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U.S. stocks were little changed on Wednesday, a day after the S&P 500 reached its highest level of the year and ahead of a meeting of euro zone finance ministers to discuss plans for Greece’s debt. The Dow Jones industrial average was down 0.18 percent at 17,836.55, the S&P 500 was down 0.03 percent at 2,068.05 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.34 percent at 4,803.68.
** PEPSICO INC, $100.23, +2.29 pct
The beverage maker reported a better-than-expected fourth-quarter profit, driven by a 3 percent rise in revenue at its North American snack business.
** LIONS GATE ENTERTAINMENT CORP, $32.52, +9.53 pct
The movie studio will issue shares to cable TV pioneer John Malone in exchange for a part of his stake in cable network Starz.
** MONDELEZ INTERNATIONAL INC, $36.485, +1.88 pct
The maker of Cadbury chocolate and Oreo cookies, reported a better-than-expected adjusted quarterly profit and said it expects cost cuts to boost full-year adjusted operating margin this year.
** AOL INC, $39.81, -11.20 pct
The digital media company said 2015 revenue will be hurt in the first half of the year by a sales force realignment. The company added that in 2015, it expects revenue for its membership group to decline in the high single digits in percentage terms, while domestic display revenue is expected to decline in the high single digits in first half of the year before rebounding in the second half.
** ADVAXIS INC, $7.9072, +12.64 pct
The company said it would collaborate with Incyte Corp to test a combination of Advaxis’ immunotherapy, ADXS-HPV, and Incyte’s epacadostat, for use in cervical cancer
** BALLARD POWER SYSTEMS INC, $2.467, +45.98 pct
The company signed an $80 million deal with Volkswagen Group to transfer fuel cell intellectual property. It also extended the long-term engineering services agreement signed in 2013 through March 2019.
** RITE AID CORP, $8.36, +10.29 pct
The drugstore operator said it would buy pharmacy benefit manager EnvisionRx for about $2 billion, to enter the business of administering drug benefits for employers.
** A10 NETWORKS INC, $4.07, -16.77 pct
JP Morgan cut its price target on the company’s stock to $6 from $6.50.
“...With the first-quarter guide for a 6 percent year-on-year decline in revenues the company will have to work hard to deliver full year growth above the market,” analysts wrote in a note.
** HEAT BIOLOGICS INC, $5.61, +8.44 pct
The cancer vaccine developer presented positive preclinical data on a re-engineered version of its experimental cancer vaccine technology at a medical conference.
** THORATEC CORP, $39.67, +8.95 pct
Analysts at Leerink Partners LLC raised their price target on the stock to $45 from $32, Raymond James to $41 from $29 and Canaccord Genuity to $41 to $39. The heart device maker also reported a higher-than-expected fourth-quarter profit on Tuesday as its sales grew.
** CAESARSTONE SDOT-YAM LTD, $61.38, -4.33 pct
The company said it expects 2015 revenue of $515 million-$525 million, compared with the average analyst estimate of $530 million.
** ACCO BRANDS CORP, $7.39, -8.43 pct
The branded school and office product maker said it expects 2015 adjusted earnings of 78-82 cents per share, largely below analysts estimate of 82 cents.
** DELCATH SYSTEMS INC, $1.04, -21.21 pct
The medical device maker said it will offer 2.46 million shares of its common stock and warrants to purchase up to 1.1 million shares at a combined price of $1.15 per share and related warrants.
** 500.COM LTD, $17.25, -10.06 pct
The Chinese online lottery platform’s fourth-quarter adjusted profit missed the average estimate of two analysts, as costs increased.
** DIGITAL ALLY INC, $12.23, +16.48 pct
The wearable video camera maker said demand for its FleetVU Manager software continues to expand among commercial fleet operators. The company recently received orders from operators of ambulances, taxis and small-bus fleets.
** AWARE INC, $4.61, -9.78 pct
The imaging software maker’s fourth-quarter revenue fell 24 percent to $4.3 million, hurt by lower sales of hardware products.
