reported lower-than-expected results for the third quarter, hurt by higher promotions and weak sales trends. The company also forecast current-quarter results below analysts’ estimates.
Piper Jaffray & Co downgraded the company’s stock to “neutral” from “overweight,” according to Theflyonthewall.com, while Sterne Agee & Leach cut its price target on the stock to $116 from $130.
** CELGENE CORP, $165.59, +0.66 pct
An experimental drug from Novartis to treat a type of bone marrow cancer met its primary goal in a late-stage study, the Swiss drugmaker said. German Biotech company MorphoSys and Celgene are also working on treatments for multiple myeloma.
** PACIFIC SUNWEAR OF CALIFORNIA INC, $3.095, +12.14 pct
The teen sports and fashion apparel retailer said comparable-store sales rose 6 percent in November, helped by higher sales of its cold weather clothing and strong Black Friday sales. The company also reported higher-than-expected revenue for the third quarter on Thursday.
** U.S. SILICA HOLDINGS INC, $35.59, +0.71 pct
The commercial silica maker said on Thursday that it commenced a secondary public offering of 4.5 million shares of its common stock. The seller of the shares was GGC USS Holdings LLC, a unit of Golden Gate Capital, U.S. Silica said in a statement.
** GRANITE CONSTRUCTION INC, $31.56, +4.12 pct
Goldman Sachs raised its rating on the building products maker’s stock to “buy” from “neutral,” according to Streetinsider.com.
** VEEVA SYSTEMS INC, $43.67, +6.56 pct
The company, which provides software to the life sciences industry, reported a 54 percent jump in third-quarter revenue. The company also forecast fourth-quarter adjusted profit of 5-6 cents per share on revenue of $57 million-$58 million. Analysts were expecting a profit of 5 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Canaccord Genuity raised its price target on the company’s stock to $48 from $46.
** SEACHANGE INTERNATIONAL LTD, $11.82, -17.92 pct
The company, which sells software that enables video services on multiple screens to cable operators, forecast an adjusted fourth-quarter profit of 15-20 cents per share on revenue of $40 million-$45 million. Analysts were expecting a profit of 36 cents per share on revenue of $52.2 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
SeaChange’s third-quarter results were also below analysts’ estimates.
** THE COOPER COMPANIES INC, $126.89, -5.11 pct
The medical device maker reported fourth-quarter revenue and profit below analysts’ estimates, hurt by a 7 percent fall in Asia-Pacific sales. (Compiled by Avik Das in Bangalore; Editing by Kirti Pandey)