(For faster updates on individual market-movers, Eikon users please use search string "STXBZ US"; for the Day Ahead newsletter, link.reuters.com/mex49s; for the Morning News Call newsletter, link.reuters.com/nex49s) U.S. stocks opened with modest losses on Wednesday, with both the Dow and S&P 500 coming off record closing highs, as investors looked ahead to minutes from the most recent Federal Reserve policy meeting. The Dow Jones industrial average was down 0.17 percent at 17,656.93, the S&P 500 was down 0.29 percent at 2,045.8 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 0.56 percent at 4,676.195.
** CLIFFS NATURAL RESOURCES INC, $8.55, -16.26 pct
The miner said it may have to close its Bloom Lake iron ore mine in Quebec, weeks after it revealed that three “big steelmakers” were in talks to invest in the project.
** VIPSHOP HOLDINGS LTD, $21.07, -11.13 pct
The Chinese online discount retailer’s fourth-quarter sales forecast failed to top analysts’ estimates for the first time this financial year.
** OPLINK COMMUNICATIONS INC, $24.182, +13.80 pct
Koch Industries subsidiary Koch Optics Inc will buy the optical networking device maker for about $445 million in cash, or $24.25 per share.
The price represents about 14 percent premium to Oplink stock’s closing price on Tuesday.
** SYNERGY PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $3.07, +3.72 pct
The biopharmaceutical company said its experimental drug for opioid induced constipation was found safe and effective in a mid-stage trial.
** BLACKBERRY LTD, $10.3199, -4.09 pct
Morgan Stanley downgraded the Canadian smartphone company’s stock to “underweight” after keeping “equal-weight” since June. The brokerage believes that the market is “too optimistic” in assuming BlackBerry will reach a target of $350 million in new software revenue in 2016.
** AGIOS PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $90.825, +8.37 pct
The drug developer said its experimental blood cancer drug, AG-120, showed significant clinical activity in an early stage trial.
Canaccord Genuity raised its price target on the stock to $111 from $97, the highest among the six brokerages covering the stock.
** STAPLES INC, $13.68, +7.21 pct
The largest office supply retailer reported higher-than-expected quarterly sales and profit as demand recovered for core office supplies such as paper and ink products after six quarters of decline.
** TARGET CORP, $70.79, +4.86 pct
The fourth-largest U.S. retailer reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit as U.S. same-store increased for the first time in four quarters.
** PETSMART INC, $75.65, +2.76 pct
** KKR & CO LP, $22.8, +0.48 pct
Buyout firms KKR and Clayton, Dubilier & Rice LLC (CD&R) have teamed up to take Pet care products retailer PetSmart private for more than $7.5 billion, people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday, as the auction for the pet food retailer heats up.
** LOWE’S COS INC, $61.76, +5.52 pct
The No. 2 U.S. home improvement products retailer raised its full-year profit and sales forecast as an improving job market encourages home owners to increase spending on renovations. (here)
** LIGHTINTHEBOX HOLDING CO LTD, $8.14, +6.54 pct
The online retailer reported a better-than-expected 45 percent year-on-year jump in third-quarter revenue due to strong sales in its apparel category and growth in mobile revenue.
The company also forecast fourth-quarter revenue above analysts’ average estimate.
** SUNEDISON INC, $21.907, +1.99 pct
Analysts at Cowen and Co raised their price target on the solar company’s shares to $33 from $29, terming the company’s recent deal with First Wind as a “strategic diversification”.
SunEdison and unit TerraForm Power Inc said on Monday they would buy First Wind for $2.4 billion to enter the U.S. wind power market.
“In our opinion, the First Wind acquisition centers around volume and geographic diversity, with careful attention to yield economics - as much as it centers around expanding into wind,” the analysts said.
** DOLLAR GENERAL CORP, $63.56, -3.94 pct
** FAMILY DOLLAR STORES INC, $78.24, -0.77 pct
Dollar General, the U.S. chain of variety stores, may need to divest more than 4,000 stores to win approval from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission for its acquisition of discount retailer Family Dollar Stores, the New York Post reported, citing two sources close to the situation.
** VERIZON COMMUNICATIONS INC, $50.59, -1.23 pct
** AT&T INC, $35.38, -0.95 pct
** T-MOBILE US INC, $27.24, -2.26 pct
** DISH NETWORK CORP, $72.632, +7.05 pct
The U.S. airwaves auction of so-called AWS-3 frequencies on Tuesday breached its reserve price of $10.1 billion, according to the Federal Communications Commission, less than a week after bidding began.
The auction is the largest opportunity for wireless carriers to get access to new airwaves since 2008 and although the bidding is anonymous, the largest U.S. wireless carrier Verizon Communications, No. 2 AT&T, No. 4 T-Mobile US and satellite provider Dish Network were expected to be the biggest bidders.
** CBS CORP, $52.62, +0.15 pct
** DISH NETWORK CORP, $72.632, +7.05 pct
CBS fired the latest salvo in a contract dispute with Dish Network as a Thursday deadline nears that could blackout the network’s TV shows to more than 14 million Dish subscribers.
** PETROLEO BRASILEIRO SA, $9.59, +1.80 pct
A graft investigation at the Brazilian state-run oil company is hurting the credit outlook for major suppliers accused of participating in the alleged bribery scheme, Moody’s Investors Service said on Tuesday.
Analysts at Morgan Stanley said in a client note that Petrobras could slash the value of its assets by as much as 21 billion reais ($8.1 billion) and cut dividends as a result of the investigation.
** SUNCOR ENERGY INC, $33.9, -2.28 pct
Canada’s largest oil and gas company said on Tuesday that it plans to spend C$7.2 billion to C$7.8 billion ($6.4 billion to $6.9 billion) in 2015, with more than half of those funds earmarked for growth projects.
** BARRICK GOLD CORP, $13.04, -1.88 pct
The gold miner named mining industry veteran Shaun Usmar as its chief financial officer designate on Tuesday, marking the latest shake-up at the world’s biggest gold miner. (Compiled by Ankit Ajmera in Bangalore; Edited by Maju Samuel)