October 21, 2014 / 2:43 PM / in 3 years

BUZZ-U.S. Stocks on the Move-Atlantic Power, Rent-A-Center, education stocks

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U.S. stocks rose on Tuesday, with the S&P 500 on track for a fourth straight session of gains as Apple and Texas Instruments rallied after their results. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 0.50 percent at 16,481.36, the S&P 500 was up 1.13 percent at 1,925.57 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 1.47 percent at 4,379.443.

** APPLE INC, $101.845, +2.09 pct

Strong global demand for Apple’s iPhone 6 will drive revenue growth through 2015, while updated models should help reverse three straight quarters of declining iPad sales, analysts said.

At least 10 brokerages raised price targets on Apple’s stock by as much as $20 to as high as $143. The median price target on the stock is $115, according to Thomson Reuters data.

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** TEXAS INSTRUMENTS INC, $45.89, +3.33 pct

The company posted third-quarter results above expectations and its CFO said business was healthy, in contrast to recent concerns on Wall Street about a possible slowdown in chip demand.

** COCA-COLA CO, $40.58, -6.26 pct

Coca-Cola said its quarterly profit fell 14 percent and that it was expanding cost-cutting initiatives as carbonated beverage volumes in North America declined.

** MCDONALD‘S CORP, $91.03, -0.61 pct

The world’s largest restaurant chain reported a 30 percent fall in quarterly profit due to a food scandal in China and tough competition in the United States, and said these factors were expected to hurt current-quarter results.

** HARLEY-DAVIDSON INC, $61.98, +6.17 pct

The motorcycle maker reported better-than-expected third-quarter revenue and profit as it sold more vehicles in key markets, including the United States. The company expects to ship 3.5-5.5 percent more vehicles in 2014.

** ATLANTIC POWER CORP, $2.25, -10.36 pct

The struggling Canadian power utility ruled out a sale or merger, saying it did not receive any offers it could consider at or above its stock’s closing of $3.04 on May 1.

Activist Clinton Group Inc urged Atlantic last week to restart the sale process it called off on Sept. 16.

** RENT-A-CENTER INC, $30.25, -4.42 pct

Raymond James cut its rating on the rent-to-own home furniture retailer’s stock to “market perform” from “outperform”.

“We do not project that Rent-A-Center will earn its cost of capital during any of the next five years,” Raymond James analysts wrote in a note.

The company on Monday reported lower-than-expected third-quarter sales as revenue in its core U.S. business fell 5 percent.

** APOLLO EDUCATION GROUP INC, $26.2099, +1.79 pct

** ITT EDUCATIONAL SERVICES INC, $13.1, +3.31 pct

** CORINTHIAN COLLEGES INC, $0.1562, +23.97 pct

For-profit education provider Apollo reported its smallest decline in new enrollments in the fourth quarter since they started falling 11 quarters ago.

Apollo also reported better-than-expected quarterly profit, helped by cost-cutting and said it expected new enrollments at its flagship school, University of Phoenix, to improve through the year.

Shares of other for-profit education providers ITT and Corinthian also rose.

** ILLUMINA INC, $178.58, +8.58 pct

At least seven brokerages raised their price targets on the genetic research technology provider’s stock after the company reported better-than-expected quarterly results and raised its forecast for year on Monday.

JMP Securities raised its price target to $245 from $215, the steepest rise, while Cantor Fitzgerald raised it to $150 from $145. The median price target on the stock is up by $1 at $200 from 30 days ago.

** MICROSOFT CORP, $44.645, +1.28 pct

Microsoft will provide free cloud-computing and research applications to qualified medical researchers working on the Ebola virus, the software company’s chief executive said on Monday.

** IBM CORP, $162.2, -4.08 pct

At least nine brokerages cut their price targets on IBM’s stock by as much as $35 to as low as $125. The median price target on the stock is $180.

