November 22, 2013 / 2:29 PM / 4 years ago

MARKET PULSE-Intel, Amarin, Pozen, Ross Stores, Violin Memory

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Nov 22 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were set to tick up at the open on Friday after the Dow industrials closed above 16,000 for the first time, amid a dearth of data and ahead of a holiday-shortened week in the United States. S&P 500 futures added one point, Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 14 points and Nasdaq 100 futures added 7 points.

** APPLE INC, Thursday close $521.13

A U.S. jury awarded Apple about $290 million in a damages retrial against Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, restoring a large chunk of a historic verdict the iPhone maker won last year. “A jury award on the high end of the range is a modestly positive signal for Apple,” said Nick Rodelli, a lawyer and adviser to institutional investors for CFRA Research in Maryland.

** HERBALIFE LTD, Thursday close $68.42

Activist investor William Ackman will renew his attack on Herbalife at a conference on Friday, almost a year since he shocked Wall Street with a $1 billion short bet against the weight-loss company, a person familiar with his plan said.

Ackman accuses Herbalife of being a pyramid scheme but he has not spoken at length about the company since the December 2012 announcement of his short position.

** INTEL CORP, Thursday close $25.23, down 2 pct premarket

The world’s top chipmaker’s Chief Financial Officer Stacy Smith said at an investor meeting on Thursday that revenues next year will be flat, with lower PC sales offsetting more server sales.

** SAP, Thursday close $81.64, down 0.6 pct premarket

Enterprise software group SAP said it was debating whether to accelerate moving more of its business to the cloud, a change in strategy that could have a small impact on its target of growing sales to more than 20 billion euros. But co-chief executive Jim Hagemann-Snabe said the change would generate more sales by 2017.

** BLACKBERRY LTD, Thursday close $6.04

The head of one of Canada’s top pension funds confirmed on Thursday his firm was involved in talks over a potential buyout of BlackBerry Ltd but said he never saw a business plan he was confident would turn around the once-dominant smartphone maker.

** SONY CORP, Thursday close $18.65

** Microsoft Corp, Thursday close $37.40

Microsoft aims to upstage rival Sony with a console that goes well beyond gaming and helps transform media viewing, a long-cherished but elusive goal. The software giant is betting its first new video game console in eight years, which goes on sale on Friday, will help sustain its position as a dominant player in gaming hardware.

Separately, Sony Pictures Entertainment will produce fewer films as it makes a “significant” shift from motion pictures to higher-margin television production and to operating TV channels, Sony executives told investors gathered at the company’s Culver City, California, studio lot.

** VIOLIN MEMORY INC, Thursday close $6, down 49.5 pct premarket

The flash storage provider’s third-quarter results came in below analysts’ estimates, prompting at least four brokerages to downgrade the stock.

** POZEN INC, Thursday close $6.80, up 19 pct premarket

The drugmaker declared a special cash distribution of $1.75 per share on Thursday to all stockholders of record as of close of business on Dec. 11.

** AMARIN CORP PLC, Thursday close $1.98, down 14 pct premarket

The company said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration did not accept its appeal for the review of a regulatory decision to revoke an agreement related to the trial of its drug that lowers a type of blood fat.

** ARIAD PHARMACEUTICALS INC, Thursday close $2.79, up 25 pct premarket

The company said European regulators recommended the continued use of its leukemia drug, Iclusig, whose U.S. sale has been suspended due to safety concerns.

** SPLUNK INC, Thursday close $59.90, up 11 pct premarket

The Data analytics software maker reported better-than-expected quarterly results due to the addition of more corporate and government customers, and raised its full-year revenue forecast.

** NORDIC AMERICAN TANKER LTD, Thursday close $8.88, down 11 pct premarket

The tanker company late on Thursday said it was offering shares worth $65 million. Chief Executive Herbjorn Hansson is expected to buy shares worth about $2 million in the offering on the same terms as other investors.

** BIOGEN IDEC, Thursday close $252.43, up 9.4 pct premarket

The company has won regulatory protection for its top-selling multiple sclerosis drug Tecfidera in Europe, paving the way for its launch in markets that could account for a large proportion of future sales.

** FOOT LOCKER INC, $36.76, up 5 pct premarket

The shoe retailer reported quarterly results that beat analysts’ estimates due to a better-than-expected 4.1 percent rise in same-store sales. Analysts on average had expected the company to report a 3.5 percent increase in same-store sales for the third quarter, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

** HORIZON PHARMA INC, Thursday close $6.52, up 5 pct premarket

The drugmaker said Par Pharmaceutical Inc withdrew its application to market a generic version of Horizon’s rheumatoid arthritis drug, according to a regulatory filing.

