Among the companies whose shares are expected to actively trade in Thursday's session are FedEx Corp. (FDX), Novellus Systems Inc. (NVLS) and Covidien PLC (COV).
FedEx's fiscal second-quarter earnings jumped 76% as the shipping company said it continued to benefit from strong performance in its ground-shipping segment and improved profitability in its freight operations. Shares gained 4.2% to $80.50 in recent premarket trading.
Semiconductor-equipment maker Lam Research Corp. (LRCX) unveiled plans to buy peer Novellus Systems in an all-stock deal valued at about $3.3 billion, continuing the industry's consolidation. Novellus shares were up 24% at $42.90 in recent premarket trading, compared with an offer price that valued the shares at $44.42 apiece. Shares of Lam slipped 1.7% to $38.80 premarket, though the company also announced a $1.6 billion stock buyback program.
Covidien plans to spin off its pharmaceuticals business into a standalone public company, continuing an industry trend and leaving the health-care products company to focus on its medical products operations. Shares climbed 3.2% to $43.50 in recent premarket trading.
Diamond Foods Inc. (DMND) received notification that U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is planning an investigation as the snack company continues its own internal accounting probe. Shares fell 6% to $27.75 in recent premarket trading.
Rite-Aid Corp.'s (RAD) fiscal third-quarter loss narrowed mostly on continued growth in the drugstore chain's same-store sales, and the company improved its guidance for the year. Shares climbed 4.4% to $1.19 in recent premarket trading.
Sterne Agee lowered its stock-investment rating on Deckers Outdoor Corp. (DECK) to underperform from buy saying the UGG business has been disappointing during a warmer-than-normal fall, leading to first-quarter order cancellations as retailers have adequate inventory levels. Sterne says this will likely "affect the cadence and nature" of orders in the second half of 2012, and the firm is also concerned about rising prices as it lowers its 2012 sales and EPS estimates and slashes its price target to $72 from $130. Deckers' shares slid 6.9% to $89.01 in recent premarket trading.
Credit Suisse AG (CS) said it will merge its global foreign exchange and emerging markets fixed-income businesses from the start of 2012. Shares were up 3.4% to $23.35 premarket.
BioSante Pharmaceuticals Inc. (BPAX) said its LibiGel testosterone gel-dubbed by some as the "female Viagra" -failed to meet efficacy goals in two late-stage clinical trials. Results showed no statistically significant differences between LibiGel and a placebo gel in increasing satisfying sexual events among women. Shares tumbled 74% to 54 cents in premarket trading. Also falling was Antares Pharma Inc. (AIS), which has a partnership with BioSante. Its stock recently traded down 25% to $1.81 cents premarket.
DuPont Co. (DD) said an arbitration panel ruled in its favor in a long-running patent-infringement dispute with rival Monsanto Co. (MON) involving DuPont's Pioneer Hi-Bred seed unit. The chemical company's shares edged up 1% to $43.63 in light premarket trading.
Nordson Corp.'s (NDSN) fiscal fourth-quarter earnings rose 2.1% as higher overhead expenses and costlier taxes diminished the power of higher revenue. Shares in the maker of dispensing equipment edged down 0.1% at $44.48 premarket as it again issued downbeat guidance.
Fujifilm Holdings Corp. (4901.TO) said Thursday it has reached an agreement to buy U.S. medical equipment maker SonoSite Inc. (SONO) for $995 million, in the latest instance of Japanese companies hunting down overseas peers to make up for their dim prospects at home. SonoSite's shares jumped 27% to $53.60 in recent premarket trading.
Imperial Sugar Co. (IPSU) postponed the release of its fiscal fourth-quarter and full-year earnings reports because of delays in receiving some needed audited financial statements. Shares dropped 3.9% to $4.18 in light premarket trading.
Industrial-glass maker Apogee Enterprises Inc. (APOG) swung to a stronger-than-expected profit in its fiscal third quarter, breaking a six-quarter string of losses, as its main architectural glass segment benefited from higher prices and volume.
Boston Properties Inc. (BXP) raised its quarterly dividend 10%, joining a growing list of companies looking to increase value for shareholders.
Capital One Financial Corp. (COF) said delinquencies at its U.S. credit-card business were flat in November, though charge-offs rose from a month earlier. While charge-offs--loans banks don't expect to be able to collect--and delinquencies remain below last year's levels, the progress has been uneven.
Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc. (CCE) predicted 2011 earnings at the high end of its prior forecast, and the bottling company also gave an upbeat view for the coming year.
Conmed Healthcare Management Inc. (CONM) said its board has approved the repurchase of up to $5 million of the company's common stock, joining a growing list of companies looking to boost shareholder value.
Energy Conversion Devices Inc. (ENER) said it will defer payment on some debt interest due Thursday to give it more time to continue talks with creditors.
Oilfield-services company FMC Technologies Inc. (FTI) added 15 million shares to its stock-buyback program, joining a growing list of companies that have stepped up payouts to shareholders in recent months.
Nabors Industries Ltd. (NBR) said a subsidiary has sold some of its oil and gas properties in California for $72 million in cash, part of a broader effort to shake up some of the energy company's exploration-and-production portfolio.
Orexigen Therapeutics Inc. (OREX) proposed an offering of units consisting of a share of stock and warrant to purchase more shares, one of several companies unveiling offerings Wednesday evening.
Packaging Corp. of America (PKG) said it will add $150 million to its share-repurchase program, as the company looks to build shareholder value.
PartnerRe Ltd. (PRE) said it would record an $88 million charge to put money in reserve that should cover the full limit of its exposure from March's Japan earthquake related to its largest cedant there.
Pier 1 Imports Inc.'s (PIR) fiscal third-quarter earnings rose 9.5% on higher merchandise margin and increased traffic, as the company said it was on track with its growth plans.
Technology company Procera Networks Inc. (PKT) said it will voluntarily jump over to the Nasdaq Global Market from NYSE Amex by Dec. 29, saying Nasdaq will give it more visibility in the investment community.
Scholastic Corp.'s (SCHL) fiscal second-quarter profit rose 11% as the children's book publisher saw improved revenue in its educational technology and services segment thanks to higher margin products.
Solutia Inc.'s (SOA) board authorized the specialty chemical company's first dividend, as the company affirmed its guidance for the year and unveiled longer-term growth plans ahead of its investor day Thursday.
Facebook Inc. Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said she won't stand for reelection as a Starbucks Corp. (SBUX) director next year, while the coffeehouse chain named another executive with similar social-media experience to its board.
Standard & Poor's said it will move online travel research company TripAdvisor Inc. (TRIPV) into its S&P 500 index, replacing telecommunications-equipment maker Tellabs Inc. (TLAB).
VeriFone Systems Inc.'s (PAY) fiscal fourth-quarter earnings more than quadrupled as the electronic-payment company's sales in Europe continued to surge.
Winnebago Industries Inc.'s (WGO) fiscal first-quarter earnings slid 73% as inventory expenses rose and margins weakened, though the motor home company's revenue benefited from higher average prices.
-Edited by Ian Thomson and Corrie Driebusch; write to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com