May 2, 2014 / 11:09 AM / 3 years ago

MARKET PULSE-Google, LinkedIn, Herbalife, Vertex, Merck

(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 Friday. Dow Jones industrial average futures were up 0.02 percent at 16,491, S&P 500 futures were up 0.05 percent at 1,878.7 and Nasdaq 100 futures were up 0.10 percent at 3,590.5.

** PFIZER INC, Thursday close $31.15 AstraZeneca’s board said it had rejected an improved $106 billion takeover offer from the U.S. drug maker, saying the bid undervalued the firm.

** MERCK & CO INC, Thursday close $59.62

German drugmaker Bayer <AG BAYGn.DE> is nearing an agreement to buy Merck’s consumer healthcare unit, people familiar with the matter said, in a deal that could value the business at around $14 billion.

** VERTEX PHARMACEUTICALS INC, Thursday close $68.95, +2.3 pct after market

The drug maker on Thursday said a combination of its cystic fibrosis drug Kalydeco and an experimental compound was shown to improve lung function in a mid-stage trial.

** GOOGLE INC, Thursday close $538.53

Consumer rights law firm Hagens Berman said it filed a nationwide antitrust class-action lawsuit against the Internet search giant, alleging the company “illegally monopolized” the Internet and mobile search market in the United States.

** HERBALIFE LTD, Thursday close $59.59

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is probing whether a number of hedge funds many have acted improperly when they made bets on the nutrition and weight loss company last year, a source said.

** CANADIAN SOLAR INC, Thursday close $27.51

The solar power company said it would receive a C$115.5 million ($105.23 million) loan from National Bank of Canada , which it will use to finance the construction of three solar power projects in Ontario, Canada.

($1 = 1.0976 Canadian Dollars)

** LINKEDIN CORP, Thursday close $161.22, -1.36 pct premarket

The social networking company forecast 2014 revenue below Wall Street’s expectations on Thursday, underscoring concerns about its ability to sustain its rapid growth and helping to drag its shares lower.

** ACORDA THERAPEUTICS INC, Thursday close $35.9

Acorda said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration rejected its nasal spray to treat epilepsy patients who experience repetitive seizures.

The drugmaker did not disclose the reason for the rejection, but said it planned to resubmit the application for the treatment.

** AGNICO-EAGLE MINES LTD, Thursday close $29.59

The miner posted an increase in first-quarter earnings on Thursday despite weaker bullion prices, as it reported significantly higher gold production and lower production costs.

** PENN WEST PETROLEUM LTD, Thursday close $9.15

The Canadian oil and gas producer reported a 5 percent fall in gross revenue after production decreased 22 percent.

** BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY INC, Thursday close $193,428

Berkshire’s energy unit said on Thursday it would buy AltaLink, Canada’s regulated electricity transmission company, from SNC-Lavalin Group Inc for about $2.9 billion in cash.

** KRAFT FOODS GROUP INC, Thursday close $193,428

The company on Thursday reported a higher quarterly profit, helped by cost cuts and gains related to moves to manage the cost of key ingredients in its products such as Velveeta cheese and Maxwell House coffee.

** EXPEDIA INC, Thursday close $73.87

The online travel agency on Thursday posted a narrower quarterly loss, but its adjusted quarterly profit topped expectations as it sold more hotel stays and airline tickets.

** AKAMAI TECHNOLOGIES INC, Thursday close $54.53

Akamai, which hosts content for companies on its servers, forecast current-quarter results above analysts’ estimates and it posted better-than-expected quarterly results as more people play games and watch videos online.

** SCIQUEST INC, Thursday close $23.77

The company, whose cloud-based software helps manage supply chains, cut its full-year profit and sales forecast as its enterprise customers delayed signing up for its services.

** OPENTABLE INC, Thursday close $68.27, -2.61 pct premarket

The operator of restaurant booking website OpenTable.com, posted its first quarterly loss in five years, due to higher marketing costs aimed at stemming the slide in the number of restaurants signing up for its services.

** CHEVRON CORP, Thursday close $124.94

The second-largest U.S. oil company is expected to report a drop in first-quarter profit, as production slipped around the world and the price of crude oil dipped slightly.

** CVS CAREMARK CORP, Thursday close $73.09

The company is likely to update investors on its progress in lining up renewals and new contracts for its booming pharmacy benefits management business.

** SPIRIT AEROSYSTEMS HOLDINGS INC, Thursday close $30.43

The company, which supplies the fuselage for Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner, has had to cut the price of its contracts with the aircraft maker, hurting its profitability. The company has also been pressured by cost overruns, with analysts worried that under-pricing its contracts could offset the steps it has taken to cut costs. Since Spirit’s Dreamliner program is already zero margin, investors will be looking to see if the company expects to record further charges related to it. The company is also a major supplier to Airbus.

** ESTEE LAUDER COS INC, Thursday close $72.19

Analysts expect the beauty products company, known for the Clinique and MAC lines, to post a growth in sales for the third quarter, even as it battles weak demand in some European countries and South Korea, as well as slowing growth in China. Given the struggles of the company’s rivals, Elizabeth Arden and Avon Products, in North America, investors will be interested to see how Estee Lauder’s Americas business performs in the quarter, and will be looking out for the company’s outlook for the remainder of the year. (Compiled by Rohit T. K. in Bangalore; Editing by Simon Jennings)

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