Oct 24 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks edged higher on Thursday, continuing the market’s recent upward trend as expectations for steady accommodative monetary policy for the foreseeable future offset a mixed batch of earnings and economic data. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 0.44 percent. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was up 0.16 percent. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 0.47 percent.
** NQ MOBILE INC, $12.04, down 47.4 pct (2:24 p.m. ET)
Muddy Waters Research Group, owned by short-seller Carson Block, started coverage of the mobile internet company with a “strong sell” rating, calling it a “massive fraud.” The stock fell as much as 63 percent.
** OCEAN POWER TECHNOLOGIES INC, $2.65, up 61 pct (1:00 p.m. ET)
The company, which developes systems to generate electricity from ocean waves, said it had signed a deal with Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding Co Ltd to sell Ocean Power’s PowerBuoy systems in Japan, the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Mozambique, South Africa and Namibia for which Ocean Power will receive royalty payments.
** ZALICUS INC, $4.94, up 26 percent (12:57 p.m. ET)
The biopharmaceutical company has a "potential blockbuster on its hands if if eagerly awaited data on pain drug Z160 hits in a few weeks," Zacks analyst Jason Napodano said in an article on PropThink.com, which provides investment advice on healthcare and life sciences stocks. (link.reuters.com/vuj24v)
If approved, the drug is seen as a potential competitor to Pfizer Inc’s Lyrica, which recorded sales of $1.13 billion in the quarter ended June.
Zalicus’ experimental drug is being tested in two mid-stage studies for the treatment of post-herpetic neuralgia, a type of nerve pain and lumbosacral radiculopathy, pain caused by a compressed nerve in the spine.
** ARCTIC CAT INC, $50.04, down 14 pct (12:51 p.m. ET)
The snowmobile maker reported second-quarter results below analysts’ expectations due to lower sales of its all-terrain vehicles in North America and Europe. The company also said it expects margins to decrease by about 80 basis points in the year ending March.
** GENERAC HOLDINGS INC, $47.76, up 14 pct (12.45 p.m. ET)
The generator maker reported third-quarter earnings that beat analysts estimates. The company also raised its sales guidance for 2013 due to continued strong demand for home standby generators.
** COVANTA HOLDING CORP, $17.69, down 13 pct (12:46 p.m. ET)
The waste management company cut its forecast for earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and ammortization for 2013 due to lower-than-expected steam demand and weak biomass sales.
** BUILD-A-BEAR WORKSHOP INC, $7.90, up 11 pct (1:47 p.m. ET)
The toy retailer reported third-quarter revenue that beat analysts’ estimates, helped by growth in comparable store sales in North America and Europe.
** KMG CHEMICALS INC, $20.50, down 8.6 pct (2:18 p.m. ET)
The U.S. chemical maker posted a 62 percent decline in fourth-quarter operating income, partly due to lower selling prices of its wood treating chemicals. The company expects at best a modest growth in next year’s net profit, hurt by costs related to restructuring its electronic chemicals business.
** TRIPADVISOR INC, $72.49, down 4 pct (12:27 p.m. ET)
The travel website operator reported third-quarter revenue slightly belowe analysts' expectations and the company cut its full-year forecast for click-based revenue growth to a mid-to-high-teens percentage from a high-teens-to-low-twenties percentage. (r.reuters.com/jyj89t)
** CORELOGIC INC, $30.47, up 13 pct (11:33 a.m. ET)
The real estate data analytics company reported a third-quarter profit better than estimates due to lower operating expenses. The company also said that it aims to reduce costs by about $25 million in 2014.
** STAMPS.COM INC, $47.59, up 12.4 pct (01:21 p.m. ET)
The online postal services provider reported third-quarter results better than analysts’ expectations and forecast 2013 adjusted earnings above expectations on Wednesday. The company said its results were helped by growth in its enterprise and high-volume shipping businesses.
