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The S&P 500 and the Dow touched intraday records on Monday before pulling back to trade close to unchanged, while strength in semiconductors boosted the Nasdaq. The Dow Jones industrial average was down 0.19 percent at 17,357.19, the S&P 500 was down 0.11 percent at 2,015.88 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 2.18 points, or 0.05 percent, at 4,632.92.
** ALIBABA GROUP, $101.29,+2.73 pct
The Chinese e-commerce giant broke through the $250 billion market-cap club a day before its first earnings announcement.
Portfolios run by T. Rowe Price Group and Fidelity Investments were the largest mutual fund investors in Alibaba Group, according to recent fund disclosures. Brokers involved in the IPO had issued positive reports once the blackout ended last week, with Goldman Sachs the most conservative among the bulge bracket brokers.
** SAPIENT CORP, $24.57, +41.86 pct
Publicis, the world’s third-largest advertising agency, has agreed to buy the digital ad specialist for $3.7 billion in cash as it seeks to accelerate growth after a botched merger earlier this year.
** NYMOX PHARMACEUTICALS CO, $0.8704, -83.07 pct
The drug developer said its drug, NX-1207, to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), or enlargement of the prostate, failed to meet the main goals of two late-stage studies.
** FEDERATED NATIONAL HOLDING CO, $30.176, -9.81 pct
Raymond James downgraded the insurer’s stock to “market perform”. Three of four brokerages covering stock rated it “hold” or equivalent, while one had a “strong buy. The stock was among the day’s top percentage losers on the Nasdaq, falling as much as 14.6 pct - its biggest intraday slide since mid-2009.
** ASM INTERNATIONAL NV, $41.065, +25.47 pct
Analysts at Rabobank raised their price target on the Dutch chipmaker’s stock to 39 euros from 37 euros. Rabobank analysts wrote in a note that “Besides another strong operational performance in Q3, ASMI surprised positively with the announcement of a share buyback of EUR 100m for 2014-2015”.
** CHANGYOU.COM LTD, $25.03, +4.12 pct
The China-based game developer reported a better-than-expected third quarter profit as it signed up more users for its online game Tian Long Ba Bu, also called Dragon Oath.
** AMERICAN REALTY CAPITAL PROPERTIES, $7.855, -11.44 pct
** RCS CAPITAL CORP,, $13.82, -15.78 pct
U.S. authorities have opened a criminal probe in the wake of American Realty’s disclosure that it had uncovered accounting errors, two sources familiar with the matter said on Friday.
RCS Capital Corp terminated an agreement to buy American Realty unit Cole Capital, but did not disclose a reason.
** FRANCESCA’S HOLDINGS CORP, $11.47, -3.69 pct
Wedbush Securities downgraded the fashion apparel and accessories retailer’s stock to “neutral” from “outperform” and cut its price target to $13 from $18.
The company’s stores have been consistently more promotional than last year for the past four-six weeks, Wedbush analysts Morry Brown and Taryn Kuida write in a note.
** MERCER INTERNATIONAL INC , $12.7975, +1.73 pct
CIBC upgraded the Canadian pulp producer’s shares U.S.-listed stock to “sector performer,” and raised its price target to $13 from $8.50.
Credit Suisse raised its price target to $14 from $12.
** HALYARD HEALTH INC, $38.35, +1.00 pct
Shares of the spun-off healthcare unit of Kimberly-Clark Corp rose marginally in their market debut on Monday as many of the investors who expect the company to benefit from the Ebola crisis apparently bought the stock during its near two-week period of unofficial trading.
** ANI PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $40.93, +20.52 pct
The generic drugmaker reported third-quarter profit and revenue above analysts’ estimates, helped by an increase in net prescription sales.
** ALLERGAN INC, $193, +1.55 pct
The botox maker said in a regulatory filing it has been approached by another party regarding a potential transaction. (1.usa.gov/1DSB9PG)
** COVANCE INC, Friday close $100.48, +25.76 pct
** LABORATORY CORP OF AMERICA HOLDINGS, $101, -7.59 pct
Laboratory Corp, a provider of healthcare diagnostic services, said it would buy contract research company Covance for about $6.1 billion in cash and stock.
** GERON CORP, $2.82, +26.46 pct
The drugmaker said the U.S. FDA removed a full clinical hold on the investigational new drug application for its treatment, imetelstat, for a rare form of blood cancer.
A mid-stage trial of treatment, which is being tested for myelofibrosis, is expected to begin in first half of 2015, it said.
** AMREIT INC, $26.41, +7.18 pct
The U.S. shopping mall owner will be bought by Edens Investment Trust for $522.6 million, or $26.55 per share, a premium of nearly 8 percent to AmREIT’s Friday closing price.
** SYSCO CORP, $37.505, -2.69 pct
The food distributor said it did not expect to complete its acquisition of US Foods Inc this year and it was still in talks with U.S. antitrust regulators to secure approval for the deal.
** HERBALIFE LTD, $55.69, +6.16 pct
The nutrition and supplements company will pay $15 million to settle an 18-month battle over a class action lawsuit brought by a former distributor claiming that the company is running an alleged pyramid scheme, according to a U.S. court filing.
** PORTUGAL TELECOM, $1.62, -0.61 pct
Altice SA said it made a fully financed offer to buy the Portuguese assets of the company from Oi SA .
** ANGLOGOLD ASHANTI LTD, $10.15, +22.73 pct
The South African gold producer, which runs the world’s deepest mines, said on Monday it had completed six months without any fatalities, a first for a company that has struggled with the industry’s “zero harm” target.
** RYANAIR HOLDINGS PLC, $58.76, +5.80 pct
The Irish carrier raised its annual profit forecast almost 20 percent on Monday thanks to a surge in winter bookings and said it would cut fares by up to 10 percent in the new year to take more market share from struggling airline rivals. (Compiled by Avik Das in Bangalore; Editing by Joyjeet Das)