MIDEAST STOCKS - Factors to watch - Sept 25
Sept 25 Here are some factors that may affect Middle East stock markets on Sunday. Reuters has not verified the press reports and does not vouch for their accuracy.
(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. stocks fell on Friday in the wake of a selloff in emerging market assets, as expectations grew that the Federal Reserve will trim its market-friendly stimulus measures further next week. The Dow Jones industrial average was down 0.51 percent at 16,114.13, the S&P 500 was down 0.66 percent at 1,816.45 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 0.82 percent at 4,184.309.
** MICROSOFT CORP, $37.1944, +3.16 pct
The company posted a bigger-than-expected quarterly profit on Thursday, boosted by strong sales of its software and services for businesses, a solid holiday season for its new Xbox game console and Surface tablets, and a slightly lower tax bill.
** COVIDIEN PLC, $69.88, +4.58 pct
The medical devices maker posted a quarterly profit above analysts' estimates, helped by strong sales of its surgical products, especially vessel sealing and stapling devices.
** PTC THERAPEUTICS INC, $23.98, -8.54 pct
The company said a committee of the European Medicines Agency recommended against a conditional approval to its drug for the treatment of a rare muscular disorder, sending its shares down nearly 30 percent in premarket trading.
** BIODELIVERY SCIENCES INTERNATIONAL INC, $9.05, +44.80 pct
An experimental painkiller developed by the company and Endo Health Solutions Inc showed a significant improvement in pain relief compared with a placebo.
At least two brokerages raised their price target on BioDelivery's stock on Friday.
** XEROX CORP, $11.52, -2.04 pct
The company, best known as a maker of printers and copiers, reported weaker-than-expected quarterly revenue as growth in its services business stalled.
** EBAY INC, $54.12, -1.49 pct
Activist investor Carl Icahn's stake in the e-commerce company is more than previously reported at close to 2 percent, a source familiar with the matter said on Thursday. EBay said this week that Icahn had taken a 0.82 percent interest in the company earlier this month and made a non-binding proposal for eBay to spin off its PayPal payments business.
** GENERAL MOTORS, $37.4, -2.65 pct
The company is seeking to cut shifts by half at one of its South Korean factories as it realigns global manufacturing in a move that could affect about 1,100 jobs, a source with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Friday.
** STARBUCKS CORP, $75.9104, +3.43 pct
The world's biggest coffee chain's quarterly sales at established restaurants in its U.S.-dominated Americas region cooled more than analysts expected as online shopping kept more consumers at home and reduced their visits to its coffee bars.
However, the company boosted its fiscal 2014 earnings per share forecast to a range of $2.59 to $2.67, from $2.55 to $2.65 previously.
** INTUITIVE SURGICAL INC, $419.905, -4.35 pct
The company said on Thursday that it expected to sell fewer of its high-priced da Vinci surgical robot systems in 2014 than last year and diverged from past practice by not providing a revenue forecast for the year.
** JUNIPER NETWORKS INC, $28.158, +8.26 pct
Jana Partners LLC has taken a large stake in the network gear maker, a move that comes at a time when Juniper is being urged by one of its prominent investors to increase shareholder returns.
** KANSAS CITY SOUTHERN, $96.12, -18.04 pct
The regional railroad operator missed fourth-quarter profit estimates on Friday amid weakness in its energy business, including lower coal shipments.
** HONEYWELL INTERNATIONAL INC, $90.55, +0.84 pct
The diversified U.S. manufacturer of aerospace parts and climate control systems backed its 2014 financial targets, set last month, but forecast first-quarter earnings below Wall Street's estimates.
** BRISTOL-MYERS SQUIBB CO, $55.19, +2.30 pct
The drugmaker's quarterly sales and earnings beat Wall Street expectations, helped by cost cuts and growing sales of its treatments for cancer, blood clots and diabetes.
** BOEING CO, $139.2, -1.49 pct
The reliability of Boeing's 787 Dreamliner is slowly improving but it is still not at a satisfactory level and the firm is working to improve the jet's performance, said Mike Fleming, Boeing's vice president for 787 support and services.
** PROCTER & GAMBLE CO, $81.59, +4.28 pct
** KIMBERLEY CLARK CORP, $110.32, +4.65 pct
Procter & Gamble, the world's largest household products maker, said it expected organic sales, which strip out the impact of currency changes as well as acquisitions and divestitures, to rise 3-4 percent, and core earnings to rise 5-7 percent in 2014. However, the company reported lower quarterly profit, hurt by unfavorable currency movements and lower gross profit margin.
Rival Kimberley Clark said its organic sales rose 5 percent, and forecast that they would rise 3-5 percent in 2014.
** CST BRANDS INC, $31.31, -4.28 pct
The gas station operator and convenience merchandise retailer said on Thursday that its fourth-quarter motor fuel volume in both the United States and Canada was expected to be close to the low-end of its previous estimate.
Motor fuel volume is expected to be 4,850-4,950 gallons per site per day in the United States and 3,300-3,400 gallons per site per day in Canada.
The company also said it expected North America merchandise sales in the quarter to be at the low end of its prior forecast.
** COMPUWARE CORP, $10.3573, -1.83 pct
The business software maker reported lower-than-expected third-quarter revenue on Thursday, hurt by lower fee from its software license business coupled with stagnant maintenance activities fee and professional services revenue.
** QUALCOMM INC, $74.92, -1.25 pct
** HEWLETT-PACKARD CO, $28.9, -1.60 pct
Chipmaker Qualcomm acquired a patent portfolio from Hewlett-Packard, including those of its iPaq smartphone, for an undisclosed amount. The portfolio comprises about 1,400 granted patents and pending patent applications from the United States and about 1,000 granted patents and pending patent applications from other countries.
