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US Stock Futures: HOT STOCKS TO WATCH

Among the companies whose shares are expected to actively trade in Friday's session are Merck & Co. (MRK), Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) and Whirlpool Corp. (WHR). Merck's third-quarter earnings soared compared with a prior-year quarter heavily weakened by charges, though the pharmaceutical maker also reported core earnings and revenue that exceeded expectations, helped by higher drug sales. Shares rose 2% to $35 in premarket trading. Advanced Micro Devices posted better-than-expected third-quarter sales and fourth-quarter guidance as the chip maker experienced robust demand for its notebook chips. Shares rose 8.6% to $5.79 premarket. Whirlpool's third-quarter earnings more than doubled, but the company announced a cost-reduction plan as sales grew slower than expected. The company, whose brands also include KitchenAid and Maytag, slashed its full-year earnings estimate, citing weaker-than-expected industry demand, lower production levels and a weak economic environment. Shares dropped 15% to $51.35 premarket. Coinstar Inc.'s (CSTR) third-quarter earnings rose 90% on continued strength from its Redbox movie- and videogame-rental kiosks, and the company outlined plans to raise prices on its DVD rentals. Coinstar shares slid 9.8% to $47.75 in pre-market trading on concerns about a weak per-share outlook for the current quarter and the DVD rental price increase. Las Vegas Sands Corp.'s (LVS) third-quarter profit surged as strong revenue in Asia drove higher margins, particularly at the casino operator's Singapore property. Shares climbed 3.1% to $46.80 premarket on the stronger-than-expected results. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (GT) reported its third consecutive quarterly profit Friday as it held the line on higher rubber costs while benefiting from sales of premium-priced tires in the U.S. and a surge of winter tire orders in Europe. Shares gained 5.7% to $15.10 premarket. Baidu Inc.'s (BIDU) third-quarter earnings jumped 80% as China's Internet-search leader continued to gain more users and bolstered the revenue it gleaned from each one. The company's American depositary shares jumped 6.8% to $147.85 premarket. Electronic Arts Inc.'s (ERTS) fiscal second-quarter loss widened as the videogame maker reported higher expenses and lower margins. Shares fell 4.1% to $23.50 premarket. Interpublic Group Of Cos.'s (IPG) third-quarter earnings quadrupled, due in part to an investment gain, as international business contributed to better-than-expected sales. Shares rose 9.4% to $9.75 premarket. Cliffs Natural Resources Inc.'s (CLF) third-quarter profit rose 98% due to higher pricing and sales volumes in the company's iron ore business. Shares gained 3.2% to $69.63 premarket. Watch List: Amerigroup Corp.'s (AGP) third-quarter profit dropped 43% despite higher premium revenue as the company posted a jump in health benefits expenses. Aon Corp.'s (AON) third-quarter profit jumped 38% as the insurance brokerage and consulting firm posted soaring revenue in its human resources unit driven by an acquisition. Biogen Idec Inc.'s (BIIB) third-quarter earnings rose 38% as the biotechnology company posted higher revenue, particularly from its multiple-sclerosis drugs. The company's adjusted earnings and revenue topped analyst expectations. For the year, the company again raised its guidance. Calpine Corp.'s (CPN) third-quarter earnings fell 12%, primarily due to the sale of assets last year, though the wholesale power company's sales grew more than expected. Cigna Corp.'s (CI) third-quarter profit slipped 35% as the managed-care company booked charges tied to businesses within its runoff reinsurance segment, though revenue and membership climbed. Constellation Energy Group Inc. (CEG) swung to a third-quarter profit as the power company saw a favorable comparison after it booked major charges related to its nuclear joint ventures a year earlier. Coventry Health Care Inc.'s (CVH) third-quarter earnings fell 35% as the managed-care company's membership declined, masking revenue growth. The company raised its full-year earnings estimate. Dun & Bradstreet Corp. (DNB) third-quarter earnings grew 3.4% as the business-information provider continued to report surging international sales. Eastman Chemical Co.'s (EMN) third-quarter earnings fell 2.9% on acquisition- and restructuring-related charges, though higher selling prices helped boost revenue. Moody's Investors Services upgraded its credit ratings on Ford Motor Co. (F) and General Motors Co. (GM) one notch closer to investment grade territory Thursday, citing the auto makers' strong positions in North America and improved credit metrics. Gilead Sciences Inc.'s (GILD) second-quarter profit rose 5.1% as the biopharmaceutical company's antiviral products drove revenue growth. HealthSouth Corp.'s (HLS) third-quarter earnings rose 79% as the company reported increased revenue and a sharply higher contribution from discontinued operations. Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ) said Thursday it will keep its personal-computer division, backing away from its prior plan to explore a spinoff of the unit into a standalone company, after a new evaluation found that a spinoff would be too costly. KLA-Tencor Corp.'s (KLAC) fiscal first-quarter earnings rose 25% as the semiconductor-equipment maker's increased sales offset a weaker margin. Lear Corp.'s (LEA) third-quarter earnings rose 5.7% as the auto-parts supplier continued to benefit from the auto industry's increased production. Leggett & Platt Inc.'s (LEG) third-quarter profit rose a modest 5.3% as pricing pressure and higher expenses offset the benefit of stronger-than-expected sales. The company also cut its full-year guidance. LifePoint Hospitals Inc.'s (LPNT) third-quarter earnings were flat from the year-earlier period as the operator of rural hospitals saw admissions edged down slightly, though revenue increased. LyondellBasell Industries N.V.'s (LYB) third-quarter profit rose a better-than-expected 92% as the company continued to post stronger sales, most notably in the U.S. olefins and refining and oxyfuels segments. MetLife Inc.'s (MET) third-quarter profit surged thanks to a massive derivative gain and a jump in investment income. The biggest U.S. life insurer's operating results easily topped Wall Street expectations. Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. (MMI) increased sales of smartphones by 9.1%, helping to narrow its third-quarter loss, even as shipments of its much-touted Xoom tablet ground nearly to a halt. NCR Corp.'s (NCR) third-quarter earnings fell 81% as acquisition and pension costs weighed on the bottom line. The company lifted its adjusted earnings guidance for the year. Newell Rubbermaid Inc. (NWL) swung to a third-quarter loss on an impairment charge tied to its baby and parenting and hardware units, as the company also disclosed a restructuring plan to focus on its higher growth areas. Rockwell Collins Inc.'s (COL) fiscal fourth-quarter earnings improved 17%, driven by stronger sales in the company's commercial systems business that helped offset ongoing weakness in government demand. SanDisk Corp. (SNDK) said its board authorized the repurchase of up to $500 million of stock over five years, joining a growing list of companies putting their cash to use to help build investors' confidence. Southwestern Energy Co.'s (SWN) third-quarter profit rose 9% as production continued to climb in its Fayetteville and Marcellus shale operations. The natural-gas producer again raised its full-year production guidance. Tenneco Inc.'s (TEN) third-quarter earnings tripled as the auto-parts supplier continued to see strong demand worldwide. VeriSign Inc.'s (VRSN) third-quarter profit slid 92% over a prior-year period, significantly boosted by a sale of the company's authentification business, although core results exceeded expectations. Weyerhaeuser Co.'s (WY) third-quarter profit tumbled despite improved revenue as the forest-products company faced a prior-year period boosted by more than $1 billion of income-tax adjustments from its transitioning to a real-estate investment trust. -Edited by Caitlin Nish and Corrie Driebusch; write to caitlin.nish@dowjones.com and corrie.driebusch@dowjones.com

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