Check out the companies making headlines before the bell:
Walmart – Walmart agreed to sell its British unit Asda Group to rival supermarket operator Sainsbury in a deal worth about $10 billion. Walmart will hold a 42 percent stake in the combined company.
Wells Fargo – The bank was upgraded to “outperform” from “underperform” at Macquarie based on low expectations and an attractive valuation.
New York Times – The stock was upgraded to “overweight” from “neutral” at JPMorgan Chase. JPMorgan said even though the stock has gained 20 percent year-to-date, it sees further opportunity as the company continues its transition from print to digital.
Baidu – The China-based internet search giant is selling a majority stake in its financial services business for about $1.9 billion. The buyer is a private-equity consortium that includes TPG Capital and Carlyle Group.
Xerox – A judge has temporarily blocked Fujifilm’s acquisition of a controlling stake in Xerox, a ruling that reopens nominations to Xerox’s board. This follows a lawsuit by activist investor Darwin Deason, who along with fellow Xerox shareholder Carl Icahn has said the deal substantially undervalues Xerox.
Southwest Airlines – Southwest was sued by a passenger on the recent flight which saw another passenger killed by an engine explosion. The lawsuit said the plaintiff suffered post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and depression. Southwest said it could not comment on pending litigation.
Spotify – Spotify was rated “overweight” in new coverage at JPMorgan and “outperform” in new coverage at Evercore. Evercore said the music streaming service has significant growth potential, while JPMorgan notes that Spotify is the largest pure play in music streaming amid a growing market.
Spirit Airlines – Spirit received a double upgrade to “overweight” from “underweight” at JPMorgan Chase, which noted the battering in Spirit’s stock price this year and a more favorable overall cost structure amid rising fuel prices. Conversely, reining in non-labor costs is one of the reasons JPMorgan is downgrading JetBlue from “overweight” to “neutral”