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Featured on today's hot stocks to watch list are an interactive entertainment company, a struggling smartphone maker showing real signs of life, and an agricultural company aimed at growing with an acquisition deemed a perfect fit.
Find out what made shares of these hot stocks and three others move on Monday.
Hot Stocks on the Move Today: AAPL, KING, BBRY, and More
Kicking off today's hot stocks to watch list is King Digital Entertainment Plc. (NYSE: KING). Shares of the company behind the addictive mobile game Candy Crush Saga rose some 3.7% to $23.27 intraday, just cents away from its 52-week high of $23.48. Last week, KING shares traded above its initial public offering price of $22.50, up some 54% from lows endured in the IPO's aftermath amid concerns over growth and staying power. Sending shares higher Monday was a bullish upgrade from Piper Jaffray. The firm hiked its rating on the stock to "Overweight" from "Neutral." The rating boost comes as KING prepares to release Candy Crush Soda Saga, an extension of its original hit. Bulls maintain that even if Soda isn't a big seller like the original, KING has already hooked players who will spend money on its other games. Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter believes a much larger percentage of Candy Crush players will play more than one KING game when Soda is available, thus pushing up KING's revenue and earnings.
Archer Daniels Midland Co. (NYSE: ADM) is next up on today's list of movers. ADM, one of the world's biggest corn, soybeans, wheat, and other crops dealers, just announced its biggest deal to date. The Decatur, Ill.-based company is buying Switzerland-based Wild Flavors GmbH for about $3 billion in cash (2.2 billion euros). "ADM and Wild Flavors will create one of the leading flavor and specialty ingredient companies in the world, with sales approaching $2.5 billion and significant room to grow," ADM Chief Executive Officer Patricia Woertz said in a statement. Analysts call the buy a "perfect fit." ADM shares climbed 2.05% to a 52-week high of $46.72 in mid-afternoon trading.
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Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) rose 1.5% to a 52-week high of $95.47. Shares spiked after Jefferies' South Korea analyst Hyunwoo Doh shared his optimistic outlook on the iPhone maker. Doh forecasts Apple's worldwide share of the smartphone market to rise from 12% in Q2 to 17% by the end of 2014 and perhaps 20% in 2015. "Apple is slated to release the iPhone 6, which will come in a 4.7-inch model and a larger 5.5-inch model, in 3Q14. With the new release likely to meet one of the largest consumer demand points, i.e., bigger screens, we forecast global shipments of the iPhone 6 to reach 58m units in 2014, which would represent 60% growth versus its predecessor, the iPhone5s. We believe that robust shipments of the iPhone 6 would benefit Apple-bound memory makers, including SK Hynix and Micron going forward," Doh wrote as reported by Barron's.
BlackBerry Ltd. (Nasdaq: BBRY) jumped 6.5% to $11.31 on heavy volume. Shares of the beleaguered smartphone maker rose following news it has sold its research and development department in Germany to a Volkswagen subsidiary that makes interactive technology built into car dashboards. Additionally, BlackBerry announced Monday it has won three Red Dot awards for the designs of its BlackBerry Q10, BBQ5, and BBZ30 smartphones. "We pride ourselves on industrial design that is simple and intuitive in functionality, while maintaining iconic and familiar elements such as our keyboard and productivity-based user experience," said Brian Paschke, senior industrial designer, Portfolio Direction at BlackBerry. "While our smartphones have evolved over time, we remain focused on being highly detail oriented in order to deliver modern and high- quality devices."
Camtek Ltd. (Nasdaq: CAMT) shares soared nearly 50% to $4.88 on nearly 12 times its average daily volume. The Israel-based electronic manufacturing company announced the launch of its Eagle product line, adding it has already received early orders for the new product from leading semiconductor device manufacturers. The Eagle product line is designed to support the fast-growing "Advanced Packaging" market that uses cutting-edge technologies (both software and hardware) to "deliver unparalleled 2D and 3D inspection and metrology capabilities on the same platform."
Expedia Inc. (Nasdaq: EXPE) rose to $82.07 intraday, just shy of its 52-week high of $82.36. The online travel giant announced plans to buy Australian online travel company Wotif.com for $658 million in cash. "Wotif Group is well positioned in the Asia-Pacific region with a portfolio of leading travel brands," Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in a statement. "This acquisition will allow both companies to continue driving growth opportunities by leveraging the unique strengths each brings to the table. Wotif Group will add to our collection of travel's most trusted brands and enhance our Asia-Pacific supply, while Expedia will expose Wotif Group's customers to our extensive global supply and world-class technology." The acquisition comes amid reports that EXPE is mulling the sale of its 65% ownership in China's online travel site eLong to Ctrip for as much as $1 billion.
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