Early movers: LO, RAI, PG, AMZN, FAST, GPS & more

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

Check out which companies are making headlines before the bell:

Lorillard, Reynolds American–The two U.S. tobacco companies issued a statement confirming merger talks, and that they are also talking to Britain's Imperial Tobacco about selling various assets and brands. CNBC had reported the talks last Friday and that a deal was likely to emerge within weeks. Imperial also issued a statement acknowledging the negotiations.

Procter & Gamble–Wells Fargo downgraded the stock to "market perform" from "outperform", citing a lack of progress in improvement for P & G's fundamentals.

Qualcomm–Goldman Sachs removed the chip maker's stock from its "conviction buy" list, noting that the catalysts for an improved stock price laid out in a November report have largely played out.

Fastenal–The industrial supplier reported second quarter profit of 44 cents per share, matching estimates, though revenue fell short of consensus.

Amazon.com–The online retailer responded to an FTC suit involving allegedly unauthorized purchases by children on their parents' credit cards. Amazon said it had refunded such purchases, and called the FTC's action "deeply disappointing."

Chevron–Chevron expects second quarter profit to be higher than it was during the first quarter, with downstream profits comparable to last quarter. Chevron is scheduled to report its full second quarter results on August 1.

GapThe retailer reported same-store sales fell two percent in June, shy of estimates for a 0.7 percent gain. Gap chief executive Glenn Murphy did call sales at the company's Old Navy chain "stellar" and that the momentum is continuing into July.

Rent-A-Center – The company is forecasting second quarter profit of 36 to 38 cents per share, short of the consensus estimate of 48 cents. The rent-to-own chain also predicts second quarter sales below forecasts, saying macroeconomic pressures are hurting its customers. CEO Robert Davis said the company is not satisfied with its results and holds itself accountable.

Darden Restaurants– Darden won dismissal of a New York lawsuit involving automatic tips on customer checks. The parent of Olive Garden and Red Lobster had been accused of violating New York consumer protection laws.

Whirlpool– Whirlpool will buy a 66.8 percent stake in Italy's Indesit Company for a little over $1 billion. Whirlpool said the deal is intended to strengthen its European manufacturing operation.

By CNBC's Peter Schacknow

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