(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 were poised to open lower on Tuesday, indicating a modest retreat from the previous session's rally, though the S&P 500 remained on track for its ninth straight quarterly rise. Dow Jones industrial average futures were down 0.49 percent at 17,772, S&P 500 futures were down 0.47 percent at 2,065.75 and Nasdaq 100 futures were down 0.33 percent at 4,358.
** CONN’S INC, Monday close $28.67, -2.34 pct premarket
The electronics rent-to-own retailer reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter revenue and said it is actively pursuing the sale of all or part of its loan portfolio or other refinancing of its loan portfolio. The company is also discontinuing sales of video games, digital cameras and certain tablets from year started February, due to higher charge-off rates and lower product margins.
** GW PHARMA PLC, Monday close $88.4, +3.47 pct premarket
The British maker of cannabis-based drugs said it has started the second leg of a mid-stage trial testing Epidiolex to treat Dravet syndrome, a rare, treatment-resistant form of childhood epilepsyelectronics. Data from the trial is expected at end of year and GW expects to submit a marketing application to the FDA in mid-2016. Epidiolex will also undergo late-stage testing to treat Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.
** DRYSHIPS INC, Monday close $0.81, +3.70 pct premarket
The drybulk shipper agreed to sell its four Suezmax tankers for about $245 million through its majority owned subsidiary Ocean Rig UDW Inc. The company also said it has entered into an agreement to potentially sell its six Aframax tankers for about $291 million.
** J C PENNEY CO INC, Monday close $7.83, +2.94 pct premarket
Analysts at Piper Jaffray raised their price target on the department store chain’s stock to $14, according to Seeking Alpha. The brokerage also raised its estimates for the company based on inventory channel checks, Seeking Alpha reported.
** PRICELINE GROUP INC, Monday close $1,149.83, +1.21 pct premarket
Analysts at Stifel Nicolaus raised their rating on the travel website operator to “buy” from “hold”, saying the stabilizing European economy should help the company.
** SYNTA PHARMACEUTICALS CORP, Monday close $2.33, -20.60 pct premarket
The drug developer said it would commence a public offering of common shares, but did not say when the offering would be completed or provide any details on the number of shares or price.
** REYNOLDS AMERICAN INC, Monday close $69.47, -3.48 pct premarket
** LORILLARD INC, Monday close $66.42, -2.44 pct premarket
The Federal Trade Commission staff is recommending a suit to block the $27 billion merger of the second- and third-biggest cigarette makers, Reynolds American and Lorillard, the New York Post reported, citing a well-placed DC source not working on the case said. (bit.ly/1xuMHLZ)
** VAALCO ENERGY INC, Monday close $3.13, -14.70 pct premarket
The oil and gas producer said it is abandoning its first well drilled offshore Angola as it was found to be water-bearing.
** INSMED INC, Monday close $21.09, -3.51 pct premarket
The drug developer said it is offering 10 million shares of its common stock, and intends to use the proceeds to develop respiratory drugs ARIKAYCE and INS1009.
** TECK RESOURCES LTD, Monday close $15.27, -7.92 pct premarket
The Canadian miner and Antofagasta Plc denied that they were in talks about a merger after Bloomberg reported that the two mining companies were in early stage talks. Teck said in a statement that it was not in discussions with Antofagasta “in relation to any form of transaction.”
** GLAXOSMITHKLINE PLC, Monday close $47.2, -2.50 pct premarket
** JOHNSON & JOHNSON, Monday close $101.55, -0.40 pct premarket
GlaxoSmithKline has agreed to settle a lawsuit by Johnson & Johnson accusing it of using false advertising at the start of the U.S. allergy season to grab market share.
** GROUPON INC, Monday close $7.43, -0.67 pct premarket
** KKR & CO LP, Monday close $22.77
Private equity firms KKR and Hong Kong-based Anchor Partners are in talks to buy a majority stake in Groupon’s South Korean unit for around 350 billion won ($316 million), a South Korean newspaper reported on Tuesday.
($1 = 1,107.3200 won)
** CBRE GROUP INC, Monday close $36.41, +1.62 pct premarket
** JOHNSON CONTROLS INC, Monday close $49.83, +0.92 pct premarket
Johnson Controls, the largest U.S. auto parts maker, said it would sell its business that helps corporations manage their real estate energy needs to real estate services firm CBRE Group for $1.48 billion in cash. CBRE, the world’s largest commercial real estate services firm, said it expects the deal to add to adjusted earnings in 2016.