** LOGITECH INTERNATIONA SA, $10.35, up 12.1 pct (01:23 p.m. ET)
The Switzerland-based maker of computer peripherals and video-conferencing equipment, reported better-than-expected results for the second quarter.
** RADWARE LTD, $14.96, up 5.7 pct (01:24 p.m. ET)
The Isreal-based network equipment maker reported third-quarter results above analysts’ expectations, helped by strong demand for all its products.
** WORLD ACCEPTANCE CORP, $97.24, down 9.5 pct (12:56 p.m. ET)
The consumer finance company reported quarterly results that missed estimates as it set aside more provisions to cover loan losses.
** BRINK‘S CO, $30.48, up 4 pct (11.33 a.m. ET)
The provider of armored vehicle transportation to banks reported third-quarter results that beat analysts expectations as revenues from its international operations rose.
** SHIRE PLC, $133.14, up 8.7 pct (11:11 a.m. ET)
The British drugmaker raised its full-year earnings forecast on Thursday after lower-than-expected costs and accelerating sales helped it to beat forecasts for the third quarter.
** ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISES LTD, $42.29, up 6.3 pct (11:20 a.m. ET)
The company raised its full-year earnings forecast due to greater demand in Europe and said bookings for 2014 were trending higher, signaling a revival in an industry hit by negative publicity from a series of mishaps.
** O‘REILLY AUTOMOTIVE INC, $125.52, down 6.5 pct (11.18 a.m. ET)
The specialty retailer of auto equipment and accessories reported third-quarter revenue lower than Street estimates and said it expects fourth-quarter earnings of $1.27-$1.31 per share. Analysts on average expect earnings to be $1.34 per share.
Raymond James cut its rating on company’s stock to “market perform” from “strong buy”, according to Theflyonthewall.com.
** INFINERA CORP, $10.77, down 6 pct (12:16 p.m. ET)
The networking equipment maker’s third-quarter profit fell short of analysts’ estimates. The company reported a profit of 3 cents per share for the quarter ended Sept on Wednesday.
Analysts had expected a profit of 4 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
** SERVICENOW INC, $57.78, up 9 pct (11:47 a.m.)
The IT software maker reported a surprise third-quarter profit helped by higher subscription revenue.
** DOW CHEMICAL CO, $40.45, down 1.4 pct (12:10 p.m. ET)
The company which is looking to exit businesses that are exposed to commodity price swings, said it planned to raise at least $3 billion to $4 billion from asset sales.
** ATTUNITY LTD, $9.04, down 3 percent (12:07 p.m. ET)
The provider of real-time data integration software reported a fall in software license revenue and higher operating expenses for the third quarter.
** BALL CORP, $47.41, up 3 pct (12:35 p.m. ET)
The company, which makes packaging for beverages, food and household products, reported third-quarter results above analysts’ estimates due to better-than-expected global beverage can volumes and an improved seasonal vegetable harvest.
** WASHINGTON BANKING CO, $17.15, up 20.4 pct
** HERITAGE FINANCIAL CORP, $16.50, up 3.8 pct (12:12 p.m. ET)
Heritage Financial will buy Washington Banking in a deal valued at $265.1 million. The buy is expected to add to the combined company’s earnings per share in 2014.
** FERRO CORP, $12.14, up 17.8 pct (12:13 p.m. ET)
Analysts at Credit Suisse raised their rating on the chemical maker’s stock to “outperform” from “neutral,” citing Ferro’s consistent execution of an aggressive cost-cutting program and third-quarter profit that beat Credit Suisse’s estimates.
** HORSEHEAD HOLDING CORP, $13.02, down 4.7 pct (12:16 p.m. ET)
The zinc and nickel-based products maker said it expects its third-quarter sales to fall 9 percent. Horsehead also said as it winds down its facility in Monaca, Pennsylvania, it will experience higher unit costs due to lower output in the third and fourth quarters.
