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Markets looking ahead to key jobs data

IN THE NEWS TODAY

U.S. stock index futures are pointing to a roughly flat open on Thursday ahead of the June government jobs report due tomorrow. Early losses Wednesday were followed by a comeback which resulted in stock gains for the fifth time in six sessions. (CNBC)

Crude oil futures were higher in early trade after paring losses into the settle to close higher in the previous session. Analysts say oil prices could be key for markets ahead of Friday's U.S. jobs data. (CNBC)

Major European indexes were higher and Asian stocks ended mixed following oil's rise. (CNBC)


The U.S. Justice Department is closing its investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a personal email server while secretary of state. Attorney General Loretta Lynch took FBI Director James Comey's recommendation not to press charges. (CNBC)

Comey will appear before Congress on Thursday to give testimony on the FBI's investigation into Clinton's email practices. On Wednesday, House Speaker Paul Ryan said lawmakers are considering options to continue investigating the issue. (Reuters)

Donald Trump and the Republican Party raised about $51 million in June, the Trump campaign said in a statement Wednesday. That compares with $68.5 million raised by Clinton and the Democratic Party. (CNBC)

The anti-Trump wing of the Republican Party is orchestrating a longshot effort that would allow delegates who have pledged to back Trump to instead support whomever they want, the Wall Street Journal reported. A survey of Convention Rules Committee members shows the vote to change protocol could be close. (WSJ)

Protests broke out overnight in Minnesota after a 32-year-old man was fatally shot in front of his girlfriend and a child during a police traffic stop. The incident comes two days after Alton Sterling, 37, was shot and killed by police in Louisiana. (NBCNews)

Conservatives in Britain gather for a second round of voting today to choose a candidate to replace outgoing Prime Minister David Cameron. The field has been narrowed to Home Secretary Theresa May, Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom, and Justice Secretary Michael Gove. (Yahoo)

Minutes from the Federal Reserve's June meeting showed policymakers held off on hiking interest rates until they could determine the impact of the U.K. Brexit vote. A slowdown in U.S. hiring also factored into the decision. (Reuters)

JPMorgan Chase (JPM) might be forced to move thousands of workers out of Britain, according to CEO Jamie Dimon. He told an Italian newspaper that the shift might be necessary if Britain loses its automatic right to sell financial services to the EU following the Brexit vote. (Reuters)


BY THE NUMBERS

The ADP private sector employment report is due at 8:15 a.m. ET, with consensus forecasts calling for 151,000 new private sector jobs in June following an addition of 173,000 jobs in May.

At 8:30 a.m. ET, we'll get more labor market data, when the weekly initial jobless claims numbers are out from the Labor Department. Economists are expecting 267,000 new claims for the week ending July 2, just below the prior week's level of 268,000.

At 10:30 a.m. ET, the Energy Department will release its weekly look at natural gas inventories, followed by the holiday-delayed information on oil and gasoline levels at 11 a.m. ET.

Helen of Troy (HELE) and WD-40 (WDFC) are out with earnings after today's closing bell.


STOCKS TO WATCH

WhiteWave Foods (WWAV) will be bought by French dairy maker Danone for about $10 billion, or $56.25 in cash. That represents a nearly 19 percent premium for WhiteWave shareholders.

PepsiCo (PEP) reported adjusted second quarter profit of $1.35 per share, five cents above estimates, with revenue also exceeding forecasts. The company said it was pleased with its quarter especially considering the volatile global economic environment.

Western Digital (WDC) raised its guidance for the fiscal fourth quarter that ended July 1. Western Digital also announced the appointment of Mark Long as Executive Vice President of finance, with Long becoming Chief Financial Officer On September 1.

AVG Technologies (AVG) will be bought by Dutch security software rival Avast Software for $1.3 billion in cash, or $25 per share. The price represents a 33 percent premium to AVG's Wednesday closing price.

Biomarin Pharmaceutical (BRMN) may be a takeover target of Swiss drug maker Roche, according to a Betaville report. Such a deal could be in the $130 to $150 per share range, although it is not clear if a formal offer has been made.

WATERCOOLER

Goodbye Tony Stark. Hello Riri Williams. Marvel Comics announced a black female science prodigy will don the Iron Man suit, the latest salvo in an effort to diversify its cast of heroes. (TIME)

Some Americans will also say farewell to hoverboards. The Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a recall for about 500,000 hoverboards marketed by 10 brands due to their risk of catching fire. (Recode)