Check out which companies are making headlines before the bell on Thursday:
Wal-Mart – The retailer earned $1.25 per share for its latest quarter, excluding certain items. That matched estimates, but the company also cut its full-year outlook, amid a difficult retail environment both in the U.S. and international markets.
General Motors —Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway has increased its GM stake by 60 percent, according to Berkshire's 13F filing. Berkshire has also increased its stake in Wells Fargo by 1.1 percent, taken a new stake in Dish Network, and sold the majority of its stakes in Kraft Foods Group and Mondelez International.
PulteGroup — RBC Capital has downgraded the home builder's stock to "outperform" from "top pick", but still regards the company as offering the best risk vs. reward in the group.
Kohl's —The retailer matched estimates by reporting second quarter earnings of $1.04 per share, but has also cut the upper end of its yearly guidance.
Estee Lauder — The beauty products maker beat estimates by three cents with fiscal fourth quarter profit of 24 cents per share.
Carnival —Goldman Sachs upgraded the cruise line operator's stock to "buy" from "neutral", saying earnings have bottomed and that any challenges are already reflected in the stock's price.
Cisco Systems —The maker of networking equipment issued a weak current quarter forecast and announcing 4,000 job cuts. That's pressured the stock despite a fiscal fourth quarter profit of 52 cents per share, which beat Street estimates by a penny. Cisco's revenue forecast for the quarter is near the low end of forecasts as its customers remain cautious about technology spending.
NetApp – NetApp reported fiscal first quarter profit of 53 cents per share, excluding certain items, four cents above estimates, but investors are focusing on a current quarter forecast that falls largely below analyst estimates. Analysts are concerned that the data storage company may not see the usual pickup in government spending that's typical as the end of the government's fiscal year approaches.
Agilent Technologies – Agilent earned 68 cents per share for its third quarter, six cents above estimates. The maker of testing equipment also predicted current quarter revenue that's below Street forecasts, but did raise the lower end of its earnings guidance for the full fiscal year.
Weyerhaeuser – The company increased its dividend by 10 percent, effective with the dividend payable on September 13 to shareholders of record on August 30. The forest products company's payout goes to 22 cents per share from 20 cents.
Apple – Talks with China Mobile are progressing smoothly, according to China Mobile's chairman, and both sides are optimistic about a possible agreement between Apple and the world's largest mobile phone carrier. China Mobile does not yet offer Apple's iPhone.
Dillard's – The company reported second quarter profit of 79 cents per share, beating estimates by five cents. The retailer's revenue was short of consensus, but Dillard's did cut expenses and increase its profit margins.
(Read More: See CNBC's Market Insider Blog)
—By CNBC's Peter Schacknow
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