(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 opened on Wednesday after data showed the economy grew at a sharply lower-than-expected pace in the first quarter, but gains in private payrolls kept losses in check. The Dow Jones industrial average was unchanged at 16,534.93, the S&P 500 was down 0.18 percent at 1,874.89 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 0.64 percent at 4,077.438.
** EXELON CORP, $34.57, -4.45 pct
** PEPCO HOLDINGS INC, $26.78, +17.51 pct
Nuclear power producer Exelon Corp said it would buy Pepco Holdings for $6.83 billion to create the biggest Mid-Atlantic electric and gas utility.
** TWITTER INC, $37.36, -12.34 pct
The micro-blogging website reported lackluster user and usage growth for the second consecutive quarter on Tuesday, deepening investor concerns about its struggle to gain a mass following.
** VALE SA, $13.2, -1.20 pct
The Brazilian miner said first-quarter profit fell 19 percent, a result in line with expectations after the price of iron ore, its main product, fell by nearly one quarter.
** SYNERGY PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $4.85, +0.62 pct
The company said its experimental constipation drug met the main goal of a mid-stage study in patients with a form of irritable bowel syndrome.
** NQ MOBILE INC, $12.89, +15.50 pct
The Chinese mobile security software said its investigation of short-seller Muddy Waters’ claims of “massive fraud” have thus far found no evidence and that it does not anticipate any changes to its previously reported financial results.
** U.S. SILICA HOLDINGS INC, $45.16, +9.03 pct
The commercial silica maker’s first-quarter revenue beat analysts’ average estimate, as overall sales volumes increased by about 23 percent to 2.3 million tons. Revenue rose about 47 percent, to $180.1 million, for the quarter ended March 31.
** COACH INC, $44.34, -3.00 pct
Citi Investment Research downgraded its rating on the handbag retailer’s stock to “neutral” from “buy”, according to Theflyonthewall.com. Coach reported on Tuesday a 21 percent drop in sales at North American stores open at least a year for the three months ended March 29, its fourth straight decline.
At least 4 brokerages cut their price targets on the company’s stock on Wednesday.
** GFI GROUP INC, $3.87, +5.45 pct
The provider of trading technologies to listed markets reported adjusted first-quarter earnings that beat analysts’ average estimate, as the company’s software, analytics and market-data revenue rose.
** FUEL CELL ENERGY INC, $2.305, +5.73 pct
The U.S. developer of next-generation fuel cell power plants said it received a contract to power two 2.8 megawatt plants for 20 years from United Illuminating, part of UIL Holdings Corp . The two fuel cell plants will provide enough continuous baseload power to the electric grid to power about 5,600 homes, the company said.
** GREEN PLAINS RENEWABLE ENERGY INC, $29.71, +4.21 pct
The ethanol maker on Tuesday reported a better-than-expected first-quarter profit, helped by higher margins for ethanol production and a lower average cost of corn.
** ENERGIZER HOLDINGS INC, $114.58, +17.27 pct
Energizer said it plans to separate into two publicly traded companies, one for batteries and other household products and the other for personal care brands such as Schick shavers and Stayfree female hygiene products.
** CERAGON NETWORKS LTD, $2.6601, +1.53 pct
The Israel-based wireless network technology and services provider said a U.S. telecom carrier customer had placed a $4-million order with the company.
** THOMSON REUTERS CORP, $35.42, +1.69 pct
The global news and information company reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit as acquisitions and corporate demand boosted growth at its legal, tax and accounting units.
** CARLYLE GROUP LP, $32.36, -5.41 pct
The private equity firm reported an 18 percent fall in quarterly profit on Wednesday as asset sales slowed and compensation costs rose.
** YAMANA GOLD INC, $7.46, -2.36 pct
The company’s main focus in the coming months will be on squeezing higher returns from a recent acquisition in Canada and the development of its Cerro Moro gold and silver project in Argentina, Chief Executive Peter Marrone said on Tuesday.
** HYATT HOTELS CORP, $55.05, +1.91 pct
The company said it expected occupancy and room rates at its hotels to remain strong as U.S. business travel continues to grow.
