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Check out which companies are making headlines before the bell:

Sears Holdings – The retail giant has filed with the SEC to spin off its Lands' End clothing business to shareholders, a transaction that still needs the approval of the retailer's board of directors. Sears had announced it was considering such a move back in October.

Intel – Citi upgraded the chipmaker's stock to "buy" from "neutral", pointing to stabilization in corporate demand for personal computers.

Gap —The clothing retailer reported a 2 percent increase in same-store sales for November. Analysts had expected a 0.8 percent rise, but sales growth at Gap and Old Navy was able to make up for a drop at Banana Republic. Jefferies cut its rating on the stock following that report to "hold" from "buy", citing valuation after an extended positive run.

J.C. Penney – The company received a letter of inquiry from the SEC in October, according to a regulatory filing. The letter asks for info on the retailer's liquidity, cash holdings, debt, and equity financing.

Genesco – The footwear and apparel retailer beat estimates by five cents with third quarter profit of $1.43, excluding certain items. However, Genesco is taking a "cautious" approach to the rest of the year, citing a "choppy" retail environment.

LinkedIn – BMO Capital upgraded the business social networking company's shares to "outperform" from "market perform", saying it believes LinkedIn is about to launch its service in China.

Time Warner Cable– TWC remains on today's watch list, after rising yesterday on reports it would likely accept a $150 - $160 takeover bid. This morning, an FCC official tells the Wall Street Journal that any effort by NBCUniversal parent Comcast to buy Time Warner Cable would face significant approval hurdles in Washington.

Big Lots – Big Lots lost 17 cents per share for the third quarter, wider than the 8 cent loss analysts were forecasting. The discount retailer also forecast current quarter earnings and revenue well below Street expectations, and Big Lots also disclosed plans to exit the Canadian market.

Ulta Salon – The beauty products company was short of estimates by two cents, reporting third quarter profit of 72 cents per share, excluding certain items. Revenue fell below expectations, as does the beauty products retailer's current quarter forecast.

Five Below – Five Below earned five cents per share for the third quarter, a penny above estimates, but the discount retailer's current quarter guidance misses forecasts.

Finisair – The telecommunications equipment maker reported fiscal second quarter profit of 43 cents per share, four cents above estimates, with revenue and current quarter forecasts all topping analyst projections. The company also saw higher profit margins during the quarter.

Zumiez – The teen apparel retailer matched estimates for the third quarter with profit of 46 cents per share, excluding certain items. However, the company issued a current quarter forecast short of analyst estimates.

Cooper Companies – Cooper earned $1.48 per share, excluding certain items, for its fourth quarter, well short of the $1.80 consensus estimate. Revenue and the current quarter forecast for the vision products provider are also below Street consensus.

By CNBC's Peter Schacknow

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