(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 rose on Monday, with utilities leading a rebound on the S&P after three weeks of losses, as a decline in the U.S. dollar against the euro eased some worries over how a robust greenback might erode the earnings of multinationals. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 1.16 percent at 17,954.83, the S&P 500 was up 1.15 percent at 2,077.01 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 1.02 percent at 4,921.68.
** VALEANT PHARMACEUTICALS INTERNATIONAL INC, $202.01, +2.32 pct
** SALIX PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $172.79, +2.00 pct
** ENDO INTERNATIONAL PLC, $89.32, +2.28 pct
Valeant Pharmaceuticals increased its takeover offer for Salix to $10.96 billion in cash, bumping out Endo, the only other bidder for the maker of gastrointestinal drugs.
Breakingviews-Valeant’s $11 bln bid may have scored two knockouts
** PROCTER & GAMBLE CO, $83.32, +1.82 pct
The world’s largest household products maker is exploring a sale or initial public offering of some of its beauty brands in a single deal, Bloomberg reported, citing people with knowledge of the matter.
** TRAVELCENTERS OF AMERICA LLC, $15.77, +7.06 pct
Travel center operator reported better-than-expected fourth quarter profit on Friday as gross margins rose due to fall in fuel costs. Stephens Inc raised target price to $17 from $15 and Craig-Hallum Capital raised to $20 from $18.
** ENZO BIOCHEM INC, $2.82, -14.80 pct
The drug developer said it disagreed with a U.S. appeals court decision to vacate part of ruling that found Life Technologies Inc unit Applera Corp infringed Enzo’s patents relating to DNA sequencing systems.
** CHINA XD PLASTICS CO LTD, $4.31, -10.21 pct
The Chinese specialty chemical maker forecast drop in revenue, profit for fiscal year 2015. The company’s fourth-quarter profit fell nearly 38 percent to $35.8 million, hurt by lower sales and fall in selling price.
** US AUTO PARTS NETWORK INC, $2.2, -14.40 pct
Roth Capital Partners cuts its price target on the stock of online provider of automotive parts to $3.85 from $4.50, after lowering its FY revenue and margin estimates for the company. Brokerage calls 2015 a “transition year” for the company, as it tries to improve customer experience and loyalty, invests in private label product and adopts a competitive price strategy.
** SINCOKING COAL AND COKE CHEMICAL INDUSTRIES INC, $2.55, +3.24 pct
The synthetic gas producer’s said it has upgraded its underground coal gasification technology, to be applied in Henan Hongchang Coal mine project in China.The upgraded technology will produce coal and synthetic gas simultaneously and help save costs.
** INOVIO PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $8.438, +19.86 pct
The drug developer and academic collaborators received a five-year $16 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) to expand company’s PENNVAX HIV vaccine program. The company expects to start an early-stage trial of PENNVAX-GP by mid-year.
** PROGENICS PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $6.631, -6.47 pct
The drugmaker reported a bigger-than-expected fourth-quarter net loss, hurt by royalty losses on its constipation drug Relistor.
** ADVAXIS INC, $14.09, +13.54 pct
The cancer drug developer reported positive results for its anal cancer drug based on preliminary data from an early-stage study. The company said patients who completed the study were cured with no evidence of recurrence and that drug was well tolerated.
** EDWARDS LIFESCIENCES CORP, $148.91, +10.02 pct
Trial data showed very low mortality, stroke rates in patients using the third-generation version of the company’s non-invasive heart valve replacement system. Data could help support the U.S. approval for the device. Barclays raises target price to $140 from $130.
** RR DONNELLEY & SONS CO, $18.62, -4.32 pct
Sidoti and Co cut its rating on the printing services company’s stock to “neutral” from “buy”.
** BELLEROPHON THERAPEUTICS, $10.9895, +12.71 pct
Cowen & Co started coverage of the respiratory drug and delivery system maker’s stock with “outperform” and SunTrust Robinson Humphrey starts with “buy”. Cowen analysts said in a note Bellerophon’s INOpulse device could be a key therapy of pulmonary hypertension.
** KANDI TECHNOLOGIES GROUP INC, $14.39, +8.77 pct
The China-based maker of electric vehicles posted a profit in 2014, compared with loss in 2013, as costs fell and demand for electric vehicle parts drove sales. Total revenue grew 80 percent in 2014, with sales of electric vehicle parts soaring 6,653 percent.
