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U.S. stock index futures were up slightly on Thursday, after a three-day drop by the S&P 500 as oil prices advanced and ahead of a flurry of economic data. Dow Jones industrial average futures were up 0.28 percent at 17,591, S&P 500 futures were up 0.33 percent at 2,033.25 and Nasdaq 100 futures were up 0.20 percent at 4,235.5.
** STAPLES INC, Wednesday close $14.815, +10.77 pct premarket
** OFFICE DEPOT INC, Wednesday close $6.725, +6.47 pct premarket
Activist investor Starboard Value LP has bought a 6 percent stake in Staples and raised its stake in Office Depot to 10 percent, in a move that could raise pressure for a combination of the office-supply retailers, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing sources.
** WET SEAL INC, Wednesday close $0.2789, -46.93 pct premarket
The women's apparel retailer said on Wednesday it may seek to restructure under provisions of the bankruptcy code if it fails to address liquidity in the near term. The company said strategies may include out-of-court restructurings. Wet Seal also reported a 9 percent decline in third quarter sales.
** LAKELAND INDUSTRIES INC, Wednesday close $11.76, -10.71 pct premarket
The hazmat suit maker's third-quarter loss widened as operating expenses rose, driven primarily by higher freight out and commissions expenses. The company said on Wednesday that the main impact from Ebola-related orders will begin to be realized only in the fourth quarter.
** RADIOSHACK CORP, Wednesday close $0.55, -3.64 pct premarket
The struggling electronics retailer reported a 16 percent drop in quarterly sales and said it was undertaking cost-cutting actions to boost earnings by over $400 million annually.
** RESTORATION HARDWARE HOLDINGS INC, Wednesday close $86.18
The home furnishing retailer raised its full-year profit and revenue forecasts on better-than-expected third-quarter results due to higher direct sales, including online and catalog sales.
** LULULEMON ATHLETICA INC, Wednesday close $46.7
The Canadian yogawear chain reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit as online sales jumped 27 percent. The company, which is facing increased competition in a niche market it once dominated while grappling with executive departures and lawsuits, marginally raised its adjusted profit forecast to $1.74-$1.78 per share from $1.72-$1.77 for the year ending early February.
** CENOVUS ENERGY INC , Wednesday close $18.58
Canada's No. 2 independent oil producer said it plans to reduce capital spending by about 15 percent in 2015 as oil prices plunge.
** GOOGLE INC, Wednesday close $528.04, +0.32 pct premarket
Google said it was closing its news-linking service in Spain next week due to new legislation under which publishers can charge search engines for using their content.
** FIAT CHRYSLER AUTOMOBILES NV , Wednesday close $11.47, -1.39 pct premarket
Shares in the company fell on Thursday as traders said investors were selling the stock after buying a bond that converts into shares. The car maker priced a $2.5 billion mandatory convertible bond due in 2016, as well as an offering of 87 million shares at $11 dollar each.
** EBAY INC, Wednesday close $55.27
The online retailer is mulling plan to cut thousands of jobs early next year, as it readies to spin off its PayPal unit, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the company's thinking.
** RADIAN GROUP INC, Wednesday close $16.89
** ASSURED GUARANTY LTD, Wednesday close $25.5
The biggest U.S. private mortgage insurer is close to a sale of its financial guaranty business to Assured Guaranty for around $800 million, according to people familiar with the matter.
** AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL GROUP INC, Wednesday close $54.84
** PRUDENTIAL FINANCIAL INC, Wednesday close $86.38
The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday approved a bill giving big insurance companies such as American International Group and Prudential Financial relief from part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank oversight law.
** WAL-MART STORES INC, Wednesday close $82.98
An administrative law judge found Wal-Mart threatened employees trying to organize workers at two stores in California, in a victory for workers' rights groups challenging labor practices at the retail giant.
