(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 little changed on Thursday, following a sharp drop in the previous session as investors looked to upcoming economic data for trading incentives. Dow Jones industrial average futures were up 0.04 percent at 16,747, S&P 500 futures were up 0.14 percent at 1,943.5 and Nasdaq 100 futures were up 0.15 percent at 3,988.5.
** ESPERION THERAPEUTICS INC, Wednesday close $24.42, +32.68 pct premarket
The drugmaker said an experimental cholesterol-fighting drug being developed by the company lowered LDL levels significantly more than Merck & Co Inc's Zetia in a midstage clinical trial.
** REALD INC, Wednesday close $9.27, +23.73 pct premarket
Activist investor Starboard Value LP proposed to take the 3D technology licensor private for $12 per share. The offer represents a premium of 29 percent to RealD stock's Wednesday close of $9.27, valuing the company at about $540 million.
** TESLA MOTORS INC, Wednesday close $240.24, +4.27 pct premarket
The electric car maker's chief executive, Elon Musk, sent out a cryptic tweet on Wednesday, saying it is "about time to unveil the D and something else", with an accompanying photo which mentioned a date, Oct. 9.
** TWITTER INC, Wednesday close $50.06, +2.50 pct premarket
JP Morgan raised the microblogging website company's stock to "overweight" from "neutral" and increased its price target to $64 from $54. "Twitter is a primary beneficiary of the shift toward mobile advertising," JP Morgan analyst Doug Anmuth wrote in a note.
** ARIAD PHARMACEUTICALS INC, Wednesday close $5.28, +10.42 pct premarket
The drug developer said its experimental lung cancer drug received "breakthrough therapy" status from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
** FACEBOOK INC, Wednesday close $76.55, +0.65 pct premarket
Facebook said it would change its policy requiring users to go by their real names on the social network, following outrage over the locking of hundreds of accounts, including a number belonging to drag queens using their stage names.
** SEARS HOLDINGS CORP, Wednesday close $3.5116, +0.64 pct premarket
Sears Holdings said it would sell most of its stake in Sears Canada Inc through a rights issue that would raise up to $380 million ahead of the holiday season.
** DIRECTV, Wednesday close $86.59, +1.34 pct premarket
The U.S. satellite TV provider extended its exclusive contract to sell the Sunday Ticket package of National Football League games, and sources said the company will pay $1.5 billion a year to keep the popular offering that has helped attract subscribers.
** COCA-COLA CO, Wednesday close $42.74
The beverage maker, facing criticism from Warren Buffett and other investors for its outsized employee share rewards, said it had adopted new guidelines that will limit its executive compensation plan starting next year.
** JPMORGAN CHASE & CO, Wednesday close $59.77, -0.87 pct premarket
UBS Investment Research downgraded the bank's stock to "neutral" from "buy". Lower loan growth, "nearly insatiable appetite for fines by regulators," and increasing capital requirements will pinch the bank, UBS analyst Brennan Hawken wrote in a note to clients.
** DISH NETWORK CORP, Wednesday close $63.6
** VERIZON COMMUNICATIONS INC, Wednesday close $49.43, +0.14 pct premarket
** AT&T INC, Wednesday close $34.96, +0.34 pct premarket
** T-MOBILE US INC, Wednesday close $28.11
Three of the four largest U.S. wireless carriers and satellite provider Dish Network plan to bid in the Federal Communications Commission's November auction of airwaves, according to initial applications released on Wednesday. The largest U.S. wireless carrier Verizon Communications, AT&T Inc, T-Mobile US and Dish appeared to be the largest companies to indicate an interest in bidding in the upcoming auction of frequencies known as AWS-3.
** BANK OF AMERICA CORP, Wednesday close $16.82, +0.65 pct premarket
The Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank said it named Chief Executive Brian Moynihan as chairman of its board, effective immediately.
** DOW CHEMICAL CO, Wednesday close $50.45, +0.10 pct premarket
Dow said it expected to raise more than $2 billion from three chemical businesses that it has put up for sale as part of a plan to raise as much as $6 billion from asset sales.
** AMAZON.COM INC, Wednesday close $317.46, +0.05 pct premarket
The online retailer plans to sell packaged food and beverages in India from mid-October, the Economic Times reported, citing a person familiar with the matter.
** EXPEDIA INC, Wednesday close $84.78
Australia's antitrust regulator on Thursday cleared the online travel giant to buy local rival Wotif.com Holdings Ltd , saying it did not expect the A$699 million ($610 million) deal to substantially lessen competition.
** HEWLETT-PACKARD CO, Wednesday close $34.55, +0.29 pct premarket
Hewlett-Packard's vice president of server engineering expects new lower-power servers made with technology from ARM Holdings to make inroads in niche data centers over the next year in a market dominated by Intel Corp.
** WILAN INC, Wednesday close $3.5116
The Canadian patent licensing company on Wednesday said a U.S. judge had ruled in favor of Apple Inc in a litigation case against it.
** MASIMO CORP, Wednesday close $24.02, -0.54 pct premarket
The Dutch healthcare equipment company Philips said on Thursday it would appeal against a U.S court ruling ordering it to pay $466.8 million in compensation to Masimo for infringing two patents.
** BHP BILLITON LTD, Wednesday close $58.45, +0.79 pct premarket
The mining company <BHP.AX BLT.L> on Thursday agreed to a two-year contract to buy nickel ore from Poseidon Nickel Ltd to feed its Nickel West operations in Australia. The step indicates that BHP plans to keep running the loss-making division as it looks to sell it.
** AGRIUM INC, Wednesday close $87.97, -5.05 pct premarket
The Canadian fertilizer producer said on Wednesday that it expected third-quarter earnings from continuing operations of 45 cents to 55 cents per share, falling short of Wall Street expectations.
** LOCKHEED MARTIN CORP, Wednesday close $177.89, +0.12 pct premarket
** RAYTHEON CO, Wednesday close $99.19, +0.03 pct premarket
** NORTHROP GRUMMAN CORP, Wednesday close $128.02
The U.S. Air Force is close to announcing the winner of a three-way competition between Lockheed, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman to build the next generation of long-range radars, senior military officials said.
In another development, the U.S. State Department has approved a $1.75 billion sale to Saudi Arabia to upgrade its Patriot air defense system with PAC-3 missiles, a deal that would benefit Lockheed and Raytheon, the Pentagon said on Wednesday.
** FORD MOTOR CO, Wednesday close $14.59
The auto maker's CEO told reporters at Paris Auto Show that by 2016, 99 percent of Ford's global sales will be of vehicles built on just nine "platforms," compared to 27 platforms in 2007. (Compiled by Anannya Pramanick; Editing by Maju Samuel)