(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 rose at the open on Thursday on expectations of strong growth in the second quarter, even as data showed the world's largest economy contracted in the first quarter. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 0.10 percent at 16,648.99, the S&P 500 was up 0.23 percent at 1,914.12 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 16.10 points or 0.38 percent at 4,241.17.
** ASTROTECH, $4.19, +87.05 pct
The company, which provides global satellite processing services, said it would sell its space operations business to Lockheed Martin Corp for $61 million.
** ANDATEE CHINA MARINE FUEL SERVICES CORP, $2.06, +4.57 pct
The marine fuel oil producer said its unit, Dalian Xifa Petrochemical Co, bought Qingdao Grand New Energy Co Ltd for 476,800 yuan ($76,200)in cash.
Qingdao Frand, which essentially deals in production and sale of air-driven products, was founded in 2012. ($1 = 6.2556 Chinese Yuan)
** CLEAN ENERGY FUELS CORP, $11.025, +7.35 pct
Analysts at Morgan Stanley initiated coverage on the natural gas fuel supplier with an “overweight” rating.
** MAGNUM HUNTER RESOURCES CORP, $7.77, -1.27 pct
Analysts at MLV and Co Investment Research cut their price target on the oil and gas producer to $10 from $11 after the company said on Wednesday it would sell 21.4 million shares of the company’s common stock at $7 each in a private offering.
** STEMCELLS INC $1.4299, +2.87 pct
The biotechnology company said initial data from its neural stem cell transplantation test showed evidence of return of function to the spinal cord below site of the injury.
** CANADIAN IMPERIAL BANK OF COMMERCE $89.89, -1.33 pct
Quarterly profit at Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce fell by nearly two-thirds due to a charge taken by its Caribbean unit, the bank said on Thursday, but the result topped analysts’ estimates and CIBC’s chief executive signaled a willingness to pay more for acquisitions.
** RCS CAPITAL CORP, $27.33, -8.10 pct
The investment firm said it will sell 15 million Class A common stock and RCAP Holdings LLC, the holding company, will sell another 5 million shares of RCAP’s Class A common stock. BofA Merrill Lynch, Barclays, Citigroup, JMP Securities and JP Morgan are the joint bookrunners for the offering.
** HOMEAWAY INC, $30.5, -2.24 pct
JP Morgan downgraded the vacation rentals company’s stock to “neutral” from “overweight”, citing increased likelihood of greater marketing spend and outlook cut during the upcoming second quarter conference call. It also cut the target price to $38 from $49.
** TWITTER INC, $34.24, +1.39 pct
Cantor Fitzgerald raised its rating on the microblogging site’s shares to “buy” from “hold”, citing a substantial growth and monetization opportunity and dwindling impact of the expiration of the shares’ six-month lock-up period in May.
Twitter’s shares had sunk 18 percent to a new low in frenzied trading earlier this month, as early investors sold stock in the messaging service for the first time after a six-month “lock-up” expired, indicating negative investor sentiment.
** VIGGLE INC, $5.35, +3.04 pct
The company, which lets television viewers to “check in” to programs they watch, on Wednesday launched its Viggle Music discovery service, which enables users to earn reward points for every song they match or buy.
** XG TECHNOLOGY INC, $2.51, +47.65 pct
The company, which develops radio tehcnology for wireless communication, said it won a new patent for interference mitigation techniques, its second patent grant this week.
** RENESOLA LTD, $2.64, -2.22 pct
The Chinese solar products maker said it will ship less following pricing pressure in the United States due to anti-dumping investigation and lack of approved projects in China.
The company forecast second-quarter shipments of 480-500 megawatts (MW), down from 521.1 MW in the first quarter.
** SPRINT CORP, $9.47, +2.93 pct
** T-MOBILE US INC, $35.13, +2.12 pct
Deutsche Telekom AG has agreed to a plan by Japanese mobile company Softbank Corp to buy T-Mobile US Inc, the fourth-largest U.S. mobile carrier, Kyodo news agency reported, citing industry sources.
