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Early Movers: MRK, AGN, BABA, TSLA, F & more

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
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A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

Check out which companies are making headlines before the bell:

Merck—Merck earned 90 cents per share, excluding certain items, for the third quarter, 2 cents above estimates, though revenue was slightly shy, and it narrowed its full-year earnings forecast. The drug maker is seeing the effects of patent expirations weigh on its sales.

Read MoreExpirations,drop in hep C drugs hit Merck sales

AllerganValeant sent a letter to Allergan's board, criticizing its handling of Valeant's takeover overtures, and also saying it was prepared to increase its offer for Allergan to at least $200 per share. Separately, Allergan reported an adjusted third quarter profit of $1.78 per share, 10 cents above estimates.

Roper Industries—The appliance maker beat estimates by a penny with third quarter profit of $1.54 per share, excluding certain items. Revenue did fall short of consensus, but Roper did raise its full-year earnings forecast, noting strength in its orders.

Sarepta Therapeutics—Sarepta said the FDA has asked for more information on its experimental muscular dystrophy treatment, meaning that a filing for that drug will be delayed into mid-2015.

Read MoreSareptatimeline delayed on muscular dystrophy drug

Garmin—The stock was upgraded to "buy" from "neutral" at Goldman Sachs. The investment bank said Garmin is positioned for sustained growth. Goldman points to strength in the outdoor/fitness and auto/mobile segments.

Alibaba—Jefferies initiated coverage of the China e-commerce website operator with a "buy" rating, pointing out that Alibaba is the largest player in China e-commerce, but currently sells to less than 25 percent of the population.

Foot Locker and Dick's Sporting Goods—In a report on the apparel/footwear business, Citi calls Foot Locker and Dick's its top picks for the holiday season. The firm cites favorable space allocation by Dick's in its stores, and said Foot Locker will benefit from key releases in its basketball segment as well as ongoing strength in e-commerce and products for kids.

Mondelez International—RBC upgraded the stock to "outperform" from "sector perform," saying the shares are priced attractively after a recent drop and that it has confidence in the snack maker's profit margin goals.

Hewlett-Packard—Dow Jones reports the company is looking to sell a majority stake in its China networking business. The sale could fetch as much as $5 billion.

Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank and Royal Bank of Scotland—European bank stocks that trade in the U.S. will be on watch today, after better results from stress tests than many investors were expecting.

Read MoreECB tests fail 25 banks with $32B shortfall

CVS and Rite Aid—The two drugstore operators are blocking Apple's Apple Pay system in their stores, according to the New York Times. The paper said the chains are supporting a rival payment system.

Read MoreDrugchains Rite Aid and CVS disable Apple Pay

Tesla—The automaker introduced a leasing policy for its new Model S, which includes an option for the buyers to return the car within three months of purchase.

Read MoreNow you can lease Tesla's new Model S in the US

Ford Motor—The automaker may spend as much as $5 billion or more to revamp its Lincoln brand, according to Reuters.

Twitter—The company is taking over Twitpic's domain name and photo archive. The photo service announced last month that it would be shutting down after Twitter threatened it with a trademark infringement suit.

Toyota—The automaker has maintained its sales lead over rivals like Volkswagen and General Motors for the first three quarters of 2014, selling 7.615 million vehicles worldwide.

By CNBC's Peter Schacknow

Questions? Comments? Email us at marketinsider@cnbc.com