MARKET PULSE- Tesla, USEC, insurance companies, MLP companies
Sept 19 (Reuters) - Some U.S. stocks on the move on Thursday:
WALL ST LITTLE CHANGED WITH DOW, S&P NEAR RECORD LEVELS
U.S. stocks were little changed on Thursday as investors took a breather after a rally that took the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones industrial average to record levels in the wake of a surprise decision by the Federal Reserve to maintain its stimulus. The Dow Jones industrial average was down 5.76 points, or 0.04 percent, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 1.19 points, or 0.07 percent, and the Nasdaq Composite Index was up 4.45 points, or 0.12 percent.
** TESLA MOTORS INC, $179.40, up 8 pct (12:49 p.m. ET)
Shares of the company hit a record high on Thursday, boosted in part by an upbeat note from analysts at Deutsche Bank. Deutsche Bank raised its target price on the stock to $200 from $160 and said it expects Tesla to modestly outperform third-quarter margin expectations. Tesla shares are up more than 420 percent so far this year.
** USEC INC, $11.91, up 22 pct (12:20 p.m. ET)
The uranium supplier said it does not know yet how much funding it could secure from the U.S. government for the final phase of a research, development, and demonstration program as the government reviews its expenditure for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1. Shares of USEC soared on Thursday on speculation that the funding was in place and would be announced shortly. "We don't know what the answer will be yet, because all of that is still being reviewed," said Paul Jacobson, vice president of corporate communications at USEC.
USEC needs about $48 million to complete the $350 million project, which is majority funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.
The company said in a statement on Thursday that it had been contacted by the New York Stock Exchange about "unusual market activity" in its shares, and said its policy is not to comment.
** METLIFE INC, $47.16, down 3 pct (12:40 p.m. ET)
** PRUDENTIAL FINANCIAL INC, $78.99, down 1.5 pct (12:40 p.m. ET)
** LINCOLN NATIONAL CORP, $41.97, down 4 pct (12:40 p.m. ET)
Shares of the major life insurers were down in early morning trade after the Federal Reserve decided to maintain its historically low interest rates and ruled out rate increases until the unemployment rate fell to 6.5 percent. Lower interest rates reduce insurance companies' investment income.
** RITE AID CORP, $4.42, up 19 pct (12:42 p.m. ET)
The third-largest U.S. drugstore chain raised its fiscal 2014 profit forecast after reporting better-than-expected quarterly results, boosted by sales of higher-margin generic drugs.
** AGILENT TECHNOLOGIES INC, $51.72, up 5 pct (12:42 p.m. ET)
The company said it will spin off its electronic measurement businesses into a public company that will cater to aerospace and defence and communication companies by the end of next year.
** CONAGRA FOODS INC, $30.95, down 3.5 pct (12:43 p.m. ET)
The maker of Hunt's ketchup and Chef Boyardee pastas forecast current-quarter profit well below estimates, hurt by weak sales of consumer foods, its biggest business.
** METROCORP BANCSHARES INC, $13.76, up 27 pct (12:44 p.m. ET)
East West Bancorp Inc said on Wednesday that it will acquire MetroCorp for about $273 million to enter the Dallas market and expand its footprint in San Diego.
** GENTIVA HEALTH SERVICES INC, $12.24, up 10 pct (12:45 p.m. ET)
The healthcare provider said it will buy the home health, hospice and community care businesses of privately held Harden Healthcare Services for about $409 million as it braces for continued cuts in reimbursements for its services.
** BPZ RESOURCES INC, $2.16, down 10 pct (12:45 p.m. ET)
The U.S. oil and gas producer on Thursday priced an offering of about $125 million of its convertible senior notes due in 2017. The proceeds will be used to repay debt and fund exploration, among other activities, the company said.
** TAKE-TWO INTERACTIVE SOFTWARE INC, $17.52, up 2 pct (12:45 p.m. ET)
Brokerage Macquarie Equities Research raised its price target on the stock to $25 from $23 after the video game publisher racked up $800 million in first-day sales of Grand Theft Auto V, the fifth installment of the lucrative franchise that went on sale across the globe on Tuesday.
Macquarie analyst Ben Schachter in the opening line of his note said "Bottom Line - Wow! (and that is an understatement)."
** BIOMARIN PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $79.65, up 2.8 pct (12:46 p.m. ET)
Roche Holding AG could buy the maker of drugs for rare diseases for about $95 to $105 per share in a deal valued at about $15 billion, media reports said, quoting dealreporter.com. UBS AG will lend $5 billion to Roche for the takeover, the reports quoted dealreporter.com as saying.
** TRANSCEPT PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $3.81, up 6 pct (12:47 p.m. ET)
Drugmaker Retrophin Inc said it offered to buy the rest of Transcept Pharmaceuticals shares it does not already own for $4 per share, valuing Transcept at about $75 million. Retrophin's offer represents an 11 percent premium to Transcept's closing share price of $3.59 on the Nasdaq on Wednesday.
