Comcast, Walmart, IBM & more

Check out the companies making headlines before the bell:

ComcastThe NBCUniversal and CNBC parent reported adjusted quarterly profit of 64 cents per share, beating consensus estimates by 2 cents a share. Revenue also beat Street forecasts and the company increased its dividend by 10 percent.

United TechnologiesThe maker of Carrier air conditioners, Otis elevators, and a wide variety of other industrial products reported adjusted quarterly profit of $1.95 per share, well above the consensus estimate of $1.53 a share. Revenue also came in above analysts’ forecasts, boosted by the company’s November acquisition of defense contractor Rockwell Collins.

Procter & Gamble – The consumer products company beat estimates by 4 cents a share,with adjusted quarterly profit of $1.25 per share. Revenue topped analysts’ forecasts, as well, helped in part by strong demand for P&G’s beauty products. Organic sales were up 4 percent, stronger than the 2.6 percent consensus estimate.

Restaurant Brands International – The parent of Burger King, Tim Hortons, and Popeyes named current Burger King head Jose Cil as its new chief executive officer. He replaces Daniel Schwartz, who will become executive chairman.

Synchrony Financial – The financial services company earned $1.09 per share for its latest quarter, 16 cents a share above estimates. Revenue also beat forecasts. Synchrony also announced it had reached an agreement to extend its partnership with Walmart’s Sam’s Club, continuing to manage and service the Sam’s credit-card portfolio. It also settled a lawsuit with Walmart over the sale of the Walmart loan portfolio.

Walmart – Morgan Stanley upgraded the retailer’s stock to “overweight” from “equal-weight,” saying Walmart will be one of the few retailers to grow earnings this year.

Merck – The drugmaker’s stock was downgraded to “market perform” from “outperform” at BMO Capital, which is concerned about Merck’s overdependence on its cancer treatment Keytruda.

Pfizer – UBS downgraded Pfizer to “neutral” from “buy,” noting Pfizer’s valuation and a long-term “patent cliff.”

IBM – IBM reported adjusted quarterly profit of $4.87 per share, 5 cents a share above consensus. Revenue also beat forecasts and IBM gave strong 2019 guidance on continued strength in its services business.

TD Ameritrade – TD Ameritrade beat estimates by 10 cents a share, with adjusted quarterly profit of $1.11 per share. The online brokerage’s revenue also came in above forecasts. Profit more than doubled from a year earlier thanks in large part to the acquisition of Scottrade.

Capital One – Capital One reported adjusted quarterly profit of $2 per share, missing the consensus estimate of $2.37 a share. The bank’s revenue also fell shy of forecasts, and an 81 percent increase in marketing costs had a significant bottom line impact.

Johnson & Johnson — J&J is pursuing an acquisition of surgical robotics firm Auris Health, according to a Bloomberg report. J&J is said to be willing to pay a premium to the $2 billion valuation that emerged from the latest Auris funding round.

ASML Holding – ASML warned of weak first-quarter sales, with a number of the chipmaker’s customers delaying their orders into the second half of this year.

Aphria – Aphria is the target of a hostile takeover bid from U.S. cannabis rival Green Growth Brands. Green Growth said it plans to make a second all-stock bid for the Canadian company worth about $1.76 billion. Aphria said the bid is substantially identical to the prior bid, and urged its shareholders to take no action while a board committee considers the offer.

Viacom Viacom announced the acquisition of live-TV streaming service Pluto TV for $340 million in cash.

Walgreens Boots Alliance – Walgreens will pay more than $269 million to settle a number of federal and state lawsuits that had accused it of overbilling federal health-care programs.

Apollo Global The private-equity firm agreed to buy European packaging company RPC for $4.28 billion in cash. It had been reported yesterday that the two sides were close to a deal.