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U.S. stocks were set to rise slightly at the open on Wednesday, boosted by bullish earnings from companies like Boeing, Pepsi and Microsoft, though conflicts in Ukraine and the Gaza Strip weighed on investor confidence. Dow Jones industrial average e-mini futures were up 0.09 percent at 17,049, S&P 500 futures were up 0.23 percent at 1,979.5 and Nasdaq 100 futures were up 0.39 percent at 3,965.75.
** BOEING CO, Tuesday close $129.74, -1.53 pct premarket
The aircraft maker reported a 52 percent increase in quarterly profit, helped by a rise in commercial aircraft deliveries, and raised its full-year earnings forecast, but missed Wall Street’s revenue expectations.
** MICROSOFT CORP, Tuesday close $44.83, +1.36 pct premarket
The world’s largest software company said it aims to get its loss-making Nokia phone unit to break even within two years, helping its stock rise in after-hours trade.
Microsoft reported a 7 percent dip in quarterly profit on Tuesday, chiefly due to incorporating Nokia’s struggling handset business.
** DOW CHEMICAL Co, Tuesday close $52.3, +1.32 pct premarket
The company reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit as sales rose across its businesses and margins improved due to higher prices and a tight control on costs.
** PUMA BIOTECHNOLOGY INC, Tuesday close $59.03, +279.79 pct premarket
The biopharmaceutical company’s experimental breast cancer drug, neratinib, met the main goal in a late-stage trial.
UBS called the result “an unexpected positive” and said it represented a much larger opportunity for the drug, while Cowen and Co expects peak neratinib sales of $6 billion in 2028. The company currently has no drug on the market. UBS adjusted its price target on the stock to $325 from $125. The analysts’ median price target on the stock was $125 as of Tuesday. Four of the five analysts covering the company have “buy” or higher ratings on the stock, while one rates it a “hold”.
** INTUITIVE SURGICAL INC, Tuesday close $392.16, +12.52 pct premarket
Intuitive said on Tuesday that it sold more of its high-priced robot surgical systems in the second quarter than in its dismal first quarter, even as the once fast-growing company posted its fifth straight quarterly earnings decline.
Jefferies & Co raised its price target on the company’s stock to $500 from $465. Out of 22 analysts covering the stock, 12 have a “buy” or higher rating, 8 have “hold” and 2 have a “sell” or lower rating.
** DELTA AIR LINES, Tuesday close $37.68, +0.69 pct premarket
The airline reported a higher second-quarter profit on Wednesday as it flew fuller planes and enjoyed higher passenger revenue in the United States and Europe.
** PEPSICO INC, Tuesday close $89.17, +1.87 pct premarket
The company reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit and raised its full-year adjusted earnings forecast, helped by strong sales of snacks such as Lays and Doritos chips in North America.
** FREEPORT-MCMORAN INC, Tuesday close $38.72, -0.31 pct premarket
The U.S.-based copper, gold and oil producer reported second quarter earnings that were little changed from a year earlier, and said it is “encouraged” by its discussions with the government of Indonesia.
** BIOGEN IDEC INC, Tuesday close $303.67, +9.41 pct premarket
Biogen Idec reported sharply higher-than-expected quarterly revenue on surging sales of its new Tecfidera treatment for multiple sclerosis, and the company raised its full-year profit forecast.
** APPLE INC, Tuesday close $94.72, +0.68 pct premarket
The iPhone-maker posted a smaller-than-expected 6 percent rise in quarterly revenue on Tuesday, but revenue surged 28 percent in greater China despite stiff competition in its third-largest market.
The company’s iPad is losing steam just four years after its release, but an alliance with International Business Machines Corp could rejuvenate a flagging product by entering into the largely untapped corporate market.
** EMC CORP, Tuesday close $28.52, +0.63 pct premarket
The world’s largest data storage equipment maker, under pressure from activist investor Elliott Management to boost shareholder returns, accelerated its share buyback plan and raised its current-year profit forecast.
** VMWARE INC, Tuesday close $96.03, +1.02 pct premarket
The virtualization software maker’s second-quarter revenue rose a better-than-expected 17 percent as more customers signed up.
Brokerage CLSA raised its rating on the stock to “buy” from “outperform”, while two brokerages cut their price targets on the company’s stock. Twenty eight of 43 brokerages rated the stock “buy” or higher, while 13 had a “hold” rating and two rated the stock “sell” or lower.
** IROBOT CORP, Tuesday close $38.79, -7.19 pct premarket
The robot maker forecast earnings of 32 cents to 35 cents on revenue of $133 million to $136 million for third quarter ending Sept. 27 - below the analysts’ average expectation of a profit of 36 cents per share on revenue of $149.6 million.
The company also cut its full-year revenue forecast to $555 million-$565 million from $560 million-$570 million.
** WHIRLPOOL CORP, Tuesday close $143.2, -4.47 pct premarket
The world’s largest maker of home appliances reported a lower quarterly profit as sales fell in every region except North America. The company also cut its full-year earnings outlook, citing expenses from two pending acquisitions.
** XILINX INC, Tuesday close $48.15, -14.45 pct premarket
The chipmaker forecast disappointing revenue for the second quarter after reporting lower-than-anticipated first-quarter sales due to weak sales to telecom, aerospace and defense customers.
** NORTHROP GRUMMAN CORP, Tuesday close $126.53
The U.S. weapons maker reported a 5 percent rise in quarterly profit and raised its 2014 earnings forecast. The company’s net income rose to $2.37 per share, in the second quarter ended June 30, from $2.05 per share, a year earlier.
