March 28, 2014 / 12:38 PM / in 3 years

MARKET PULSE-Wal-Mart, BlackBerry, Baxter, Visa, Red Hat, PG&E

(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 rose on Friday, lifted by remarks from China's Premier Li Keqiang that the Chinese government was ready to take steps to support its economy. Dow Jones industrial average futures were up 0.26 percent at 16,224, S&P 500 futures were up 0.32 percent at 1,846.4 and Nasdaq 100 futures were up 0.40 percent at 3,568.5.

** BLACKBERRY LTD, Thursday close $9.05, +2.76 pct premarket

The handset maker reported a smaller-than-expected fourth-quarter loss on Friday, although smartphone sales continued to slide across all regions. Excluding restructuring charges and other one-time items, the Waterloo, Ontario-based company reported a loss of $42 million, or 8 cents a share in the period. Analysts, on average, had been expecting a loss of 55 cents a share, on revenues of $1.11 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

** IDERA PHARMACEUTICALS INC, Thursday close $3.88, +31.44 pct premarket

The biotechnology company said its experimental drug for an inflammatory skin disease was found safe and well-tolerated by patients after 12 weeks of treatment in a mid-stage trial.

** MICROSOFT CORP, Thursday close $39.36, +0.20 pct after market

** APPLE INC, Thursday close $537.46, +0.36 pct premarket

Microsoft’s new Chief Executive Officer, Satya Nadella, on Thursday finally unveiled Office for Apple’s iPad in a polished debut that set him apart from his energetic predecessor while signaling his plans to make mobile apps the top priority at the world’s largest software company.

** WAL-MART STORES INC, Thursday close $76.14

** VISA INC, Thursday close $215.77, -1.02 pct after market

The retailer, this week, sued Visa for $5 billion, accusing the credit and debit card network of excessively high card-swipe fees, several months after Wal-Mart opted out of a class action settlement between merchants and Visa and MasterCard Inc.

** APPLE INC, Thursday close $537.46

** GOOGLE INC, Thursday close $1,114.28

Apple, Google and two other Silicon Valley companies are making progress toward settling a closely watched lawsuit where tech workers allege the companies conspired to avoid competing for each other’s employees in order to drive down wages.

** SPRINT CORP, $9.27

** DISH NETWORK CORP, $61.22

Sprint is in talks with Dish Network on a fixed wireless broadband partnership, the chairman of Sprint told Reuters on Thursday.

** TWITTER INC, Thursday close $46.32

The company plans to release a mobile-advertising product in the next few weeks that will allow app-makers to encourage downloads of their software, Bloomberg reported citing people familiar with the matter.

** BAXTER INTERNATIONAL INC, Thursday close $72.8, +1.37 pct premarket

The company said on Thursday it would spin off its biotechnology operations into a publicly traded company by the middle of next year and focus on its core medical technology business.

Analysts at Barclays raised their price target on the company’s stock, saying the company had a history of successful spinoffs. “In our view, there is a clear rationale for the split, as the two businesses have different investment priorities, margin profiles, and markets,” the analysts wrote in a note.

** RED HAT INC, Thursday close $56.13

The open source software solutions provider reported better-than-expected quarterly results, helped by strong subscription growth for its Linux operating system, but forecast full-year adjusted profit below the average analyst estimate.

** CAESARS ENTERTAINMENT CORP, Thursday close $21.08, -5.00 pct after market

The casino-entertainment company said on Thursday it had initiated an underwritten public offering of 7 million shares of its common stock and expected to grant the underwriter of the offering an option to purchase up to 1.05 million additional shares.

** FORD MOTOR CO, Thursday close $15.25

The automaker will spend $500 million and create 300 jobs to upgrade an Ohio engine plant to make the new 2.7-liter six-cylinder EcoBoost engine for its best-selling F-150 pickup trucks, the company said on Friday.