** VANTIV INC, $26.57, down 6.6 pct (12:17 p.m. ET)
The payment processor reported third-quarter results that missed estimates due to higher operating expenses. The company’s guidance for the fourth quarter and the full year also fell short of analysts’ expectations.
** NOVADAQ TECHNOLOGIES INC , $16.66, down 10.9 pct (12:18 p.m.)
The medical imaging device maker said it has priced its public offering of 6.25 million common shares at $16.75 each, which is at a 10 percent discount to Wednesday’s close price.
** WI-LAN INC, $3.02, down 23.3 pct (12:19 p.m. ET)
The Canadian patent licensing company lost a pending patent infringement trial against Apple Inc, late on Wednesday. Trial proceedings involving Canada’s Wi-lan and Apple began on October 15.
Wilan, which has a string of patent lawsuits against smartphone makers, settled all pending legal litigation with BlackBerry Ltd, earlier in October.
** NATUS MEDICAL INC, Thursday close $18.55, up 22.7 percent (12:20 p.m. ET)
The company reported third-quarter results which breezed past analysts’ estimates as sales in its neurology and newborn care businesses increased, and the company raised its full-year earning and revenue forecasts.
** MEDIDATA SOLUTIONS INC, $118.80, up 15.4 pct (12:22 p.m. ET)
The company, which provides cloud-based services for clinical research, reported third-quarter results that beat analysts’ estimates, due to an increase in revenue from application services. Medidate raised its revenue full-year revenue forecast for the third time this year to $275.3 million to $276.8 million from $273 million to $276 million it earlier estimated.
** NEOGENOMICS INC, $3.93, up 9.13 pct (12:40 p.m. ET)
Shares of the laboratory services provider rose for a second day after the company increased its full-year revenue forecast and reported third-quarter earnings just above analysts’ estimates.
** CASH AMERICA INTERNATIONAL INC, $40.05, down 11.8 pct (12:47 p.m. ET)
The pawn and payday lender said it expects demand for pawn lending products to be below historical growth rates for the remainder of 2013 and into 2014. Management forecast current quarter earnings, excluding items, to be between 95 cents and $1.05 per share, much below average analysts’ estimates of $1.20 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
The company also initiated fiscal year 2014 guidance for earnings per share in a range between $4.20 and $4.40 per share. Analysts are expecting earnings of $4.91 per share.
** HOME FEDERAL BANCORP INC, $15.18, up 18.6 pct (12:50 p.m. ET)
** CASCADE BANCORP, $5.74, down 4 pct (12:51 p.m. ET)
Cascade Bancorp agreed to buy Home Federal Bancorp in a cash and stock deal valued at $265.7 million. The offer to Home Federal includes a payment of $120,8 million in cash and 24.3 million shares of Cascade common stock.
The deal values each Home Federal share at $17.83, a 39 percent premium to the stock’s Wednesday close.
** TEXAS CAPITAL BANCSHARES INC, $52.34, up 9.5 pct (12:51 p.m. ET)
The bank reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit on Wednesday as it earned higher interst income, prompting at least six brokerages to raise their price targets on the company’s stock.
** PRECISION CASTPARTS CORP, $257.44, up 4.5 pct (12.53 p.m ET)
The company, which makes forgings and fasteners for aerospaces and industrial gas turbine applications, reported second-quarter earnings that beat analysts estimates as sales of its forged products rose 39 percent.
** TEREX CORP, Wednesday close $36.00, up 5.6 pct (12.53 p.m. ET)
The heavy equipment maker reported third-quarter earnings that beat analysts estimates, helped by a reduction in its tax rate. The company also raised its full-year earnings forecast to $2.05-$2.25 per share from $1.90-$2.10 per share. (r.reuters.com/jub24v)
** ANGIE‘S LIST INC, $15.00, down 2.9 pct (12:54 p.m. ET)
The online review company reported lower-than-expected quarterly revenue as first-year membership renewal rates fell, and forecast current-quarter revenue that also fell short of market estimates on Wednesday.
