January 23, 2014 / 1:43 PM / in 4 years

MARKET PULSE-Ariad, eBay, Netflix, Southwest Airlines, McDonald's

(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 fell on Thursday. Dow Jones industrial average futures were down 0.44 percent at 16,246, S&P 500 futures were down 0.28 percent at 1,833.5 and Nasdaq 100 futures were down 0.21 percent at 3,613.

** EBAY INC, Wednesday close $54.41, +2.00 pct premarket

Carl Icahn has taken a stake in the e-commerce giant and is proposing a spin-off of the its fast-growing PayPal division, but eBay rebuffed the overture, setting the stage for a potential battle with the activist investor.

** MGIC INVESTMENT CORP, Wednesday close $9.08, +4.96 pct premarket

The mortgage insurer posted a smaller-than-expected quarterly loss as fewer U.S. homeowners defaulted in a recovering housing market.

** JOHNSON CONTROLS INC, Wednesday close $51.56, -1.09 pct premarket

The company on Thursday reported a fiscal first-quarter profit that met Wall Street expectations and reaffirmed its fiscal 2014 outlook.

** SOUTHWEST AIRLINES, Wednesday close $21.77, +2.25 pct premarket

U.S. carrier on Thursday said fourth-quarter profit rose, aided by higher airfares and lower fuel costs.

** MCDONALD‘S CORP, Wednesday close $94.88, -0.30 pct premarket

The company’s global sales at established restaurants came below analysts’ expectations, hurt by fewer customers visits partly due to severe winter weather in the United States.

** VALERO ENERGY CORP, Wednesday close $50.95, +2.65 pct premarket

The refiner estimated fourth-quarter earnings above analysts’ estimates on Wednesday, citing wide crude price discounts and higher margin from its ethanol unit. Valero said profit was likely to be $1.60-$1.80 per share. Analysts on average were expecting 97 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Macquarie analysts raised their price target on the stock to $69 from $65, after Valero’s announcement.

The refiner also increased quarterly dividend to 25 cents per share from 22.5 cents. Valero is scheduled to report its quarterly results on Jan. 29.

** NETFLIX INC, Wednesday close $333.73, +17.16 pct premarket

The company added more than 2.3 million U.S. customers in the fourth quarter and said it was testing different pricing plans for its monthly TV and movie streaming service.

** LOGITECH INTERNATIONAL SA, Wednesday close $13.22, +15.36 pct premarket

The computer-mouse maker raised its forecast for the full year after reporting better-than-expected third-quarter results.

** POLYCOM INC, Wednesday close $11.77, +3.23 pct premarket

The company reported better-than-expected quarterly results due to higher sales of its desktop video-conferencing devices, and said it would cut 6 percent of its workforce.

** ARIAD PHARMACEUTICALS INC Wednesday close $6.71, +10.13 pct premarket

At least three pharmaceutical companies, Eli Lilly and Co , Shire Plc and GlaxoSmithKline Plc, have approached Ariad's board to buy the company, and were prepared to pay up to $20 per share in cash, according to a report on the website of the Daily Mail newspaper. (link.reuters.com/ben36v)

** MICRON TECHNOLOGY INC, Wednesday close $23.65, -0.72 pct premarket

Hedge fund manager David Einhorn, whose Greenlight Capital ranked among last year’s best performers, has taken new positions in Micron Technology and BP Plc, both of which he praised in a letter to investors for practices focused on returning cash to shareholders. Greenlight also added a position in Anadarko Petroleum Corp APC, Einhorn said in the letter, which was seen by Reuters.

** WESTERN DIGITAL CORP, Wednesday close $88.08, -1.29 pct premarket

The world’s No. 1 hard-disk drive maker forecast a tepid third quarter as it expects cautious spending and a decline in the PC market to hit sales.

** F5 NETWORKS INC, Wednesday close $97.48, +10.79 pct premarket

The network gear maker forecast current-quarter revenue above Wall Street estimates, helped by strong sales of its data traffic management products.

** SANDISK CORP, Wednesday close $72.19, -1.52 pct premarket

The company posted higher fourth-quarter profits but gave a revenue outlook that fell short of some analysts’ expectations and said memory chip prices would fall more this year than in 2013.

** AMERICAN EAGLE OUTFITTERS INC, Wednesday close $14.31, -7.06 pct premarket

The company said its chief executive of two years, Robert Hanson, would leave the company in a surprising move at a time when U.S. teen apparel retailers are struggling to attract shoppers and boost sales.

