Check out which companies are making headlines before the bell:
Alibaba – Alibaba's Ant Financial Services affiliate has ended its agreement to buy payment services company MoneyGram, following objections by federal regulators. The companies were unable to garner the approval of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, which reviews acquisitions by foreign entities for possible national security risks.
IBM – IBM was upgraded to "outperform" from "sector perform" at RBC Capital Markets, which also raised its price target on the stock to $180 from $160. RBC sees both cyclical and secular drivers that could improve IBM's performance, among them: a new cycle of mainframe purchases, as well as currency tailwinds that haven't been seen for a number of years.
American Express – Deutsche Bank began coverage on the financial services giant with a "buy" rating, noting benefits from tax reform and a cutback in federal regulation. The bank cites similar reasons in issuing a "buy" rating on Discover Financial Services.
Alexion Pharmaceuticals – Alexion will work with activist investor Elliott Management on filling a board seat. Elliott has built a stake in the drugmaker and has been pushing for changes.
American Airlines Group, Southwest Airlines – The airlines both announced that they would give employees a $1,000 bonus due to the new tax law and a lower corporate tax rate. Southwest also announced an increased fleet investment with jetmaker Boeing, as well as a $5 million charitable donation.
Valeant Pharmaceuticals – Valeant and investor Bill Ackman have been asked to appear in court January 16 to discuss a proposed settlement in an insider trading lawsuit involving trading in Allergan shares. The court said it has questions about whether a proposed $290 settlement is reasonable and fair.
Apartment Investment & Management Co. – The apartment REIT had its lawsuit against Airbnb dismissed by a U.S. district court. Aimco had claimed that Airbnb – which specializes in short-term rentals – allowed tenants to break leases through unauthorized sublets.
Novartis – The drugmaker received a "breakthrough therapy" designation for its breast cancer treatment Kisqali. The designation grants priority review to drugs with promising results in clinical trials.
Charter Communications – Guggenheim upgraded the cable operator to "buy" from "neutral," saying Charter not only has an attractive customer footprint but also will benefit from tax perform and lighter regulation.
General Mills – Piper Jaffray upgraded the food company's stock to "neutral" from "underweight," pointing to higher quality brand launches and benefits from corporate tax reform.
Oracle – Morgan Stanley upgraded the stock to "overweight" from "equal-weight," saying the stock is undervalued after some disappointing cloud-related results in recent quarters.