(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 Friday, after the Federal Reserve's most recent policy statement sparked the best two-day run for the benchmark S&P 500 in three years.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 0.04 percent at 17,770.57, the S&P 500 was up 0.16 percent at 2,064.53 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.16 percent at 4,756.184.
** JUNO THERAPEUTICS INC, $38.22, +59.25 pct
Shares of the biopharmaceutical company working on cancer treatments, rose as much as 64.5 percent in their market debut, valuing the company at about $3 billion.
Breakingviews-Rampaging animal spirits birth biotech unicorn
** IMMUNOGEN INC, $6.24, -42.49 pct
Roche said its new cancer drug, Kadcyla, failed to demonstrate an added benefit in breast cancer. Immunogen contributes technology to Kadcyla. ImmunoGen said it expects no impact on its 2015 forecast from the results.
** MEDIA GENERAL INC, $16.91, -4.14 pct
** LIN MEDIA LLC, $24.81, -3.27 pct
The broadcasting companies’shares down after Media General announces completion of merger with LIN Media. Benchmark analyst Edward Atorino said arbitragers in the deal were unwinding their positions after it emerged that there would be no upside to the merger.
** MATTEL INC, $29.66, -4.91 pct
** HASBRO INC, $55.71, -4.54 pct
BMO lowered its sales and EPS estimates on both toymakers, citing disappointing holiday retail sales and loss of market share, mostly to privately held competitors.
BMO estimated toy industry sales were down 2 percent in the fourth quarter after being up nearly 4 percent over the previous 9 months, and estimated Hasbro domestic retail are down 7 percent so far in the quarter, while Mattel’s is off 12 percent.
** NQ MOBILE INC, $4.165, -17.20 pct
The Chinese mobile-security software maker and Internet-service provider results for the first three quarters of 2014 showed that revenue growth was slowing and that the company posted a loss for all three quarters.
The company also said it would sell its unit, FL Mobile, to Tack Fiori International Group Ltd for $570 million to $630 million in stock and that NQ would become the controlling shareholders of Tack Fiori.
** BASIC ENERGY SERVICES INC, $7.88, +23.90 pct
Wunderlich Securities analyst Jason Wangler said the stock was “up, as all energy names are, because oil is up. (It is) possible for a short squeeze to be exacerbating the move.” About 5.6 percent of Basic Energy’s outstanding stock shorted as of Dec. 18, according to Thomson Reuters data.
** FINISH LINE INC, $22.96, -20.55 pct
The athletic shoes and apparel retailer posted a surprise third-quarter loss due to margin pressure and said full-year earnings would be flat, compared with its previous forecast of a high-single to low-double digit rise. The company also cut its same-store sales growth forecast and plans to “adjust” near-term capital spending plans.
** MECHEL OAO, $0.6671, +26.08 pct
The Eurasian Development Bank allowed the Russian miner to postpone payments for its 2.1-billion-rouble loan until 2016 from 2014-2015.
** ARATANA THERAPEUTICS INC, $15.3, +17.06 pct
The pet drugmaker said dogs with joint pains that took its drug showed improvement compared with those given a placebo.
** RED HAT INC, $68.16, +10.83 pct
The world’s largest commercial distributor of the Linux operating system, raised its profit forecast for the full year after reporting quarterly revenue and profit above market expectations, boosted by strong growth in subscriptions.
** TEEKAY TANKERS LTD, $4.66, -13.70 pct
The shipping company priced the offering of its 20 million shares at $4.80 per share, a 11.1 pct discount to Thursday’s close.
UBS downgraded the stock to “neutral” from “buy”, expecting spot rates to fall. “At these spot rate highs, some of which are seasonal in nature, we believe the stock might lose some momentum as rates unwind toward normal levels,” analysts said.
** ROGERS CORP, $80.17, +11.35 pct
** HANDY & HARMAN LTD, $38.47, -0.54 pct
Rogers, a specialty materials supplier, said it agreed to buy Arlon LLC, currently owned by Handy & Harman for $157 million to expand its printed circuit materials and high performance foams business units. The company expects the deal to add to earnings in the first twelve months.
** BLACKBERRY LTD, $10.03, -0.40 pct
The Canadian smartphone maker reported a bigger-than-expected drop in third-quarter revenue. Hardware sales in the quarter were weaker than expected as production was limited and the company could only fulfill all device orders early in the fourth quarter, CEO John Chen said.
