May 2, 2014 / 1:57 PM / 4 years ago

MARKET PULSE-Spirit Aero, Skechers, Rubicon, Equal Energy, Actuate

(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 opened mostly flat on Friday following a payroll report that was much better than expected. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 0.16 percent at 16,584.59, the S&P 500 was up 0.18 percent at 1,887.04 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.07 percent at 4,130.279.

** SKECHERS USA INC, $41.41, -1.33 pct

Sport shoes maker Skechers USA Inc SKX.N said on Friday it would explore buying a stake in the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team, whose owner is at the center of a controversy over alleged racist remarks.

** MERCK & CO INC, $58.91, -1.19 pct

** ENDOCYTE INC, $6.52, -62.49 pct

The companies said they had stopped a late-stage trial of their experimental ovarian cancer drug because it did not improve survival rates without the cancer worsening.

** LINKEDIN CORP, $155.07, -3.81 pct

The social networking company forecast 2014 revenue below Wall Street’s expectations on Thursday, underscoring concerns about its ability to sustain its rapid growth and helping to drag its shares lower.

** CHEVRON CORP, $125.16, +0.18 pct

The second-largest U.S. oil producer posted a lower-than-expected quarterly profit on Friday on lower global production and crude oil prices.

** HUTCHINSON TECHNOLOGY INC, $2.405, -17.07 pct

The maker of suspension assemblies for disk drives reported lower-than-expected quarterly revenue, citing lower prices and weak demand from its business customers.

Hutchinson’s customers, Western Digital Corp and Seagate Technology plc, reported a fall in quarterly profit earlier this week due to lower sales to personal computer makers.

** HERCULES TECHNOLOGY GROWTH CAPITAL INC, $14.15, +4.43 pct

The financier, which lends to technology, biotech and energy companies, reported a first-quarter adjusted net investment income of 30 cents per share, beating analysts’ average estimate of 28 cents per share, as net realized gain on investments and assets from operations grew.

** PFIZER INC, $31, -0.48 pct

AstraZeneca’s board said it had rejected an improved $106 billion takeover offer from the U.S. drug maker, saying the bid undervalued the firm.

** INVENSENSE INC, $19.4, -5.78 pct

The motion-sensor chip maker reported fourth-quarter adjusted profit below analysts’ average estimate, as it increased research and development spending.

The company also forecast a weak current quarter on a conference call with analysts, prompting at least four brokerages to lower their price targets on the stock.

** KEYW HOLDING CORP, $12.15, -7.04 pct

The maker of cyber-security products, which counts the National Security Agency among its customers, reported an 18 percent fall in first-quarter revenue that also missed analysts’ average estimate, hurt mainly by lower orders from the U.S. government.

** DORAL FINANCIAL CORP, $5.12, -47.86 pct

The lender said it was revising its capital plan, which could include a sale of assets and businesses, in an effort to meet regulatory requirements.

** MICROS SYSTEMS INC, $54.96, +5.79 pct

The maker of data management systems for retailers and hotel chains reported better-than-expected third-quarter results on Thursday, helped by a 22 percent rise in hardware sales.

** SEQUENOM INC, $2.949, +10.41 pct

The genetic tests provider reported a smaller-than-expected first-quarter loss, helped by a 27 percent rise in revenue from its diagnostic services business. The company said about 75 percent of the $37.1 million in diagnostic services revenue was from payments collected for tests performed in prior periods.

** MANITOWOC CO INC, $30.14, -6.63 pct

The crane maker reported first-quarter results below analysts’ average estimate, partly due to project delays.

** EQUAL ENERGY LTD, $5.25, +18.51 pct

The oil and gas producer said on Thursday it would pay two dividends of 5 cents per common share each, as per an agreement signed with Petroflow Energy Corp. The company added that Petroflow had obtained financing commitments needed for the acquisition of Equal Energy.

** RUBICON TECHNOLOGY INC, $8.67, -14.83 pct

The maker of sapphire cores and wafers forecast a bigger-than-expected current-quarter loss due to gross margin weakness. At least two brokerages cut their price targets on the company’s stock.

** BLUCORA INC, $16.96, -12.71 pct

The online tax-preparation and web-search provider forecast current-quarter revenue well below analysts’ average expectation, as a technology shift in its search business is expected to depress results.

At least three brokerages cut their price targets on the stock.

** ACTUATE CORP, $3.6, -34.55 pct

The business management and analytics software maker reported a surprise first-quarter loss, as license revenue fell 60 percent due to a delay in orders by some customers.

** JINKOSOLAR HOLDING CO LTD, $27.76, +1.50 pct

The Chinese solar company said it would supply 100 megawatt (MW) of modules for two solar projects in Chile’s Atacama Desert region.

** SKULLCANDY INC, $8.78, +13.29 pct

The headphones maker reported a smaller-than-expected first-quarter loss helped by a 20 percent rise in sales outside the United States. It also forecast current-quarter sales to grow 5 to 7 percent from $50.8 million a year earlier.

