March 31, 2014 / 11:59 AM / in 3 years

MARKET PULSE-Prana Biotechnology, BlackBerry, Novartis

(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 Monday, indicating the S&P 500 will climb for a second straight session, ahead of a speech by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen. Dow Jones industrial average futures were up 0.29 percent at 16,287, S&P 500 futures were up 0.40 percent at 1,857.8 and Nasdaq 100 futures were up 0.44 percent at 3,578.75.

** MEDTRONIC INC, Friday close $60.41, +1.80 pct premarket

A non-surgically implanted heart valve meant to delay open heart surgery in children with congenital heart defects worked well for all but a few patients during a year of follow-up observation, in line with favorable results seen in original clinical trials of the Medtronic product.

** BLACKBERRY LTD, Friday close $8.41, -1.07 pct premarket

The company reported a smaller-than-expected loss on Friday as new chief executive John Chen slashed costs, but a 64 percent drop in revenue underscored the challenge Chen faces in turning around the struggling smartphone maker.

** PRANA BIOTECHNOLOGY LTD, Friday close $9.86, -61.87 pct premarket

The company said its experimental drug to treat Alzheimer's disease failed to meet the main goal of a mid-stage study in patients with a mild form of the condition.

** TIME WARNER CABLE INC, Friday close $135.87

** COMCAST CORP, Friday close $49.56

Comcast is planning to increase its share buyback plan by more than 80 percent as its $45 billion takeover of Time Warner undergoes regulatory review in the coming weeks, Bloomberg reported.

** FOREST LABORATORIES, Friday close $91.54

Hungarian drug maker Gedeon Richter and its partner Forest Laboratories announced positive top-line results from a Phase IIb trial of antipsychotic drug Cariprazine in patients with bipolar depression, the companies said in a statement on Monday.

** UTI WORLDWIDE INC, Friday close $11.26

Logistics company UTi Worldwide Inc reported a bigger-than-expected quarterly loss, hurt by weak demand for air freight.

** NOVARTIS AG, Friday close $81.59, +3.73 pct premarket

Novartis has ended a late-stage clinical trial of a chronic heart failure drug early, following strong interim results, giving the Swiss drugmaker a boost after recent setbacks to another heart failure medicine.

** BLUCORA INC, Friday close $19.11

The web search provider is set to challenge Spencer Spirit Holdings Inc's bid for consumer electronics retailer Brookstone Inc, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. (Compiled by Abhirup Roy in Bangalore; Editing by Maju Samuel)

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