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U.S. stocks opened lower on Wednesday as Chinese markets slid further, commodity prices fell and the Greek crisis dragged on. The Dow Jones industrial average was down 0.72 percent at 17,648.84, the S&P 500 was down 0.63 percent at 2,068.15 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 0.67 percent at 4,964.186.
** MICROSOFT CORP, $44.686, +0.87 pct
The world’s largest software company said it would cut 7,800 jobs, mostly in its phone hardware business, to reduce costs and streamline its operations.
** TESLA MOTORS INC, $258.6, -3.46 pct
Analysts at Pacific Crest cut their rating on the company’s stock to “sector weight” from “overweight” on valuation.
“From root-level technology and manufacturing all the way to sales and marketing, Tesla’s differentiation relative to its peer group is nothing short of total,” analyst Brad Erickson wrote in a note. “We simply believe the stock price now more fully reflects these core attributes,” he added.
** OCULUS INNOVATIVE SCIENCES INC, $1.6385, +9.23 pct
The company, which develops solutions to treat dermatological conditions, said it was awarded a U.S. patent for the use of the Microcyn Technology hypochlorous acid in the treatment and mitigation of atopic dermatitis.
** SYMANTEC CORP, $23.125, +1.47 pct
** CARLYLE GROUP LP, $27.49, -1.61 pct
Software security company Symantec is in talks to sell its Veritas data storage business to private equity firm Carlyle Group, a person familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.
** CONTAINER STORE GROUP INC, $18.85, +7.71 pct
Three brokerages raised price targets on the company’s stock by as much as $2 to as much as $20, after the company reported a smaller-than-expected Q1 loss on Tuesday.
** ASCENT SOLAR TECHNOLOGIES, $0.59, +18.00 pct
The solar module maker said it expects that a strong shipment backlog helped second-quarter revenue double to $2.2 million.
** HARLEY-DAVIDSON INC, $55.73, -1.64 pct
Analyst at RBC Capital Markets cut their rating to “sector perform” from “outperform” and price target to $59 from $66.
“Our rating is based on our view that near term retail sales remain soft, a lack of visibility into what can re-accelerate retail demand in the face of modest industry growth (and) increasing competition,” analyst Joseph Spak said.
** JPMORGAN CHASE & CO, $65.96, -1.26 pct
The bank has agreed to pay at least $125 million to settle probes by U.S. state and federal authorities that it sought to improperly collect and sell consumer credit card debt, according to people familiar with the matter.
** POTASH CORP OF SASKATCHEWAN INC, $29.68, -0.40 pct
The Canadian company is confident that K+S AG shareholders would accept its $8.7 billion bid, but is open to raising it if its German rival could reveal more value, the Globe and Mail reported, citing a source close to the deal.
** MONSANTO CO, $107.03, -0.71 pct
** SYNGENTA AG, $81.32, -2.07 pct
Monsanto believes offering a higher break-up fee to Syngenta if its $45 billion takeover approach does not go ahead would be counterproductive, Chief Executive Hugh Grant told a Swiss newspaper.
** FORD MOTOR CO, $14.62, -1.55 pct
The company is looking to a raft of new sedan and SUV launches in China later this year to regain momentum in the world’s largest auto market, after its sales barely grew in the first half of 2015.
** FIAT CHRYSLER AUTOMOBILES NV, $13.7, -2.97 pct
** CNH INDUSTRIAL NV, $8.94, -0.22 pct
Carmaker Fiat and tractor manufacturer CNH Industrial signed a four-year labor deal for workers in Italy on Tuesday, in a sign of improving relations with unions. (Compiled by Anet Josline Pinto in Bengaluru; Editing by Simon Jennings)