(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 were trading lower on Monday after China's finance minister indicated the country will not increase stimulus measures and U.S. housing data fell short of expectations.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 0.42 percent at 17,207.79, the S&P 500 was down 0.73 percent at 1,995.64 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 1.22 percent at 4,524.051.
** CHINANET ONLINE HOLDINGS INC, $3.38, +72.45 pct
The Chinese advertisement company’s shares nearly doubled to $3.93, their highest in over three years. The company said on Friday it was in discussion with Taobao, the online shopping site owned by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, to provide a targeted marketing service.
** SIGMA-ALDRICH CORP, $136.545, +33.38 pct
Drugs and chemicals maker Merck KGaA said it agreed to acquire Sigma-Aldrich for $17 billion, or $140 per share, in cash to boost its Merck Millipore lab supplies business in the biggest takeover in the German group’s history.
** JINPAN INTERNATIONAL, $8.1752, +17.63 pct
The maker of medium voltage power distribution products said its CEO, along with another investor, has offered to take the company private for about $144 million, or $8.80 per share.
** CARBO CERAMICS INC, $69.64, -17.61 pct
At least three brokerages cut price targets on the oilfield service provider’s stock, citing volumes and pricing concerns. The company said it is seeing growing number of operators experimenting with use of more sand in well completions, adversely impacting sales volumes.
The company said it is facing domestic and international pricing competition for ceramics. Capital One Securities cuts price target to $111 from $157; Sterne Agee cuts to $88 from $154; Howard Weil cuts to $105 from $133.
** APPLE INC, $101.06, +0.10 pct
The company said it sold more than 10 million iPhones in the first weekend after its new models went on sale on Friday, underscoring strong demand for phones with larger displays.
** MECHEL OAO, $1.07, -26.21 pct
Bankruptcy was the most likely scenario for the over-indebted steelmaker, Russian Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said. “We should probably admit the fact - if a company is bankrupt, it should be legally acknowledged,” Ulyukayev said of the company which has debts of $8.6 billion.
** TEKMIRA PHARMACEUTICALS CORP, $24.23, +20.19 pct
The Canadian drugmaker said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had authorized emergency use of its Ebola treatment to confirmed or suspected patients under an expanded access protocol.
** VIASYSTEMS GROUP INC, $15.92, +36.07 pct
** TTM TECHNOLOGIES INC, $7, -3.71 pct
TTM, a maker of circuit boards, said it would buy smaller rival Viasystems for about $344 million, or $16.46 per share.
** STMICROELECTRONICS NV, $7.559, -3.21 pct
** INVENSENSE INC, $20.84, -10.79 pct
Chipmaker STMicro's stock continued to decline following gadget repair firm iFixit's "teardown" of Apple's iPhone 6 on Friday which revealed that the device houses chips from STMicroelectronics's rival, InvenSense. (bit.ly/1wKPb6I)
However, Robert W. Baird & Co said they believed the global smartphone maker may switch to a dual-sourcing strategy for some part, suggesting InvenSense may not have 100 percent share in the phone as previously expected. The brokerage cut its rating on the motion-sensor chip maker’s stock to “neutral” from “outperform”.
** UBIQUITI NETWORKS INC, $38.96, -7.26 pct
Wunderlich Securities analysts cut their service provider sales estimates for the wireless networking equipment company, citing an expected incremental weakness in Russia and Ukraine associated with anti-U.S. politics.
** WALTER ENERGY INC, $2.77, -8.28 pct
** ARCH COAL INC, $2.45, -7.20 pct
** ALPHA NATURAL RESOURCES INC, $2.74, -8.05 pct
** PEABODY ENERGY CORP, $12.88, -3.09 pct
** CLOUD PEAK ENERGY INC, $12.84, -3.53 pct
** SINOCOKING COAL & COKE CHEMICAL INDUSTRIES INC, $3.5901, -12.86 pct
Concerns of weaker demand for metallurgical coal from China, the companies’ biggest market, is weighing on U.S. coal producers’ stocks. Recent data showed China’s total social financing aggregate, a broad measure of lending in the economy, was the weakest in nearly six years.
** IAMGOLD CORP, $3.02, -5.03 pct
** ENDEAVOUR SILVER CORP, $4.53, -3.82 pct
** AURICO GOLD INC, $3.48, -2.52 pct
** ELDORADO GOLD CORP, $6.78, -2.31 pct
** NEWMONT MINING CORP, $23.8, -1.69 pct
Precious metal prices were pressurized by speculation that U.S. Federal Reserve will start its rate-tightening cycle sooner than expected.
