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U.S. stocks were climbing in the early stages of trading on Friday, with major indexes bouncing back modestly from their biggest drop since July, after data showed the economy grew at its fastest pace in more than two years.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 0.98 percent at 17,112.09, the S&P 500 was up 0.82 percent at 1,982.12 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 1 percent at 4,511.60.
** YAHOO INC, $40.56, +4.13 pct
** AOL INC, $44.42, +3.37 pct
Activist investor Starboard Value LP said on Friday it has acquired a “significant” stake in Yahoo and urged the Internet company to explore a merger with AOL.
Starboard also urged Yahoo to cut expenses and look for ways to generate value for shareholders from its stakes in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and Yahoo Japan Corp.
** LINKEDIN CORP, $212.49, +3.13 pct
Cowen and Co raised price target on the business network website operator’s stock to $253 from $195, and raised its rating to “outperform” from “market perform”.
Sales Navigator - a tool for sales professionals to get information about LinkedIn.com users - to be next catalyst for the company’s growth, the analysts said.
** JANUS CAPITAL GROUP INC, $15.185, +36.68 pct
Bill Gross, the bond market’s most renowned investor, quit Pimco for distant rival Janus Capital on Friday, the day before he was expected to be fired from the huge investment firm he co-founded more than 40 years ago.
The surprise announcement, which rattled the U.S. Treasury market, led to European stocks trimming their gains as shares of German insurer Allianz SE, the parent of Pimco, sank 6 percent. Janus’ stock hit a more than four-year high.
** RADIOSHACK CORP, $0.9955, +25.14 pct
Hedge fund Standard General LP said it was in talks with RadioShack to improve the troubled electronics retailer’s liquidity ahead of the holiday season. Standard General, RadioShack’s largest shareholder, said its proposals include purchasing the company’s loans and other commitments under its credit facility.
** APPLE INC, $100.505, +2.69 pct
The stock rebounded on Friday after a near 4 percent drop on Thursday, wiping out nearly $23 billion in market value, and closed below its 50-day average for the first time since April.
BMO Capital Markets raised its price target on the stock to $110 from $106, matching the median price target and becoming the third brokerage to raise its target this week.
** ESCALADE INC, $12.46, +5.77 pct
Wunderlich Securities initiated coverage on the sporting equipment maker’s stock with a “buy” rating and price target of $16. The company’s exit from the print finishing and information security businesses could lead to greater focus on sporting goods and a stronger balance sheet, Wunderlich analysts say.
** NATURAL ALTERNATIVES INTERNATIONAL INC, $6, +15.61 pct
The private label nutritional supplement maker’s quarterly sales jumped 26 percent, helped by strong demand from its direct seller customers for nutritional supplements including vitamins, herbs and capsules.
** VIOLIN MEMORY INC, $4.35, +6.36 pct
Two of the flash storage provider’s board members acquired a total of 125,000 shares on Thursday, according to regulatory filings.
The stock was one of the top percentage gainers on the New York Stock Exchange.
** SEARS HOLDINGS CORP, $24.88, -3.04 pct
** SEARS CANADA, $10.76, -15.61 pct
Sears Canada, the Canadian unit of department store chain Sears, said it had begun to reach out to top law firms in Canada, as it weighs a potential Chapter 11 filing, New York Post said. (bit.ly/1vllndg)
Company spokesman Vince Power said there was no truth to the story and noted company has cash and no debt.
** NIKE INC, $89.395, +12.09 pct
The world’s largest sportswear maker reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit as it gains market share in Europe and focuses on higher-margin products such as Flyknit soccer boots.
Janney Capital Markets upgraded the stock to “buy” from “neutral” and at least 13 brokerages raised their price target to as much as $110. The median price target is $93.
** BLACKBERRY LTD, $10.24, +4.49 pct
The smartphone maker reported a much smaller-than-expected quarterly loss on Friday and flashed encouraging signals about its hard-pressed smartphone business as well as its software and services sales.
The stock was the most heavily traded on the Nasdaq.
** GLYCOMIMETICS INC, $7.0501, -14.34 pct
The drug developer said Pfizer Inc, responsible for an ongoing development of the companies’ blood disorder treatment, said a late-stage study would be delayed due to a manufacturing development issue.
** DIGITAL ALLY, $17.9468, +19.01 pct
The wearable video camera maker received an initial order worth about $200,000 from the U.S. military for complete video evidence gathering system. The company expects follow-on orders, it said.
** LIGHTINTHEBOX HOLDING CO LTD, $6.16, +7.69 pct
The online retailer raised its third-quarter revenue forecast.
** PULSE ELECTRONICS CORP, $1.5, -33.63 pct
The electronics components maker said it would delist from the New York Stock Exchange to save costs, giving it greater operational efficiencies.
** POWELL INDUSTRIES INC, $45.66, -8.17 pct
The electrical power products maker cut its revenue and profit forecast for year ending Sept. 30 due to scheduled delays and higher-than-expected operating costs in July and August.
** REPROS THERAPEUTICS INC, $10.4151, +16.24 pct
** AGIOS PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $64.45, +20.58 pct
** ESPERION THERAPEUTICS INC, $21.48, +19.13 pct
** ACELRX PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $5.45, -18.90 pct
Biotech stocks were among the biggest percentage gainers on the Nasdaq on Friday, though the benchmark index only posted mild gains on the day. The index was pressured as AcelRx plummeted 19 percent after saying it was looking to resubmit the new drug application for its Zalviso product in the first quarter of 2015.
** DIAMOND FOODS INC, $28.79, +8.15 pct
The packaged food company reported better-than-expected quarterly adjusted profit and sales, helped by higher demand for snacks such as Pop Secret popcorn and Kettle potato chips.
** MICRON TECHNOLOGY INC, $33.8749, +6.86 pct
The memory chipmaker posted fiscal fourth-quarter results and gave a revenue outlook that impressed Wall Street as signs of stabilization in the personal computer industry supported demand for DRAM chips.
At least ten brokerages including Stifel Nicolaus and Raymond James raised their price targets on the stock.
** UNDER ARMOUR INC, $69.59, +3.02 pct
Deutsche Bank upgraded its rating on the sportswear maker’s stock to “buy”, according to Streetinsider.com. Of the 31 analysts covering the stock, 12 have a “buy” or higher rating, while 18 rate it “hold”.
** PROGRESS SOFTWARE CORP, $24.02, +3.76 pct
Wedbush Securities Inc raised its target price on the enterprise software maker’s stock to $24 from $23; and raised its fourth-quarter and full-year revenue and profit estimates.
The company “has done surprisingly well in refocusing on its profitable products, expanding margins,” Wedbush analysts Steve Koenig and Kevin Ikeda said.
** FINISH LINE INC, $25.34, -13.84 pct
The footwear retailer posted a quarterly profit that missed Wall Street’s estimate, hurt by lower demand for basketball sporting goods. Its merchandise inventory increases 11.5 percent.
Compiled by Shailaja Sharma in Bangalore; Editing by Savio D'Souza