Several brokerages cut their price target on the company’s stock following results.
** FUSION-IO INC, $9.69, down 25.3 pct (12:55 p.m. ET)
The flash storage-drive maker on Wednesday forecast only a small rise in second-quarter revenue and said its chief financial officer had resigned.
Several brokerages lowered their rating on the company’s stock following results.
** VALASSIS COMMUNICATIONS INC, $27.40, down 11.5 pct (12:55 p.m. ET)
The media and marketing services provider reported third-quarter results below analysts’ estimates due to a change in contracts with some clients and discontinuation of its sampling and solo direct mail products. The company also cut its full-year profit forecast which was also below estimates.
** NXP SEMICONDUCTORS NV, $40.34, up 11.9 pct (12:56 p.m. ET)
The semiconductor maker, whose chips and sensors are used in cars, identification equipment and mobile phones, reported better-than-expected quarterly profit on Wednesday and forecast fourth-quarter profit and revenue largely above analysts’ estimates.
Topeka Capital raised its price target on the stock to $46 from $42.
** FORD MOTOR CO, $17.75, up 1.3 pct (12:57 p.m. ET)
The U.S. automaker boosted its full-year global earnings and margin outlook on Thursday, helped by an improved forecast in Europe and better-than-expected results in the third quarter.
** EQUINIX INC, $174.69, up 3.6 pct (12:58 p.m. ET)
The data center operator reported better-than-expected third-quarter results on Wednesday as it won new contracts in its cloud business, including with Microsoft’s Azure. The company also forecast current-quarter revenue largely above analysts’ estimates.
** STARWOOD HOTELS & RESORTS WORLDWIDE INC, $73.54, up 4.3 pct (12:59 p.m. ET)
The operator of Sheraton hotels reported quarterly earnings above analysts’ expectations due to higher travel demand in North America. “We remain bullish on the long-term trends of rising wealth and increasing demand for travel in fast growing economies, even in the face of slower growth in China, unrest in the Middle East, and economic challenges in Latin America,” Chief Executive Frits van Paasschen said in a statement.
** CHEESECAKE FACTORY INC, $44.95, up 4.9 pct (12:59 p.m. ET)
The company on Wednesday reported higher quarterly profit after sales at its established namesake restaurants rose more than expected and the company said it grabbed market share from rivals.
** FORTINET INC, $21.48, up 4.4 pct (01:00 p.m. ET)
The network security software maker reported quarterly results above analysts’ estimates, helped by strong demand for support services and higher software renewals.
** GOLDMAN SACHS GROUP INC, $160.29, up 1.5 pct (01:01 p.m. ET)
The company is working to bolster performance in fixed-income trading after a weak third quarter, and is looking for experienced salespeople and traders to improve the business, President and Chief Operating Officer Gary Cohn said in a Bloomberg Television interview on Wednesday. [ID: nL1N0ID1ZA]
** LAZARD LTD, $39.71, up 5.3 pct (01:02 p.m. ET)
The investment bank reported a better-than-expected 81 percent jump in quarterly profit due mainly to higher revenue in its asset management unit, which now accounts for more than half of its business.
** ZIOPHARM ONCOLOGY INC, $3.85, down 4.3 pct (01:03 p.m. ET)
The drug developer said its common stock offering of 14.3 million shares is priced at $3.50 per share, which represents a discount of 13 percent to the stock’s Wednesday close.
** MCKESSON CORP, $149.40, up 4.4 pct (01:04 p.m. ET)
The pharmaceutical wholesaler agreed to buy German peer Celesio AG on Thursday for $8.3 billion, including debt, forging a global market leader in drugs distribution to boost its purchasing power with pharma majors.