The world’s largest technology services company reported on Monday a marked slowdown in business in September and abandoned its 2015 operating earnings target. The company also announced that it would hive off its loss-making semiconductor unit to contract chipmaker Globalfoundries Inc.

** CHIPOTLE MEXICAN GRILL INC, $613.75, -6.02 pct

Morgan Stanley cut its price target on Chipotle Mexican Grill’s stock to $696 and Wunderlich Securities to $660 from $680. The median price target on the stock is $712.50.

Chipotle reported on Monday another acceleration in quarterly restaurant sales growth, but shares in the popular burrito seller tumbled after it signaled that such momentum would not last forever.

** RHINO RESOURCE PARTNERS LP, $5.31, -55.34 pct

Raymond James downgraded the coal producer’s stock to “underperform” from “outperform”, saying lower cash distribution gives little confidence in the company’s near-term outlook.

“..2014 guidance is out the window and we have little visibility towards 2015,” the brokerage wrote in a note.

Rhino on Monday announced a quarterly cash distribution of 5 cents per common unit, down from 44 cents per unit a year earlier, and said weak coal markets hurt cash flow.

** IBIO INC, $2, -8.26 pct

** ALPHA PRO TECH LTD, $4.7, +6.09 pct

** LAKELAND INDUSTRIES INC, $14.82, -0.74 pct

** CHIMERIX INC, $30.582, -0.25 pct

Shares of biotech Ibio, face mask maker Alpha Pro and hazmat suit maker Lakeland and drug developer Chimerix fell after more than 40 people exposed to the first Ebola patient diagnosed in the United States emerged from isolation with a clean bill of health on Monday.

The WHO declared Nigeria free of Ebola on Monday after 42 days with no new cases

The WHO’s emergency committee on Ebola will meet on Wednesday to review the scope of the outbreak and whether additional measures are needed.

** OMEROS CORP, $11.75, -14.98 pct

The biotechnology company said it suspended enrolment in a mid-stage study testing its experimental Huntington’s drug as the company evaluates data from a concurrent trial in rats.

** SYNERGY PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $2.8313, +3.33 pct

The drugmaker reported positive data from a mid-stage study on its constipation drug, plecanatide. Synergy said the drug met its primary goal by showing clear improvement in efficacy at a higher dose range of 3-9 mg.

** OMNICOM GROUP INC, $68.47, +1.77 pct

The No. 1 U.S. advertising company reported quarterly revenue and profit above analysts’ expectations boosted by higher ad spending in the United States.

** AMAZON.COM INC, $308.78, +0.84 pct

The online book retailer said on Monday that it had signed a multi-year deal with Simon & Schuster Inc, the second Big-Five book publisher, on the future price of e-books.

** ALLERGAN INC, $185.07, +3.25 pct

** SHIRE PLC, $185.55, +0.52 pct

** VALEANT PHARMACEUTICALS INTERNATIONAL INC, $129.05, +3.42 pct

** ABBVIE INC, $55.53, +2.06 pct

Allergan shareholder Paulson & Co is urging the Botox maker to merge with specialty pharmaceutical company Shire as an alternative to a deal with hostile bidder Valeant, according to two people familiar with the matter.

U.S. drugmaker AbbVie said on Monday that it had reached agreement with Shire to officially call off its proposed $55 billion purchase of the Irish company, and would pay Shire a $1.64 billion breakup fee for walking away from the deal.

** ACTAVIS PLC, $228.76, +0.92 pct

** SANOFI SA, $51.55, -0.44 pct

The generic drugmaker and France’s Sanofi are among the suitors for privately held Omega Pharma NV , Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

** KAISER ALUMINUM CORP, $70.57, -6.08 pct

The specialty aluminum products maker’s third-quarter profit plunged 36 percent due to lower shipments. The company said it expects full-year adjusted EBITDA to fall slightly below 2013 levels. (Compiled by Shailaja Sharma in Bangalore; Editing by Simon Jennings)

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