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Early movers: JPM, CMG, MRK, JNJ, DPS, GPS & more

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

JPMorgan Chase – The bank earned $1.42 per share for the third quarter, excluding certain items, beating estimates of $1.17. Overall, JPM posted a quarterly loss because of legal expenses, but it expects those costs to eventually abate and normalize.

Chipotle Mexican Grill – Janney Capital upgraded the restaurant chain to "buy" from "neutral", based on a solid sales outlook and the opportunity to increase business during breakfast hours.

Merck, Eli Lilly – Jefferies downgraded Merck to "hold" from "buy" and Eli Lilly to "underperform" from "hold", saying it sees deteriorating business fundamentals.

Johnson & Johnson – Goldman Sachs upgraded J&J to "neutral" from "sell", citing an improved outlook in the pharmaceutical sector.

Dr Pepper Snapple – Wells Fargo downgraded the beverage maker's shares to "market perform" from "outperform", pointing to weak industry volumes and aggressive pricing strategies.

Gap – Gap reports September same-store sales fell 3 percent, compared to the 1.6 percent gain expected by analysts. CEO Glenn Murphy said September was "somewhat challenging" but that the company remains committed to meeting its full-year goals.

Micron Technology – Micron reported fiscal fourth quarter profit of 20 cents per share, excluding certain items, five cents below estimates. Revenue did beat expectations, but investors are focusing on an ongoing increase in memory chip prices because of a September fire at a Hynix plant that's constrained supplies.

Safeway – Safeway earned 10 cents per share, excluding certain items, six cents below estimates, though revenue exceeded expectations. The grocery chain also announced it will leave the Chicago market by selling its 72 Dominick's stores in that area. Activist investor Jana Partners has been pushing Safeway to reevaluate its presence in certain regions, including Chicago.

SunTrust Banks – SunTrust will pay about $1.2 billion to settle several mortgage-related cases with government agencies. The settlement will result in a $179 million after-tax impact on third quarter earnings.

Agrium — Agrium is drawing praise from Jana Partners, even as Jana cuts its stake in the fertilizer producer to 2.7 percent from 7.5 percent. Jana said it's pleased with Agrium's moves to returning cash to shareholders and improving its overall operations. Jana said the decision to cut its stake was part of an evaluation of its overall portfolio.

Potash – The fertilizer producer said it expected third quarter earnings of about 41 cents per share, six cents below analyst estimates. The cut was made in response to lower than expected potash sales.

Toyota – Toyota was found not liable for the death of a California woman in one of the unintended acceleration cases against the automaker. Experts say this could influence the outcome of more than 80 similar suits around the country.

Silicon Graphics – The maker of computer servers estimated first quarter results that are below Wall Street estimates, due to uncertainty of project funding because of the government shutdown.

—By CNBC's Peter Schacknow

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

  • Patti Domm

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

  • A CNBC reporter since 1990, Bob Pisani covers Wall Street from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

  • CNBC Senior Commodities Correspondent and Personal Finance Correspondent

  • JeeYeon Park is a writer for CNBC.com. Follow her on Twitter: @JeeYeonParkCNBC

  • Rick Santelli joined CNBC Business News as an on-air editor in 1999, reporting live from the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade.

  • Senior Producer at CNBC's Breaking News Desk.