(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 were little changed on Wednesday, with technicals in focus and scant key items on the U.S. economic calendar, following yet another record close on the benchmark S&P 500 index. The Dow Jones industrial average was down 5.57 points or 0.03 percent at 16,669.93, the S&P 500 was up 0.73 points or 0.04 percent at 1,912.64 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.46 points or 0.01 percent at 4,237.53.
** CONOCOPHILIPS, $80.05, +1.28 pct
Analysts at Guggenheim Securities raised their price target on the largest U.S. independent oil and gas company’s stock to $90 from $82. The raise is due to higher net asset value, with increases in U.S. Onshore and Deepwater Exploration, and higher earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, depletion, amortization and exploration expenses.
** VIVUS INC, $4.865, +4.18 pct
Aspen Investment Fund, a shareholder of the obesity drug maker, said it was planning to offer to buy the company for $640 million.
** LOWE‘S COS INC, $46.85, -1.95 pct
Canaccord Genuity cut its rating on the world’s No. 2 home improvement chain’s stock to “sell” from “hold”, citing slowing housing momentum in the United States, management changes and tough competition.
** ARRAY BIOPHARMA, $4.325, +5.49 pct
** BIOGEN IDEC, $310.59, +0.26 pct
Array said it entered into a drug discovery collaboration agreement with Biogen for the treatment of autoimmune disorders, Array said on Wednesday. Under the terms of the deal, Biogen and Array will collaborate on drug discovery, but Biogen will be responsible for all aspects of clinical development and marketing.
** OREXIGEN THERAPEUTICS, $6.4282, +8.95 pct
An article on seekingalpha.com on Wednesday suggested the company's experimental weight-loss drug, Contrave, was likely to receive U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval and can become the market leader. (link.reuters.com/ker69v)
The U.S. health regulator is expected to decide on whether to approve the drug by June 10.
** EDAP TMS SA, $3.34, -4.30 pct
The medical device maker said it expects to raise about $9.3 million in an offering of 3 million its common shares with certain institutional investors, in the form of American Depositary Shares at $3.11 per ADS.
** STRYKER CORP $81.92, +1.94 pct
The U.S. medical devices manufacturer has denied any intention of making a bid for UK rival Smith & Nephew Plc , whose shares had spiked higher after a report that Stryker was planning a bid.
** STRATEGIC HOTELS & RESORTS INC, $10.55, -4.96 pct
The real estate investment trust priced an offering of 36 million shares at $10.50 each, a discount of 5.4 percent to the stock’s Tuesday close.
** ACURA PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $1.09, -13.49 pct
The biotechnology company’s shares fell as much as 21 percent to a life low on Wednesday, a day after the U.S. health regulator said data on its experimental painkiller was insufficient to support its claim that the drug could not be abused by snorting.
** FIRST SOLAR INC, $62.355, +1.79 pct
Brokerage Stifel Nicolaus resumed its rating on the solar module maker’s stock with a ”buy’ rating and a target price of $75. Analysts believe the company is well placed “to take advantage of global solar PV growth tailwinds” with growth in annual installation to about 60 GW in 2016.
** OILTANKING PARTNERS LP, $89.92, +2.63 pct
The pipeline and storage company announced on Wednesday plans for a two-for-one unit split. “The unit split will make the partnership’s units more accessible to a broader base of potential investors and enhance liquidity for all unitholders,” Chief Executive Ken Owen said.
** DAKTRONICS INC, $12.78, -11.68 pct
The supplier of electronic displays and scoreboards reported lower-than-expected results for the fourth quarter, hurt by a fall in sales of its schools & theaters and transportation businesses.
** PETROLOGISTICS LP, $14.25, +10.21 pct
A Koch Industries Inc unit will take PetroLogistics LP private in a deal worth $2.1 billion, including debt, gaining control of a plant that can convert cheap U.S. shale gas into propylene, a key petrochemical used to make plastics. PetroLogistics shares were the top percentage gainers on the New York Stock Exchange.
** DSW INC, $23.87, -26.60 pct
The shoe retailer reported first-quarter results that missed analysts’ estimates, hurt by unseasonal weather and an aggressively promotional retail environment. The company also forecast fiscal 2014 adjusted earnings below the average analyst estimate. DSW shares were the top percentage loser on the New York Stock Exchange.
** TWITTER INC, $31.53, +3.34 pct
Nomura Securities raised its rating on the microblogging website’s shares to “buy” from “neutral”, saying advertising on Twitter is steadily becoming a bigger part of ad budgets and its revenue from outside the United States is expected to grow.
** CHINA SUNERGY CO LTD, $3.41, -10.03 pct
The solar company reported a smaller loss in the first quarter, helped by increase in shipments to higher-margin markets like Japan and France. Net income attributable to shareholders narrowed to $14.7 million, or 99 cents per American depository share (ADS) in the quarter ended March 31, from $22.9 million, or $1.71 per ADS, a year earlier.
