(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 ahead of a slew of economic data that could provide a better picture of the health of the economy. Dow Jones industrial average futures were down 0.13 percent at 16,565, S&P 500 futures were down 0.11 percent at 1,883.3 and Nasdaq 100 futures were up 0.08 percent at 3,599.25.
** CISCO SYSTEMS INC, Wednesday close $22.8099, +7.54 pct premarket
The network equipment maker posted a shallower-than-expected 5.5 percent drop in quarterly revenue, as recovering demand in regions like the United States and Northern Europe helped offset sluggish sales in emerging markets.
At least 13 brokerages raised their price targets on the company’s stock.
** WAL-MART STORES INC, Wednesday close $78.74, -2.72 pct premarket
The company reported a 5 percent drop in quarterly profit as a severe winter in the United States kept shoppers from its stores.
** KOHL‘S CORP, Wednesday close $54.03, -3.29 pct premarket
The specialty departmental retailer reported weaker-than-expected first-quarter results as comparable-store sales fell 3.4 percent. Kohl’s also reaffirmed its full-year earnings forecast of $4.05-$4.45 per share.
** VODAFONE GROUP PLC, Wednesday close $37.07, -1.83 pct premarket
Goldman Sachs downgraded the telecom company’s stock to “neutral” from “buy.” The investment bank said it had been hopeful that following the sale of Vodafone’s stake in Verizon Wireless in February, the company would be able to attract potential acquirers, given its position as the only global operator without a blocking shareholder.
However, recent media reports suggest that the potential acquirers with the scale to bid for Vodafone are currently pursuing alternative transactions, lowering its potential as an acquisition target, Goldman Sachs said.
** AT&T INC, Wednesday close $36.39
** DIRECTV, Wednesday close $85.26
AT&T is working with investment bank Lazard Ltd as it negotiates a potential takeover of DirecTV, the country’s top satellite TV operator, according to people familiar with the matter.
** GENTIVA HEALTH SERVICES INC, Wednesday close $8.54, +51.64 pct premarket
** KINDRED HEALTHCARE INC, Wednesday close $21.92
Hospital operator Kindred went hostile with its $533 million offer for Gentiva Health Services on Thursday, after Gentiva rejected the bid saying it expected to generate more value as a standalone provider of home healthcare services.
** APPLE INC, Wednesday close $593.87, +0.00 pct premarket
A U.S. appeals court on Wednesday refused to revive a Samsung Electronics patent case against Apple, affirming a decision in favor of the iPhone and iPad maker. Apple and Samsung have been litigating around the world for three years, each accusing the other of infringing patents in making smartphones and other mobile devices. Neither side has scored a crippling sales ban against the other.
** BOSTON SCIENTIFIC CORP, Wednesday close $12.79, -0.08 pct premarket
Bayer AG said on Thursday that it agreed to sell its Interventional device business to Boston Scientific for $415 million in cash, a deal that is expected to close in the second half of 2014.
** ELI LILLY AND CO, Wednesday close $60.1, -0.17 pct premarket
** ACTAVIS PLC, Wednesday close $206.08
Eli Lilly said on Thursday that it had lost a patent case in the English High Court over its blockbuster Alimta lung cancer drug to generic drugmaker Actavis.
** MYLAN INC, Wednesday close $47.46
** TEVA PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRIES LTD, Wednesday close $50.53, -0.36 pct premarket
Mylan said a U.S. district court dismissed a case by Israeli drugmaker Teva intended to block the U.S. health regulator from approving generic versions of Teva’s multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone.
** GLAXOSMITHKLINE PLC, Wednesday close $55.19, -0.05 pct premarket
GlaxoSmithKline executive Mark Reilly had little inkling he would be charged with leading a network of corruption in China’s pharmaceutical industry, two sources with ties to the businessman and knowledge of the investigation said.
The allegations against the Briton, who as GSK’s China head was the firm’s legal representative in the country, are the most serious charges ever laid against a foreign national for corporate corruption in China, lawyers said.
