(Corrects name of chain in TJX Cos item to TJ Maxx from TJX Maxx. The error also appeared in an earlier version of Market Pulse) U.S. stocks edged lower at the open on Tuesday, with the S&P 500 coming off a two-day rally as investors assessed some of the final corporate results of earnings season. The Dow Jones industrial average was down 0.41 percent at 16,444.63, the S&P 500 was down 0.34 percent at 1,878.65 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 0.61 percent at 4,100.60.
** AEROFLEX HOLDING CORP, $10.45, +25.75 pct
British aerospace and defense supplier Cobham is buying U.S. communications equipment maker Aeroflex Holding Corp for $1.46 billion, continuing its quest for more commercial customers as its main defense clients cut spending.
** STAPLES INC, $11.915, -11.02 pct
The largest U.S. office supply retailer forecast a decline in sales in the current quarter as it struggles to win back shoppers who have shifted office supply purchases to e-retailers, mass merchants and drugstores.
** INTERCEPT PHARMA, $242.72, -6.65 pct
An article on Street.com alleged that the drugmaker had intentionally downplayed the side effects of its liver disease drug in a mid-stage trial that it stopped in January citing highly positive data. (link.reuters.com/cuw49v)
At the time, Intercept’s stock had quadrupled to a life high of $305.
** CLOVIS ONCOLOGY, $59.229, +4.33 pct
The drug developer said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had granted breakthrough therapy status to its experimental lung cancer drug.
Breakthrough therapy status is granted to drugs that aim to treat serious diseases based on initial data and can help to expedite the development and review process. Clovis said it was preparing to submit a U.S. marketing application for the drug by mid-2015.
** ENDOCYTE INC, $6.3, -2.93 pct
Merck & Co Inc and Endocyte said on Monday that they had withdrawn conditional marketing authorization applications from the European health regulator for their experimental advanced ovarian cancer treatment.
The decision follows a recommendation from an independent safety committee that said a mid-stage study testing the drug, vintafolide, in combination with a chemotherapy agent, should be stopped, as the pre-specified criteria for improving survival in patients without their cancer worsening was not met. Study enrollment was suspended earlier this month, the companies said.
** DICK‘S SPORTING GOODS INC, $44.69, -15.93 pct
The athletic apparel and footwear retailer estimated current-quarter earnings way below analysts’ average estimate and cut its full-year 2014 adjusted earnings and same-store sales growth forecasts due to weak demand for its golf and hunting products.
** E-HOUSE CHINA HOLDINGS LTD, $8.84, +8.07 pct
The China-based real-estate services company reported better-than-expected first-quarter results, as revenue from its larger real-estate online services business almost doubled.
** CARNIVAL CORP & PLC, $39.53, +1.78 pct
Morgan Stanley raised its rating of the cruise operator’s stock to “equal weight” from “underweight”, citing the company’s “excellent” cost controls.
** TJX COS INC, $54.99, -5.84 pct
TJX Cos Inc, the owner of off-price chains TJ Maxx and Marshalls, reported lower-than-expected quarterly revenue as sales of discretionary items such as apparel and home goods were weaker than expected.
** GRAPHIC PACKAGING HOLDING CO, $10.46, -2.15 pct
The packaging company said some of its stockholders would sell about 43.7 million shares of its common stock in a secondary public offering. The company said it would not sell any shares or receive any proceeds from the offering and added that its total number of outstanding shares would not change.
** TARENA INTERNATIONAL INC, $8.3, +2.98 pct
The provider of IT education in China reported better-than-expected first-quarter revenue and forecast current-quarter revenue well above analysts’ average estimate, helped by increased student enrollments and higher average revenue per student.
** ACELRX PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $8.7, -3.44 pct
The drug developer filed for a mixed shelf offering to raise gross proceeds of up to $150 million.
** VODAFONE GROUP PLC, $34.79, -4.19 pct
Britain’s Vodafone said next year’s earnings would be hit by vital investment in its network, as it reported a 6.6 billion pound ($11.1 billion) dent to its 2014 results from writing down the value of European operations struggling in a tough market.
($1 = 0.5943 British Pounds)
** RED ROBIN GOURMET BURGERS INC, $70, +9.63 pct
The restaurant chain reported better-than-expected first quarter results, helped by demand for its new “Finest” line of gourmet burgers and higher restaurant-level margins.
** PERFECT WORLD CO LTD, $17.125, -6.62 pct
China-based online game developer Perfect World reported lower first-quarter revenue compared with the previous quarter, hurt by lower revenue from licensing and online game operations.
Brokerage Pacific Crest cuts its price target on the company’s stock to $24 from $28.
** J C PENNEY INC, $9.23, -1.39 pct
Wells Fargo Securities cut its rating on the department store operator’s stock to “underperform” from “market perform”, as it believes the retailer’s high level of debt likely leaves “very little value” for shareholders.
** OPHTHOTECH CORP, $37, +17.61 pct
** NOVARTIS AG, $89.14, -0.42 pct
Ophthotech Corp said it could potentially receive over $1 billion in payments as part of a licensing deal for its experimental eye drug with Novartis AG.
** VALEANT PHARMACEUTICALS INTERNATIONAL INC, $128.27, +0.83 pct
** ALLERGAN INC, $161.04, +0.84 pct
Canada’s Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc said it will not make an all-cash bid for drugmaker Allergan Inc as many had expected last week when the company said it would improve its cash and stock offer for the Botox maker.
** PFIZER INC, $29.49, +0.72 pct
** ASTRAZENECA PLC, $72.095, +2.06 pct
AstraZeneca’s twelfth largest shareholder Schroders has joined a chorus of investor disapproval over its rejection of a takeover offer by Pfizer and urged it back into talks.
** URBAN OUTFITTERS INC, $33.67, -6.91 pct
The teen apparel retailer reported a lower-than-expected quarterly profit as costs jumped and tough competition forced it to spend more on marketing.
** MEDTRONIC INC, $59.26, -1.79 pct
** EDWARDS LIFESCIENCES CORP, $85.02, -1.69 pct
Medtronic said it had agreed to pay royalties to its rival medical device maker in a settlement that allows Medtronic to continue to sell its CoreValve replacement heart valves. (Compiled by Ankit Ajmera in Bangalore; Editing by Simon Jennings)