** STANLEY BLACK & DECKER INC, $82.61, +2.74 pct
The power tools maker reported fourth-quarter results that beat analysts' estimates, driven by a 7 percent rise in volumes.
The company reported a profit of $1.32 per share on revenue of $2.90 billion. Analysts on average had expected a profit of $1.30 per share on revenue of $2.87 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
** ARCH COAL INC, $4.17, -1.65 pct
Analysts at Clarkson Capital Markets cut their rating on the coal producer's stock to "underperform" from "market-perform," saying they expected the company to generate a negative free cash flow in 2015.
Analysts also expressed concerns about declining productivity at Arch Coal's flagship steel-making metallurgical coal mine of Mountain Laurel, West Virginia.
** RICE ENERGY INC, $21.13, +0.62 pct
The natural gas producer's shares rose as much as 7 percent in their U.S. market debut, valuing the company at about $2.9 billion. The 44-million-share offering raised about $924 million after being priced at $21 per share, the high end of the expected price range.
** MCKESSON CORP, $175.25, +1.67 pct
The U.S. drugs distributor succeeded in its second attempt to win control of German peer Celesio in a deal with Celesio's two largest shareholders, German investment group Haniel and U.S. hedge fund Elliott.
** INTERNATIONAL GAME TECHNOLOGY, $15.68, -11.16 pct
The slot-machine maker warned that its full-year profit would more likely be towards the lower end of its previous forecast due to continued weakness in the North American gaming market.
** JA SOLAR HOLDINGS CO LTD, $8.88, -4.62 pct
** RENESOLA LTD, $3.56, -5.82 pct
** YINGLI GREEN ENERGY HOLDING CO LTD, $5.98, -6.27 pct
** TRINA SOLAR LTD, $13.98, -7.42 pct
** CANADIAN SOLAR INC, $38.5, -6.28 pct
U.S. trade officials opened investigations on Thursday into imports of certain solar power products from China and Taiwan, following a complaint at the end of last year by the U.S. unit of German solar manufacturer SolarWorld AG.
The company at the time said it was seeking to close a loophole that enabled Chinese solar panel producers to evade U.S. import duties by using cells manufactured in other countries, mainly Taiwan.
** LOCKHEED MARTIN CORP, $148.22, -1.51 pct
A new U.S. Defense Department report warned that ongoing software, maintenance and reliability problems with Lockheed Martin's F-35 stealth fighter could delay the Marine Corps' plans to start using its F-35 jets by mid-2015.
The company forecast on Thursday higher earnings in 2014 after charges linked to U.S. defense budget cuts and workforce reductions depressed earnings in the fourth quarter.
** BANK OF AMERICA CORP, $16.66, -1.19 pct
The lender is looking to win more advisory and stock underwriting business to offset an expected slowdown in the issuance of corporate bonds, a top executive said in an interview on Thursday.
** SYNGENTA AG, $74.94, -3.69 pct
Two leading U.S. grain groups have asked the world's largest crop chemicals company to suspend the commercial use in the United States of two genetically modified strains of corn not currently approved in China.
** DIGI INTERNATIONAL INC, $10.58, -12.49 pct
The networking device maker forecast current-quarter results below analysts' estimates, after reporting lower-than-expected results for the first quarter on Thursday due to a fall in revenue in its product business.
The company said its product revenue was hurt by a delay in orders from some customers.
** APPLIED MICRO CIRCUITS CORP, $10.9, -3.96 pct
The chipmaker reported third-quarter revenue slightly below estimates on Thursday, prompting brokerage BMO Capital Markets to lower its price target on the company's stock to $12 from $14.
** DISCOVER FINANCIAL SERVICES, $55.08, +5.11 pct
The credit card issuer reported a better-than-expected 11 percent rise in quarterly profit as more consumers used cards to make payments.
** OPENTEXT CORP, $101.92, +12.47 pct
The Canadian business software maker's second-quarter results beat analysts' estimates, driven by higher license sales and customer service revenue.
** PROGENICS PHARMACEUTICALS INC, $6.43, -4.46 pct
The company filed a prospectus, called a shelf registration, with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission seeking to raise up to $150 million through the potential sale of securities that could include stock, debt securities, or warrants.
** KKR & CO, $25.14, -2.44 pct
** BLACKROCK INC, $311.22, -1.38 pct
KKR & Co and BlackRock are among the investors in talks to buy a stake in China Huarong Asset Management Co Ltd as the bad debt manager seeks to raise more than $2 billion, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.
** NOVARTIS, $80.23, -1.91 pct
The European Medicine Agency recommended rejecting an application from the Swiss drugmaker to market its heart failure drug serelaxin.
** GOLDMAN SACHS GROUP INC, $168.92, -1.07 pct
The bank may stop traders from using certain chat messaging services to protect internal conversations that are lately being subjected to intense regulatory scrutiny, the Wall Street Journal reported. (Compiled by Neha Dimri in Bangalore; Edited by Kirti Pandey)
MEXICO CITY, Sept 24 A fire broke out on an oil tanker of Mexican state oil company Pemex in the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday, forcing all the crew to be evacuated in the latest accident to plague the struggling firm.
TORONTO, Sept 24 Canada's Unifor union has set a tentative strike deadline of midnight Oct. 10 for talks with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, the labor group said on Saturday as it prepares to vote on a related deal with General Motors Co.