February 18, 2014 / 6:04 PM / in 4 years

MARKET PULSE-Forest, United Fire, Boeing, Qihoo, EPL, Coca-Cola

(For more market insights, including options activity, click on ; for the Day Ahead newsletter link.reuters.com/mex49s; for the Morning News Call newsletter, link.reuters.com/nex49s)

U.S. stocks were slightly higher on Tuesday after Wall Street’s biggest gain of the year, boosted by Tesla shares which hit an all-time high, giving a lift to the tech-heavy Nasdaq index. The Dow Jones industrial average was down 0.01 percent at 16,153.21, the S&P 500 was up 0.18 percent at 1,841.95 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.68 percent at 4,272.894.

** ACTAVIS PLC, $205.18, +6.93

** FOREST LABORATORIES INC, $92.26, +29.23

** MYLAN INC, $48.58, +5.38

The generic drugmaker said on Tuesday that it would buy Forest Labs for about $25 billion in cash and stock, expanding its portfolio of specialty pharmaceuticals for neurological and other disorders.

Shares of Actavis’s rival, Mylan, also rose.

** PRANA BIOTECHNOLOGY LTD, $9.79, +35.03

The company said its experimental drug to treat a hereditary degenerative brain disorder met the main goals of safety and tolerability in a mid-stage study. The trial tested two doses of the drug, PBT2, in 109 patients with Huntington’s disease, which is characterized by a loss in coordination and cognitive decline due to a degeneration of nerve cells in certain parts of the brain.

** COCA-COLA CO, $37.319, -4.14

The soda maker’s global sales volumes rose less than it expected in the fourth quarter and fell in North America. The company said global sales volumes rose 1 percent in the quarter ended Dec. 31. Volumes in North America fell 1 percent, while those in Europe grew just 1 percent as consumer spending remained subdued.

** LIGHTBRIDGE CORP, $3.03, +31.17 pct

The nuclear fuel technology company said the U.S. Patents and Trademarks Office Had approved a key patent. Lightbridge said it received approval for the patent in the United States. The patent is also awaiting approval in several European and Asian countries, it added.

** POINTS INTERNATIONAL LTD, $30.1399, +17.96 pct

The e-commerce service provider has signed a deal with MasterCard Inc, to offer customers of the debit and credit card network better ways of redeeming their reward points.

PI Financial Corp analyst Pardeep Sangha said he believes the deal “could open up a number of other opportunities for Points in the financial industry in the future.”

** TESLA MOTORS INC, $205.0001, +3.42

** APPLE INC, $549.47, +1.01

Apple’s mergers and acquisitions chief, Adrian Perica, met Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk last year, sparking speculation that Apple is looking at cars and medical devices to diversify its sources of revenue as growth from iPhones and iPads slow, according to a San Francisco Chronicle report.

** WASTE MANAGEMENT INC, $41.65, -4.63 pct

The waste management services provider reported a fourth-quarter adjusted profit below the average analyst estimate due to higher costs.

** UNITED FIRE GROUP INC, $30.86, +12.75

The property and casualty insurer reported a fourth-quarter profit, helped by lower catastrophe losses and higher premium rates. Total losses and loss settlement expenses fell about 23 percent to $109.7 million. Net premiums earned rose about 6 percent to $197.4 million.

** CHELSEA THERAPEUTICS INTERNATIONAL LTD, $5.08, +7.40

The company’s shares rose ahead of the U.S. health regulator’s review of its drug to treat a rare form of low blood pressure, which is expected today. An advisory panel to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration voted in favor of the drug’s approval in January.

** BHP BILLITON, $69.68, +1.99

The global miner, topped market forecasts with a 31 percent rise in first-half profit on Tuesday and hinted it may launch a share buyback in August, despite a cautious outlook on Chinese growth.

** ANADARKO PETROLEUM CORP, $82.88, +1.64

Brightoil Petroleum Holdings Ltd has agreed to buy the independent exploration and production company’s China unit for $1.08 billion, giving Brightoil access to oil and gas fields in Bohai Bay in northeast China.

** BIG LOTS INC, $26.95, +2.47

Deutsche Bank raised its rating on the close-out retailer’s stock to “buy” from “hold,” saying the company’s improved assortment and the development of an omni-channel presence should help it as the year continues. The brokerage also raised its price target on the company’s stock to $33 from $32.

** BLACKBERRY LTD, $9.62, +7.13

Hedge fund manager Dan Loeb’s Third Point LLC disclosed a 10 million share stake in the Canadian telecommunication and wireless equipment company best known as the developer of the BlackBerry brand of smartphones and tablets, in a regulatory filing on Friday.

** SONY CORP, $17.35, +1.70

The electronics maker said it has sold 5.3 million Playstation 4 game consoles as of Feb. 8, surpassing its full-year target ahead of the console’s release in Japan next week.

** MEDTRONIC INC, $56.21, -1.18

The maker of pacemakers, spinal products and other medical devices reported on Tuesday a lower third-quarter net profit after it took charges for an experimental blood pressure device that failed to prove effective in a clinical study.

