(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 fell on Thursday, pressured by weaker-than-expected earnings from Wal-Mart Stores, the biggest U.S. retailer. The Dow Jones industrial average was down 0.96 percent at 16,454.2 and the S&P 500 was down 1.05 percent at 1,868.61.
** CISCO SYSTEMS INC, $24.45, +7.19 pct
The network equipment maker posted a shallower-than-expected 5.5 percent drop in quarterly revenue, as recovering demand in regions like the United States and Northern Europe helped offset sluggish sales in emerging markets.
At least 13 brokerages raised their price targets on the company’s stock.
** WAL-MART STORES INC, $77.21, -1.94 pct
The company reported a 5 percent drop in quarterly profit as a severe winter in the United States kept shoppers from its stores.
** KOHL’S CORP, $52.99, -1.92 pct
The specialty departmental retailer reported weaker-than-expected first-quarter results as comparable-store sales fell 3.4 percent. Kohl’s also reaffirmed its full-year earnings forecast of $4.05-$4.45 per share.
** BRISTOL-MYERS SQUIBB CO, $48.98, -6.02 pct
BMO Capital Markets analyst Alex Arfaei downgraded the company’s stock to “market perform” from “outperform,” saying the future was uncertain of its experimental drug, nivolumab, in combination with cancer drug Yervoy, for use in lung cancer.
Arfaei said the combination treatment showed a modest overall response and a poor side effect profile. “Given this experience with Yervoy+Nivo, we are now more cautious about other combinations,” Arfaei said in a note on Wednesday.
** VODAFONE GROUP PLC, $36.18, -2.40 pct
Goldman Sachs downgraded the telecom company’s stock to “neutral” from “buy.” The investment bank said it had been hopeful that following the sale of Vodafone’s stake in Verizon Wireless in February, the company would be able to attract potential acquirers, given its position as the only global operator without a blocking shareholder.
However, recent media reports suggest that the potential acquirers with the scale to bid for Vodafone are currently pursuing alternative transactions, lowering its potential as an acquisition target, Goldman Sachs said.
** GENERAL MOTORS CO, $34.64, -0.86 pct
The automaker said on Thursday it had issued five more recalls, covering about 2.7 million vehicles in the United States and as a result is expected to take a charge of up to $200 million.
** GENTIVA HEALTH SERVICES INC, $13.708, +60.52 pct
** KINDRED HEALTHCARE INC, $22.85, +4.24 pct
** AMEDISYS INC, $14.7, +5.00 pct
Hospital operator Kindred went hostile with its $533 million offer for Gentiva Health Services on Thursday, after Gentiva rejected the bid saying it expected to generate more value as a standalone provider of home healthcare services.
** NATIONAL BANK OF GREECE SA,$3, -13.29 pct
Shares in Greece’s largest lender fell in Athens in early Thursday trade on what brokers said was selling pressure ahead of the listing of new stock on May 20.
** ACADIA PHARMACEUTICALS INC,$18.96, +0.48 pct
JP Morgan initiated coverage on the drug developer’s stock with an “overweight” rating and a price target of $33, according to Theflyonthewall.com.
** SFX ENTERTAINMENT INC, $5.805,-15.38 pct
The music and live event producer’s loss widened to $63.6 million in the first quarter from $19.3 million a year earlier as its expenses rose.
** TOWER SEMICONDUCTOR LTD, $8.79, +4.02 pct
The Israeli chipmaker, which operates under the brand name TowerJazz, reported its first quarterly net profit in two and half years due to a one-time acquisition gain from its joint venture in Japan with Panasonic.
** NIMBLE STORAGE INC, $23.54, +3.16 pct
Goldman Sachs raised its rating on the data storage company’s stock to “buy” from “hold,” saying the recent pullback in its shares makes for an attractive entry point for investors.
** PERNIX THERAPEUTICS HOLDINGS INC, $6.05, +8.23 pct
Needham & Co analyst Elliot Wilbur raised its rating on the company’s stock to “strong buy” from “buy,” calling the purchase of U.S rights to GlaxoSmithKline Plc and Pozen Inc’s anti-migraine therapy Treximet a “game changer” that would substantially elevate Pernix’s short-term profitability.
Pernix signed the agreement on Wednesday for an upfront payment of $250 million.
** PERION NETWORK LTD, $10.42, -0.86 pct
The company, which provides analytics, monetization and distribution services to app developers, reported stronger-than-expected results for the first quarter and reaffirmed its full-year results forecast.
Perion depends heavily on search toolbar deals with search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing to monetize freely-distributed apps and services.
** SORRENTO THERAPEUTICS INC,$5.17, -22.84 pct
The drug developer said it would offer about 4.76 million shares of its common stock for $5.25 per share. The offer price represents a discount of nearly 22 percent to the stock’s Wednesday close.
