AstraZeneca plc (ADR) (NYSE:AZN) said it has terminated its research and license accord with Targacept (TRGT). The accord originated from Dec. 2005 and the termination will become effective 90 days after Oct. 8th, the company said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing dated late Wednesday. AstraZeneca plc (ADR) (NYSE:AZN) said all remaining rights and licenses to Targacept compounds will revert to the company, including the right to the compound AZD1446.

The Gap Inc. (NYSE:GPS) said Art Peck, president of its Growth, Innovation and Digital division, will succeed Glenn Murphy as the company’s CEO, effective Feb. 1, 2015. Separately, the company said its Sept. sales were up 1% vs. last year. Comp store sales for September were flat vs. a 3% decrease last year. The Gap Inc. (NYSE:GPS) noted that it expects gross margins for the third quarter of fiscal year 2014 to be moderately below the prior year driven by underperformance at Gap brand. In addition, after having leveraged operating expenses by 1 percentage point in the first half of fiscal year 2014, the company continues to manage expenses tightly.

However, as noted during the company’s second quarter 2014 earnings call, there are a number of factors that make year-over-year expense comparisons more difficult in the second half of fiscal year 2014. As a result, the company expects third quarter fiscal year 2014 operating expenses to be approximately 8 percent above the third quarter of fiscal year 2013.

ARC Group Worldwide Inc (NASDAQ:ARCW) reported Q4 adjusted earnings of $0.00 per share, down from $0.11 per share last year and well below the analyst view of $0.12 per share, if comparable, according to Capital IQ. ARC Group Worldwide Inc (NASDAQ:ARCW) revenue was $23.7 million, up 21.5% from the prior year period and ahead of the analyst consensus of $22.7 million on Capital IQ.

Results were driven by increased investment in sales and marketing, lower production volumes, and the integration of three acquisitions during the quarter. In particular, selling, general and administrative expense increased $2.2 million compared to the prior year period. This increase was largely the product of: $1.1 million in incremental expenses related to the acquisition of Advance Tooling Concepts, LLC (ATC) including $469 thousand of non-cash intangible asset amortization expense; and $600 thousand of employee bonuses, of which only approximately 25% of the bonuses will be recurring going forward on a quarterly basis.

While Management believes a portion of these costs can be eliminated in the future, the company estimates it could take at least a year before the benefits of cross-selling and margin improvement from the integrated entities offset the investment in sales and marketing. For Q1, the company expects sales of about $28 million, in line to just below the Street view of $28.7 million.

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Stocks in Focus: AstraZeneca plc (ADR) (NYSE:AZN), The Gap Inc. (NYSE:GPS), ARC Group Worldwide Inc (NASDAQ:ARCW)
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