(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) Wall Street was set for a slightly higher open on Friday following a better-than-expected payrolls report that suggested a sharp rebound in economic activity early in the second quarter. Dow Jones industrial average futures were up 0.12 percent at 16,508, S&P 500 futures were up 0.04 percent at 1,878.4 and Nasdaq 100 futures were up 0.22 percent at 3,594.5.
** PFIZER INC, Thursday close $31.15, -0.58 pct premarket
AstraZeneca’s board said it had rejected an improved $106 billion takeover offer from the U.S. drug maker, saying the bid undervalued the firm.
** INVENSENSE INC, Thursday close $20.59, -11.12 pct premarket
The motion-sensor chip maker reported fourth-quarter adjusted profit below analysts’ average estimate, as it increased research and development spending.
The company also forecast a weak current quarter on a conference call with analysts, prompting at least four brokerages to lower their price targets on the stock.
** MERCK & CO INC, Thursday close $59.62, -0.20 pct premarket
German drugmaker Bayer <AG BAYGn.DE> is nearing an agreement to buy Merck’s consumer healthcare unit, people familiar with the matter said, in a deal that could value the business at around $14 billion.
** KEYW HOLDING CORP, Thursday close $13.07, -8.19 pct premarket
The maker of cyber-security products, which counts the National Security Agency among its customers, reported an 18 percent fall in first-quarter revenue that also missed analysts’ average estimate, hurt mainly by lower orders from the U.S. government.
** DORAL FINANCIAL CORP, Thursday close $9.82, -12.42 pct premarket
The lender said it was revising its capital plan, which could include a sale of assets and businesses, in an effort to meet regulatory requirements.
** MICROS SYSTEMS INC, Thursday close $51.95, +4.00 pct after market
The maker of data management systems for retailers and hotel chains reported better-than-expected third-quarter results on Thursday, helped by a 22 percent rise in hardware sales.
** SEQUENOM INC, Thursday close $2.671, +9.70 pct premarket
The genetic tests provider reported a smaller-than-expected first-quarter loss, helped by a 27 percent rise in revenue from its diagnostic services business. The company said about 75 percent of the $37.1 million in diagnostic services revenue was from payments collected for tests performed in prior periods.
** MANITOWOC CO INC, Thursday close $32.28, -5.05 pct premarket
The crane maker reported first-quarter results below analysts’ average estimate, partly due to project delays.
** EQUAL ENERGY LTD, Thursday close $4.43, +16.25 pct premarket
The oil and gas producer said on Thursday it would pay two dividends of 5 cents per common share each, as per an agreement signed with Petroflow Energy Corp. The company added that Petroflow had obtained financing commitments needed for the acquisition of Equal Energy.
** RUBICON TECHNOLOGY INC, Thursday close $10.18, -9.63 pct premarket
The maker of sapphire cores and wafers forecast a bigger-than-expected current-quarter loss due to gross margin weakness. At least two brokerages cut their price targets on the company’s stock.
** BLUCORA INC, Thursday close $19.43, -9.16 pct premarket
The online tax-preparation and web-search provider forecast current-quarter revenue well below analysts’ average expectation, as a technology shift in its search business is expected to depress results.
At least three brokerages cut their price targets on the stock.
** ACTUATE CORP, Thursday close $5.5, -0.58 pct premarket
The business management and analytics software maker reported a surprise first-quarter loss, as license revenue fell 60 percent due to a delay in orders by some customers.
** JINKOSOLAR HOLDING CO LTD, Thursday close $27.35, +1.43 pct premarket
The Chinese solar company said it would supply 100 megawatt (MW) of modules for two solar projects in Chile’s Atacama Desert region.
** SKULLCANDY INC, Thursday close $7.75, +13.16 pct premarket
The headphones maker reported a smaller-than-expected first-quarter loss helped by a 20 percent rise in sales outside the United States. It also forecast current-quarter sales to grow 5 to 7 percent from $50.8 million a year earlier.
** KODIAK OIL & GAS CORP, Thursday close $12.47, -5.05 pct premarket
Wunderlich Securities and BMO Capital Markets cut their price targets on the oil and gas producer’s stock after it cut its full-year 2014 production outlook on Thursday.
The company said colder-than-normal weather led to a slowdown in production in North Dakota in the first quarter.
** ON SEMICONDUCTOR CORP, Thursday close $9.38, -4.90 pct premarket
The maker of power-management chips reported first-quarter revenue below analysts’ average estimate, hurt mainly by lower prices for its products.
** VERTEX PHARMACEUTICALS INC, Thursday close $68.95, +0.80 pct premarket
The drug maker on Thursday said a combination of its cystic fibrosis drug Kalydeco and an experimental compound was shown to improve lung function in a mid-stage trial.
** HERBALIFE LTD, Thursday close $59.59
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is probing whether a number of hedge funds many have acted improperly when they made bets on the nutrition and weight loss company last year, a source said.
** CANADIAN SOLAR INC, Thursday close $27.51, +2.54 pct premarket
The solar power company said it would receive a C$115.5 million ($105.23 million) loan from National Bank of Canada , which it will use to finance the construction of three solar power projects in Ontario, Canada.
