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U.S. stocks rose on Friday afternoon, rebounding from losses earlier in the session, as investors took a weak payrolls report to mean there was little risk the Federal Reserve would speed up its plans to raise interest rates. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 0.23 percent at 17,108.73, the S&P 500 was up 0.29 percent at 2,003.48 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 0.07 percent at 4,558.87.
** ACETO CORP, $21.21, +8.21 pct
The distributor of pharmaceutical products reported a fourth-quarter profit that beat analysts’ estimates, helped by launch of three generic drugs and the acquisition of drug distributor Pack Pharmaceuticals.
The company said it expects the launch of eleven generic drugs to help deliver double-digit sales and earnings per share growth in 2015.
** VIRTUS INVESTMENT PARTNERS INC, $184.6, -10.09 pct
The investment management company's sub-adviser, F-Squared Investments Inc, received a "Wells notice" from the U.S. SEC, the Wall Street Journal reported. (on.wsj.com/1qtN5Vi)
F-Squared, one of the largest managers of investment products built using exchange-traded funds, received the notice on Aug. 13 and disclosed it in a filing on Aug. 29, the report said. A Wells notice is usually the last step in an SEC investigation before a civil enforcement action is filed.
The stock had its biggest intra-day fall in three-and-a-half years.
** USEC INC, $4.16, -18.11 pct
The U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware confirmed the uranium supplier’s reoranization plan, which is expeced to become effective later this month.
The company will emerge from bankruptcy under the name Centrus Energy Corp and its stock is expected to trade on the NYSE under symbol “LEU”. Post reorganization, equity holders will be left with about 5 percent of new shares.
“Now people are realizing that the new stock that they are getting is not worth a lot of money. It is tanking,” CRT Capital Group analyst Amer Tiwana said.
The stock was one of the biggest percentage losers on NYSE.
** RITE AID CORP, $6.465, +5.12 pct
The drugstore operator’s total sales rose 3.7 percent to $6.49 billion in the second quarter, higher than the average analyst estimate of $6.47 billion.
Quarterly same-store sales rose 4.1 percent, while August same-store sales increased 3.9 percent.
** PRANA BIOTECHNOLOGY LTD, $2.535, +18.46 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 is currently no 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 to treat Alzheimer’s disease.
** GILEAD SCIENCES INC, $104.6, -2.11 pct
The drugmaker is close to a deal with generic drugmakers to sell its $84,000 hepatitis C drug, Sovaldi, to developing countries at low costs, Bloomberg said on Thursday. (bloom.bg/1u6sDe6)
"Due to its reliance on one relatively new drug, Gilead might be the riskiest $100+ billion business in the world," a contributor to Seeking Alpha wrote on Friday. (bit.ly/1oMBATE)
** HURCO COS INC, $36.6, +9.22 pct
The industrial technology company’s third-quarter revenue jumped 23 percent to $55.4 million, led by strong demand from Europe and Asia Pacific.
The two regions together accounted for 68 percent of the revenue in 2013, according to Thomson Reuters data.
** INTRALINKS HOLDINGS INC, $8.75, +9.51 pct
Stifel Nicolaus upgraded the stock of the provider of web-based software for enterprises to “buy” from “hold”. Analyst Gur Talpaz said he was increasingly confident that IntraLinks’ “VIA” file-sharing and collaboration software will be a key contributor to growth in 2015.
** GAP INC, $44.56, -4.36 pct
Janney Capital Partners cut its price target on the apparel retailer’s stock to $50 from $51. Buckingham Research downgraded the stock to “neutral” from “buy”, according to Theflyonthewall.com. The company said on Thursday Gap brand’s August sales was likely to pressure gross margins in September. Gap’s August comparable-store sales fell 2 percent compared with a rise of 1.55 percent, estimated by Consensus Metrix.
“... We have concerns that the Gap design/merchandising issues may persist throughout this season, pressuring margins,” Janney said in a note. 11 of the 34 analysts covering the stock rate its “buy” or higher, while the rest rate it “hold”.
** LIFE TIME FITNESS INC, $49.96, +6.16 pct
Hedge fund investor Marcato Capital Management said the gym operator’s shares could climb to $70 if it spins off some real estate assets.
Marcato Capital is the largest shareholder in LifeTime with a 7.97 pct stake, as on June 30, according to Thomson Reuters data. LifeTime said last month it was thinking of converting some real estate assets into a real estate investment trust.
** GOLAR LNG LTD, $59.42, -1.52 pct
The LNG supplier said its biggest shareholder, shipping company World Shipholding Ltd, starts a secondary offering of 27.8 million common shares. The offering is priced at $58.50 per share, 3 percent discount to stock’s closing price on Thursday.
World Shipholding owned about 33.76 million shares, or about 36.2 pct, of Golar as of Aug. 25.
** VERTEX PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $95.05, +3.82 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.
** INTELLIPHARMACEUTICALS INTERNATIONAL INC, $3.18, +17.34 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, $2.035, -28.09 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, $11.54, -2.70 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, $50.77, +11.90 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, $62.86, -2.51 pct
** DOLLAR TREE INC, $55.68, +1.20 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, $18.2, +3.70 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, $17.41, -5.23 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, $54.1, +5.87 pct
The business analytics provider reported better-than-expected second quarter revenue and profit. The company raised its forecast for full-year non-GAAP revenue and profit to meet analysts’ average estimates.
At least three brokerages raise price target to as much as $64, while the median target on the stock is $60, according to Thomson Reuters data.
“Company reported four deals between $5 million and $20 million around its security offerings, a positive on the heels of increased investments in the business, with a focus on cybersecurity solutions in particular,” FBR Capital Markets said.
** RECRO PHARMA INC, $2.9, -49.21 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, $276.35, -3.39 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, $37.085, +3.68 pct
The video-processing chipmaker posted better-than-expected Q2 profit and revenue, helped by higher chip sales.
** ZUMIEZ INC, $29.6, -8.67 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.
** MICHAEL KORS HOLDINGS LTD, $76.73, -4.05 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, $14.12, +3.98 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. (Compiled by Rohit T. K. in Bangalore; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)