Oct 24 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks edged higher on Thursday, as investors grappled with a host of corporate earnings and muddled batch of economic data. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 0.42 percent at 15,478.33, the S&P 500 was up 0.16 percent at 1,749.1 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.29 percent at 3,918.512.
** DOW CHEMICAL CO, $39.60, down 3.5 pct (9:90 a.m. ET)
The company which is looking to exit businesses that are exposed to commodity price swings, said it planned to raise at least $3 billion to $4 billion from asset sales.
** INTERNATIONAL PAPER CO, $45.32, up 2.1 pct (11:07 a.m.)
The largest provider of shipping boxes for Amazon.com Inc and other giant e-commerce companies reported better-than-expected quarterly profit on Thursday, helped by strong sales of corrugated packaging for shipping boxes.
** WASHINGTON BANKING CO, $17.40, up 22 pct
** HERITAGE FINANCIAL CORP, $16.70, up 5 pct (10:01 a.m. ET)
Heritage Financial will buy Washington Banking in a deal valued at $265.1 million. The buy is expected to add to the combined company’s earnings per share in 2014.
** FERRO CORP, $11.46, up 11 pct (11:02 A.M. ET)
Analysts at Credit Suisse raised their rating on the chemical maker’s stock to “outperform” from “neutral,” citing Ferro’s consistent execution of an aggressive cost-cutting program and third-quarter profit that beat Credit Suisse’s estimates.
** HORSEHEAD HOLDING CORP, $13.12, down 4 pct (10:49 A.M. ET)
The zinc and nickel-based products maker said it expects its third-quarter sales to fall 9 percent. Horsehead also said as it winds down its facility in Monaca, Pennsylvania, it will experience higher unit costs due to lower output in the third and fourth quarters.
** VANTIV INC, down 6.32 pct (10:46 a.m. ET)
The payment processor reported third-quarter results that missed estimates due to higher operating expenses. The company’s guidance for the fourth quarter and the full year also fell short of analysts’ expectations.
** NOVADAQ TECHNOLOGIES INC, $16.76, down 10 pct (10:18 a.m.)
The medical imaging device maker said it has priced its public offering of 6.25 million common shares at $16.75 each, which is at a 10 percent discount to Wednesday’s close price.
** WI-LAN INC, $2.8, down 27 pct (9:54 a.m. ET)
The Canadian patent licensing company lost a pending patent infringement trial against Apple Inc, late on Wednesday. Trial proceedings involving Canada’s Wi-lan and Apple began on October 15.
Wilan, which has a string of patent lawsuits against smartphone makers, settled all pending legal litigation with BlackBerry Ltd, earlier in October.
** NATUS MEDICAL INC, Thursday close $15.11, up 14 percent premarket
Natus Medical Inc reported third-quarter results which breezed past analysts’ estimates as sales in its neurology and newborn care businesses increased, and the company raised its full-year earning and revenue forecasts.
** AMICUS THERAPEUTICS, $2.33, down 2 pct (10:16 a.m. ET)
Leerink Swann cuts its rating “market perform” from “outperform,” saying it sees relatively limited news flow over the near term related to the biotech company’s potential transition from a monotherapy to a combination therapy story.
Amigal, Amicus’s most advanced experimental drug, is in development as a monotherapy and in combination with enzyme replacement therapy for Fabry disease. Fabry disease is a rare, inherited disorder caused by the body’s inability to produce the enzyme that helps breaks down fat.
** MEDIDATA SOLUTIONS INC, $113.10, up 10 pct (10:00 a.m. ET)
The company, which provides cloud-based services for clinical research, reported third-quarter results that beat analysts’ estimates, due to an increase in revenue from application services. Medidate raised its revenue full-year revenue forecast for the third time this year to $275.3 million to $276.8 million from $273 million to $276 million it earlier estimated.
** NEOGENOMICS INC, $3.94, up 10 pct (10:38 a.m. ET)
Shares of the laboratory services provider rose for a second day after the company increased its full-year revenue forecast and reported third-quarter earnings just above analysts’ estimates.
** CASH AMERICA INTERNATIONAL INC, $40.02, down 12 pct (10:35 a.m. ET)
The pawn and payday lender said it expects demand for pawn lending products to be below historical growth rates for the remainder of 2013 and into 2014. Management forecast current quarter earnings, excluding items, to be between 95 cents and $1.05 per share, much below average analysts’ estimates of $1.20 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
The company also initiated fiscal year 2014 guidance for earnings per share in a range between $4.20 and $4.40 per share. Analysts are expecting earnings of $4.91 per share.
** HOME FEDERAL BANCORP INC, $15.19, up 18.6 pct (10:20 a.m. ET)
** CASCADE BANCORP, $5.68, down 5 pct (10:20 a.m. ET)
Cascade Bancorp agreed to buy Home Federal Bancorp in a cash and stock deal valued at $265.7 million. The offer to Home Federal includes a payment of $120,8 million in cash and 24.3 million shares of Cascade common stock.
The deal values each Home Federal share at $17.83, a 39 percent premium to the stock’s Wednesday close.
** TEXAS CAPITAL BANCSHARES INC, $52.51, up 10 pct (10:30 a.m. ET)
The bank reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit on Wednesday as it earned higher interst income, prompting at least six brokerages to raise their price targets on the company’s stock.
** PRECISION CASTPARTS CORP, $257.09, up 4.5 pct (11.06 a.m ET)
The company, which makes forgings and fasteners for aerospaces and industrial gas turbine applications, reported second-quarter earnings that beat analysts estimates as sales of its forged products rose 39 percent.
