February 1, 2013 / 1:32 PM / in 5 years

MARKET PULSE-Exxon Mobil, Merck, Pfizer, Dell, Audience

Feb 1 (Reuters) - Some U.S. stocks to watch on Friday:

Futures Climb Ahead Of Payrolls Report

Index futures gained as investors anticipated data that was expected to show that U.S. jobs growth picked up in January. S&P 500 futures rose 4 points and were above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures added 63 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 6.5 points.

** MERCK & CO, Thursday close $43.25, down 1.8 pct premarket

The No. 2 U.S. drugmaker forecast 2013 profit at the low end of Wall Street expectations.

** EXXON MOBIL CORP, Thursday close $89.97, up 1 pct premarket

The world’s largest publicly traded oil company reported a 6 percent increase in quarterly profit, partly due to higher refining margins.

** PFIZER INC, Thursday close $27.28, up 0.6 pct premarket

The company’s animal health subsidiary Zoetis raised $2.2 billion in its public offering on Thursday, becoming the largest IPO from a U.S. company since Facebook.

** DELL INC, Thursday close $13.24, up 5 pct premarket

The company is nearing an agreement to sell itself to a buyout consortium led by its founder and Chief Executive Michael Dell and private equity firm Silver Lake Partners, possibly announcing a deal as soon as Monday, according to two people familiar with the matter.

** AUDIENCE INC, Thursday close $12.22, up 24 pct after market

The audio technology company forecast quarterly revenue well above Wall Street’s expectations, helped by more business from Samsung and other smartphone makers.

** LIFE TIME FITNESS INC, $50.73, down 15 pct premarket The fitness and spa center operator announced preliminary fourth-quarter results that missed analysts’ expectations, hurt by lower membership growth and losses related to Hurricane Sandy.

** PERRIGO CO, Thursday close $100.51, up 4 pct premarket

The generic drugmaker reported a better-than-expected second-quarter profit and said it would buy pet health products maker Velcera Inc for $160 million to beef up its animal healthcare business.

** TYSON FOODS INC, Thursday close $22.12, up 3 pct premarket

The largest U.S. meat company, posted better-than-expected quarterly earnings on Friday, helped by growth in its beef and chicken businesses, and forecast full-year revenue that was slightly above analyst expectations.

** PERRIGO CO, Thursday close $100.51, up 3 pct premarket

The generic drugmaker said it will buy privately held pet health products maker Velcera Inc for $160 million in cash.

** FIRSTENERGY CORP, Thursday close $40.49, up 5 pct premarket

The company’s 1,240-megawatt Perry nuclear power plant in Ohio ramped up to 99 percent power from 68 percent power, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said in a report.

** AON PLC, Thursday close $57.74

The world’s largest insurance broker, reported a higher quarterly profit as margin pressures eased at its human resource business.

** PMC-SIERRA INC, Thursday close $5.78, up 7 pct after market

The chipmaker reported fourth-quarter results that beat analysts’ expectations prompting at least two brokerages to raise their target prices on the company’s stock.

** MATTEL INC, Thursday close $37.63

The world’s largest toy company missed Wall Street’s profit and sales estimates for the fourth quarter on weak demand for Barbie dolls and movie-themed toys in the holiday season.

** LEGG MASON INC, Thursday close $27.65

The asset manager said on Friday it swung to a quarterly loss due to charges for impaired assets, and reported continued outflows from its equity and bond funds.

** NEWELL RUBBERMAID INC, Thursday close $23.48

The consumer products maker reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit, boosted by cost cuts and strength in emerging markets.

** NATIONAL OILWELL VARCO INC, Thursday close $74.14

The largest U.S. oilfield equipment maker, reported a 16 percent rise in quarterly profit on higher revenue from its rig technology business, its biggest.

** STANDARD PACIFIC CORP, Thursday’s close $8.30, up 5 percent after market

The homebuilder reported a better-than-expected fourth-quarter profit, helped by a sharp jump in new orders, and said it experienced solid demand during the first month of 2013. [ID: nPnLA51701]

** BERRY PLASTICS GROUP Thursday’s close $17.58, down 9 pct

The consumer packaging provider reported an adjusted fourth-quarter profit of 8 cents per share. It missed analysts’ expectations of 10 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. [ID: nWNAB00QSF]

** FACEBOOK INC, Thursday close $30.98

The stock recovered from an 8 percent slide on Thursday, finishing the regular session down less than 1 percent, as Wall Street’s initial alarm over mobile revenue results and spending plans subsided.

** INTEL CORP, Thursday close $21.04

The world’s biggest chipmaker, opened a new front on Thursday in a long and stuttering campaign to get its processors into mobile phones, although it appears to still have a long way to go.

** NETSUITE INC, Thursday close $70.23, up 7 pct after market

The business software maker raised its 2013 revenue forecast, and said it would add jobs in its sales and product teams to meet strong demand.

** EMULEX CORP, Thursday close $7.64, down 3 pct after market

The storage equipment maker forecast third-quarter results that fell short of analysts’ estimates, partly due to a court injunction that hurt sales.

** BOEING CO, Thursday close $73.87

Airbus studied alternatives to lithium-ion batteries for its next jet, the A350, and has time to adapt to any rule changes prompted by the problems that have grounded Boeing Co 787 Dreamliner, its top executive said.

