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Early movers: KRFT, TSLA, AXP, AZO, FB, SONC & 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:

Kraft Foods Group—Kraft will merge with Heinz to form Kraft Heinz Co., with Heinz shareholders owning 51 percent of the combined company and Kraft shareholders owning 49 percent. Kraft shareholders will also receive a special dividend of $16.50 per share.

Merck—The drug maker increased its stock repurchase program by up to $10 billion.

Tesla—CLSA downgraded the automaker's stock to "underperform" from "outperform," citing a risk to near-term earnings from lower Model X margins. CLSA remains positive on Tesla over the long term.

Starwood Hotels—SunTrust downgraded the hotel operator's stock to "neutral" from "buy," citing Starwood's greater exposure to the luxury and upscale segment.

American Express—CEO Ken Chenault outlines the financial services giant's future plans in a presentation to investors today. American Express has faced bumpy times in recent months, including the loss of its long-standing partnership with Costco.

Facebook—The company kicks off its annual developer conference today, with CEO Mark Zuckerberg among the speakers. The conference will run for two days instead of one for the first time.

Lumber Liquidators—The Consumer Products Safety Commission will hold a teleconference this morning on the safety concerns raised about the company's flooring products in a recent "60 Minutes" segment. The teleconference is set for 10 a.m. EDT.

Harley-Davidson—Stifel initiated coverage on the motorcycle maker's stock with a "buy" rating, praising Harley's growth-driving strategies.

AutoZone—The auto parts retailer will add $750 million to its current stock repurchase program.

Steelcase—Steelcase earned an adjusted 21 cents per share for its latest quarter, 1 cent above estimates, though revenue was well below analyst forecasts. The office furniture maker was impacted by the strong dollar as well as higher restructuring costs.

Sonic—The fast food chain beat estimates by a penny with adjusted quarterly profit of 13 cents per share, with revenue also above estimates. Comparable restaurant sales were up 21 percent, although Sonic's earnings outlook was on the conservative side.

Nationstar Mortgage—Nationstar announced a secondary stock offering of 17.5 million shares, sending its stock lower in after-hours trading.

Lexmark—The printer maker will buy customer service software maker Kofax for $11 per share in cash, or about $1 billion. The price represents a nearly 47-percent premium to Kofax's Tuesday closing price.

Hertz Global—The car rental giant said it received a notice from the New York Stock Exchange that it is out of compliance with the exchange's listing requirements because of a late filing of its annual report. That comes as Hertz is in the process of restating past results because of accounting errors.


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