Nov 22 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks edged higher on Friday in the absence of economic data and ahead of a holiday-shortened week in the United States, a day after the Dow industrials closed above 16,000 for the first time. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.12 percent, the S&P 500 0.32 percent and the Nasdaq Composite 0.47 percent.
** INTEL CORP, $24, down 4.8 pct (12:25 p.m. ET)
The world’s top chipmaker’s shares fell nearly 5 percent after Wall Street came away from its investor meeting craving more evidence that the chipmaker can forge a strong mobile presence to drive up revenue and margins.
** HERBALIFE LTD, $72.43, up 5.8 pct (11:41 a.m ET)
The company’s shares rallied nearly 7 percent as investors rejected the latest salvo from hedge fund manager William Ackman, who insisted the company is nothing but a pyramid scheme, even though his short position based on that view has cost up to $500 million. Herbalife, meanwhile, blasted Ackman’s ability to pick consumer product stocks, issuing a statement that also noted Ackman’s heavy losses in JC Penney Company Inc this year.
** AETRIUM INC, $7.59, up 152 pct (12:25 p.m. ET)
The maker of testing equipment for integrated circuits reported orders worth $2.1 million for its new VMAX IC test product from several customers on Thursday. The orders are expected to be shipped by the first quarter of 2014, the company said.
** PRETIUM RESOURCES INC, $5.25, up 79 pct (12:26 p.m. ET)
Shares of the Canadian miner, nearly doubled after the company said gold output from its 10,000-tonne bulk sample program at Brucejack in British Columbia topped its target of 4,000 ounces. Pretium said it has processed 8,090 tonnes of bulk sample from the program, dubbed “Valley of the Kings”, and produced 4,215 ounces of gold.
** VIOLIN MEMORY INC, $3.2, down 46.6 pct (12:27 p.m. ET)
The flash storage provider’s third-quarter results came in below analysts’ estimates, prompting at least four brokerages to downgrade the stock.
** 500.COM LTD, $18.87, up 45.5 pct (2:26 p.m. ET)
** SUNGY MOBILE LTD, $12.60, up 12.2 pct
Shares of two Chinese companies, 500.com and Sungy Mobile , surged in their U.S. debuts on Friday, as investors bet on China-based technology companies backed by marquee underwriters.
** VINCE HOLDING CORP, $28.35, up 42 pct (12:29 p.m. ET)
Shares of the company, controlled by private equity firm Sun Capital Partners Inc, rose about 50 percent in their market debut, valuing the luxury apparel company at about $1.08 billion. Vince, previously known as Apparel Holding Corp, sells items such as $300 cashmere sweaters and $1,000 leather jackets at upscale department stores.
** ARIAD PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $3.98, up 43 pct (12:30 p.m. ET)
The company said European regulators recommended the continued use of its leukemia drug, Iclusig, whose U.S. sale has been suspended due to safety concerns.
** SPLUNK INC, $71.67, up 19.6 pct (12:31 p.m. ET)
The Data analytics software maker reported better-than-expected quarterly results due to the addition of more corporate and government customers, and raised its full-year revenue forecast.
** OXFORD IMMUNOTEC INC, $14.82, up 24 pct (12:25 p.m. ET)
The diagnostics company’s shares opened about 20 percent above its IPO price, valuing the UK-based firm at about $230 million.
** FRESH MARKET INC, $41.21, down 18 pct (12:31 p.m. ET)
The specialty grocery retailer cut its 2013 earnings forecast for the second time as it battles a weak U.S. consumer spending environment.
** PACIFIC BIOSCIENCES OF CALIFORNIA INC, $4.08, up 14 pct (12:32 p.m. ET)
The company’s chairman bought 200,000 shares at $3.61 per share, according to a regulatory filing. The stock closed at $3.58 on Thursday.
** PACIFIC ETHANOL INC, $3.22, up 14 pct (11:27 a.m. ET)
The renewable fuel producer’s stock continued to surge for the third successive day after its CEO Neil Koehler on Wednesday said that ethanol demand would remain strong in 2014 despite Environmental Protection Agency’s recently proposed reductions to the 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard targets.
