(For more market insights, including options activity, click on ; for the Day Ahead newsletter link.reuters.com/mex49s; for the Morning News Call newsletter, link.reuters.com/nex49s) U.S. stocks fell on Monday, extending their two-week decline, as the ongoing U.S. government shutdown kept investors jittery, with no sign politicians were willing to relax positions over the debt ceiling or budget impasse.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 0.69 percent, the S&P 500 0.60 percent and the Nasdaq Composite 0.75 percent.
** APPLE INC, $491.49, up 1.7 pct (12:40 p.m. ET)
Jefferies & Co upgraded its rating on the company’s stock to “buy” from “hold” and raised its price target to $600 from $425, saying it expects the iPhone-maker’s gross margins to improve as suppliers have become far more lenient on price.
“In contrast to earlier this year when suppliers boasted that Apple would not be able to push them around anymore, they are now scrambling to be in Apple’s supply chain,” the analysts wrote in a note.
The Jefferies analysts also anticipate a buildup of demand for the iPhone 6 smartphone, which is expected to have a greater than 4 inch screen-size, similar to competing products such as Samsung’s Galaxy S4.
** COOPER TIRE & RUBBER CO, $26.01, down 12 pct (12:40 p.m. ET)
India’s Apollo Tyres and Cooper Tire are at odds over whether Apollo can reduce the price for its proposed takeover of the U.S. firm, the latest hurdle in a deal beset by lawsuits and labor issues.
** ATOSSA GENETICS INC, $2.48, down 46 pct (12:42 P.m. ET)
The medical device maker said it would recall a medical device used to collect breast fluid for cancer detection along with a test that uses it, seven months after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said the device needed additional clearance.
** BLACKBERRY LTD, $7.98, up 4 pct (12:41 p.m. ET)
Shares of BlackBerry rose following news of potential interest from strategic buyers in the embattled smartphone company and an analyst upgrade on the company’s stock.
** GW PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $33.80, up 36 pct (12:43 p.m. ET)
Lazard Capital analyst Joshua Schimmer raised his target price on the stock to $65 from $22, saying the biotechnology company’s experimental therapy to treat a type of epilepsy will fulfill enormous unmet needs.
The drug is composed of cannabinoids, which are compounds extracted from the cannabis plant. Schimmer said cannabinoids could represent a new breakthrough medication for seizures.
Schimmer said the development of the drug, which is in preclinical studies, could move quickly and expects it to be launched in 2018.
** APRICUS BIOSCIENCES INC, $2.34, up 15 pct (12:54 p.m. ET)
The San Diego-based drugmaker said German health regulators approved its erectile dysfunction drug, Vitaros. The topical cream is already approved in Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the UK.
** FIFTH & PACIFIC COS, $25.62, up 4.7 pct (12:53 p.m. ET)
The apparel and accessory maker said it has agreed to sell its once-popular Juicy Couture business to Authentic Brands Group for $195 million to focus on its fast-growing, higher-end Kate Spade brand.
** NATIONAL BANK OF GREECE, $5.22, up 14 pct (12:47 p.m. ET)
Funds run by billionaire investor John Paulson see Greece’s recapitalised banking sector as an attractive investment play due to the country’s recovery after a deep six-year slump.
Encouraged by Greece’s rising exports and a rebounding tourism sector, U.S. hedge fund group Paulson & Co expects the protracted recession to bottom out this year and begin recovery in 2014.
** LIQUIDITY SERVICES, $29.30, down 10.5 pct (12:48 p.m. ET)
BofA Merrill Lynch downgraded its rating on the online auction marketplace’s stock to “underperform” from “neutral,” according to Theflyonthewall.com.
** REALD INC, $6.86, up 7 pct (12:46 p.m. ET)
The 3D technology licensor’s shares jumped following the strong box-office debut of 3D thriller “Gravity.” The film, which stars Oscar winners Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, wowed critics with its special effects, took in $83 million worldwide in its debut weekend, distributor Warner Bros said on Sunday. RealD shares have fallen about 50 percent over the past three months due to disappointing box office numbers for several summer 3D offerings.
** DONEGAL GROUP INC, $15.35, up 7.5 pct (12:47 p.m. ET)
Gregory Shepard, the second largest shareholder of the insurance company, offered to purchase 957,136 shares of Class B common stock of Donegal within a price range of $33-$37 per share.
** DRYSHIPS INC, $3.59, down 5 pct (1:58 p.m. ET)
The drybulk shipper and offshore contract driller said on Friday it would offer up to $200 million of its common shares.
