(For faster updates on individual market-movers, Eikon users please use search string "STXBZ US"; for more market insights, including options activity, ; 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 flat on Friday, with investors holding off on making big bets ahead of the release of key consumer data, though the Dow and S&P 500 were on track to snap a five-week streak of gains. Dow Jones industrial average e-mini futures were up 0.01 percent at 17,044, S&P 500 futures were down 0.01 percent at 1,996.75 and Nasdaq 100 futures were down 0.03 percent at 4,089.75.
** TESLA MOTORS, Thursday close $280.31, +0.39 pct premarket
Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval signed a package of bills to provide $1.3 billion in tax breaks and other incentives for Tesla Motors, putting a bow on the deal for the electric car company to build a massive factory in the state.
** ULTA SALON COSMETICS AND FRAGRANCE INC, Thursday close $97.48, +15.82 pct premarket
The beauty product retailer raised its full-year same-store sales growth forecast to 7.8 percent from 4-6 percent, while its second-quarter sales and profit beat estimates.
The company raised its full-year earnings per share growth estimate to 20 percent from the mid-teens percentage and also forecast higher-than-expected current quarter sales, helped by new products and increased traffic.
** AUTOBYTEL INC, Thursday close $7.99, +3.00 pct premarket
The automotive marketing services company forecast third-quarter revenue growth of 25-26 percent, up from its 22-26 percent forecast earlier.
Autobytel also reported third-quarter revenue of $21.6 million a year earlier.
** NOVO NORDISK, Thursday close $46.78, +2.27 pct premarket
An advisory panel to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said that the Danish drug developer’s drug, liraglutide, was safe and effective enough to warrant approval for use in chronically obese patients with at least one weight-related health issue.
The panel voted 14 to 1 to recommend the drug, which is already approved to treat diabetes under the brand name Victoza. The FDA typically follows the recommendations of its advisory panels.
The drug will be sold under the name Saxenda if approved and will compete with Vivus Inc’s Qsymia and Belviq from Arena Pharmaceuticals Inc and Eisai as well as Contrave from Orexigen Inc.
** ALLIANCE DATA SYSTEMS CORP, Thursday close $252.87
** CONVERSANT INC, Thursday close $26.71, +31.79 pct premarket
Credit card processor Alliance Data Systems said it would buy Conversant for about $2.3 billion in cash and stock to boost its digital marketing business.
** ROCKET FUEL INC, Thursday close $16.29, +4.97 pct premarket
Evercore Partners raised its price target on the web-based video advertising provider’s shares to $17 from $15.
“Credit card processor Alliance Data Systems Corp’s acquisition of Conversant Inc could have “sector consolidation implications for the newer ad tech companies, including FUEL,” Evercore analysts wrote in a note.
Alliance Data said on Thursday that it would buy Conversant for about $2.3 billion in cash and stock to boost its digital marketing business.
** WEIBO CORP, Thursday close $24.34, +0.78 pct premarket
There is a “rumor on the market that Alibaba is to acquire 100 percent of Weibo”, said JG Capital Analyst Henry Guo. Alibaba Group Holding Ltd has an 18 pct stake in Weibo.
“Think about the situation of AutoNavi and UCweb, the recent two acquisitions Alibaba made all have the similar situation: controlling a smaller percentage of ownership in the beginning and then acquiring 100 percent the company,” said Guo.
** XPO LOGISTICS INC, Thursday close $34.05, +8.66 pct premarket
The logistics services provider got a $700 million investment from Singapore’s GIC, Canada’s PSP Investments and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan.
The company said it would sell newly issued common stock and preferred stock to the investors and intends to use funds primarily for acquisitions.
The company, which has Jacobs Private Equity LLC as its largest shareholder, raised its 2017 financial target to about $9 billion of revenue from $7.5 billion.
** FACEBOOK INC, Thursday close $77.92, +0.18 pct premarket
Facebook has approached some of YouTube’s biggest content producers to get them to distribute their videos on the social network, the Wall Street Journal said on Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter.
Facebook seems to be taking on Google Inc’s video site by trying to lure its biggest content producers to the social network, the Journal said.
** SPRINT CORP, Thursday close $6.57, +1.98 pct premarket
Sprint will not bid in the upcoming auction of U.S. radio airwaves, looking ahead to the bigger sale of spectrum planned for next year, a company spokesman said on Thursday.
** HERTZ GLOBAL HOLDINGS INC, Thursday close $27.75, +4.32 pct premarket
The car rental company said it would add three directors nominated by billionaire investor Carl Icahn to its board.
** ALLERGAN INC, Thursday close $168.33
More than 35 percent of Allergan investors have asked the company to call a special meeting handing a victory to billionaire investor William Ackman who is trying to broker a sale of the Botox maker to Valeant Pharmaceuticals.
** EBAY INC, Thursday close $50.68
EBay will begin running advertisements on its mobile app in the fourth quarter, moving the e-commerce company into the fast-growing and lucrative market for ads on devices such as smart phones and tablets.
** SONY CORP, Thursday close $19.8
The consumer electronics maker’s planned cloud-based TV service is likely to face competition from a similar service that Verizon Communications Inc plans to launch in the first half of next year.
Sony said on Wednesday that it had secured rights to carry 22 Viacom Inc channels, including Comedy Central and MTV, on its planned cloud-based television service. Dish Network Corp and DirecTV are also developing similar services.
** BLACKSTONE GROUP LP, Thursday close $32.57
** BURGER KING WORLDWIDE INC, Thursday close $30.82
Blackstone Group plans to sell about 260 Burger King Worldwide locations owned by a unit in the U.S. Midwest to Texas-based fast-food franchisee Houston Foods Inc, Bloomberg reported.
** NEWMONT MINING CORP, Thursday close $25.59, -0.20 pct premarket
Precious metals miner Fresnillo Plc said it would buy Newmont Mining’s 44 percent stake in their Mexico joint venture mines for $450 million in cash, increasing its exposure to gold mining in the country.
** HEWLETT-PACKARD CO, Thursday close $36.76
Hewlett-Packard plans to buy cloud software startup Eucalyptus Software, a rare acquisition for the company since its failed $11 billion purchase of Britain’s Autonomy Plc in 2011.
** AKORN INC, Thursday close $37.85
The U.S. specialty drugmaker is exploring a bid for Belgian drugmaker UCB SA’s U.S. subsidiary, a deal that would allow the company to move its tax domicile overseas in a practice known as inversion, according to people familiar with the matter.
** JPMORGAN CHASE & CO, Thursday close $59.76
The bank said it had not seen any unusual customer fraud related to a recent cyber attack.
** DARDEN RESTAURANTS INC, Thursday close $48.29
Darden Restaurants reported a quarterly loss after same-restaurant sales fell again at its Olive Garden chain, which contributes about two-thirds to profit.
Separately, activist investor Starboard Value LP continued to pile pressure on Darden Restaurants, suggesting an action plan to boost the Olive Garden owner’s value, the Wall Street Journal reported.
** SPORTSMAN’S WAREHOUSE HOLDINGS INC, Thursday close $6.04
The sports goods retailer posted a better-than-expected second-quarter profit, helped by higher sales at new stores opened during the quarter.
The company forecast full-year adjusted earnings per share in line with the average analyst estimate. (Reporting By Shubhankar Chakravorty in Bangalore; Editing by Simon Jennings)