April 11 (Reuters) - Some U.S. stocks to watch on Thursday:
U.S. stock index futures edged higher, after data showed that fewer than expected Americans filed for unemployment benefits in the latest week.
S&P 500 futures were up 1.8 points, Dow Jones industrial average futures added 17 points and Nasdaq 100 futures were down 5.25 points.
** ACADIA PHARMACEUTICALS INC, Wednesday close $7.97, up 54 pct premarket
The biopharmaceutical company said data from an initial late-stage trial would be sufficient to file for approval for its experimental Parkinson’s Disease drug, and that it would not need to conduct an additional trial as planned earlier.
** RITE-AID CORP, Wednesday close $1.79, up 11 percent premarket
The third largest U.S. drugstore chain posted its second consecutive quarterly profit on Thursday, as it filled more prescriptions and sold more generic drugs, which carry higher profit margins.
** AMYRIS INC, Wednesday close $2.87, up 15 pct premarket
French drugmaker Sanofi said it would begin large-scale industrial production of artemisinin, the most effective anti-malarial drug, using Amyris's technology that helps convert plant-sugars into artemisinin. (r.reuters.com/paq37t)
The drug will be combined in a pill form with another anti-malarial, and Sanofi indicated it plans to produce enough artemisinin in this way for up to 150 million by 2014, Amyris said in a separate statement on Wednesday.
** MICROSOFT CORP, Wednesday close $30.28, down 3 percent premarket
** HEWLETT-PACKARD CO, Wednesday close $22.32, down 4.5 percent premarket
** DELL INC, Wednesday close $14.21
** INTEL CORP, Wednesday close $22.26, down 2 percent premarket
Personal computer sales plunged 14 percent in the first three months of the year, the biggest decline in two decades of keeping records, as tablets continue to gain in popularity and buyers appear to be avoiding Microsoft new Windows 8 system, according to a leading tech tracking firm.
Microsoft is developing a new lineup of Surface tablets, including a 7-inch version expected to go into mass production later this year, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the company’s plans.
“While we have assessed several options that Microsoft could potentially consider to help offset headwinds from deteriorating PC shipment trends, and which are currently debated by investors, we do not expect a change to the status quo near term,” Goldman Sachs analyst Heather Bellini wrote, downgrading the stock to “sell” from “neutral”. Atleast two other brokerages downgraded Microsoft’s stock.
** BOYD GAMING CORP, $8.8, up 7 pct premarket
Brokerage Morgan Stanley raised its rating on the casino operator’s stock to “overweight” from “equal weight”, according to benzinga.com
** SINCLAIR BROADCAST GROUP INC, Wednesday close $21.83
** FISHER COMMUNICATIONS INC, Wednesday close $38.92
Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc said it will buy TV station operator Fisher Communications Inc for about $373 million. The offer values Fisher at $41 per share, a premium of 5 percent to the stock’s Wednesday closing price.
** FIFTH STREET FINANCE CORP, Wednesday close $11.07, down 2.5 pct premarket
The investment company commenced a public offering of 13.5 million shares of its common stock. Fifth Street said it intends to use the net proceeds from this offering to repay debt outstanding under its credit facilities.
** EQUINIX INC, Wednesday close $219.02, down 3.5 pct aftermarket
Eric Schwartz, president of the data center operator's Europe, Middle-East and Africa region disclosed that he sold about 7,718 shares at $212.21 per share in an "open market sale" transaction, according to a regulatory filing. (r.reuters.com/byp37t)
** SAREPTA THERAPEUTICS INC, Wednesday close $38.85, up 2 pct premarket
The biotechnology company said it signed an exclusive, global licensing agreement with the University of Western Australia (UWA) to gain access to the university’s patent portfolio in Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy - a rare, genetic muscle-weakening disease for which Sarepta is developing a treatment.
** PIER 1 IMPORTS INC, $22.21, down 5 pct premarket
Pier 1 posted a lower-than-expected profit in the fourth quarter hurt by flat merchandise margins, and the home furnishings retailer forecast 2014 earnings below analysts’ estimates.
** YUM BRANDS INC, Wednesday close $66.76, down 2.6 percent premarket
The biggest foreign fast-food chain operator in China, is in danger of breaking its 11-year streak of double-digit profit growth as it scrambles to deal with food scares and bird flu in its most lucrative market.
** AVAGO TECHNOLOGIES LTD, Wednesday close $35.38
The chipmaker said it will buy Indium Phosphide optical chip and component maker CyOptics Inc for about $400 million in cash.
Avago said the acquisition will strengthen its fiber optics product portfolio.
** FORTINET INC, Wednesday close $21.85, down 17.3 pct
The network security products maker estimated first-quarter results below analysts’ expectations on Wednesday, hurt by delays in closing service provider deals in the United States and cautious spending by customers.
Atleast three brokerages cut their price targets on the stock.
“Weak large deal contribution, specifically in the U.S. service provider vertical, was the more significant reason for the underperformance representing $6-$9mn of the about $12mn billings miss,” Jefferies & Co analyst Aaron Schwartz wrote in a note.
** BURGER KING WORLDWIDE INC, Wednesday close $18.46
The burger chain on Thursday said first-quarter comparable sales likely fell more than Wall Street expected, and laid out plans for a revamped leadership team as Chief Executive Bernardo Hees prepares to become the CEO of H.J. Heinz Co.
** AETERNA ZENTARIS INC ; Wednesday close $1.90, up 25 pct aftermarket
The Canadian drugmaker said it entered into a development and cost-sharing agreement with Ergomed Clinical Research Ltd for its experimental endometrial cancer drug.
Under the terms of the deal, Ergomed will pay upto $10 million or 30 percent of the clinical and regulatory costs for the late-stage trial of AEZS-108, the company said in a statement on Wednesday.