** KODIAK OIL & GAS CORP, $12.2, -2.17 pct

Wunderlich Securities and BMO Capital Markets cut their price targets on the oil and gas producer’s stock after it cut its full-year 2014 production outlook on Thursday.

The company said colder-than-normal weather led to a slowdown in production in North Dakota in the first quarter.

** ON SEMICONDUCTOR CORP, $8.67, -7.57 pct

The maker of power-management chips reported first-quarter revenue below analysts’ average estimate, hurt mainly by lower prices for its products.

** VERTEX PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $68.64, -0.45 pct

The drug maker on Thursday said a combination of its cystic fibrosis drug Kalydeco and an experimental compound was shown to improve lung function in a mid-stage trial.

** HERBALIFE LTD, $59.48, -0.18 pct

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is probing whether a number of hedge funds many have acted improperly when they made bets on the nutrition and weight loss company last year, a source said.

** CANADIAN SOLAR INC, $27.625, +0.42 pct

The solar power company said it would receive a C$115.5 million ($105.23 million) loan from National Bank of Canada , which it will use to finance the construction of three solar power projects in Ontario, Canada.

($1 = 1.0976 Canadian Dollars)

** VISTEON CORP, $88.99, +1.76 pct

The auto parts maker said it would sell most of its automotive interiors business to private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management LP as it focuses on its fast-growing climate control and electronics operations.

** NEWS CORP, $17.38, +0.46 pct

News Corp said it would buy romance novel publisher Harlequin Enterprises Ltd from Canadian newspaper company Torstar Corp to boost its non-English book publishing.

** OCH-ZIFF CAPITAL MANAGEMENT GROUP, $12.55, +2.45 pct

Och-Ziff Capital reported a lower quarterly profit, but the hedge fund still beat analysts’ expectations as billions of dollars in new money flowed into its portfolios and helped offset lower earnings by its funds.

** MARCHEX INC, $10.755, +10.65 pct

The provider of call-based advertising services reported better-than-expected first-quarter results on Thursday as advertisers spent more on mobile advertising.

At least two brokerages raised their price targets on the stock on Friday.

** SPIRIT AEROSYSTEMS HOLDINGS INC, $31.49, +3.48 pct

The aircraft component maker’s quarterly profit nearly doubled, partly helped by strong demand for large commercial aircraft.

** CVS CAREMARK CORP, $73.25, +0.22 pct

The company posted a higher quarterly profit as its pharmacy benefits business won new clients and it benefited from the introduction of new generic drugs.

** AMN HEALTHCARE SERVICES INC, $11.2, -11.11 pct

The healthcare staffing services provider on Thursday reported first-quarter revenue that missed analysts’ average estimate, hurt by lower revenue in its nurse and allied healthcare staffing business due to the impact of bad weather and cost pressures.

At least three brokerages cut their price targets on the company’s stock.

** SERVICESOURCE INTERNATIONAL INC, $4.267, -31.73 pct

The company, which helps manage service contract renewals mainly for technology companies, reported first-quarter revenue below analysts’ average estimate, hurt by slowing growth at its managed services business.

“ServiceSource missed its own internal bookings targets for the third quarter in a row,” JMP Securities analyst Patrick Walravens wrote in a research note. Walravens cut his price target on the stock to $9 from $15.

** INTUITIVE SURGICAL INC, $367.99, +2.47 pct

The medical device maker said it would buy back $1 billion of its common stock from Goldman Sachs. It expects to receive and retire a majority of the repurchased shares within two weeks. The remaining, if any, would be retired in early November, the company said.

** IMMUNOMEDICS INC, $3.295, -20.41 pct

The company said it planned to offer an undisclosed number of shares of its common stock to fund its late-stage pancreatic cancer trial and the ongoing mid-stage studies of its experimental compounds IMMU-132 and IMMU-130.

** ACORDA THERAPEUTICS INC, $32.84, -8.52 pct

Acorda said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration rejected its nasal spray to treat epilepsy patients who experience repetitive seizures.

The drugmaker did not disclose the reason for the rejection, but said it planned to resubmit the application for the treatment.

** AGNICO-EAGLE MINES LTD, $31.32, +5.85 pct

The miner posted an increase in first-quarter earnings on Thursday despite weaker bullion prices, as it reported significantly higher gold production and lower production costs.

** BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY INC, $194,500, +0.55 pct

Berkshire’s energy unit said on Thursday it would buy AltaLink, Canada’s regulated electricity transmission company, from SNC-Lavalin Group Inc for about $2.9 billion in cash.

** AKAMAI TECHNOLOGIES INC, $56.11, +2.90 pct

Akamai, which hosts content for companies on its servers, forecast current-quarter results above analysts’ estimates and it posted better-than-expected quarterly results as more people play games and watch videos online.

** SCIQUEST INC, $18.72, -21.25 pct

The company, whose cloud-based software helps manage supply chains, cut its full-year profit and sales forecast as its enterprise customers delayed signing up for its services. (Compiled by Rohit T. K. in Bangalore; Editing by Simon Jennings)

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