Spot gold weakest since early January, silver down to a four-year low.
** PETROLEO BRASILEIRO PETROBRAS SA, $15.84, -5.60 pct
** VALE SA, $11.4, -5.00 pct
State-owned Brazilian oil producer Petrobras’ U.S.-listed shares down 5 percent, while miner Vale’s shares fall 4.2 percent, tracking decline in their home market.
The general sell-off comes two weeks ahead of the presidential election. An electoral poll showed President Dilma Rousseff gaining on challenger Marina Silva. Investors have been critical of Rousseff for enacting policies they see as detrimental to the private sector and state-run companies.
** PRIMERO MINING CORP, $5.14, -4.64 pct
BMO Capital Markets cut its target price on the Canadian miner’s stock to C$8.00 from C$8.50, citing a decrease in spot metal prices. The company on Friday reported a death in an underground accident at its Mexico mine, sending its shares down more than 10 percent on the day.
** REPROS THERAPEUTICS INC, $8.645, -5.00 pct
The drug developer’s shares continued to fall for third day after the U.S. FDA advisory committee suggested testosterone replacement therapies be limited to men with specific medical conditions that impair function of testicles. The company insisted the recommendation not be directly applicable to its lead drug candidate, Androxal.
** EPIQ SYSTEMS INC, $18.56, +7.35 pct
The company, which provides case and document management software for bankruptcy and other legal proceedings, rejected a $1.1 billion takeover offer from shareholder P2 Capital Partners LLC, saying it was “inadequate from a financial point of view”. The hedge fund increased its stake to 16.9 percent in as of Sept. 16, from 5.1 percent on Dec. 31.
** THRESHOLD PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $4.0399, -9.62 pct
The drug developer said it would now be able to evaluate the main goal of the late-stage study of cancer drug in latter half of 2015, later than earlier forecast of mid-2015.
** SHUTTERFLY INC, $18.56, +5.59 pct
PE firm Silver Lake Partners LP is in advanced talks to acquire the online photo-sharing service for at least $2 billion, or more than $50 per share, people familiar with matter told Reuters.
** ALIBABA GROUP HOLDING LTD, $89.996, -4.15 pct
** YAHOO INC, $38.7599, -5.30 pct
The Chinese online retailer’s initial public offering now ranks as the world’s biggest in history at $25 billion, after the company and some of its shareholders sold additional shares.
Alibaba agreed to sell 26.1 million additional shares and Yahoo 18.3 million, netting them an extra $1.8 billion and $1.2 billion respectively.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch cuts its rating on Yahoo’s stock to “neutral”, according to Theflyonthewall.com, while Bernstein cuts to “market perform”, according to Streetinsider.com. MKM Partners starts coverage of Alibaba with a “buy” rating, according to Benzinga.com
** NOBLE CORP, $23.71, -2.35 pct
** ENSCO PLC, $43.72, -1.75 pct
** VANTAGE DRILLING CO, $1.47, -2.00 pct
RBC Capital Markets analysts cut their price target on offshore drillers’ stocks, citing challenging market for floating rigs. RBC cut its price target on Noble stock to $28 from $32; on Ensco to $45 from $55; and on Vantage to $2 from $3. The offshore drillers were likely to underperform until the market is confident that the bottom is on the horizon, which was likely to be in 2016, the analysts said.
** RADIOSHACK CORP, $0.9036, -0.33 pct
The electronics retailer, which has warned it may have to file for bankruptcy protection if its cash situation worsened, and some of its largest creditors are in talks with a major vendor on potential changes to relationship that could be beneficial to company’s financial restructuring.
** CLOROX CO, $96.62, +6.68 pct
The home cleaning products maker said it was discontinuing operations in Venezuela as the business was no longer viable and that it was looking to sell its assets in the country. The company also reaffirmed its full-year 2015 profit and sales forecast.
** BHP BILLITON PLC, $61.11, -3.48 pct
** RIO TINTO PLC, $50.17, -2.92 pct
The union at the world’s largest copper mine, Chile’s Escondida, has called a strike for Sept. 22 and 24, aiming to paralyze activity to win improved working conditions. BHP owns a 57.5 stake in Escondida, while Rio Tinto holds a 30 percent stake, and Jeco Co Ltd has 10 percent.
