(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 were broadly flat on Thursday. Dow Jones industrial average futures were down 0.05 percent at 16,352, S&P 500 futures were down 0.02 percent at 1,864.4 and Nasdaq 100 futures were down 0.06 percent at 3,589.
** RUBY TUESDAY INC, Wednesday close $5.96, +11.74 pct premarket
The restaurant operator on Wednesday reported higher-than-expected third-quarter revenue, helped by better same-store sales.
Wunderlich Securities raised its target price on the company’s stock to $7 from $6.
** BED BATH & BEYOND INC, Wednesday close $67.91, -6.48 pct premarket
The home furnishings retailer reported a 5.8 percent decline in fourth-quarter net sales, hurt by severe weather, and the company gave a first-quarter earnings outlook that came in below analysts’ average estimate, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
At least three brokerages cut their price target on the company’s stock.
** BLACKBERRY LTD, Wednesday close $7.96, +0.88 pct premarket
BlackBerry would consider exiting its handset business if it remains unprofitable, its chief executive officer said on Wednesday, as the technology company looks to expand its corporate reach with investments, acquisitions and partnerships.
** MERCK & CO, Wednesday close $57.1, +1.75 pct premarket
A two-drug combination being tested by Merck to treat hepatitis C cured 98 percent of previously untreated patients without cirrhosis in a midstage clinical trial, providing the latest evidence that the U.S. drugmaker will be highly competitive in the fast evolving field.
** BOX SHIPS INC, Wednesday close $2.38, down 7.6 pct after market
The shipping company said on Wednesday it had commenced an underwritten offering of its units, comprising common shares and warrants. It will use proceeds from the offering for general corporate purposes such as repayment of debt and acquisition of vessels.
** APOGEE ENTERPRISES INC, Wednesday close $32.47, -5.6 pct after market
The company, which makes glass used in commercial buildings and picture frames, reported a lower-than-expected profit for the fourth quarter, partly hurt by a slowdown in construction activity due to a severe winter.
** COSTCO WHOLESALE CORP, Wednesday close $113.05, +0.97 pct premarket
The wholesale retailer said March same-store sales increased 5 percent, helped by an extra day in the period and a shift in the timing of Easter. \
** NOVARTIS AG, Wednesday close $84.03, -0.26 pct premarket
France’s competition authority is investigating drugmakers Roche Holding AG and Novartis on suspicion they were involved in anti-competitive practices in relation to eye disease treatments, the companies said on Thursday.
** BANK OF AMERICA CORP, Wednesday close $16.62, +0.30 pct premarket
The bank said on Wednesday that it will close three foreign offices and eliminate about 3,000 jobs over the next nine to 12 months in an effort to simplify its global operations.
** BIOGEN IDEC INC, Wednesday close $300.68
Biogen Idec and Swedish Orphan Biovitrum said their experimental blood disorder drug was effective in maintaining low bleeding rates in children in a late-stage trial.
** ACURA PHARMACEUTICALS INC, Wednesday close $1.37
The specialty pharmaceutical company said its partner Pfizer Inc returned the rights to Acura’s technology for developing abuse-resistant drugs. Acura will make a one-time payment of $2 million to Pfizer.
The news comes nearly seven months after a mid-stage trial testing a painkiller made with the same technology failed to meet study goals.
** WAL-MART STORES INC, Wednesday close $77.97
The retailer that leads U.S. stores in grocery sales said on Thursday it struck a deal to sell Wild Oats brand organic foods at non-organic prices. The move could help revive Walmart’s flagging grocery sales and boost the profile of the resurrected Wild Oats brand.
** HUNTSMAN CORP, Wednesday close $25.60
Wilmar International Ltd said its wholly owned unit has agreed to buy Huntsman’s European commodity surfactants business. The U.S. chemical maker plans to sell to Wilmar its ethoxylation facility in Lavera, France. In addition, Wilmar will sign a multi-year arrangement to buy sulphated surfactant products from Huntsman’s units in St. Mihiel, France and Castiglione delle Stiviere, Italy. Financial details of the deals were not disclosed by the companies.
Huntsman has also announced its plan to cease production at its Patrica, Italy commodity surfactants facility by October.
** IGATE CORP, Wednesday close $33.2
The outsourcing company reported better-than-expected results for the first quarter, helped by customer additions and contract wins.
** GAP INC, Wednesday close $39.98
The retailer is scheduled to report sales for March, giving investors a sense of how much the dip in consumer confidence hit sales just as stores start stocking spring merchandise. Analysts expect a dip in sales because of a later Easter this year and the unusually cold winter that continued into March.
** FAMILY DOLLAR STORES INC, Wednesday close $59.07
The convenience store operator said it would cut jobs, shut about 370 underperforming stores and lower prices on about 1,000 basic items. The job cuts and store closures are expected to reduce annual operating costs by $40 million to $45 million beginning third quarter of fiscal 2014.
** TITAN MACHINERY INC, Wednesday close $15.8
The farm equipment retailer reported a 10 percent drop in quarterly revenue and said it would reduce its workforce at its construction business by about 12 percent.
** CASH AMERICA INTERNATIONAL INC, Wednesday close $38.5
The payday lender said its board was reviewing a tax-free spinoff of its online lending business and other strategic alternatives.
** GOLDCORP INC, Wednesday close $25.58, -0.04 pct premarket
The world’s second-biggest gold miner by market value said on Thursday that it raised its offer to buy Osisko Mining Corp to about C$3.6 billion ($3.30 billion). (Compiled by Abhirup Roy; Edited by Maju Samuel)