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U.S. stock indexes pared early gains in choppy trading on Wednesday as tepid economic data and a renewed selloff in the bond market more than offset a flurry of corporate deals. The Dow Jones industrial average was down 0.04 percent at 18,060.52, the S&P 500 was up 0.01 percent at 2,099.37 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.19 percent at 4,985.87.
** DANAHER CORP, $87.21, +1.41 pct
** PALL CORP, $123.995, +4.53 pct
Danaher said it would buy Pall, a maker of water and air filters, for about $13.8 billion, including debt.
** DUPONT, $69.88, -6.02 pct
The U.S. chemical conglomerate said its shareholders voted to support all 12 board members backed by the company, rejecting a challenge from activist investor Nelson Peltz’s Trian Fund Management.
** WILLIAMS COS, $52.68, +5.15 pct
** WILLIAMS PARTNERS LP, $57.5, +21.31 pct
Pipeline operator Williams Cos said it would buy affiliate Williams Partners for about $13.8 billion in stock to simplify its corporate structure.
** OWENS-ILLINOIS INC, $26.19, +10.09 pct
The glass container maker said it would buy Mexican glass maker Vitro SAB de CV’s food and beverage glass container business for about $2.15 billion.
** MACY’S INC, $63.76, -2.40 pct
The company reported a 14 percent drop in quarterly profit, hurt by lower foreign tourist spending in the United States, colder-than-usual weather in February and disruptions at West Coast ports.
** MICROSOFT CORP, $47.865, +1.09 pct
Deutsche Bank Securities raised its rating and price target on the software company’s stock. “MSFT’s growth held up better than we thought ... weak PC market sentiment is already reflected in the stock and investor enthusiasm about Azure and Office 365 is just starting to kick in ... the stock is relatively cheap and we see few downside catalysts,” analysts wrote in a note.
** IMMUCELL CORP, $7.725, +36.73 pct
The cattle medicine maker reported a first-quarter profit on Tuesday, compared with a year-earlier loss, helped by a 49 percent rise in product sales.
** EZCHIP SEMICONDUCTOR LTD, $14.4884, -25.97 pct
The network-processing chip maker swung to a first quarter loss from a year-earlier profit as costs more than doubled.
** DUCOMMUN INC, $24.13, -21.12 pct
The aerostructure components maker reported a surprise first-quarter loss per share, hurt by lower revenue from its aerostructures business.
Canaccord Genuity cut its price target on the company’s stock to $30 from $31 and D.A. Davidson cut it to $28 from $30.
** RESMED INC, $55.23, -15.51 pct
The medical device maker’s sleep-disorder treatment, Adaptive Servo-Ventilation therapy, failed in a late-stage trial. The therapy failed its main goal of reducing mortality and morbidity in patients with symptomatic chronic heart failure in addition to optimized medical care, ResMed said.
** SILVER STANDARD RESOURCES INC, $6.25, +14.05 pct
The Canadian miner reported a first-quarter profit on Tuesday, compared with a year-earlier loss, helped by gold production from its Marigold mine, which it bought in April 2014.
** FIBROCELL SCIENCE INC, $4.321, +21.38 pct
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted rare pediatric disease status for the drug developer’s lead experimental treatment for a kind of blistering skin disorder.
** VERTEX PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $126.1, +1.63 pct
A U.S. FDA advisory committee recommended approval of Vertex Pharmaceuticals’ combination cystic fibrosis therapy on Tuesday, finding it to be safe and effective for patients ages 12 and up.
** OREXIGEN THERAPEUTICS INC, $4.9473, -16.57 pct
A trial assessing the cardiovascular safety of obesity drug Contrave, made by Orexigen and Takeda Pharmaceutical Co Ltd , was terminated on Tuesday due to unauthorized release of study data.
** STAR BULK CARRIERS CORP, $3.37, -10.61 pct
The shipping company said it would offer about 56.3 million shares at $3.20 per share.
The offering size represents about 34.7 percent of Star Bulk’s total outstanding shares. The price represents a discount of 15 percent to the stock’s Tuesday close.
** DELTA AIR LINES INC, $46.87, +1.67 pct
The U.S. airline company said its board approved a new $5 billion share buyback program and the company raised its quarterly dividend to 13.5 cents per share from 9 cents.
** VOXELJET AG, $7.9, -4.24 pct
The German 3D printer maker reported a bigger-than-expected first-quarter loss as operating costs rose because of increased headcount and compensation expenses related to a long-term cash incentive plan. The company’s gross margin shrank to 33.6 percent in the quarter from 39.4 percent.
** OPOWER INC, $11.38, +6.65 pct
The cloud-based software maker reported a smaller-than-expected first-quarter loss and better-than-expected revenue, helped by strong demand for its software. The company also signed a contract with PG&E Corp , its largest contract so far, and said it expected to begin recognizing revenue from the contract in 2016.
** ZEBRA TECHNOLOGIES CORP, $104.595, +11.68 pct
The barcode printer maker reported better-than-expected first-quarter profit and revenue, helped by the acquisition of Motorola Solutions Inc’s enterprise business last year.
