(Corrects Dell item to latest major shareholder, not second major shareholder)
March 7 (Reuters) - Some U.S. stocks to watch on Thursday:
U.S. stock index futures rose slightly, ahead of data on the jobs market due later in the morning, with investors poised to push the rally to new highs. Futures for the S&P 500 were up 2 points, the Dow Jones up 38 points and the Nasdaq 100 up 4 points.
** DELL INC, Wednesday close $14.32, up 0.49 pct premarket
Dell shareholder Carl Icahn proposed the No. 3 personal computer maker pay out $15.7 billion in a special dividend, becoming the latest major investor to oppose a plan by founder Michael Dell to take the company private.
** CIENA CORP, Wednesday close $14.94, up 12 pct premarket
The network equipment maker reported a smaller quarterly loss, helped by a 9 percent rise in revenue.
** PETSMART INC, Wednesday close $66.55, down 7 pct premarket
At least two brokerages cut their price targets on the pet products retailer’s stock after the company forecast a full-year profit that missed Wall Street estimates and gave a weak same-store sales outlook.
“Given housing trends and pet adoption rates, softer comps (comparable sales) is a surprise, particularly since we would not expect tax refund delays to affect this type of business,” Jefferies & Co said in a note. The brokerage cut its price target on the company’s stock to $66 from $71.
Morgan Stanley, which cut its price target on the stock to $77 from $81, said online competition from sites such as wag.com pose a threat to PetSmart.
** 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
** LIMITED BRANDS, Wednesday close $45.05
Victoria’s Secret parent Limited Brands and Costco reported better-than-expected sales for February, when consumer confidence about an improving job market offset the impact of higher taxes.
** 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.
** BLACKSTONE GROUP LP, Wednesday close $18.93
Packaged foods maker Pinnacle Foods Inc, backed by private equity firm Blackstone, raised the proposed size of its initial public offering of common stock to as much as $632.5 million.
In another development, Blackstone and TPG Capital have placed separate final bids for Australia’s largest poultry producer, Inghams Chicken, sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
** TIME WARNER INC, Wednesday close $55.46
** MEREDITH CORP, Wednesday close $40.30, down 7 pct premarket
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.
** HORIZON PHARMA INC, Wednesday close $2.05, up 12 pct premarket
The specialty pharmaceutical company said health regulators in the UK gave marketing approval to its arthritis drug, Duexis.
Horizon also said it was searching for one or more partners to market the treatment in Europe.
** 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.
** SUNTECH POWER HOLDINGS CO LTD, Wednesday close $1.17
The solar panel maker said it had settled disputes over a partner’s claim that it held German bonds as collateral for its investment in a solar development fund.
** SOLARCITY CORP, Wednesday close $19.27, down 8.3 pct premarket
SolarCity on Wednesday posted a quarterly loss that was steeper than Wall Street expected while revenue missed forecasts.
** JAMES RIVER COAL CO, Wednesday close $2.55
James River Coal said it suspended production at five underground mines and reduced output at three surface mines in Central Appalachia, cutting production capacity by 3 million tons.
** 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 7 pct premarket
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, up 5 pct premarket
The largest U.S. hog producer reported third-quarter results that beat Wall Street estimates, helped by higher sales of packaged meat products such as Smithfield bacon and Eckrich and Armour sausages.
** NAVISTAR INTERNATIONAL CORP, Wednesday close $24.96
The truck maker appointed Chief Operating Officer Troy Clarke as its chief executive, effective April 15, replacing interim CEO Lewis Campbell.
** 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.
** 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.
** FIDELITY NATIONAL INFORMATION SERVICES INC, Wednesday close $38.41, down 3 pct premarket
The payment processor said Warburg Pincus was selling 19.3 million shares, dissolving the hedge funds stake in the company. Pincus owned about 7 percent of the company, as of Feb. 25, according to Thomson Reuters Data.
** ZUMIEZ INC Wednesday close $23.10, down 3 pct premarket
The surfing and snowboarding merchandise retailer reported a 9 percent fall in February same-store sales, wider than analysts expectations of a 2 percent decline, hurt by lesser number of transactions. (Compiled by Chandni Doulatramani in Bangalore; Editing by Maju Samuel)