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August off to positive start ahead of jobs report

U.S. stocks come off their best one-day gains in three weeks, as investors gear up for the July employment report. The Dow and the S&P 500 both closed at record highs, while the Nasdaq Composite chalked up its highest close in nearly 13 years.


The employment report is out at 8:30 a.m. ET, with consensus forecasts calling for non-farm job gains of 183,000 and the unemployment rate to tick down a tenth of a percent to 7.5 percent. The government is also out with June personal income and consumer spending figures at the same time, with economists expecting 0.5 percent increases in both of those measures.


June factory orders are out at 10 a.m. ET, expected to be higher by 2.3 percent following a 2.1 percent May increase.


Dow component Chevron (CVX) leads the list of quarterly earnings out this morning, with Cablevision (CVC), Viacom (VIAB), and Washington Post (WPO) also among those scheduled to report. There are no after-the-bell reports of note on today's calendar.


Kraft Foods Group (KRFT) is among our stocks to watch today, reporting second quarter profit of 85 cents per share, excluding certain items, compared to estimates of 66 cents. Revenue did fall short of consensus due in part to lower prices, but Kraft also raised its earnings forecast for the year.


Dell (DELL) shareholders convene for a third time in Texas today to vote on the proposed buyout from founder Michael Dell and Silver Lake Partners. CNBC's David Faber reports that talks between Michael Dell, Silver Lake, and Dell's special committee are continuing, as the panel seeks a higher bid.


LinkedIn (LNKD) reported second quarter profit of 38 cents per share, excluding certain items, seven cents above estimates, with revenues also coming in above consensus. But the company also projected current quarter revenue below Street estimates despite raising its fees.


The International Trade Commission has delayed a decision in the patent case involving Apple (AAPL) and Samsung. The decision on whether Samsung devices violate Apple patents has been put off until August 9, with no reason given for the delay.


Activision Blizzard (ATVI) posted second quarter profit of 8 cents per share, excluding certain items, one cent above estimates, with revenue also beating estimates. The videogame maker also forecast current quarter revenue above Street consensus, in anticipation of new consoles from both Sony (SNE) and Microsoft (MSFT).


AIG (AIG) reported second quarter profit of $1.12 per share, excluding certain items, beating estimates of 85 cents, though revenue was short of consensus. The insurance company also announced a $1 billion stock buyback program, and resumed a quarterly dividend of 10 cents per share, its first since being bailed out by the government in 2008.


OpenTable (OPEN) beat estimates by three cents with second quarter profit of 50 cents per share, though the restaurant reservations service also predicted current quarter earnings below analyst forecasts. OpenTable has been investing in increasing its mobile device presence.


Weight Watchers International (WTW) shares are under pressure after the company gave a full year earnings outlook that was short of Street estimates and also announced the resignation of CEO David Kirchhoff. He'll be replaced by President and Chief Operating Officer James Chambers.


Toyota (TM) reported fiscal first quarter profit nearly doubled from a year ago, and raised its forecast for the year. The automaker also set a worldwide production goal of 10.1 million vehicles for the 2013 calendar year, which would be an industry record.