The U.S. indices showed small gains on Friday before the long Memorial Day weekend. The Nasdaq was up by more than 0.3%, the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrials followed closely behind, up about 0.2% and 0.1%, respectively. This comes just a few hours ahead of Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's talk at Harvard University, where she could speak further about the possibility of a June rate hike.
Shares surged for ULTA Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance (ULTA) by more than 8% during midday trading after reporting solid first-quarter results. The cosmetics company's earnings of $1.45 a share crushed Wall Street estimates of $1.29. Revenue also topped forecasts, coming in at $1.07 billion. Comparable sales grew more than 15%; sales in its e-commerce segment saw the most growth, rising nearly 40%. On CNBC's Squawk on the Street" TheStreet's Jim Cramer said, "the stock deserves to be up the way it is."
Discussions with Citigroup (C) sent Lending Club (LC) shares soaring by nearly 12%. The peer-to-peer lending company is in talks with the bank about purchasing loans or providing additional financing as part of an effort to reassure shareholders. This comes after CEO Renaud Laplanche was forced to resign earlier this month following the discovery of falsified data on certain loans sold to Jefferies. Shares of Lending Club are down 55% on the year. BTIG analyst Mark Palmer said the company is in "survival mode," as Lending Club's debt totals $4.6 billion.
Citigroup is part of Jim Cramer's Action Alerts Plus.
Palo Alto Networks (PANW) shares dropped more than 12% by midday on heavy trading volume. Deutsche Bank downgraded the stock to Hold from Buy after the network and enterprise security company posted disappointing third-quarter earnings. Product revenues declined and the firm was forced to lower its price target to $150 from $210 on the stock. Deutsche Bank said, "This first quarter of slowdown from the sector's marquee name could create an overhang that may last several quarters."
Troubled Canadian drug maker Valeant (VRX) saw its shares jump nearly 8% following reports of a joint takeover proposal. Takeda Pharmaceutical and private equity firm TPG reportedly bid on Valeant before Joseph Papa was installed as CEO, nearly two months ago. Under the deal, Takeda would have acquired most of Salix Pharmaceuticals while TPG would have kept the remaining businesses, according to The Wall Street Journal. Salix Pharmaceuticals is a maker of stomach disorder treatments; Valeant acquired the company for about $11 billion last year. The drug maker rejected the takeover bid, but the Journal points out that the joint proposal shows a sale of the entire company would be possible.
FEI Company (FEIC) shares skyrocketed nearly 14% by midday following the news that Thermo Fisher Scientific (TMO) would acquire the scientific instrument supplier. The latter is offering $107.50 per share, with a total purchase price of approximately $4.2 billion. CEO Don Kania said, "This transaction bolsters our already strong position in the marketplace and allows us to play an increasing role in enabling our customers to accelerate breakthrough discoveries, increase productivity and provide solutions to global challenges." Cramer loves the acquisition because it "fits right in" with what Thermo Fisher is doing. Thermo Fisher is also apart of Cramer's Action Alerts Plus.