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U.S. stock indexes rose slightly on Wednesday, putting major indexes on track to end 2014 near record levels, though energy shares once again fell alongside crude oil prices. The Dow Jones industrial average was down 0.07 percent at 17,971.27, the S&P 500 was down 0.15 percent at 2,077.31 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 17.94 points, or 0.38 percent, to 4,795.38.
** NEPHROGENEX INC, $14.0157, +201.41 pct
The kidney disease drug developer's lead drug was found to be safe in patients with diabetic nephropathy in a cardiac safety study.
** QIWI PLC, $20.35, -2.49 pct
** YANDEX NV, $18.08, -1.74 pct
** VIMPELCOM LTD, $4.23, -4.30 pct
** MOBILE TELESYSTEMS OAO, $7.32, -4.81 pct
** MECHEL OAO, $0.6774, +1.10 pct
The U.S.-listed Russian stocks slid as rouble and oil were set to end the year on a downbeat. Rouble was down 6.2 percent on the day and 78.5 percent for the year, its worst performance since Russia defaulted in 1998. Brent crude was down 2 percent at $56.74/bbl and WTI was down 2.2 percent at $52.92/bbl, drops of 49 percent and 46 percent for year, respectively.
** TRINA SOLAR LTD, $9.2, +7.85 pct
The Chinese solar panel maker said key laboratory of PV science and technology sets new world record for power output of 324.5 watt-peak (Wp) from high efficiency multi-crystalline silicon PV module.
** CEMPRA INC, $24.11, +4.96 pct
Stifel Nicolaus & Co analyst Stephen Willey raised his price target on the drug developer's shares to $33 from $22 citing recent acquisitions in the rapidly-consolidating antibiotic space. Willey said he expects early results from late-stage study of experimental pneumonia drug in the first quarter of 2015.
** VERSO PAPER CORP, $3.51, +8.33 pct
The coated paper maker settles with U.S. Department of Justice regarding pending deal with NewPage. The company will have to divest paper mills in Maine and Wisconsin to complete acquisition of NewPage Holdings, the department said.
** MEADOWBROOK INSURANCE GROUP INC, $8.5, +19.21 pct
Chinese conglomerate Fosun International Ltd is making its first foray into the U.S. insurance market and buying the property and casualty insurer, a deal that it said would help it secure funds for further acquisitions.
** TEKMIRA PHARMACEUTICALS CORP, $15.65, +12.59 pct
The Canadian drugmaker said it completed patient enrollment in the early-stage study of its cancer drug, TKM-PLK1.
** CYTOKINETICS INC, $7.9457, +15.16 pct
Roth Capital Partners raised its price target on the drug developer's stock to $18 from $13. Cytokinetics said last week that it expanded its collaboration with Japan's Astellas Pharma Inc to develop its spinal muscular atrophy drug. The company has provided important partnering validation on two fronts with Amgen Inc and Astellas, Roth Capital analysts wrote in a note, reiterating their "buy" rating.
** SIGMA DESIGNS INC, $7.1, +10.76 pct
Needham & Co raise its price target on the chipmaker's stock to $8 from $7. Sales of ultra high definition TV and applications to control home appliances, which use Sigma's chips, will increase significantly in 2015, Needham analysts wrote in a note.
** KEY ENERGY SERVICES INC, $1.7, -8.60 pct
** SANDRIDGE ENERGY INC, $1.83, -3.68 pct
** PENGROWTH ENERGY CORP, $3.125, +0.16 pct
** EP ENERGY CORP, $10.25, +0.69 pct
Oil and gas producers' shares fell as oil dropped below $56 per barrel and was heading for its biggest annual decline since 2008, pressured by weakening demand and a supply glut prompted by the U.S. shale boom and the OPEC's refusal to cut output.
** AMERICAN AIRLINES GROUP INC, $53.965, +1.02 pct
** DELTA AIR LINES INC, $49.64, +0.83 pct
** JETBLUE AIRWAYS CORP, $16.119, +1.44 pct
** UNITED CONTINENTAL HOLDINGS, $66.53, +0.73 pct
** SOUTHWEST AIRLINES CO, $42.71, +1.28 pct
U.S. airline operators' shares rose as oil fell below $56 per barrel, heading towards its biggest annual decline since 2008.
** RESOLUTE ENERGY, $1.3, +25.00 pct
The oil and gas producer said it had entered into definitive agreements with Highbridge Principal Strategies for a $150 million second lien secured term loan and had also amended its senior revolving credit facility. The company said the initial conforming borrowing base under the amended senior revolving credit facility was set at $330 million.
** REDHILL BIOPHARMA LTD, $13.76, +28.24 pct
The Israeli biotech company said the UK health regulator validated a marketing application for its drug, Bekinda, for the prevention of chemotherapy and radiotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. Redhill said it expected to receive feedback regarding the application in the second half of 2015. Bekinda is also being tested for use in acute gastroenteritis and gastritis. Redhill also plans to file a marketing application in the United States. (Compiled by Manya Venkatesh in Bengaluru; Editing by Kirti Pandey)