October 18, 2012 / 1:38 PM / 5 years ago

MARKET PULSE-Supervalu, Clearwire, Juniper, USG, Align, Travelers

Oct 18 (Reuters) - Some U.S. stocks to watch on Thursday:

(For more market insights, including options activity, click on STXNEWS/US; for the Morning News Call newsletter click on link.reuters.com/nex49s; for the day ahead newsletter link.reuters.com/mex49s)

FUTURES TICK LOWER AHEAD OF JOBLESS CLAIMS DATA

Index futures edged lower on Thursday as investors digested a ream of fresh earnings reports and looked ahead to jobless claims data for clues on the strength of the economy.

S&P 500 futures fell 0.11 percent and were about even with fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures added 0.06 percent and Nasdaq 100 futures fell 0.2 percent.

** SUPERVALU INC, Wednesday close $2.04, up 10.7 pct premarket

The U.S. grocery chain reported weaker-than-expected second-quarter profit, and gave an update on its strategic review process saying it has received a number of indications of interest from third parties interested in its business.

The company also said it was on track to reduce debt by $400 million to $450 million by 2013.

** TRAVELERS COMPANIES INC, Wednesday close $71.38, up 2.2 pct premarket

The property insurer reported record operating profit in the third quarter as prices rose and losses from natural disasters fell sharply.

** MORGAN STANLEY, Wednesday close $18.49, up 1.6 pct premarket

The company reported better-than-expected adjusted earnings for the third quarter as it boosted revenue from trading bonds, long a sore spot for the investment bank.

** BLACKSTONE GROUP LP, Wednesday close $15.04, up 1.8 pct premarket

The largest publicly listed alternative asset manager, said on Thursday third-quarter were its third-best since going public in 2007 as its funds appreciated in value and performance fees soared.

** INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORP, Wednesday close $200.63, up 0.5 pct premarket

The company is in advanced talks to buy Israel-based Red Bend Software, a provider of mobile phone software, for $200 million to $250 million, Israeli media reported.

** CATERPILLAR INC, Wednesday close $86.63, down 0.6 pct premarket

Barclays Capital cut its price target on the stock to $114 from $116.

** ALIGN TECHNOLOGY, Wednesday close $35.41, down 18.8 pct premarket

The dental products maker forecast fourth-quarter earnings well below Wall Street estimates as sales of its trademark invisible braces, Invisalign, fell short of expectations.

** GIVEN IMAGING LTD , Wednesday close $15.27, up 12.8 pct premarket

The Israeli medical device maker said it was evaluating a potential merger or sale of the company after receiving expressions of interest from a range of parties.

** SELECT COMFORT CORP, Wednesday close $32.63, down 7.2 pct premarket

The specialty mattress maker reported higher-than-expected quarterly earnings as more customers took to its new products, prompting the retailer to raise its 2012 profit outlook for the second time this year.

** HERTZ GLOBAL HOLDINGS INC, Wednesday close $14.81, down 4.3 pct premarket

** DOLLAR THRIFTY AUTOMOTIVE GROUP INC, Wednesday close $86.81, down 1.2 pct premarket

Car rental company Hertz said the U.S. Federal Trade Commission has asked for more time to review its proposed $2.56 billion takeover of rival Dollar Thrifty.

** BIOGEN IDEC INC, Wednesday close $153.78, down 3 pct premarket

The biotechnology company said U.S. health regulators extended the review date of its multiple sclerosis drug, BG-12, by three months.

** PHILIP MORRIS INTERNATIONAL INC, Wednesday close $91.85, down 3.1 pct premarket

Tobacco giant Philip Morris International Inc reported weaker-than-expected third-quarter results hurt by a drop in cigarette shipment volumes, and forecast a full-year profit that lagged Wall Street estimates.

** ST JUDE MEDICAL INC, Wednesday close $40.85, down 3.2 pct premarket

The company posted lower third-quarter earnings on Wednesday, hurt by weak sales and restructuring charges. The medical device maker also said it might receive a warning letter from the U.S. health regulator about its California heart device manufacturing plant.

Canaccord Genuity and William Blair cut their ratings on St. Jude and BMO Capital Markets lowered its target price on the stock on Thursday.

