Check out which companies are making headlines before the bell on Wednesday:
J.C. Penney - Citi downgraded the retailer to "neutral" from "buy" and cuts its price target to $15 per share from $22. Citi said it's now more concerned about how long it will take the company to return to top line growth, following a visit with Penney executives. Separately, Oppenheimer has downgraded J.C. Penney to "perform" from "outpeform."
(Read More: Martha Stewart Denies Wrongdoing With JC Penney Deal)
Best Buy - Jefferies has upgraded the electronics retailer's shares to "buy" from "hold," saying it sees new management cutting costs and bringing more discipline to the business.
(Read More: See the Day's Top Percentage Winners & Losers)
Qualcomm - Goldman Sachs has removed the chipmaker's stock from its "Conviction Buy" list, although it's maintaining a "buy" rating. Goldman sees the chipset market peaking this year, and notes that Qualcomm shares have doubled since the stock was added to the "Conviction Buy" list in July of 2010.
Staples - The office supplies retailer earned $0.46 per share for the fourth quarter, excluding certain items, one cent above estimates, and also raised its quarterly dividend by one cent to $0.12. On the negative side, its revenue was below consensus, as is its full-year forecast, on weakness in Europe and North America.
Big Lots - The retailer earned $2.09 per share, excluding certain items, for the fourth quarter, above estimates of $1.98, with revenue also above consensus.
Ford Motor - CEO Alan Mulally has been awarded performance bonuses worth almost $12 million, according to a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing. The award comes in the form of shares that were worth $11.7 million based on Tuesday's closing price, though the final value will depend on when Mulally actually sells them.
Google - Google has reportedly struck a licensing deal with Warner Music for two music services it will launch later this summer, according to Billboard magazine. Separately, Google is testing same-day delivery service with various retailers, a move onto turf long dominated by Amazon.com.
Apple - The company is said to have held talks with audio technology firm Beats Electronics about a potential partnership involving Beats' planned music streaming service. Reuters reported Apple CEO Tim Cook met with Beats CEO Jimmy Iovine last month to explore the idea.
J.M. Smucker - The food producer has signed a sponsorship deal with the U.S. Olympic Committee. Financial terms of the deal, which runs through 2016, were not disclosed.
(Read More: See CNBC's Market Insider Blog)
—By CNBC's Peter Schacknow
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