(For more market insights, including options activity, click on ; for the Day Ahead newsletter link.reuters.com/mex49s) U.S. stock index futures pointed to a slightly higher open on Friday, with major indexes on track for a week of strong gains, though geopolitical concerns remained in view as the tenuous situation in Ukraine continued. Dow Jones industrial average futures were unchanged at 0, S&P 500 futures were up 0.21 percent at 1,870.1 and Nasdaq 100 futures were up 0.26 percent at 3,701.
** ENDOCYTE INC, Thursday close $14.64, +146.11 pct premarket
The U.S. drug developer said its experimental cancer drug, when used in combination with an approved treatment, improved survival rates without the disease worsening in a mid-stage study on patients with recurrent non-small cell lung cancer.
** HERBALIFE LTD, Thursday close $50.79, -1.16 pct premarket Brokerage Argus Reasearch Co cut its rating on the nutritional supplements and weight loss product maker’s stock to “hold,” citing the Federal Trade Commission’s investigation into the company’s business practices, including its operations in China. “In view of the protracted challenges caused by the investigation and (William) Ackman’s campaign against the company, we are lowering our near-term rating to hold,” analyst John Staszak wrote in the note.
** MEDIA GENERAL INC, Thursday close $17.34, +15.05 pct premarket
** LIN MEDIA LLC, Thursday close $21.49, +31.46 pct premarket
Media General said it would buy LIN Media for $1.6 billion to create a broadcaster reaching nearly a quarter of U.S. households with a television.
** JOHNSON & JOHNSON, Thursday close $94.12, +0.45 pct premarket
The health care products company on Thursday won a reversal by the Arkansas Supreme Court of a $1.2 billion judgment imposed after a jury concluded that the drugmaker improperly marketed its anti-psychotic drug Risperdal and concealed its risks.
** BANK OF AMERICA CORP, Thursday close $17.92, +0.28 pct premarket
** JPMORGAN CHASE & CO, Thursday close $60.11, +0.85 pct premarket
** GOLDMAN SACHS GROUP INC, Thursday close $169.22, +0.67 pct premarket
** CITIGROUP INC, Thursday close $50.22, +1.29 pct premarket
** WELLS FARGO & CO, Thursday close $49.03, +1.12 pct premarket
** MORGAN STANLEY, Thursday close $32.79, +0.91 pct premarket
** ZIONS BANCORP, Thursday close $32.99, -1.30 pct premarket
Big banks in the United States, except Zions, have enough capital buffers to withstand a drastic economic downturn, the Federal Reserve said on Thursday.
Zions failed the test with a tier-1 capital ratio of 3.5 percent, below the 5 percent minimum requirement.
** AMAZON.COM INC, Thursday close $368.97, +0.56 pct premarket
The U.S. e-commerce giant’s China unit will strengthen regulation of its online sales channels and has closed down a third-party store, the online retailer said on Thursday, after state media criticised Amazon and smaller local rival Dangdang for selling fake cosmetics.
** AK STEEL HOLDING CORP, Thursday close $6.7, -0.60 pct premarket
The U.S. steelmaker forecast a loss in the first quarter, blaming higher costs related to the cold weather and blast furnace outages.
** MICROSOFT CORP, Thursday close $40.33, +0.52 pct premarket
** SEAGATE TECHNOLOGY PLC, Thursday close $53.1, +1.68 pct premarket
Microsoft said on Thursday Steve Luczo stepped down from its board of directors so he can focus on his job as chief executive of digital storage company Seagate Technology.
** DEUTSCHE BANK AG, Thursday close $44.81, -0.29 pct premarket
The German bank has failed to win the dismissal of four U.S. lawsuits seeking to force it to pay damages or buy back troubled home loans it had packaged into residential mortgage-backed securities prior to the 2008 financial crisis.
** TIFFANY & CO, Thursday close $91.17, -1.21 pct premarket
The upscale New York-based jeweler struck a cautious note on Friday about 2014, giving a profit forecast that was below estimates despite its projection that net worldwide sales would rise by a high-single digit percentage this year.
** DARDEN RESTAURANTS INC, Thursday close $49.3, -0.61 pct premarket
The owner of the Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse chains, battling activist investors over the future of its struggling Red Lobster business, reiterated plans to divest the seafood chain and reported third-quarter results in line with analysts’ lowered expectations.