** MEDBOX INC, $29.2, -8.03 pct

Short-seller Citron Research accused the medical marijuana company of financial accounting fraud and said it does not own any unique or proprietory business. (r.reuters.com/xez86v)

** DIAMONDBACK ENERGY INC, $61.1, +2.43

The Texas-based oil and gas producer said on Tuesday that it would acquire additional leasehold interests, representing about 44 percent working interest, in Martin County, Texas, in the Permian Basin, for about $174 million. The company has also offered to acquire the remaining working interest for an aggregate price of about $397 million.

** WESTLAKE CHEMICAL CORP, $130.84, +1.21

The petrochemicals products maker announced on Tuesday a two-for-one split of its stock. The company also raised its quarterly dividend by 12 percent, to 25 cents per share, payable on March 18 to stockholders on record as of Feb. 28. The dividend will be paid on the pre-split shares.

** CAPELLA EDUCATION CO, $61.21, -7.69 pct

The for-profit education provider said it expects first-quarter revenue to remain unchanged, or drop about 1 percent, compared with a year earlier. The company also forecast a 1.5-2.5 percent fall in total enrolments for the quarter ending March. Deutsche Bank analysts said they expected enrolments to drop about 1 percent.

** CHINDEX INTERNATIONAL INC, $19.39, +13.06 pct

Chinese drugmaker Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group Co Ltd will become the largest shareholder in Chindex International, after it and private equity firm TPG said on Monday that they would take the company private in a $369 million deal.

** TEMPUR SEALY INTERNATIONAL INC, $49.12, +2.06 pct

Piper Jaffray & Co raised its rating on the mattress maker’s stock to “overweight” from “neutral,” according to Theflyonthewall.com.

** WOLVERINE WORLD WIDE INC, $26.14, -6.71 pct

The footwear maker reported fourth-quarter revenue that missed the average analyst estimate, as the sluggish retail environment and very cold weather in the United States tempered growth for its Sperry Top-Sider and Stride Rite brands. The company also forecast 2014 earnings below the average analyst estimate.

** DRESSER-RAND GROUP INC, $54.34, -7.43 pct

Analysts at J.P.Morgan cut their price target on the oil and gas equipment and services provider’s stock to $57 from $63, after the company said on Monday it that expected a fourth-quarter operating income miss of about $20 million and reported a lower-than-expected revenue outlook for 2014.

** ANI PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $23.63, +10.06 pct

The specialty pharmaceutical company reported fourth-quarter earnings of 35 cents a share on revenue of $10.5 million from continuing operations, exceeding Wall Street estimates.

Analysts, on average, were expecting a profit of 24 cents per share on revenue of $9.18 million in the quarter, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

** KANSAS CITY SOUTHERN, $90.52, -5.67 pct

Brokerage JP Morgan cut its rating on the U.S. railroad to “neutral” from “overweight,” due to a new rail legislation in Mexico that could open up access to third parties and require rates in some private contracts to be published if it becomes law.

** ASTROTECH CORP, $2.61, -14.98 pct

The aerospace services provider reported a second-quarter loss due to a light satellite launch schedule.

** QIHOO 360 TECHNOLOGY CO LTD, $106.797, +7.60 pct

Brokerage Jefferies and Co Inc, on Friday, raised its price target on the antivirus maker and search engine provider’s stock, saying accelerated search monetization for the Chinese company could fuel revenue growth in 2014.

** EPL OIL & GAS INC, $29.6, +7.87 pct

The Gulf of Mexico driller's stock is undervalued, Barron's said on Saturday, citing a 35 percent slide in the company's shares since October. The fall in shares looked like an opportunity for investors, with the company expected to boost production this year, the financial investment website added. (link.reuters.com/zuz86v)

** GAFISA SA, $2.6, -6.14 pct

** COMPANHIA DE SANEAMENTO BASICO, $9.11, -4.81 pct

** BRASKEM SA, $15.27, -5.33 pct

** CENTRAIS ELETRICAS BRASILEIRAS SA, $3.7, -5.85 pct

** CPFL ENERGIA SA, $13.17, -7.45 pct

** COMPANHIA SIDERURGICA NACIONAL, $4.57, -6.92 pct

** GERDAU SA, $6.4, -7.25 pct

** BRASILAGRO COMPANHIA BRASILEIRA DE PROPRIEDADES AGRICOLAS , $3.31, -8.56 pct

Emerging stocks dipped on Tuesday, led by a fall in Chinese shares following tightening measures by the central bank. Chinese stocks fell as the central bank drained 48 billion yuan ($7.92 billion) from the country’s money market, after data at the weekend showed new loans surged in January to their highest in four years.

** BLUCORA INC, $20.75, -12.45 pct

Short seller Gotham City Research said the online tax preparer and search services provider's shares are worth no more than $5. At least 50 percent of Blucora's internet traffic is derived from malware, click fraud and illicit traffic, which is likely to bring it under the scrutiny of partner Google Inc , The Federal Trade Commission and SEC, among others, Gotham City said in a report. (link.reuters.com/pux98t)

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