Early Movers: GIS, MSFT, BP, SWHC, APOL & More
Check out which companies are making headlines before the bell on Wednesday:
General Mills —The food producer earned 53 cents per share for its latest quarter, matching estimates. Revenues were above consensus, but its full year projection is slightly below Street forecasts. Sales are improving, although the company is facing higher raw material costs and consumer resistance to higher pricing.
Apollo Group — The for-profit education provider reporting fiscal third quarter profit of $1.05 per share, excluding certain items, 20 cents above estimates. Revenue came up short of consensus, as did full year revenue projections mostly, but Apollo did raise its yearly operating income projection.
Smith & Wesson —The company reported fiscal fourth quarter profit of 44 cents per share, excluding certain items, matching estimates. Revenue beat consensus, as did the gun maker's current quarter revenue and income projections. Anticipation of new gun control laws has helped boost the company's sales, especially among first-time buyers.
Las Vegas Sands— Chief financial officer Kenneth Kay is leaving that job as of July 31, although he will assist the company during a six month transition. It is not known whether Kay was fired or resigned.
Microsoft — Microsoft will make the preview version of Windows 8.1 available for a free download as of today, on the 8-month anniversary of the original release of Windows 8. The final version of the update will come out later this year.
Vivus — Vivus is in the midst of a battle with top shareholder First Manhattan, which is trying to replace current CEO Leland Wilson. The firm has been in discussions with possible replacement after being critical of the drug maker's management, which accused First Manhattan of having "no understanding" of the process of launching a new product. Vivus is the company behind the highly publicized diet drug Qsymia.
McKesson — CEO John Hammergren was entitled to a record $159 million lump-sum pension payout, according to an SEC filing. That payout would have come had he left the drug distributor on March 31.
Mattress Firm —The firm's ratings outlook has been raised to "positive" from "stable" by Moody's, which cites the expectation of improved financial performance from the mattress seller.
Southwest Airlines — Morgan Stanley downgraded the airline's stock to "underweight" from "equalweight". Southwest shares are up about 30 percent so far this year, but Morgan Stanley thinks other airline stocks will perform better in what it projects will be a bullish cycle for the industry.
Chipotle Mexican Grill —Stern Agee has begun coverage of the restaurant chain with a "buy" rating.
Netgear —Goldman Sachs downgraded the stock to "sell" from "neutral", pointing to a secular decline in the company's networking products market.
Adobe Systems — Jefferies upgraded the software producer's stock to "buy" from "hold", following a new analysis of Adobe's "Creative Cloud" model which has been shifting Adobe's focus from boxed software to a subscription model.
Pandora (P) - Cowen and Co. upgraded the internet radio company's shares to "outperform" from "market perform", saying Pandora has an increased opportunity for ad revenue, and that the threat from Apple's radio service is manageable.
(Read More: See CNBC's Market Insider Blog)
—By CNBC's Peter Schacknow
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