Early movers: LEN, BBRY, DRI, KMX, GE, UA, BMY, PG, YHOO, AMZN & more

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

Lennar — The home builder reported quarterly profit of $1.21 per share, nine cents above estimates, while revenue was in line. Lennar saw both new orders and deliveries jump 10 percent, with the dollar value of those new orders up 20 percent.

BlackBerry — The company’s shares jumped 5 percent after posting a loss of three cents per share for its third quarter, smaller than the 14 cent loss anticipated by analysts, while revenue was far above estimates. BlackBerry noted continuing growth in its software segment, and continues expect positive free cash flow.

Darden Restaurants — The restaurant operator earned an adjusted 54 cents per share for its second quarter, 12 cents above estimates, with revenue just below forecasts. Darden also raised its full-year earnings forecast, and raised its quarterly dividend to 50 cents per share from 43 1/2 cents. The company said same-restaurant sales increased across all its brands, and that profit margins are improving as well.

CarMax — The car retailer earned 63 cents per share for its latest quarter, five cents below estimates, with revenue slightly below forecasts. CarMax said it had a “challenging” sales quarter and saw higher advertising expenses, as well.

General Electric — GE launched the preferred stock exchange offer that it announced earlier this week, in which it will exchange new preferred stock for three existing classes of preferred.

Under Armour — Mizuho began coverage of the apparel maker with a “buy” rating, given its brand awareness levels and its presence in a rapidly growing market. Mizuho also gave a “buy” rating to Fitbit in new coverage, based on the wearable technology maker’s presence in another fast-growing business.

Microsoft — Goldman Sachs upgraded Microsoft to “neutral” from “sell,” saying it failed to realize that the stock would “disconnect” from lowered earnings estimates and that the Street is giving new positive emphasis to the company’s transition to cloud-based software.

Kroger — Wells Fargo began coverage of the supermarket chain with an “outperform” rating, calling it a “core” large-cap holding. The firm said Kroger is doing well at being innovative in a highly competitive industry.

Sotheby’s — The auction house said its Chief Financial Officer Patrick McClymont will step down as of December 31 to pursue other opportunities. He will be replaced on an interim basis by long-time Sotheby’s board member Dennis Weibling.

Knight Transportation — Knight cut its current quarter earnings guidance, with the trucking company citing higher driver pay, a weak used-equipment market, and lower than expected rates.

Red Hat — Red Hat reported adjusted quarterly profit of 48 cents per share, one cent above estimates, with the software company’s revenue also coming in above Street forecasts. It reported higher revenue despite the impact of the stronger dollar, and it also boosted its revenue guidance for the fiscal year ending in February.

Morgan Stanley — Morgan Stanley will cut up to five percent of its stock-trading staff early in 2016, according to Dow Jones, as it performs an annual assessment of its staffing levels.

CACI International — The defense contractor is the top contender to buy Lockheed Martin’s government information technology business, according to a Reuters report. Other bidders are said to be less upbeat about the business following meetings with Lockheed.

Las Vegas Sands — CEO Sheldon Adelson said a long-term slide in the Macau gaming market is nearing a bottom and that a turnaround is likely in 2016. Casino operators like Las Vegas Sands and Wynn Resortshave suffered as Macau has seen gaming revenue decline for 18 consecutive months.

Apple — Apple will launch its Apple Pay service in China as early as next year, despite intense competition from companies like Alibaba. Apple will launch the service in partnership with UnionPay, a state-controlled payment firm.

Allstate — The insurance is testing drone flights to evaluate property insurance claims, saying it could help especially in situations where physical access could be limited.

BHP Billiton — The mining company’s credit rating was put on review by Moody’s for a possible downgrade, in the face of severe declines in commodity prices. Moody’s said its move reflects an expectation that commodity price weakness will last for the next few years.

Procter & Gamble — P&G unit Gillette is suing Dollar Shave Club for patent infringement. The online shaving subscription services has rapidly gained market share over the past three years, now holding an eight percent share of the razor and blade market in the U.S.

Bristol-Myers Squibb — The drug maker agreed to sell a number of its HIV drugs at different stages of development to Britain’sGlaxoSmithKline. Glaxo will pay $350 million up front, with further payments of more than $500 million depending on the achievement of certain commercial milestones.

Yahoo — Yahoo has been pushing away parties interesting in buying the company, according to the New York Post. The report said CFO Ken Goldman has been approached at least six times recently, and that activist investors are unhappy.

Amazon — The online retailer is in talks to lease 20 Boeing jets in a test of a possible air cargo business, according to The Seattle Times.
[“source -cncb”]