May 1, 2014 / 11:15 AM / 3 years ago

MARKET PULSE-Merrimack Pharma, T-Mobile, Yelp, Facebook, DirecTV

(For more market insights, including options activity, click on ; for the Day Ahead newsletter link.reuters.com/mex49s) U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Thursday. Dow Jones industrial average futures were up 0.07 percent at 16,522, S&P 500 futures were up 0.05 percent at 1,878.8 and Nasdaq 100 futures were up 0.27 percent at 3,583.

** SPRINT CORP, Wednesday close $8.5, +8.82 pct premarket

** T-MOBILE US INC, Wednesday close $29.29, +7.78 pct premarket

Sprint is meeting with banks to work out funding for its bid for smaller rival T-Mobile, a source familiar with the situation said, as the mobile carrier works to ease regulatory concerns that the deal would hurt competition.

** MERRIMACK PHARMACEUTICALS INC, Wednesday close $4.39, +84.05 pct premarket

Merrimack said its experimental cancer drug, when used in combination with two other drugs, improved the overall survival rate in patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer in a late-stage study.

** T-MOBILE US INC, Wednesday close $29.29, +7.78 pct premarket

T-Mobile said it added 2.4 million net customers in the first quarter, up from 579,000 a year earlier, as the company’s aggressive discounts won over customers.

** BOEING CO, Wednesday close $129.02, +0.35 pct premarket

The company said it expects to finish flight testing its stretched 787-9 Dreamliner in the next two months and deliver it around mid-year, one of six new jets the world’s biggest plane-maker aims to get into service by the end of the decade.

** LOCKHEED MARTIN CORP, Wednesday close $164.14

** BOEING CO, Wednesday close $129.02, +0.35 pct premarket

A U.S. Court of Federal Claims judge issued an injunction late on Wednesday prohibiting a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Boeing from proceeding with plans to buy Russian-made rocket engines used to send U.S. Air Force satellites into space.

** MERCK & CO INC, Wednesday close $58.56

The U.S. drugmaker is considering selling a big portfolio of mature drugs that could fetch more than $15 billion, according to people familiar with the matter, as it continues to streamline businesses to focus on high-growth areas.

In a separate development, Reckitt Benckiser Group said on Wednesday it was no longer in active talks with Merck about buying its consumer health business, leaving Germany’s Bayer as a leading contender for the $14 billion business.

** TEXTRON INC, Wednesday close $40.9

The world’s largest maker of business aircraft reported a 24 percent drop in quarterly profit, partly due to lower deliveries of its Bell helicopters and unmanned aircraft systems.

** VIACOM INC, Wednesday close $84.98

The U.S. media company said it would buy British free-to-air TV broadcaster Channel 5 from media baron Richard Desmond for 450 million pounds ($760 million) to expand in the United Kingdom.

($1 = 0.5922 British Pounds)

** CHESAPEAKE ENERGY CORP, Wednesday close $28.75

** ENCANA CORP, Wednesday close $23.21

The U.S. Department of Justice has ended a probe of possible antitrust violations by Chesapeake Energy and Encana related to their land-leasing activities in Michigan, the companies said.

** THE COCA-COLA CO, Wednesday close $40.79

The world’s largest soft drinks company is likely to revise its controversial equity compensation plan for executives before it goes into effect in 2015, following pressure from Warren Buffett, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

** QUALCOMM INC, Wednesday close $78.71

The chipmaker is spinning off its location-awareness technology, which is compatible with Apple Inc’s iBeacon version, to a group of investors including music, sports and arena conglomerate AEG.

** WESTERN DIGITAL CORP, Wednesday close $88.08

The hard-disk drive maker reported a 4 percent fall in quarterly profit due to a decrease in sales to personal computer makers.

** AT&T INC, Wednesday close $35.7, -0.56 pct premarket

** DIRECTV, Wednesday close $77.6, +6.96 pct premarket

AT&T has approached DirecTV about a possible acquisition of the satellite TV company, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the situation.

** FACEBOOK INC, Wednesday close $59.78, +1.37 pct premarket

The social networking company rolled out a new service that it envisions will distribute ads across a network of mobile applications, opening the door to a new source of revenue.

** YELP INC, Wednesday close $58.32, +9.74 pct premarket

The operator of consumer review website Yelp.com reported a better-than-expected 66 percent jump in quarterly revenue due to higher revenue from local advertising on mobile devices.

** METLIFE INC, Wednesday close $52.35

The largest U.S. life insurer reported a 36 percent rise in net income, helped by a derivative gain linked to credit spreads, but operating earnings fell short of market expectations as claims increased.

** FLEXTRONICS INTERNATIONAL LTD, Wednesday close $8.99

The contract electronics manufacturer reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter revenue and adjusted profit on Wednesday, helped by higher demand from its game console and smartphone customers.

** JDS UNIPHASE CORP, Wednesday close $12.67

The maker of communication and networking equipment posted weaker-than-expected quarterly results due to a delay in orders, and the company forecast current-quarter results below analysts’ average estimate.

