Early Movers: UTX, VZ, TSLA, LGF, RNA & 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:

United Technologies—Chief Executive Officer Louis Chenevert is retiring effective immediately, and will be replaced by Chief Financial Officer Gregory Hayes.

Prosensa—The Dutch pharmaceutical company has agreed to be bought by BioMarin Pharmaceuticals for $17.75 per share in cash, or $680 million. The deal could be worth up to $840 million depending on certain Prosensa drugs gaining approval.

Platinum Underwriters—The company will be acquired by fellow Bermuda-based insurer RenaissanceRe for $76 per share in cash and stock, or approximately $1.9 billion.

Aruba Networks—The provider of networking solutions said it inadvertently posted certain internal information on its website last week, and that the information was incomplete, unaudited, and not intended for external release.

AMC EntertainmentGoldman Sachs initiated coverage on the movie theater chain's shares with a "buy" rating, noting that AMC is gaining market share in premium format theaters.

Exxon Mobil and Chevron—Raymond James downgraded Exxon to "market perform" from "outperform," and cut its rating on Chevron to "outperform" from "strong buy." It expects Exxon to be a relative underperform in 2015, based on its defensive profile. It also considers Chevron a defensive stock, although the firm is still bullish on Chevron because of its track record on resource replacement.

Costco—Goldman removed the warehouse retailer's shares from its "conviction buy" list, noting a 19 percent run up since it was added to the list in late July. However, Goldman is still maintaining a "buy" rating.

Denny's—Janney upgraded the restaurant chain's stock to "buy" from "neutral," both on the strength of a restaurant remodeling and improvement overall in the family dining sector.

VerizonCiti cut its rating on Verizon to "neutral" from "buy" on higher-than-expected values in an ongoing spectrum auction, implying higher operating costs for mobile operators.

American Airlines Group—The airline and its pilots union agreed to keep talking on a new labor contract, delaying a plan to seek a deal through binding arbitration.

Tesla—CEO Elon Musk told German weekly Der Spiegel that the company is in talks with Germany's BMW on a possible collaboration involving batteries and other components.

GlaxoSmithKline—GSK shareholders will vote Dec. 18 on the proposed $20 billion asset swap with Switzerland's Novartis.

Aviva—The company has agreed to an $8.8 billion stock swap merger with rival life insurer Friends Life, in a combination of two British insurance companies.

BHP Billiton—The mining company is ramping up its cost-cutting plans, as commodity prices tumble. BHP expects to save at least $4 billion by June of 2017, up from an earlier forecast of $3.5 billion.

Lockheed Martin—The advanced technology systems firm won a $4.7 billion Pentagon contract to supply a new batch of F-35 fighter jets.

Lionsgate—The studio saw its new film "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I" top the weekend box office with North American ticket sales of $123 million, although that was 22 percent lower than sales for the prior "Hunger Games" movie.

Starz—The cable channel is seeking to sell itself for $5 billion, according to the New York Post, and has drawn interest from both CBS and Lionsgate.

Jacobs Engineering—CEO Craig Martin is retiring in late December due to health reasons. He'll be replaced on an interim basis by former CEO and current chairman Noel Watson.

Intel—The chip maker's shares could jump 30 percent over the next two years, according to an article in this weekend's Barron's.

By CNBC's Peter Schacknow

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

CORRECTION: This article was updated to reflect that Lionsgate ticker symbol is LGF, and to show that United Technologies named Chief Financial Officer Gregory Hayes its new CEO.