(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 Friday following the strongest day of the year so far for equities, and ahead of the key government reading on payrolls for January. Dow Jones industrial average futures were up 0.20 percent at 15,580, S&P 500 futures were up 0.38 percent at 1,773.3 and Nasdaq 100 futures were up 0.62 percent at 3,509.
** LINKEDIN CORP, Thursday close $223.45, -7.25 pct premarket
The company delivered revenue forecasts that fell short of Wall Street’s expectations, deflating hopes that the high-flying professional social network can sustain its growth streak.
** GOOGLE INC, Thursday close $1,159.96, +0.51 pct premarket
The internet search company will own a 5.94 percent stake in China’s Lenovo Group Ltd worth $750 million once Lenovo’s deal to buy Google’s Motorola handset division closes, according to a disclosure on the Hong Kong stock exchange.
** APPLE INC, Thursday close $512.51, +1.50 pct premarket
The company has repurchased $14 billion of its stock in the two weeks since it reported disappointing first-quarter results, a company spokesman said. Apple bought $12 billion of shares via an accelerated share repurchase program and $2 billion of shares from the open market, the spokesman said.
** TWITTER, Thursday close $50.03, +0.86 pct premarket
The social media company’s shares rose after falling 24 percent on Thursday as the company reported near-flat user growth and a drop in engagement among its 241 million members.
** CIGNA CORP, Thursday close $85.37, -3.42 pct premarket
The company, which provides health and other insurance, reported a lower fourth-quarter profit as medical costs in its private Medicare business came in higher than anticipated, and the U.S. insurer gave a 2014 earnings outlook below analysts’ estimates.
** APOLLO GLOBAL MANAGEMENT LLC, Thursday close $31.78, +0.22 pct premarket
The asset manager reported a 37 percent drop in fourth-quarter profit per share despite a big rise in the value of its private equity funds, as it failed to match the carried interest income from a year ago.
** FAIRWAY GROUP HOLDINGS CORP, Thursday close $11.43, -25.63 pct premarket
The fresh foods retailer reported weaker-than-expected third-quarter results on Thursday and said its quarterly same-store sales fell 1.7 percent due to a shorter holiday shopping period.
The company also said Chief Executive Herbert Ruetsch was retiring and named William Sanford as interim-CEO.
BB&T Capital Markets cut its rating on the retailer’s stock to “hold” from “buy,” saying the company’s forecast of high-single digit sales growth for 2015 was below its estimate.
** ACTIVISION BLIZZARD INC, Thursday close $17.17, +8.04 pct premarket
The largest U.S. videogame publisher reported a better-than-expected fourth-quarter income due to strong sales of its “Call of Duty” titles during the holidays. The company believes its coming action game “Destiny” will become its next billion-dollar franchise, Chief Executive Officer Bobby Kotick said in a statement.
** ARIAD PHARMACEUTICALS INC Thursday close $7.17, +7.11 pct premarket
A large shareholder is seeking to get at least two board seats at the drugmaker, which is grappling with safety concerns involving its leukemia drug Iclusig, according to people familiar with the matter.
** EXPEDIA INC, Thursday close $65.14, +12.91 pct premarket
The online travel agency posted a higher-than-expected quarterly profit on Thursday, and it sold more hotel stays and airline tickets in the fourth quarter than the previous year.
** OUTERWALL INC, Thursday close $63.64, +9.90 pct premarket
The company raised its share buyback program by $500 million to about $650 million, and named a Warner Bros Home Entertainment executive to run its Redbox video-rental business. The company also reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit, helped by cost cuts.
** ROYAL DUTCH SHELL PLC, Thursday close $68.78, -0.25 pct premarket
Russia’s Bashneft said its board approved a deal to buy oil from Royal Dutch Shell worth up to $1.4 billion before February 2016. Bashneft also said in a regulatory filing that it agreed to sell oil products worth up to $2.4 billion to oil trader Septo Trading, registered in the British Virgin Islands, before January 2015.
** STATOIL, Thursday close $23.94, +3.88 pct premarket
The Norwegian oil major abandoned its 2020 production target and slashed investment plans on Friday, joining rivals in reining in runaway spending and targeting returns over output.
** BHP BILLITON, Thursday close $64.87
The Anglo-Australian miner and Japanese trading house Mitsubishi Corp will cut around 230 jobs at a jointly-owned coal mine in Australia in a cost-cutting move as Asia’s demand for the fuel wanes.
** HARMONY GOLD, Thursday close $2.65, -0.75 pct premarket
The miner stopped all its operations for a 24-hour safety shift after at least eight workers were killed in a rock-fall and fire, the worst accident in South Africa’s mines in nearly five years.
** ABB LTD, Thursday close $25.1
The Swiss industrial conglomerate is seeking to divest several units whose sale could raise more than $1 billion in total proceeds, according to people familiar with the matter, joining a list of large companies looking to shed non-core businesses.
** SODASTREAM INTERNATIONAL LTD, Thursday close $38.35, +1.85 pct premarket
** GREEN MOUNTAIN COFFEE ROASTERS Thursday close $102.1, -1.07 pct premarket
** COCA-COLA, Thursday close $38.03
A surge in bets that shares of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters would rise sharply by the end of the week has raised suspicions, coming as it did just hours before news of a partnership deal with Coca-Cola.
