October 24, 2013 / 11:28 AM / in 5 years

MARKET PULSE- Xerox, Bank of America, Potash Corp, Merit Medical

(For more market insights, including options activity, click on ; for the Day Ahead newsletter link.reuters.com/mex49s)

Oct 24 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures advanced on Thursday, indicating the S&P 500 will rebound from its first decline in the last six sessions, ahead of labor market and manufacturing data and a slew of corporate earnings. S&P 500 futures rose 7.9 points and were above 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 gained 67 points and Nasdaq 100 futures added 14.75 points.

** BANK OF AMERICA CORP, Wednesday close $14.21, down 0.6 pct premarket

The bank was found liable for fraud on Wednesday over defective mortgages sold by its Countrywide unit. After a four-week trial, a federal jury in New York found the bank liable on one civil fraud charge. Countrywide originated shoddy home loans in a process called “Hustle” and sold them to U.S. government mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac , the government said. The U.S. Justice Department has said it would seek up to $848.2 million, the gross loss it said Fannie and Freddie suffered on the loans.

** GOLDMAN SACHS GROUP INC, Wednesday close $157.74, up 1.4 pct premarket

The company is working to bolster performance in fixed-income trading after a weak third quarter, and is looking for experienced salespeople and traders to improve the business, President and Chief Operating Officer Gary Cohn said in a Bloomberg Television interview on Wednesday. [ID: nL1N0ID1ZA]

** MCKESSON CORP, Wednesday close $143.05, up 0.6 pct after market

The pharmaceutical wholesaler agreed to buy German peer Celesio AG on Thursday for $8.3 billion, including debt, forging a global market leader in drugs distribution to boost its purchasing power with pharma majors.

** RR DONNELLEY & SONS CO, Wednesday close $16.69

The printing services company said it will buy Consolidated Graphics Inc for about $620 million in a cash-and-stock deal, to expand its footprint in the commercial printing market. The deal is expected to add to RR Donnelley’s adjusted earnings within 12 months of the deal, which is estimated to close in the first quarter of 2014.

** CHEVRON CORP, Wednesday close $120.13, down 0.1 pct after market

A former Ecuadorean judge testified on Wednesday that he ghost-wrote rulings for a judge who ordered Chevron Corp to pay $19 billion to villagers whose land had been polluted by oil exploration. The former judge testified at a trial in New York in which Chevron accuses U.S. lawyer Steven Donziger of bribing the Ecuadorean judges to win the award for the villagers.

** AGNICO EAGLE MINES LTD, Wednesday close $25.86, up 5.6 pct premarket

The company on Wednesday reported a 56 percent decline in third-quarter profit due to lower realized metal prices as well as a maintenance shutdown at its Kittila mine in Finland, but it beat analysts’ estimates, and raised its full-year production forecast while lowering cost expectations.

** WAL-MART STORES INC, Wednesday close $75.90

The world’s biggest retailer said it is expanding its China business as it seeks to raise profitability in a slowing retail sector. Wal-Mart will open up to 110 facilities in China between 2014 and 2016, in addition to the 30 it has already opened this year, it said at a press event in Beijing on Thursday.

** VARIAN MEDICAL SYSTEMS INC, Wednesday close $78.52, down 7.1 pct after market

The medical device maker reported lower-than-expected fourth-quarter results as demand for its products fell due to uncertainties related to U.S. healthcare reforms and reimbursement cuts.

** OMNICARE INC, Wednesday close $54.23

The U.S. provider of pharmacy services to the elderly, has agreed to pay the U.S. government $120 million to settle allegations the company gave nursing homes steep discounts on prescription drugs in exchange for patient referrals.

** BOSTON SCIENTIFIC CORP, Wednesday close $12.29, up 1 pct after market

The medical device maker plans to cut up to 1,500 jobs in its latest restructuring effort that aims to save $150 million to $200 million in operating expenses by the end of 2015, the company announced in a regulatory filing.

** TRIQUINT SEMICONDUCTOR INC, Wednesday close $8.31, down 10.3 pct after market

The company forecast current-quarter results well below Wall Street expectations, partly due to lower revenue from embattled smartphone company BlackBerry Ltd .