** JONES ENERGY INC, $10.08, -11.03 pct
** SEVENTY SEVEN ENERGY INC, $4.78, -9.30 pct
** STONE ENERGY CORP, $16.01, -4.42 pct
** PENN WEST PETROLEUM LTD, $2.46, -4.65 pct
** POSTROCK ENERGY CORP, $5.1, -18.40 pct
** REXX ENERGY CORP, $4.43, -3.70 pct
** BREITBURN ENERGY PARTNERS LP, $7.329, -5.06 pct
Oil fell below $55/bbl ahead of U.S. government data expected to show domestic crude stockpiles at all-time highs
Brent crude down 3.5 pct at $54.48/bbl at 10:25 ET; U.S. crude down 2.6 pct at $48.70/bbl.
** PINGTAN MARINE ENTERPRISE LTD, $3.1, +4.03 pct
The Chinese ocean fishing company said its subsidiary, Fujian Provincial Pingtan County Ocean Fishing Group Co Ltd, entered into an investment agreement with China Agriculture Industry Development Fund Co Ltd. China Agriculture will invest 400 million yuan (about $64 million) for a 8 percent stake in Pingtan Fishing’s operating company.
** INTERXION HOLDING NV, $32.5, +16.07 pct
British data center provider Telecity Group Plc has agreed a non-binding $2.2 billion all-share deal to buy New York-listed Interxion, looking to tap growing demand for “cloud” technology.
** ZOETIS INC, $45.61, +3.87 pct
The animal health company reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter results, which Jefferies & Co says was due to a lower-than-expected tax rate.
The company cut its 2015 revenue forecast, which now largely matches Wall Street estimates, to reflect the forex impact and completion of an acquisition.
** ONCOLYTICS BIOTECH INC, $0.52, +10.64 pct
The Canadian biotech company said the U.S. FDA granted its lead drug, reolysin, orphan drug status for the treatment of ovarian cancer.
** BELLATRIX EXPLORATION LTD, $2.53, +13.96 pct
Prominent hedge fund manager Seth Klarman bought 21.8 million shares of the company, representing an 11.4 percent stake, according to a regulatory filing on Tuesday. (1.usa.gov/1ISluIa)
** CHICO’S FAS INC, $18.33, +6.26 pct
Private equity firm Sycamore Partners is in talks to buy the women’s apparel retailer and is trying to secure debt financing of up to $3 billion, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.
** PIER 1 IMPORTS INC, $13.13, -22.63 pct
The furniture retailer forecast 2015 profit below analysts’ expectations, citing weak sales in January and February and higher supply chain costs.
** TESLA MOTORS INC, $209.26, -3.25 pct
Chief Executive Elon Musk is prepared to fire overseas executives, people with knowledge of the matter said, after weak Chinese sales of the company’s luxury electric cars cast doubt on his ambitious global expansion plans.
** SANGAMO BIOSCIENCES INC, $14.74, +16.34 pct
The biotechnology company’s fourth-quarter revenue was $15 million, compared with the average analyst estimate of $14.5 million, helped by payments from deals with companies such as Shire, Biogen Idec, Dow AgroSciences, and Sigma Aldrich.
** GILEAD SCIENCES INC, $100.35, +2.06 pct
The drugmaker said on Tuesday that it expects the number of hepatitis C patients treated in Europe with its Sovaldi drug to increase dramatically this year, and that approvals for the newer combination pill, Harvoni, could come quickly.
** APPLE INC, $123.9701, +1.60 pct
** FIRST SOLAR INC, $48.9, +0.74 pct
The iPhone maker will buy about $850 million of power from a new California solar farm to cut its energy bill, it said on Tuesday as its stock market value closed above $700 billion for the first time.
The First Solar plant, with the capacity to power the equivalent of 60,000 homes, will be used to supply electricity for Apple’s new campus in Silicon Valley, and its other offices and 52 stores in the state, Chief Executive Tim Cook said at a Goldman Sachs technology conference in San Francisco.
** MOLINA HEALTHCARE INC, $58.27, +3.57 pct
The company reported higher-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings, helped by an increase in premiums. (Compiled by Amrutha Penumudi in Bengaluru; Editing by Simon Jennings)