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Check out which companies are making headlines before the bell:
Wal-Mart Stores — Jefferies upgraded the retailer's stock to "buy" from "hold," based on "broadly improving conditions" and improving sales and earnings.
Brinker International — Telsey Advisory Group resumed coverage on the restaurant chain's shares with an "outperform" rating. Telsey likes Brinker's move to broaden the appeal of its Chili's and Maggiano's chains, among other reasons.
Whole Foods Market — A Barron's article said the supermarket chain's prospects have improved, due to cost cuts which will allow Whole Foods to offer more competitive pricing.
Alphabet — CEO Tony Fadell is leaving Nest, the home automation firm acquired by the company in 2014 for $3.2 billion. Fadell founded Nest six years ago and said he would continue to serve as an adviser.
Viacom — Controlling shareholder Sumner Redstone asked a court to deny legal challenges filed by Viacom Chief Executive Philippe Dauman and board member George Abrams. The two are trying to prevent Redstone from removing them from the board of the trust that will ultimately control the destiny of both Viacom and CBS.
Harley-Davidson — Goldman Sachs downgraded the motorcycle maker's shares to "neutral" from "buy," saying its channel checks indicate a slowdown despite fewer competitive headwinds.
BlackRock — BlackRock announced the sale of a Singapore office tower to the Qatar Investment Authority for $2.5 billion. BlackRock said the sale was the largest ever for a single-tower real estate property in the Asia Pacific region.
Starwood Hotels — Starwood struck an agreement with Saudi Real Estate to build two hotels in Riyadh, in a district where the government has been planning an international business zone.
Cabela's — Cabela's is the subject of a weekend Barron's article, which strikes a cautious tone on the sporting goods retailer given the stock's recent run-up on speculation of a possible takeover.
Monsanto — Monsanto is also mentioned in a cautious Barron's article, on uncertainty over whether a takeover by Germany's Bayer will actually happen and noting slower growth prospects for the agricultural chemicals and seeds maker.
Pilgrim's Pride, Tyson Foods — The poultry producers were both downgraded to "market perform" from "outperform" at BMO Capital Markets, which also cut the price targets for both poultry producers. BMO has high praise for both but said the case for aggressively investing is less persuasive at current valuations,
Regions Financial — Regions was upgraded to "market perform" from "underperform" at Keefe, Bruyette, & Woods, which notes the regional bank's recent reiteration of its financial targets.
Alibaba — Softbank added $1.1 billion to its recent sale of Alibaba shares, bringing the total to $10 billion.
Devon Energy — Devon announced the sale of an additional $1 billion in non-core upstream asset sales located in East Texas and elsewhere.
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