(For faster updates on individual market-movers, Eikon users please use search string "STXBZ US"; for the Day Ahead newsletter, link.reuters.com/mex49s; for the Morning News Call newsletter, link.reuters.com/nex49s) U.S. stocks were little changed on Thursday, in the wake of two days of declines on the S&P 500, as gains were curbed by a higher-than-expected initial jobless claims report ahead of a report on factory orders. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 0.27 percent at 18,146.36, the S&P 500 was up 0.21 percent at 2,102.87 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.43 percent at 4,988.483.
** SECOND SIGHT MEDICAL PRODUCTS INC, $17.3, +16.03 pct
The artificial retina maker completed its first commercial implant of Argus II Retinal Prosthesis at two new centers in Italy. Argus II is the first visual prosthetic that provides functional vision to patients suffering from inherited vision loss.
** PHARMACYCLICS INC, $254.551, +10.44 pct
** ABBVIE INC, $57.11, -5.24 pct
AbbVie will buy Pharmacyclics for about $21 billion, giving it access to what is expected to be one of the world’s top-selling cancer drugs and expanding its reach in the profitable oncology field. The deal, the latest example of a big drugmaker swooping on a biotech firm to refill its medicine pipeline, confounds expectations that Pharmacyclics would sell out to Johnson & Johnson.
** CENTURY ALUMINUM CO, $16.15, -2.18 pct
** NORANDA ALUMINUM HOLDING, $2.94, -1.34 pct
** ALCOA INC, $14.35, -1.65 pct
Aluminum producers’ shares fell after analysts predicted lower prices and weak demand for the metal. Deutsche Bank lowered aluminum price forecast for 2015-17 by an average of 8 percent.
** GERON CORP, $3.38, +20.28 pct
MLV & Co raises price target on the drug developer’s shares
to $6 from $4.25. “We think Geron’s opportunity to overtake Incyte in the $2 bln plus U.S. myelofibrosis market is not fully appreciated,” analysts wrote in a note.
Stock second biggest gainer on Nasdaq Biotechnology Index
** VIVINT SOLAR INC, $10.35, +21.34 pct
The rooftop solar panel installer’s Q4 adjusted loss 36 cents per share vs average analyst estimate 37 cents. Revenue $6.9 mln vs est $6 mln - Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Q4 installation nearly triples to about 50 MW. Sees full-year installation of 290-310 MW.
** GREIF INC, $37.57, -13.95 pct
The industrial packaging products maker said overall strategic initiatives is expected to result in significant impairment and restructuring charges in 2015.
** MOBILEYE NV, $36.47, +4.77 pct
The driver-assistance system maker said the board has not determined whether there will be sufficient demand on part of selling shareholders to proceed with the proposed secondary offering.
** CECO ENVIRONMENTAL CORP, $12.995, -10.69 pct
The air pollution control equipment maker reproted Q4 revenue, profit that lagged average analyst estimates due to some large projects booked with “lower gross margins than corporate average”.
** GOLAR LNG LTD, $33.0957, +12.15 pct
The Norwegian shipping company and Russian oil giant Rosneft have signed a preliminary agreement to develop floating liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants in Latin America and elsewhere.
** EMBRAER SA, $31.99, -8.34 pct
The Brazilian planemaker said it expects operating profit margins to slip this year as it makes more of its smaller-cabin E175 regional jets.
** KYTHERA BIOPHARMACEUTICALS INC, $48.0001, +20.30 pct
FDA staff concluded that The drug developer's sole experimental drug, ATX-101, represents a safe, effective and less invasive alternative to existing treatments to reduce double chin. (1.usa.gov/18lCHZw)
** DRAGONWAVE INC, $1.03, -7.21 pct
U.S.-listed shares, $0.83, -7.78 pct
The Canadian telecom network equipment maker forecasts Q4 revenue of $44 mln, below analysts’ average estimate of $49.1 mln
** AUTOHOME INC, $46.4, +8.89 pct
At least two brokerages raise price targets on the Chinese automobile information website’s shares. Brean Capital raises to $58 from $55, Oppenheimer & Co to $50 from $42. Company reported better-than-expected Q4 revenue on Wednesday, helped by rise in revenue from dealer and automaker advertising services.
** AVIVA PLC, $17.5, +6.97 pct
The insurer reported a forecast-beating yearly profit, lifting its shares to a multi-year high ahead of a 5.6 billion pound ($8.5 billion) agreed merger due to complete next month. Aviva is acquiring Friends Life Group Ltd as changes in the UK pensions market put pressure on life insurance companies, leading to a drop in their sales of income-bearing annuities.
** JOY GLOBAL INC, $39.56, -6.10 pct
Joy Global cut its full-year earnings and revenue outlook. The company said, “Lower commodity prices have decreased our customers’ cash flows and they are continuing to reduce capital expenditures and delay maintenance in an uncertain demand environment.”