** DFC GLOBAL CORP, $11.45, down 13 pct (11:40 a.m. ET)
The short-term loan and pawn loan provider said it would not proceed with the senior notes offering by two of its units due to current market conditions.
The company, which primarily serves unbanked and under-banked consumers, had last week announced a $650 million senior note private offering.
** MONTAGE TECHNOLOGY INC, $17.70, up 13 pct (11:20 a.m. ET)
Brokerage Stifel Nicolaus raised its price target on the China-based fabless chipmaker’s stock to $20 from $18, saying it believes that the company can achieve its longer-term operating goals. The stock was trading more than three times its average 10-day volumes.
** POZEN INC, $7.57, up 11 pct (12:33 p.m. ET)
The drugmaker declared a special cash distribution of $1.75 per share on Thursday to all stockholders of record as of close of business on Dec. 11.
** TEXTURA CORP, $31.86, down 11 pct (11:05 am ET)
The maker of collaboration software for the construction industry reported a wider-than-expected adjusted loss for the fourth-quarter.
** BIOGEN IDEC, $284.5, up 12.7 pct (12:34 p.m. ET)
The company has won regulatory protection for its top-selling multiple sclerosis drug Tecfidera in Europe, paving the way for its launch in markets that could account for a large proportion of future sales.
** SFX ENTERTAINMENT INC, $9.56, up 11 pct (11:15 am ET)
The producer of live events and entertainment content reported revenue of $48.7 million in its first quarterly result as a public company. The company has lost about a fifth of its market value since it started trading on Oct. 10 on the Nasdaq.
** NORDIC AMERICAN TANKER LTD, $7.95, down 10.4 pct (12:33 p.m. ET)
The tanker company late on Thursday said it was offering shares worth $65 million. Chief Executive Herbjorn Hansson is expected to buy shares worth about $2 million in the offering on the same terms as other investors.
** ARUBA NETWORKS INC, $18.77, up 9 pct (12:35 p.m. ET)
The network-equipment maker’s first-quarter revenue rose 11 percent as the company benefited from higher IT spending by its customers. Aruba also forecast second-quarter revenue largely above Wall Street expectations.
One brokerage upgraded the company’s stock while three others raised their price targets.
** AMARIN CORP PLC, $1.8, down 8 pct (12:32 p.m. ET)
The company said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration did not accept its appeal for the review of a regulatory decision to revoke an agreement related to the trial of its drug that lowers a type of blood fat.
**CELLDEX INC, $28.40, up 9 pct (12:32 p.m. ET)
The company plans to hold a conference call on Nov. 25 to discuss results on the use of its experimental drug rindopepimut, an action that “clearly indicate that the data will be positive,” a report on investment website Seeking Alpha said.
Rindopepimut is being tested to treat recurrent glioblastoma, a type of brain tumor. (r.reuters.com/nar84v)
** LUXOFT HOLDING, $37.96, up 8.9 pct (01:05 p.m. ET)
Russian investment bank VTB Capital's sale of its stake in the software developer through a secondary public offering on Friday is good news for outside investors, a Barron's report said, citing a J. P. Morgan Securities note. (link.reuters.com/har84v)
VTB is getting out before the lock-up period on the stock expires because of heavy investor demand, the note said.
** USEC INC, $9.55, up 7 pct (12:36 p.m. ET)
The enriched uranium fuel supplier said it would get $15.7 million from the U.S. Department of Energy for the final phase of a research, development and demonstration program for the American Centrifuge project.
** LANDEC CORP $11.44, down 7.7 pct (12:36 p.m. ET)
The company, which makes polymer products for food and agricultural markets, cut its earnings forecast for the current quarter due to higher-than-expected costs for raw materials in its vegetable business.
** BERRY PLASTICS GROUP INC $21.81, up 7 pct (1:34 p.m. ET)
The plastic packaging supplier reported fourth-quarter profit above analysts’ average estimate and said it was cutting costs, including closing some plants. The facility restructuring programs are expected to generate about $27 million in annual operating savings when fully implemented by the end of fiscal 2014, the company said.
** ROSS STORES INC, $75.37, down 6 pct (12:37 p.m. ET)
The low-price retailer forecast earnings well below analysts’ expectations for its full year ending Feb. 1, saying that the upcoming holiday season would be “the most intensely competitive and promotional selling period in recent years”.
