(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 made modest gains on Wednesday and the S&P 500 held near its record high of the prior session after data suggested the economy is recovering from a winter-driven slowdown. Dow Jones industrial average futures were up 0.12 percent at 16,468, S&P 500 futures were up 0.29 percent at 1,883.2 and Nasdaq 100 futures were up 0.17 percent at 3,656.5.
** MANNKIND CORP, $7.135, +77.49 pct
U.S. health advisers on Tuesday recommended approval of the company’s inhaled diabetes drug, and said the experimental treatment could help some patients, especially those wary of needles typically used with traditional insulin therapy.
** RUBICON PROJECT INC, $20.38, +35.87 pct
Shares of the provider of online advertising services rose as much as 32 percent in their market debut, valuing the company at about $670 million.
** LIQUIDITY SERVICES HOLDINGS, $19.91, -10.92 pct
The scrap goods auctioneer said it is the apparent high bidder for a contract with the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) to purchase, manage and sell non-rolling stock surplus assets of the U.S. Department of Defense. The company’s high bid was equal to 4.35 percent of the DoD’s original acquisition value.
** ACCELERON PHARMA INC $38.94, +14.97 pct
** CELGENE CORP, $146.42, -0.12 pct
The drug developer said its partner Celgene agreed to buy about 1.1 million of the company’s shares for about $47 million.
Acceleron said it expects Celgene will have a stake of about 14.8 percent when the deal closes, making it the majority shareholder. Celgene had a 11.15 percent stake in the company as of Jan. 20.
** AUTOBYTEL INC $14.8596, +23.52 pct
The automotive marketing services company raised its forecast for organic revenue growth to 22-24 percent from 18-22 percent for the first quarter.
Including contribution from AutoUSA, which it bought in January, the company estimates total first-quarter revenue growth of 45-47 percent. Brokerage firm B. Riley raised the target price of the company’s stock to $22 from $21.50.
** ENVIVIO INC, $3.7, +12.12 pct
The company, which provides video processing and delivery software, said its encoders are powering live high-definition sports channels on Apple Inc’s Apple TV for a major European service provider.
** ALLIANCE FIBER OPTIC PRODUCTS INC $16.6799, +12.55 pct
The fiber optic component maker estimated first-quarter sales of $24.8 million, more than the $22.53 million two analysts on average were expecting according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
** ELDORADO GOLD, $5.835, +3.46 pct
** BARRICK GOLD CORP, $18.54, +3.63 pct
** NEWMONT MINING CORP, $24.32, +3.71 pct
** SEABRIDGE GOLD INC, $7.31, +2.24 pct
** THOMPSON CREEK METALS CO INC, $2.36, +7.27 pct
Gold rose around one percent on Wednesday, recouping some strength after two days of losses as investors remained jittery ahead of U.S. jobs data that should help gauge the strength of the world’s biggest economy.
** MYRIAD GENETICS INC, $39.47, +12.29 pct
The molecular diagnostics company said on Tuesday that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services raised its reimbursement for the company’s BRACAnalysis genetic cancer test to $2,767 from $2,021.
At least four brokerages, including Jefferies, Cantor and Leerink raised their price targets on Myriad’s stock.
“We note that while this reimbursement increase is an incremental positive for Myriad and clearly better than expected, the new reimbursement rate is still materially below the pre-September 2013 rate,” Cowen and Co analysts said.
** APOLLO EDUCATION GROUP, $32.34, -8.02 pct
** CAREER EDUCATION CORP, $7.36, -4.66 pct
** STRAYER EDUCATION INC, $46.47, -2.88 pct
** CAPELLA EDUCATION CO, $61.88, -3.45 pct
** EDUCATION MANAGEMENT CORP, $4.69, -4.67 pct
** DEVRY EDUCATION GROUP INC, $42.42, -1.37 pct
For-profit education company Apollo reported lower-than-expected quarterly revenue as enrollments declined 16.8 percent at its flagship University of Phoenix. The company also said it had received a subpoena from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Inspector General, seeking information about the operations of the Northeast region of the University of Phoenix.
Shares of other for-profit colleges were also trading down on Wednesday on the news.
** SUN BANCORP INC, $3.855, +10.46 pct
** BANKUNITED INC, $35.09, +0.43 pct
The lender said it will hire Thomas O‘Brien, a board member of BankUnited, as its new chief executive, pending regulatory approval. Chairman Sidney Brown will continue as interim CEO until O‘Brien assumes his role.
