April 29, 2014 / 6:29 PM / in 3 years

MARKET PULSE-Merck, Sprint, Five9, Xoma, Meru, Waters, Comscore

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U.S. stocks rose on Tuesday, helped by upbeat results from companies including Merck & Co and Sprint, as well as more deal activity on the healthcare front. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 0.62 percent at 16,551.07, the S&P 500 was up 0.54 percent at 1,879.56 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.88 percent at 4,110.396.

** MERCK & CO, $58.41, +3.05 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, $8.18, +10.09 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, $44.37, -3.42 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, $2.25, +22.28 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, $12.73, -6.26 pct

The company’s quarterly revenue fell short of expectations due to lower sales of its implantable defibrillators and pacemakers.

** CHEGG INC, $5.429, +3.41 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.

** LUMINEX CORP,$18.92, +18.99 pct

The biological testing technology provider on Monday reported first-quarter results that beat analysts’ average estimate, due to strong sales in its diagnostic tests business.

At least two brokerages raised their price targets on the company’s stock.

** XOMA CORP, $4.7199, +23.56 pct

MLV & Co analyst Graig Suvannavejh raised his rating on the biotechnology company’s stock to “buy” from “hold” on valuation, saying he expects upcoming data from a late-stage study of its lead drug as a treatment for a rare eye disease to be positive.

** KULICKE AND SOFFA INDUSTRIES INC, $13.76, +8.95 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, $4.5207, +14.74 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, $7.38, +4.98 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, $13.66, +18.68 pct

The company said its trustees adopted a liquidation plan for it that could fetch at least $13.80 per share.

** OMNIAMERICAN BANCORP INC, $25.03, +9.16 pct

** SOUTHSIDE BANCSHARES INC, $27.8, -8.73 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, $3.67, -16.59 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, $72, -2.54 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.

** ROCKWELL AUTOMATION INC, $116.95, -6.09 pct The maker of systems that help factories run smoothly reported a lower-than-expected quarterly profit as higher costs and a strong dollar hurt margins.

** OXIGENE INC, $3.23, +8.39 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, $12.49, +9.18 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.

** ZILLOW INC, $100.81, +10.72 pct

Tiger Global Management disclosed a 9.5 percent passive stake in the online real-estate website as of April 21, according to a regulatory filing.

** UNIVERSAL TRUCKLOAD SERVICES INC, $24.99, -6.79 pct

The trucking services provider priced its public offering of 1.9 million shares at $26.00 per share, a discount of 3 percent to the stock’s Monday close.

** COMSCORE INC, $30.25, +7.96 pct

The data analytics provider reported better-than-expected first-quarter revenue, driven by a jump in subscription revenue.

** FIVE9 INC, $6.96, +5.78 pct

The cloud-based software provider’s shares rose on Tuesday after at least six brokerages initiated coverage on the company’s stock with positive ratings.

** WATERS CORP, $101.01, -6.68 pct

The analytical instruments manufacturer reported first-quarter results that missed analysts’ average estimate, hurt by slow growth in Asia and delays in the release of capital budgets of its pharmaceutical customers in the United States.

Analysts at ISI Group cut their price target on the company’s stock to $112 from $116.

** ALERE INC, $32.71, -5.33 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.

** IRONWOOD PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $11.3, +11.11 pct

The drugmaker posted a smaller-than-expected quarterly loss, helped by robust sales of its constipation drug, Linzess.

** CIRRUS LOGIC INC, $23.625, +7.34 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, $44.29, -10.09 pct

** STRATASYS LTD, $94.85, -2.30 pct

The 3D printer maker’s quarterly gross margins fell for the first time in two years, raising concerns about its growth prospects in an industry, which is drawing the attention of bigger technology firms.

Shares of rival Stratasys were also down.

** BIOTA PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $3.685, -33.84 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, $49.13, +9.96 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, $9.89, +15.54 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, $16.5, +1.91 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.

** BALLARD POWER SYSTEMS INC, $3.7795, -7.59 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, $63.1, -4.21 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, $28.87, +8.94 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, $25.08, +8.95 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, $149.71, +3.11 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, $25.22, -7.14 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, $149.47, +7.67 pct

** ORBITAL SCIENCES CORP, $30.11, +13.32 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, $46.01, -8.75 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, $72.25, -3.02 pct

The diversified manufacturer on Tuesday forecast second-quarter profit below Wall Street’s target, weighed down by restructuring costs.

** ARCHER DANIELS MIDLAND CO, $43.21, -2.64 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.

** SPIRIT AIRLINES INC, $56.09, -4.00 pct

The low-cost carrier on Tuesday reported a higher first-quarter profit as it added flights but said costs would rise in the current quarter.

** BRISTOL-MYERS SQUIBB CO, $48.52, -3.65 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, $11.42, -12.82 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, $28.8, -3.58 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, $8.67, -26.59 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, $12.94, +2.54 pct

** NORTHSTAR REALTY FINANCE CORP, $16.04, -6.74 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, $44.09, +5.10 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, $7.795, +10.25 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, $13.83, -24.75 pct

** GLOBAL EAGLE ENTERTAINMENT, $10.51, -10.02 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, $51.557, -2.00 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 $24.135, -8.09 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, $140.59, +5.40 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, $23.55, +3.47 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, $43.32, -6.36 pct

The small-business lender’s quarterly profit fell by a third as it earned lower interest on loans. (Compiled by Maria Ajit Thomas in Bangalore; Editing by Simon Jennings)

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