August 23, 2013 / 3:26 PM / in 4 years

MARKET PULSE-Microsoft, Aeropostale, Pandora, Darling, ChemoCentryx

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Aug 23 (Reuters) - Some U.S. stocks on the move on Friday:


U.S. stocks were little changed, a day after the Nasdaq stock exchange suffered a historic trading halt of roughly three hours as a result of technical problems.

Microsoft Corp was the biggest boost to the three major indexes.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 0.2 percent, the S&P 500 lost 0.12 percent and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.14 percent.

** MICROSOFT CORP, $34.51, up 7 pct (9:36 a.m. ET)

Microsoft said Chief Executive Steve Ballmer will retire within the next 12 months, once it completes the process of choosing his successor.

About 80 million shares changed hands on the Nasdaq by 9:56 a.m. ET, more than double the 10-day moving average of the stock.

** AEROPOSTALE INC, $9.26, down 16 pct (9:38 a.m. ET)

The teen apparel retailer on Thursday forecast a deep third-quarter loss, and said the highly promotional environment that has led it to cut prices and decimated earnings would continue in the back-to-school shopping period.

BofA Merrill Lynch downgraded the company’s stock, while at least six other brokerages cut their share-price targets.

** NET 1 UEPS TECHNOLOGIES INC, $10.74, up 45 pct (10:16 a.m. ET)

The South Africa-based payment processor posted strong fourth-quarter results, with profit and revenue beating Wall Street estimates. The company said it expects a marked improvement in profitability during fiscal 2014.

** CHEMOCENTRYX INC, $7.29, down 37.5 pct (10:59 a.m. ET)

British pharmaceutical group GlaxoSmithKline Plc said vercirnon, a drug it was developing to treat Crohn’s disease and licensed from ChemoCentryx, had failed in a late-stage clinical trial.

** PANDORA MEDIA INC, $19.50, down 10 pct (9:46 a.m. ET)

The Internet radio service said on Thursday that rising expenditures to acquire music and expand its sales force would push fiscal 2014 earnings below analyst expectations.

** MARVELL TECHNOLOGY GROUP LTD, $12.09, down 7 pct (10:34 a.m. ET)

The chipmaker said its second-quarter profit fell 33 percent and gross margin declined to 52.2 percent from 53.2 percent a year earlier.

The stock, trading at more than one and a half times its average 10-day volume, was one of the top percentage losers on the Nasdaq.

** HIBBETT SPORTS INC, $54.36, down 7 pct (9:39 a.m. ET)

The sports-goods retailer slashed its full-year earnings forecast, joining a growing chorus of retailers blaming weakening consumer spending.

** EXPEDIA INC, $49.43, up 6.4 pct (10.46 a.m ET)

The online travel agency on Thursday signed a long-term marketing agreement with Travelocity. Under the deal, Expedia will provide the technology platforms and customer service for Travelocity’s U.S. and Canadian sites and make its hotel supply relationships available to Travelocity in exchange for performance-based fees.

The agreement also provides for exit rights through which Expedia could acquire certain assets of Travelocity’s business at a later date.

** INSMED INC, $13.05, up 5 pct (10:39 a.m. ET)

Lazard Capital Markets analysts raised their price target on the Insmed stock to $28 from $24, citing confidence in the safety and efficacy of the company’s drug, Arikace, in treating infections caused by non-tuberculous mycobacteria. The analysts said they expect that positive results from a mid-stage study on Arikace will support marketing approval of the drug.

** DENDREON CORP, $3.06, down 4 pct (9:40 a.m. ET)

Deutsche Bank downgraded the stock of the company, which makes the cancer vaccine Provenge, to “sell” from “hold”, citing concern regarding Dendreon’s debt load.

As Provenge sales continue to disappoint, even drastic restructuring and significant cost cuts will not help Dendreon address its debt due in 2016, and the terms of a refinancing may have a negative impact on equity holders, Deutsche Bank analysts said in a note.

** ANN INC, $33.79, up 4 pct (9:40 a.m. ET)

The women’s apparel retailer posted a higher-than-expected rise in second-quarter profit, driven by strong sales at its Ann Taylor and LOFT stores.

** GOLD FIELDS LTD, $5.5, down 4 pct (10:36 a.m. ET)

The South African miner reported a major restructuring to restore profits on Thursday, hollowed out by the plunging price of gold.

The gold miner, which reported a second-quarter loss compared with a profit a year earlier, said it was not afraid of closing mines to make money, including its Damang operations in Ghana, and would revamp its business to generate profit at a spot gold price of $1,300 an ounce

** AUTODESK INC, $41.12, up 14 pct (9:47 a.m. ET)

Brokerage B. Riley & Co upgraded the AutoCAD design software maker’s stock to “buy” from “neutral”.