($1 = 1.0976 Canadian Dollars)
** VISTEON CORP, Thursday close $87.45
The auto parts maker said it would sell most of its automotive interiors business to private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management LP as it focuses on its fast-growing climate control and electronics operations.
** NEWS CORP, Thursday close $17.3
News Corp said it would buy romance novel publisher Harlequin Enterprises Ltd from Canadian newspaper company Torstar Corp to boost its non-English book publishing.
** OCH-ZIFF CAPITAL MANAGEMENT GROUP, Thursday close $12.25, +2.04 pct premarket
Och-Ziff Capital reported a lower quarterly profit, but the hedge fund still beat analysts’ expectations as billions of dollars in new money flowed into its portfolios and helped offset lower earnings by its funds.
** MARCHEX INC, Thursday close $1.27, +10.80 pct premarket
The provider of call-based advertising services reported better-than-expected first-quarter results on Thursday as advertisers spent more on mobile advertising.
At least two brokerages raised their price targets on the stock on Friday.
** SPIRIT AEROSYSTEMS HOLDINGS INC, Thursday close $30.43, +11.30 pct premarket
The aircraft component maker’s quarterly profit nearly doubled, partly helped by strong demand for large commercial aircraft.
** CVS CAREMARK CORP, Thursday close $73.09
The company posted a higher quarterly profit as its pharmacy benefits business won new clients and it benefited from the introduction of new generic drugs.
** AMN HEALTHCARE SERVICES INC, Thursday close $12.6, -8.89 pct premarket
The healthcare staffing services provider on Thursday reported first-quarter revenue that missed analysts’ average estimate, hurt by lower revenue in its nurse and allied healthcare staffing business due to the impact of bad weather and cost pressures.
At least three brokerages cut their price targets on the company’s stock.
** SERVICESOURCE INTERNATIONAL INC, Thursday close $6.25, -17.60 pct premarket
The company, which helps manage service contract renewals mainly for technology companies, reported first-quarter revenue below analysts’ average estimate, hurt by slowing growth at its managed services business.
“ServiceSource missed its own internal bookings targets for the third quarter in a row,” JMP Securities analyst Patrick Walravens wrote in a research note. Walravens cut his price target on the stock to $9 from $15.
** IMMUNOMEDICS INC, Thursday close $4.14, -18.12 pct premarket
The company said it planned to offer an undisclosed number of shares of its common stock to fund its late-stage pancreatic cancer trial and the ongoing mid-stage studies of its experimental compounds IMMU-132 and IMMU-130.
** LINKEDIN CORP, Thursday close $161.22, -1.57 pct premarket
The social networking company forecast 2014 revenue below Wall Street’s expectations on Thursday, underscoring concerns about its ability to sustain its rapid growth and helping to drag its shares lower.
** ACORDA THERAPEUTICS INC, Thursday close $35.9
Acorda said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration rejected its nasal spray to treat epilepsy patients who experience repetitive seizures.
The drugmaker did not disclose the reason for the rejection, but said it planned to resubmit the application for the treatment.
** AGNICO-EAGLE MINES LTD, Thursday close $29.59, +6.93 pct premarket
The miner posted an increase in first-quarter earnings on Thursday despite weaker bullion prices, as it reported significantly higher gold production and lower production costs.
** PENN WEST PETROLEUM LTD, Thursday close $9.15, +1.64 pct premarket
The Canadian oil and gas producer reported a 5 percent fall in gross revenue after production decreased 22 percent.
** BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY INC, Thursday close $193,428
Berkshire’s energy unit said on Thursday it would buy AltaLink, Canada’s regulated electricity transmission company, from SNC-Lavalin Group Inc for about $2.9 billion in cash.
** KRAFT FOODS GROUP INC, Thursday close $193,428, +0.28 pct premarket
The company on Thursday reported a higher quarterly profit, helped by cost cuts and gains related to moves to manage the cost of key ingredients in its products such as Velveeta cheese and Maxwell House coffee.
** AKAMAI TECHNOLOGIES INC, Thursday close $54.53, +2.55 pct premarket
Akamai, which hosts content for companies on its servers, forecast current-quarter results above analysts’ estimates and it posted better-than-expected quarterly results as more people play games and watch videos online.
** SCIQUEST INC, Thursday close $23.77, -24.27 pct premarket
The company, whose cloud-based software helps manage supply chains, cut its full-year profit and sales forecast as its enterprise customers delayed signing up for its services.
** OPENTABLE INC, Thursday close $68.27, -3.37 pct premarket
The operator of restaurant booking website OpenTable.com, posted its first quarterly loss in five years, due to higher marketing costs aimed at stemming the slide in the number of restaurants signing up for its services.
** CHEVRON CORP, Thursday close $124.94, -1.15 pct premarket
The second-largest U.S. oil company is expected to report a drop in first-quarter profit, as production slipped around the world and the price of crude oil dipped slightly. (Compiled by Rohit T. K. in Bangalore; Editing by Simon Jennings)