** UNITED PARCEL SERVICE INC, Thursday close $79.29

The company reported a quarterly net loss after taking a large pension-related charge and forecast weaker-than-expected 2013 profit due to an uneven global economy.

** GARDNER DENVER INC, Thursday close $70.37

The industrial machinery maker has asked private equity bidders to submit final offers by mid-February, three people familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

** POTASH CORP , Thursday close $42.50

The world’s biggest fertilizer company forecast a modest rebound in earnings for 2013, with key importers in China and eventually India resuming purchases of the crop nutrient potash, but the company’s recovery will be more gradual than expected.

** LOCKHEED MARTIN CORP, Thursday close $86.87

Tom Burbage, a former Navy fighter pilot who ran company’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program for 13 years, plans to retire at the end of March, Lockheed said on Thursday.

** BRISTOL-MYERS SQUIBB, Thursday close $36.14

Britain’s healthcare cost watchdog NICE said on Friday it was not able to recommend a new diabetes drug from Bristol-Myers Squibb and AstraZeneca, and has asked for more information from the companies.

** JOHNSON & JOHNSON, Thursday close $73.92

EU regulators stepped up their fight against drug companies suspected of blocking cheap generic medicines, charging Johnson & Johnson and Novartis over a painkiller called fentanyl.

** PERKINELMER INC, Thursday close $35.24

The maker of scientific instruments on Thursday reported higher-than-expected quarterly profit, but the company issued a 2013 earnings forecast range with a midpoint below Wall Street estimates.

** AETNA INC, Thursday close $48.23

The company’s quarterly earnings fell sharply, the health insurer said on Thursday, as costs rose in parts of its employer-based insurance business and it took charges for settling litigation over out-of-network payments.

** THERMO FISHER SCIENTIFIC INC, Thursday close $72.14

The company is so convinced that automatic U.S. government spending cuts will kick in March that the world’s largest maker of laboratory equipment included that assumption in its 2013 forecasts.

** WAL-MART STORES INC, Thursday close $69.95

Labor groups that have long spoken out against Wal-Mart Stores Inc will stop much of their picketing against the world’s largest retailer, though they still plan to continue to push the company to improve working conditions.

** CONAGRA FOODS INC, Thursday close $32.69

The company has won the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by consumers claiming the company’s Hebrew National hot dogs and other products are not kosher.

** BEST BUY CO INC, Thursday close $16.26

The company’s Canadian division will close 15 of its big-box stores across the country and lay off 5 percent of its workforce in a drive to cut costs, the consumer electronics retailer said on Thursday.

** MORGAN STANLEY, Thursday close $22.80

The bank said it is nearly doubling Chief Executive James Gorman’s salary to $1.5 million a year, to bring it more in line with other big bank chiefs.

** CHUBB CORP, Thursday close $80.31

The property and casualty insurer posted a surprise operating profit even as it booked a pre-tax catastrophe loss of $882 million related to superstorm Sandy, the largest loss from a natural disaster in the company’s history.

** CONSOL ENERGY INC, Thursday close $31.34

The company plans to sell more assets this year to navigate a difficult market after raising $350 million last year from the sale of non-core coal reserves in the United States and Canada.

** COMPUTER PROGRAMS AND SYSTEMS INC, Thursday close $52.61, down 9 pct after market

The healthcare IT service provider forecast 2013 profit between $2.80 to $2.98 per share, below analyst estimates of $3.15 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Fourth-quarter net income of 83 cents per share also missed consensus estimates of 88 cents per share.

** TELECOMMUNICATIONS SYSTEMS INC, Thursday close $2.26, up 11 pct after market

The wireless communication company on Thursday reported fourth-quarter profit above analysts’ estimates, helped by higher sales of its TotalCom network products.

** BEBE STORES INC, Thursday close $4.18, down 4 pct after market

The women’s apparel retailer reported a larger-than-expected quarterly loss, as increased markdowns and expenses hurt margins.

** ABAXIS INC, Thursday close $38.72, down 7 pct after market

The medical device maker reported better-than-expected third-quarter results due to a 40 percent rise in sales of its veterinary diagnostic products. Abaxis’s net income was 22 cents per share on revenue of $49.8 million beating analyst estimates of 18 cents per share on revenue of $45.8 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

** ELECTRO SCIENTIFIC INDUSTRIES INC, Thursday close $10.80, down 9 pct after market

The supplier of laser-based manufacturing solutions reported a third-quarter profit that missed analysts’ expectations as slow capital spending in its core markets pushed orders lower, and Electro Scientific forecast lower-than-expected fourth quarter earnings.

** OCZ TECHNOLOGY GROUP INC, Thursday close $2.25

The solid-state drive maker said it expects second- and third-quarter revenues between $65 million and $85 million. It also estimated inventory charges due to discontinuation of about 150 products of about $15 million in the second quarter and about $30 million in the third quarter.

Analysts on average were expecting second-quarter revenue of $107.7 million, and third-quarter revenue of $134.33 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

GREEN DOT CORP, $13.40, up 6 pct after market

The issuer of prepaid debit cards reported better than expected fourth quarter results that beat analysts’ estimates on improved cardholder retention and more usage of prepaid cards. Though full year earnings guidance was below expectations, revenue was above estimates. (Compiled by Neha Dimri in Bangalore)

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