July 31, 2013 / 7:07 PM / in 4 years

MARKET PULSE-Card companies, Cubist Pharma, Symantec, Vitran, Epiq

(For more market insights, including options activity, click on ; for the Day Ahead newsletter link.reuters.com/mex49s; for the Morning News Call newsletter, r.reuters.com/qet99t)

July 31 (Reuters) - Some U.S. stocks on the move on Wednesday:


U.S. stocks extended gains in volatile trading after the Federal Reserve gave no hint that a reduction in the pace of its bond-buying program is imminent. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 0.26 percent, the S&P 500 0.49 percent and the Nasdaq Composite 0.62 percent.

** VISA INC $181.69, down 5 pct (1358 ET)

** MASTERCARD INC $610.69, up 0.7 pct (1357 ET)

** AMERICAN EXPRESS CO $73.90, down 1.3 pct (1358 ET)

** DISCOVER FINANCIAL SERVICES $49.94, down 0.3 pct (1358 ET)

A U.S. judge ruled on Wednesday that the Federal Reserve ignored the intent of Congress regarding a controversial cap on debit card “swipe fees” that are part of a dispute between banks and retailers.

Judge Richard Leon of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia sided with retailers, who argued the Fed’s 21 cent cap was higher than Congress intended.

** SYMANTEC CORP, $26.35, up 8 pct (0957 ET)

The maker of Norton anti-virus software posted better-than-expected quarterly results on Tuesday as customers used more of its security products in the wake of a series of hacking attacks.

Five brokerages raised their price targets on the stock. “SYMC exceeded modest first-quarter expectations, indicating that the company is on track in the first mile of the marathon to right this business,” J.P. Morgan analyst John DiFucci wrote in a note.

** DELL INC, $12.48, down 3 pct (1257 ET)

Michael Dell and Silver Lake’s $24.4 billion bid to take over the company suffered a blow on Wednesday after the company’s special committee rejected their request to change the voting rules in exchange for a sweeter bid.

** SONY CORP, $21.19, down 2 pct (1455 ET)

Sony’s board is expected to reject a proposal from activist investor Daniel Loeb, whose fund is the company’s largest shareholder, to spin-off part of its entertainment division, the Nikkei reported.

** FACEBOOK INC, $37.58, down 0.2 pct (1042 ET)

Facebook Inc’s stock touched its highest ever level of $38.31, above the IPO price, in morning trade on Wednesday, a milestone in the social networking company’s effort to wipe away Wall Street’s skepticism of its business.

The stock has surged more than 40 percent in the past week after the company reported blowout quarterly results that showed Facebook’s progress building a mobile advertising business.

“The continued rise in the stock is I think new incremental buyers coming into it because this is now a certifiable real business,” Topeka Capital Markets analyst Victor Anthony said.

The second-quarter results showed that advertisers have validated Facebook as an advertising platform, he said.

However, BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield said it’s still a poor investment unless the stock was bought at the bottom of its price. “We have a ‘neutral’ rating and don’t have a strong view on where the stock is going from here,” he said.

** CARDIONET INC, $7.04, up 28 pct (0952 ET)

The heart device maker posted an adjusted quarterly profit for the first time in four years, helped by its acquisition of laboratory services provider Cardiocore Lab.

The company bought privately owned Cardiocore for $23.5 million in August last year to reduce its reimbursement risks.

** VITRAN CORP, $4.85, down 19 pct (1415 ET)

Canadian trucking company reported a bigger loss in the second quarter on weakness in its less-than-truckload (LTL) shipping business in the United States.

Under LTL shipping, the company picks up loads, sorts and rearranges them and makes various deliveries. This differs from truckload, in which one driver picks up a load and stays with it through to its final destination.

Net loss widened to $17 million, or $1.03 per share, from $5.7 million, or 35 Candian cents per share, a year earlier.