** DECKERS OUTDOOR CORP, $63.56, down 6 pct (1:23 p.m ET)
The shoe maker's shares fell after research firm OTR Global warned on sales trends for the company's Ugg brand, according to Seekingalpha.com. (link.reuters.com/zyn63v)
** BIOLINERX LTD, $2.70, up 3.4 pct (12:43 p.m. ET)
The Israel-based drug developer said it received a patent allowance from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office covering the composition of its drug for the non-surgical removal of skin lesions. The patent will be valid until 2022.
** ACORN ENERGY INC, $3.80, down 3 pct (12:43 p.m. ET)
The energy infrastructure asset manager said revenue and earnings for the third quarter ended Sept. 30 and for the years ending Dec. 31, 2013 and 2014 could be "materially below" analysts' average expectations because of delays in orders, lower-than-expected sales volume and technical problems. Acorn will record an impairment charge and a restructuring charge in the third quarter related to its acquisition of OmniMetrix LLC in February last year. (r.reuters.com/gun63v)
** REDWOOD TRUST INC, $17.34, down 4 pct (12:49 p.m. ET)
Analysts at FBR Capital Markets downgraded the mortgage real estate investment trust’s stock to “market perform” from “outperform”.
“While the company will likely continue to build momentum in its securitizations platform heading into 2014 and we ultimately view the company favorably, we believe the current valuation warrants a more neutral view on shares in the near term,” analysts at FBR said.
** EXONE CO, $46.30, up 4.8 pct (12:47 p.m. ET)
FBR Capital Markets reiterated its “outperform” rating and $75 price target on the 3D printer maker’s stock, saying meetings with the company’s management indicated high customer interest for its sand and metal printers, StreetInsider.com reported.
It appears the company is working with several high-profile customers including Tesla Motors and BMW, StreetInsider.com report said, quoting FBR analyst Ajay Kejriwal.
The company is also working on more than quadrupling machine production capacity in Germany, the report said. (link.reuters.com/sun63v)
** OUTERWALL INC, $59.60, up 3 pct (12:53 p.m. ET)
Activist investor Jana Partners LLC reported a 13.5 percent stake in Outerwall and said it intends to explore options, including a sale, for the operator of the Redbox video rental kiosks.
** BOEING CO, $116.67, down 0.6 pct (12:47 p.m. ET)
Airbus announced its first jet order from Japan Airlines Co Ltd on Monday, breaking open the last big aviation market dominated by Boeing, in a move that suggests the U.S. company may pay for the 787 Dreamliner’s troubled debut.
** WAL-MART STORES INC, $72, down 1.2 pct (12:54 p.m. ET)
Wal-Mart’s retail plans with India partner Bharti Enterprises are “not tenable” and both sides are looking for the best way to move forward, an executive with the U.S. retailer told Reuters.
** TOWER GROUP INTERNATIONAL LTD, $7.28, down 4.4 pct (12:54 p.m. ET)
A class action lawsuit was filed against the insurance company in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on Friday by a group of insurance buyers who purchased Tower Group’s securities between May 9, 2011 and Aug. 7, 2013.
The complaint said that during the period, Tower Group failed to properly estimate its loss reserve provisions as required by U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, or GAAP, and failed to properly allocate its goodwill and certain deferred tax assets.
** AURICO GOLD INC, $3.25, up 4.3 pct (12:52 p.m. ET)
** ENDEAVOUR SILVER CORP, $4.21, up 3 pct
** HECLA MINING CO, $3.15, up 3 pct
** PRETIUM RESOURCES INC, $6.93, up 3 pct
Gold rose as investors assessed the impact of a lower dollar after politicians in Washington showed no signs of making progress to resolve the U.S. budget standoff. Spot gold rose 0.4 percent to $1,315.61. In other precious metals, silver rose 0.8 percent to $21.82 an ounce.
Analysts at Credit Suisse raised their rating on Canada-based Aurico’s stock to “outperform” from “neutral”.
** ACHILLION PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $2.91, up 3 pct (12:56 p.m. ET)
RA Capital Management reported a 14.96 percent passive stake in the drugmaker as of Sept. 30, making it Achillion's largest shareholder with an ownership of about 14.5 million shares. (ID: r.reuters.com/nen63v)
** REALOGY HOLDINGS CORP $44.58, up 3.6 pct (12:55 p.m. ET)
Goldman Sachs raised its rating on the real estate services company to “buy” from “neutral”, according to theflyonthewall.com. (Compiled by Sneha Banerjee in Bangalore; Editing by Maju Samuel)