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Dow and S&P 500 aim for their 26th record closes of the year

BY THE NUMBERS

U.S. stock futures were higher this morning, with the Dow and S&P 500 both coming off their 25th record closes of 2017. The Nasdaq outperformed in Friday's rally, but came up 9 points and change away from its record close. (CNBC)

* July Empire manufacturing index at 8:30 a.m. ET (CNBC)
* Netflix (NFLX) releases earnings after the bell (CNBC)
* Ethereum briefly crashes 20% to 7-week low (CNBC)

BlackRock (BLK) this morning posted second quarter earnings and revenue that missed expectations. The world's largest money manager saw a 16 percent increase in assets under management from the same period last year to nearly $5.7 trillion. (CNBC)

China's second-quarter GDP growth beat expectations on Monday, helping the Shanghai composite and the Shenzhen composite pare some of their sharp losses overnight. (CNBC)

* China's real estate speeds up, despite government curbs (Reuters)
* China blacklists Winnie the Pooh from social media there (FT)

A $2 billion private-equity fund that borrowed heavily to buy oil and gas wells before energy prices plunged is now worth essentially nothing. (WSJ)

IN THE NEWS TODAY

Sen. John McCain's absence from the Senate as he recovers from surgery for a blood clot has led the GOP leadership to postpone consideration of health care legislation already on the brink. The CBO score of the revised Senate bill is expected this week. (AP)

* Moderate GOP senator: 8 to 10 of us are worried about health bill (Reuters)
* White House preps a polished effort for tax reform (Axios)
* White House plans 'Made in America Week' (Reuters)
* Analysts: Trump no longer good news for the dollar (CNBC)

The U.S. Secret Service is denying a suggestion from the president's personal lawyer that the agency had vetted a meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and Russian nationals during the 2016 campaign. (Reuters)

Procter & Gamble (PG) is facing a proxy fight from Trian's Nelson Peltz, who's seeking a board seat at the consumer products giant. Such a move would make Procter & Gamble the largest company ever to face a proxy battle. (Reuters)

Wells Fargo's (WFC) CFO told the Financial Times the bank is set to eliminate a number of its smaller businesses. Separately, more than 500 brokers have left Wells Fargo in the aftermath of last year's sales scandal, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Blue Apron (APRN), already trading well below its June IPO price on the Amazon-Whole Foods deal, was sinking about 6 percent in premarket trading, with Amazon (AMZN) filing a trademark application to enter the meal kit market. (TheStreet.com)

Celebrity chef Bobby Flay said he is planning to offer shares to the public in his Bobby's Burger Palace, a restaurant chain that competes with such burger-centric concepts as Shake Shack and Five Guys. (WSJ)

Dow Jones & Co., owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation (NWSA), made an error in configuring a cloud-computing service and left addresses and other information about subscribers to some of its products, including the Wall Street Journal, exposed to possible unauthorized access. (WSJ)

Conservative author Ann Coulter said over the weekend that Delta (DAL) moved her from a pre-booked, "extra room" seat. The airline said it's been in contact with Coulter, but did not elaborate. (CNBC)

Within 20 years, there won't be steering wheels in cars, predicted Elon Musk at the National Governors Association meeting over the weekend. The Tesla (TSLA) chief said in the next decade nearly all new cars in the U.S. will be self-driving. (Axios)

* Musk says A.I. is a "fundamental risk" to human civilization (AP)

Fox's "War for the Planet of the Apes" took down the Sony-Disney blockbuster "Spider-Man: Homecoming" at the North American box office, opening with an estimated $56.5 million in ticket sales. (AP)

* 'Game of Thrones' premiere crashes HBO's website (THR)

STOCKS TO WATCH

IBM is launching a new mainframe system capable of running more than 12 billion encrypted transactions per day, in a bid to wade further into the financial cybersecurity market.

Unilever (UL) and Hormel (HRL) are both competing to buy the foods division of Britain's Reckitt Benckiser, which could sell for as much as $2.9 billion, according to the Sunday Times. Reckitt owns a number of well-known brands including French's Mustard.

Crown Castle International (CCI) has offered to buy Lightower Fiber Networks for more than $7 billion, including debt. Such a deal would be the biggest ever for the telecommunications tower operator.

Church & Dwight, the maker of Arm & Hammer and other consumer brands, is buying oral hygiene product maker Water Pik for about $1 billion in cash.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX) is selling its Obagi Medical Products business for $190 million to a China-based fund.

Citigroup (C) is expected to announce an overhaul of its premium Prestige credit card, according to the Wall Street Journal. Among the expected changes is a higher sign-up bonus.

WATERCOOLER

Martin Landau, an Oscar-winner for playing Bela Lugosi in Tim Burton's 1994 film "Ed Wood," died Saturday at 89. He was nominated for Academy Awards for two other roles. (Reuters)

George A. Romero, creator of the zombie film genre with "Night of the Living Dead" and a series of sequels, died of lung cancer in a Toronto hospital on Sunday. He was 77. (AP)