Check out which companies are making headlines before the bell:
Big Lots–The discount retailer reported fourth quarter profit of $1.45 per share, excluding certain items, beating estimates by five cents. The company is in the midst of a restructuring that is seeing it sell its Canadian operations and shut down its wholesale operation.
Foot Locker–The athletic footwear and apparel retailer reported fourth quarter profit of 82 cents per share, excluding certain items, six cents above estimates. Its same-store sales increase of 5.3 percent was also above analyst forecasts.
Safeway–The supermarket chain striking a deal to be acquired by Cerberus-controlled AB Acquisition for consideration with a total value of $40 per share. AB Acquisition is also the owner of supermarket operator Albertson's. Reports that the Safeway deal was imminent were out during Thursday's trading session.
The Fresh Market–The company earned 39 cents per share for the fourth quarter, missing estimates by three cents, with sales and its current quarter forecast falling short of consensus as well. The specialty grocer said the current quarter will be impacted by temporary closures resulting from severe winter weather.
Gap–Gap reported a seven percent drop in same-store sales for February, surprising analysts who had been predicting a 0.9 percent gain. The parent of Gap, Old Navy, and Banana Republic did say that sales were stronger at the end of the month when the weather improved, and noted that the entire chain had been closed for at least one day during the month due to weather.
H&R Block–The tax preparer saw revenues fall well short of analyst estimates during its fiscal third quarter, which it blames on this year's delay in the opening of the Internal Revenue Service's e-filing system for 2013 tax returns. The firm said $277 million of revenue will be shifted into the current quarter due to that delay.
Pfizer–The drug maker is recalling two lots of its Effexor XR antidepressant, as well as one lot of a generic version, after a pharmacist reported finding one capsule of a different medicine in a bottle of the drug.
Ford–The automaker's chief executive Alan Mulally received $13.8 million in performance bonuses for 2013.
Cliffs Natural Resources–The mining company is under fire from Casablanca Capital, which is putting forward six nominees for the company's board of directors. It said the majority of the board should be replaced because of a failed expansion strategy and an 80 percent drop in shareholder value. Cliffs has now postponed its annual meeting as it attempts to come to an agreement with Casablanca.
Nokia–Nokia was added to the European and U.S. focus lists at Credit Suisse, which sees better earnings growth and margin expansion on the horizon, as well as what it calls material cash distribution.
Progress Software–Progress cut its first quarter earnings outlook, with the business software provider seeing lower license sales and saying it is disappointed with its execution. The company is due to release its next earnings report on March 27.
Alpha Natural Resources–Alpha Natural was downgraded to "sell" from "neutral" at Goldman Sachs, based in part on a challenging outlook for coal prices.
Gogo –SAC Capital took a 5.4 percent stake in Gogo, according to an SEC filing. Gogo is a provider of in-flight internet services.
—By CNBC's Peter Schacknow
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