The company expects to earn between $3.83 and $3.87 per share for the full year, below analysts’ average estimates of $3.94 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Brokerage Cowen & Co cut its target price on the company’s stock to $80 from $85.
** BON-TON STORES INC, $16.45, up 9 pct (11:43 a.m E.T)
Credit Suisse raised its rating on the department store operator’s stock to “neutral” from “underperform,” saying the company is managing its inventories better and is cutting down on expenses in a “choppy quarter”.
** TIME WARNER CABLE INC, $129.91, up 7.5 pct (1:25 p.m.)
** COMCAST CORP, $48.88, up 3.1 pct (1:13 p.m. ET)
** CHARTER COMMUNICATIONS INC, $128.73, up 1.3 pct (12:50 p.m. ET)
Comcast is a potential bidder for Time Warner Cable, CNBC said on Friday, citing people familiar with the situation.
Charter Communications is nearing an agreement with banks to raise funds for a bid for Time Warner Cable, the Wall Street Journal reported earlier, citing people familiar with the situation.
** UNIVERSAL DISPLAY CORP, $35, down 8.3 pct (12:45 p.m. ET)
The LED supplier said the European Patent Office (EPO) panel revoked a patent on green phosphorescent organic light-emitting device (PHOLED).
Sumitomo Chemical Co, Merck Patent GmbH and BASF SE had filed for the patent to be revoked.
Universal Display’s UniversalPHOLED technology is used in Samsung Electronics Co Ltd’s smartphones.
** DESTINATION XL GROUP INC, $6.95, up 7.7 pct (12:46 p.m. ET)
The plus-size apparel retailer reported a smaller-than-expected adjusted quarterly loss due to an 11.3 percent jump in comparable-store sales as more customers visited its stores following a national marketing campaign started in the quarter.
** AGREE REALTY CORP, $28.85, down 5.6 pct (12:47 p.m. ET)
The real estate investment trust priced a public offering of 1.6 million shares of common stock. It intends to raise $49.2 million in net proceeds to reduce outstanding debt.
** FORTRESS INVESTMENT GROUP, $8.15, up 7.8 pct (12:48 p.m. ET)
Shares of the private equity firm rose after brokerage Credit Suisse raised its price target on the company’s stock to $11 from $9.50.
** LDK SOLAR CO LTD, $1.70, up 6.2 pct (12:55 p.m. ET)
The China-based solar panel maker, which failed to meet a debt payment deadline on Aug. 28, said its unit Jiangxi LDK Solar Hi-Tech Co Ltd signed an agreement with a syndicate of 11 banks in China for a credit facility of 1.56 billion yuan ($256 million). The loan will be used to fund the company’s operations within Jiangxi province and not to repay debt, LDK Solar said late on Thursday.
** MARVELL TECHNOLOGY GROUP LTD, $14.56, up 5.2 pct (12:56 p.m. ET)
The chipmaker forecast quarterly revenue above analysts’ estimates, helped by higher sales to flash drive and mobile and wireless device makers.
** REGENERON PHARMACEUTICALS, $292.08, up 5.6 pct (12:57 p.m. ET)
An experimental drug for rheumatoid arthritis developed by French drugmaker Sanofi and Regeneron, when combined with methotrexate, improved symptoms and physical function and slowed progression of the disease in a late-stage clinical trial.
Separately, Bayer HealthCare has received approval from Japan’s Ministry of Health to treat macular edema secondary to central retinal vein occlusion (CRVO) with its Eylea eye medication, the company said on Friday. Bayer HealthCare and Regeneron are collaborating on the global development of Eylea.
** FOOT LOCKER INC, $38.53, up 4.8 pct (12:47 p.m. ET)
The shoe retailer reported quarterly results that beat analysts’ estimates due to a better-than-expected 4.1 percent rise in same-store sales. Analysts on average had expected the company to report a 3.5 percent increase in same-store sales for the third quarter, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
** UNILIFE CORP, $3.83, up 3 pct (12:49 p.m. ET)
The syringe maker’s Chief Executive Alan Shortall said he expects sequential quarterly growth in 2014 and “significant” annual growth for fiscal 2014 and beyond at an annual shareholder meeting.
