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U.S. stocks were little changed on Friday and the benchmark S&P 500 was on pace for its first weekly drop in five, following a weak payrolls report that reassured investors the Federal Reserve wouldn’t speed up plans to hike interest rates. The Dow Jones industrial average was down 0.20 percent at 17,035.61, the S&P 500 was down 0.21 percent at 1,993.42 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 0.01 percent at 4,561.89.
** PRANA BIOTECHNOLOGY LTD, $2.59, +21.03 pct
The drug developer received orphan status from the U.S. FDA for its Huntington’s disease drug, PBT2, entitling the Australian company to seven years of exclusivity.
The lead drug aims to treat Huntington’s disease, a type of brain disorder, for which there’s no current cure. Up to Thursday’s close, the stock was down about 78 percent since March 31, when the company said the drug failed a mid-stage study testing for treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
** VERTEX PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $94.84, +3.59 pct
Goldman Sachs upgraded the drugmaker’s stock to “buy” from “neutral”, saying they modeled peak sales of $6 billion for experimental combination cystic fibrosis (CF) treatment.
“We also raise our M&A ranking to “1” from “3”, to reflect the positive CF combo data which de-risks the asset and further validates Vertex’s CF platform,” - Goldman Sachs analysts who also raised price target to $131 from $109 said.
** ALASKA AIR GROUP INC, $46.7, -1.95 pct
Raymond James downgrades stock to “market perform” from “outperform”, citing competitive capacity pressure.
** INTELLIPHARMACEUTICALS INTERNATIONAL INC, $3.2354, +19.39 pct
The Canadian drugmaker’s stock was upgrade to “buy” by Maxim Group analysts, who also raised their price target on the stock to $7 from $3. “Based on our estimates of the numerous phase I trials now underway, we believe we could see Rexista (pain-killer drug) expedited in the marketplace much faster than we previously expected,” analyst wrote in a note.
** QUIKSILVER INC, $1.95, -31.10 pct
The apparel and accessories retailer posted a surprise third quarter loss as revenue fell for the eight straight quarter. Revenue fell 19 percent, the steepest drop in nearly seven years, to $396 million as sales falls across all three brands and across Americas, EMEA and Asia.
** PENNANTPARK INVESTMENT CORP, $11.375, -4.09 pct
The business development company’s public offering of 11 million common shares was priced at $11.63 each - a 1.9 pct discount to their Thursday close.
The offer represented 16.5 percent of the company’s total shares outstanding.
** MOBILEYE NV, $47.41, +4.50 pct
Four brokerages, including Deutsche Bank and RBC Capital Markets, raised price targets on the stock of the maker of driver-assistance system to as much as $53. The median price target is $48.50, according to Thomson Reuters data.
“We believe that we are at the cusp of an inflection in ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) penetration as automakers look to add ADAS features as they are needed to become 4- or 5-star safety rating compliant,” RBC analyst Joseph Spak said.
The company reported better-than-expected Q2 revenue and forecast full-year revenue above estimates on Thursday, helped by strong demand
Up to Thursday’s close, stock had gained about 80 pct since its Aug. 1 debut.
** FAMILY DOLLAR STORES INC, $79, -1.32 pct
** DOLLAR GENERAL CORP, $63, -2.30 pct
** DOLLAR TREE INC, $55.1, +0.15 pct
Family Dollar rejected Dollar General’s $9.1 billion sweetened takeover offer, saying the offer did not address antitrust concerns and was unlikely to be approved.
Dollar General raised its offer for Family Dollar Stores on Tuesday by 2 percent to $9.1 billion, or $80 per share, and said it was willing to sell up to 1,500 stores to address competition concerns.
** TASER INC, $18.005, +2.59 pct
New York City police commissioner said on Thursday that 60 of its 35,000 police officers will be asked to volunteer to wear cameras when on duty in a pilot program. Taser’s wearable cameras will be one of the two types of cameras the department will test.
