Morning Buzz: Microsoft (MSFT), Cnova N.V. (CNV), American Realty Capital (ARCP), NeuroDerm Ltd. (NDRM), Xenoport (XNPT)

Shares of Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) edged up 0.08% to $47.49 in recent trade Tuesday after equity research firm Piper Jaffray named the software giant a “top pick” for 2015. The firm said it expects the tech giant to benefit from stabilized PC shipments, along with margin improvements driven by cost cutting and its cloud business.

On valuation measures, Microsoft Corporation shares are currently priced at 18.60x this year’s forecasted earnings compared to the industry’s 11.50x earnings multiple. Ticker has a PEG and forward P/E ratio of 2.71 and 15.11, respectively. Price/Sales for the same period is 4.31 while EPS is $2.55. Currently there are 16 analysts that rate MSFT a ‘Buy’, 15 rate it a ‘Hold’. 2 analysts rate it a ‘Sell’. MSFT has a median Wall Street price target of $51.00 with a high target of $58.00.

In the past 52 weeks, shares of Redmond, Wa.-based company have traded between a low of $34.63 and a high of $50.05. Shares are up 30.72% year-over-year and 30.32% year-to-date.

In a report published Tuesday, JP Morgan (JPM) analysts initiated coverage on Cnova N.V. (CNV) with an ‘Overweight’ rating and $9.60 price target. CNV was also initiated with a ‘Hold’ and $8.50 price target at Deutsche Bank (DB).

CNV shares recently gained $0.21 to $7.49. The name, currently valued at $3.20B, has a median Wall Street price target of $9.50 with a high target of $9.50. In the past 52 weeks, shares of the eCommerce company have traded between a low of $6.71 and a high of $8.06 with the 50-day MA and 200-day MA located at $7.15 and $7.15 levels, respectively. Additionally, shares of CNV have a MACD indicator of +0.10.

CNV currently prints a year-to-date return of around 1.82%.

Shares of American Realty Capital (ARCP) are higher by over 6% in pre-market trading on Tuesday, as the stock continues to see gains following news the REIT is the newest target of hedge fund firm Corvex Management, which has taken a 7.1% active stake in American Realty. In a 13D filing, Corvex said it believes the American Realty shares are “undervalued”, and that it has had strategy discussions with management to explore additions to the ARCP’s board.

American Realty Capital Properties shares recently gained $0.53 to $9.01. On valuation-measures, the name has a forward P/E of 8.93 and a P/E to growth ratio of 2.86. T-12 profit margin is (64.17%), while EPS registers at ($1.41). The company has a market cap of $7.65B and a median Wall Street price target of $10.50 with a high target of $16.00.

On trading-measure, ARCP has a beta of 0.23 and a short float of 3.48%. In the past 12 months, shares of the New York-based firm have traded between a low of $7.38 and a high of $14.96 with its 50-day MA and 200-day MA located at $8.80 and $11.45 levels, respectively.

ARCP currently prints a one year loss of about 27.58% and a year-to-date loss of around 27.95%.

NeuroDerm Ltd. (NDRM) shares gapped up and rocketed 36% to $8.30 in pre-market trade Tuesday after the Israeli-based clinical-stage pharmaceutical company announced promising results from a trial of a treatment for Parkison’s disease.

NeuroDerm said results of Phase IIa Pharmacokinetic Study of ND0612H and ND0612 suggest that the high dose version, ND0612H, intended for severe Parkinson’s disease patients, may provide an effective therapy alternative to current treatments requiring surgery.

Shares of NeuroDerm, which IPO-d in November, are down 15.2% on the month.

Xenoport, Inc. (XNPT) is higher by nearly 11% this morning following positive RBC analyst mention on CNBC after the close.

XNPT shares recently gained 0.85 to $9.17. The stock is up more than 52.94% year-over-year and has gained roughly 44.70% year-to-date. In the past 52 weeks, shares of Santa Clara, Calif.-based biopharmaceutical company have traded between a low of $3.15 and a high of $9.24.

Xenoport, Inc., which closed Monday at $8.32, has a total market cap of $517.81M.

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