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March 21 (Reuters) - Some U.S. stocks to watch on Thursday:for the Morning News Call newsletter,)
U.S. stock index futures were little changed as jobless claims last week were in line with expectations and investors awaited data on the housing and manufacturing sectors. S&P 500 futures were flat and in line with fair value, Dow Jones industrial average futures were up 15 points while Nasdaq 100 futures fell 2.5 points.
** ORACLE CORP, Wednesday close $35.765, down 8 pct premarket
The world's No. 3 software maker blamed its rapidly expanding salesforce for a severe miss in third-quarter software sales and warned that its ailing hardware business will lose more ground this quarter.
Separately, Blackstone Group LP, which is weighing an offer for Dell Inc, is making an aggressive push to recruit Oracle President Mark Hurd to be the chief executive of the world's No. 3 PC maker, a person familiar with the situation said on Wednesday.
** YAHOO INC, Wednesday market close $22.10, up 2 pct premarket
Oppenheimer raised its rating on the company's stock to "outperform" from "perform" and raised its price target by $5 to $27, partly on the assumption that Alibaba will complete its IPO within the next year, benefiting Yahoo, which has a 24 percent stake in the Chinese company.
** AIRGAS INC, Wednesday close $103.35, down 5 pct premarket
The industrial gas supplier said weaker-than-expected sales suggested that it may miss the lower end of its fourth-quarter earnings forecast by 4 percent.
** PERRY ELLIS INTERNATIONAL INC, Wednesday close $17.40, up 5.1 pct premarket
The apparel retailer's fourth-quarter profit beat estimates, helped by sales growth and lower promotions in its Golf lifestyle apparel, Laundry by Shelli Segal and namesake brands.
** HEWLETT-PACKARD CO, Wednesday close $22.92
The company raised its quarterly dividend by 10 percent on Thursday, amid shareholder displeasure over the company's $11 billion acquisition of British software firm Autonomy Plc.
** APPLE INC, Wednesday close $452.08
Intertrust Technologies Corp, a software firm owned by a group that includes Sony Corp and Royal Philips Electronics, said on Wednesday it has sued Apple for infringing 15 patents relating to security.
** KB HOME, Wednesday close $21.57, up 2 pct premarket
The fifth-largest U.S. homebuilder reported a smaller-than-expected first-quarter loss and a jump in new home orders.
** GUESS INC, Wednesday close $26.95, down 5.2 pct after market
** TILLY'S INC, Wednesday close $13.76, down 10 pct after market
** PACIFIC SUNWEAR OF CALIFORNIA INC, Wednesday close $2.44
The apparel retailers forecast first-quarter results significantly below analysts' estimates as they battle flagging consumer demand due to a sluggish economy and higher payroll taxes.
** GOOGLE INC, Wednesday close $814.708
YouTube said 1 billion unique users were now visiting the video-sharing website every month, or nearly one out of every two people on the Internet.
Separately, Google's Chrome and Android operating systems will remain separate products but could have more overlap, Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt said, a week after the two came under a single boss.
** J.C. PENNEY CO INC, Wednesday close $16.17, up 2.04 pct premarket
The company's bondholders who last month claimed the retailer had breached a covenant of a bond indenture withdrew and rescinded their notice of default on March 18, the company said in a regulatory filing on Wednesday.
Separately, Penney said in an annual report filed on Wednesday that fixing its performance could take more time than it initially believed and suggested that any change in its strategy could be expensive.
** ASTRAZENECA, Wednesday close $46.18, up 2.3 pct premarket
The company's new chief executive announced another 2,300 job cuts in sales and administration on Thursday as he set out his stall for turning round the struggling drugmaker and returning it to growth.
** LULULEMON ATHLETICA INC, Wednesday close $63.80, down 1.4 pct premarket
The trendy Canadian retailer said it expected its earnings to drop in the current quarter, hurt by a recall of yoga pants deemed to be too transparent.
** JABIL CIRCUIT INC, Wednesday close $19.48, down 4.5 pct after market
The contract electronics maker forecast third-quarter results that fell short of Wall Street expectations as its largest customer Apple gets ready for product transitions.
** INTUITIVE SURGICAL INC, Wednesday close $495.87, up 3 pct premarket
The company's Board authorized Intuitive to repurchase an additional $1 billion of its outstanding common stock. Intuitive expects to fund the repurchase through cash and investments.
** IHS INC, Wednesday close $109.29
The publisher of Jane's Defence Weekly reported higher-than-expected first-quarter revenue on a 13 percent rise in subscription income, but said customers continued to delay spending decisions on its non-subscription services.
** SCHOLASTIC CORP, Wednesday close $31.07, down 11 pct premarket
The children's books publisher cut its full-year forecast for the second time as sales of its "Hunger Games" trilogy remained lower than last year's and customers continued to delay spending on its educational products.
** NICHOLAS FINANCIAL INC, Wednesday close $13.24
The consumer finance company said on Wednesday that it had retained an independent financial advisor to assist in evaluating possible strategic alternatives. The company also said it had received an unsolicited offer from a potential third-party acquirer.
** TUMI HOLDINGS INC, Wednesday close $23.84, down 10 pct after market
The luxury handbag maker reported a lower-than-expected quarterly profit, hurt by a 15 percent increase in costs related to online promotions and store expansions..
Citigroup trimmed its price target on the stock to $25 from $26.
** AMERICAN REALTY CAPITAL PROPERTIES INC, Wednesday close $14.66
The real estate investment trust on Wednesday said it had offered to buy unlisted Cole Credit Property Trust III Inc for $5.7 billion in cash and stock, sending American Realty's stock up more than 5 percent.
** CME GROUP INC, Wednesday close $62.03
The largest U.S. futures exchange operator said it plans to sell the building that houses its grain exchange in Kansas City, Missouri, and may also sell the building which houses its energy trading floor in New York.
** ST. JUDE MEDICAL INC, Wednesday close $41.96
A clinical trial evaluating the company's implantable device, used to prevent stroke in patients who have a common congenital heart defect, failed to achieve its main goal.
** BOEING CO, Wednesday close $85.37
The company plans to conduct two flight tests of its revamped 787 battery system, possibly as soon as the end of the week, according to three sources familiar with the matter.
** DELTA AIR LINES INC, Wednesday close $17.07
The company is in talks to purchase small and wide-body jets from Airbus and Boeing in deals potentially worth about $6 billion at list prices, two people familiar with the matter said.
** VISA INC, Wednesday close $159.33
Visa Chief Executive Charlie Scharf suggested on Wednesday that the payment network may impose a fee on digital wallet operators like PayPal, following rival MasterCard Inc.
** TESORO CORP, Wednesday close $58.88
Union representatives of workers at Tesoro's Hawaii refinery on Wednesday delivered petitions to the state's governor asking that he help find a buyer for the plant.