** UNWIRED PLANET INC, Thursday close $1.3, +53.85 pct premarket
The intellectual property and technology licensing company said it sold a portfolio of patents to Chinese technology company Lenovo Group Ltd for $100 million in cash, sending its shares up 73 percent in trading after the bell.
** PBF ENERGY INC, Thursday close $27.16, -6.37 pct premarket
The refiner announced on Thursday a secondary offering of 15 million Class A common stock by funds affiliated with First Reserve Management LP. The selling stockholders will receive all the proceeds.
** AQUINOX PHARMACEUTICALS, Thursday close $12.78, +3.68 pct premarket
The biggest U.S. drugmaker Pfizer Inc reported a 11.57 percent passive stake in Aquinox. Pfizer held about 1.2 million shares in the newly-listed company as of March 12, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. (r.reuters.com/xaw77v)
** SYMANTEC CORP, Thursday close $20.905, -10.40 pct premarket
The antivirus and security software provider fired Chief Executive Steve Bennett on Thursday, the second time the company has sacked its top executive in less than two years as it struggles to revive growth amid eroding PC sales.
** NIKE INC, Thursday close $79.27, -2.64 pct premarket
The athletic footwear and apparel maker on Thursday warned Wall Street that growing pressures from weaker currencies in key emerging markets would take a big toll on its profit in the current quarter and into the next fiscal year.
** COMMSCOPE HOLDING COMPANY INC, Thursday close $22.13, +14.91 pct premarket
The telecommunications equipment maker on Thursday raised its revenue and earnings forecast for the first quarter, citing strength in its wireless business as telecom companies spend more to improve their network coverage and capacity.
CommScope forecast adjusted earning of 43-47 cents per share on revenue of between $900 and $925 million. Analysts on average were expecting earnings of 38 cents on revenue of $876.1 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
** WELLPOINT INC, Thursday close $99.71, -0.06 pct premarket
Health insurer raised its earnings forecast for 2014, saying it expected to add 1 million-1.3 million members by the end of the year.
** RALLY SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT CORP, Thursday close $18.05, +1.66 pct premarket
The cloud-based software development services provider reported a loss of $4.7 million, or 19 cents per share, for the fourth quarter, wider than $3.7 million, or $1.68 cents per share, a year earlier.
** WESTERN ASSET MORTGAGE CAPITAL CORP, Thursday close $16.74, -2.09 pct premarket
The mortgage real estate investment trust declared a lower cash dividend for the first quarter of 2014. The company declared a cash dividend of 67 cents per share compared with 91 cents for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31.
** SILVER WHEATON CORP, Thursday close $25.14, +0.99 pct premarket
The Canadian silver producer reported a 47 percent fall in quarterly profit, hurt by a decline in metal prices, but forecast slightly higher production for the current year.
** ANN INC, Thursday close $37.23, +10.10 pct premarket
Private equity firm Golden Gate Capital disclosed a 9.5 percent stake in women’s apparel retailer and said it believed the company’s stock was significantly undervalued.
** NORTEK INC, Thursday close $78.96, +0.00 pct premarket
Swiss engineering group ABB said on Friday it has agreed to sell its U.S. Thomas & Betts’ heating, ventilation and air conditioning business to U.S. conglomerate Nortek for $260 million in cash.
** NETFLIX INC, Thursday close $424.27, +0.53 pct premarket
** COMCAST CORP, Thursday close $50.605,
Netflix Chief Executive Reed Hastings on Thursday said internet service providers should give content companies adequate network connections for free, and singled out Comcast Corp for supporting “weak” web traffic rules.
** BIOGEN IDEC INC, Thursday close $347.04, +0.42 pct premarket
The biotechnology company said on Friday it had won Canadian approval for its long-lasting hemophilia B drug Alprolix.
** TIME WARNER CABLE, Thursday close $138.51, -1.09 pct premarket
The video, high-speed data and voice services provider’s Chief Executive Rob Marcus stands to make about $80 million if Comcast’s deal to buy Time Warner Cable closes, according to a regulatory filing on Thursday. (Reporting by Shubhankar Chakravorty in Bangalore; Editing by Joyjeet Das)