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U.S. stocks fell modestly on Thursday with energy shares leading the drop amid a slump in oil prices, and investors remained cautious as uncertainty continued over the prospects of a debt deal with Greece.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 0.31 percent at 17,973.89, the S&P 500 was down 0.18 percent at 2,095.97 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.30 percent at 4,921.22.
** WAL-MART STORES INC, $84.01, -2.64 pct
The world’s largest retailer said it would spend more than $1 billion to increase pay for half a million U.S. employees this year. That and investments in e-commerce initiatives would keep operating income “pressured” in fiscal 2016, the company said. It forecast first quarter and full-year profit that fell short of analysts’ average estimate.
Graphic: Wal-Mart earnings link.reuters.com/xag24w
** CATERPILLAR INC, $83.56, -1.46 pct
The heavy machinery maker said global retail sales of machines fell 14 percent for the 3-month rolling period ended Jan. 2015, driven by a 36 percent fall in Latin America.
** PRICELINE GROUP INC, $1,214.585, +8.16 pct
The world’s largest online travel services company by bookings reported a fourth-quarter profit and revenue that beat analysts estimates as gross travel bookings rose 16.64 percent, helped by strong hotel and rental car bookings in international markets
The company’s board also authorized a shares buyback worth up to $3 billion.
** EXXON MOBIL CORP, $90.01, -1.10 pct
** TRANSOCEAN LTD, $17.45, -1.75 pct
** OCCIDENTAL PETROLEUM, $80.99, -0.47 pct
** ANADARKO PETROLEUM, $86.09, -0.90 pct
** CONOCOPHILLIPS, $67.29, -0.65 pct
** CHESAPEAKE ENERGY CORP, $20.44, -1.49 pct
** CHEVRON CORP, $108.94, -1.36 pct
The stocks of S&P components related to the oil and gas sector were the biggest drag on the index as oil prices tumbled after another big weekly build in U.S. crude inventories and a possible rise in Saudi output stoked worries about oversupply
** HOST HOTELS & RESORTS INC, $21.87, -7.09 pct
The hotel operator forecast for 2015 adjusted funds from operations was lower than analysts’ average estimate.
** AMERICAN AIRLINES GROUP INC, $49.99, +1.38 pct
** DELTA AIR LINES INC, $46.26, +2.19 pct
** JETBLUE AIRWAYS CORP, $17.08, +1.49 pct
** UNITED CONTINENTAL HOLDINGS, $67.04, +0.48 pct
** SOUTHWEST AIRLINES CO, $44.18, +1.45 pct
The fall in crude oil price, however, lifted the stocks of airline companies.
** ASCENT SOLAR TECHNOLOGIES INC, $1.64, +32.26 pct
The solar module maker estimated a four-fold rise in fourth-quarter revenue.
** AMERICAN EXPRESS CO, $77.73, -2.57 pct
The company violated U.S. antitrust law by imposing rules that barred merchants from steering customers to use credit cards that have lower processing costs, a federal judge ruled.
** FREDDIE MAC, $2.92, -5.19 pct
** FANNIE MAE, $3.04, -5.00 pct
Government-controlled mortgage finance firm Freddie Mac said it will pay $851 million to the U.S. Treasury in March, its smallest dividend payment since the first quarter of 2009. The company also said fourth quarter net income fell by $1.9 billion to $227 million, driven by derivative losses.
FACTBOX-Freddie Mac to cut another check to U.S. Treasury.
** UNITED INSURANCE HOLDINGS, $22.81, -10.41 pct
The property and casualty insurer reported lower-than-expected fourth-quarter revenue, hurt by higher costs.
** TETRAPHASE PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $39.46, +8.11 pct
** ACHAOGEN INC, $11.4554, +3.20 pct
UCLA Health System said seven patients infected with potentially deadly, drug-resistant strain of bacteria and that more than 100 might have been exposed to it. Tetraphase and Achaogen are developing antibiotics that fight so-called superbugs, or bacteria that are resistant to available treatments.