** BAIDU INC, Thursday close $151

The Chinese Internet company, on Thursday, won the dismissal of a U.S. lawsuit by pro-democracy activists who complained that Baidu illegally suppressed political speech on China’s most widely used Internet search engine.

** PG&E CORP, Thursday close $43.64, -3.78 pct premarket

Analysts at Deutsche Bank downgraded the U.S. utility company to “hold” from “buy,” after the company in a regulatory filing on Thursday said it expected a unit to be charged with criminal violations of federal pipeline safety act.

Citigroup also cut its rating on the stock to “neutral” from “buy,” and lowered its price target to $46 from $52.

** GOOGLE INC, Thursday close $1,114.28

** TWITTER INC, Thursday close $46.32

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Eroding on Thursday denounced as “villainous” the leaking of a recording of top security officials discussing possible military action in Syria to the video-sharing site YouTube, owned by Google. Turkish authorities ordered the shutdown of the site, a week after they blocked access to Microblogging site Twitter.

** FACEBOOK INC, Thursday close $60.97

Facebook is harnessing satellite, drone and other technology as a part of an ambitious and costly effort to beam Internet connectivity to people in underdeveloped parts of the world. The world’s No. 1 social network said on Thursday it had hired aerospace and communications experts from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab and its Ames Research Center for the new “Connectivity Lab” project.

** GLAXOSMITHKLINE PLC, Thursday close $53.92

The British drugmaker is recalling all supplies of its non-prescription weight-loss drug Allis in the United States and Puerto Rico after customers reported finding other pills and tablets in some bottles. The news is a fresh blow for a product once touted as a potential blockbuster but which has had disappointing sales over the years - aggravated, in part, by a separate supply problem two years ago.

** NOVARTIS AG, Thursday close $81.37

The Switzerland-based drugmaker’ s treatment for acute heart failure should not be approved because there is insufficient evidence it improves symptoms, a panel of advisers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration concluded on Thursday.

** VOXELJET AG, Thursday close $25.67, -8.45 pct premarket

The German 3D-printer maker reported a fourth-quarter loss of 85 euro cents per share on revenue of 3.7 million euros. Analysts had expected a profit of 1 euro cent per share on revenue of 3.4 million euros.

** HOSPITAL INC, Thursday close, $42.08

The drugmaker has agreed to pay $60 million to resolve a class action lawsuit accusing it of misleading investors about quality control problems that undermined an initiative to improve the company’s margins and operations.

** ENDOCYTE INC, Thursday close $23.07, -5.94 pct premarket

The drug developer priced a public offering of 4.5 million shares of its common stock at $21 per share, a 9 percent discount to the stock’s closing price on Thursday.

The company said it would use the net proceeds of the offering for capital and general corporate purposes, including spending on research and development and clinical trials.

** ARIAD PHARMACEUTICALS INC, Thursday close $7.6, +6.45 pct premarket

A report on the Daily Mail newspaper website said on Thursday that, according to rumors, Jazz Pharmaceuticals Plc was willing to pay over $20 per share to buy Ariad. (link.reuters.com/nym97v)

The Daily Mail reported in January that at least three pharmaceutical companies, Eli Lilly and Co, Shire Plc and GlaxoSmithKline Plc, had approached Ariad's board to buy the company. (link.reuters.com/ben36v)

** RESTORATION HARDWARE HOLDINGS INC, Thursday close $63.81, +7.00 pct after market

The furniture retailer, on Thursday, forecast current-quarter adjusted earnings above the average analyst estimate. Restoration Hardware said it expected a profit of 9-11 cents per share for the first quarter. Analysts, on average, expect a profit of 7 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Brokerage Piper Jaffray raised it price target on the company’s to $72 from $65.

** MURPHY OIL CORP, Thursday close $62.28

The company is ready to exit British refining next month with the sale of its Milford Haven plant and retail assets to private equity fund Greybull Capital for over $500 million, sources close to the talks told Reuters. (Compiled By Shuhankar Chakravorty in Bangalore; Editing by Simon Jennings)

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