Morning Market Update

market news Morning News

Stocks that are expected to trade actively in U.S. markets on Thursday include: BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY), Louisiana-Pacific Corporation (NYSE:LPX), Greif, Inc. (NYSE:GEF), Hess Corp. (NYSE:HES), Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc (NASDAQ:JOSB), GlaxoSmithKline plc (ADR) (NYSE:GSK), Sigma Designs Inc (NASDAQ:SIGM), Parkway Properties Inc (NYSE:PKY), Thomas Properties Group, Inc. (NYSE:TPGI), POZEN Inc. (NASDAQ:POZN), Sanofi SA (ADR) (NYSE:SNY), Alliant Techsystems Inc. (NYSE:ATK), NCI Building Systems, Inc. (NYSE:NCS)

Market Levels:

US: Dow Futures: 14915.00 (-0.07%), S&P 500 Futures: 1654.25 (0.02%), NASDAQ Futures: 3131.00 (0.09%)
Europe: CAC: 3998.52 (0.43%), DAX: 8220.08 (0.30%), FTSE: 6506.74 (0.50%)
Asia-Pacific: Australia: 5142.50 (-0.37%), China: 2122.43 (-0.24%), Hong Kong: 22597.97 (1.20%), Japan: 14064.82 (0.08%).
Metals: Gold: 1396.70 (0.48%), Silver: 23.59 (0.75%), Copper: 3.25 (0.22%)
Energy: Crude Oil: 107.83 (0.56%), Natural Gas: 3.68 (0.05%)
Commodities: Corn: 4.64 (-1.01%), Soya Bean: 13.38 (-1.04%), Wheat: 6.42 (-0.54%)
Currency: EUR/USD: 1.3149 (-0.44%), GBP/USD: 1.5633 (0.04%), USD/JPY: 99.7200 (-0.02%)
10-year US Treasury: 2.920% (0.026)

Market and Economic News Update:

U.S. stock-index futures largely unchanged: U.S. stock-index futures are pointing to a flat open on Thursday after jobless claims declined more than forecast. Weekly jobless claims fell 9,000 to a seasonally adjusted 323,000, according to the Labor Department. Economists were expecting first-time applications for unemployment benefits to fall to 330,000 last week. In other economic news, Automatic Data Processing Inc. reported that private-sectors jobs increased by 176,000 in August, below the 184,000 gain projected by economists. The data on the U.S. labor market came a day ahead of the government’s monthly jobs report.

European markets rise: European markets held gains after both the European Central Bank and the Bank of England kept key interest rates unchanged. The ECB left the interest rate at a record low of 0.5 percent, while the BOE kept its benchmark interest rate at 0.5 percent, and made no changes to its £375 billion asset purchase program. The FTSE 100 (INDEXFTSE:UKX) edged 0.5 percent higher to6506.74 points. The CAC 40 (INDEXEURO:PX1) added 0.4 percent to 3998.52 points, and the DAX (INDEXDB:DAX) gained 0.3 percent to 8220.08. The euro zone blue-chip ESTX 50 PR.EUR (INDEXSTOXX:SX5E) (Euro Stoxx 50) was up 0.6 percent in recent trading.

Asian stocks end mixed: Asian markets struggled for direction amid investor caution over a reduction in the U.S. Federal Reserve’s monetary stimulus. The NIKKEI 225 (INDEXNIKKEI:NI225) closed at a one-month high, as the yen weakened following optimistic remarks from the Bank of Japan. The SSE Composite Index (SHA:000001) (Shanghai Composite Index) ended lower after hitting a two-and-a-half week high in the previous trading session. The S&P/ASX 200 (INDEXASX:XJO) index lost in trade after Australia’s trade balance swung back into the red in July

Stocks in News:

BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY)

BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) shares were higher in pre-market trading following a Dow Jones story that the Canadian smart phone maker is in talks with several potential buyers, and hopes to conclude a deal by November. Talks so far have focused on private-equity firms and Asian tech companies, the report said, citing people familiar with the matter. BlackBerry had announced last month that it was exploring strategic alternatives.

