(For faster updates on individual market-movers, Eikon users please use search string "STXBZ US"; for more market insights, including options activity, ; for the Day Ahead newsletter, link.reuters.com/mex49s; for the Morning News Call newsletter, link.reuters.com/nex49s)
U.S. stocks remained flat near record levels on Wednesday and while overall trading was thin, a number of retail stocks attracted outsized action after reporting results. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 0.08 percent at 17,119.82 and the S&P 500 was down 0.01 percent at 1,999.79.
** TUBEMOGUL INC, $13.63, +47.83 pct
The software company reported second-quarter revenue of $28.7 million, above the average analyst estimate of $24.7 million, on strong demand for its video advertising software. The company also sees 2014 total revenue of $98-$102 million, above analysts’ average estimate of $91.7 million
** NETSOL TECHNOLOGIES INC, $3.9499, +42.60 pct
The information technology service provider signed a deal valued at more than $16 million for its next-generation NFS Ascent software with a major multi-finance group in Asia. NFS Ascent software helps automate finance front and back office operations and manage contract portfolio. The company said the software implementation was scheduled to be completed within the next 18 months, with the first phase expected to go live in February.
** SMITH & WESSON HOLDING CORP, $11.325, -13.55 pct
** STURM RUGER & CO INC, $49.04, -3.90 pct
Smith & Wesson forecast a second-quarter profit below analysts’ estimates and cut its 2015 profit and revenue forecast, citing industrywide high inventories and weak consumer buying during summer.
CRT Capital analysts said Sturm Ruger’s revenue could fall more dramatically than Smith & Wesson‘s. The brokerage cut its rating on the Sturm Ruger stock to “fair value” from “buy” and slashed its price target to $55 from $75.
At least four brokerages, including CRT and Cowen and Co, cut their price target on Smith & Wesson’s shares.
** EDUCATION MANAGEMENT CORP, $1.3399, -12.99 pct
The company said it had agreed on a restructuring that would reduce its debt by about $1.1 billion and would seek a waiver of all financial covenants through June.
** VAPOR CORP, $2.26, -13.08 pct
The electronic cigarettes maker said it terminated an asset purchase agreement with International Vapor Group Inc. Vapor Corp said in May it would buy International Vapor’s assets for about $20.8 billion.
** RADIOSHACK CORP, $1.045, +21.51 pct
The retailer’s second-largest shareholder, Standard General LP, is negotiating a rescue package with investors to help the consumer electronics retailer ward off bankruptcy, Bloomberg reported, citing people with knowledge of the matter.
** VIMICRO INTERNATIONAL CORP, $4.05, +15.71 pct
The China-based provider of audio and video signal processing chips for cameras in PCs reported second-quarter revenue and profit above analysts’ average estimates, boosted by higher demand for its video surveillance products.
** IMAGE SENSING SYSTEMS INC, $4.07, +19.71 pct
Interest in wearable cameras for law enforcement officers continued to drive shares of Image Sensing up for the second trading session. The stock rose 15 percent to $3.88 in heavy volume, with more than 14 million shares traded as of 1:06 p.m. ET, nearly eight times its 10-day moving average volume.
** EXPRESS INC, $16.75, +14.80 pct
The apparel retailer reported a profit of 8 cents per share for the second quarter, compared with the average analyst estimate of breakeven on a per-share basis. The company also raised its full-year profit forecast to 85-95 cents per share from 74-90 cents.
** YINGLI GREEN ENERGY HOLDING CO LTD, $3.375, -5.20 pct
The Chinese solar company reported a bigger-than-expected quarterly loss and cut its forecast for 2014 panel shipments, faced with steep U.S. duties.
** ARUBA NETWORKS INC, $21.15, +4.50 pct
At least two brokerages upgraded the network gear maker’s stock and five others raised their price targets to up to $28. Analysts said Aruba is benefiting from “strong adoption” of Wi-fi products, compared with rivals such as Cisco Systems Inc .
