Hot Stocks to Watch: Today's Biggest Gainers

hot stocks to watch todayU.S. markets today (Tuesday) were headed toward another session of gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq were up more than 40 points by 1:30 p.m., and the S&P 500 was up about 6 points.

Investors remain cautious ahead of Friday's closely watched jobs report. Nonetheless, plenty of equities were moving higher on analysts' actions, company news, and earnings.

Following are 12 of Tuesday's hot stocks to watch.

Today's Hot Stocks List

Balchem Corp. (Nasdaq: BCPC) shares bounced more than 15% to a new yearly high of $61.32 after announcing plans to acquire privately held Sensory Effects for $567 million. Also giving shares a boost was a ratings upgrade to "Buy" from "Neutral" from Sidoti. Based in New Hampton, N.Y., Balchem is engaged in the development, manufacturing, and marketing of specialty performance ingredients and products for the food, nutritional, feed, pharmaceutical, and medical sterilization industries.

Durata Therapeutics Inc. (Nasdaq: DRTX) shares rose more than 5% to $14.69 after a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Advisory Committee unanimously recommended approval of Durata's bacterial drug Dalvance for the treatment of acute bacterial skin and skin structure infections (ABSSSI). "If approved by the FDA, Dalvance would be the first once-weekly antibiotic for ABSSSI, providing an alternative to current once-or-twice-daily treatments," Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Paul R. Edick said in a statement.

Facebook Inc. (Nasdaq: FB) shares rose 2% to $61.83 on reports that CEO Mark Zuckerberg took a salary of just $1 in 2013. But on paper, Zuckerberg's wealth surged last year. He holds 426.3 million shares, currently valued at some $25.59 billion, thanks to Facebook's 135% gains over the past 12 months.

Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) shares rose 3.27% to $16.11 after the automaker reported that sales saw consistent gains across all segments in March. Truck sales showed the biggest gains, with a 4.1% rise. Utilities sales rose 3.6%, and car sales rose 2.6%.

Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) shares rose 2% to $32.99 after reporting it shipped 7 million notebooks in Q1 of 2014, 1 million more than anticipated.

Intuitive Surgical Inc. (Nasdaq: ISRG) shares soared some 15%, or 65 points, to $503.31 in morning trading after the company announced FDA clearance and U.S. introduction of its new da Vinci Xi Surgical System. The cutting-edge surgical system translates a surgeon's natural hand movements, which are performed on instrument control at a console, into corresponding micro-movements of instruments inside the patient through small incisions or ports. "It can be used across a wide spectrum of minimally invasive surgical procedures and has been optimized for complex, multi-quadrant surgeries," ISRG said in a statement about the new system.

IsoRay Inc. (NYSE: ISR) shares surged 23% to $2.79 on heavy volume Tuesday morning after announcing plans to present Cesium-131 at the Annual Meeting of the American Brachytherapy Society in San Diego on April 3-5. ISR shares surged late last month when the company announced the world's first treatment of a tumor in a 12-year-old male patient with a type of childhood kidney tumor. During a procedure at Levine Cancer Institute in Charlotte, N.C., ISR's multiple sutured seed meshes for internal radiation therapy were successfully implanted in the patient. Cesium-131 brachytherapy seeds are used for the treatment of prostate, lung, head and neck, colorectal, brain, pelvic/abdominal, and gynecological cancers, as well as ocular melanoma.

Ku6 Media Co Ltd. (Nasdaq ADR: KUTV) shares surged 62% to $3.68 intraday after a controlling shareholder announced they will sell a 41% stake to Xu Xudong. Shanda Media, the controlling shareholder of KUTV, will sell 1,938,360,784 shares of the media company to Xu. Xu presently owns about 70.5% of Shanda Media and is the founder of Sky Profit Ltd. The transaction is expected to be completed on April 30. KUTV operates as an online video company in China.

Laboratory Corp. of America Holdings (NYSE: LH) rose 2% to $101 after UBS upgraded the company to "Buy" from "Neutral" and increased its price target to $112 from $93.

MetLife Inc. (NYSE: MET) shares moved up 1.9% to $53.81 in morning trading thanks to a Bank of America Merrill Lynch upgrade. The bank added MET to its US 1 list and set a $67 price target for the life insurer. BofA called MetLife a "top franchise" and said it trades at a discount to its peers.

Rubicon Technology Inc. (Nasdaq: RBCN) shares rose 13% to $12.94 after JP Morgan upgraded the stock to "Overweight" from "Neutral" and raised the target price from $12 to $14. The Bensenville, Ill.-based company manufactures synthetic materials for electronic devices, and JPM believes growing demand for smartphone technology will benefit Rubicon. "Ramping demand for LEDs and sapphire covers used in smartphones and wearable CE devices should drive strong sales of sapphire cores, wafers, and specialized optical components for the industrial sapphire market and for Rubicon," JPM wrote in a report. In short, JPM expects Rubicon to be the "go-to" name for this production.

Verint Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: VRNT) rose nearly 5% intraday to a new 52-week high of $49.99 on better than expected earnings and an upbeat full-year forecast. The Melville, N.Y.-based company reported adjusted earnings of $0.91 per share, $0.07 ahead of expectations. Revenue came in at $257.1 million. The intelligence solutions company, whose products are used to capture, distill, and analyze underused information sources for a wide range of customers, is also involved in cybersecurity.

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