May 1, 2014 / 12:12 PM / 3 years ago

MARKET PULSE-Motorola, Walter Energy, Lazard, Mastercard, Viacom

(For more market insights, including options activity, click on ; for the Day Ahead newsletter link.reuters.com/mex49s; for the Morning News Call newsletter, link.reuters.com/nex49s) U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Thursday. Dow Jones industrial average futures were up 0.07 percent at 16,522, S&P 500 futures were down 0.01 percent at 1,877.8 and Nasdaq 100 futures were up 0.27 percent at 3,583.

** MASTERCARD INC, Wednesday close $73.55, +0.61 pct premarket

The world’s second-largest debit and credit card company posted a 14 percent rise in quarterly profit as more customers used cards to shop.

** MERRIMACK PHARMACEUTICALS INC, Wednesday close $4.39, +77.68 pct premarket

Merrimack said its lead experimental cancer drug when used as a combination improved the overall survival rate in patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer, doubling its shares in premarket trading.

** CME GROUP INC, Wednesday close $70.39

The world’s largest futures market operator said on Thursday that first-quarter earnings increased 13 percent, meeting Wall Street expectations, on a jump in trading volume.

** T-MOBILE US INC, Wednesday close $29.29, +7.51 pct premarket

** SPRINT CORP, Wednesday close $8.5, +6.24 pct premarket

Sprint is meeting with banks to work out funding for its bid for smaller rival T-Mobile, a source familiar with the situation said, as the mobile carrier works to ease regulatory concerns that the deal would hurt competition.

T-Mobile said it added 2.4 million net customers in the first quarter, up from 579,000 a year earlier, as the company’s aggressive discounts won over customers.

** BOEING CO, Wednesday close $129.02, +0.35 pct premarket

The company said it expects to finish flight testing its stretched 787-9 Dreamliner in the next two months and deliver it around mid-year, one of six new jets the world’s biggest plane-maker aims to get into service by the end of the decade.

** MERCK & CO INC, Wednesday close $58.56

The U.S. drugmaker is considering selling a big portfolio of mature drugs that could fetch more than $15 billion, according to people familiar with the matter, as it continues to streamline businesses to focus on high-growth areas.

In a separate development, Reckitt Benckiser Group said on Wednesday it was no longer in active talks with Merck about buying its consumer health business, leaving Germany’s Bayer as a leading contender for the $14 billion business.

** TEXTRON INC, Wednesday close $40.9

The world’s largest maker of business aircraft reported a 24 percent drop in quarterly profit, partly due to fewer deliveries of its Bell helicopters and unmanned aircraft systems.

** VIACOM INC, Wednesday close $84.98

U.S. media company Viacom said it will buy British free-to-air TV broadcaster Channel 5 from media baron Richard Desmond for 450 million pounds ($760 million) to expand in the United Kingdom.

($1 = 0.5922 British Pounds)

** MOTOROLA SOLUTIONS INC, Wednesday close $63.58

The maker of walkie-talkies rugged mobile computers and tablets forecast weaker-than-expected quarterly results after reporting first-quarter revenue below estimates as orders from government and businesses fell.

** WALTER ENERGY, Wednesday close $7.2, -2.78 pct premarket

The coal miner’s loss mounted as depressed prices continued to weigh on margins.

** ALPHA NATURAL RESOURCES INC, Wednesday close $4.3, -0.47 pct premarket

The coal miner reported a smaller quarterly loss as the company’s cost-control efforts helped offset the effect of depressed coal prices and lower demand.

** LAZARD LTD, Wednesday close $47.05

The investment bank and asset manager reported a 119 percent rise in first-quarter profit as merger advisory revenue rose in a thriving M&A market.

** CONOCOPHILLIPS, Wednesday close $74.31, +1.59 pct premarket

The largest U.S. independent oil and gas company on Thursday reported a flat quarterly profit and said output edged higher.

** AVON PRODUCTS INC, Wednesday close $15.28, -4.58 pct premarket

The direct seller of beauty products on Thursday reported lower-than-expected fourth-quarter revenue, hurt by a drop in sales in every region and the departure of more sales representatives.

** THE MEDICINES CO, Wednesday close $26.6 -1.10 pct after market

The drugmaker said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration rejected its intravenous blood thinner, cangrelor, on Wednesday and asked for more trials and detailed analyses to support its marketing application.

The company was evaluating the treatment’s use during angioplasty - a heart surgery for widening narrow or clogged arteries and in patients with stents who are at an increased risk of events such as stent thrombosis, a blood clot that forms at the site of the stent.

An advisory committee to the regulator had recommended against the drug’s use in both indications in February, citing a lack of data to prove its efficacy.

** WEIGHT WATCHERS INTERNATIONAL INC, Wednesday close $19.8, +10.90 pct after market

The weight management company on Wednesday reported a first-quarter profit that beat analysts’ average estimate and raised its 2014 earnings forecast.

** THERAVANCE INC, Wednesday close $26.92 +3.60 pct after market

The company said a 20 mg dose of its experimental drug met the main goal of pain reduction in patients with fibromyalgia - a chronic pain syndrome - in a mid-stage trial.

The drugmaker said the drug, codenamed TD-9855, was generally well-tolerated by the 392 patients in the study.

** AEROPOSTALE INC, Wednesday close $4.97

The teen apparel retailer on Wednesday announced a cost reduction program under which it expects to generate about $30 million-$35 million in annualized pre-tax cost savings, of which about $5 million-$10 million is expected to be achieved in fiscal 2014. As part of the program, the company said it plans to cut about 100 positions and close about 125 mall-based P.S. from Aeropostale stores.

