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March 7 (Reuters) - Some U.S. stocks to watch on Thursday:
U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Wall Street, with futures for the S&P 500 up 0.16 percent, the Dow Jones up 0.18 percent and the Nasdaq 100 up 0.28 percent at 0948 GMT.
** DELL INC, Wednesday close $14.32
Dell said shareholder Carl Icahn has urged the company to pursue a leveraged recapitalization and pay a $9 per share dividend instead of going private.
** CIENA CORP, Wednesday close $14.94, up 10.4 pct premarket
The network equipment maker reported higher-than-expected revenue for the first quarter.
** BOEING CO, Wednesday close $79.08
U.S. safety regulators are poised to approve within days a plan to allow Boeing to begin flight tests of the 787 Dreamliner with a fix for its volatile batteries, a critical step towards returning the grounded aircraft to service, two sources familiar with the matter said.
** COSTCO WHOLESALE CORP, Wednesday close $102.56
The U.S. retailer posted a 6 percent rise in comparable sales in February, beating Wall Street expectations, helped by higher fuel prices.
** EXXON MOBIL CORP, Wednesday close $89.56
Exxon has launched an auction to sell up to $2 billion worth of shares in a Hong Kong power venture after a year-long effort to offload its holding to its partner yielded no result, sources familiar with the matter said.
** TIME WARNER INC, Wednesday close $55.46
** MEREDITH CORP, Wednesday close $40.30
Time Warner will soon be without the magazine unit that provided the foundation for the company and the first part of its name. Time Inc, the division that publishes titles like Time, Fortune and People, will be spun off into a separate company, Time Warner said late Wednesday, ending weeks of merger negotiations with Meredith.
** FACEBOOK INC, Wednesday close $27.45
Facebook is likely to unveil a new look for its popular 'newsfeed,' which displays an ever-changing stream of the photos, videos and comments uploaded from a user's network of friends. It is the latest move by the Web company to revamp key elements of its one-billion-member social network.
In another development, the company appointed a former Genentech executive to its board of directors on Wednesday, the social networking company's latest move to expand its boardroom following its initial public offering last May.
** JOHNSON CONTROLS INC, Wednesday close $32.63
Johnson Controls is exploring a potential sale of its automotive electronics business, but has no "current intention" to sell its automotive interiors unit, the company said on Wednesday.
** TIFFANY & CO, Wednesday close $70.06
Qatar's sovereign wealth fund, the largest shareholder of Tiffany & Co, further raised its stake in the U.S. luxury jeweler to 11.27 percent, according to a regulatory filing.
** SOLARCITY CORP, Wednesday close $19.27, down 9 pct after market
SolarCity on Wednesday posted a quarterly loss that was steeper than Wall Street expected while revenue missed forecasts.
** ELI LILLY AND CO, Wednesday close $55.08
Eli Lilly will maintain its dividend despite the erosion of its earnings by generic copies of blockbuster drugs and should be well placed by the end of 2013 to assess the potential of its future medicines, its chief executive said.
** J.C. PENNEY CO INC, Wednesday close $14.43
Two more analysts downgraded ratings on J.C. Penney's stock amid growing uncertainty around the department store chain's turnaround, leaving its shares with only one "buy" rating out of 20 Wall Street investors covering the retailer.
** LOCKHEED MARTIN CORP, Wednesday close $88.36
** UNITED TECHNOLOGIES CORP, Wednesday close $91.07
The head of Pratt & Whitney's military engine business said on Wednesday that driving down the cost of the F-35 fighter jet was "burned in our brain," but cuts sparked by U.S. budget woes could slow the effort.
** DRYSHIPS INC, Wednesday close $1.98, down 6 pct after market
DryShips reported a bigger-than-expected quarterly loss as voyage revenue in its drybulk carriers business fell.
** CME GROUP INC, Wednesday close $62.01
CME Group would be open to making a large acquisition should the right target emerge, a top executive said on Wednesday in the latest sign that the company may reverse its longstanding public indifference to mergers and acquisitions.
** HECLA MINING CO, Wednesday close $4.09
** AURIZON MINES LTD, Wednesday close $4.17
** ALAMOS GOLD INC, Wednesday close $13.57
U.S. silver miner Hecla Mining said it was confident that its deal with Aurizon Mines would go through, a day after rival bidder Alamos Gold Inc said it was close to blocking Hecla's bid.
** SMITHFIELD FOODS, Wednesday close $22.30
The largest U.S. hog producer reported a 3 percent increase in quarterly profit, helped by higher sales of packaged meat.
** ECOMMERCE CHINA DANG DANG INC, Wednesday close $4.18
The online retailer posted a 31 percent rise in fourth-quarter revenue, helped by strong sales during the holiday season.
** H&R BLOCK INC, Wednesday close $25.26
The tax preparer is expected to post quarterly numbers, which may take a hit as a result of the Internal Revenue Service's decision to delay the start of the tax filing season by eight days to Jan. 30.
** KROGER CO, Wednesday close $29.36
Quarterly results are expected from Kroger, the biggest U.S. supermarket operator. U.S. consumers have been cutting back on spending at restaurants due to the payroll tax hike, rising gas prices and delayed federal tax refunds. Some data suggests that they may have shifted some of that spending to grocery stores like those run by Kroger.
** CANADIAN NATURAL RESOURCES, Wednesday close $30.19
Canada's No.1 independent oil producer reported a 58 percent fall in fourth-quarter profit after booking a foreign exchange-related loss but the company raised its quarterly dividend.
** MGM RESORTS INTERNATIONAL, Wednesday close $12.21
Asian Coast Development (Canada) Ltd (ACDL), which is developing Vietnam's first large-scale integrated resort, said on Thursday its partner, MGM Resorts, will no longer manage the project, the latest setback to the development.
** LIMITED BRANDS, Wednesday close $45.05
Victoria's Secret parent reported a 3 percent rise in same-store sales in February. (Compiled by Chandni Doulatramani in Bangalore; Editing by Maju Samuel)