** U.S. STEEL CORP, $43.77, -3.14 pct
The steel company’s move to seek creditor protection for its Canadian operations throws into question the fate of the more than a century old steel operations in Hamilton, Ontario.
** EMC CORP, $29.915, +1.30 pct
** HEWLETT-PACKARD CO, $36.59, -0.54 pct
** VMWARE INC, $95.15, +1.07 pct
EMC, a data storage products maker, held merger talks with rivals Dell Inc and HP, the Wall Street Journal reported. Merger talks between HP and EMC, which were on for about a year, broke down weeks ago over financial terms and over fear that shareholders of both companies would reject the deal. Status of the talks between EMC and Dell remains unclear, the WSJ reported. (on.wsj.com/1B0yKkL)
EMC has a stake in software maker VMware.
** TRIMAS CORP, $26.23, -11.21 pct
The engineered and packaging products maker’s shares are set to open at lowest in 17 months after the company cut its 2014 earnings forecast, citing challenges in energy and aerospace businesses. While it tries to improve performance, “the reality is that the improvements have not taken place at the expected pace,” CEO David Wathen said.
** DRESSER-RAND GROUP INC, $81.99, +2.60 pct
** GENERAL ELECTRIC, $26.122, -0.64 pct
Germany’s Siemens has agreed to buy U.S. oilfield equipment maker Dresser-Rand for $7.6 billion, or $83 per share, in cash, aiming to catch up with arch-rival GE in a booming U.S. shale gas market. Swiss pump maker Sulzer AG said it had ended talks with Dresser-Rand.
The Financial Times said on Friday GE was considering whether to make a bid for Dresser-Rand, citing people familiar with the matter. (on.ft.com/1tzUwLM) One source close to the matter told Reuters that while GE had made contact with Dresser-Rand, it was unlikely to pursue a bid.
** SEADRILL LTD, $28.19, -0.25 pct
Billionaire investor John Fredriksen is considering buying more shares in the world’s biggest oil rig firm by market capitalization after the stock’s sharp fall this year, Norwegian business daily Finansavisen reported. The stock is down 26 percent since the start of the year, underperforming a 5 percent rise on the European oil and gas index.
** AMAZON.COM INC, $323.09, -2.48 pct
Workers at German warehouses of the online retailer took strike action again on Monday as labor union Verdi pressed its demands in a long-running dispute over pay and conditions.
** ENDO INTERNATIONAL PLC, $66.59, -1.64 pct
** AUXILIUM PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $31.17, +0.10 pct
Auxilium Pharmaceuticals said its board had determined that Endo International $2.2 billion takeover offer “significantly undervalues” the company, but left the door open for talks on a possible deal.
** GENERAL MOTORS CO, $33.33, -1.80 pct
The automaker is recalling hundreds of thousands of cars over a defect in the parking brake that could cause a fire, a letter dated Sept. 19 by the top U.S. auto safety regulator showed. GM said it recalled 221,558 cars, adding it was unaware of any crashes, injuries or fatalities due to the condition.
** MICROSOFT CORP, $47.175, -0.73 pct
Microsoft, the world’s biggest software company has delayed the launch of its Xbox One game console in China, which had been set for release on Tuesday, but said it would be released by the end of the year. It did not give a reason for the delay.
** AUTOZONE INC, $503.02, -4.45 pct
The auto parts retailer reported weaker-than-expected quarterly revenue as a strengthening U.S. economy encouraged consumers to buy new vehicles instead of repairing existing ones.
** TAT TECHNOLOGIES LTD, $7.53, -2.08 pct
The Israel-based company’s subsidiary signed on Sunday a seven-year maintenance contract with U.S. regional carrier Republic Airways Holdings Inc, which could be worth more than $45 million. TAT provides services and products to commercial and military aerospace and ground defense industries.
** GLAXOSMITHKLINE PLC, $47.22, -0.34 pct
Goldman Sachs upgraded their rating on the company’s stock to “buy” from “neutral”, citing safe dividends, sustainable franchises and optionality on more structural change as key reasons.
“On a slightly longer-dated time horizon, we believe there is optionality on more meaningful structural change (such as selling off its vaccines/consumer health businesses to unlock more significant shareholder value),” analysts said.
** BANK OF AMERICA CORP, $17.135, +1.09 pct
The second-largest U.S. bank by total assets could see its shares climb 50 percent over the next three years, Barron’s said, estimating profit could rise to $2 per share by 2017, from 75 cents this year. (Compiled by Shailaja Sharma in Bangalore; Editing by Savio D’Souza)