4:11 PM, Dec 21, 2009 --
- NYSE up 61 (0.9%) to 7,147.29.
- DJIA up 85 (0.8%) to 10,414.
- S&P 500 up 12 (1.1%) to 1,114.
- Nasdaq up 26 (1.2%) to 2,238.
- Hang Seng down 1.08%
- Nikkei up 0.41%
- FTSE up 1.99%
(+) CHTT sold to SNY.
(+) INTC gets analyst upgrade.
(+) AA gets analyst upgrade.
(+) PALM gets analyst upgrade.
(+) SGEN to get $12 mln upfront payment in pact with GSK.
(+) MOS, POT get upgrades.
(+) CTIC gets orphan drug status from European Medicines Agency.
(+) TSEM raises sales outlook.
(+) INCY in pact with LLY.
(+) WAG beats with earnings.
(+) FSLR turns up, building plant in France.
(-) CAG turns negative despite earnings beat.
(-) NOK credit rating cut at Fitch.
(-) DENN says COO, marketing head resign.
(-) OGXI slides amid report of pact with Teva (NYSE:TEVA).
(-) ETFC names interim CEO, search continues.
(-) GIGM swings to loss.
Stocks end with near 1% gains, and in the upper end of the day's range. Equities were lifted on several fronts, including deal news and upgrades for bellwether stocks, including Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) and Alcoa (NYSE:AA).
Gold futures closed below $1,100 an ounce for the first time in over six weeks, on increasing speculation of an eventual interest-rate hike, which would cut demand for gold as an inflation hedge. Gold also gained as the dollar strengthened against most of its major rivals.
Crude for February delivery fell 0.6% to $73.95 a barrel after gaining earlier in the session.
Intel (INTC) gets a boost to "overweight" from "equal-weight" by Barclays Capital. The analyst says it's time to revisit the chip giant given the solid end-market, upward bias to estimates and "intriguing" valuation at 12 times calendar 2010 EPS compared to a five-year average of 16 times and a trough of 11 times.
Alcoa (AA) saw strong upside momentum after Barclays hiked its rating on the stock to "overweight" from "equalweight."
In earnings, Walgreen Co. (NYSE:WAG) reports Q1 EPS of $0.49, including $0.03 in restructuring costs, up from $0.41 a year earlier and topping the Thomson Reuters mean analyst estimate, usually an ex-items number, for $0.48. Q1 sales were up 9.5% to a record $16.4 billion. The Street looked for just under $16.3 billion.
In deal news, Sanofi-Aventis (NYSE:SNY) and Chattem (CHTT) announced they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Sanofi-Aventis is to acquire 100 percent of the outstanding shares of Chattem in a cash tender offer for $93.50 per share, or approximately $1.9 billion. The transaction is expected to be accretive to Sanofi-Aventis' earnings as early as year one.
Bucyrus International (NASDAQ:BUCY) says it will buy Terex's (NYSE:TEX) mining equipment division for $1.3 billion in cash.
Athersys (NASDAQ:ATHX) has agreed to a deal with Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) to develop and commercialize MultiStem, its investigational stem cell therapy, for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease. Athersys said it will receive an up-front cash payment of $6 million from Pfizer, as well as research funding and support during the initial phase of the collaboration. In addition, Athersys is eligible to receive milestone payments of up to $105 million and tiered royalties on worldwide sales.
Meanwhile, AuthenTec (NASDAQ:AUTH) and Vishay (NYSE:VSH) gained on raised Q4 sales outlooks. VSH raised its Q4 sales outlook to $580 to $600 million, above the Thomson Reuters estimate for $557.87 million, and AUTH boosts its Q4 sales outlook to $8.2 million and $8.4 million, above the Thomson Reuters mean for $7.79 million.
On the downside, TLC Vision (TLCV) shed more than 70% on bankruptcy filings. It says it and two of its subsidiaries have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. It says it filed a pre-arranged plan for reorganization, meaning that its senior secured lenders have agreed on a plan.