** WET SEAL INC, $0.855, -15.35 pct
Women’s apparel retailer reported a bigger-than-expected quarterly loss, hurt by a double-digit fall in comparable-store sales.
** JDS UNIPHASE CORP, $11.35, +3.94 pct
The maker of fiber optic components used in network communication equipment said on Tuesday it will buy back up to $100 million of its common stock through open market or private transactions.
The company, which had $926.2 million in cash on March 29, will repurchase the shares by June 27, 2015.
** MAGNUM HUNTER RESOURCES CORP, $7.81, +6.55 pct
The oil and gas producer said it would sell 21.4 million shares of the company’s common stock at $7 each in a private offering. The offer represents a 4.5 percent discount to the stock’s Tuesday close of $7.33.
** BIOCRYST PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $9.64, -3.50 pct
The company said it plans to sell some shares and estimated that its full-year operating expenses would be at the higher end of the $48 million-$59 million it had earlier forecast. Accelerated development of its oral hereditary disorder drug would push up costs.
BioCryst on Tuesday said the preventive hereditary angioedema treatment was found superior to a placebo in a mid-stage trial.
** HEALTH CARE REIT INC, $62.45, -3.07 pct
The real estate investment trust was offering 12 million common shares and would use part of the net proceeds to invest in healthcare and housing properties along with the repayment of advances under its primary unsecured credit facility. The company said it expected to acquire around $414 million of senior housing and medical housing properties in second quarter.
** 3D SYSTEMS CORP, $50.38, -11.05 pct
The 3D printer maker announced an offering of 6 million shares on Tuesday. It plans to use the proceeds for acquisitions.
Pacific Crest cut its price target on the stock to $59 from $65 on Wednesday, saying that plans for making a large acquisition will do little to quell concerns that the company is growing primarily through acquisitions.
** FORMFACTOR INC, $7.24, +18.30 pct
The semiconductor wafer probe maker raised its second-quarter revenue forecast as it expects higher sales of its memory chips. The company raised its revenue forecast to between $65 million and $69 million from $62 to $66 million.
Brokerage B. Riley & Co raised its rating on the stock to “buy”, while Needham & Co raised its price target to $9 from $8.
** QIHOO 360 TECHNOLOGY CO LTD, $94.29, +4.79 pct
The China-based antivirus software maker and search engine provider on Tuesday reported better-than-expected first-quarter profit and revenue, helped by higher subscription for the copany’s mobile security product.
** WORKDAY INC, $84.05, +2.34 pct
The software vendor raised its full-year revenue forecast after reporting better-than-expected quarterly revenue as more companies, especially in the financial sector, opted for its web-based human resources software.
** TOLL BROTHERS INC, $36.22, +1.63 pct
** D.R. HORTON INC, $23.28, +0.65 pct
** PULTEGROUP INC, $19.94, +0.71 pct
** LENNAR CORP, $40.55, +0.20 pct
** KB HOME, $16.71, +0.78 pct
The largest U.S. luxury homebuilder said quarterly profit more than doubled as it sold more homes at higher prices.
Shares of peers D.R. Horton, Pultegroup, Lennar and KB Home were also up on the news.
** ALLERGAN INC, $156.87, -4.94 pct
** VALEANT PHARMACEUTICALS INTERNATIONAL INC, $123.61, -4.88 pct
Canadian drugmaker Valeant Pharmaceuticals raised the cash component of its unsolicited offer for Botox-maker Allergan, valuing the U.S. firm at $49.44 billion and ratcheting up pressure on the target company. Valeant’s sweetened offer also included a contingent value right that could be worth an additional $7.6 billion.
Also, Nestle SA said it was boosting its emerging skincare business by buying the rights to several dermatology products from the Canadian drugmaker for $1.4 billion in cash.
** SYNAPTICS INC, $64.82, +7.19 pct
Japanese semiconductor manufacturer Renesas Electronics Corp plans to sell its majority stake in a maker of display chips for Apple Inc’s iPhone to the smartphone chip supplier, according to sources familiar with the matter.
** GLAXOSMITHKLINE PLC, $53.86, -2.00 pct
Britain’s fraud office has launched a formal criminal investigation into the drugmaker, posing a new challenge to the company, which already faces claims of bribery in China and four other countries.
** TATA MOTORS LTD, $39.06, -1.66 pct
India’s largest automaker by revenue, said its domestic operations would likely not post a profit or would have “inadequate” profit for the fiscal year that ended in March, hurt by sluggish demand.
** CLIFFS NATURAL RESOURCES INC, $15.71, -4.03 pct
The miner fighting an activist investor who wants to split it up and replace its CEO, said on Tuesday it will cut 2014 capital spending by $100 million - or 25 percent - as it deals with weak seaborne iron ore and metallurgical coal prices.