December 4, 2013 / 12:37 PM / in 4 years

MARKET PULSE-J.C. Penney, UnitedHealth, Express, Omnivision, Guidewire

(For more market insights, including options activity, click on ; for the Day Ahead newsletter link.reuters.com/mex49s; for the Morning News Call newsletter, link.reuters.com/nex49s) U.S. stock index futures were flat on Wednesday, ahead of a flurry of economic data, including a report on the labor market. Dow Jones industrial average futures were up 0.18 percent at 15,920, S&P 500 futures were up 0.01 percent at 1,791.5 and Nasdaq 100 futures were up 0.14 percent at 3,480.5.

** J.C. PENNEY CO INC, Tuesday close $10.11, +2.57 pct premarket

The struggling department store operator said November comparable-store sales rose 10 percent, as its efforts to turn its fortunes around were starting to pay off.

** FORD MOTOR CO, Tuesday close $16.56, +0.36 pct premarket

** GENERAL MOTORS CO, Tuesday close $38.14, +0.29 pct premarket

Major automakers reported their best U.S. sales month in six and a half years in November as aggressive discounting and the continued popularity of big pickup trucks helped trounce Wall Street forecasts. But some investors were worried that the discounts signaled a return to the unhealthy practices that eroded industry profits in the years before the global recession of 2009.

** MEN‘S WEARHOUSE INC, Tuesday close $51.07

** JOS. A. BANK CLOTHIERS INC, Tuesday close $56.58

Sycamore Partners LLC is in advanced talks to acquire off-price chain store K&G from Men’s Wearhouse, the clothing retailer embroiled in a takeover battle with Jos. A. Bank Clothiers, according to four people familiar with the matter.

** EXPRESS INC, Tuesday close $24.67, -15.69 pct premarket

The apparel retailer forecast current-quarter earnings below analysts’ estimates, blaming weaker-than-expected Thanksgiving sales.

** UNITEDHEALTH GROUP INC, Tuesday close $73.45

The health insurer said on Tuesday that it expected U.S. healthcare reform to have a net drag on earnings of 90 cents to $1 per share in 2014 due to changes in the individual and Medicare businesses as well as new taxes and fees.

** SCHLUMBERGER NV, Tuesday close $87.64

The oilfield services company said on Tuesday that it expected the temporary shutdown of its operations in southern Iraq last month in a “security incident” to reduce fourth-quarter profits by about 2 percent.

** GUIDEWIRE SOFTWARE INC, Tuesday close $44.98, +5.80 pct after market

The company, which provides software to the property and casualty insurance industry, reported a smaller-than-expected adjusted loss and higher-than-expected revenue for the first quarter ended Oct. 31.

** OMNIVISION TECHNOLOGIES INC, Tuesday close $15.99, -11.82 pct premarket

The chipmaker forecast current-quarter revenue way below analysts’ estimates. The company, which pioneered imaging sensors that use both sides of a chip to deliver better quality in a smaller-sized camera, forecast third-quarter revenue of $310 million-$340 million. Analysts on average were expecting $399.9 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

** NETAPP INC, Tuesday close $40.74

Morgan Stanley cut its rating on the data storage equipment maker’s stock to “equal weight” from “overweight” on Tuesday.

** W&T OFFSHORE INC, Tuesday close $16.70

The oil and natural gas producer’s ban from bidding on federal government contracts in the Gulf of Mexico could last up to three years, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on Tuesday.

** WAL-MART STORES INC, Tuesday close $80.74

The world’s largest retailer is paying for lawyers to represent more than 30 of its executives involved in a foreign corruption investigation, according to people familiar with the matter, an unusually high number that shows the depth of the federal probe.

** BARRICK GOLD CORP, Tuesday close $15.51

The Canadian company will name Ned Goodman, a veteran Canadian money manager, as a director and appoint James Gowans, a former De Beers Canada chief executive, as its new chief operating officer, Dow Jones reported late on Tuesday, quoting a person familiar with the matter.

** GUESS INC, Tuesday close $33.89

The clothing retailer’s third-quarter results will be keenly looked at by investors to see whether it can maintain its sales momentum, particularly going into the holiday season, which is expected to be the toughest since the financial crisis of 2008. (Compiled by Avik Das in Bangalore; Editing by Kirti Pandey)

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