Oct 30 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were little changed on Wednesday, with the Dow and the S&P 500 near record highs, ahead of a policy decision by the Federal Reserve later in the day. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 0.04 percent at 15,685.87. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was down 0.02 percent at 1,771.58. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 0.07 percent at 3,949.49.
** APPLE INC, $521.77, up 1.8 pct (11:03 a.m. ET)
The company has not reinvented the wheel with the iPad Air, but the thinner device, priced higher than many of its competitors, is a major improvement on a successful product, reviewers wrote on Tuesday.
** GENERAL MOTORS COMPANY, $37.46, up 3.9 pct (11:04 a.m. ET)
The No. 1 U.S. automaker posted a better-than-expected quarterly profit on strong results in its core North American market and a smaller-than-anticipated loss in Europe.
** FACEBOOK INC, $49.55 up 0.3 pct (10:16 a.m. ET)
The company is scheduled to report quarterly results after markets close. The world’s No. 1 online social network has proven that it has figured out how to benefit from mobile advertising but the market will want to know what other revenue growth drivers it has in mind.
** OXYGEN BIOTHERAPEUTICS INC, $2.23, up 49 pct (10:33 a.m. ET)
The medical products and cosmetics maker said a Duke Clinical Research Institute analysis of data from 14 independent clinical trials on the use of levosimendan showed the drug is associated with reduced mortality in patients undergoing heart surgery.
The experimental drug levosimendan, which is approved in various countries but not in U.S., is moving into late-stage trials as a treatment for preventing cardiac surgery patients from developing low cardiac output syndrome.
Last week, Oxygen had bought rights to the drug from privately held Phyxius Pharma.
** BIG 5 SPORTING GOODS CORP, $19.35, up 16 pct (10:47 a.m ET)
Credit Suisse raised its price target on the sporting goods retailer’s stock to $17 from $16 as it believes the company has had a stronger start to its fourth-quarter, helped by merchandising initiatives.
** TASER INTERNATIONAL INC, $17.84, up 14 pct (10:10 a.m. ET)
The maker of electronic control devices for the defense industry reported third-quarter results that beat market expectations as sales at its weapons business rose about 17 percent.
** PAREXEL INTERNATIONAL CORP, $47.16, down 14 pct (9:42 a.m. ET)
The clinical research services provider reported first-quarter revenue that lagged analysts’ estimates due to lesser-than-expected new business gains, overshadowing a strong second-quarter forecast.
“F1Q results showed more dramatic revenue growth deceleration than expected, which is likely to bring harsh judgment to a stock that has defied gravity,” Jefferies analysts wrote in a note on Wednesday.
They expect Parexel stock to fall to Jefferies price target of $47 “fairly quickly.”
** IAC/INTERACTIVECORP, $50.51, down 12.7 pct (09:55 a.m. ET)
Barry Diller’s company forecast a gloomy start to 2014 and missed analysts’ third-quarter estimates, sending shares down as much as 13 percent after the bell on Tuesday.The U.S. media and entertainment company, whose clutch of websites includes Ask.com, Dictionary.com and About.com, forecast a “flattish” first-quarter margin at its search and applications business that accounts for more than half of overall revenue.
Several brokerages lowered their price targets on the company’s stock following results.
** EXCO RESOURCES INC, $6.01, down 9 pct (10:30 a.m. ET)
The oil and gas producer reported third-quarter earnings well below average analysts’ estimates, as total output fell 11 percent to 455 million cubic feet equivalent per day.
** ROSETTA GENOMICS INC, $2.91, down 6 pct (9:30 a.m. ET)
Aegis Capital analysts cut their rating on the company’s stock to “hold” from “buy,” saying that the sales of its diagnostic tests were lagging behind their original esimates and peak sales of its products may be substantially lower than previously forecasted. “If sales of the firm’s diagnostic tests do not increase appreciably within the next 6-8 quarters, Rosetta may have to explore other strategic options, including an asset sale,” they wrote in a note to clients.
** SODASTREAM INTERNATIONAL LTD, $59.65, down 6 pct (9:31 a.m. ET)
The soda systems maker reported third-quarter revenue below analysts’ estimates and said gross margins slipped slightly, partly due to a higher percentage of subcontracted manufacturing.
** YAMANA GOLD INC, $10.16, up 4 pct
** AURICO GOLD INC, $4.47, up 4 pct
** ROYAL GOLD CORP, $52, up 3 pct
** IAMGOLD CORP, $5.42, up 2.5 pct
** FIRST MAJESTIC SILVER CORP, $12.24, up 4 pct
Gold extended earlier gains after weak U.S. jobs data supported the view that the Federal Reserve would signal plans later in the day to keep its stimulus intact for months. Spot gold rose as much as 1.1 percent to a session high of $1,358.06 per ounce after the U.S. data release and was up 0.8 percent at $1,354.66 by 1314 GMT. Spot silver mirrored gold’s gains and was up 2.1 percent at $22.99 an ounce, having touched its highest since Sept. 20 at $23.06 an ounce earlier.
