January 9, 2014 / 2:22 PM / in 4 years

MARKET PULSE-Intercept Pharma, Family Dollar, Macy's, YRC Worldwide

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Jan 9 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were set to rise at the open on Thursday in the wake of upbeat labor market data and as Macy’s lifted the bar further for retailers after a stellar holiday season. Dow Jones industrial average futures were up 0.29 percent at 16,454, S&P 500 futures were up 0.17 percent at 1,835.6 and Nasdaq 100 futures were up 0.16 percent at 3,570.5.

** INTERCEPT PHARMACEUTICALS INC, Wednesday close $72.39, +221.87 pct premarket

The company said an analysis by an independent safety committee showed that its liver disease drug met the main goal of a mid-stage trial.

** YRC WORLDWIDE INC, Wednesday close $18.66, -13.56 pct premarket

The deadline for a union members' vote to extend the employment of about 26,000 workers at the trucker expired on Wednesday. The counting of ballots is scheduled to begin on Thursday morning, with results expected by the end of day, according to the International Brotherhood of Teamsters' website. (r.reuters.com/ban85v)

The Teamsters’ vote is key to YRC Worldwide’s plan to refinance debt. The Overland Park, Kansas-based company has to start repaying debt of $1.36 billion from February.

YRC Worldwide’s shares had more than doubled to Wednesday’s close since the company said on Dec. 9 it expected annual savings of up to $100 million if union members voted to extend the contract.

** APPLE INC, Wednesday close $543.46, +0.56 pct premarket

Apple and Samsung Electronics have agreed to attend a mediation session to be held on or before Feb. 19, as they prepare to clash in court in March over smartphone patents. Apple CEO Tim Cook and Samsung CEO Oh-Hyun Kwon will attend the session with in-house lawyers only.

** BED BATH & BEYOND INC, Wednesday close $79.68, -9.20 pct premarket

The home furnishings retailer cut its full-year earnings forecast due to a lowered sales expectation and weakening margins.

** FAMILY DOLLAR STORES INC, Wednesday close $66.34, -7.60 pct premarket

The discount chain reported a weaker-than-expected quarterly profit and gave a tepid outlook for the current period after it discounted more than it had originally planned to win shoppers in the key holiday shopping season.

** FRED‘S INC, Wednesday close $17.76, +4.79 pct premarket

The discount store operator said it hired advisers to explore strategic options after disappointing sales during the holiday season.

** MACY‘S INC, Wednesday close $51.84, +6.29 pct premarket

The department store operator reported strong holiday season sales and gave a preliminary forecast for 2014 that suggests it would continue to outpace its rivals.

** SEQUENOM INC, Wednesday close $2.46, +7.72 pct premarket

The genetic tests maker said the European Patent Office on Jan. 1 granted a patent to its methods to detect chromosomal abnormality in a fetus using gene sequencing.

The patent is an important part of Sequenom’s prenatal diagnostic patent portfolio, with coverage across all countries in the European Union.

** ACASTI PHARMA INC, Wednesday close $1.4, +11.43 pct premarket

The biopharmaceuticals company said the U.S. health regulator has given its nod for the initiation of a pharmacokinetic study of its experimental drug CaPre.

The study aims to test how the human body deals with the drug, which is being developed to prevent and treat hypertriglyceridemia, a condition characterized by abnormally high levels of triglycerides, or blood fats, in the bloodstream.

** BLACKBERRY LTD, Wednesday close $8.54, +1.41 pct premarket

Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd will buy another $250 million worth of BlackBerry Ltd’s convertible debentures, the companies said Wednesday, providing the struggling smartphone maker with much-needed cash.

** JPMORGAN CHASE & CO, Wednesday close $58.87

The world’s biggest dealer in over-the-counter metals derivatives has added its metals futures brokerage to the sale of its physical commodities business, sources familiar with the matter said.