** ALLEGHENY TECHNOLOGIES INC, Wednesday close $32.01, +1.06 pct premarket

Credit Suisse raised its rating on the metals processor’s stock to “outperform” from “neutral” and said it expected demand to recover modestly in 2014 followed by a significant comeback in 2015 and 2016.

** NOKIA, Wednesday close $7.7, -4.55 pct premarket

The company reported a 22 percent fall in sales at its core NSN network equipment division, highlighting the problems facing management once it completes the sale of its former flagship phones business to Microsoft for 5.4 billion euros ($7.4 billion).

** COBALT INTERNATIONAL ENERGY INC, Wednesday close $16.84, +4.39 pct premarket

The U.S. oil and gas producer on Wednesday said it discovered oil at its Bicuar 1A well, offshore Angola. The well, drilled in partnership with Angola’s national oil company Sonangol, reached its total depth in 59 days, about 63 days before schedule.

The Bicuar area may bring about $644.5 million, or $1.58 per share, for Cobalt, Global Hunter Securities analyst Curtis Trimble wrote in a note.

** BIOLINERX, Wednesday close $2.93, +4.78 pct premarket

The drug developer said the U.S. health regulator granted an orphan drug status to its experimental drug candidate, BL-8040, as a stem cell therapy for certain cancer patients.

The orphan drug status is granted to drugs that aim to treat rare diseases affecting not more than 200,000 people in the United States and gives the drugmaker a seven-year marketing exclusivity.

BL-8040 mobilizes stem cells from the bone marrow to the peripheral blood in patients suffering from hematologic cancers, a type that affects blood, bone marrow and lymph nodes.

** CLEVELAND BIOLABS INC, Wednesday close $1.13, -47.79 pct premarket

The biotechnology company said the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services terminated negotiations related to the development of its anti-radiation treatment, citing a lack of funds.

** TRINA SOLAR LTD, Wednesday close $16.55, -1.81 pct premarket

The Chinese solar panel maker said U.S. installer Cobalt Power Systems used its panels in a 113 kilowatt project in the San Francisco Bay Area.

** BAXTER INTERNATIONAL INC, Wednesday close $69.74, +0.37 pct premarket

The medical products maker reported better-than-expected quarterly results and forecast full-year earnings above analysts’ estimates.

Baxter’s quarterly sales rose 16 percent to $4.4 billion, partly due to revenue from its acquisition of dialysis products maker, Gambro. Analysts were expecting $4.25 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Baxter said it expected 2014 earnings of $5.05-$5.25 per share. Analysts were expecting earnings of $5 per share.

** AMERISOURCEBERGEN CORP, Wednesday close $70.28, +3.51 pct premarket

The pharmaceutical distributor posted a higher-than-expected profit for the first quarter, helped by new business wins, including a distribution agreement with drug store chain Walgreen Co.

Excluding items, AmerisourceBergen earned 80 cents a share, above the average analyst estimate of 78 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

** TESLA MOTORS INC, Wednesday close $178.56, -0.53 pct premarket

Billionaire Lu Guanqiu, a former blacksmith’s apprentice who built China’s biggest auto parts company, said he would welcome ties with U.S. electric car maker Tesla Motors.

** IBM CORP, Wednesday close $182.25, +0.22 pct premarket

Lenovo Group Ltd, the world’s largest PC maker, agreed to buy IBM’s low-end server business in a long-awaited deal valued at about $2.3 billion, the biggest-ever tech acquisition by a Chinese company.

** MCKESSON, Wednesday close $169.68

The majority shareholder behind German drugs distributor Celesio is in talks to buy the shares in Celesio held by hedge fund Elliott as part of a fresh attempt to sell the company to U.S. drugs wholesaler group McKesson, a person familiar with the talks told Reuters.

** MORGAN STANLEY, Wednesday close $32.29

The lender, rebuffed late last year by Puerto Rico officials over an offer to arrange a high-cost loan of up to $2 billion for the cash-strapped commonwealth, is now trying to pique investor interest in backing the idea, according to people briefed on the matter.

** COMMUNITY HEALTH SYSTEMS INC, Wednesday close $39.43

** HEALTH MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATES INC, Wednesday close $13.25

Hospital operator Community Health Systems has won approval to buy Health Management Associates on the condition that it sell hospitals in Alabama and South Carolina, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission said on Wednesday.

