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U.S. stock index futures pointed to a lower Wall Street open on Thursday, with earlier gains erased as concerns about global growth spurred investors to take profit following a massive advance in the previous session. Dow Jones industrial average e-mini futures were down 0.35 percent at 16,843, S&P 500 e-mini futures were down 0.31 percent at 1,955.75 and Nasdaq 100 e-mini futures were down 0.24 percent at 4,021.
** PEPSICO INC, Wednesday close $93.94, +1.02 pct premarket
The company raised its full-year earnings per share guidance as its quarterly profit rose on strong snack sales. The company said that net income was $2 billion, or $1.32 a share, in the third quarter ended Sept. 6, up from $1.9 billion, or $1.23 a share a year earlier. The company increased its full year earnings per share growth forecast to 9 percent from 8 percent before taking into account currency impacts.
** AUXILIUM PHARMACEUTICALS INC, Wednesday close $29.76, +11.66 pct premarket
** ENDO INTERNATIONAL PLC, Wednesday close $71, -0.70 pct premarket
Endo International said it would buy Auxilium in a deal valued at $2.6 billion, including the repayment and assumption of debt. Endo’s offer of $33.25 per share represents a premium of about 12 percent to Auxilium’s Wednesday close and is higher than Endo’s previous offer of $28.10.
** GENTIVA HEALTH SERVICES INC, Wednesday close $16.71, +14.78 pct premarket
** KINDRED HEALTHCARE INC, Wednesday close $19.74
Kindred said it would buy Gentiva in a cash and stock deal valued at $1.8 billion, including the assumption of net debt. Kindred said the deal, which it valued at $19.50 per share, would enhance its position as a post-acute care and rehabilitation service provider.
** GAP INC, Wednesday close $41.9, -10.81 pct premarket
The apparel retailer’s Chief Executive Glenn Murphy will retire in February and hand over the reins of the company to its digital business head Art Peck, as the company looks to tap customers’ increasing preference for online shopping.
The company’s September same-store sales were flat, hurt by weak sales at the Gap brand, compared with analysts’ expectations of a 1.1 percent rise. At least three brokerages cut their ratings on the stock to “hold” on Thursday.
** ALLERGAN INC, Wednesday close $190.5, +1.31 pct premarket
The botox maker lifted its third-quarter profit estimate and said the updated forecast showed that Valeant Pharmaceuticals Inc’s takeover offer undervalued the company.
Allergan said it now expects adjusted earnings of $1.76-$1.78 per share for the quarter, up from its previous forecast of $1.44-$1.47, helped by an increase in market share and product approvals.
** APPLE INC, Wednesday close $100.8, +0.55 pct premarket
Billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn urged the company’s board to start a tender offer to repurchase shares using a part of its cash pile of $133 billion.
"We believe Apple is dramatically undervalued in today's market, and the more shares repurchased now, the more each remaining shareholder will benefit ...," Icahn wrote in a letter to Apple's board. (bit.ly/1sk0yQO)
** IMPAX LABORATORIES INC, Wednesday close $23.84, +11.16 pct premarket
Impax said it gained access to an emergency anti-allergen injection, epinephrine, by acquiring two privately held Pennsylvania drugmakers for $700 million. Impax said it bought Lineage Therapeutics Inc, which sells a generic epinephrine drug administered through its USP auto-injector system, and Tower Holdings Inc.
** ALCOA INC, Wednesday close $16.07, +1.31 pct premarket
The aluminum company reported a stronger-than-expected increase in third-quarter profit as higher aluminum prices and lower costs drove a recovery in its business unit that produces aluminum. In an interview, Alcoa Chief Executive Klaus Kleinfeld said the “upstream” raw materials business had its best quarter since the 2008 economic slump. “Our performance this time is more great proof that our strategy is working,” he said.
** ADVANCED MICRO DEVICES, Wednesday close $3.28, -8.54 pct premarket
The chipmaker named Chief Operating officer Lisa Su as president and chief executive, replacing Rory Read, effective immediately.
