4 Stocks Investors are Watching in Early Trading

Merck (NYSE:MRK): The drug-maker reported second quarter earnings that got a boost from a $1.34 billion dollar tax benefit, strong drug sales, and expense reductions. Merck reported a profit of $2.02 billion, or 65 cents a share, up from $752.4 million, or 24 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding restructuring and other impacts, earnings were up at 95 cents from 86 cents. Revenue increased 7.1% to $12.15 billion. Analysts had expected earnings of 95 cents on revenue of $11.78 billion. The company has announced it will look to layoff 15-17 thousand workers. Stock is down -1.20% in premarket trading. The pharma sector is in play this morning and here are the top stocks to watch: Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN), Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE), Bristol Myers Squibb Co. (NYSE:BMY), GlaxoSmithKline plc (NYSE:GSK), Sanofi-Aventis SA (NYSE:SNY), Eli Lilly & Co. (NYSE:LLY), Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT), Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (NASDAQ:TEVA), and Novartis AG (NYSE:NVS).

Check Out: Amgen Inc. Earnings Cheat Sheet: Margins Suffer for Five Quarters Straight, Profit Drops.

Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO): Shares are up 4.81% before the opening bell as the search engine says it has reached an agreement in a dispute with China’s Alibaba over its Alipay service. “Under the agreement, Alibaba Group will receive a minimum of $2 billion and a maximum of $6 billion in proceeds from an initial public offering or other liquidity event involving Alipay.” Yahoo owns a 43% portion of Alibaba.

Newell Rubbermaid Inc. (NYSE:NWL): The company reported its second quarter earnings, with a profit of $146.7 million, or 49 cents a share, up from $130.4 million, or 41 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding items such as restructuring charges, earnings fell to 46 cents from 51 cents. Sales rose 5.1% to $1.57 billion. Analysts were expecting earnings of 42 cents on revenue of $1.55 billion. NWL lowered its full-year earnings estimate to $1.55 to $1.62 a share on core sales growth of 1% to 3%. NWL stock is up 5.43% premarket.

Arch Coal Inc. (NYSE:ACI): Arch Coal reporteda profit of $11.1 million, or 6 cents a share, down from $66.2 million, or 41 cents a share, a year ago. The most recent quarter had $67 million in charges, which included $48 million in charges from the International Coal deal. Excluding acquisition-related expenses and other items, the adjusted per-share earnings were 44 cents. Revenue rose 29% to $985.1 million. Analysts expected 60 cents a share on $952 million in revenue. ACI stock has dropped -2.60% before the open.