(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 inched higher on Friday as euro zone ministers, Greece agree on draft accord. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 0.23 percent at 18,027.73, the S&P 500 was up 0.08 percent at 2,099.11 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.17 percent at 4,933.296.
** COLLABRX INC, $1.21, -35.98 pct
The healthcare data analytics company’s offering of 3.84 million shares was priced at $1.25 per share, while the exercise price of warrants to buy up to 3.84 million shares was set at $1.56 apiece, exercisable immediately. CollabRx expects gross proceeds of about $4.8 million.
The stock has swung wildly this week, falling about 23 and 19 percent on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, before soaring 66 percent on Thursday.
** NOODLES & CO, $19.8, -28.62 pct
The fast-casual restaurant chain operator’s holiday-quarter results and 2015 adjusted profit forecast was short of analysts’ average estimates.
Robert W. Baird & Co cut its rating to “neutral” from “outperform” and Janney Capital Markets cut to “neutral” from “buy”. Six others lowered price targets and Barclays cuts to $20, the lowest.
Barclays said, “Unfortunately, 4Q14 results disappointed top to bottom, likely leading to significant underperformance today, and not unlike two of the past three quarters. And looking to ‘15, while EPS growth guidance was tempered, it still calls for 20 percent growth, which appears aggressive.”
** ROCKET FUEL INC, $10.9901, -25.59 pct
The web-based video advertising provider’s fourth-quarter revenue was below market expectations as, according to Evercore ISI, the contribution from the recently acquired X+1 was “not enough to offset accelerating declines in core growth.”
The company also forecast current-quarter adjusted EBITDA to be a loss of $18-$19 million, much wider than analysts’ estimates of a loss of $2.9 million.
Needham & Co downgraded stock to “hold” from “buy”. Evercore more than halved its price target to $8 from $19, while Oppenheimer cut its rating to “perform”, according to Theflyonthewall.com.
** AVON PRODUCTS INC, $8.39, -3.89 pct
RBC Capital Markets cuts its price target to $8 from $9 saying, “We remain cautious on AVP shares given lack of visibility on near/mid-term EPS power and poor cash generation (making a sustainable turnaround less likely).”
The brokerage adds, ”However, we acknowledge the high short interest, already poor sentiment and headline risk over often-reported take-out speculation (which we believe is highly unlikely).
** NOVO NORDISK, $47.52, +5.20 pct
The Danish drugmaker, the world’s biggest insulin maker, said it had received positive results from a mid-stage trial of an oral version of a long-acting GLP-1 drug for treatment of people with type 2 diabetes.
** CELSION CORP, $3.12, +11.83 pct
The drug developer said pre-clinical data showed that its immunotherapy drug could benefit ovarian cancer patients.
** MOHAWK INDUSTRIES INC, $182.25, +5.55 pct
The flooring services provider reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter profit and revenue, helped by 4 percent increase in carpet sales, which is its largest business. Raymond James raised its price target to $200 from $180 as it expects the company to benefit from low raw material prices in second half of the year.
** MRC GLOBAL INC, $12.53, -7.19 pct
The company, which supplies pipes, valves and fittings to the energy industry, reported lower-than-expected fourth-quarter profit as costs rose.
** ELDORADO GOLD CORP, $5.32, +5.98 pct
The Canadian gold miner Eldorado Gold reported fourth-quarter profit compared with a year-ago loss, helped by higher gold production and sales.
** INCONTACT INC, $11.389, +16.10 pct
The company, which provides cloud software to call-centers, reported fourth-quarter loss that was smaller than analysts’ average estimate. The 2015 loss forecast was also smaller than expectations. “The 44% bookings growth... with 41% organic software growth in Q4 puts them in very elite company... the industry is tipping to the cloud”, Craig Hallum said. The brokerage and Piper Jaffray both raised their price targets on the stock.
** SALIX PHARMA LTD, $157, +4.15 pct
** VALEANT PHARMACEUTICALS INTERNATIONAL INC, $173.1, +2.35 pct
Canada’s Valeant Pharmaceuticals could acquire bowel drug maker Salix for around $160 per share as early as next week, Reuters reported on Friday, citing a source.
** PARAGON OFFSHORE PLC, $2.7, -6.25 pct
The offshore drilling contractor reported bettter-than-expected results for the fourth quarter, but on an earnings call on Friday added it would suspend dividend for the time being and that 2015 is going to be a challenging year for the industry.
** GTT COMMUNICATIONS INC, $14.09, +14.18 pct
The cloud services provider said it will buy privately held MegaPath Corp’s managed services business for $144.8 mln in cash and $7.5 mln in stock.
** BIOTELEMETRY INC, $9.66, -10.14 pct
The cardiac monitoring device maker reported lower-than-expected fourth-quarter adjusted profit due to a 22.7 percent rise in operating expenses.
** UNIVERSAL ELECTRONICS, $57.3, -10.36 pct
The consumer technology company forecast first-quarter revenue and profit below analysts’ estimates.
** MIMEDX GROUP INC, $9.7728, +4.19 pct
Needham & Co upgraded wound-care product maker’s stock to “strong buy” from “buy”, saying “We see a number of factors that should drive near-term growth, including additional insurance coverage, increased penetration of the surgical market, and sales force expansion,” the analysts write.
** ACACIA RESEARCH CORP, $12.925, -2.67 pct
The patent licensing company posted lower-than-expected adjusted profit for the fourth quarter due to higher expenses. Barclays Capital cut its price target to $15 from $20, Cowen and Company cuts price target to $20 from $24.
** SELECT MEDICAL HOLDINGS CORP, $13.46, -3.93 pct
The specialty hospital operator forecast 2015 earnings largely below analysts’ estimates.
** IRON MOUNTAIN INC, $36.59, -5.77 pct
The storage and information management services provider’s fourth-quarter funds from operations matched analysts’ average estimate but revenue fell short for the first time this fiscal due to the stronger dollar.
** BUILDERS FIRSTSOURCE INC, $6.1999, -11.68 pct
The building products supplier reported lower-than-expected fourth-quarter profit and revenue, hurt by weak construction activity.
** ARIAD PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $7.935, +9.15 pct
The cancer drugmaker’s largest shareholder, Sarissa Capital, launches a proxy fight asking for the drugmaker’s CEO to retire.
** SIZMEK INC, $7.773, +14.31 pct
The advertising management company posted 3 percent rise in fourth-quarter revenue, helped by higher income from its mobile, video and data-based product.
** ANN INC, $36.86, +5.07 pct
The owner of the Ann Taylor and Loft women’s clothing stores is exploring a sale and has reached out to potential buyers, Bloomberg said, citing people with knowledge of the matter. Ann Inc was valued at $1.6 billion as of Thursday’s close. Ann entered into confidentiality agreement with private equity firm Golden Gate Capital in October, after some hedge funds pushed for sale.
** CORGENIX MEDICAL CORP, $0.2715, +4.42 pct
The World Health Organization has approved the first rapid test for Ebola in a potential breakthrough for ending an epidemic that has killed almost 10,000 people in West Africa. The test is developed by Corgenix.
** IVANHOE ENERGY, $0.443, -36.71 pct
The Canadian oil and gas company said it intended to file for bankruptcy. The company said it would continue to pursue strategic alternatives, including restructuring its debt, selling assets, and added that it was in talks with various stakeholders to recapitalize the company.
Ivanhoe has said in December that it was exploring a sale of the company and that it could default on an interest payment of about C$2.1 million due on Dec. 31.
** CALIFORNIA RESOURCES CORP, $7.17, +7.01 pct
The oil and gas producer slashed 2015 capital budget by nearly 80 pct to $400-$450 million from a year earlier. The company said it has reduced rig count to three rigs for 2015, down from 27 rigs by the end of last November.
** SPRINT CORP, $4.77, -2.25 pct
Sprint and iHeart Communications priced benchmark-sized drive-by deals in the US high-yield bond market on Thursday, both trades upsized amid solid demand from return-hungry investors.
** ARISTA NETWORKS INC, $69.81, +2.68 pct
The cloud networking software maker reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter adjusted profit and revenue and forecast first-quarter revenue largely above estimates, which Barclays said suggests that the impact of the Cisco lawsuit is minimal - at least near term.
“In short, we continue to believe fundamentals in data center switching are healthy and view Arista as a share gainer over a multi-year time frame,” said the brokerage. Barclays and Cowen & Co raised their price targets on the stock.
** TRUECAR INC, $18.13, -12.71 pct
JMP Securities attributed the shares fall to the online car shopping service provider’s in-line fourth-quarter results, decelerating average monthly unique user growth and the likelihood that the cost-per-car-sold increases about $10-$15 this year, shares fell.
But, the brokerage said it “would take advantage of any material weakness in the stock”, reiterating its “market outperform” rating and boosted its price target to $24 from $23. JMP pointed to the company’s continued market share gains, strong unit growth at TrueCar.com and improved marketing efficiency.
** MEI PHARMA INC, $5.4, +7.14 pct
Bank of America Merrill Lynch started coverage of the drug developer’s stock with a “buy” rating and a $9 price target. Analysts see significant opportunity for the company in indications like leukemia and myelodysplastic syndromes.
** NOVATEL WIRELESS INC, $5.14, +1.78 pct
The wireless network gear provider posted fourth-quarter profit and revenue above estimates, helped by higher sales of its mobile computing products. The company forecasts first-quarter revenue above estimates. Canaccord Genuity raised its price target on the stock to $5 from $3.
** NEWMONT MINING CORP, $26.24, +7.28 pct
The U.S.’s largest gold producer reported on Thursday a narrower adjusted fourth quarter profit, though earnings were stronger than expected.
** NORDSTROM INC, $80.58, +4.46 pct
The upscale department store operator reported a lower-than-expected quarterly profit as it spent more on technology upgrades and store expansion, and increased discounts at its Rack brand stores in the holiday shopping season.
JP Morgan lowered the target price on company’s stock to $76 from $80; Cowen & Co lowered target price to $87 from $91.
** INTUIT INC, $96.085, +5.46 pct
The company reported a smaller-than-expected quarterly loss due to a strong demand for its online tax-preparation software, TurboTax, at the start of the U.S. tax-filing season.
** ASCENT SOLAR INC, $1.7101, -14.92 pct
The solar module maker entered into securities and purchase agreement with an investor to sell $2.5 million shares of Series D-1 Convertible Preferred Stock and warrants to buy up to 541,126 shares. (1.usa.gov/1CSEJbM) (Compiled by Neha Dimri in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza)