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Top 10 Medical Stocks To Own Right Now

Yesterday, our Under the Radar Moversnewsletter suggested small cap Viveve Medical Inc (NASDAQ: VIVE) as a short/bearish trade:

This downtrend just firmed up with the “second wind” effort evidenced in just the past couple of trading days. After finding support for the better part of September and October, the floor finally broker in late October. A bounce started to take shape in early November, but all it took was a bump into the 20-day moving average line to put the pullback back into motion. Today’s and yesterday’s bar we’ve seen opens and closes at the lower end of the trading range, and so far today we’ve seen a lower low and lower high on very strong selling volume. Let’s just take the hint at face value.

Our Under the Radar Moversnewsletter has a more detailed discussion about Viveve Medicals technical chart along with a potential short/bearish trading strategy:

Top 10 Medical Stocks To Own Right Now: KongZhong Corporation(KZ)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Monica Gerson]

    The list of below stocks is notable as the shares have traded on sequentially increasing volume spanning the trading days from September 16 to September 20:

Top 10 Medical Stocks To Own Right Now: Best Buy Co., Inc.(BBY)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By WWW.THESTREET.COM]

    Then there was Best Buy (BBY) with a surprisingly strong quarter.

    Many of the losers can be found at the mall, with Gap Stores (GPS) and Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) continuing to disappoint. The only winner at the mall was Childrens’ Place (PLCE) , but Cramer said he’s not counting out a turnaround at L Brands (LB) .

  • [By Peter Graham]

    The Q3 2017 earnings report for large cap consumer electronics retail stock Best Buy Co Inc (NYSE: BBY) is scheduled before the market opens onThursday (November 17th) as a technical chart shows shares still in an apparent uptrend albeit also appearing to have leveled off or be range bound since mid-August:

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    The folks at Bespoke Investment Group note that its “Death By Amazon” index, which includesBest Buy (BBY), Barnes & Noble (BKS), Wal-Mart Stores (WMT), and Macy’s (M), among other traditional retailers that have been hurt by Amazon.com’s (AMZN) dominance, has been outperforming since Donald Trump’s election victory:

Top 10 Medical Stocks To Own Right Now: BlackRock, Inc.(BLK)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Shauna O’Brien]

    UBS announced on Wednesday that it has cut its rating on investment management firm BlackRock, Inc. (BLK).

    The firm has downgraded BlackRock from “Buy” to “Neutral” due to expenses, which are putting pressure on margins. UBS also lowered its price target on BLK to $280, which suggests a 5% upside from the stock’s current price of $266.51.

    BlackRock shares were down $2.51, or 0.94%, during pre-market trading Wednesday. The stock is up 29% YTD.

  • [By Tom Aspray, Senior Editor, MoneyShow.com]

    Some of the emerging market ETFs are already up 7%, so far, this month, as it seems like others are drawing the same conclusions. Robert Kapito, co-founder of BackRock, Inc. (BLK), which has assets of $3.9 trillion, said that “The emerging markets are going to account for about 60 to 65% of the world’s growth over the next 20 years.”

Top 10 Medical Stocks To Own Right Now: Vical Incorporated(VICL)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Lisa Levin]

    Vical Incorporated (NASDAQ: VICL) shares dropped 22 percent to $3.01 after the company disclosed that its Phase 2 trial did not meet primary endpoint.

Top 10 Medical Stocks To Own Right Now: Brown(n)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Alex Jordon]

    He already owns a good chunk of NetSuite (N), whose revenue grew 35% last quarter, beating earnings estimates by $0.03 a share. Ellison’s been profiting from the cloud while dismissing its significance. With the Salesforce agreement his company is, too. (Fool)

  • [By Arie Goren]

    On November 5, Oracle (NYSE:ORCL)confirmed that it has finally completed the acquisition of Netsuite (NYSE:N) for $9.3 billion in cash, or $109 per share that the company had initially offered. In my previous article about Oracle, I had suggested that the acquisition of NetSuite, the cloud business application software company, is a smart move by Oracle. What’s more, it is not paying an excessive price for the deal. In fact, Oracle insisted that it will not pay more than what it had first offered despite the resistance from T Rowe Price (NSDQ:TROW)which demanded $133 per share.

Top 10 Medical Stocks To Own Right Now: Rite Aid Corporation(RAD)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Matthew Smith]

    Speaking of subsectors in the retailing industry we are bullish on, how about the drugstores? They all seem to be running on all cylinders and yesterday Rite-Aid (RAD) had a tremendous day. It was the heaviest traded stock on all of the exchanges and saw its shares rise $0.87 (23.45%) to close at $4.58/share. Rite-Aid is the first among the ‘Big Three’ to report quarterly results so we find it interesting that they saw an increase in same store sales and saw profits driven by generic drugs. We have been told that this is going to be the bottom line driver for the industry via nearly everyone and that it would impact the top line as generics replaced the more expensive branded drugs. We care about earnings growth more than revenue growth, especially when the stall in revenues is due to switching to higher margin product which is purchased for a lower price. The market gets this and is pushing all of these names higher. In hindsight we wish we had been more bullish of Rite-A id earlier, but hindsight is always perfect.

  • [By Benzinga News Desk]

    Shares of Rite Aid (NYSE: RAD) surged to a high of $7.89 following a DealReporter story that Walgreens (NASDAQ: WBA) is close to reaching a deal to satisfy the US FTC, which would involve divestiture of up to 1,000 stores. Companies interested in the Walgreen's assets are said to include Kroger, Albertsons, CVS Health, Kinney Drugs and Fred's.

  • [By Teresa Rivas]

    Rite Aid (RAD) was up more than 15% at recent check, near six-year highs, as its second quarter surprised investors with an unexpected profit.

    The drugstore said it earned $32.8 million, or three cents a share, compared with a year-earlier loss of $38.8 million, or a nickel a share. Analysts were looking for a per-share loss of four cents for the period ended August 31.

    Rite Aids total sales climbed 0.8% to $$6.28 billion, while same-store sales rose 1%, as a 0.3% decline in front-end sales was more than offset by a 1.7% increase in pharmacy sales.

    In addition, Rite Aid also increased its forecast, saying it now expects to earn to between 18 cents and 27 cents a share on sales of $25.1 billion to $25.3 billion and same-store sales of plus or minus 0.5%. The companys EPS estimate is above expectations, while the revenue guidance is in-line with current forecasts.

    At recent check, rival Walgreen (WAG), the nations largest chain, was up 0.5%, while CVS Caremark (CVS), the second-largest drugstore operator, was down 0.1%.

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Chase announced that the company will process payments for Wal-Mart on the companys closed-loop network, ChaseNet. We would expect the economics of the deal to benefit Wal-Mart and thus the signing of the agreement and onboarding of another payment processor. The real takeaway for us is that today’s announcement adds one of the largest US retailers by revenues to the growing list of merchants that already accept ChaseNet including: Starbucks (SBUX), Marriott (MAR), United (UAL), Rite Aid (RAD), and Chevron (CVX). Thus, JPMorgan is building scale on the company’s platform and that needs to continue longer term.

  • [By Monica Gerson]

    Analysts expect Rite Aid Corporation (NYSE: RAD) to report its quarterly earnings at $0.06 per share on revenue of $8.40 billion. Rite Aid shares gained 0.25 percent to $8.15 in after-hours trading.

Top 10 Medical Stocks To Own Right Now: Citrix Systems Inc.(CTXS)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Monica Gerson]

    Benzinga's newsdesk monitors options activity to notice unusual patterns. These large volume (and often out of the money) trades were initially published intraday in Benzinga Professional . These trades were placed during Thursday’s regular session.

Top 10 Medical Stocks To Own Right Now: Liberty Global plc(LBTYA)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Alex Webb]

    Kabel Deutschland is a key part of Vodafones expansion strategy as the carrier looks for ways to boost revenue and lock in customers with Internet and television offers in addition to wireless service. Kabel Deutschland is the biggest cable company in Germany, Vodafones largest market, and had drawn a rival bid from John Malones Liberty Global Plc. (LBTYA)

Top 10 Medical Stocks To Own Right Now: Silver Bay Realty Trust Corp.(SBY)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Mark Holder]

    Instead of competing in one-off auctions, the traditional method of acquiring homes and the one preferred by Silver Bay Realty Trust (NYSE: SBY  ) (NYSE: SBY  ) (NYSE: SBY  ) and American Homes 4 Rent (NYSE: AMH  ) (NYSE: AMH  ) (NYSE: AMH  ) , the company is obtaining non-performing loans in pools that include thousands of loans. The ultimate outcome of these different models is unknown, but the market hasso far supported Altisource Residential.

Top 10 Medical Stocks To Own Right Now: Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc.(POT)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Daniela Pylypczak]

    Morgan Stanley announced on Monday that it has resumed coverage on Potash Corp (POT).

    Morgan Stanley analyst Vincent Andrews stated that the company has assigned the fertilizer stock an “Equal Weight” rating, warning “We remain cautious on the overall potash market, though more because of loose supply/demand fundamentals than because of dynamics in Russia/Belorussia. Potash prices have been moving lower for 8 quarters in a row now (7 of which BPC was fully functioning) and prices were continuing to drift lower in the weeks preceding the BPC break-up (recall Mosaic’s disclosure about lower prices in the Brazilian market on its July 16th earnings call.”

    Potash shares popped 1.55% during Monday’s session. Year-to-date, the stock has fallen 21.35%.

  • [By Cameron Swinehart]

    A diversified agriculture ETF with holdings in a variety of the largest agribusiness companies globally. Holdings include Bunge (BG), Archer Daniel Midland (AMD), PotashCorp (POT) and Deere (DE).

  • [By Jon C. Ogg]

    Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. (NYSE: POT) was up 25 at $33.12 in Monday afternoon trading. Monday’s gain puts shares up within striking distance of its breakout point from the aftermath this summer that took shares from $38 to $31 and ultimately back under $30 before recovering.

  • [By Chad Fraser]

    The agriculture ETF is heavily weighted toward the U.S., with 45.8% of its assets there, but it is geographically diverse, with exposure to countries such as Canada (9.9%), Switzerland (8.5%), Japan (6.7%) and Singapore (5.1%).

    Potash Cartel Breakup Has Weighed on This Agriculture ETF

    The ETF’s unit price declined in the first half of 2013, partly because of the breakup of the Belarusian Potash Company (BPC), through which Russia’s Uralkali, the world’s No. 1 potash producer, and Belaruskali of Belarus distribute their potash. The market is dominated by BPC and Canpotex, owned by Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan (NYSE: POT), Mosaic and Agrium Inc. (NYSE: AGU).

    Together, the two cartels control 70% of global potash exports, so the breakup of BPC will result in a more fractured market, which seems likely to push potash prices lower. Shares of major potash producers fell sharply on the news, as did Market Vectors Agribusiness ETF due to its potash stock holdings, which include Agrium, Potash Corp. and Mosaic.

Market Wrap For April 15: Who Doesn't Love A Turnaround?

Related BZSUM Mid-Afternoon Market Update: Markets Trade in Highly Volatile Session as Talk of a Pull-Back is Widespread Mid-Day Market Update: US Stocks Turn Red; Pep Boys Shares Drop After Q4 Results

U.S. stock futures were pointing towards a modestly higher open as investors found enough optimism from Dow components Coca-Cola and Johnson & Johnson who both reported better than expected quarterly results.

Investors were further spooked by reports of pro-Russian separatists taking control of an airfield in Eastern Ukraine which created a very volatile trading session.

The Dow Jones average rose 99 points and falling 110 points while the Nasdaq index showed one of the best turnarounds in years as the index traded as low as 3,946.03 during the trading session.

The Dow gained 0.55 percent, closing at 16,262.56. The S&P 500 gained 0.68 percent, closing at 1,842.98. The Nasdaq gained 0.29 percent, closing at 4,034.16. Gold lost 1.82 percent, trading at $1,303.30 an ounce. Oil lost 0.46 percent, trading at $103.57 a barrel. Silver lost 2.06 percent, trading at $19.63 an ounce.

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News of Note

ICSC Retail Store Sales declined 0.3 percent week over week compared to a gain of 1.5 percent last week.

April Empire State Survey fell to 1.29 from 5.6 in March and missed expectations of 7.5.

March Consumer Price Index rose 0.2 percent, ahead of the 0.1 percent consensus and a prior reading of 0.1 percent.

Core CPI rose 0.2 percent, ahead of the 0.1 percent expected and prior reading of 0.1 percent.

Redbook Chain Store Sales rose 2.6 percent year over year compared to a rise of 2.9 percent last week.

NAHB Housing Market Index rose to 47.0 from a previous reading of 46.0 but still fell short of expectations of 49.0.

The Peoples Bank of China withdrew 172 billion yuan ($28 billion) through a repurchase agreement.

Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades of Note

Analysts at JPMorgan maintained an Overweight rating on BlackRock (NYSE: BLK) with a price target raised to $359 from a previous $355. Shares gained 0.72 percent, closing at $300.61.

