March 25, 2014 / 5:38 PM / 4 years ago

MARKET PULSE-Himax, BG Medicine, American Apparel, Varonis

(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 sharply trimmed gains by midday on Tuesday as many of the market's momentum stocks turned negative. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 0.77 percent at 16,401.59, the S&P 500 was up 0.53 percent at 1,867.28 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.31 percent at 4,239.601.

** HIMAX TECHNOLOGIES INC, $11.62, -13.15 pct

Analysts at BofA Merrill Lynch downgraded the chipmaker’s stock to “under perform” from “buy,” saying they were concerned that Himax’s Liquid Crystal on Silicon (LCoS) display technology may not be progressing fast enough to achieve their estimates.

The analysts wrote that though the management was positive on LCoS, challenges such as applications, costs, power and technology suggested that growth could be more in 2015 or 2016 versus the second half of this year.

** BG MEDICINE INC, $2.24, +31.76 pct

The drugmaker said an analysis of data from three large trials of heart failure patients showed that elevations of a protein in the blood, measured by its diagnostic test, predicted patients who would have to be rehospitalized within 30 days of a hospital stay.

The results, published in the American Heart Journal, showed that patients with elevated levels of the protein were re-admitted at nearly three times the rate of patients without higher levels of the protein.

BG Medicine’s test is approved in the United States and Europe, and is used to help assess the prognosis of chronic heart failure patients.

** UNITED STATES STEEL CORP, $27.68, +1.28 pct

The company could replace another one of its older blast furnaces with an electric arc furnace, Chief Executive Mario Longhi told Reuters on Tuesday.

** SONIC CORP, $23.115, +10.49 pct

The drive-in restaurant operator, on Monday, reported a better-than-expected second-quarter profit, helped by a 1.4 percent rise in its same-store sales.

At least four brokerages increased their price targets on the restaurant chain’s stock.

** AMERICAN APPAREL INC, $0.61, -19.18 pct

The clothing retailer struggling with weak sales and heavy debt said it plans to sell $30.5 million shares to raise working capital and pay interest on its senior notes due next month.

** RACKSPACE HOSTING INC, $33.42, +2.14 pct

Morgan Stanley raised its rating on the web hosting company’s stock to “overweight” from “equal weight,” saying it expects the growth in bookings the company reported at the end of 2013 to continue this year.

** DOUBLE EAGLE PETROLEUM CO, $2.4101, +6.17 pct

The oil and gas producer named Charles Chambers as chief executive, effective April 1, replacing Richard Dole, who will become vice chairman of the board. The company, which is changing its name to Escalera Resources Co, also announced a private placement of its shares of $4.8 million and said it would use the proceeds to fund working capital needs.

** SWIFT ENERGY CO, $10.75, +3.37 pct

The oil and gas producer announced results from six new wells in the Texas Eagle Ford shale field. Three of the wells are natural gas wells, while the other three are predominantly oil wells.

“The company’s South Texas assets continue to impress,” Raymond James analysts said in a note, adding, “Though given the company’s 35 percent short interest, continued consistent execution and more transparent disclosure is needed to recapture investor sentiment.”

** MICROVISION INC, $2.1, -11.95 pct

The company’s shares fell on Tuesday, a day after they rose as much as 44 percent on news that the provider of ultra-miniature display technology for mobile phones and laptops had struck a deal to supply customized PicoP display modules to United Parcel Service Inc for a new package guidance application.

** MCCORMICK & COMPANY INC, $70.9, +5.02 pct

The maker and distributor of spices, seasoning mixes and condiments reported better-than-expected first quarter results helped by 6 percent rise in net sales. The company also reaffirmed its earnings forecast for 2014.

** ENDOCYTE INC, $28.48, +4.63 pct

At least two brokerages raised their price targets on the drugmaker’s stock, saying that data from a lung-cancer study of its drug suggested that it could be more broadly utilized in other forms of cancer.

The Wedbush Investment Committee added the company to its “Best Ideas List,” saying its drug could generate peak sales of $430 million in the European Union as a treatment for platinum-resistant ovarian cancer.

Endocyte’s shares more than doubled on Friday after the company said its cancer drug was recommended for conditional approval in Europe for ovarian cancer and that the drug improved survival rates in lung cancer patients.

** VARONIS SYSTEMS INC, $41.51, +13.69 pct

At least five brokerages initiated coverage on the data protection and analysis provider’s stock, with at least two brokerages starting with a “buy” rating and one brokerage starting with a price target of $48.

“We believe VRNS is capable of fast revenue growth of 25percent to 30 percent, as it ”siphons“ budget from older spending categories in IT,” Needham & Co analysts wrote in a note to clients after initiating coverage on Varonis’ stock.

** G-III APPAREL GROUP LTD, $71.12, -4.49 pct

The women’s sportswear apparel company said it could report a loss in the current quarter and forecast full-year 2015 results largely below the average analyst estimate.

