(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 turned negative on Thursday after data showed economic growth was a bit faster than previously estimated in the fourth quarter and weekly initial jobless claims fell to their lowest level in nearly four months. Dow Jones industrial average futures were down 0.14 percent at 16,157, S&P 500 futures were down 0.03 percent at 1,842.1 and Nasdaq 100 futures were down 0.01 percent at 3,572.25.
** BANK OF AMERICA CORP, Wednesday close $17.18, +0.58 pct premarket
** WELLS FARGO & CO, Wednesday close $48.5, +1.96 pct premarket
** MORGAN STANLEY, Wednesday close $31.22, -0.35 pct premarket
** GOLDMAN SACHS, Wednesday close $161.73, +0.14 pct premarket
** CITIGROUP INC, Wednesday close $50.16, -5.70 pct premarket
** JPMORGAN CHASE & CO, Wednesday close $59.9, +0.23 pct premarket
** PNC FINANCIAL SERVICES GROUP INC, Wednesday close $85.32
** CAPITAL ONE FINANCIAL CORP, Wednesday close $74.96
** BANCO SANTANDER S.A., Wednesday close $9.17, -0.22 pct premarket
The Federal Reserve, on Wednesday, approved share buyback plans of 25 big banks, including Bank of America and JPMorgan, following the positive result of last week’s annual health check.
But the Fed rejected Citigroup’s plans to buy back $6.4 billion of shares and boost dividends, saying the bank is not sufficiently prepared to handle a potential financial crisis.
The Fed also rejected Banco Santander’s plan to buy back shares.
Last week, all but one of 30 banks passed a model run of a simulated crisis similar to the 2007-09 credit meltdown. All of the banks except Zions Bancorp stayed above the five percent threshold for the top-tier capital requirement.
** BAXTER INTERNATIONAL INC, Wednesday close $70.08, +9.02 pct premarket
The healthcare company said it would spin off its biotechnology operations into a publicly traded company by the middle of next year, leaving behind its core medical technology business.
** ESSEX PROPERTY TRUST INC, Wednesday close $165.31, +1.93 pct premarket
** CLIFFS NATURAL RESOURCES INC, Wednesday close $19.26, -1.66 pct premarket
Iron-ore producer Cliffs Natural will be replaced by Essex Property Trust in the S&P 500 index after close of trading on April 1, S&P Dow Jones indices said, adding that Cliffs’ market capitalization was more representative of the mid-cap space. Cliffs Natural had a market capitalization of $2.95 billion as of Wednesday close.
** BLACKBERRY LTD, Wednesday close $9.16, -1.97 pct premarket
Analysts at Societe Generale downgraded the Canadian handset maker to “sell” from “hold,” citing weak demand for BlackBerry handsets. The analysts also expect services revenue to fall due to lower subscriptions.
** SPHERIX INC, Wednesday close $4.48, +5.13 pct premarket
** CISCO SYSTEMS INC, Wednesday close $22.32, -0.58 pct premarket
Spherix, which buys and licenses technology patents, said it had filed a lawsuit against Cisco alleging the infringement of 11 patents Spherix acquired from Nortel Networks.
** ACCENTURE PLC, Wednesday close $82.97, -3.60 pct premarket
Accenture Plc ACN.N, recently chosen as the lead contractor for the Obamacare enrollment website, raised its full-year profit forecast and the lower end of its revenue forecast. But the company also reported lower-than-expected results for the second quarter due to weak demand in its consulting business, which has been hit in the past few quarters as companies cut down on discretionary spending.
** THE BLACKSTONE GROUP L.P., Wednesday close $31.91, +0.25 pct premarket
La Quinta Holdings Inc will raise as much as $780 million from its initial public offering, as it becomes the third hotel chain to be taken public by Blackstone Group in six months.
** RGS ENERGY, Wednesday close $3.88, -0.77 pct premarket
The solar company said it would acquire Hawaii-based solar company Elemental Energy LLC, which operates under the Sunetric brand, for about $16 million in cash and stock, to enter the Hawaiian solar-panel market.
** YONGYE INTERNATIONAL INC, Wednesday close $6.8
The China-based crop nutrient maker said it had received a sweetened offer to go private at $7 per share from a buyer consortium. The company said a special committee was considering the revised proposal with its legal and financial advisers. (r.reuters.com/tud97v)
** GENERAL STEEL HOLDINGS INC, Wednesday close $1.35
The steelmaker posted a smaller fourth-quarter loss helped by lower costs. The net loss attributable to the company was $102,000 in the quarter ended Dec. 31, down from $49.9 million, a year earlier.
** WINNEBAGO INDUSTRIES INC, Wednesday close $26.6, +7.14 pct premarket
The largest U.S. motorhome maker reported a better-than-expected 53 percent jump in profit as it sold more motorhomes to dealers in a quarter marked by storm-related disruptions to transportation and businesses.
** AMAZON.COM INC, Wednesday close $343.41, -0.40 pct premarket
Amazon.com will drop prices on most of its cloud computing services starting April 1, the largest U.S. online retailer said on Wednesday, a day after rival Google Inc outlined a major price cut of its own.
** SIGNET JEWELERS LTD, Wednesday close $98.35, +3.80 pct premarket
The specialty jewelry retailer reported fourth-quarter results that beat the average analyst estimate helped by a 4.3 percent growth in same-store sales.
** ALIMERA SCIENCES INC, Wednesday close $6.98
Alimera Sciences said it has applied a fourth time for U.S. regulatory approval to start selling an eye implant that delivers a drug to treat a form of blindness in diabetes patients.
** CHINA SUNERGY CO LTD, Wednesday close $4.38
The Chinese solar products maker said it would sell its Sunergy Shanghai unit to China Electric Equipment Group Co Ltd for about $37.7 million.
** MERCK & CO INC, Wednesday close $56.02
Merck said Baxter International Inc executive Robert Davis would join as chief financial officer, effective April 23, replacing Peter Kellogg.
** AOL INC, Wednesday close $43.83, +0.39 pct after market
The web services company, on Wednesday, unveiled a new advertising platform aimed at changing the media buying process for digital advertising by becoming a one-stop shop. (Reporting By Shuhankar Chakravorty in Bangalore; Editing by Simon Jennings)