The death of Michael Brown, the unarmed Missouri teenager shot in the street by a police officer last month, has brought renewed attention to the technology. The stock is inching toward a decade-high of $20.83 touched in February.
** FINISAR CORP, $17.52, -4.63 pct
Brokerages Needham & Co and Stifel Nicolaus cut rating on the network equipment maker’s stock. At least nine brokerages, including Barclays Capital, cut price targets on stock after the company forecast second quarter adjusted profit and revenue below analysts’ average estimates on Thursday.
The median price target dropped by $1 in the last month to $25, according to Thomson Reuters data. The company said it expects lower gross margins from wireless sales to China and from other factors and “we do not expect a gross margin rebound soon”, Barclays analysts say. Of the 16 brokerages covering the stock, nine have a “buy” or higher rating, six have “hold” and one has “sell”.
** VERINT SYSTEMS INC, $54.1226, +5.92 pct
The business analytics provider reported better-than-expected second quarter revenue and profit. The company raised forecast for its full-year non-GAAP revenue and profit to meet analysts’ average estimates.
At least three brokerages raise price target to as much as $64. Median price target on the stock is $60, according to Thomson Reuters data.
** RECRO PHARMA INC, $2.991, -47.62 pct
The drug developer said it planned to end a mid-stage trial of its lead post-operative pain drug because it did not expect the trial to achieve statistically significant results under its current design.
** TESLA MOTORS INC, $273.94, -4.23 pct
The electric car maker has selected Nevada as the site for a $5 billion battery factory that will be key to its next generation of electric cars, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval announced on Thursday.
** AMBARELLA INC, $36.8892, +3.13 pct
The video-processing chipmaker posted better-than-expected Q2 profit and revenue, helped by higher chip sales.
** ZUMIEZ INC, $28.904, -10.82 pct
The sports apparel and footwear retailer forecast third quarter earnings of 47 cents-50 cents per share, below average analyst estimate of 54 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S .
The forecast includes charge of 2 cents per share related to acquisition of European retailer Blue Tomato in 2012. The company said it expects third quarter same-store sales to rise in low single digit percentage range.
** GAP INC, $44.41, -4.68 pct
The apparel retailer’s August comparable-store sales fell 2 percent vs a rise of 1.55 percent estimated by Consensus Metrix.
August sales were flat at $1.23 billion, due to weak demand at Gap and Banana Republic brands.
The company said Gap brand’s August sales performance likely to put pressure on its gross margins in September.
** MICHAEL KORS HOLDINGS LTD, $76.5, -4.34 pct
Majority shareholders Lawrence Stroll and Silas Chou will resign from the affordable luxury goods retailer’s board following a secondary public offering.
The company launched a secondary public offering of 11.6 million shares on behalf of principal founding shareholder Sportswear Holdings Ltd.
Sportswear Holdings held 5.67 percent stake in Michael Kors as of Dec. 31, according to Thomson Reuters data.
** INFOBLOX INC, $14.47, +6.55 pct
The network management equipment maker posted better-than-expected fourth quarter profit and revenue, helped by higher demand for its security products. The company also forecast first quarter revenue of $63 million-$65 million, above average analyst estimate of $61.5 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
** PENNANTPARK INVESTMENT CORP, $11.375, -4.09 pct
The business development company announced an offering of 11 million common shares to the public, or 16.5 pct of total shares outstanding. The company plans to use proceeds to repay debt and to invest in companies. The company had 66.59 million shares outstanding as of Aug. 5.
** GOLAR LNG LTD, $58.51, -3.03 pct
The LNG supplier said its biggest shareholder, shipping company World Shipholding Ltd, starts a secondary offering of 27.8 million common shares. World Shipholding owned about 33.76 million shares, or about 36.2 pct, of Golar as of Aug. 25. (Compiled by Rohit T. K. in Bangalore; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)