(For faster updates on individual market-movers, Eikon users please use search string "STXBZ US"; for the Day Ahead newsletter, link.reuters.com/mex49s; for the Morning News Call newsletter, link.reuters.com/nex49s) U.S. stocks rallied in volatile trading on Thursday after the European Central Bank announced expanded measures to stimulate the region's sagging economy, as expected. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 0.68 percent at 17,673.6, the S&P 500 was up 0.69 percent at 2,046.19 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.81 percent at 4,705.42.
** LANDS’ END INC , $40.1, -20.92 pct
The apparel retailer forecast lower revenue from merchandise sales and services in the fourth quarter. “We were disappointed by the performance of our cold weather assortment, especially during the peak holiday period,” Chief Executive Edgar Huber said. International business was affected by unfavorable changes in currency exchange rates and lower sales in Europe. The company, spun off from Sears Holdings Corp last year, forecast Q4 earnings much below analysts’ average estimate.
** MINERVA NEUROSCIENCES INC, $5.08, +16.36 pct
Drug developer says that in early-stage study experimental insomnia drug showed significant improvements in sleep onset and sleep duration in patients suffering from major depressive disorder. The stock was the top percentage gainer on Nasdaq. The Study is conducted by Johnson & Johnson, which is collaborating with Minerva to develop the drug, MIN-202.
** CHUY’S HOLDINGS INC, $22.65, +13.53 pct
Wells Fargo upgrades the restaurant chain operator’s stock to “outperform” from “market perform” on valuation grounds. “... CHUY shares trade at a material discount to the top-15 growth restaurant companies as measured by combined unit and SSS (same-store sales) growth,” Wells Fargo analyst Jeff Farmer writes.
** JANUS CAPITAL, $17.95, +10.26 pct
Star bond fund manager Bill Gross has pumped more than $700 million of his own money into the Janus Global Unconstrained Bond Fund, Janus Capital Chief Executive Dick Weil said on Thursday.
** CITY NATIONAL CORP, $88.295, +18.41 pct
** ROYAL BANK OF CANADA, $74.47, -1.83 pct
** U.S.-listed shares, $60.08, -2.39 pct
Royal Bank of Canada said it would buy the U.S. lender serving high net worth clients in a cash-and-stock deal valued at $5.4 billion. RBC offered $47.25 in cash and 0.7489 in shares for each City National share. The total offer of $93.80 per share, based on RBC’s closing price of $62.16 on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday, represents a premium of nearly 26 percent to City National’s last closing price.
** F5 NETWORKS INC, $110.6, -12.19 pct
The network equipment maker reported revenue that missed Wall Street’s estimates for the first time in eight quarters due to “a marked decrease in the number of deals greater than $1 million”.
At least 8 brokerages cut price targets on the stock by as much as $25 to as low as $105; Median target price $133
“Comps become much more difficult in the coming quarters and the company will have to prove that newer initiatives like security can drive revenue re-acceleration and sustainable double-digit growth” Barclays analysts wrote in a note.
** AMERICAN AIRLINES GROUP INC, $55.15, +2.76 pct
** DELTA AIR LINES INC, $50.09, +1.85 pct
** JETBLUE AIRWAYS CORP, $16.311, +6.75 pct
** SOUTHWEST AIRLINES CO, $45.02, +7.63 pct
** UNITED CONTINENTAL HOLDINGS INC, $71.82, +3.77 pct
United Continental provided bullish outlook for 2015, in part due to lower fuel costs. Sees Q1 fuel cost between $1.96 and $2.01 per gallon, vs Q4 price of $2.83. Shares of other airlines also rose.
** JOHNSON CONTROLS INC, $47.67, +3.97 pct
The auto parts maker’s shares reports Q1 profit above analysts’ estimate The company also expects higher order rates for rest of the year
** EGALET CORP , $47.67, +3.97 pct
The company’s pain drug found to have low potential to be abused compared with Purdue Pharma’s MS Contin. The late-stage trial tested 38 recreational opioid user. All four analysts who cover the stock rate it “buy” or higher.
** DISCOVER FINANCIAL SERVICES, $57.53, -5.44 pct
At least 7 brokerages cut price targets on the credit card issuer’s stock. Of the 25 brokerages covering the stock, 19 rate it “buy” or above and six have a “hold” recommendation after the company’s Q4 profit widely misses average analyst estimate as it set aside more money to cover bad loans.
** TAL EDUCATION GROUP, $28.88, +5.02 pct
The after-school tutoring services provider in China reported better-than-expected 35.1 pct increase in Q3 revenue, driven by 35.6 pct rise in enrollments. The company expects Q4 revenue to rise 34-37 pct to $116.6-$119.2 million, above analysts’ average estimate of $116.3 mln.
