(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 rose on Friday, with all 10 major S&P 500 sectors gaining in a broad rally after comments from a Chinese official indicated that the country's government was ready to take steps to support its slowing economy. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 0.45 percent at 16,337.44, the S&P 500 was up 0.55 percent at 1,859.15 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.43 percent at 4,169.245.
** IDERA PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $4.61, +18.81 pct
The biotechnology company said its lead experimental drug for the most common form of psoriasis was found to be safe and well tolerated by patients after 12 weeks of treatment in a mid-stage trial.
** CBS OUTDOOR AMERICAS INC, $29.77, +6.32 pct
** CBS CORP, $62.22, +18.81 pct
Shares of CBS Outdoor Americas rose as much as 9 percent in their trading debut, valuing the company carved out of broadcaster CBS Corp at $3.66 billion as it steps up its efforts to grab more advertising dollars for its billboards.
** INOVIO PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $3.33, -8.52 pct
The company proposed a reverse stock split of its common stock to a ratio not less than one-for-two and not greater than one-for-four in a notice for its annual meeting of stockholders to be held on May 22.
** INTERCLOUD SYSTEMS, $8.7, +31.82 pct
The provider of cloud and consulting services to telecommunication companies denied allegations made on a website known as the Southern Investigative Reporting Foundation that Intercloud paid certain people to write articles about it.
** WHITING USA TRUST, $3.63, -32.65 pct
Russian Hill Capital LP said the trust’s stock was overpriced based on the company’s recent annual report and warned of a possible decrease in the value of the company in the near future. Whiting USA is a trust formed by Whiting Petroleum Corp
** EXACT SCIENCES CORP, $13.02, -5.31 pct
The company’s colon cancer screening method that analyzes DNA from stool samples won the unanimous backing of a U.S. advisory panel on Thursday, paving the way for potential regulatory approval of the non-invasive test.
But Maxim Group analyst Bryan Brokmeier said blood-based tests could limit the market share that Exact Sciences’ test could capture and said sales could be limited by the instructions, which might be too complicated for many users in the United States. “I expect that they’ll (Exact Sciences) have to make changes to their labeling and refine their post-approval study,” he told Reuters.
** CONATUS PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $8.4, -15.83 pct
The biotechnology company reported on Thursday a higher-than-expected fourth-quarter loss due to higher operating expenses. The company said data from a mid-stage study of its liver disorder drug would be delayed to the second half of 2014.
Conatus earlier expected data from the drug, which is intended to treat acute-on-chronic liver failure, in the first half of the year. Stifel Nicolaus analyst Stephen Willey cut his price target on the company’s stock, saying the delay could affect timely enrollment of a pivotal late-stage study of the drug.
** PARAMETRIC SOUND CORP, $13.58, +13.83 pct
The audio-technology company said it expected its newly acquired Turtle Beach gaming headset unit to post net revenue of $210-$230 million, representing a growth of about 24 percent as sales of Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s XBox One drive a rebound in the console-gaming headset market.
The company expects sales of its recently FDA-approve HyperSound hearing aids to be $1-$4 million and to rise further in 2015.
** CHRISTOPHER & BANKS CORP, $6.4, +9.03 pct
Chief Financial Officer Peter Michielutti bought 5,000 shares in Christopher & Banks for $5.82 per share for a total value of $29,100, the company disclosed in an SEC filing on Thursday.
** LIPOSCIENCE INC, $2.97, -21.22 pct
The diagnostic test maker said it ended its contract with one of its laboratory customers, Health Diagnostics Laboratory Inc, which started selling its own non-FDA approved test for measuring a type of blood fat. The company said it cut its first quarter revenue forecast to about $11.8 million from its previous forecast of $12.2 million.
** INVENSENSE INC, $22.91, +1.60 pct
Roth Capital Partners raised its rating on the chipmaker’s stock to “buy” from “neutral” and its price target to $26 from $18, citing gains in market share at Samsung and other Chinese smartphone vendors such as Xiomi, Huawei and ZTE.
** MERCER INTERNATIONAL INC, $7.58, +6.01 pct
The Canadian pulp manufacturer priced its offering of 7 million shares at $7.15 per share, in line with the stock’s Thursday close on the Nasdaq. The underwriters have an option to purchase up to 1.05 million additional shares of common stock from Mercer to cover over-allotments. Mercer estimates net proceeds from the offering of about $53.6 million, of which it intends to use $13.5 million to capitalize its Stendal mill in Germany.
