(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 climbed on Monday, with the S&P 500 bouncing back from its worst weekly drop in the past seven as concerns eased over the situation in Crimea, even as the region voted to join Russia. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 1.11 percent at 16,244.68, the S&P 500 was up 0.98 percent at 1,859.15 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 1.05 percent at 4,290.094.
** SINA CORP, $70.03, +8.42 pct
Twitter-like messaging service Weibo Corp, owned by Sina Corp, filed on Friday to raise $500 million via a U.S. initial public offering, as Chinese companies flock to the American market in record numbers to take advantage of soaring valuations.
** HASTINGS ENTERTAINMENT INC, $3, +57.07 pct
The retailer of new and used books and consumer electronics merchandise said it would be acquired by shareholder Joel Weinshanker for about $21.4 million.
The $3 per share offer is at a 57 percent premium to the stock’s Friday’s closing price of $1.91.
** STAAR SURGICAL CO, $17.87, +16.27 pct
The lens maker said an independent advisory panel to the Food and Drug Administration recommended marketing approval for its implantable lens, bringing it closer to a long-awaited U.S. launch.
** CLEAN DIESEL TECHNOLOGIES INC, $5.43, +11.27 pct
The maker of vehicle emission control systems said it had reached a settlement with its former chief financial officer, Ann Ruple, who had accused the company of laying her off for engaging in SOX-protected activity. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act Of 2002 mandates strict reforms to improve financial disclosures from corporations and prevent accounting fraud. Under the agreement, Clean Diesel will pay Ruple $430,000 and issue her 75,000 shares of common stock.
** VERISIGN INC, $51.1, -6.84 pct
Brokerage Cowen and Company cut its rating on the internet domain name provider’s stock to “market perform” from “outperform,” citing the U.S. government’s announcement on Friday that it is planning to transition domain name oversight to an as-yet unknown global multi-stakeholder body by September 2015. “With less U.S. control and without knowledge of what entity or entities will ultimately have power, we believe there is increased risk that VRSN may not be able to renew its .com and .net contracts in their current form,” analyst Gregg Moskowitz wrote in a note to clients.
However, Verisign said on Monday that the U.S. government’s statement would not impact operation and revenue of its .com or .net businesses, since the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s announcement involved internet functions that were different from those the company performed under its .com and .net agreements.
** INTERCEPT PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $401.01, -13.25 pct
The drugmaker’s shares fell on Monday after the company said a trial showed patients taking its experimental liver disease drug experienced a higher number of heart-related problems than those given a placebo.
** FIVE PRIME THERAPEUTICS INC, $22.34, +19.15 pct
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co said on Monday it signed a collaboration agreement with the drugmaker to develop new drugs that use the immune system to fight cancer, and will buy a stake in the smaller company as Bristol looks to expand its immuno-oncology portfolio.
** NEXSTAR BROADCASTING GROUP INC, $33.34, -9.16 pct
** SINCLAIR BROADCAST GROUP INC, $24.61, -7.34 pct
** GRAY TELEVISION INC, $9.16, -12.84 pct
** LIN MEDIA LLC, $20.16, -5.31 pct
Wells Fargo Securities cut its rating on the broadcast stocks to “market perform” and on the sector to “market weight,” saying it was “incrementally negative” on the regulatory environment, particularly relating to pending and future mergers and acquisitions. “It appears that no pending deals with any sort of ”shared“ arrangements will close until/unless they are restructured to exclude such stations,” the brokerage wrote in a note.
U.S. Federal Communications Commission will vote on new rules on March 31 that would prohibit broadcast companies from controlling more than two TV stations in a market by sharing advertising sales staff.
** KANDI TECHNOLOGIES GROUP INC, $21.81, +25.63 pct
The China-based electric vehicle maker’s fourth-quarter revenue almost doubled, driven by the newly unveiled electric vehicle subsidy policy in China, which helped clear pending electric vehicle orders during the quarter. Fourth-quarter adjusted net income more than tripled to $4.6 million.
** AMGEN INC, $124.08, +1.26 pct
The drugmaker said its experimental new type of cholesterol-fighting drug met the primary goal of a late-stage trial by slashing “bad” LDL cholesterol levels in patients with a genetic tendency towards high levels of the artery-clogging fat.
** MATTHEWS INTERNATIONAL CORP, $40.52, +1.71 pct
** SCHAWK INC, $19.96, +35.51 pct
Matthews said it would buy brand development company Schawk for $20 per share in cash and stock, at a premium of about 36 percent to Schawk’s Friday close. The deal is valued at $577 million, including debt. Matthews makes bronze and granite memorials and provides brand solutions.
** HARVEST NATURAL RESOURCES INC, $4.08, -5.99 pct
The oil and gas producer posted a bigger fourth-quarter loss after taking two charges related to the planned sale of assets to exit Venezuela.
