Hot Stocks Today: AMRS, RGDX, TEDU Soar 20%

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 reached new records early Thursday, a day after the S&P 500 logged its eighth record high of the year. But by midday, the gains had faded.

Investors remain guarded ahead of Friday's closely watched jobs report, typically a big event for markets. Nonetheless, plenty of stocks were moving higher on corporate news, earnings, and analysts' actions.

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

Hot Stocks to Watch Today

Amyris Inc. (Nasdaq: AMRS) shares soared some 20% to $4.88 intraday. Mid-morning, more than 3 million shares changed hands, compared to the stock's average daily volume of 719,000. Sending shares higher was an announcement of a new strain engineering research and development agreement with BASF SF (OTCMKTS: BASFY). Per the agreement, Emeryville, Calif.-based Amyris, a renewable product company, will use its strain engineering technology to develop a microorganism that can produce a target molecule that is identified by German chemical giant BASF. After the initial devolvement program (assuming it's successful), the companies plan to collaborate more on a strain development program and will also consider other joint research agreements. Update: AMRS shares gave back almost all the gains by 2 p.m.

hot stocks today april 3

Cardinal Health Inc. (NYSE: CAH) shares climbed nearly 1% to $70.74 after announcing it will acquire privately held AccessClosure for $320 million. AccessClosure is a manufacturer and distributor of extravascular closure devices in the United States.

Google Inc.'s (Nasdaq: GOOG) newly issued shares started trading Thursday after a long-awaited 2-for-1 stock split from the Internet behemoth. The new "C" shares, trading under the original GOOG symbol and having no voting rights, rose nearly 3%, or $16, to $586.76 in morning trading. Old Google Class A shares, which kept their voting right and trade with the ticker "GOOGL" were up 2.82%, or $16.03, to $584.04. CRT Capital raised its split-adjusted price target on GOOG to $710. Here's the full story investors need to know about GOOG/GOOGL.

Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) shares rose 1.56% to $26.46 after Piper Jaffray resumed coverage of the chip giant with an "Overweight" and $30 price target. That's a nice 16% upside from its current trading price. INTC has recently been making a heavy push into the wearable tech market.

This next "hot stock today" is up more than 18% this year - but the company has seen better days...

Juniper Networks (Nasdaq: JNPR) shares jumped 1.78% to $26.88 on news of aggressive cost-cutting plans. The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company will lay off roughly 6% of its 9,400 employee workforce. Additionally, the company will consolidate facilities and stop developing application delivery controllers as its focus shifts on high-growth businesses.

Intuitive Surgical Inc. (Nasdaq: ISRG) rose nearly 20 points, or 5%, to a new 52-week high of $539.98 intraday after JMP Securities upgraded shares to "Market Outperform" from "Market Perform." Tuesday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration cleared ISRG's new and improved robotic surgical system known as the "da Vinci."

Pandora Media Inc. (NYSE: P) shares popped more than 2% to $33.70 after the popular Internet streaming radio service released figures showing sizable jumps in its number of active listeners in March. Also rising was the number of hours listened for the month.

Plug Power Inc. (Nasdaq: PLUG) shares rose 2% to $7.87 on heavy volume after the fuel cell maker announced it has bought fuel cell-stack maker, ReliOn Inc., for roughly $4 million in an all-stock deal. PLUG, a name covered frequently here at Money Morning since the start of the year, said the purchase will negatively impact earnings by $1 million during FY14. But, the company added the acquisition will have a positive impact on earnings from the next fiscal year onward. Here's the real reason why Plug Power bought ReliOn Inc.

Response Genetics Inc. (Nasdaq: RGDX) rose 18% to $1.56 in morning trading. Before noon, 6.5 million shares had changed hands, compared to its average daily volume of 267,000. Sending shares of the molecular diagnostic test developer soaring was the announcement of six new contracts with provider networks, bringing its total membership to more than 174 million U.S. members. The contacts span 10 states. Thanks to the deals, RGDX is now in networks with 13 Blue Cross Blue Shield health plans. That increases the number of Blue Cross Blue Shield subscribers with direct access to RPGX to some 23 million.

Schlumberger Ltd. (NYSE: SLB) shares rose 1% to $98.71 after RBC Capital Markets raised its price target on shares of the oil and gas giant to $115.

Southwestern Energy Co. (NYSE: SWN) shares climbed 2.5% to $47.33 after a pair of upgrades. Bernstein boosted its price target on the natural gas company to $57 from $51. Stern Agee upped its price target to $54 from $48. Stern Agee analyst Time Rezvan particularly likes the Houston-based company's strong cash position. SWN's expansive exploration and production business has operations in the Fayetteville Shale in Arkansas and the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania as well as additional plays in Texas, Arkansas, and Oklahoma.

Tarena International Inc. (Nasdaq ADR: TEDU) surged nearly 20% to $10.75 in its first day trading as a public company. The Beijing, China based company priced 15.3 million ADRs at $9, the mid-point of the $8 to $10 range. TEDU, founded in 2002, provides information technology (IT) professional education services through part-time and full-time classes in the Peoples Republic of China. It offers education courses in nine IT subjects, such as Java, Android, iOS, and Linux.

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