** APOLLO GLOBAL MANAGEMENT LLC, Wednesday close $35.06

Apollo Global Management is looking to cash out on its investment in the owner of Lighthouse Investment Partners LLC, three years it after it backed the fund-of-hedge-funds manager, according to people familiar with the matter.

** BOEING CO, Wednesday close $140.82

Angry Boeing machinists have filed eight unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board alleging their union’s top leaders manipulated a recent contract vote, and demanding that ballots be recast.

** T-MOBILE US, Wednesday close $33.25

The No. 4 U.S. mobile operator on Wednesday reported a fourth-quarter boost in customer growth and offered to pay customers to switch from rival services, escalating already intense competition in the U.S. wireless market.

** COSTCO WHOLESALE CORP, Wednesday close $114.05, +2.52 pct premarket

The company’s December same-store sales beat analysts’ expectations, helped in part by online sales in the United States and Canada.

** INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORP, Wednesday close $187.97, +0.81 pct premarket

The world’s largest technology service provider said it will invest more than $1 billion to establish a new business unit for Watson, as the company hopes to get more revenue from the supercomputer system that beat humans on the television quiz show “Jeopardy”.

** BLACKROCK INC, Wednesday close $16.82

The world’s largest asset manager agreed to end its analyst survey program worldwide, as part of an agreement reached Wednesday with the New York Attorney General’s office.

** NOVARTIS AG, Wednesday close $79.71, +0.05 pct premarket

** MERCK & CO INC, Wednesday close $49.79, +0.00 pct premarket

Novartis is in talks with Merck & Co to exchange its animal-health and human vaccines businesses for the drugmaker’s over-the-counter health-products unit, Bloomberg reported, quoting people familiar with the matter.

Japan’s health ministry on Thursday filed a criminal complaint against Novartis local unit after the pharmaceuticals company promoted its best-selling blood pressure drug Diovan using manipulated data.

** DISH NETWORK CORP, Wednesday close $57.96

The satellite television company is terminating its bid for LightSquared Inc, the bankrupt telecom firm whose wireless spectrum Dish has been coveting, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing a person familiar with the matter.

** AGRIUM INC, Wednesday close $90.57, +0.26 pct premarket

The Canadian fertilizer company said on Wednesday it will restructure its three divisions into two business units, wholesale and retail, in the first quarter of 2014 as it moves to become more efficient.

** QUALCOMM, Wednesday close $73.68

The company’s CEO Paul Jacobs said on Wednesday that the U.S. mobile chipmaker still has not been notified about why it has come under antitrust scrutiny in China since late last year. In November, Qualcomm announced that China’s National Development and Reform Commission had launched an antitrust probe into the company. The chipmaker said it was unaware of any possible violations.

** LDK SOLAR CO LTD, Wednesday close $1.36, -2.21 pct premarket

The struggling Chinese solar equipment maker said it has signed a further 15-day forbearance arrangement with holders of its senior notes due 2014. The arrangement relates to interest payment due under the notes on Aug. 28, 2013. It had entered a similar two-week deal with holders of the same senior notes last November.

** CANADIAN NATURAL RESOURCES LTD, Wednesday close $32.66

The Canadian oil producer has dropped plans to dispose of its Montney shale-gas property after failing to attract a suitable offer.

** QIHOO 360 TECHNOLOGY CO LTD, Wednesday close $89, -3.37 pct premarket

The Chinese Internet company denied on Thursday that e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd IPO-ALIB.N would take a stake in the company after its shares surged almost 10 percent on Wednesday on speculation the two were in talks.

** PLAINS ALL AMERICAN PIPELINE LP, Wednesday close $50.69 ** PLAINS GP HOLDINGS LP, Wednesday close $26.11

Plains All American, a midstream company that transports, refines and sells liquid gas, increased its quarterly cash distribution by about 2.5 percent to 61.5 cents per unit. The company’s affiliate Plains GP Holdings, which went public last October, announced its first distribution of about 12.505 cents on Thursday.

