U.S. stocks edged higher on Tuesday following better-than-expected earnings from Merck & Co and Sprint Corp. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 0.64 percent at 16,553.9, the S&P 500 was up 0.56 percent at 1,879.99 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.83 percent at 4,108.328.
** MERCK & CO, $58.39, +3.02 pct
Britain’s Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc confirmed on Monday it was in talks to buy the U.S. drugmaker’s consumer health business, the latest asset up for grabs in a wave of recent pharmaceutical deals.
Merck on Tuesday reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings, helped by sharply lower research spending and asset sales, but revenue came in slightly below expectations.
** SPRINT CORP, $8.21, +10.50 pct
The No. 3 U.S. mobile provider reported fewer subscribers leaving than expected and strong tablet additions, as the company undergoes a massive network overhaul in a highly competitive market.
** RAYONIER INC, $44.15, -3.90 pct
The real estate investment trust reported lower-than-expected first-quarter results, as revenue at its larger performance fibers business declined 15 percent. The company said its cellulose specialties sales volumes fell at the performance fibers business during the quarter, as a planned extended annual outage for the Jesup mill and production issues reduced customer shipments.
** AMICUS THERAPEUTICS INC, $2.24, +21.74 pct
The company said its lead drug was effective in treating patients with an inherited disease that leads to the accumulation of fat in body cells.
** BOSTON SCIENTIFIC CORP, $12.75, -6.11 pct
The company’s quarterly revenue fell short of expectations due to lower sales of its implantable defibrillators and pacemakers.
** CHEGG INC, $5.34, +1.71 pct
BofA Merrill Lynch upgraded the academic company, which provides online textbook rentals, homework help and course reviews, to “buy” from “neutral”, citing accelerating growth in its non-print business.
** RANGE RESOURCES CORP, $90.37, -1.21 pct
The Texas-based oil and gas producer reported a lower-than-expected profit on Monday due to low natural liquid gas pricing and higher costs. The company also forecast weaker-than-expected second-quarter production due to turnarounds at its MarkWest processing plant.
** KULICKE AND SOFFA INDUSTRIES INC, $13.765, +8.99 pct
The semiconductor and LED assembly equipment maker forecast better-than-expected third-quarter revenue and said it expected strengthening demand in the majority of its markets to continue throughout the June quarter.
** NOVAVAX INC, $4.43, +12.44 pct
The biotechnology company said multiple formulations of its experimental RSV vaccine were shown to be safe and elicited a favorable immune response in a mid-stage study with 720 women of childbearing age.
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a respiratory pathogen that afflicts all humans regardless of age and disproportionately affects infants below six months of age.
** NOKIA, $7.41, +5.41 pct
The Finnish firm named the man who led a turnaround at its main telecoms network business as its new chief executive on Tuesday, boosting investors’ confidence in the future of the company following the sale of its once dominant handset arm.
The company, which completed the 5.6-billion-euro ($7.75 billion) deal to sell its mobile handset business to Microsoft on Friday, said Rajeev Suri would become its CEO on May 1, replacing Stephen Elop who is moving to Microsoft.
($1 = 0.7223 Euros)
** WINTHROP REALTY TRUST, $13.78, +19.72 pct
The company said its trustees adopted a liquidation plan for it that could fetch at least $13.80 per share.
** OMNIAMERICAN BANCORP INC, $25.04, +9.20 pct
** SOUTHSIDE BANCSHARES INC, $27.8703, -8.50 pct
The lenders entered into an agreement under which OmniAmerican will merge into Southside in a deal valued at about $307 million on aggregate. OmniAmerican shareholders will receive 0.4459 shares of Southside common stock plus $13.125 in cash for each outstanding share of OmniAmerican common stock. Based on Southside’s closing share price of $30.46 on Monday, the total consideration per share due to OmniAmerican shareholders is pegged at $26.71.
** MERU NETWORKS INC, $3.79, -13.86 pct
The WiFi products maker reported first-quarter earnings below analysts’ average estimate, as revenue from its products unit fell 23 percent and trade-in programs and discounts squeezed margins.
Brokerage William Blair cut its rating on the stock to ‘market perform’ from ‘outperform’.
** CHART INDUSTRIES INC, $71.46, -3.28 pct
The cryogenic equipment maker reported lower-than-expected first-quarter results, hurt by a 21 percent decline in revenue from its biomedical business. The company said its biomedical business revenue declined due to lower sales of respiratory therapy equipment in the United States and a shut down of U.S. operations for multiple days in the quarter during severe winter weather.
** OXIGENE INC, $3.25, +9.06 pct
H.C. Wainwright initiated coverage on the cancer drug developer’s stock with a “buy” rating, saying it expects major catalysts from the company’s experimental drug, Zybrestat, to attract investors before year-end. The brokerage has set a price target of $7.50 on Oxigene’s stock.