** GLAXOSMITHKLINE PLC, Thursday close $53.22

** GILEAD SCIENCES, Thursday close $71.63, up 2.6 pct premarket

European regulators said on Friday they had recommended approval of a new drug for HIV from GlaxoSmithKline and a novel hepatitis C treatment from Gilead Sciences. The European Medicine Agency (EMA) also gave a green light to an Otsuka tuberculosis drug, following a review of an earlier rejection.

** CHARTER COMMUNICATIONS INC, Thursday close $126.96

** TIME WARNER CABLE INC, Thursday close $120.86, up 5.4 pct premarket

Charter Communications is nearing an agreement with banks to raise funds for a bid for Time Warner Cable, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the situation.

** VERIFONE SYSTEMS INC, Thursday close $24.30, up 4 pct premarket

Jefferies upgraded its rating on the electronic point-of-sale devicemaker’s stock to “buy” from “hold” and raised its target price to $29 from $21 as the brokerage expects the company to recover market share in the first half of 2014.

** ARCELORMITTAL, Thursday close $16.87, up 0.5 pct premarket

ArcelorMittal South Africa plans to reduce its electricity bill by building an 800 megawatt (MW) compressed natural gas plant at a steel-making facility in the Western Cape, the Business Report newspaper said on Friday.

** ANN INC, Thursday close $36.27, down 2 pct premarket

The women’s apparel retailer forecast weaker-than-expected sales for the holiday selling season and also expects margin erosion in what the company called “a highly promotional retail environment”.

** CLIFFS NATURAL RESOURCES INC, Thursday close $26.43, down 2 pct premarket

Spot iron ore prices are on track for a modest decline for the week, after three weeks of gains, on limited buying interest from Chinese mills that are wary steel demand is unlikely to perk up anytime soon. Cliffs Natural is one of North America’s biggest iron ore producers.

** TESLA MOTORS INC, Thursday close $122.10

George Blankenship, the lead architect of Tesla’s sales strategy and distribution network for more than three years, left the electric car maker last month, according to his LinkedIn page. The exit comes at a sensitive time for Chief Executive Elon Musk, who is facing a federal safety investigation into the Model S electric sedan after three cars caught fire in less than two months.

** CATERPILLAR INC, Thursday close $82.12

A unit of the company is being probed by federal investigators to determine if it had dumped train parts into the ocean off California as part of a scam to charge customers for parts they didn’t need, the Wall Street Journal reported.

** USEC INC, Thursday close $8.38, up 17 pct after market

The enriched uranium fuel supplier said it would get $15.7 million from the U.S. Department of Energy for the final phase of a research, development and demonstration program for the American Centrifuge project.

** FRESH MARKET INC, Thursday close $50.40, down 14 pct premarket

The specialty grocery retailer cut its 2013 earnings forecast for the second time as it battles a weak U.S. consumer spending environment.

** ARUBA NETWORKS INC, Thursday close $17.20, up 12 pct premarket

The network-equipment maker’s first-quarter revenue rose 11 percent as the company benefited from higher IT spending by its customers. Aruba also forecast second-quarter revenue largely above Wall Street expectations.

One brokerage upgraded the company’s stock while three others raised their price targets.

** ROSS STORES INC, Thursday close $80.26, down 7.18 pct premarket

The low-price retailer forecast earnings well below analysts’ expectations for its full year ending Feb. 1, saying that the upcoming holiday season would be “the most intensely competitive and promotional selling period in recent years”.

The company expects to earn between $3.83 and $3.87 per share for the full year, below analysts’ average estimates of $3.94 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Brokerage Cowen & Co cut its target price on the company’s stock to $80 from $85.

** LDK SOLAR CO LTD, Thursday close $1.60, up 9 pct after market

The China-based solar panel maker, which failed to meet a debt payment deadline on Aug. 28, said its unit Jiangxi LDK Solar Hi-Tech Co Ltd signed an agreement with a syndicate of 11 banks in China for a credit facility of 1.56 billion yuan ($256 million). The loan will be used to fund the company’s operations within Jiangxi province and not to repay debt, LDK Solar said late on Thursday.