** GARMIN LTD, $58.26, +5.75 pct
The fitness business reported a better-than-expected 10 percent rise in quarterly revenue as higher sales of its fitness and aviation devices made up for shrinking sales of personal navigation devices, a market it once dominated.
** UNITED STATES STEEL CORP, $25.65, -2.62 pct
The Pittsburgh-based steelmaker returned to profit in the first quarter, but said on Tuesday it expected reduced operating income in the second quarter as cold weather slowed transportation of raw materials and finished products.
** INTERNATIONAL PAPER CO, $47.28, +3.01 pct
The largest North American producer of corrugated shipping boxes posted a higher-than-expected quarterly profit on Wednesday due to rising demand.
** PANERA BREAD CO, $151.49, -7.16 pct
The company reported a lower quarterly profit on Tuesday and trimmed its 2014 sales and profit forecasts, after severe winter storms in large swathes of the United States prevented customers from visiting its cafes.
At least two brokerages cut their price targets on the company’s stock on Wednesday.
** NOODLES & CO, $33.9965, -10.54 pct
The restaurant operator on Tuesday reported first-quarter results that missed analysts’ average estimate, hurt by extreme cold weather in parts of the United States.
At least three brokerages cut their price targets on the company’s stock on Wednesday.
** AUXILIUM PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $23.51, -14.07 pct
The drug maker on Tuesday said it cut its full-year 2014 revenue outlook to a range of $380-$420 million from its previously announced range of $450-$490 million, primarily due to weaker-then-expected sales of its testosterone gel Testim.
At least 4 brokerages cut their price targets on the company’s stock.
** HESS CORP, $89.25, +1.40 pct
The oil and natural gas producer reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit on Wednesday, helped in part by a jump in Norwegian production.
** VISTAPRINT NV, $43.2, -19.13 pct
The online designing and printing services company reported a much lower-than-expected quarterly revenue, hurt by fewer customer additions as it shifts from offering deep discounts.
** EXPRESS SCRIPTS HOLDING CO, $66.5, -6.35 pct
The pharmacy benefit manager on Tuesday posted a lower-than-expected first-quarter profit and decreased its earnings forecast for full-year 2014, saying adjusted prescription volume would be less than it had anticipated.
** GENERAL ELECTRIC CO, $26.67, -0.34 pct
France’s Alstom said it would review a binding offer from General Electric for its energy business by the end of May, but left the door open for a competing bid from Germany’s Siemens.
** BRISTOL-MYERS SQUIBB CO, $49.68, +0.73 pct
The drug maker reported higher-than-expected quarterly earnings, helped by cost cuts and lower taxes, but sparked concerns over a possible delay in completing its marketing application for a high-profile cancer drug.
** DREAMWORKS ANIMATION SKG INC, $23.11, -12.36 pct
The Hollywood studio reported its first quarterly loss in five quarters as it took an impairment charge related to the weak box office performance of the movie “Mr. Peabody & Sherman”.
** LCA-VISION INC, $5.32, -0.37 pct
The provider of laser vision correction services posted a surprise first-quarter loss as procedure volumes fell due to inclement weather that disrupted the company’s operations. There were 100 closed or partially closed days among a number of its vision centers during the quarter, the company said.
** RED HAT INC, $48.09, -0.91 pct
The Linux operating system vendor said it would buy privately held storage systems provider Inktank Ceph Enterprise for $175 million to expand in the fast-growing market for software-defined storage.
** LUMBER LIQUIDATORS HOLDINGS INC, $84.25, -2.03 pct
The hardwood flooring retailer reported first-quarter results that missed analysts’ average estimate, as the severe winter weather across parts of the United States hurt sales.
** HEWLETT-PACKARD CO, $32.79, -0.52 pct
Hewlett-Packard and Taiwanese contract electronics manufacturer Foxconn Technology Group launched a joint venture to make servers aimed at companies which provide cloud computing services.
** BARRICK GOLD CORP, $17.47, -1.13 pct
Barrick Gold reported a sharp drop in first quarter earnings on Wednesday and cut its forecast for 2014 copper production after damage to the main conveyor at its Lumwana mine in Zambia halted processing there. (Compiled by Rohit T.K. in Bangalore; Editing by Simon Jennings)