** HEADWATERS INC, $12.6, +10.14 pct
The building products maker reported better-than-expected second-quarter revenue, helped by an 11 percent growth in its larger light building products business.
** ALERE INC, $33.59, -2.78 pct
The medical device maker posted lower-than-expected quarterly revenue, partly due to weak U.S. sales of its influenza and infectious diseases products.
** RAYTHEON CO $95.85, +0.43 pct
The Office of Naval Research awarded the defense and security contractor an $8.5-million base contract to design the flexible distributed array radar(FlexDAR).
** IRONWOOD PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $11.375, +11.85 pct
The drugmaker posted a smaller-than-expected quarterly loss, helped by robust sales of its constipation drug, Linzess.
** CIRRUS LOGIC INC, $23.75, +7.91 pct
The U.S. chip maker has agreed a deal to buy British microchip maker Wolfson Microelectronics for 291 million pounds ($489 million) to boost its audio division, the two firms said on Tuesday.
($1 = 0.5950 British Pounds)
** 3D SYSTEMS CORP, $44, -10.68 pct
** STRATASYS LTD, $94.92, -2.23 pct
The three-dimensional printer maker said most of the revenue and profit it expects for 2014 would be generated only in the second half of the year when it launches new products and services.
Shares of rival Stratasys were also down.
** BIOTA PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $3.7, -33.57 pct
The company said it would stop work on its experimental influenza drug until a U.S. agency decides whether to fund a trial.
** STONE ENERGY CORP, $49.83, +11.53 pct
At least three brokerages raised their price targets on the oil and gas producer’s stock after it said it discovered more than 275 feet of net oil pay at its deep-water Cardona South well in Mississippi.
** CARBONITE INC, $9.87, +15.30 pct
The provider of secure online PC backup software reported better-than-expected first-quarter results, helped by demand for its server backup software.
Carbonite also forecast a current quarter adjusted loss of 3-5 cents per share on revenue of $30-$30.2 million. Analysts expect an adjusted loss of 3 cents per share on revenue of $29.6 million.
** BOARDWALK PIPELINE PARTNERS LP, $16.49, +1.85 pct
At least three brokerages raised their ratings on the natural gas pipeline company’s stock, after it reported a better-than-expected first-quarter profit with new projects and a strong winter offsetting the effects of contract-related setbacks.
** BANCO SANTANDER SA, $9.87, +0.71 pct
The euro zone’s biggest bank launched a buyout offer for the remaining 25 percent of its Brazilian unit, cementing its grip on one of its top profit drivers in a deal worth up to 4.7 billion euros ($6.5 billion).
The transaction reflects the Spain-based bank’s confidence in its finances as its first-quarter profit rose 8 percent ahead of Europe’s toughest banking stress tests yet, which the region hopes will help it draw a line under the financial crisis.
($1 = 0.7223 Euros)
** BALLARD POWER SYSTEMS INC, $3.771, -7.80 pct
The Canadian fuel cell stack maker reported first-quarter revenue that missed analysts’ average estimate, hurt mainly by a 55 percent fall in shipment volumes in the telecom backup power business. Ballard also reported a 31 percent fall in revenue from its development stage markets business, which supplies fuel cell equipment for renewable energy products.
** CHECK POINT SOFTWARE TECHNOLOGIES LTD, $63.17, -4.10 pct
The Israeli network security provider expects second-quarter revenue of $340 million to $375 million and earnings per share of 82-90 cents, excluding one-time items. Analysts on average estimated revenue of $361.1 million and earnings of 88 cents per share.
** WOLVERINE WORLD WIDE INC, $29.23, +10.30 pct
The shoe retailer said it still expected to hit its full-year sales and profit targets, despite reporting a 2.8 percent fall in first-quarter sales due to fewer customer visits and the severe winter in the United States. The company posted better-than-expected quarterly earnings by cutting operating costs.
** MGM RESORTS INTERNATIONAL, $24.8, +7.73 pct
The casino operator reported better-than-expected first-quarter sales, as casino gambling revenue rose 13 percent due to higher VIP table turnover at MGM China.
** CUMMINS INC, $150.04, +3.33 pct
The company posted results that topped analysts expectations and raised its full-year forecast as strong demand for its engines and vehicle components in North America offset weakness in many other parts of the world.
** GOODYEAR TIRE & RUBBER CO, $25.27, -6.96 pct
The biggest U.S. tire maker reported lower-than-expected quarterly revenue, hit by the extreme winter in North America and a labor dispute in Venezuela.