** CELLADON CORP, $21.07, +7.31 pct
Roth Capital Partners starts coverage of the drug developer’s shares with a “buy” rating and price target of $70. “We anticipate a licensing or an M&A transaction, if results are promising for future success,” Roth Capital analysts write in a note. Stock touches record high of $22.90.
** MICROVISION INC, $2.27, +8.10 pct
The laser projector maker signed multi-year license agreement with Fortune Global 100 partner for display technology. Expects to receive $8 mln up-front license fee later this month; to also receive royalties for display modules sold by Fortune Global 100 company.
** PACIFIC ETHANOL INC, $11.5601, +23.90 pct
The ethanol producer reported a higher-than-expected fourth-quarter profit, helped by a rise in sales volumes.
** MACERICH CO, $88.1, +5.13 pct
** SIMON PROPERTY GROUP INC, $188, +0.23 pct
Simon Property, the owner of malls and outlet centers, made its latest approach to buy rival Macerich in the past few weeks, according to a Wall Street Journal report. (on.wsj.com/1ALzqcD)
** GREEN DOT CORP, $16.98, +7.13 pct
Credit Suisse upgrades the debit card provider’s shares to “outperform” from “neutral” and raises price target to $25 from $19. Expects EBITDA to rise 19 pct year-over-year, helped by high single-digit revenue growth in core business. Says GDOT is the top small-cap pick for 2015.
** ACHILLION PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $10.88, -6.45 pct
The drugmaker posts bigger Q4 net loss, as it spent more on research and development. Also forecasts bigger-than-expected full-year net loss.
** CANADIAN SOLAR INC, $33.552, +11.17 pct
Fourth-quarter net profit attributable to the company more than tripled, helped by strong sales of solar power plants and demand for modules. The company is planning to structure and potentially list its downstream business, or power plant building business, in a yield co, Chief Executive Shawn Qu said.
** COMMSCOPE HOLDING CO INC, $29.94, -3.98 pct
The network gear maker’s top shareholder Carlyle reduced stake via registered block. Goldman Sachs sole underwriter for private equity firm’s sale of 20 million shares.
** ROUNDY’S INC, $4.72, +17.41 pct
The grocery chain operator reported a higher-than-expected fourth-quarter profit, mainly due to benefit of new and acquired stores in Illinois and an additional week.
** ASCENT SOLAR TECHNOLOGIES INC, $1.42, +5.97 pct
The solar module maker said its battery and solar case for iPhone 6, EnerPlex Surfr, are now available for sale.
** ONCOLYTICS BIOTECH INC, $1.03, +1.98 pct
The Canadian drug developer presented data at a conference on a combination of its lead cancer drug along with radiationtherapy in treating melanoma, a type of skin cancer. Data showed, reolysin, when combined with radiationtherapy, was effective in destroying cancer cells.
** KROGER CO, $73.71, +5.83 pct
The biggest U.S. supermarket operator reported a 23 percent rise in quarterly profit, helped by its acquisition of Harris Teeter Supermarkets Inc and higher margins on fuel.
** MALLINCKRODT PLC, $121.7, +4.74 pct
The specialty pharmaceutical company said it would buy privately held drug and device maker Ikaria Inc for $2.3 billion to increase its product offerings to hospitals.
** HERITAGE INSURANCE HOLDINGS INC, $21.29, +6.45 pct
The insurer reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter profit, helped by higher premium income. Net premiums earned more than doubled to $81.5 million in the quarter ended Dec 31.
** ARROWHEAD RESEARCH CORP, $7.86, +4.66 pct
The drug developer said it acquired Novartis AG’s RNAi assets, including various patents and three preclinical drugs.
** ENCANA CORP, $11.795, -3.87 pct
Canada’s largest natural gas producer said it plans to raise up to C$1.44 billion ($1.16 billion) through a secondary share issue as the company looks to bolster a balance sheet weakened by low oil and natural gas prices.
** VANDA PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $10.635, -3.84 pct
The drugmaker’s experimental atopic dermatitis drug failed to treat chronic itching in mid-stage study. Study data showed no statistical difference between patients on drug, tradipitant, and those on placebo.
** ALASKA COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEMS GROUP INC, $1.73, +2.37 pct
The communication services company reported bigger fourth-quarter net loss, hurt by higher operating expenses.
** APOLLO COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE FINANCE INC, $16.79, -4.17 pct
The real estate investment trust is offering of 10 million shares. The company had 46.90 million shares outstanding as of March 4.
** MCDONALD’S CORP, $98.94, -1.31 pct
Piper Jaffrey cut the rating on the world’s biggest restaurant chain’s shares to “neutral” from “overweight” on Wednesday after the company said it will phase out chicken raised with certain kinds of antibiotics at its 14,000 U.S. restaurants. (Compiled by Amrutha Gayathri in Bengaluru; Edited by Don Sebastian)