(For more market insights, including options activity, click on ; for the Day Ahead newsletter link.reuters.com/mex49s; for the Morning News Call newsletter, link.reuters.com/nex49s) U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Thursday after closing at a record high in the prior session, ahead of data on the labor market and earnings from Goldman Sachs and Citigroup. Dow Jones industrial average futures were down 0.09 percent at 16,393, S&P 500 futures were down 0.15 percent at 1,838.9 and Nasdaq 100 futures were down 0.02 percent at 3,597.5.
** GOLDMAN SACHS GROUP <GS.N >, Wednesday close $178.75, +0.42 pct premarket
The Wall Street bank reported a 21 percent drop in quarterly profit as revenue from fixed-income trading fell.
** BEST BUY CO INC, Wednesday close $37.57, -28.24 pct premarket
The world’s largest consumer electronics chain said total revenue and sales at its established U.S stores fell in the all-important holiday season due to intense discounting by rivals, supply constraints for key products and weak traffic in December.
** APOLLO GLOBAL MANAGEMENT LLC, Wednesday close $35.75
** CEC ENTERTAINMENT INC, Wednesday close $48.43, +12.22 pct premarket
Apollo Global Management LLC said it would buy CEC Entertainment, the parent of Chuck E Cheese restaurant chain, for about $948 million. The fund controlled by billionaire Leon Black will pay $54 per share for CEC, a premium of 11.5 percent to the stock’s Wednesday closing.
** BLACKROCK INC, Wednesday close $312.75, +4.56 pct premarket
The world’s largest money manager said on Thursday its fourth-quarter profit rose 24 percent, citing growth in markets, long-term net inflows and strong performance fees.
** CITIGROUP INC, Wednesday close $54.99, +0.22 pct premarket
The third-largest U.S. bank will release fourth-quarter results that are expected to be higher, lifted by CEO Michael Corbat’s cost-cuts and restructuring.
The bank said on Tuesday that it would sell mortgage servicing rights of $10.3 billion Fannie Mae residential first mortgage loans as it looks to reduce its assets and expenses within Citi Holdings.
** HEWLETT-PACKARD CO, $28.84, +1.91 pct premarket
Brokerage BofA Merrill Lynch upgraded the PC maker’s stock to “buy”.
** YAHOO INC, Wednesday close $41.07, -1.75 pct premarket
Yahoo chief operating officer Henrique de Castro, the high-profile recruit Chief Executive Officer Marissa Mayer poached from Google Inc shortly after she took the helm, will leave on Thursday after about a year on the job.
** AOL INC, Wednesday close $47.25, +2.12 pct premarket
AOL is handing majority ownership of Patch, a money-losing network of local news websites, to New York investment firm and turnaround specialist Hale Global in a joint venture announced by the companies on Wednesday.
** CSX CORP, Wednesday close $29.23, -3.52 pct premarket
CSX on Wednesday posted a fourth-quarter profit that fell short of Wall Street’s estimates as rising shipments of chemicals, autos and agricultural products failed to make up for weak coal volumes.
Brokerage Stifel downgraded the stock to “hold” from “buy”.
** UNITEDHEALTH GROUP INC, Wednesday close $74.84, +0.28 pct premarket
The largest U.S. health insurer reported a higher fourth-quarter profit and the addition of 170,000 members, and said 2014 earnings would improve as well.
** SAREPTA THERAPEUTICS INC Wednesday close $19.98, +15.12 pct premarket
The company said data from an extended study of its drug to treat a rare muscular disorder in young boys showed continued stabilization of walking ability in patients.
The drug, eteplirsen, was well tolerated and there were no adverse treatment-related events or discontinuations at 120 weeks of treatment, the company said.
In October 2012, Sarepta said the trial met its main goal of increasing the level of a key protein after 48 weeks of treatment. The study was extended to monitor the drug’s safety and efficacy.
** J.C. PENNEY CO INC, Wednesday close $7.01, -0.86 pct premarket
The U.S. retailer said on Wednesday it would close 33 stores and cut 2,000 jobs as part of its efforts to return to profitability. Chief Executive Myron Ullman said in a statement the action “addresses a strategic priority to improve the profitability of our stores.”
