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September off to positive if muted start

Wednesday, 4 Sep 2013 | 5:50 AM ET


Wall Street is coming off a higher start to September trading, but the Tuesday session showed just how sensitive investors are to the latest developments regarding Syria. The Dow had been up as many as 123 points, but lost most of its gains after House Speaker John Boehner said he would support the president and vote in favor of military action.


The economy will also be in focus for investors today, starting with the July trade deficit report at 8:30 a.m. ET. Economists are looking for a gap of $39.0 billion, up from $34.2 billion in June. We'll also be getting August sales figures from U.S. automakers throughout the morning.


The Federal Reserve will be out with its Beige Book at 2 p.m. ET, with investors focusing on the region-by-region economic assessment for any further clues as to whether the Fed will begin tapering its bond-buying program at its upcoming meeting.


Retailer Dollar General (DG) is among the companies set to issue quarterly earnings this morning, along with heavy equipment maker Navistar (NAV) and networking equipment producer Ciena (CIEN).


LinkedIn (LNKD) is among our stocks to watch this morning, as the business networking web site plans a $1 billion secondary stock offering.


H&R Block (HRB) lost 40 cents per share for its first quarter, wider than the 37 cent loss predicted by analysts. Revenue was well above estimates, but investors are more focused on an increase in expenses for the nation's biggest tax preparer.


Hain Celestial (HAIN) still has Carl Icahn as a shareholder, but Icahn has cut his stake by about half, to 7.5 percent of the maker of tea, baby food, and other organic products.


News Corp. (NWSA) sold its Dow Jones Local Media Group division to an affiliate of Fortress Investment Group. The unit operates 33 community newspapers, mostly on the East Coast.


J.C. Penney (JCP) is seeing the shares sold by investor Bill Ackman scooped up by others. Glenview Capital has raised its stake in the retailer to 9.1 percent from 3.8 percent, with the news coming several hours after Hayman Capital raised its own holdings in J.C. Penney.


Apple (AAPL) is reportedly planning to hold a separate media event in China September 11, just hours after the U.S. event at which it's expected to unveil the latest iPhone and iPad models. The report is fueling speculation that it may finally announce a long awaited deal with China Mobile, the world's biggest mobile phone operator, which does not currently offer Apple phones.


Bank of America (BAC) completed its $1.5 billion sale of its stake in China Construction Bank, ending its investment in China's second largest lender.


JPMorgan Chase (JPM) will pay $18.3 million to settle a lawsuit charging inadequate disclosure about certain mortgage investments.