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U.S. stocks fell in midday trading Thursday, putting them on track for a fifth day of losses as bank results disappointed and investors focused on concerns about the effect of global weakness on U.S. earnings. The Dow Jones industrial average was down 0.32 percent at 17,371.83, the S&P 500 was down 0.51 percent at 2,001.08 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 1 percent at 4,593.15.
** NOVARTIS AG , $100.472, +3.78 pct
** ABB LTD , $20, +2.56 pct
** LOGITECH INTERNATIONAL SA , $13.87, +4.68 pct
** MOVADO GROUP INC, $23.18, -12.50 pct
Swiss companies’ U.S.-listed shares rise after the franc jumps against the dollar.
The Swiss National Bank (SNB) unexpectedly scraped the euro cap, sending the franc soaring against the euro and the dollar.
SNB intervention may not be concentrated only in euro terms but in dollar terms as well, Hans Redeker, global head of FX strategy at Morgan Stanley said.
Shares of Swiss watch-maker Movado Group fell as a stronger franc makes its exports more expensive.
** BANK OF AMERICA CORP, $15.45, -3.68 pct
The second-largest U.S. bank by assets reported a 14 percent fall in quarterly profit as revenue from fixed-income trading fell.
** CITIGROUP INC, $47.465, -3.23 pct
The bank, in the midst of a pullback from consumer banking in several international markets, said earnings per share fell to 6 cents in the fourth-quarter, from 82 cents last year on legal and restructuring charges.
The company took a $3.5 billion charge to settle legal claims and overhaul its operations.
** TARGET CORP, $75.89, +2.10 pct
The U.S. discount retailer said it will cease operations in Canada and has filed for creditor protection for its Canadian subsidiary in a surprise move that could put its 17,600 employees in the country out of work.
** BEST BUY CO INC, $34.91, -12.53 pct
The largest U.S. consumer electronics chain said it expects same-store sales growth to be flat to negative in the first two quarters of its fiscal year starting February, citing low demand for computers and tablets.
** NOVOGEN LTD, $2.6967, +29.03 pct
The Australian drug developer said it had identified a family of compounds capable of stimulating growth and activity of normal brain stem cell in its regenerative medicine program. [ID: nPn73Gf4W]
Regenerative medicine deals with repairing and replacing tissue lost due to age, disease, damage or congenital defects. The company said last month that its lead brain cancer drug was also effective in treating a kind of skin cancer in pre-clinical studies.
** EHEALTH INC, $9.575, -53.97 pct
The health insurance exchange’s stock had plunged 47 percent in extended trading on Wednesday after it forecast a surprise adjusted loss for 2014.
Citigroup cut its price target on the stock to $8 from $12, which was already the lowest on Wall Street.
** DOLLAR GENERAL CORP, $66.13, -2.25 pct
** FAMILY DOLLAR STORES INC, $75.34, -1.26 pct
** DOLLAR TREE INC, $66.26, -1.65 pct
Dollar General said it does not expect to divest more than 1,500 stores to gain regulatory approval for its bid to buy smaller rival Family Dollar Corp.
Family Dollar said on Monday that regulators would want many more than 1,500 stores divested by Dollar General, and estimated the figure to be around 3,500-4,000
Dollar General also said it had discussions with potential buyers for the stores that may be divested.
** PILGRIMS PRIDE CORP, $34.33, +8.88 pct
The No. 2 U.S. chicken processor’s board declared a cash dividend of $1.5 billion, or $5.77 per share.
** MANDALAY DIGITAL GROUP INC, $3.285, +4.29 pct
The mobile software company signed a multi-year deal with wireless carrier United States Cellular Corp for U.S. Cellular to offer its mobile software to customers.
** LENNAR CORP, $42.97, -6.10 pct
** KB HOME, $12.57, -7.16 pct
** D.R. HORTON INC, $23.42, -6.84 pct
** PULTEGROUP INC, $21.1, -5.08 pct
Lennar, the No.2 U.S. homebuilder reported its first fall in quarterly margins in three years and forecast a further drop in 2015 as costs rise.
Fourth-quarter gross margins fell to 25.6 percent from 26.8 percent a year earlier.
Smaller rival KB Home had also forecast a drop in margins in 2015 due to higher labor and land costs. Other homebuilders’ stocks fall on the results.
** COEUR MINING INC, $5.56, +4.51 pct
The gold and silver miner said it expects to produce 284,000-313,000 ounces of gold in 2015, above 2014 production of 249,384 ounces.
Coeur said the Wharf gold mine, bought from Goldcorp Inc , is expected to produce 85,000-90,000 ounces of gold in 2015.
** BLACKBERRY LTD, $10.135, -19.53 pct
The Canadian smartphone maker says it has not engaged in discussions with Samsung Electronics Co Ltd with respect to any possible offer to purchase the company.
BlackBerry shares soared nearly 30 percent on Wednesday following a Reuters report that Samsung offered to buy it for as much as $7.5 billion. The report cited a person familiar with the matter and documents seen by Reuters.
Samsung told Reuters in Seoul that it has no plans to acquire BlackBerry.
** RADIOSHACK CORP, $0.315, -23.19 pct
The electronics retailer might prepare to file for bankruptcy protection by next month, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
** CHINA FINANCE ONLINE CO LTD, $5, +4.38 pct
The web-based financial services company signed a partnership agreement with China International Capital Corp Ltd, a securities and investment firm.
** KINGTONE WIRELESSINFO SOLUTION HOLDING, $4.26, +32.30 pct
The wireless device software maker reported break even on a per share basis for the financial year ended Sept. 30, compared with a loss of $3.65 last year.