** BOISE CASCADE CO, $37.89, -11.31 pct
The paper & pulp company forecasts flat first-quarter EBITDA for its building materials distribution segment and said it expects modest demand growth for products it manufactures and distributes in 2015.
** SAGENT PHARMACEUTICALS, $28.79, +4.50 pct
The drugmaker reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter profit. The company recorded $23.6 million tax benefit.
** HEALTHSTREAM INC, $27.2001, -10.41 pct
The provider of internet-based learning and research software to healthcare companies said it expects 2015 full-year operating income to fall 25-35 percent. The company reported adjusted fourth-quarter revenue of $45.6 million, below analysts’ average estimate of $45.8 million.
** GOLDCORP INC, $21.88, -6.18 pct
Goldcorp, the world’s biggest gold producer by market value, posted a hefty loss as it took a $2.3 billion impairment charge on a new mine in Argentina, the second multi-billion dollar writedown from a top gold miner in as many days.
** CASTLIGHT HEALTH INC, $6.83, -27.80 pct
The healthcare information provider forecast first quarter and full year 2015 revenue below analysts’ estimates.
At least three brokerages cut price targets and Canaccord Genuity said, “When you are highly valued and projected to lose over 60% in FCF for every dollar of revenue, you cannot have equivocal results and expect a stock to outperform.” The brokerage downgraded the stock to “hold” from “buy”.
** KEYW HOLDING CORP, $8.9, -10.10 pct
The cyber-security product maker reported bigger-than-expected loss and lower-than-expected revenue for fourth-quarter late on Wednesday.
At least 3 brokerages cut target price; RBC Capital Markets cut by $4 to $18; Sterne Agee & Leach cuts by $2 to $8.
** ASTRONICS CORP, $66.47, +15.74 pct
The aircraft cabin electronics supplie reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter profit and revenue as sales in aerospace segment jumped about 25 percent.
** TRIPLE-S MANAGEMENT CORP, $20.69, -14.22 pct
The managed care company reported much lower-than-expected fourth-quarter adjusted profit.
** INTELSAT SA, $13.85, -12.18 pct
J.P. Morgan Securities downgraded the satellite services provider’s stock to “underweight” from “neutral”. Intelsat forecast full-year revenue well below average analysts estimate after reporting. UBS downgraded the stock to “neutral” from “buy”, according to theflyonthewall.com.
** INTERFACE INC, $18.98, +15.66 pct
The carpet tile maker reported fourth-quarter adjusted profit and sales above analysts’ estimates on Wednesday.
** EXAMWORKS GROUP INC, $39.84, +5.42 pct
The independent medical examinations provider posted higher-than-expected fourth-quarter profit, helped by a 27 percent jump in revenue. The company also forecast first-quarter revenue above the average analyst estimate.
** FAMOUS DAVE’S OF AMERICA INC, $31.135, -8.83 pct
The barbecue restaurant chain reported lower-than-expected fourth-quarter profit as sales fell 4.8 percent. Comparable sales declined 4 percent, compared with a drop of 2.6 percent a year earlier.
** DEMANDWARE INC, $57.51, +6.24 pct
The provider of software to design e-commerce websites reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter revenue as more subscribers bought its products.
** AVG TECHNOLOGIES NV, $21.885, +5.88 pct
The internet security software maker reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter profit and revenue, helped by higher subscription sales. Cowen and Co raised its target price to $22 from $19.5 and Nomura Equity Research raised to $25 from $24.
** KEY ENERGY SERVICES, $2.03, -7.73 pct
The oilfield services provider reported a bigger-than-expected fourth-quarter loss as U.S. rig services revenue fell 6.8 percent.
** CVR ENERGY INC, $38.63, -7.76 pct
The petroleum refining and nitrogen fertilizer company posted a fourth-quarter loss, hurt by a slump in crude prices and an unplanned outage at its Wynneword refiner. The company lowered quarterly dividend to 50 cents per share from 75 cents.
