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* The Morning News Call newsletter: tmsnrt.rs/2fwPLTh U.S. stocks looked set to open higher on Friday after an upbeat monthly jobs report underscored the strength of the U.S. economy and firmed the odds for the first interest rate hike this year.
Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were up 0.41 percent at 20,955, S&P 500 futures were up 0.42 percent at 2,376.25 and Nasdaq 100 futures were up 0.34 percent at 5,384.75.
** BANK OF AMERICA CORP, Thursday close $25.35, +0.87 pct premarket
** MORGAN STANLEY, Thursday close $46.68, +0.69 pct premarket
** CITIGROUP INC, Thursday close $61.55, +0.57 pct premarket
** JPMORGAN CHASE & CO, Thursday close $91.57, +0.68 pct premarket
** GOLDMAN SACHS GROUP INC, Thursday close $250.18, +0.59 pct premarket
** WELLS FARGO & CO , Thursday close $58.70, +0.51 pct premarket
U.S. bank stocks rose after data from the Labor Department showed 235,000 jobs were added in the public and private sectors in February, blowing past economists’ average estimate of 190,000.
The odds of a rate hike during the Fed’s meeting next week edged up to 89.7 percent after the report, according to Reuters data.
** ZUMIEZ INC, Thursday close $21.00, -14.05 pct premarket
The company forecast first-quarter sales below estimates and said it expected comparable sales growth to be flat to up 2 percent in the current quarter. At least five brokerages cut their price targets on the stock.
** FINISAR CORP, Thursday close $34.90, -16.05 pct premarket
The network equipment maker reported lower-than-expected third-quarter revenue and profit on Thursday. The company’s fourth-quarter revenue and profit forecast also fell below analysts’ estimates.
As many as four brokerages cut price target on the company’s shares.
** SOUTHWEST AIRLINES CO, Thursday close $56.36, -3.26 pct premarket
The No. 4 U.S. airline by passenger traffic cut its first-quarter operating unit revenue forecast for a key revenue measure, citing “unexpected softness” in demand for flights booked at the last minute in the second half of February.
** TIME INC, Thursday close $19.10
A group that includes Jahm Najafi, chief executive of the Phoenix-based investment firm Najafi Companies, and private-equity firm Pamplona Capital Management has emerged as a bidder for Time Inc, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
** TENET HEALTHCARE CORP, Thursday close $20.29
** MOLINA HEALTHCARE INC, Thursday close $46.90
** ANTHEM INC, Thursday close $166.18
** COMMUNITY HEALTH SYSTEMS INC, Thursday close $9.58, +0.21 pct premarket
The Republican plan backed by President Donald Trump to overhaul the U.S. healthcare system cleared its first hurdle in Congress on Thursday, but its chances for passage looked uncertain and top Republicans scrambled to bring disgruntled conservatives aboard.
In the face of opposition by Democrats, healthcare providers and many conservatives, two House of Representatives committees approved the legislation that would undo much of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, moving it closer to a vote before the full House.
** CSX CORP, Thursday close $47.58
The company’s CEO, Hunter Harrison, told Reuters in an interview that he plans to attack costs aggressively at CSX and he believes he can deliver growth by taking freight business away from trucks.
** VALEANT PHARMACEUTICALS INTERNATIONAL INC, Thursday close $11.57, +1.12 pct premarket
The company has priced its previously announced offering of $1.25 billion 6.50 percent senior secured notes due 2022 and $2 billion 7.00 percent senior secured notes due 2024.
** VIACOM INC, Thursday close $44.44, +0.38 pct premarket
MGM Holdings Inc is in talks to acquire the 81 percent of Epix it does not already own from two of its partners in the premium U.S. channel, Viacom and Lionsgate, people familiar with the matter said on Thursday.
** ALEXANDRIA REAL ESTATE EQUITIES INC, Thursday close $113.70, -5.10 pct premarket
The company priced its public offering of 6.1 million shares of common stock at $108.55 per share, a discount of 4.5 percent to the stock’s Thursday’s close.
** CARA THERAPEUTICS INC, Thursday close $17.49, -7.15 pct premarket
The drug developer posted a bigger-than-expected fourth-quarter loss, hurt by an increase in R&D expenses.
** ULTA BEAUTY INC, Thursday close $273.77, -1.38 pct premarket
The company’s first-quarter revenue forecast fell below analysts’ average estimate. Jefferies cut its price target on the stock to $266 from $270.
** PPG INDUSTRIES INC, Thursday close $102.93, +1.04 pct premarket
Henderson Global Investors, a shareholder in Akzo Nobel , has called on the Dutch paint maker’s management to engage in takeover discussions with U.S. rival PPG Industries. (Compiled by Gayathree Ganesan in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)