U.S. stock index futures gained on Wednesday amid cautious optimism that U.S. politicians would strike a last-minute deal to prevent the country from defaulting on its debt, an event that could roil markets and economies worldwide.
S&P 500 futures rose 6 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 rose 67 points and Nasdaq 100 futures added 9 points.
** BANK OF AMERICA CORP, Tuesday close $14.24
The bank reported a third-quarter profit of $2.22 billion compared with a loss a year earlier, as provisions for credit losses and expenses fell.
The toys maker topped Wall Street's profit estimates for the third quarter, benefiting from strong demand for its chubby-faced American Girl dolls and its Monster High line depicting the teen descendants of famous monsters.
The power tool maker cut its 2013 profit forecast due to the U.S. government spending cuts and shutdown and slower-than-expected margin expansion in its security business.
** ST. JUDE MEDICAL, Tuesday close $55.38, up 0.7 pct premarket
The company posted a 49 percent jump in third-quarter profit as increased sales of devices to treat abnormal heart rhythms offset a decline in sales of pacemakers.
** BNY MELLON CORP, Tuesday close, $30.85, up 1 pct premarket
The bank reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit due to rising fees from managing money, increased mutual fund balances and strength in foreign currency trading.
The world's largest money manager said its third-quarter profit rose 15 percent due to market growth and strong global demand from its retail and institutional clients.
The company reported higher quarterly earnings and said it was on track to meet its financial goals for the year, despite a sluggish economy. The maker of Pepsi-Cola, Frito-Lay snacks and Tropicana juice said net income was $1.91 billion, or $1.23 per share, in the third quarter, up less than 1 percent from $1.90 billion, or $1.21 per share, a year earlier.
The drugmaker reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings despite disrupted sales of its infant formulas in China, mainly due to cost cuts and lower taxes.
The bank has reached an agreement with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to pay $100 million to settle charges related to the bank's "London Whale" trading scandal, according to media reports.
Investors cheered the internet company's plans to keep a larger-than-expected stake in Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, overlooking continuing softness in its core online advertising business. Yahoo said it would sell fewer shares than originally agreed from its 24 percent stake when Alibaba goes public.
At least seven brokerages raised their price targets on Yahoo's stock.
The company said it would buy General Parts International Inc for just over $2 billion, creating the largest North American retailer of auto parts, as strong new car sales hit demand for repair and replacement.
The conglomerate expects to value its Swiss consumer finance unit GE Money Bank at a total market capitalization of up to 1.53 billion Swiss francs ($1.67 billion) when it lists it in the fourth quarter. The price for each share will be between 43 and 51 Swiss francs at the initial public offering, Money Bank said on Thursday.
** GENERAL MOTORS CO, Tuesday close $34.70, up 0.5 pct premarket
Barclays (LSE: BARC.L - news) raised its price targets on the stocks of the car makers, saying it prefers Ford and GM (NYSE: GM - news) over auto parts suppliers. "Ford offers potential for continued international improvements, while GM is underappreciated and may see less selling pressure as the U.S. Treasury winds down its stake," analysts wrote in a note.
** ALL AMERICAN PIPELINE LP, Tuesday close $50.45
The company's general partner Plains GP Holdings LP priced its initial public offering at $22 per share to raise $2.82 billion, making it the largest U.S. IPO this year.
** HALLIBURTON CO, Tuesday close $51.16
A manager of the company formally pleaded guilty in U.S. federal court on Tuesday to destroying evidence in connection with the oilfield services company's role in the BP (LSE: BP.L - news) oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.
The company has hired Burberry Chief Executive Angela Ahrendts to direct strategy, expansion and operation of its retail and online stores, setting her the task of bolstering iPad and iPhone sales.
** WAL-MART STORES INC, Tuesday close $74.37
The retailer expects slightly stronger sales growth next year as it makes changes such as opening more smaller U.S. stores and shutting 50 poorly performing stores in Brazil and China, executives said on Tuesday.
