April 19 (Reuters) - Some U.S. stocks to watch on Friday:
FUTURES SIGNAL GAINS; GE EYED
Stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Wall Street on Friday with stocks set to recover some of the sharp losses made earlier in the week. S&P 500 futures were up 0.6 percent, Dow Jones (DJI: ^DJI - news) futures up 0.5 percent and Nasdaq 100 futures up 0.6 percent at 0818 GMT.
Blackstone Group LP has ended its pursuit of Dell, three people familiar with the matter said on Thursday, easing the way for founder Michael Dell and his private equity partner Silver Lake to go ahead with a $24.4 billion deal to acquire the world's No. 3 PC maker.
** MICROSOFT CORP, Thursday close $28.79, up 3 pct premarket
The world's biggest software company posted an 18 percent climb in revenue and earnings well ahead of Wall Street expectations - a seemingly strong performance for a quarter with the worst decline in PC sales on record.
The world's No.1 Internet search engine's core Internet business grew net revenue 23 percent in the first quarter, softening the effect of a sharp decline in its Motorola mobile phone division. Consolidated revenue in the quarter was $13.97 billion, versus $10.65 billion a year earlier.
** IBM CORP, Thursday close $207.15, down 4.4 pct premarket
The technology services company reported a rare quarterly earnings miss as it struggled with the depreciation of the Japanese yen and a failure to close a number of major deals, especially in Europe and the United States. IBM (NYSE: IBM - news) blamed a poor performance by its sales force for some of the shortfall.
Lenovo Group said on Friday it was in preliminary talks regarding a potential acquisition, following a media report that IBM was negotiating the sale of its x86 server hardware business to the Chinese computer maker.
The popular burrito chain posted a big jump in quarterly profit on Thursday and said federal investigators have expanded their probe into the company's compliance with U.S. immigration laws.
The maker of surgical robots on Thursday narrowed its 2013 forecasts for growth of revenue and procedures using its da Vinci (Other OTC: VCISF - news) surgical robots rather than raising them as it often does when reporting quarterly results.
** AMAZON, Thursday close $260.01
British media group Pearson (NYSE: PSO - news) 's Penguin unit has offered to scrap e-book deals with Apple that imposed price restrictions on Amazon and other retailers, EU antitrust regulators said on Friday.
** FREEPORT-MCMORAN COPPER & GOLD INC, Thursday close $28.05, up 2 pct premarket
The company sought to shore up shareholder support for its foray into the U.S. energy sector on Thursday by highlighting the benefit of diversifying into oil and gas at a time when metal prices are softening.
** VERTEX PHARMACEUTICALS INC, Thursday close $52.87, up 52 pct premarket
The company said its experimental drug improved lung function in adults with cystic fibrosis in a mid-stage trial. The company said on Thursday favorable results were seen in patients who took the drug, known as VX-661, in combination with its already approved treatment for cystic fibrosis, Kalydeco (ivacaftor) in a short 28-day study.
The air medical transportation company said it expects to record a first quarter loss between 14 and 16 cents per share, citing a decrease in privately insured patients who sought air ambulance services. Air Methods said an increase in cancellations due to adverse weather conditions also hurt its quarterly results.
** ELAN CORP, Thursday close $11.89, down 1.5 pct after market
U.S. healthcare firm Johnson & Johnson cut its stake in Elan on Thursday in a move that clouds prospects for a $7.3 billion takeover bid for the Irish drugmaker. U.S. investment firm Royalty Pharma on Monday made an improved $12 per share bid for Elan, which has rejected its suitor's overtures and wants to remain an independent company.
** E*TRADE FINANCIAL CORP, Thursday close $9.54, up 3.8 pct after market
The company on Thursday reported progress in fixing its loss-plagued bank lending businesses and strengthening its core discount brokerage business.
The chipmaker forecast current-quarter revenue above Wall Street's expectations as it rushes to find new markets to offset its declining core business of PC chips. AMD is trying to refocus its business as sales of laptops languish and consumers increasingly depend on smartphones and tablets.
** LATTICE SEMICONDUCTOR CORP, Thursday close $5.29, down 5 pct after market
The chipmaker reported better-than-expected quarterly results on Thursday but said margins will fluctuate throughout the year due to "mix and volume in the consumer market."
** J.C. PENNEY CO INC, Thursday close $15.16, up 0.5 pct after market
J.C. Penney is speaking with Wells Fargo (Other OTC: WFCNO - news) & Co and others, including parties that invest in troubled companies, about a new loan to help it buttress its cash reserves, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter.
Capital One, one of the large U.S. credit card issuers, reported first-quarter profit which beat analysts' expectations as net interest income jumped 34 percent, and the company said it would buy back shares after closing the sale of its credit card accounts linked to electronics retailer Best Buy Co Inc .
The food and household goods manufacturer reported stronger-than-expected quarterly sales, helped by its New York Style and Old London acquisition in October last year. B&G reported first-quarter sales of $171.2 million, beating the average analyst estimate of $170.3 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
The IT service provider estimated first-quarter adjusted profit well below analysts' estimates on weak sales in North America and a drop in gross margin of about 190 basis points from the EMEA region.
An advisory panel to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration was sharply divided on Thursday over whether a drug made by Endo can safely be prescribed for men with low testosterone. A panel of outside medical experts split 9-9, with some members saying the drug, Aveed, offers a valuable alternative to existing products, especially since it is already sold under the brand name Nebido outside the United States.
** RENTECH NITROGEN PARTNERS LP, Thursday close $31.45, up 4 pct after market
The nitrogen fertilizer producer said it completed offering of shares worth $320 million and would use the proceeds to raise cash for distribution to shareholders in 2014. The company would also use the proceeds to fund its expansion and maintenance projects.
The upscale furniture retailer forecast for a strong current quarter after reporting fourth-quarter results that topped Wall Street's expectations, helped by a 26 percent increase in same-store sales.
Brokerage Piper Jaffray raised its price target on the stock to $45 from $41, citing the results and outlook.
** AMERICA MOVIL, Thursday close $20.25
Latin America's biggest phone company on Thursday reported a 17 percent drop in first-quarter profit as it spent more on Internet-enabled handsets to attract new customers. (Compiled by Pallavi Ail in Bangalore,; Editing by Joyjeet Das)