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Short but Eventful Trading Session Ahead Today

Wednesday, 3 Jul 2013 | 5:43 AM ET


Wall Street has an abbreviated session today, with the stock market closing at 1 p.m. ET ahead of the July 4 holiday, but there's plenty to keep investors occupied. Today's session will feature several key employment stats, $100 oil, and an approaching deadline in Egypt for President Morsi to work out an agreement with the opposition in that country.


The rising tension in Egypt has helped push WTI crude over the $100 mark intraday for the first time since September. Crude has not ended a trading session above $100 since May 2012, but that could well happen today. The deadline set by the Egyptian military occurs at 11 a.m. ET, although it's unclear whether anything will happen at that specific time.


ADP will be issuing its June look at private sector employment at 8:15 a.m. ET, with economists expecting the U.S. economy to have added 160,000 private sector jobs in June after a rise of 135,000 in May. That will be followed by the Labor Department's weekly initial jobless claims report at 8:30 a.m. ET, out a day early due to tomorrow's holiday. Consensus forecasts call for 350,000 new claims for the week ending June 29, up from 346,000 the prior week.


We'll also get the May trade deficit at 8:30 a.m. ET, seen at $40.0 billion compared to $40.3 billion for June.


At 10 a.m. ET, the Institute For Supply Management's non-manufacturing index, which measures the U.S. services economy, is expected to rise to 54.0 for June from May's 53.7.


Other reports out today include the Mortgage Bankers Association's weekly 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 usual Thursday release of the Energy Department's natural gas inventories report has been pushed up to Wednesday, and is set for noon E.T.


There are no earnings of note set for release today, either before or after the bell.


Dell (DELL) leads our list of stocks to watch, with the computer maker's special committee asking founder Michael Dell to increase his $24.4 billion offer to take the company private. That news follows word that investor Carl Icahn has obtained more than $3 billion in financing commitments for his alternative proposal.


Health care stocks like UnitedHealth Group (UNH), Aetna (AET), Cigna (CI) will be watched closely today following the White House announcement that a key provision of health care reform will be delayed until early 2015.


Electronic Arts (EA) and Hasbro (HAS) have announced an agreement under which EA will develop some of Hasbro's best-selling game brands for mobile platforms around the world.


Credit Suisse (CS), Barclays (BCS), and Deutsche Bank (DB) have all been downgraded by Standard and Poor's to "A" from "A ", citing more difficult operating conditions for large European banks. It has, however, affirmed its "A" rating for UBS (UBS), and calls the outlook for all these banks "stable".


Apple (AAPL) has hired former Yves Saint Laurent CEO Paul Deneve for "special projects". He will report directly to Apple chief executive Tim Cook.


Prudential Financial (PRU) will contest its designation as "systemically important" by banking regulators. It has requested a hearing before the Financial Stability Oversight Council to make its case.


HSBC (HBC) has received a judge's approval for its record $1.92 billion settlement of money laundering charges. The settlement had been announced in December.


Yahoo (YHOO) will buy video mobile app maker Qwiki for an undisclosed amount, although All Things D reports the price was about $50 million.


Lululemon (LULU) has been sued for allegedly defrauding shareholders. The suit cites the costly recall of yoga pants that were deemed "too sheer", as well as the sudden departure of chief executive Christine Day.