Safeway shares jump on Canadian rumor

Pleasanton-based Safeway shares jumped Wednesday after an analyst suggested Canada-based Metro may bid for Safeway's stores in Canada.

Desjardins Securities advanced the speculation that Metro could attempt to gobble up the Canadian stores.

Safeway rose 5.4 percent, or $1.01, and finished at $19.85.

Metro is Canada's third-largest supermarket chain and may be on the hunt for acquisitions after it sold almost half its stake in Alimentation Couche-Tard, a convenience store operator, for $479 million.

Wells Fargo raises quarterly dividend

San Francisco-based Wells Fargo announced a quarterly dividend of 25 cents a share, an increase of 3 cents, or 14 percent, from the prior quarter.

This dividend increase for the first quarter of 2013 was part of the bank's 2012 Capital Plan that the Federal Reserve did not object to in March 2012.

Wells Fargo submitted its 2013 Capital Plan on Jan. 4, 2013, and it is currently under review by the Federal Reserve.

"The dividend increase approved by our board today was included in our 2012 Capital Plan and reflected the confidence we have in our company's performance," CEO John Stumpf said.

Ellie Mae shares slump on sour analyst outlook

Pleasanton-based Ellie Mae tumbled Wednesday after analysts with William Blair downgraded the software company's shares, saying they believe that investor expectations for the stock are too high.

William Blair downgraded Ellie Mae to "market perform" from "outperform."

Ellie Mae provides software to U.S. mortgage lenders that streamlines the process of originating home loans.

The company is making the transition from a model of licensing software to a higher-priced, software-as-a-service model. It recently introduced a loan program that represents a significant expansion of its market.

-- Staff