** TARGET CORP, Wednesday close $58.98, -0.39 pct premarket

The retailer said on Wednesday that it is cutting 475 jobs at its headquarters and other offices in Minnesota and will not fill 700 open positions worldwide. The company, which employs 361,000 people around the globe, had a tough 2013 as U.S. shoppers remained cautious and its new Canadian stores did not do as well as it had anticipated.

** TEVA PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRIES, Wednesday close $44.31

The board of directors of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries plans to reduce the size of the board and add new members with global healthcare experience, the company’s chairman said in a letter to shareholders.

** ABBOTT LABORATORIES INC, Wednesday close $38.07

The company reported weaker-than-expected fourth-quarter revenue, hurt by disappointing sales of its generic medicines and the lingering impact of an overseas recall of its baby formulas last summer.

** ROCKET FUEL INC, Wednesday close $66.26, +10.30 pct after market

The digital advertising technology company estimated fourth-quarter revenue above analysts’ expectations on Wednesday.

Evercore raised its price target on the company’s stock on Thursday to $55 from $45.

** NOVARTIS AG, Wednesday close $80.79, +1.44 pct premarket

The company plans to axe around 500 jobs in shutting a U.S. plant that makes its blood pressure pill Diovan, marking the second reorganization of its operations in as many days.

** MEDTRONIC INC, Wednesday close $59.15

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled in favor of medical devices maker Medtronic in its dispute with privately owned Mirowski Family Ventures LLC over whether the larger company infringed on Mirowski’s patents in making certain pacemakers.

** STRYKER CORP, Wednesday close $78.58

The U.S. orthopedic implant maker said on Wednesday quarterly net profit rose 43 percent, driven by increased sales in its reconstructive and neurotechnology divisions as well as lower taxes.

** BOEING CO, Wednesday close $144.37

The company is hiring contract workers at its factory in South Carolina as it boosts output of the 787 Dreamliner and seeks to avoid manufacturing issues linked to the production increase, according to people familiar with the situation.

** AT&T INC, Wednesday close $33.34, +0.12 pct premarket

The company said on Wednesday that it would record a non-cash, pre-tax gain of about $7.6 billion for the fourth quarter from its pensions and post-employment benefit plans, the latest company to see hefty pension related gains from 2013.

** FORD MOTOR CO, Wednesday close $16.55, -0.18 pct premarket

The company unveiled a family-oriented version of its Lincoln Navigator, a big, brawny sport-utility vehicle that defined the upscale Lincoln brand during the American SUV boom more than a decade ago.

** FACEBOOK INC, Wednesday close $57.51, -2.42 pct premarket

The company said on Wednesday that it is displaying ads from a small group of marketers on other companies’ smartphone apps, the latest sign that the world’s No. 1 online social network is closer to launching an ad network business.

** MICROSOFT CORP, Wednesday close $35.93, +1.03 pct premarket

The company’s head lawyer has suggested that overseas customers will be allowed to have their personal data stored in non-U.S. data centers, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday.

** LORAL SPACE & COMMUNICATIONS INC, Wednesday close $78.04

The company, which holds a majority stake in Canadian satellite communication services company Telesat Holdings Inc, is exploring a sale, according to several people familiar with the matter.

** T-MOBILE US, Wednesday close $33.44

The company is stepping beyond cellphones and offering payment cards in the latest effort to differentiate its service from bigger rivals. The No. 4 U.S. mobile provider said it is offering a Visa card with banking features and a smartphone money management application with reduced-fee or zero-cost services for T-Mobile wireless customers.

** ST. JUDE MEDICAL INC, Wednesday close $64.98

The medical device maker reported a higher fourth-quarter profit on Wednesday, as it had expected, and forecast growth in both earnings and revenue in 2014.

** TRANSCANADA CORP, Wednesday close $44.06

Transcanada on Wednesday began delivering crude through a major new pipeline from Oklahoma to the Gulf Coast, commissioning a $2.3 billion project expected to help eliminate a bottleneck that has warped the U.S. oil market for three years.

** BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY INC, Wednesday close $115.26

The U.S. risk council is looking to determine whether Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway could be systemically important, a tag that would subject it to stricter regulatory oversight, Bloomberg reported, citing two people familiar with the matter.

** CONSTELLIUM NV, Wednesday close $24.26

The aluminum products maker and UACJ Corp will form a joint venture in the United States to supply the auto industry in response to growing demand for light-weight materials, the companies said on Thursday. (Compiled by Neha Dimri in Bangalore; Edited by Kirti Pandey)

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