There were several hot stocks to watch today as all three indexes remained on the upswing hours into trading.
Retail sales dominated headlines Wednesday, with Barnes & Noble Inc. (NYSE: BKS), Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT), Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE: ANF), and TJX Co. (NYSE: TJX) all up in morning trading on better than expected earnings and/or guidance. After the close, investors hear from Baidu Inc. (Nasdaq ADR: BIDU) and J.C. Penney Co. Inc. (NYSE: JCP).
But there were plenty of other stocks across all sectors moving higher. Here are 11 of Wednesday's biggest movers - many of which are among the hottest stocks to watch this year.
Hot Stocks to Watch Today
The following stock prices are as of midday Wednesday:
Anika Therapeutics Inc. (Nasdaq: ANKA) surged more than 50% to a fresh 52-week high of $51.95 after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the company's osteoarthritis treatment. Monovisc, a single-injection supplement to synovial fluid of the osteopathic joint, is used to treat and improve joint mobility in patients suffering from osteoarthritis of the knee. Commercial introduction of the treatment is expected to begin in March.
ChinaNet Online Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: CNET) more than doubled, soaring 135% to a 52-week high of $2.75, after announcing it has been co-nominated as a candidate for the "2013 Preferred Service Provider for China Small and Medium-sized Enterprises" award. CNET is a leading B2B Internet technology company based in Beijing.
Facebook Inc. (Nasdaq: FB) continues to be a stock to watch, as shares climbed roughly 2% to $71.22, just short of the all-time high of $71.44 hit earlier this week. The reason: a strong upgrade. Cowen and Company increased its price target on the stock by $5 to $85. With the average 12-month analyst price target at $70.42, a discount to FB's high of $71.44, more upgrades are expected. Year over year, FB shares have risen an astounding 157%.
Jakks Pacific Inc. (Nasdaq: JAKK) shares jumped 20% on better than expected earnings per share (EPS) of $(0.73), 10 cents better than analysts' estimates of ($0.83). Revenue of $137.70 million was also ahead of expectations of $128.88 million. The Malibu, Calif. toy manufacturer anticipates solid international growth in 2014. Earlier this month, the company debuted miWorld mall play sets at New York's 2014 American International Toy Fair. Retailing for $14.99 and up, miWorld allows girls to play with a pop-up mall on their own or through a linked app. The app uses an iPad's camera to "see" the play and bring it to life on screen, allowing for a digital avatar shop and play.
La Jolla Pharmaceutical Co. (Nasdaq: LJPC) shares climbed better than 30% to $10.25 after Wedbush initiated coverage of the San Diego biopharmaceutical company with an Outperform rating and price target of $27. Last week, La Jolla announced it had completed dosing of its phase 2 clinical trial of GSC-100 for the treatment of chronic kidney disease. Wedbush analyst Liana Moussatos said GCS-100 sales have the potential to reach $1 billion.
LinkedIn Corp. (NYSE: LNKD) added 3.5% to $217.08 following an RBC Capital Markets upgrade to Outperform from Sector Perform. The investment firm also hiked its price target for the professional networking site's shares to $250 from $225. Monday, LNKD unveiled a Chinese version of its growing site.
Plug Power Inc. (Nasdaq: PLUG) is among the hot stocks today as shares soared 16% to $4.64, not far from their 52-week high of $4.90. Gains followed confirmation the company has received a multi-site GenKey purchase order from Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) to roll out its hydrogen fuel cell solution to power electric lift truck fleets at six North American distributions centers. The first of six sites will be deployed by Q2 of 2014. Earlier this year, PLUG received a lucrative order from FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX). Other small caps in the sector rose in concert: Ballard Power Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BLDP) added 12% to a fresh 52-week high $3.37; Fuel Cell Energy Inc. (Nasdaq: FCEL) was higher by 5% to $1.89; and Capstone Turbine Corp (Nasdaq: CPST) gained 4% to a new 52-week high of $1.94.
Prana Biotechnology Limited (Nasdaq ADR: PRAN) rose 20% to $11.36, extending gains that began Monday. Shares started moving higher after the company reported its phase 2 clinical trial for PBT2, a treatment for Huntington's disease, met its primary safety endpoint. PRAN plans to advance PBT2 into a confirmatory phase 3 clinical trial that could allow for an FDA approval of PNT2 as a Huntington's disease therapeutic.
Tesla Motors Inc. (Nasdaq: TSLA) added 5% to $265, a follow-up to Tuesday's 13.94% gains. Morgan Stanley ignited the rally, pinning a $320 price target on shares of the electric car maker. Morgan cited Tesla's chance of becoming a major player in the electrical grid storage space as well as the auto industry. Additionally, Tesla's Model S was rated the best overall vehicle to buy by Consumer Reports. Also making TSLA a hot stock to watch in 2014 - its upcoming "Gigafactory."
Zagg Inc. (Nasdaq: ZAGG) jumped 12% to $4.78 after reporting EPS of ($0.07) for Q4 of 2013 and full-year EPS of $0.15. Revenue came in $66.8 million for the quarter and $219.4 million for the full year. The company gave upbeat guidance for 2014 and authorized a $10 million share buyback. A leading mobile device accessory company based in Salt Lake City, ZAGG also announced a full range of smartphone accessories for Samsung's Galaxy S5. Samsung announced the availability of the S5, an update to its flagship phone, earlier in the week at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.
Zulily Inc. (Naadaq: ZU) rose some 7% as shares continued to benefit from upbeat reactions to its first quarterly report as a public company, posted earlier this week. Shares surged 36.34% Tuesday after the popular online daily deals site, targeted at mothers, said it aims to keep the stock's strong momentum going by reaching sales of $1 billion this year. The company went public on Nov. 15, 2013, at $22. Shares popped 82% on its first day of trading. Wednesday, the stock hit $62.99, a penny below its all-time high of $63.
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