** GOLDCORP INC, Wednesday close $22.13, -0.05 pct premarket

The Canadian gold mining company said late on Wednesday that its annual gold production could rise up to 18 percent even as it expects to rein in costs over the next two years.

** GLAXOSMITHKLINE, Wednesday close $52.73

A combination treatment from GlaxoSmithKline for melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, has won accelerated approval from U.S. regulators. Industry analysts see a combination offering the greatest commercial potential.

** MCKESSON, Wednesday close $169.81, +3.09 pct premarket

The U.S. drugs wholesale group on Thursday lifted its offer for Celesio in a bid to win over hedge fund Elliott, a source familiar with the talks said.

** ASTRAZENECA, Wednesday close $58.52, +0.85 pct premarket

U.S. health regulators on Wednesday approved an AstraZeneca drug from a new class of medicines to treat type 2 diabetes after previously rejecting it over safety concerns.

** J.C. PENNEY CO INC, Wednesday close $7.37, +3.66 pct premarket

Piper Jaffray upgraded its rating on the department store operator’s stock to “overweight” from “neutral,” according to Theflyonthewall.com.

J.C Penney shares slid 8 percent on Wednesday after the department store chain said it was “pleased” with its holiday sales performance, but skimped on specifics. The lack of detail in the Penney release fueled speculation that its turnaround is stalling.

** CALIX INC, Wednesday close $9.24

The telecom equipment maker estimated fourth-quarter results that were way below analysts’ expectations due to a greater-than-expected decline in traditional year-end “budget flush” customer spending patterns than the company has historically experienced.

** SANGAMO BIOSCIENCES INC, Wednesday close $13.65, +14.14 pct premarket

** BIOGEN IDEC INC, Wednesday close $290.01, +0.69 pct premarket

The company said it would collaborate with Biogen to develop treatments for a group of inherited blood disorders. Biogen will pay Sangamo $20 million upfront, and use Sangamo’s gene-based technology to develop the drugs.

** MEDTRONIC INC, Wednesday close $60.84

The company said its experimental device for treating hypertension was not effective in a clinical trial. However, the trial met its main safety goal and an independent safety committee concluded that there were no safety concerns in the study.

** SUPERVALU INC, Wednesday close $7.03, +1.14 pct premarket

The company’s quarterly net profit nearly doubled as the supermarket operator benefited from cost savings after selling hundreds of underperforming grocery stores last year.

** MATTERSIGHT CORP, Wednesday close $5.74, down 21 pct after market

The company said a contract with information technology company Vangent Inc to provide call recording services was not extended after it expired on Dec. 31. The contract accounted for a fifth of its revenue last year.

** ZUMIEZ INC, Wednesday close $26.18, down 7 pct after market

Janney Capital Markets cut its fair value on the sports retailer’s stock to $26 from $27 after the company lowered its fourth-quarter sales and adjusted earnings per share forecast.

The brokerage also cut its estimates for the retailer’s adjusted earnings per share for fiscal 2013, 2014 and 2015.

** INTERMUNE INC, Wednesday close $15.13, up 6.3 pct premarket

The drugmaker estimated fourth-quarter sales of its lung drug, Esbriet, ahead of the average analyst expectation.

Esbriet, the company’s sole revenue earner, is currently sold in the European Union and Canada. The company said it expected sales of about $25.6 million, above analysts’ average expectation of $22.7 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

InterMune said it expects to report data from a late-stage trial on the drug in the second quarter of 2014, after which it will seek marketing approval for the drug in the U.S.

** CAPSTONE TURBINE CORP, Wednesday close $1.45, +4.83 pct premarket

The turbine maker said it received orders for microturbines totaling 6.4 megawatts of electric power from four customers. The company said the turbines would be used for oil and gas drilling in the Marcellus and Utica Shale fields.

Compiled by Rohit T.K. in Bangalore; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila

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