March 20 Some U.S. stocks on the move on Wednesday:
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WALL ST KEEPS GAINS AFTER FED STATEMENT
U.S. stocks held their gains on Wednesday after a statement from the Federal Reserve showed the central bank plans to press forward with its aggressive efforts to stimulate the economy.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 40.05 points, or 0.28 percent. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 7.71 points, or 0.50 percent, and the Nasdaq Composite Index was up 18.14 points, or 0.56 percent.
** FIRST SOLAR INC, $29.52, up 6.07 pct (1315 ET)
** SUNPOWER CORP, $12.45, up 5 pct (1315 ET)
** TRINA SOLAR LTD, $4.12, up 6 pct (1315 ET)
** JA SOLAR HOLDINGS CO LTD, $4.44, up 7 pct (1316 ET)
** CANADIAN SOLAR INC, $3.59, up 6 pct (1316 ET)
** YINGLI GREEN ENERGY HOLDING CO LTD, $2.44, up 5 pct (1316 ET)
** MEMC ELECTRONIC MATERIALS INC, $4.55, up 4 pct (1352 ET)
A group of lenders has filed a petition for the main subsidiary of China-based solar panel maker Suntech Power Holdings to be declared insolvent.
"This would definitely be a positive in the intermediate to long term for tier-1 players like Trina Solar, Yingli Green Energy and Canadian Solar," Himanshu Shah, chief investment officer of Shah Capital, told Reuters. Shah Capital owns shares of all the three solar power companies.
"This starts a rationalization process. One big competitor has been weakened quite dramatically and this will help the other companies pick up Suntech's market share."
** FEDEX CORP, $100.01, down 6 pct (1239 ET)
The No. 2 U.S. package-delivery company reported a 31 percent drop in quarterly profit due to restructuring costs and weakness in its air freight express business.
** AUTODESK INC, $40.97, up 3 pct (1329 ET)
The design software maker said on Tuesday it had completed the acquisition of privately-held software company Firehole Technologies to expand into design and engineering industries.
** MODEL N INC, $21.16, up 35 pct on IPO price (0958 ET)
Shares of the revenue management software maker rose in their trading debut after the company priced its enlarged offering above its projected price range.
The Redwood City, California-based company had priced its offering of 6.7 million shares at $15.50 each, raising $103.85 million.
** FIRST NIAGARA FINANCIAL GROUP INC, $8.79, up 4 pct (1352 ET)
The Buffalo, New York-based lender appointed Gary Crosby interim CEO, replacing John Koelmel.
Evercore analyst John Pancari called the leadership change prudent amid the company's challenging performance.
** DONEGAL GROUP INC, $27.81, up 32 percent (1014 ET)
The second largest shareholder at the property and casualty insurer, Gregory Shepard, announced a tender offer for 962,636 Class B shares at $30 each, a 42 percent premium to their closing price on Tuesday.
** SPECTRUM PHARMACEUTICALS, $6.99, down 4 pct (1350 ET)
TheStreetRatings downgraded the company's stock to "hold" from "buy", saying Spectrum's shares have had a disappointing performance in the past year. The report, posted on thestreet.com website, said Spectrum was likely to report a decline in earnings in the coming year. ()
** BIOLINERX , $1.83, down 52 pct (1002 ET)
The Israeli biopharmaceutical firm said it would stop a trial of its experimental schizophrenia drug after an interim analysis of study data showed that the drug would not meet the main goal of improving cognitive functions.
** CHESAPEAKE GRANITE WASH TRUST, $14.80, down 13 pct (0156 ET)
Wells Fargo Securities analyst Gordon Douthat said the share movement was a late reaction to a regulatory filing the company made on Friday, in which it cut its reserves estimate by about 25 percent.
** BLACKBERRY, $15.87, up 5.5 pct (0949 ET)
Morgan Stanley raised its rating on the smartphone maker's stock to "overweight" from "underweight", according to theflyonthewall.com.
** GENTIVA HEALTH SERVICES INC, $11.86, down 6 pct (1252 ET)
The home healthcare provider forecast 2013 earnings well below analysts' expectations, citing changes in Medicare reimbursement rates and budget cuts.
Gentiva, which operates in the home health and hospice segment, said it expects the changes to reduce its adjusted earnings from continuing operations by 60 cents per share and its net revenue by about $30 million.
** STILLWATER MINING CO, $12.50, up 2.6 pct (1240 ET)
The silver miner urged its shareholders to vote for its director nominees at its annual shareholders meeting on May 2, challenging stockholder Clinton Group Inc's representatives for the board.