** HEWLETT-PACKARD CO, Wednesday close $23.76, down 0.1 pct after market

The company is seeking buyers for some of its mobile-computing patents, Bloomberg reported, citing people with direct knowledge of the matter. The company has approached potential buyers about the portfolio of patents, which include those related to webOS - the smartphone and tablet-computer operating system that HP acquired through its 2010 buy of Palm Inc, people told the agency.

** AT&T INC, Wednesday close $35.28, down 0.1 pct after market

The company reported net income that was a penny ahead of Wall Street expectations on Wednesday on wireless profit margins that were better than some analysts expected.

** UNITED TECHNOLOGIES CORP, Wednesday close $106.39

The Pentagon on Wednesday announced it had finalized a $1.1 billion contract with Pratt & Whitney, a unit of United Technologies, to build 38 engines for a sixth batch of F-35 fighter jets built by Lockheed Martin Corp.

** SYMANTEC CORP, Wednesday close $24.62, down 12.7 pct premarket

The maker of Norton anti-virus software, reported lower-than-expected second-quarter revenue and forecast current-quarter results below expectations, hit by low demand for storage and security products and a weak PC market.

** AKAMAI TECHNOLOGIES INC, Wednesday close $51.87, down 6.7 pct after market

The company, whose products help move content quickly over the Internet, forecast current-quarter revenue largely below analyst estimates, citing the uncertain outcome of contract renegotiations with its biggest media client - widely thought to be Apple Inc. [ID: nL3N0ID4L3]

** PULTEGROUP INC, Wednesday close $16.68, down 0.5 pct after market

The No. 2 U.S. homebuilder, said orders fell 17 percent in the third quarter as higher interest rates delayed home sales.

** DIAMOND OFFSHORE DRILLING INC, Wednesday close $63.23

The company said its quarterly net income fell about 47 percent as its customers, oil and gas producers, had cash flow issues.

** GENERAL DYNAMICS CORP, Wednesday close $86.23

The maker of Gulfstream business jets and U.S. Navy warships, reported higher earnings and operating margins for the third quarter despite a dip in revenue, and nudged its full-year earnings forecast higher. [ID: nL1N0ID0H2]

** Microsoft CORP, Wednesday close $33.76

The company is expected to report slightly higher fiscal first-quarter profit as strong server software sales offset weakness in Windows, which is being hurt by a decline in PC shipments. It will be the first quarter that Microsoft reports under new hardware, software and licensing segments, as part of its July plan to reinvent itself as a devices and services company. Investors will want to know more about the company’s search for a new leader, after CEO Steve Ballmer’s retirement announcement in August.

** CELGENE CORP,, Wednesday close $160.00, up 0.9 pct after market

The U.S. biotech company, which has seen its share price double so far this year, is expected to report higher third-quarter profit on strong sales of its flagship blood cancer drug Revlimid and newer products. The company has twice raised full-year forecasts this year and investors will be looking for a third increase in 2013 profit and revenue projections.

** POTASH CORP, Wednesday close $31.70, down 1.4 pct premarket

The world’s biggest fertilizer producer reduced its outlook for full-year earnings more than Wall Street expected, as buyers backed away from the key fertilizer ingredient potash due to uncertainty caused by the breakup of rival Belarusian Potash Co.

** XEROX CORP, Wednesday close $10.73, down 6.7 pct premarket

The company reported a quarterly profit that beat analysts’ average estimates due to a 3 percent rise in revenue from its services business, its biggest.

** ALEXION PHARMACEUTICALS INC, Wednesday close $109.66

The drugmaker said the U.S. health regulator granted a breakthrough therapy designation to its experimental treatment for patients with a rare, genetic, metabolic disorder that causes irreversible neurological damage in newborns.

The designation expedites the development of a drug that aims to treat life-threatening diseases, where initial clinical data indicates the treatment may be better than existing options.

The company also reported third-quarter earnings of 83 cents per share that beat wall street estimates, and raised its full-year earnings and revenue forecast to reflect a growing demand for its drug Soliris, used to treat a rare blood disorder.

** MERIT MEDICAL SYSTEMS INC, Wednesday close $13.97, up 12 pct after market

The medical device maker reported third-quarter revenue which beat analysts’ estimates, due to higher sales of its cardiovascular devices, including catheters and stand-alone devices. (Compiled by; Editing by)

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