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American Express charging higher, BioCryst busting out, Hillshire searing hot


Making the list today as measured by your yahoo Finance Ticker searches are:

Hillshire Brands (HSH): The maker of Jimmy Dean Sausages and Ball Park Franks was originally looking to feast on Pinnacle Foods (PF) but now Hillshire has gone from hunter to the hunted. Pilgrim's Pride (PPC), owned by Brazilian meat conglomerate JBS, is willing to bid up to $45 a share for Hillshire in a deal worth $5.5 billion. Pilgrim's unsolicited offer is contingent on Chicago-based Hillshire ending its $4.3 billion deal to acquire Pinnacle. Let there be no doubt, in 2014 M&A has become a dog eat dog affair.

BioCryst Pharmaceuticals (BCRX): The life-sciences drugmaker flexing to the tune of 10% after announcing its treatment for inherited angiodema, a skin disease, met its primary goals for reducing the frequency of angiodema outbreaks and other key metrics in an early-stage trial. With today's move, Biocryst is up an astounding 32% in 2014.

American Express (AXP) is popping and taking the financials higher with it. The reason? Morgan Stanley (MS) is 'pounding the table' on the stock and using a bunch of fancy words to do so. Analyst Betsey Graseck says AmEX's "revenue is poised to accelerate" thanks to pent-up winter travel demand, and expanded merchant network. Add to that management hitting the road and hyping its own book, and you get a higher stock. Those attributes outweigh what the analyst concedes to be high debt levels and management risk relative to peers. Sure they're levered but it's nothing AmEx can't handle. Morgan has a $100 target on the $91 stock.

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