** CIVITAS SOLUTIONS INC, $20.52, +9.62 pct
The healthcare service provider posted a surprise second-quarter profit, helped by an increase in its service revenue. The company also raised its 2015 adjusted EBITDA forecast, some of which Barclays said was due to “positive contributors” in the second quarter and acquisitions “coming in faster than previously expected.”
Barclays and UBS raised their price targets on the company’s stock by $2 to $23.
** GEVO INC, $4.8445, +3.52 pct
The chemical and biofuel maker reported a smaller first-quarter loss, helped by a 32 percent drop in total operating costs.
** COWEN GROUP INC, $5.42, -8.14 pct
The financial service company said it would offer 105,000 shares of Series A cumulative perpetual convertible preferred stock. The offering price was not disclosed.
Sources said bookrunners are marketing the shares, of $1,000 par value, at 5.375-5.875 percent coupon and 15-20 percent conversion premium.
** ITT EDUCATIONAL SERVICES INC, $2.23, -1.76 pct
The for-profit college operator disclosed that it would miss its 10-Q filing deadline for March quarter results.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charged the company and two top executives on Tuesday with fraud for concealing from investors potentially huge losses in two student loan programs that ITT had guaranteed.
** RICE ENERGY INC, $23.64, -5.89 pct
The oil and gas producer said it would offer 6 million shares at $24.20 each.
The offering size is about 4.4 percent of the company’s total outstanding shares. The offering price represents a discount of 3.7 percent to the stock’s Tuesday close.
** ENGILITY HOLDINGS INC, $25.76, +8.42 pct
Stifel Nicolaus raised its rating and price target on the company’s stock, citing good balance among customers and services. Engility had entered the intelligence agency market this year with the acquisition of similarly sized TASC. The analysts said the timing of the “aggressive” acquisition was good, given that intelligence agency and defense budgets were bottoming out this year.
** POST HOLDINGS INC, $45.19, -7.61 pct
The cereal and packaged food maker said on Tuesday that about 20 percent of its egg supply had been affected by avian influenza. The chicken flocks at company-owned and third-party farms in Nebraska and Iowa tested positive for bird flu, Post Holdings said.
** GLADSTONE LAND CORP, $11.17, -5.42 pct
The agricultural real estate investment trust said its offering of 1.3 million shares was priced at $11.40 per share.
The offering price represents a discount of 3.5 percent to the stock’s Tuesday close. Gladstone had about 7.8 million outstanding shares as of March 15.
** HACKETT GROUP INC, $10.77, +13.97 pct
The business advisory firm reported a near eight-fold rise in its first-quarter profit on Tuesday, driven by strong demand for its services in the United States and Europe.
Craig Hallum raised its target price on the company’s stock, saying the pace of improvement has accelerated despite the fact that forex rates have continued to trend unfavorably.
** SEVENTY SEVEN ENERGY INC, $5.72, +4.19 pct
SunTrust Robinson Humphrey raised its rating and price target on the oilfield services provider’s stock. Analysts said that the company could benefit from increased completion activity expected in the second half of the year as it would be able to work through its inventory of duck wells, which are incomplete wells that can be turned on quickly.
** SPARK ENERGY INC, $13.16, +8.58 pct
The energy retailer said on Tuesday that it bought energy retail company Oasis Energy for about $20 million. The deal will give Spark Energy access to Oasis’s natural gas and electricity customers in six states, the company said.
** SHELL MIDSTREAM PARTNERS LP, $42.02, +1.38 pct
Shell Midstream, an affiliate of Royal Dutch Shell, said it bought additional stakes in Zydeco Pipeline Co LLC and Colonial Pipeline Co for $448 million from Shell Pipeline Co LP, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell.
** ARCTIC CAT INC, $32.97, -5.99 pct
The snowmobile maker reported a bigger fourth-quarter loss, hurt by lower sales of its snowmobile and all-terrain vehicles.
** FIREEYE INC, $42.965, +4.03 pct
** CISCO SYSTEMS INC, $29.279, +0.17 pct
Cisco could buy cybersecurity company FireEye for about $9 billion, Seeking Alpha reported, citing "vague" rumors. (bit.ly/1KJEF3q)
** VIPSHOP HOLDINGS LTD, $26.62, +3.26 pct
The online discount retailer rejected a report by short seller Mithra Forensic Research on Monday that alleged Vipshop manipulated sales receivables and other accounts and overpaid on investments, among other things. (bit.ly/1G6m42m)
Vipshop said the allegations were unfounded, contained numerous errors and were based on unsupported speculation and a general misunderstanding of its business model.
** RALPH LAUREN CORP, $129.6, -2.70 pct
The luxury fashion retailer said it expected no growth in its first-quarter revenue, excluding forex effects, due to lower orders at its wholesale business on account of an early Easter this year.
The company also reported a bigger-than-expected fall in its fourth-quarter comparable sales, hurt by a strong dollar.
** AES CORP, $13.34, -2.70 pct
The power company said its shareholder Terrific Investment Corp, controlled by China Investment Corp, would sell about 60 million shares.
AES said about 40 million of the shares would be offered to the public at $13.50 per share, representing a discount of 3.5 percent to the stock’s Tuesday close. (Compiled by Anet Josline Pinto in Bengaluru; Editing by Kirti Pandey)