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Early Movers: AMZN, KO, MW & More

Thursday, 14 Mar 2013 | 7:48 AM ET

Check out which companies are making headlines before the bell on Thursday:

Amazon.com - JPMorgan Chase is downgrading the online retailer's stock to "neutral" from "overweight," saying it sees "more material deceleration" in Amazon's gross profit this year.

Coca-Cola - Credit Agricole is upgrading the beverage maker's stock to "outperform" from "underpeform." Separately, Chinese officials are now investigating whether Coke employees used GPS technology in violation of Chinese restrictions. The company says some of its workers use GPS technology to improve the efficiency of deliveries.

Men's Wearhouse - The company reported a fourth-quarter loss of $0.07 per share, two cents wider than expected. Revenue was slightly below estimates, but the apparel retailer did see a narrower loss compared to a year earlier with improving sales. The company also said it's considering strategic alternatives for its K&G business, seen as a positive by investors.


(Read More: See the Day's Top Percentage Winners & Losers)

E*Trade Financial - The online trading firm will see a major shareholder exit, as Citadel Equity says it plans to liquidate its entire position. Citadel will sell its 27.4 million share stake (9.6 percent) in an offering that is expected to close this coming Tuesday. That news has prompted KBW to downgrade E*Trade shares to "underperform" from "market perform."

Quest Diagnostics - Chief Financial Officer Robert Hagemann will leave the medical lab operator at the end of May. The company has launched a search to find a successor, and will consider both internal and external candidates. Hagemann, who has been with the company for 21 years and been CFO for nearly 15, said the time is right for a change.

American International Group - The insurer has named Don Cummings as vice president and controller. Cummings had been deputy chief financial officer at AIG's life and retirement unit.

Walt Disney - Disney is delaying the launch of "Infinity" — a videogame and toy initiative — to August from the originally scheduled date in June. Disney said it's making the move to take advantage of a more favorable retail season, but the move also will push any profits into the fourth quarter from the third. "Infinity" lets the user put Disney and Pixar characters into on-screen adventures.

Vodafone - Vodafone will end its long time sponsorship of Formula One team McLaren, according to the Financial Times. That follows a review of the telecom company's marketing strategy.

SandRidge Energy - SandRidge has struck a deal with major shareholder TPG-Axon Capital. Four directors nominated by TPG will be immediately added to SandRidge's board, in a move that could lead to the removal of CEO Tom Ward. TPG has been conducting a campaign to oust Ward and the entire board, pointing to both strategic errors, and allegations that SandRidge allowed a company owned by Ward's son to acquire oil and gas drilling rights.

Vera Bradley - The company reported fourth-quarter profits that beat Street estimates, but the handbag designer also issued guidance for the current quarter and the full year that was below forecasts.

Christopher & Banks - Christopher & Banks reported a narrower fourth-quarter loss on rising sales and cost cuts. The women's clothing store chain has been closing stores and cut jobs, and now has 17 percent fewer stores operating than it did a year ago.

eBay - The online auction site operator has been upgraded to "overweight" from "equal weight" at Evercore Partners. The firm says a recent sell-off has been overdone, and that fee increases instituted by MasterCard are manageable.

Progressive Corp. - RBC has cut its rating on the insurer's stock to "sector perform" from "outperform." The firm is making the call both on a valuation basis and the lack of drivers for additional earnings growth.

Johnson Controls - Credit Agricole has upgraded the automotive parts maker's stock to "buy" from "outperform," as well as raising its price target to $50 from $36.


(Read More: See CNBC's Market Insider Blog)

—By CNBC's Peter Schacknow

Questions? Comments? Email us at marketinsider@cnbc.com


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    Patti Domm is CNBC Executive Editor, News, responsible for news coverage of the markets and economy.

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