Analysts at Oppenheimer maintained an Outperform rating on Citigroup (NYSE: C) with a price target lowered to $65 from a previous $66. Meanwhile, analysts at Bernstein upgraded Citigroup to Outperform from Market Perform with a price target raised to $57 from a previous $52. Shares gained 1.28 percent, closing at $48.28.

Analysts at Howard Weil downgraded EOG Resources (NYSE: EOG) to Sector Perform from Sector Outperform with a $105 price target. Shares gained 1.19 percent, closing at $101.15.

Analysts at JPMorgan upgraded Edwards Lifesciences (NYSE: EW) to Neutral from Underweight with a price target raised to $78 from a previous $60. Shares lost 0.36 percent, closing at $80.71.

Analysts at Jefferies maintained a Buy rating on Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) with a price target raised to $700 from a previous $650. Shares gained 0.74 percent, closing at $536.44.

Analysts at Citigroup downgraded IBM (NYSE: IBM) to Neutral from Buy. Shares lost 0.36 percent, closing at $197.05.

Analysts at Janney Capital upgraded MasterCard (NYSE: MA) to Buy from Hold with a price target raised to $81 from a previous $79. Shares gained 1.35 percent, closing at $72.14.

Analysts at JPMorgan downgraded Medtronic (NYSE: MDT) to Neutral from Overweight with a price target lowered to $64 from a previous $69. Shares lost 0.03 percent, closing at $58.06.

Analysts at Bank of America upgraded Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) to Buy from Neutral with a $35 price target. Shares gained 1.72 percent, closing at $29.56.

Analysts at JG Capital downgraded Oracle (NYSE: ORCL) to Underweight from Neutral. Shares gained 0.35 percent, closing at $39.71.

Analysts at Maxim Group upgraded Pandora Media (NYSE: P) to Buy from Hold with a $35 price target. Shares gained 3.68 percent, closing at $26.20.

Analysts at Bank of America downgraded PetSmart (NASDAQ: PETM) to Underperform from Neutral with a price target lowered to $60 from a previous $77. Shares lost 3.98 percent, closing at $66.61.

Analysts at Miller Tabak upgraded Potash Corp (NYSE: POT) to Neutral from Sell with a price target raised to $30 from a previous $28. Shares gained 3.13 percent, closing at $34.95.

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Analysts at Stephens & Co upgraded Tiffany & Co (NYSE: TIF) to Overweight from Equalweight with a $95 price target. Shares gained 1.43 percent, closing at $86.03.

Analysts at Credit Suisse reiterated an Outperform rating on TripAdvisor (NASDAQ: TRIP) with a price target raised to $105 from a previous $94. Shares gained 4.43 percent, closing at $83.30.

Analysts at Janney Capital upgraded Visa (NYSE: V) to Buy from Neutral with a price target raised to $240 from a previous $210. Shares gained 1.49 percent, closing at $204.00.

Analysts at William Blair downgraded Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) to Underperform from Market Perform. Shares lost 0.63 percent, closing at $76.89.

Analysts at Needham initiated coverage of World Wrestling Entertainment (NYSE: WWE) with a Buy rating and $30 price target. Shares gained 3.75 percent, closing at $20.74.

Analysts at Macquarie upgraded Yahoo! (NASDAQ: YHOO) to Outperform from Neutral. Shares gained 2.29 percent, closing at $34.21.

Equities-Specific News of Note

According to BGR, Amazon.com’s (NASDAQ: AMZN) rumored smartphone will have a 4.7 inch display with a 720p resolution and will feature a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 2 GB of RAM and a 13 megapixel rear camera. Additionally, the phone will have a 3D display which will support 3D viewing “in as many areas as possible.” Shares gained 0.05 percent, closing at $316.08.

Eric Schneiderman, New York’s Attorney General launched an investigation into Herbalife (NYSE: HLF) over its marketing practices. According to Dealbook, there are no signs that any criminal charges will be laid against the company and no grand jury subpoenas have been issued. Shares gained 1.99 percent, closing at $54.82.

General Electric’s (NYSE: GE) CEO Jeff Immelt may give up his position earlier than previously expected as the company could look for “fresh blood” following Immelt’s approximately 15 years as head of the company. shares gained 0.45 percent, closing at $25.83.

Elliot Associates reaffirmed that its $21 per share offer to acquire Riverbed (NASDAQ: RVBD) is still on the table. Shares lost 0.90 percent, closing at $18.69.

Shares of Under Armour (NYSE: UA) began trading under a 2:1 split basis. Shares gained 2.68 percent, closing at $52.45.

