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U.S. stock index futures were flat on Wednesday as investors looked ahead to a flurry of economic data that will be released throughout the morning, which could indicate whether the market’s record levels are justified. Dow Jones industrial average e-mini futures were down 0.03 percent at 17,802, S&P 500 e-mini futures were up 0.02 percent at 2,068 and Nasdaq 100 e-mini futures were up 0.10 percent at 4,297.
** 21VIANET GROUP INC, Tuesday close $20.76, -15.94 pct premarket
Stifel Nicolaus and Canaccord Genuity cut their ratings on the Chinese data center services company’s stock to “hold” from “buy” citing weaker-than-expected core results, lackluster forecast and unresolved fraud allegations as reasons for the downgrade. 21Vianet reported lower-than-expected Q3 profit on Tuesday and cut its full-year revenue forecast.
** CTRIP.COM INTERNATIONAL LTD, Tuesday close $58.46, -10.54 pct premarket
The Chinese online travel company said it expects to report a Q4 loss of 400-500 mln yuan ($65.2-$81.5 mln), due to “aggressive” investments in second-tier cities and new businesses. The company expects Q4 margins to tumble 26 points sequentially and 35 points year-on-year and does not expect profitability to recover significantly in the near-term.
** SEADRILL LTD, Tuesday close $20.71, -9.71 pct premarket
The drilling company suspended its dividend and said the market for oil rigs continues to weaken. Oil firms have cut back on exploration spending due the sharp drop in oil prices.
** INFOBLOX INC, Tuesday close $16.89, +10.12 pct premarket
The maker of network management equipment reported better-than-expected Q1 revenue on Tuesday due to a rise in sales at its services business and expects Q2 revenue and profit largely above analysts’ average estimates. At least three brokerages raise their price targets on the stock.
** RENESOLA LTD, Tuesday close $2.12, -11.32 pct premarket
The Chinese solar panel maker reported a surprise quarterly loss as shipments fell by more than a fifth. The company said shipments in the July-September quarter declined 22 percent as some of its customers, particularly in Europe, delayed contracts.
** THE HABIT RESTAURANTS INC, Tuesday close $29.95, +3.01 pct premarket
Wedbush Securities raised the fast casual restaurant operator’s price target by $16 to $40. “...The Habit’s metrics render it the most compelling growth restaurant among growth peers...we believe The Habit is poised to command an even wider premium to peers,” analysts wrote in a note.
** DEERE & CO, Tuesday close $87.79, -2.89 pct premarket
The world’s largest farm equipment maker said it expected a drop in equipment sales in the current quarter, hurt by lower corn prices and falling farm incomes. The company also expects U.S. and Canada industry sales of farm equipment to drop 25-30 pct in 2015.
** PETROBRAS SA, Tuesday close $10.39, +2.50 pct premarket
Brazil’s state-owned oil and gas giant announced Tuesday that it would set up a new governance, risk and compliance directorship to deal with its involvement in a corruption scheme. Petrobras is searching for potential candidates for the position with a term of three years. The move came in response to a huge scandal involving Petrobras’ contracts with the private sector.
** HEWLETT-PACKARD CO, Tuesday close $37.63, -1.51 pct premarket
The hardware and software maker reported lower-than-expected Q4 revenue on Tuesday, hurt by weak sales to enterprise customers. Q4 revenue at the company’s enterprise group and enterprise services - areas that HP’s CEO Meg Whitman had previously flagged as growth drivers - fell 4 pct and 7 pct, respectively.
** HERTZ GLOBAL HOLDINGS INC, Tuesday close $25.25, +1.78 pct premarket
Activist investor Carl Icahn raised his stake in the U.S. car rental company to 10.77 percent from 8.48 percent. The billionaire was already Hertz’s largest shareholder and in the past few months had successfully pushed for management changes and won board seats on the company.
** CBS CORP, Tuesday close $54.65
** DISH NETWORK, Tuesday close $76.34
CBS Corp and satellite operator Dish Network avoided a blackout of CBS TV shows and its heavily watched Thanksgiving Day NFL game as the two sides agreed to extend the deadline into next week in order to hash out the details of a new contract. (Compiled by Anya George Tharakan in Bangalore; Edited by Don Sebastian)