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Wednesday’s biggest gaining and declining stocks

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TEL AVIV (MarketWatch) – Among the companies whose shares are expected to see active trade in Wednesday’s session are Boston Scientific, CIT, Darden Restaurants, Granite Construction, Jabil Circuit, J&J, Micron Technology, Nike, Omnova, Onyx Pharma, Sealy and TransDigm.

Bayer, (BAYRY)(BAYN) the German health-care giant, and Onyx Pharmaceuticals Inc., (ONXX) the Emeryville, Calif., biopharmaceutical firm focused on cancer, reported progress with Nexavar combined with paclitaxel to treat patients with locally advanced or metastatic HER-2 negative breast cancer. Bayer was cut to neutral from buy at UBS, which said the stock has climbed 50% from March 18 and most catalysts for 2009 have come through. The only incremental negative is the reemerging safety issue on oral contraceptives, UBS told clients, adding that it is “a minor issue, but which lacks some clarity at this point.” UBS added that “2010 could be exciting so will revisit bull case at lower valuation.”

Boston Scientific Corp. (BSX) will settle a patent dispute with Johnson & Johnson Inc. (JNJ) for $716 million. The lawsuit involves patents covering medical devices known as stents, tiny mesh tubes that are used to prop open diseased heart arteries.

Cadbury: (CBY)(CBRY) The U.K.’s Takeover Panel on Wednesday said it has set a Nov. 9 deadline for Kraft Foods Inc. (KFT) to either announce it will make a firm bid for the chocolate company or walk away from the deal. If Kraft decides not to make an offer before the deadline, U.K. rules prevent it from returning with a new proposal for at least six months. Responding to the announcement, Cadbury reiterated its rejection of Kraft’s approach. “Cadbury has a strong position in the global confectionery market and the board is confident in Cadbury’s stand-alone pure-play strategy and growth prospects,” said Chairman Roger Carr.

CBS: (CBS) A New York state appeals court on Tuesday dismissed Dan Rather’s $70 million lawsuit against CBS, in which he claimed the network violated his contract after it forced him out as the anchor of the “CBS Evening News” in March 2005, according to news reports. The ruling said a lower court erred in denying CBS’s motion to throw out the lawsuit. Rather’s lawyer reportedly said he planned to appeal.

China-Biotics Inc., (CHBT) the Shanghai producer and retailer of probiotics, priced a public offering of 4.6 million common shares at $15. The shares closed on Tuesday at $17.21. The underwriters have an option on 690,000 more shares if demand for the offering requires. In a statement late on Tuesday, China-Biotics said it would use the funds for general purposes, including adding stores and products.

CIT Group Inc. (CIT) is in the midst of a last-ditch bid to restructure by handing control to its bondholders, according to a media report late Monday. The Wall Street Journal, citing an unnamed source, reported that the plan would have CIT offer bondholders new debt secured by the firm’s assets, alongside nearly all of the equity in the restructured company. If not enough bondholders agree to the plan, the result could be one of the largest Chapter 11 bankruptcy-court filings in U.S. history. CIT’s fate has been uncertain for months, after it succumbed earlier this year to a lack of funding and bad commercial and real-estate loans.

Darden Restaurants Inc. (DRI) fiscal first-quarter earnings rose to $94.3 million, or 68 cents a share, from $82.1 million, or 59 cents a share, in the year-earlier quarter. From continuing operations, the latest earnings were 67 cents a share. Revenue slipped to $1.73 billion from $1.77 billion as same-store sales, or those at outlets open at least a year, fell 5.3%. Analysts polled by FactSet Research had been looking for 66 cents a share on revenue of $1.8 billion. For the fiscal year, Darden expects to earn $2.65 a share, compared with the current Wall Street estimate of $2.81. See full story on Darden.

Élan Corp., (ELN) the Dublin drugmaker, priced an offering of $625 million of senior notes due 2016. The debt will carry a coupon of 8.75% a year.

First Industrial Realty Trust Inc., (FR) the Chicago provider of supply-chain solutions for the real estate industry, priced a public offering of 12.5 million common shares at $5.25. The shares closed on Tuesday at $5.89. The underwriters have an option on 1.88 million more shares if demand for the offering requires. The company said it may use the $62.6 million of net funds – excluding exercise of the option – to pay down or buy back debt among general purposes.

Granite Construction Inc., (GVA) the Watsonville, Calif., transportation contractor, is part of a joint venture including two other companies that received a $659 million contract to build tunnels and structures for the Long Island Rail Road’s East Side Access project in New York.

Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. (HIG) named Liam McGee chairman and chief executive. McGee, 55, was recently president of Bank of America Corp.’s (BAC) consumer and small business bank unit.

Jabil Circuit Inc., (JBL) the contract electronics manufacturer, reported a sharp drop in earnings for its fourth quarter ended Aug. 31, to 3 cents a share from 28 cents a year earlier. Core earnings for the recent quarter were 16 cents. Revenue fell 15% to $2.8 billion. Analysts were expecting earnings of 8 cents a share on revenue of $2.66 billion, according to Thomson Reuters. The company projected revenue between $3 billion and $3.2 billion for the current quarter, ahead of the $2.9 billion expected by analysts.

