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Early movers: COST, LB, SCTY, JCP, M, S, IBM & more

Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
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Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

Check out which companies are making headlines before the bell:

Costco–The warehouse retailer reports a December same-store sales increase of 3 percent. That beats consensus estimates of a 1.8 percent increase.

L Brands–The retailer cut its fourth quarter forecast after December sales came in on the disappointing side, due to increased promotional activity. L Brands now expects fourth quarter profit of $1.60 per share, compared to consensus estimates of $1.79.

Dish Network–The satellite TV operator is withdrawing its bid for bankrupt telecommunications firm LightSquared, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Pier 1–The home retailer reported December same-store sales increased 1.3 percent, below the StreetAccount consensus of a 5.0 percent increase. Pier 1 called its results "disappointing".

J.C. PenneyPiper Jaffray upgraded the retailer's stock to "overweight" from "neutral", following what it calls a negative overreaction to Wednesday's holiday season update from the company.

McDonald'sMorgan Stanley upgraded McDonald's to "overweight" from "equalweight", saying structural advantages should eventually benefit the fast food giant's sales.

McKesson–The drug distributor reached an agreement to boost its purchase price for Germany's Celesio, and also struck a pact with hedge fund Elliott Capital Advisors to acquire Celesio convertible bonds. Elliott controls about 25 percent of Celesio.

SolarCity–Baird rates the solar equipment maker a "top pick" for 2014, noting that SolarCity is levered to the rapidly growing U.S. residential and commercial solar markets.

Macy's–Macy's will cut approximately 2,500 jobs as part of a cost-cutting plan, and as a result, the retailer has issued a 2014 profit outlook above consensus estimates. It also said holiday season same-store sales rose 4.3 percent, better than expected.

T-Mobile US–The wireless carrier added a better than expected 1.6 million customers during the fourth quarter, and also unveiled a plan to pay customers to switch from rivals like AT&T and Verizon Wireless.

Sprint–Deutsche Bank downgraded Sprint to "hold" from "buy", saying the shares are now fairly valued based on Sprint's outlook.

Apple–The iPhone maker and Samsung have agreed to a mediation session in their ongoing fight over smartphone patents. The mediation session will be held on or before February 19, prior to a March court hearing.

Bed Bath & Beyond–The housewares retailer reported third quarter profit of $1.12 per share, missing estimates by three cents, and also lowered its current quarter profits below Street estimates. That comes amid weaker sales growth, higher expenses, and narrower profit margins.

Novartis–The drug maker is the target of a lawsuit filed by New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. The suit involves an alleged kickback scheme revolving around its Exjade drug, used to treat iron overload. Separately, Bloomberg reports that Novartis and rival drug maker Merck are in talks to exchange business units. Novartis would reportedly trade its animal health and human vaccines business for Merck's over the counter health products unit.

IBM–IBM will create a new business unit centered around its "Watson" supercomputer, and will invest more than $1 billion to create that unit. The New York City-based unit will employ about 2,000 workers.

World Wrestling Entertainment–WWE plans to create an online video channel, to debut February 24. The company will charge $9.99 per month.

Zumiez– The seller of action sports apparel cut its fourth quarter outlook, after its saw weaker than expected holiday season sales.

Angie's List–Raymond James upgraded the online review site operator's stock to "strong buy" from "outperform".

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.