A new type of cholesterol drug being developed by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and Sanofi SA, when used by itself, cut levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol almost in half in the first of a dozen late-stage trials of the injectable medicine. The experimental drug, called alirocumab, is from a promising new class of injectable cholesterol fighters also being developed by Amgen Inc and other drugmakers.
** TEVA PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRIES, Tuesday close $39.52
The Israel-based company and the Israeli government will set up a joint team to examine ways to implement cost cutting measures that preserve most of the company's workforce in that country.
** INTEL CORP, Tuesday close $23.39, down 1 pct premarket
The chipmaker's third-quarter results modestly beat expectations on Tuesday, but its current-quarter revenue outlook fell short and it warned that production of its upcoming Broadwell processors was delayed.
The company posted a higher quarterly profit as its non-coal business did well and the railroad increased prices.
The staff at the California Energy Commission found some environmental issues with the U.S. power company's proposed 485-megawatt Blythe solar power plant near California, the commission said in a release on Tuesday.
** ORACLE CORP, Tuesday close $32.75
Top (Taiwan OTC: 8419.TWO - news) proxy advisers recommended votes against key directors of the software maker, citing concerns over executive pay. The recommendations promise to stir up a debate over compensation at the company's annual meeting scheduled for the end of this month.
The California-based specialty apparel retailer forecast a wider loss for the current quarter as slower mall traffic forced it to discount more than planned.
"Following our strong start to the quarter, mall traffic softened considerably during September and has continued into October, resulting in an increasingly promotional competitive environment in recent weeks," Chief Executive John Goodman said.
** LINEAR TECHNOLOGY CORP, Tuesday close $39.55, down 2.5 pct premarket
The semiconductor company posted first-quarter profit below Wall Street estimates and said it expected second-quarter revenue to be flat to down 4 percent from the first quarter as the U.S. government shutdown might affect its business.
On Wednesday, brokerages B.Riley & Co and Piper Jaffray cut their price targets on the company's stock following the results.
** J.C. PENNEY CO INC, Tuesday close $7.17, up 2 pct premarket
A spokeswoman of the company denied a market rumor on Tuesday that the department store chain had hired bankruptcy counsel. Penney spokeswoman Kristin Kays said there was "no truth to the rumor," origins of which were unclear.
The solar company said it had entered into an agreement to construct a 250-megawatt solar power plant in California for a unit of NextEra Energy Resources LLC. The construction of the project will begin in late 2014.
Leerink Swann slashed its price target on the drugmaker's stock to $17 from $20, citing softer-than-expected prescriptions of the obesity drug Qsymia reported by Vivus on Tuesday. JP Morgan (Other OTC: MGHL - news) also cut its price target on the stock to $18 from $22. Both Leerink and JP Morgan (Other OTC: JPYYL - news) maintained their "outperform" ratings on the stock.
In a cost-saving move, the solar components maker eliminated positions of chief operating officer, vice president of human resources, chief technology officer and vice president of finance. Chief Operating Officer Barry Morris will stay on until Nov. 15, the company said. (http://r.reuters.com/fyj83v)
** EMCORE CORP, Tuesday close $4.80, up 10 pct premarket
Activist investment firm Becker Drapkin Management L.P. said on Tuesday that it took a stake in the company, terming its shares "undervalued". Becker Drapkin said it intended to nominate three directors to the company's board at its annual shareholder meeting.
Becker Drapkin took a 7.1 percent stake in the maker of chip-based parts for broadband, fiber optic and satellite markets on Oct (KOSDAQ: 039200.KQ - news) . 2 and said it intends to discuss "ways in which the undervaluation of the common stock can be rectified" with the company. The stake makes Becker Drapkin the second-largest shareholder in Emcore.
The regional bank's quarterly results beat analysts' estimates as it set aside less money to cover credit losses. PNC earned $1.79 per share for the third quarter. Analysts on average were expecting $1.62, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
The bank's quarterly results beat estimates, helped by lower provision for loan losses. (Compiled by Sneha Banerjee in Bangalore; Editing by Kirti Pandey)