Kingtone’s cost cutting initiatives helped improve margins
** WADDELL AND REED FINANCIAL INC, $42, -3.09 pct
At least six brokerages, including Barclays, cut price targets on the asset manager’s shares by as much as $6 to as low as $45. The company on Wednesday reported a drop assets under management in the fourth-quarter.
** WNS (HOLDINGS) LTD, $22.3, +10.78 pct
The business processing outsourcing service provider reported better-than-expected third-quarter profit and revenue as it added more clients than in the year-ago quarter. The company also forecast a better-than-expected profit for the year ending March 31.
WNS also said it would buy back up to 1.1 million American Depositary Shares at $10-$30 each.
** FLAMEL TECHNOLOGIES SA, $12.33, +7.22 pct
The specialty drugmaker increased the price for its lead product, Bloxiverz, to $98.75 per vial after the FDA unexpectedly approved a rival drug.
Bloxiverz, approved in 2013, is used to reverse the effects of neuromuscular blocking agents after surgery.
** BSD MEDICAL CORP, $0.243, -19.00 pct
The medical device maker’s stock hit a 16-year low after first-quarter revenue fell 37 percent, hurt by a lack of stocking orders for its heat therapy to treat cancer.
The company’s first-quarter net loss widened to $2 million from $1.5 million, while gross margins fell to about 47 percent from about 52 percent.
BSD said earlier this week that it planned to exit its hypothermia business.
** INSULET CORP, $32.82, -14.75 pct
J.P. Morgan Securities cut its rating on the wearable insulin pump maker’s stock to “neutral” from “overweight” and cut its price target to $35 from $45. Analysts said Insulet Chief Executive Patrick Sullivan’s disclosures at the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference on Wednesday indicated that the U.S. wearable insulin business was in worse shape than expected.
** HARMONY GOLD MINING CO LTD, $2.9, +7.41 pct
** KINROSS GOLD CORP, $3.47, +8.44 pct
** ANGLOGOLD ASHANTI LTD, $11.05, +6.05 pct
** YAMANA GOLD INC, $4.25, +7.59 pct
** NEWMONT MINING CORP, $21.76, +10.12 pct
** HECLA MINING CO, $2.96, +4.23 pct
** FIRST MAJESTIC SILVER CORP, $6.08, +3.05 pct
** SILVER WHEATON CORP, $23, +2.95 pct
** PRIMERO MINING CORP, $4.45, +7.23 pct
U.S.-listed shares of gold and silver miners up as prices of precious metals rise.
Gold rises to a four-month high as European shares and the dollar turned lower after a shock move by Switzerland to abandon its three-year cap on the franc sent Europe’s shares and bond yields tumbling.
Spot gold up 2.6 percent at $1261.83 per ounce; silver up 1.7 percent at $17.12 per ounce at 10:15 a.m. ET.
** MARLIN MIDSTREAM PARTNERS LP, $19, +14.46 pct
The oil and gas transportation and storage company will buy Azure Midstream Energy LLC’s Legacy gathering system for $162.5 million.
The Legacy system includes about 658 miles of gathering lines primarily under fixed-fee contracts. Azure Midstream Energy LLC will own Marlin’s general partner and 90 percent incentive distribution rights in Marlin.
** TAIWAN SEMICONDUCTOR MANUFACTURING CO LTD, $22.88, +8.64 pct
The chip supplier to Apple Inc reported a record net profit on Thursday and said the proliferation of low-priced, chip-hungry smartphones in China could see the company expand production in the world’s biggest handset market.
** LENDINGCLUB CORP, $21.86, +3.80 pct
The peer-to-peer lender signed an agreement with Google Inc for low-interest lending to Google partners.
Google would purchase the loans, thus investing its own capital in its partner network, while Lending Club would service the loans. Google has more than 10,000 partners, including resellers, consultants, and system integrators for distributing applications and services.
** HERZFELD CARIBBEAN BASIC FUND, $8.743, +5.85 pct
Shares of the fund, which invests in companies in countries of the Caribbean Basin, rose after the United States rolled out a sweeping set of measures to ease the half-century-old embargo against Cuba.
The action opens up Cuba to expanded travel, trade and financial activities.
** SILVER STANDARD RESOURCES INC, $6.51, +8.14 pct
The Canadian miner said it produced 8.7 million ounces of silver at its Pirquitas mine in Argentina in 2014, exceeding its forecast of 8.2 million-8.6 million ounces.
Silver Standard said it expects to produce 9 million-10 million ounces in 2015 at Pirquitas.
The company also said it expects gold production of 160,000-175,000 ounces at Marigold mine in Nevada in 2015, higher than 2014 production of 129,615 ounces.
** SILICON LABORATORIES INC, $44.875, -4.44 pct
Barclays Capital downgraded the chipmaker’s stock to “equal weight” from “overweight”.
** DIGITAL ALLY INC, $13.26, +0.15 pct
** GOPRO INC, $50.03, -4.41 pct
Digital Ally, a maker of wearable video cameras and other security products for police forces, is considering launching action cameras aimed at consumers this year, putting it into direct competition with GoPro Inc.
** ICICI BANK LTD , $11.79, +5.17 pct
** HDFC BANK LTD , $54.96, +6.51 pct
U.S.-listed shares of Indian lenders rose more than 5 percent after a surprise cut in interest rates by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI)
The RBI cut interest rates by 25 basis points to 7.75 percent and signaled it could cut rates further (Compiled by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru, Editing by Simon Jennings)