** PLUM CREEK TIMBER COMPANY INC, $44.80, down 3.4 pct (9:41 A.M. ET)
The forest products company priced its public offering of 12 mln shares at $45 each, below the stock’s Tuesday close of $46.37 on the New York Stock Exchange.
** REAL GOODS SOLAR INC, $3.57, up 4 pct (10:00 a.m. ET)
The solar panel installer completed a 2.2 megawatt solar power farm for St. Albans Solar Partners LLC in Vermont ahead of schedule, the company said. The project was expected to be completed by November.
** BRIXMOR PROPERTY GROUP INC, $20.50, up 2.5 pct (10:19 a.m. ET)
The shopping center owned by Blackstone Group LP went public, after raising $825 million in its its initial public offering.
** RANGE RESOURCES CORP, $78.14, up 4.9 pct (09.51 a.m. ET)
The oil and gas producer on Tuesday reported a better-than-expected profit, helped by lower transport costs and lease operating expenses.
** SM ENERGY CO, $90.70, up 3.6 pct (9:56 a.m. ET)
The oil and gas producer reported better-than-expected results for the third quarter on Tuesday, helped by higher oil production and lower expenses.
** SHERWIN WILLIAMS CO, $187.99, down 3.3 pct (10:38 a.m. ET)
Mexico’s competition watchdog denied the U.S. paint maker’s appeal to purchase Mexican paint company Consorcio Comex and said the acquisition is not authorized.
** SUNTECH POWER HOLDINGS CO LTD, $1.31, up 3 pct (10:15 a.m. ET)
The company said Wuxi Guolian, the investment arm of the city government of Wuxi where Suntech is headquartered, could invest at least $150 million to support a closely watched restructuring of the company. Wuxi Guolian, which submitted an investment letter of intent, could also combine its related solar and other businesses with that of Suntech’s through a joint venture or similar arrangements.
** SYMANTEC CORP, $22.55, up 1.9 pct (10:31 a.m. ET)
The anti-virus software maker’s Chief Executive, Bennett Stephan M, purchased 100,000 shares of the company at $22.06 per share, the company reported in a filing on Tuesday.
** EXELON CORP, $28.30, up 1 pct (10:29 a.m. ET)
The utility reported better than-expected-results in the third quarter, helped by increased distribution revenue, prices and nuclear volumes.
** EMPIRE RESORTS INC, $6.60, up 24 pct (10:41 a.m. ET)
The owner of the Monticello Raceway racino said a New York court dismissed federal antitrust claims against the company brought by Concord Associates LP. The claims related to an agreement to develop a site of the former Concord Resort located in Sullivan County.
** MERRIMACK PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $2.67, down 21 pct (9:49 a.m. ET)
The company said its cancer drug failed to meet the main goal of a mid-stage study in patients with advanced ovarian cancers.
** WESTERN UNION CO, $15.88, down 17.5 pct (9:51 a.m. ET)
The world’s largest money-transfer company, reported a 20 percent fall in third-quarter profit, hurt by lower revenue from its consumer business and higher expenses.
** QUESTCOR PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $58.15, down 16.2 pct (9:52 a.m. ET)
The company said it was being investigated in multiple jurisdictions, in addition to an ongoing probe by the U.S. Attorney’s office in Pennsylvania into its promotional practices, sending its shares down 10 percent.
** WSP HOLDINGS LTD, $2.16, up 2.9 pct (10:59 a.m. ET)
The Chinese tubing and drill pipes maker said filing of its annual report for the year ended Dec. 31, 2012 to the Securities and Exchange Commission would be delayed.
** CAMECO CORP, $19.52, up 7.5 pct (9:45 a.m. ET)
The world’s third-biggest uranium producer, reported a higher quarterly profit on Wednesday as its uranium sales and realized price rose.
** CBRE GROUP INC, $22.41, down 8.2 pct (9:46 a.m. ET)
The commercial real estate services firm reported third-quarter earnings below analysts’ expectations as total costs rose 8 percent.
** ARIAD PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $4.19, up 10.5 percent (9:46 a.m. ET)
Sarissa Capital Management LP, a hedge fund run by investor Carl Icahn’s former healthcare lieutenant, Alexander Denner, took a 6.22 percent stake in the biotechnology company.