** HEALTHCARE REALTY TRUST INC, $25.75, down 2.5 pct (1415 ET)

The real estate investment trust reported a negative funds from operations (FFO) of 2 cents per share for the second quarter, down from 34 cents per share in the same period last year, due to a loss associated with the repayment of debt.

** EPIQ SYSTEMS INC, $12.99, down 4.8 pct (1418 ET)

The company, which provides case and document management software for bankruptcy and other legal proceedings, reported second-quarter profit below analysts’ estimates due to higher operating costs.

** BLACK BOX CORP, $27.03, down 3 pct (1408 ET)

The company, which distributes and supports voice and data networking products, reported lower first-quarter sales due to a drop in revenue from its services business.

** MARKETO INC, $32.69, up 24.5 pct (1008 ET)

The enterprise software company on Tuesday reported better-than-expected second-quarter revenue as it won new customers. The company also forecast current-quarter revenue above analysts’ estimates.

At least three brokerages raised their price targets on the stock.

** QUESTCOR PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $63.71, up 23 pct (0953 ET)

The drugmaker reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit on strong sales of its flagship product, Acthar Gel, used to treat 19 indications including multiple sclerosis, rheumatic disorders and infantile spasms.

Questcor shipped 7,050 vials of Acthar during the second quarter, up 50 percent compared to 4,710 vials in the year ago quarter.

At least three brokerages raised their price target on the stock, citing robust sales of Acthar for treating rheumatic disorders.

** MERU NETWORKS, $3.86, down 22 pct (1125 ET)

The WiFi products maker reported lower-than-expected second-quarter revenue and forecast third-quarter revenues in the range of $24.5 million to $27.5 million, lower than analysts’ expectations of $28.7 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

** RIVERBED TECHNOLOGY INC, $14.65, down 16 pct (0956 ET)

The network equipment maker forecast current-quarter results below analysts’ estimates as it expects sales to the U.S. government to remain weak due to spending cuts, sending its shares down 15 percent.

** EHEALTH INC, $28.50, up 20 pct (0955 ET)

The health insurance exchange said it has signed an agreement with the U.S. government that would help eHealth enroll tax-subsidy-eligible residents of 36 states in qualified health insurance plans.

** MAGNACHIP SEMICONDUCTOR CORP, $20.16, up 16 pct (1058 ET)

The South Korean chipmaker reported a higher-than-expected second-quarter adjusted profit, helped by strong demand for its products. The company also announced a new stock repurchase program for up to $100 million of its common stock.

** EDGEWATER TECHNOLOGY INC, $5.98, up 14 pct (0956 ET)

The consulting service provider reported better-than-expected second-quarter results as it signed on new customers.

** IGNITE RESTAURANT GROUP INC, $15.85, down 13 pct (1026 ET)

The operator of Joe’s Crab Shacks and Romano’s Macaroni Grills estimated second-quarter profit much below Wall Street’s expectations, hurt by higher advertising and staffing costs related to its Macaroni Grill business.

“Our second quarter operating results were significantly impacted by our decision to increase spending in the Macaroni Grill business to help drive immediate sales improvement,” said Chief Executive Ray Blanchette in a statement.

Brokerage Raymond James downgraded its rating on the company’s stock to “market perform” from “outperform,” citing the weak preliminary earnings.

** SPHERIX INC, $11.37, up 11 pct (0958 ET)

Spherix’s stocks gained for the third day after the scientific research company on Monday disclosed the terms of its previously announced deal to buy seven patents in the mobile communication sector from privately held Rockstar Consortium.

** MERITOR INC, $8.44, up 10 pct (0953 ET)

The truck parts maker raised the lower end of its full-year earnings forecast after reporting higher-than-expected second-quarter profit due to a fall in cost of sales.

Meritor reported earnings of 34 cents per share, excluding items, for the quarter ended June. Analysts on average expected the company to earn 19 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

** NUVASIVE INC, $23.49 down 10 pct (1058 ET)

The medical device maker posted an adjusted quarterly profit that was lower than market estimates, as operating expenses rose.

