(For faster updates on individual market-movers, Eikon users please use search string "STXBZ US"; for the Day Ahead newsletter, link.reuters.com/mex49s; for the Morning News Call newsletter, link.reuters.com/nex49s) U.S. stock index e-mini futures were little changed on Wednesday following record closing highs for both the Dow and S&P 500 and ahead of housing data and minutes from the most recent Federal Reserve policy meeting. Dow Jones industrial average futures were down 0.08 percent at 17,637, S&P 500 futures were down 0.11 percent at 2,046.25 and Nasdaq 100 futures were down 0.04 percent at 4,236.5.
** CLIFFS NATURAL RESOURCES INC, Tuesday close $10.21, -14.20 pct premarket
The miner said it may have to close its Bloom Lake iron ore mine in Quebec, weeks after it revealed that three “big steelmakers” were in talks to invest in the project.
** SYNERGY PHARMACEUTICALS INC, Tuesday close $2.96, +6.76 pct premarket
The biopharmaceutical company said its experimental drug for opioid induced constipation was found safe and effective in a mid-stage trial.
** BLACKBERRY LTD, Tuesday close $10.76, -4.46 pct premarket
Morgan Stanley downgraded the Canadian smartphone company’s stock to “underweight” after keeping it “equal-weight” since June. The brokerage believes that the market is “too optimistic” in assuming BlackBerry will reach a target of $350 million in new software revenue in 2016.
** AGIOS PHARMACEUTICALS INC, Tuesday close $83.81, +6.19 pct premarket
The drug developer said its experimental blood cancer drug, AG-120, showed significant clinical activity in an early stage trial.
Canaccord Genuity raised its price target on the stock to $111 from $97, the highest among the six brokerages covering the stock.
** STAPLES INC, Tuesday close $12.76, +3.45 pct premarket
The largest office supply retailer reported higher-than-expected quarterly sales and profit as demand recovered for core office supplies such as paper and ink products after six quarters of decline.
** TARGET CORP, Tuesday close $67.51, +2.92 pct premarket
The fourth-largest U.S. retailer reported better-than-expected quarterly sales, helped by a 1.2 percent rise in same-store sales in the United States.
** PETSMART INC, Tuesday close $73.62, +4.52 pct premarket
** KKR & CO LP, Tuesday close $22.69, -0.53 pct premarket
Buyout firms KKR and Clayton, Dubilier & Rice LLC (CD&R) have teamed up to take Pet care products retailer PetSmart private for more than $7.5 billion, people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday, as the auction for the pet food retailer heats up.
** LOWE’S COS INC, Tuesday close $58.53, +4.73 pct premarket
The No. 2 U.S. home improvement products retailer raised its full-year profit and sales forecast as an improving job market encourages home owners to increase spending on renovations. (here)
** VIPSHOP HOLDINGS LTD, Tuesday close $23.71, -7.30 pct premarket
The Chinese online discount retailer’s fourth-quarter sales forecast failed to top analysts’ estimates for the first time this financial year.
** DOLLAR GENERAL CORP, Tuesday close $66.17, -1.86 pct premarket
** FAMILY DOLLAR STORES INC, Tuesday close $78.85
Dollar General, the U.S. chain of variety stores, may need to divest more than 4,000 stores to win approval from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission for its acquisition of discount retailer Family Dollar Stores, the New York Post reported, citing two sources close to the situation.
** BLACKSTONE GROUP LP, Tuesday close $32.61
The alternative asset manager has reached out to its biggest fund investors about investing in a new investment vehicle with a longer investment horizon than the typical 10-year private equity fund, according to people familiar with the matter.
** VERIZON COMMUNICATIONS INC, Tuesday close $51.22, -0.08 pct premarket
** AT&T INC, Tuesday close $35.72, -0.28 pct premarket
** T-MOBILE US INC, Tuesday close $27.87
** DISH NETWORK CORP, Tuesday close $67.85
The U.S. airwaves auction of so-called AWS-3 frequencies on Tuesday breached its reserve price of $10.1 billion, according to the Federal Communications Commission, less than a week after bidding began.
The auction is the largest opportunity for wireless carriers to get access to new airwaves since 2008 and although the bidding is anonymous, the largest U.S. wireless carrier Verizon Communications, No. 2 AT&T, No. 4 T-Mobile US and satellite provider Dish Network were expected to be the biggest bidders.
** JOHNSON & JOHNSON, Tuesday close $108.83
** BOSTON SCIENTIFIC CORP, Tuesday close $13.68, -0.37 pct premarket
Nearly a decade after losing a bidding war for device maker Guidant to Boston Scientific, Johnson & Johnson finally has a chance for payback at a multibillion-dollar trial set to begin on Thursday.
** MICROSOFT CORP, Tuesday close $48.74, -0.14 pct premarket
A U.S. judge has rejected Samsung Electronics Co Ltd’s bid to put Microsoft’s lawsuit over smartphone patent royalties on hold while the South Korean company pursues an arbitration proceeding in Hong Kong.
** CBS CORP, Tuesday close $52.54
** DISH NETWORK CORP, Tuesday close $67.85
CBS fired the latest salvo in a contract dispute with Dish Network as a Thursday deadline nears that could blackout the network’s TV shows to more than 14 million Dish subscribers.
** PETROLEO BRASILEIRO SA, Tuesday close $9.42, +1.38 pct premarket
A graft investigation at the Brazilian state-run oil company is hurting the credit outlook for major suppliers accused of participating in the alleged bribery scheme, Moody’s Investors Service said on Tuesday.
Analysts at Morgan Stanley said in a client note that Petrobras could slash the value of its assets by as much as 21 billion reais ($8.1 billion) and cut dividends as a result of the investigation.
** SUNCOR ENERGY INC, Tuesday close $34.69
Canada’s largest oil and gas company said on Tuesday that it plans to spend C$7.2 billion to C$7.8 billion ($6.4 billion to $6.9 billion) in 2015, with more than half of those funds earmarked for growth projects.
** TEEKAY CORP, Tuesday close $54.06
Tug boat engineers at Port Hedland, Australia’s biggest iron ore port, plan to hold a four-hour work stoppage on Nov. 22, tug operator Teekay shipping said, threatening exports from BHP Billiton and Fortescue Metals Group.
** BARRICK GOLD CORP, Tuesday close $13.29, -0.53 pct premarket
The gold miner named mining industry veteran Shaun Usmar as its chief financial officer designate on Tuesday, marking the latest shake-up at the world’s biggest gold miner.
** PERRY ELLIS INTERNATIONAL INC, Tuesday close $23.44
The apparel retailer’s shareholders, Legion Partners LLC and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS), have urged the company to explore strategic alternatives.
** INFOSYS LTD, Tuesday close $67.33
The Indian IT services company said it had fired the finance chief of its business process outsourcing unit for not complying with the company’s code of conduct.
** ACTAVIS PLC, Tuesday close $269.6, -0.58 pct premarket
** ALLERGAN INC, Tuesday close $213.37, -0.06 pct premarket
Activist investor William Ackman said on Tuesday he supports the $66 billion deal in which Actavis will buy Allergan and will withdraw his request for an Allergan special shareholder meeting. (Compiled by Ankit Ajmera in Bangalore; Edited by Maju Samuel)