Separately, Wal-Mart said it discovered discrepancies in pricing and inventory at its China operations in 2011 and has since reinforced its compliance policies in the country.
** WALGREEN CO, Wednesday close $68.15
Walgreen said Chief Executive Greg Wasson would retire and hand the reins on an interim basis to the head of Alliance Boots Holdings Ltd, a move that follows a series of events that has tested investor confidence in the U.S. drugstore chain.
** BURGER KING, Wednesday close $34.62
** TIM HORTONS INC , Wednesday close $84.67
The fast food chain will avoid hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. taxes if, as planned, it completes its pending buyout of Canadian coffee-and-doughnuts chain Tim Hortons, a tax activist group said on Thursday.
** DISH NETWORK CORP, Wednesday close $70.56
The No. 2 U.S. satellite TV company does not want to include broadcast channels in the basic package for its planned online TV service, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter.
** HILTON WORLDWIDE HOLDINGS INC, Wednesday close $25.99
** BLACKSTONE GROUP LP, Wednesday close $34.03, -0.32 pct premarket
The hotel operator is in talks to buy four properties from Blackstone Group and others for deferring tax payments from the sale of its Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York, Bloomberg reported.
** SHIRE PLC , Wednesday close $207.73
Shire's chief executive said he sees no urgency to spend the windfall the Dublin-based drugmaker received when AbbVie Inc walked away from a $55 billion takeover bid earlier this year.
** GILEAD SCIENCES INC, Wednesday close $104.84
Philadelphia's transportation authority has filed a class action lawsuit accusing Gilead Sciences of charging "exorbitant" prices for its blockbuster hepatitis C drug Sovaldi.
** SANOFI SA , Wednesday close $45.86, +1.79 pct premarket
Sanofi's new CEO will continue its strategy of diversifying beyond new drug development, possibly through acquisitions, the French drugmaker's interim chief executive said.
** SONY CORP , Wednesday close $20.79
Sony should fear China's censors almost as much as rival Microsoft Corp as it prepares to unveil the price and release date of its PlayStation 4 gaming console in the world's third-largest gaming market.
** MOMO INC, Wednesday close $0
** ALIBABA GROUP HOLDING LTD, Wednesday close $103.88, +0.76 pct premarket
The Chinese mobile chat app firm, backed by Alibaba Group, that will list on the Nasdaq on Thursday, said its chief executive will fight allegations of misconduct and corruption made by his former employer.
** AMAZON.COM INC, Wednesday close $305.84, +0.09 pct premarket
The online retailer is considering expanding its same-day delivery program globally, recent job listings show, underlining the importance of fast shipping to its ability to compete with the instant gratification offered by brick-and-mortar stores.
** MICROSOFT CORP, Wednesday close $46.9, +0.04 pct premarket
The world's largest software company expects to have its new Windows 10 operating system on the market by autumn 2015, slightly later than previous comments had suggested.
** BP PLC , Wednesday close $37.74, +0.19 pct premarket
John Wood Group Plc, a British energy services company, said it had secured a $750 million, five-year contract from BP for engineering, procurement and construction services in Grangemouth, Scotland.
** UNITED TECHNOLOGIES CORP, Wednesday close $113.5
The change atop United Technologies has set off speculation the U.S. conglomerate may eventually shake up its diverse industrial businesses, including possibly divesting its Sikorsky helicopter unit.
** LOCKHEED MARTIN CORP, Wednesday close $187.91
Canada will stay part of Lockheed Martin's F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program while a decision is made on whether to actually buy the plane, the government said on Wednesday.
** HUNTINGTON INGALLS INDUSTRIES INC, Wednesday close $104.21, +0.76 pct premarket
Mike Petters, chief executive of Huntington Ingalls, said on Wednesday he remained committed to a longer-term view of the U.S. shipbuilder's business prospects, despite growing market pressures to focus on short-term gains. (Compiled by Lehar Maan in Bengaluru; Editing by Simon Jennings)