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Early movers: SHLD, UNH, ABBV, NFLX, AAPL & more

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
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Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

Check out which companies are making headlines before the bell:

Sears – Sears has struck a 50/50 joint venture deal with Simon Property Group, designed to unlock the real estate value in the 10 properties it will contribute to the venture. This follows a similar deal with another mall operator, General Growth Properties, earlier this month.

United Healthcare – The stock was upgraded to "buy" from "hold" at Jefferies, saying membership growth at this and other publicly traded health care companies support a higher multiple.

AbbVie – AbbVie was upgraded to "outperform" from "market perform" at BMO, on optimism about the drug maker's acquisition of Pharmacylics, and on the idea that competitive concerns regarding Abbvie's Humira and Hepatitis-C drugs are mostly priced into the stock.

Apple – Apple Watch customers will have to wait longer than expected for delivery, with Apple having pushed back shipping times to May and June after the new product saw a surge in orders. A Bank of America report estimates Apple will ship about four million Apple Watches during the June quarter.

Pandora – Pandora is rising after a Wall Street Journal report said Pandora rival Spotify was near a deal to raise $400 million in a round that values it at $8.4 billion.

Host Hotels, Hilton Worldwide – Evercore upgraded Host to "buy" while downgrading Hilton to "hold," citing valuation for both calls.

Alamos Gold, AuRico Gold – The two gold producers have announced a "merger of equals," in which a stock deal valued at $1.5 billion.

Netflix – UBS raised its rating on the stock to "buy" from "neutral," and boosted its price target to $565 from $370. UBS notes the stock's late 2013 rally has stalled, even though revenue has surged during that period, and calls the current price an attractive entry point.

JetBlue – The airline reported a 9.2 percent increase in passenger traffic last month compared to a year earlier, on a 6.2 percent increase in capacity.

Symantec – The security software maker is exploring a sale of its Veritas software business, according to Dow Jones. The unit could reportedly fetch more than $8 billion in a sale.

Yahoo – Yahoo senior vice president Mike Kerns has departed, with Re/Code's Kara Swisher reporting that Kerns had become weary of infighting with other executives.

Qualcomm – Qualcomm will be urged to seek a breakup by activist investor Jana Partners, according to the Wall Street Journal. The paper said Jana will deliver a letter to Jana investors today detailing its proposals for the chip maker, which it considers undervalued.

United Parcel Service – UPS plans to invest a little over $1 billion to expand its European package delivery network, according to a German magazine.

Genworth Financial – Genworth is in talks to sell its lifestyle protection unit to investment firm J.C. Flowers, according to Sky News.


By CNBC's Peter Schacknow

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