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Stocks to Watch: December 12, 2016

Check out which companies are making headlines before the bell:

Newell Brands — The consumer goods company announced a deal to buy New Zealand-based Sistema Plastics, a maker of food storage containers, for $470 million. Newell also announced a deal to buy Woodwick Candle maker Smith Mountain Industries for $100 million.

AT&T — Baird upgraded AT&T to "outperform" from "neutral." Baird said a confluence of events significantly improve the company's longer-term prospects, including President-elect Donald Trump's focus on deregulation and lower tax rates.

CVS Health — Jefferies downgraded CVS to "hold" from "buy," saying both the drugstore business and pharmacy benefit management operation face overriding concerns that will discourage investors.

21st Century Fox — Telsey Advisory Group downgraded the media company's stock to "market perform" from "outperform," saying its proposed deal to buy Britain's Sky makes sense, but that the regulatory process could be drawn out and put Fox under pressure. Separately, the bid to buy Sky for $14 billion could run into a roadblock, with a major investor telling Reuters he will vote against the deal and another saying he is unhappy about the size of the offer.

Boeing — Boeing struck a deal to sell nearly $17 billion in jets to Iran, the biggest U.S.-Iran transaction since the fall of the Shah in 1979. However, the deal could be threatened by political opposition to the Iran-U.S. nuclear accord.

Finish Line — Brean Capital cut its rating on the athletic apparel and footwear retailer to "hold" from "buy," noting a 32 percent upgrade since it originally went to a "buy" rating and saying that the share price now largely reflects the stock's value.

Cisco Systems — A U.S. International Trade Commission judge ruled that Arista Networks infringed several more Cisco patents in its Ethernet switches. In a separate case in June, the commission had imposed an import ban on Arista products that infringed other Cisco patents.

Novartis — The drugmaker suffered a setback for its eye drug offerings, when studies showed that combining its Lucentis and Fovista drugs did not produce any better results for certain macular degeneration patients than when Lucentis was used alone.

KKR — The private-equity giant is in talks to sell drug delivery company Capsugel to Switzerland's Lonza Group in what could be a more than $5 billion deal.

Apollo Global — The investment firm is buying the 80.1 percent stake that Philips holds in Lumileds, the company's LED components and car lighting business, for $1.5 billion in cash.

Johnson & Johnson — J&J could see a 20 percent rally in its stock, according to an article in this weekend's Barron's. The paper said J&J is less susceptible to possible cuts in drug and medical device pricing than its peers and that it could be helped by President-elect Trump's plan to raise corporate taxes.

Volkswagen — The automaker was accused by the Federal Trade Commission of erasing or losing 23 mobile phones of key employees in the wake of the company's diesel emissions scandal.

Cornerstone OnDemand — The company is reportedly considering a sale, resulting from pressure by activist investors. However, Bloomberg reports that the maker of cloud-based human resources software has not hired a bank to actively pursue a sale.