Sept 25 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks dipped in choppy trading on Wednesday, with the S&P 500 eyeing a fifth day of losses, as a lack of progress in budget negotiations in Washington puzzled investors. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 0.04 percent, to 15,329.13, the S&P 500 lost 0.07 percent, to 1,696.25 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.05 percent, to 3,766.296.
** J.C. PENNEY CO INC, $10.21, down 14 pct (11:01 a.m. ET)
The struggling retailer’s shares tumbled to their lowest in nearly 13 years on Wednesday after Goldman Sachs said it expects sales at the troubled department store chain to improve more slowly than expected.
** ONCOTHYREON INC, $2.20, up 22 pct (9:58 a.m. ET)
German drugmaker Merck KGaA will conduct new tests on an experimental lung cancer vaccine which failed a previous late-stage clinical trial, it said. The drug, licensed from U.S. biotech firm Oncothyreon, will be tested on patients with locally advanced Stage III non-small cell lung cancer, which cannot be surgically removed, unchanged from the previous trial called START, the firm said.
** PACIFIC BIOSCIENCES OF CALIFORNIA INC, $4.95, up 43 pct (10:24 a.m. ET)
Pacific Biosciences of California Inc said it licensed its technology to develop DNA-sequencing products to Roche Diagnostics. The company will get an upfront payment of $35 million from Roche, and expects to get an additional $40 million in milestone payments.
** MAKO SURGICAL CORP, $29.54, up 82 pct (9:56 a.m. ET)
** STRYKER CORP, $69.69, down 1 pct
Medical device maker Stryker will buy the smaller peer for about $1.65 billion to gain access to Mako’s technology for robot-assisted orthopedic surgery.
** UNIPIXEL INC, $18.14, up 13 pct (10:11 a.m. ET)
The LCD film maker’s shares were up on reports that the company and Eastman Kodak Co have made significant progress in their joint effort to manufacture and market UniPixel’s next-generation touch-screen sensor film, according to Benzinga. ()
** ASCENA RETAIL GROUP INC, $19.81, up 14 pct (9:52 a.m. ET)
The womens apparel retailer said its fourth-quarter profit more than tripled, comfortably beating Wall Street estimates, as e-commerce sales surged and gross margins improved with fewer markdowns.
** PACIRA PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $45.57, up 7 pct (10 a.m. ET)
Barclays Capital analysts raised their price target on the stock to $56 from $43, saying the specialty pharmaceutical company’s post-surgical pain treatment, Exparel, and its broadening use, particularly in orthopedic surgery, have bolstered the drug’s commercial expectations.
** GLU MOBILE INC, $2.63, up 10.7 pct (11:33 a.m. ET)
The mobile game maker said ‘Deer Hunter 2014’ released on Sept. 18 on Apple Inc’s iOS and Mac platforms ranked seventh on U.S. App Store Top Grossing chart position for iPhone.
** CLOVIS ONCOLOGY, $62.91, down 14 pct (9:51 a.m. ET)
The developer of cancer drugs that had been looking for a potential buyer, is finding no takers, according to a report by Bloomberg, citing a person with knowledge of the matter.
* NTELOS HOLDINGS CORP, $17.50, up 10 pct (9:50 a.m. ET)
The telecom services provider raised its full-year EBITDA forecast and said it settled disputes over services to Sprint Corp’s customers in Virginia and West Virginia. NTelos raised its adjusted EBITDA forecast to $150 million-$155 million from $140 million-$145 million.
** SILVER SPRING NETWORKS INC, $17.56, up 8 pct (10:29 a.m. ET)
The smartgrid company said it expanded a project with power supplier EDP Distribuição in Portugal, following a successful pilot project.
Goldman Sachs raised its rating on the stock to “buy” from “neutral”, according to Streetinsider.com. ()
** LANDEC CORP, $12.26, down 9 pct (9:51 a.m. ET)
The polymer maker reported lower-than-expected first-quarter earnings as it changed the timing of income recognition from its Windset Farms. Landec said about 6 cents per share have been shifted from its first quarter to the remaining three quarters.
** COPART INC, $30.83, down 9.5 pct (9:56 a.m. ET)
The online auctioneer of vehicles said it will not convert into a real estate investment trust, more than a year after the company started evaluating such a move. Copart also reported a fourth-quarter profit that missed Wall Street expectations by 8 cents.
