(For faster updates on individual market-movers, Eikon users please use search string "STXBZ US"; for more market insights, including options activity, ; for the Day Ahead newsletter, link.reuters.com/mex49s; for the Morning News Call newsletter, link.reuters.com/nex49s) U.S. stocks advanced on Tuesday after solid earnings from Home Depot helped lift retailers' shares and Apple touched $100 for the first time since its stock split this summer. Data on housing and inflation gave the market more support. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 0.52 percent at 16,925.79, the S&P 500 was up 0.51 percent at 1,981.84 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.36 percent at 4,524.50.
** HOME DEPOT INC, $88.61, +6.01 pct
** LOWE’S COS INC, $51.89, +2.85 pct
Home Depot, the world’s largest home improvement chain, said it expected same-store sales to grow faster in the second half of the year as customers renovate homes with big-ticket purchases such as wood and laminate flooring in a recovering U.S. housing market.
Shares in rival Lowe’s, scheduled to report its quarterly results on Wednesday, also rose.
For a graphic on Home Depot vs. Lowe's, here
** APPLE INC, $100.46, +1.31 pct
The iPad maker is back in triple-digit territory, with the stock crossing the $100 mark on Tuesday for the first time since its shares split on a seven-for-one basis in June and giving it a market cap topping $600 billion.
With nearly 5 million shares changing hands by 2:11 pm ET, the stock was the most heavily traded on the Nasdaq.
** SALIX PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $152.1375, +9.32 pct
** ALLERGAN INC, $159.64, +2.59 pct
Allergan has approached Salix and at least one other company to avert a hostile takeover by Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc, Wall Street Journal reported, citing sources (on.wsj.com/Xy8EJx)
** BHP BILLITON, $70.23, -3.48 pct
The world’s biggest mining company held off on a share buyback, disappointing investors who had hoped to receive around $5 billion. The company also announced plans to spin off businesses worth an estimated $16 billion, most of them acquired in its 2001 merger with Billiton, to focus on its most profitable activities.
** SPRINT CORP, $5.38, -4.27 pct
The No. 3 U.S. mobile carrier on Monday unveiled a new pricing plan that offers customers 20 gigabytes of data and up to 10 lines for $100, doubling its data offerings, the latest in a string of price cuts and promotions sweeping the wireless industry. The company will release new plans for individuals later this week.
** CHINA HGS REAL ESTATE INC, $5.5999, +61.85 pct
Chinese real estate developer signed its first shanty area rebuilding framework agreement with Hantai District government of Hanzhong City in Shaanxi Province of China. The estimated investment in the project is about $580 million.
** ELIZABETH ARDEN INC, $15.05, -23.25 pct
The company reported the biggest quarterly loss in its history due to a steeper-than-anticipated fall in sales of celebrity perfumes, particularly Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift brands. Quarterly sales plunged 28.4 percent, the steepest in a decade, and the company warned that weak sales would continue for the next six months.
** SKILLED HEALTHCARE GROUP INC, $7.45, +21.14 pct
Skilled Healthcare Group and privately held Genesis HealthCare said on Monday they have agreed to combine in an all-stock transaction that will create one of the largest U.S. operators of long-term care facilities.
** AEROPOSTALE INC, $3.81, +17.59 pct
The teen apparel retailer said it had reappointed Julian Geiger as chief executive as it seeks to win back customers and stanch six quarters of losses. Geiger, 63, was CEO of the retailer from 1996 to 2009, and drove up sales at Aeropostale to $1.9 billion in 2008, from $140 million in 1998.
** ONCOTHYREON INC, $2.291, -17.59 pct
The drugmaker said its experimental antigen didn’t meet the main goal of improvement in overall survival, compared to a placebo, in Japanese patients suffering from Stage III non-small lung cancer. Merck KGaA, which is developing the drug under a license agreement, advised Oncothyreon to discontinue the study.
** AMERICAN WOODMARK CORP, $37.1, +18.42 pct
The kitchen cabinet maker reported better-than-expected first-quarter sales and profit, helped by increased home construction and remodeling activity.
