U.S. stocks were little changed in choppy trading on Thursday as investors found little reason to buy following weak results from Wal-Mart Stores Inc and rising tensions in the Middle East.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 11.56 points, or 0.09 percent, at 12,582.51. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was up 1.88 points, or 0.14 percent, at 1,357.37. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 0.97 point, or 0.03 percent, at 2,845.84.
** NETAPP INC, $30.54, up 13 pct (0932 ET)
The data storage equipment maker’s second-quarter adjusted profit beat analysts’ expectations on higher service and maintenance revenue, and it forecast a strong current quarter, sending its shares up 12 percent in extended trading.
** WAL-MART STORES INC, $68.78, down 4 pct (0932 ET)
The world’s largest retailer reported quarterly sales below analysts’ expectations on Thursday, while sales at established U.S. discount stores trailed Wall Street estimates and traffic fell in China.
** SOLAZYME INC, $8.38, up 18 pct (0937 ET)
The bioproducts company posted a smaller-than-expected quarterly loss late Wednesday and signed an expansion agreement with agriculture group Bunge Ltd to increase production capacity to 300,000 metric tons annually by 2016.
It also agreed to produce its tailored algal oils in Archer-Daniels-Midland Company’s advanced fermentation plant in Clinton, Iowa in a strategic collaboration with one of the world’s top grain traders.
** PETSMART INC, $67.20, up 3.8 pct (0939 ET)
The pet products retailer posted a third-quarter profit well above market expectations and raised its full-year earnings forecast on Thursday.
** VIACOM INC, $49.03, up 2 pct (0933 ET)
The company, considered a yardstick for the health of TV advertising, on Thursday reported a decline in quarterly revenue on a sharp drop in movie box office sales, but its profit rose.
** DOLLAR TREE INC, $38.78, up 3 pct (0934 ET)
The retailer reported a higher quarterly profit on Thursday and said it expects sales to rise during the current holiday quarter.
** TEVA PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRIES, $38.82, up 0.5 pct (0935 ET)
** AMARIN CORP PLC, $11.25, up 5 pct (0935 ET)
Teva, the world’s largest generics drugmaker, is a leading candidate to buy Irish biopharmaceutical company Amarin, Israel’s Calcalist financial daily reported on Thursday.
Calcalist said British drugmaker AstraZeneca was also looking to buy Amarin.
** MEDIA GENERAL, $4.05, up 3 pct (0936 ET)
Warren Buffett’s conglomerate, Berkshire Hathaway, sold retailers and consumer heavyweight stocks in the third quarter, but took new positions in industrial manufacturers.
** GROUPON INC, $2.77, up 1.5 pct (0937 ET)
The company said on Wednesday that it promoted Kal Raman to chief operating officer, giving the executive more power as the world’s largest daily deal company tries to turn around its struggling international businesses.
** DIAMOND FOODS INC, $15.37, down 21 pct (0939 ET)
The maker of Emerald snack nuts, Kettle Chips and Pop Secret popcorn on Wednesday restated financial results for fiscal years 2010 and 2011 erasing $56.5 million in profit, and it posted a net loss for the first three quarters of 2012, after an accounting scandal hurt its ability to do business.
** VECTOR GROUP LTD, $14.65, down 4 pct (0939 ET)
The company said it will offer $150 million of its Senior Notes due 2019 in a registered public offering. It will also lend Jefferies & Company, the underwriter of the offering, 7 million shares of its common stock, which Jeffereies will sell in a registered public offering.
** VELTI PLC, $6.64, down 23 pct (0940 ET)
The mobile marketing company reported a surprise third-quarter loss on Wednesday on higher research and development expenses, and forecast full-year revenue largely below analyst estimates.
The company also said it has entered into an agreement to divest “certain declining assets” which have very long revenue collection cycles, are located in troubled economies and require heavy capital expenditure.
** SAFE BULKERS INC, $3.96, down 19 pct (0940 ET)
Citigroup lowered its price target on the drybulk shipper to $5 from $7 after Safe Bulkers cut its quarterly dividend by two-thirds to 5 cents per share from 15 cents per share previously.
** CHILDREN’S PLACE RETAIL STORES INC, $47.74, down 16 pct (0941 ET)
The kids’ clothing retailer cut its full-year adjusted profit forecast citing increased promotional activity after superstorm Sandy battered the U.S. northeast from where the company draws almost a third of its revenue.
** ACELRX PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $4.05, up 27 pct (0942 ET)
The Pharmaceutical company said its device to treat post-operative pain was at least as effective as the standard treatment, according to initial data from a late-stage study.
** MONSTER BEVERAGE CORP, $43.09 down 4 pct (0943 ET)
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration confirmed on Wednesday the receipt of reports that another caffeine drink, 5-hour Energy, may have been involved in a number of deaths - in this case 13 over the past four years. The news follows the FDA’s disclosure last month that it was investigating reports of five deaths that may be related to Monster Beverage’s namesake drinks.
** TPC GROUP INC, $47.80, up 4 pct (0943 ET)
Chemical maker Innospec raised its bid for peer TPC Group to about $745 million, aiming to thwart a rival offer from private equity firms First Reserve Corp and SK Capital Partners.
** HOT TOPIC INC $9.08, up 6 pct (0944 ET)
The apparel and accesory retailer reported third-quarter profit above analysts’ estimates, helped by gross margin improvements.
Broker Piper Jaffray & Co upgraded the stock to “overweight” from “neutral”, according to benzinga.com.
** TRANSDIGM GROUP INC, $122.75, down 7 pct (0932 ET)
Aircraft parts maker TransDigm Group reported lower-than-expected quarterly results and forcast fiscal year 2013 revenue and profit below analysts’ estimates. For 2013, the company, which supplies aircraft components for use on commercial and military aircraft in service, estimates revenue to be modestly down in its defense market business.
** ASPENBIO PHARMA INC, $2.11, down 14.15 pct (0942 ET)
The company, which is focused on development and marketing of blood-based appendicitis test, said it will offer 1.5 million common shares priced at $2.10 per share, a discount of nearly 15 percent to its market close on Wednesday.
** VEECO INSTRUMENTS INC, $27.11, down 6.7 percent (1000 ET)
The chip-equipment maker filed with the SEC notifying it of a delay in filing Veeco’s 10-Q report for the quarter ended Sep. 30.
The company said it requires additional time to evaluate the timing of recognition of certain sales revenue. (link.reuters.com/zuq93t)
** PANASONIC CORP , $4.89, up 6 pct (1013 ET)
The Japanese electronics group’s display business is on track for its first profit in five years in January-March, driven by stronger sales of liquid crystal display (LCD) panels for tablets and PCs, the head of the division said in an interview on Thursday.
** IAMGOLD CORP, $11.55 down 3.5 pct (1024 ET)
A day after the Canadian gold miner reported a 10 percent fall in revenue, several brokerages including RBC, Credit Suisse and TD Securities cut their rating on the stock.
** ELOQUA INC, $19.05, up 6 percent (1022 ET)
The company, which makes software for sales and marketing, launched an application in partnership with video marketing platform Vidyard to help use video content to capture leads and to identify customer viewing behavior.
** E-COMMERCE CHINA DANGDANG INC $4.30, up 17 pct (1005 ET)
The e-commerce website reported better-than-expected third-quarter results on increased demand for its merchandise and media products and forecast fourth-quarter revenue well above Wall Street’s estimates. (Compiled by Tej Sapru in Bangalore)