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Wall Street opened lower on Wednesday as the Turkish lira weakened despite its central bank's bold interest-rate hike and ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve's decision later in the day on its stimulus. The Dow Jones industrial average was down 0.52 percent at 15,846.2, the S&P 500 was down 0.44 percent at 1,784.67 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 0.44 percent at 4,079.833.
The planemaker forecast 2014 results below analysts' average estimates as it expects margin to fall in both its major segments.
** DOW CHEMICAL CO, $45.54, +5.76 pct
The largest U.S. chemical maker by sales reported a fourth-quarter profit that comfortably beat market expectations, hiked its dividend and tripled its share buyback program, joining rival DuPont in increasing shareholder returns amid investor activism.
The company's declining revenue tempered investor confidence in CEO Marissa Mayer's turnaround efforts, prompting several analysts to cut their price targets on the stock.
The oilfield services company reported a 32 percent fall in its fourth-quarter profit, hurt by higher materials and supplies cost, higher expenses related to employment of its services. The company's results were also affected by lower pricing for its services.
** JONES LANG LASALLE INC, $112.36, +5.69 pct
The company, which provides property and corporate facilities management services, reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit helped by a 16 percent jump in fee revenue.
** SILICON LABS, $46.3, +7.57
The chipmaker posted better-than-expected quarterly results, helped by record revenue from microcontrollers and wireless. Silicon Labs said it expects first-quarter revenue to be between $142 million and $146 million, above analyst estimates of $141.2 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
** TERADATA CORP, $43.9, -3.08
Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS-PB - news) cut its rating on the data analytics firm's stock to "sell" from "neutral," saying customer adoption of lower cost big data technologies would create headwinds to the company's growth.
The boutique investment bank reported a quarterly profit but reported a sharp drop in its advisory revenues. Advisory revenues fell 25 percent to $75.4 million, while total revenues fell 17 percent to $76.3 million, during the fourth-quarter.
The telecom company's fourth-quarter wireless subscriber growth and its free cash flow target lagged well behind analyst estimates. Chief Executive Randall Stephenson said a U.S. spying scandal was hurting the company's business.
At least one brokerage cut its rating on the stock.
** VODAFONE GROUP PLC, $36.74, -1.16 pct
Shareholders of both Vodafone and Verizon (NYSE: VZ - news) approved Verizon's $130 billion takeover of their Verizon Wireless venture on Tuesday, paving the way for the third-biggest deal in corporate history.
Vringo said a U.S. court ordered post-judgment royalty rate of 6.5 percent against the internet search giant for continued and willful patent infringement.
The pawn and payday lender reported a stronger-than-expected first-quarter profit helped by higher merchandise sales in the United States and Canada. Merchandise sales rose 12 percent to $105.6 million for the quarter ended Dec. 31.
** FREESCALE SEMICONDUCTOR LTD, $17.79, +16.27 pct
The company, which makes chips for cars and machinery, on Tuesday forecast current-quarter revenue above analysts estimates.
Topeka Capital Markets analyst Suji De Silva expects continued growth in Freescale's microcontrollers business, multicore network processors and further deployment in the China wireless infrastructure market. De Silva raised his price target on the company's stock to $23 from $19.
Needham & Co LLC raised the stock's rating to "strong buy" from "buy," and raised the price target to $25 from $20.
The company's drug for advanced prostate cancer significantly delayed progression of the disease and extended survival in a large, late stage study of patients who had not yet received chemotherapy, likely paving the way for an expanded approval of the medicine.
The company said it would present preliminary findings from a mid-stage study of its drug to treat castration resistant prostate cancer at a medical meeting in San Francisco on Thursday.
** OMEROS CORP, $11.95, +6.41 pct
The company said data from a mid-stage study of its cognitive disorder drug showed that the drug's tolerability was not affected when used in combination with antipsychotic medicines. Omeros (Frankfurt: 3O8.F - news) said the drug could be developed as a single therapy or be tested along with other antipsychotic medicines in further studies on schizophrenia patients.
The drugmaker said it expects to report fourth-quarter revenue of about $31.9-$32.4 million, beating market estimates, helped by strong growth of its anti-inflammatory drug Rayos and arthritis drug Duexis.
Analysts had expected fourth-quarter revenue of $27.4 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
** TUPPERWARE BRANDS CORP, $79.24, -5.41 pct
The kitchen storage container maker forecast a weaker-than-expected profit for 2014 after its fourth-quarter results missed market estimates due to a 5 percent fall in sales in its established markets such as Germany, Canada and the United States.
The company reported fourth-quarter results above analysts' estimates, helped by higher-than-expected international sales of its neurology and newborn care products. Natus also raised its 2014 adjusted earnings forecast to the range of $1.14-$1.18 per share from the $1.12-$1.16 it earlier expected.
The industrial automation company lifted the lower end of its 2014 forecast after reporting a 23 percent jump in first-quarter profit due to sales increases in Europe, Asia Pacific and the United States.
** TEVA PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRIES, $45.2, +2.49 pct
Teva's shares open higher after the company said U.S. regulators approved its three-times-a-week multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone. The world's largest generics drugmaker has been banking on a three-times-a-week version of Copaxone ahead of possible competition from generic rivals of the drug this year.
The U.S. refiner said its fourth-quarter profit rose, helped by stronger results in its transportation and processing and chemicals businesses.
The company reported a higher quarterly profit as rising ticket prices bolstered revenue. The New York-based carrier cited "strong" revenue trends for the current period but added flight cancellations this month in wake of unfavorable weather in the U.S. Northeast would hurt first quarter results.
** CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY, $145.1, +2.28 pct
Canada's second largest railway reported a five-fold jump in fourth-quarter profit, as freight revenue rose 7 percent.
The air ambulance service provider estimated fourth-quarter earnings below analysts' expectations and said it would incur $2.4 million in pretax charges during. The company also said patient transports in the quarter decreased compared with the prior year.
** HESS CORP, $77.59, +1.03 pct
The company reported a quarterly profit well below Wall Street expectations as oil and natural gas production lagged due to instability in Libya and maintenance in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.
The largest industrial gas supplier in the Americas raised its dividend by 8 percent and set another $1.5 billion share buyback plan, after its quarterly profit rose due to strong sales and acquisitions.
The videogame publisher raised its full-year earnings forecast for the year, driven by strong cost control measures. It now sees non-GAAP income of $1.30 per share, compared with its previous forecast of $1.22.
At least two brokerages raised their price targets on the stock.
** MARATHON PETROLEUM CORP, $84.76, +1.91 pct
The third-largest stand-alone U.S. refining company posted a 17 percent drop in quarterly profit on Wednesday due to shrinking crude discounts and rising maintenance costs. (Compiled by Natalie Grover in Bangalore; Editing by Joyjeet Das (Shenzhen: 002421.SZ - news) )