** AEGERION PHARMACEUTICALS, Wednesday close $19.15, up 2 pct premarket

The company said on Wednesday that an advisory committee of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended its lipid disorder drug lomitapide for approval and assigned it a review date of Dec. 29, 2013.

Jefferies & Co and Needham & Co raised their price target on the stock on Thursday.

** BOSTON SCIENTIFIC CORP, Wednesday close $5.62, down 2 pct premarket

The medical device maker reported a quarterly net loss on charges and weaker sales.

** AETERNA ZENTARIS INC , Wednesday close $2.40, up 2 pct premarket

The Canadian drugmaker said a late-stage study of its treatment for adult growth hormone deficiency shows the therapy was safe. It will submit a new drug application for AEZS-130, the oral diagnostic test, in the first quarter of 2013.

** USG CORP, Wednesday close $22.73, down 5.5 pct premarket

The building products maker posted a wider-than-expected quarterly loss as a rise in wallboard prices failed to offset weak demand.

** NOVAVAX INC,, Wednesday close $2.244, up 8 pct premarket

The company said on Wednesday that its experimental flu vaccine did not show any safety issues in an early-stage study. Data from the study showed that the drug could be developed and tested in larger trials, the drugmaker said in a statement.

** MELLANOX TECHNOLOGIES , Wednesday close $98.15, down 13 pct premarket

The Israel-based chip designer reported a strong third-quarter profit but offered an outlook for the end of the year that disappointed investors.

Mellanox told analysts on a conference call it expects to earn $1.07 per share in the fourth quarter on revenue of $148 million, said Harel Finance analyst Rami Rozen.

** CLEARWIRE CORP, Wednesday close $2.26, down 8 pct premarket

Wireless carrier Sprint Nextel Corp has acquired voting control of Clearwire after buying out one of the company’s other shareholders, Sprint said in a securities filing on Thursday.

The company raised its stake in Clearwire to 50.8 percent from 48 percent.

** BIOTIME INC, Wednesday close $3.99

** GERON CORP, Wednesday close $1.42, up 6.3 pct premarket

BioTime said it offered to buy Geron’s stem cell assets in exchange for a 45 percent stake in a new publicly traded company that would own those assets, along with $40 million of BioTime stock and some of its units.

Geron, which shelved its stem cell program earlier this month due to funding constraints late last year, would retain its cancer therapy business, under BioTime’s offer.

** JUNIPER NETWORKS INC, Wednesday’s close $17.31, up 5 pct

Technology website Benzinga.com reported on Tuesday that the network gear maker may have hired JP Morgan to handle bids from potential buyers, according to its sources.

The company has received a bid in the high $20s and EMC Corp has been mentioned as a potential buyer, Benzinga reported citing sources.[link.reuters.com/wyr43t]

** L & L ENERGY INC, Wednesday close $1.92, up 5.2 pct premarket

The U.S.-based coal miner will supply 360,000 tons of coal to China’s Datang International Power through September, 2013. With this updated contract with the state-owned power producer, L&L said it looks to strengthen its presence in the region.

U.S. coal exports to coal-hungry Asian economies are on track for a record high this year after having climbed steadily since 2009.

** EBAY INC, Wednesday close $48.20, down 0.7 pct premarket

The e-commerce company posted third-quarter results above expectations but gave a cautious forecast for the crucial holiday season amid a brewing price war between big retailers and rival Amazon.com Inc.

Nomura Equity Research cut its price target on the stock to $59 from $60.

** UNION PACIFIC CORP, Wednesday close $123.73, up 0.2 pct premarket

The company posted a 15 percent rise in profit as a rise in the largest publicly traded U.S. railroad’s shipments of freight, including autos, offset weak coal shipments.

** VERIZON COMMUNICATIONS INC, Wednesday close $44.7, up 0.5 pct premarket

The telecom firm posted a 16 percent increase in quarterly profit helped by higher revenue in its wireless business after it raised data prices and started selling the latest Apple Inc iPhone.

** WESCO INTERNATIONAL INC, $57.17, up 9.8 pct premarket

The electrical products distributor posted better-than-expected quarterly profit on strong margins.

It also said on Wednesday that it would buy rival EECOL Electric Corp for about C$1.14 billion ($1.16 billion) to expand its presence in Canada and South America.

** NOKIA OYJ , Wednesday close $2.94, up 7 pct premarket

The phonemaker reported another quarterly loss and dwindling cash reserves on Thursday, but results were better than expected ahead of next month’s launch of new smartphones it hopes can win back market share from Apple and Samsung.