** TIFFANY & CO, $101.96, +1.18 pct
The upscale jeweler raised its full-year profit forecast for a second time following a better-than-expected rise in quarterly profit, driven by strong sales and higher prices for its high-end jewelry in the Americas, its biggest market.
For a graphic: link.reuters.com/saj72w
** HIGHPOWER INTERNATIONAL INC, $6.6, +13.01 pct
The Chinese lithium-ion battery maker said its 20Ah lithium-ion battery, designed for hybrid and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, got approval from China’s National Quality Control and Inspection Center for Buses. The company’s Chief Technology Officer Wenliang Li said the approval is “a solid step” to commercialize lithium batteries at national level.
** MICHAELS COS INC, $16.375, +8.16 pct
The art and craft retailer reported better-than-expected second-quarter sales and profit, helped by higher demand and gross margins. The company also said it expects full-year sales growth of 1-2 percent.
** GALENA BIOPHARMA INC, $2.41, +2.99 pct
Brokerage MLV & Co maintained its “buy” rating on the drug developer’s stock, saying it “is attractive for speculative investors tolerant of volatility”. MLV said the primary driver of the stock’s appreciation will be late-stage trials of the company’s experimental breast cancer vaccine, Neuvax.
The brokerage also cut its price target on the stock by $2 to $3 - joint lowest target among eight brokerages, according to Thomson Reuters data. Seven brokerages, including MLV, rate the stock a “buy” or higher, while one rates it “sell”.
** BIOSTAR PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $2.04, +7.37 pct
The China-based health supplement maker hired Xiaohui Zheng as chief scientist to preside over product developments.
** RENT-A-CENTER INC, $27.99, +5.25 pct
Canaccord Genuity raised its rating on the stock to “buy” from “hold” and price target to $32 from $25.
Following announcement by the company that it will transition to more flexible labor model, analysts said replacing overtime hours in 20 percent of its core stores with part-time labor would generate over $20 million in annual savings in 2015, and lift operating margins.
** BEST BUY CO INC, $31.52, +5.77 pct
At least four brokerages, including J. P. Morgan Securities, raised their price targets on the largest U.S. consumer electronics retailer’s stock. J. P. Morgan raised its price target to $37 from $35.
Best Buy reported lower-than-expected sales on Tuesday and said margins would decline in second half of the year. The mean price target on the stock is $34.18, according to Thomson Reuters data. Up to Tuesday’s close, the stock had lost a quarter of its value since the beginning of the year.
** QUICKSILVER RESOURCES INC, $1.307, +9.83 pct
The oil and gas producer said initial flow from a recently drilled well in Texas was 750 barrels of oil equivalent per day, with 90 percent oil. The start of the production is planned for early next month. The well was drilled under an agreement with Eni SpA.
** SOLERA HOLDINGS INC, $61.15, -9.12 pct
Piper Jaffray cut its target price on the company’s stock to $72 from $73 after the insurance claims processing software provider reported a lower-than-expected adjusted profit on Tuesday.
“The company noted seasonality and weather factors, although continuing weakness in certain European markets was likely also a factor,” Piper Jaffray said. The company also forecast a full-year adjusted profit below estimates.
** ELIZABETH ARDEN INC, $18.1301, +4.92 pct
The perfume maker’s shareholder Rhone Capital exercised option to buy additional shares. Rhone started a tender offer to acquire additional 6.4 million shares, which could take its total stake to about 20 percent.
Rhone agreed to acquire a 7.6 percent stake on Aug. 19.
** BROWN SHOE CO INC, $30.2, -3.73 pct
The footwear maker reported lower-than-expected second-quarter sales, hurt by slower growth in sales at its Famous Footwear stores, which accounted for nearly 62 percent of total net sales. Same-store sales growth at Famous Footwear slowed to 1.6 pct from 6.8 pct year earlier.
** YOUKU TUDOU INC, $19.64, +3.21 pct
China’s biggest online video company said it would buy back stock worth up to $300 million.