** VIPSHOP HOLDINGS LTD, $156.15, +4.10 pct
The Chinese online discount retailer reported better-than-expected first-quarter results on Wednesday as the number of active customers and total orders on its website more than doubled. The company also forecast current-quarter results above analysts’ estimates.
Vipshop said the number of active customers rose 165 percent in the first quarter, while total number of orders rose 129.3 percent.
** E COMMERCE CHINA DANGDANG INC, $9.58, -16.98 pct
The Chinese online seller of books and media products forecast current-quarter revenue below analysts’ estimates.
The company said it expected second-quarter revenue of 1.942 billion yuan ($311.7 million). Analysts were expecting $314.6 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
** ARCTIC CAT INC, $34.29, -11.87 pct
The snowmobile maker reported a bigger-than-expected fourth-quarter loss due to higher costs.
** SELECT INCOME REIT, $28.16, -7.31 pct
The real estate investment trust priced a public offering of 9 million shares at $29 per share.
** T-MOBILE US INC, $33.03, +0.58 pct
Deutsche Telekom said on Thursday U.S. competition authorities would play a decisive role in the future of its T-Mobile US business. The company’s fast-growing U.S. business has caught the eye of Japan’s Softbank, which is interested in merging the unit with its own U.S. telecoms arm, Sprint Corp.
** NEW YORK TIMES CO, $14.62, -2.92 pct
The newspaper company abruptly ousted its top editor, Jill Abramson, on Wednesday after less than three years in the job and named managing editor Dean Baquet to replace her.
** ELI LILLY AND CO, $58.87, -2.05 pct
** ACTAVIS PLC, $203.07, -1.46 pct
Eli Lilly said on Thursday that it had lost a patent case in the English High Court over its blockbuster Alimta lung cancer drug to generic drugmaker Actavis.
** MANCHESTER UNITED PLC, $16.95, +2.05 pct
The English soccer club reported a 60 percent rise in quarterly profit on Thursday, saying it had the financial muscle to improve its squad after a poor season on the pitch.
** EXONE CO, $25.98, -15.73 pct
The 3D printer maker reported quarterly revenue much below analysts’ expectations as it sold fewer 3D printers and micromachinery.
** WILAN INC, $3.03, -6.48 pct
The Canadian patent licensing company said it would consider selling some of its non-core patents and focus on smaller licensing deals following a strategic review.
** GENERAL STEEL HOLDINGS INC, $1.02, -3.77 pct
The Beijing-based steel producer posted a first-quarter loss compared with a profit a year earlier, hurt by weak prices and higher costs. Net loss attributable to General Steel was 78 cents per share in the quarter ended March 31 compared with a profit of 6 cents per share, a year earlier.
** WUXI PHARMATECH CAYMAN INC, $33.55, -7.83 pct
The Shanghai-based company, which provides laboratory and manufacturing services, reported weaker-than-expected first-quarter results and forecast second-quarter earnings below analysts’ estimates.
** VOXX INTERNATIONAL CORP, $7.66, -23.93 pct
The distributor of car audio products reported a fourth-quarter net loss of $26.6 million, or $1.10 per share, compared with a net profit of $22.5 million, or 96 cents per share, a year earlier.
The company said quarterly revenue fell 3 percent to $809.7 million as sales were impacted by a severe winter in the United States and lower international sales at its consumer accessories unit.
** TEEKAY TANKERS LTD, $3.41, +1.79 pct
The oil tanker company posted a better-than-expected profit for the first quarter, helped by higher spot tanker rates.
Excluding items, the company earned 20 cents per share. Analysts on average were expecting a profit of 9 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
** PRIMA BIOMED LTD, $1.3001, +4.01 pct
The company said its experimental lead treatment improved survival in some ovarian cancer patients without the disease worsening. The mid-stage trial was testing the drug, CVac, in 63 patients who showed no signs or symptoms of the disease after one or two rounds of treatment.
** NEWLEAD HOLDINGS LTD, $0.7997, -51.53 pct
The shipping company announced a 50-for-1 reverse stock split to comply with the minimum bid price requirement of $1 per share for continued listing on the Nasdaq. After the reverse split, the number of outstanding shares of the company will be reduced to about 10.4 million shares from about 519.5 million.
** DORAL FINANCIAL CORP, $2.96, -10.03 pct
The lender said it received a letter from Puerto Rico Department of Treasury saying the company has no right to a refund of its overpaid taxes.
Doral said it was evaluating its legal options in connection with the letter. The company said on Monday that it asked Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to pay close to $230 million “immediately” that it says it is owed by the commonwealth. (Compiled by Vrinda Manocha in Bangalore; Editing by Kirti Pandey)