U.S. stocks rose on Monday, with the Dow hitting another all-time high and the S&P 500 moving within 1 percent of its own record. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 0.57 percent at 16,677.4, and the S&P 500 was up 0.73 percent at 1,892.23.
** TWITTER INC, $33.45, +4.37 pct
Brokerage SunTrust raised its rating on the stock of the messaging service to "buy" from "neutral", theflyonthewall.com reported. (r.reuters.com/qed39v)
** PFIZER INC, $29.16, +0.45 pct
The company defended the business case behind its plan to acquire AstraZeneca on Monday and questioned the UK drugmaker’s ability to stand alone for much longer as the New York-based group’s CEO prepared for a grilling from British lawmakers.
** GENERAL MOTORS CO, $34.83, +1.75 pct
The automaker said it had reassigned an executive who dealt with U.S. safety regulators probing defective ignition switches linked to at least 13 deaths, as part of a restructuring meant to improve vehicle safety.
** APPLE INC, $589.9, +0.74 pct
The iPhone maker has cut in half the time it takes to give refunds to online store customers who want to return their iPhones and other gadgets, a small but crucial step to try to get more people to buy direct from its website.
The company’s plan to pay $3.2 billion for Beats Electronics, which makes headphones and has an up-and-coming streaming music service, may herald a bolder use of its swelling cash pile and galvanize Apple’s move into wearables.
** AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL GROUP INC, $53.08, +1.53 pct
The company’s search for its next chief executive has narrowed down to two internal candidates, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. Peter Hancock and Jay Wintrob have emerged as the likely candidates to succeed Chief Executive Robert Benmosche, who said that he planned to step down early next year, the Journal reported.
** HILLSHIRE BRANDS CO, $34.72, -6.04 pct
** PINNACLE FOODS INC, $34.86, +14.48 pct
Hillshire will buy Pinnacle for $4.3 billion to add products such as Duncan Hines baking mixes and Bird’s Eye frozen foods to its lineup that includes Jimmy Dean sausages and Sara Lee desserts. The cash-and-stock deal will establish Hillshire as the owner of 10 brands that are either No. 1 or No. 2 in their category, the companies said on Monday.
** PEABODY ENERGY CORP, $19.35, +3.70 pct
** ARCH COAL INC, $4.41, +4.26 pct
** CLOUD PEAK ENERGY INC, $19.56, +1.88 pct
** CONSOL ENERGY INC, $44.03, +1.73 pct
** ALPHA NATURAL RESOURCES INC, $4.54, +5.83 pct
** WALTER ENERGY INC, $6.94, +3.89 pct
Shares of coal companies rose on Monday after Morgan Stanley said it expected demand for thermal and metallurgical coal to recover this year due to a severe winter.
Morgan Stanley analysts, who said they expected coal prices to rise, raised their price targets on the stocks of Arch Coal, Cloud Peak Energy, Consol Energy and Peabody Energy. They also upgraded Peabody Energy’s stock to “overweight” from “equal-weight”.
** ALLERGAN INC, $158.65, -1.64 pct
** VALEANT PHARMACEUTICALS INTERNATIONAL INC, $127.95, -2.45 pct
U.S. drugmaker Allergan rejected Valeant Pharmaceuticals’ $47 billion takeover offer, saying the suitor’s proposed cost cuts were too steep .
** AROTECH CORP, $3.51, +15.08 pct
B. Riley raised its rating on the defense and security products company’s stock to “buy” from “neutral”, saying its $33 million acquisition of UEC Electronics Corp will add to its earnings.
Arotech is scheduled to report its quarterly results on Tuesday.
** BRIDGEPOINT EDUCATION INC, $14.08, -11.56 pct
The post-secondary education services company reported weaker-than-expected results for the first quarter, as its total student enrollment declined.
** CAPSTONE TURBINE CORP, $1.47, +10.53 pct
The maker of microturbines said it appointed Richard Lewis as vice president of operations. Lewis has over 29 years’ experience in manufacturing, global supply chain, and logistics. Capstone said he would be responsible for all manufacturing operations and facilities at the company.
** TESARO INC, $27.845, +15.97 pct
The company said its experimental drug for the prevention of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting met the main goal in a third late-stage trial.
** GOGO INC, $13.07, +9.56 pct
The company posted a higher-than-expected 35 percent jump in quarterly revenue as more air travelers used its in-flight wireless internet services.
** LOGITECH INTERNATIONAL SA, $13.335, +6.51 pct
Credit Suisse raised its rating on the company’s stock to “outperform” from “neutral”. The brokerage said it expected the company to benefit from its share buyback program, new products, gross margin expansion and stabilizing sales of personal computers.
