By Ryan Vlastelica NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were flat on Wednesday as investors found few reasons to keep buying following six straight days of gains on both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq. According to Thomson Reuters data, profits are seen rising 1.1 percent this quarter, down from the 6.5 percent growth rate estimated at the start of the year. * Gilead Sciences Inc rose 3.8 percent to $75.60 in heavy premarket trading a day after the drugmaker reported a sharp increase in its quarterly profit, helped by sales of its hepatitis C drug. Gilead's results, like those of Netflix Inc , showed there was still room to grow in high-flying names that recently plunged on signs of excessive valuation.
(Reuters) - Spectrum Pharmaceuticals said its experimental cancer drug was shown to be safe and effective in a mid-stage trial. Spectrum's drug, Captisol-enabled melphalan, is an intravenous formulation of a common chemotherapy drug melphalan, and is being tested in multiple myeloma patients undergoing stem cell transplants. The company said it expects to file for a regulatory approval in the third quarter. (Reporting by Natalie Grover in Bangalore; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)
Saudi Arabia said on Wednesday it had discovered 11 more cases of the potentially deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), including what appeared to be the first case in the Muslim holy city of Mecca. A health ministry statement said eight of the people were in intensive care, two were stable, including a 24-year-old Saudi man from the "holy capital" Mecca, and one showed no symptoms. Three of those affected worked in health care, it said. Saudi Arabia has witnessed a jump in the rate of infection with the virus in recent weeks, with many of the new cases recorded in Jeddah, the kingdom's second largest city.
People who had low birth weights and those breastfed for short periods may be more likely to develop chronic inflammation linked to heart disease in adults, a study said Wednesday. Researchers in the United States found a "significant" association in almost 7,000 people between birth weight or duration of breastfeeding and higher levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), an indicator of inflammation, in blood samples of young adults. The protein is produced by the liver and levels increase when a person suffers from inflammation. "Each pound of additional birth weight predicted a CRP concentration that was five percent lower," said a statement from Northwestern University, whose experts took part in the study published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
By Carey Gillam KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Reuters) - Missouri on Wednesday executed a man who had been convicted in 1993 of murdering an elderly farming couple in a plot to steal their cattle, a state official said. William Rousan, 57, was pronounced dead at 12:10 a.m. (1.10 a.m. EDT) at a state prison in Bonne Terre, said Mike O'Connell, a spokesman for the state's Department of Public Safety. Rousan was sentenced to death for the murder of 62-year-old Grace Lewis and life in prison without parole for the murder of her 67-year-old husband Charles. Authorities said he was the mastermind in a siege that included his son and his brother, Robert, a spokeswoman for Missouri's top lawyer said.
The chairman of the Chinese unit of French utility Veolia Environment has apologized to the public after a cancer-inducing chemical was found in tap water supplied by the company, the Xinhua news agency said. Benzene was found in tap water supplied by the Lanzhou Veolia Water Company in the northwestern city of Lanzhou on April 10, forcing the city of 3.6 million people to turn off supplies in one district. Last week, China blamed Veolia for failing to maintain water quality. Veolia said it was not responsible for polluting the tap water with benzene.
By Heide Brandes OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) - Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin issued a one-week stay in the execution of a death row inmate due to die by lethal injection on Tuesday, in a move to clear up confusion over which state body has the final say over executions. Fallin ordered the stay for convicted murderer Clayton Lockett a day after the state Supreme Court issued its own emergency stay for Lockett and a second inmate, Charles Warner, amid legal wrangling over drugs used in lethal injections. The stay issued by Fallin moves back Lockett's execution to April 29, the same day Warner is scheduled to be executed.
A teenage boy who stowed away on a flight from California to Hawaii in the frozen, oxygen-deprived wheel well of a passenger jet was resting in hospital on Tuesday, two days after his death-defying jaunt over the Pacific, a Hawaii official said. The teenager, whose name has not been released, is "resting comfortably" at a hospital in Hawaii, Kayla Rosenfeld, spokeswoman of the state's Department of Human Services, said in a statement. The boy, who is from Santa Clara, California, is in the custody of the department's Child Welfare Services division, and officials were working to ensure his safe return home, she said. A local CBS-affiliate reported the boy was living with his father in Santa Clara, but his mother lives in Somalia.
By Sharon Bernstein SACRAMENTO, California (Reuters) - A measure to regulate California's chaotic medical marijuana industry passed a key legislative hurdle on Tuesday, in a move that could lay the groundwork to tax and control recreational use of the drug if it ultimately becomes legal. U.S. states are increasingly moving to remove curbs on marijuana following landmark voter initiatives in Colorado and Washington state in 2012 that legalized the drug for recreational purposes. But the drug remains illegal under federal law, leaving states that have opted for medicinal legalization struggling to control a thriving trade in medical cannabis. "The current state of chaos around medical marijuana has got to come to an end," said state Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, a San Francisco Democrat.