March 27 (Reuters) - Some U.S. stocks on the move on Wednesday:
U.S. stocks dipped on Wednesday as soft demand at an Italian debt auction kept concerns about the financial stability of the euro zone at the center of investor focus.
The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 40.67 points, or 0.28 percent, to 14,518.98. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index shed 3.68 points, or 0.24 percent, to 1,560.09. The Nasdaq Composite Index lost 6.93 points, or 0.21 percent, to 3,245.55.
** JP MORGAN CHASE & CO, $47.67, down 2 percent (1218 ET)
U.S. prosecutors are examining whether the bank fully alerted authorities to suspicions about fraudster Bernard Madoff, the New York Times reported, citing several people with direct knowledge of the matter.
** DIANA SHIPPING INC, $10.38, up 9 pct (1218 ET)
** EXCEL MARITIME CARRIERS LTD, $0.96, up 16 pct (1218 ET)
** GLOBAL SHIP LEASE, $4.78, up 12 pct (1216 ET)
** FRONTLINE LTD, $2.38, up 8 pct (1217 ET)
Jim Cramer, host of CNBC’s Mad Money, said on his show late on Tuesday that share prices of dry bulk shippers have bottomed, citing Diana Shipping in particular. The shipping industry has been hit by an oversupply of vessels due to a spending spree by owners before the economic downturn, which sent rates tumbling.
However, Jefferies & Co analyst Douglas Mavrinac said Cramer was just echoing a general improvement in sentiment. “This is the U.S. buy-side anticipating that rates are about to improve because they see that the fundamentals are getting better and that Diana, with its near debt-free balance sheet, is a very safe way to play the eventual recovery in the sector.”
** CLIFFS NATURAL RESOURCES, $18.08, down 15.6 pct (1223 ET)
Morgan Stanley downgraded the iron ore and metallurgical coal producer’s stock to “underweight” from “equal-weight”, citing an oversupply of iron ore in the Great Lakes region in North America in the coming years which will lead to a cut in the company’s production and price.
A big increase in the supply of iron ore pellets in the Great Lakes region over the next three years could hit earnings from Cliffs’ U.S. iron ore segment hard, Morgan Stanley analyst Evan Kurtz said in a note to clients.
Credit Suisse analyst Nathan Littlewood, who also sees a looming pellet surplus in the Great Lakes, said Cliffs may need to consider “drastic solutions” to shore up its balance sheet in the next 12 months, from selling iron ore assets in the Asia-Pacific region to a multibillion-dollar equity offering.
** LOGMEIN INC, $18.89, down 11 pct (1223 ET)
The remote-access software maker said on Tuesday it won a patent infringement lawsuit against 01 Communique Laboratory Inc but analysts said the company’s poor execution is still an issue.
“We are cautious on shares of LOGM because the company’s rapid growth has slowed recently, and we anticipate growth to be tepid through 2013,” JP Morgan analyst John DiFucci wrote in a note.
** APPLE INC, $451.72, down 2 pct (1219 ET)
At least two brokerages lowered their estimates for iPhone shipments for the second and third quarters, citing a demand pause and reduction in iPhone inventory.
“As we now believe that much of the new iPhone products (iPhone 5S, low-end iPhone) will be shipping in the second-half of 2013, we are lowering our March quarter iPhone unit estimates from 37.0 million units to 35.3 million units and our June quarter estimates from 43 million units to 30 million units,” FBN Securities analyst Shebly Seyrafi wrote in a note.
Pacific Crest Securities analyst Andy Hargreaves also cut his estimates on iPhone and iPad shipments. He cut his estimates mainly for large-format iPad shipments for the current quarter to 16.5 million from 17 million, saying tablet demand would likely shift to smaller and less expensive models.
“We continue to anticipate very slow revenue and earnings growth from Apple going forward,” Hargreaves said.
** NET1 UEPS TECHNOLOGIES INC, $7.48, up 25 pct (1220 ET)
The company said the South African Supreme Court of Appeal ruled in its favor that the tender process followed by the South African Social Security Agency in awarding a contract to its subsidiary Cash Paymaster Services was valid and legal.
The contract relates to the distribution of social welfare grants to 10 million South Africans every month for a period of five years. About 900,000 shares changed hands by 1220 ET, about 7 times their 10-day daily moving average.
** ENDOCYTE INC, $11.93, up 11 pct (1257 ET)
Wedbush analyst Gregory Wade raised his price target on the company’s stock to $20 from $16, saying that Endocyte’s cancer drug, vintafolide, was likely to be approved in the European Union for platinum-resistant ovarian cancer by the end of the year.
“We further expect that Endocyte will, in 2013, promote a development candidate for the treatment of the rare, orphan, polycystic kidney disease”, Wade wrote in a note to clients.
** FORD MOTOR CO, $13.17, down 1 pct (1220 ET)
The car maker said on Tuesday that it will recall about 3,500 Taurus, Explorer and Lincoln MKS vehicles around the world to repair fuel tanks equipped with an improperly molded seam.