** RR DONNELLEY & SONS CO, $17.65, up 5.8 pct (01:05 p.m. ET)
The printing services company said it will buy Consolidated Graphics Inc for about $620 million in a cash-and-stock deal, to expand its footprint in the commercial printing market. The deal is expected to add to RR Donnelley’s adjusted earnings within 12 months of the deal, which is estimated to close in the first quarter of 2014.
** AGNICO EAGLE MINES LTD, $30.30, up 17.1 pct (01:05 p.m. ET)
The company on Wednesday reported a 56 percent decline in third-quarter profit due to lower realized metal prices as well as a maintenance shutdown at its Kittila mine in Finland, but it beat analysts’ estimates, and raised its full-year production forecast while lowering cost expectations.
** VARIAN MEDICAL SYSTEMS INC, $72.96, down 7.1 pct (01:06 p.m. ET)
The medical device maker reported lower-than-expected fourth-quarter results as demand for its products fell due to uncertainties related to U.S. healthcare reforms and reimbursement cuts.
** BOSTON SCIENTIFIC CORP, $11.57, down 5.8 pct (01:07 p.m. ET)
The medical device maker plans to cut up to 1,500 jobs in its latest restructuring effort that aims to save $150 million to $200 million in operating expenses by the end of 2015, the company announced in a regulatory filing.
** TRIQUINT SEMICONDUCTOR INC, $7.02, down 15.5 pct (01:08 p.m. ET)
The company forecast current-quarter results well below Wall Street expectations, partly due to lower revenue from embattled smartphone company BlackBerry Ltd .
** AT&T INC, $34.85, down 1.2 pct (01:09 p.m. ET)
The company reported net income that was a penny ahead of Wall Street expectations on Wednesday on wireless profit margins that were better than some analysts expected. Revenue was slightly behind estimates.
** SYMANTEC CORP, $21.66, down 12 pct (01:10 p.m. ET)
The maker of Norton anti-virus software, reported lower-than-expected second-quarter revenue and forecast current-quarter results below expectations, hit by low demand for storage and security products and a weak PC market.
** AKAMAI TECHNOLOGIES INC, $46.49, down 10.3 pct (01:11 p.m. ET)
The company, whose products help move content quickly over the Internet, forecast current-quarter revenue largely below analyst estimates, citing the uncertain outcome of contract renegotiations with its biggest media client - widely thought to be Apple Inc. [ID: nL3N0ID4L3]
** PULTEGROUP INC, $17.81, up 6.7 pct (01:12 p.m. ET)
The No.2 homebuilder said new home orders fell 17 percent in the third quarter, but gross margins expanded 3.9 percent helping it beat analysts’ estimates by 9 cents.
** POTASH CORP, $30.58, down 3.5 pct (01:16 p.m. ET)
The company reported a sharp drop in third-quarter earnings and cut its full-year outlook more than Wall Street expected as buyers backed away from the key fertilizer ingredient potash.
** XEROX CORP, $9.69, down 9.6 pct (01:17 p.m. ET)
The company forecast adjusted earnings for the current quarter below analysts’ estimates as it expects to take charges related to restructuring in its services business.
** ALEXION PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $115.42, up 5.3 pct (01:17 p.m. ET)
The drugmaker said the U.S. health regulator granted a breakthrough therapy designation to its experimental treatment for patients with a rare, genetic, metabolic disorder that causes irreversible neurological damage in newborns.
The designation expedites the development of a drug that aims to treat life-threatening diseases, where initial clinical data indicates the treatment may be better than existing options.
The company also reported third-quarter earnings of 83 cents per share that beat wall street estimates, and raised its full-year earnings and revenue forecast to reflect a growing demand for its drug Soliris, used to treat a rare blood disorder.
** MERIT MEDICAL SYSTEMS INC, $16.20, up 15.9 pct (01:18 p.m. ET)
The medical device maker reported third-quarter revenue which beat analysts’ estimates, due to higher sales of its cardiovascular devices, including catheters and stand-alone devices. (Compiled by Sampad Patnaik; Editing by Joyjeet Das)