* Cisco falls after results, outlook
* Comcast to buy Time Warner
* Whole Foods drops after cutting forecast
* Initial claims rise, retail sales fall
* Futures down: Dow 105 pts, S&P 12.5 pts, Nasdaq 23.75 pts
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, Feb 13 U.S. stocks were set for a
lower open on Thursday, weighed by a disappointing outlook from
Cisco Systems and weaker-than-expected data on consumer spending
and the labor market.
* Cisco fell 3.3 percent to $22.09 in premarket
trading and was poised to weigh on each of the major U.S.
indexes after the network-gear maker forecast a drop of 6 to 8
percent in revenue in the current quarter.
* Futures extended declines after weaker-than-expected labor
market and retail sales data. Initial claims for state
unemployment benefits rose to a seasonally adjusted 339,000 from
331,000 the week before and above the 330,000 forecast. Retail
sales fell 0.4 percent in January, against a forecast for sales
to be unchanged, while December was revised lower to a 0.1
* Comcast Corp said it would buy Time Warner Cable
Inc for $45.2 billion in an all-stock deal that combines
the two largest U.S. cable operators.
* Time Warner shares rose 8.7 percent to $147.05 in
premarket while Comcast shed 2.4 percent to $53.90. Shares of
Charter Communications Inc, which had also pursued Time
Warner, fell 8.8 percent to $125.50 before the opening bell.
* S&P 500 e-mini futures fell 12.5 points and were
below 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 lost
105 points and Nasdaq 100 futures dropped 23.75 points.
* A deadly winter storm was bringing heavy snow, sleet and
rain to much of the U.S. East Coast, grounding flights and
shutting schools and government offices. Winter storm warnings
and advisories were in place from Georgia up to Maine, and the
system could blanket the Atlantic Coast over the next two days
with 12 to 18 inches (30 to 46 cms) of snow.
* A scheduled hearing by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen
in front of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee on Thursday was
postponed due to the snowstorm in the U.S. East Coast. Yellen's
testimony Tuesday helped fuel strong gains on Wall Street.
* Whole Foods Market Inc lost 7.7 percent to $51.22
in premarket after the largest U.S. organic and natural food
retailer stunned investors on Wednesday by cutting its 2014
sales forecast for the second time in three months.
* PepsiCo Inc reported a 5 percent jump in quarterly
profit, helped by strong sales of Frito-Lay chips in the
Americas and cost-cutting measures. Its shares gained 3.8
percent to $26.45 in premarket.
* Of 365 companies in the S&P 500 that had reported earnings
through Wednesday morning, 67.7 percent have beaten profit
expectations, above the long-term average of 63 percent,
according to Thomson Reuters data.
* Avon Products Inc advanced 4.2 percent before the
opening bell after it posted fourth-quarter results and said it
may cost as much as $132 million to settle a U.S. bribery
investigation into the beauty products company's efforts to
develop new markets overseas.
* The S&P 500 closed lower on Wednesday, with a four-day
rally in the index just barely coming to an end after Procter &
Gamble cut its outlook.
* S&P 500 companies scheduled to report after the closing
bell include Agilent Technologies Inc, American
International Group, Cliffs Natural Resources Inc
and Kraft Foods Group Inc.