Softbank Corp is the majority shareholder of Sprint Corp, which offers a range of wireless and wireline communications services.
** TYSON FOODS INC, $43.59, +6.97 pct
** HILLSHIRE BRANDS CO, $52.3, +16.70 pct
** PILGRIM’S PRIDE CORP, $25.09, -1.14 pct
Tyson, the largest U.S. meat processor, offered to buy Hillshire Brands for $6.13 billion to expand into the fast-growing market for breakfast foods. The offer comes two days after chicken producer Pilgrim’s Pride offered to buy Hillshire in an all-cash deal valued at $6.4 billion.
** TILLY’S INC, $8.79, -16.92 pct
The teen apparel retailer forecast current-quarter earnings below analysts’ estimates on Wednesday due to weak traffic trends and heavy discounting.
** CELGENE CORP, $152.654, -1.07 pct
JP Morgan analysts cut their rating on the biotechnology company’s stock to “neutral” from “overweight”, saying that there was limited upside to its forecast in 2017, as growth drivers were assumed in analysts’ models. The analysts also said that the partnered drugs in the Celgene’s pipeline were unlikely to meaningfully benefit the company’s earnings over the next few years and lowered their price target on the stock by $10 to $170.
** BIOGEN IDEC INC, $318.5675, +3.16 pct
JP Morgan analysts raised their rating on the biotechnology company’s stock to “overweight” from “neutral”, saying their survey showed that doctors were increasing their use of Biogen’s multiple sclerosis drug, Tecfidera. The analysts said the company had a strong pipeline of drugs in mid-stage studies and shares could see a significant upside, even if one or two of the drugs move to late-stage studies. They raised their target price on Biogen’s stock by $75 to $375.
** ABERCROMBIE & FITCH CO, $36.66, +4.39 pct
The teen apparel retailer’s quarterly sales fell less than expected for the first time in six quarters, helped by improvements in its women’s clothing business and its namesake brand.
** SANDERSON FARMS INC, $90.11, +2.79 pct
The third-largest U.S. poultry producer reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit, helped by a rise in demand for its products and lower grain costs.
** REXNORD CORP, $25.32, -3.29 pct
The maker of gear drives and gear sets for industries priced a public offering of 15 million shares at $25.50 each, a discount of 2.6 percent to its stock’s Wednesday close.
** AMSURG CORP, $46.7, +9.11 pct
Ambulatory surgery center operator said it would buy Sheridan Healthcare Inc from private equity firm Hellman & Friedman LLC for about $2.35 billion in cash and stock to enter the outsourced physician services market.
** PALO ALTO NETWORKS INC, $74.86, +7.70 pct
** JUNIPER NETWORKS INC, $25.58, +1.39 pct
Cyber security software maker Palo Alto Networks reported a better-than-expected 49 percent jump in quarterly revenue as it added more customers, and said it settled patent litigation with network gear maker Juniper Networks.
** INTERCEPT PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $243.25, +3.94 pct
The company said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted fast-track status to its experimental drug to treat primary biliary cirrhosis, a disease that damages the bile ducts in the liver. Fast-track status is granted by the FDA to expedite the development and review of drugs that are intended to treat a serious condition and fill an unmet medical need.
Intercept said it expects to complete its marketing approval application for the drug, obeticholic acid, in the first half of 2015.
** FABRINET, $18.41, -5.93 pct
The optical packaging provider reported a secondary offering of 3.2 million shares by a selling stockholder.
** BOOZ ALLEN HAMILTON HOLDING CORP, $22.2, -6.05 pct
The U.S. technology consulting firm announced the sale of 10 million shares by an affiliate of the Carlyle Group. On completion of the offering, Carlyle will own about 45.8 percent of Class A common stock of Booz Allen. (Compiled by Ankit Ajmera in Bangalore; Editing by Joyjeet Das)