December 23, 2014 / 6:38 PM / in 4 years

BUZZ-U.S. STOCKS ON THE MOVE-Biotechs, Peerless Systems, Cytosorbents

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U.S. stocks rose for a fifth straight session on Tuesday, with the Dow climbing above 18,000 for the first time ever after an unexpectedly strong report on economic growth. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 0.57 percent at 18,061.8, the S&P 500 was up 0.29 percent at 2,084.66 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 0.20 percent at 4,771.44.

Graphic on U.S. GDP, (

** PEERLESS SYSTEMS CORP, $6.85, +27.28 pct

Mobius Acquisition LLC will buy the printing and networking software maker through tender offer of $7 per share, which represents premium of about 30 percent to the stock’s Monday close.

Peerless’ stock rose as much as 29 percent to over 8-year high and is among the top percentage gainers on Nasdaq.

** NQ MOBILE, $4.39, +26.88 pct

The Chinese mobile-security software maker’s board has authorized an $80 million share repurchase. The company plans to fund the buyback with existing cash.

** ACHILLION PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $11.4524, -26.07 pct

Robert W. Baird & Co downgraded the hepatitis C drug developer’s stock to “neutral” from “outperform”, saying the company’s drug data “raises as many questions as answers”.

Achillion’s ACH-3422’s antiviral activity is slower than Gilead Sciences Inc’s blockbuster Sovaldi, but ACH-3102’s performance in combination with Sovaldi in six weeks is encouraging, Baird’s analyst Brian Skorney said.

** CHINA FINANCE ONLINE CO LTD, $6.07, +14.10 pct

The web-based financial services company third-quarter loss narrowed and financial services revenue almost doubled to $17.1 million while advertising revenue rose 47 percent to $1.8 million.

** VANDA PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $13.74, +15.37 pct

** NOVARTIS AG, $93.05, -2.36 pct

The drugmaker settled a license dispute with Novartis over its schizophrenia drug, Fanapt. [ID:nPn8mCHpP

Vanda will regain U.S. and Canada rights to Fanapt and get exclusive worldwide license for similar drug, AQW051, from Novartis. Under the settlement, Novartis will buy Vanda shares worth $25 million at $13.82 per share.

Separately, Novartis said the European Commission had approved an additional treatment for its eyecare unit Alcon’s Travatan treatment for glaucoma, a chronic, sight-threatening eye disease.

** COEUR MINING INC, $5.17, +7.04 pct

** ENDEAVOUR SILVER CORP, $2.1, +7.14 pct

** FORTUNA SILVER MINES INC, $4.45, +8.27 pct

** FIRST MAJESTIC SILVER CORP, $4.91, +6.51 pct

** PRIMERO MINING CORP, $3.46, +7.12 pct

Silver prices was up as much as 1.54 percent to $15.86 by 11:00 a.m. ET

** CYTOSORBENTS CORP, $8.4, +16.67 pct

The medical device maker debuted on the Nasdaq after trading over the counter until Monday’s close.

The company’s main product Cytosorb, is approved in Europe to prevent multiple organ failure in patients.

** GILEAD SCIENCES INC, $88.6616, -4.56 pct

** ISIS PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $55.8901, -11.12 pct

** CELGENE CORP, $105.07, -7.43 pct

** BIOGEN IDEC, $330.425, -6.21 pct

** AMGEN INC, $155.9, -5.25 pct

** XOMA CORP, $3.6495, -7.84 pct

** ABBVIE INC, $64.23, -4.09 pct

Maxim biotechnology analyst Jason Kolbert said investors were grappling with “reimbursement fears”. Express Scripts said on Monday it lined up a cheaper price for AbbVie’s hepatitis C treatment and, in most cases, will no longer cover Gilead’s rival treatments.

** HERTZ GLOBAL HOLDINGS INC, $24.26, +7.30 pct

The second-largest U.S. rental car company raised rental rates for cars reserved for pick-up from Jan. 1 to offset higher depreciation costs.