At least three brokerages raised their price target on the medical device maker. Canaccord Genuity raised its price target on Nuvasive to $32 from $29, while RBC raised it to $27 from $23 and Piper Jaffray raised it to $31 from $24.

** CUBIST PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $62.91, up 10 pct (0954 ET)

** TRIUS THERAPEUTICS INC, $13.58, up 16 pct (0954 ET)

** OPTIMER PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $12.47, down 6 pct (0955 ET)

Cubist Pharmaceuticals Inc has agreed to pay up to $1.6 billion for Trius Therapeutics Inc and Optimer Pharmaceuticals Inc, expanding its heft in antibiotics at a time when the number of drug-resistant viruses are on the rise.

** NEOGENOMICS INC, $2.79, down 9 pct (1102 ET)

The company, which provides cancer-focused genetic testing services reported second-quarter results which missed analysts’ estimates, hurt by a decline in the average revenue per test and a decrease in reimbursement for molecular testing.

The company also lowered its full-year profit and revenue forecast.

** JIVE SOFTWARE INC, $13.74, down 19 pct (0953 ET)

BMO Capital Markets cut its price target on the social media software maker’s stock to $13 from $17. Jive’s second-quarter revenue was in line with estimates, but the company forecast current-quarter revenue below analysts’ expectations.

** SODASTREAM INTERNATIONAL LTD, $67.15, up 15 pct (1047 ET)

The maker of home beverage carbonation systems reported a quarterly profit that handily beat analysts’ estimates and raised its full-year 2013 revenue and earnings guidance as it expects strong demand from its Americas and Western Europe markets, combined with improving trends in Asia-Pacific region.

** BIG 5 SPORTING GOODS CORP, $20.85, down 15 pct (0952 ET)

The sporting goods retailer reported lower-than-expected quarterly sales, and forecast third-quarter earnings largely below Wall Street’s expectations.

The company said it expects earnings of between 40 cents and 45 cents per share in the third quarter. Analysts on average were expecting earnings of 45 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

** CENTURY ALUMINUM CO, $8.53, down 13 pct (1155 ET)

The aluminum producer posted a wider loss for the second quarter, partly due to higher power costs. “We are managing through a period of uncertainty in our industry,” Chief Executive Michael Bless said in a statement on Tuesday. “The relative strength of the U.S. dollar, caused in part by the recent rise in interest rates, has pressured the price of all commodities.”

** SYNCHRONOSS TECHNOLOGIES INC, $34, up 12.6 pct (1001 ET)

At least two brokerages raised their price targets on the phone billing software maker’s stock after the company on Tuesday reported better-than-expected second-quarter results due to higher subscriptions.

** ALERE INC, $33.45, up 11 pct (1050 ET)

The diagnostic device maker reported a higher-than-expected adjusted quarterly profit, helped by an almost 12 percent increase in its professional diagnostics business.

** INTERSIL CORP, $10.29, up 11 pct (0948 ET)

The maker of power management chips used in flat-panel displays and DVD players on Tuesday reported a surprise profit for the second quarter, prompting at least six brokerages to raise their price target on the company’s stock.

Needham & Co raised its rating on the stock to “buy” from “hold”.

** REGAL BELOIT CORP, $64.42, down 9 pct (1036 ET)

The maker of electric motors, mechanical and electrical motion controls and power generation products reported lower-than-expected second-quarter profit due to sluggish demand in North America and higher operating costs.

** INVENSENSE INC, $17.12, up 9 pct (1103 ET)

The chipmaker reported better-than-expected quarterly revenue on Tuesday, helped by more design wins with customers.

Three brokerages raised their price targets on the stock.

The business momentum was driven by customers such as Samsung, HTC, Google and Sony ramping up production of new Android-based smartphones and tablets, seasonal strength in game consoles and success in the high-end China Android market, Roth Capital Partners analsyt Krishna Shankar wrote in a note.

