(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 fell moderately on Thursday after Ukraine's president said Russian forces had been brought into his country, returning focus to the volatile region, though the latest round of U.S. economic data pointed to improving conditions. The Dow Jones industrial average was down 0.21 percent at 17,085.67 and the S&P 500 was down 0.11 percent at 1,997.87.
** SGOCO GROUP LTD, $2.82, +75.16 pct
The Chinese flat-panel display maker said it launched a sales platform on online retailer JD.com.
More than 6.8 million shares changed hands by 2:05 p.m. ET, nine times their 10-day average volume.
** SUNGY MOBILE LTD, $8.4, -19.23 pct
Oppenheimer & Co cut its rating on the Chinese mobile applications developer’s shares to “perform” from “outperform” and removed a $22 price target.
The company will accelerate spending on research and sales and marketing in the coming two quarters which will put “pressure” on margins, Oppenheimer analysts said in a note.
The company on Wednesday forecast third-quarter revenue of 90-95 million yuan ($14.7-$15.5 million), below the average analyst estimate of $18.3 million.
The company also said Chief Financial Officer Winston Li had resigned, effective Aug. 31.
** WILLIAMS-SONOMA INC, $66.25, -11.54 pct
Morgan Stanley downgraded the home furnishing retailer’s stock to “equal-weight” and at least three brokerages cut their price targets. The company cannot generate high growth in near term due to tough competition, Morgan Stanley analyst Simeon Gutman wrote in note.
Williams-Sonoma reported lower-than-expected second-quarter revenue due to weak sales at Pottery Barn and Pbteen brands
Rival Restoration Hardware Holdings Inc’s shares were down 3.2 percent at $84.86
** CSR PLC, $51.2, +34.59 pct
** MICROCHIP TECHNOLOGY INC, $48.04, +0.80 pct
Britain’s CSR has rebuffed an approach from Microchip Technology, saying its U.S. rival would have to pay more if it wants to bolster its role in the “Internet of Things” with the chipmaker’s radio technology.
** DIGITAL ALLY INC, $15.2745, +32.94 pct
Digital Ally said the Michigan police force placed an order for the company’s flagship video cameras for its fleet, highlighting the spike in demand for surveillance systems since a policeman fatally shot an unarmed teenager in Ferguson, Missouri on Aug. 9.
** FRONTLINE LTD, $2.21, -14.34 pct
The Norwegian shipping company said it may have to renegotiate debt and lease obligations as it was doubtful of generating enough cash to repay a $190 million convertible bond maturing April, based on current tanker market outlook.
The company also reported a larger-than-expected second-quarter loss on Thursday. The stock was one of the top percentage losers on the New York Stock Exchange.
** REPROS THERAPEUTICS INC, $21.446, +17.77 pct
** ABBVIE INC, $55.61, -0.16 pct
Repros Therapeutics said its experimental drug to treat low testosterone was superior to a leading marketed gel and a placebo in the first of two identical studies.
Patients who were given the drug, Androxal, experienced superiority in sperm concentration compared with those who used Abbvie’s AndroGel, said the company. The company said the proportion of subjects responding to Androxal were greater than the proportion responding to both the approved topical gel and placebo. The results of the second study have not yet been released.
** WILLIAMS-SONOMA INC, $66.25, -11.54 pct
Morgan Stanley downgraded the home furnishing retailer’s stock to “equal-weight” and at least three brokerages cut their price targets.
Williams-Sonoma’s second-quarter sales missed analysts’ average expectation due to weak sales at its Pottery Barn and Pbteen brands.
** TEKMIRA PHARMACEUTICALS CORP, $21.3749, +8.23 pct
The Canadian drug company, developing an Ebola drug, is a likely takeover target, Barron's newspaper reported. (on.barrons.com/1sI6iAR)
** COBRA ELECTRONICS CORP, $4.275, +7.68 pct
The walkie-talkie maker is to be bought by U.S. private equity fund Monomoy Capital Partners II LP for about $28.4 million. Monomoy Capital’s offer for $4.30 per share in cash represents a premium of 8.3 percent to Cobra’s Wednesday close.
** VIOLIN MEMORY INC, $3.8, -9.31 pct
The flash storage provider’s second-quarter revenue missed analysts’ average estimate, hurt by a 40 percent drop in product revenue. Violin forecasts higher third-quarter operating expenditure on Wednesday as it increased its headcount and research and development spend. The company also signed a new $40 million credit facility.
** CONSTELLIUM NV, $29.43, +6.25 pct
The aluminum product maker reported a 16 percent rise in second-quarter profit due to strong demand for packaging and automotive rolled products. The company sees increasing long-term demand for automotive products, particularly in the United States.
** IAO KUN GROUP HOLDING CO LTD, $2.94, -6.25 pct
The gaming room operator reported a 22 percent drop in second-quarter revenue and bigger net loss. “Our second-quarter performance was clearly affected by the low win rate, which was well below the statistical average,” Chairman Man Pou Lam said.
** CLIFF NATURAL RESOURCES INC, $15.09, -5.86 pct
** RIO TINTO LTD, $53.495, -3.94 pct
** VALE SA, $13.1, -4.24 pct
** BHP BILLITON LTD, $67.96, -2.40 pct
Shares of the iron ore miners fell after spot iron ore prices hit a two-year low.