** IMRIS INC, $0.3447, -2.93 pct

The Canadian medical device maker priced its private placement offering of 10.5 million units at 28.4 cents per unit, consisting of one common share and warrant to buy one and a quarter common share.

Imris said it plans to use net proceeds from offering for research and development of new products and to meet working capital needs.

** TEXAS PACIFIC LAND TRUST, $131.37, +6.80 pct

The land trust said it would sell about 19,600 acres of land in Upton, Crane counties, Texas for $19.8 million. The company said it will retain oil and gas royalty interests in the land being sold.

** DILLARD’S INC, $122.02, +4.58 pct

The department store operator is being considered an acquisition target by Canada-based Hudson's Bay Co's Chief Executive Richard Baker, Benzinga said, quoting a source-based story on The Deal. (

Baker is interested in acquiring Dillard’s because of its valuable real estate holdings and as it is one of the “better run” department store chains, the report said, without specifying a deal value.

** CRYOLIFE INC, $11.1, +6.83 pct

Piper Jaffray upgraded its rating on the medical device maker’s stock to “overweight” from “neutral”, according to

** OCWEN FINANCIAL CORP, $14.04, -12.30 pct


The mortgage servicer’s stock continued its fall, touching a three-year low of $12.82.

The company agreed on Monday to replace its chairman and founder, William Erbey, as part of a $150 million settlement with New York’s financial regulator. Erbey will step down as chairman of Altisource Portfolio, which provides software solutions to Ocwen for servicing loans.

** SWIFT ENERGY CO, $4.47, +3.47 pct

** COMSTOCK RESOURCES INC, $7.24, +4.62 pct

** APPROACH RESOURCES INC, $6.73, -0.30 pct

Shares of oil and gas producers rose 3-6 percent. Brent crude oil steadied above $60 per barrel on Tuesday after data showed the U.S. economy grew at its quickest pace in 11 years in the third quarter, balancing downward pressure from a supply glut and evidence of weak global fuel demand.

U.S. crude up 1.7 percent at $56.20/barrel.

Breakingviews-Saudis give free-marketers dose of their medicine

** RADIAN GROUP INC, $16.85, +3.50 pct

** ASSURED GUARANTY LTD, $26.24, +3.06 pct

Mortgage insurer Radian said it would sell its bond guaranty business to Assured Guaranty for $810 million to focus on mortgages and real estate and comply with proposed changes to rules governing private mortgage insurers.

** ARIAD PHARMA, $6.52, -7.65 pct

The drugmaker entered an agreement with Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co to develop and market its blood cancer drug, Iclusig, in 10 Asian countries including Japan.

Ariad will receive an upfront milestone payment of $77.5 million from Otsuka upon the drug’s regulatory approval in Japan, followed by subsequent milestone-based payments.

** INTERCLOUD SYSTEMS INC, $3.04, +4.11 pct

The telecom network service provider said it has been awarded $6.2 million contract for a tier 1 carrier for network upgrade in Southwest U.S., starting early 2015.

** CYTOKINETICS INC, $5.3201, +8.57 pct

The drug developer has expanded a 2013 collaboration with Japan’s Astellas Pharma Inc for further developing spinal muscular atrophy drug.

** CHESAPEAKE ENERGY CORP, $20.02, +8.69 pct

The oil and gas company authorized a $1 billion stock buyback program and also closed sale of some of its oil and gas assets in the Marcellus and Utica shale fields to Southwestern Energy Co for $4.97 billion.

** SIERRA WIRELESS INC, $47.4, +4.41 pct

Canaccord Genuity raised its target price on the wireless equipment maker’s stock to $53 from $36.

Sierra said on Monday it would buy Swedish wireless communication services provider Wireless Maingate AB for $90 million.

Maingate’s presence in Europe as well as its strong position in wireless connectivity equipment will boost Sierra’s Europe business as well as services that connect devices to cloud, Canaccord analysts wrote in a note.

** CONTINENTAL RESOURCES INC, $40.03, +5.31 pct

The company on Monday said it would cut spending 40 percent, trim its rig fleet by a third and show less crude output growth than planned next year as oil prices tumble.

Compiled by Shailaja Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila

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