** ENDURANCE SPECIALTY HOLDINGS LTD, Monday close $64.3
** MONTPELIER RE HOLDINGS LTD, Monday close $38.15, +3.54 pct premarket
Property and casualty insurer Endurance Specialty will buy reinsurer Montpelier Re for about $1.83 billion in cash and stock, to boost its Lloyd’s of London underwriting business. Montpelier shareholders will get 0.472 Endurance share and $9.89 in cash for each share held, the companies said on Tuesday. This represents $40.24 per share for Montpelier, a 5.5 percent premium to the stock’s closing on Monday.
** BIOCRYST PHARMACEUTICALS INC, Monday close $8.57, +6.18 pct premarket
The drug developer said it won a U.S. government contract for the continued development of its potential treatment for viral diseases, including Ebola. The 18-month contract includes a base value of $12.1 million to support manufacturing, as well as $22.9 million in additional development options that can be exercised by the government.
** CHARTER COMMUNICATIONS INC, Monday close $183.39, +6.87 pct premarket
Cable television operator Charter Communications Inc said it would buy Bright House Networks in a cash-and-stock deal valued at $10.4 billion to expand in Florida. Bright House, controlled by the Newhouse family, has about 2 million video customers in central Florida, including Orlando and Tampa Bay as well as Alabama, Indiana, Michigan, and California.
** MOSAIC CO, Monday close $47.36, +0.13 pct premarket
The U.S. fertilizer company said it would raise its annual dividend by 10 cents to $1.10 per share, effective in May. The move comes despite recent tax changes by the Canadian province of Saskatchewan, where Mosaic mines the crop nutrient potash, which the company said earlier would cost it $80 million to $100 million in 2015.
** QUEST DIAGNOSTICS INC, Monday close $77.69, -2.68 pct premarket
** QUINTILES TRANSNATIONAL HOLDINGS INC, Monday close $68
Medical test maker Quest Diagnostics and contract research company Quintiles Transnational said they were combining their clinical trial laboratory operations in a joint venture, of which Quintiles will own 60 percent.
** CABLEVISION SYSTEMS CORP, Monday close $18.48, +0.92 pct premarket
The U.S. cable T.V. operator is planning to make an offer for the New York Daily News as early as this week, valuing the troubled tabloid at just $1, according to a person familiar with the matter.
** INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORP, Monday close $162.67, -0.66 pct premarket
The company said it would invest $3 billion over the next four years in a new ‘Internet of Things’ unit, aiming to sell its expertise in gathering and making sense of the surge in real-time data.
** CITIGROUP INC, Monday close $51.64, -0.62 pct premarket
The U.S. bank has agreed to sell its credit card unit in Japan to Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, the companies said on Tuesday, as Citi slims down globally to bolster its profitability.
** CONOCOPHILLIPS, Monday close $64, -0.98 pct premarket
The American oil company plans to invest about $2.5 billion in Indonesia’s upstream oil and gas industry over the next three or four years, the nation’s energy minister said on Tuesday.
** ALIBABA GROUP HOLDING LTD, Monday close $83.9, -0.32 pct premarket
The online retailer’s healthcare subsidiary will tie-up with Zhejiang DiAn Diagnostics Co Ltd to help develop an online hospital platform, the diagnostics firm said in a filing late on Monday.
** EXXON MOBIL CORP, Monday close $85.63, -0.74 pct premarket
The oil and gas producer said it started production in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico at Hadrian South, its deepest subsea tie-back. The daily gross production from the project is expected to reach about 300 mln cubic feet of gas and 3,000 barrels of liquids from two wells.
** COMCAST CORP, Monday close $56.61, -0.04 pct premarket
The largest U.S. cable operator said it would form a new company with its chief financial officer, Michael Angelakis, to invest in and focus on operating growth-oriented companies both in the United States and international markets. The new company would have total capital commitments of up to $4.1 billion, of which $4 billion will be invested by Comcast. At least $40 million will be invested by Angelakis.
** SPRINT CORP, Monday close $4.75
Sprint has agreed to settle a $131 million lawsuit accusing it of defrauding shareholders by issuing false and misleading statements about its tightened credit standards, improvements in its subscriber base, and the success of its merger with Nextel Communications Inc. (Compiled by Ramkumar Iyer in Bengaluru; Editing by Simon Jennings)