Wedbush Securities analysts said timing of the appointment so close to AMD’s Q3 earnings report next week and the fact that Su and Read are still negotiating their compensation are signs that the company’s turnaround may be taking longer than anticipated.
** GT ADVANCED TECHNOLOGIES INC, Wednesday close $1.1, +2.73 pct premarket
The company asked a U.S. bankruptcy court to keep under seal some key documents relating to a third-party, saying this would allow it to avoid paying damages under confidentiality agreements. GT Advanced did not disclose the identity of the third-party or the nature of the potential contract violations.
** TESLA MOTORS INC, Wednesday close $259.28, +0.93 pct premarket
Credit Suisse adds the electric carmaker’s shares to its U.S. and global focus lists. Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk is expected to unveil a new car on Thursday featuring automated driving technology.
** VODAFONE GROUP PLC, Wednesday close $33.26, -3.22 pct premarket
Nomura cut its rating on the company’s stock to “reduce” from “neutral”, seeing scope for its competition to increase. Nomura said it expects new entrants into markets in the UK, the Netherlands and India.
** BALLARD POWER SYSTEMS INC, Wednesday close $2.97, +3.70 pct premarket
** PLUG POWER INC, Wednesday close $4.55, +1.10 pct premarket
Ballard said on Wednesday that it would continue to supply fuel stacks to Plug Power till at least the end of 2017.
“We had originally felt that Plug Power would attempt to bring some of the fuel-cell technology development efforts in-house given efforts with Air Liquide and the ReliOn acquisition, so this deal certainly removes an overhang for Ballard Power investors in our view,” Cowen & Co analysts wrote in a note on Thursday.
** RUBY TUESDAY INC, Wednesday close $5.92, +15.37 pct premarket
The restaurant chain operator swung to a first-quarter profit after five straight quarters of losses as more customers visited its casual dining restaurants, driving better-than-expected same-restaurant sales.
** U.S. STEEL CORP, Wednesday close $36.58
A provincial court on Wednesday approved the company’s C$185 million ($167 million) debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing facility for its Canadian unit and extended its protection from creditors until late January. [ID: nL2N0S32OC]
** COMCAST CORP, Wednesday close $54.77
** TIME WARNER CABLE INC, Wednesday close $147.28
Largest U.S. cable operator Comcast said more than 99 percent of its shareholders approved its $45 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable. Time Warner Cable shareholders will vote on the deal, which is expected to close in early 2015, on Oct. 9.
** JANUS CAPITAL GROUP INC, Wednesday close $14.54
Bill Gross’s Janus Global Unconstrained Bond Fund attracted $66.42 million in net inflows in September, increasing its assets more than six-fold last month when the former Pimco bond fund star announced his departure to join Janus Capital, according to research firm Morningstar. [ID: nL2N0S3176]
** BANK OF AMERICA CORP, Wednesday close $17.12
** JPMORGAN CHASE & CO, Wednesday close $60.4
Bank of America Corp has clinched a deal to provide inventory and working capital financing to the biggest oil refinery on the East Coast, replacing JPMorgan with a revamped arrangement that excludes physical supplies, according to a source familiar with the deal. [ID: nL2N0S328A]
** BOSTON SCIENTIFIC CORP, Wednesday close $12.14
An advisory panel to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration offered a mixed view of the company’s Watchman heart device on Wednesday, concluding it is probably safe but not particularly effective in reducing the risk of stroke in patients with a certain type of irregular heart beat. [ID: L2N0S32HU]
** DARDEN RESTAURANTS INC, Wednesday close $49.99
Activist investor Starboard Value LP appeared poised to gain control of Darden’s board at the company’s annual shareholder meeting on Friday, analysts said.
** GOOGLE INC, Wednesday close $583.74
** ORACLE CORP, Wednesday close $39.02
Google has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to wade into contentious litigation against Oracle, arguing that the high court must act to protect innovation in high tech. (Compiled by Amrutha Gayathri in Bangalore; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)