** PPG INDUSTRIES INC, Wednesday close $118.97

The chemicals producer posted a 9 percent jump in quarterly profit as cost cuts helped offset nearly flat revenue growth.

** POLARIS INDUSTRIES INC, Wednesday close $85.28, up 1.4 premarket

The all-terrain vehicle maker reported better-than-expected quarterly results due to strong sales in North America and raised its full-year forecast for the third time.

** DIAMOND OFFSHORE DRILLING INC, Wednesday close $69.77

One of the world’s top-five offshore rig contractors reported a better-than-expected profit on lower operating costs.

** BB&T CORP, Wednesday close $32.27, down 1.6 pct

The regional bank’s profit rose 28 percent in the third quarter as it earned more mortgage banking income

** UNION PACIFIC CORP, Wednesday close $123.73

The largest U.S. public railroad company is expected to post higher profits even as demand for coal fell and the global economy weakened.

** ADVANCED MICRO DEVICES INC, Wednesday close $2.77

The chipmaker faces skeptical investors when it posts third quarter results.

** FIFTH THIRD BANCORP, Wednesday close $15.13

Midwestern U.S. regional bank’s third-quarter profit fell as the U.S. regional bank set aside more money to cover possible mortgage repurchase requests and paid debt extinguishment costs related to its August redemption of trust preferred securities.

** E*TRADE FINANCIAL CORP, Wednesday close $9.54

The company is expected to report earnings per share that are just about half of what they were a year earlier as trading levels and interest-based income declined

** DANAHER CORP, Wednesday close $56.10

Industrial and healthcare conglomerate reported a lower-than-expected quarterly profit on Thursday and cut its forecast for the year, saying it would spend more to restructure its operations.

** FLEXTRONICS INTERNATIONAL LTD, Wednesday close $6.28

The contract electronics manufacturer will be the first in its peer group to report quarterly results.

** HUNTINGTON BANCSHARES INC, Wednesday close $7.05

The company’s third-quarter profit narrowly beat analysts’ estimates as it lent more to commercial and industrial businesses, boosting its net interest margin.

** ALLY FINANCIAL, Wednesday close $24.59

The auto lender, which is 74-percent-owned by the U.S. government will sell its Mexican insurance business to insurance and reinsurance company ACE Ltd for $865 million in cash.

** EBAY INC, Wednesday close $48.20, down 4 pct post-market

The e-commerce company posted third-quarter results above expectations but gave a cautious forecast for the crucial holiday season amid a brewing price war between big retailers and rival Amazon.com Inc.

Nomura Equity Research cut its price target on the stock to $59 from $60.

** XILINX INC, Wednesday close $33.96, down 1.4 pct post-market

The chipmaker reported a drop in second-quarter revenue as sales dropped in all regions except Asia Pacific, and forecast sales to drop up to 5 percent sequentially in the current quarter.

** CME GROUP INC, Wednesday close $57.8

The company on Wednesday agreed to buy the Kansas City Board of Trade for $126 million in cash, cementing CME’s dominance in world grain futures markets and keeping rival IntercontinentalExchange from gaining an important foothold.

** NETSCOUT SYSTEMS INC, Wednesday close $23.62

The maker of software monitoring applications reported better-than-expected quarterly results on strong bookings, and raised the low end of its profit forecast for fiscal year 2013.

The company said it is winning “significant new projects” in the wireless carrier space. Demand for NetScout’s services for monitoring network traffic and improving network and application performance is rising on the growing adoption of smartphones such as Apple Inc’s iPhone, and the rapid rollout of faster carrier networks in the U.S.

** LABORATORY CORP OF AMERICA HOLDINGS, Wednesday close $90.21

The medical test provider reported a slightly higher-than-expected quarterly profit, but the company, which is under pressure as managed care companies cut costs, lowered the high end of its full-year earnings forecast.

** GOOGLE INC, Wednesday close $755.49

The company coasts into its quarterly results announcement on a wave of investor exuberance, after markets close.

** MICROSOFT CORP, Wednesday close $29.59

A sharp decline in personal computer sales is expected to take a bite out of the company’s fiscal first-quarter earnings. (Compiled by Aditi Shrivastava in Bangalore)

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