U.S. stock futures mixed; Applied Materials eyed

* U.S. stock index futures pointed to a mixed open on Wall
Street on Thursday, with futures for the S&P 500 (SPc1: ) down 0.1
percent, Dow Jones (DJc1: ) futures up 0.1 percent and Nasdaq 100
(NDc1: ) futures down 0.4 percent at 0836 GMT.

* Applied Materials Inc (AMAT.O: ), the world’s largest
producer of chipmaking gear, will be in focus after posting a
second-quarter profit (Read more your timing to make a profit.) as customers added capacity to take
advantage of growing demand for consumer electronics, especially
in emerging markets. The company’s shares traded in Frankfurt
(AMAT.F: ) were up 0.6 percent.

* On the M&A front, Symantec Corp (SYMC.O: ) agreed to buy
VeriSign Inc’s (VRSN.O: ) widely used technology for securing
payments over the Internet in a deal worth $1.28 billion, the
companies said on Wednesday. Shares of VeriSign Inc (VRSN.O: )
gained 2.9 percent to $28.81 in extended trade on Wednesday on
the news, while Symantec shares were little changed at $15.62.

* VeriSign stock traded in Frankfurt (VRSN.F: ) were up 1.3
percent while Symantec shares traded in Frankfurt (SYMC.F: ) were
down 2.1 percent.

* Energy stocks will also be in the spotlight after a group
of U.S. lawmakers said they would recommend BP (BP.L: ) be ordered
to idle its Atlantis oil and gas platform in the U.S. Gulf of
Mexico until federal regulators can prove the region’s second
biggest rig is operating safely.

* In a setback for the Obama administration, Senate
Democrats failed to muster enough votes on Wednesday to end
debate on the biggest overhaul of financial regulation since the
1930s, delaying a vote on passage.

* As many as 20 bidders are interested in buying U.S.
software company Novell Inc (NOVL.O: ), which has put itself up
for sale and is this week accepting bids, the Wall Street
Journal reported.

* European stocks were up 0.4 percent in morning trade, led
by a rebound in recently-hammered banks such as Societe Generale
(SOGN.PA: ) and Banco Santander (SAN.MC: ), but gains were fragile
as investors remained jittery over policy disarray in the euro
zone after Germany’s surprise move to ban naked short sales of a
range of financial assets.

* Eurogroup Chairman Jean-Claude Juncker said on Thursday
financial markets were acting irrationally over the euro area’s
debt problems and while he was concerned about the fall in the
euro, immediate action was not needed, while French Economy
Minister Christine Lagarde said she did not share German
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s view that the euro was in danger.

* Dubai World, the state-owned conglomerate, has reached a
deal in principle to restructure $23.5 billion in debt with the
core lenders holding 60 percent of the exposure.

* On the macro front, investors will keep an eye on data for
weekly claims for jobless benefits, as well as for the
Conference Board’s report on April leading economic indicators.

* On the earnings side, Gamestop Corp. (GME.N: ) Ross Stores
(ROST.O: ), Staples (SPLS.O: ), Salesforce.com (CRM: ), Intuit
(INTU.O: ), Computer Sciences Corp. (CSC: ), and Compuware Corp.
(CPWR.O: ) are among the companies due to report results on

* After the bell on Wednesday, shares of Hot Topic (HOTT.O: )
fell 8 percent to $6.00 following its quarterly results. Shares
of Gymboree Corp (GYMB.O: ) also dropped following results.

* U.S. stocks (Read more about the stock market today. ) fell on Wednesday as Germany’s ban on naked
short sales on some stocks and bonds sparked a fresh wave of
uncertainty and risk aversion among anxious investors.

* The Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI: ) slid 66.58 points,
or 0.63 percent, to 10,444.37. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index
(.SPX: ) fell 5.75 points, or 0.51 percent, to 1,115.05. The
Nasdaq Composite Index (.IXIC: ) lost 18.89 points, or 0.82
percent, to 2,298.37.

Investment Advice

(Reporting by Blaise Robinson; editing by Karen Foster)

U.S. stock futures mixed; Applied Materials eyed