** SUNSHINE HEART INC, $10.9, down 4 pct (11:21 a.m. ET)
The heart device developer's offering of 3.8 million shares was priced at $10.50 per share, 7 percent below its Wednesday close of $11.35.
** ORASURE TECHNOLOGIES INC, $6.35, up 10 pct (1:03 p.m. ET)
Raymond James analysts upgraded the diagnostics company's rating to "outperform" from "market perform", saying that the demand for the company's Oragene oral kit to collect and preserve DNA from saliva will continue to increase in the genomics market.
OraSure's hepatitus C test will also enjoy increasing demand next year as a number of drugmakers expect approval for hepatitis C drugs next year and overall awareness is also expected to increase, the analysts said in a note.
** MAZOR ROBOTICS LTD, $16.20, down 3 pct (1:02 p.m. ET)
The medical device maker filed for a secondary offering of up to $46 million of its American Depositary Shares with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Each ADS represents two of the company's ordinary shares, Mazor said in a regulatory filing. (http://link.reuters.com/cuf33v)
** PIER 1 IMPORTS, $20.87, down 11.5 pct (1:02 p.m. ET)
The furniture retailer reported a second-quarter profit that missed Wall Street estimates by 2 cents, hurt by lower customer traffic.
"Our marketing initiatives did not include appropriate messaging around clearance and promotional activity in our stores, or customer acquisition generally, which contributed to lower than expected store traffic," said Chief Executive Alex Smith in a statement.
** APOLLO RESIDENTIAL MORTGAGE INC, $15.80, down 3 pct (1:01 p.m. ET)
** JAVELIN MORTGAGE INVESTMENT CORP, $12.52, down 5 pct
Apollo slashed its dividend for the third quarter to 40 cents per share from 70 cents per share.
The 43 percent cut in the dividend rate follows a similar move by mortgage REIT Javelin Mortgage Investment Corp, which cut its monthly dividend to 15 cents per share from 23 cents per share for the fourth quarter.
** ALLIANZGI INTERNATIONAL & PREMIUM STRATEGY FUND, $10.72, up 8 pct (1:00 p.m. ET)
The fund's shares spiked after its board of trustees approved a plan of liquidation and termination for the fund. The liquidation plan is expected to take effect on or about October 16, 2013, the fund said on Wednesday.
** APPROACH RESOURCES INC $25.54, up 5.6 pct (1:00 p.m. ET)
The oil and gas producer said it would sell an oil pipeline system in southern Midland basin, Texas for $210 million to privately held JP Energy Development LP, partly to strengthen Approach Resources' liquidity.
** GROUPON INC, $12.57, up 9 pct (1:00 p.m. ET)
Brokerage Stifel Nicolaus upgraded the online coupon company's stock to "buy" from "hold" as it sees strength in Groupon's core business in the U.S, and stability in key European markets. Analyst Rohan Jordan believes continued shift of usage toward app-based e-commerce should also work in the company's favor.
** DRYSHIPS INC, $3.66, up 11 pct (12:59 p.m. ET)
** PARAGON SHIPPING INC, $7.52, up 12 pct
** EAGLE BULK SHIPPING INC, $6.66, up 23 pct
** DIANA SHIPPING INC, $12.71, up 5.3 pct
** GENCO SHIPPING AND TRADING LTD, $4.45, up 12 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 2 percent on Thursday.
In recent weeks, rates for capesize ships have spiked to their highest levels since December 2011, helped by Chinese demand for iron ore, a key ingredient in making steel.
** PROSPECT GLOBAL RESOURCES, $4.78, up 29 pct (12:58 p.m. ET)
The potash miner received a letter from Chinese fertilizer company Sichuan Chemical Industry Holding Co Ltd, indicating an interest to invest up to $20 million for the development of Prospect's Holbrook mine in Arizona, which is estimated to have the largest potash reserves in the United States.
Prospect also said it plans to complete a feasibility study for the mine by the third quarter of 2014.
** KANDI TECHNOLOGIES GROUP INC, $6.43, up 17 pct (12:58 p.m. ET)
The maker of electric vehicles said the Chinese government unveiled a subsidy policy for pure electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and fuel-cell battery vehicles. The policy would be beneficial to a variety of Kandi's pure electric vehicle projects in the country, chief executive Xiaoming Hu said.
** ORGANOVO HOLDINGS INC, $5.92, up 6 pct (12:57 p.m. ET)
The medical device company entered into a deal with a unit of Swiss company Roche Holding AG allowing it to use Organovo's three dimensional human tissue printing technology in studying the effects of chemicals in living organisms.
The agreement was with Hoffmann La Roche and financial details of the deal were not disclosed. (http://link.reuters.com/xeg33v)
** FRANK'S INTERNATIONAL NV, $29.85, up 3.7 pct (12:57 p.m. ET)
Brokerage Howard Weil Inc started its coverage of the oil services company with an "outperform" rating and target price of $34, citing a rise in revenue, and said the company was expected to do well due to increased offshore and deepwater drilling activity.
