(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 stocks advanced at the open on Friday, putting the S&P on track for its third straight weekly gain, buoyed by some strong results from technology companies. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 0.28 percent at 16,178.95, the S&P 500 was up 0.23 percent at 1,844.01 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.24 percent at 4,277.707.
** HEWLETT PACKARD CO, $29.62, -1.89 pct
The computing giant’s revenue fell less than Wall Street expected in the first quarter and it raised its outlook for fiscal 2014 earnings as the company grew sales at its two largest businesses and again signaled a better year ahead.
** DISH NETWORK CORP, $58.07, +1.75 pct
** CHARTER COMMUNICATIONS INC, $126.13, -4.33 pct
Dish Network, the second-largest U.S. satellite TV company after DirecTV, reported a 38 percent rise in profit for the fourth quarter as it generated higher average revenue per user.
Charter Communications, the fourth-largest U.S. cable operator, posted a fourth-quarter profit, helped by growth in internet, commercial and video revenue.
Charter, which was outmaneuvered in its bid to buy Time Warner Cable Inc, gave no indication of its next move in the pursuit.
** COMMSCOPE HOLDING COMPANY INC, $22.68, +19.56 pct
The telecommunications equipment maker forecast first-quarter revenue that beat Wall Street expectations and also reported a better-than-expected fourth-quarter revenue.
Brokerage Jefferies & Co raised its rating on the company’s stock to ‘buy’ from ‘hold’, while at least four brokerages raised their price targets.
** VALMONT INDUSTRIES INC, $145.95, -6.12 pct
The maker of irrigation equipment forecast weaker-than-expected full-year earnings due to lower international demand in its utility business. The company said severe weather in the United States also disrupted production and shipping at some of its facilities.
** QLIK TECHNOLOGIES INC, $29.42, +5.37 pct
The data analytics software maker reported better-than-expected revenue in the fourth quarter and forecast first-quarter and full-year revenue in line with analysts’ expectations.
** RUTH‘S HOSPITALITY GROUP INC, $13.94, +13.15 pct
The upscale restaurant operator a better-than-expected quarterly profit, helped by strong same-restaurant sales at its Ruth’s Chris Steak House chain. The company also raised its quarterly dividend to 5 cents per share from 4 cents.
** ARIAD PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $9.01, +3.21 pct
The drug maker, which has been struggling with safety concerns involving its only approved drug, said it agreed to add two directors backed by its second-largest investor Sarissa Capital Management to its board.
** TECK RESOURCES LTD, $23.08, -1.33 pct
** INTEROIL CORP, $56.34, +2.16 pct
Canada's biggest diversified miner Teck Resources could offer to buy oil and gas company InterOil for about $85 per share, Britain's Daily Mail reported on Thursday. InterOil's primary operations are in the Elk and Antelope fields in Papua New Guinea. (r.reuters.com/tav96v)
** SHUTTERSTOCK INC, $91.84, +11.38 pct
The commercial digital image provider reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter results on Thursday as number of paying customers rose and forecast first-quarter and full-year revenue above analysts’ estimates.
At least two brokerages raised their price targets on the stock.
** ISIS PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $58.005, +13.58 pct
The company said its experimental drug to treat a genetic nerve disorder affecting young children increased muscle function in patients given multiple doses.
The trial tested three doses of the drug in patients with spinal muscular atrophy, a disorder caused by a defect in a gene that produces a protein necessary for the survival of nerve cells in the spinal cord.
The company said the drug also showed an increase in protein levels in the cerebrospinal fluid of children treated with the drug in single and multiple dose studies.
** NEWMONT MINING CORP, $23.17, -5.27 pct
The miner posted a fourth-quarter loss on Thursday, hurt by lower gold prices and impairment charges, and said its capital expenditure in 2014 would be 25 percent lower than last year.
** EXPRESS SCRIPTS HOLDING CO, $74.95, -2.81 pct
The pharmacy benefit manager on Thursday forecast 2014 earnings in line with Wall Street expectations and said it sees long-term earnings growth of up to 20 percent per year. The company reported fourth-quarter profit that matched analysts’ estimates.