** CIGNA CORP, Wednesday close $80.04

The U.S. health insurer said on Thursday that its first-quarter profit rose as revenue increased, medical customers grew and it managed medical costs of its commercial and Medicare customers.

** CME GROUP INC, Wednesday close $70.39

The worst-ever trading outage on the world’s most important agricultural markets was triggered when sophisticated technology tripped over a trading halt in a single market, the executive chairman of exchange operator CME Group Inc told Reuters.

The world’s largest futures market operator is expected to report on Thursday that trading revenues have increased due to stronger volumes. In March, volume was up more than 13 percent from the previous year due largely to a big increase in trading of interest rate products.

** WALTER ENERGY, Wednesday close $7.2, -2.78 pct premarket

** ALPHA NATURAL RESOURCES INC, Wednesday close $4.3

The coal miners are expected to report wider losses as depressed coal margins continue to weigh on their results. While low prices for both steel-making metallurgical coal and electricity-generating thermal coal have taken a toll on profitability, cost-cutting measures have helped both companies beat market expectations in the past.

** LEGG MASON INC, Wednesday close $46.89

The asset manager is scheduled to announce results for the three months ended March 31, its fiscal fourth quarter, premarket. Analysts expect it to earn 58 cents per share. The company is slowly recovering from years of outflows, but must now prove it can attract cash from investors, including to its big Western Asset bond unit. A year into his job, CEO Joe Sullivan has also promised more revisions to financial arrangements with Western and other affiliates, though these may not affect shareholders.

** MOTOROLA SOLUTIONS INC, Wednesday close $63.58

The maker of walkie-talkies, data capture and security products estimated first-quarter results below analysts’ expectations, saying volumes in its North America government business were lower than expected and some orders in its enterprise business were delayed. Barcode printer maker Zebra Technologies Corp said in April it would buy Motorola Solutions’ enterprise business for $3.45 billion. After the sale, Motorola Solutions will be left with its core government and public safety business. It will also retain the iDEN products portfolio of its enterprise business.

** KELLOGG CO, Wednesday close $66.83

The world’s largest maker of breakfast cereals will report results after three straight quarters of cereal sales declines, as it battles a consumer shift towards cheaper options and breakfast alternatives such as yogurt and frozen egg sandwiches. To stem the fall in sales, Kellogg said it would invest in packaging, shopper programs, mobile and in-store ads and also develop new healthier foods such as those infused with omega 3 and special cakes with quinoa to cater to new consumer tastes.

** AVON PRODUCTS INC, Wednesday close $15.28

Investors will be on the lookout for signs that Avon’s U.S. business is improving, after the direct seller of beauty products last month began implementing its strategy for fixing its business in its home market. The company is also likely to provide an update on its talks with the U.S. government to settle a long-running bribery probe.

** MARATHON PETROLEUM CORP, Wednesday close $92.95

The third-largest standalone U.S. refining company is expected to benefit from higher refining margins in the first quarter. However, two of the company’s largest refineries - the Garyville refinery in Los Angles and the Galveston Bay refinery in Texas - were offline in the first quarter due to maintenance activities, weighing on the company’s total throughput volumes. In addition, Marathon, like other refiners, will likely be hurt by higher costs for Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs), ethanol credits used to meet quotas for blending biofuel into gasoline and diesel.

** LAZARD LTD, Wednesday close $47.05

Lazard reports earnings for the first quarter ended March 31. Analysts have raised estimates for the investment bank, due to better-than-expected deal volumes and asset management fees. The average estimate of 54 cents per share is much higher than the earnings of 28 cents per share Lazard reported in the same quarter a year ago.

** HARMAN INTERNATIONAL INDUSTRIES, Wednesday close $109.61

Stronger-than-expected first-quarter auto production in Europe is expected to have boosted results for Harman, which makes audio systems for luxury car makers such as Volkswagen and BMW and gets more than half its revenue from the region.

** KENNAMETAL INC, Wednesday close $46.73

The supplier of cutting, milling and drilling tools is likely to be negatively impacted by a slower-than-expected recovery in demand from the oil and gas markets and weakness in underground mining in the U.S. and China. The company expects sales volumes to remain weak in its infrastructure segment. The company’s acquisition of TMB also impacted infrastructure segment operating income in the second quarter and will be dilutive to its earnings in 2014.

** MASTERCARD INC, Wednesday close $73.55, -1.13 pct premarket

The world’s second-largest debit and credit card company’s first-quarter results are expected to be hit by a slowdown in U.S. consumer spending after an unusually harsh winter and a loss of business from Russia. Its bigger rival Visa said last week that U.S. sanctions on Russia were hurting card transaction volumes and warned that a strong dollar would hurt its revenue growth.

** BORGWARNER INC, Wednesday close $62.14

The maker of all-wheel drive systems and dual clutch transmission modules is expected to benefit from rising auto demand in the United States. After being tepid for the first two months of the year, U.S. auto sales rose more than expected in March. BorgWarner is also one of the biggest suppliers of turbocharging technology, which is expected to get a boost as automakers use it to meet upcoming federal standards for fuel economy. (Compiled by Rohit T. K. in Bangalore; Editing by Simon Jennings)

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