April 3, 2013 / 4:58 PM / in 5 years

MARKET PULSE- Refiners, NII Holdings, Conn's, MicroVision, Novogen

(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/faq23t)

April 3 (Reuters) - Some U.S. stocks on the move on Wednesday:


U.S. stocks fell on Wednesday after disappointing economic data, but the S&P 500 index hung near an all-time intraday high.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 68.19 points, or 0.47 percent. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was down 10.17 points, or 0.65 percent. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 17.37 points, or 0.53 percent.

** ALON USA ENERGY INC, $16.38, down 7 pct (1225 ET)

** NORTHERN TIER ENERGY LP, $25.24, down 4 pct

** WESTERN REFINING INC, $30.11, down 7 pct

** MARATHON PETROLEUM CORP, $78.95, down 8 pct

** PBF ENERGY INC, $33.96, down 6 pct

** DELEK US HOLDINGS INC, $35, down 7 pct

** PHILLIPS 66, $62.10, down 7 pct

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Friday proposed the so-called Tier 3 rules that would require refiners to cut the sulfur content of gasoline to 10 parts per million (ppm) by 2017 from the current standard of 30 ppm.

The proposed legislation weighed on refining stocks due to worries that it could add to expenditure. Refiners are already wrestling with rising costs related to another government regulation that requires them to buy renewable energy credits.

The American Petroleum Institute has estimated that it could cost the industry $10 billion to comply with Tier 3 gasoline.

** NII HOLDINGS INC, $5.05, up 21 pct (1229 ET)

The Latin American telecom service provider has agreed to sell its Peru unit to Chilean mobile telephone operator Entel for $500 million, Peruvian daily El Comercio reported late Tuesday, citing sources.

More than 6 million NII Holdings shares were traded on the Nasdaq on Wednesday.

** CONN‘S INC, $38.37, up 6 pct (1231 ET)

The home appliances and electronics retailer reported fourth-quarter revenue above Wall Street expectations, helped by higher demand for furniture and mattresses, and raised its adjusted profit forecast for fiscal 2014.

The company’s shares rose as much as 14 percent to a life-high of $41.36 on the Nasdaq on Wednesday morning in heavy trading.

** MICROVISION INC, $2.08, up 29 pct (1229 ET)

The company, which provides ultra-miniature display technology for mobile phones and laptops, said it signed a development agreement with a “prominent” electronics company.

The agreement includes $4.6 million in development fees to MicroVision over the next 13 months, it said in a statement.

The stock was one of the top percentage gainers on the Nasdaq in morning trading.

** NOVOGEN LTD, $6.15, up 42.5 pct (1229 ET)

A laboratory study of the pharmaceutical company’s experimental anti-cancer drug, CS-6, showed high cell death of cancer stem cells within 4 hours of the drug being administered.

** NETFLIX INC, $170.63, down 3.5 pct (1230 ET)

The video rental and streaming company's stock is recovering from a 7 percent drop, following speculation that activist investor Carl Icahn had sold off a stake in the company. Icahn, however, denied these rumors, the Barron reported, citing CNBC. (link.reuters.com/wuz96t)

** ZYNGA INC, $3.51, up 14 pct (1230 ET)

** GLU MOBILE INC, $2.65, up 2 pct (1230 ET)

** FACEBOOK, $26.30, up 3 pct (1231 ET)

Shares of Zynga Inc are set to open higher, a day after the online game publisher said it will begin real-money gambling through poker and casino-style games in Britain in partnership with Bwin.party Digital Entertainment.

Online gambling is growing in popularity in the UK, with mobile games maker Glu Mobile Inc launching its first real-money mobile gambling game last month.

Zynga has also been developing Facebook-based versions of “ZyngaPlusPoker” and “ZyngaPlusCasino” - currently available on the Web and as desktop applications to British-based gamblers- which could tap into the social network’s vast pool of potential players, executives said during Zynga’s fourth-quarter earnings call.

Zynga was the highest traded stock on the Nasdaq with more than 56 million shares traded till mid-day.

** ASTEX PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $5.65, up 12 pct (1231 ET)

RBC Capital Markets initiated coverage on Astex with an “outperform” rating, saying the drugmaker’s cancer drug is potentially better than an already approved drug marketed by Eisai Co Ltd

The analyst had a price target of $9 on the drugmaker’s stock and said the company is poised for partnerships or could get acquired by Gilead Sciences Inc.

** SUCAMPO PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $6.77, up 7 pct (1231 ET)

Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Irina Rivkind initiated coverage on the stock with a “buy” rating, saying that the company’s partnership with Takeda Pharmaceutical Co Ltd on its constipation drug could lead to it being acquired by Takeda.

Rivkind said that if the drug, Amitiza, is approved by the U.S. health regulator for opioid-induced constipation, the company will have no competitors in the category for at least one or two years.