Clinton Group had claimed that since the exit of a majority stockholder, the board has engaged in two "value-destructive" acquisitions, spent carelessly, and executed an unnecessary, costly deal.
** CON-WAY INC, $35.96, down 4 pct (1359 ET)
The U.S. trucking and logistics company said that weight per day at one of its units, Con-way Freight, which accounts for more than 60 percent of its total revenue, is expected to be down about 1.5 percent in the first quarter of 2013 from the prior-year period. The company also expects a charge related to a transition to new technology and other costs to impact Con-way Freight's first quarter operating income by about $14 million.
** TEAM HEALTH HOLDINGS INC, $35.60, up 5 pct (1127 ET)
Credit Suisse raised the price target on the supplier of services to healthcare providers to $43 from $34, citing limited reimbursement pressures compared to other health providers.
** HEALTHSOUTH CORP, $25.90, up 6 pct (1126 ET)
CRT Capital Group raised the price target on the hospital operator to $28.30 from $24.50 after the company bought back about 9.1 million shares at $25.50, the higher end of its dutch auction offer.
** VALEANT PHARMACEUTICALS INTERNATIONAL INC, $73.04, up 2 pct (0948 ET)
** OBAGI MEDICAL PRODUCTS INC, $19.70, up 28 pct (0948 ET)
Canadian drugmaker Valeant Pharmaceuticals said it would buy Obagi Medical Products for about $344 million to boost its dermatology and aesthetics portfolio.
The deal, at $19.75 per share in cash, is at a 28 percent premium to Obagi's Tuesday closing price.
** GEVO INC, $2.30, up 12 pct (0947 ET)
** BIOFUEL ENERGY CORP, $5.95, up 8 pct (1003 ET)
A U.S. district court's ruling strengthened the biofuel company's case that it does not infringe Butamax Advanced Biofuels LLC's patents, analysts at Robert W Baird & Co wrote in a note. The two biofuel producers have been in a court battle over a patent for a method to commercially produce isobutanol.
The U.S. District Court of Delaware gave Gevo partial summary judgment on non-infringement on Tuesday. "The decision by the court gives us increased confidence in Gevo's position," said the analysts. Shares of BioFuel Energy Corp, which collaborates with Gevo to produce isobutanol, also rose on the news.
** ADOBE SYSTEMS INC, $42.19, up 3.5 pct (0947 ET)
The maker of Photoshop and Acrobat software raised its full-year adjusted earnings forecast after reporting first-quarter results above Wall Street estimates as more customers chose its subscription-based model.
** ERICKSON AIR-CRANE INC, $14.32, up 2 pct (1210 ET)
The helicopter maker said it had acquired Evergreen Helicopters Inc from Evergreen International Aviation Inc for $250 million to diversify its markets and aircraft types. The company said it expects the acquisition to be immediately accretive to its earnings per share, sending its stock to a life-life in early trading on Wednesday. The deal would add a fleet of 64 aircrafts, consisting of both helicopters and fixed-wing airplanes.
** POLYCOM INC, $10.96, up 3 pct (0946 ET)
Goldman Sachs upgraded the videoconferencing company to "buy" from "neutral", according to streetinsider.com. ()
** WALTER INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT CORP, $34.92, up 6 pct (0946 ET)
Sterne Agee raised its rating on the company's stock to "buy" from "neutral", according to theflyonthewall.com.
** ECA MARCELLUS TRUST I, $10.25, down 11 pct (1140 ET)
Energy Corporation of America -- which formed ECA Marcellus Trust I to own the company's royalty interests in natural gas properties in the Marcellus Shale formation in Greene County, Pennsylvania -- informed Eastern American Natural Gas Trust on Tuesday of the final results of its offer to exchange up to about 4.1 million common units of ECA Marcellus Trust I for up to about 3.2 million Eastern American Natural Gas Trust depositary units. Energy Corporation of America said that a total of 946,750 Eastern American Natural Gas Trust depositary units were tendered and accepted by it.
** ZYNGA INC, $3.30, down 5 pct (0944 ET)
BofA Merril Lynch downgraded the online game maker's stock to "neutral" from "buy", theflyonthewall.com reported.
** LENNAR CROP, $43.39, up 5 pct (1324 ET)
** D.R. HORTON INC, $25.20, up 4 pct (1324 ET)
Lennar, the No. 3 U.S. homebuilder, reported a first-quarter profit well above market expectations as lower interest rates and rising rents boosted home sales. Lennar reported a 28 percent spike in home sale closings and a 13 percent rise in average sale prices, pushing revenue by 37 percent to $989.9 million.