** QUEST DIAGNOSITCS INC, Wednesday close $57.30, up 1.2 pct premarket
Goldman Sachs upgraded the laboratory tests provider to “buy” from “neutral,” citing optimism in the company’s new management’s ability to drive up margins.
Quest last month said Chief Financial Officer Robert Hagemann would leave at the end of May as the company continues a restructuring aimed at returning to revenue growth. A CFO search is currently underway.
** SYNERGY PHARMACEUTICALS INC, Wednesday close $6.01, down 7 pct premarket
Shares of the gastrointestinal drugs developer continued their slide that began on Wednesday after Synergy said it priced an offering of 16.4 million shares of its common stock to raise about $90 million in gross proceeds, which it plans to use to fund research and development.
** INFINITY PHARMACEUTICALS INC, Wednesday close $42.48, down 4 pct in premarket trade
The company said a public offering of its common stock by existing shareholders Beacon Co and Rosebay Medical Co was priced at $40 per share.
Infinity will not sell any shares or receive any proceeds from the offering, and the total number of its outstanding common shares will not change as a result of the offering.
** GOLDMAN SACHS GROUP INC, Wednesday close $149.46
For the second year in a row, the Wall Street bank fended off a shareholder proposal that could have led to a messy public vote to strip Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein of his chairman’s title.
** BED BATH & BEYOND INC, Wednesday close $65.50, up 2 percent aftermarket
The U.S. home goods chain reported a 25 percent jump in quarterly sales that beat Wall Street forecasts, helped by recent acquisitions such as Linen Holdings and Cost Plus World Market. The company reported sales of $3.4 billion in the fourth quarter. Analysts on average has expected sales of $3.39 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Brokerage Morgan Stanley raised its price target on the stock to $59 from $57, while Nomura Securities increased its price target to $72 from $65.50.
** CITIGROUP, Wednesday close $45.06
Turkey’s Denizbank, acquired last year by Russia’s Sberbank, said on Thursday it had signed an agreement to buy Citibank’s consumer banking business in Turkey.
** STURM RUGER INC, Wednesday close $50.40, down 4 percent aftermarket
** SMITH & WESSON HOLDING CORP, Wednesday close $8.89
A breakthrough agreement to expand background checks for gun buyers, announced on Wednesday by two senators, boosts the prospects that the Senate will approve at least some of President Barack Obama’s proposed gun restrictions.
** ZUMIEZ INC, Wednesday close $24.90, up 9 percent premarket
The teen-focused retailer said same-store sales rose 2.1 percent in March as customers shopped more at its juniors and hard goods divisions. Analysts had expected Zumiez to report a comparable-store sales fall of 7.5 percent, according to Thomson Reuters data.
** RUBY TUESDAY INC, Wednesday close $8.16, down 3 pct premarket
The casual dining chain reported lower-than-expected quarterly results on Wednesday, hurt by a 2.8 percent fall in same-restaurant sales as fewer customers ate out at its restaurants.
** INTEGRA LIFESCIENCES INC, Wednesday close $38.38, down 9 pct aftermarket
The medical device maker said it recalled some lots of its collagen product DuraGen Dural Graft Matrix manufactured in its Añasco, Puerto Rico facility, as the lots did not meet production process requirements.
The recall will hurt the company’s revenue and profit for first and second quarters of this year, Integra said, forecasting results for both those quarters below analysts’ expectations.
** METROPCS COMMUNICATIONS, Wednesday close $11.56
Deutsche Telekom sweetened its terms on Wednesday for the proposed merger between T-Mobile USA and MetroPCS Communications by reducing the combined company’s debt, bowing to pressure from activists and proxy advisory firms.
** CLEARWIRE CORP, Wednesday close $3.25
** SPRINT NEXTEL CORP, Wednesday close $6.25
Wireless service provider Clearwire Corp’s largest minority shareholder Crest Financial Ltd filed a proxy statement which, if cleared by the U.S. regulators, will be used to urge Clearwire stockholders to reject its proposed merger with Sprint Nextel.
** J.C. PENNEY, Wednesday close $14.09
Three more top executives at the ailing retailer have left the company, the New York Post reported, following the ouster of Chief Executive Ron Johnson.
** RANGE RESOURCES CORP, Wednesday close $79.86
The natural gas-focused company said its first-quarter production volumes exceeded its forecast and increased 34 percent from a year earlier, helped by higher drilling activity in Marcellus Shale in the northeastern United States. The company also said it was on track to attain its production growth target of 20 percent to 25 percent in the year.
** PROTECTIVE LIFE, Wednesday close $35.59
The insurer said it will buy Mony Life Insurance Company from parent AXA SA for $1.06 billion to access its portfolio of life insurance policies.
** APOGEE ENTERPRISES INC, Wednesday close $29.19, down 6 pct aftermarket
The architectural glass maker’s fourth-quarter earnings came in below analysts’ expectations, hurt by weakness in its large-scale optical technologies business. The company earned 15 cents per share on revenue of $179.7 million. Analysts on average expected earnings of 17 cents per share on revenue of $180 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
** CHESAPEAKE ENERGY CORP, Wednesday close $20.36
The energy company has won the dismissal of a securities class action lawsuit over allegations the company misled investors about its financial condition.
** IRIDIUM COMMUNICATIONS, Wednesday close $6.35
** HARRIS CORP, Wednesday close $45.81
Satellite operator Iridium Communications and Harris Corp on Wednesday said a new space-based aircraft-tracking venture will save airlines money, but also holds promise for the U.S. military, which is facing a sharp downturn in spending in coming years. (Compiled by Aditi Shrivastava in Bangalore)