Entergy (NYSE: ETR) issued upside earnings guidance for the first quarter and projects it will earn around $2.28 per share, above the consensus estimate of $1.15. For the full fiscal year, the company is projecting its earnings per share to be $5.55 to $6.75, above the consensus estimate of $5.34. Shares gained 1.44 percent, closing at $71.97.

Himax (NASDAQ: HIMX) announced that it expects its first quarter revenue to be up 10.8 percent year over year to $194.6 million, ahead of the consensus estimate of $193.6 million. shares gained 3.56 percent, closing at $9.32.

Walter Energy (NYSE: WLT) announced that it will begin idling its Canadian operations which includes the Barzion and Wolverine coal mines in British Columbia. Shares gained 4.87 percent, closing at $8.18.

Whirlpool (NYSE: WHR) initiated a new $500 million share repurchase program. Shares gained 2.04 percent, closing at $151.40.

General Motors (NYSE: GM) will unveil a new Chevrolet Cruze car for the Chinese market as part of its initiatives to grow the brand in the country. Shares gained 2.47 percent, closing at $33.35.

BlackBerry (NASDAQ: BBRY) announced it has taken a stake in NantHealth, a developer of a clinical software platform in order to “put the power of a supercomputer in the palm of the caregiver’s hand.” Shares gained 0.98 percent, closing at $7.21.

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Sinopec (NYSE: SNP) has agreed to purchase assets from Russian oil producer Lukoil in Kazakhstan for approximately $1.2 billion. Shares lost 3.77 percent, closing at $88.86.

Total (NYSE: TOT) announced that its European refining margin fell to $6.60 per metric ton in the first quarter from $26.90 per metric ton in the same quarter last year. Shares gained 0.09 percent, closing at $67.79.

Dan Loeb’s Third Point Capital released an SEC form 14A to further present his case against Sotheby’s (NYSE: BID) management team. Shares lost 2.24 percent, closing at $39.30.

Winners of Note

Twitter (NYSE: TWTR) has agreed to purchase Gnip, a provider of real-time and hisotircal datasets for many social sharing platforms which include Twitter, Tumblr and others. Gnip also offers managed API access for Instagram, Google+ and others. Shares surged 11.43 percent, closing at $45.54.

One of Conn’s (NASDAQ: CONN) major shareholders, W.R. Stephens Jr. purchased 152,746 shares valued at just under $6 million of the stock according to insider filing reports. W.R. Stephens Jr. Stephens was joined by another major shareholder, Elizabeth Campbell who purchased 106,034 shares valued at $4.188 million. Shares surged 14.53 percent, closing at $45.48.

Decliners of Note

hhgregg (NYSE: HGG) pre-announced sales totals for the fourth quarter in which net sales fell to $538.3 million from $597.6 million in the same quarter last year and below the consensus estimate of $551 million. Net loss per share for the quarter is expected to be $0.25, well below the $0.31 per share profit the company earned a year ago. Analysts were expecting the company to earn a profit of $0.10 per share in the quarter. Finally, hhgregg estimates that its fourth quarter comparable store sales decreased 9.9 percent with consumer electronics decreasing 18.9 percent and the wireless category decreasing 22.6 percent for the quarter. Fourth quarter and full year earnings are expected to be released on May 20. Shares lost 9.53 percent, closing at $7.88.

Zebra Technologies (NASDAQ: ZBRA) has agreed to acquire Motorola’s Enterprise business for $3.45 billion in an all cash transaction. “This acquisition will transform Zebra into a leading provider of solutions that deliver greater intelligence and insights into our customers’ enterprises and extended value chains,” stated Anders Gustafsson, Zebra’s chief executive officer. Shares of Zebra lost 10.09 percent, closing at $61.39.

Earnings of Note

This morning, Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO) reported its first quarter results. The company announced an EPS of $0.44, in-line with the consensus estimate. Revenue of $10.57 billion beat the consensus estimate of $10.55 billion. Net income for the quarter fell to $1.62 billion from $1.77 billion in the same quarter last year despite a gain in global volume and value share in ready to drink beverages, specifically a volume growth of two percent in emerging and developing markets. Coca-Cola reaffirmed previous guidance of investing $400 million in 2014 media initiatives. Shares gained 3.72 percent, closing at $40.17.