** AVIVA PLC, $15.61, -3.10 pct
Britain’s financial regulator will investigate whether people locked into some 30 million pension and other savings plans sold by insurance firms in the 30 years after 1970 are treated fairly compared with new clients, a source familiar with the matter said on Friday.
The Financial Conduct Authority is concerned that these savers are being treated as a captive market because of costly penalties for withdrawing early or stopping further payments which were built into these policies.
The Daily Telegraph newspaper said the probe could lead to the exit penalties being waived for some savers.
** EXTERRAN PARTNERS LP, $28.25, -4.27 pct
The natural gas processing equipment provider priced its offering of 5.4 million units at $28.36 per share, representing an approximately 3.9 percent discount to the stock’s Thursday close on the Nasdaq.
** 2U INC, $13.8, +6.15 pct
Shares of the builder of online learning platforms rose in their market debut, valuing the company at about $460.5 million. 2U’s IPO raised about $120 million after its offering was priced at $13 per share, the top end of its pricing range.
The Landover, Maryland-based company’s cloud-based learning platforms help colleges and universities manage student enrollment, education, support and other services.
** ENERGOUS CORP, $10.85, +80.83 pct
Shares of the provider of wireless charging services rose as much as 80 percent in their market debut, valuing the company at about $95 million.
Energous raised about $24 million after its offering was priced at $6 per share.
** CAESARS ENTERTAINMENT CORP, $19.37, -8.11 pct
The casino-entertainment company said on Thursday it had initiated an underwritten public offering of 7 million shares of its common stock and expected to grant the underwriter of the offering an option to purchase up to 1.05 million additional shares.
** AMAZON.COM INC, $341, +0.75 pct
Online retailer Amazon.com plans to enter the battle for living-room viewership in the coming months, launching a free, ad-supported streaming TV service, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing anonymous sources.
** BAIDU INC, $153.08, +1.38 pct
The Chinese Internet company, on Thursday, won the dismissal of a U.S. lawsuit by pro-democracy activists who complained that Baidu illegally suppressed political speech on China’s most widely used Internet search engine.
** EVERYDAY HEALTH INC, $13.28, -5.14 pct
Shares of the provider of digital healthcare services fell in their market debut, valuing the company at about $393 million.
Everyday Health’s IPO raised about $100 million after its offering was priced at $14 per share, the mid-point of its pricing range.
** RED HAT INC, $52.44, -6.57 pct
The maker of Linux operating system software forecast lower-than-expected first quarter and fiscal 2015 profit and revenue, negatively impacted by higher spending, foreign exchange rate fluctuations and a higher U.S. tax rate.
The company said in a conference call that it expected subscription and training and services revenue to grow in line with each other for the full year.
** PG&E CORP, $42.05, -3.64 pct
Analysts at Deutsche Bank downgraded the U.S. utility company to “hold” from “buy,” after the company in a regulatory filing on Thursday said it expected a unit to be charged with criminal violations of federal pipeline safety act.
Citigroup also cut its rating on the stock to “neutral” from “buy,” and lowered its price target to $46 from $52.
** COMMUNITY HEALTH SYSTEMS INC, $39.01, +3.17 pct
** TENET HEALTHCARE CORP, $41.88, +1.40 pct
** HCA HOLDINGS INC, $51.13, +1.53 pct
U.S. hospital stocks rose after the White House said on Thursday that more than 6 million people had now signed up for private insurance plans under President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law known as Obamacare.
The number reflects a surge in enrollments days before the March 31 deadline. Hospitals are expected to benefit from the increase in the number of Americans with health insurance through the private marketplaces and an expansion of the Medicaid program for the poor under Obamacare.
** ZOGENIX INC, $2.73, -6.83 pct
Officials in Massachusetts have blocked sales of the drugmaker’s controversial but U.S.-approved painkiller Zohydro, prompting the company to criticize what it called an “unprecedented action.”
** RUBICON TECHNOLOGY INC, $11.48, +2.87 pct
Brokerage UBS raised its price target on the company’s stock to $12 from $9.50, citing higher sales to China. The company supplies sapphire substrates and products to the LED, semiconductor and optical applications markets.