** JA SOLAR HOLDINGS CO LTD, $11.81, +3.42 pct
Strong demand from China propelled the company to its first profit in 10 quarters, and it forecast higher shipments for the year, sending its shares up to their highest in more than two years.
** YAHOO INC, $39.26, +4.41 pct
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd has decided to hold its long-awaited IPO in the United States and is in discussions with six banks to underwrite the deal, in what is set to the most high-profile public offering since Facebook Inc’s listing nearly two years ago. The listing will be closely watched by Alibaba’s two largest shareholders - Yahoo and Japan’s Softbank Corp.
** HERTZ GLOBAL HOLDINGS INC, $27.34, +5.23 pct
The car rental company is preparing to spin off its construction equipment rental business in a deal which will value the business at $4.5 billion, the Financial Times reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The deal is expected to be announced this week. (r.reuters.com/jar67v)
** YINGLI GREEN ENERGY HOLDING CO LTD, $5.975, +3.73 pct
The Chinese solar panel maker said it supplied 10 megawatts of solar panels to a solar company in the United Kingdom.
Yingli Green has completed the delivery of about 40,000 panels at the end of February, which will be installed on the Isle of Sheppey, United Kingdom.
** SEARS HOLDINGS CORP, $46.17, +4.91 pct
The company controlled by Eddie Lampert said on Friday that its board approved the spin off on April 4 of its Lands’ End clothing business. The deal, which was announced in December, will make Lands’ End an independent, publicly traded company on the Nasdaq stock exchange under the symbol LE.
** GIANT INTERACTIVE GROUP INC, $11.55, +1.32 pct
Giant Investment Ltd will acquire the Chinese online gaming company for $3 billion and take it private, the companies said on Sunday. Giant Investment sweetened its offer to $12 per share from the original $11.75, a 5.3 percent premium to Giant Interactive’s closing price on Friday.
** PRIMERO MINING CORP, $8.05, +3.21 pct
The Canadian silver producer said on Thursday that it had reached its annual threshold of 3.5 million ounces of silver under its purchase agreement with Silver Wheaton Corp six weeks earlier than the previous year. The company will now start selling 50 percent of the silver produced at its San Dimas mine in Mexico for its own account till August 5, 2014.
Primero’s shares have risen about 8 percent since the announcement and touched a 52-week high of $7.80 at the close of trade on Friday.
** SUCAMPO PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $7.84, -2.49 pct
The drugmaker said U.S. health regulators had sought additional data for the liquid formulation of its constipation drug Amitiza, and hence a marketing application would not be filed in the second half of 2014.
** ALCATEL LUCENT, $3.93, +2.34 pct
"Mad Money" host Jim Cramer called the telecom equipment maker a "buy" stock on Friday, and said the stock could go higher, according to Seeking Alpha. (link.reuters.com/tyq67v)
** CHESAPEAKE ENERGY CORP, $24.73, -1.20 pct
The company said it would spin off its oilfield services business, less than a month after it said it was pursuing strategic options, including a sale, for the division. The spin-off would enable each of its two businesses - exploration and production, and oilfield services - to better leverage opportunities, Chesapeake said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
** FACEBOOK INC, $68.805, +1.60 pct
Argus cut its short-term rating on the social networking giant’s stock to “hold” from “buy,” saying the stock was near its former price target of $73, but retained its long-term “buy” rating. Facebook could face a substantial write down if its plan to build Whatsapp’s user base to a billion users does not succeed, analyst Joseph Bonner said.
“However, our downgrade could prove premature if new forms of advertising (including mobile video) on the flagship Facebook site accelerate average revenue per user and drive stronger results,” Bonner added.
Facebook’s shares were among the most heavily traded on the Nasdaq in morning trading on Monday.
** LG DISPLAY CO LTD, $11.6, +6.32 pct
South Korean shares, including those of LG Display, edged higher on Monday as some investors looked for bargains.
** PATTERSON-UTI ENERGY INC, $29.91, +3.89 pct
Analysts at Goldman Sachs raised their rating on the drilling rig operator’s stock to “conviction list buy” from “neutral,” citing expected margin improvements in the company’s drilling and pressure pumping businesses in 2014 and 2015.
** ADOBE SYSTEMS INC, $67.99, +1.19 pct
Brokerage RBC raised its price target on the Photoshop software maker’s stock to $75 from $63, saying the company was ahead of its schedule to transition to a subscription-based business model.
** 58.COM INC, $49.29, -4.88 pct
The Chinese classified listings website said it was offering up to $400 million of American Depositary Shares (ADS) sold by selling shareholders and added that it would not be receiving any proceeds from the offering.
** TRIPADVISOR INC, $105.505, +2.48 pct
Deutsche Bank raised its price target on the online travel planning company’s stock to $122 from $92, citing increased participation from key online travel agencies (OTA) in the first quarter. (Compiled by Lehar Maan; Editing by Simon Jennings)