** ALPHA NATURAL RESOURCES INC, $4.03, +4.13 pct
** PEABODY ENERGY CORP, $16.39, +2.76 pct
** ARCH COAL INC, $3.28, +2.18 pct
U.S. natural gas futures rose 2 pct in the morning, heading for a second straight day of gains, on forecasts of warmer weather late into the summer that could bump up demand for the gas that powers air conditioners.
** OVERLAND STORAGE INC, $3.55, +12.34 pct
** SPHERE 3D CORP, $7.1343, +5.87 pct
Data management and security software provider Overland launches V3 device that allows users to create and work on virtual computers over a network. The device in partnership with virtualisation software maker Sphere 3D, which has agreed to be bought by Overland.
** D.R. HORTON INC, $21.79, +3.12 pct
** LENNAR CORP, $38.85, +3.46 pct
** KB HOME, $17.7, +2.91 pct
** PULTEGROUP INC, $19.1, +1.70 pct
** TOLL BROTHERS INC, $35.36, +2.29 pct
U.S. housing starts surged and building permits rebounded strongly in July. Data suggests that U.S. housing market recovery back on track after stalling in the second half of last year
** GSI TECHNOLOGY INC, $5.36, +8.50 pct
** GIGOPTIX INC, $1.38, +3.76 pct
Network equipment chipmaker GigOptix offered $161 mln, or $6.50 per share, in cash, stock, special dividend of $3.17 per share for the memory chipmaker. The offer was at a premium of 32 percent to GSI Technology’s closing price on Monday.
** TJX COS INC, $59.17, +9.78 pct
The off-price retailer narrowed full-year earnings forecast range to $3.08-$3.16 per share from $3.05-$3.17. The company also reported a higher-than-expected second-quarter same-store sales. Adjusted profit beat average analyst estimate, helped by improvement in merchandise margins and apparel sales.
** EL POLLO LOCO HOLDINGS INC, $30, -9.64 pct
At least four brokerages, including Morgan Stanley, started coverage on the quick service restaurant’s stock with a “neutral” or lower rating. Baird analysts said the current valuation is not discounting some risks associated with accelerating growth into new markets. The stock had risen about 121 percent since the company went public on July 24.
** MAGNUM HUNTER RESOURCES, $6.56, +5.13 pct
Oil and gas company said Chief Financial Officer Joseph Daches bought 25,000 shares at $6.04/share on Aug. 14
** DEPOMED INC, $14.45, +9.80 pct
U.S. District Court of New Jersey ruled in favor of the drugmaker in a patent lawsuit against Actavis Plc, saying that Actavis infringes seven Depomed patents. Actavis applied with U.S. FDA to sell generic version of Depomed’s pain drug, Gralise, in January 2012. The ruling provides for nearly 10 years of additional market exclusivity. Depomed patents are set to expire in February 2024.
** URBAN OUTFITTERS INC, $38.42, +4.06 pct
Sterne Agee & Leach raised its target price on the teen apparel retailer’s stock to $38 from $37. The company reported 7 percent rise in Q2 sales on Monday, helped by same-store sales growth in Anthropologie and Free People brands.
Robert W Baird & Co raised its rating to “outperform” from “neutral”, according to theflyonthewall.com
** ALMOST FAMILY INC, $27.82, +3.15 pct
Jefferies & Co raises the home healthcare services company’s stock to “buy” from “hold”, raises price target to $33 from $23. Analyst Brian Tanquilut said Almost Family’s better-than-expected second-quarter earnings underscore its strong fundamentals and ability to drive growth despite Medicare rate cuts. He said that likely mergers and acquisitions could raise estimated 2015 earnings per share by 50 pct.
** DOMTAR CORP, $37.86, +3.90 pct
Analysts at BofA Merrill Lynch upgraded the Canadian paper and pulp products maker's stock to "buy" from "underperform", according to Benzinga.com (bit.ly/1rknEYz)
** RACKSPACE HOSTING INC, $32.85, +3.24 pct
Blue Harbour Group LP said Monday it holds about 9.1 million shares, or 6.4 pct of stake, in the cloud services provider. The investment firm previously held 2.46 pct stake in company as of June 30, according to Thomson Reuters data.
“Rackspace has built an incredibly valuable business with excellent long-term prospects that we believe are not reflected in the company’s current share price,” Blue Harbour Managing Director Todd Marcy said. (Compiled by Abhirup Roy in Bangalore; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)