** EDWARDS LIFESCIENCES CORP, $66.55, down 4.7 pct (9:46 a.m. ET)
Two brokerages cut their target price on the medical device makers stock. JP Morgan downgraded the company’s rating to “underweight” from “neutral,” according to Theflyonthewall.com.
** CIRRUS LOGIC INC, $21.72, down 11 pct (9:46 a.m. ET)
The audio chipmaker, which supplies to Apple Inc, reported better-than-expected second-quarter results on Tuesday on higher sales in its portable audio segment. But Barclays cut its rating on the stock to “underweight” from “equal weight” on a day later, saying the company’s earnings could decline from the next year as growth at its biggest customer Apple slows and Cirrus’s average selling prices drop as both Apple and Samsung focus on bringing down costs.
** UNITED STATES STEEL CORP, $24.95, down 2 pct (9:47 a.m. ET)
The company said on Tuesday that it will permanently shut down iron and steelmaking operations at its Hamilton, Ontario, mill at the end of this year.
Deutsche Bank downgraded the stock to “hold.”
** PHILLIPS 66, $65.21, up 1.7 pct (9:47 a.m. ET)
The quarterly profit at the oil refiner and chemicals company fell more than expected, with weak global margins causing a loss in its refining business.
** AUTOMATIC DATA PROCESSING INC, $74.62, down 2.3 pct (9:48 a.m. ET)
The company reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit as it processed more payrolls in an improving U.S. job market.
** GARMIN LTD, $49.90, up 3.8 pct (9:49 a.m. ET)
The navigation device maker raised its earnings forecast for 2013 after reporting better-than-expected quarterly results as it sold more navigation devices used in aircraft and by fitness enthusiasts.
** COMCAST CORP, $47.21, down 1 pct (11:12 a.m. ET)
The top U.S. cable provider, which also owns NBC Universal, posted lower quarterly profit and revenue in the third quarter on Wednesday, without the boost from the London Summer Olympics a year ago.
** TEVA PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRIES, $38.74, down 5.5 pct (9:50 a.m. ET)
The world’s largest generic drugmaker said Chief Executive Jeremy Levin was stepping down and finance chief Eyal Desheh would stand in on an interim basis, effective immediately.
** GILEAD SCIENCES INC, $73.00, up 5 pct (9:50 a.m. ET)
The biotechnology company reported a 17 percent jump in quarterly net profit on Tuesday and raised its outlook for full-year sales as revenue and demand for its flagship HIV drugs exceeded Wall Street estimates.
A host of brokerages raised their price targets on the stock.
** BORGWARNER INC, $103.12, down 1.5 pct (11:13 a.m. ET)
The maker of automotive turbochargers and emission systems, reported a 65 percent rise in quarterly profit, partly due to higher demand for fuel-efficient vehicles.
** NUVASIVE INC, $30.39, up 18.4 pct (9:50 a.m. ET)
The medical device company reported better-than-expected quarterly results and raised its full year revenue forecast, prompting at least four brokerages to raise their price targets on Nuvasive’s stock.
Piper Jaffray said the strong beat was “driven by solid execution in a stable to moderately improving spine market, while holding the line on operating expenses.”
The maker of implants and instruments used in spine surgeries now expects to report revenue of $670 million for 2013, up from its prior view of $655 million.
Barclays Capital raised its price target to $28 from $23, while Needham & Co raised it to $35 from $28. Piper Jaffray raised its price target to $35 from $31, while BMO raised it to $28 from $25.
** CORNING INC, $17.25, down 1.5 pct (9:51 a.m. ET)
The specialty glass maker posted a 10 percent rise in quarterly revenue, helped by an increase in sales of devices that use Gorilla Glass, its most profitable product.
** SPRINT CORP, $6.77, up 1.3 pct (11:15 a.m. ET)
The No. 3 U.S. mobile operator posted a decline in third-quarter revenue as it lost more subscribers than expected, following the shutdown of its older iDen network. Sprint, 80 percent owned by SoftBank, reported a profit of $383 million, compared with a loss of $767 million in the year-ago quarter, before Sprint’s deal with SoftBank and its July purchase of Clearwire Corp. Revenue fell to $8.68 billion from $8.76 billion.
** SPIRIT AIRLINES, $40.67, down 5.5 pct (11:16 a.m. ET)
The low-cost carrier said quarterly profit nearly doubled as its flights increased. Net income was $61.1 million, or 84 cents per share, in the third quarter, compared with $30.9 million, or 43 cents per share, a year earlier. Quarterly revenue rose 33 percent to $456.6 million.
