U.S. stocks rose 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 down 0.13 percent at 16,385, S&P 500 futures were down 0.02 percent at 1,832.2 and Nasdaq 100 futures were down 0.27 percent at 3,555.
** INTERCEPT PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $258.75, +257.44 pct
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, $15.1899, -18.60 pct
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 more than $1 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.
** BED BATH & BEYOND INC, $69.82, -12.37 pct
The home furnishings retailer cut its full-year earnings forecast due to a lowered sales expectation and weakening margins.
** FAMILY DOLLAR STORES INC, $61.82, -6.81 pct
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, $18.43, +3.77 pct
The discount store operator said it hired advisers to explore strategic options after disappointing sales during the holiday season.
** MACY‘S INC, $55.19, +6.46 pct
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, $2.6985, +9.70 pct
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.
** PIER 1 IMPORTS INC, $20.41, -12.48 pct
The furniture retailer cut its fourth-quarter profit forecast after saying December sales were below its expectation due to the cold weather. The company said December same-store sales fell 5.7 percent, before adjusting for the calendar shift. Same-store sales rose 8.2 percent a year earlier.
** ACASTI PHARMA INC, $1.45, +3.57 pct
The biopharmaceuticals company said the U.S. health regulator has given its nod for 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. Hypertriglyceridemia is a condition characterized by abnormally high levels of triglycerides, or blood fats, in the bloodstream.
** COSTCO WHOLESALE CORP, $116.32, +1.99 pct
The company’s December same-store sales beat analysts’ expectations, helped in part by online sales in the United States and Canada.
** RUBY TUESDAY INC, $6.11, +2.35 pct
The casual dining chain reported better-than-expected quarterly sales as a new range of items on its menu helped boost sales at its restaurants.
The company reported second-quarter sales of $276.2 million, above average analysts’ estimates of $270.5 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
** GW PHARMACEUTICALS PLC, $41.62, +9.35 pct
The French drug agency has approved the U.K.-based company’s cannabis-based spray, Sativex, for people suffering from multiple sclerosis.
** BARNES & NOBLE INC, $15.01, +2.60 pct
The company on Thursday reported a 5.5 percent decrease in comparable sales at its bookstores and on its website over the holiday period, caused largely by a drop in the number of Nook e-reader devices sold.
** DISH NETWORK CORP, $56.53, -2.47 pct
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.
** BUFFALO WILD WINGS INC, $145.042, -4.26 pct
Morgan Stanley cut its rating on the quick-service restaurant chain’s stock to “underweight” from “overweight”, according to Theflyonthewall.com
** QIHOO 360 TECHNOLOGY CO LTD, $84.01, -5.61 pct
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.
** MCKESSON, $176.98, +4.22 pct
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.
** J.C. PENNEY CO INC, $7.72, +4.75 pct
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, $8.46, -8.44 pct
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, $17.06, +24.98 pct
** BIOGEN IDEC INC, $291.14, +0.39 pct
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, $59.59, -2.05 pct
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.
** ZUMIEZ INC, $24.83, -5.16 pct
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, $16.46, +8.79 pct
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, $1.53, +5.52 pct
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