** GENOMIC HEALTH INC, $28.35, up 6 pct (1233 ET)
Leerink Swann analyst Dan Leonard raised his rating on the stock to “outperform” from “market perform”, saying positive data from a study of its prostrate cancer trial could “improve investor sentiment” on the stock. Leonard also said he expected U.K.’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence to recommend the company’s breast cancer test in its final guidance by the middle of the year.
** RACKSPACE HOSTING INC, $49.46 , down 5 pct (1234 ET)
Credit Agricole Securities initiated coverage on the web hosting company’s stock with an “underperform” rating, streetinsider.com reported.
** TROVAGENE INC, $6.09, up 5.9 pct (1234 ET)
The diagnostic test maker on Wednesday launched a non-invasive device to test sexually transmitted infection.
The HPV-HR DNA urine-based test checks for the virus molecular human papillomavirus, which affects about 6 million Americans every year, the company said quoting data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
** MATTRESS FIRM HOLDING CORP, $34.08, up 10 pct (1235 ET)
** TEMPUR-PEDIC INTERNATIONAL, $49.88, up 6.5 percent (1235 ET)
The specialty bedding retailer forecast full-year sales above Wall Street estimates.
Brokerage Raymond James upgraded its rating on the stock to “outperform” from “marketperform,” and at least two other brokerages raised their price targets on the stock.
The upbeat forecast also boosted rival Tempur-Pedic’s shares.
** AOL INC, $38.78, up 7 pct (1236 ET)
Barclays upgraded the Internet company’s stock to “overweight” from “equal-weight” and raised its target price on the stock to $44 from $38, saying it expects better results compared to Wall Street estimates as the company “returns to modest revenue growth and continues to streamline its cost structure.”
** DEUTSCHE BANK, $39.00, down 3.1 percent (1236 ET)
Credit rating agency Standard & Poors may downgrade Germany’s biggest lender after the bank revised its 2012 profit lower because of charges related to mortgage-related lawsuits and other regulatory investigations.
** AASTROM BIOSCIENCES INC, $0.71, down 38 pct (1237 ET)
The drugmaker said it would end the late-stage trial of its drug to treat critical limb ischemia - a form of peripheral arterial disease - and cut about half of its workforce.
** FRANCESCA‘S HOLDINGS CORP, $28.83, down 4.3 pct (1238 ET)
Stockholders of the women’s clothing retailer, including certain members of management and certain affiliates of CCMP Capital Advisors LLC, announced a secondary offering of about 7.4 million shares, the company said.
** TUMI HOLDINGS INC, $22.34, down 3.5 pct (1239 ET)
Stockholders of the luxury handbag maker on Tuesday announced a secondary offering of 10.1 million shares, the company said.
** LINDSAY CORP, $86.23, down 6.6 pct (1241 ET)
The agricultural equipment maker reported second-quarter results above analysts’ expectations, but said that it expects low commodity prices to hurt demand for the rest of the year and into 2014.
** APOLLO GROUP, $17.16, down 3 pct (1241 ET)
Brokerage Wells Fargo downgraded the for-profit education company’s stock to “market perform” from “outperform,” saying Apollo’s new advertising strategy does not seem to have a material effect on demand.
Apollo’s new measures to focus on non-degree programs and international expansion do not offer enough near-term scale to offset the pressures on its core business, Wells Fargo said.
** UTSTARCOM INC, $2.81, up 19.4 pct (1241 ET)
The telecom equipment maker’s shareholders, Shah Capital Management and Lu Family Trust, offered to buy the company for $3.20 per share in cash.
The offer values the company, which has a market value of about $92 million, at about $124.9 million.
** BIOFUEL ENERGY CORP, $5.29, down 6 pct (1242 ET)
The ethanol producer said it was exploring a sale of one or both of its plants. The company had defaulted on loans due in September last year. Lenders have indicated that they are willing to provide Biofuel Energy with a grace period until July 30 to pursue strategic options, the company said.
The worst drought in five decades last summer pushed up corn prices, weakening margins of U.S. ethanol producers, who use corn as the primary feedstock in production.
** LANDEC CORP, $13.04, down 2 pct (1242 ET)
The company, which makes prepackaged vegetables and medical products, expects profit and revenue in the fourth quarter to be lower than the preceding quarter on reduced supply of green beans during March.
For the third quarter ended Feb. 24, Landec reported a flat profit due to produce-sourcing issues in California.
** SAIC INC, $13.41, up 4.6 pct (1242 ET)
The U.S. government IT contractor reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter profit on Tuesday on higher revenue from its defense solutions business.
** ACCESS MIDSTREAM PARTNERS LP, $40.20, down 2.4 pct (1243 ET)
The natural gas services provider priced its offer of 9 million common units at $39.86 per unit, below their closing price of $41.23 on the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday.
** BOEING CO, $85.85, down 0.8 pct (1243 ET)
As the planemaker works to regain permission for its 787 Dreamliner to resume flights, the company faces what could be a costly new challenge: a temporary ban on some of the long-distance, trans-ocean journeys that the jet was intended to fly. (Compiled by Jochelle Mendonca)