(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. stocks rose at the open on Thursday after the European Central Bank announced expanded measures to stimulate the region's economy. The Dow Jones industrial average was down 0.07 percent at 17,542.78, the S&P 500 was up 0.10 percent at 2,034.16 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 0.01 percent at 4,667.078 at 10:05 a.m. ET.
** LANDS’ END INC , $38.66, -23.76 pct
The apparel retailer forecast lower revenue from merchandise sales and services in the fourth quarter. “We were disappointed by the performance of our cold weather assortment, especially during the peak holiday period,” Chief Executive Edgar Huber said. International business was affected by unfavorable changes in currency exchange rates and lower sales in Europe. The company, spun off from Sears Holdings Corp last year, forecast Q4 earnings much below analysts’ average estimate.
** CITY NATIONAL CORP, $87.8, +17.74 pct
** ROYAL BANK OF CANADA, $73.7, -2.85 pct
** U.S.-listed shares, $59.7, -3.01 pct
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, $112.04, -11.04 pct
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.
** LOGITECH INTERNATIONAL SA, $15.08, +7.03 pct
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.
** PETROBRAS , $7.65, +4.08 pct
** TOTAL SA , $51.59, -0.10 pct
** BP PLC , $38.81, -0.03 pct
** HALLIBURTON CO , $40.44, -0.61 pct
** SCHLUMBERGER LTD , $82, -0.26 pct
** SEADRILL LTD , $10.72, +3.28 pct
** TRANSOCEAN LTD , $15.93, -0.81 pct
** NABORS INDUSTRIES LTD , $10.89, +0.28 pct
Brent crude rose ahead of an expected decision by European Central Bank to start buying bonds, a move which could push dollar to new highs and put downward pressure on commodities. Brent crude up 2 pct at $49.99 per barrel; U.S. crude up 1.5 pct at $48.49 per barrel.
** BLACKBERRY LTD, $13.16, +7.43 pct
** U.S.-listed shares, $10.6541, +7.29 pct
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)
** XILINX INC, $38.54, -7.15 pct
The programmable-chip maker’s shares forecast Q3 revenue and Q4 revenue below analysts’ average estimates. Results and forecast hurt by weak sales to broadcast and communications customers.
At least nine brokerages cut price targets, with Robert W. Baird & Co slashing by $8.00 to $44.00
** MEDIVATION , $105.52, -5.11 pct
The drug developer says its prostate cancer therapy Xtandi was not as safe as AstraZeneca Plc’s treatment Casodex in a mid-stage study. 31 pct patients given Xtandi had serious adverse reactions compared with 23.3 pct patients who were given Casodex. Xtandi increased the time patients survived without progression of the disease to 15.7 months, compared to 5.8 months among Casodex patients.
** COVENANT TRANSPORTATION, $26.3199, +6.30 pct
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, $76.4948, -4.90 pct
The memory chip maker 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.
** INTREXON CORP, $26.79, -5.67 pct
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, $93.23, -3.03 pct
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, $84, -4.19 pct
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, $55.36, +3.71 pct
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, $47.03, -2.53 pct
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.
** SALLIE MAE CORP, $8.915, -8.00 pct
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, $76.3, +0.99 pct
** DOLLAR TREE INC, $69.45, +2.42 pct
** DOLLAR GENERAL CORP, $69.19, +2.95 pct
Family Dollar Storess shareholders approved the discount retailer’s deal to be bought by Dollar Tree, derailing a higher hostile offer from larger rival Dollar General.
** GANNETT CO INC, $31.63, +0.86 pct
Activist investor Carl Icahn nominated two directors to the USA Today publisher’s board. Icahn, who owned about 6.6 percent of Gannett as of Sept. 30, said he was concerned about the decisions the company may make in anticipation of its proposed spinoff.
** CYTRX CORP, $3.061, -0.29 pct
The drug developer’s drug for connective tissue cancer showed 27 pct reduction in risk of death in patients, compared with those treated with standard of care. Patients treated with the drug, Aldoxorubicin, also showed more likelihood of surviving more than 2 years. Drug has also shown effectiveness in brain cancer and a type of skin cancer.
** COLLABRX INC, $0.744, +7.83 pct
The data analytics firm and Medytox Solutions Inc to negotiate a potential business combination. Companies enter into agreements to secure funding needed for CollabRx to continue to operate.
** KERYX BIOPHARMACEUTICALS INC, $12.99, +0.93 pct
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. (Compiled by Rosmi Shaji in Bengaluru; Edited by Don Sebastian)