** ALLIANT TECHSYSTEMS INC, $149.55, +7.73 pct
** ORBITAL SCIENCES CORP, $30.72, +15.62 pct
Alliant Techsystems, the world’s largest ammunition maker, said it would merge with Orbital Sciences after spinning off its sporting gun business.
** COACH INC, $45.96, -8.85 pct
The upscale leather goods maker’s North American woes deepened last quarter as the company continued to lose market share and the new line of clothes, shoes and handbags it is banking on to reverse its fortunes remained months away from hitting stores.
** EATON CORP, $72.69, -2.43 pct
The diversified manufacturer posted a rise in first-quarter profit that just topped analysts’ estimates on Tuesday, helped by lower-than-expected costs, but forecast second-quarter earnings that appeared to lag Wall Street’s target.
** ARCHER DANIELS MIDLAND CO, $42.89, -3.36 pct
The agribusiness company on Tuesday reported lower-than-expected quarterly earnings as poor margins and harsh U.S. weather hurt its core grain-trading business.
** BRISTOL-MYERS SQUIBB CO, $48.71, -3.28 pct
The U.S. drugmaker reported higher-than-expected quarterly earnings, helped by cost cuts and lower taxes, but sales missed Wall Street estimates.
** FLAMEL TECHNOLOGIES, $11.44, -12.67 pct
The specialty pharmaceutical company said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration denied approval to one of its experimental drugs, citing deficiencies at the manufacturing facility of the company’s pharmaceutical ingredient supplier. Flamel said it would work with the supplier to resolve the issues, but did not offer details on the product or say when it would resubmit the marketing application.
** CONTAINER STORE GROUP INC, $28.95, -3.08 pct
At least two brokerages cut their price targets on the storage products retailer’s stock after the company reported a much lower-than-expected quarterly profit on Monday, hurt by an unusually severe winter in the United States that limited customer visits and led to store closures.
** ULTRA CLEAN HOLDINGS INC, $8.65, -26.76 pct
The chip equipment maker’s first-quarter profit missed analysts’ average estimate due to lower-than-expected gross margins.
The company also forecast second-quarter profit of 15-18 cents per share on revenue of $128-$133 million. Analysts expect a profit of 26 cents per share on revenue of $132 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
** AMERICAN REALTY CAPITAL PROPERTIES INC, $13, +3.01 pct
** NORTHSTAR REALTY FINANCE CORP, $15.89, -7.62 pct
American Realty Capital Properties and NorthStar Realty Finance said they were not currently in merger talks, a day after reports that American Realty was looking to buy the real estate financing company.
** CONSOL ENERGY INC, $44.12, +5.17 pct
The company plans to ramp up its natural gas output in the second quarter, after a 59 percent jump in sales of oil and gas helped the company report a better-than-expected quarterly profit.
** AMKOR TECHNOLOGY INC, $7.79, +10.18 pct
The provider of semiconductor assembling and testing services on Monday reported first-quarter results that beat expectations, helped by higher demand from mobile clients and customer additions. The company also forecast current quarter revenue and profit largely above analysts’ average estimate.
At least two brokerages raised their price targets on the company’s stock on Tuesday.
** GOGO INC, $14.27, -22.36 pct
** GLOBAL EAGLE ENTERTAINMENT, $10.5, -10.10 pct
AT&T Inc and Honeywell International Inc are teaming up to offer high-speed, in-flight Internet in the United States, the companies said on Monday, challenging industry leader Gogo Inc.
Shares of Global Eagle were also down.
** HCA HOLDINGS INC, $50.76, -3.52 pct
The company reported quarterly earnings that were a penny shy of analyst expectations, and its chief executive said the hospital operator had not yet seen an impact from President Obama’s healthcare reform law.
** ABB LTD $24.18, -7.92 pct
The Swiss engineering group said it would intensify work to overhaul its power systems unit after posting an unexpected fall in first-quarter profit because of the unit’s weak orders and costly delays to wind and solar power projects.
** BUFFALO WILD WINGS INC, $140, +4.96 pct
The restaurant chain reported a much better-than-expected first-quarter profit, helped by “significantly” lower chicken wing prices and a 6.6 percent jump in same-store sales.
The company also forecast a 25 percent rise in net earnings in 2014.
** ENCANA CORP, $23.655, +3.93 pct
Canada’s largest natural gas producer said it had agreed to sell about 90,000 net acres in east Texas for about $530 million to an undisclosed buyer, as part of a plan to cut its dependence on low-value natural gas.
** CIT GROUP INC, $43.34, -6.31 pct
The small-business lender’s quarterly profit fell by a third as the small-business lender earned lower interest on loans. (Compiled by Maria Ajit Thomas in Bangalore; Editing by Simon Jennings)