** MICROVISION INC, $3.23, +17.88 pct
The laser projector maker said it received a $14.5 million order from a Fortune global 100 client. The company plans to start shipments in the second half of 2015.
** WHITING PETROLEUM CORP, $38.5, -3.75 pct
** SANCHEZ ENERGY CORP, $12.01, -4.76 pct
** GOODRICH PETROLEUM CORP, $2.65, -7.34 pct
** COMSTOCK RESOURCES INC, $3.88, -8.92 pct
** BASIC ENERGY SERVICES INC, $5.22, -11.68 pct
Oil producers and service providers down as Brent crude oil falls to its lowest for more than a month. Oil was hurt by rising global inventories and signs of a possible nuclear deal with Tehran that could allow more Iranian oil exports. Brent down 2.2 pct at $53.44 per barrel; U.S. crude down 2 pct at $43.94 at 9:50 a.m. ET.
** LIFE TIME FITNESS INC, $70.65, +5.13 pct
The gym operator said it would be taken private by Leonard Green & Partners and TPG in a deal valued over $4 billion. The $72.10 per-share deal represents a 7.3 percent premium to Life Time’s Friday close.
** MIDSTATES PETROLEUM COMPANY INC, $0.8516, +11.31 pct
The oil and gas producer reported a fourth-quarter adjusted profit of 19 cents/share, above the average analyst estimate of 2 cents, helped by higher production, lower expenses. The company said it expected 2015 production of 30,000-33,000 boepd, compared with 2014 average production 32,137 boepd.
** IDREAMSKY TECHNOLOGY LTD, $7.92, -26.80 pct
The Chinese mobile game distributor estimated fourth-quarter revenue of $52.7 million-$53 million, below its forecast of $62.9 million-$66.1 million, citing delay in launching a game and less-than-expected revenue from another game.
** FXCM INC, $2.4, -6.98 pct
Keefe, Bruyette & Woods downgrades the retail currency broker’s stock to “underperform” from “marketperform”. “We ... lower our 2015 estimates to reflect the higher customer deficit than initially announced and the weaker February activity in institutional and retail accounts.”
** RUTHIGEN INC, $4.25, +8.70 pct
The drug developer said it will merge with privately held Pulmatrix and rename itself Pulmatrix.
** FRANCESCA‘S HOLDINGS CORP, $16.15, +5.69 pct
Janney Capital Markets upgrades the women’s apparel, accessories retailer to “buy”. The company has shown cleaner inventories, stressing lesser on promotions to drive sales, the analysts write.
** UNITED THERAPEUTICS CORP, $174.05, +6.58 pct
H.C. Wainwright’s Andrew Fein says in a research note that he continues to favor United Therapeutics’ Orenitram over rival developer Actelion Ltd’s experimental drug, selexipag, to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension. Actelion presented late-stage data on selexipag at medical conference on Sunday.
** STERLING CONSTRUCTION CO INC, $3.63, +21.00 pct
The construction materials supplier’s fourth-quarter revenue jumped 22 percent. The year-earlier quarter was hurt by charge due to write-down of three large projects in Texas.
** NETFLIX INC, $421.08, -3.95 pct
Evercore ISI cut its rating on the streaming video service provider to “sell” from “hold” and lowered the price target to $380 from $450, citing strengthening competition and need for investments.
** DUPONT, $77.36, -3.90 pct
BofA Merrill Lynch downgraded the chemical company to “underperform” from “buy”, citing headwinds in agriculture and chemicals business against the backdrop of a strong dollar.
Trian Fund Management LP said there was “strong interest” among large DuPont shareholders to add to the company’s board a “Trian principal”, a reference to the hedge fund’s Chief Executive Nelson Peltz.
** BOSTON SCIENTIFIC CORP, $17.41, +4.82 pct
The FDA approved the medical device maker’s product to prevent stroke in patients with a dangerous irregular heart rhythm known as atrial fibrillation (AF). Credit Suisse, Barclays and BMO Capital Markets raise price targets.
** A. SCHULMAN INC, $43.72, +3.95 pct
The specialty chemical maker said it would buy privately held Citadel Plastics Holdings Inc for $800 million to expand its specialty business that makes moldable plastics.
** HANESBRANDS INC, $33.75, +3.50 pct
** AVON PRODUCTS INC, $7.36, -4.66 pct
Hanesbrands will replace Avon in the S&P 500 after the close on March 20, S&P Dow Jones Indices said on Friday.
Compiled by Kshitiz Goliya; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila