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U.S. stock indexes were higher in thin trading on Thursday, with investors hanging fire ahead of the Federal Reserve’s interest rate decision later in the day. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 0.12 percent at 16,759.7, the S&P 500 was up 0.18 percent at 1,998.9 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.35 percent at 4,906.239.
** AERIE PHARMACEUTICALS INC $31.46, +74.78 pct
The drugmaker said on Wednesday its experimental eye drop met the main goal of a late-stage study. The drug, Rhopressa, showed that it was not inferior to a commonly prescribed treatment, timolol, in reducing pressure inside the eye in patients suffering from glaucoma, or ocular hypertension, the company said.
At least five brokerages raised their price targets by as much as $18 to as high as $49.
** CABLEVISION SYSTEMS CORP, $32.835, +15.05 pct
European telecoms group Altice has agreed to buy the fourth-largest U.S. cable TV operator for a mix of cash and shares in a deal worth $17.7 billion, including debt.
** VAALCO ENERGY INC, $2.149, +24.22 pct
The oil producer reported production from the North Tchibala 1-H well in Gabon, the first offshore production for the industry from the Dentale reservoir in the African country. The well was brought online at a rate little more than 3,000 gross barrels of oil per day, the company said.
** ANTHERA PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $9.335, +16.98 pct
Citigroup started covering the stock with a “buy” rating, citing bullish prospects for the company’s drugs. Anthera’s two-drug pipeline should provide benefits over standard-of-care in each targeted disease space, Citi said. Sollpura, Anthera’s experimental pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy, is differentiated enough to drive significant adoption, Citi said.
** TG THERAPEUTICS INC, $14.45, +23.29 pct
The drug developer said it received a Special Protocol Assessment (SPA) Agreement from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for a first late-stage study of its experimental combination treatment for a type of blood and bone marrow cancer. An SPA agreement is a declaration by the FDA that the company’s trial design and endpoints are acceptable for an approval.
** REGENXBIO INC, $30.68, +39.45 pct
The company’s shares rose as much as 45.5 percent in their debut. Regenxbio offered 6.3 million shares, upsized from 5.6 million, at $22 each, above the expected range of $17-$19, raising $139 million. The company will have roughly $230 million in cash-on-hand after the offering, assuming full exercise of green shoe, according to prospectus filings.
** INTRA-CELLULAR THERAPIES INC, $55.4567, +13.66 pct
At least six brokerages raised their price targets on the stock after the drug developer said on Wednesday that its lead schizophrenia drug was found effective in higher dosage. Based on efficacy data, the drug, ITI-007, is comparable to predominant schizophrenia therapies, Guggenheim Securities analysts said. “We believe the combination of fast action and safety should help ITI-007 gain rapid market penetration once launched,” a SunTrust Robinson Humphrey analyst said.
** CLARCOR INC, $48.96, -12.01 pct
The air filtration system maker reported a lower-than-expected profit for the third quarter, hurt by lower demand for its products. The company cut its 2015 profit forecast to $2.70-$2.80 per share from $3.00-$3.15, anticipating lower sales, particularly in its largest industrial and environmental filtration business.
** UNITED CONTINENTAL HOLDINGS INC, $61.14, +5.50 pct
The airline operator, JPMorgan Chase & Co’s Chase Card Services and Visa Inc extended the United MileagePlus credit card program on Wednesday. United said it expected the agreement to increase operating revenue by about $200 million in the second half of the year. UBS raised the company’s 2015 earnings estimate by $0.65 to $11.75 per share and said the deal was expected to add to United’s full-year earnings.
** ORACLE CORP, $37.05, -3.19 pct
The company’s sales fell more than expected in the first quarter, hurt by a strong dollar and a continued drop in licensed software sales and the company warned revenue could fall in the current quarter even on a constant currency basis.
** SHOPIFY INC, $35.1, +21.41 pct
The Canadian e-commerce software maker said merchants who use its platform would be able to sell on Amazon.com Inc. The company currently has similar arrangements with other platforms such as Facebook Inc and Pinterest.
** PENN VIRGINIA CORP, $0.7827, -3.37 pct
The oil and natural gas producer suspended its quarterly dividend on preferred depositary stock for the quarter ending Sept. 30. Eliminating dividends will conserve $24 million annually as the company tries to fund its capital program through 2016, RBC Capital Markets analysts said. If dividends are not paid for six quarters, shareholders have the right to elect two additional directors.
** ALLIANCE HEALTHCARE SERVICES INC, $13.4, -20.85 pct
China’s Fujian Thai Hot Investment Co Ltd agreed to buy 5.5 million of the healthcare service provider’s shares, giving it a 51.5 percent stake in the company. Fujian will buy the shares for $18.50 each, a 9 percent premium to the stock’s Tuesday close, in a deal worth $102.5 million.
** WAFERGEN BIO-SYSTEMS INC, $1.78, +7.88 pct
The genetic analysis provider's technology was found effective in isolating thousands of single cells for analysis using sequencing. Data showed the system is capable of isolating and selecting over 13,000 single cells in less than 8 hours. (bit.ly/1MeiDaW)
** YINGLI GREEN ENERGY HOLDING CO LTD, $0.576, +6.67 pct
The Chinese solar company’s unit signed an agreement with CFC Group Construction Ltd to supply 170 megawatts of solar panels for utility plants in China. It will deliver over 650,000 solar panels to CFC Construction during the third and the fourth quarters. The deal is Yingli’s largest supply agreement in China.
** LINNCO LLC, $2.9969, +7.03 pct
** LINN ENERGY PLC, $3.49, +4.80 pct
** PIONEER ENERGY SERVICES CORP, $2.79, +4.49 pct
** LEGACY RESERVES LP, $5.25, +6.92 pct
** BONANZA CREEK ENERGY INC, $7.3, +4.58 pct
** SANCHEZ ENERGY CORP, $6.37, +4.60 pct
** STONE ENERGY CORP, $6.57, +3.96 pct
** CALIFORNIA RESOURCES CORP, $3.4, +4.62 pct
Shares of oil and gas producers rose after oil prices gained as a lower dollar and strong U.S. employment data balanced weak Japanese trade figures.
** PEABODY ENERGY CORP, $1.415, -10.44 pct
The coal miner announced a 1-for-15 reverse stock split and said the common stock would begin trading on split-adjusted basis on Oct. 1. The reverse split will reduce Peabody’s number of outstanding shares to about 19 million from 278 million.
** TEREX CORP, $19.93, -3.72 pct
Finnish crane maker Konecranes, which agreed to an all-share merger with Terex in August, said its 2015 operating profit would be roughly the same as last year’s due to lower-than-expected equipment deliveries.
** RITE AID CORP, $7.745, -9.84 pct
The drugstore chain operator cut its full-year forecast for drugstore sales and total earnings, citing “recent sales trends” and expenses related to its $2 billion acquisition of pharmacy benefit manager EnvisionRx.
** NVIDIA CORP, $23.48, +1.65 pct
Jefferies & Co raised its rating on the chipmaker’s stock to “buy” from “hold” and price target to $30 from $23. “With 20 percent of gaming sales occurring in the (United States), we think U.S. investors haven’t yet internalized how rapidly the eSports industry has grown,” analysts wrote in a note. Nvidia, the leading supplier of graphics chips that drive eSports games, is well positioned to benefit from growth in the gaming market, the analysts wrote.
** VERIZON COMMUNICATIONS INC, $45.051, -2.47 pct
The company warned that its full-year 2016 earnings might “plateau” at 2015 levels as it manages near-term impacts including commercial model change in wireless.
** ELI LILLY AND CO, $89.83, +6.37 pct
The drugmaker said its diabetes pill slashed deaths by 32 percent in a study of 7,000 patients at risk of heart attack and stroke. It said cardiovascular-related deaths fell 38 percent among patients taking its Jardiance pill.
** AMERICAN EAGLE OUTFITTERS INC, $16.32, +3.88 pct
The teen apparel retailer’s interim CEO Jay Schottenstein disclosed on Wednesday after market that he bought 500,000 shares for about $7.9 million. Schottenstein now owns about 1.8 percent of the company’s outstanding shares. “We believe this open market purchase is a show of confidence in the turnaround and momentum in the business,” Wolfe Research analyst Adrienne Tennant wrote in a note.
** HERMAN MILLER INC, $28.72, +3.09 pct
The furniture maker forecast second-quarter profit and sales above analysts’ estimates, buoyed by “improved momentum” in North America. Sales in the company’s North American business rose 6 percent in the first quarter and profit and net sales also beat expectations.
** WOLVERINE WORLD WIDE INC, $25.03, -8.11 pct
The footwear manufacturer and retailer estimated a third-quarter revenue decline of 4-5 percent due to the strong dollar, store closures and termination of a license agreement with Patagonia footwear. Analysts had expected revenue of $715.9 million, or a 0.6 percent rise.
** FITBIT INC, $38.5, +3.77 pct
The wearable device maker said on Wednesday it was set to grow its corporate wellness program after announcing it supports HIPAA compliance. HIPAA is the U.S. law governing security and privacy of personal health information used by health insurance plans and other covered entities. Also, Target Corp said it would offer Fitbit's activity trackers to its 335,000 US employees, according to Bloomberg.(bloom.bg/1F2r0Xv)
** SEQUENOM INC, $2.39, +15.46 pct
The diagnostic device maker said its unit signed a deal with UnitedHealthcare Insurance to provide prenatal lab tests for 43 million people in the United States.
** ZUMIEZ INC, $16.06, +7.93 pct
Stifel raised its rating on the sports apparel and accessories maker’s shares to “buy” from “hold” and set a price target of $18. Long term, the company is well positioned to drive comparable sales and achieve margin expansion, given its unique product assortment and ability to quickly chase trends, analysts wrote in a note. (Compiled by Manish Parashar in Bengaluru; Editing by Kirti Pandey)