Morgan Stanley started its coverage of Frank's with an "equal weight" rating, while Credit Suisse began with an "outperform" rating, according to theflyonthewall.com.
** ISIS PHARMACEUTICALS, $35.11, up 10 pct (12:56 p.m. ET)
The drugmaker said follow-up preliminary data from an early-stage trial on its experimental drug to treat a rare genetic neuromuscular disease showed improvements in muscle function tests in children.
Children with spinal muscular atrophy who received the two highest doses of the drug (6 mg and 9 mg) continued to show improvements in muscle function tests up to 14 months after a single injection of the drug codenamed ISIS-SMNRx.
Children suffering from spinal muscular atrophy often never achieve the simplest motor milestones like walking, crawling, or sitting up.
** MAGELLAN MIDSTREAM PARTNERS, $55.97, up 3.6 pct (12:56 p.m. ET)
** ENTERPRISE PRODUCTS PARTNERS, $61.81, up 2.3 pct (12:56 p.m. ET)
** PLAINS ALL AMERICAN PIPELINE LTD, $53.12, up 4 pct (12:55 p.m. ET)
Shares of all companies with Master Limited Partnerships (MLPs) continued to rally after U.S. Federal Reserve decided on Wednesday to continue to buy $85 billion in bonds every month.
"Generally speaking that means a lower cost of capital for all MLPs," Raymond James analyst Darren Horowitz said.
Energy companies create MLPs to rely on easy access to capital markets to fund growth. They are typically made up of assets including pipelines, gas processing plants or long-lived oil and gas fields that generate steady cash flows.
** DAQO NEW ENERGY CORP, $16.60, up 9 pct (12:55 p.m. ET)
The China-based polysilicon maker signed long-term contracts with three Chinese wafer manufacturers for monthly supplies from September 2013 to December 2014.
** PACIFIC COAST OIL TRUST, $16.68, down 7 pct (12:54 p.m. ET)
The statutory trust formed by oil and gas producer Pacific Coast Energy Co LP (PCEC) said on Wednesday it would offer 13.5 million trust units in an underwritten public offering in PCEC's bid to repay a portion of its debt.
** APOGEE ENTERPRISES INC, $28.84, down 2.2 pct (12:54 p.m. ET)
The maker of glass products reported second-quarter earnings lower than analysts' estimates. The company also raised its full-year earnings forecast to between 93 cents and $1 per share from 90 cents to $1 per share. Analysts on average expect earnings of 96 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
** GENERAL MILLS INC, $48.79, down 2.7 pct (12:42 p.m. ET)
Wells Fargo cut its rating on the stock of the maker of Cheerios and Chex cereals to "market perform" from "outperform," according to theflyonthewall.com.
** INVENSENSE INC, $17.19, down 4.4 pct (12:53 p.m. ET)
Research firm OTR Global said the chipmaker may be running out of supply of micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) sensors for the iPhone due to design and production issues, according to theflyonthewall.com. (http://link.reuters.com/nyg33v)
The chipmaker's sensors are widely expected to be incorporated in Apple's new iPhone lineup, including the iPhone 5S and 5C. (http://link.reuters.com/kyg33v)
** ARMOUR RESIDENTIAL REIT, $4.21, down 3.6 pct (12:52 p.m. ET)
The real estate investment trust announced a monthly cash dividend of 5 cents per share for the October-December period, about 29 percent lower than the 7 cents per share it had announced for the July-September period.
** SS&C TECHNOLOGIES HOLDINGS INC, $38.83, down 1.5 pct (12:51 p.m. ET)
The company, which makes software for financial service providers, said on Wednesday that investment funds affiliated with The Carlyle Group made a public offering of about 7.5 million shares of SS&C's common stock.
** FIFTH STREET FINANCE CORP, $10.20, down 3 pct (12:51 p.m. ET)
The investment company said that it had started a public offering of 15 million shares of its common stock. Net proceeds from the offering would be used to repay debt, Fifth Street said.
** GT ADVANCED TECHNOLOGIES INC, $8.20, up 9 pct (12:50 p.m. ET)
Brokerage UBS Investment Research raised its rating on the solar and LED equipment maker's stock to "buy" from "neutral", according to theflyonthewall.com.
** POPULAR INC, $27.05, down 7 pct (12:50 p.m. ET)
Shares of Puerto Rico's largest bank fell on Thursday after Morgan Stanley downgraded the company's stock to "underweight" from "equal weight", citing a weakening Puerto Rican economy. Morgan Stanley analysts led by Ken Zerbe also cut their price target on the stock to $25 from $32.
** MICROSEMI CORP, $25.37, down 3.4 pct (12:50 p.m. ET)
Brokerage Wells Fargo Securities downgraded the chipmaker's stock to "market perform" from "outperform", according to theflyonthewall.com.
(Compiled by Varun Aggarwal)