October 8, 2013 / 6:38 PM / in 4 years

MARKET PULSE- Tower Group, tech stocks, Agenus, Jamba, Seaspan, Arrowhead

(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 dipped on Tuesday, with the year's biggest gainers taking the hardest hits, as the lack of tangible signs of resolution of the fiscal crisis in Washington prompted a flurry of selling.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 0.51 percent, the S&P 500 0.65 percent and the Nasdaq Composite 1.34 percent.

** TOWER GROUP INTERNATIONAL LTD, $4.28, down 42 pct (12:29 p.m. ET)

Tower Group’s stock fell to a life-time low after the company tripled its loss reserve to about $365 million, much higher than the property and casualty insurer indicated.

** YAHOO INC, $32.51, down 4.77 pct (12:42 p.m. ET)

** FACEBOOK INC, $47.62, down 5.8 pct (12:42 p.m. ET)

** GOOGLE INC, $856.03, down 1.12 pct (12:42 p.m. ET)

** GROUPON INC, $10.48, down 5 pct (12:42 p.m. ET)

** YELP INC, $64.21, down 8.2 pct (12:42 p.m. ET)

** ANGIE‘S LIST INC, $14.74, down 8.33 pct (12:42 p.m. ET)

** NETFLIX INC, $303.01, down 5 pct (1:03 p.m. ET)

** TRIPADVISOR INC, $71.70, down 5.5 pct (1:04 p.m. ET)

** LINKEDIN CORP, $218.59, down 7.8 pct ( 12:31 p.m. ET)

Shares of some of the Nasdaq’s strongest performers this year tumbled as investors took profits in high-flying names amid growing uncertainty over the impasse in Washington.

Companies in the technology sector were the hardest hit, with Yahoo, TripAdvisor and Netflix all among the day’s biggest losers.

** AGENUS INC, $3.01, up 9 pct (12:30 p.m. ET)

British drug giant GlaxoSmithKline plans to seek marketing approval for the world’s first malaria vaccine next year after trial data released on Monday showed the shot significantly cut cases of the disease in African children. The vaccine, known as RTS,S, contains Agenus’s adjuvant - an agent to boost immune response.

** ARROWHEAD RESEARCH CORP, $6.50, up 11 pct (12:30 p.m. ET)

The company said initial data from an early-stage study of its chronic hepatitis B drug showed that the drug was generally safe and well tolerated at all six study doses. The data will allow the company to seek approval to proceed with a mid-stage study of the drug.

Arrowhead also said that it priced a private offering at $5.86 per common share for net proceeds of $60 million.

** J.C. PENNEY CO INC, $8, up 3.6 pct (12:31 p.m. ET)

The struggling department store operator reported a smaller decline in same-store sales for September, compared to August, and said it expected improved sales trends to continue for the remainder of the year.

** XEROX CORP, $10.12, up 2.6 pct (12:31 p.m. ET)

The company said the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission was investigating some accounting practices at Affiliated Computer Services, an IT outsourcing firm it bought in 2010 for $5.5 billion.

** JAMBA INC, $11.00, down 18.2 pct (12:30 p.m. ET)

The smoothie store operator warned of a 3.4 percent fall in comparable-store sales in the current quarter, mainly due to a slowdown in consumer spending.

** AUDIOCODES LTD, $6.29, down 10 pct (12:32 p.m. ET)

Brokerage Oppenheimer & Co Inc lowered its rating on the Israel-based company’s stock to “perform” from “outperform”, according to Theflyonthewall.com. AudioCodes makes chips for converting audio signals to data.

** AMIRA NATURE FOODS LTD, $14.3, up 8.3 pct (12:32 p.m. ET)

Jefferies & Co raised its price target on the packaged rice seller’s stock to $21 from $14, citing opportunities for growth for the company such as its entry into new markets and categories and expansion in existing markets.

** NQ MOBILE INC, $19.76, down 5.5 pct (12:33 p.m. ET)

The Chinese mobile internet service provider proposed an offering of up to $150 million of senior convertible notes.

NQ said it intends to use the proceeds for general corporate purposes, including working capital needs and acquisitions.

** TALISMAN ENERGY INC, $12.43, down 2.5 pct (1.23 p.m. ET)

Talisman shares fell as investors raised doubts that activist investor Carl Icahn would be able to force dramatic changes on the struggling Canadian oil producer.

** IDENIX PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $3.89, down 18 pct (01:58 p.m. ET)

Johnson & Johnson Inc’s pharmaceutical unit, Janssen, said it bought GSK2336805, one among a promising new class of drugs called NS5A inhibitors, from Britain’s GlaxoSmithKline to conduct mid-stage studies using the compound along with its experimental drug, simeprevir, in hepatitis C patients.

Oppenheimer & Co and RBC Capital Markets analysts said this could mean J&J would not move ahead with, or de-prioritize development of hepatitis C regimens with Idenix’s NS5A inhibitor.

** PHH CORP, $24.62, down 4.8 pct (12:34 p.m. ET)

The company said it is exploring splitting up its mortgage and auto fleet leasing businesses, and selling each of the units, three people familiar with the situation told Reuters on Monday.

** MCKESSON, $135.00, up 4 pct (12:35 p.m. ET)

Dow Jones Newswires reported that McKesson was in advanced talks to take over German drugs distributor Celesio in a possible 3.74 billion euro ($5.08 billion) deal.

** MASCO CORP, $19.51, down 4.7 pct (12:38 p.m. ET)

KeyBanc Capital Markets downgraded its rating on the maker of home improvement and building products’ stock to “underweight” from “hold.”

** CHIMERIX INC, $19.68, down 10 pct (12:38 p.m. ET)

The biopharmaceutical company said it filed a registration statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for certain stockholders of Chimerix to offer shares of common stock in an underwritten public offering. The offering is for up to $50 million, the regulatory filing shows.

** ATOSSA GENETICS INC, $2.56, down 10 pct (12:39 p.m. ET)

The breast health testing company’s shares continued their slide after on Friday it said it was recalling a medical device used to collect breast fluid for cancer detection.

Stonegate Securities suspended coverage of the stock on Monday.

** SEASPAN CORP, $21.22, down 11 pct (12:40 p.m. ET)

The shipper said it plans to offer 5.7 million shares. The company said a shareholder will offer another 300,000 shares. Seaspan also plans to offer $125 million in notes due 2018.

** AGRIUM INC, $84.57, down 3.6 pct (12:40 p.m. ET)

The Russian potash “soap opera” could weigh on prices until demand rises substantially or producers shut some capacity, the chief executive of Canadian fertilizer company Agrium said.

** ALASKA AIR GROUP $61.81, down 4.4 pct (12:57 p.m. ET)

Deutsche Bank downgraded the stock to “hold” from “buy”, citing increased competition in some of the airline’s larger markets.

** NATIONAL BANK OF GREECE, $5.19, up 2.7 pct (12:37 p.m. ET)

Greece’s largest lender by assets is close to clinching a deal to sell a majority stake in real estate unit Pangaia to a U.S.-Israeli fund, the Kathimerini daily reported on Tuesday. (Compiled by Sneha Banerjee; Editing by Maju Samuel)

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