The company said its first-quarter results would be negatively impacted by the acquisition of G.H. Bass & Co.

** ARLINGTON ASSET INVESTMENT CORP, $27.05, -4.69 pct

The asset manager said it had commenced an offering of 2.8 million shares of class A common stock. The company plans to use the proceeds for the acquisition of assets, including residential mortgage-backed securities, and for general working capital purposes.

** GALECTIN THERAPEUTICS INC, $17.04, +16.79 pct

The biotechnology company said it would report the results from an early-stage trial of its fatty liver disease drug, GR-MD-02, on March 31.

The trial tested the safety, tolerability and effectiveness for single and multiple doses of the drug.

** CARNIVAL CORP, $37.95, -5.13 pct

The world’s largest cruise operator forecast a full-year profit below analysts’ estimates as it cuts prices and spends more on advertising to attract customers after onboard mishaps hurt demand over the past couple of years.

** COMMSCOPE HOLDING COMPANY INC, $23.69, -3.03 pct

The telecommunications equipment maker said it had begun a secondary offering to sell 17.5 million shares by an affiliate of the Carlyle Group LP.

CommScope said it would not receive any proceeds from the offering.

** WALGREEN CO, $65.92, +2.50 pct

The operator of the largest U.S. drugstore chain reported a lower-than-expected quarterly profit on Tuesday, but said it expected a bigger boost this year from its partnership with European retailer Alliance Boots Holdings Ltd than it first forecast. The company also said it was closing 76 stores in the next six months, which would add $40 million to $50 million a year in profit beginning in the next fiscal year.

** UNIVERSAL INSURANCE HOLDINGS INC, $13.78, -3.77 pct

Chief Administrative Officer Stephen Donaghy sold 20,000 shares of the company at $14.43 per share on March 21, the company said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday.

** HD SUPPLY HOLDINGS INC, $25.063, +8.64 pct

The construction products supplier broke even in the fourth quarter after adjusting for some items. Analysts on average had expected a loss of 3 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

** AMERICA MOVIL, $19.77, -4.40 pct

Shares in the Latin American phone company controlled by Mexican businessman Carlos Slim fell after the government presented a bill fleshing out a telecoms reform aimed at curbing Slim’s power.

Mexico’s government proposed on Monday giving a new regulator wide-reaching powers to police the operations of dominant telecommunications companies and TV broadcasters, right down to their prices and discounts.

** CONVERGYS CORP, $21.69, +3.29 pct

Suntrust Robinson started coverage of the customer management services provider on Monday with a “buy” rating and a $26 price target.

** NPS PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $29.35, +6.53 pct

Analysts at Goldman Sachs began covering the company’s stock with a “buy” rating, saying they expected sales of its short bowel syndrome drug outside the United States to be higher than the average analyst estimate.

The analysts also said Wall Street estimates assigned limited value to the company’s experimental thyroid disorder drug, which they expected to be approved by the U.S. health regulator by its October review date.

** ATLANTIC POWER CORP, $2.889, +6.61 pct

The Canadian power company agreed to repurchase about $140 million of senior notes. The company expects to incur charges in connection with the repurchase in the first quarter of 2014, according to an SEC filing.

** BROOKFIELD RENEWABLE ENERGY PARTNERS LP, $27.98, -1.13 pct

The renewable energy provider said it would acquire the wind energy assets of Ireland-based Bord Gáis Energy for about 700 million euros ($964.8 million), in a move that will allow Brookfield to enter the European markets.

** ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND GROUP PLC, $10.26, +1.68 pct

Royal Bank of Scotland has had contact regarding the possible sale of its U.S. retail business Citizens with Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, while Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group has also considered a bid, people with knowledge of the matter said.

** REALD INC, $11.3, +1.80 pct

The 3D technology licensor extended its agreement with Wanda Cinema Line Corp to install an additional 780 RealD 3D cinema systems across China on Monday. Under the agreement, RealD has been named the exclusive 3D technology provider for Wanda Cinema Line.

** 3D SYSTEMS CORP, $59.15, +2.02 pct

A number of key patents related to 3D printing held by the company will expire by next year, but investors should not assume that new rivals will be able to offer 3-D printing products and services at the same caliber as 3D Systems, investment website Motley Fool said. (link.reuters.com/gep87v)

** PFIZER INC, $31.976, +1.54 pct

Pfizer’s Xalkori delayed progression of lung cancer longer than chemotherapy in patients who had never previously been treated for the disease, according to results of a late-stage study released on Tuesday.

** DYAX CORP, $8.92, +2.77 pct

Brokerage firm RBC Capital Markets initiated coverage on the drugmaker with an “outperform” rating and a price target of $15, saying the company’s lead drug, DX-2930, has the potential to become the best preventive therapy for treating rare, inherited blood disorder. (Reporting By Shuhankar Chakravorty in Bangalore; Editing by Simon Jennings)

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