** CHINA MOBILE LTD, Wednesday close $48.99
The world’s largest telecom carrier by subscriber base is slashing prices on 4G mobile data, and other carriers are expected to follow after regulators liberalized telecom prices last week.
** GILEAD SCIENCES INC, Wednesday close $80.97, +0.37 pct premarket
U.S. health officials issued on Wednesday new recommendations urging healthcare workers to consider offering an HIV prevention pill to healthy individuals who are at substantial risk for HIV infection. The strategy builds on a landmark 2010 study that found Gilead’s Truvada - a pill already widely used to treat the human immunodeficiency virus - was more than 90 percent effective at preventing HIV infections among test subjects who took the drug as prescribed.
** NOVARTIS AG, Wednesday close $89.24, -0.09 pct premarket
The drugmaker won a seven-month reprieve from generic competition to its blockbuster leukemia drug Gleevec after reaching a settlement on Thursday with Indian firm Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.
** ASTRAZENECA PLC, Wednesday close $78.29, +0.33 pct premarket
** PFIZER INC, Wednesday close $29.1
New data showing an experimental AstraZeneca lung cancer drug shrank tumors in more than half of patients gives the British group fresh ammunition to argue that Pfizer’s takeover offer undervalues it substantially.
AstraZeneca’s boss said on Wednesday he would engage with Pfizer if the price was right and the risks posed from forcing the British drugmaker’s operations into the U.S. company’s new three-unit model were addressed.
** GOOGLE INC, Wednesday close $534.41, -0.12 pct premarket
The company is already getting requests to remove objectionable personal information from its search engine after Europe’s top court ruled that subjects have the “right to be forgotten,” a source familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.
** TWITTER INC, Wednesday close $32.85, +0.82 pct premarket
After seeing explosive growth across Latin America, Twitter is now tapping into the region’s other big passion besides soccer - politics. The company dispatched its top political strategist to Brazil this week to give senators in one of its biggest global markets a pep talk on tweets and how to use the social network ahead of the October general election.
** T-MOBILE US INC, Wednesday close $32.84
Deutsche Telekom said on Thursday U.S. competition authorities would play a decisive role in the future of its T-Mobile US business. The company’s fast-growing U.S. business has caught the eye of Japan’s Softbank, which is interested in merging the unit with its own U.S. telecoms arm, Sprint Corp.
** INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORP, Wednesday close $188.72, +0.07 pct premarket
The company said it expected its hardware sector to grow in 2015 as it invests in research and development and divests low-performing ventures.
** GENWORTH FINANCIAL INC, Wednesday close $18.23
The U.S. company said on Thursday it had raised A$583 million ($546 million) by selling 34 percent of its Australian subsidiary in what will briefly be the country’s biggest initial public offering of the year.
** NEW YORK TIMES CO, Wednesday close $15.06
The newspaper company abruptly ousted its top editor, Jill Abramson, on Wednesday after less than three years in the job and named managing editor Dean Baquet to replace her.
** AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL GROUP INC, Wednesday close $53.39
The insurer said on Wednesday that it had completed the sale of its aircraft leasing unit to AerCap Holdings, marking the end of years of efforts to sell International Lease Finance Corp.
** GENERAL MOTORS CO, Wednesday close $34.94, -1.66 pct premarket
The automaker has hired a law firm to review how information about defective ignition switches in its cars reached board members, the Wall Street Journal reported citing a person close to the board.
** MANCHESTER UNITED PLC, Wednesday close $16.61
The English soccer club reported a 60 percent rise in quarterly profit on Thursday, saying it had the financial muscle to improve its squad after a poor season on the pitch.
** PERION NETWORK LTD, Wednesday close $10.51, +5.23 pct premarket
The company, which provides analytics, monetization and distribution services to app developers, reported stronger-than-expected results for the first quarter and reaffirmed its full-year results forecast.
Perion depends heavily on search toolbar deals with search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing to monetize freely-distributed apps and services.
** ALLIANT TECHSYSTEMS INC, Wednesday close $147.91, +0.00 pct premarket
The ammunitions maker reported a 32 percent jump in quarterly profit, helped by a rise in sales in its defense and sporting businesses.