Micron Technology (MU) narrowed its fiscal fourth-quarter loss to $88 million, or 10 cents a share, from $344 million, or 45 cents a share, for the year-earlier period. Revenue was $1.3 billion, down from $1.45 billion. Analysts had expected the chip company to report a loss of 20 cents a share on revenue of $1.28 billion, according to FactSet Research. See full story on Micron Technology.

Navistar International Corp. (NAV) named Andrew Cederoth chief financial officer. Cederoth, 44, has served as senior vice president of corporate finance and principal financial officer since last June after CFO Terry Endsley died.

Nike Inc. (NKE) fiscal first-quarter profit was $513 million, or $1.04 a share, compared with $510 million, or $1.03 a share, a year earlier. Sales fell 12% to $4.8 billion. Nike topped Wall Street’s profit target of 98 cents a share, but its sales fell shy of the $4.91 billion analysts had expected, according to FactSet. Worldwide orders for Nike brand athletic footwear and apparel, scheduled for delivery from September 2009 through January 2010, were $6.2 billion, 6% lower than orders in the year-earlier period. See full story on Nike.

Novartis (NVS)(NOVN)was upgraded to buy from hold on Wednesday at Citigroup, which cited such factors as an attractive respiratory portfolio and positive currency tailwinds. Citi also said sales of its high blood pressure drug Diovan would be stronger for longer, increasing the overall pharma margins for the group. The investment bank also doubled its assumed cost savings with the arrival of a new chief financial officer.

Omnova Solutions Inc., (OMN) the Salt Lake City producer of polymers, chemicals and surfaces, reported that fiscal third-quarter earnings more than tripled to 23 cents a share while sales fell 22% to $186.1 million because of “lower selling prices and weak market demand … partially offset by market-share gains and penetration into new adjacent markets.” Omnova said it expects fourth-quarter earnings will improve “significantly” from a year earlier.

Pfizer Inc., (PFE) the New York health-care company, said on Wednesday that Australian antitrust authorities cleared the company to acquire Wyeth, (WYE) the Madison, N.J., health-care company. Australia’s Competition and Consumer Commission cleared the deal on condition that Pfizer divest certain animal-health assets in Australia. The deal remains subject to regulatory clearance in the U.S. and Canada, approvals Pfizer said it expects to receive shortly. Pfizer said it hopes to close the deal early in the fourth quarter.

Saks Inc. (SKS) said it launched a $100 million secondary offering of its common shares to reduce debt under its credit facility and for general purposes. Underwriters have an option on $15 million of additional stock to cover over-allotments.

SCM Microsystems Inc., (SCMM)(SMY) the U.S.-German provider of solutions to ensure secure access, identity and exchange, said that Chief Financial Officer Stephan Rohaly has resigned to spend more time with family. Rohaly was named CFO in March 2006; the company said that Martin Wimmer, vice president of corporate finance, will be interim CFO until a permanent successor is named.

Sealy Corp. (ZZ) fiscal third-quarter profit rose to $12.1 million from $10.9 million. On a per-share basis, profit declined to 5 cents from 12 cents as shares outstanding almost tripled to 279.2 million. Revenue fell to $349.6 million from $405 million. Analysts surveyed by FactSet Research estimated a quarterly profit of 5 cents a share on revenue of $335.2 million.

Severstal (SVJTF) was upgraded to buy from neutral by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, which also increased its price objective to $10.34 from $7.47. The Russian steel producer is “the most leveraged of the Russian steelmakers to global economic recovery,” analysts at BofA Merrill Lynch wrote in a note to clients on Wednesday. “It has the highest operating leverage and the return for equity holders benefits from positive financial leverage.” Among its Russian steel peers, Severstal has the largest share of non-Russian revenues (73% in the first half of 2009), making it the biggest beneficiary of the expected global economic recovery, the analysts said.

Teleflex Inc. (TFX) said Wednesday that Kevin Gordon is resigning as executive vice president and chief financial officer, citing personal reasons. The Limerick, Pa., engineering firm said a search for Gordon’s successor is under way.

TransDigm Group (TDG) will offer $425 million of senior subordinated notes and will use the proceeds to pay a special dividend to shareholders of $7.50 to $7.70 a share. The aerospace engineering firm said the notes will be due July 2014 and added it will also make cash dividend equivalent payments to certain holders of options.

Vitacost.com Inc., (VITC) the Boca Raton, Fla., retailer and direct marketer of health and wellness products, closed an initial public offering of 11 million common shares. The company sold 4.4 million and holders sold 6.6 million. The underwriters have an option from the company and the holders on a total of 1.65 million more shares if demand for the offering requires.

Worthington Industries Inc. (WOR) reported a first-quarter profit of $6.7 million, or 8 cents a share, down from $68.6 million, or 86 cents a share, a year earlier. Sales for the metal processing company dropped to $417.5 million from $913.2 million. Analysts polled by FactSet Research were looking for a profit of 4 cents a share on sales of $445.8 million.

Investor’s Business Daily Inc.

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