Pops And Drops – Savient, Hoku Lead The Way

Shares of Savient Pharmaceuticals ($9.28, +$3.35, +56.49%) jumped as the Food and Drug Administration released its briefing documents ahead of a panel meeting Tuesday to discuss approval of gout treatment Krystexxa. Analysts said the FDA comments appeared to be positive.

Hoku’s ($3.15, -$1.23, -28.08%) fiscal first-quarter loss narrowed despite sharply lower revenue, but the alternative-energy company warned it is having trouble raising capital to continue as a going concern over the next 12 months.

William Blair raised its investment rating on Sonic ($3.57, +$0.41, +12.97%) to outperform from market perform, saying the company is well poised to capitalize on the nation’s switch to digital television, which is supposed to be completed Friday. Sonic’s digital move distribution system, CinemaNow, is an attractive option and the fact that overall digital viewership is increasing should benefit Sonic.

KeyBanc raised its rating on TriMas Corp. (TRS, $4.27, +$0.36, +9.21%), a manufacturer of engineered and applied products, to buy from hold, citing an improving risk/reward profile and overdone covenant and liquidity concerns.

EZCorp Inc. (EZPW, $11.08, -$1.81, -14.04%) cut its earnings guidance for the next two quarters and the fiscal year, as the recession has less of a positive effect on demand for loans and previously owned merchandise than the pawnshop operator expected

E*Trade Financial Corp. (ETFC, $1.88, +$0.22, +13.25%) shares soared, up for the fourth straight session since Dow Jones Newswires said the company is in talks with Citadel to provide capital. On Tuesday, E*Trade said Citadel Chief Executive Kenneth Griffin would join its board. While nothing was disclosed today, JMP Securities says Citadel news is an indication that the hedge fund-giant isn’t willing to let E*Trade “fade into the night.” However, JMP said any aid doesn’t necessarily make E*Trade a better investment for common shareholders.

Finisar Corp.’s (FNSR, $0.78, -$0.07, -8.04%) fiscal fourth-quarter loss narrowed on a smaller goodwill write-down, but revenue and margins continued to reflect the economic downturn.

F.N.B. Corp.’s (FNB, $6.06, +$0.26, +4.48%) capital needs have been addressed following its capital-raising earlier this week, KBW said as it boosted the stock’s rating to outperform. KBW said, despite dilutive impact to earnings, the raise was a “longer-term positive” for stock, boosting TCE ratio, supporting organic growth opportunities and providing flexibility for bank to consider repaying TARP. It also added it believes FNB’s dividend is safe.

Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. (HIG, $12.88, -$1.20, -8.52%) announced plans to sell up to $750 million in stock as the insurer formally announced it will participate in the Treasury Department’s Troubled Asset Relief Program. Fellow insurer Lincoln National Corp. (LNC, $17.53, -$1.42, -7.49%) also traded lower.

Human Genome Sciences (HGSI, $2.89, -$0.30, -9.41%) shares fell as Lazard Capital said the probability that its LymphoStat-B will succeed in phase III trials for lupus is “extremely low,” while Barclays calls the upside on the drug’s phase II data overdone. Lazard Capital downgraded its investment rating on Human Genome shares to sell from hold, criticizing several aspects of trial’s design.

Nutrisystem Inc. (NTRI, $13.96, -$1.59, -10.23%) said it will take about $4.6 million in charges and write-downs during the second quarter related to cost-cutting and its decision to write off its investment in ZeroWater. The provider of weight-management and fitness products has been taking steps to cut pretax costs up to $8 million this year amid declines in consumer spending associated with the global recession. Nutrisystem will record $1 million in charges from recent layoffs.

Shares of Pain Therapeutics Inc. (PTIE, $5.32, +$0.33, +6.61%) rose Friday, although analysts said they haven’t heard of anything fundamental that could be driving the gains. Analysts told Dow Jones Newswires their best guess for the share movement was that investors are focusing on an upcoming U.S. Food and Drug Administration meeting to discuss Remoxy, a proposed pain pill from Pain Therapeutics and King Pharmaceuticals Inc. (KG, $10.10, +$0.33, +3.38%).

KeyBanc cut the stock-investment rating of Quicksilver Resources Inc. (KWK, $12.50, -$0.68, -5.16%) to hold from buy, saying the shares have had a good run. The firm cited the company’s year-to-date appreciation, its valuation and the lack of near-term catalysts.

European Union regulators Friday confirmed they have started a settlement procedure with U.S.-based Rambus Inc. (RMBS, $17.22, +$2.13, +14.12%) over an alleged antitrust violation. As part of the proposed settlement, Rambus has offered royalty cuts for five years for its chip technology customers, the European Commission said.

Saks Inc. (SKS, $4.35, +$0.59, +15.69%) gained after Deutsche Bank upgraded its investment rating on the high-end retailer’s shares to buy from hold, and set a $7 price target. The firm says strategies are in place to return operating margins to prior levels.

Schawk Inc. (SGK, $7.46, -$0.38, -4.85%) swung to a fourth-quarter loss, although the company said it won credit amendments that resolve concerns about its covenant compliance. Schawk, which produces branded packaging for clients, also predicted fiscal-year revenue of $440 million to $450 million, a decline of 9% to 11% from the year earlier.

Investors have shown strong interest in Tenet Healthcare Corp.’s (THC, $3.25, -$0.24, -6.88%) note buyback, tendering $891.4 million in outstanding senior notes by the early tender date as part of the hospital operator’s offer to buy back up to $1 billion in notes maturing in 2014.

UTStarcom Inc. (UTSI, $1.94, -$0.21, -9.77%) said it would cut its work force by more than half and outsource its manufacturing to improve cash flow, as the handset maker continues trimming its operations.