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Stocks to Watch: December 5, 2016

Check out which companies are making headlines before the bell:

McDonald's — Nomura upgraded the restaurant chain's stock to "buy" from "neutral," saying the issue of tough U.S. comparable sales will subside and that it is enthusiastic about the company's planned menu updates.

Apple — London's Sunday Times reports that Apple is in a customs dispute with Britain, which is said to have labeled the wristband of the Apple Watch as "other plastic," making it subject to a 6.5 percent tariff. Separately, Bloomberg is reporting that Yoky Matsuoka has left the company – she joined Apple in May to serve as a health technology executive after serving as vice president of technology at Nest.

Energy Transfer Partners, Sunoco Logistics — The two companies issued a statement criticizing the government's decision not to issue an easement for their Dakota Access Pipeline. The companies called it a "purely political action" and that the project has "done nothing but play by the rules."

Royal Bank of Scotland — The bank settled most of its legal claims with shareholders involving a $15.2 billion rights issue in 2008. Those shareholders alleged they were misled when they took part in that issue.

Walt Disney — Disney's "Moana" topped the weekend box office for the second straight weekend, taking in $28.4 million in North American ticket sales, continuing a strong year for Disney movies ahead of the release of the next "Star Wars" Film in mid-December.

Johnson & Johnson — J&J increased its bid for Switzerland-based biotech firm Actelion to more than $250 per share, according to a Bloomberg report, after Actelion rejected an initial proposal of about $246 per share.

Alphabet, Apple, Citigroup, Delta Air Lines, Deutsche Telekom, Merck, Novartis, , Unilever, Walt Disney — Barron's has named these companies as its 10 favorite stocks for 2017, saying they have largely lagged the market this year and have reasonable valuations.

TripAdvisor — TripAdvisor was upgraded to "hold" from "sell" at Stifel Nicolaus, which cited valuation for its call. The travel website operator's shares have fallen 28 percent since the beginning of November.

Xerox — Xerox spinoff Conduent will hold an investor day today to present its business strategy as it prepares to become a separate company later this month. Conduent said it is implementing an expense management program that aims to save about $700 million through 2018.

FairPoint CommunicationsConsolidated Communications will buy the business and broadband communications provider in an all-stock transaction worth about $1.5 billion, including assumed debt.

Goldman Sachs — HSBC initiated coverage on Goldman with a "buy" rating and a price target of $250. Goldman is up 28 percent in the past month alone, but HSBC still thinks the stock has more room to run.

Newmont Mining, Kinross Gold — Citi downgraded Newmont to "neutral" from "buy" and cut Kinross to "sell" from "neutral," following a 10 percent drop in the price of gold over the past month.