Check out which companies are making headlines before the bell on Friday:
Dell – The computer maker reported second quarter profit of 25 cents per share, excluding certain items, one cent above estimates, with revenue also beating forecasts. However, Dell's profits were 72 percent below year-ago levels amid falling PC sales and the company's ongoing buyout battle.
Applied Materials – The company earned 18 cents per share, excluding certain items, one cent below estimates, with revenue short of forecasts as well. The company also forecast current quarter earnings below analyst estimates amid restrained spending by its customers. Separately, the maker of semiconductor manufacturing equipment appointed president Gary Dickerson as chief executive officer effective Sept. 1. He'll replace current CEO Michael Splinter, who will remain as executive chairman.
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Nordstrom – Nordstrom earned 93 cents per share for the second quarter, five cents above estimates, but the retailer cut its full-year earnings and revenue outlook amid sliding same-store sales.
JoS. A. Bank – The company is forecasting second-quarter profit of 49 to 53 cents per share, below Street estimates of 68 cents. The clothing retailer cites weak sales despite an aggressive promotional marketing campaign.
Pandora – Goldman Sachs upgraded the online radio service's shares to "buy" from "neutral," due to accelerating mobile and subscription revenue growth.
General Mills – Jefferies downgraded the food company's stock to "underperform" from "hold," as General Mills cuts back on its advertising and media spending to protect profit margins.
Dick's Sporting Goods – JPMorgan Chase removed the sporting goods retailer from its Focus list, though it continues to rate the stock "overweight." Ahead of the company's quarterly report next week, JPMorgan expects same-store sales to come in below consensus forecasts for a third consecutive quarter.
Activision Blizzard, Electronic Arts – NPD reports a 19 percent decline in videogame sales in July. Once again, NPD cites customer reluctance to buy until new videogame consoles come out later this year.
BHP Billiton – BHP may face a possible anti-corruption enforcement action in the U.S., as authorities accelerate an investigation linked to the mining giant's 2008 Olympics sponsorship. BHP has said in the past that it believes it has complied with all relevant laws regarding its sponsorship.
IBM, Oracle, EMC – The three companies will be probed by China officials over security issues, according to media reports in China. The concerns are said to be related to the Edward Snowden case and his claim that the NSA hacked into networks at universities in China and Hong Kong.
Aspen Technology – Aspen earned 24 cents per share for its fiscal fourth quarter, well above estimates of eight cents, with revenue above estimates as well. The software producer is seeing improved sales of its software and subscriptions for its energy and pharmaceutical supply chain solutions.
Alcoa – Bank of America/Merrill Lynch downgraded Dow component Alcoa to "underperform" from "neutral."
National Technical Systems – The provider of testing and engineering services is being bought by Aurora Capital for $23 per share, a 39 percent premium to Thursday's closing price. The total value of the deal is $266.8 million.
Movado – The watch and fashion accessories maker is rated "buy" in new coverage at Brean Capital, which calls Movado an "undiscovered growth story."
(Read More: See CNBC's Market Insider Blog)
—By CNBC's Peter Schacknow
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