** IMAX CORP, $34.51, +3.76 pct
The big-movie-screen company reported fourth-quarter profit and revenue well above analysts’ average estimate as it installed 26 theatre systems.
** B&G FOODS INC, $28.96, -4.55 pct
The sauces and condiments maker forecasts 2015 revenue and profit below analysts’ expectations. The company also reported lower-than-expected fourth-quarter profit, its seventh straight miss.
** MACQUARIE INFRASTRUCTURE CO LLC, $79.76, +3.85 pct
The airport infrastructure operator reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter profit, helped by a 14 percent increase in Atlantic Aviation business profit. The company sees dividend growth of about 14 percent in next 2 years. Oppenheimer raised its price target to $85 from $81.
** REGENERON PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $424.87, +4.70 pct
A study sponsored by National Institutes of Health shows Regeneron’s blockbuster eye injection Eylea is more effective than Roche Holding AG’s rival drugs, Avastin and Lucentis, particularly in patients with severe vision loss.
** NETLIST INC, $1.42, -8.97 pct
A 7.7 million stock offering by the maker of memory products for cloud computing and storage markets was priced at $1.30 apiece. The company also said Craig-Hallum Capital Group Llc would purchase 7.7 million shares at $1.209 per share.
Netlist also forecast fourth quarter revenue of about $2.5 million and a loss of $5-$6.0 million. Two analysts on average expect revenue of $5.5 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
** THE KEYW HOLDING CORP, $8.9, -10.10 pct>
The provider of cybersecurity and geospatial intelligence products reported fourth-quarter revenue and loss that fell short of market estimates and at least three brokerages cut their rating on the stock.
RBC said, “we think quarterly fundamentals were decent, but our new estimates push out the break-even point.”
** MONSTER WORLDWIDE INC, $6.14, +3.19 pct
Evercore ISI raised its rating on the online recruitment company’s shares to “buy”. Monster reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter profit last week as bookings in its North American careers business rose.
** BJ’S RESTAURANTS INC, $54.9046, +17.12 pct
The casual dining restaurant operator reported Q4 profit and revenue above analysts’ estimates, as sales improved on new menu offerings, higher traffic and lower costs.
Stifel said, “We remain pleased with management’s implementation of several key initiatives and continue to expect more cost-cutting and margin-enhancing leveraging opportunities, especially given improving tailwinds from the Stifel-declared “Rising Tide” dining-out recovery.”
The brokerage was one among five to raise their price target on the stock.
** EOG RESOURCES INC, $93.7, -1.69 pct
The oil and natural gas producer posted a quarterly profit far below Wall Street’s expectations on Wednesday and slashed its 2015 budget, marking the latest energy giant to fall victim to plunging crude prices.
** COEUR MINING INC, $6.18, -10.82 pct
The gold and silver miner posted an 18 percent fall in fourth-quarter revenue, hurt by lower metal prices and decreased gold sales. The company expects 2015 silver production of 14.8 - 16.0 million ounces down from 2014 production of 17.2 million ounces.
** T-MOBILE US INC, $32.11, +3.58 pct
The No. 4 U.S. wireless operator’s quarterly profit and revenue handily beat market estimates as aggressive discounts helped the company add more than 2 million subscribers.
** SOLARCITY CORP, $53.415, -6.45 pct
The solar company’s current-quarter sales forecast missed analysts’ estimate, hurt by strong winter. The company reported a fourth-quarter loss, compared with a year-ago profit, hurt by increased expenses and low deployments.
** BALL CORP, $74.57, -3.36 pct
** REXAM PLC, $43.57, +1.38 pct
British drinks can maker Rexam said U.S. rival Ball Corp offered to buy the company in a cash-and-stock deal valued at about $6.85 billion), creating an industry giant better equipped to withstand rising aluminum costs.
Breakingviews-Drinks can merger may yet get flattened
** INTREPID POTASH INC, $14.62, +9.27 pct
The potash producer reported a fourth-quarter profit compared with a loss a year earlier. The company’s sales rose 25 percent to $98.3 million. (Compiled by Neha Dimri in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D’Souza)