Check out the companies making headlines before the bell:
Coca-Cola – UBS downgraded the stock to “neutral” from “buy.” The firm notes Coke’s stable earnings growth, but adds that the company is in the midst of significant changes and that issues with any one of them could prompt management to back away from prior growth targets.
General Electric – JPMorgan Chase analyst Stephen Tusa upgraded GE to “neutral” from “underweight,” but kept his price target at $6 per share. Tusa said he is less negative on GE as the number of unknown factors abates. Separately, GE announced the creation of a new $1.2 billion “Internet of Things” software company, and the sale of a majority stake in cloud-software maker ServiceMax to Silver Lake Partners.
Procter & Gamble – Bank of America/Merrill Lynch upgraded P&G to “buy” from “neutral,” saying it is convinced sales and earnings momentum can be sustained following both its own analysis and meetings with company management.
Ciena – The networking equipment maker beat estimates by five cents with adjusted quarterly profit of 53 cents per share, with revenue also beating forecasts. Ciena also announced a $500 million stock buyback program.
Tailored Brands – Tailored Brands reported adjusted quarterly profit of $1.01 per share, seven cents above estimates. However, the parent of apparel chains Jos. A. Bank and Men’s Wearhouse saw revenue miss estimates, and it lowered its full year guidance because of weakening comparable sales at Men’s Wearhouse at the end of the third quarter.
Oxford Industries – Oxford fell three cents shy of estimates with adjusted quarterly profit of 14 cents per share, while revenue missed forecasts as well. The maker of the Tommy Bahama and Lilly Pulitzer apparel brands gave weaker than expected current quarter guidance and also cut its forecast for comparable store sales.
Apple – Apple will spend $1 billion to build a new campus in North Austin, Texas, and is also investing $10 billion in new data centers in various U.S. locations. Separately, the International Trade Commission said it would review a prior ruling that a ban on iPhone imports into the U.S. was not in the public interest, even if Apple did in fact infringe a Qualcomm patent.
SeaWorld Entertainment – The Justice Department has ended a probe in SeaWorld’s response to a critical 2013 documentary. In an SEC filing, the theme park operator said the Justice Department did not intend to take any action against the company. Earlier this year, SeaWorld agreed to a $4 million penalty to settle charges that it had misled investors, while its former CEO James Atchison agreed to pay more than $1 million.
Tractor Supply – Tractor Supply was upgraded to “buy” from “hold” at Deutsche Bank, which cites a number of factors including the farming supplies maker’s moves to increase profit margins.
Mondelez – Mondelez agreed to sell its Kraft-branded cheese business in the Middle East and Africa to Denmark’s Arla Foods for an undisclosed amount.
Marvell Technology – The maker of digital storage and connectivity solutions was upgraded to “buy” from “neutral” at Citi, which points to increasing sales diversification and gross margin expansion.
Five Below – The discount retailer was upgraded to “buy” from “neutral” at Goldman Sachs in a valuation call. Goldman said that an 18 percent drop in the stock over the past month seems disconnected from robust fundamentals.