Analyst upgrades and earnings reports were some of the catalysts behind the most actively traded stocks on Wednesday.
Texas Instruments shares rose 4% after the semiconductor company raised its profit margin forecasts on expectations for strong sales growth and an improved product mix. TI said it now expects a gross profit margin of 55% within the next few years, up from a previous target of 50%, while operating margin guidance was raised to 30% from 25%.
Shares of engineering firm Foster Wheeler rose sharply after the company reported a solid first-quarter earnings report due to a strong energy market.
Leap Wireless shares jumped after the mobile phone service provider reported first-quarter results on Tuesday. The company posted a loss of 12 cents a share, which beat Wall Street's forecasted loss of 27 cents a share, and reported 318,000 net customer additions in the first quarter, almost triple additions in the year-ago period.
"Subscriber metrics were quite strong," said Credit Suisse analyst Christopher Larsen. The research firm raised the price target on the "outperform"-rated stock to $95 from $76.
Bristol-Myers Squibb forged an alliance with tiny drug developer Isis Pharmaceuticals to co-develop a very early-stage cholesterol treatment, sending shares of the latter up 5%. Bristol said it would pay up to $192 million to develop new drugs that target a gene called PCSK9, which helps regulate the amount of cholesterol in the bloodstream.
"This deal is an exciting proxy when you start thinking about the potential value when we start licensing ISIS 301012," Isis CEO Stanley Crooke told CNBC. ISIS 301012 is a promising mid-stage developmental drug also used as a cholesterol treatment.
Private equity firms were reportedly looking to woo wireless carrier Alltel, pushing shares higher. Both Reuters and the Wall Street Journal said private equity firms Blackstone Group and Providence Equity Partners may be interested in acquiring the rural telecom.
On the losing side, Priceline.com fell almost 9% after the company reported quarterly results. Goldman Sachs raised the price target on Priceline to $62. "Priceline remains one of our favorite small-cap companies as it leverages its diversification strategy in terms of products and geography to deliver strong business trends and fuel above-average growth," wrote analyst Anthony Noto, in a client note.
Tenet Healthcare shares were also moving to the downside, falling 3.5% after the hospital operator reported first-quarter results and said patient volumes were soft during the quarter.
Shares of Allscripts Healthcare Solutions declined after the company confirmed 2007 earnings guidance of 42 cents to 44 cents a share, which tracked in-line with Wall Street's forecast of 43 cents.