GRAPHICS: BlackBerry revenue disappoints (link.reuters.com/ryx63w)
** PIER 1 IMPORTS INC, $15.18, +9.21 pct
Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse raised their price targets on the home furnishing retailer after the company’s third-quarter profit met expectations for the first time in two quarters.
** ENTRAVISION COMMUNICATIONS CORP, $6.64, -6.87 pct
Wedbush Securities downgraded the Spanish media company’s stock to “neutral” from “outperform,” citing uncertainties from the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) auction of spectrum.
** UBIQUITI NETWORKS INC, $30.5, -9.39 pct
Goldman Sachs started coverage of the wireless networking equipment provider with a “sell” rating and a $28 price target, becoming the only brokerage among the 16 covering the stock to rate it “sell”. Analysts said the strengthening dollar would hurt Ubiquiti, which gets most of its revenue from emerging markets, and that challenges would outweigh new product launches and channel distribution.
** CERUS CORP, $6.56, +6.49 pct
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a device developed by Cerus to reduce the risk of infections in blood platelets transmitted during transfusions.
The approval came two days after the blood purification and processing device, Intercept, was approved for use for blood plasma transfusions.
** OREXIGEN THERAPEUTICS INC, $6.54, +3.97 pct
European regulators recommended the approval of the drugmaker’s diet pill, which could become the first prescription medicine for obesity to be approved in the European Union in nearly a decade.
** CARMAX INC, $66.17, +9.32 pct
The largest used-car seller in the United States, reported a 16 percent rise in quarterly revenue as easier availability of credit helped it sell more pre-owned vehicles at higher prices.
** MOL GLOBAL INC, $2.7999, +3.32 pct
The Malaysian online payment company said it started buying back shares under the $15 million repurchase program it had announced on Dec. 1.
** NIKE INC, $94.39, -2.77 pct
The world’s largest sportswear maker’s futures orders rose at its slowest pace in four quarters, indicating weakening demand for its products in emerging markets and western Europe.
** ALLY FINANCIAL INC, $23.41, +2.90 pct
The U.S. Treasury Department will sell its remaining 54.9 million shares of the auto lender at $23.25 each, a 2.2 percent premium to Thursday’s close of $22.75. The sale will allow Ally to exit the Troubled Asset Relief Program.
Ally also got a subpoena from the U.S. DOJ for information related to its subprime automotive finance lending practices.
** WABASH NATIONAL CORP, $11.67, +6.38 pct
The semi-trailer maker said it would repurchase up to $60 milllion shares over two years.
** HALOZYME THERAPEUTICS INC, $9.34, +3.55 pct
The European Medicines Agency granted orphan drug status to the drugmaker’s experimental pancreatic cancer drug. The drug, PEGPH20, already has orphan status in U.S.
** ISIS PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $64.7999, +8.82 pct
CNBC’s Jim Cramer said the drug developer’s experimental blood thinner, ISIS-FXIRx, has the potential to become a blockbuster. The drug was found effective in preventing blood clots in patients who underwent knee replacement surgeries, in a mid-stage study.
** XEROX CORP, $14.04, +1.08 pct
The company agreed to sell its information technology outsourcing arm to French IT services firm Atos SE for $1.05 billion, divesting a slower-growing unit to focus on building up its business process outsourcing and document outsourcing operations.
** SILVERCORP METALS INC, $1.315, +4.37 pct
The low-cost Canadian silver miner said it planned to buy back 16.5 mln shares, which is about 10 pct of its public float. The company said it believes that due to prevailing market conditions, its shares are undervalued relative to the value of its properties in China.
** SEADRILL LTD, $12.01, -2.83 pct
Goldman Sachs cut its rating on the Norway-based offshore driller’s stock to “sell” and added it to the ‘conviction list’.
The brokerage said there was still significant balance sheet risk due to high financing needs for 2015-16 and beyond, as well as limited refinancing option with the possibility of a higher cost of debt due to the challenging environment.
Goldman ran a scenario analysis with Brent crude priced at $70 per barrel and found Seadrill would be in breach of its debt covenant in 2016, which could trigger an equity issue.
** AMERICAN APPAREL INC, $1.04, +4.00 pct
The clothing manufacturer has been approached by private equity firm Irving Place Capital for a possible takeover, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing sources.
The retailer received an expression of interest from Irving Place in the last couple of weeks, the Journal said. The daily reported Irving Place then raised its price range to $1.30 to $1.40 per share after an initial approach was rebuffed because of the low price. The board is yet to respond. (Compiled by Anannya Pramanick in Bangalore; Editing by Savio D’Souza)