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Feb. 18 Premarket Briefing: 10 Things You Should Know

Updated from 6:45 a.m. EST.

Here are 10 things you should know for Tuesday, Feb. 18:   

1.-- U.S. stock futures were flat on Tuesday ahead of data on manufacturing and housing.

European stocks fell on Tuesday and Asian indices finished mixed as China's central bank mopped up liquidity from the market and a German index of investor confidence fell sharply.

2.-- The economic calendar in the U.S. on Tuesday includes the Empire State Manufacturing Index for February at 8:30 a.m. EST, and the NAHB Housing Market Index for February at 10 a.m.

3.-- U.S. stocks on Friday booked their second-straight week of gains on Friday after consumer sentiment beat expectations.

The S&P 500 rose Friday by 0.48% to close at 1,838.63, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.79% to 16,154.39. The Nasdaq gained 0.08% to 4,244.02. The S&P, Dow and Nasdaq gained 2.3%, 2.3% and 2.9%, respectively, for the week.

Markets in the U.S. were closed Monday for President's Day.

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4.-- Actavis agreed to acquire rival drug maker Forest Laboratories (FRX) in a cash-and-stock worth about $25 billion.

The deal would create a combined company spanning both generic and branded drugs, including Forest's Alzheimer's treatment Namenda and the antidepressant Lexapro.

Dublin-based Actavis will pay Forest shareholders $26.04 in cash and a portion of an Actavis share for each Forest share. The price of $89.48 is a premium of about 25% over Forest's closing price on Friday.

Forest shares were surging in premarket trading, up 34.8% to $96.26. 

5.-- Beverage giant Coca-Cola (KO - Get Report) reported fourth-quarter earnings of $1.71 billion, or 38 cents a share, down from $1.87 billion, or 41 cents, a year earlier. 

Adjusted earnings in the fourth quarter were 46 cents a share.

Revenue fell to $11.04 billion from $11.46 billion a year earlier.

Wall Street expected Coca-Cola to report fourth-quarter earnings of 46 cents a share on revenue of $11.31 billion.

In premarket trading, Coke shares fell 1.1% to $38.51.

6.-- BHP Billiton (BHP), the world's biggest miner, reported on Tuesday a better-than-expected half year profit of $8.1 billion as cost cuts offset lower commodity prices.

BHP's net profit for the July-December half year jumped 83% to $8.1 billion from $4.4 billion a year earlier.

The stock rose 3% in premarket trading.

7.-- Duke Energy (DUK) said Tuesday that fourth-quarter earnings rose to 97 cents a share from year-earlier profit of 62 cents.

Analysts expected earnings of 95 cents a share.

The stock slipped 0.1% in premarket trading.

8.-- Nutrition supplements company Herbalife (HLF) is expected by Wall Street on Tuesday to report fourth-quarter earnings of $1.25 a share on sales of $1.25 billion.

9.-- Barry Sternlicht, chairman and CEO of Starwood Capital Group, has spoken to banks as he prepares to sell shares of the property-investment firm to investors, a person familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.

Starwood probably will sell a minority stake in an initial public offering, said the person. Sternlicht told Bloomberg Television in December 2012 he was considering a stake sale to raise cash and finance new businesses. In November, he said he may consider IPOs of some of Starwood's holdings.

10.-- Chindex (CHDX), a U.S. health care provider in China, reached an agreement to be acquired by a group led by private-equity firm TPG Capital for $369 million, or $19.50 a share.

Chindex shares closed Friday at $17.15.

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

To contact the writer of this article, click here:Joseph Woelfel

To submit a news tip, send an email

Follow @josephwoe58


Actavis  will pay Forest shareholders $26.04 in cash and a portion of an  Actavis  share for each Forest share. The total, per-share price of $89.48 represents a premium of about 25 percent over Friday's closing price.
Copyright 2014 Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.

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