** MICROSOFT CORP, Wednesday close $36.76, -0.22 pct premarket
Microsoft is considering Ericsson AB Chief Executive Hans Vestberg as a possible successor to outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer, Bloomberg cited sources briefed on the software giant’s executive search as saying on Wednesday.
** CHARLES SCHWAB CORP, Wednesday close $26.03
The pioneer discount broker reports results, with fee income expected to rise but overall income flat because of depressed interest rates.
** WAL-MART INC, Wednesday close $77.66, -0.46 pct premarket
The U.S. National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on Wednesday issued a complaint against Wal-Mart, alleging the world’s largest retailer violated labor laws in 14 states by taking action against striking workers.
** UNITED CONTINENTAL HOLDINGS, Wednesday close $46.5
The U.S. airline company will furlough about 685 flight attendants, as it looks to prune its expenses as part of a $2 billion annual cost-cutting plan announced last year.
** EDWARDS LIFESCIENCES CORP, Wednesday close $71.89, +1.13 pct premarket
** MEDTRONIC INC, Wednesday close $59.33, -100.00 pct premarket
A U.S. jury strengthened Edwards Lifesciences’ efforts to protect sales of the company’s transcatheter heart valve implants, by ruling that a competing product from Medtronic infringes its patent.
** AMARIN CORP PLC, Wednesday close $2.4, -8.33 pct premarket
The drugmaker said on Wednesday that U.S. health regulators delayed their decision to reconsider a rescinded agreement that could support a marketing application for an expanded use of the company’s blood fat-lowering drug.
** MERCK & CO INC, Wednesday close $52.52, -0.02 pct premarket
Merck’s experimental blood clot-preventing drug vorapaxar should be approved to reduce the risk of further heart problems in people who have suffered a recent heart attack, an advisory panel to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration concluded on Wednesday.
** AMAZON.COM INC, Wednesday close $395.87, +0.01 pct premarket
A small group of Amazon.com technicians at a distribution center in Delaware voted on Wednesday not to join a union, marking a victory for the U.S. online retailer which is strongly opposed to any kind of third-party representation for its employees.
** CHARTER COMMUNICATIONS INC, Wednesday close $136.04
** COMCAST CORP, Wednesday close $54.07
** TIME WARNER CABLE INC, Wednesday close $135.13, +0.46 pct premarket
Charter Communications reached out to Comcast this week about teaming up to buy Time Warner Cable, after the larger rival rejected its $37.3 billion takeover bid, according to people familiar with the matter.
** TAIWAN SEMICONDUCTOR MANUFACTURING CO LTD, Wednesday close $17.56, +0.51 pct premarket
The company painted a bright outlook for its 2014 business, driven by mobile devices and improved margins from its more advanced chips.
** RENESOLA LTD, Wednesday close $4, +4.50 pct premarket
The Chinese solar panel maker said it sold 32 megawatts of panels to solar services provider Isolux Corsan Servicios’s project in the United Kingdom. Financial details were not disclosed.
** SOLARCITY INC, Wednesday close $68.5, +3.78 pct premarket
Analysts at Deutsche Bank began coverage of the U.S. solar panel installer with a “buy” rating and a price target of $90, saying SolarCity’s customer base could double by the end of the year due to a growth in the residential solar market. The price target is 31 percent higher than the stock’s Wednesday close.
** HYDROGENICS CORP, Wednesday close $20.72
The Canadian fuel cell maker said it received a C$3.8 million ($3.47 million) contract to supply an energy storage application, which would store surplus wind energy as hydrogen. Hydrogenics expects to deliver this project in late 2014, it said early on Thursday.
** INTEL CORP, Wednesday close $26.67, -0.26 pct premarket
The chipmaker reports fourth-quarter results after markets close and some analysts expect the company’s revenue could slightly beat already low expectations. Intel is expected to maintain its 2014 forecast for flat sales.
** AMERICAN EXPRESS CO, Wednesday close $88.25, +0.28 pct premarket
** CAPITAL ONE FINANCIAL CORP, Wednesday close $77.03
Higher card spending and lower default rates are expected to help American Express and Capital One Financial beat estimates when they report quarterly results after markets close, according to forecasts from StarMine’s most accurate analysts. (Compiled by Varun Aggarwal in Bangalore; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)