** ACCURAY INC, Wednesday close $8.4, -4.76 pct premarket

The cancer radiation device maker said gross product orders for the fiscal third quarter fell 16 percent. Gross product orders totaled $45.2 million for the third quarter ended March 31, a decrease of $8.6 million from the year-ago quarter.

** MARATHON PETROLEUM CORP, Wednesday close $92.95

The third-largest standalone U.S. refining company reported a 73 percent drop in first-quarter profit as two of its largest refineries processed less crude oil due to maintenance work.

** INVESCO LTD, Wednesday close $35.21

The company, which oversees the PowerShares line of exchange-traded funds, said on Thursday that its first-quarter profit fell 15.5 percent as business operating expenses increased.

** BUNGE LTD, Wednesday close $79.65

The agribusiness giant posted a first-quarter net loss on Thursday on losses in its grain trading and distribution business and poor oilseed processing margins in China.

** DOMINO‘S PIZZA INC, Wednesday close $74.38

The second-largest U.S. pizza chain by store count on Thursday reported quarterly profit that matched Wall Street’s view as its U.S. business held up despite severe winter storms that forced diners to cut back on visits to many restaurant chains.

** PROSENSA HOLDING NV, Wednesday close $6.99

The drug developer said it would re-dose a group of patients in the third quarter with its experimental drug to treat a rare muscular disorder in young boys.

The company said it would comment on a regulatory path forward for the drug, drisapersen, before the end of June. Prosensa said in January that it would consider developing the drug, after its partner GlaxoSmithKline Plc, returned the rights because of the drug’s failure in a key trial.

** CHESAPEAKE ENERGY CORP, Wednesday close $28.75

** ENCANA CORP, Wednesday close $23.21

The U.S. Department of Justice has ended a probe of possible antitrust violations by Chesapeake Energy and Encana related to their land-leasing activities in Michigan, the companies said.

** THE COCA-COLA CO, Wednesday close $40.79

The world’s largest soft drinks company is likely to revise its controversial equity compensation plan for executives before it goes into effect in 2015, following pressure from Warren Buffett, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

** QUALCOMM INC, Wednesday close $78.71

The chipmaker is spinning off its location-awareness technology, which is compatible with Apple Inc’s iBeacon version, to a group of investors including music, sports and arena conglomerate AEG.

** WESTERN DIGITAL CORP, Wednesday close $88.08

The hard-disk drive maker reported a 4 percent fall in quarterly profit due to a decrease in sales to personal computer makers.

** AT&T INC, Wednesday close $35.7, -0.98 pct premarket

** DIRECTV, Wednesday close $77.6, +7.53 pct premarket

AT&T has approached DirecTV about a possible acquisition of the satellite TV company, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the situation.

** FACEBOOK INC, Wednesday close $59.78, +1.02 pct premarket

The social networking company rolled out a new service that it envisions will distribute ads across a network of mobile applications, opening the door to a new source of revenue.

** YELP INC, Wednesday close $58.32, +9.05 pct premarket

The operator of consumer review website Yelp.com reported a better-than-expected 66 percent jump in quarterly revenue due to higher revenue from local advertising on mobile devices.

** METLIFE INC, Wednesday close $52.35

The largest U.S. life insurer reported a 36 percent rise in net income, helped by a derivative gain linked to credit spreads, but operating earnings fell short of market expectations as claims increased.

** FLEXTRONICS INTERNATIONAL LTD, Wednesday close $8.99

The contract electronics manufacturer reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter revenue and adjusted profit on Wednesday, helped by higher demand from its game console and smartphone customers.

** JDS UNIPHASE CORP, Wednesday close $12.67

The maker of communication and networking equipment posted weaker-than-expected quarterly results due to a delay in orders, and the company forecast current-quarter results below analysts’ average estimate.

** CIGNA CORP, Wednesday close $80.04

The U.S. health insurer reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit as medical enrollments increased and it managed costs of its commercial and Medicare customers.

** KELLOGG CO, Wednesday close $66.83

The world’s largest maker of breakfast cereals will report results after three straight quarters of cereal sales declines, as it battles a consumer shift towards cheaper options and breakfast alternatives such as yogurt and frozen egg sandwiches. To stem the fall in sales, Kellogg said it would invest in packaging, shopper programs, mobile and in-store ads and also develop new healthier foods such as those infused with omega 3 and special cakes with quinoa to cater to new consumer tastes.

** HARMAN INTERNATIONAL INDUSTRIES, Wednesday close $109.61

Stronger-than-expected first-quarter auto production in Europe is expected to have boosted results for Harman, which makes audio systems for luxury car makers such as Volkswagen and BMW and gets more than half its revenue from the region.

** KENNAMETAL INC, Wednesday close $46.73

The supplier of cutting, milling and drilling tools is likely to be negatively impacted by a slower-than-expected recovery in demand from the oil and gas markets and weakness in underground mining in the U.S. and China. The company expects sales volumes to remain weak in its infrastructure segment. The company’s acquisition of TMB also impacted infrastructure segment operating income in the second quarter and will be dilutive to its earnings in 2014.

** BORGWARNER INC, Wednesday close $62.14

The maker of all-wheel drive systems and dual clutch transmission modules is expected to benefit from rising auto demand in the United States. After being tepid for the first two months of the year, U.S. auto sales rose more than expected in March. BorgWarner is also one of the biggest suppliers of turbocharging technology, which is expected to get a boost as automakers use it to meet upcoming federal standards for fuel economy. (Compiled by Rohit T. K. in Bangalore; Editing by Simon Jennings)

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