Early movers: WFM, UAL, DIS, GRPN, JNJ, GPS & more
Check out which companies are making headlines before the bell on Friday:
Whole Foods – Goldman Sachs downgraded the grocery chain's stock to "neutral" from "buy", and removed it from its "Americas Buy" list. Goldman said the company's revenue growth will be softer going forward, reflecting general industry trends.
United Continental – Barclays cut its rating for the airline to "underweight" from "equal weight", saying the market may be incorrectly assuming that margins for the legacy airlines will remain similar as carriers consolidate. However, Barclays believes Delta Air Lines may wind up with advantages over United.
Johnson & Johnson – Danaher and Blackstone Group are working on a joint bid for Johnson & Johnson's Ortho Clinical Diagnostics unit, according to Reuters. The unit could be worth more than $4 billion, and several other private equity firms are also considering a bid.
Groupon – The daily deals site reported third quarter profit of two cents per share, excluding certain items, one cent above estimates. Groupon posted revenue below consensus, but investors are encouraged by strong North American growth and a 10 percent jump in gross billings.
Yum Brands – RBC initiated coverage on Yum with an "outperform" rating, based on recovery in China from recent sales shocks. RBC also issued "outperform" ratings for Brinker International, Chipotle Mexican Grill, and Texas Roadhouse, among others.
Priceline.com– Priceline earned $17.30 per share for the third quarter, beating estimates of $16.15. Its current quarter guidance, however, is largely below Street consensus. Separately, the online travel site has split the chairman and CEO roles, with Darren Huston becoming the new CEO on January 1, while current chairman/CEO Jeffery Boyd remaining in the chairman's role.
Walt Disney – Disney reported fiscal fourth quarter profit of 77 cents per share, one cent above estimates, with revenue also beating consensus. Disney was helped by more spending at theme parks as well as higher toy sales.
Gap – Gap issued a better than expected earnings outlook and also reported a consensus-beating October same-store sales gain of 4 percent. For the quarter, the Old Navy and Banana Republic parent saw a comparable store sales rise of one percent, its seventh consecutive quarter of improving sales.
Monster Beverage – The company missed estimates by four cents with third quarter profit of 53 cents per share, with revenue also falling short of consensus. The natural beverage maker's results were hurt by increased costs, including legal expenses related to concerns about the safety of its offerings.
Nvidia – The company earned 26 cents per share, excluding certain items, for the third quarter, beating estimates by six cents. But the chipmaker also gave a below-consensus current quarter revenue forecast, due to a declining PC market and intense competition in the mobile device market.
IBM - Chief financial officer Mark Loughridge will retire at the end of the year, after serving in that role since 2004. He'll be replaced by IBM Global Financing general manager Martin Schroeter.
Peabody Energy – Goldman Sachs upgraded Peabody to "buy" from "neutral", based on growth in Australia and improving cash flow.
—By CNBC's Peter Schacknow
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