** BUFFALO WILD WINGS INC, $140.42, up 8.4 pct (9:52 a.m. ET)
The company reported third-quarter results that beat analysts’ estimates as an extra week of big sporting events enticed more customers to visit its restaurants, sending its shares up 10 percent in extended trading.
Two brokerages raised their price targets on the company’s stock following results.
** CENTRAL EUROPEAN MEDIA ENTERPRISES, $3.18, down 48 pct (9:53 a.m. ET)
The lossmaking broadcaster said on Wednesday it needed more money to stay afloat and was trying to secure extra financing from its main shareholder, Time Warner.
** CANADIAN SOLAR INC, $24.22, up 1 pct (9:53 a.m. ET)
The solar power company said Deutsche Bank AG has agreed to give a loan of C$104 million ($99.55 million) for construction of three power plants in Ontario, totaling 30 megawatts.
** TAKE-TWO INTERACTIVE SOFTWARE, $16.92, down 5.5 pct (9:54 a.m. ET)
The company raised its fiscal 2014 results forecast on Tuesday after reporting that second-quarter revenue quadrupled, driven by record-breaking sales of the video game “Grand Theft Auto V.”
** WALTER ENERGY INC, $16.42, up 7 pct (9:54 a.m. ET)
The coal miner reported a much smaller quarterly net loss compared with the year-ago quarter, when the company took a $1.1 billion impairment charge related to its acquisition of Western Coal.
** ELECTRONIC ARTS INC, $26.39, up 9.4 pct (9:54 a.m. ET)
The video game publisher reported higher profit for the second quarter on cost controls and digital sales, although revenues were down on the year ago quarter.
** LINKEDIN CORP, $232.91, down 5.8 pct (9:55 a.m. ET)
The company issued a conservative revenue forecast through the end of the year that damped a sizzling run in its stock price, taking the shine off an upbeat performance at the professional social network in the third quarter. The stock has been trading at roughly 158 times its forward earnings.
** YELP INC, $64.63, down 6 pct (9:55 a.m. ET)
The consumer reviews website operator reported a wider-than-expected loss on Tuesday as its marketing expenses more than doubled in the third quarter.
** BAIDU INC, $168.89, up 5.8 pct (9:55 a.m. ET)
The largest Internet search engine in China said it experienced strong growth in mobile search revenue during the third quarter and forecast better-than-expected revenue for the final three months of the year.
Jefferies and Co and Brean Murray Carret and Co upgraded the stock to “buy.”
** TRULIA INC, $45.93, up 8 pct (9:56 a.m. ET)
The online real estate listing service forecast current-quarter results that largely beat Wall Street estimates as it adds more subscribers.
Two brokerages raised their price targets on the company’s stock following results.
** SHUTTERFLY INC, $49.84, down 4.7 pct (9:56 a.m. ET)
The online photo-sharing service forecast current-quarter results way below analysts’ estimates, sending its shares down 10 percent in extended trading.
Brokerage Jefferies cut their price target on the company’s stock following results.
** WI-LAN INC, $3.10, up 3.7 pct (9:56 a.m. ET)
The Canadian patent licensing company said it was exploring strategic options, including selling itself. The move comes less than a week after the company lost a patent lawsuit against Apple Inc. WiLan’s shares plunged 23 percent after Oct. 24 ruling that also resulted in several analysts downgrading the stock.
** DREAMWORKS ANIMATION SKG INC, $30.92, up 11 pct (9:56 a.m. ET)
The company reported quarterly results ahead of Wall Street estimates, helped by a strong pay-TV showing for “Rise of the Guardians”, a fantasy film featuring Jack Frost, Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy.
** GENWORTH FINANCIAL INC, $14.61, up 0.2 pct (9:57 a.m. ET)
The life and mortgage insurer reported its eighth straight quarterly profit as losses narrowed in its U.S. mortgage insurance business due to a recovering housing market.
** PRAXAIR INC, $126.58, up 1.5 pct (9:57 a.m. ET)
The largest industrial gas supplier in the Americas reported a higher profit for the third quarter driven by sales in North America, where it has started several hydrogen gas plants used by refiners to process crude oil. The company, however, said it was cautious about its volume growth in the fourth quarter as it does not expect industrial production in North America and Europe to improve.
Praxair on Wednesday named Matt White as chief financial officer, who will take over from Jim Sawyer on Jan. 1.
** ASCENT SOLAR TECHNOLOGIES INC, $0.94, up 3.3 pct (9:57 a.m. ET)
The solar products maker said it would raise $10 million through a registered direct offering of Series B convertible preferred stock to an institutional investor. The company intends to use the proceeds to expand its retail channels for its products in the United States, Europe and Asia and launch additional products. (Compiled by Sampad Patnaik; Editing by Joyjeet Das)