(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 index futures gained slightly as investors awaited confirmation that the European Central Bank would announce new economic stimulus measures at a meeting on Thursday. Dow Jones industrial average e-mini futures were up 0.26 percent at 17,536, S&P 500 e-mini futures were up 0.28 percent at 2,032.25 and Nasdaq 100 e-mini futures were up 0.15 percent at 4,189.
** CITY NATIONAL CORP, Wednesday close $74.57, +22.01 pct premarket
Royal Bank of Canada said it would buy the U.S. lender serving high net worth clients in a cash-and-stock deal valued at $5.4 billion. RBC offered $47.25 in cash and 0.7489 in shares for each City National share. The total offer of $93.80 per share, based on RBC’s closing price of $62.16 on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday, represents a premium of nearly 26 percent to City National’s last closing price.
** F5 NETWORKS INC, Wednesday close $125.95, -14.65 pct premarket
The network equipment maker reported revenue that missed Wall Street’s estimates for the first time in eight quarters due to “a marked decrease in the number of deals greater than $1 million”.
At least 8 brokerages cut price targets on the stock by as much as $25 to as low as $105; Median target price $133
“Comps become much more difficult in the coming quarters and the company will have to prove that newer initiatives like security can drive revenue re-acceleration and sustainable double-digit growth” Barclays analysts wrote in a note.
** BLACKBERRY LTD, Wednesday close $9.93, +5.74 pct premarket
Samsung Electronics Co Ltd is actively pursuing a plan to take over or buy a significant stake in the canadian company despite statements from both companies this week denying that such a plan may be in the works, Canada's Financial Post reported. (bit.ly/1wpG0Ue)
** LOGITECH INTERNATIONAL SA, Wednesday close $14.09, +11.36 pct premarket
The company increased profitability outlook for full year 2015. The traders cited strong EBIT number of $76.4 mln for the third quarter. The stock was the top riser on Stoxx 600 , with a full-day’s 30-day average volume already traded.
** COVENANT TRANSPORTATION, Wednesday close $24.76, +9.05 pct premarket
The transportation services provider’s Q4 earnings 82 cents per share came above the average analyst estimate 74 cents. Peak holiday shipping, lower fuel costs boosted profit, CEO David Parker said.
** SANDISK CORP, Wednesday close $80.44, -6.76 pct premarket
The Memory chipmaker forecast current-quarter and full-year 2015 revenue well below Wall Street expectations, saying it would be unable to meet demand for flash memory storage chips until mid-year due to lean inventory levels.
** KERYX BIOPHARMACEUTICALS INC, Wednesday close $12.87, -2.49 pct premarket
The drug developer’s offering of 9.2 mln shares priced at $12 each, a discount of 6.8 pct to Wednesday’s close. The company, which had 91.9 mln shares outstanding as of Wednesday’s close, said it would use $110 mln proceeds to fund marketing of recently approved chronic kidney disease treatment Auryxia.
** INTREXON CORP, Wednesday close $28.4, -2.99 pct premarket
The synthetic biology company’s offering of 3.8 million shares priced at $27.00 each, a discount of 4.9 pct to the stock’s Wednesday’s closing price. Company had about 100.5 mln shares outstanding as of Wednesday, according to Thomson Reuters data.
** BIOMARIN PHARMACEUTICAL INC, Wednesday close $96.14, -3.01 pct premarket
The drugmaker’s offering of 8.5 mln shares priced at $93.25 each, a 3 pct discount to the stock’s Wednesday close. THe company had 147.4 mln shares outstanding as of Sept. 30, according to Thomson Reuters data. Says to use net proceeds to fund acquisition of Dutch drug developer Prosensa Holding NV and for general corporate purposes.
** AMERICAN EXPRESS CO, Wednesday close $87.67, -1.62 pct premarket
The world’s largest credit card issuer will cut more than 4,000 jobs this year, an executive said, after the credit card company also reported higher quarterly expenses and provisions for bad loans. The planned redundancies, from a workforce of nearly 63,000, contributed to a $313 million pre-tax restructuring charge.
Jefferies cuts price target to $90 from $95, Barclays to $96 from $100, and Bernstein to $97 from $99.
** EBAY INC, Wednesday close $53.38, +3.03 pct premarket
The company plans to break up into three different companies to accommodate would-be suitors, signaling a potential merger fight after the breakup.
The company plans to spin off its payments division, PayPal, from its core marketplace division in the second half of the year, making two standalone publicly traded companies that some analysts say could be worth more than the combined entity.
Cowen and Co raises price target to $57 from $55, RBC Capital Markets to $58 from $55 and Susquehanna Financial Group to $59 from $52.
** VERIZON COMMUNICATIONS INC, Wednesday close $48.25, -0.93 pct premarket
THe company’s quarterly revenue rose 6.8 percent due to higher net addition of postpaid subscribers and a rise in average revenue per account as users added more devices to shared data plans. The company, however, reported a loss of $2.15 billion, or 54 cents per share, for the fourth quarter compared with a profit of $7.92 billion, or $1.76 per share, a year earlier, mainly due to valuation of benefits plan and pension adjustments.
** KINDER MORGAN INC, Wednesday close $42
The leading U.S. pipeline operator said on Wednesday it will enter North Dakota’s Bakken shale with a $3 billion acquisition of Hiland Partners, a pipeline and logistics company founded by Continental Resources Chief Executive Officer Harold Hamm.
** MICROSOFT CORP, Wednesday close $45.92, +0.50 pct premarket
The ageing tech pioneer surprised the tech world on Wednesday with a prototype hologram visor that can bring the Minecraft video game, Skype calls and even the landscape of Mars to three-dimensional life.
** AMAZON CO, Wednesday close $297.25, +0.19 pct premarket
The U.S. tech giant is in talks to buy Israeli chipmaker Annapurna Labs for up to $370 million, financial newspaper Calcalist reported on Thursday.
The companies are in the final stages of negotiations, the Israeli paper said, adding that the proposal includes an agreement by Amazon to open a research and development centre in Israel.
** SALLIE MAE CORP, Wednesday close $9.69
The provider of student loans forecasted 2015 EPS of 48-50 cents below analysts average estimate of 62 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Net income for the fourth quarter plunged 75 pct to $14.9 million, missing analysts’ average estimate. Provision for loan losses rises 7 pct to $30 million in Q4.
** FAMILY DOLLAR STORES INC, Wednesday close $75.55
The shareholders are expected to vote in favor of a pending $8.5 billion merger with Dollar Tree Inc despite a higher offer from Dollar General still on the table, according to people familiar with the matter.
The vote, which is scheduled for Thursday, comes after influential proxy advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services said Dollar Tree’s proposal was in the best interest of shareholders and was more likely to close as it faces fewer antitrust hurdles than the Dollar General offer. (Compiled by Rosmi Shaji in Bengaluru; Edited by Don Sebastian)