These stocks are moving before the bell on Wednesday:
Dell — The computer maker's special committee asked founder Michael Dell to increase his $24.4 billion offer to take the company private. That news follows word that investor Carl Icahn has obtained more than $3 billion in financing commitments for his alternative proposal.
Alcoa — The stock was downgraded to "neutral" from "overweight at JPMorgan Chase, reflecting forecasts for lower aluminum prices.
Credit Suisse, Barclays, Deutsche Bank — These European banking stocks have all been downgraded by Standard and Poor's to "A" from "A ", citing more difficult operating conditions for large European banks. It has, however, affirmed its "A" rating for UBS , and calls the outlook for all these banks "stable".
Apple — Apple has hired former Yves Saint Laurent CEO Paul Deneve for "special projects". He will report directly to Apple chief executive Tim Cook.
Prudential Financial — Prudential will contest its designation as "systemically important" by banking regulators. It has requested a hearing before the Financial Stability Oversight Council to make its case.
HSBC — The bank has received a judge's approval for its record $1.92 billion settlement of money laundering charges. The settlement had been announced in December.
Yahoo — Yahoo will buy video mobile app maker Qwiki for an undisclosed amount, although All Things D reports the price was about $50 million.
Lululemon — Lululemon has been sued for allegedly defrauding shareholders. The suit cites the costly recall of yoga pants that were deemed "too sheer", as well as the sudden departure of chief executive Christine Day.
Autonation — Credit Suisse upgraded the car retailer's stock to "outperform" from "neutral", reflecting expectations for improved parts and service earnings as well as a relative underperformance by the stock in recent months.