Early movers: HOT, IHS, AAPL, NKE, WLRH, FB, JWN, SYMC, VAL & 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:

Starwood — The hotel chain has signed off on an improved takeover bid from Marriott, worth $13.6 billion in cash and stock. The new deal comes after China's Anbang topped Marriott's original deal with Starwood with its own offer last week. Separately, Starwood signed a deal to operate hotels in Cuba, becoming the first U.S. hotel company to do so since the 1959 revolution.

IHS — The business analytics firm and financial market information firm Markit are combining in what's being billed as a merger of equals. The deal is worth more than $13 billion, with IHS shareholders owning 57 percent of the new IHS Markit and Markit shareholders owning the rest. Separately, IHS reported adjusted quarterly earnings of $1.40 per share for its first quarter, 5 cents above estimates, while revenue also topped forecasts. The company said it was pleased with its performance even amid headwinds in its energy-related business.

Apple — Apple will hold a product event set to begin at 1 p.m. ET. Apple is expected to introduce an updated small-form iPhone and a new version of its iPad.

Nike — JPMorgan Chase added the athletic apparel and footwear maker's stock to its Analyst Focus list, saying concerns about inventory and gross margin issues are largely unwarranted. At the same time, JPMorgan removed Lululemon from the Analyst Focus list, in part due to concerns over profit margin contraction.

WL Ross Holding — The investment firm controlled by billionaire Wilbur Ross is buying chemical and plastics distributor Nexeo Solutions for $1.6 billion in cash, stock, and assumed debt. The seller, private equity firm TPG, will retain a 35 percent stake.

Symantec — Piper Jaffray upgraded the maker of cybersecurity software to "overweight" from "neutral," saying the company's consumer segment is stabilizing while the enterprise side is growing.

Nordstrom — The retailer's shares were downgraded to "neutral" from "overweight" at Piper Jaffray. The firm thinks Nordstrom is executing well, but thinks the stock may be overvalued in the near term after a 19 percent recovery so far this year.

FedEx — FedEx shares could rise 15 percent to 20 percent over the next year, according to an article in Barron's. Analysts quoted by Barron's said worries over Amazon.com using its own jets for moving goods at the expense of FedEx and United Parcel Service are likely overblown.

Valspar — Valspar is being bought by rival paint maker Sherwin-Williams for $9.3 billion in cash or $113 per share. That represents a 35 percent premium to Valspar's closing price on Friday.

Facebook — Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg met with China's propaganda czar over the weekend, as part of a China visit aimed at opening up the China market for the social network.

Staples — The office supplies retailer will attempt to move its proposed takeover of Office Depot forward in a Washington, D.C., court today. The Federal Trade Commission is suing to block the deal on antitrust grounds.

Walt Disney — Disney's "Zootopia" topped the weekend box office for a third straight week, bringing in $38 million in North American ticket sales. Lions Gate Entertainment saw a disappointing debut for "Allegiant," the third movie in the "Divergent" series, with $29 million in ticket sales and a second place finish.

Monsanto — The chemical maker is exploring possible deals with two rivals, BASF and Bayer, according to Bloomberg. Discussions have involved partnerships, unit purchases, and joint ventures.

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