** GILEAD SCIENCES, $74.91, up 4.5 pct (12:49 p.m. ET)
European regulators said on Friday they had recommended approval of a new drug for HIV from GlaxoSmithKline and a novel hepatitis C treatment from Gilead Sciences. The European Medicine Agency (EMA) also gave a green light to an Otsuka tuberculosis drug, following a review of an earlier rejection.
** ABERCROMBIE AND FITCH CO, $33.50, down 4 pct (11:43 a.m E.T)
Wells Fargo downgraded the teen apparel retailer’s stock to “marketperform” from “outperform” as the brokerage expects the company to be hurt by weak international sales and increased competition in the high-promotional retail environment.
** STEALTHGAS INC, $11.80, down 4 pct (11:30 a.m. ET)
The company, which ships liquefied petroleum gas, said its net income fell about 36 percent to $4.2 million in the third quarter. Net revenue also fell 2.3 percent.
** EPL OIL & GAS INC, $28.58, down 4 pct (11:45 a.m. ET)
Analysts at McNicoll Lewis & Vlak Partners started coverage on the oil and gas producer with a “hold” rating, citing the more rapid-than-expected decline in production profile of the company, which has its exclusively operates on the Gulf of Mexico shelf.
** KRISPY KREME DOUGHNUTS INC, $25.48, down 3.6 pct (12:25 p.m. ET)
Analysts at Sidoti & Co downgraded their rating on the donut chain’s stock to “neutral” from “buy,” according to Theflyonthewall.com.
** VERTEX ENERGY INC, $3.01, down 3.1 pct (11:20 a.m. ET)
The industrial waste recycling company on Thursday priced its public offering of 2,950,261 shares at $2.80 per share, a discount of about 6 percent to the stock’s Wednesday close on the Nasdaq.
** PETSMART INC, $72.37, down 3 pct (12:53 p.m. E.T)
The pet products and service provider forecast fourth-quarter earnings that fell short of analysts’ expectations amid a “challenged consumer environment”.
The company expects earnings of $1.19 to $1.23 per share, one cent short of analysts’ average estimates, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
** CLIFFS NATURAL RESOURCES INC, $25.89, down 2 pct (12:52 p.m. ET)
Spot iron ore prices are on track for a modest decline for the week, after three weeks of gains, on limited buying interest from Chinese mills that are wary steel demand is unlikely to perk up anytime soon. Cliffs Natural is one of North America’s biggest iron ore producers.
** HORIZON PHARMA INC, $6.66, up 2 pct (12:54 p.m. ET)
The drugmaker said Par Pharmaceutical Inc withdrew its application to market a generic version of Horizon’s rheumatoid arthritis drug, according to a regulatory filing.
** TESLA MOTORS INC, $120.25, down 1.5 pct (12:53 p.m. ET)
George Blankenship, the lead architect of Tesla’s sales strategy and distribution network for more than three years, left the electric car maker last month, according to his LinkedIn page. The exit comes at a sensitive time for Chief Executive Elon Musk, who is facing a federal safety investigation into the Model S electric sedan after three cars caught fire in less than two months.
** AUTODESK INC, $45.09, up 3.5 pct (12:55 p.m. ET)
The maker of AutoCAD design software reported third-quarter results ahead of Wall Street expectations and forecast current-quarter adjusted profit largely above estimates.
** VERIFONE SYSTEMS INC, $25, up 2.8 pct (12:58 p.m. ET)
Jefferies upgraded its rating on the electronic point-of-sale devicemaker’s stock to “buy” from “hold” and raised its target price to $29 from $21 as the brokerage expects the company to recover market share in the first half of 2014.
** NUCOR CORP, $51.90, down 2 pct (10:53 a.m. ET)
** US STEEL CORP, $26.34, down 3 pct
Analysts at Wells Fargo Securities downgraded their ratings on the steel producers, citing weaker prices in the first half of 2014 due to an increase in imports.
The analysts cut US Steel to “underperform” from “market perform”. The analysts noted that they see little room for Nucor stock to appreciate due to valuation and downgraded it to “market perform” from “outperform”.
Compiled by Natalie Grover; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila