Check out the companies making headlines before the bell:
AstraZeneca – Britain became the first country to approve the drug maker's Covid-19 vaccine, setting the stage for a rollout of millions of doses. The vaccine is not yet approved in the U.S., with the FDA still to review large-scale trials. The stock was up 2% at around 7:40 a.m. ET.
Intel – The chip maker's shares remain on watch for a second day, following news that hedge fund Third Point had taken a significant stake in Intel and urged management to explore strategic alternatives. The news sent the shares up about 5% in Tuesday's trading. Shares were fractionally lower at around 7:40 a.m. ET.
Fox Corp. – The company's Fox News Channel topped news and basic cable ratings for the fifth straight year, according to figures from Nielsen. AT&T's CNN unit did beat Fox News in total day ratings for 41 straight days following the November 3 presidential election.
Apple – A judge dismissed Apple's copyright infringement claims against a Florida security software startup. Apple claimed that Corellium's software amounted to creating unauthorized copies of the iOS operating system and running them on unauthorized devices. The stock was a fraction of 1% higher at around 7:40 a.m. ET.
AMC Entertainment – The movie theater operator filed for a "shelf offering" of common stock, saying it may sell up to 50 million of its Class A shares as it sees fit. AMC shares had gained more than 1% as of 7:40 a.m. ET.
Caterpillar – Baird named the heavy equipment maker a "top 2021 idea" and raised its price target on the stock to $220 per share from $206. The firm said demand in key markets is set to rebound, with 2020 figures proving easy to beat on a comparable basis. The stock was up nearly 1% at around 7:40 a.m. ET.
Alibaba – Alibaba shares continue their rebound, moving higher in premarket trading after rising in the prior two sessions. The stock tumbled more than 13% on Thursday, following news that the e-commerce giant was the subject of increased antitrust scrutiny by the Chinese government. Alibaba shares were up 2.5% at around 7:40 a.m. ET.
JD.com – The Chinese e-commerce company is exploring a potential spin-off of its JD Cloud & AI unit, according to an SEC filing. The company's stock had gained more than 1% as of 7:40 a.m. ET.
Microvision – The developer of laser scanning technology said it entered into an "at-the-market" equity offering agreement with Craig-Hallum Capital, and may sell up to $13 million in common shares at its discretion. Shares lost 7.5% in premarket trading as of 7:40 a.m. ET.
CureVac – The German biotech firm's stock is among the vaccine-related shares rising this morning, with Moderna on the rise as well. CureVac is in the midst of a mid- to late-stage trial of its vaccine candidate. As of 7:40 a.m. ET, CureVac shares had gained 6% and Moderna shares had gained almost 3%.
Levi Strauss – Guggenheim raised its price target on the stock to $24 per share from $20, with the apparel maker's stock having closed Tuesday at $19.83. Guggenheim currently rates Levi Strauss as a "buy."
McCormick – The spice maker announced the acquisition of natural flavors manufacturer FONA International for $710 million in cash.