Green Mountain said late on Wednesday that Coca-Cola bought a 10 percent stake for $1.25 billion and would help launch Green Mountain’s new cold-drink machine, planned for release as soon as October.
Coca-Cola investment puts pressure on at-home soda leader SodaStream to bolster its position through a partnership or merger with the likes of a PepsiCo Inc or Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc.
** NEWS CORP, Thursday close $16.02
The publisher of the Wall Street Journal reported a 4 percent decline in quarterly revenue due to weaker advertising at its newspapers, but cost cuts helped push profit well ahead of analysts’ forecasts.
** CARLYLE GROUP LP, Thursday close $33.99
** ILLINOIS TOOL WORKS INC, Thursday close $78.12
Carlyle said it agreed to buy Illinois Tool Works’ industrial packaging unit for $3.2 billion, the private equity firm’s latest acquisition of a large unit being carved out of conglomerates.
** BAYTEX ENERGY CORP, Thursday close $37.62
The Canadian heavy oil producer has agreed to buy Aurora Oil & Gas Ltd for C$2.6 billion ($2.4 billion) including debt, targeting the Australian company’s Texas shale oil assets.
** SANOFI, Thursday close $47.77
The French drugmaker’s forecast for a return to profit growth after three years of decline failed to impress investors on Thursday.
** IBM CORP, Thursday close $174.67
The company is exploring the sale of its semiconductor business and has hired Goldman Sachs to find potential buyers, the Financial Times reported on Thursday, citing sources familiar with the matter.
** SHIRE, Thursday close $153.75, -0.89 pct premarket
The Britain-based pharmaceuticals group has halted development of its top-selling hyperactivity drug Vyvanse as a treatment for depression after it failed to treat patients successfully in two late-stage clinical trials.
** SUN LIFE FINANCIAL INC, Thursday close $33.31
Canada’s third-largest life insurer launched an asset management business on Thursday to provide private asset class pooled funds for pension plans and other institutional investors looking to boost yield with alternative investments like real estate.
** LIONS GATE ENTERTAINMENT CORP, Thursday close $31.73
The film distributor reported a better-than-expected rise in quarterly earnings due to the success of “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”, “Escape Plan” and “Now You See Me”.
** ATHENAHEALTH INC, Thursday close $139.08
The healthcare software company reported a better-than-expected adjusted quarterly profit as its network of physicians expanded by 28 percent.
** OPENTABLE INC, Thursday close $75.41
The online restaurant booking service provider forecast a weaker-than-expected profit for the current quarter as it hires more employees and increases investment on marketing.
** AUDIENCE INC, Thursday close $10.82
The company reported a 13 percent fall in quarterly revenue, hurt by weak sales of its audio chips to smartphone makers.
** TARGET CORP, Thursday close $55.86
The Target hackers managed to break into its payments network by first breaching a “data connection” between the U.S. retailer and its heating and ventilation systems contractor, a representative for the contractor said on Thursday.
** NET 1 UEPS TECHNOLOGIES INC, Thursday close $8.15, +20.8 pct after market
The South Africa-based payment processor reported a 23 percent rise in second-quarter revenue on Thursday, helped by higher demand for its prepaid mobile recharge service introduced in the first quarter.
** ECHELON CORP, Thursday close $3.79, -19.00 pct after market
Needham & Co analysts cut their rating on the company’s stock to “hold” from “buy,” after Echelon forecast first-quarter revenue below analysts’ estimates.
The company, which makes transceivers that go into thermostats, posted a 24 percent decline in fourth-quarter revenue, hurt by a sharp fall in demand for its products.
** LANNETT CO INC Thursday close $32.03, +13.00 pct after market
The generic drugmaker reported better-than-expected second-quarter results on Thursday, driven by strong sales and price increases.
Lannett also raised its fiscal 2014 net sales forecast to $275-$285 million from $245-$255 million it estimated earlier.
** NIC INC, $21.23, -12.30 pct after market
The company, which outsources web portal services for state and local governments, reported quarterly results below analysts’ estimates on Thursday, hurt by higher taxes and expenses.
NIC reported fourth-quarter profit of 9 cents per share on revenue of $60.8 million. Analysts had expected earnings of 12 cents per share on revenue of $63 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
** ENERGY XXI (BERMUDA) LTD, Thursday close $23.1, -11.20 pct after market
The oil and gas company reported lower-than-expected second-quarter profit, hurt by lower realized crude oil prices and higher expenses.
The company reported earnings of 10 cents per share, below the average analyst estimate of 41 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
** ACETO CORP, $20.16, -9.70 pct after market
The distributor of pharmaceutical products reported lower-than-expected fourth-quarter results on Thursday, mainly due to lower sales in its performance chemicals and pharmaceutical ingredients segments and higher expenses.
** UBIQUITI NETWORKS INC, Thursday close $40.94, +8.70 pct after market
BMO Capital Markets raised its price target on the wireless products maker’s stock, saying it sees growth potential for the company due to expectations of higher sales of its airMAX antennae and “broader acceptance” of its Unifi Wi-Fi technology.
Ubiquiti reported better-than-expected results for the second quarter on Thursday. (Compiled by Natalie Grover in Bangalore; Editing by Kirti Pandey)