** PRICELINE.COM, $1,319.94, +2.88 pct
The online travel agency known for its name-your-own-price auctions posted a higher-than-expected quarterly profit on Thursday. Bookings for hotel stays, airline tickets and rental cars picked up at the end of the quarter for the start of 2014.
** FLEETMATICS GROUP PLC, $34.38, -13.94 pct
The provider of software-as-a-service for fleet management late on Thursday said it expects first-quarter and FY 2014 profit to be largely below analysts’ estimates. The company reported fourth-quarter profit in line with the average analyst estimate.
** GROUPON INC, $8.725, -15.12 pct
The company forecast a surprise quarterly loss as it spends more to advertise its online marketplace, which is expected to make up for its lagging daily deals business.
** STRAYER EDUCATION INC, $39.93, +16.72 pct
** APOLLO EDUCATION GROUP INC, $34.15, +2.89 pct
** DEVRY EDUCATION GROUP INC, $40.03, +6.04 pct
** ITT EDUCATIONAL SERVICES INC, $34.25, +4.96 pct
** CORINTHIAN COLLEGES INC, $1.49, +3.47 pct
** CAREER EDUCATION CORP, $6.21, +3.85 pct
For-profit education provider Strayer reported a fourth-quarter profit far above analysts’ expectations and said it had completed a restructuring that would reduce its annual operating expenses by about $50 million, beginning in 2014.
The company reported a 2 percent fall in student sign-ups in the quarter ended Dec. 31, compared with 23 percent and 17 percent declines in the preceding quarters.
Shares of fellow for-profit education providers also rose.
** JUNIPER NETWORKS, $27.81, +1.46 pct
The company said late on Thursday it would return a minimum of $3 billion to shareholders over the next three years through a combination of share repurchases and dividends.
Earlier in the day, German’s Manager Magazin Online reported that Finland’s Nokia is considering buying the U.S.-based company to merge into its telecommunications network gear business, citing unidentified sources.
** ROCKET FUEL INC, $54.46, +3.20 pct
The digital advertising technology company more than doubled its fourth-quarter revenue and reported earnings ahead of analysts’ expectations on Thursday, as the number of active customers jumped and as more advertisers used Rocket Fuel for multi-channel campaigns.
** INTUIT INC, $78.48, +6.27 pct
The company raised its third-quarter earnings forecast due to strong demand for its online tax-preparation software, TurboTax, in the U.S. tax-filing season and said it aims to double the number of customers in its biggest unit. The company’s second-quarter revenue fell less than expected despite a delayed start to the tax-filing season.
** BROOKDALE SENIOR LIVING INC, $31, +3.02 pct
** EMERITUS CORP, $28.98, +35.04 pct
Brookdale Senior Living said it would buy Emeritus Corp for about $1.4 billion in an all-stock deal, creating the largest owner-operator of senior housing in the United States. Brookdale will also assume $1.4 billion of Emeritus Corp’s debt.
** MICROVISION INC, $2.81, +5.24 pct
Sony Corp said it is developing a projector module which uses the PicoP technology developed by MicroVision Inc and can produce high-definition resolution image that stays in focus regardless of the distance or angle.
** EXELIXIS INC, $6.44, -10.06 pct
The company posted a wider quarterly loss on weak revenue and higher operating expense related to clinical trials and marketing spending on its thyroid cancer drug.
** FINANCIAL ENGINES INC, $52.19, -16.05 pct
The company, which provides portfolio management services, reported a fourth-quarter profit that slightly missed estimates as expenses rose about 27 percent to $52.36 million. The company also forecast first-quarter revenue of $274 million to $279 million for 2014. Analysts on an average were expecting earnings of $284.8 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
** MOHAWK INDUSTRIES INC, $143.59, -1.61 pct
The carpet and rug maker late on Thursday reported fourth-quarter results that missed analysts’ estimates and forecast first-quarter 2014 earnings of $1.13-$1.19 per share. Analysts on average were expecting a profit of $1.52 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Compiled by Shailaja Sharma in Bangalore, Editing by Sriraj Kulluvila