Early Movers: YUM, WAG, COST, HES, BBRY & More

Market Insider | What's Shaking | Earnings to Watch | Before the Bell

These stocks are moving before the bell on Thursday:

Yum Brands — The parent of KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut reported second quarter profit of 56 cents per share, two cents above estimates. Revenue was slightly shy of consensus, and the company's sales in the important China market fell 20 percent. But the restaurant operator does project positive comps for China by the fourth quarter.

Walgreen — The drug store operator increased its quarterly dividend by 14.5 percent to 31-1/2 cents per share. The new dividend is payable September 12 to shareholders of record on August 20.

Apollo Group — Apollo saw accreditation renewed for its University of Phoenix online university. The government's Higher Learning Commission reaffirmed the schools accreditation through 2022-23, though it remains on "notice" status for two years due to concerns about its administrative structure.

Costco The warehouse retailer reported a six percent increase in same-store sales for June, above analyst estimates of a 5.4 percent increase.

Hewlett-Packard — HP is no longer the world's biggest PC seller, according to new rankings from Gartner. That honor goes to China's Lenovo, although it's first in a rapidly shrinking market. According to research firm IDC, global shipments fell 11 percent from a year earlier, the fifth straight quarterly decline.

BlackBerry — Two more key executives have departed, with T.A. McCann and Marc Gingras leaving the company. McCann's contact management company Gist had been bought by BlackBerry in 2011, while Gingras' social calendar company Tungle.me was acquired the same year.

Vivus— Investor QVT Financial will vote for dissident investor First Manhattan's proposed slate of directors, according to Reuters. QVT Financial owns 8.3 of Vivus, best known for the obesity drug Qsymia.

Microsoft —The software giant is expected to announce a major restructuring today, focusing the company around devices and services.

Hess— JPMorgan Chase upgraded the oil company's stock to "overweight" from "neutral", saying the current asset divestiture program will unlock up to $4 billion in value not reflected in its prior valuations.

Steinway Musical —The instrument maker, which has agreed to sell itself to KKR, has entered a confidentiality pact with Samick Musical Instruments. Steinway is in a "go-shop" period in which it is free to seek improved offers.

Viacom —The media company's stock was upgraded to "market perform" from "underperform" at Bernstein. According to the firm, negative catalysts in the past year did not negatively impact the stock, and now that they are gone, there is no reason to think the stock will go down moving forward.

Advanced Micro Devices —The chipmaker's stock was upgraded to "buy" from "underperform" at Bank of America/Merrill Lynch.

BlackRock — Evercore initiated coverage of the investment firm at "overweight", citing an abundance of long term revenue growth opportunities.

(Read More: See CNBC's Market Insider Blog)

—By CNBC's Peter Schacknow

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