Stocks to Watch: Apple, IBM, Aruba Networks

Updated from 7:35 a.m. ET to include information on Apple, IBM, Aruba Networks.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- These stocks were making headlines ahead of Friday's opening bell:

Apple ( AAPL):

Apple shares were tracking lower in pre-market action, pulling back after hitting an all-time high of $674.88 earlier in the week.

Friday's Apple news included blog speculation that the company won't be unveiling the iPad Mini at its much-anticipated product event in mid-September where the iPhone 5 is expected to be launched.

In addition, this also the one-year anniversary of the company naming Tim Cook to replace Steve Jobs as its chief executive officer.

The stock was last quoted at $659.02, down 0.54%, in pre-market action, according to Nasdaq.com.

IBM ( IBM):

JPMorgan lowered its 12-month price target on IBM to $215 from $218 and cut its earnings estimates slightly early Friday; although the firm left its overweight rating on the Dow component's stock intact.

"The drivers are 1) signs of demand softness in EMEA and China and 2) the sale of the Retail Solutions business to Toshiba," JPMorgan said. "In our view, China is the incremental weak spot. Despite our downward revisions, we are sticking with our Overweight rating on IBM. We think the model's supertanker status remains intact and should be attractive to investors as de-risking increases. We expect investors to de-risk and build bigger positions in defensive stocks, pending sustained improvements in China-based demand. Our top picks to play defense are Apple, EMC, IBM, and NetApp."

IBM's stock closed Thursday at $195.70, up nearly 16% so far in 2012.

Aruba Networks ( ARUN):

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based firm, which makes equipment for telecom networks, saw its sales rise 22% to $139.2 million for the three-month period ending in July. Excluding items, Aruba earned 18 cents a share in the quarter, up from 17 cents a share in the prior year's quarter.

Analysts were looking for sales of $136.8 million and earnings of 17 cents a share in Aruba's fiscal fourth quarter.

The stock was jumping more than 14% ahead of the bell to $19.31 on volume of more than 100,000.

Salesforce.com ( CRM):

Shares of the San Francisco-based cloud computing company were under pressure after its outlook for its fiscal third quarter was slightly below Wall Street's expectations.

The company said it expects non -GAAP earnings of 31 to 32 cents a share for the October-ending period on revenue of between $773 million to $777 million. The current average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters is for a profit of 33 cents a share on revenue of $772.3 million.

For fiscal 2013, Salesforce.com, which reported an above-consensus profit for its July-ended second quarter, anticipates non-GAAP earnings of $1.48 to $1.51 a share on revenue ranging from $3.025 billion to $3.035 billion. Wall Street's view is for earnings of $1.49 a share on revenue of $3.024 billion.

The stock was last quoted at $139.20, down more than 5%, in after-hours action on Thursday with volume topping out at 970,000, according to Nasdaq.com.

Autodesk ( ADSK):

The San Rafael, Calif.-based design-software maker, reported disappointing quarterly results for the first time in almost two years and said it plans to reduce its headcount as global economic uncertainties weigh on its business.

For the three months ended in July, Autodesk posted a non-GAAP profit of $111.1 million, or 48 cents a share, on revenue of $568.7 million, below the average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters for earnings of 49 cents a share on revenue of $593.4 million.

The company also forecast non-GAAP earnings of 40 to 45 cents a share for its fiscal third quarter ending in October on revenue ranging from $550 million to $570 million, below Wall Street's current consensus view for earnings of 47 cents a share on revenue of $583.5 million.

The stock closed Thursday at $35.71, up more than 34% in the past year, but it was trading down more than 20% at $28.08 on heavy volume in the extended session following its quarterly report.

Federated Investors ( FII):

Citigroup upgraded Federated to buy following news on Thursday that the Securities and Exchange Commission doesn't plan to move forward with plans for increased regulation with regard to money markets.

"On 8/23, the SEC Chairman acknowledged the regulator does not have the necessary votes to bring forth proposals for further money market reform," the firm said. "This is clearly a major structural positive for money market players in particular, and moderate positive for Traditional Managers at large."

As part of the call, Citi also its raised price targets for shares of Federated, Charles Schwab ( SCHW), Invesco Ltd. ( IVZ), Legg Mason ( LM) and BlackRock ( BLK).

"While low ST short-term rates remain an issue, prior reform could have moved substantial money from the industry and would raise friction risk for money flowing back toward LT MFs long-term mutual funds," the firm said.

-- Written by Michael Baron in New York.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Michael Baron.

Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks.

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