** ACUITY BRANDS INC, $73.64, up 8 pct (1230 ET)

The lighting fixture maker’s second-quarter sales handily beat Wall Street estimates, helped by higher volumes across most product categories. The company also said it expects overall demand in its end markets to continue to improve in the second half of fiscal 2013.

** CONAGRA FOODS INC, $35.17, down 1 pct (1232 ET)

The company reported a sharp drop in third-quarter profit, mainly due to costs related to its Ralcorp acquisition, but the maker of Chef Boyardee pastas and Hunt’s ketchup maintained its forecast for full-year adjusted profit.

** OBAGI MEDICAL PRODUCTS INC, $25.07, up 10 pct (1233 ET)


Cosmetics products maker Obagi Medical Products Inc agreed to a revised $24-per-share buyout offer from Valeant Pharmaceuticals International after Valeant raised its offer to top a rival bid from German drugmaker Merz Pharma Group.

** MINDSPEED TECHNOLOGIES INC, $2.59, down 14 pct (1233 ET)

The company, which supplies chips for network infrastructure applications, cut its second-quarter revenue forecast, citing slower-than-expected deployments of 3G small-cell base stations.

The company now expects product revenue of between $35.1 million to $35.5 million, below its previous forecast of up or down 2 percent from first-quarter revenue of $38.4 million.

** NISKA GAS STORAGE PARTNERS LLC, $14.32, up 13.5 pct (1233 ET)

Stifel analysts upgraded the natural gas storage company’s stock to “buy” from “sell” after Niska announced equity restructuring that eliminated its subordinated shares, which accounted for half of its outstanding shares.

“The partnership places itself in a position to begin growing its distribution which we believe benefits all investors,” Stifel analyst Selman Akyol wrote in a note.

Goldman Sachs also upgraded the company’s stock to “neutral” from “sell”, according to Theflyonthewall.com.

** XYRATEX LTD, $10.40, up 4 pct (1232 ET)

The network and storage equipment maker said chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices Inc has chosen Xyratex as a “strategic” supplier. Xyratex’s OneStor Modular Enclosure product will be used in AMD’s big data and storage solutions.

** GLOBAL PAYMENTS INC, $45.13, down 8 pct (1233 ET)

The payment processor posted a third-quarter profit below analysts’ expectations as its expenses grew and said it expects 2013 diluted earnings to include an estimated charge of $0.17 per share related to net intrusion remediation costs. Global Payments was hit by a security breach affecting about 1.5 million cardholders last March.

** NEWFIELD EXPLORATION CO, $22.25, up 1 pct (1235 ET)

The oil and gas producer said it made its largest natural gas discovery ever in Block SK 310 area off the coast of Malaysia, where the company operates with 30 percent interest. Newfield estimated 1.5 trillion cubic feet to 3 trillion cubic feet of gas initially in place.

** MAGICJACK VOCALTEC LTD, $16.03, up 7 pct (1235 ET)

The company reported a fourth-quarter profit on strong sales of its devices to make and receive calls over the Internet, and said current-quarter adjusted profit will be higher compared to a year earlier.

** H&E EQUIPMENT SERVICES, $17.64, down 6 pct (1235 ET)

KeyBanc Capital Markets downgraded the company’s stock to “hold” from “buy” on valuation. “We are moving to the sidelines due to solid share appreciation, as well as the potential need to reinvest in the business following several years of SG&A leverage and investor expectations that now appear more realistic,” analyst Joe Box wrote in a note.

** NOVAVAX INC, $2.38, up 1 pct (1236 ET)

The company said its vaccine to treat a virus that causes respiratory tract infections met the main goal, of immunizing women of childbearing age, in a mid-stage trial.

** JOS A BANK CLOTHIERS INC, $40.01, up 2 pct (1236 ET)

The apparel and accessories retailer said sales for 2012 rose 7 percent on higher direct marketing and internet revenue. The retailer, which competes with Men’s Wearhouse Inc, also said that sales during the first eight weeks of fiscal 2013 were higher compared to a year earlier.

** VODAFONE GROUP PLC , $28.15, down 4 pct (1237 ET)

Verizon Communications Inc, responding to press reports, said it does not “currently have any intention” to merge with or buy its partner Vodafone Group, either alone or in conjunction with others.

Verizon’s response ruled out a full takeover, turning the focus yet again to whether the two telecom giants can do a deal over their Verizon Wireless joint venture.

** MONSANTO CO, $104.71, up 1 pct (1237 ET)

The world’s largest seed company, raised its full-year profit expectations on Wednesday after posting a better-than-expected second quarter, driven largely by strength in its corn and herbicide businesses.