** ROCKWELL MEDICAL INC, $3.24, down 7 pct (1013 ET)
The company, which develops drugs to treat kidney diseases, entered into agreements to sell shares in a registered direct offering for about $12.9 million.
On Monday, Rockwell reported a larger fourth-quarter loss, hurt by an increase in clinical development expenses.
** AAR CORP, $19.70, up 10 pct (1323 ET)
The aircraft parts supplier posted a higher-than-expected quarterly profit, helped by a nine percent increase in demand at its largest, aviation services business, and raised its full-year earnings forecast.
** ANADARKO PETROLEUM CORP, $86.52, up 4 pct (0942 ET)
The U.S. oil and gas company said on Tuesday it has discovered a large amount of oil at its Shenandoah-2 well in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico.
Anadarko has a large and active portfolio of deepwater oil and gas prospects in places including the Gulf of Mexico and Africa.
** STAR SCIENTIFIC INC, $1.59, down 3 pct (0941 ET)
The United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia sent subpoenas to Star Scientific, its directors and others between this January and February, the maker of dietary supplements disclosed in a regulatory filing on Tuesday. ()
The company, which stopped selling smokeless tobacco products last year, said the subpoenas sought information on its securities, including private placement and related transactions since 2006.
** SAREPTA THERAPEUTICS INC, $33.88, up 2 pct (1013 ET)
William Blair analyst Tim Lugo initiated coverage on the company with an "outperform" rating, saying that its experimental drug eteplirsen to treat Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a rare genetic disorder that causes progressive muscle loss in boys, could be the best in its class.
"If the Food and Drug Administration accepts the eteplirsen filing for an accelerated approval, an advisory committee would have a difficult time voting against it, given the safety to date, the devastating nature of the disease, efficacy..", Lugo wrote in a note to clients. He added that there was a strong possibility for the drug to be approved and launched in 2014.
** WILLIAMS-SONOMA INC, $48.78, up 8 pct (0941 ET)
The U.S. home goods chain reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit, aided by fewer discounts and strong online sales in the holiday season.
** MAXWELL TECHNOLOGIES INC, $6.61, down 11 pct (0941 ET)
The maker of energy storage devices said its independent auditor McGladrey LLP resigned, citing "material weakness" in the company's internal control over revenue recognition.
** COBALT INTERNATIONAL ENERGY INC, $28.89, up 7 pct (0940 ET)
Analysts at RBC Capital Markets raised the price target on the oil explorer's stock to $36 from $34 based on the company's successful exploration in West Africa and increased opportunities in the North Platte discovery well and the Shenandoah appraisal well in the Gulf of Mexico.
** FRESH MARKET INC, $42.85, up 5.72 pct (1029 ET)
Brokerage Raymond James initiated coverage on the stock with a "strong buy," saying the company's small-store format and differentiated grocery store concept is underpenetrated in the U.S. and long-term demographic and consumer trends favor The concept. The brokerage also set a $50 price target on the stock.
** GRAFTECH INTERNATIONAL LTD, $7.84, up 6 pct (1104 ET)
The graphite electrodes maker said late on Tuesday that some of its officials, including Chief Executive Craig Shular, bought additional GrafTech shares worth about $1 million.
** FRANCESCA'S HOLDINGS CORP, $26.98, up 4 pct
The women's clothing retailer reported quarterly results that beat Wall Street estimates, helped by margin improvement and strong demand for its affordable clothing and jewelry.
** NEW MOUNTAIN FINANCE CORP, $14.15, down 3.5 pct (0939 ET)
The private equity firm estimated its quarterly investment income per share largely below analysts' estimates. It said it expected first-quarter net investment income of between 33 and 35 cents, while analysts were looking for 35 cents on average, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
** CINTAS CORP, $43.68, down 5 pct (0939 ET)
The company posted a third-quarter profit that missed Wall Street expectations as expenses rose, and the designer and manufacturer of promotional items, first aid and safety and fire protection products forecast full-year earnings below analysts expectations.
* AGCO CORP, $51.67, down 3 pct (1040 ET)
* DEERE & CO, $88.46, down 2 pct (1040 ET)
Wells Fargo Securities LLC cut its rating on the farm equipment makers to "underperform" from "market perform", saying a likely decrease in farmer cash flow could lead to reduced demand for agricultural equipment.
"We expect (corn) commodity prices will decline during 2013 due to faster growth in supply relative to demand," analysts led by Andrew Casey wrote in a client note.
Lower prices would mean a drop in total farm cash receipts - a product of commodity prices, acreage planted, crop yields and the amount and timing of government payments. Cash receipts are the primary driver of U.S. farm equipment purchases.