** SEADRILL LTD, $36.93, -1.96 pct
The world’s biggest offshore driller by market capitalisation reported second-quarter earnings below forecasts on Wednesday and offered a cautious outlook for the rig market.
** TALISMAN ENERGY INC, $10.305, -3.60 pct
Spanish energy company Repsol SA’s talks to buy Canadian producer Talisman Energy are in difficulty, three sources familiar with the matter said, with Talisman’s North Sea assets the stumbling block.
** TETRA TECHNOLOGIES INC, $11.95, +5.29 pct
Cowen and Co analysts raised their rating on the oilfield services company’s stock to “outperform” from “market perform”.
Tetra’s master limited partnership, Compressco Partners LP, said in July it would buy natural gas compression provider Compressor Systems Inc for $825 million. Cowen analysts termed the acquisition a “game changer”.
The analysts also raised their price target on the stock to $16 from $14.
** AEGERION PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $32.7001, +5.59 pct
The drugmaker said it resolved concerns raised in a warning letter by the U.S. FDA related to its cholesterol drug, Juxtapid.
** PENN WEST PETROLEUM LTD, $7.72, +4.75 pct
The Canadian oil and gas producer said a recent review of its accounting practices would have no impact on independent estimates of its proved reserves and their value as reported for 2012 and 2013.
Penn West said in July it was conducting an internal review of its accounting practices examining certain entries “which appear to have been made” to reduce operating costs, increase capital expenditures.
The company had reported proved plus probable company gross reserves estimate of 625 million barrels of oil equivalent as of Dec. 31, 2013.
** REDHILL BIOPHARMA LTD, $14.5628, +3.28 pct
The Israeli drug developer said the U.S. FDA had allowed the company to develop its lead antibiotic for a significantly broader indication than existing H. pylori therapies.
The drug, RHB-105, is a combination treatment designed to fight H. pylori infections, a major cause of chronic gastritis, peptic ulcer disease and gastric cancer. H. pylori typically treats patients with active or recent history of ulcers. The broader indication will allow the drug to target the infection regardless of ulcer status.
** FLAGSTAR BANCORP INC, $17.62, -4.71 pct
The bank holding company said it had started discussions with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau related to alleged violations of consumer financial laws, dating back to 2011.
Brokerage BTIG cut its rating on the stock to “sell” from “neutral”. “We believe the CFPB’s allegations create a new layer of uncertainty around FBC, generating a round of questions about the company’s servicing operations,” BTIG analyst Mark Palmer said.
** CHICO‘S FAS INC, $15.33, -4.31 pct
The women’s apparel retailer reported lower-than-expected second-quarter revenue and profit as comparable sales grew only 0.3 pct and average transaction value declined. The company said gross margin decreased 240 basis points to 52.4 percent due to more discounting to clear seasonal merchandise.
** PIONEER NATURAL RESOURCES CO, $206.83, -2.14 pct
Canaccord Genuity cut its rating on the oil and gas company’s stock to “hold” from “buy” and lowered price target to $224 from $305.
** BANK OF MONTREAL, $77.02, +2.89 pct
At least five brokerages raised their rating on Canada’s fourth-largest bank.
Bank of Montreal reported a stronger-than-expected third-quarter profit on Tuesday, helped by gains at its Canadian and U.S. personal and commercial banking units and higher revenue at its capital markets arm.
** MANNKIND CORP, $7.48, +1.91 pct
Jefferies & Co initiated coverage on the drugmaker’s stock with a “buy” rating and a price target of $10. The brokerage said it expected MannKind’s inhaled insulin therapy, Afrezza, to “find a niche among mealtime insulins”.
Earlier this month, MannKind signed a worldwide licensing agreement with French drugmaker Sanofi for Afrezza. Under the deal, Sanofi will have the right to develop and market Afrezza
** DONALDSON CO INC, $41.91, +3.00 pct
The filtration systems and replacement parts maker reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter revenue and profit, helped by strong sales of replacement filters in both its engine and industrial divisions. (Compiled by Rohit T.K. and Lehar Maan in Bangalore; Edited by Maju Samuel)