** SORRENTO THERAPEUTICS INC, Wednesday close $6.7, -21.64 pct premarket
The drug developer said it would offer about 4.76 million shares of its common stock for $5.25 per share. The offer price represents a discount of nearly 22 percent to the stock’s Wednesday close.
** ISIS PHARMACEUTICALS INC, Wednesday close $25.46, +1.65 pct premarket
The drugmaker said it earned $3 million in milestone payments from GlaxoSmithKline Plc related to the initiation of a natural history study - as part of its 2010 collaboration with GSK.
The two companies entered into a deal to develop treatments for rare, infectious diseases using Isis’s antisense technology, which works by interfering at the genetic level to prevent the formation of disease-causing proteins.
** EXONE CO, Wednesday close $30.83, -13.95 pct premarket
The 3D printer maker reported quarterly revenue much below analysts’ expectations as it sold fewer 3D printers and micromachinery.
** WILAN INC, Wednesday close $3.24
The Canadian patent licensing company said it would consider selling some of its non-core patents and focus on smaller licensing deals following a strategic review.
** GENERAL STEEL HOLDINGS INC, Wednesday close $1.06
The Beijing-based steel producer posted a first-quarter loss compared with a profit a year earlier, hurt by weak prices and higher costs. Net loss attributable to General Steel was 78 cents per share in the quarter ended March 31 compared with a profit of 6 cents per share, a year earlier.
** VIPSHOP HOLDINGS LTD, Wednesday close $150, +6.23 pct premarket
The Chinese online discount retailer reported better-than-expected first-quarter results on Wednesday as the number of active customers and total orders on its website more than doubled. The company also forecast current-quarter results above analysts’ estimates.
Vipshop said the number of active customers rose 165 percent in the first quarter, while total number of orders rose 129.3 percent.
** E COMMERCE CHINA DANGDANG INC, Wednesday close $11.54, -9.10 pct premarket
The Chinese online seller of books and media products forecast current-quarter revenue below analysts’ estimates.
The company said it expected second-quarter revenue of 1.942 billion yuan ($311.7 million). Analysts were expecting $314.6 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
** WUXI PHARMATECH CAYMAN INC, Wednesday close $36.4, -6.00 pct after market
The Shanghai-based company, which provides laboratory and manufacturing services, reported weaker-than-expected first-quarter results and forecast second-quarter earnings below analysts’ estimates.
** VOXX INTERNATIONAL CORP, Wednesday close $10.07, -21.6 pct after market
The distributor of car audio products reported a fourth-quarter net loss of $26.6 million, or $1.10 per share, compared with a net profit of $22.5 million, or 96 cents per share, a year earlier.
The company said quarterly revenue fell 3 percent to $809.7 million as sales were impacted by a severe winter in the United States and lower international sales at its consumer accessories unit.
** PRIMA BIOMED LTD, Wednesday close $1.25
The company said its experimental lead treatment improved survival in some ovarian cancer patients without the disease worsening. The mid-stage trial was testing the drug, CVac, in 63 patients who showed no signs or symptoms of the disease after one or two rounds of treatment.
** AMERICA MOVIL SAB DE CV, Wednesday close $20.45
The company plans a 1 billion euro ($1.37 billion) capital increase for takeover target Telekom Austria in the second half of this year or the first half of 2015, it said in an offer document published on Thursday.
** NEWLEAD HOLDINGS LTD, Wednesday close $0.033, +3,990.91 pct premarket
The shipping company announced a 50-for-1 reverse stock split to comply with the minimum bid price requirement of $1 per share for continued listing on the Nasdaq. After the reverse split, the number of outstanding shares of the company will be reduced to about 10.4 million shares from about 519.5 million.
** SELECT INCOME REIT, Wednesday close $30.38, -6.32 pct premarket
The real estate investment trust priced a public offering of 9 million shares at $29 per share. (Compiled by Vrinda Manocha in Bangalore; Editing by Kirti Pandey)