Louisiana-Pacific Corporation (NYSE:LPX)

Louisiana-Pacific Corporation (NYSE:LPX) has agreed to acquire Vancouver-based AINSWORTH LUMBER CO LTD (TSE:ANS) in a deal valued at $1.1 billion. Under the terms, Louisiana-Pacific will pay about C$3.76 a share in cash and stock, a 30 percent premium to Ainsworth’s Tuesday closing price in Toronto. Louisiana-Pacific expects the acquisition to add to earnings and cash flow in the first year.

Greif, Inc. (NYSE:GEF)

The industrial packaging company posted fiscal third-quarter earnings of 80 cents per share on revenue of $1.13 billion. Analysts had most recently forecast per-share earnings of 89 cents a share on sales of $1.15 billion. The company reiterated its full-year 2013 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization outlook of $475 million to $500 million. Class A shares fell in pre-open trading.

Hess Corp. (NYSE:HES)

Hess Corp. (NYSE:HES) has raised its quarterly dividend by 150 percent from 10 cents per share to 25 cents per share. The dividend is payable September 30 to stockholders of record on September 16. The new dividend yields 1.3 percent at Hess’ Thursday closing price of $76.15. Shares are up in recent pre-market trading.

Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc (NASDAQ:JOSB)

Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc (NASDAQ:JOSB)’s second-quarter profit fell 38 percent, hurt by declining same-store sales. For the quarter ended August 3, the company posted a profit of $14.2 million, or 51 cents a share, compared to $23.2 million, or 83 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Sales slipped 11 percent to $232.5 million, while same-store sales fell 16 percent. Shares were inactive in pre-market.

GlaxoSmithKline plc (ADR) (NYSE:GSK)

GlaxoSmithKline plc (ADR) (NYSE:GSK) said its cancer drug MAGE-A3 failed to benefit skin-cancer patients in a Phase III trial, dealing a blow to one of the British pharmaceutical giant’s more promising drugs in development. The trials will continue, to assess whether the treatment helped a specific subset of patients with melanoma, Glaxo said in a statement today.

Sigma Designs Inc (NASDAQ:SIGM)

Sigma Designs Inc (NASDAQ:SIGM)’s fiscal second-quarter loss narrowed to $4.8 million, or 14 cents a share, compared with a year-ago loss of $13.4 million, or 41 cents a share. Excluding certain items, the company reported an adjusted profit of 6 cents a share, on revenue of $53.8 million. The two analysts that cover the chip maker were expecting earnings of 1 cent a share on revenue of $53 million. Shares rallied on moderate volume post the results.

Parkway Properties Inc (NYSE:PKY), Thomas Properties Group, Inc. (NYSE:TPGI)

Parkway Properties Inc (NYSE:PKY) has agreed to a merger with Thomas Properties Group, Inc. (NYSE:TPGI) in stock-for-stock transaction valued at about $1.2 billion. Thomas Properties’ shareholders will get about 0.4 share of Parkway in exchange for each share, valuing the deal at $6.26 per share, a 9.8 percent premium to Wednesday’s closing price. The transaction is expected to be completed by the end of the fourth quarter.

POZEN Inc. (NASDAQ:POZN), Sanofi SA (ADR) (NYSE:SNY)

POZEN Inc. (NASDAQ:POZN) and Sanofi SA (ADR) (NYSE:SNY) have signed a license agreement for the commercialization of Pozen’s experimental cardiovascular drugs PA8140 and PA32540. Pozen will receive $15 million upfront, and will be eligible for pre-commercial milestone payments of up to $20 million from the French drug maker. Pozen shares jumped 13 percent in recent trading.

Alliant Techsystems Inc. (NYSE:ATK)

Alliant Techsystems Inc. (NYSE:ATK) has agreed to buy gun accessories maker Bushnell Group Holdings Inc. for $985 million in cash from buy-out firm MidOcean Partners. ATK, the world’s largest ammunition maker, intends to fund the acquisition with cash and debt, and said the deal should add to earnings from its next fiscal year.

NCI Building Systems, Inc. (NYSE:NCS)

NCI Building Systems, Inc. (NYSE:NCS) earned 2 cents per share excluding items, in its fiscal third-quarter, beating forecasts for a loss of 3 cents per share. But revenue came in below Street expectations at $317.20 million. In addition, the commercial-building manufacturer said it is unlikely the non-residential market will recover sufficiently

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