** SEARS HOLDINGS CORP, Thursday close $59.93

The U.S. retailer, which has been struggling to generate cash from its operations, sees room to close more stores next year, Chief Executive Edward Lampert said on Thursday.

** SANOFI, Thursday close $52.59

** REGENERON PHARMACEUTICALS, Thursday close $276.40, up 2 pct premarket

An experimental drug for rheumatoid arthritis developed by French drugmaker Sanofi and Regeneron, when combined with methotrexate, improved symptoms and physical function and slowed progression of the disease in a late-stage clinical trial.

Separately, Bayer HealthCare has received approval from Japan’s Ministry of Health to treat macular edema secondary to central retinal vein occlusion (CRVO) with its Eylea eye medication, the company said on Friday. Bayer HealthCare and Regeneron are collaborating on the global development of Eylea.

** TOWERS WATSON & CO, Thursday close $111.57

The benefits consulting firm on Friday acquired Liazon Corp, a private benefit exchange for businesses, for $215 million. The acquisition is anticipated to be dilutive to adjusted EPS by about 10 cents to 15 cents for fiscal 2014, Towers Watson said.

** AMGEN INC, Thursday close $112.25

Shares of biotechnology company Amgen fell as much as 4 percent on Thursday amid concerns that data at an upcoming medical meeting will not help the competitive profile of its recently acquired blood cancer drug Kyprolis. In a research note ahead of the conference, Bank of America suggested that Kyprolis, for which full FDA approval depends on the outcome of ongoing Phase 3 trials, could be reserved for patients with high-risk myeloma.

** CARLYLE GROUP LP, Thursday close $32.48

** DANAHER CORP, Thursday close $74.33

** BLACKSTONE GROUP LP, Thursday close $26.74

** JOHNSON & JOHNSON, Thursday close $95.20

Carlyle Group and a consortium of Danaher and Blackstone Group have advanced to the final stage of negotiations for Johnson & Johnson’s diagnostics unit, according to people familiar with the matter.

** LOCKHEED MARTIN CORP, Thursday close $138.67

South Korea will buy 40 Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth fighter jets, the country’s military chiefs decided on Friday, with the first delivery expected in 2018, ending a drawn-out process to beef up the country’s defenses.

** UBS AG, Thursday close $18.08

The bank, reached an immunity deal with European Union authorities that will protect the Swiss bank from further penalties for alleged manipulation of key interest rates, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

** GAP INC, Thursday close $41.86

The company reported a better-than-expected 9 percent rise in profit, helped by modest sales gains, and stuck to its profit forecast for the year.

Brokerage Sterne Agee raised its target price on the retailer’s stock to $38 from $36.

** WILLIAMS PARTNERS LP, Thursday close $50.18

** DOMINION RESOURCES INC, Thursday close $66.74

Williams Partners said it received federal approval to expand Transco, the nation’s largest natural gas pipeline system, to serve Dominion Resources new 1,358-megawatt gas power plant in Virginia.

** MARVELL TECHNOLOGY GROUP LTD, Thursday close $13.83, up 6.2 pct premarket

The chipmaker forecast quarterly revenue above analysts’ estimates, helped by higher sales to flash drive and mobile and wireless device makers.

** NIELSEN HOLDINGS NV, Thursday close $40.21, down 2.2 pct after market

The television-rating services provider said Valcon Acquisition Holding (Luxembourg) intends to offer for sale in an underwritten secondary offering 30 million shares of its common stock.

** AUTODESK INC, Thursday close $43.53, up 3 pct after market

The maker of AutoCAD design software reported third-quarter results ahead of Wall Street expectations and forecast current-quarter adjusted profit largely above estimates.

** MAGNUM HUNTER RESOURCES CORP, Thursday close $6.95

The oil and gas producer said it would sell some properties in North Dakota to Euduro Operating LLC for $45 million. The deal, which is expected to close on or before Dec. 30, includes 180 wells and working interest across 30,000 acres. (

** DAQO NEW ENERGY CORP, Thursday close $45.10

The China-based company’s third-quarter loss narrowed after polysilicon shipments exceeded previous forecast by 29 percent and revenue jumped 40 percent. The company expects Xinjiang polysilicon facilities to break even in the fourth quarter and gross margins to improve at Wanzhou wafer facilities.

Daqo New Energy also said it would expand annual capacity at its polysilicon plants in Xinjiang to 6150 metric ton (MT) from 5000 MT by the end of 2013.

Compiled by Natalie Grover; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila

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