** SILICON IMAGE INC, $5.96, up 9 pct (0949 ET)

The chipmaker posted better-than-expected second-quarter results on Tuesday, helped by higher demand from mobile device companies.

The company’s chips are used in devices such as tablets, mobile phones, notebooks and digital cameras.

** ANADIGICS INC, $2.15, down 9 pct (0949 ET)

The chipmaker reported better-than-expected second-quarter results but said it no longer expects to breakeven at the EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) level by the fourth quarter as sales declined in its infrastrcuture business.

The company now expects to report breakeven EBITDA in the first half of next year.

** NEUSTAR INC, $56.22, up 8 pct (1346 ET)

The company, which provides real-time information and analysis, such as telephone number databases and domain names, reported better-than-expected second-quarter results, prompting brokerage RBC Capital Markets to raise its target price on the company’s stock to $55 from $50.

** ENERGEN CORP, $61.13, up 8 pct (1210 ET)

The oil and gas producer posted a higher-than-expected profit for the second quarter due to a rise in production and prices. Oil output rose 18 percent because of a surge in output in Texas’s Permian basin.

** JONES LANG LASALLE INC, $83.38, down 7 pct (1254 ET)

Global real estate services company on Tuesday reported lower-than-expected earnings as improved leasing in the Americas and global property sales were offset by lower activity in Brazil, Russia, India and China and Europe.

** HURON CONSULTING GROUP INC, $50.36, up 7 pct (1004 ET)

The provider of operational and financial consulting services reported better-than-expected second-quarter profit and forecast full-year revenue that was higher than analysts’ estimates.

The company reported second-quarter adjusted earnings of 75 cents per share from continous operations. Analysts on an average had expected Huron Consulting to post a profit of 61 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Analysts at Stifel Nicolaus & Co have raised their price target on the stock to $54 from $52.

** AGREE REALTY CORP, $29.70, down 7 pct (1145 ET)

Brokerage Raymond James downgraded the stock of the real estate investment trust to “market perform” from “outperform”, according to Theflyonthewall.com.

** ANHEUSER-BUSCH INBEV, $96.54, up 7 pct (0951 ET)

The world’s largest beer maker sold less beer but made more money than expected in the second quarter as drinkers absorbed price hikes and traded up to premium lagers.

** PORTFOLIO RECOVERY ASSOCIATES INC, $155.01, up 7 pct (0950 ET)

The company engaged in detection, collection and processing of accounts receivable originally owed to credit grantors, governments and retailers reported second-quarter earnings per share of $2.56, beating analysts’ estimate of $2.25.

According to analysts at JMP Securities: “The supply outlook looks poised to improve by year end, as banks are in the ”late innings“ of their ”re-auditing“ of debt buyers, and are preparing to step up portfolio sales.”

Analysts at JMP Securities raised their price target for the company’s shares to $175 from $140.

** HANESBRANDS INC, $63.53, up 7 pct (0949 ET)

The underwear maker forecast full-year earnings that were largely above Wall Street expectations after reporting better-than-expected quarterly profit.

The company said it expects 2013 earnings of $3.50 to $3.65 per share while analysts on average were expecting earnings of $3.53 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Brokerage BB&T Capital Markets raised its price target on Hanesbrand’s stock to $69 from $65, citing the company’s strong forecast.

** BOOZ ALLEN HAMILTON HOLDING CORP $20.51, up 6.6 pct (1408 ET)

The government consultancy firm reported first-quarter results above Wall Street estimates and stood by its prior forecast of low single-digit percentage decline in revenue.

** HYATT HOTELS CORP, $45.54, up 6 pct (1403 ET)

** STARWOOD HOTELS & RESORTS WORLDWIDE INC, $66.72, up 0.5 pct (1405)

** MARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL INC, $41.63, up 0.5 pct (1406 ET)

Hyatt Hotels Corp’s quarterly profit topped Wall Street estimates as increased travel in the United States allowed the company to charge more for rooms.