** GUESS INC, $23.4, -8.74 pct
The apparel retailer forecast full-year profit and sales below the average analyst estimate.
At least six brokerages cut their price target on the company’s stock to as low as $22. While the company works to improve revenue growth, it won’t likely build traction until fiscal 2016, Jefferies & Co said.
** PALL CORP, $83.44, +3.37 pct
The water and air filter maker reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter revenue and profit, helped by a 24 percent rise in revenue in its biopharma business.
** APPLE INC, $102.44, +0.30 pct
Apple invited media to a “special event” in its hometown of Cupertino, California, on Sept. 9, when the iPhone maker is expected to unveil the latest versions of its best-selling smartphones.
Apple’s typically cryptic invitation read: “Wish we could say more.” It came on a simple black-and-white background dominated by the company’s familiar corporate logo.
** TILLY‘S INC, $8.1, -4.93 pct
Mizuho Securities USA cut its price target on the company’s stock to $7 from $8. Tilly’s on Wednesday forecast current-quarter comparable sales to decline by mid-single digit percentage.
** GENESCO INC, $82.11, -7.40 pct
The specialty retailer reported a second-quarter profit below analysts’ average estimate due to lower gross margin at Lids Sports Group, its second-largest business. The company also cut its full-year adjusted earnings forecast to $5.10-$5.20 per share from $5.40-$5.55.
** ABERCROMBIE & FITCH CO, $41.81, -4.98 pct
The teen apparel retailer’s same-store sales declined for the tenth straight quarter as it struggled to attract customers who held back discretionary spending amid wage cuts and fewer jobs.
** DOLLAR GENERAL CORP, $64.84, +1.79 pct
** FAMILY DOLLAR STORES INC, $79.86, +0.08 pct
** DOLLAR TREE INC, $54.24, +1.27 pct
Dollar General said it remained committed to acquiring rival Family Dollar, pointing to a prolonged battle for dominance of the deep discount retail sector in the United States.
Family Dollar last week rejected a $9 billion buyout offer from Dollar General, the No. 1 U.S. deep discount retailer, saying the deal could run foul of competition law and opted for a smaller bid from Dollar Tree.
** 21VIANET GROUP INC, $29.28, +3.43 pct
Canaccord Genuity raised its price target on the stock of the China-based internet data center to $35 from $31 after the company forecast third-quarter and full-year revenue above analysts’ average estimate.
** ONCOMED PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $21.296, +3.43 pct
OncoMed said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration lifted a partial hold on patient enrolments for three trials testing its experimental cancer drug, vantictumab.
** GT ADVANCED TECHNOLOGIES INC, $17.64, -5.01 pct
Raymond James cut its rating on the solar and LED equipment maker’s stock to “underperform” from “market perform”, according to Theflyonthewall.com.
** JPMORGAN CHASE & CO, $59.15, -0.74 pct
** BANK OF AMERICA, $16.03, -1.05 pct
** CITIGROUP INC, $51.45, -0.79 pct
** WELLS FARGO, $51.19, -0.29 pct
Stocks of U.S. banks fell after media reported that U.S. financial firms were infiltrated in cyber attacks by Russian hackers. JPMorgan Chase was named as one of the banks that came under attack. The FBI said it was working with the U.S. Secret Service to investigate the scope of attacks.
** LEAR CORP, $101.53, +3.49 pct
The maker of auto seats and electrical power systems said it would buy automotive leather supplier Eagle Ottawa LLC for $850 million to strengthen its core seating business and boost its luxury seats portfolio.
** COTT CORP, $7.5, +2.88 pct
Stifel Nicolaus raised its rating on the Canadian beverage maker’s stock to “buy” from “hold”, citing an expanding contract manufacturing business in North America.
** SEMTECH CORP, $25.6, +2.81 pct
Goldman Sachs resumed coverage of the chipmaker’s stock with a “buy” rating and $31 price target. “We believe Semtech’s revenue and earnings per share growth will outpace peers in 2015,” Goldman analysts said.
** VCA INC, $40.6801, +3.39 pct
The animal healthcare company plans to buy back shares worth up to $400 million.
The share repurchase “is larger than Street expectations and will be viewed favorably”, Piper Jaffray said. The brokerage raised its price target on the stock to $50 from $41, while Raymond James raised its target to $47 from $43.
** U.S. SILICA HOLDINGS INC, $71.25, +4.78 pct
Analysts at Morgan Stanley raised their target price on the commercial silica maker’s shares to $80 from $59, citing expectations of higher demand for sand used in fracking.
** EZCHIP SEMICONDUCTOR LTD, $27.8094, +9.88 pct
The chief financial officer of the network-processing chip maker not attending a scheduled conference prompts speculation that the Israeli company may be an acquisition candidate, two analysts told Reuters.
“If an M&A offer came up it would not surprise me that management may take that offer given the fact that the market has been unwilling to recognize the value EZchip has created,” Feltl & Co analyst Jeffrey Schreiner said.
Cisco Systems Inc is EZchip’s largest customer and accounts for about 40 percent of revenue. (Compiled by Lehar Maan in Bangalore; Edited by Maju Samuel)