Check out which companies are making headlines before the bell on Monday:
Apple – The stock was upgraded to "buy" from "hold" at Jefferies, with the firm saying Apple's gross margins are likely to be better than expected. Separately, All Things D reports the SEC has ended an investigation into Apple's overseas cash and tax practices without taking any action. And Apple's iPhone 5C is seeing more discounting, with Wal-Mart and RadioShack the latest to cut prices on the less expensive of Apple's two new iPhone offerings.
Toll Brothers – Goldman Sachs downgraded the home builder to "neutral" from "buy", saying with a housing recovery spreading, it's no longer necessary to be concentrated at the high end of the home builder spectrum. In the same report, Goldman upgraded the stock of real estate brokerage operator Realogy to "buy" from "neutral", saying concerns that resulted in the stock's under-performance have largely diminished.
Alcoa – Morgan Stanley cut its rating on Alcoa to "equal weight" from "overweight", based on lower aluminum price forecasts.
BlackBerry – The company is reportedly in talks to sell parts of itself to Google, Cisco, and SAP, according to Reuters. This possibility has emerged as an alternative to a planned buyout by major BlackBerry shareholder Fairfax Financial, amid doubts about financing for the deal.
Apollo Global Management — Apollo may seek permission to raise the investment limit on its new flagship fund, according to Bloomberg. The limit is currently $15 billion, but the firm is said to have received interest amounting to as much as $20 billion.
Cooper Tire – Cooper is in a dispute with India's Apollo Tyres, the company that's agreed to buy it for $2.5 billion. Labor issues are at the center of the disagreement, with Apollo saying it may have to bear "significant and unanticipated" costs and that a price reduction is warranted.
United Technologies – United Technologies unit Sikorsky Aircraft has canceled temporary layoffs that had been scheduled to go into effect today because of the government shutdown. That follows the Defense Department's move to recall furloughed workers.
Lazard – Goldman Sachs upgraded the investment firm's shares to "conviction buy" from "neutral", saying the Street is underestimating potential improvement in profit margins for Lazard next year.
Outerwall – Outerwall has drawn the interest of Jana Partners, which has taken a 13. 5 percent stake in the Redbox parent.
IBM – Barclays downgraded the stock to "equalweight" from "overweight", and cut the price target to $190 from $215.
Qualcomm – Bank of America/Merrill Lynch downgraded the chipmaker's stock to "neutral" from "buy".
—By CNBC's Peter Schacknow
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