M&A news and analyst actions were some of the catalysts behind the most actively traded stocks on Friday.
Shares of Lyondell Chemical surged after Russian-born billionaire Leonard Blavatnik agreed to buy an 8.3% stake in the commodity chemicals producer for $674 million. According to documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Friday, Blavatnik's AI Chemical Investments made a forward contract agreement with Merrill Lynch, which gives it the right to buy more than 20 million Lyondell shares at $32.11 a share.
KB Home rose after the company received an offer for its stake in French subsidiary Kaufman & Broad. The nation's fifth largest homebuilder said that while it was evaluating the $783 million bid, it is also considering putting its 11 million shares in Kaufman up for sale in a public or private offering.
Graphics chipmaker Nvidia saw its stock rise after the company reported solid first-quarter results and continues to take share from competitor Advanced Micro Devices. Nvidia said earnings rose 24% to 42 cents a share on sales of $844 million. Bear Stearns raised earnings estimates for Nvidia and maintained an "outperform" rating. "Nvidia is clearly benefiting from its widening competitive lead in discrete GPUs versus AMD, and we see further share gain in desktop and notebook discrete through at least the next two quarters," said analyst Gurinder Kalra.
Alcatel-Lucent reported first-quarter results largely in-line with a previous warning but investors were encouraged by the telecom equipment maker's ongoing restructuring. "Net-net, the first quarter was as expected, but we are incrementally encouraged by the improving order book and restructuring progress," said Prudential analyst Inder Singh. "We continue to believe the combined company is very well positioned as a key long-term partner for tier 1 carriers around the world."
On the losing side, biotech giant Amgen declined after an FDA advisory panel recommended further restrictions on its anemia drug franchise due to safety concerns. The stock was hit by a number of analyst downgrades; Credit Suisse analyst Michael Aberman said the FDA will likely follow the advice of the independent committee, "putting even our bearish estimates at risk." He added, "While we did not expect the (Oncology Drug Advisory Committee) panel to be a walk in the park, the discussion was even more negative then we anticipated."
AmerisourceBergen , a major drug distributor with significant exposure to Amgen's Aranesp anemia drug, saw shares fall 3%.