** RENESOLA LTD, $4.39, up 10 pct (11:35 a.m. ET)
** TRINA SOLAR LTD, $12.81, up 9 pct
** JA SOLAR HOLDINGS CO LTD, $9.47, up 8 pct
** YINGLI GREEN ENERGY HOLDING CO LTD, $5.97, up 7 pct
Shares of Chinese solar panel producers continued to rise for the second day after the U.S. trade group Solar Energy Industries Association proposed a deal on Monday that could lift United States’ steep import duties on Chinese-made solar products, which have raised production costs for Chinese solar panel makers. ()
“I think this is a non-starter (as a political matter), but the headline seems to have gotten the bulls excited,” said Raymond James analyst Pavel Molchanov.
** AAR CORP, $27.81, down 7 pct (9:54 a.m. ET)
The aerospace parts and systems maker reported a lower first-quarter profit as sales fell in its technology products business. The company reported sales of $514.5 million, below analysts’ expectations of $542.1 million.
** SOLAZYME INC, $11.29, up 5 pct (9:56 a.m. ET)
The renewable oil producer said it would supply tailored algal oil to consumer goods supplier Unilever PLC. The initial delivery of at least 10,000 metric tons is expected by early 2014.
** CARNIVAL CORP, $33.07, down 4 pct (9:51 a.m. ET)
The world’s largest cruise operator warned on Tuesday it could report an adjusted loss for the current quarter, after posting a 30 percent fall in third-quarter profit due to a series of headline-grabbing mishaps on its cruise ships.
J.P.Morgan cut its price target on the stock to $32 from $34, while Susquehanna International Group cut its target to $40 from $43. Bofa Merrill Lynch cut its rating on the stock to “neutral,” according to theflyonthewall.com.
** NOBLE CORP, $38.80, up 2 pct (9:54 a.m. ET)
The offshore drilling contractor unveiled on Tuesday a long-planned spin-off of older rigs into a new company that may make an initial public offering next year, as Noble seeks a premium valuation for its best assets.
** MISONIX INC, $4.50, down 6.1 pct (10:32 a.m. ET)
The surgical device maker reported a fourth-quarter loss of 22 cents per share on net sales of $3.8 million due to decreasing sales of its liposuction device, Lysonix, and a fall in royalty from its blood thickening device, AutoSonix.
** BRAVO BRIO RESTAURANT GROUP INC, $0.84, down 5.2 pct (10:37 a.m E.T)
Piper Jaffray downgraded the upscale casual dining chain’s stock to “neutral” from “overweight”, according to Theflyonthewall.com
** FIFTH & PACIFIC COS, $23.79, down 4.3 pct (10:55 a.m. ET)
The frontrunners to acquire the apparel and accessories maker’s Lucky Brand and Juicy Couture have both dropped out, Women’s Wear Daily said in a report citing sources. ()
IDG Capital dropped out of the bidding for Juicy last week, sources told WWD. Fifth & Pacific had been in exclusive talks with private equity firm Advent International for Lucky, but the deal fell apart late last month.
** DYNAVAX TECHNOLOGIES CORP, $1.24, up 3 pct (9:50 a.m. ET)
The Vaccine published a commentary from two doctors emphasizing that Dynavax’s hepatitis B vaccine had an adjuvant, an agent to boost immune response, which can be important for immunization against hepatitis B. The journal also published late-stage trial results showing the safety and viral response of the vaccine, Heplisav.
** SKYWORKS SOLUTIONS INC, $25.09, down 3 pct (10:08 a.m. ET)
B. Riley cut its rating on the chipmaker’s stock to “neutral” from “buy”.
** EAGLE BULK SHIPPING INC, $7.84, up 5 pct (11:00 a.m. ET)
** DRYSHIPS INC, $3.76, up 5 pct
** BALTIC TRADING LTD, $5.32, up 6 pct
** PARAGON SHIPPING INC, $5.95, up 4 pct
The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index, which tracks the cost of shipping commodities such as iron ore, cement, grain, coal and fertilzer, was up about 5 percent on Wednesday.
** INFINITY PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $17.95, down 2 percent (9:53 a.m. ET)
Infinity Pharmaceuticals said its cancer drug failed to improve overall survival in a mid-stage study on patients with non-small cell lung cancer who had a history of smoking.