Check out the companies making headlines before the bell:
Facebook – Stifel Nicolaus cut its rating on the stock to “hold” from “buy,” saying that Facebook’s management team has created too many adversaries to avoid a long term negative impact on its business.
Alphabet, Twitter – Guggenheim initiated coverage on both stocks with “buy” ratings, citing Twitter’s large user base and efforts to improve its platform. In Alphabet’s case, Guggenheim said the rating was a combination of financial health, talented employees, and intellectual property.
Mallinckrodt – The British drug maker announced plans to spin off its specialty generics business to shareholders as a separate publicly traded company. The spin-off company will take the Mallinckrodt name, while the remaining specialty pharmaceuticals operation will be renamed.
Signet Jewelers – The jewelry retailer lost $1.06 per share for its latest quarter, smaller than the loss of $1.10 per share that analysts were anticipating. Revenue beat forecasts, and comparable store sales were up 1.6 percent, compared to a consensus forecast of a 0.1 percent rise.
Thor Industries – The recreational vehicle maker reported fiscal first quarter earnings of $1.28 per share, below the consensus estimate of $1.67 per share, Revenue was also short of forecasts, but the company said it is confident in the industry’s short and long term fundamentals.
Brown-Forman – The spirits producer matched forecasts with quarterly earnings of 52 cents per share, while revenue fell short of estimates. Brown-Forman said its underlying sales growth was cut two basis points by the impact of tariffs.
Deere & Co – The heavy equipment maker raised its quarterly dividend by seven cents to 76 cents per share, an increase of about 10 percent. The new dividend is payable on February 1, 2019 to shareholders of record on December 31.
Wells Fargo – The bank is firing about three dozen managers over the sales scandal that came to light two years ago, according to the Wall Street Journal. The paper said the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has been briefed on the firings.
CVS Health – The company said its Caremark pharmacy benefits unit will offer a new “guaranteed net cost” option in 2019, assuring that clients receive all rebates, discounts, and fees paid by drug makers.
Blackstone – The private equity firm is planning an initial public offering of benefits manager Alight Solutions, according to Reuters. The IPO could be valued at more than $7 billion, including debt.
Mastercard – The payment network operator increased its quarterly dividend to 33 cents per share from 25 cents, an increase of 32 percent. Mastercard also announced a $6.5 billion share repurchase program.
Northrop Grumman – Northrop Grumman announced a new $3 billion share repurchase authorization, increasing the defense contractor’s total buyback authorization to $4.1 billion.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise – Hewlett Packard Enterprise reported adjusted quarterly profit of 45 cents per share, two cents above estimates, while the enterprise hardware and software company’s revenue also beat forecasts. Results were driven by stronger demand for storage and data center products.
Marvell Technology – Marvell came in one cent ahead of estimates with adjusted quarterly profit of 33 cents per share, with revenue also above estimates. However, the semiconductor maker also issued lower than expected current quarter guidance.
AIG – The insurance giant named Mark Lyons as its new chief financial officer, replacing Sid Sankaran, but did not specify why the move was made. Lyons joined the insurer in June as senior vice president and chief actuary for general insurance.
Yum Brands – The restaurant chain operator said it expected same-restaurant sales growth of 2-3 percent in 2019, largely above the 2.25 percent consensus estimate of analysts polled by Refinitiv. Separately, the company’s Pizza Hut unit announced the acquisition of online ordering company QuikOrder. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Pizza Hut said it was one of its largest acquisitions ever.
Okta – The identity management software company lost four cents per share for its latest quarter, smaller than the 11 cent loss anticipated by Wall Street analysts. The company also saw revenue beat forecasts, and also gave an upbeat current quarter forecast.
Five Below – The company beat estimates by five cents with quarterly profit of 19 cents per share, with the discount retailer’s revenue also beating Street forecasts. Five Below also raised its revenue and earnings guidance.
Macy’s – The retailer’s stock was downgraded to “underweight” from “neutral” at Atlantic Equities, which said the Street is too optimistic about Macy’s ability to deliver earnings and sales outperformance.