** MUELLER WATER PRODUCTS INC, $7.75, up 6.3 pct (1122 ET)

The maker of water transmission and measurement products reported a better-than-expected third-quarter profit and forecast an increase in its fourth-quarter sales. Janney Capital Markets upgraded the stock to “buy”, citing the company’s “dramatic transformation”, evolving from a commodity-oriented basic infrastructure player to a provider of advanced water technologies.

** ONEOK INC, $54.47, up 5 pct (1100 ET)

Brokerage Robert W. Baird & Co upgraded the natural gas processor’s stock to “outperform” from “neutral” after ONEOK on Tuesday reported better-than-expected earnings for the second quarter due to higher volumes processed. Colder-than-normal weather in North America increased demand for the fuel, which is used in home heating.

** FORTINET INC, $21.20, up 5 pct (1033 ET)

At least five brokerages raised their price target on the network security firm’s stock after it reported better-than-expected second-quarter revenue, helped mainly by increased demand for its network security software from large U.S. enterprises.

** EVERBANK FINANCIAL CORP, $15.58, down 5 pct (0949 ET)

Compass Point downgraded the bank holding company’s stock to “sell” from “neutral” and also cut its price target to $14 from $16.

The company’s second-quarter results missed analysts’ estimates as higher rates hurt gain on sale margin and interest income fell due to lower average loan balances.

** ENERGIZER HOLDINGS INC, $99.30, down 5 pct (0937 ET)

The maker of Energizer batteries and Schick razors posted higher third-quarter earnings but lower sales on Wednesday, saying competitors’ promotions and a wet summer had hurt sales of personal products like suntan lotion.

** UNIVERSAL STAINLESS & ALLOY PRODUCTS INC, $25.40, down 4.4 pct (1201 ET)

The steelmaker reported an 89 percent fall in second-quarter profit due to weak demand in the power generation, oil and gas, and heavy equipment markets and declining nickel prices.

** FIVE BELOW INC, $39.72, down 4 pct (1057 ET)

Brokerage MKM Partners downgraded the dollar-store operator’s stock to “sell” from “neutral,” saying the company could miss its second-quarter same-store sales growth forecast of 4 percent to 5 percent due to cooler spring weather and stocking of excess summer merchandise.

“The amount of product in stores seems likely to meaningfully exceed the demand, particularly if the weather remains cooler/wetter than last year, as it is forecast to do,” analyst Patrick McKeever wrote in a note.

“We think the excess seasonal merchandise could impede the back-to-school/fall transition (in inventory),” he added and cut his price target on the stock to $33 from $37.

** MICRON TECHNOLOGY INC, $13.07, up 3.7 pct (1116 ET)

The chipmaker said it has completed the acquisition of bankrupt Japanese chipmaker Elpida Memory Inc. Micron, which is losing money due to a crumbling personal computer industry, wants to create larger economies of scale through the acquisition.

** COVANCE INC, $82.27, up 3 pct (1350 ET)

The contract research company reported higher-than-expected second-quarter results, helped by increased revenue from its central laboratory services.

The company raised the lower end of its full-year earnings per share forecast by 10 cents, and now expects to earn $3.10 to $3.20 per share.

Covance expects its earnings per share to rise by about 2 cents sequentially in each of the next two quarters.

** SM ENERGY CO, $68.3, up 3 pct (1130 ET)

The oil and gas producer reported a rise in second-quarter profit and raised its full-year production forecast as it expands its Eagle Ford Shale project in South Texas.

The company raised its production outlook to between 47.3 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe) and 48.6 million boe from the earlier estimate of 42.8 million boe to 44.5 million boe.

Quarterly net income rose to $76.5 million, or $1.13 per share, from $24.9 million, or $0.37 per share, a year earlier.