** FXCM INC, $3.26, +39.91 pct
Retail forex brokerage increases margin requirements on foreign exchange instruments and gold to protect customers from extreme market volatility. U.S. National Futures Association tightens leverage rules for retail foreign exchange transactions. Minimum security deposits would be 5 pct for the Swiss franc, and 3 pct for the Swedish krona and Norwegian krone, regulator says.
** ASPEN TECHNOLOGY INC, $32.1, -6.90 pct
JP Morgan downgrades the supply chain management software provider to “underweight” from “neutral”; cuts price target to $36 from $46.50 . “Based on current oil prices, recent layoff reports, and conversations with customers and competitors we believe demand is taking a hit,” analysts write.
** LOGITECH INTERNATIONAL SA, $15.055, +6.85 pct
The company increased profitability outlook for full year 2015. The traders cited strong EBIT number of $76.4 mln for the third quarter. The stock was the top riser on Stoxx 600 , with a full-day’s 30-day average volume already traded.
** BLACKBERRY LTD, $13.19, +7.67 pct
** U.S.-listed shares, $10.6499, +7.25 pct
Samsung Electronics Co Ltd is actively pursuing a plan to take over or buy a significant stake in the canadian company despite statements from both companies this week denying that such a plan may be in the works, Canada's Financial Post reported. (bit.ly/1wpG0Ue)
** Amazon.com Inc, $308.06, +3.64 pct
U.S. tech giant Amazon is in talks to buy Israeli chipmaker Annapurna Labs for up to $370 million, financial newspaper Calcalist reported on Thursday.
** PETROBRAS , $7.62, +3.67 pct
** TOTAL SA , $51.53, -0.21 pct
** BP PLC , $38.81, -0.03 pct
** HALLIBURTON CO , $40.71, +0.05 pct
** SCHLUMBERGER LTD , $81.23, -1.19 pct
** SEADRILL LTD , $10.55, +1.64 pct
** TRANSOCEAN LTD , $15.79, -1.68 pct
** NABORS INDUSTRIES LTD , $10.74, -1.11 pct
Brent crude rose ahead of an expected decision by European Central Bank to start buying bonds, a move which could push dollar to new highs and put downward pressure on commodities. Brent crude up 2 pct at $49.99 per barrel; U.S. crude up 1.5 pct at $48.49 per barrel.
** XILINX INC, $38.915, -6.25 pct
The programmable-chip maker’s shares forecast Q3 revenue and Q4 revenue below analysts’ average estimates. Results and forecast hurt by weak sales to broadcast and communications customers.
At least nine brokerages cut price targets, with Robert W. Baird & Co slashing by $8.00 to $44.00
** COLLABRX INC, $0.7101, +2.91 pct
The data analytics firm and Medytox Solutions Inc to negotiate a potential business combination. Companies enter into agreements to secure funding needed for CollabRx to continue to operate.
** SALLIE MAE CORP, $9, -7.12 pct
The provider of student loans forecasted 2015 EPS of 48-50 cents below analysts average estimate of 62 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Net income for the fourth quarter plunged 75 pct to $14.9 million, missing analysts’ average estimate. Provision for loan losses rises 7 pct to $30 million in Q4.
** FAMILY DOLLAR STORES INC, $76.52, +1.28 pct
** DOLLAR TREE INC, $70.305, +3.68 pct
** DOLLAR GENERAL CORP, $69.67, +3.66 pct
Family Dollar Storess shareholders approved the discount retailer’s deal to be bought by Dollar Tree, derailing a higher hostile offer from larger rival Dollar General.
Dollar General said it will retain Rick Dreiling as CEO through Jan. 29, 2016 or until a successor is appointed
** ARROWHEAD RESEARCH CORP, $6.6101, +0.00 pct
Deutsche Bank downgrades the drug developer’s stock to “hold” from “buy”; and slashes price target to $7 from $20 after the U.S FDA last week placed company’s experimental hepatitis B treatment on partial clinical hold, seeking additional data from the drug’s mid-stage study. Three of the five analysts covering the stock have a “buy” or higher rating, while two rate it “hold”.
** MEDIVATION , $104.36, -6.15 pct
The drug developer says its prostate cancer therapy Xtandi was not as safe as AstraZeneca Plc’s treatment Casodex in a mid-stage study. 31 pct patients given Xtandi had serious adverse reactions compared with 23.3 pct patients who were given Casodex. Xtandi increased the time patients survived without progression of the disease to 15.7 months, compared to 5.8 months among Casodex patients.
