(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 rose at the open on Tuesday, following two days of declines in major indexes, with gains in the energy and healthcare sectors leading the advance. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 0.65 percent at 16,381.69, the S&P 500 was up 0.61 percent at 1,868.72 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.93 percent at 4,265.51.
** SONIC CORP, $23.2, +10.90 pct
The drive-in restaurant operator, on Monday, reported a better-than-expected second-quarter profit, helped by a 1.4 percent rise in its same-store sales.
At least four brokerages increased their price targets on the restaurant chain’s stock.
** EXELIXIS INC, $6.43, +2.55 pct
The drug developer said the European Commission granted conditional approval to its cancer drug, Cometriq, as a treatment for patients with medullary thyroid cancer.
The company said its partner, Swedish Orphan Biovitrum , would support marketing of the drug in the European Union through the end of 2015.
Cometriq was granted approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in November 2012 as a treatment for progressive, metastatic medullary thyroid cancer.
** CATALYST PHARMACEUTICAL PARTNERS INC, $2.4001, +5.27 pct
The drugmaker said an independent safety committee recommended a late-stage trial of the company’s autoimmune disorder drug, Firdapse, to continue as planned.
** RACKSPACE HOSTING INC, $35.43, +8.28 pct
Morgan Stanley raised its rating on the web hosting company’s stock to “overweight” from “equal weight,” saying it expects the growth in bookings the company reported at the end of 2013 to continue this year.
** ENDOCYTE INC, $28.49, +4.67 pct
At least two brokerages raised their price targets on the drugmaker’s stock, saying that data from a lung-cancer study of its drug suggested that it could be more broadly utilized in other forms of cancer.
The Wedbush Investment Committee added the company to its “Best Ideas List,” saying its drug could generate peak sales of $430 million in the European Union as a treatment for platinum-resistant ovarian cancer.
Endocyte’s shares more than doubled on Friday after the company said its cancer drug was recommended for conditional approval in Europe for ovarian cancer and that the drug improved survival rates in lung cancer patients.
** G-III APPAREL GROUP LTD, $70.62, -5.16 pct
The women’s sportswear apparel company said it could report a loss in the current quarter and forecast full-year 2015 results largely below the average analyst estimate.
The company said its first-quarter results would be negatively impacted by the acquisition of G.H. Bass & Co.
** ARLINGTON ASSET INVESTMENT CORP, $27.18, -4.23 pct
The asset manager said it had commenced an offering of 2.8 million shares of class A common stock. The company plans to use the proceeds for the acquisition of assets, including residential mortgage-backed securities, and for general working capital purposes.
** HALOZYME THERAPEUTICS INC, $13.07, +4.90 pct
The drugmaker said its experimental injectable drug reduced the appearance of cellulite compared with a placebo 28 days after treatment. Halozyme said the drug, codenamed HTI-501, was well tolerated in the study, with no serious adverse events.
** CARNIVAL CORP, $38.77, -3.08 pct
The world’s largest cruise operator, forecast a full-year profit below analysts’ estimates as the company cuts prices to attract customers.
** THE WALT DISNEY CO, $79.8, +0.39 pct
** GOOGLE INC, $1,167.76, +0.85 pct
The Walt Disney Co has agreed to buy Maker Studios, one of YouTube’s largest networks, for $500 million, in a deal that will make Disney a major online video distributor and should help draw more teens into the Disney entertainment empire.
** COMMSCOPE HOLDING COMPANY INC, $23.2757, -4.72 pct
The telecommunications equipment maker said it had begun a secondary offering to sell 17.5 million shares by an affiliate of the Carlyle Group LP.
CommScope said it would not receive any proceeds from the offering.
** GOOGLE INC, $1,167.76, +0.85 pct
Luxottica, the maker of Ray-Ban sunglasses, has struck a deal to design, develop and distribute glasses based on Google’s Internet-connected Glass eyewear, potentially bringing the new technology to a wider market.
** CARLYLE GROUP LP, $32.436, +2.42 pct
** JPMORGAN CHASE & CO, $61.25, +0.29 pct
Private equity firm Carlyle Group said it appointed Mike Cavanagh, co-head of JPMorgan Chase & Co’s corporate and investment bank, as co-president and co-chief operating officer.
** CONVERGYS CORP, $21.42, +2.00 pct
Suntrust Robinson started coverage of the customer management services provider on Monday with a “buy” rating and a $26 target price.
** HIMAX TECHNOLOGIES INC, $11.995, -10.35 pct
Analysts at BofA Merrill Lynch downgraded the chipmaker’s stock to “under perform” from “buy,” saying they were concerned that Himax’s Liquid Crystal on Silicon (LCoS) display technology may not be progressing fast enough to achieve their estimates.
The analysts wrote that though the management was positive on LCoS, challenges such as applications, costs, power and technology suggested that growth could be more in 2015 or 2016 versus the second half of this year.
** NPS PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $29.4, +6.72 pct
Analysts at Goldman Sachs began covering the company’s stock with a “buy” rating, saying they expected sales of its short bowel syndrome drug outside the United States to be higher than the average analyst estimate.
The analysts also said Wall Street estimates assigned limited value to the company’s experimental thyroid disorder drug, which they expected to be approved by the U.S. health regulator by its October review date.
** THE WENDY‘S CO, $9.06, +0.67 pct
The quick-service hamburger chain operator said on Monday it had completed the sale of 104 restaurants to franchisees as part of its ‘System Optimization’ initiative. The company also said it expected to generate a higher operating margin and stronger free cash flow as a result of the initiative.
** BROOKFIELD RENEWABLE ENERGY PARTNERS LP, $27.85, -1.59 pct
The renewable energy provider said it would acquire the wind energy assets of Ireland-based Bord Gáis Energy for about 700 million euros ($964.8 million), in a move that will allow Brookfield to enter the European markets.
** ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND GROUP PLC, $10.24, +1.49 pct
Royal Bank of Scotland has had contact regarding the possible sale of its U.S. retail business Citizens with Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, while Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group has also considered a bid, people with knowledge of the matter said.
** SOLARCITY CORP, $64.65, +3.31 pct
The solar company said it received a loan of $250 million from a group of lenders including BofA Merrill Lynch and intended to finance more than 200 megawatts of solar power systems for homeowners and businesses.
** REALD INC, $11.36, +2.34 pct
The 3D technology licensor extended its agreement with Wanda Cinema Line Corp to install an additional 780 RealD 3D cinema systems across China on Monday. Under the agreement, RealD has been named the exclusive 3D technology provider for Wanda Cinema Line.
** YAHOO INC, $36.83, +0.41 pct
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd will hold the kickoff meeting for its planned U.S. initial public offering on March 25, setting in motion the most high-profile listing since Facebook Inc’s offering nearly two years ago, Reuters reported last week, quoting sources familiar with the plans.
Yahoo is Alibaba's second-largest shareholder with a 24 percent stake. Investors are flocking to buy Yahoo's shares attracted by the company's stake in Alibaba, the Financial Times said. (link.reuters.com/nap87v) (Reporting By Shuhankar Chakravorty in Bangalore; Editing by Simon Jennings)