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U.S. stocks were little changed shortly after the open on Wednesday, with the Dow and S&P 500 holding near records, before a second day of testimony from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and data on the housing market. The Dow Jones industrial average was down 0.09 percent at 18,193.58, the S&P 500 was down 0.12 percent at 2,112.95 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 0.16 percent at 4,960.38.
** BENEFITFOCUS INC, $34.99, +52.33 pct
The cloud-based software provider said Mercer, a wholly owned subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Cos, will make a strategic equity investment in the company. Mercer will invest $74.7 million for a 9.9 percent stake in Benefitfocus at $26.50 per share.
** WAFERGEN BIO-SYSTEMS INC, $5.31, +26.13 pct
The genetic analysis provider said a study showed its technology was effective in isolating and studying single cells through gene sequencing.
** 500.COM LTD, $10.45, -18.55 pct
The Chinese online lottery platform developer said some Chinese lottery centers plan to temporarily suspend online sales of lottery products from Feb. 25.
** BOSTON BEER CO INC, $257, -17.29 pct
The stock was set to record its biggest percentage fall since Novemnber 2007 after the company forecast profit between $7.10 and $7.50 per share for 2015, below the average analyst estimate of $7.96. Boston Beer’s fourth-quarter revenue missed estimates as margins on higher brewery processing costs and unfavorable product mix effects.
** CHICAGO BRIDGE & IRON CO NV, $47.02, +12.70 pct
The energy infrastructure provider reported a better-than-expected fourth-quarter profit and revenue on Tuesday, helped by strong results in its engineering, construction and maintenance business.
** SUNSHINE HEART INC, $6.0748, +12.29 pct
The medical device maker said the U.S. FDA agreed to an interim analysis of a study testing a device to treat heart failure. The company said the FDA nod came earlier-than-expected and could reduce development timeline of the device.
** CHESAPEAKE ENERGY CORP, $17.689, -11.02 pct
The company said it would slash 2015 spending and rig count in response to low crude oil prices and reported a fourth-quarter profit that fell short of Wall Street expectations.
** FLEETMATICS GROUP PLC, $40.99, +8.04 pct
RBC Capital Markets raised its price target on the stock of the provider of software-as-a-service for fleet management to $45 from $42, after it reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter results, helped by higher demand for its products in international markets.
** PETROLEO BRASILEIRO PETROBRAS SA, $6.3, -8.16 pct
Moody’s Investors Service stripped Brazil’s state-run oil company Petrobras of its investment grade rating on Tuesday and kept the firm on review for further downgrade, citing concerns over an ongoing corruption scandal and liquidity pressures.
** HEWLETT-PACKARD CO, $34.84, -9.48 pct
The world’s No.2 PC maker reported flat or lower quarterly revenue in all its operating units on Tuesday, and forecast full-year earnings well below analysts’ expectations due to a strong U.S. dollar.
At least three brokerages cut their price targets on the stock.
** U.S. SILICA HOLDINGS INC, $28.74, -6.02 pct
The commercial silica maker said on Tuesday it was suspending its forecast for adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization until such time it gains clarity regarding customers’ business activity levels.
** FIRST SOLAR INC, $58.25, +6.49 pct
The U.S. solar company on Tuesday reported sharply higher quarterly earnings in part due to the sale of a large California solar power plant to Southern Co.
At least three brokerages raised their price targets on the stock. Robert W. Baird & Co was the most bullish, raising the target to $69 from $62.
** THE RUBICON PROJECT INC, $19.55, +9.34 pct
The online advertising services provider reported a fourth-quarter profit and revenue above analysts’ estimates.
** SMITH MICRO SOFTWARE INC, $1.69, +6.96 pct
The wireless and mobility software maker’s fourth-quarter revenue and full-year revenue forecast exceeded market estimates.
Needham and Co raised its rating on the stock to “buy” from “hold”, saying its business appeared “poised for solid growth entering 2015”.
** CHICO‘S FAS INC, $17.27, -4.64 pct
Private equity firm Sycamore Partners dropped plans to buy the apparel retailer after failing to secure financing on acceptable terms, the Wall Street Journal reported.
** CURIS INC, $2.99, +6.79 pct
The drug developer said it would started offering shares of its common stock to raise money for research purposes. The company did not disclose how many shares it was offering.
** MAGNA INTERNATIONAL INC, $109.4, +6.99 pct
The Canadian auto parts maker cut its revenue forecast for 2015, hurt by weak demand from Europe.
** ROYAL BANK OF CANADA, $61.94, +3.08 pct
Canada’s top lender posted a better-than-expected quarterly profit, driven by significant gains in its personal and commercial banking and capital markets businesses.
** LENDINGCLUB CORP, $20.25, -14.38 pct
The online lender reported a loss in its first quarterly results since going public in December, as a surge in revenue failed to make up for a jump in marketing and product development costs.
** HOLLYFRONTIER CORP, $41.73, +2.23 pct
The U.S. refiner swung to a quarterly loss, hurt by a $244 million charge related to the value of its inventory.
** CORELOGIC INC, $34.56, -3.76 pct
The company’s profit forecast for the full year missed analysts’ estimates and it posted lower-than-expected fourth-quarter profit and revenue.
** LA QUINTA HOLDINGS INC,$22.56, +3.25 pct
The owner of the La Quinta hotel brand reported an about 9 percent rise in adjusted revenue, helped by higher occupancy which allowed it to charge more for its rooms in the fourth quarter. The company said it expects 2015 comparable revenue per available room to rise in the range of 5.5-7 percent, over and above an 8.4 percent rise in 2014.
** NEKTAR THERAPEUTICS, $12.57, -6.75 pct
The drug developer reported fourth-quarter revenue of $19.6 million, beating analysts’ average estimate of $17.3 million.
** PERION NETWORK LTD, $3.771, -1.28 pct
The Israel-based Internet company’s fourth-quarter adjusted revenue fell 8 percent as the previous year’s results included revenue from the company’s acquisition of ClientConnect.
** OREXIGEN THERAPEUTICS INC, $5.86, +0.69 pct
The diet drugmaker reported a nearly 27-fold rise in fourth-quarter revenue to $23 million. Weight-loss drug Contrave contributed $6.5 million to it.
** ANTARES PHARMA INC,, $2.71, +0.69 pct
The company said its once-weekly testosterone injection met the main goal in an ongoing late-stage study in testosterone-deficient adult males.
** JAZZ PHARMACEUTICALS PLC,, $176.5, +0.69 pct
The drugmaker forecasts weaker-than-expected 2015 revenue and announced an unexpected trial halt along with disappointing results from its narcolepsy marketing campaign, which will not be expanded in 2015.
** AMAG PHARMACEUTICALS INC,$42.811, +0.69 pct
The drugmaker said late Tuesday it would offer $125 million worth common stock to raise money for general purposes including buying or licensing new experimental drugs. The offering comes up to 11 percent of AMAG’s market capitalization of $1.13 billion as of Tuesday’s close.
** TJX COS INC, $67.62, +0.68 pct
The discount apparel retailer reported an 11.3 percent rise in quarterly profit and said it would raise wages in the United States to a minimum of $9 per hour from June.
* ANTHEM INC, $147.25, -0.02 pct
The health insurer, which earlier this month reported that it was hit by a massive cyberbreach, said on Tuesday that 8.8 million to 18.8 million people who were members of other Blue Cross Blue Shield plans could be victims in the attack. (Compiled by Sneha Banerjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Joyjeet Das)