** LENTUO INTERNATIONAL INC, $0.7103, +12.02 pct
China-based automobile retailer says Chairman Hetong Guo and Chief Executive Jing Yang to use personal funds to buy its American depositary shares for up to $1 million in a month. The company’s revenue from automobile sales fell 22.3 pct in Q3 due to continuing impact from Beijing’s policy to limit number of new license plates issued annually
** KEYCORP, $13.1, +6.24 pct
The lender reported better-than-expected Q4 profit as it earns more from investment banking. The company reported Q4 earnings of 28 cents per share from continuing operations compared with average analyst estimate of 26 cents.
** CHINA RECYCLING ENERGY CORP, $0.7302, -3.41 pct
The waste management company estimated 14.3 pct fall in net income for Q4 ended Dec. 31, from a year earlier. Now expects Shandong boxing project to be completed in Q2. It had previously expected the project to be completed in Q1.
** QUALITY SYSTEMS INC, $16.88, +4.84 pct
The healthcare services provider reported Q3 adjusted earnings of 16 cents per share, above the average analyst estimate of 14 cents; revenue also tops analyst estimates. Healthcare IT firm Mirth Corp, which Quality Systems acquired in 2013, driving the revenue growth. Growth is also attributable to broadening product portfolio, which now includes 32 products, Cowen and Co analysts say.
** SANDISK CORP, $77.25, -3.97 pct
The memory chip maker forecast current-quarter and full-year 2015 revenue well below Wall Street expectations, saying it would be unable to meet demand for flash memory storage chips until mid-year due to lean inventory levels.
** INTREXON CORP, $28.19, -0.74 pct
The synthetic biology company’s offering of 3.8 million shares priced at $27.00 each, a discount of 4.9 pct to the stock’s Wednesday’s closing price. Company had about 100.5 mln shares outstanding as of Wednesday, according to Thomson Reuters data.
** BIOMARIN PHARMACEUTICAL INC, $94.377, -1.83 pct
The drugmaker’s offering of 8.5 mln shares priced at $93.25 each, a 3 pct discount to the stock’s Wednesday close. THe company had 147.4 mln shares outstanding as of Sept. 30, according to Thomson Reuters data. Says to use net proceeds to fund acquisition of Dutch drug developer Prosensa Holding NV and for general corporate purposes.
** AMERICAN EXPRESS CO, $85.08, -2.95 pct
The world’s largest credit card issuer will cut more than 4,000 jobs this year, an executive said, after the credit card company also reported higher quarterly expenses and provisions for bad loans. The planned redundancies, from a workforce of nearly 63,000, contributed to a $313 million pre-tax restructuring charge.
Jefferies cuts price target to $90 from $95, Barclays to $96 from $100, and Bernstein to $97 from $99.
** EBAY INC, $56.79, +6.39 pct
The company plans to break up into three different companies to accommodate would-be suitors, signaling a potential merger fight after the breakup.
The company plans to spin off its payments division, PayPal, from its core marketplace division in the second half of the year, making two standalone publicly traded companies that some analysts say could be worth more than the combined entity.
Cowen and Co raises price target to $57 from $55, RBC Capital Markets to $58 from $55 and Susquehanna Financial Group to $59 from $52.
** VERIZON COMMUNICATIONS INC, $47.19, -2.20 pct
The company’s quarterly revenue rose 6.8 percent due to higher net addition of postpaid subscribers and a rise in average revenue per account as users added more devices to shared data plans. The company, however, reported a loss of $2.15 billion, or 54 cents per share, for the fourth quarter compared with a profit of $7.92 billion, or $1.76 per share, a year earlier, mainly due to valuation of benefits plan and pension adjustments.
** GANNETT CO INC, $31.55, +0.61 pct
Activist investor Carl Icahn nominated two directors to the USA Today publisher’s board. Icahn, who owned about 6.6 percent of Gannett as of Sept. 30, said he was concerned about the decisions the company may make in anticipation of its proposed spinoff.
** CYTRX CORP, $3.025, -1.47 pct
The drug developer’s drug for connective tissue cancer showed 27 pct reduction in risk of death in patients, compared with those treated with standard of care. Patients treated with the drug, Aldoxorubicin, also showed more likelihood of surviving more than 2 years. Drug has also shown effectiveness in brain cancer and a type of skin cancer.
** KERYX BIOPHARMACEUTICALS INC, $13.08, +1.63 pct
The drug developer’s offering of 9.2 mln shares priced at $12 each, a discount of 6.8 pct to Wednesday’s close. The company, which had 91.9 mln shares outstanding as of Wednesday’s close, said it would use $110 mln proceeds to fund marketing of recently approved chronic kidney disease treatment Auryxia. (Compiled by Rosmi Shaji in Bengaluru; Edited by Don Sebastian)