** TESLA MOTORS INC, $40.83, down 8 pct (1238 ET)

Tesla’s report on Tuesday that it was setting up a financing product fell short of heightened expectations created as a result of Chief Executive Elon Musk’s tweet last week, Robert W. Baird & Co analyst Ben Kallo said.

The electric-car maker said it was partnering with Wells Fargo & Co and U.S. Bank on a financing product that would make its pricey electric sedan accessible to more people.

Musk had been teasing the announcement on Twitter for the last week. “Am going to put my money where my mouth is in v major way,” he tweeted on March 25.

** FRANCE TELECOM, $9.86, down 3 pct (1235 ET)

The U.S. listed shares of France Telecom were set to open lower after investment bank UBS downgraded the company’s stock to “sell” on worries that the French mobile market will weaken further this year under pressure from low-cost player Iliad .

“It’s too early to call the bottom of the French market. We expect 2013 to be even more painful with more price cuts, subsidies from Iliad, faster repricing, and more growth in discounted quad-play and SIM-only offers,” wrote analyst Nick Lyall in a note.

** CATERPILLAR INC, $84.18, down 1 pct (1238 ET)

** JOY GLOBAL INC, $55.75, down 2.6 pct (1238 ET)

Goldman Sachs cut its rating on Caterpillar’s stock to “neutral” from “buy”, citing an oversupplied commodities market.

The brokerage also cut its forecast for capital expenditure on mining equipment by 15 percent for 2013-2015. Lower capital expenditure in the sector would lead to reduced demand for mining equipment.

** ALEXZA PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $4.60, up 5 pct (1238 ET)

Piper Jaffray raised its rating on the drugmaker’s stock to “overweight” from “neutral” and price target to $10 from $5 to reflect the market potential for Alexza’s schizophrenia drug, Adasuve, and said the company might sign a partnership to enable the launch of the drug in the third quarter.

** ZOLTEK COS INC, $12.75, up 4 pct (1239 ET)

The carbon-fiber maker said late on Tuesday it was exploring strategic alternatives and had hired JP Morgan as its financial adviser.

Quinpario Partners LLC - Zoltek’s second-largest shareholder - last month sought the removal of the board and asked the company to consider strategic alternatives, but Zoltek had at that time said it was unwilling to engage with Quinpario.

** ARES CAPITAL CORP, $17.47, down 3 pct (1240 ET)

The business development company said it would sell 16.7 million shares in an offering and use the proceeds to pay down some of its debt.

** CENTRAL EUROPEAN MEDIA ENTERPRISES LTD, $3.86, down 4.6 pct (1240 ET)

Jefferies cut its rating on the broadcaster’s stock to “hold” from “buy,” citing a disappointing free cash flow outlook and stronger resistance from clients to recent price increases.

** GULF ISLAND FABRICATION INC, $19.90, down 7 pct (1240 ET)

The offshore drilling services provider said Chief Financial Officer Roy Breerwood resigned due to personal reasons. CEO Kirk Meche would serve as the interim CFO and treasurer.

** MAGNUM HUNTER RESOURCES CORP, $3.91, up 2 pct (1241 ET)

** PENN VIRGINIA CORP, $3.91 (1238 ET)

The oil and gas producer said it would sell its assets in the oil-rich Eagle Ford shale field in Texas to smaller rival Penn Virginia for about $400 million. The deal includes 19,000 acres of properties, taking Penn Virginia’s share in one of the hottest North American shale fields to 54,000 acres.

Analysts at Robert W. Baird & Co said the sale was positive as it would reduce Magnum Hunter’s debt and fund its capital expenses for growth in the core Appalachia and Williston basins.

** SPECTRA ENERGY PARTNERS LP, $37.15, down 4 pct (1242 ET)

The natural gas transporter priced its public offering of 4.5 million shares at $37.25 per share, below the stock’s Tuesday closing price of $38.82 on the New York Stock Exchange. Spectra Energy plans to use the proceeds to fund its capital expenses and acquisitions.

** BRINKER INTERNATIONAL INC, $37.75, up 1 pct (1241 ET)

Raymond James raised its rating on the Chili’s Grill & Bar parent to “outperform” from “market perform” and said the company has among the best earnings and cash flow visibility.

“Chili’s sales and margin visibility is supported by new product launches (pizza, to be followed by flatbreads and possibly broader Tex Mex and seafood offerings) and incremental efficiency gains through leveraging new kitchen equipment and point of sales technology,” analyst Bryan Elliott said.

** MCEWEN MINING INC, $2.45, down 9 pct (1237 ET)

** YAMANA GOLD INC, $13.74, down 4 pct (1235 ET)

** ALAMOS GOLD INC, $12.05, down 8 pct (1235 ET)

Shares of the gold producers fell after spot gold prices fell 1.1 pct to $1,556.80 per ounce, its lowest since Feb. 21. (Compiled by Pallavi Ail in Bangalore)

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