Dec 8 - (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 were little changed on Monday, as investors weighed the strength of the U.S. economy against global growth concerns following soft data out of China and Japan, while biotechs rose on merger activity. The Dow Jones industrial average was down 0.35 percent at 17,895.29 and the S&P 500 was down 0.43 percent at 2,066.47.
** MCDONALD’S CORP, $92.71, -3.74 pct
McDonald’s reported a steeper-than-expected fall in global same-restaurant sales in November and said current-quarter results would be hurt by the after-effects of a supplier scandal in China and a stronger dollar.
** MERCK & CO INC, $61.47, -0.03 pct
** CUBIST PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $100.74, +35.48 pct
Merck said on Monday it would buy Cubist for $8.4 billion plus assumption of debt, giving the major drugmaker an entry into the market for drugs that target so-called superbugs.
** BIOLINE RX LTD, $1.59, +7.43 pct
** CELGENE CORP, $118.8849, +4.17 pct
BioLine’s blood cancer drug and Celgene’s thalassemia drug showed promise in mid-stage studies, the companies said in separate presentations at the American Society of Hematology conference. BioLine’s drug, BL-8040, was tested for safety and efficacy in treating patients with acute myeloid leukemia, a type of blood cancer. UBS Investment Research raised its price target on Celgene’s stock to $131 from $112, while Cantor Fitzgerald raised it to $130 from $120.
** CLUBCORP HOLDINGS INC, $18.06, -9.29 pct
The golf and country club operator said conversion to a real estate investment trust (REIT) is “not a viable option today. Shareholders Red Alder LLC and ADW Capital Partners LP had asked the company in September to convert into REIT and spin off non-real estate assets. ClubCorp said it had considered other hybrid-REIT structures, but financial and operational risks outweighed the limited tax benefits and uncertain valuation benefits of such conversions.
** LIQUIDITY SERVICES INC, $7.58, -26.12 pct
Baird Equity Research cut its price target on the online auctioneer’s stock to $9 from $12, after Wal-Mart Stores Inc ended an agreement that gave Liquidity Services exclusive rights to buy some products removed from Wal-Mart’s sales stream. “Wal-Mart is one of Liquidity Services’ key retail segment partners, generating 11 percent of the company’s gross merchandise value in 2014,” analyst Colin Sebastian said.
** YANDEX NV, $19.58, -10.63 pct
Brokerage UBS Investment Research downgraded the Russian search engine’s stock to “neutral” from “buy”. “The downgrade is driven purely by currency depreciation and the increased Russian riskfree rate,” analysts wrote in a client note. The rouble and Russian shares fell on Monday as oil tumbled to a five-year low.
** DELIA*S INC, $0.0207, +9.52 pct
The teen apparel retailer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and said it had hired advisers to help liquidate its assets.
** HALCON RESOURCES CORP, $1.56, -10.86 pct
** BREITBURN ENERGY PARTNERS LP, $8.7,$8.7, -15.45 pct
** GOODRICH PETROLEUM CORP, $3.28, -11.59 pct
** ENERGY XXI LTD, $2.9401, -10.36 pct
** SANCHEZ ENERGY CORP, $7.53, -13.75 pct
** WHITING PETROLEUM CORP, $32.94, -11.57 pct
** CALIFORNIA RESOURCES CORP, $5.95, -7.89 pct
Brent crude oil fell more than $2 a barrel to a new five-year low on Monday on forecasts that oversupply would keep building until next year after OPEC decided not to cut output U.S. crude fell 3 percent to $63.88 a barrel.
At least four brokerages cut ratings and price targets on about 50 companies, including Goodrich Petroleum Corp and Sanchez Energy Corp.
BMO Capital Markets cut its ratings and price targets on several oil and gas producers, saying the companies might need to cut capital spending, which would potentially curtail growth and increase debt.
** SONY CORP ; $21.33, -3.75 pct
The Japan-based consumer electronics and media and entertainment services company’s PlayStation online store was hacked early Monday, leading to a two-hour outage, according to the Financial Times. Sony confirmed the outage, saying it was investigating the cause.
** PROSPECT CAPITAL CORP ; $8.1601, -8.21 pct
The business development company suspended at-the-market stock issuance indefinitely due to fall in its share price. The company also cut cash dividends for February to April due to lower-than-expected yields from investments. However, the company dismissed concerns over its exposure to energy stocks, saying its asset quality remained stable.
** LOUISIANA-PACIFIC CORP,$16.98, +9.55 pct
The U.S. building products maker’s shares rose after Canadian rival Norbord Inc said it would buy peer Ainsworth Lumber Co Ltd for C$762.6 million ($667 million) to become world’s biggest producer of oriented strand boards.
** PRECISION DRILLING CORP ; $5.44, -9.03 pct
Canada’s largest drilling contractor said it expected 2015 capital spending to be 44 percent lower than this year’s already lowered budget as a steep fall in oil prices threaten to render exploration and development project uneconomic.
** CONOCOPHILLIPS, $65.54, -3.40 pct
ConocoPhillips said it would cut its 2015 capital budget by 20 percent, or about $3 billion, compared with this year, marking the biggest spending cut by a U.S. oil and gas company in dollar terms as global oil prices hit five-year lows.
** HANWHA SOLARONE CO LTD, $1.5299, -5.56 pct
The solar power company said it will buy Germany-based affiliate Q Cell Investment Co Ltd in a deal valued at about $1.2 billion to avoid U.S. tariffs on China-made products.
** INFOSYS LTD,$32.43, -3.67 pct
Some of the founders of Infosys Ltd sold shares worth $1.1 billion in India’s second-largest IT services exporter on Monday, cashing in on a more than 20 percent gain in the stock since the company picked its first outsider as chief executive.
The shares were sold by N.R. Narayana Murthy, Nandan Nilekani, S.D. Shibulal and K. Dinesh, members a group of seven engineers who founded Infosys in 1981 by pooling together $250, stock market filings showed.
** TASER INTERNATIONAL INC, $22.0401, -11.20 pct
Ladenburg cut its rating on the stun-gun maker’s stock to “neutral” from “buy”, according to Theflyonthewall.com. (Compiled by Sneha Banerjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Simon Jennings)