** AIR PRODUCTS & CHEMICALS INC, $109.00, up 3 pct (0946 ET)

Activist investor William Ackman said his Pershing Square Capital Management has acquired a 9.8 percent stake in Air Products & Chemicals Inc, one week after the industrial gas producer adopted a poison pill takeover defence.

** BRE PROPERTIES INC, $53.61, up 4 pct (0951 ET)

The company’s second-quarter funds from operations (FFO) beat analysts’ estimates and the operator of apartment communities forecast current-quarter FFO above expectations. FFO is a key measure for the company as it removes the profit-reducing effect that depreciation, a non-cash item, has on earnings. ** MAKO SURGICAL CORP, $12.43, up 8 pct

The medical device company reported a 19 percent rise in revenue on higher number of hip surgeries performed using its systems.

“Investors are likely to look positively at the hip uptick as well as the announcement of next generation hip software,” Lazard Capital Markets analyst Sean Lavin wrote in a note.

** GENWORTH FINANCIAL INC, $12.81, down 4 pct (0945 ET)

The life and mortgage insurer quarterly profit missed analysts’ estimates and the company said it expects its U.S. mortgage insurance business to post a marginal net loss in the second half of the year.

** MOSAIC CO, $41.30, down 5 pct (0943 ET)

Shares of potash producers continued to fall after Russia’s Uralkali dismantled one of the world’s largest potash partnerships by pulling out of a venture with Belarus Potash Co on Tuesday.

Canaccord Genuity, CIBC, National Bank Financial cut price targets on stocks such as Mosaic, Agrium and Potash on Wednesday.

** BOSTON PROPERTIES INC, $104.12, down 4 pct (1323 ET)

The office space company reported a second-quarter profit that was slightly ahead of Wall Street estimates, helped by lower operating expenses and higher leasing income.

** EQUITY RESIDENTIAL, $55.43, down 4 pct (1348 ET)

Apartment owner Equity Residential said on Tuesday that a profit measure used for real estate investment trusts rose in the second quarter, helped in part by higher rent and its Archstone acquisition. The company also lowered the top end of its forecast for the year, chiefly due to completing its $4 billion disposition program earlier than expected.

** TANGER FACTORY OUTLET CENTERS INC, $32.43, down 4 pct (1351 ET)

The company reported second-quarter FFO of 43 cents per share. Tanger Factory also forecast FY 2013 FFO per share, largely below analysts’ expectations.

** UNITED RENTALS INC, $56.99, up 3.3 pct (1406 ET)

Shares of the equipment rental company rose after an article on investment website SeekingAlpha.com said the company is "well-positioned" to benefit from the rise in equipment rental rates. (r.reuters.com/vyv99t)

** COMCAST CORP, $44.21, up 4 pct (0942 ET)

The company posted a higher quarterly profit on Wednesday, as it added more internet customers than expected on the cable side and saw a more than 20 percent increase in operating cash flow at its NBC Universal unit.

Rival media giant CBS will provide insight on the health of the advertising market when it announces quarterly results.

** BIOCRYST PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $3.78, down 5 pct (0941 ET)

The company said on Tuesday that it will offer $20 million worth of shares in an underwritten public offering.

The proceeds will be used for general expenses and for funding clinical development of of its experimental drugs.

** SOTHEBY‘S, $45.02, up 3 pct (1347 ET)

Marcato Capital Management on Tuesday said it had 6.61 percent stake in the auction house as of July 23. (r.reuters.com/gun99t)

** SCORPIO TANKERS INC, $10.01, down 2 pct (10:12 ET)

The company, which transports wet cargo such as petroleum products, gasoline and vegetable oil, said its public offering of 20 million shares of its common stock was priced at $9.50 per share. This represents a discount to the stock’s Tuesday close of $10.23. (Compiled by Rohit Tirumala Kumara)

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