** DFC GLOBAL CORP, $9.49, +5.68 pct
The pawn and payday lender said it would sell itself to private equity firm Lone Star Funds for $9.50 per share in cash, or about $1.3 billion, including debt.
** GLAXOSMITHKLINE PLC, $52.83, -0.88 pct
** AGENUS INC, $3.16, -4.53 pct
GlaxoSmithKline has stopped a high-profile clinical trial using a novel vaccine to fight lung cancer after deciding it will not be possible to find a sub-group of patients who might benefit.
Agenus contributed technology to the treatment, the MAGE-A3 vaccine, which is aimed at people with established disease, helping their immune systems to prevent the recurrence of disease post surgery.
** ALCOA INC, $12.76, -2.15 pct
Analysts at two brokerage firms raised concerns about the aluminum producer’s 2014 earnings due to low prices and oversupply.
Cowen and Co said they expect the London Metal Exchange (LME) to appeal against a UK court ruling which required the LME to abandon plans to reduce queues within its warehouse network which would reduce premiums the aluminum makers earned.
The brokerage raised its price target on Alcoa’s stock to $11 from $10, citing stronger commodity and energy prices.
** AGRIUM INC, $95.55, -2.02 pct
The Canadian fertilizer company warned on Wednesday that a big backlog of grain shipments on Canada’s railways and a late start to spring planting will hit its first-quarter earnings hard.
** TETRAPHASE PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $11.99, +6.11 pct
The company said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted fast track status to the intravenous and oral formulations of its experimental antibiotic eravacycline.
The designation expedites regulatory review of drugs that aim to treat serious diseases and fill unmet medical needs. Data from clinical trials for such drugs can be submitted to the FDA on a rolling basis rather than waiting until pivotal studies are completed.
** HEALTHSTREAM INC, $25.7499, -4.98 pct
Northland cut its rating on the company’s stock, which provides IT solutions to healthcare organizations, to “market perform” from “outperform”, according to theflyonthewall.com
* LAREDO PETROLEUM INC, $26.76, +4.37 pct
Suntrust Robinson Humphrey upgraded the stock of the oil and gas producer to “buy” from “hold”, citing lower well costs by year-end and successful testing at the Spraberry wells in the Permian Basin. The brokerage also raised its price target on the stock to $36 from $29.
** INTUITIVE SURGICAL INC, $513.7475, +4.08 pct
JMP Securities analyst J T Haresco raised his rating on the company’s stock to “market outperform” from “market underperform”, saying that the company’s newly approved surgical robot system would eventually replace a large percentage of the older version in use in the United States and could accelerate revenue growth in 2015.
The company said on Tuesday the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved for marketing an upgraded version of its flagship robotic surgical system.
** NEW YORK MORTGAGE TRUST INC, $7.53, -3.71 pct
The real estate investment trust said it would offer 13 million shares at $7.59 each and use the proceeds to buy distressed residential loans and repay debt. The offering is expected to close on April 7. [ID: nGNXVAFALa]
** AMYRIS INC, $4.16, -6.31 pct
The renewable chemicals and fuels company's shares fell on Wednesday after rising as much as 19 percent on Tuesday. The company's stock jumped on Tuesday after the United States Maritime Administration report said Amyris' fuel reduced air emissions without significantly impacting engine performance. (r.reuters.com/seq28v)
** CRYOLIFE INC, $10.67, +3.49 pct
The U.S Food and Drug administration allowed the company to start U.S. trials of its device to control bleeding during surgeries. The company said that it could receive pre-market approval for the device, PerClot, from the FDA by the end of 2015.
** ARCELORMITTAL SA, $15.86, -2.82 pct
Analysts at Credit Suisse downgraded the stock of the world’s largest steelmaker to “neutral” from “outperform”, citing lack of earnings momentum and rich valuation for the stock.
** VEEVA SYSTEMS INC, $26.789, +1.90 pct
Morgan Stanley raised its rating on the stock of the company, which provides software to the life sciences industry, to “overweight” from “equal weight”, according to theflyonthewall.com.
** GENCO SHIPPING & TRADING LTD, $1.57, -2.48 pct
The dry bulk shipper said it entered into agreement with lenders to extend the expiration of the forbearances and waivers under the relief agreements to April 21.
** KERYX BIOPHARMACEUTICALS INC, $16.95, +1.01 pct
The drug developer said the European Medicines Agency validated the company’s marketing approval application for its experimental drug Zerenex as a treatment for hyperphosphatemia, an abnormally high concentration of phosphates, in patients with chronic kidney disease.
The validation confirms that the submission is sufficiently complete for the regulator to begin the formal review process, Keryx said.