The company forecast third-quarter results below analysts’ estimates on Thursday as it anticipates lower demand for its computer-aided design (CAD) software used in construction, manufacturing and engineering industries.

** TESLA MOTORS INC, $159.58, up 2 pct (9:52 a.m. ET)

The electric car maker, led by billionaire Elon Musk, has filed an application to trademark the “Model E” name to potentially use on future automobiles, clothing and repair service.

** SPROUTS FARMERS MARKET INC, $39.17, up 1.5 pct (9:52 a.m. ET)

The retailer of natural and organic foods reported a 45 percent increase in second-quarter revenue, driven by strong demand from health-conscious customers.

** DARLING INTERNATIONAL INC, $21.46, up 11 pct (9:56 a.m. ET)

Canadian food processor Maple Leaf Foods said it agreed to sell its biodiesel business to Darling International, a food waste recycling company, for about C$645 million ($613.6 million) in cash.

** FOOT LOCKER INC, $32.78, up 4 pct (9:56 a.m. ET)

The shoe retailer reported an 11 percent rise in quarterly profit due to a 1.8 percent increase in same-store sales. “We remain confident that we can achieve a mid-single digit comparable sales gain and a double digit percentage profit increase for fiscal 2013,” Chief Executive Ken Hicks said.

** ABERCROMBIE & FITCH CO, $37.83, down 2 pct (10:03 a.m. ET)

At least five brokerages cut their price target on the company’s stock after the teen retailer on Thursday reported a sharp fall in comparable sales and said business would decline even more during the current back-to-school quarter.

** FLOTEK INDUSTRIES INC, $20.05, up 4.3 pct (10:09 a.m. ET)

The oilfield services provider will be added to the S&P SmallCap 600 index after the market close on Monday, Aug. 26. Flotek replaces specialty fiber maker Buckeye Technologies Inc , which was bought by privately held Georgia-Pacific LLC.

** RENREN INC, $3.57, up 5 pct (10:08 a.m. ET)

Baidu Inc, China’s largest search engine provider, will acquire a stake in Chinese group-buying website Nuomi Holdings Inc for $160 million as it accelerates its push into the country’s rapidly growing mobile Internet market.

Nuomi is a wholly owned unit of social network company Renren.

** DRYSHIPS INC, $2.2, up 2 pct (9:53 a.m. ET)

** GENCO SHIPPING AND TRADING LTD, $2.47, up 7 pct (9:53 a.m. ET)

The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index, which tracks rates for ships carrying dry bulk commodities, rose 7 points to 1165 points as capesize rates pushed higher. The index has risen from 996 points on Aug. 12.

** PRANA BIOTECHNOLOGY LTD, $5.28, up 6.6 pct (9:49 a.m. ET)

Investment website Motley Fool praised the progress the Australian drugmaker has made in developing its experimental Alzheimer’s disease drug, PBT2.

“Although Prana is a small fish in a sea of much larger competitors, its progress with PBT2 makes it one of the more important names to watch in the race to treat Alzheimer‘s,” Motley Fool said in a report.

** MENTOR GRAPHICS CORP, $22.52, up 6 pct (10:09 a.m. ET)

The chip design software maker reported second-quarter results way above Wall Street estimates due to demand for its integrated circuit products. The company also forecast better-than-expected revenue for the third quarter.

The stock was trading nearly one and a half times its average 10-day volume.

** SILVER STANDARD RESOURCES INC, $9.60, up 4 pct (10:53 a.m. ET)

** ENDEAVOUR SILVER CORP, $5.34, up 4 pct

** HECLA MINING CO, $3.83, up 3.8 pct

** FIRST MAJESTIC SILVER CORP, $15.50, up 3.6 pct

** SILVERCORP METALS INC, $3.75, up 2 pct

** SILVER WHEATON CORP, $27.80, up 2.8 pct

Silver prices rose by about 2 percent from the beginning of this week and the metal was trading at $23.02 an ounce, little changed from Thursday.

** D.R. HORTON INC, $18.75, down 3 pct (11:21 a.m. ET)

** LENNAR CORP, $32.85, down 2 pct

** TOLL BROTHERS INC, $31.68, down 2.5 pct

** BEAZER HOMES USA INC, $17.38, down 2.4 pct

** RYLAND GROUP INC, $34.89, down 5 pct

** KB HOME, $16.63, down 3 pct

Sales of new single-family homes in the United States fell sharply in July to their lowest level in nine months, casting a shadow over the country’s housing recovery. Sales dropped 13.4 percent to an annual rate of 394,000 units, the Commerce Department said.

For a graphic: (Compiled by Neha Alawadhi; Editing by Maju Samuel)

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