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This morning, Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) reported its first quarter results. The company announced an EPS of $1.54, beating the consensus estimate of $1.48. Revenue of $18.11 billion beat the consensus estimate of $18.0 billion. Net earnings for the quarter rose to $4.73 billion from $3.49 billion in the same quarter last year as the company saw several successful new product launches and continued growth of its existing product portfolio. Johnson & Johnson issued guidance and sees its full year 2014 EPS to be in a range of $5.80 to $5.90, in-line with the consensus estimate. Shares gained 2.11 percent, closing at $99.19.

After the market closed, Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) reported its first quarter results. The company announced an EPS of $0.38, beating the consensus estimate of $0.37. Revenue of $12.8 billion was in-line with the consensus estimate. Shares were trading higher by 1.79 percent at $27.27 following the earnings release.

After the market closed, Yahoo! (NASDAQ: YHOO) reported its first quarter results. The company announced an EPS of $0.38, beating the consensus estimate of $0.37. Revenue of $1.08 billion was in-line with the consensus estimate. Shares were trading higher by 9.62 percent at $37.50 following the earnings release.

Quote of the Day

“The longer MasterCard, Priceline, Google, and the biotechnology names continue to plumb new lows, the more likely it is the rest of the market will follow them down.” – Bruce McCain, chief investment strategist at Key Private Bank speaking to CNBC.

Posted-In: Amazon Smartphone Anders Gustafsson BGR BHP Billiton Blackberry Blackrock C Citigroup Coca-cola Conn Consumer Price Index Core CPI DIRECTV DOW Edwards Lifesciences Elliot Associates Empire State Survey entergy EOG Resources Eric Schneiderman General Electric General Motors China Gnip Google Herbalife Pyramid Scheme HHGregg Himax IBM ICSC Retail Store Sales Jeff Immelt Johnson & Johnson Lukoil mastercard Medtronic Morgan Stanley NAHB Housing Market NantHealth Oracle Pandora Media Peoples Bank of China PetSmart potash corp Redbook Chain Store Sales retailers Riverbed Sinopec Tiffany & Co Total twitter Under Armour Split visa Wal-Mart walter energy Whirplool World Wrestling Entertainment Yahoo! Zebra TechnologiesEarnings News Econ #s After-Hours Center Markets Best of Benzinga

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Gas-Driller Rice Energy Brings Another Fracking IPO

Appalachia gas driller Rice Energy Inc.’s initial public offering will give investors yet another way to play the U.S. energy boom.

The Canonsburg, Penn.-based company and some of its insiders expect to sell 40 million shares for $19 to $21 each late Thursday , raising up to $840 million before the potential offering of additional shares by underwriters.

The deal adds to what’s already been a fairly active year for IPOs tied to oil and gas drilling in U.S. shale rock formations, though investors’ response to these deals has been mixed. Last Thursday, an IPO by shale oil driller EP Energy Co. raised a lower-than-expected $704 million in its IPO. Through Wednesday, the shares were down 6.5%.

A similar firm, RSP Permian Inc.(RSPP), saw its debut raise $390 million last Thursday, pricing within the range the company expected. The stock was up 4.5% as of the latest close.

Last year saw four U.S.-based energy exploration and production companies’ IPOs raise a combined $2.4 billion, the highest level of proceeds since $4.5 billion was raised in 1998—largely thanks to Conoco Inc.’s $4.4 billion IPO—according to Dealogic.

Rice’s holdings are concentrated in an area known as the Marcellus Shale in southwestern Pennsylvania and the Utica shale in southeastern Ohio. During the first nine months of 2013, higher gas production helped the company’s revenue more than double that of the full prior year, according to a regulatory filing.

The company operates in some of the most prolific gas-producing areas of the country, but its lack of acreage in less-discovered gas plays may deter some investors, said Michael Wright, San Francisco-based manager of the Forward Global Infrastructure Fund.

“They’re in the sweet spot and they’ve kind of shown that they’re good operators,” Mr. Wright said. “I think the question is, what is the multiple that you pay for a quality company with good acres that doesn’t necessarily have a lot of upside from peripheral plays.”

Rice Energy is run by Daniel Rice IV and his brothers, Toby and Derek. Their father, Daniel Rice III, serves as a director and managing general partner of an entity that will own about 16% of the company’s shares, if the deal price at the midpoint of its expected range.

Daniel Rice III previously served as a portfolio manager at BlackRock Inc.(BLK), co-managing $4.4 billion in energy assets. He departed in 2012 after The Wall Street Journal reported potential conflicts of interest between his family’s private investments and natural-resource funds he managed for BlackRock clients.

The deal is slated to price after Thursday’s close, with shares opening Friday on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “RICE.”