** JUNIPER NETWORKS INC, Tuesday close $24.82, -8.38 pct premarket
The network gear maker forecast current-quarter revenue and profit below analysts’ expectations, citing delays in closing the sale of its routing devices to some customers in North America.
BofA Merrill Lynch cut its rating on stock to “neutral” from “buy”, according to theflyonthewall.com. At least 11 brokerages cut their price targets on the company’s stock. BMO was the most bearish with a $24 target.
The median price target on the stock has fallen to $28 from $30 in the past 30 days, according to Thomson Reuters data. Fifteen of 40 brokerages rate the stock “buy” or higher, while 23 have a “hold” rating and two rate the stock “sell”.
** NORFOLK SOUTHERN CORP, Tuesday close $107.61, +0.76 pct premarket
The U.S. railroad operator reported a better-than-expected second-quarter profit, helped by higher volumes across its businesses as the economy improves.
** GLAXOSMITHKLINE PLC, Tuesday close $53.22, -6.31 pct premarket
The drugmaker’s second-quarter sales fell more than expected as its lung drugs struggled in the United States.
GSK expects its 2014 earnings per share to be “broadly similar to 2013.”
** GENERAL DYNAMICS Corp, Tuesday close $118.55, +1.62 pct premarket
The maker of Gulfstream jets, tanks and U.S. Navy ships, reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit, as lower operating costs boosted margins. The company said operating margins rose to 12.7 percent in the second quarter ended June 29, from 12.3 percent a year earlier.
** HAWAIIAN HOLDINGS INC, Tuesday close $12.97, +2.93 pct premarket
The airline operator reported late on Tuesday second-quarter earnings of 35 cents per share, excluding items, higher than the 33 cents per share analysts had expected, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. The company said it would add six Airbus A330s to its fleet beginning 2019 at list price of $2.9 billion.
** YINGLI GREEN ENERGY HOLDING CO LTD, Tuesday close $3.45, +2.90 pct premarket
The Chinese solar panel maker signed an agreement to supply 32 megawatts of solar modules to large-scale project in Okayama, Japan.
The project, which will be financed by GE Energy Financial Services, expects to generate 37 gigawatt/hour of solar power.
** THERMO FISHER SCIENTIFIC INC, Tuesday close $123.06, +2.19 pct premarket
The world’s largest maker of scientific instruments reported a higher-than-expected second-quarter profit in its first full quarterly results to include its acquisition of genetic testing company Life Technologies Corp.
** BCE INC, Tuesday close $45.68
Canada’s largest telecommunications company said it would take Bell Aliant Inc private by buying the stake it does not already own in the company for about C$3.95 billion ($3.68 billion). ($1 = 1.0722 Canadian Dollars)
** XOOM CORP, Tuesday close $23.34, -8.31 pct premarket
The money transfer company said it could post an adjusted loss in the third quarter. On an adjusted basis, the company expects net results to range between a loss of 1 cent per share and a profit of 2 cents per share on revenue of $39 million to $41 million.
** EAGLE PHARMACEUTICALS INC, Tuesday close $13.07, +4.82 pct premarket
The drug developer said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved its drug to treat an inherited life-threatening condition called malignant hyperthermia (MH).
** PRAXAIR INC, Tuesday close $131.69
The industrial gas supplier reported a 5 percent rise in quarterly profit, buoyed by increased prices and higher sales to the energy, chemicals and manufacturing industries.
** TALISMAN ENERGY INC, Tuesday close $9.85, +10.05 pct premarket
Spanish oil company Repsol SA is considering bid for Canada-based Talisman Energy, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
Repsol identified Talisman as a top target and is working with JPMorgan Chase & Co, the Bloomberg report said.
** AIR PRODUCTS AND CHEMICALS INC, Tuesday close $130.33
The industrial gas producer reported a 9 percent rise in quarterly profit, driven by higher sales by its merchant gases, and electronics and performance materials divisions.
** APACHE CORP, Tuesday close $103.12
The U.S. oil and gas company told Reuters it was looking at ways to wring more cash out of its valuable mineral rights, as it and other energy companies face investor pressure to tap more profits from the North American shale boom.
** BALLARD POWER SYSTEMS INC, Tuesday close $4.15, +4.58 pct premarket
The fuel cell product maker got an order from New Flyer Industries for supply to a North American bus manufacturer, with deliveries planned for later this year.
** SAFEWAY INC, Tuesday close $34.79
The grocery store operator said on Tuesday that it received a subpoena from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration regarding record keeping, reporting and related practices associated with loss or theft of controlled substances.
** E I DU PONT DE NEMOURS AND CO, Tuesday close $64.95, -0.69 pct premarket
The world’s second-largest seed maker said its agriculture business would not improve in the current quarter as it struggles to cope with farmers’ preference for soybean rather than corn, the mainstay of the business.
** BROADCOM CORP, Tuesday close $38.75, +3.51 pct premarket
The chipmaker said on Tuesday that it was winding down its money-losing cellular baseband chip business and cutting one-fifth of its total workforce, instead of selling the unit.
** LG DISPLAY CO LTD, Tuesday close $16.33
LG Display said its quarterly profit fell more than 50 percent for the second time in three quarters, pulled down by a stronger South Korean won and subdued demand for personal computers (PC) and tablet devices. (Reporting By Shubhankar Chakravorty in Bangalore; Editing by Simon Jennings)