Check out the companies making headlines before the bell:
Chevron – The energy producer was upgraded to “outperform” from “market perform” at Raymond James, saying Chevron is positioned better than peers to benefit from higher oil prices.
Apple – Apple hired Waymo senior self-driving car engineer Jaime Waydo away from the Alphabet unit, in what’s seen as a sign of Apple’s escalating ambitions in the self-driving market. Waydo worked at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory before joining Waymo.
JD.com – JD.com is getting a $550 million investment from Alphabet’s Google unit, as Google works to expand its presence in the Asian marketplace. The partnership will include promotion of the Chinese e-commerce giant on Google’s shopping service.
Mellanox Technologies – Mellanox is near a deal with activist investor Starboard Value over the composition of the Israeli chipmaker’s board of directors, according to a Reuters report. A deal between the two sides could be announced as soon as this week, according to the report, which would avoid a proxy fight at the Mellanox annual meeting next month.
Unilever – Unilever has cut ties with digital media “Influencers,” people who earn money by posting about various products. The consumer products giant, which is the world’s second-largest advertiser, said it wants to make its advertising more transparent.
Perry Ellis International – Perry Ellis will be taken private by an entity controlled by the apparel maker’s founder and former executive chairman George Feldenkrais. The deal is valued at $437 million, or $27.50 per share, a roughly 22 percent premium over the stock’s price prior to the initial offer by Feldenkrais in early February.
CBS – CBS could be sold to someone other than Viacom, according to The Wall Street Journal’s “Heard On The Street” column. The paper cites the prospect of new media deals following AT&T’s successful court fight for approval of its deal to buy Time Warner.
Walt Disney – Disney was downgraded to “sell” from “hold” at Pivotal Research, noting that Disney will have to either pay a higher price for the 21st Century Fox assets it plans to buy, or face the negative consequences of the deal falling through.
BlackRock – BlackRock was upgraded to “buy” from “neutral” at Citi, in a reversal of an analyst move in January. Citi cites optimism following the asset manager’s recent Investor Day, saying BlackRock is well-positioned in a changing industry and far ahead of key peers in technology.
Zillow Group – Zillow was downgraded to “neutral” from “buy” at Goldman Sachs, which said it sees limited opportunity for the real estate website operator’s stock to outperform following a significant stock run-up so far this year.
Southwest Airlines – Evercore added the airline’s stock to its “Core Ideas” list, following investor meetings with Southwest’s senior leadership. Evercore is citing a strong balance sheet, depressed investor sentiment, and revenue improvement potential, among other factors.
Xerox – Japan’s Fujifilm will ask a judge to enforce its merger agreement with Xerox, according to the New York Post. Xerox called off the deal in May following objections by major shareholders Carl Icahn and Darwin Deason.