Some of the companies making headlines today:

Royal Philips Electronics NV (PHG) reported a better than expected net profit of euro174 million ($256 million) for the third quarter on Monday, three times the depressed levels of a year ago, due to cost-cutting measures. Still, the company said sales fell 11 percent. Shares jumped over 6 percent in pre-market trade.

Blackstone Group (BX) is planning to list up to eight of its portfolio companies, according to a source who received a letter the firm sent to investors on Friday. The letter also says that Blackstone is in the process of five sales of companies it owns this year. Of these, four have already been announced and one is imminent, the source said. Shares gained over 4 percent ahead of the bell.
Barclays Plc (BCS) is planning to spin off a 4-billion-pound ($6.35 billion) portfolio of complex credit assets as it presses ahead with a process to clean up its balance sheet, the Financial Times reported. Shares fell nearly 2 percent in pre-market.

Lazard Ltd (LAZ) said on Sunday that Chairman and CEO Bruce Wasserstein had been hospitalized for an irregular heartbeat.

Companies due to report this morning include Charles Schwab (SCHW) and Fastenal (FAST) -- Fastenal misses as 3Q Profit Drops 42% On Slack Construction Demand.

Citigroup Inc. (C) will pay $600,000 to settle a regulator's claims that it inadequately supervised transactions that helped international customers avoid U.S. taxes on stock dividends, Bloomberg reported.

National Semiconductor Corp. (NSM) said late Friday that Donald Macleod will succeed Brian Halla as CEO when Halla retires on Nov. 30, but that Halla will remain chairman.

Select analyst calls:
  • Goldman Sachs upped Google's (GOOG) price target to $585 from $560 on higher earnings estimates from 2009 to 2011.
  • Amgen (AMGN) was upgraded to Buy from Neutral by UBS which lifted the company's price target to $70 from $63.
  • Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) was upgraded to Hold from Sell at Societe Generale. Shares jumped over 4 percent ahead of the bell.
  • Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) was upgraded at UBS from Neutral to Buy. Shares jumped over 4 percent in pre-market.
  • Credit Suisse upgraded Visa (V) and MasterCard (MA) from Neutral to Outperform.
  • JP Morgan upgraded Kroger (KR) from Neutral to Overweight.
  • HSBC Securities downgraded Nokia (NOK) from Overweight to Neutral.
  • Deutsche Securities downgraded Dr. Pepper Snapple (DPS) from Buy to Hold.
Onyx Pharmaceuticals Inc. (ONXX) said Monday that it has agreed to acquire privately-owned biopharmaceutical firm Proteolix Inc. for $276 million in cash.

Barrick Gold Corp. (ABX) said Monday it would buy a 70 percent stake in a Chile gold-copper project for $456 million.

Major companies announcing quarterly results this week include IBM (IBM), Intel (INTC), JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Goldman Sachs (GS), Citigroup (C), Bank of America (BAC) and General Electric (GE).

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