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Stocks were mixed Thursday following Wednesday's record close for the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
The blue-chip benchmark finished Wednesday's session up 0.3% at 16,580.54, leapfrogging the previous record close of 16,576.66 hit on Dec. 31. The milestone was indeed a sign of market resilience amid a lackluster gross domestic product (GDP) report, and the continuation of the U.S. Federal Reserve's bond taper.
There was nothing lackluster about Thursday's flurry of deal announcements, earning reports, and analysts' actions moving stocks higher. Following are 12 of Thursday's hot stocks to watch.
12 Hot Stocks to Watch Today
Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE: ANF) shares climbed nearly 7% to $38.95 in morning trading after Jefferies upgraded the upscale teen retailer to "Buy" from "Hold" and boosted its price target to $50 from $37. The upgrade came on the heels of ANF bowing to activist investor Engaged Capital LLC, which had fought to shake up ANF's management. In a move that shows it is becoming more shareholder-friendly, ANF on Wednesday named four new independent directors to its board.
Biogen Idec Inc. (Nasdaq: BIIB) rose 1.5% to $290.50 after new analysis of Tysabri, its blockbuster multiple sclerosis (MS) drug, showed improved walking speed in a significant number of MS patients. The data was presented Wednesday at the 66th American Academy of Neurology annual meeting in Philadelphia, Pa. Moreover, additional recent studies showed that switching to Tysabri decreased the risk of future relapse, disability progression, and treatment discontinuation for MS patients. Global market sales of Tysabri for all of 2013 totaled $1.7 billion, a 3% increase year over year.
DIRECTV (Nasdaq: DTV) shares jumped 6% to a 52-week high of $82.75 intraday after The Wall Street Journal reported that AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) had approached the satellite TV operator with a takeover offer. Such a deal is estimated to be worth a whopping $40 billion. The combination would create a giant cable provider serving some 26 million customers. That would put it second only to the 30 million subscriber potential in the ongoing Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA)/Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) merger.
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