Check out the companies making headlines before the bell:
Darden Restaurants – The parent of Olive Garden, Longhorn Steakhouse, and other restaurant chains earned $1.34 per share for its latest quarter, 10 cents a share above estimates. Revenue beat forecasts, as well. Darden’s comparable-restaurant sales rose 3.3 percent, tripling consensus estimates, and it also raised its full-year outlook.
Comcast, 21st Century Fox, Walt Disney – The U.K.’s takeover panel announced that it will begin an auction process for broadcaster Sky Friday, with the winning bidder announced Saturday. The portion of Sky that Fox already owns is among the assets it is selling to Disney, and the NBCUniversal and CNBC parent currently has the highest offer on the table for Sky.
Thor Industries – The recreational vehicle maker reported quarterly profit of $1.67 per share, below the consensus estimate of $2.03 a share. Revenue beat forecasts, however. Analysts say Thor is still dealing with excess inventory and higher costs.
Caterpillar – Caterpillar was upgraded to “outperform” from “neutral” at RW Baird, which notes underperformance this year by the machinery sector compared to the overall market and saying the risk/reward profile appears favorable.
Procter & Gamble – Atlantic Equities rates the consumer products giant “overweight” in new coverage, pointing to improved performance in key categories and positive change throughout the organization.
Red Hat – The Linux operating system distributor reported adjusted quarterly profit of 85 cents per share, beating the consensus estimate by 3 cents a share. Revenue fell short of Street forecasts, however, as did the company’s current-quarter revenue and earnings guidance. Red Hat’s results have been hurt by lower-than-expected subscription revenue.
Nestle – Nestle is exploring strategic options for its skin health business, including a possible sale. The food producer said it believes the unit might perform better once separated from Nestle.
Rio Tinto – Rio Tinto announced a $3.2 billion share buyback, following the mining company’s recent sale of some of its Australian coal assets.
Amazon.com – Amazon is expected to move up to third in the 2018 rankings of U.S. digital ad sellers, according to research firm eMarketer.
Wells Fargo – Wells Fargo issued a statement to CNBC denying rumors that the bank’s board had reached out to potential CEO candidates, calling them “completely false.” The New York Post had reported that former National Economic Council director Gary Cohn had rebuffed overtures from Wells earlier this year to be its next CEO.
Skechers – Skechers was downgraded to “market perform” from “outperform” at Cowen, which cites a number of factors for the footwear maker including rising inventories.
Stitch Fix – Stitch Fix was downgraded to “neutral” from “overweight” at Piper Jaffray in a valuation call. The online clothing styling company went public at $15 per share last November and closed Wednesday at $47.11.
Herman Miller – Herman Miller reported adjusted quarterly profit of 69 cents per share, 4 cents a share above estimates. The office furniture company’s revenue also exceeding forecasts.
Ralph Lauren – Piper Jaffray upgraded the apparel maker to “neutral” from “underweight,” despite ongoing concerns about the sustainability of sales growth. The firm feels Ralph Lauren’s earnings will move higher thanks to cost controls and a more favorable profit mix.