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US Stocks Regain Positive Footing


Wall Street is showing signs of recovering from its recent swoon, with a Tuesday rally wiping out most of Monday's losses, and stock index futures pointing to a positive opening this morning. Nonetheless, the major averages are almost certainly headed for their first monthly losses of 2013, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq likely to post their first negative months since last October.


The government will issue its third and final estimate of first quarter GDP at 8:30 a.m. ET, with economists expecting the same 2.4 percent annual growth rate that was reported a month ago.


Weekly reports out today include the Mortgage Bankers Association's look at mortgage applications at 7 a.m. ET, and the Energy Department's assessment of oil and gasoline inventories at 10:30 a.m. ET. The mortgage report will be watched in particular for average mortgage rates, which came in at 15-month highs in the last report a week ago.


The Treasury will sell $35 billion in 5-year notes, with the results of that sales available shortly after 1 p.m. ET.


Food producer General Mills (GIS) and chemical maker Monsanto (MON) will issue quarterly earnings this morning, while retailer Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) and payroll processor Paychex (PAYX) are among the companies out with earnings after today's closing bell.


Apollo Group (APOL) is among today's stocks to watch, with the for-profit education provider reporting fiscal third quarter profit of $1.05 per share, excluding certain items, 20 cents above estimates. Revenue came up short of consensus, as did full year revenue projections mostly, but Apollo did raise its yearly operating income projection.


Smith & Wesson (SWHC) reported fiscal fourth quarter profit of $0.44 per share, excluding certain items, matching estimates. Revenues beat consensus, as does the gun maker's current quarter revenue and income projections. Anticipation of new gun control laws has helped boost the company's sales, especially among first-time buyers.


Las Vegas Sands (LVS) chief financial officer Kenneth Kay is leaving that job as of July 31, although he will assist the company during a six month transition. It is not known whether Kay was fired or resigned.


BP (BP) may seek to recover some settlement payouts related to the Gulf oil spill, because of what it sees as excessive payouts to some businesses.


Microsoft (MSFT) will make the preview version of Windows 8.1 available for a free download as of today, on the 8-month anniversary of the original release of Windows 8. The final version of the update will come out later this year.


Vivus (VVUS) is in the midst of a battle with top shareholder First Manhattan, which is trying to replace current CEO Leland Wilson. The firm has been in discussions with possible replacement after being critical of the drug maker's management, which accused First Manhattan of having "no understanding" of the process of launching a new product. Vivus is the company behind the highly publicized diet drug Qsymia.


McKesson (MCK) CEO John Hammergren was entitled to a record $159 million lump-sum pension payout, according to an SEC filing. That payout would have come had he left the drug distributor on March 31.


Mattress Firm's (MFRM) ratings outlook has been raised to "positive" from "stable" at Moody's, which cites the expectation of improved financial performance from the mattress seller.