** WEIBO CORP, $18.8, +5.26 pct
Piper Jaffray started coverage of the Chinese Twitter-like messaging service company’s stock with an “overweight” rating and a price target of $25. Piper Jaffray analysts said Weibo was “the best pure play social networking platform in China.”
They said the stock was currently trading at a discount. “Given the ... long-term advertising and small, medium sized enterprises opportunity in China, Weibo should trade at least in line with shares of Twitter in the near term and at a premium over time,” they wrote in a note.
** ALASKA AIR GROUP INC, $97.09, +2.57 pct
The airline’s board approved on Monday a $650 million share buyback program. The company also announced a cash dividend of 25 cents per share.
** APOLLO GLOBAL MANAGEMENT LLC, $25.22, -3.70 pct
Goldman Sachs cut its rating on the private equity and credit investment firm’s stock to “neutral” from “buy”, citing slower capital deployment, higher operating expenses and tax rate.
** ALNYLAM PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $56.58, +4.14 pct
The drug developer announced the addition of a new hepatitis B treatment program to its pipeline.
The new ALN-HBV program derives from Alnylam’s January acquisition of Merck’s gene-related assets, including the Sirna Therapeutics subsidiary.
** RELYPSA INC, $20.28, +3.47 pct
The drug developer said an early-stage trial of its experimental drug to treat high levels of potassium in the blood showed the drug reduced potassium levels.
** HARBINGER GROUP PLC, $11.33, -1.82 pct
The diversified financial company reported a quarterly loss as it incurred higher operating expenses and earned lower revenue from its insurance business. Revenue from Harbinger’s insurance unit fell 32 percent to $274.1 million in the second quarter ended March 31.
** REYNOLDS AMERICAN INC, $57.63, +2.33 pct
** LORILLARD INC, $59.27, +1.16 pct
British American Tobacco Plc, Britain's largest tobacco group, has hired bankers to advise on multibillion-pound acquisition opportunities in America, including possible deals with Reynolds American and Lorillard, the Times reported, citing sources. (link.reuters.com/gez29v)
** REAL GOODS SOLAR INC, $2.86, +2.14 pct
The solar company signed a reseller deal with a private U.S. solar developer to sell its products to customers who rent or lease their property or are unable to install onsite solar systems due to poor site conditions or restrictions.
The deal allows Real Goods to expand beyond its traditional rooftop market to a customer base unable to install solar products so far.
** NORDIC AMERICAN TANKERS LTD, $8.52, +3.78 pct
The tanker company posted a quarterly profit, helped by higher rates. Nordic American reported a net profit of 5 cents per share for the first quarter compared with a loss of 59 cents per share, a year earlier.
** SUNEDISON INC, $17.78, +6.21 pct
SunEdison Semiconductor Ltd IPO-SEMI.O, the semiconductor unit of the U.S. solar company, said it expected to price its initial public offering of 7.2 million shares at $13 to $15 per share.
** GULF RESOURCES INC, $2.28, +28.09 pct
The Chinese specialty chemicals and crude salt maker’s profit more than doubled in the first quarter, helped by 37 percent rise in revenue from its chemical products business. Gulf Resources’ quarterly profit rose to 11 cents per share in the quarter from 5 cents per share, a year earlier.
** TIME WARNER INC, $69.41, +1.52 pct
The company has held talks to acquire Fullscreen Inc, one of the popular YouTube video networks, a person with knowledge of the matter said, according to an article in Bloomberg on Saturday.
** CHINA MOBILE LTD, $48.9, +1.54 pct
Investors can buy shares of the world’s biggest wireless company at a deep discount to international peers and get a 4 percent dividend while waiting for a turnaround, according to Barron’s. In an article for release on Monday, Barron’s said China Mobile is a “cheap play” on Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant planning an initial public offering later this year.
** BIOGEN IDEC INC, $296.63, +3.48 pct
The company and partner Swedish Orphan Biovitrum AB said they would donate hemophilia drugs for use in developing nations in quantities large enough to treat tens of thousands of patients over the next decade.
** IBM CORP, $192.16, +1.09 pct
The company is facing a “rocky time,” Chief Executive Virginia Rometty told the New York Times, but said she and the company now have a clear vision on how to pursue another generation of growth.
** NASDAQ OMX GROUP INC, $36.9155, +1.50 pct
The company said Adena Friedman would rejoin it as president of global corporate and information technology solutions, reporting to Chief Executive Robert Greifeld. Friedman, who left Nasdaq in 2011, was most recently chief financial officer of private equity firm Carlyle Group LP.
** KELLOGG CO, $68.48, +1.89 pct
The company has agreed to stop using terms such as “All Natural” and “100% Natural” on some of its Kashi and Bear Naked brand product labels and to pay more than $5 million to settle a class-action consumer fraud lawsuit. (Compiled by Vrinda Manocha in Bangalore; Editing by Kirti Pandey)