** TESLA MOTORS INC, $214.045, +3.24 pct
U.S. safety regulators on Friday said they had closed an investigation into several fires in Tesla Model S electric sports cars after determining the incidents were not likely to become a trend.
** ALCOA INC, $12.56, -0.24 pct
** NORANDA ALUMINUM HOLDING CORP, $4.22, +4.98 pct
Alcoa, the biggest U.S. aluminum producer, said it would cut 147,000 metric tons of capacity at two aluminum smelters in Brazil as increased costs and low prices have made the plants uncompetitive.
Benchmark aluminum prices rose about 1.5 percent to a session high of $1,763.25 per ton on the London Metal Exchange on Friday, after Alcoa’s announcement.
** ENDOCYTE INC, $21.365, -7.39 pct
The drug developer priced a public offering of 4.5 million shares of its common stock at $21 per share, a 9 percent discount to the stock’s closing price on Thursday.
The company said it would use the net proceeds of the offering for capital and general corporate purposes, including spending on research and development and clinical trials.
** FREEPORT MCMORAN COPPER & GOLD INC, $32.91, +1.54 pct
** NEWMONT MINING CORP, $24.04, +4.80 pct
Indonesia has approved big increases in 2014 copper sales for local units of copper miners Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold and Newmont Mining, as it pushes for the two firms to resume exports quickly.
** ARIAD PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $8.0481, +5.90 pct
A report on the Daily Mail newspaper website said on Thursday that, according to rumors, Jazz Pharmaceuticals Plc was willing to pay over $20 per share to buy Ariad. (link.reuters.com/nym97v)
The Daily Mail reported in January that at least three pharmaceutical companies, Eli Lilly and Co, Shire Plc and GlaxoSmithKline Plc, had approached Ariad's board to buy the company. (link.reuters.com/ben36v)
** CALLAWAY GOLF CO, $9.88, +4.22 pct
KeyBanc Capital Markets raised its price target on the golf clubs maker’s stock to $14 from $10 as it expects TopGolf, a business in which Callaway owns a minority stake, to represent $3 per share to the company by 2017.
** SOLARCITY CORP, $61.88, +1.88 pct
Analysts at Raymond James upgraded the solar company’s stock to “outperform” from “market perform,” saying they expect the company to benefit from the launch of solar asset-backed securities in November last year.
** AEROHIVE NETWORKS INC, $9.9, -1.00 pct
Shares of the cloud mobile networking platform provider fell in their market debut, valuing the company at about $385 million.
Aerohive Networks raised about $75 million after its offering of 7.5 million shares was priced at $10 per share, the mid-point of its expected pricing range.
** RESTORATION HARDWARE HOLDINGS INC, $70.7, +10.80 pct
The furniture retailer, on Thursday, forecast current-quarter adjusted earnings above the average analyst estimate. Restoration Hardware said it expected a profit of 9-11 cents per share for the first quarter. Analysts, on average, expect a profit of 7 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Brokerage Piper Jaffray raised it price target on the company’s to $72 from $65.
** MICROSOFT CORP, $40.415, +2.68 pct
Microsoft’s new Chief Executive Officer, Satya Nadella, on Thursday finally unveiled Office for Apple Inc’s iPad in a polished debut that set him apart from his energetic predecessor while signaling his plans to make mobile apps the top priority at the world’s largest software company.
** COMMSCOPE HOLDING COMPANY INC, $22.75, -1.52 pct
The telecommunications equipment maker priced its secondary offering of 17.5 million shares at $22 per share. The shares offered are being sold by an affiliate of The Carlyle Group, the company said. CommScope said it would not receive any of the proceeds from the offering.
** MANNKIND CORP, $5.011, -3.63 pct
An initial review of MannKind’s experimental inhaled insulin device by U.S. Food and Drug Administration staff raised questions about its safety and effectiveness, but was less damning than some investors had expected.
** BLACKBERRY LTD, $8.8601, -2.10 pct
The smartphone maker reported a smaller-than-expected loss on Friday as new chief executive John Chen slashed costs, but a 64 percent drop in revenue underscored the challenge he faces in turning around the struggling smartphone maker. (Compiled By Shuhankar Chakravorty in Bangalore; Editing by Simon Jennings)