Stocks in the news: Amazon, Costco, Alcoa, AT&T

Some of the companies making headlines today: (AMZN) said Wednesday it is cutting the cost of its Kindle electronic reader to $259, a $40 price cut. The e-tailer also said it will soon begin selling a new version of the Kindle, priced at $279, in more than 100 countries.

Costco Wholesale Corp. (COST) said Wednesday that its fiscal fourth-quarter profit fell 6 percent, partly on the stronger dollar and increased employee benefit costs, but results beat analyst estimates. The warehouse-style retailer reported it earned $374 million, or 85 cents a share, compared to $398 million, or 90 cents a share, during the same quarter a year ago. Analysts had expected Costco to earn 77 cents a share.Alcoa (AA) will release its third quarter earnings Wednesday after markets close in New York. Analysts expect the company to lose 11 cents a share -- its fourth consecutive quarterly loss -- on estimated revenue of $4.55 billion.

Wolverine World Wide (WWW) reported its profit fell 14 percent in the third quarter, as restructuring charges, a stronger dollar and lower sales took a toll. The maker of Hush Puppies and Wolverine shoes said it earned $26.8 million, or 54 cents a share, compared with $31.2 million, or 62 cents a share, a year ago. Excluding one-time charges, the company said it earned 67 cents a share, ahead of analyst predictions of 56 cents a share.

On Tuesday, Yum Brands reported higher-than-expected profit despite a 3 percent drop in world-wide sales. The fast-food chain company also raised its outlook on full-year earnings. Shares of Yum rose nearly 2 percent in after-hours trading. The Louisville, Ky.-based company's restaurants include Taco Bell, KFC and Pizza Hut.

Also on Tuesday, AT&T (T) suddenly reversed restrictions on voice-over-internet calls on Apple's popular iPhones, following a deal reached between Verizon (VZ) and Google (GOOG) that would allow such calls using Google Voice on two models using the search-engine company's Android operating system.

Analyst calls:

Deutsche Bank North America raised Coca-Cola Co. (KO) to Buy from Hold, citing better earnings visibility.

Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) raised to Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley, while Jesup & Lamont initiated coverage of the trendy youth clothier at Buy.

Goodrich (GR) was raised to Outperform at FBR Capital on expectations of improvement in the airline industry. The company makes aircraft parts.

Bank of America/Merrill Lynch raised News Corp. (NWS) to Buy, and raised Walt Disney Co. (DIS) and Viacom - B (VIA.B) to neutral.
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