** TEREX CORP, Wednesday close $35.91, up 5 pct (11.00 a.m. ET)
The heavy equipment maker reported third-quarter earnings that beat analysts estimates, helped by a reduction in its tax rate. The company also raised its full-year earnings forecast to $2.05-$2.25 per share from $1.90-$2.10 per share. (r.reuters.com/jub24v)
** ANGIE’S LIST INC, $14.89, down 3.5 pct (11:03 a.m. ET)
The online review company reported lower-than-expected quarterly revenue as first-year membership renewal rates fell, and forecast current-quarter revenue that also fell short of market estimates on Wednesday.
Several brokerages cut their price target on the company’s stock following results.
** FUSION-IO INC, $9.62, down 25.8 pct (11:14 a.m. ET)
The flash storage-drive maker on Wednesday forecast only a small rise in second-quarter revenue and said its chief financial officer had resigned.
Several brokerages lowered their rating on the company’s stock following results.
** VALASSIS COMMUNICATIONS INC, $26.6, down 14 pct (10:40 a.m. ET)
The media and marketing services provider reported third-quarter results below analysts’ estimates due to a change in contracts with some clients and discontinuation of its sampling and solo direct mail products. The company also cut its full-year profit forecast which was also below estimates.
** NXP SEMICONDUCTORS NV, $39.99, up 11 pct (10:30 a.m. ET)
The semiconductor maker, whose chips and sensors are used in cars, identification equipment and mobile phones, reported better-than-expected quarterly profit on Wednesday and forecast fourth-quarter profit and revenue largely above analysts’ estimates.
Topeka Capital raised its price target on the stock to $46 from $42.
** FORD MOTOR CO, $17.86, up 1.9 pct (9:47 a.m. ET)
The U.S. automaker boosted its full-year global earnings and margin outlook on Thursday, helped by an improved forecast in Europe and better-than-expected results in the third quarter.
** EQUINIX INC, $174.00, up 3 pct (09:48 a.m. ET)
The data center operator reported better-than-expected third-quarter results on Wednesday as it won new contracts in its cloud business, including with Microsoft’s Azure. The company also forecast current-quarter revenue largely above analysts’ estimates.
** STARWOOD HOTELS & RESORTS WORLDWIDE INC, $72.78, up 3.3 pct (09:48 a.m. ET)
The operator of Sheraton hotels reported quarterly earnings above analysts’ expectations due to higher travel demand in North America. “We remain bullish on the long-term trends of rising wealth and increasing demand for travel in fast growing economies, even in the face of slower growth in China, unrest in the Middle East, and economic challenges in Latin America,” Chief Executive Frits van Paasschen said in a statement.
** CHEESECAKE FACTORY INC, $44.73, up 4.5 pct (9:49 a.m. ET)
The company on Wednesday reported higher quarterly profit after sales at its established namesake restaurants rose more than expected and the company said it grabbed market share from rivals.
** FORTINET INC, $21.96, up 6.7 pct (9:50 a.m. ET)
The network security software maker reported quarterly results above analysts’ estimates, helped by strong demand for support services and higher software renewals.
** GOLDMAN SACHS GROUP INC, $159.79, up 1.2 pct (9:50 a.m. ET)
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]
** LAZARD LTD, $38.98, up 3.4 pct (9:51 a.m. ET)
The investment bank reported a better-than-expected 81 percent jump in quarterly profit due mainly to higher revenue in its asset management unit, which now accounts for more than half of its business.
** ZIOPHARM ONCOLOGY INC, $3.78, down 6 pct (9:51 a.m. ET)
The drug developer said its common stock offering of 14.3 million shares is priced at $3.50 per share, which represents a discount of 13 percent to the stock’s Wednesday close.
** MCKESSON CORP, $151.09, up 5.8 pct (9:52 a.m. ET)
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, $17.82, up 6.8 pct (9:52 a.m. ET)
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.
** AGNICO EAGLE MINES LTD, $29.67, up 14.7 pct (9:53 a.m. ET)
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.
** VARIAN MEDICAL SYSTEMS INC, $73.10, down 6.9 pct (9:53 a.m. ET)
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.
** BOSTON SCIENTIFIC CORP, $11.76, down 4.3 pct (9:54 a.m. ET)
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, $6.95, down 16.4 pct (9:54 a.m. ET)
The company forecast current-quarter results well below Wall Street expectations, partly due to lower revenue from embattled smartphone company BlackBerry Ltd .
** AT&T INC, $34.76, up 4.5 pct (9:55 a.m. ET)
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.
** SYMANTEC CORP, $21.25, down 13.7 pct (9:56 a.m. ET)
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, $47.05, down 9.3 pct (9:56 a.m. ET)
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, $17.36, up 4.1 pct (9:56 a.m. ET)
THe No.2 homebuilder said new home orders fell 17 percent in the third quarter, but gross margins expanded 3.9 percent helping it beat analysts’ estimates by 9 cents.
** POTASH CORP, $30.35, down 4.3 pct (9:57 a.m. ET)
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, $10.11, down 6.2 pct (9:57 a.m. ET)
The company forecast adjusted earnings for the current quarter below analysts’ estimates as it expects to take charges related to restructuring in its services business.
** ALEXION PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $113.60, up 3.5 pct (9:58 a.m. ET)
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, $16.22, up 16.1 pct (9:58 a.m. ET)
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.
** DUNKIN’ BRANDS GROUP INC, $46.20, down 3.6 pct (9:58 a.m. ET)
The coffee and doughnut chain reported a stronger-than-expected rise in quarterly sales as customers bought more of its higher-priced sandwiches. (Compiled by; Editing by)